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Archive for September, 2009

Two recent fiction books set in and depicting life in India that have become internationally acclaimed are Shantaram and The White TigerShantaram, written by Gregory David Roberts, is a semi-autobiographical fiction book based upon some of Roberts’ real life experiences as a fugitive from an Australian prison who flees to Bombay in the 80’s and has a wide range of experiences there including living in a Bombay slum and a small rural village, joining the Indian mafia, fighting in Afghanistan against the Russians, and acting in Bollywood movies.   The White Tiger was written by journalist, Aravind Adiga, and tells a fictional story of a driver in modern day India who serves an upper class businessman and ultimately becomes a successful entrepreneur in Bangalore after escaping what he calls life in the Darkness through, what most would say, the worst way possible. (more…)

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As I wrote about here, I attended an Intel Alumni event last week where Andy Grove spoke about clean technologies.   This was actually the first time I’d attended a formal Intel alumni event since I left the company in 2005 after 5 years of employment there.   Meeting former Intel colleagues and listening to Grove has led me to reflect on my years at Intel.   What really stands out about Intel is discipline and process excellence, training, its role in the technology ecosystem, investing in R&D during recessionary periods, and the overall Intel way. (more…)

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Last week while driving and listening to the NPR program Forum, I heard a discussion with the authors of the new book Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election (the archived program can be heard here).  Listening to inside stories and analysis of the presidential campaigns of Obama, Clinton, and McCain was compelling drama to me.   Rehashing parts of the campaign and reflecting on my heightened interest levels in the actual campaign vs the dwindling interest in the day to day political system after the election made me think of a pattern I’ve been seeing in myself, others, and the population at large.     That pattern is a greater interest in the buildup to the main event or events than the actual event itself—in other words, the behind the scenes parts of the equation more so than the actual show.

For me, my examples include the election, interest in the the offseason in professional sports and fantasy football, and the fascination with the jury process of a legal case, rather than the actual case itself.  I’ll delve into each one. (more…)

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Recently when I was in Hong Kong, I found out about a train that goes underwater from Hong Kong island to Kowloon peninsula. Likewise, living in the San Francisco Bay Area, the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) has a popular commuting train option that goes from San Francisco to Oakland through a tunnel placed under the bay—a distance of 6 miles when including the approaches from each station. Having lived in the Bay Area the last 9 years, surprisingly, I have never taken that train ride and for that matter, never taken a train trip through an underwater tunnel any where in the world. I’ve been wondering 2 things about these trains—1) what does it feel like to be on a train underwater and 2) how do they build such tunnels underwater in the first place.

This weekend I took my first BART ride from Oakland to San Francisco. I also discovered the way the BART tunnel was built and in general, the different methods of building underwater tunnels. (more…)

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In a previous posting, I wrote about my observations of China from my one week stay in Beijing.   Earlier in the year, I visited India after six years, spending time in Hyderabad and Kerala—you can read my observations from that trip here (or click on the links to the side under the heading India Trip Observations).    During my stay in China, I found that 1) my pre-conceived notions of what I expected China to be often was based on my experiences in India and 2) internally, I would often compare my China observations to my India observations for a particular attribute.    The reason for this is based on the parallels of significant growth that China and India have been both experiencing over the last decade, the wide media coverage of both of these countries which often compares them to each other, as well as their common status as the most populous countries in the world.

Given that, here are my armchair comparisons of India and China in a few areas and more specifically Hyderabad (population approximately 4 million and Beijing (population approximately 12 million (metro) , (more…)

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Tonight, I went to an Intel Alumni (I spent 5 years at Intel) seminar featuring Intel alumni who are now focused on clean technologies.  Legendary Andy Grove was the keynote speaker.  It was great to see Andy Grove— it’s always a treat to hear his perspectives on business, technology, and the issues of the day.     While he remains a senior advisor to Intel’s board and management, he is also actively interested in energy policy and often gives speeches on the topic.  Along, with Grove’s perspectives, Intel alumni in the entrepreneur, product, or investor spaces of clean technologies provided additional perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing these technologies.    Below are some of the key points made by Grove and others and my observations of the night. (more…)

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Earlier I wrote about my one day stay in Hong Kong.    Upon leaving Hong Kong,  I went to Beijing, my first ever visit to China.   I stayed there for a week, working with my company’s Beijing office team.    Below is a chronicle of my experiences and observations of my trip categorized by the following topics:

  • Itinerary
  • First Impressions
  • Infrastructure
  • People
  • Lifestyle
  • Cuisine
  • Local mannerisms (more…)

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