Saturday, August 29, 2015

Living a life more on the front foot

There are many ways of living one's life. And I am sure there are advantages and disadvantages of living one's life in particular ways. I recently realised that I have lived my life till now in a particular way and it has given me some advantages now, though the journey seemed troublesome. I am writing this to help my young relatives and friends apply my learnings to their lives.

I remained very true to myself. This did not mean that I always knew what I wanted. It meant that I made interim choices fully well knowing that those were interim choices because I did not know what I wanted/liked/was-good-at. At times I made deeply thought through choices, which seemed fully right when I made them. But later on realising the need to rewind and choose something else, I re-winded and chose the something else. I remember telling myself that starting from scratch once or twice is ok, but scratching too much might be bad for health as well as career. Fortunately as I meandered through various choices, the alignment between my life, career and deepest needs improved. What initially seemed like Brownian motion settled down.

I lived and loved on the front foot - a particular way of being a true to oneself as against a withdrawn or reticent approach. I made choices and intensely lived and loved each choice trying to achieve the fulfilment in the direction of the specific choice. Essentially I tried hard to learn, do, get what I liked, wanted or felt strongly about. Except for drugs, breaking the law and taking advantage of any girl, everything was fair game. I found that one could be randomly competitive or do what one loved/liked and found that the latter worked for me. But the nature of life is such that one cannot necessarily/easily/immediately learn, do, get what one likes, wants or feels strongly about. There are norms, structures, processes which one must deal with. But if one really likes, wants or feels strongly about something, then if one does not do anything about it, one is sure to regret it later in life. Making such mistakes and learning from them helps to subsequently not repeat such mistakes in the new opportunities that life inevitably puts one's way. And if one goes hammer and tongs after what one really likes, wants or feels strongly about, even if one does not succeed, one can be satisfied that one tried one's best. And most importantly since it is the very nature of life (norms, structures, processes included) that not everyone gets what one really likes, wants or feels strongly about, one learns through the successes and failures. Failures as well as success teaches you about whether what you liked, wanted or felt strongly about is really for you or not, whether it is practical and worthwhile as well as what the gaps are in getting to it. If it is really worthwhile, one should typically go right ahead until and unless the heart tells you whether what you liked, wanted or felt strongly is not for you. The heart and head are very  useful tools to live one's life.

Now consider the benefits of living this way. I felt strongly about people, issues and domains and problems in my life. I gave my best in the respective pursuit under the guidance  of my head and heart. I immersed myself so intensely that it helped me generate good poetry, great insights and develop significant expertise, all the while tuning my  life to its natural best frequency. While I have still a lot to achieve, I am definitely happy and set on a road, where I am sure I will improve each day. I would like my young relatives and friends to follow their heart and head in their lives.

This is not to say that my life has been problem-free and joyous throughout. Far from it, it has been a tumultuous journey. But it has been worthwhile and fulfilling. Unchallengeable success would be a good-to-have, but living a worthwhile and fulfilling life is full of intrinsic joy. And if you live for the intrinsic joy, then life is a toy.



Thursday, August 13, 2015

IT Strategies for Mutually owned organizations

Note: These are my personal views and not those of my employer, Tata consultancy services

Many years ago I was fascinated by building societies after doing some work for Cheshire Building Society. I wrote an article describing the strategies that I felt that such mutually owned institutions should adopt. I now find the article very simplistic, unnecessarily jingoistic, presumptive and not wide-enough in tangible ideas for action. But my reading, thinking and experience has evolved since then. So here are my key illustrative current thoughts on IT strategies for Mutuals

1. Mutuals have a natural advantage compared to non-mutuals in combining data about their customers, since they typically capture the membership number along with every product/service sold/setup for the customer. Using this to maintain consolidated information (with relatively simpler MDM exercises) about the customer can help in classifying customers into tiers. These tiers and customer aggregates can then be used to customize the pricing and customer experience including making special offers to expand the share of the wallet for that customer.

2. Because their customers own them, their customers are likely to be willing to share more data about themselves than customers of non-mutual organizations. This fact can be used by mutual organizations to to identify ways and means to source more information from their customers/members through wearable's, IoT, IIoT and social media and use this information to generate more value for the Mutual and its customers. Such information can help in better risk selection, pricing, exposure management and capital allocation as well as fraud management.

3. Mutuals typical face restrictions on raising funds in wholesale markets due to being a mutual, this typically means that they need to manage cash/funds and risks (including asset-liability gaps) lot more intensively than others. Due to this, they need to implement business policies/processes enabled through IT platforms which manage operations more tightly than others so that
a. The IT platform helps them to generate maximum cash from operations for investment as well as manage these investments better
b. The IT platform helps them in better risk management (risk selection, pricing, exposure management and capital allocation as well as fraud management).

Would appreciate comments.


Pratap Tambe

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Our favorite movies

1. 12 Angry Man
2. Mona Lisa smile
3. Freedom Writer
4. Finding Forrester
5. My big fat Greek wedding
6. The Japanese wife
7. Stealing Beauty
8. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
9. Casablanca
10. Roman Holliday
11. To kill a mockingbird
12. Courage of Colour
13. A few good men
14. Gone with the wind
15. Annie
16. Forrest Gump
17. Evan Almighty
18. Miracle on 34th Street (old and new - old is better)
19. Godfather
20. My cousin Vinny
21. Unforgiven