About the Xbox 360 India launch…

Microsoft has become the first company to officially launch a gaming console in the Indian market (Sep 23). Yes, Xbox 360 is now available in India for the price of approximately Rs. 23,990 (premium bundle)!

This is interesting. This launch comes at a time when Indian youth is increasingly running short of avenues to spend its disposable cash at. Being predominantly a “young” country, India also boasts of a potential gamer community worth about $700 million. Sadly, at the same time, it is also one of the most prolific homes of pirated software. So much so that in 2001, Microsoft had expressly denied any plans to launch their Xbox console in India due to piracy concerns.

The ad campaigns are really interesting, and bring out the great Indian creativity. I seriously consider the advertisements on Indian TV as the best advertisements on TV in the entire globe. All the companies should get their ads made in India. They have chosen noted Bollywood actor, Akshay Kumar, and Indian cricketer, Yuvraj Singh, to be their brand ambassador’s in India.

There’s something India is getting which no other country is…and that is an XBOX 360 cricket video game. At this time, I do not know anything about the game developer undertaking this project, but I hope it is a quality game.

One thing I find interesting about the Indian gaming community is that being heavily exposed to American media since childhood, Indians enjoy the same kind of games as their western counterparts. This is unlike more developed Asian countries like Japan and China that have their own genres and taste. This could be a good thing for Microsoft in the Indian market. All they have to do there is to be competitive in terms of price and new games/accessories availability, and they would have won the Indian youth’s Rupee.

I can’t wait to be able to play Cricket online with my Indian friends. I hope this proves to be a catalyst for the Indian broadband industry’s growth. Truly fascinating times!

Addendum: It has now been confirmed that the cricket game will be developed by Codemasters.

56% of graduate business students cheat!

The verdict is out! Graduate business students in the United States and Canada are more likely to cheat on their work than their counterparts in other academic fields. I am not at all surprised at this finding. And, it is not because there’s something fundamentally wrong in their thought process. I think the blame goes to the way business education is carried out at a lot of schools.

The report puts the number of cheating engineering grad students at roughly the same as that of business students. All in all, a pretty bleak picture. But, what surprises me is that business students justify their behavior by saying that the real world has accepted cheating as a way of doing business. While this is very true on the outset, there’s still a lot of inherent fallacy.

When you cheat in your business management assignments, you’re not avoiding a quantitative problem. You’re running away from theory, and that is what degrades your education. In the real world, theory still does hold true. Cheating occurs in other forms like corporate espionage, trade secret bungling, or other anticompetitive/copying tactics. Effective managers still understand the theory behind doing business.

Today’s business management education is nothing but a careful analysis of case studies, market predictions, value forecasting, optimization etc. While there are a lot of qualitative areas, most of it is still learning from others’ mistakes. Needless to say, if you are unable to form these opinions on your own, you have failed as a business management student.

Bird’s Eye View on Windows Live Local

I am a fan of using Yahoo! Rarely do I ever check any other maps/local information website for my trip planning. Since the Windows Live Writer software uses Windows Live for its maps, I thought about giving it a try, and was truly amazed. Although, I did not spend a lot of time playing around, I was impressed by the interface, and how similar it is to a regular desktop application. In addition, the following capabilties have made me think about switching to Windows Live Local:

  1. Bird’s Eye View: This is phenomenal! Not only can I view satellite images, but MicroSoft has now made it possible to view oblique pictures of any covered location. These pictures are very high quality, and have a resolution of about a couple dozen yards! They’re still working on getting major cities covered. For example, Raleigh, NC still isn’t covered, while I was able to view pictures of my apartment in the Minneapolis suburbs.
  2. Call a business: This is still a beta feature, but basically when you search for a business, you get a link to call them for free. All this does is calls them and forward the call to your phone. So, basically, you hear a ring on your phone, and when you lift it, you’re connected to the business without dialling a number! I think there’s lots of scope for exploitation here as the feature takes in any number you provide.

All in all, I am throughly impressed. And, yet again, good going, Microsoft!

My trip to Winona, MN

MInnesota is a very beautiful state. Even though it lacks a coastline and high mountains, there is still lot of natural beauty to be found. Part of the credit also goes to the way small attractions have been developed. Being a warm in the summer and extremely cold in the winter type of state, Minnesota has a lot to offer for everyone.

I would have never explored Minnesota if not for my parents 2 month long visit. I drove for about 4,000 miles in less than 2 months, to put it into perspective. The day before their scheduled departure, I made up a small plan to visit a city called Winona. The plan was instigated by the fact that Winona was voted as the “Best Day trip” in the local CityPages.

The agenda was to head directly to the Garvin Heights Park. It was here that I discovered that the name Winona actually means “First born daughter”.

 The overlook allows you to catch a glimpse of the entire city as well as the Mississippi river on a clear day. truly exhilarating!

Next on the agenda was a stop over at the visitor center. It is not clearly visible in the picture, but was located directly below the peak on the left bank of the lake!

This is the visitor’s center on the right. I bought a small wooden magnetic memento from here. The staff was friendly and genuinely interested in welcoming tourists. Speaking of tourism, the only other economic contributor in the city is the Winona State University.

Then we headed for a drive on the Lake Drive road where we stopped by the Memorial Park at the lake bank to take some pictures. From here, you could actually see the Sugarloaf Bluff at a peak. It is said that the bluff resembles the shape of the hat worn by the first Indian settler in Winona!

Downtown Winona is also pretty beautiful with lots of restaurants, and a Levee Park at the edge of downtown. We had lunch (soup, hoagies, and pita) at a coffee shop called Acoustic Café, which was recommended by the lady at the visitor’s center. It was here that we decided to skip going to the Winona County Historical Museum due to lack of interest.

We finally came back to Minneapolis, driving through Rochester, MN. And, in the evening, I treated my parents to a nice dinner at Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant. They had a flight back to Mumbai the next day.

Here’s a map of the location:

 

Greed

We’re all greedy. The difference lies in the degree, motivation, and area of our greed. Some people are greedy for success; some people are greedy for fame; some people are greedy for recognition; some people are greedy about money. There are a lot more things that make people greedy.

Nevertheless, I have found one common thread behind all sorts of greed. And, that is impatience. It is what makes us miserable in our own eyes, and in the eyes of everyone else who isn’t on the same level as us. Imagine this – you’re greedy for fame, and you try your best (including using unethical means) to collect all the fame you can get. In your eyes, you’re well justified, because, after all, you’re working hard for it. But, get this, if only you were patient and continued doing the right thing, you’d have gained fame nonetheless! It could have just been longer to achieve. Greed makes us lose sight of where we actually stand, and therefore makes us vulnerable.

Another example is money. One scenario is my parents giving me money for something. I could be greedy (not always bad) and impatient (always bad), and use various means like tantrums or arguments to get it, or I could do what I am doing, justify it, and get a lot more money from them than originally desired. Of course, I am now too grown up to be greedy about money with my family, or even friends, but the example holds true. In my experience, greed coupled with impatience only make us achieve less, albeit very quickly. We are delighted to get something so soon, but it actually reduces our gains compared to having waited a little longer.

I started thinking about this as I was imagining typical management follies committed by greedy managers. It all made sense.

Click here for a very nice description of the “personality dragons”.

I end this post with this very good dialog that takes place in a 2003 episode of South Park:

Randy: There’s more to life than profits
Indian Chief: Really, Like what?
Randy: You know, like slurpies and stuff.

It is upto you to interpret “slurpies and stuff”!