Sunday, December 09, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How to better manage fixed bid IT Projects?? -Part 1

"Project Management" always sparks an interest in my usually tranquil mind. Well, project management as a job was more of a serendipitous choice for me. Glimpse of my managerial skills was first spotted by my mom who used to compare me with my dad when it came to people management. She always used to think that I can manage people pretty well.

Now, let me first define the word "Project Management". It is all about managing the resources associated with the project in terms of scope, cost, quality & time. Now let's see why Project Management is so important??

“History has shown that almost half of IT projects fail & over 80% run late or over budget.” – Source “PMI”

So, all my IT brethren wake up & understand that PM is not an easy job. It requires a lot quality managerial time & acumen. In my current organization Satyam I come across so many fixed bid projects failing either in terms of running late or going over budget.

Fixed bid projects have their own challenges as the end date is fixed and we work backwards to organize the various modules/ phases in the project. Moreover having a fixed budget the profitability factor is directly related to the time spent or resources working on it.

So, where is the problem?? Let us analyse it.

  • Scenario 1 - How many times have you realised that the client is asking for more functionalities that are not originally part of the scope and eventually either extra resources / extra hours being spent on the project? - Clear problem of Scope not being defined & agreed with the client

  • Scenario 2 - Project has started & resources have started working. But suddenly we realise that the team does not have the necessary skills / resources to handle the technology involved. - Indication of lack of resource planning & mix which is a result of poor Document of Understanding & backup or training plan.

  • Scenario 3 - The project team has the right mix of resources with high skill levels & credibility, however the project is proceeding at an alarmingly slow rate or with lots of rework. - Problem of lack of motivation / Internal politics within the team.

  • Scenario 4 - The project team has the right mix of resources with high skill levels & credibility, however the work is delayed due to unidentified risks - Please do proper risk management.

  • Scenario 5 - Business Metrics used for tracking the progress not being agreed to by the client as indication of the successful progress of the project. - Business metrics fall into several categories: Scope and deliverables, timeliness, budget and quality. For many organizations, developing solid business metrics often means changing the nature of the relationship with the client. So, please identify these metrics at the planning phase itself to avoid discrepancies.

  • Scenario 6 - The project cost is skyrocketting due to more number of high cost resources working on the project. - This is clear case of lack of good recruitment strategy and team organization planned at the beginning of the project which creates a costly resource mix.

So, please ensure that these scenarios are minimised (if need be create a check list) to the extent possible to ensure a decent success rate for the projects you handle. Please feel free to add any other scenarios you might come across.

Until next... Ciao......

Sunday, September 09, 2007


I had always felt that monopoly was bad for the economy. So, I realised Nokia was getting onto my nerves and wanted to try different brand next time I buy my mobile.

So, I went and bought a Sony Ericcson W810i as it was the closest competitor to Nokia in the month of February 2007. Some of the best features were:

  1. Excellent sound clarity on earphones. Better than even the Nokia N series that my friend had.

  2. Camera with a decent picture quality of 2.0 mega pixels. Some of the pics that I took in US with the mobile phone can be accessed from the link

  3. Cool external speakers producing fine quality music. Not so noisy and irritating like Nokia N series. I always believe that volume is not everything when it comes to playing music. It has to sound soothing.I am sure many of you would agree with this.

  4. Compact on the hand and when you carry in your mobile pouch.

Well if you thought that these features were very cool and truly they were, I always think that durability is a big factor when it comes to electronic goods. And Sony Ericsson obviously looses out to Nokia.

Suddenly, beginning of this month the phone started acting weird as the screen would hang and none of the functions could be done. Initially I thought that the battery was the problem but then the techies in the Sony Ericsson service center realised that the "motherboard" had to be changed. Luckily I had a 1 year warranty and so it costs nothing. Just 6 months since I bought the phone and already the motherboard is defunct!! Bad experience I would say....

Probably I did not buy it on an auspicious time and date :-) but then there were 30 others on a Saturday complaining about their phones in the service center.(I never had any software problems with the previous Nokia mobile models that I had bought anytime!!)

So, I am not alone and Sony Ericcson probably taught me a management lesson "Jack of all trades but Ace of none!!" and Nokia has proven that specialist always remain dominant in the market and probably monopoly won this time around....

Until next... ciao...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

God Bless America-part 1

Long time since I updated my blog!! It's been a 4 month wait getting a topic to write about. Yes, this is all about my experience as a true desi in the Land of Opportunities. I am talking about a 231 year old country that has grown & given opportunity for the rest of the world, popularly known as "USA"..

I am here on a business visit to work for Citicards and I stay in a very beautiful place called Florida. To be precise, I stay in the city of Jacksonville.Well, yes America is very exciting however it requires a big time maintenance to bring it to normal.

First, let me share why America is exciting. Florida with its sexy beaches, Bikes & Cars makes you wonder if you are visiting a different planet where you see prosperity all around. In Florida I first visited Daytona along with my friends. The Daytona beach and its NASCAR track makes you feel orgasmic. I had seen around 20-25 bikes which were 1000 cc Honda engines near the beach front. Well a global war is imminent when it comes to bike market in America. The Japanese & the Harley Davidsons vying for every inch of the automobile market makes you believe its a battle of pistons :-) . So when, you are all pumped and want a feast for your racing senses you know where to go. Believe me, the beaches are so clean that you would even start following the norm of "No Litter" policy. There was one of the streets that we entered which takes you to a different time zone. Yeah, the Harley Davidson bikes parked there makes you believe that there is so much tradition with the owner of each bike being over 50 years of age.So, life never is over for the people in this place as there is a inner urge to keep loving what they do and never get bored. Through out the street we saw people having beer along with their wives /girl friends, god knows the chemistry :-) The average age group was around 40 years. I am sure back in India life ends @ 45 as many of our neighbors & relaives would retire from being normal.

From Daytona, I had an opportunity to visit St.Augustine, one of the oldest towns in USA. True to its reputation, the town is so laid back and you start wondering if you have visited one of the villages in India. People suddenly seem to have all the time in the world to go boating, chill around in one of the many pubs there with their family, stroll on the beach sand, playing with their pets, swimming etc...A quick gush of laziness would certainly hit you once you step into this town. An ideal place for newly married couples to open up and get down to business :-)

The pinnacle of craziness was when I visited Panama City in Florida. Luckily it was summer break time and all the college kids were present along with their gangs. They were in their full gear when it came to their cars & bikes and in full oblivion when it came to their attires. "Truly American craziness Inc" is what you would see in Panama City. Bumper to bumper cars, honking, booing, singing, and all the stereos singing in chorus the Metallicas and the Iron Maidens of the world....being the norm. Our Pachaiyappas & Presidency college students need a big learning curve to get to this level :-) I visited La Vida, the largest night club in America along with my friends. Well, to say it was great is an under statement. I met people all around the world inside the night club.The funniest part was there was a separate entrance for teenagers less than eligible age (21 years) too...The synonym of merry making would be understood by everyone who enters La Vida.But remember to take your passports as photo identity whenever you visit this place. From La Vida, we headed to a beach side party that was full of young people who I am sure were kicked in their butt by their parents for being what they are.Even monkeys would have behaved better :-) Nobody owns nobody's girl friend inside, is what I realised as the party progressed. My friends and myself actually ended up with a culture shock treatment as we kept re-assuring that we were in our senses and "Seeing is believing" was really true.

So, being over nourished with the beaches, I decided to visit Orlando and get to see the various theme parks. I wonder if Disney owns half of America. Well, thats the feeling anybody would get once you step inside any of their theme parks. I visited Magic Kingdom along with my friends. So many acres of land that incudes resorts, lakes (they look real. but may be man made), golf corses etc makes you believe you have entered Wonderland.

Innumerable fun rides, sweet looking kids, all the disney characters of Mickey, Donald, Goofy that we saw as kids in our Door darshan Sunday cartoon feast and grandeour all around makes you feel so lost in the Wonderland. When we bought tickets we saw packages for 2 days, 5 days, 7 days & 10 days and were wondering why? This got answered once we entered the place and started to realize that "Magic Kingdom" alone needs 2 full days to cover.So, this just being one of the 4 theme parks definitely requires that much time to cover them.So anybody visiting Disney, I would definitely recommend the various fun rides around. Do not especially miss the Splash mountain, Mountain rail, Sharks and Space ranger rides. The best one I liked was the Space ranger where a fast moving rail would take you across the virtual solar system in absolute darkness, madness etc that you start feeling that you are actually floating in space. The reason I could logically think of was that since there were no lights, the people on the ride lose their point of reference and feel as if they are really travelling in space.

In my next posting I would talk about my experiences in Universal Studios, work & culture, and why this country requires a big time maintenance overhaul. Until then...


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Validating Credit Cards - An easy approach

Well, I have been using credit cards for about 3 years now. Long before when I was doing my E-commerce certification in SSI, Chennai(1999), one of our tutors taught us the art of finding out if a credit card number is valid or not. I was wanting to re-collect the learning and finally ended up googling as usual :-)

Just follow the below steps to validate if a card number is genuine or cooked up. Before we start there are some basic hygiene checks one has to do;

MASTERCARD Prefix- 51-55 Length -16

VISA Prefix- 4 Length -13,16

AMEX Prefix- 34 & 37 Length -15

If your card# is say 4216270001012807 then here it is how you validate;

Step 1- Multiply all the odd numbers starting from the first digit by 2. We get 82400040 as the digits. Adding them we get 8+2+4+0+0+0+4+0 = 18. In case on multiplying by 2 the number exceeds 9 say 12 then the resultant number must be put as 1+2=3

Step 2- Now, add all the even numbers in the card. 2+6+7+0+1+1+8+7 = 32

Step 3- Let's now add 18+32 = 50

Step 4 - Now on dividing 50/10 the remainder is zero. So, the card number is valid.

If the resultant number is not divisible by 10 then it's a fraudulent number!

Simple is'nt it? The name of this Algorithm is Mod 10(i.e.Modulus of 10)


Monday, February 12, 2007

"Wow" Mozilla Rocks - Part 1

I am sure many of us would have seen the television Ad for Windows Vista. People from various walks of life express their delight in experiencing Vista by giving a "Wow". Banking on Customer Delight.

Well, I have not used Vista yet, but when it comes to web browsers Mozilla is & will remain to be the best. Its a product which creates customer delight for sure. Wondering why? Then read on about the various Add on tools Mozilla has....
  1. Scrapbook - It helps you save a page or website or a snippet from it with a couple of clicks.Once you save it we can access the pages offline. The various steps involved are;
  • Just access this URL and download the scrapbook.
  • Once download is complete user is prompted to restart Firefox for completing the installation.
  • Just access a page or select a snippet in a page or website and save it in a folder. You can also create a folder and save. :-) Now, go offline & experience the "WOW"

    Well, the unique selling points being
    a) User need not download the whole page for just viewing a snippet.
    b) A complete website can be downloaded without any download tool.
    c) Easily manage the pages or snippets or websites by saving them in separate folders.

2. Backword - How many times we would have wondered how to pronunce a word like
Plagiarism. Well, from now on you need not refer to Oxford or find a English language geek.
The various steps involved are;

  • Just access this URL and download the scrapbook.
  • Once download is complete restart Firefox (i.e close window & load firefox again) for completing the installation.
  • Just access a web page and select a word in a page and mouse over.Now, you need to be patient though. It takes couple of seconds for the menu to pop-up.
  • Now click on a speaker like icon {Visual Metaphor is not used well here :-( } and hear to the pronunciation of the word. A real wow isn't it? :-)

The main USPs being;

a) We can "back a word" i.e. bookmark the page from where we picked up the word. In the
future, if you encounter the word again just mouse over the word and right click on the
quote list. The page where the word appears gets displayed in a small window.
b) Search the web for the pronunciation incase it is not available in Backword. Hmmm what more can a user expect?? :-). Another good point being the web page opens in a separate tab too...

Watch out for Information on more Add ons in Part 2......

Rushing to office......


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Income Tax - Is the calculation so Taxing?

"The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax" -Albert Einstein

If this is the case with a mortal having highest levels of IQ then imagine the plight of intelligent IT professionals like me :-). Well, being a M.B.A student of LIBA I had the opportunity to learn the art of tax calculation. As the saying goes;

"No education is complete if it is not applied for the upliftment of self and the society"

So, I just wanted to share with my readers the slab rates for Salaried professionals like me in India;

For the assessment year 2006-07, rates of Income‑tax in the case of individual assessees are divided into the following three categories:

a) resident individuals, who is of the age of 65 years or more (senior citizens) at any time during the previous year;

up to Rs. 1,85,000/‑Nil
above Rs. 1,85,000/‑ up to Rs.2, 50,000/‑20%
above Rs. 2,50,000/‑30%

b)resident individuals, being a woman, aged below 65 years;

upto Rs.1,35,000/-Nil
above Rs. 1,35,000/- up to 1,50,000/-10%
above Rs.1,50,000/- to 2,50,000/-20%
above Rs.2,50,000/-30%

c)other individuals (this is were I fit in)

upto Rs.1,00,000/-Nil
above Rs. 1,00,000/- up to 1,50,000/-10%
above Rs.1,50,000/- to 2,50,000/-20%
above Rs.2,50,000/-30%

Please note that the tax rates are applicable on the Income remaining after Deductions.

Hope this article was helpful. Until next time.....


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Brand Concepts - Part 2

Let us now see what we really mean by Brand Architecture? It is nothing but the organizing structure that specifies brand roles, and the relationship among brands, keeping their market driven roles in mind. Usually I would divide the Brand Architecture into 4 dimensions.

  1. Brand Portfolio - Includes all the brands & sub Brands
  • This is how HLL’s (Hindustan Lever Limited's) brand portfolio looks like: Surf, Surf Excel, Modern, Rin, Pond’s, Lakme, Aviance, Aim, Clinic Plus, Sunlight, Dalda, Kissan, Le Baron, Close-up, Vim, Ala, Liril, Pears, Wheel…. and a long list that includes numerous variants and branded products as diverse as thermometers and glycerine

2. Portfolio Roles

  • Strategic Brand-Represents a meaningful future in terms of sales and profits. Like what Xbox is for Microsoft
  • Silver Bullet-is a brand or sub-brand that positively influences the image of another brand. Like how IBM Thinkpad boosted IBM’s corporate brand image
  • Lynchpin Brand-Leverages a major business area though it may not be the core business. Example - Jetrewards for Jet Airways

3. Market Context Role - A combination of brands that fulfils a specific product or market related need. There are various roles here:

  • Endorser brand-is usually an established brand that provides credibility and substance to the offering.Like HDFC endorsing its home loans
  • Driver Role - The degree to which the brand drives the purchase decision and usage experience. Thus people refer to their credit card as “Citibank card” and not Visa from Citibank. Here Citibank plays the driver role.
  • Co-brands: are brands formed by collaborating brands from distinct organisations
    to create a new offering. Ex- Indian Oil Citibank Card

4. Portfolio Graphics - the pattern of visual representations across brands and contexts.

  • Taking HLL as an example the visual representation of Surf and its variants represent one string of brands that are different from the look and feel of Pond’s & its variants.

So, what does Brand Architecture really achieve?

•Clarity of product offerings
•Leverages brand equity
•Provides a platform for future growth
•Effective and powerful brands - Those that have a point of differentiation and customer appeal.

Hope this topic was helpful. Until Next time....


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Brand Concepts - Part 1

Let us look at the definition for a Brand. What exactly it stands for?

"A Brand is a complex symbol. It is the intangible sum of a product’s attributes, its name, packaging and price, its history,reputation,and the way it’s advertised. A brand is also defined by consumer’s impression of people who use it, as well as their own experience "
- David Ogilvy

Now let us look at how Brand Experience is differentiated. The External Brand Experience include;

  • Name
  • Logo
  • Advertising
  • Brand Identity
  • Environments
  • Products & Service
While the Internal Brand Experience comprises of;
  • Business Process
  • Customer Relations
  • Brand Values
  • Training
  • Quality
  • Staff Motivation
  • Recruitment Policies
  • Technology etc..
Now what exactly we mean by Brand Positioning. It is how we Position ourselves in the minds of the consumers. In other words it is how you differentiate your product or service from that of your competitors and then determine which market niche to fill. Look at McDonalds Positioning statement;

"We are not a burger company serving people but are a people company selling burgers"

This statement clearly reflects both the Internal & External brand value of McDonalds. Now let us look at the Brand Identity Prism based on Kapferer model and the 6 key dimensions in it;

–Product features, symbols & attributes
–Character & attitude
–Beliefs & association
–Set of Values
–Customer’s view of the brand
–Internal mirror of customer as user of brand

For Sify India let us look at how they have built the brand basis the Kapferer Model;
  • Physical - Kite Symbol, Online Access
  • Personality - Innovative & Tech savvy
  • Culture - Customer centric & Indian
  • Self -image - "net" way of life empowered
  • Reflection - Consistent & dependable performer
  • Relationship - Best guide to the net
Rushing to the office now. Rest in the Next...


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Queue is Dead - An User driven Analysis

It is really a great initiative done by Satyam Cinemas to come up with a cool website for online booking of cine tickets. I am sure many of us in Chennai (India) would have used the website atleast once. For newbies "It's better late than never". Do give it a try!!

The entire website has been built on Flash with AJAX technology behind it. The response time is really quick with literally zero page refresh.The Information is neatly structured and booking tickets is a simple 6 step process.

Step 1 - Select a movie & date along with the number of tickets required. (i.e. check availability)
Step 2 - Log in using account information
Step 3 - Select your seats or let the computer select it
Step 4 - Select the food items required (optional)
Ste p 5 - Give your credit card information
Step 6 - Take a print out of E-ticket or note down the reference number

However, there are some inherent drawbacks with the website. They are;
  1. Lack of User control & freedom - We cannot select more than 10 tickets at a time. In case of bulk booking I am sure many of the users would be wondering why this restriction?To book more we need to go through the same 6 step process over again which is highly irritable. Solution - They could rather have a text box where the user can input the number of tickets required.
  2. Lack of proper System Status - On selecting the movie & date along with the number of tickets required the system prompts the user to either "Book tickets" or "Go back".The whole selection gets highlighted with a translucent layer on top of it. However, I am sure many of us would not be able to recognise the selection done.Solution - Probably they can highlight the selection shown with some bold colors to make it upfront for the user.
  3. Lack of Error Prevention - Once the user enters Step 5 the user is asked to input Fuel card holder name, fuel card number & HPIN number. However, I am sure many of us would have entered our credit card numbers. Also once, I entered my Debit card number and I realised lately that only credit cards were allowed :(. Solution - Display the card type drop down & then only on selection of the card type display the other fields. Also, indicate that only credit cards are allowed.

By the time I complete this article , referring to the website in another tab I have been logged out almost 3 times :-). There is no indication on time remaining for session to expire.Probably a counter could have helped me better. Again the system status was not shown to me :-(

Inspite of all these drawbacks, has branded itself as the pioneer in enhancing user experience and would certainly be ranked better if they consider the solutions given. I wish them ALL THE BEST!!{including the users :-)}


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Usability Training I attended - Part 2

Well, the first day was all about learning the 5 layers of User Experience and then arriving at the UI design. The second day was filled with lots of group tasks which gave us an insight on the real time Usability analysis especially analyzing umpteen number of intranets used by Satyam employees.

Well, if it was the Heuristics analysis (a technique for finding usability problems with a user interface) that needs to be done then, we had to consider 10 major heuristics parameters namely;
  1. Is System status shown? (transfer status,loading status etc..)

  2. Is Error Prevention provided?

  3. Is Error Recovery provided?

  4. Is there Minimalist Design? (to minimize visual overload)

  5. Is User control & freedom provided? (especially in controlling a task or situation)

  6. Is Consistency maintained? (in terms of UI, IA, task flows etc)

  7. Is there Recognition rather than recall? (Is approriate & standard icons used)

  8. Match between real & virtual world? (Is metaphors used easy to understand)

  9. Is Help & documentation provided? (both situational & pro-active help features)
The key take being that UI plays a vital role in the adoption of a product. "Microsoft" being the leaders when it comes to adopting Heuristics techniques.

When it comes to methods of collecting User feedback there are several techniques namely;
  1. Direct Interviews

  2. Usability Lab testing - My team UXM is going to have one very soon :-)

  3. Questionnaire Method

  4. Contextual Enquiry

  5. Cognitive Modelling - In Market Research jargon it is "Simple Stratified Sampling - Stratified sampling techniques are generally used when the population is heterogeneous, or dissimilar, where certain homogeneous, or similar, sub-populations can be isolated (strata). "

We also discussed the various types of users basis their capability(efficiency & effectiveness) to use a product or website. They are;

  1. Novices - Level 1

  2. Advanced Beginners - Level 2

  3. Experienced Users - Level 3

  4. Expert Users - Level 4

The key take being that before developing any application we need to take into account the type of users who are going to access it. The startegy, scope, structure, skeleton & surface layers drastically change according to the end users.

What if we don't get to know the real users? How do we build a product for them? Simple, use common sense! Build "Brand personas" for the product or website.Each persona is a fictional character. The crucial thing being the brand personas must be as close as possible to the real users. 3 steps to be covered in this;

  1. Develop a list of personas - Profile of various individuals involved with and affected by the product

  2. Define the personas - Give Name & description

  3. Define the personas goals - This is very important. Design decisions will be based on a persona's goals

We also discussed navigation design. The key take being that navigation must be "Wide & Shallow" with 7+- 2 menus.

Well, at the end Atul concluded by showing us the diagram below;

A nice way to conclude :-)


Usability Training I attended - Part 1

After recovering from the stress of 15 hrs of Usability training that I attended in my organization I am writing this article to share with you some key learnings on Usability and how it ultimately affects the Brand.

The first thing I learnt in the 2 day training attended for usability was, how do we define Usability? The definiton is as below;

"Usability refers to the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of user"

I liked this definiton as much as the trainer Mr. Atul Manohar. In the first day of the training we covered the fundamental concepts of Usability & the second day was all about Usability methodologies & various tasks were given to us. (I will share with you the same subsequently).

Well, it was indeed very fascinating to learn how we humans interact with the computer. Atul quipped in by saying "Master & Slave" relationship is what we expect when interacting with the computer. True to a certain extent I must admit. The 5 layers of User Experience as explained by Jesse James Garrett the "Usability Guru" was discussed in detail (click image to enlarge)

The key take being that "UI design" is the last step towards building a particular product or web application. Why? Because we need to;
  1. Understand business & User goals - Strategy

  2. Define functional specifications & content requirements - Scope

  3. Define Information Architecture - Structure

  4. Define navigation & information design - Skeleton

  5. Finally Prepare UI design - Surface

Once the bottom 4 layers are well planned then UI design becomes more specific to the user. As UI design always is subjective any iterations on the UI design (every client does this) would be only on look & feel and less of content changes or re-arrangement. This reduces the work load on the UI designer and most importantly the product meets it's purpose of providing an enhanced "User Experience".

As mentioned earlier we are living in an "Era of User Experience". Every user wants his product or website "Simple","Easy" & "quick to learn". In other words it is effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction that every user wants to experience both in the virtual & real world. Now, let us look at some research data to analyze how good or bad online User Experience affects the perception of the brand the user interacts with. (click image to enlarge)

The bottom line being that the interaction of a customer with your company's website directly impacts the brand perception & loyalty.So, it's time that the websites are designed keeping this in mind and realize the importance of adhering Usability standards & methodologies.

Rest in the next.......... "Come on" people. Speak up!


Friday, January 19, 2007

AJAX - The buzz word

I am sure everybody knows what AJAX stands for. For beginners it stands for Asynchronous Java Script and XML. So what is AJAX all about? Why is the whole world talking loud about it?Before I give you a glimpse of AJAX is all about lets understand that there have been 3 eras of product development;
  1. Era of Invention - This is the period of Graham Bell, Wright Brothers, Charles Babbage, Dunlop and alike who came up with inventions which put the consumers in awe. They were totally bowled over by the fact that something called a telephone or an aircraft was indeed true and not a fantasy.
  2. Era of Technology - This is the period of Microsoft, IBM, Intel etc who dominated the world by showing how technology is a powerful tool to automate the redundant and complex tasks done by the human mind.
  3. Era of User Experience - This is the current era we live in. "Consumer is the king" is the lesson every business man has learnt. Virtual world is where we users spend most of our time. So, no wonder that Web 2.0 as a concept has evolved. "Simple & quick" is what every user wants. And so AJAX has evolved to address this.

In order to understand AJAX as an user I would recommend a hands-on approach. Please visit the following URLs and get a feel of it.

  • Google Suggest - As you type in the search box some keywords, Google will offer suggestions
  • Google Maps - Recommend you to to click on the satellite button on top. Really amazing.
  • Gmail sign up - However you need an invite from existing user to sign up.

To sum up, AJAX is all about minimum page refresh and quick access to information for users.It allows pages to request small bits of information from the server instead of whole pages. This incremental updating of pages eliminates the page refresh problem and slow response that have plagued Web applications since their inception. Most importantly it works on all modern web browsers :-) . "Wow" what a relief! ATLAST

Waiting for some more inputs from the blogging community...


Brand Power - Part 2


Click Image

The image says it all. America leads the world when it comes to Global presence of brands followed by Germany, France & Japan.


The new brand ranking methodology is unique because it is the first to combine consumer research with public financial data to measure the contributions brands make to the bottom line. Additionally, it is the only ranking to quantify consumer sentiment about a brand’s momentum and future prospects, and the first to focus on “market facing” brands as opposed to corporate brands.

Key Insights:

  1. Europe leads the world in luxury brands - Louis Vuitton ranked (24), Mercedes (28), Porsche (44), Chanel (75) and Cartier (82). The super-affluent consumers are increasing world wide.
  2. Chinese brands are gaining global power - China Telecom (4) & Lenovo
  3. New economy, new business models and new money - New business models have enabled new brands such as Starbucks, ranked (48), and Zara (87) to establish their positions not only in the market but in consumers' minds

The research was done by global marketing research firm Millward Brown.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Brand Power - Part 1

I wonder if any of the readers of my blog know that I work for the Online Branding team in Satyam Computers, Chennai. Probably I have not shared with you anything that is related to branding. So, let me kickstart my articles on Branding by giving you a glimpse of the World's most powerful brands for the year 2006. In my next article I will tell you why these brands are powerful and the evolution of a brand. Here you go;

BRANDZ Top 10 (value in $million):
1. Microsoft - 62,0392. GE - 55,8343. Coca-Cola - 41,4064. China Mobile - 39,1685. Marlboro - 38,5106. Wal-Mart - 37,5677. Google - 37,4458. IBM - 36,0849. Citibank - 31,02810. Toyota - 30,201.

For the comprehensive list click on the image below for better clarity......

In the next post we will discuss why these brands are so powerful.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Astrology - Art or Science?

It is really amazing to note how one's horoscope reveals one's past,present and future life.Nine planets control your destiny. Out of the nine "Rahu" & "Kethu" are not really planets.

However, I always had a doubt if Astrology is purely an art or science?Science yes, because the level of vedic mathematics involved. Art because the accuracy of drilling down to 1 possibility out of 100 possibilities for a particular planetary disposition. Astrology is always right. However some astrologers might go wrong in their predictions. The accuracy depends on the astrologer's horoscope and his/ her planetary disposition.

I have met very few astrologers who have 90% & above accuracy. To name a few K.C.Purohit, Kenni, Chockalingam.

K.C.Purohit gives free predictions and does not charge any money. He has been practising the art of prediction for the past 15 years and is one of those silent genious. Many a people have benefited from his advice and is very straight forward in his disclosure to clients. one can reach him through phone 9444042986.

Kenni has been a well renowned astrologer in Sify's panel of astrologers and is a tech savvy guy. He is one of those astrologers who believes that intution plays a vital role in predictions. He always has a point of view in any topic he discusses and has guts to speak up. You can get a glimpse of his work, consultation fees and personality by visiting his blog.

Chockalingam is synonym of 6th sense. Not that others don't have. But his level of intution is far higher. He is an expert plamist, steller and keeps a very low profile. Every politician in power today, has consulted him atleast once. The moment we think of politicians we think of money, power, corruption right?But here is a retired government servant who lives in a 2 bed room house about 650 square feet and drives a TVS Champ. He charges Rs.100/- per family and according to reports donates Rs.50/- for charity.Such is his simplicity that one starts believing in the adage "Looks are deceptive". He stays in Hosur and one can reach him through phone on Wednesday - Friday between 8:00 to 8:15 am. (04344-265797)

Hope you get benefited from this article. As mentioned, you need to run a favorable time to meet the genuine astrologers who can guide you.

Rest in the next. Bye....