Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rusi Brij - A Personal Tribute

Today I lost a Dear Friend, a Well Wisher and a true Mentor.

Rusi (Ex-Vice Chairman, Hexaware) was a man full of life. He knew how to live it and how to enjoy every moment of it. In his short life-span Rusi lived his life as if he knew he would not have time to enjoy a period of retirement and the so called finer things. He believed in enjoying the finer things while he still had a true appreciation of them.

I still remember the absolute SHOCK when he came to my office and told me he had cancer over a year back. I remember my initial reaction of not believing it. There had to be a mistake. Not Rusi. I was then up the whole night trying to understand more about the very virulent form of cancer he had.

He was always so charged and optimistic. He was sure he would beat it and continued to lead his life as he always did, with confidence, zest and the assurance that the future had much that it held for him. He inspired hope and instilled optimism in all of us.

He took a deep interest in my new venture which is in the Health and Wellness space and not only did he invest his personal money in the business but went out of his way to spend an in-ordinate amount of time with me giving constructive inputs and helping me connect with people who could support our business. And that is how he was with everyone who came in touch with him.

Always selflessly willing to help, always willing to give time and listening. He was profoundly intelligent and had a fantastic sense of what would work. His charisma, optimism and confidence was such that just being in his presence, its sheen would rub off on you and you would be inspired to go out and do more.

It made a huge impact to me personally as I worked at kick starting a new venture which was an un-tried and un-tested business model. His un-wavering confidence in our venture’s opportunity and potential gave me the courage to continue to drive the venture even more aggressively. And we are seeing the benefits of that now.

Rusi, you were a great Father, Husband, Son and just an amazing Human Being. You touched all of us in many ways, all of them positive. You will be missed not only by all your near and dear family, but by all of us who came in contact with you.

You were a bright shooting star which blazed through our lives shining brightly, bathing us in your glory and vanished before we fully appreciated the impact you had on us.

I will personally miss my Friend, my Golf Partner, my Sounding Board, my Mentor and Well Wisher.

God Bless and Peace to You.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Proud to be an Indian

So we have it finally. A vote for youth and competence. After decades of political fatigue and a mish-mash of murky alliances, the Indian Diaspora has voted in favor of a strong and stable Government. It has voted for Secularism and against Racism.

I believe this to possibly be a turning point in Indian Politics and the start of a journey that will finally put to bed (to a large extent) corruption and bring in force a political will which has accountability and purpose as its foundation.

Political parties will need to rethink the very platforms that they have so far leveraged and abused over the last few decades as they come to terms with a voter community which is increasingly aware, youthful and no longer as naive as they would like to believe. The typical “vote banks” can no longer be taken for granted.

This will force performance and a gradual shift away from the age old platform of racism and religion. It will force a generation of politicians to “gracefully retire” and allow a new – and younger – breed of challengers to come forward and lead with vigor, energy and hopefully honesty.

India has tremendous potential. What has let us down is the lack of a strong and homogenous political will and purpose. If we were to acquire this, India WILL finally take a leadership role in the Global Community.

I salute the Indian Diaspora as it continues its unwavering journey towards fulfilling its historic destiny – in spite of all odds and all the so called pundit-speak.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Desi Obsession

This is an interesting subject on which one of my recent net-friends started a discussion thread. You can check it out at:

His hypothesis was that we Indians are an increasingly obsessed lot. And in recent times are seemingly obsessed by the term "desi". He pointed to a website called as a recent example of this obsession. Proving the theorem QED.

I, like the bull headed Taurean that I am, joined the discussion - pride of ownership I guess - and went on to explain to the group the genesis of desi dieter.

Repeating here for those of you who follow this blog. Would like your comments on what are your thoughts on the use of the word desi in our brand?? Good? Bad?? Ugly??? Relevant? Irrelevant??

Here is an excerpt of my answer:

"In the interest of full disclosure i should tell this group that my wife is the creator of the concept and the business model.

It kind off happened when she struggled to customize atkins, ediets, weight watchers and other programs for me and found it to be a nightmare.

More research led her to understand that 1. there is no good ediets equivalent site which gives solid science based diet plans for Indians (Desis :-)), and most Indian recipe sites do not include Nutritional labels for Indian foods. This is something that is easily avbl for ALL American foods from a particular Pizza Hut slice to chicken wings from KFC.

One thing led to another and soon I was helping her create the technology behind We hired nutritionists who helped create science and evidence based diet plans tailored for Indians and gave the choice of food items to the consumer.

We did clinical studies over a number of people for 3-4 months to ensure that these actually work.And then we launched :-). with the desi in it!!

Coming to "desi" - the subject of this post. We actually started with (we own the domain), but that ignored the larger South Asian community where our logic of significant food and genetic differences from Caucasians also applies. Here we include Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, Nepalese, etc etc.

"desi" in our mind was not to connotate anything derogatory but to indicate a class/race of people which are South Asians - as per the Wikipedia definition.

So what do you all think?????

Yours in Good Health and have a Good Life.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Next CEO of Satyam - Rusi Brij, Vivek Paul or???

An interesting question. There are many names doing the rounds. I think before we answer that question we need to ask ourselves what are the skills that we are looking for?? In my mind, given the current situation, we need to at a minimum have the following:

  • Proven capability in building and managing a significant ITO/BPO organization.

  • Unquestioned Integrity and understanding of what Corporate Governance means in letter and spirit.

  • Deep understanding of Finance and Regulatory Compliance

  • Respect and credibility with existing Satyam Employees as well as Global Customers

There are many more one could list, but the above are "must haves".

Given the above I have - based on my years of experience in the IT Outsourcing Industry and personal knowledge of some of the possible candidates out there - come up with a short list of names that I think would pass the "must have" litmus test.

Rusi - currently Vice Chairman, Hexaware comes to mind as he was (like Ashok Soota in Wipro) the person who built Satyam in its foundation years. He left the company in 2001 to join Hexaware as its CEO and very rapidly turned it around. Knows the company, knows its customers.

Vivek Paul - the name is doing the rounds - took over the mantle from Ashok at Wipro and built it into the company you see today. Big brand.

Saurabh Srivastava - Another great guy. He built IIS Infotech, sold/merged it successfully and since then sits on various Boards both in the private and the government sector. Significant contribution in branding India Inc. in the ITO/BPO Outsourcing space globally. Has tremendous credibility with the Government.

I personally can't choose between them. They are ALL great guys. I am taking the easy way out and have created a Poll (on the left) and will let India Inc. choose.

People will ask why not Narayana Murthy (he has too much of a vested interest in Infosys - potential conflict of interest), Ashok Soota (he is running Mindtree and again has a significant stake there - could be an option if they merge the 2 companies, but thats too much to do), etc.

There are many good people out there - these are my choices.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Web 2.0 Technology Trends for 2009

This is in response to a question on a Birlasoftians Forever Group Discussion that I gave on the same subject. I am repeating this for the larger community.

My quick take:

Mobile Applications will be the hottest. Particularly as 3G proliferates. Keep a close watch as always on the iPhone and related APIs/Widgets. Look out for Enterprise Mobility. Enterprises will increasingly invest in Mobile Technology to enable their Muppies (Mobile Yuppies). A term I JUST coined :-). We are building VAS apps for some of our Health tools. I believe that Mobile could actually become the primary Internet Connection for the future.

Semantic Search - this is the future of Search Engines. Look out for tools such as Kosmix, Yahoo Glue. Again we are building similar functionality in our Healthcare Portal. Cloud Computing and UCC - was hype in the last 2 years, will find relevance in 2009. Amazon's EC2 is a good working example.

Enterprise Mashup and Green IT - these again will become mainstream - again here we are figuring out how to deploy these concepts in our Portal and Customer Interfaces.

OpenID will get traction. More courtesy Facebook.

What else? According to Read Write Web, Health Web Apps will get more focus - Good for me. Also Indian start ups will push outwards competing on price in the current economic climate.

Look out for action on Twitter, Digg, eBay. They need to find buyers.

I could go on. But will do so as a follow up comment. As you can see I am more focused on the Application and not the particular technology that one could leverage to deploy - there are too many. Although I do have some favorites. Mostly Opensource. I am building a start up after all!!

Your in Good Health and Have a Good Life