Sunday, November 28, 2010

Love - An irresistible desire

"Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired." -- Robert Frost

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Apple school

Ad seen on a Breach Candy bus stop:
A great differentiator indeed! But is it secretly selecting only rich kids? Can an Apple enabled learner be better at studies?


According to this logic, I can kill someone or do any crime I want and then promise to not do it again if I am forgiven. WTH?

On a slightly different note, after reading an account on the 26/11 terrorist who got overwhelmed by the spaciousness of the Taj Hotel while he was to put it on fire(as per commands of his commander), I was wondering the following scenario. Suppose say the fellow calls for a negotiation with the government and asks for a lawyer and demands that all his crimes to be irrevocably pardoned and he be given a posh permanent residence in the country in lieu of not harming anyone anymore and giving all details about his crime. Is this 1. Rational, 2. Justifiable to the govt for an agreeable settlement, 3. Govt's response tenable in the court of law ?
What do you think?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Passing it over

Has it ever happened in a cricket test match that a team has passed its innings?
Let me explain with an example. In the current test match between West Indies and Sri Lanka in Galle, WI batted first and scored 580-9 declared. In response, Sri Lanka batted and finished with 378 all out, just 4 runs short of avoiding a follow-on. If Sri Lanka had scored 4 or slightly more runs and got all out and if the WI felt that the remaining excess runs is enough along with the time available to not bat at all, but pass the second innings and make Sri Lanka bat again, is this possible? Has anything of this type of confidence/arrogance/necessity ever happened before?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Being Computer savvy

Being computer savvy means being able to do all the regular things and even some irregular things given some time on the computer. The key trick to being computer savvy is just two things. One, having some computer savvy friends and the other, having a good searching skill (in short googling). The first involves taking about your problems with your savvy friend and the his/her telling you of a similar problem they or someone they know faced and how they resolved it. It also involves enthusiatically discussing you about the latest happenings/developments/updates/new softwares/new functionalities - basically arming yourself with knowledge.

The second part, "googling", seems simple for a newbie, but an experienced person knows how difficult it is to get when you are looking at a particular thing from a particular view. That is the art of searching. One needs to think like the code or the machine on what keywords it would have stored for the searches and with which keywords would you hit the right link/topic. Yes, it is a kind of trial and error, more appropriately put, it is an educated and calculated guess. Being creative helps. Giving alternative keywords, adding descriptions, country location, authors name, popular news sites, etc are all the right moves/filters to get the thing you need. Somehow, this is a skill that is not taught or even recognised by anyone despite its needs being immense. Only a manager/friend will know the benefits of having a person who is super fast in getting you the right information immediately by "simple" googling.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Generating Alpha - Indian Mutual fund Industry

I am surprised that so many mutual funds know so much about the industry they work in and have enough good relationships with the companies' management to give them accurate information about their financing and profit numbers, not to mention where their industry is heading, what their competition is doing and what are the risks they are facing. The research reports I see are really good to read and understand too. But why is it that such informed fund managers not able to produce an alpha (Alpha is a risk-adjusted measure of the so-called active return on an investment. In short, the higher the Alpha, the better the fund managers stock picking skills). The Indian mutual fund industry has missed out on two good rallies one in 2009 and one this year. I see a systemic problem here. They never seem to know when the tide is coming and are constantly caught unawares. The current Indian mutual funds work mostly in a bottom-up approach (I am not refering to the top-down or bottom-up way with respect to sectors and the indian economy, but the bottom I am refering to is the Indian economy and sectors and stocks while the top refers to the global economy). Despite the fact and the characteristic of the Indian stock market that the majority of the investors's money comes from abroad, the mutual fund managers do not give enough importance to the money flow from abroad. They just believe in buying the right stocks and wait till the tide comes and the stocks rise. Though they the mutual funds talk about foreign money and majorly do secondary reasearch on international research reports, I dont think they are talking to foreign portfolio managers and FIIs who are putting and pulling money out of the Indian markets. If the fund managers understand the FIIs concerns and understanding and get the pulse of their investing mood/climate, they can buy stocks just before the tide is going to come and get out before the tide goes back, generating alpha for the investors.