Tuesday, November 25, 2008


When you talk about successful people who do you think about: perhaps Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Sam Walton, Tom Cruise, Lee Iacocca, Oprah Winfry, Madonna, Barack Obama. What about Madelyn Dunham? What about her you might say? Madelyn Dunham worked at the Bank of Hawaii, where she worked her way up over two dozen years from secretary to one of the firm's first woman vice presidents. "This lady was quite unique," said Stephenson, 79, who hired Dunham into the bank in 1960. "She was never publicity seeking, never given to ostentation." On November 3rd 2008, Dunham passed away peacefully at her home following a bout with cancer at the age of 86. Next day her grandson went on to make history by becoming first African American to be elected as president of United States of America.

Barack Obama remembered her as "one of those quiet heroes we have across America, who aren't famous ... but each and every day they work hard. They look after their families. They look after their children and their grandchildren." "She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life," he said in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. "She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well."

The point I am trying to make here is that no life, however insignificant it might seem to be, spent in worthy pursuit is wasted and in the grand scheme of things, we are all making history and future at the same time through our deeds. Remember, whether you are a CEO, a manager, a politician, a teacher, a parent or a janitor, everyday you are touching lives. It may be people who are close to you like family and friends, or in an organization that you lead or work for. And success does not always translate into fame, fortune and accolades. So it doesn't really matter if one day we all don't become an Oprah Winfry or a Bill Gates. Leading a meaningful and enriching life is more important and is the true measure of success. We need to broaden our definition of success like Sir Richard Branson, says in his new book,
Business Stripped Bare:

“Successful people aren’t in possession of secrets known only to themselves. Don’t obsess over people who appear to you to be “winners”, but listen instead to the wisdom of people who’ve led enriching lives—people, for instance, who’ve found time for friends and family. Be generous in your interpretation of what success looks like. The best and most meaningful lives don’t always end happily”


1. http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/11/03/obama.grandma/

2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/15/barack-obamas-late-grandm_n_144090.html
3. Book: “Business Stripped Bare” by Richard Branson

Monday, November 24, 2008

Masdar - A Futuristic City

Imagine a city with no cars, a city run on 100% electricity generated by harnessing wind, solar, and geothermal energy. A city where there is zero waste and zero carbon emissions. Imagine a city whose landscaping and crops will be irrigated with treated waste water produced by the city's water treatment plant. A city where drinking water will be provided through a solar-powered desalination plant...that is Masdar, Abu Dhabi for you!

This bold and audacious vision was announced in April 2006 by Abu Dhabi as an effort to reduce their per capita carbon footprint and to embrace renewable and sustainable energy technologies. They currently have one of the world's biggest per capita carbon footprints and by launching a global cooperative platform for open engagement in search of solutions to some of mankind’s most pressing issues like energy security, climate change and truly sustainable human development, it is a step in the right direction.
Masdar, which means “the Source” in Arabic will cost $22bn (£11.3bn), take eight years to build and be home to about 48,000 people and 1,500 businesses. In a city without a car, residents will move in podcars or personal rapid transit system running on magnetic tracks. To see what it would be like, find a promotional video below which was created by Foster + Partners a leading British architectural firm who are designing the city.

What remains to be seen is whether Masdar is going to end up becoming a luxury development for the rich and the super-rich. Will it really make any dent into Abu Dhabi's carbon footprint? Will it really become a model city for planned cities in future; in their words: "One day, all cities will be built like this". Regardless of the intentions (or ulterior motives) of Abu Dhabi, I think it is a bold step and vision. It will not only facilitate new inventions in the field of energy and sustainable human development but also provide funding for it. Many more projects like these should also help kickstart the slumping world economy since big firms will be involved. So go Abu Dhabi, go Masdar!


Image courtesy: © Foster & Associates

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Value of an efficient Supply Chain

This video ad from i2 technologies presents a holistic picture of the value that an efficient supply chain brings to this greater world that we live in.

i2 Technologies is a supply chain management software and services company, founded in 1988 by Sanjiv Sidhu and Ken Sharma. It grew rapidly during the late 90's to reach its zenith at the height of the dot com boom in 2000, when it crossed the $1B revenue mark. Later on in 2001 became infamous for its software not living up to promises, resulting in complaints by high-profile customers such as
Nike and Siemens. In 2003, Securities and Exchange Commission launched a full-blown investigation into it's accounting practices. It's revenues fell very rapidly between 2002 to 2005. Finally in Aug 11, 2008, JDA Software announced that they would acquire i2 Technologies for $346 million. Back in 2000, working as ebusiness analyst intern for a B2B ecommerce firm, I followed them and host of other players in this space like Manugistics very closely. You could say companies like i2 and Manugistics got me interested into the fascinating world of supply chain. I think this acquistion is a pivotal moment in supply chain software industry because it brings to an end an era of fierce competition in this space.


Update 12/8/2008

Less than three months after JDA announced it planned to acquire i2, for approximately $346 million, it appears that the deal is off the table. Last week, i2 said it has officially terminated its Agreement and Plan of Merger with JDA, adding that it expects to receive a non-refundable $20 million termination fee from JDA by Tuesday, December 9. According to an i2 statement issued, i2 received a written proposal from JDA to amend—or lessen—the common share consideration in the merger agreement below the $14.86 per share price. And after reviewing this proposal, i2’s board of directors deemed this proposal was “not in the best interests of i2’s stockholders to pursue it.”

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Welcome to my blog where I will be discussing about supply chain, green technology, leadership and life in general. The reason for me to start this blog is to reignite the dormant writer germ in me . I want to use this blog as an avenue to express my thoughts about things on my mind. I plan to post something every week or at minimum two times a month. So stay tuned and hope you find this blog interesting and useful.