Investment “experts”

Harvard’s declining endowment funds – shows that most investment bankers are grossly overpaid,  just because they handle the money, they get very high salaries and bonuses.  Few have the judgement or foresight to take the correct decisions.  A comment  is even more interesting (the best part of Rediff are the comments)

The worst fall-out of last few years frenzy was, making money out of thin air became an addiction. A wasted generation of brilliant minds led away from hard-core engineering. Any proposal to raise money from the public was padded up to make it a dream.

95% of the best engineers who graduated in the last two decades did not do engineering – they either worked in software companies or did an MBA and became “financial experts” . That is the real tragedy, working as a engineer teaches you to be practical and  you design for the long term. Something you design for a refinery or a power plant will be in operation for at least two or three decades, with very little downtime, you cannot afford to make mistakes.

MBAs , especially in the financial sector are about dress code and slick talk to gullible investors.  Unfortunately, due to media hype, students still want to waste 2 years of their life doing an MBA. If  you value your money, listen to all investment “experts” , but take your own decisions.

IT firms

IT firms and the Indian market –  I come from a non IT and internet background and have been very surprised how arrogant most IT and internet companies in India are. In engineering, even if you worked for the largest company in the industry and your customer was a very small company, you always tried to be flexible, listen to the customers requirement and make changes wherever possible.  I remember going to every hardware store in Ajmer searching for  a particular type of cable for wiring, after a customer had made a last minute change in location and the cable reel the vendor had bought from Mumbai was not enough. After all, the customer ultimately paid your salaries.

Looks like I am not alone, many other Indian companies face a similar problem. That is why  I don’t feel work experience in the biggest IT firms or internet companies helps, the Indian market is very different.

Jobs and salaries

In the current economic conditions, companies are trying to reduce their variable expenses, and one of the first casualties are the jobs.  I personally feel that salaries in the last few years have increased too rapidly and many people are overpaid for doing too little work.

The basic cost of living in India is still low, so most of the extra money people were earning was wasted on luxuries.  Hopefully , the media will stop hyping that kind of lifestyle and people will learn some humility.

A job in a reputed company may have lot of status in society, but in a job however well it  may pay, you have very little control over your future.  One wrong decision by the management and you may end up jobless.

Indian corporates

As the media covers the Satyam fraud , they should spend some time introspecting.  Most of the corporates in India, especially family managed businesses reflect the values of  the society in which we live, and  how honest are people today?  In the last five years,  people have become very materialistic,  how much money they think you have defines how people treat you, not the kind of person you are. India never had a culture of dissent or independent thinking, so few people have their own opinion, they only ape other countries.

While starting my own business has been rewarding both financially and work wise,  one of the things  I find missing is the trust I took for granted while working in India’s largest professionally managed non-foreign MNC company.  There were very good systems in place to ensure that no one tried to circumvent the system, but I think it is more related to the kind of  people  they recruited.  Most of them were not conventionally smart as defined by the media today, but they were sincere, disciplined and got work done.  Rules were the same for everyone, if  a person was on probation and came to office more than 5 minutes later than the official timings too often, the job was not confirmed and he was asked to leave.

Doing business online, especially with some Indian companies has been nothing short of a nightmare for me.  I have some domains that may be considered “valuable”  and  the underhand tactics used to get me to sell the domain names have been a revelation.  What I can’t understand is that if you want anything  from me, why not introduce yourself  and tell me what you want. I do not care for contacts or references, and  I find nothing wrong in directly approaching people  for business related issues,  after all  you have to make a start some time.

If  I find something fishy,  I will try to avoid any interaction or keep it to the minimum possible. For a period of a few years or decades, you can make a lot of money taking short cuts , but in the long run honesty is the best policy.  If  you want to be the best in the world, it is not by adopting foreign accents, names or dressing codes, (or plastering your website with foreign female models)  but by ensuring that the way you conduct  your business is such that no one can point a finger at you.