River Person or Goal Person

Dina Mehta quotes from an article by Chuck Frey:

The late self-help expert, Earl Nightingale, once explained that there are two types of people: river people and goal people. Both types of people can experience personal fulfillment and success in life, although in different ways.

Goal People

Most of us are undoubtedly familiar with goal people. They are the individuals who write down their objectives and timetables for reaching them, and then focus on attaining them, one by one. By laying out a roadmap of future achievements in front of them, goal people give their creative minds a clear set of stimuli to work on. Their subconscious minds can then get to work incubating ideas and insights that will help them to reach their goals.

River People

River people, on the other hand, don’t like to follow such a structured route to success. They are called river people because they are happiest and most fulfilled when they are wading in a rich “river” of interest — a subject or profession about which they are very passionate. While they may not have a concrete plan with measurable goals, river people are often successful because they are so passionate about their area of interest.

River people are explorers, continually seeking out learning opportunities and new experiences. For river people, joy comes from the journey, not from reaching the destination — exactly the opposite of goal people.

Recognizing both qualities in yourself — Most people are a combination of these two personality types. I know I am. In my full-time job, I am expected to be goal oriented. I have specific personal and departmental objectives for which I’m responsible. At the same time, however, I get the most “juice” out of being an explorer, learning new skills, collecting information and writing about innovation and technology.

So beautifully written. I guess I am a bit of both, though the river person tends to dominate. What about you?


Reading Anil Dash on Google’s AdSense and its potential and problems made me wonder: how about a equivalent for blog content. There are many times when I feel I’d like to promote some interesting content I wrote on some appropriate blogs, and wouldn’t mind paying for it. Who knows – I may get some business leads or a few interesting people contacts or some ideas. There’s no easy way for me to do this. Given the growing number of bloggers this could be an interesting service to try out.

Search Engine Battle

Fredrick Marckini writes on the coming battle between Google and Microsoft in the search business:

Microsoft’s battle against Google will be waged not with technology or features, but with marketing and product positioning. It is a marketing battle, not a technology showdown.

Jack says Google is dangerously close to becoming the generic in the space. Should that happen, the company would be open to brand and product positioning attacks on multiple fronts.

“Microsoft has only one available strategy [to beat Google]: They need to position their new search service as the ‘next generation,'” Trout told me. Microsoft, he explained, should not try to claim its new search engine is “better,” because that won’t win. “The only way you beat Google is by being ‘what’s next.’ [Internet searchers] will switch to the ‘next thing,’ but Google already owns the current ‘best’ thing,” said Trout. “The Google offering must be positioned into a corner by Microsoft, positioned as the old product. If anyone could pull off this strategy, it would be Microsoft.”

Am wondering if the same idea of “next generation” can be applied to the desktop software market. [Scott Johnson has some ideas for the desktop.]

RFID hitting mainstream

TIME writes:

Radio-frequency identification is, in fact, already pervasive in our lives used to track everything from pets to prisoners to products. Cars zip through tollbooths thanks to payment systems using RFID. More than 50 million pets worldwide are tagged with RFID chips. At least 20 million livestock have RFID tags to follow them for possible disease breakouts. A museum in Rotterdam uses RFID to guard its Rembrandts and Renoirs. And for the past two years, Oscar-goers have been screened and tracked by RFID.

Now RFID is about to reach ubiquity, bringing its ability to track everything, everywhere, all the time from the factory right into your home. Spooky but incredibly productive, RFID is the basis of 6,000 patents filed for wireless payments, keyless entries, cosmetics mixing, laundry tracking and patient monitoring. Think of it as the me-generation successor to the bar code.

An RFID reader emits a radio wave to scan the chip via an attached antenna. Unlike bar codes, which have to be scanned one at a time, an RFID reader can theoretically scan every item in a shopping basket, case or pallet at one glance, at a distance, even in rotten conditions like inside a freezer or in a sandstorm. Place an RFID reader in a series of gateways, and it can follow supplies from assembly line to store shelves and right out the door with the customer.

Increasing PC Penetration in India

[via Prof. DB Phatak and Sameer Kochar] ICT3 Quarterly (Skoch Consulting) has an interesting roundtable on affordable computing in India. What is very interesting is the wheel of penetration for increasin IT usage in India.

Wheel of Penetration

Prof. Phatak makes an interesting point: “Here is a ‘teacher’s dream’ – that the next 500 million users hopefully in next five years are to come from these countries. The Indian population figure suggests that we should have a share of at least 100 million users, which means that penetration should be 20 million desktops per year over the next five years. Last two years published figures by various agencies including Skoch, suggests that we are in the ballpark of 2 million desktops per year being sold. So clearly, we need a big drive…In my opinion drivers could be of two types, one is a price driver, so if somehow industry can come together, solution developers, system integrators and make the total cost of ownership of any acceptable solution to one-fourth of what it is today, then I get 4 x advantages. Simultaneously, if the end-user – government, industry, banks, financial sector, educations institutions – quadruples their investment in IT, remember, in developed world the level of IT investment is 3.5% of their overall budgets is on IT. In India the percentage is very small. So four times is an essential investment, if you do that you get a 16x advantage, what we desire is a 10x advantage.”

India’s Manufacturing Sector

WSJ writes about how Bharat Forge’s growth has been a proxy for the growing Indian manufacturing sector:

Can India become a hot spot for auto-parts manufacturing?

Until recently that idea seemed far-fetched. After all, the country isn’t known for either world-class manufacturing know-how or cost competitiveness. But one company, Bharat Forge Ltd., is starting to change that.

The auto-parts maker is jump-starting its operations — and the country’s auto-parts industry — with a novel approach for India: applying the brainpower and skill of the country’s more than two million engineers to the manufacturing sector.

By improving the quality of its parts through better design while restructuring its finances to keep labor costs in check, Bharat Forge is able to go after global customers who would not have taken it seriously just a few years ago. It’s fast becoming a supplier to auto makers like Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp., which have to cut their own expenses amid an increasingly competitive market by obtaining cheaper parts abroad.’

Bharat Forge “stands out as an example of restructuring,” says Ashish Gupta, an analyst with CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets in Bombay. “They are simultaneously improving the range and the quality of their products and cutting costs to improve the economics of their business.”

with a focus back on auto parts, Bharat Forge has set out to modernize the way it does business, which has, in turn, allowed it to venture into markets abroad. Key to this approach has been making better use of India’s abundance of skilled but low-cost engineers to improve products.

“It was all based on leveraging the high-quality human capital that is India’s main competitive advantage,” says Mr. Kalyani.

Bharat Forge has merged “blue-collar workers and our white-collar workers and [has] everyone working on the floor of the plant,” says Mr. Kalyani. “We also put more high-quality [workers] on the shop floor.” Having designers and production people work together has allowed the company to improve both the speed and the quality of production, he adds.

Perhaps, the secret to taking on China in manufacturing is to combine intellectual capital with human capital in the workforce – and India has plenty of both.

TECH TALK: Random Musings (Part 3)

Skype and Friendster

The two services which are creating plenty of buzz have one thing in common: contact. Both Skype and Friendster connect people. Skype is a P2P telephony service, which is seeing rapid growth in downloads and usage since its recent match. Friendster represents a breed of new social networking software built around the six degrees of separation between people. It will be interesting to see how these services shape up and evolve. The business model for both is not yet clear.

In both cases, bloggers have played their role in helping promote the services. We are living in a world now where lots of individuals can create for rapid viral marketing based on their own personal decisions.

Search and Beyond

Search was one of the first things we did on the Internet with Yahoo, Altavista, Lycos and Excite. And then suddenly, search became cold. It no longer seemed to be the most important thing. Until Google came along and made search relevant an excellent example of how technology can breathe life into something. Now, search is again at the heart of the browsing experience. Little wonder then that the battelines are drawn with Microsoft throwing its brightest along with the bucks to take on Google.

I think that the entire search process is still in its early days. Theres a lot which can be done to improve on the process. I keep thinking about the Memex, and how one can build it. There is a need for a personal knowledge management system which learns. This is also linked with the thoughts expressed by Ben Shneiderman in his book, Leonardos Laptop. The one statement that keeps coming back it is time to stop thinking about what computers can do, but what users can do. This is the thinking that is likely to be at the heart of many of the innovations we are going to see in the coming years.

Sun and Network Computing

Last week, Sun launched its Java Enterprise System and Java Desktop System. Sun wants to be the Dell of software. Pricing its software at a fixed price per employee (USD 100 and USD 50 respectively for the two solutions) and providing for planned upgrades, Sun is looking to bring about a shift in its business model. It is hard to say if it will succeed. I wish they had launched these products not in the US, but in one of the worlds developing countries and at lower price points. What Sun is offering is a disruptive innovation in the world of software. The users are going to be the new users, and not necessarily the existing users. Sun has the right ideas (a single server to do it all, server-centric computing, open-source software on the desktops), but is applying them to the wrong markets.

Tomorrow: Random Musings (continued)

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