Saturday, September 27, 2014

VERY OLD COMPANIES


How old is your Company?  How long do companies really live in this world?  Whilst the Human Beings are able to live for about 80 years why is it that the Companies started by the same human beings do not survive that long?  I read recently that most of the companies live anywhere between 20 to 40 years.

I also read recently that a third of the Fortune 500 companies of 1970 were gone by 1983 as they were either merged with another company or acquired by some other company or simply went bankrupt.

In 2004 Citigroup was ranked No.1 in the Forbes list of Top 2000 Companies and it went down to No.16 in 2014.  GE has moved from No.2 to No.7 in the same 10 year period and BP has moved from No.5 to No.17.

In 2004 the top 10 had 7 companies from USA 2 from UK and 1 from Japan.  In 2014 there are 5 companies in the top 10 companies from China and balance 5 are from USA.  In this period of 10 years Toyota has moved from No.8 to No.12 and Walmart has moved from No.10 to 20.

Interestingly companies with less than 300 employees and which have been managed by the Family have always survived much much longer.  Kongo Gumi which was founded in 578 AD survived till 2006.  There are a lot of companies which have been in existence for several centuries particularly in Japan, Italy, Germany and France.  Sumitomo was founded in 1590.  Some of the other older companies from 17th and 18th Century are listed below:

Coats - 1755
Royal Bank of Scotland - 1727
Cox & Kings Travel - 1758
Allen Solly - 1744
Saint Gobain - 1665
Lambertz - 1688
Lloyd's Insurance - 1688
Lloyd's Bank - 1765
Levi Strauss & Co - 1853

Managing a Company in this world of high and intense competition is not easy.  In business it is always "survival of the fittest".  You need not have the biggest company but you should have the company that is fittest in order to survive.  The admire the management of the above companies which have survived not just years but several centuries.

T.P.Anand
Dubai, U.A.E.
27th September 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

AIRTEL SUPER SINGER JUNIOR 4 - FINALISTS


Super Singer in Vijay TV has been a very good programme to watch.  It is really amazing how these youngsters (young stars) perform.  I have been a great fan of this programmes both the seniors as well as the Juniors.  To me the Airtel Super Singer Junior has been a tremendous programme to showcase the talent of such young kids.

The Super Singer Junior 4 has now reached a level where they are going to select the Top 10 very soon.  They would also have the wild card round and when it finally reaches the Finalists of top 5 it would be great to watch the competition among the children.

Srihari is also a very talented and good singer and how can we forget the little wonder Angeline. From the beginning she has been one of the star performers.  At that age I wonder how she is able to remember the whole song and reproduce it with such ease and elegance.

Watch this great performance by this 5 year old wonder kid:

I think in the coming years she will give a tough time to the other competitors with her stellar performances.

My prediction of the top five is as follows:

  1. Pravasthi
  2. Spoorthi
  3. Bharath
  4. Srisha
  5. Haripriya


Pravasthi is a very talented singer and has given some remarkable performances over the last few months.  I would rate her Engengae Engengae song at the top so far:


Spoorthi is another wonder kid.  She sings every song with such ease and her pronunciation is so perfect despite the fact that Tamil is not her mother tongue.  Ninaithu Nianithu parthen is one of the super performance that she has given particularly the long sustaining notes and the breathe control with which she sings is truly mind blowing:


Bharath is a born entertainer.  He not only sings well but also has the unique appeal for the audience.
His voice modulation and expressions are outstanding and truly unbeleivable for his age.  I quite liked his Rukku Rukku rendition as it had all the ingredients for a super performance:


Srisha is another participant who has come in the earlier year.  She has matured a lot in her singing and has been performing well consistently.  Over the last few weeks she has been getting the chocolate shower almost every week with some very good performance.  Her rendition of Enaduyire was exceptional and truly brought out her full potential and talents:


Haripriya is not new to Super Singer and this year she is giving some extraordinary performances.  I was completely mesmerized by her performance in Azhagan Muruganidam:


With many more rounds to go and wild card entry possibilities for some of the contestants, we do not know how this will turn out.  However I feel the above five will make it to the Finalists of the Super Singer Junior 4.  Let us wait and watch or keep watching and waiting.

T.P.Anand
Dubai, U.A.E.
16th September 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

CHITTOREGARH - LARGEST FORT IN INDIA

Chittoregarh is a small town close to Udaipur and the drive from Udaipur is just over two hours.  When you reach the town you cannot miss to look at the Aravali Hills.  When you look at the stretch of the hills ahead of you this magnificent fort will amaze you by the sheer size.  This is one of the largest fort in Asia.
The Fort is built over an area of 8 square kilometers on a 700 Acres plot and is as old as 5th Century, i.e., more than 1500 years old.  The drive around the hills through the various gates and a walk through the palace is truly a stunning experience and it needs to be personally physically felt.  I was fortunate to have that first hand personal and physical experience of going to this fort on 20th August 2014 with my wife.
The two commemoration pillars that are standing in the hill are architectural marvels.  These are called the Victory Tower (Vijay Stambh) and Jain Deedful Tower (Jain Keerti Stambh).  Vijay Stambh is 122 feet tall and is a nine storey structure and was completed in 1448.  Keerti Stambh which stands at 75 feet and was built in 12th Century.

I was wonder struck to see the Palaces, the swimming pools, the underground tunnels, huge walls and the various structures.  It is bewildering to see this magnificent fort at a hill top that too built more than 1500 years ago at an age and time when there were no cranes, vehicles, equipment and tools.

The highlight was the Padmini Palace where you see the huge mirrors.  You can see the image of a person standing in the palace built in the middle of the tank through the large mirror.  Allauddin Khilji could see Padmini in the mirror.  The architecture of these palaces actually induced doubts about its actual times of construction.  It was truly amazing and mind boggling to stand there and witness this marvel on earth.
The Palace for the King, Palace for Queen, Summer Palace, Winter Palace, Accommodation for the Ministers, Defence Headquarters, Accommodation for the soldiers and other employees of the Royal Family, Temples, Swimming Pool, Deer Sanctuary, Victory and Keerti Towers, Compound Walls, internal passages, secret rooms, secret underground passage, Stunning views of the town at the foothill makes this entire Fort a comprehensive and complete place.



Preserving this marvelous Fort by itself is a huge task and I sincerely hope the Government of India is able to preserve this Fort (or whatever remains of the Fort) for another few centuries.  People who get to see this Fort, in my opinion, are truly fortunate.  The visit to this Fort with my wife only reinforced my thinking that there is so much to explore and see in India.

T.P.Anand
Dubai, U.A.E.
27th August 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ABBA


ABBA is the first ever english album that I heard in my life more than three decades ago.  After a very long time I heard the songs while driving from Salalah in July 2014.  The songs brought back lot of memories of the good old days.  National Tape Recorder, Seenu, Ramesh, Suresh, Thandavarayan Street, Cassette, English Songs, Unknown lyrics, known tune, happy singing along without knowing the words and its meaning, etc., etc.  We used to listen to these songs as a group without understanding most part of the song and were still able to enjoy.

Anni, Benny, Bjorn and Agnetha  are the four musicians who came together and formed the Group ABBA.  ABBA the album was recorded from August 1974 to March 1975.  I just cannot believe that this album was recorded 40 years ago as the songs are still very fresh and very enjoyable.  They topped the music charts worldwide for seven years in a row from 1975 to 1982.

Two couples got together and through their pop music they captivated the whole world and it is a pity that they were together as a Pop Music Group just for 10 years from 1972 to 1982.  It is so sad that they split in 1982 and their lovely music was all over in just 10 years.

I sat and listed the songs that I liked the most and here is the list of top 12 songs that I enjoyed the most:

  1. SOS
  2. Mamma Mia
  3. I do I do I do
  4. Waterloo
  5. Fernando
  6. Chiquitita
  7. Money Money Money
  8. The Winner takes it all
  9. Thank you for the music
  10. Take a chance on me
  11. Dancing Queen
  12. Eagle


ABBA music will live on and on as long as we hear music in this world.  Long Live ABBA.

T.P.Anand
Dubai, U.A.E.
19th August 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

100th YEAR OF COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS


1914 is the year in which we had the first commercial flight in this world.  The flight was for just 23 minutes in Tampa Bay.  
2014 is the 100th year of Commercial Flights in this world.  What an achievement.  We have come a very very long way in the Aviation Industry and today roughly 8 million people are taking commercial flights every day in this world.  Imagine 8 million each day being carried from one place to other by the Aviation Industry and if each aircraft is carrying about 100 people that translates to about 80,000 commercial flights in a day (24 hour cycle).  Roughly 55 flights are taking off every minute from different airports across the globe.

I remember way back in 1984 we were having a conversation and my friend Renganathan said his brother is working on a project on Transportation and they will find solution for carrying 500 passenger in an aircraft by the year 2000.  We were all laughing and told him that if 500 people can get in then it can only be Ship which sails in the Ocean, it cannot be an aircraft.  When the A 380 was launched I was reminded of this incident and today we have aircrafts carrying more than 500 people.


The figures and facts about the number of passengers, growth rate, plans of the Aircraft Manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus are all very encouraging.  In reality most of the Airlines are only incurring losses and over the years we have seen so many of them close shop.  When the skies were opened to the private airlines in India there were too many players and there is only one who is still in business, Jet Airways.  I do not understand why these Airlines incur such huge losses?  If most of them are only incurring losses then how can there be a consistent flow of new entrants in this business?

The technological advancement in the aviation industry is really mind boggling and stunning.  We have so much of advancement and still there have been mysteries like the MH 370 which went completely missing and there is no clue as to what happened to the aircraft.  We also had an incident a few days back when a Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to Brussels slipped more than 5000 ft and they found that the Pilot was sleeping and the co-pilot was busy on his iPad.

Aviation Industry has completed 100 glorious years of service and while the advancement is stunning it has been a bit of turbulent ride for the Airline Industry.



Let us hope the next 100 years to be less turbulent and far more smoother.

T.P.Anand
Dubai, U.A.E.
17th August 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

WORLD ELEPHANT DAY

We have a popular saying in Tamil "Yaanai irundhalum aayiram pon irandhalum aayiram pon".  This means an Elephant is worth a thousand whether he lives or dies.  It is an amazing creation of God and truly a Magnificent creature.  The size, form, features and the Majesty about this animal is really mind boggling.  Ther is an Elephant is almost every temple in South India and it is amazing to watch these elephants.  You can stand and keep watching them in bewilderment for hours together.
I have a friend Shridhar who is very fond of elephants and has been maintaining a collection of pictures, stories and news about elephants.  I saw his collection of photos about 25 years ago and was really stunned by his interest in learning about elephants and following the same with passion.  He sent me a mail this morning about World Elephant Day and immediately I was thinking of my visit to the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawala in Sri Lanka last year in August.  It was a breathtaking experience to see the elephants in that Orphanage and we followed the herd when they went across the road to the river.


These elephants are being killed for the Ivory Tusk they have and they are also being tortured and misused in some places.  We should let them lead a peaceful life of their own in the forests and not disturb them.

This phenominal creation of God can actually destroy anything and everything that is confronts.  A large african tusker can weigh upto 5 tonnes.   The Elephant can live upto 70 years and prefers to always be part of a herd.  They love to be with their family all the time.  There is a period called "Musth" and during this time the Male Elephants can really go on a rampage.  This is a period during which the "testosterone" levels are very high.  The Male Elephants are very aggressive during the period of "Musth".  Watch this live footage of what they can do:



We need to leave them in peace and watch them from far.  While we have a right to live in this world we need to allow the others to enjoy a similar right.


We have used this unique animal in the olden days for building massive structures like Temples.  They have been used for carrying heavy and huge boulders and trees.  Elephants are known as the "working animals" and they enjoy working.  Being a pure vegetarian these majestic animals are very polite and nice.  They are also playful at times.

Elephants are really adorable, peaceful and gigantic animals and we need to respect their privacy and way of living.  Long Live Elephants and lets allow them a very comfortable co-existence in this world.

T.P.Anand
Dubai, U.A.E.
12th August 2014

Sunday, August 10, 2014

THE OCEAN CLEANUP

Boyan Slat is only 19 years old but could be the youngest employer to have more than 100 employees in the world.  He has a revolutionary plan to scoop up several thousand tonnes of plastic waste that is lying in the oceans.  There are some estimates that there could be 100 million tonnes of plastic waste in the oceans.  This is actually causing a huge damage to the fishing and tourism sectors each year.  This plastic waste is known as the "Plastic Soup".

The Plastic Soup is swirling around in the five main Gyres or rotating oceanic currents in the world.  Boyan Slat has come up with an innovative idea to trap the plastic soup by harnessing the power of sea currents.  He is an engineering student in Netherlands.  He raised a simple question "Why go after plastic if it can come to you?  He went for scuba diving in Greece and saw more plastics than fish under the water.

He presented his idea in 2012 and once his method was acclaimed as an innovative method he kept his engineering studies at bay and jumped into the Ocean Cleanup drive.  His design calls for two vast floating arms, 50 kilometers long each in the form of V anchored to the ocean floor.  The ocean currents will force the waste into the "V" and to a cylindrical platform 11 metres in diameter floating at the end which can store upto 3000 cubit meters of plastic for eventual collection by a ship.  A solar powered conveyor belt will take the largest chunks of plastic to and from a shredder so that it will fit in the cylinder.  He has gone ahead with this method and today employs more than 100 people in his "Ocean Cleanup" project.

Boyan Slat wants to set up a pilot project and run for the next four to five years before installing the first "Operational Cleanup Array" in the north Pacific Ocean.  He has given a wonderful short speech on his project and watch this video:



Boyan Slat has set up a crowdfunding website to collect $ 2 Million and within the first 30 days he has reached close to $ 1 Million.  The feasibility study for this Ocean Cleanup Project has been done with the involvement of nearly 70 people including Engineers, Lawyers, Oceanographers and other professionals.

This youngster deserves all the support and encouragement and I really admire his foresight, clarity in thinking and the conviction with which he has gone ahead with this noble cause.  We are seeing the surface of the Ocean and enjoying the vast, quiet, blue surface.  Boyan Slat has actually lifted the top layer and seen below and what is lying below the ocean is really something very harmful.
I wish Boyan Slat all the very best and I am sure he will succeed in his mission to Cleanup the Oceans.

T.P.Anand
Dubai, U.A.E.
10th August 2014