Monday, December 28, 2009

There is more to it than meets the eye

It has been a long while since my last blog post. Things have been very hectic at my startup.

In between work-related activities, I have been (re)thinking what I wrote last time in regards to Obama bowing obsequiously to the Emperor of Japan. The conclusion I reached is that my earlier comments were written in haste. There is always more to any matter than meets the eye.

Peggy Noonan mentioned in an Opinion column on WSJ that, "A picture or photograph becomes iconic only when it seems to express something that people already think." So, when Gerald Ford was incessantly ribbed (even today!) for tumbling as he came down Air Force One, it was not because he was clumsy but because his policies were bumbling. The picture iconified a growing perception.

If USA were perceived in the eyes of the world as a strong and thriving nation, the bow may have seemed gracious and "following protocol". The fact that it was not viewed as such indicates that there is a growing disillusionment on Obama's qualities as a leader.

Since that event last month, the Obama administration has successfully passed a landmark, historic Health Care reform; formulated a well articulated plan for success in Afghanistan. It is still Obama's first year in office. He has three more years to improve the economic mess that he inherited. However, they need to keep in mind that it is in the first year that inedible impressions are made. The bowing picture is not yet iconic. If they are not careful, other iconic pictures may emerge for all the wrong reasons.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Where do people find the time?

I am just amazed at how people find the time to react and respond to frivolous things.

First there was the issue of Obama's bowing to the Emperor of Japan. It is regarded as being obsequious and showing "weakness". Bloggers and analysts seem to be having a field day over this. What struck me is the huge number of vitriolic comments people are posting on these blogs/articles. Get a life people! Obama was following protocol. In India, you greet by folding your hands in front of your chest (aka "Namaste"). In Japan, you greet by bowing. If other world leaders did not do this in the past when greeting the Japanese Emperor, it only means that they did not do their homework on Japanese customs and culture. Don't make this a political issue. Surprisingly, the excellent speech that Obama gave after this greeting has not received any air time in these blogs.

Next, there is the issue of Newsweek's cover on Sarah Palin. Once again, it blows my mind that 400+ people found the time to respond to this and submit comments. At the outset, I wonder if Sarah Palin and her Going Rogue book deserves this kind of attention (she is no longer running for VP, you know). Sarah Palin has not offered any political insight concerning policy (other than parroting the party line). Come on people, get offended that she is being taken seriously - not for what she is wearing.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Is Obama a deserving winner of the Nobel Peace Prize?


I was surprised to learn that Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009. Soon after I heard, I went to the official site to see the committee's reasoning. There I found this picture of the Chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, ThorbjΓΈrn Jagland, holding a picture of the 2009 winner - with a painting of Alfred Nobel in the background. They cite Obama's, "efforts to strengthen international diplomacy" and his "vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons" and "for inspiring hope and creating a new climate in international politics" as reasons for awarding him.

I am an Obama fan and supporter. I voted for him in the last Election. However, I think that this award is premature. It is okay to give an award to school kids for effort and for being an inspiration. The bar for a Nobel Peace prize should be much higher. There needs to be significant contributions towards World Peace - similar to the actions of a Nelson Mandela (1993) or a Mother Theresa (1979).

In the past, the Peace Prize committee has shown a propensity to recognize anyone working on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (starting with the award in 1978 to Sadat and Begin; to the award in 1994 to Arafat, Peres and Rabin). Obama has shown that he is a man who thinks of achieving world peace. He has reached out to the Muslim world. To quote former Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan (2001), "In an increasingly challenging and volatile world, President Obama has given a sense of hope and optimism to millions around the world" and "has shown that the only way forward is through genuine cooperation with other nations." However, Obama has not done anything yet.

Obama will most certainly give a stirring speech at the ceremony in December. That should not and does not make him a deserving winner. I am sure Alfred Nobel is turning in his grave.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Celebration of Life


There was a Rajeev Motwani Memorial Celebration at Stanford on Friday, September 25th.

The event was held at Stanford Memorial Church. It began with the recital of a poem, "We remember him"

In the rising of the sun and in its going down,
we remember him.
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,
we remember him.
In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring,
we remember him.
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer,
we remember him.
In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn,
we remember him.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends,
we remember him.
When we are weary and in need of strength,
we remember him.
When we are lost and sick at heart,
we remember him.
When we have joys we yearn to share,
we remember him.
So long as we live, he too shall live,
for he is now a part of us,
As we remember him.

Prof. John Hennessy then eulogized Rajeev - recollecting from the time Rajeev interviewed at Stanford to the time he came up for tenure to his numerous contributions. Each time, Rajeev far exceeded their expectations.

Robert Goldman, professor of Sanskrit at UCB, provided his blessings. He quoted from the Bhagavad Gita and called Rajeev a stithaprajna - the perfect man; a man of unshakeable intellect. He concluded with the Upanishad mantra, Asatoma sadgamaya.

Rajeev's daughter, Naitri Jadeja, recited the Nirvana Shatakam - written by Adi Shankara.

Ram Shriram introduced Rajeev's family. This was followed by several eulogies. Sergey Brin spoke first and talked about how every meeting with Rajeev resulted in piquing his curiosity and challenging his mind. He provided a concept of a "Motwani Number" - degrees of separation from Motwani. In the spirit of remembering Rajeev, Sergey promised that every day he will help someone, teach someone and enjoy life just a little bit more. Jennifer Widom announced the $2.5m Rajeev Motwani Professorship endowed by Google. Sep Kamwar, a mentee of Rajeev spoke about the influence that Rajeev had in his career. Gautam Bhargava, a classmate of Rajeev's from IIT Kanpur recollected the college days. He announced that Rajeev has been awarded the first Pan IIT Lifetime Achievement award. Lakshmi Pratury, a family friend spoke last. The speakers ranged from distinguished to professional to personal. It was, indeed, a good selection of speakers that gave us insights into various aspects of Rajeev's rich life.

Ron Conway provided the closing remarks. He urged us all to bear the responsibility to nurture the seeds that Rajeev left behind. He also wanted everyone to stay engaged by visiting http://rememberingrajeev.com.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Creating the Next Killer Mobile Application


App Stores have hit mass market. The estimate is that by 2014, the revenues will reach $25b! Mobile data services revenue have already exceeded $10b in Q1 of 2009. The opportunity for the Next Killer Mobile Application is real and we can all smell it.

At Micello, we have been working on creating such an application for the last 8+ months. Micello did a private launch at JavaOne two months back to validate the concept. We got good visibility and some excellent feedback. We are gearing up to launch our Public Beta pretty soon (watch this space for announcements on that). In the meantime, I worked with Marina Fisher at Sun Microsystems to put together a Webinar on "Creating the Next Killer Mobile Application" that includes lessons learned, best practices and collective wisdom. The Webinar will also delve into how Micello uses Sun's technologies in the deployment stack. So, sign up here and hope to see you at the Webinar on Wednesday next week.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cool Widget to convert Text to Speech ...

Type in text to be converted to speech and provide any US/Canada phone number - including Land Line/Mobile/VOIP and the message is read to you. You need to be my friend on Facebook to know the password

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Reading a Data Disk burned on a Mac from a PC

As I had mentioned earlier, we had a family reunion to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of our parents. We had four cameras clicking away and recording the indelible moments of our journey through Southern India: Trivandrum -> Munnar -> Madurai -> Bangalore. In end, we had a collection of over 950 pictures. Since these were all 8 to 10 MP cameras, this translated to a total size of 2.7 Gb.

I decided to collect all the pictures on my MacBook Pro and burn a DVD. Imagine my dismay when folks reached their respective destinations and said, "The DVD you gave us is corrupted. My PC is not able to read it." I quickly discovered that even though Apple claims complete compatibility with a PC, the disks are not compatible. I came across a software called MacDrive that is "the ultimate solution for sharing files between Mac OS and Windows". However, this costs $49.99. I could not ask folks to spend that money just so that they can read the DVD with the pictures. Some more searching yielded this free software that did the trick. Called HFS Explorer, it allows you to browse Mac volumes and extract files onto your PC.

It worked like a charm. After the program started, I said "Load System from Device":

Then I said, "Extract" and specified the Directory on the PC. About 2 hours later, all the photos were on the PC.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Golden Moments Book


On the occasion of the Golden Wedding Anniversary of our parents, we published a book and presented it to them. Called, "Golden Moments", it captures the recollections from the extended family. There are a limited number of copies of the print edition and these have already been spoken for. When we showed the book to folks, many of them appreciated the effort and wanted a copy for themselves. They even wanted to create a similar book. An online version of the book (with more pictures than the print version) is now available. You can now download and read the book yourself. [Note: The earlier download link had limited bandwidth. As a result, I have additionally made the book available at this location.] Be warned that it is a 90-page book and the file size is 50+Mb. A picture of the cover of the book is shown here. In order to get the contributions for the book, I created a public wiki site on pbworks.com and created a page for each contributor. This allowed for asynchronous, collaborative contributions. Given that the writers were from different parts of the world, this is the only way that this project could be pulled off.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Rajeev Motwani

It was with total shock that I read about the demise of Rajeev Motwani. I have known Rajeev since the time he graduated from IIT Kanpur. Every one knows Rajeev for his academic excellence, his brilliance and his mentoring of many start ups in the valley - including Google and Paypal. Not many knew that he was a warm, caring and compassionate person. 

It was only two weeks back that I exchanged email with him to set up a meeting with him about my startup. He had responded saying that he was busy with "classes and stuff at Stanford until the end of May." I was going to set up some time to meet him in June after JavaOne.

Unfortunately, this meeting will never happen. It is a shame to lose a luminary like him at such a young age. The world has lost a true thinker, an excellent source of inspiration and a great human being. 

May your soul Rest In Peace, Rajeev.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Appreciating volunteers

In general, wherever you live, you are presented with numerous options for getting involved in your community. None of us are in an island. We depend on each other for survival and getting through our daily lives. The gap between communities and societies is ever increasing. This gap can be effectively bridged through volunteering. Each of us has skills in certain areas that others can benefit from. Volunteering is all about sharing these skills with the community. This allows us to connect with the community and give something back. There is also the benefit of learning group dynamics and team facilitation. While it is easier to "get things done" as a manager at work, it is not as easy to work with a diverse range of people with varied backgrounds that one encounters in a community and still complete tasks.

I have been involved in the Technology Committee of Weibel Elementary School for the last 11 years. The mission of the Technology Committee is to enable the Teachers to implement/use technology in their day-to-day activities. I still remember starting off with wiring all the class rooms with CAT-5 cables. Now, the school is blanketed with Wireless; most teachers have laptops and are not "afraid" to use Technology to improve the dissemination of information and assist them with curriculum development. As I had mentioned in an earlier posting on "25 Random Facts about me", I generally volunteer in the activities that my kids are involved in. Initially, I drew inspiration from people like Trish & John Caruso; John Mitchell and West Kurihara. They would tirelessly volunteer  despite having hectic schedules. Often people would ask me, "How do you find the time?" My response would be, "It is not a question of finding time. It is about making time."


Every year, the teachers at Weibel celebrate a "Volunteer Appreciation Day" where all the volunteers get together at Best House in the verdant Palmdale Estates. This year's celebration was on Thursday, May 21st. At this event the PTO awards certificates to the Board members and a few others to recognize their contributions. In addition, it is an opportunity for parents to talk to the teachers in a casual environment. The ambience of the place, the food and the people all make it a memorable, enjoyable evening. The evening's entertainment is provided by a High School choir/band. Usually, the participating students would have graduated from Weibel - thus giving the parents and teachers additional impetus to cheer/encourage them.

At the end of the evening the PTO gives one "TOP" award for "Thoroughly Outstanding
Performance". I was the recipient of this year's TOP award. I am humbled by the award and feel privileged that my kids belong to an Elementary School District with such a high caliber of parents, teachers and administrators. I am probably not the most deserving of this award. I am aware of many "unsung" parents who spend countless hours on a daily basis keeping the kids safe and healthy. Nevertheless, I would like to avail the "opportunity" to urge other parents to volunteer more. The school and the kids are the better for it. Besides, it is your way of "giving back".

Saturday, May 16, 2009

TiEcon, Day 2

The opening keynote on Day 2 was delivered by Tony Hseih, CEO of Zappos. Tony sold his first (straight out of Harvard) company, LinkExchange, to Microsoft for $265m. He started off as an investor in Zappos and soon became its CEO. Today Zappos has $1B in gross merchandise sales, a 24x7 call center, 365-day return policy and free shipping both ways. Their pervasive values of "Bring top notch customer service and deliver the very best customer experience" came across in every fiber of Tony's talk.

He talked about the importance of having a strong culture and core values for your company. The Zappos core values are:
  • Deliver WOW through service
  • Embrace and drive change
  • Create fun and a little weirdness
  • Be adventurous, creative and open-minded
  • Pursue growth and learning
  • Open and honest relationship with communication
  • Build a positive team and family spirit
  • Do more with less
  • Be passionate and determined
  • Be humble
It is important to build a brand that matters. The seven steps to do this are:
  1. DECIDE to build a long-term, sustainable brand.
  2. Figure out values and culture. Alignment is important. Live the brand.
  3. Commit to transparency.
    • Extranet for vendors
    • "Ask anything" newsletter
    • Tours and reporter visits
    • zapposinsights.com - you need to subscribe to this to get inside access to Zappos management
    • twitter.zappos.com
  4. Vision. Whatever you are thinking, think bigger. Choose the vision, not the money.
  5. Build relationships, not "networking". Be INTERESTED, rather than be INTERESTING.
  6. Build your Team. "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together," by Al Gore is applicable here.
  7. Think long term. There is no "get rich quick" formula. "Overnight successes" take years to build.
He transitioned to talk about the topic that he has been recently studying - the science of Happiness. In general, people are bad at predicting what will bring them (sustained) happiness. He asked everyone to see how the science of happiness can help your business, your brand and yourself.

At the conclusion of his talk, he was given a standing ovation - indicating how the audience resonated with his simple, yet compelling and inspiring thoughts.

The afternoon keynote was given by Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIn. This followed the format of a fireside chat with Mike Malone.

Reid mentioned that LinkedIn has 40m users world wide and are growing at 1m every 17 days. "Entrepreneurs jump off a cliff and assemble an airplane on the way down. You make decisions by doing it and not prepping for it." I could totally relate to that from my own experience!

Reid was asked about the areas of focus for LinkedIn over the next few years. He said that they would love to power, "who should I meet when I go to TiEcon". I see this as a perfect opportunity for LinkedIn to partner with Micello - which has the ability to deliver on this vision within our DNA.

Reid concluded saying that the "future is sooner and stranger than you think"

I had the opportunity to meet numerous people over the last few days. I met with potential users, partners, investors, journalists/bloggers/analysts. I hope to see some of those connections materialize into meaningful, long term relationships.


Friday, May 15, 2009

TiEcon, Day 1

The Micello Team was at TiEcon today. Our attorneys are one of the sponsors of TiEcon and were generous enough to allow us to use their booth. This gave us presence on the floor and the ability to demo the application to the attendees. With over 3600 attendees, there was a lot of energy. We demoed to 100+ folks and recieved positive feedback from all.

The opening keynote was given by Intuit CEO, Brad Smith. This talk certainly allowed the conference to start on a high note. He urged the audience to play offence, and not defence because "the clouds will part and the sun will shine ultimately".

He talked about four structural shifts taking place in the industry:
  1. User demographic shifts. Increasingly Gen Yers are using technologies and entering the work force. The baby boomers (46-64 year olds) are still a force to contend with. Momtrepreneurs, Careerpreneurs and Immigrants complete the demography shift.
  2. Value creation shift. User contribution and social interactions are huge and must not be ignored.
  3. Technology shift. Mobile is growing at a CAGR of 30%. This is far outpacing other technologies.
  4. Structural shift. There are geographic shifts taking place.
He said that Innovation is a Team Sport:
  • Customers - engage with them. Find out what they love about your product and what they hate. There are things that you can do to change and recognize that there are things that cannot change. Get the roughest, roughest prototype out to customers ASAP. Failing fast will allow you to succeed faster.
  • Employees - when they gave employees unstructured time, productivity and employee satisfaction improved.
  • Networks - tap partners to dramatically increase market potential and customer value.
Later, I attended a panel on "Wireless. What is working and Why". The panel was moderated by Levi Shapiro of Hiro Media. Bernard Gershon, Gershon Media; Atif Hussein, Nokia; Yves Maitre, Orange and Dilip Venkatachari, NEA were on the panel. The following is a quote that Dilip made in his opening remarks, "There are numerous innovative technologies that are coming out in the mobile space. Check out Micello. They are bringing the conference to your phone and allowing you to locate and network with friends and associates easily." Atif Hussein mentioned, "Mobile applications should connect people with where they are right now. The data presented to users should be location aware and time sensitive. No sense in letting people know of an event that has concluded." Atif just articulated Micello's value proposition. This is exactly what we do!

The afternoon's keynote was given by TIBCO CEO, Vivek Ranadive. Vivek said that the 20th century did not dawn until 1908 - the year Henry Ford introduced the Model-T. In a similar vein, the 21st century dawned in 2009. He mentioned the following highlights in 2009:
  • America has a black President
  • More homes with cell phones than land lines
  • Micello launches its application - ok, he did not say this ;)
Vivek talked about the evolution from Enterprise 1.0 to Enterprise 2.0. Moving from mainframe to client server. From software running on bare metal to software running on databases. We are now in the Enterprise 3.0 era - where the architecture is cloud facilitated and all the processes are virtualized. The architecture is event driven and transactions are in-memory.

He peppered his talk with anecdotes from his personal life. When he beat out Reuters in a high profile bidding war for the trading floor application at Shearson Lehman, he got invited to a Reuters event (in the U.K.) where he was the guest of honor. At a cocktail party, he was talking to one of the directors at Reuters about "TIB" being The Information Bus when he responded, "Oh! they told me that it stood for That Indian Bast**d".

I am certainly looking forward to Day 2 on Saturday.

Widget to download the Micello mobile application

We are going to be previewing the Micello app at TiECon on Friday, May 15th. He is a widget that will send you (by SMS to the phone number provided) a device specific link to download the application.



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Cat is out of the bag ...

I have said earlier that my startup, Micello, is working in stealth mode. Last Friday, we were invited to James Gosling's bash at the Sun Menlo Park campus. Here, Sun recorded short videos of their partners talking about their startup and how they use Sun technologies. You can view my video here:



You can also view this video on the Sun blog here. I will provide additional updates as we are getting ready with our Beta.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sun can still do it ...

There have been a lot of folks blogging about the Sun, IBM fiasco that has unfolded over the last few days. Here are links to just a few:
With all the comments and rumors floating around, this has turned out to be one big soap opera! The business world is replete with such drama - going back to John Sculley and Steve Jobs to the Carly Fiorina and Walter Hewlett splat to the more recent Steve Ballmer and Jerry Yang exchange. Just as Apple did not die after Steve Jobs left and HP did not collapse under the weight of the Board room drama and Yahoo continued to survive after Microsoft withdrew its offer, I believe Sun will come out from under this despite opinions to the contrary. In all cases , it required a change in leadership. Mark Hurd has proven to be a good fit for HP and Carol Bartz seems to be making the right moves at Yahoo.

There have been vituperative remarks against Jonathan Schwartz in public forums of late asking for his resignation. In his defence, Schwartz inherited Sun with a lot of problems. The previous leaders (Ed Zander, Janpieter Sceerder, et al.) had run the company to the ground after the dotcom boom. Despite that, Schwartz brought back the sense of innovation to Sun. I still believe that his single minded focus on open sourcing software and monetizing on training and support is the right strategy if it is executed properly. Unfortunately, Schwartz's leadership did not translate to increased sales for Sun. Contrast this with Mark Hurd's approach. Hurd chose to focus on numbers and execution. Perhaps that should be the role of a CEO. Apparently, McNealy did not pass that memo to Schwartz.

So, Schwartz needs to go - at the very least to be the sacrificial lamb. Sun should put its focus on its core strengths and execute that to perfection. I don't believe McNealy is the man for this job. The reasons he handed the reins to Schwartz are still valid - he has "emotional strings attached". I believe that Sun can still do it because of its engineering prowess. They need to find the right CEO soon. Perhaps they should approach Arun Sarin or Vivek Paul ...

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Enough already!

With February drawing to a close, the newspapers are blaring summaries of how repressed things are. Here is a sample:
All this makes you wonder if there is light at the end of the tunnel. How can we possibly extract ourselves from this abject morass?

One option is to behave like the proverbial stork and stick your head into the sand.

I, for one, am not prepared to either stick my head in the sand or get depressed by the crumbling economy. I believe that it is technology that will pull us out of this mess. I am inspired by forward looking thinkers like Juan Enriquez. In his talk (at ~ 7:00 minute mark), he says, "Venture backed companies are 0.02% of the US GDP in investment, but account for 17.5% of the output". Later he says, "As we worry about the flames of the present, let us keep an eye on the future." I am also inspired by Bill Gates who is doing remarkable things to change the world one problem at a time. I believe that President Obama's audacity of hope will become infectious.

For these and several other reasons, I refuse to get swayed by the nay sayers. I am putting my money where my mouth is - in my efforts to bootstrap a startup in the mobile content delivery space. I have been getting a lot of tips and useful pointers from others. I plan to collect them into another blog that I will post shortly.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Academy Awards Widget

In the spirit of the recently concluded Academy Awards, here is a simple widget that provides the results in the given category for any year

Saturday, February 7, 2009

25 Random Facts about me

There is this viral campaign on Facebook where folks write 25 Random Facts about themselves and then tag 25 of their friends to do the same. Mainstream media like the NY Times have written about this. Four different people have tagged me on Facebook. Rather than continue the trend on Facebook, I have captured the 25 Random Facts about me in this post. They are not in any particular order.

1. I am a can-do person. I find ways to make things work. I firmly believe in "If a path does not exist, create one."

2. I hate nay-sayers. It surprises me that the first thing that many people say when posed with a task/challenge is "no".

3. Of course, I believe in being reasonable about the tasks that one undertakes. There is no sense in "biting off more than you can chew". Life is often a delicate balance between the time available and the time it takes to do things that you are passionate about.

4. I am currently passionate about the start-up that I am a co-founder of. I got involved in this after my long stint at Sun Microsystems. We are off to a great start where we have pitched to a few folks and they are excited about the concept of getting high value, personalized information delivered to them when they want it, where they want it. I cannot say much more now - since we are in stealth mode. I hope to be able to communicate more details through these channels very shortly.

5. I am truly excited about what the future holds. I have the ability to get things done and a passion for getting technology to the masses.

6. I am not a video game/computer games player and cannot understand that psyche. I think that it is simply a huge time sink.

7. My happiest memories are the dates of my marriage to Jayanthi, the birth of our older son, Akshay and the birth of the twins, Rohan and Madhuri.

8. I am a trivia buff. I was often invited to conduct Quiz tournaments in my college days. My favorite show on TV is "Jeopardy". I have run the annual "GATE Olympics" for gifted children in the Fremont Unified School District for the last five years.

9. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with co-authors BV Kumar and Tony Ng on the book, "Implementing SOA with Java EE" published by Prentice Hall. This got me invited to give a talk at the International SOA Symposium in Amsterdam in October 2008.

10. I am the Technology Chair at the Elementary School where my kids go. Whenever time permits, I help the teachers in the school with Technology issues.

11. I am on the Advisory Board in the Computer Science Department of CSU East Bay.

12. I am proud of my association with Zembly - my role in incubating the project, building the team, seeing it come to life, shepherding the creation of two deep, meaningful social applications - myPicks Beijing and myPicks U.S. Elections, spearheading the book on Zembly and building the partner eco-system for Zembly.

13. I love traveling - seeing new places and meeting new people. I have been fortunate to travel to 100+ cities in 20+ countries. You can see a complete profile of cities I have visited in the Facebook app, Cities I've Visited here (you need to add the app to your Facebook profile)

14. I am an avid photographer. In addition to a getting a good D-SLR camera (I own a Nikon D-60), I highly recommend getting a good digital photo frame (I am very pleased with the SmartParts OptiPix 10.4"). Take lots of pictures (I regret having taken just 10 pictures during an enchanting week that we spent one winter in Lake Chelan, WA) and upload selected pictures to the photo frame. Each picture has a story of its own.

15. We recently started collecting shot glasses from each city that we visited. Already, the collection is at 50+ glasses.

16. The memory that I will cherish forever is when we visited with Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, President of India, at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Read more about this in an earlier blog posting.

17. My father is the oldest of 9, my mother is the oldest of 3, I am the oldest of 4.

18. I am looking forward to my parents' 50th wedding anniversary celebration this summer. Our family (siblings, spouses, children) will all be together for the first time ever!

19. My saddest memories to date are the deaths of three people dear to me - my maternal grand parents and my father-in-law.

20. I am an official USCF Tournament Director. I have helped organize large scholastic Chess Tournaments (with over 1500 kids participating). I am proficient in the software that is used to conduct large Chess tournaments.

21. I am a U.S. Soccer Federation licensed soccer referee. My referee grade permits me to officiate competitive youth games until a certain age level. I can pass more tests and go up the ladder - all the way to officiating MLS soccer games! I am also the coach of my son's soccer team in FC Fremont.

22. I am a little-league baseball umpire and often umpire games at Warm Spring Little League.

23. I was hit by a drunk driver in a road accident in Yuma, Arizona over 20 years back. Unfortunately two of my good friends, Alka Jain and Rashmi Khera, both brilliant software engineers, were killed in that accident. Since I have temporary amnesia from 1 hour before the accident until five days after (during which period I was in the ICU), I have no recollections of the accident.

24. The most frightening moment that I can remember is when our 3-year old went missing in a very crowded Chicago train station on Christmas Eve eight years ago. We spent the next five minutes frantically searching for him. Just imagine the relief when we spotted him being carried by a Station Superintendent asking, "Is anyone missing a child?"

25. The last time I remember weeping openly was when they they had to cut a dime-sized incision into our older son's shoulder to remove staph bacterial infected flesh - apparently caused by some insect bite. That was 10+ years ago!

Friday, January 23, 2009

New beginnings

It is said that the secret to a rich life is to have more beginnings than endings. As I transition my Sun blog to this blog, I cannot think of a more apt way to begin.

I had a wonderful experience at Sun. Some have asked me how I was able to stay in one place for so long. The fact is that since I moved from one project to another, it never felt that way. In fact, I felt the opposite - that I was in a start up for this extended period.

In the last 24 hrs, many folks have extended their wishes to me. I thank them all for their thoughts. As I have said before I am tremendously excited for what the future holds.