Book summary: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Some salient notes from the book

  1. If there’s an elephant in the room, introduce it.
  2. Even if you are in position of strength, be fair.
  3. Have something to bring on the table, people would be more welcoming of you to join in then.
  4. Get the fundamentals right, fancy stuff does not work without that.
  5. When you are screwing up and nobody says anything, they have given up on you (that’s a really bad place to be).
  6. Playing sports is not about learning the technicalities of the game but about teamwork, perseverance, sportsmanship, value of hard work and ability to deal with adversity.
  7. The brick walls are there for a reason. They are not there to keep us out, they are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.
  8. Manage time explicitly like money
  9. You can always change your plan, but only if you have one.
  10. Ask yourself: are you spending your time on right things
  11. Delegate your work as much as possible
  12. What’s more fun than fulfilling one’s own dreams is to helping someone else fulfill their dreams.
  13. Use positive language, “When does this [Disney] park close?” is to be responded with “This park is open till 8 PM”.
  14. Don’t complain about your problems, whining does not help, focus on working harder instead.
  15. Almost everyone has a good side, if you wait long enough, it will come out.
  16. Focus on what people do not what they say.
  17. Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.
  18. You can be an optimist if you have a contingency plan for what to do when all hell breaks loose.
  19. A bad apology is worse than no apology.
  20. No job is beneath you, do you best at whatever job you are put to.
  21. Rights come with responsibilities.
  22. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.

Android, Gradle and compile-time only dependencies

Android plugin for Gradle does not support Java-style compile time only dependencies.

After spending a few hours on trying to build android app targeted for Amazon SDK (without using Amazon’s android specific plugin but just their jar stubs for maps, ADM and Home widget), I finally found that the one way to support compile-time dependencies is following.

For application project

For library project

References

  1. https://stackoverflow.com/questions/16613722/gradle-configurations-not-working-as-expected-in-new-android-build-system
  2. http://stackoverflow.com/a/24157721

A walk in San Francisco

“Give me your wallet, bro” he said in his heavy accent while holding gun to my forehead. It seems, out of pure curiosity, I have walked into this shady neighborhood of San Francisco. “Pull out your wallet”, he shouted, “and count the cash”, this time bringing my full attention to him. I pulled out my wallet, carefully counted all the nickels, pennies and dimes and said, “13 dollars, 59 cents and one Indian Rupee”.
“That’s it”, he blustered at the peak of his voice while I stood sweating profusely on a chilly night. He was not amused and pulled the trigger.

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Book summary: Only The Paranoid Survives by Andrew Grove

The book talks about inflection points which if not handled carefully, are drastic (10x) enough to put a company out of business.

Something changed

In 1994, Intel’s Pentium processors suffered from floating point bug, what was surprising for Intel is that once the consumers became aware of the bug, rather than reaching out to manufacturers, they were calling Intel directly. It became obvious at that point, that Intel has become a household name and even though its selling to enterprises, consumers think of it as a consumer electronics company and have same expectations of customer service.

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A visit to Gadar Memorial in San Francisco

Getting Inside

After getting misdirected once to 436 Hill St, San Francisco (the old original address which does not exist anymore), I eventually reached 5 Wood St, San Francisco.
It was sunset time, I knew I was late but finally, it felt good to see (a nondescript) apartment marked “Gadar memorial”.Least I expected the doors to be locked. I drove 40 miles (65 km) not to stand in front of this locked door. There must be a way to go in, I contemplated, as I noticed an Indian woman walking upstairs towards me.
“I am here to see Gadar Party’s office”, I asked and she stammered while replying in English. “हिंदी बोलती है आप ?”, I inquired.
“जी हाँ”, she confirmed.
“मैं आशीष, south bay से आया हूँ ग़दर स्मारक देखना था । “, I said, while pointing towards the building.
“आपके पास consulate से permission है?”, she asked.
“consulate से permission?” I inquired.
“consulate से बिना permission लिए यहाँ आना मना है । “, she confirmed.
Even for bureaucratic Indian govt, taking a permission from consulate to visit a first world war era memorial (and as per my limited knowledge, only such Indian memorial in USA) felt perplexing. Of course, I was not ready to yield and drive back another 40 miles before paying the homage. We both stood there motionless with an awkward silence.
Someone had to blink, thankfully, she did.
“एक बार मैं अपने husband से बात करती हूँ । “, she said.
She unlocked the door and went inside, and after some chatter, they both came out and after some cursory conversation, he allowed me in to visit the memorial. The rest of the conversation with them was pretty friendly.

Inside

The memorial consisted of a single hall with locked showcases (filled with books in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu). There were a few posters and pictures hanging on the wall, again labeled in one (and exactly one) or the other of the aforementioned languages. I didn’t visit the memorial expecting an audio tour but not finding English or Hindi labels on the items was depressing. The whole space lacked maintenance.
After thanking the Indian couple (they seem to be appointed by consulate to maintain the place), I left half an hour later. The treatment of the memorial (which is the last symbol of this movement and Indian students who started it) by Indian govt is deplorable, especially, given the fact that this is only memorial of its kind in USA.

Departing thoughts

The treatment met out to defenders of the nation (dead or alive, uniformed or revolutionary) determines its destiny. Reminds me of this second world war story of France vs UK. “Before World War II, it was not uncommon to see placards hanging outside some restaurants in Paris which read Dogs, lackeys and soldiers not allowed. On the other hand, even pregnant women used to get up and offer seats to soldiers in London buses. When the war broke out, France capitulated in no time while Britain remained undefeated.” [source]

Book Summary: The Innovator’s Dilemma (when new technologies cause great firms to fail) by Clayton Christensen

The book presents Clayton’s counter intuitive thesis on how firms with good management practices and sound understanding of their customers need eventually fail at disruptive innovations (they succeed at sustainable innovations).
The book emphasizes that its not engineering but management oversight that leads to demise of incumbents (in the face of disruptive innovations).

One line summary: At some point, the incumbent’s product’s performance exceeds demand of most customers and the “edge” which this performance metrics provided is lost, customers’ value proposition changes, they start valuing some other metrics, along which a disruptor’s product has better performance (and has early mover’s advantage), leading to demise of incumbent.
Following are the salient ideas raised in the book.

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