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Friday, December 11, 2015

‘What should define a well meaning opposition’

Bedlam in a Parliament

What is it with the discussions in the parliament across the world? I just saw a video of bedlam and chaos in a country’s parliament. Next I see few more more trailers posted below from other countries and the scene is no better or worse. The comments below the video are even more revealing. Nearly every user from every region and place has the SAME old thing to say - how even their place is no better, just the dresses and places are different. Instead of going into the usual blame game and ‘how all politicians should be bundled up and thrown out’ I want to ask something different - something more 'theoretical' and that requires deeper introspection.
The question is simple, 'What should define a well meaning opposition'?
In other words what are the policies where parties could differ, and what are those issues on which there should be no argument or chest thumping i.e. they are a given.
Before reaching out for answers, I want you all to consider a couple of things. There is an inherent paradox (or dichotomy, if you will) in asking such a question YET so relevant and crucial in defining of a functioning house. This is under the assumption that all members are conscientious on both sides of the table (hence the word 'theoretical' :) ).
I am bringing this issue because, today I find many a party (be it anywhere) at cross-roads with the system that sustains it. Someone chest beats about patriotism as if it were their birthright while someone assumes they are indeed the people to think of equality of existence for all. Things are so bad that yet another party claims it right to being 'clean' and working for the people. All these things should NOT be defining the basis of a party formation but should be common across the board.
I could rattle on BUT what do you think?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tag-cloud your professional summary, not your resume!

They say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. I’d go a step further and say that ‘a picture of words (effectively designed) is worth a thousand times more’. That brings me to the topic of using tag-clouds as a supplement/complement to your professional summary.

Wikipedia defines as a tag cloud as follows - A tag cloud (word cloud, or weighted list in visual design) is a visual representation of text data, typically used to depict keyword metadata (tags) on websites, or to visualize free form text. Below is an example of what I talking about.
For those who are already aware of this concept, it must have struck you at some point of time as to why it has not made its way into resumes. For now it looks a bit jazzy to see them in your CVs or resumes but it’s worth noting their advantages when you are looking at compressing content effectively where space is a premium.
When used and placed appropriately in resumes, tag-clouds can greatly enhance the content. What is referred to as keywords (a table) in resume can be effectively replaced by tag-clouds. Resume-builders could effectively build some acceptable templates

The keyword here is effective crafting of the summary. You don’t want the picture to reflect that are mostly job requirements as opposed to crucial skill-sets you bring to the table. There are a couple of videos out on the internet that give you examples of this.

What you can do …
If you use one of those online tag cloud generators here are a couple of things you can do

  1. Give weightage to your own words – That is, if you can really visualize how you see the words. Since these programs often operate based on the number of times the word is used, you can literally create a garbled text of these words repeated as many times as you wish (for each word). I have actually seen it to work :) 
  2. Create an effectively designed professional summary – In other words if you have taken pains to create a well-crafted professional summary, you may as well use that and fine tune it a bit. It is here that a well composed summary of your in your #LinkedIn #Profile might actually be of help. Just copy that into your program and watch the results. Play around a bit with the fonts and presentation. You might actually like it!

A final note

There are many online free tag cloud generators. Wordle is by far the popular one but they are getting fancier (fonts, color, presentation etc.).  Tagul allows you play around with shapes (even your own photo upload). I guess it will only be a matter of time before it will become a norm to see it in resumes.

In fact, one of the best places where it can be used effectively is the back of business cards. Imagine every professional business card having this in fancy ways. Or imagine in a Harry Potter style, you can just click on the email in the card and send a video message. Quite fancy eh! My coffee just got spiked again :) 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Do asymptotic behavior of fatty acid breakdown efficiencies drive their differential mobilization in white adipose tissues?

Following is a simple calculator to compute the net ATPs and Oxygen consumed and the net P:O ratio assumed, during the breakdown of an even chain fatty acid by ß-oxidation. Just enter the number of carbon atoms corresponding to the even chain fatty acid and the number of double bonds in the same.

Note: The cursor won't blink, just click the cell/s where you wish to input the values (for 'n' and 'x'). Further, the equation and the values for an odd chain fatty acid vary (in the constants) and merit a separate discussion.

When you compute the values for all fatty acids in a table; as a function of chain length and double bonds and plot them in a graph, you will see a clear asymptotic pattern.

A note on the value of P:O ratios for NADH2 and FADH2 - The current estimates assume a yield of 3 ATPs and 2 ATPs respectively. When revised estimates (Hinkle and Yu) of 2.5 and 1.5 and taken into account, the only change in the equation (for the fatty acid P:O) is that of the constants. Otherwise, one would observe the same asymptotic patterns.

Efficiencies of fatty acid breakdown for energy can be represented by equation that resembles a rectangular hyperbola. This equation possibly governs the selective mobilization and distribution of the different types of fatty acids in white adipose tissues.

The following document shows the derivation of the equation (for even chain and odd chain fatty acids) and the general equation to show that it is a rectangular hyperbola ...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Is ‪' # ' and social media changing the dynamics of ‪customer service?

Is it goodbyes to the old method of toll-free calling for customer service (and being placed on the hold-music)?
Image credit: Creative adaption by Natarajan Ganesan
For the uninitiated, "A hashtag is a type of label or metadata tag used on social ...". That is how the definition goes when you search the internet; and it gets even more geeky and confusing.
In plain-speak, its just a way where you use hashtags - literally, the symbol # on your keyboard - followed immediately by the word you wish to draw attention to. Before I get distracted into the nuances of hashtags, let me quickly get down to the topic i.e. how the use of the same is possibly changing the landscape of customer relations from big companies.

Its just that I have been seeing that from my recent experiences ... One was with a travel website I booked with, and the other was an airline. Both gave me a really hard time. There were sudden itinerary change/s (on their part), lost baggage/s and what not! Instead of the routine #toll-free call that we all are accustomed to; I happened to #hashtag them on their social media page, followed by a crisp one-liner as to why I am not happy with them, and the specific trouble I am facing.
The responses were almost instantaneous followed by a routine 1-1 response - via social media, of course. But at least there was a purposeful 1-1 interaction with the team. I also did the usual phone method in-tandem, and we all know how it goes (mostly the reason why I chose the 'music logo' in my image, and how they are possibly fading in importance). All of this however, does not speak for, in anyway, if the customer issue is handled to your satisfaction; it is another point altogether.
What got me thinking was, if this was the trend being set in customer relations by big companies. The way I got the responses looked as if the company had devoted a main chunk of their customer relation efforts on the social media accounts as opposed to the regular toll-free call approach. After all, this means less hands behind the phone, right! Maybe! Or is it that the marketing and customer relations all around are beginning to realize the virality of the negative experience/s by customers in their trusted circles?
Whatever it is, the landscape of customer-relations certainly is being defined by their presence in social media. A casual internet search reveals this. Customer service using Social Media accounts may not be far into the game but their logistics might certainly be a tempting consideration (maybe worth a discussion for an #HBR write-up).
Regardless, certain basic rules of communication do exist -
  • You cannot, of course, go on your own baseless/emotional tirade.
  • Hashtags with #CompanyNameSucks OR #CompanyServiceIndifferent is OK, so long it is followed by a specific message justifying it e.g. my cable services are still not up etc. 
  • Following up with a good review or a #ThanksCompanyName may not be a bad idea (if your issue is settled, of course).
What are your experience/s. Feel free to chip in ...