1,000 Volvo busses for BMTC

Today I was delighted that my favorite cartoon character returns with a big bang.

I especially remember his drama of criticizing BJP the day he joined hands with them to form the government. (a great way to strengthen the new ties) Then every time his ministry failed he blamed it on the previous government, forgetting that he was very much a part of it. Now today he announces the deal of 1,000 Volvo busses.

Let me throw in some facts.
1) BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) has a total fleet of 4,000 busses. It neither has the financial resources, nor manpower and parking berths for 1,000 regular and 1,000 Volvo additonal busses.

2) Volvo officials simply jumped with joy when BMTC introduced their busses on just 3 routes. They felt they could enter into a whole new market of city transport if they make this deal. Now today, when Bangalore itself is planning to buy 1000 of its busses, why are they so silent? I hope the ministry did communicate with Volvo that they are buying 1,000 of their busses (a deal of 5,000 million rupees). Not to mention that will prompt many other cities to evaluate introduction of Volvo services.

3) If I am not wrong only a month ago the same ministry announced that by June 2008 we will have a metro. What are you going to do with this bloated fleet of 6,000 busses then?

Volvo busses have been very successful and are very comfortable. Bangalore needs to solve its traffic problem real soon, but that does not mean that to gain some PR points you mislead the public. Adding 100 new busses is logical, one can even define a timeline for that, but 2,000 busses… please give me a break.


Pepsi Misinformation Campaign

Ref: Is my Pepsi Safe? (Pg 7 Hindu 8th Aug 2006)

I sympathize that sometimes people to gain instant publicity target Pepsi/ Coca Cola the most vulnerable multinationals in India. I always thought it was due to their success, but looking at today’s propaganda, I am sure it’s because of their own stupidity.

Let me highlight some of the points.
1) they answered to some of the questions which have emerged in people’s mind:
a. Do pesticide residues compromise safety of food products… No
b. Is the safety of soft drinks compromised by pesticide residue … No
I am no health scientist, but for god sake please don’t think I am a fool.

2) They made an elaborate chart about pesticide residue during various products. If you look on the chart, it shows that the report was generated Jan 2004. Well guys the reason why we are opposing today and not 30 months ago, is because your present products are not adhering to the quality standards.
a. I could never understand citing the reports of Jan 2004 in Aug 2007 as defense against standards that were set on July 2004.
b. By agreeing to the fact that on Jan 2004 you had the technology to purify and adhere to the standards and now you are exceeding the safe limit by 24 times, are you implying that you have no control over the quality of your own products?
c. The second chart shows data based on 1955 safe limits. Hasn’t the laws become more stringent since then?

3) Whenever a standard is made, all the effected parties are consulted and told about the technology which helps them to ensure that they adhere to it. Without this, you are either giving them an open invitation to flout the rules or simply asking them to shut shops. This would otherwise be harassment! In more than 2 years you did not implement the technology and silently broke laws. All the noises now made sound like “ulta chor kotwal ko date” (the thief blaming the sheriff for lawlessness)

4) Comparison with tea: Pepsi in this advertisement wrote paragraphs and charts about Tea. What they failed to mention is that it is the tea leaves they are talking about. (another misinformation) So although each and every molecule of pesticide in Pepsi gets ingested, you soak the tea leaves and drink only the strained water. So minuscule amount of unwanted substances is found in what we drink. Also Making Pepsi is like pouring clean water; add syrup and lots of CO2. While tea plantation and other edibles need to be monitored for pest. Also you cannot just filter an apple to remove chemicals it has absorbed.

Just one word to Pepsi Corporation. Don’t think we are fools.


A Call of Honour – In service of Emergent India

Mr Jaswant Singh

Ex-Foreign Affairs Minister

Cabinet Ministry of Govt. of India

I did not understand your rationale behind what you said in the yesterday during your book release “A call to Honor – In service of Emergent India” So allow me the liberty of paraphrasing

  1. Did you answer to that call of honor, because one of the duties of a foreign affairs minister is to prevent the CIA infiltrating in India?
  2. All of a sudden you intend to speak to the Prime Minister, but you did not seek appointment. Nor have you revealed his name/details. I hope you realize the urgency of the issue.
  3. Are you sure your so called mole is real, and not a fictional character who is spicing up your otherwise boring book and get some free publicity?
  4. Are you a court which can decide if is worthwhile to book him for being a spy?. Of course by condoned his actions for 10 long years, you destroyed all hopes of damage control.
  5. BTW, by withholding this information for 10 years, you have become an accomplice in this spy network and are eligible for life imprisonment. (section 176 Indian Penal Code)

Updates: on 1st Aug Manmohan Singh cornered Jaswant in Rajya Sabha and asked him the specific question about the identity of the alleged mole. Jaswant Singh blabbered for about 120 minutes without giving any specifics. When Congress interjected and asked him to end the story, BJP proved that all this was a cheep plot of getting attention by getting the house adjourned.



Open Office

I always thought the major strength of Microsoft is not its dumb operating system, but Microsoft office.

Imagine this, most users of modern computers are not programmers who wants to understand, configure and customize every tool, or software they use. Most of them are housewives, office goes and simple public who just want a medium to communicate, a typewriter, and ability to create/read/store documents and reports.

Microsoft office came with a revolutionary concept of interoperability. The spreadsheets could be imported to the word document. The email client, powerpoint, text editor and pictures all were integrated together as if it was one program. This synergy was what made Microsoft different. OS is dumb, you use it only when you want to start, stop the machine or program. Its the individual programs where one spends most of the time. Microsoft realized it early and ensured that one will not have to re key any data again.

The reason why microsoft allows (and even secretly encourage) people ridiculing their OS, is because to create a false front where all the opposition will be targeted (plus it is a great for the publicity) while protecting its core (office and other non-OS software)

if open office is successful, I am sure it will be single largest blow to microsoft revenue and monoply.
PS: since I did not find any Bangalore based distributor of open office, I thought of contributing a little to the open source community. Anybody who wants a copy of open office CD can use my CD writter for free.


Plot, house or apartment?

A new DLF township is being constructed, and I was asked if I am interested in which of the three categories.

I could choose between any of the three options, because this is a pure investment. I do not intend to go and live there for the next 16 years. (After which I intend to retire and go to a recluse in the hills or a private beach.)

Apartment looked attractive in the sense that Bank pays not only the entire cost of the property, but also the move-in costs. Then one could lend it out and the EMI takes care of most of the purchase cost.

Plot of land on the other hand looks attractive in the sense that it appreciates the most. But it is an idle asset. It will do nothing productive; generate no rental income for me; and I will have to pay for its fencing and ensure that my plot does not get encroached.

So I decided to adopt the middle path and go for the house. Unfortunately, for the same budget, the independent house looked like a pigeon hole (because of the combined cost of land and construction). Rental income from that is also equal to the pigeon-hole apartment of a fraction of its cost. In fact people prefer the apartment over the tiny shack because of security and amenities it offers.

On doing ROI analysis, I came to the same popular wisdom. If the property is outside the town and it might take a couple of years before the movers and shakers will inhabit it, then it makes lot sense to buy land. A house might end up unoccupied, and won’t give much return. However if you intend to buy something inside the city where the prices are not expect to shoot up so much, apartment with its steady cash-flow is attractive.

Unfortunately, instead of solving problems it opens up a new one. Should I buy inside the city or outside? All this study and research opened more questions then it answered. Looks like I will have to flip the coin. (simplest, easiest and the fastest way to take a decision)


The Myth of the New India

This an interesting article, undermining the achievements of India. But what I like about it is that most opinions and observations are backed with some data.


How business is done

In the mid 60s Tudela owned a glass manufacturing company but wanted to enter the petroleum business. He found that Argentinean government required $20m of butane gas and also that Argentina had an over supply of beef. He told the Argentinean government that if it bought butane gas from him he will buy the beef from it. He then flew to a shipyard in Spain which was facing closure. He bargained with the Spanish government that he will build a super tanker in the shipyard if the Spanish govt bought $20m of beef from him. His final stop was at Sun Oil Company, Philadelphia where he told them that if they charter his $20m super tanker he will buy $20 of butane. Sun oil agreed and ultimately he achieved his wish.

This is the story of Venezuelan oil businessman Rapheal Tudela