Sunday, February 19, 2012

Archives (1) - Read - Heard - Viewed - Thought - by KVSS Nrao

 The Current Posts


Success of PLoS Currents - Influenza

Very happy to see today that the weekly page views of the above knol are 10,475.It was when I saw it last time. Now it is 10,501.Within a span of 10 minutes there were 26 page visits. Four papers were accepted into the collection in the last 24 hours. It is nice that scientists are submitting paper to the collection and visitors are reading the papers. This initiative of knol has brought new segment of authors as well as visitors to knol. It also brought a genuine popular knol onto  the platform.

"Beginnning of Wisdom is Fear"

This quote I saw in a foreword written by Louis Bradeis to the book Primer of Scientific Management by Frank B. Gilbreth, Hive Publishing Company, Easton, 1973. The original edition was published by D. Van Nostrand Company in 1914.

Knol Experts - A Cartoon - Have You Seen It?


Market-Driving Organization

Both market-driven and market-driving are encompassed within the more general framework of market-orientation. Market-driven relates to the company’s ability to learn, understand and respond to the market (Jaworski, Kohli, and Sahay 2000). On the other hand, market-driving relates to the company’s ability to change the market (Kumar, Scheer, and Kotler 2000). It is suggested that market-driving organizations are likely to propose offerings more valued by consumers than competitors. This is based on Jaworski, Kohli, and Sahay’s (2000) notion that market-driving organizations are better able to gain a sustainable competitive advantage by changing the structure or composition of a market and/or behavior(s) of its players.
Jaworski, Bernard J., Ajay K. Kohli, and Arvind Sahay. 2000. “Market-Driven Versus Driving Markets,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 28 (1): 45-54.
Kumar, Nirmalaya, Lisa Scheer, and Philip Kotler. 2000. “From Market-driven to Market-driving.” European Management Journal 18 (2): 129-141.

Estimate of Total Page Views of Knol Till 16.8.2009

Quick estimate of top 800 knols is now 11,590,414.
Quick estimate for top viewed 2002 knols is now 15,119,486
Quick estimate for all knols is 30,743,486

Difference Between Creativity and Innovation

"Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things." Theodore Levitt.
I saw this interesting quote in a small piece on Theodore Levitt, published in the Corporate Dossier of The Economic Times of India, 14 August 2009. 
The difference between creativity and innovation is not always clear. Hence this explanation by a renowned professor is a valuable. Innovators are action oriented persons who actually implement new things in the world. They can take the creative ideas from others and they can come out with them themselves, but they are entrepreneurs who identify the potential creative idea that is likely to give the desired results and actually implement them. So one has to look for innovators in action oriented people. 

An Interesting Thought

"No task is too lowly.
No ambition too high."
Rai Bahadur M.S. Oberoi
A quotation in the advertisement on the occasion of his 111th Birth anniversary (15 August 2009) released by The Oberoi Group (Hotels)
Many times children feel many tasks in the house have to be avoided by them. They don't realize that these tasks have their own importance, and even when they become CEOs of their organizations, when these tasks are not done promptly, there will be complaints and CEOs may have to tackle them. At that point of time, they may realize that they have no understanding of the issues involved as they never looked at the complications and motivation of the persons who are carrying out those tasks. A message that says every task in this world is of equal importance and it has to be done with care and accuracy should help in many of us doing our tasks whenever and wherever they are assigned officially or unofficially with care and commitment.

Some Tips for Success

1. Rehearse challenging tasks mentally: Do your planned action mentally over and over.
2. Seek results, not perfection: People obsessed with perfection turn out little work. The sooner we accept the comforting  fact that we are less than  perfect, the sooner we can get on  with our personal and professional goals.
3. Be willing to take risk: The other way of expressing this is to say "Do not fear failures. Accept them"
"A man learns to skate by staggering about, making a fool of himself. Indeed, he  progresses in all things by resolutely making a fool of himself." George Bernard Shaw.
4. Compete with yourself, not with others: Most high performers are interested in doing the best possible job by their own standards. Worrying about a competitor's abilities in a situation where there is no head-on competition can be self defefating.
1. Morton Hunt, "Seven Secrets of Peak Performance"
2. Beth Day, "Dare to Make Mistakes,"
Both from, How to Be Even More Successful: Whoever You Are, Whatever You Do, Reader's Digest Selection, 1990.

Top 5 Knol Author

Today my cumulative page view figure reported by the knol has gone up to 251,483. It gives the author rank of 5 to me in terms of page views. I am happy that my efforts to keep writing knols on the ideas that I got over time were adequately recognized in relative terms by knol visitors. I try to respond to the comments of visitors as early as possible and try to modify the knols as suggested. I also encourage my colleagues and friends to contribute to knol and strengthen the platform. It is a good place to record our knowledge and make it available to many including ours. Even I refresh my knowledge by reading what I have written.
I thank all visitors and fellow authors for making use of my writing positively despite some shortcomings.

How to Bring Authenticity to Your Talk

Many times audience may feel the speaker is phony. They do not believe in him. When the listeners do not believe, cynicism prevails and many will not respond to the call of the speaker.
Nick Morgan, the founder of Public Words, a communication coaching firm, in an article in Harvard Business Review of November 2008, advocates that speakers must have four aims or intents to make their talk authentic.
These four powerful aims are: to be open, to connect to the audience, to be passionate, and to listen to the audience.
Openness indicates that the speaker has nothing to hide. He is relaxed in communicating to the audience. Aim to connect to the audience makes the speaker focus on the listeners right from the first word. The emotion of passion has to come out of every word spoken. Have the aim to listen to the body language of the listeners.
Morgan concludes that  when speakers practice their talk with these four intents their body language improves during the talk and they come out as more authentic speakers.

Forecast and Subsequent Managerial Action

"Concern over flu pandemic justified said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization  in her address to Address to Sixty-second World Health Assembly held at  Geneva, Switzerland on 18 May 2009.
The new influenza virus with great pandemic potential, the new influenza A (H1N1) strain, unlike the avian virus,  spreads very easily from person to person, spreads rapidly within a country once it establishes itself, and is spreading rapidly to new countries. We expect this pattern to continue. The emergence of the H1N1 virus creates great pressure on governments, ministries of health, and WHO to make the right decisions and take the right actions at a time of great scientific uncertainty.
A defining characteristic of a pandemic is the almost universal vulnerability of the world’s population to infection. Not all people become infected, but nearly all people are at risk. Manufacturing capacity for antiviral drugs and influenza vaccines is finite and insufficient for a world with 6.8 billion inhabitants. It is absolutely essential that countries do not squander these precious resources through poorly targeted measures.

The health sector cannot be blamed for lack of foresight. We have long known what is needed."
The statement in circulation is that WHO estimates that 2 billion persons in the world will get infected with the virus. Every country in the world is preparing for 30% infected persons.
The forecast is there and the WHO Director General specifically stated that the virus has given the world a grace period so far. Have the governments across the world used the grace period to develop measures to prevent the spread of infection and treat the patients requring treatment.
Forecasts are given based on a set of current parameters in existence. Managerial actions can change some of the parameters and minimize the damage caused by the threats. If the current sanitation conditions are predicted to infect two billion persons, a better sanitation regime can minimize the spread of infection. But the government, and rest of the institution in a society have to recognize the threat, understand the situation and come out with measures and then promote those measures.
Is it happening all over the world? In India is it happening? There are more appeals not to panic. But announcement of measures to improve the situation and change the patterns of behavior of people for better are not visible. Some are arguing that only one percent will die from the infection and hence there is no need to worry. Do they understand what is the significance of one percent? Should we not improve our health consciousness and contain the threat posed by the virus? Should we simply do our normal routines as we do day every day and wait for the verdict of the virus about who will go out of this world?
It is much better if we change our routines and improve sanitation all around and take actions to minimize the effect of the virus on our society. For that good protocols should be announced and promoted and medical facilities are set up properly all over the country in every country of the world.


Principle and Practice

In his book "The Idea of Justice", Amartya Sen discussed the difference between principle and practice. The principle may be ideal but its practice may not bestow the desired results in the society. One issue he raises in this context is democracy. Elections may be taking place, but adequate systems are not in place in political parties & media and people involvement is less  resulting in societies not getting the whole package of benefits that are expected from democracy.
The argument may be extented to free market or capitalist system of production. Yesterday I came across a book dealing with economic justice in free markets, where it is mentioned that capitalists should not have luxury life styles when workers have subsistence life styles. The persons or thinkers who advocated free markets as an ideal economic system have pointed out this fact. But in practice, capitalists ignored this important point and are exhibiting money power in the society. They are influencing government machinery and legal machinery with their money power and probably flouting many laws. It results in injustice. Amartya Sen's treatment of justice in his book starts with the premise that many people see injustice all around and their views on justice are formed from their experience with injustice.
A related knol by me

Strategy and Tactics

One of our students has written in his knol on Mandi - a Sales experience session, that the next time he does the same thing he will use a more strategic approach.
My question is what is a strategic approach? What is strategy? Strategy when applied to an activity which is repeated many times refers to the basic steps one takes every time. Strategy is a plan and so strategy is planned by the individual or the firm concerned. We do this activity in this way. In sales situations, the salesman can develop a strategy. But each and every selling encounter can be with a different person. Even if the same customer is being serviced, the other dimensions of the situation may change and the interaction may be differnent in each sales encounter. The salesperson has to react to various events that happen during the sales talk and here the tactics come. Some persons may outright ask the sales person to go away, some may criticize him, some may criticize his product, and some may welcome him. In all these alternative reactions of the prospects, there are differences in the intensity of emotion shown. The salesperson has to change his response and try to manage the interaction for mutual benefit. Everything the sales person does in reaction to an unexpected behavior falls into tactics.
Strategy is based on general principles which may have been codified and recorded in books, textbooks and manuals. They can be learned in the class room. While some tactics be rehearsed in the classrooms and training programs, their range is so large that individuals have to improvise all the time. So tactics are based on the invidual learning ability of the persons to understand the situations through their own experience. 

Blogging - History

Mint, the business news paper of India carried a feature on 10 years of blogging. It seems in 1999, Peter Merholz proposed that weblog is pronounced as wee-blog and blog word originated. But web logs have a longer story. I tried to document the story to some extent and came across the fact that Justin Hall was a pioneer blogger. I am now into developing a knol on blogging history. Blogs, Blogging and Bloggers - History and Current Trends.

Class in Any Subject - An Opportunity for Knowledge Capital Growth

Each interaction is an opportunity for both the students and the teachers to take the understanding of the subject to a higher level in the society as a whole. Each time a topic is explored in a classroom, there will be delta increase in the understanding of the topic by the society. Each time the participants come up with a question, for which the teacher has no satisfactory answer, a situation is created for enquiry by the teacher. Sometimes the participants may be happy with the answer, but the teacher knows that he had not given a satisfactory answer. He has to refer, think and research. Even research problems germinate in discussions at postgraduate level classes.

The Idea of Justice

Questions of justice, truth and fairness are important philosophical issues. Amartya Sen brought out his contribution to this important topic in his recent book "The Idea of Justice." There are many reviews of the book on the internet. I came across one review in Mint Lounge dated 8.9.2009. ET NOW, a TV channel prominently advertised the interview with Amartya Sen and hence I could listen to some portion of the interview.
The reviewer said it is a technical book full of citations. The reviewer's conclusion was that "A difficult read, worth your time." The book it seems is full of citations. The two authors who get cited frequently are John Rawls (whose 1971 book "A Theory of Justice is the standard text in the field) and Adam Smith, who wrote on moral philosophy.
For details of the book from the publisher
For a review by Sholto Byrnes (Independent UK)
Interview with Amartya Sen (2009) on the book on Justice
links to videos available.
A Related Knol by Me
Justice is an evaluation measure for ethics enquiry.
Market Rebels: How Activists Make or Break Radical Innovations: The ideas pointed out Hayagreeva Rao has application to the success of knol. Knol's success now depends on the activism of knol authors and knol visitors. I advocate knol authors to take up the cause by recruiting more authors. I also want knol authors to highlight the good things and good knols in blogs and thereby promote knol in blogosphere.

Difficulties in the World due to Diversity

Marwa el-Sherbini, once Egypt's handball champion, was killed in a German courtroom on 1st July. She moved to Germany along with her husband who is doing a doctorate in genetics at the Max Planck Institute in Dresden. The murder occurred in a courtroom and the litigation started due to a dispute regarding use of swing in the playground and involved ugly arguments in which her religion was mentioned. Is the murder a result of hyped sentiments? (Came across in a feature article in Mint Lounge, dated 8.8.2009 page L4)
Vikram aged 37, who was teaching and researching at Purdue University, was arrested for allegedly sending threat emails to the US President George Bush and some other VIPs. His father a scientist, a former captain of Indian Navy and a lawyer went to US to defend his son. He was deported recently. He blames the US system saying there is no rule of law or real democracy in USA. He thinks his son is being troubled because he wrote an article titled "Indo-US nuclear deal: Unexplored angles" that appeared online on March 26, 2006. Vikram wrote a letter to Purdue University president protesting against the expulsion of an Afro-American student who was caught copying in the exam. He thinks that in an attempt to silence dissent on the campus his son is being punished. (Times of India, Dt. 9.8.2009, page 7)
Both these incidents need more information for evaluation by neutral people, but important issues or incidents to be probed further for deeper causes by many.

Enjoy the Effort and Accept the Result

Failure is a fact of life. In many competitive endeavors, many compete but only small number win. If every competitor wants to feel happy on winning only, every event in the world creates many dissatisfied people. Society cannot be stable with many dissatisfied people all around. What should be the motto of people?
Swami Sukhabodhananda, in his article titled “Enjoy the Effort No Matter What the Effect” published in Times of India dated 7.8.2009 (page 16) explained in detail the statement made by Lord Krishna in Bhagavadgita.  You have the right to do your job but you have no right to demand the result.
Swamiji exhorted people to evaluate alternative goals on the basis of quantum and quality of efforts to be made to attain the goal and the benefits derived by attaining the goal. The ROE (Return on Effort) is to be determined and on that basis only goals are to be selected. But once a goal is selected it is important to identify the milestones in reaching the goal. As each milestone is reached or achieved there must be joy in the person. Between each pair of milestones in succession, there is a process to be done and people have to concentrate on the process and feel the joy by doing the process effectively.  If for any reason, the milestone is not achieved, still the joy doing of the process properly should remain with people. All have to accept the result and adapt to the failure. Swamiji referred to musicians who are absorbed in their performance and most of them are unmindful of the reaction of audience. They enjoy their role or involvement in bringing their art alive. The pleasure of ovation comes much later. Sometimes the audience may not respond enthusiastically. But the pleasure of performance has to remain.
People can have desires, target and goals. Every desire has a process to be performed. One has to put in the best planned effort to fulfill his desire. But everybody needs to realize that there is a chance of failure and he has to accept it in the worst case. He can accept it better, if he enjoyed the process at every step.
Most of the processes in life make one a more capable man for future endeavors. Therefore, any effort made to attain any goal in life is valuable despite a failure in some specific goal.

Biological Sciences

NGF is of use in treatment of glaucoma
Dr Stefano Bonini of the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Rome Campus Bio-Medico  and a group of researchers evaluated the effects of nerve growth factor (NGF) eye drops in a rat model of glaucoma.  
They concluded that patients treated with NGF demonstrated long lasting improvements in visual field, optic nerve function, contrast sensitivity, and visual acuity. NGF exerted neuroprotective effects. They reported  that  In 3 patients with advanced glaucoma, treatment with topical NGF improved all parameters of visual function. They gave the implication of their research finding: These results may open therapeutic perspectives for glaucoma and other neurodegenerative diseases.


Market Rebels: How Activists Make or Break Radical Innovations

by Hayagreeva Rao, Stanford University Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources, Princeton University Press, 2008, $24.95.
Rao argued that innovation succeed because of social activists. Auto industry flourished due to social activitsts (consumers). They formed car clubs, sponsored races, held reliability contests etc.
Rao's analysis has application to the success of knol. Knol will succeed if some of the authors and some of the visitors take up the cause of knol and promote it and defend it.
Microtrends: Surprising Tales of The Way We Live Today by Mark J. Penn & E. Kinney Zalesne, Penguin Books, 2008, $25.99.
After the Megatrend of Naisbitt come the Microtrends. The book reveals dozens of microtrends reshaping the US and global society.


A story in Business Week dated 3rd July 2006, talked of a cheap virtual computer that may be available at $50. The story said CEO of the firm, Stephen Dukker plans to sell one million computer by 2009. Today I came across a story in Time of India (7.8.2009 Page 17) that reported that actually so far two million computer seats were installed by the firm. The current cost of a dumb work station is $70. Many colleges that are installing large number of computers can definitely take up this low cost alternative.


Democracy day is to be celebrated on 15th September. Knol author foundation opened a knol on democracy to collect interesting news on democracy and thereby facilitate thought process on improving democracy. All authors and visitors are invited to contribute to the knol.
Democracy Index
Came across the web page on democracy index.
The study was done 2006.
Sweden has a near perfect democracy, followed by Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark. USA's rank was 17. UK's rank was 23.
The full list of countries covered can be downloaded from


TEDIndia, a conference of TED will be organized in India during 4-7, November 2009 at Infosys Campus in Mysore.TED India: A Conference.


Goal of Knol: This is a thought and plan by me for knol. Knol has momentum and new authors are registering every day and new knols are being written every day. By end of 2nd year, 31 July 2009, knol will have 100,000 authors, one million knols and one million page views per day. This will provide the knol with a strong force underlying structure on which a big super structure can be built later on.
Greet New Authors: All existing authors need to greet new authors and welcome them. A platform like knol which is based on voluntary contributions by authors requires large number of authors to succeed. Existing authors have to participate in the process by recuriting more authors and welcoming new authors and encouraging them.
Good and Interesting  Knols:
Promotion of Knol Platform and Encouraging New Authors: Yesterday I made a presentation on registering for knol authorship and writing knols. The first knol that resulted from this presentation is:
We can hope for some more knols from the persons who appreciated the features of knol platform.

Originally posted on Knol 1633

No comments:

Post a Comment