Friday, November 20, 2009

Lack of Sleep and Heart Attacks - What killed Ranjan Das and Lessons for Corporate India

This Study was recently circulated to all Microsoft employees by their CEO.

A month ago, many of us heard about the sad demise of Ranjan Das from Bandra, Mumbai. Ranjan, just 42 years of age, was the CEO of SAP-Indian Subcontinent, the youngest CEO of an MNC in India. He was very active in sports, was a fitness freak and a marathon runner. It was common to see him run on Bandra's Carter Road. Just after Diwali, on 21st Oct, he returned home from his gym after a workout, collapsed with a ma
ssive heart attack and died. He is survived by his wife and two very young kids.

It was certainly a wake-up call for corporate India. However, it was even more disastrous for runners amongst us. Since Ranjan was an avid marathoner (in Feb 09, he ran Chennai Marathon at the same time some of us were running Pondicherry Marathon 180 km away), the question came as to why an exceptionally active, athletic person succumb to heart attack at 42 years of age.

Was it the stress?
A couple of you called me asking about the reasons. While Ranjan had mentioned that he faced a lot of stress, that is a common element in most o
f our lives. We used to think that by being fit, one can conquer the bad effects of stress. So I doubted if the cause was stress.

The Real Reason
However, everyone missed out a small line in the reports that Ranjan used to make do with 4-5 hours of sleep. This is an earlier interview of Ranjan on NDTV in the program 'Boss' Day Out':
Here he himself admits that he would love to get more sleep (and that he was not proud of his ability to manage without sleep, contrary to what others extolled).

The Evidence
Last week, I was working with a well-known cardiologist on the subject of ‘Heart Disease caused by Lack of Sleep’. While I cannot share the video nor the slides because of confidentiality reasons, I have distilled the key points below in the hope it will save some of our lives.
Some Excerpts:

· Short sleep duration (<5) compared to those who slept longer than 6 hours per night. Paper published in 2009.
As you know, high BP kills.

· Young people (25-49 years of age) are twice as likely to get high BP if they sleep less. Paper published in 2006.
· Individuals who slept less than 5 hours a night had a 3-fold increased risk of heart attacks. Paper published in 1999.

· Complete and partial lack of sleep increased
the blood concentrations of High sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-cRP),the strongest predictor of heart attacks. Even after getting adequate sleep later, the levels stayed high!!

· Just one night of sleep lossincreases very toxic substances in body such as Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Tumour Necrosis Factor-Alpha (TNF-alpha) and
C-reactive protein (cRP). They increase risks of many medical conditions, including cancer, arthritis andheart disease. Paper published in 2004.

· Sleeping for <=5 hours per night leads to 39% increase in heart disease. Sleeping for <=6 hours per night leads to 18% increase in heart disease. Paper published in 2006.

Ideal Sleep For lack of space, I cannot explain here the ideal sleep architecture. But in brief, sleep is composed of two stages: REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and non-REM. The former helps inmental consolidation while the latter helps in physical repair and rebuilding. During the night, you alternate between REM and non-REM stages 4-5 times.

The earlier part of sleep is mostly non-REM. During that period, your pituitary gland releases growth hormones that repair your body. The latter part of sleep is more and more REM type.
For you to be mentally alert during the day, the latter part of sleep is more important. No wonder when you wake up with an alarm clockafter 5-6 hours of sleep, you are mentally irritable throughout the day (lack of REM sleep). And if you have slept for less than 5 hours, your body is in a complete physical mess (lack of non-REM sleep), you are tired throughout the day, moving like a zombie and your immunity is way down (I’ve been there, done that L)

Finally, as long-distance runners, you need an hour of extra sl
eep to repair the running related damage.

If you want to know if you are getting adequate sleep, take Epworth Sleepiness Test below.

Interpretation: Score of 0-9 is considered normal while 10 and above abnormal. Many a times, I have clocked 21 out the maximum possible 24, the only saving grace being the last situation, since I don’t like to drive (maybe, I should ask my driver to answer that lineJ)
In conclusion:
Barring stress control, Ranjan Das did everything right: eating proper food, exercising (marathoning!), maintaining proper weight. But he missed getting proper and adequate sleep, minimum 7 hours. In my opinion, that killed him.
If you are not getting enough sleep (7 hours), you are playing with fire, even if you have low stress.
I always took pride in my ability to work 50 hours at a stretch whenever the situation warranted. But I was so spooked after seeing the scientific evidence last week that since Saturday night, I ensure I do not even set the alarm clock under 7 hours. Now, that is a nice excuse to get some more sleep.

Unfortunately, Ranjan Das is not alone when it comes to missing sleep. Many of us are doing exactly the same, perhaps out of ignorance. Please forward this mail to as many of your colleagues as possible, especially those who might be short-changing their sleep. If we can save even one young life because of this email, I would be the happiest person on earth.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Inflation-Nice One

Nice Logic - It May Work !!

A man eats two eggs each morning for breakfast. When he goes to the Kirana store he pays Rs. 12 a dozen. Since a dozen eggs won't last a week he normally buys two dozens at a time. One day while buying eggs he notices that the price has risen to Rs. 16. The next time he buys groceries, eggs are Rs. 22 a dozen.

When asked to explain the price of eggs the store owner says, "The price has gone up and I have to raise my price accordingly". This store buys 100 dozen eggs a day. He checked around for a better price and all the distributors have raised their prices. The distributors have begun to buy from the huge egg farms. The small egg farms have been driven out of business. The huge egg farms sell 100,000 dozen eggs a day to distributors. With no competition, they can set the price as they see fit. The distributors then have to raise their prices to the grocery stores. And on and on and on.

As the man kept buying eggs the price kept going up. He saw the big egg trucks delivering 100 dozen eggs each day. Nothing changed there. He checked out the huge egg farms and found they were selling 100,000 dozen eggs to the distributors daily. Nothing had changed but the price of eggs.

Then week before Diwali the price of eggs shot up to Rs. 40 a dozen. Again he asked the grocery owner why and was told, "Cakes and baking for the holiday". The huge egg farmers know there will be a lot of baking going on and more eggs will be used. Hence, the price of eggs goes up. Expect the same thing at Christmas and other times when family cooking, baking, etc. happen.

This pattern continues until the price of eggs is Rs. 60 a dozen. The man says, " There must be something we can do about the price of eggs".

He starts talking to all the people in his town and they decide to stop buying eggs. This didn't work because everyone needed eggs.

Finally, the man suggested only buying what you need. He ate 2 eggs a day. On the way home from work he would stop at the grocery and buy two eggs. Everyone in town started buying 2 or 3 eggs a day.

The grocery store owner began complaining that he had too many eggs in his cooler. He told the distributor that he didn't need any eggs.
Maybe wouldn't need any all week.

The distributor had eggs piling up at his warehouse. He told the huge egg farms that he didn't have any room for eggs would not need any for at least two weeks.

At the egg farm, the chickens just kept on laying eggs. To relieve the pressure, the huge egg farm told the distributor that they could buy the eggs at a lower price.

The distributor said, " I don't have the room for the %$&^*&% eggs even if they were free". The distributor told the grocery store owner that he would lower the price of the eggs if the store would start buying

The grocery store owner said, "I don't have room for more eggs. The customers are only buying 2 or 3 eggs at a time. Now if you were to drop the price of eggs back down to the original price, the customers
would start buying by the dozen again".

The distributors sent that proposal to the huge egg farmers but the egg farmers liked the price they were getting for their eggs but, those chickens just kept on laying. Finally, the egg farmers lowered the
price of their eggs. But only a few paisa.

The customers still bought 2 or 3 eggs at a time. They said, "when the price of eggs gets down to where it was before, we will start buying by the dozen."

Slowly the price of eggs started dropping. The distributors had to slash their prices to make room for the eggs coming from the egg farmers.

The egg farmers cut their prices because the distributors wouldn't buy at a higher price than they were selling eggs for. Anyway, they had full warehouses and wouldn't need eggs for quite a while.

And those chickens kept on laying.

Eventually, the egg farmers cut their prices because they were throwing away eggs they couldn't sell.

The distributors started buying again because the eggs were priced to where the stores could afford to sell them at the lower price.

And the customers starting buying by the dozen again.

Now, transpose this analogy to the gasoline industry.

What if everyone only bought Rs 200.00 worth of Petrol each time they pulled to the pump? The dealer's tanks would stay semi full all the time. The dealers wouldn't have room for the gas coming from the huge tanks. The tank farms wouldn't have room for the petrol coming from the refining plants. And the refining plants wouldn't have room for the oil being off loaded from the huge tankers coming from the oil fiends.

Just Rs 200.00 each time you buy gas. Don't fill up the tank of your car. You may have to stop for gas twice a week, but the price should come down.

Think about it.

Also, don't buy anything else at the fuel station; don't give them any more of your hard earned money than what you spend on gas, until the prices come down..."

...just think of this concept for a while.

..................please pass this concept around....reaching out to
the masses ...the world .....

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Simply Reliance - Exclusive News -Plan Variants to be Launched "Customer Chooses the Pulse"- This is truly India's Most Disruptive & Best Tariff Plan

Article originally published at our associate site -

Exclusive Updates to "Simply Reliance" Plan - India's Best and Most disruptive Telecom Tariff Plan.

I don't like to explain tariff plans to people - i believe they should understand them on their own.

But this step by Reliance Communications is an another first by them - a pioneering step which made them launch country's Most Disruptive Tariff plan on October 5th 2009 in Simply Reliance

and now in November 2009 - they are going to launch its extensions (source based news).

So here is my explanation to make people choose the best.

RCOM’s new plan extensions (to be launched) to the Simply Reliance Plan are — customer chooses the pulse plans.

(Extension Plans to Simply Reliance are not officially launched on the website still - but will be launched shortly as per the source)

After almost 3.75 years of BSNL Launching its One India Plan - this step by a Pan India operator like Reliance Communications is an another milestone in the Indian telecom industry.

They have altered the Industry landscape towards them (in their favor). Although the short term profitability impacts on the company and the entire industry are negative but the game plan currently for all the companies is to garner maximum Revenue Market Share.

Additionally RCom wants to Increase Network Utilization & be properly placed for service upgrades post 3G Launch as their current networks are already 3G ready.

This Reliance Offer is available to All its GSM + CDMA subscribers - New & Existing.

Unlike its competitors RCOM offer is applicable to All Prepaid and Postpaid subscribers - New & Existing. Also Plan Validity is for lifetime.

The Exclusive News with our Team is that they are about to Launch Variants of Simply Reliance Plan.

  • They will launch a 1 paisa per second plan with Rs. 0.60 per minute cost
  • & a per 180 second plan with Rs. 1 per 3 minute cost (effective cost .33 paise per minute).

Rcom's Plans are without any conditions or monthly recharge commitment.

RCOM has taken the pricing war to the pulse level. The offer to customers is simple – customer chooses the pulse duration (second, minute, or 3 minutes) and the higher the pulse duration, the lower the per-pulse charge.

RCOM's another Pricing action is similar to Volume Discounting in segments or slabs. This has and will put pressure on Incumbents like Airtel and Vodafone who are responding to the price war with a passive approach - which is ridden with lots of conditions or riders along with the tariff plans which they offer. Airtel Advantage Plan and Airtel Freedom Plan are both expensive as compared to Simply Reliance Plan by as much as 20% to 60% in various tariffs they offer and again their offers are timed - 30 day validity or 1 year validity. Unlike reliance whose offers are for lifetime.

Please find below the image showing the details of the plan: Data Marked in Gold Color is The officially launched correct data.

Reliance Communications Simply Reliance Plan Variants

Applicability (Both GSM & CDMA Networks)

Both Prepaid & Postpaid segments - Pan India

Prepaid Plan Implications

New Plan


New Plan

Sim Card Cost Currently




First Recharge for lifetime plan benefit


Existing customer migration cost - one time cost for lifetime


Validity of the plan and the number




Minimum Recharge Commitment every 6 months for connection continuity

Rs. 200/6months

Rs. 200/6months

Rs. 200/6months


Category / Pulse Rate

Per second

Per minute

Per 180 seconds (3mins)

Local on-net




Local off-net




STD (NLD) on-net




STD (NLD) off-net




SMS - local




SMS - national




Roaming incoming




Roaming outgoing (local)




Roaming outgoing (STD)




Per Minute Cost Workout for Consumers - Effective Cost

Rs. 0.60/min

Rs. 0.50/min

Rs. 0.33/min

Postpaid Plan Implications

Monthly Plan Type 1 - Cost (with Rs. 99 worth of free sms's)

Rs. 99/month

Monthly Plan Type 2 - Cost (with Rs. 399 worth of free sms's & free local calls both)

Rs. 399/month

Source - Company and Kotak Report

Thus next time you choose your operator then kindly see who offers what without any conditions attached to it. And don't go by the face value please. (We acknowledge the company website and kotak report for this information)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why not to have quota based voting?

This issue popped up in my mind some time back when I heard our new HRD minister Dr. Kapil Sibal talk about having quotas for OBCs in private institutions. It’s not that I was amazed at this U-Turn by Mr. Sibal on the issue of quotas (He was one of the few from government to criticize Arjun Singh’s quota policy.). I have understood by now that you can never trust a politician. But this news item triggered a thought in my mind that when the government is keen to divide the society on the basis of castes, as opposed to what it SHOULD be

doing, why doesn’t it allocate a quota to the voting as well?

Here’s a proposition for quota-based voting in India. Let’s have 27% quota for OBCs, 33% for women, 15% for SCs, 10% for Muslims, 5% for Christians and 5% for others. Remaining 5% might be allocated to the General Category but only if Mr. Sibal and his government think that GC are intelligent enough to chose a government. If they decide to move ahead with their existing argument that GC people have EXCESSIVE advantage over other castes and categories of people, they might take away this Extra-ordinary right as well.

But just imagine what will happen after this quota allocation. 27% of the whisky bottles for elections will be distributed among OBCs leading to nation-wide strikes by SCs to increase their quota. The Election Commission of India will issue a

charge-sheet against Mr. Lallu for exceeding the quota of SCs and OBCs in his rallies. Mayawati will be awarded the “Best Politician” award for showing most respect towards the quota system and the quickest implementation in her state. Mulayam will be put behind bars for having 25% muslims in his party against the quota of 10%. And BJP will be banned for defying the entire Quota regime. Congress will still remain the Most Secular Party in India with strict adherence to quotas.

So, while the GC citizens will be downgraded to third-class citizens, India will develop as the Most Secular Nation on the planet with Quotas for everyone.


Originally posted on

Thursday, October 8, 2009

History of various technologies

This is an excerpt from an article in the newspaper today.Found it interesting.

Ever wondered how old your favourite technology or gadget really is? Read on to find out


How many years old: 36

Date of birth: October 17, 1973

From being a luxury for the rich to an absolute necessity even for the common man, the cell phone’s come a long way. It’s almost an extension of the human body now. Martin Cooper made the first call on a handheld mobile phone on April 3, 1973. The first mobile phone was approved by the Federal Communications Commission in the US in 1983.


How many years old: 40

Date of birth: September 2, 1969

For something that you can’t feel or see, the World Wide Web has changed our thoughts and our lives in ways we’re only just beginning to realise. The Internet truly shrunk the world, being the harbinger of an information revolution. This mode of connectivity was born at the University of California 40 years ago last week. And when was the first time it was attacked? In 1988, by ‘Morris’, one of the first Internet worms!


How many years old: 12

Date of birth: April 1, 1997

This one’s the kid in the family. Blogs are freedom of expression on steroids — everything from Bush-bashing to your sex life can be broadcast to the world. ‘Scripting New’ was the first modern blog. Initially, it was named ‘weblog’ (meaning log of the web), and later, in 2004, it received legitimacy from the etymological elite, with the Merriam Webster dictionary making it its word of the year.


How many years old: 30

Date of birth: July 1, 1979

This one passed away young, but its memory lives on every time someone plugs in the earphones of an MP3 player. Thirty years after it was born, the great grand daddy of iPods has been relegated to obsolescence, but the snazzy gadget revolutionised the way people listened to music, and still inspires fond nostalgia from the parent types.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Forecasting Model for Fruits & Vegetables in Retail Outlets


Statement of Purpose

To create an indenting system between Retail Outlets & MIS of Subhiksha Trading Services Ltd in Upper North Region. The system should serve the following purposes

Ø Reduces Inventory

Ø Reduces Time lag in SCM

Ø Reduces Dump

Problem Faced

Ø High level of Inventory

Ø High time lag in SCM

Ø High Dump Value


Implementation of PRABAL’S INDENTING SYSTEM Version 1 that takes into consideration the following parameters.

Ø Average Sales

Ø Day Effect

Ø Season Effect

Ø Increment Effect

Ø Dump Effect

Ø Days of Stock

Ø Critical Shelf Life

Problem Analysis

The company is leading Retail Chain, which serves Fruits & Vege

tables (F&V) also. The F&V are purchased centrally from

Mandi and supplied to Ware House. The purchase is based are based on the compiled order of the region provided by MIS. MIS compiles the data based on the Indent given by individual RO’s(Retail Outlet).

Indent is made by Supervisor. The education level of Supervisor is less than higher secondary. The indent is given in 2 days advance to MIS. Indent is normally created by gut feeling of Supervisor.

Indent > Supply = Wt loss + Sale + Closing Stock

Closing Stock = Sellable Closing Stock + Dump

Present Methodology

Ø On the Closing of Day i.e at night, closing stock is weighed and recorded.

Ø Each outlet tries to maintain the desirable no. of day’s stock, which has been calculated for each item separately.

Ø Also Critical Shelf Life of each SKU has been calculated and circulated.

Ø While indenting, supervisor normally keeps both the mentioned information in mind.

But the closing stock calculated by them is misleading in two ways:-

  • Closing Stock reported consists both sellable Closing stock and Dump.

  • Closing Stock is taken at night, while reported in the morning. Considerable amount of weight loss and increase in Dump occurs by the morning.

This deviation from ideal indent at RO level creates a bullwhip effect at Central Purchase Level.

New Methodology

The indent is forecasted, based on the mathematical formulas.

It Considers:-

Ø Average Sales

Ø Day Effect

Ø Season Effect

Ø Increment Effect

Ø Dump Effect

Ø Sellable Opening Stock in the morning

Ø Days of Stock

Ø Critical Shelf Life

Ø Crate Size

  1. Gives Recommended Indent
  2. Gives the option of modifying indenting by increasing the %age of sales over last day

Nomenclature & Formulae


DSi = Day Sale of particular SKU on Day i

Average= ∑ DSi (i=1 to 14)

Dump E=( ∑ DUMPi)/14 (i=1 to 14)


DSi where i=1 to 14

OS15 = Opening Stock of Day15 of particular SKU

DUMP15 = Opening Dump Stock of Day15 of particular SKU

STN IN15 = Stock Transfer Inwards(Accepted) on Day15 before Indent is made.

STN OT15 = Stock Transfer Outwards on Day15 before Indent is made.


RI = Recommended Indent in no. of crates for Day17

FI = Final Indent in no. of crates for Day17

Recommended STN out in no. of crates on Day15


Increment desired on last day sale in percentage inputs.


Kindly mention that why you are giving this increment when its more than 50% or less than -50%


DE= Day Effect

DE= (DS3+ DS4)/2

Avg Sale

SE= Season Effect

SE = ∑ DSi (i=1 to 8)

∑ DSi (i=1 to 7)

Dump E= Dump Effect

Dump E= (( ∑ DUMPi)/14)/Avg (i=1 to 14)

PS= Projected Sale

PS= Avg(1+DE+SE+ Dump E)

DOS = Days of Stock

DOS = OS15 + STN IN15 – STN OT15


CSL= Critical Shelf Life

Logic Test 1 If DOS > CSL

> Stock out the excess stock

Else >Regular Indent

Logic Test 2 If DOS<1/2*csl

> Additional Indent=AI

> AI= RI*0.45 (0.45 is taken by Hit & Trial)

Else >Additional Stock=0

Recommended Indent = Reco I = RI+AI

Inc= Increment percentage over last day sales (DS14)

FI= Final Indent = Reco I(1+Inc/100)

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