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Mujhko Bhi To Lift Kara De… (Lift Me Too) and The Raising of Chicago

If you are a fan of Hindi Pop music (which I am not. Hindi Pop is similar to Indian Chinese food…it’s Indian. Chinese is for namesake. Similarly, Hindi Pop is just Hindi song, Pop part is misleading!), you might remember a song composed and sung by Pakistani singer Adnan Sami – Mujhko Bhi To Lift Kara De (Lift me too). Here’s the song:

The song basically says that God has blessed any Tom, Dick and Harry in this world and given them all the beauty and bounty. Then why not me? Lift me too and take me out of my dismal condition. It’s nice mediocre song, which many people (including myself) can connect with, at least some of the times.

The reason for remembering this song was a news I read recently about a house in my city Pune. A man in my city literally lifted his house by using 200 jacks to avoid rain and drainage water entering his house! Here is the news in English and Marathi. Here is a photo (taken from English news report) of how it was done.

703520-bunglow-in-pune-being-lifted

I also found a Youtube video of the same house which shows it in much more detail:

I found it very astonishing, a real marvel of Engineering and Technology! I then researched on what this technology is and since when it has been in use, and found some interesting information.

This technique was used way back in 1850s and 1860s to raise the entire central district of Chicago in the US. During the 1850s and 1860s engineers carried out a piecemeal raising of the level of central Chicago. Streets, sidewalks and buildings were physically raised on hydraulic jacks or jackscrews. The work was funded by private property owners and public funds.

Here is a good article about the story:

Raising the Chicago streets out of the mud

I also found an interesting video by Matt Parker, my favorite “stand-up mathematician“! I’m sure you would love it…

 

Wish there were similar ways to lift ourselves in career, in social circles, and in personal relationships

樂

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Good Read: How Long Is A Quarter? 6 Months If You Are This Indian “Startup”

I came across a couple of interesting articles on Reliance Jio (Mukesh Ambani’s $38 billion “start-up”) suggesting that the accounting practices (just like a lot of other things at the Ambani Group) could be dubious. I want to write something on valuation and Indian equity markets since a long time…meanwhile do read this article.

Ambani’s Mobile Startup Packs 6-Month Sales Into a Quarter

It is not clear if it is accounting fraud or just “massaging the numbers” within the permissible accounting rules. But this definitely calls for a closer look at the Reliance Industries performance.

Quick Thoughts: Infosys and the Art of Business Transformation

Read this news about Infosys and thought of sharing Quick Thoughts (Mini-Read).

Here is the Infosys news in today’s Times of India.

So Vishal Sikka wanted to position Infy as a Product company and the rest of the management/owners didn’t. Interesting…this is a huge strategic shift and will define in couple of decades who was right.

I feel Infy present management is right. You cannot transform and position a Services org as a Product based company after 30+ yrs and after attaining huge size.

But I agree with Sikka’s vision in principle. So maybe he should have created new org for Products.

We should learn from IBM, Google (Alphabet) and Apple how they manage massive transformations successfully.

Something significant has happened around us last week!

Few weeks ago I wrote about Misha Osipov – the new chess prodigy. That was an amazing feat by a human in chess!

This week something equally or more significant has happened in chess. Google’s AI, AlphaZero, developed a “superhuman performance” in chess in just four hours. After being programmed with only the rules of chess (no strategies), in just four hours AlphaZero had mastered the game to the extent it was able to best the highest-rated chess-playing program Stockfish.

In a series of 100 games against Stockfish, AlphaZero won 25 games while playing as white (with first mover advantage), and picked up three games playing as black. The rest of the contests were draws, with Stockfish recording no wins and AlphaZero no losses.

This is a very significant development in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning!

Chess programs and softwares so far used to work as a combination of “Huge database of Chess games + Rules/Analysis Engine +  Brute force of computing power”. So the programs were “fed with” chess games and rules; they didn’t “learn” chess. Of course that was also a tremendous achievement. You should read Garry Kasparov’s book Deep Thinking to read about his match with Deep Blue and the future of Man vs Machine chess.

But Google’s AI is altogether different! Few months ago Google’s AI beat the best human in a Chinese strategy game called Go. Watch a short video explaining Google’s Deep Mind here.

Google AI is trying to develop a general purpose machine learning software that can learn things on its own and then excel. In the recent game of chess the Google AI learnt the game of chess in just 4 hours; not just learnt, it mastered the game of chess in 4 hours! The program AlphaZero then played with another strong program Stockfish in 100 games and destroyed it 64-36!

Look at reactions of some of the best Chess players in the world today

https://www.chess.com/news/view/alphazero-reactions-from-top-gms-stockfish-author

You can read an academic paper on this Mastering Chess and Shogi by Self-Play with a General Reinforcement Learning Algorithm

The world around is us changing rapidly! Driverless cars, Drones, Hyperloop, Self-learning AI, Machine learning, Blockchain, Robots performing human tasks and posing threat to jobs…disruption is inevitable in all spheres of life!

One can only imagine how these changes would impact us in year 2030 or 2040! Embracing the technology and facing disruption is not an option; welcoming it and adjusting ourselves, and keeping ourselves up-to-date is the only option! Gone are the days when you could leave University with a degree and spend the rest of your life without upgrading your skills, learning new things. You must earn all your life just to keep pace with the world around you! Because now the threat is not only from other humans, but from machines as well!

Remember the Red Queen quote from Alice In Wonderland?

Screen Shot 2017-12-10 at 1.15.26 PMprint-alice-in-wonderland-lewis-carroll-characters-visit-w-red-queen-in-forest-f196c728a1f22e74f229b0eb7d83ace6

 

D8: Steve Jobs Onstage: Full-length Video

Steve Jobs interview at D8 – All Things Digital conference…he mentioned about iPhone 4G leak and within a few days, i.e. Yesterday Apple announced iPhone 4G!!! Look forward to watching Steve Jobs product launch presentation soon…

http://s.wsj.net/media/swf/main.swf

~ Kaustubh

The New Buffettology: Book Review: Part 1


I recently read this book – ‘The New Buffettology’ by Mary Buffet (who was Warren’s daughter-in-law for 12 years before she divorced her husband and Warren’s son, Peter) and David Clark.


I immensely enjoyed reading this book; though not a fool-proof, it has some very interesting snippets and anecdote’s about Warren Buffet’s investment strategies and business acumen. It gives you some insight into how Warren thinks and makes his investment decisions.


The books is filled with small write-ups/ tid-bits used to explain some basic concepts/ Warren’s investment philosophies. Here is one excerpt on the shortsightedness of Mutual Fund and how investing in Mutual Funds with long-term perspective is not a good idea (to which I fully agree. I had similar thoughts but was not able to put it in such precise words as te following write-up has done!)

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THE SHORTSIGHTEDNESS OF THE MUTUAL FUND BEAST


A number of years ago the authors were having dinner with a middle-aged mutual fund manager who oversaw tens of billions of dollars for the money management division of a large West Coast Bank. He brought along an enormous book that contained a brief analysis over two thousand different companies that he and his fellow analysts followed. They called it their “investment universe”. At his invitation we thumbed through the book and found a company that we knew Warren had been buying, Capital Cities Communications. Capital Cities was a television and radio broadcasting company run by Tom Murphy, a management genius with a keen eye for the bottom line. Warren loved this company and once said that if he were stranded in a deserted island for ten years and had to put all his money into just one investment, it would be Capital Cities. Definitely a strong vote of confidence.

Our friend also had a list of the stocks his fund had purchased. As we read through the list, we noticed that he didn’t own any Capital Cities. We quickly pointed this out and told him that Warren had recently been buying it. He said that he knew it was a great company but he didn’t own it because he didn’t think the stock price would do much over the next six months. We told him that was insane. That it was a fantastic long-term investment selling at a great price. He told us that he was under great pressure to produce the highest quarterly results possible. If he couldn’t beat his competitor’s returns quarterly, his clients would take their money elsewhere, which meant that he would lose his job, his Porche, and the income to send his son to Harvard. (Sounds grim, doesn’t it?)

Our mutual fund manager felt he couldn’t buy a single share of Capital Cities for his fund, even though he knew it was a great investment, because he wasn’t sure that it was going to go up in price over the next six months. This is the nature of mutual beast; it caters to the short-term oriented mutual-fund-buying public. If it doesn’t, money flows out the door and down the street to the fund that produces better short-term results.

(in case you are wondering, Capital Cities eventually merged with the ABC television network, which eventually merged with entertainment giant Disney, making Warren billions in the process. Good things do come to those who have patience and foresight.)


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I am now fully convinced that investing in Mutual Fund with a long-term perspective is a bad idea…and have vowed never to invest in it 🙂


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