Thursday, July 28, 2011

Daily Deal - Only good for buyers and deal sites

It does not really help merchants, very few people really do repeat business. People who follows deal sites are opportunists – it is stupidity to expect them to be loyal and pay the retail price. See the analysis here.

This deal site business is in bubble zone. Must cool down after some time.

Career Success, becoming famous and...

There are two ways.

Either you choose a career path which is very competitive and proven to be very rewarding for people on top and then be very good at it. For example you choose medical profession and join Harvard Medical School(top one percentile or less).

Or you can join a career which is new and market is yet to appreciate the potential(hence less competitive)and then be reasonably good at it. In this case you don’t need to be genius or extremely good but if the market demand increases you will automatically make it huge(early mover advantage). These people are either visionary or they are ordinary people rejected by competition from the hot career options.

This is not only true for choosing a career. It is a more generic than that. You can choose a crowded street and try all your best (dangerous) driving skills and reach your destination in one hour instead of one hour and ten minutes or find an unknown shortcut and make it in five minutes. These Information asymmetries are real.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Job Applicant screening – Unique idea

See how a new startup 'Square' has done this. Here is the link

To apply, please submit along with your resume a critique of the following code:

#!/usr/bin/env ruby


# This program encrypts and decrypts messages at the command line.

# It runs setuid root, so that it can be used by users without giving

# them access to the (root-owned) secret encryption key.

require 'openssl'



cipher ='aes-256-ecb')

case ARGV.shift

when 'encrypt'


when 'decrypt'



puts "Usage:"

puts "$0 [encrypt
decrypt] "

exit 1



input =

output =, "w")

input.each_line do

output.write(cipher << l)


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Quants: The Alchemists of Wall Street

Check out this fantastic documentary on Wall Street. Last decade saw many Scientist moving to Financial world as Quants and they loved it.When I was in college I read this fantastic article  and had a dream of joining wall street someday(I loved both Physics and Finance). But I have now dropped that idea. I have a feel that there are many other areas which are more important than so called 'Financial Innovation' and gambling through high frequency trading. Finance should just have an role of intermediary for money flow - take money from investors or savers and hand it over to entrepreneurs or businesses for creating value. Instead it is earning lion's share of revenue from trading, creating synthetic instruments(CDOs etc.) and gambling with other people's money risk-free. This is not creating any value, it is actually a value-destroying activity.

Remember, sustainable wealth can be only be created by creating real value through Innovation(by creating new products and services and thus solving some problem for large number of people). Trading and creating synthetic financial products can not substitute that. And we need a substantial mindset change for appreciating that. Too many talents are wasting their time in wall-street firms just for money.

The best thing that the government can do to solve many of our problems is to change the wall-street Compensation policy(I am not suggesting a cap on compensation, but compensation based on risk-return and appropriate clawback - Hedge Fund managers can get a share of profit, but then they have to take a share of loss as well). Once this is in place, all this wall-street excess will be gone and it will be more boring  place for many innovative minds. That will be good from two perspectives: Finance will limit its role to the point it creates real value for people - small firms borrowing and lending money(not like today's 'Too big to fail' gambling organizations). At the same time other industries(energy, biotech etc.) will get talents for solving real big problems the world is facing.

Leave East Coast and come to West Coast. West coast is all about casual dressing and creating real value. East coast is all about vanity fair and Financial manipulation. Its your choice!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Have some Free Computing TIme..Volunteer!

Use the idle time on your computer (Windows, Mac, or Linux) to cure diseases, study global warming, discover pulsars, and do many other types of scientific research. It's safe, secure, and easy. Try BOINC

Do you support bitcoin and wikileaks?

I do..what about you?

Netflix Gyan - Nice!

Enjoy the insights. I would love to work in a team like this.

My 2 cents - I always think the peer group comparison performance ranking, percentile ranking is never a great idea for Teamwork, which is essential for great organization. The NextGen companies are starting to recognize that fact and trying to create a 'helping organization'. Keep great people who can think beyond the obvious and the synergy will move the company ahead. The compensation should be primarily based on Team Performance. Individualistic variances will be required based on market needs but that should never be Peer-comparison rating based. It should be based on Individual meeting their own set targets.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

We need Angel Investing/Venture Capital instead of Share Trading

So many analysts are wasting their time on Stock Analysis and misguiding general public. They are just trying to grow trading volume so that Financial Services community (Fund manager, Trading companies, Analysts firms) makes money and general public loose out. This is a Win-Lose scenario.

Let me suggest a win-win scenario. A platform is badly needed so that common people can invest some of their money in new companies, startups etc. These New Companies new Venture Capital money and sometimes good ideas die just due to lack of Venture Capital funding. Today common men(say having investable capital less than one million or so) cannot participate in Venture/Angel funding – government rules prohibit that. Also common people probably do not have enough competence to do the due diligence before investing in new venture. Why can’t we relax the rules of Venture capital funds where anyone can invest with their small amount of money. Government should allow this as they are investing agreeing that it is a high risk-high return investment and they can lose money(it is anyway true for a stock after IPO).

If this is allowed we will see Financial Analysts will get some interesting job to do(rather than suggesting Buy on stock today and then recommending ‘Sell’ after a month)which will actually help the economy to boom. Prudent investors will get an opportunity to invest and benefit in the early growth of a company and new entrepreneurs will get enough funding to pursue their dreams. They will get much more options to ask for money than they get today.