Move beyond competition, Create value.

competition

[For sharing with my children]

“Everything ends in competition. Hence be ready to take part in competition” seems to be what most of us are saying to ourselves. New age philosophy takes it to next level as “If you need to grow,  be ready to live a life that contradicts with what you believe. It does not matter what your values are and what is important is to win competition”

Does Clash of Opposite’s only create or lead to growth? No. Man and Women collaborate and live peacefully to give birth to a child. No proof that man and women competed and gave birth to a child.  There are more worldly examples to demonstrates that collaboration between living beings (not restricted to humans) creates more value for all

Can we think for moment what would be the result  if earth and moon decide to competes to prove whose gravitational force is best?  Close to home, How would you feel if cats, dogs and other living organism around house start to compete with humans? Did we even think in this way?  We take what does not compete to be granted.

Let me say where we created competition more than anywhere. It is creation of food. The more we consume the food created through competition, more sense of competition is developing among humans.

Nature has provided good to humans, insects and worms.  Corp-orates produce fertilizers and pesticides and also made us to believe that insects and worm’s are our competitors. Humans have become pawn in the competition with insects and worms in farm, equipped with fertilizers and pesticides to eradicate insects and worms.  What happens to activities that insects and worm were doing to maintain balance in the environment? May be plants that die get decayed and enrich the soil as natural manure for plants.  How will soil get enriched when there are no worms and insects? Corporates have helped humans with easy answer ” User more fertilizers and pesticides”.

Observer that humans with 6 senses have attempted to eradicate insects and living creatures with 3 senses and still have not succeeded  in eradicating insects completely. Instead of accepting our failure in competition, we try to compete by using even more fertilizers and pesticides. Effectively, We are responsible to expose our food to more and more chemicals and our land has lost its original richness of minerals and We have worked to make our land to become barren or dependent on chemicals.  Do we realize this?

All living beings mostly live together as group or herd and also live dual approach of both being together and being alone. They share beyond what is needed to survive for that day and have not build any physical or artificial walls. A tiger eaten its prey to its full is not eager to attack deer or cattle walking closeby for next day good, next week food and next year food.  May be that is what makes animals to coexist together in herds or groups.

While animals with less senses live together, humans with six senses find more and more difficulty to live together. In a century, brothers and sisters have started to live separate and in last 2 or 3 decades, parents and children have started to live separately. Competition between their egos has caused separation in relationship. Do we realize that we have lost the benefits of being in stronger relationship ? May be we need to think how will it be if our 5 senses compete with each other?

Let us remind our-self that we have things to receive from people both similar to us and who are opposite’s to us. There are things that we can provide/give to other people, including people from whom we receive.  Only humans defined that two things are opposite’s. Nature did not define them as opposite’s. Nature wants them to coexist.

We do not need to agree with opinions, judgement and wishes of another person?  There is not need to agree. We can disagree and still live with differences and create growth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Focus on where the real value is

Read this blog contents in article as guidance for existing financial or banking firms interested to  take advantage  of Digital banking. Copied generic part of articles here for my reference( forgot the actual source. Sorry!)

Focus on where the real value is Launching a successful new business requires complete clarity about what its value drivers are. While this seem like an obvious point, we find it is often overlooked. Instead, there is a temptation to copy or replicate existing models.
Constantly test to refine the customer experience Launching a successful new digital-banking business requires a marriage of traditional consumer research and a deep, real-time understanding of the behavior and pain points of individual customers. This means a constant and rapid stream of prototypes starting with the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and subsequent iterations in order to figure out what will make the customer experience superior across all touch-points. This sort of “real life” testing is critical for identifying what customers actually value as opposed to what they might say they value. It also yields up to 70 percent fewer defects and errors.
Organize for creativity, flexibility, and speed Building a business using a constantly iterative approach requires a way of working that banks typically aren’t used to. There are three areas where a different way of operating needs to be nurtured.

  • Cross-team collaboration. The core group building the digital bank should have a solid understanding of not just the new technology architecture, but also of the bank’s design and brand and the economics of its business model.
  • A ‘garage like’ working environment. While an actual garage isn’t necessary, a physical space that provides a nurturing environment for creative thinking and prototyping is. This means open spaces, plenty of whiteboards and worktables where people can congregate and work together, as well as habits that foster innovation, such as so-called sprints
  • A central ‘control tower’ team. Launching a digital bank is a juggling act, with multiple miniprojects running at the same time. It is the job of the control-tower team to make sure all these projects are coordinated by moving resources to necessary teams quickly or prioritizing initiatives so that timeline targets can be met. The team must work to identify bottlenecks and then either quickly resolve them or refer the problems upward to the CEO or the board.

Create an ecosystem of partnerships Successfully launching a new digital-banking business requires quickly acquiring a critical mass of customers. Two industries with large amounts of digital customers who can help the process are e-commerce marketplaces and telecommunications.
Build a two-speed IT operating model To implement the test-and-learn approach and short release cycles that are so critical for launching and operating a competitive digital bank, two different yet integrated IT systems are needed: the traditional, slower, secure and stable, transaction-focused legacy back end and a rapid, flexible, customer-centric front end.
Get creative with marketing To communicate such distinct selling points cost-effectively, banks must cultivate word-of-mouth recommendations and feedback through social media

XML Schema, DTD, and Entity Attacks – Part 2

Part -1 explained previous attacks and emphasized that the weakly configured XML parsers are enablers for attacks.To be secure against attacks, XML parsers need to be hardened. Hardening is a process where a component is setup in the most minimal and secure configuration required to run the application.

From security stand-point, support needs to be added for XML parser component to validate schema features, Avoid external entity attacks, disallow doctype declarations, avoid resolving of external XML schema locations, limit number of nodes and entity expansions, check XML against local server-side schemas and DTDs.

Any framework or library implementer working to enable secure working with XML, DTD and schemas needs to be aware that most application programmers parsing XML documents are not XML experts. They do not understand the risks of external entities or possibility of attacks during simple parsing of data that happens to be serialized in XML.

Recommended library implementers to minimize the set of advanced XML features made available by default. While advanced features are made available,design shall drive advanced features to be disabled by default. Developers can enable as per need. Make sure to document the risk associated with each feature in library documentation

Programming practices  provide different levels of counters against XML based attacks. These attacks differ based on the  underlying support available in programming language or framework to  counter the attacks. I have taken some .Net programming based counters that can work against the abuse of XML entities and in processing of DTD.

Developers use reader instances Create() method available as part of the implementation of  abstract class (XmlReader). One parameters of Create() method is XmlReaderSettings class, used to set properties of the reader instance. It is important to verify that readers or methods have not become obsolete with new versions of .Net Framework (like XmlValidatingReader).

Counter against the abuse of XML entities 

XmlReader and its underlying concrete implementations support stream-based reads and relies on the XmlResolver class to resolve external data sources identified by a URL. They provide an abstraction to access data sources on the Internet and files on the file system using default resolver XmlUrlResolver, which supports file, http, and other schemes and also process elements found in XSL stylesheets and XSD schemas.

An attacker may deliver an XML payload to a vulnerable application and subsequently retrieve resources by triggering the resolver to process external entities. A sample attack can be
windowsfile.png

Whenever the XML parser encounters the entity  “&windowsfile;” it will substitute the entity with the content of the file from the local host and then place it in the response.  XmlSecureResolver class restricts access to resources based on a set of permissions, to be explicitly declared in developer’s code and assigned to the instantiated object.  If permissions are not declared, the behavior is similar to XmlUrlResolver class with unrestricted access to resources. The permissions set can be used to define an access control. For example, one can employ a rule restricting access to particular Internet sites or zones.
WebPermissions

Counter against the abuse of DTD Handling

XmlTextReader enables DTD processing by default and resolve references to external resources.  In  .NET 4.0 framework and later, DTD processing can be influenced using new DtdProcessing property values, which can either be set to : Prohibit, Ignore, or Parse.

  • setting to Prohibit and if XML contains  <!DOCTYPE> element, there is an XmlException is thrown at runtime
  • setting to Ignore causes the DOCTYPE element to be ignored and the XML to be parsed normally afterwards, in which case it will not throw an exception
  • Setting to Parse enables DTD processing. If DTD parsing needs to be enabled in the application, then  utilize the XmlSecureResolver to restrict resources that an XmlReader can access.

The default settings for the XmlTextReader class is to enable DTD processing using DtdProcessing.Parse while the default settings is to disable processing using DtdProcessing.Prohibit. On processing with XmlTextReader,  if the DtdProcessing property is not explicitly set, then the ProhibitDtd can take effect.

Exceptions thrown by XmlTextReader can include path information which can bubble up to the application. Therefore, developers must write their code to catch these exceptions and process them accordingly to avoid information leakage.

NET has feature to limit the size of expanded entities by setting MaxCharactersFromEntities property of  XmlReaderSettings object that sets  cap on the number of characters generated through the entity expansions.
MaxCharactersFromEntities

Four Words that can Trigger a Four-Letter Word

Copied from Four Words that can Trigger a Four-Letter Word for my reference

The English language, like any language, was designed to help communicate an idea, a thought, a feeling, a decision….

But, sometimes, the crafting of the words into a sentence can lead to confusion, fear, and angst.

A lawyer told me that some of the trickiest questions asked of any defendant in a court case can be:

  • Have you stopped beating your spouse, or
  • Have you stopped taking bribes, or
  • Have you stopped eating beef?

“Please answer with a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’,” says the wily lawyer.

You are trapped.

A “Yes” – the lawyer explained – to any of the above 3 questions can get you into a lot of trouble as it implies that you were indulging in that alleged act and had stopped recently.

You are, therefore, guilty for past crimes.

But if you said “No” it means that:

  • You confess that you are still in the habit of beating your spouse and, therefore, need to be punished;
  • You confess that you still have your hand in the till and are taking bribes and, therefore, need to be punished;
  • You still enjoy eating beef and, therefore, need to be punished.

Now try asking the Federal Reserve Board the question:

  • Are you still keeping interest rates low so that speculators can continue having a field day and ensure that the bonus pay outs of the financial honchos can reach peak levels by Christmas?

The Fed can answer with a “Yes” or a “No”.
A “Yes” would mean that the Fed did all this rescue effort and pumped up its balance sheet by USD 4.5 trillion since September 2008 to feed it to the Wall Street crowd.
A “No” would mean that they were doing it – but have decided to stop.

Packaging Waste, New Era Start-ups,Zero -Waste

Today a lot of food start-ups, e-commerce start-ups and e-grocery start-ups deliver items home based on on-line transaction. Customers and Sellers find async delivery suited to their comfort and convenience. Do they notice packaging material that arrives with their purchase?  Are they aware that they are part of waste creation?

packaging

New age start-ups charge for time based deliveries and not for package materials. Even delivery charge is waived for purchases above Rs 500. We see This blog touches upon packaging waste and does not include the consumption of petrol to deliver small value orders to people’s homes. Look out for follow-up blog on delivery boys.

Let us start understanding the waste creation by hotels, restaurants and grocery chain stores. Lot of them were providing plastic bags to their consumers. A lot of environment sensitive citizens worked to reduce packaging waste. With help of government, these firms were asked to charge customers who want plastic bag or additional special packaging. The goal was to discourage use of plastic and make people to bring environmental friendly bags from their homes.

One notices that in city like Bangalore, the Bangalore municipality expect large resident communities to perform waste management at community level. More waste created by new age start-ups have impact of this waste management created by local authorities.

When I visit a grocery store, the bill counter clerks ends your transaction with question “Do you need plastic bag or not?” No one has educated the clerk to ask the question. The question is asked for small items also, that can by customer in hand. Should customer not ask for bag/packaging if needed? Then the clerk needs to charge for the same.

Yesterday, we have to ask store clerk not to provide separate bags and took purchased items in another bag given by other store and our own bags. Same was experience with TITAN show room. Made me wonder that I need to be happy that clerk did not provide us with three bags for three clothes purchased by us and provided only one bag for customer.

In stores like Levis,Lee, Favourite Shop, Pizza Huts, I was not asked whether bag is needed. The customer is not charged for packaging also. I have observed in shops like Landmark and Westside, the clerk asks whether you need plastic cover. They also have a eco-friendly bag at counter for consumer to choose. When shops like Big Bazar perform home delivery, they leave items in their original covers and carry back the carry bag or packaging box.

When one orders food for 300 people from restaurants like A2B, the servers/bearers arrived with utensils and served in plastic plates. Now there is individual packaging for every person’s breakfast. There are corporate offices that have not glass or tumbler for drinking water and provide paper cups. You do not want to use paper cups, you can be thirsty, as there is no option. How to enable educated people to stop creating waste?.I observe Bangalore food Darshinis charge Rs 3 as packaging charge for one food item.

On seeing water bottles at marriage and talked to food contractor, he is aware and shares that he provides both options to customer, first option of glass/tumbler and second option of water bottle. He shares that more preference is for water bottle. Customer provide special request to have small water bottle light to carry, and are not aware that this leads to more bottles and more waste. The price difference between water in glass and water bottle is close to Rs 10 and customer are less concerned about price difference. When asked whether he can provide safe water for consumption? His answer was “Yes”

In name of comfort and convenience, people take items delivered in plastic bags and boxes. Both shop and customer are less bothered about waste created by them. There is no tracking of the amount of waste generated by merchant and the consumer. Both threw away packaging to dustbin, expecting some one to clean the waste.

On another hand,  packaging industry is happy with growing eCommerce industry “Packaging industry sees eCommerce driving next growth phase” . One does not see any guidelines stipulated by packaging industry to be followed by new age start-ups, similar to Packaging Waste: Producer Responsibilities.

Let us move on with our experience with new age start-ups

  • Both flipkart.com and amazon.in charge customers for packaging till purchase price of Rs 500 and ship product free when customer purchase price is more than Rs 500. They have innovate charging mechanisms based on when customer purchases every time, the waster produced per customer increases. Everyone is worried on convenience and comfort and less worried about packaging and the waste created.
  • Recently I ordered from freshmenu.com. The delivery boy brings the food in its box carries as part of large bag. He provides food in my hand, similar to Pizza Hut or Dominoes. Still there was a beautiful plastic box left with me. Another local food guy charged Rs 20 for packaging as part of online order.
  • When I ordered books earlier from amazon.in and flipkart.com, book comes in a big plastic cover. Last week on purchasing Kindle, we found packaging to be compact one which is more paper based. May be they are eco-friendly when it comes to their own products.

To handle waste created by innovation of new age start-ups, innovations in handling waste and approach to penalized folks creating waste needs to be innovated also. The tracking was tricky and time-consuming in physical world for government agencies. With infrastructure created by new age start-ups,  there may be a effective proposal to reduce waste that might also be easier to implement.


We need to track waste already created by new age start-ups. Can we track the same with Waste Debt Score?

What is Waste Debt Score? For every buy transaction made from these sites, there shall be waste index added to customer. There shall be waste index added to seller. For every sale happening on platform, there shall be waste index added to new age start-up platform. With waste index, it should be possible to charge special taxes when waste index for any individual crosses particular level. This tracking is similar to customer credit score.

We need to reduce further creation of waste. For folks creating waste, there shall be charge to pay to be used for saving environment. Can we introduce waste cess for buyer?

What is Waste Cess? Every customer who purchases items less than Rs 500 pays waste cess of Rs 5 per package. For items purchased are of value more than Rs 500, waste cess is one per cent of item price. The waste cess is similar to service tax and is additional to packaging charges charged by seller.

Is there Waste Cess for seller? The seller pays Rs 5 per every transaction and this money goes to the municipality/panchayat where seller are located.

Where does collected money go to? Waste cess collected from buyers are shared in monthly payments with municipality/panchayat where buyer and seller are located. The new age start-up would be responsible to collect waste cess and share with them. In addition, the new age start-up pays additional one per cent of the cess collected through their platform.

Should we not innovate to reduce waste? Sellers can get certified for making use of eco-friendly materials for packaging. Here seller would not get charged. The new age start-up can provide e-training to the sellers of waste reduction and the expenses can reduce waste cess to be paid on their behalf.

I am sure of technology role in waste management and collecting waste cess and also tracking waste debt score. What do you think?

 

Me@Innofest2015

Let me start with apprecation for every innovator who dream and work to make their dream to become true. This includes innovators who could not come to Innofest. It was refereshing to see a lot of college students presenting their innovations. Some students have started to cultivate passion across their education journey and are working to continue to nurture their dreams, being at job in different industry. For change, I felt that innovators focused more on their innovations, rather than monetization. Makes me think what could I have performed different if I was born 15 years later.

Started first visiting TeamIndus. The team had done good initiative in science. I expect them to look beyond Google Lunar X prize and have people mission also. While their innovation gets used in real world, I visualize that innovation can serve as motivate college and school students to dream and take action to realize their dream. What is plan for TeamIndus to engage with students?  I see them more engaged with space agencies, corp-orates, old men. Not clear with schools/colleges.

Started with session on “How do you create a condusive environment in your office to build a culture of innovation?”. Mohit shared about removing unnecessary HR process and bringing focus on faith and belief on employees. He encourage employees to innovate was”Think through the day and write down 3 things that bothered you. If the same bothers you on  regular basis, write a plan to solve and discuss”

Failed to understand Alok speak around Focus. Some good points for sure. Focus is important in startup journey. I liked his question to startups “What you know about business that no one else know?“.  Touched upon the decision to chase one rabbit or multiple rabbits(ideas) in a startup and challenges. Shared Google laser focus to develop tools/system around BigData, rather than search and ads.

Heard Ganesh(first time) explain  business models & their impact on the money and speed needed to sustain and grow business. Contrasted business with need of continuous sustained capital to survive for long years(eg:Flipkart) and business with no need for continuous capital raising and depends on customer pay(eg:School). Contrasted business with demands to grow fast (eg:Taxi or Food app) where one needs to get to place 1 and 2 and business allowing space for more folks (schools/hospital/restaurant) without nature of  “Win, Take All”.

I have posted my impression on first hand about innovations in blog post Innovations@Innofest2015. Thanks to volunteer team and IISC for making this event happen. I see Innofest2015 is a great start and wish following.

1. Make Innofest festival to happen in multiple cities
2. Open Innofest stalls for schools and college students to visit
3. Bring more of innovations that are connected with fields other than IT based.
4. Get active participation of academicians who are real innovators. Take inclusiveness to next level.

Felt that speakers of concluding event talk more about innovation than investing  in innovation. As I spend most of my time with stall, I attended few sessions. The sessions were more of success and not sure representation of failure and resilience as  inherent part of innovations.

One area to improve that I noticed was to reduce the plastic waste created by food stalls. Both vendors providing food for participants used plastic. Interesting to note that they could serve simple food without using package/plastic material. Happy to see water cans with paper glasses and no water bottles.

Did you get Freedom on 68th Independence day?

Being lazy, I did not post a  blog in last few months. Last weekend was independence day. and I had some interesting observations and shared them here.

My children had independence day function at school. My apartment has flag hoisting followed by activities performed by children in the morning and we moved to breakfast. Observed that persons from catering service served serving food, compared to earlier practice of residents volunteers. The breakfast attracts people to attend independence day event.

Observed that people did not check whether food is available for other residents and were more interested for re-fill. Some mothers asked permission to take an extra plate for children who went to school. One can see this as freedom earned by mothers & housewives from activity to prepare  breakfast.  We also made use of paper plates and  paper glasses compared to earlier polluted practice of plastic/thermocol plates for food. Few waited to ensure that support staff had food too, support staff work more on event days. Can support staff enjoy freedom at same time when others enjoy freedom?

My proposal is to keep hundiyal or charity box. Ask residents to contribute money,equivalent to cost of breakfast and pass on the collected money to charity. On sharing with residents, the idea was welcome with suggestions for me to take lead to implement same during next event.

As children had school in morning, talent/cultural show was planned in evening. There were a lot of good activities including a “New Era Ramayana” skit. My daughters acted as Seeta(big) and Supernaka(small) in play. Jayant, resident & father did amazing job of creating skit with children. In addition skit was enjoyable. He was inclusive in skit. Awesome.

There were food and game stalls setup by adults and young children,(future entrepreneurs).  I had setup a charity stall with aim to collect money along with entertainment sped and create awareness of getting happiness by sharing. Observed  external girl(10 years) had come to sell balloons. On enquiring whether she wants to view event and not sell balloons, she wanted to sell as her family needs money & here father was selling too.

I was feeling both happy and sad at the same time. She sold 75 balloons and she did not enjoy like other children. Later, balloon girl’s father came. To reduce my guilt, I asked my daughters to go along with the balloon girl and buy her needs from stalls. She came and thanked me. Felt quite small. When does she get freedom?

Interesting events at end of event. Two boys who ran a stall came and donated Rs 15. Two girls donated Rs 50 and Rs 100 for charity, out of money provided for stall purchases. One adult stall owner came and donated profits of Rs 700. Felt good and satisfied with awareness created by my stall. Though children donation was small, their contribution was more in terms of compassion and consider more than my charity stall collection of  more than Rs 6000.

Next day morning, we had sports event and children and adults had great fun. Even grand parents had activities designed for them. Still observed that support staff was working tirelessly to make event success.  I also saw them working to put chairs and places back in its place across sports day. When support staff gets their freedom?

To encourage children to be more caring and to appreciate their generosity, I shared with them some t-shirts designed by children in corporate annual picnic.