Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The week before was pretty hectic. I took up one more dream offer in the form of Cypress Semiconductors. I couldn't clear the written test. The written test was okies, and not really that tough though. But the fact remains; I didn’t make it through the written test. Okies forget it!

There were people from Infy who kick started their ambitious project of a 5 day soft skills program in our college for 4th sem students. I had volunteered to this proj alongside 11 others from ECE and 6 from CSE. I have had this sort of interaction with my junior friends of my own stream, but this one was really different, as it involved students from various other branches. It was really an enjoying program, where I got to interact with a lot of my juniors (Bio-medical, IT and Biotechnology) friends. I could see the eagerness in their eyes and their curiosity to learn all that’s required to give them an edge over others, and ultimately get them recruited to good companies. The response was really astounding and I carried back sweet memories of the event along with my friends.

Well if these were what kept me busy all throughout the day, I used to dig in to the pages of some of the books I bought @ B'lore. I had finished Andy Grove's 'Only the paranoid survive'. S' brother had suggested me to read this book. I was keen on finishing this one at the earliest. I really love to read the books that share real life anecdotes or incidents. I derive a lot of inspiration from them.

I am sure u would easily digest all the management lingos of this book. I really appreciate Andy's style of keeping his book pretty simple in language and yet being very effective in communicating his ideas to the fullest. I share below the highlights of the book:

1. Andy describes the Intel's historic decision to take back the defective processor, even if it meant that they would have to bear a $ 0.5 billion loss. The processor was found viable to a floating point error (although its probability of occurrence was unarguably less). Intel took the right decision to withdraw all those defective processors. It was decision taken to retain the credibility of Intel and also their accountability. Andy sites the situation @ Intel during this period. Intel received calls from customers, who would demand that their chips be replaced. Even though they were not Intel's direct customers, Intel still held itself accountable for its products. It was a classic example of what an under prepared and tested product release can do to any company!

2. He introduces a term 'Strategic Inflection Point', a point in your business where the fundamentals of the business change. New rules are established and it’s always good to give others a head start. SIPs are mostly the cause of a technological change, but can mean more than just a technological tweak of your products. Intel's amazing ability to succeed and survive through many such SIPs is attributed to the idea endorsed by Andy, only the paranoid survive. Andy, who keeps in constant touch with, whom he often calls as Cassandras, the people who inform u of a change in the 'winds'. They are usually the people at the periphery of your business, and are exposed to the changes first. He quotes an analogy, of how ice melts from periphery, before it reaches the core. Andy states at one point, 'It's very tough to identify the exact point where an SIP began, even in retrospect, as it usually extends over a period of 2-3 years.'

3. The equally conscious decision of Intel to pull themselves off from the memory business. The Japanese based memory products literally enforced an SIP on Intel, and eventually ousted them out of this business. Andy passes through the tough ordeal of convincing people at Intel, that it was no more their area of core competency. He goes on to suggest that they would have to withdraw their resources from memory products, and leverage their resources on building microprocessors, where they were beginning to see a potential market. In doing so, they also forced many biggies out of the mainframe based pc business. They had not been victims of an SIP, but also forced one. As suggested by him, the more established a company you are the more difficult it is for u to change. Today, we all know Intel for their expertise in microprocessors.

4. Another important aspect of this book is what he calls a '10X' force. It’s something that would force other players in the game to change. He has predicts one such force to be the Internet. As we see today, he was absolutely right. The success story of Dell, which is largely because of this wonderful tool, reinforces the prediction. He also stresses the importance on the need to differentiate a 'signal' from 'noise', failing to do which might result have a detrimental effect on a company.

I fully endorse Andy's concept, 'Only the paranoid survive'. It's something that I too believe in. I strongly recommend all of you to read this book. U can get more on this here...


The other book, whose reviews I had read, but hadn't had the opportunity to read it was, Michael Dell's, 'Direct from Dell'. Dell starts his business with a meager $1000 in his dorm room, where he starts off selling custom made PCs. He soon discovers that the traditional model of selling pcs wasn't the best way to do it. It had some inherent flaws. It involved the indirect model, where the PC manufactures would sell their finished product, i.e. pcs to resellers and whole sale dealers. Thus a PC that originally cost around 1000 $ would reach the end customer at a price of $ 3000. Dell thought of eliminating all the middle men in this business, so that he could sell the pcs at a more competitive price, which was impossible with the indirect model.

Michael Dell also discovers, how his direct model would gain him some valuable information about his customers, which other wise wouldn't have been possible. Since Dell sold what customer's demanded, he would know exactly what to deliver!

Dell was amongst the first few companies, which tapped the true potentials of the internet. Their model, took newer dimensions as they could now save a lot of time and also they could get back the sales info about every product within no time. Since Dell had first-hand customer responses and feedbacks, they could use it to share it with the suppliers of their company as well, so that both would be benefited by the info. This largely decided their 'Time to market', which gave them an edge over other competitors. The books also empahsizes on instilling the feeling amongst the employees that they too are the 'owners' the company and are an integral part of various metrics that decide the success of the company. Like he says, 'Complexity kills and proximity pays!' It could be with your customers or with ur suppliers, but proximity always pays.

I find one thing that’s strikingly common about both these people. Both of them showed skills like, they were always there to face the change and they sort of expected what it could be, and what would be the best course of action to counter it. Unlike other sleeping giants, both Dell and Intel have managed to make the most out of their crisis points. At one point Dell says, 'Even the paranoids need friends to survive'. True, very true… All in all, a must read for all those to-be-entrepreneurs of tomorrow!!! More on this book here...
PS: I am currently in to this book. More on this book in days to come...

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4 comments:

Rudy Wellsand said...

You have 'impressed' me. I read clear down to your Jan. 12th "In search of Objectivity..." And I see by the right side here...about finding the "Equations" of LIFE!

Oh! You ARE DEEP! I liked some of your answere in your "Objectivity" of Jan. 12th, in particular Nos. 7, 8, 10, 12 & 13.

Let me present you with something that I feel, helps you to find the "Equations" of LIFE that you say you are searching for...

DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN ACTUALLY READ "CODES" RIGHT OUT OF THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE, that "CONTROLS" your Destiny? (Most libraries have a Bible to study, but you may not need one to understand this Destiny-Equation).

See the "CHOSEN"Code and "COLOR"Code; VISIT: http://quadcode.blogspot.com !

Save or Print it to study.

HAVE A MUCH MORE BRILLIANT DAY!

Nirmal T V said...

Hi Suresh,
Check out the link in ur first para...its not correct...check this out..

Suresh S said...

The problem is fixed!!!

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