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Best content from the best source handpicked by Shyam. The source include The Harvard University, MIT, Mckinsey & Co, Wharton, Stanford,and other top educational institutions. domains include Cybersecurity, Machine learning, Deep Learning, Bigdata, Education, Information Technology, Management, others.

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    A Message for Entrepreneurs: ‘Don’t Hesitate to Start’

    Roni Einav is one of Israel’s most successful software entrepreneurs. In 1983, he founded Fourth Dimension Software, later renamed New Dimension Software. He served as its CEO and chairman until the firm was sold in 1999 to Texas-based BMC Software for $675 million. Currently, he heads Einav High Tech Assets, which invests in high-tech start-ups. Einav is also co-author with Miriam Yahil-Wax of the memoir, Nordau to NASDAQ — The Evolution of an Israeli High-Tech Start-Up, which describes his entrepreneurial journey.

    Einav believes that entrepreneurs need to balance their instincts and education, and to not be afraid of making mistakes. In a conversation with Knowledge@Wharton, he says: “I tell people that if they are looking for the perfect idea, for the perfect gap in technology, they will never get there.”
    An edited transcript of the conversation follows.
    Knowledge@Wharton: Your book is titled Nordau to NASDAQ. What does the title mean?
    Roni Einav: The title has a few [different] meanings. One of them is that I was living for many years in a place in Tel Aviv called Nordau Boulevard and my destination was a global target like Wall Street or NASDAQ. There is also a socialistic flavor because [World Zionist Organization co-founder Max] Nordau was next to [Theodor] Herzl in the Zionist part of the movement. The movement was pretty socialistic. And then we came to the climax of capitalism. Also Miriam, my co-author, thought that it should be a little mysterious.
    Knowledge@Wharton: You studied at Technion, which is one of Israel’s most prestigious technical universities. And then you spent some time with the Israeli defense forces. How did these experiences shape you as an entrepreneur?
    Einav: I think I was lucky to be educated in Technion, which has got a few Nobel Prizes. After being educated as an engineer, I served my country in the Army. But I wasn’t an officer in the military operations; I was in operations research, in the systems analysis of ammunition and our military systems. From age 22, I got the chance to operate in the big [league]. You fight for [your] opinions with the senior officers. And even though they are 40-45 years old and enjoy a great deal of prestige for what they’ve done in the Army, you come out with your own thinking. You are not afraid to fight for your opinions, to be stubborn … to think of what is the best for Israel and for the Israeli Army.
    I think it’s a kind of a complementary education. After four or five years, you are more experienced in the practical side of the academia and not just in the academia itself.
    Knowledge@Wharton: From there, how did you enter the world of business?
    Einav: I never worked for anybody. I started in the computer business, but at that time it was more professional services. Our clients were the ministry of defense, the Army, some of the big Israeli ventures. There are not too many big organizations in Israel — just five or 10. After a while I realized that if you want to play globally you need to have some [intellectual] property, a software product or something that can be sold in other parts of the world.
    Knowledge@Wharton: One of your first notable forays in business was in Iran, which was under the reign of the Shah at the time. Could you tell us about that experience?
    Einav: At that time, the relations between Israel and Iran were very close. Israel and Iran and Turkey were the power against the Arab world. The Shah wanted to have a powerful Iran, a good education system and so on. He came to us as architects and engineers to help him build the civilian part of the Navy — the Iranian Navy. We built new cities in Bandar Abbas, Bandar Bushehr and Kharg Island.
    Today, Bandar Bushehr, for example, is known for the nuclear plant. Sometimes Iranian boats travel from Bandar Abbas to Lebanon with missiles. But at that time, we were engineers and the thinking was that people from Israel can do a professional job relatively fast. The places I have mentioned are very remote and have an extremely bad climate …. So, it was interesting. After working with the Shah, we also worked with the Pahlavi Foundation in Tehran. And we felt very good.
    Knowledge@Wharton: The other episode from the early years I found interesting was that following Israel’s peace agreement with Egypt in 1979, the Sinai Peninsula evacuation contributed to the growth of your company, which you named “Einav Systems.” How did that happen and what was the impact on the company’s growth?
    Einav: That was my first big contract. We had a team of 10 or 12 people. The Army at the time understood that in order to ensure that a project of so many billions was effectively implemented, they must use civilian resources. I was lucky to work for them and maybe they were lucky to hire me because the job was intelligent, fascinating, but at the same time it required a lot of effort and a lot of talent. As a result of my success in the job, I got additional contracts, which were more related to software for big civilian projects.
    Knowledge@Wharton: How was Fourth Dimension Software formed and how did it grow out of Einav Systems?
    EIt was owned 50% by somebody who worked for Einav Systems and 50% by partners related to Einav Systems. This was a very typical way, a socialist way, of setting up a new business with no external funding. After a couple of initial failures, we got an opportunity from the Israel Air Force. They had software that they used for scheduling the routine daily life of the Israeli Air Force. But while the software was important, there was no documentation, nobody built it as a package. There was a [lot] of improvisation. The Army and we came to an agreement that we would take the software and develop it into something that could last for many years. The benefit for the Army was that they would get it for free for many years and the advantage for us was that we got an opportunity to do something very big.
    Knowledge@Wharton: How did you overcome the initial challenges in developing database software?
    Einav: As we started with the scheduling package, we were naïve enough to think that we could make a better database as well. If you are young and ambitious, you are not afraid to fight IBM or Computer Associates and smaller organizations. Maybe I can say … that in being too educated maybe you’re becoming too disciplined and too organized. It’s good to be organized but it’s also good to dream a little and be a little naïve …. You need to balance your instincts and your education.
    Knowledge@Wharton: Intuition and imagination play as big a role in entrepreneurship as discipline and hard work.
    Einav: I think so. We never dreamt that Fourth Dimension Software would have so many products, that it would be so profitable. So, the range of your dream is one year, maybe two years. And the dream is a dynamic one. After one year, you have a different dream.
     You spend a lot of time in your book talking about the importance of human capital. One way of achieving your dreams is to attract and develop the best people. Could you explain how you did that in your company?
    Einav: At that time, it was relatively easy because in Israel there were not so many [success] stories like Fourth Dimension Software. All the stories about Israel and the few thousand start-ups are the result of my story and stories like that. At that time, if you wanted to sell software abroad, you just had five or 10 or 15 possibilities. Once we started to succeed — you have to be successful in order to attract human capital — we had the right friends in the Army. Among the new immigrants, we found the right people to work for us.
    Knowledge@Wharton: What was Control M?
    Einav: Control M was our first enterprise software product. Across the world, there are maybe 15,000 or 20,000 organizations like banks, airlines, insurance companies and military organizations that have [multiple] activities. Let’s take, for example, a bank. A bank has mortgages and foreign currency and you can get cash from ATM machines. But at least once every day or maybe once every hour, depending on its size, the bank wants to streamline all its activities. We built a software robot that could do this. Later, we developed complementary technology.
    Knowledge@Wharton: How did the company enter and expand in the U.S. and then in Europe? And what lessons did you learn from those experiences?
    Einav: At that time we were dreamers but not crazy. We understood that we didn’t have money to build our sales force. So, Boole & Babbage Europe (B&BE) sold us in Western Europe. In America, we got another distributor. This distributor, operating from California, worked for us for five years but there were problems. In 1991, we entered into an agreement to hire most of his people who were related to our technology in their offices in six different locations. We were rich enough to make this move. It was a critical move because a year-and-a-half later we had our IPO in NASDAQ. Before that we needed to prove that we were a strong force. And as a global player, you need to be on your own in the U.S.
    Knowledge@Wharton: What are the factors that led to the company going public? What obstacles did you encounter and how did you deal with them?
    Einav: We were successful before going public. And we gained experience during our journey. While we did not know what it meant to be public, we felt that all our competitors were on NASDAQ and, if you want to be a global player, you need to follow the game. At that time, the value of the company was $120 million. Two percent of the company was owned by EDS. We felt that [an IPO] was the right move. After one year, the value of the company doubled. It was around $250 million. After one more year, it was $35 million. So, there were also troubles and once you are public, everyone knows when you are in trouble.
    Knowledge@Wharton: Following the IPO, Fourth Dimension experienced extraordinary growth. In less than three years the company grew six fold. What drove this growth and what challenges did that create?
    Einav: We learned how to be public for the good and bad parts. It was good at the beginning, maybe too good. We thought that it’s a multiplication game — that if we double the workforce, we would double the revenue. It didn’t work. We needed to rebuild the company from scratch. But, luckily, we had the money to fail for a year. With no money in the bank, it may have been impossible to rebuild the company.
    Knowledge@Wharton: What led to that sharp fall in business? Also, I believe there was the filing of a class action law suit. How did you deal with that challenge?
    Einav: It happened all together. We were not ready for the fact that our revenue was not growing as we had planned. The [problem] was that our expenditure was extremely high. So, I told my colleagues, “Listen, if we have 20% or 25 % better sales and only 25% less expenditure, everything will be right again.” And that is more or less what happened. The technology was good all along and there were no severe problems with customers because in a way any customer that you gain is strapped to your technology. It’s not easy to leave the technology. Also, I think that the technology and the company are stronger than business cycles.
    Knowledge@Wharton: The conflict that followed also led to the firing of the CEO from the U.S., your partner with whom you had started Fourth Dimension. After that point, how did you rebuild the operations?
    Einav: The problem with my partner was that he thought that we could continue with the same concept. I took it more seriously. Once he was out and we hired another CEO — I was the CEO in the interim period — [things fell in place] because we continued to develop new products. It was relatively easy for us to convince clients who had bought from New Dimension to buy additional products because it was the same look and feel, the same concepts, the same support. So, it wasn’t as difficult once we agreed about the new business plan that was a little bit more conservative.
    Knowledge@Wharton: Today you lead Einav High Tech Assets, which invests in high-tech start-ups. What kind of companies and technologies are you investing in?
    Einav: Most of them are in software.
    Knowledge@Wharton: Any examples?
    Einav: We have a company by the name of VeNotion Technologies — VNT. It maps applications, business applications, software packages, hardware, etc. In a bank or any legal organization, after a while, they don’t know which [application] is down and why. When they try to correct or change something in one business application, they can harm a different business application. This is one example; we know how to map business applications. Another thing we do with software is build a kind of simulator… we can navigate to see the city or the road. The idea is to assemble or to combine whatever is in Philadelphia and if an architect or a transportation engineer is planning a new project with say, Bentley, we know how to put a design in place and you can drive the car and see whether there are safety problems.
    Or, if you want to oppose a new initiative in the city, at least you will understand what you are opposing, because many times people oppose new initiatives without really knowing if it will disturb them or not. So, we know to combine. These are two typical things I do today.
    Something that I do which is a little bit strange is that we found out that in Israel and in California, I’m sure in Pennsylvania too, 25% or 30% of the children don’t eat the yolk of the egg. [We are trying to] mix the yolk and the white part of the egg in the shell without touching the shell. So you can have a hard-boiled egg, which is almost white. The child can eat it without noticing that he is eating the yolk. I’m trying to make a business case out of it, either by selling such eggs in the supermarket or by selling home appliances that can do the magic.
    Knowledge@Wharton: During your career what is the biggest leadership challenge you faced? How did you deal with it and what did you learn from it?
    Einav: I can’t say what is the biggest because once you experience failure you still need to convince everybody that you will survive. So, it’s the way you behave, sometimes convincing people that the future is rosy. But you also need to take concrete steps. You need strong contacts. For example, when we signed the new contract in 1997 with Boole & Babbage (B&B), I had to go to my board and convince my friends that the probability that B&B would be purchased earlier than us was higher. I said to them, “I don’t know for sure but I feel that this is the way to sign the new distribution agreement. My instinct is that they will be purchased before us.”
    Knowledge@Wharton: Based on your experience, what are the challenges of working with a business partner? How should you choose a partner so that the partnership is productive and does not become a source of stress and conflict?
    Einav: I can’t be naïve and say that it’s easy. Even if you find the right talent, the right partners, I can assure you that some of them will be different in four years, some of them will be different in five or six or seven or eight years. There is no way to ensure that people will be in love or in good business relations for the next 20 years. I don’t have a formula for that. You have to believe that you have selected the right wife, the right partners, and that it will work. It’s not easy, not in family life and not in business. But you have to work it out.
    Knowledge@Wharton: What are the main lessons from your entrepreneurial journey that could benefit other entrepreneurs? What advice would you give them?
    Einav: The best thing I can tell people is that if they are looking for the perfect idea, for the perfect gap in technology, and are afraid to make mistakes, then they will never get there. In certain moments, you have to decide to jump into the water. And if you find that you have made a mistake, then make the correction very fast. Don’t hesitate to make corrections. At the same time, don’t hesitate to start. Don’t think too much. Jump and do.
    Knowledge@Wharton: One last question: How do you define success?
    Einav: This is also something which is dynamic. When I was a child or even a youngster, if somebody became a millionaire, let’s say made $1 million or $2 million, it was definitely a huge success. I don’t think that somebody would like to define success as the success I have experienced because it may be too much. It’s the kind of dream you can’t dream about. In Israel, if you make less than $5 million, people say, “It’s OK. So-so.” You need to make more than $5 million or $10 [million] in order to be regarded as a successful entrepreneur. But the truth is that maybe to live a good life the old definition of $1 million or $2 million or $3 million is good enough.

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    South India’s Street side Coffee Culture

    ( There is a possibility that some tamil words may have been 

    misspelt as the author is not from India)

    David Hagerman
    India is most often associated with tea, but java culture runs deep in the country’s southern states. Click to see slideshow.

    Early one morning last week I queued outside Sri Gopi Iyengar Coffee and Tiffin Center, a coffee bar just outside the monumental Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. My long wait under a scorching sun was rewarded with a small glass of fragrant, caramel-hued brew topped with a fluff of white foam. Though a moderate coffee drinker at home, I was already on my fourth dose of the day. It would be far from my last, for in this South Indian state, coffee is as delicious as it is ubiquitous.
    India is most often associated with tea, but java culture runs deep in the country’s southern states. Coffee was introduced to what is now Tamil Nadu’s neighboring state of Karnataka in the 17th century by an Indian Muslim saint named Baba Budan, who smuggled seven beans from Yemen while on pilgrimage to Mecca. Cultivation flourished under the British, and India now produces some 300,000 tons of coffee per year. Tamil Nadu is the country’s third largest grower after Karnataka and Kerala.
    “No true blue South Indian would ever do without his or her filter coffee early morning ,” says Chennai food writer Sadita Radhakrishna. The author of a forthcoming book on Tamil Nadu cuisine, Ms. Radhakrishna remembers that when she was growing up in Bangalore, “every single day, coffee seeds were roasted and ground on an old coffee grinder with a handle” and brewed in a traditional lidded drip filter made of brass.
    David Hagerman

    The perfect cup in Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu. Click to see slideshow.

    Tamil Nadu residents still sup at home, but coffee is also served in messes, restaurants and chain cafes with catchy monikers like Hot Chips. But the majority of the state’s java is served and drunk at coffee bars, a term that describes a range of street establishments from standalone shacks just wide enough to accommodate a vendor and carts parked under a corrugated roof to huts carved out of the ground floor of permanent structures. 
    At a coffee bar, your hot drink (many serve tea as well) is ordered, prepared, served and paid for at a window fronted by a small counter. It’s at the counter that you drink while standing on the pavement, perhaps as you nibble a piping-hot crispy daal fritter or a tea biscuit plucked from a metal-topped glass canister. Takeaway is always an option, provided you bring your own receptacle.
    In southern India, the brew method of choice is slow drip in a brass filter, which can hold a cup of water or be sized for a crowd at up to 10 liters, and is kept gleaming via regular applications of tamarind paste. Some java jockeys use the sock method, pouring hot water or milk through fine grounds in a piece of muslin suspended from a metal ring. Beans are Arabica, robusta or a mix of the two, always blended with chicory.
     Sugar is a given (ask for konjam jeeni for a less sweet brew), and so is India’s wickedly rich full-cream milk, kept hot on a burner near the counter. To prepare an order the vendor places sugar in a wide-lipped metal tumbler, adds a shot of coffee and a ladle of milk, and then simultaneously blends, cools and froths the liquid by pouring it back and forth between two tumblers, often from great heights (thus its nickname “meter coffee”). Utter the words konjam kuda and he’ll add a flourish of black coffee to the surface of the drink.
    David Hagerman
    Black coffee is added at the end to finish the glass. Click to see slideshow.
    Depending on the type of bean used, southern Indian coffee can be smoky, winey or even a bit cinnamony, and the chicory adds a hint of nuttiness. In over a week of steady sampling around Tamil Nadu, I drank my best (and strongest) glass at Gopi Iyengar, though I’d rate all of the others nothing less than wonderful.  Served in small doses for as little as 8 Indian rupees (about $0.13) a glass, southern India’s coffee-bar coffee goes down like ice cream — leaving room, pocket change and a hankering for just one more.
    Coffee bar at Sri Gopi Iyengar Coffee and Tiffin Center, 37/35 West Chitrai Street, Madurai, Tamil Nadu. 

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    Why HR Needs to Stop Passing Over the Long-Term Unemployed

    One of the very bad things about the Great Recession is that those who were not doing well already got hurt the worst, and that also seems to be the case for the economic recovery. Hiring has picked up, but not for the long-term unemployed, those out of work for more than more than 26 weeks. We’ll get a new look at the data when July jobs numbers are released Friday.
    The revelation last year   that many job requirements for open positions mandated that candidates already be employed seemed a bit like a joke, but the evidence that employers screened out unemployed applicants was so widespread that the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission began investigating it.
    A couple of interesting studies examined the extent of discrimination against the unemployed. These studies are unusual in that they involved real efforts to find real jobs. One   created 3,000 pretend candidates and sent their resumes to a random sample of job openings. They varied one item among otherwise identical applications: whether the individual was currently unemployed and, if so, how long they had been unemployed.
    Only about 4.5% got callbacks, which suggests that the typical unemployed applicant has to apply to a little more than 20 jobs to just get a positive response from an employer indicating that they are still being considered for the job.
    Surprisingly, the call-back rate was slightly higher for those who had just been laid off than for those who currently had a job. What happens after you are unemployed for more than a month? At that point, the probability of getting any positive response from employers falls sharply and declines further with each month, hitting a plateau after about eight months. A person with an otherwise identical set of skills and experiences is about half as likely to get a positive response from employers after eight months of unemployment as compared to a person just being laid off.
    The other study (PDF)   is similar, with an important twist. They compared applicants on two dimensions: How long they were unemployed and whether they had relevant job experience. This study also found a sharp drop-off in employer interest for candidates with around six months of unemployment, but it also found that recently unemployed candidates with no relevant experience for the position were more likely to get employer interest than were those with relevant experience who were unemployed for six months or more.
    What’s going on here? At least at present — and perhaps because of the depth of the recession — there doesn’t seem to be much stigma associated with being unemployed per se. But there is a really big reluctance to hire those who have been unemployed for a while. It’s so big that it trumps the concern about having the relevant skills, which news reports constantly suggest is the big challenge employers face.
    Here’s the point: Hiring managers are only human. They don’t have much support in doing their jobs. If you think hiring decisions are based on careful evidence about what attributes make the best hires, think again. Few employers have the time or resources to do any studies of what predicts a good hire, let alone looking at the specific evidence concerning prior unemployment. There is no evidence that I have seen anywhere suggesting that the long-term unemployed make worse candidates.
    Hiring managers are going with their gut feel or what they think are “sensible” ideas about what makes a good candidate when the resist hiring the long-term unemployed. We know that going with your gut in hiring decisions means going with all kinds of unstated and in many cases unconscious prejudices. That’s what kept women and minorities out of many jobs and now keeps older workers out of them as well. How about these sensible ideas? “If they were good, someone else would have hired them” — not when other employers think like you do and when there are so few jobs to go around. “Their skills are rusty” — one doesn’t forget how to do a job in six months, and all new hires require some time to learn how your operation works.
    What we do know about job candidates who are long-term unemployed, which is related to job success, is that they are persistent. Millions of other unemployed facing this job market gave up looking and dropped out of the labor force. We also know that they will likely be very grateful to have a job, and gratitude is associated with many aspects of good job performance. They are also likely to be cheaper and easier to hire because you don’t have to woo them away from their current employer.
    The way to get hiring of the long-term unemployed started is to recognize that there is no objective case in this economy for not considering a candidate who has been out of work for a while. Therefore, excluding them out of hand is a form of prejudice. The people at the top of organizations need to point out that excluding such candidates is likely costing us money because we are ignoring potential good hires, just as it costs us money to exclude women, minorities, older individuals, and anyone else who has the potential to do the job.
    It’s the right thing to do in terms of our social impact, it’s the right thing to do to make our organization inclusive and looking like our society, and it’s also the financially sensible thing to do.

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    Can You Overdo People Skills?

    In our work with leaders on overplayed strengths, people sometimes object to the idea that every strength can be taken too far. For instance, an academic journal editor once held up publication of a research article stating flatly that “it is impossible for a leader to be too supportive, caring, and loyal.”
    Did that journal editor have a point? Recent interest in one of the greatest American presidents offers a fascinating example. Let there be no doubt that Abraham Lincoln was an extraordinary leader who galvanized a bitterly divided country and navigated it through phenomenal discord. In fact, Lincoln is one of our personal favorite leaders. 
    But his acclaimed biographer, Doris Kearns Goodwin  , author of A Team of Rivals   (which Steven Spielberg drew from in his recent film  ), turned up some counterintuitive insights in her penetrating research. Taking into account aspects of Lincoln often neglected in the cultural lore, she considers the possibility that his leadership could have been even more effective had he not been quite so caring.
    In a 2009 HBR interview   Goodwin was fast to point out Lincoln’s tremendous gift of people skills. She described his exceptional emotional intelligence, willingness to hear out opposing views, keen eye for talent, capacity for forgiveness, and ability to share credit for success but take blame for mistakes. 
    This constellation of admirable attributes earned him loyalty. It was key to recruiting and managing the big talents, and big egos, that made up his cabinet who — despite many being from opposing political parties and former rivals in seeking the presidency — “ended up believing that he was as near a perfect man as anyone they’d ever met,” according to Goodwin.
    However, Goodwin also concluded that “Lincoln’s greatest flaw came out of his strength, which was generally liking people and not wanting to hurt them.” This seemed to color his judgment, and delay corrective action by giving people too many chances to turn things around. Nowhere is this more evident than in the disastrous example of how Lincoln managed George McClellan  , his general in the early stages of the Civil War.
    McClellan had his own issues with overused strengths. His confidence and pride could verge into arrogance. Born to the upper class, McClellan was condescending and insubordinate   toward his folksy commander-in-chief. He referred to Lincoln as “a well-meaning baboon” and declared him an “idiot.”   McClellan’s tactical judgment soon proved to be questionable too. 
    Though a systematic and thorough planner who exercised careful judgment, McClellan was also a perfectionist who suffered from analysis-paralysis   and struggled to take decisive action. His excessively cautious approach is considered by military historians   to be why the Union failed to quash the smaller Confederate forces early on in the Peninsula Campaign of 1862  , the failure to seize theConfederate capital of Richmond  , and the bloody draw against much smaller forces at Antietam  .
    Some believe that McClellan should have been removed well before Antietam. In part, Lincoln may have been reluctant to make such a bold staffing move because he was new to warfare and military strategy. Goodwin, however, concluded, “In the end it was his inability to hurt people that made Lincoln keep McClellan on far too long.” 
    By dragging his feet on this decision, the Confederacy managed to hold on despite long odds and the Union lost strategic ground and thousands of soldiers, including over 12,000 casualties at Antietam  . Six weeks later, Lincoln finally removed McClellan from command.
    Lincoln was not alone in struggling with tough people calls. In a recent HBR blog post, we documented how today over half of executives are too soft on accountability. This shortfall is particularly common among those with strong people skills, who are bedeviled by two hazards when it comes to tackling performance issues.
    The first hazard is that caring leaders tend not to be direct, especially when there’s a conflict. They might avoid talking with the other person altogether; or soft-pedal the message to the point where the person walks out of the room blissfully unaware of the seriousness of the problem. The hazard is augmented when leaders rationalize, usually by telling themselves, “I don’t want to make anyone upset.” They’d like to believe they are being protective of the other person, when in fact they’re protecting themselves.
    Leaders with strong people skills should also be aware of a second hazard: that they, like Lincoln with McClellan, will be much too slow to act. Well-liked leaders, if they are honest with themselves, shy away from tough action because they fear it will hurt their reputation. Another way that such leaders hang themselves up is by pointing to the subpar performer’s good points. But if you wait until that person has no redeeming value, you’ll wait forever.
     Finally, once these leaders do achieve clarity that the person needs to go, they let concerns about implementation delay action unnecessarily. “It will be hard to find a replacement” or “It’s a bad idea to make a change now because there’s been so much instability lately.” In attempting to rein in tendencies that impede your ability to deal with tough personnel issues, self-delusion is your biggest threat.
    How do you prevent your valuable people skills from turning into a liability? For one, wake up to the fact that that very aptitude puts you at risk of misapplying it. Realize too that the more heavily you rely on those skills and the more deeply you believe in them, the graver the risk. 
    Second, wake up to the value of the antithesis of a strong people orientation — tough-mindedness about people. Finally, be able to imagine that the height of people skill is to combine these seeming polar opposites — to take needed tough actions in a constructive, respectful way.

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    One in 4 poll candidates hasn't disclosed PAN

    With total assets of around Rs 56 crore, Dhanvantri Chandela, fielded by the Congress from the Rajouri Garden constituency, is easily one of the richest among candidates for the Delhi Assembly election. But she neither has a permanent account number (PAN) nor has she reported details of her income-tax returns to the Election Commission of India (ECI).

    Chandela is not alone. Keeping her company on the long list of candidates who have not disclosed their PAN or I-T details are the Bahujan Samajwadi Party’s (BSP’s) Munni Seth-Rajendra Sharma, seeking election from Madhya Pradesh’ Dewas Assembly constituency (total assets to the tune of Rs 12.67 crore), and Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Bikaner candidate Sahi Ram Bishnoi (assets of Rs 1.72 crore), among others. If their nomination papers are anything to go by, these people have no PAN and do not file their income-tax returns.

    In Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan — the five states where elections have either taken place or are to take place this year — one in every four candidates has not disclosed details of PAN, while every second has not given income-tax return details. According to Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) data for various states, compiled by Business Standard, of the 3,337 candidates fielded, the affidavits of 914 (28 per cent) have no mention of PAN and those of 1,502 (45 per cent) do not give income-tax return details.

    The income of some of these candidates may not fall in the taxable bracket, but that cannot be true for all — at least 99 of those deciding not to give out I-T details have total declared assets of more than Rs 1 crore.

    In candidates’ nomination papers, there are two separate columns for giving out details of PAN and income-tax returns.

    But, in a majority of cases where these details have not been given out, the candidates have chosen to write ‘Nil’. A senior ECI officer says submitting wrong information cannot be a ground for a candidate’s disqualification but he surely can be prosecuted.

    According to S Y Quraishi, former chief election commissioner of India, it is the responsibility of the returning officer to ensure no column in a candidate’s affidavit is left blank. But, he says, the officer cannot always verify the veracity of a piece of information given. “If a candidate gives false information in his affidavit, anyone can file a case against him and challenge his candidature.”

    Among the five states, Mizoram seems to lead the pack, with 78 per cent of its candidates not disclosing their PAN details. Nearly 37 per cent of the 142 contesting in the state (52 candidates) have declared assets of over Rs 1 crore.

    About 43 per cent of Chhattisgarh’s 983 candidates, 16 per cent of Rajasthan’s 733 and 15 per cent of Delhi’s 796 have not mentioned their PAN. The proportion of candidates with assets of more than Rs 1 crore in these states stands at 22 per cent, 47 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively.

    So far as those who have not filed their I-T return details are concerned, their share in the total number of candidates stands at 67 per cent in Chhattisgarh, 40 per cent in Madhya Pradesh, and 39 per cent in Delhi.

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    “Reviving the India Story- Policy Priorities for a Congress Government.” 

    Text of I&B Minister Shri Manish Tewari’s speech at IISS, Singapore 

    The Minister for Information & Broadcasting Shri Manish Tewari today delivered Fullerton Lecture at IISS, Singapore. Text of the speech is as follows:

    Honourable Dr. Tim Huxley, Executive Director, IISS, Asia, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Thank you for inviting me to speak to this august gathering. In a short period of time the Fullerton Lecture Series have established themselves as a signature event. The galaxy of eminences who have spoken hear bears eloquent testimony to the pre-eminent position of the IISS as one of the foremost thought platforms of the world.

    Let me begin from the beginning. What after all is the India story? What are the contours and parameters within which we are trying to locate the India story? What time frames are we talking about? Since its liberation in 1947, India has been an unfolding tale of a million mutinies that have been imploding on its mosaic on a daily basis. 

    Zillions of ambitions and aspirations that bubble up every day in the hearts and minds of more than a billion people who are the permanent cast in this story. It thus becomes imperative to locate and anchor this milieu in its broader historical context. Even a narrower focus on India's growth trajectory in the last one decade would be incomplete and perhaps misleading if we do not take into account the factors that have moulded and shaped the policies India has adopted as also defined and determined the path it has trodden.

    The idea of India has baffled many thoughtful gentlemen in the past too. Prime Minister Winston Churchill could not imagine that India was a single Westphalian entity any more than the equator was.

    Since Independence, the warp and the woof of  the India story has been consistently woven by the Congress around a pluralistic society aspiring for equity in the policy frameworks of governance. The India story has been, by and large, consistent with this vision and understanding of India since the Congress has been heading the government for almost the better part of time over the past sixty six years except  perhaps intermittently for little over a  decade when other political formations were at the helm of the ship of  state.

    As we engage in this conversation a round of provincial elections are playing themselves out concurrently and  national elections are  scheduled for the April- May of 2014. However to discern the policy priorities for a Congress government in its next term it is imperative too first delineate the core contours that define India today. 

     and then  rewind to 2004 and evaluate the past nine plus years of UPA's rule as that is both the trampoline and the spring board for future policy initiatives.

    (i)  The first  contour of course is demographics. India is a young country with increasing  capacities both among its employable and the employed population. When this dividend starts declining among some of the hyper powers of today say by 2033 India would just about be peaking and plateuing on this score.

     (ii) The second is the increasing efficiency of its working paradigms. A twenty one year old  who started his career in 1991, now has 21 years of experience in a neo-liberal economic order. They are now more than acquainted with modern technology, foreign companies, and above all a market driven domestic dynamic.
    (iii) The third is better companies. Indian companies are increasingly becoming both capable and competitive. 

     The trepidation that our corporate institutions are archaic monolith's that would collapse in the face of global competition has been replaced by a sanguineness manifested by Indian corporations in a plethora of sectors. They have not only become conglomerates but are rapidly acquiring companies in the emerged economies also.

    (iv)  The fourth is an increasingly robust financial order. India invests  35 per cent of its GDP every year. Steps are being initiated to reinforce the financial system by emulating best practices that the global financial system have on offer. The objective being to convert good investment to GDP ratio into a higher rate of GDP growth. 

    (v) The fifth is enhanced  economic integration.  India is now engaging with the world in a humongous manner. Gross flows on the current account are now 63.3 per cent of GDP and gross flows on the financial account are now 55.3 per cent of GDP. This fructifies into cross border gross flows of 118.6 per cent of GDP. This makes India one of the more permissive economies in the world. Engagement with the world brings in its wake a flow of ideas that invigorates the intellectual landscape also.  

    (vi)    The sixth is liberalism, democracy and a bottoms up Public Discourse. A Liberal democracy that anchors both the rule of law and an institutionalised judicial system  Democracy ensures that issues which resonate with an overwhelming bulk of the people engage the collective energies of the policy community and liberalism ensures that there is space for the last man in the last row to live his dream without fear of discrimination or bias while the new media provides an opportunity to over 100 million Indians and growing the ability to articulate their views without let or hindrance.

    Now let's turn to evaluating the performance of the UPA over the past nine plus years. They are broadly five parameters on which any democratic dispensation can be benchmarked. They are as follows;

    a)    Political Stability- Since entering an era of coalition politics in 1991 India saw a fair amount of fluidity from 1996 -2004 an era that saw non-congress governments and coalition’s at the centre.  However if one was to juxtapose those eight years with the nine plus years of UPA rule from the May of 2004 till now you would discern that Political Instability as a thought, construct or a concept has almost but disappeared from the terra -firma of the Indian public discourse. This is the bedrock that has facilitated a silent revolution of empowerment that has engulfed India over the past decade.  The specifics of which I would elaborate later in my presentation.

    b)   Social Cohesion- The idea of India has been underpinned by the core values that constitute the philosophical construct of natural rights and humanism. They are the fundamental freedoms of thought, expression, religious beliefs, democratic choice and a variety of others that fall within the remit of this overarching construct. The India that the UPA inherited in 2004 was scarred by a state sponsored pogrom perpetrated against the largest minority in the west Indian state of Gujarat. Coming on the heels of the religious polarisation perpetuated in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s using Indian mythology as an anchor it put a severe strain on the pluralistic ethos of India.  

    One of the foremost tasks of the UPA government was to reassure its citizen’s and especially the minorities that there life, limb and liberty would receive the fullest protection of the Indian state while persevering to bring the criminals who implemented this pogrom to justice. For the true test of a democracy is not how you treat your majority but rather how you treat your minorities. 

    Over the past years the UPA government has been successful in mitigating fear, maintaining peace and mainstreaming the minorities. This has resulted in the dissipation of the perception of a nation at war with itself. Again this has provided a fillip to economic activity as both the people and the state have been able to concentrate their attention upon bread and butter issues.

    c)    Internal Security& it’s external linkages-India still faces serious challenges to its internal security both in the North West from cross border state sponsored terrorist activity as well as in the North East where ethnic insurgencies receive external patronage. Coupled with this is the problem of left wing extremism in central India where the bulk of our natural resources are concentrated. The UPA government through a combination of hard power and soft power initiatives as well as capacity augmentation measures has been able to keep the security situation stable despite grave provocations. The worst of course being the Mumbai outrage of 2008 ironically whose fifth anniversary was yesterday. 

    Unfortunately the accused who perpetrated this assault continue to enjoy the generous hospitality of our neighbour. With triple transitions coming up in Afghanistan next year the security situation in South  and West Asia requires responsible engagement by all stakeholders. Similarly in the eastern theatre and the broader Indian Ocean region the string of pearls and other such exotically disruptive paradigms would only serve to make the global commons more volatile rather than secure the global flows of goods and resources.

    d)   Economic Development- In the past nine plus years the UPA government has built up perhaps the most ambitious and holistic rights based social security infrastructure. The Right to information, guaranteed 100 days of employment to the rural poor, free and compulsory education to each child below 14 years of age, the most comprehensive school lunch programme that feeds 120 million children daily, food security for over 800 million people, forest rights to the indigenous people and the overhaul of antiquated land acquisition laws the list of initiatives is breath taking in the trinity of its scale conception and implementation.  All this was actioned without sacrificing growth. 

    The UPA government has delivered an average rate of 8.1 % GDP growth over the past nine plus years. The mantra of equity with growth has been captioned and the talk has beenwalked.This was achieved despite the Arbitrage, Derivatives and leverages- the ADL cocktail of 2008 that mauled the neo-liberal economic order down to its very fundamentals.  After four stellar years from 2004 to the September of 2008 growth did slow down in 2008-09, but India quickly rebounded  from the slower growth of 6.7 per cent in that year to record rates of growth of 8.6 per cent in 2009-10 and 9.3 per cent in 2010-11 respectively.

     Unfortunately there was a yet another upheaval in the global economy in 2011 on account of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and that resulted in the subsequent slide in the global economic paradigms. Concurrently India also had to confront domestic constraints on investment and consumption. As a corollary growth declined to 6.2 per cent in 2011–12 and  5.0 per cent in 2012-13. 

    The current account deficit widened to USD 88 billion or 4.8 per cent of GDP in 2012-13 though indications suggest that we would close the fiscal with a CAD of 3.8%. A sharp down turn in manufacturing growth and a quantitative decrease in the services sector further decelerated growth in the first quarter of 2013-14 to 4.4 %.  India’s economic indices during this period are not an exception but unfortunately the current norm. Most developing economies have  been hit by the  phenomenon labelled as the 'Great Descent'. 

    The silver lining however is the manifestation of the green shoots of recovery  in the badly-affected Euro zone  economies.  Anticipation of an upward swing in the economic trajectory of the US, coupled with the back benching of quantitative easing, has generated hope  of a gradual global revival.  The Indian economy has also showed early indications of recovery with an increase in exports in the second economic quarter;  reversal of  negative growth in  the manufacturing sector, rise in freight traffic, a generous monsoon and a sharp increase in the sown area which should fructify into enhanced farm output. 

    Numerous reform measures over the past one year should start fructifying from the second half of the current fiscal translating into the expectation that the Indian economy will grow at over 5.0 per cent and perhaps closer to 5.5 per cent in 2013-14. Juxtaposed against global economic context even a growth rate of 5.0 per cent should qualify for more than an E for effort. Our foremost policy priority therefore, would be to return the growth trajectory to the commanding heights of the previous decade by expediting pending financial legislation as well as other policy initiatives which would ensure the top tracking of this process.

    e)  Foreign Policy- In the past nine plus years one of the significant successes of the UPA has been  strategic positioning of  India’s interests in the evolving churn of global developments. India has successfully engaged with  US, Russia, China, EU, Japan, ASEAN, other global powers, multilateral institutions and its own region managing contradictions without being overawed by the responsibility that the movement to multi polarity portends. 

    Notwithstanding the Asian rebalance, the continued emergence of China as the lonely power or the tumultuous events in the Middle east the moral imperatives that form the bedrock of our foreign policy have not been diluted but tempered with the pragmatism of the times we live in.

     In the past nine plus years the task of national reconstruction has been almost frantic to say the least.  Let me enumerate the steps taken to improve the Indian financial architecture in this year itself. A commission of theoreticians and practitioners has drafted a new Indian Financial Code a legislation drafted to replace 50 existing laws governing finance with a single concurrent financial statute. 

    A brand new Companies Act is now in place. Commodity futures are now dealt by the Ministry of Finance.   A new law has been promulgated establishing the Defined Contributory Pension mechanism under a statutory regulator.  

    The obvious question that then begs an answer is what must be the policy priorities of a Congress /UPA govt in 2014, if people do give us that opportunity.  Simply put it should translate into consolidating the progress of the previous decade to build a  state that is able to deliver to the expectations of an empowered, ignited, transformed, connected but a  very restless young India.

    The first and foremost task is to ensure that India transcends from a low Middle income to a Middle Income country. This would require liberalising our economy further to attract FDI/ FII inflows. This in turn means ensuring that an environment is recreated where it is easy to do business and ensuring that profit is not made to sound like a dirty word in our public discourse. 

    This is the only way to ensure that the ten million plus young people- the flower of our democratic dividend are gainfully employed. Coupled with this is of course  a special emphasis  too quickly put in place the remaining building blocks of the financial edifice namely the Direct Taxes Code, Goods & Services Tax legislation Banking and Insurance enactments  DTAA's TIEU's  to name but a few.

    The second is to build the Capacity of the state to be able to effectively address, surmount and yet nurture the opportunities that emerging frontiers have on offer. A State that can deliver public goods and services efficaciously. The third is a concerted attempt  to completely  overhaul India's colonial administrative system so that vertical and horizontal avenues of talent intake are created at every level of government. Perform or perish must be the new administrative mantra of India. 

    The fourth is the rewriting of  a panoply of century old laws with an expiry date to synchronise them with contemporary realities that adequately empower the instrumentalities of the state to implement these covenants by putting in place mechanisms that put a premium on both performance and accountability.  The fifth is to create capacity in the judicial system at all levels to ensure that delivery of justice is efficacious and swift. 

    The sixth is   to make it unambiguously clear to our public institutions that policy choices and their execution are the eminent domain of democratically elected governments. The seventh is to work for the reform of global institutions to reflect  current global realities and not the post world war II power balance. The eighth is to augment institutional wherewithal to protect our national interests both on land and the high seas from state and non state actors. 

    The ninth is to work with likeminded nations prevent and pre-empt militarization of outer space. The tenth of course is to redouble our efforts at global disarmament. in this context we welcome the accord with regard to Iran's Nuclear programme. The last but not the least is to fix our politics and regenerate a spirit of multi-partisanship on critical policy issues so that our legislative institutions remain relevant to underwrite this transformation.

     As we look to the next two decades India requires space for consolidation to action the above elucidated menu of priorities. That means tranquillity on our borders, stability at home and an enlightened and secular leadership that can engage at home and with the world in a spirit of partnership and not demagoguery.  

    India’s path of inclusive growth rests on the principles of social justice and equity, peace and harmony, pluralistic understanding of the social reality and celebration of diversity.  This ladies and gentlemen in brief is a snapshot of the real India story.

    View at the original source

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    BJP on a roll in 3 of 5 states, but Delhi hazy: Exit polls

    Seen sweeping Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh; Congress may reach the victory mark only in Mizoram; AAP's bright debut may mean hung House for Delhi

    If exit polls are anything to go by, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to come to power in at least three — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh — of the five states where Assembly electionshave just ended, leaving the Congress huffing and puffing to reach the victory mark in Mizoram alone.

    For Delhi, the polls on Wednesday veered between a hung House prediction and a slim majority for BJP. No poll saw the Congress even close to returning to power in the capital.

    That the Congress was looking at a trouncing was clear. But it wasn’t all good for BJP, either. The party’s seat tally, except in Rajasthan, was seen coming down, implying there was no BJP wave yet. Given that the state elections were seen as a test for the party’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, this could be significant.

    According to the exit polls, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), contesting its maiden election, may win between 6 and 31 seats in the 70-member Delhi House.

    Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Mizoram and Chhattisgarh had gone to polls earlier.

    Exit polls suggested the most unequivocal victory for BJP in Rajasthan, displacing the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in the state. The polls gave BJP between 130 and 140 seats in the 200-member Assembly — this would break its own earlier record of 116. For BJP, Rajasthan was followed by Madhya Pradesh, where the incumbent state government was seen likely to get between 121 and 128 seats in the 230-member House. Though this is much less than the current 143 seats the party had won in 2008, the Congress’ gains might be below par, the polls showed.

    In Chhattisgarh, the polls give BJP a very slight edge of one or two seats over the Congress, but all polls say the Congress will not be able to reach the victory mark, despite improving its vote share and performance substantially.
    Signals from Delhi, however, look confusing. With no party reaching the majority mark, Delhi looked set for a spell of central rule, followed by another round of elections, possibly coinciding with the Lok Sabha polls. This is because AAP has already declared it will not help any party come to power. But BJP was hopeful of reaching the halfway mark with the help of ally Akali Dal and ‘invisible friends’, party leaders said.

    At least two exit polls revised BJP’s seat tally upwards as the night wore on, suggesting the party might be within striking distance of reaching the halfway mark in Delhi.

    In Mizoram, the Congress was seen getting 19 of the 40 seats to emerge the single largest party, but still one seat short of forming a government. According to exit polls, it was projected to lose a whopping 13 seats. The Mizo National Front was seen getting 14.

    Going by the exit polls, the victory for BJP may not be as comprehensive as imagined earlier. But it is equally clear that the Congress is suffering the effects of a factional organisational set up and a serious leadership deficit: For, it has been unable to dislodge BJP in Madhya Pradesh. Most exit polls say BJP’s vote share in Madhya Pradesh will rise between two per cent and five per cent, suggesting it will beat anti-incumbency. Similarly, in Chhattisgarh, too, there is hardly any dent in BJP’s vote share.

    If the exit polls turn out to be accurate, it will bode ill for Parliament’s winter session, which begins on Thursday. That’s because little work would be done and BJP would demand the government’s resignation. Any hope of BJP’s cooperation in the passage of government Bills would also be ruled out.

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    Hispanic woman

    Who are you looking at? Why women recognise more faces than men

    Numerous studies have reported that women outperform men when it comes to face recognition faces, but most have focused on assessing innate biases in favour of race, gender, and age. Now a major literature review concludes that, in the majority of tests, women are better at face recognition than men, irrespective of all other factors.
    In order to test the often-cited theory that women are better at recognising faces than men, psychologists Agneta Herlitz and Johanna Lovén of the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, have compiled a detailed ‘meta-analysis’ of over 140 existing facial recognition studies. They conclude:
    “Our review of the literature … clearly showed that girls and women remembered more faces than boys and men did, irrespective of [the] age of participants. We also found that, in studies using both male and female faces, girls and women remembered more female faces than boys and men did, but not more male faces. However, girls and women outperformed boys and men in [the] recognition of male faces when only male faces were included in the test material.”
    The theory that women are better at recognizing, discriminating between, and interpreting facial expressions dates back to the 1970s, and many studies have reported that women outperform men on face-recognition tasks. Women have also been found to outperform men across a number of to-be-remembered materials, such as recall and recognition of words, pictures of objects, and object location. Moreover, there is even evidence that this skill develops in infancy. For example, studies of newly born infants found that girls attended more to a female face than infant boys, whereas boys attended more to a moving object, such as a mobile.
    Despite a considerable volume of research on the topic of facial recognition, most studies to date specifically address facial recognition from the perspective of various known biases for race, age, and gender. Herlitz and Lovén therefore set out to test the generalizability of women’s advantage over men in face recognition.
    Their literature review, published in the journal Visual Cognition, scoured published data (including advance online publications) up to May 2013 and encompassed papers on the presence and magnitude of:
    • the sex difference in face recognition;
    • the sex differences in face recognition of male and female faces; and
    • the own-gender bias for males and female faces.
    In total, more than 140 papers were assessed. These comprised not only ‘conventional’ behavioural studies, but also the physical effects on the brains of test participants by measuring the Blood Oxygen Level-dependent (BOLD) response using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scans.
    Following a detailed statistical analysis (using the Comprehensive Meta-Analysis technique) of all the research, including the fMRI studies, Herlitz and Lovén found that women’s face recognition advantage is mirrored in the neural correlates of face processing and face recognition.
    Why are women and girls more skilled at recognizing faces? And why are they particularly skilled at recognizing their own gender? Herlitz and Lovén hypothesize that the tendency for females to recognize other females may be related to gender labelling and gender-typed imitations (for example, toy preferences at a young age), which results in girls orienting themselves towards other females, which in turn leads to more individuation experience with female faces:
    “… [T]there is some evidence suggesting that the female advantage in face recognition and the female own-gender bias develop during the early years, but additional research confirming this hypothesis is needed.”
    However, they note that the age at which the female own-gender bias emerges and possibly diminishes has not yet been thoroughly investigated, although one study reported that, for older women, no own-gender bias was observed for either own- or other-age faces. Further studies into the effects of the age of participants and test faces could provide important information about the development and benefits of face recognition.
    They also note that, although a large number of studies were reviewed; many more were excluded because they were not specifically focused on gender differences in facial recognition. In addition, further research is needed in order to fully understand the studies that tested recognition of male faces using the Cambridge Face Memory Test (CFMT).

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    A single spray of oxytocin improves brain function in children with autism 

    A single dose of the hormone oxytocin, delivered via nasal spray, has been shown to enhance brain activity while processing social information in children with autism spectrum disorders, Yale School of Medicine researchers.  

    A report in a new study published in the Dec. 2 issue ofProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    “This is the first study to evaluate the impact of oxytocin on brain function in children with autism spectrum disorders,” said first author Ilanit Gordon, a Yale Child Study Center postdoctoral fellow, whose colleagues on the study included senior author Kevin Pelphrey, the Harris Professor in the Child Study Center, and director of the Center for Translational Developmental Neuroscience at Yale.
    Gordon, Pelphrey, and their colleagues conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 17 children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. The participants, between the ages of 8 and 16.5, were randomly given either oxytocin spray or a placebo nasal spray during a task involving social judgments. Oxytocin is naturally occurring hormone produced in the brain and throughout the body.
    “We found that brain centers associated with reward and emotion recognition responded more during social tasks when children received oxytocin instead of the placebo,” said Gordon. “Oxytocin temporarily normalized brain regions responsible for the social deficits seen in children with autism.”
    Gordon said oxytocin facilitated social attunement, a process that makes the brain regions involved in social behavior and social cognition activate more for social stimuli (such as faces) and activate less for non-social stimuli (such as cars).
    “Our results are particularly important considering the urgent need for treatments to target social dysfunction in autism spectrum disorders,” Gordon added.

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    Brain connectivity study reveals striking differences between men and women

    A new brain connectivity study from Penn Medicine published today in theProceedings of National Academy of Sciences found striking differences in the neural wiring of men and women that’s lending credence to some commonly-held beliefs about their behavior.
    In one of the largest studies looking at the “connectomes” of the sexes, Ragini Verma, PhD, an associate professor in the department of Radiology at thePerelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues found greater neural connectivity from front to back and within one hemisphere in males, suggesting their brains are structured to facilitate connectivity between perception and coordinated action. In contrast, in females, the wiring goes between the left and right hemispheres, suggesting that they facilitate communication between the analytical and intuition.
    “These maps show us a stark difference–and complementarity–in the architecture of the human brain that helps provide a potential neural basis as to why men excel at certain tasks, and women at others,” said Verma.
    For instance, on average, men are more likely better at learning and performing a single task at hand, like cycling or navigating directions, whereas women have superior memory and social cognition skills, making them more equipped for multitasking and creating solutions that work for a group. They have a mentalistic approach, so to speak.
    Past studies have shown sex differences in the brain, but the neural wiring connecting regions across the whole brain that have been tied to such cognitive skills has never been fully shown in a large population.
    In the study, Verma and colleagues, including co-authors Ruben C. Gur, PhD, a professor of psychology in the department of Psychiatry, and Raquel E. Gur, MD, PhD, professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Radiology, investigated the gender-specific differences in brain connectivity during the course of development in 949 individuals (521 females and 428 males) aged 8 to 22 years using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).  DTI is water-based imaging technique that can trace and highlight the fiber  pathways connecting the different regions of the brain, laying the foundation for a structural connectome or network of the whole brain.
    This sample of youths was studied as part of the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort, a National Institute of Mental Health-funded collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania Brain Behavior Laboratory and the Center for Applied Genomics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
    The brain is a roadmap of neural pathways linking many networks that help us process information and react accordingly, with behavior controlled by several of these sub-networks working in conjunction.
    In the study, the researchers found that females displayed greater connectivity in the supratentorial region, which contains the cerebrum, the largest part of the brain, between the left and right hemispheres. Males, on the other hand, displayed greater connectivity within each hemisphere.
    By contrast, the opposite prevailed in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that plays a major role in motor control, where males displayed greater inter-hemispheric connectivity and females displayed greater intra-hemispheric connectivity.
    These connections likely give men an efficient system for coordinated action, where the cerebellum and cortex participate in bridging between perceptual experiences in the back of the brain, and action, in the front of the brain, according to the authors. The female connections likely facilitate integration of the analytic and sequential processing modes of the left hemisphere with the spatial, intuitive information processing modes of the right side.
    The authors observed only a few gender differences in the connectivity in children younger than 13 years, but the differences were more pronounced in adolescents aged 14 to 17 years and young adults older than 17.
    The findings were also consistent with a Penn behavior study, of which this imaging study was a subset of, that demonstrated pronounced sexual differences.  Females outperformed males on attention, word and face memory, and social cognition tests. Males performed better on spatial processing and sensorimotor speed. Those differences were most pronounced in the 12 to 14 age range.
    “It’s quite striking how complementary the brains of women and men really are,” said Dr. Ruben Gur.  “Detailed connectome maps of the brain will not only help us better understand the differences between how men and women think, but it will also give us more insight into the roots of neuropsychiatric disorders, which are often sex related.”
    Next steps are to quantify how an individual’s neural connections are different from the population; identify which neural connections are gender specific and common in both; and to see if findings from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies fall in line with the connectome data.
    Co-authors of the study include Madhura Ingalhalikar, Alex Smith, Drew Parker, Theodore D. Satterthwaite, Mark A. Elliott, Kosha Ruparel, and Hakon Hakonarson of the Section of Biomedical Image Analysis and the Center for Biomedical Image Computing and Analytics.

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    In Full View: Saturn's Streaming Hexagon - This colorful view from NASA's Cassini mission is the highest-resolution view of the unique six-sided jet stream at Saturn's north pole known as "the hexagon." This movie, made from images obtained by Cassini's imaging cameras, is the first to show the hexagon in color filters, and the first movie to show a complete view from the north pole down to about 70 degrees north latitude.

    This movie shows a view from directly over the north pole, keeping up with the rotation of the planet so that all the motion seen on the screen is the motion of the hexagonal jet stream or the storms inside of it, without any added motion from the spinning of the planet itself. The original images were re-projected to show this polar view.

    High-resolution views of the hexagon have only recently become possible because of the changing of the seasons at Saturn and changes in the Cassini spacecraft’s orbit. The north pole was dark when Cassini first arrived in July 2004. The sun really only began to illuminate the entire interior of the hexagon in August 2009, with the start of northern spring.  In late 2012, Cassini began making swings over Saturn's poles, giving it better views of the hexagon.

    Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Hampton

    #nasa #space #solarsystem #saturn #cassini #filters #spacecract

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  • 12/05/13--15:40: Nelson Mandela RIP 12-06

  • World Has Lost a Great Man in Nelson Mandela

    Today is an extremely sad day. Nelson Mandela, one of most courageous leaders, has passed away. South Africa –indeed, the whole world – is saying goodbye to a great human being and an incredible inspiration.
    I am among the millions around the world who feel a deep sense of loss. The fact that Mr. Mandela lived to the age of 95 does not diminish in any way our feeling of immense grief; nor does the fact that his health has been frail for a while now, severely limiting his public engagements.
    By the force of his amazing personality, his incredible achievements, his sweeping vision, his enormous generosity and his admirable values, Mr. Mandela’s presence served -- and will continue to serve -- as a beacon for all those who believed in the power of political good eventually overcoming divisive evil.
    Fearing this sad day would come, I wrote on two occasions in the last two years about Mr. Mandela’s achievements and influence (The World Wishes Mandela Well and Needs Him inFebruary 2012, (see: ) and Celebrate Mr. Mandela Now and Also Later in March of this year (see: ).
    I spoke of the spirit, commitment and humility that drove him as an activist, freedom fighter, unifier and nation builder. I spoke of the inner strength and values that sustained him during 27 years of (often-brutal) imprisonment under apartheid. And I spoke of the example that he set, not only for developing countries navigating complex political transitions but also for advanced countries marred in a quagmire of anemic growth, high unemployment, and rising inequalities of income, wealth and opportunities.
    There will be lots of reminders in the next few weeks of Mr. Mandela’s historic successes. We should, and we will collectively celebrate not just what he achieved, but also how and why he achieved it.
    Many will also fret about South Africa’s future now that the country has lost the moral compass that Mr. Mandela provided. And some will associate his passing with today’s more generalized malaise about political leadership around the world.
    None of this should detract from how Mr. Mandela was, as I wrote over a year ago, the living embodiment of the greater good that truly committed and encompassing human beings are capable of. In life, and now in passing, Nelson Mandela always serves as the north star for all who aspire to a better and more just world.
    Thank you very much Nelson Mandela – for all the good that you delivered to so many, and for all those that you helped, both in South Africa and well beyond. We are deeply indebted to you and, already, we miss you enormously. We will never forget you.
    View at the original source

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    Research: Recession Grads May Wind Up Happier in the Long Run

    Market in a generation. Hiring for new college graduates had dropped 35 to 40 percent in only a year. Hiring for new PhDs, lawyers, architects, and journalists had plummeted as well. Even new graduates who managed to secure work often accepted jobs that did not require a college or graduate degree, and they typically earned substantially less than they would have if they had left school two years earlier.

    Their long-term employment outlook was similarly grim. People who graduate in recessions often earn less money and hold less prestigious jobs even decades after they leave school. In short, their careers seemed compromised before they really began.
    Despite these suboptimal beginnings, is it possible that these graduates might actually be happier with their jobs? Decades of psychological research has shown that how people feel about outcomes does not always mirror the objective value of these outcomes.  Rather, people can be happier with less, depending on how they think about what they have. 

    For instance, Victoria Medvec and colleagues famously showed that athletes who won silver medals at the Olympics were less satisfied with their results than those who won bronze. Clearly the silver medalists performed better, yet they felt worse. Why? Silver medalists were more likely to agonize over whether a faster stroke or a smaller splash might have earned them a gold. This fixation on how they might have done better often dampened their satisfaction with what they had accomplished.
    Bronze medalists, on the other hand, tended to be relieved to be on the podium at all. For them, the salient alternative was fourth place, a result that would have sent them home unadorned. Thus, rather than stewing over how they could have done better, these athletes derived satisfaction from what they had achieved.
    Could similar mental calculations be working in favor of recession graduates? To evaluate this possibility empirically, I analyzed data from two very large government-run surveys that have been administered regularly since the 1970s. This enabled me to isolate the unique effects of graduating in a recession apart from cohort, life stage, and period effects.
    A consistent story emerged across both datasets. People who earned their college or graduate degrees during economic downturns were significantly more satisfied with their current jobs than those who earned their degrees in more prosperous times. These effects could not be explained by industry or occupational choices, generational differences, or differences in career trajectories.
    In subsequent studies, I found that much like bronze medalists, these graduates spent little time ruminating over how they might have done better and tended to be grateful to have a job at all. Those who graduated during more prosperous times, however, looked at their current jobs differently. 

    Rather than revel in their good fortune, these graduates tended to wonder if they could have or should have done better. Much like silver medalists, they were more likely to be plagued by regret, second-guessing, and what ifs.
    What surprised me most about these findings was how long these effects endured. Recession graduates were typically happier with their jobs even decades after receiving their diplomas – and even after markets stabilized, recessions slowed, and hiring ramped up. 

    The difficult and often demoralizing conditions of their early working lives seemed to shape positively how they thought about and evaluated later work environments. This is consistent with recent research in psychology which shows that some lifetime adversity is associated with greater happiness than either too much or too little. Too much adversity can be emotionally debilitating. Too little can weaken resilience, allowing people to magnify and exaggerate the bumps of everyday life.
    Most well-educated recession graduates ultimately find jobs. In fact, their likelihood of being employed several years out of school is no different than their boom-time peers. For these graduates, entering the working world during a recession may pose enough adversity to promote positive subjective evaluations, but not so much that it permanently discolors their outlook on work. Ultimately, they may not wind up with prestigious, high-paying jobs. But they may be happier than those who do.
    We often think that how people feel about their jobs depends both on the features of these jobs and the features of the person. A large body of research has shown that people are happier in jobs when they have autonomy over how the work is done and when they have generally positive, optimistic dispositions. 

    But the current findings suggest that strong experiences at an impressionable time of life can also influence how people think about and evaluate their work. It is also suggests that we might want to think differently about the crop of graduates that entered the workforce during the Great Recession.

     Much of the academic work suggesting that young adults are more entitled and arrogant than ever before was conducted before the Great Recession. It may be that these more recent graduates are more grateful and less entitled than we might expect.

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    What Does It Cost To Run A Startup in Different Parts of the World?

    How does London compare when looking at startup costs compared to other parts of the world?
    Here’s an interesting look at the costs of hiring 2 web developers and 1 designer, plus office rent, in different locations around the world.
    London is up there in 5th place but surprisingly not as high as you might have thought….
    Where are you going to start your next startup? 

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    CSR fostered-innovation can lead a change for the public good

    Besides improving the image of the chemical industry, chemical companies can nurture efficiency and innovations - which can benefit the society - by committing to CSR

    Despite being a critical component of every industrial development, the chemical industry still faces widespread public mistrust. Hence, efforts are required to improve product and process safety, and increase stakeholder dialogue about industry’s considerable corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts to help remove the negative perception.

    But, experts believe that CSR initiatives provide benefits beyond just improving the image of the industry/company. To have profound effect on the society, chemical manufacturers are ingraining CSR culture in their business operations. Ruby Thapar, Director Public and Government Affairs, Dow Chemical International Pvt Ltd, said, “To my mind, improving the image of the industry/company through CSR is the last goal that a responsible corporate should set for itself. CSR should be embedded in the business strategy of the company, for it to make a meaningful contribution. Once rooted in the company culture, it gets key management focus and involvement and thus fosters a culture of giving across the organisation.”

    Thapar believes that being a responsible corporate citizen has many tangible benefits like promoting innovation, inculcating and encouraging employee volunteerism, building relationships in the communities in the places where you do business and of course contributing to sustainability.

    Improving quality of life 
    Impact of the chemical industry’s CSR initiatives can be gauged from the benefits it has provided to the society. Some of these have led to improvement in overall performance of the community. Excel Industries Ltd, which has manufacturing sites at Roha and Lote Parshuram in Maharashtra, has been active in making the villagers self-sufficient, self-employed and entrepreneurs through creating awareness, providing education, training and technical support. As a result of Excel Industries’ initiative, water storage at Virjoli (Roha) has increased from 40,000 m3 in 2008 to 98,000 m3 in 2012. Water is now available round the year. Similarly, there has been a rise in milk production and paddy production has increased from 2000 kg/acre to 2650 kg/acre as a result of efforts taken by Excel Industries.
    Dow India's Ruby Thapar
    Improving the quality of life and fostering sustainable and integrated development in the communities where it operates is central to Tata Chemicals' corporate philosophy. In order to nurture this objective, Tata Chemicals Limited (TCL) has set up the Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development (TCSRD) in 1980 to help change the lives of hundreds of people that live around TCL factories across the globe which has catalysed and successfully created an organisational environment in which stakeholder engagement can be mainstreamed.
    Sanjay Choudhary, Chief Sustainability and Technology Officer, Tata Chemicals Ltd, said, “TCSRD has focused on natural resource management through clear policy of ‘avoid, reduce and reuse’ with a strong emphasis on resource optimisation, conservation of bio-diversity. TCSRD is on track to achieve its goal of impacting the lives of a million people by 2015.”
    Enhancing efficiency
    's K Jayaraman
    Most of the economic benefits from CSR activities come from the domains of operations and regulatory risk minimisation. “Within operations, a focus on responsible practices can yield process improvements that reduce costs and boost the bottom line. This is true for environmental practices,” opined K Jayaraman, Executive Director - Operations Consulting, PwC Pvt Ltd.
    For example, BP’s adoption of a greenhouse emissions cap and corporate emissions trading system both reduced emissions significantly and yielded a $600 million increase in net income by improving operational efficiency. He added, “Such uncontroversial forms of CSR should be adopted by any company seeking operational improvements, as these can uncover sources of value creation that executives might otherwise miss.”

    Some chemical companies are exploring alternate routes to the same product or minimising solvent consumptions which avoids environmental load as well as reducing cost.  “So we see more and more companies moving away from ‘charity based CSR’ towards ‘CSR which also helps in sustainable profits’,” opined Jayaraman.
    Dr Joerg Strassburger, Managing Director and Country Representative, LANXESS India, added, “As an international specialty chemicals group, we bear a major responsibility toward people and the environment. We strongly believe in our approach - What’s good for business is good for society, which means, growth and success of a company is closely linked to the future of the customers, communities and environment.”
    Fosters innovations 
    Tata Chemicals Ltd's Sanjay Choudhary
    Chemical manufacturers can enjoy savings by incorporating CSR measures to reduce energy and resource usage. However, the most important benefit comes from innovations. Companies believe that integrating CSR into business practices fosters innovative ideas and practices leading to improved competitiveness. Dr Strassburger said, “Companies should utilise their know-how and experience, to develop sustainable products and technologies, which not only fosters innovation but also help improve the quality of life of the people and support communities in their upliftment.”

    Chemical industry is in better position to utilise their chemistry knowledge for the betterment of the society. For example, RCF has constructed a building for the Govandi Police Station in Mumbai using its eco-friendly rapid wall panels.
    Dow India’s Thapar believes that integrating CSR into the core competency of the company, in terms of products, solutions and technology, definitely fosters innovation and out of the box thinking and discoveries. For example, one of Dow India’s core CSR principals is to fund sustainable projects where Dow technology can be used. One of its marquee CSR projects, the Jaipur foot, which is based on the Solutionism approach and reflects Dow’s core policies, has been helping thousands of people walk.
    Lanxess India's Dr Joerg Strassburger
    The Jaipur Foot was originally a handmade artificial limb made of vulcanised rubber and manufacturing required hours of tedious manual work. “In 2006, Dow India partnered with the NGO Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata (BMVSS) - a vehicle interiors manufacturer - and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to develop the next generation prosthetic foot called the polyurethane (PU) foot,” explained Thapar.
    While costs have reduced by 25%, the new foot is more durable and 20% lighter. It allows the user greater mobility, increased comfort and flexibility. The speed of production has been increased almost eight times. Thapar said, “In 2012 alone, more than 4000 amputees were helped directly through Dow India’s support. More than 700 Dow India employees have volunteered to run the camps since 2006.”
    One thing is clear that chemical industry can leverage the symbiotic relationship between innovation and sustainability to drive growth and contribute positively to society.

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    Kellogg MBA Lands $375K Job In Finance

    by John A. Byrne
    moneyYou don’t often think of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management as a producer of big time money managers or bulge bracket bankers. But this year a thirty-something male professional in the Class of 2013 landed a $375,000-a-year starting salary for an investment management gig. The eye-popping salary was more than three times the $110,000 median for other classmates going into the same industry.
    Even more surprising, though, is the fact that the big pay day in finance came at Kellogg where only 3% of this year’s graduates went into Investment management and just 19% of the entire class went into financial jobs at all. Whoever brought home the bacon at Kellogg outdid every other prominent business school’s reported high in base salary for the year: the $350,000 at Wharton, $310,000 at Columbia, $250,000 at Chicago Booth, the $237,000 at NYU Stern, $225,000 at Stanford, and $177,500 at Harvard Business School (though HBS only reported the 75th percentile number).
    In fact, Kellogg had at least a half dozen bust-the-bank pay deals for its MBAs this year. Besides the $375K investment management job, presumably at a hedge fund, there was a $350,000 base salary hire by a private equity firm, a $225,000 base salary for an MBA who went into the energy industry, and a $206,000 base for an MBA who took a job in “transportation services.” Kellogg grads who went into venture capital and consulting also landed awfully rich pay packages with base salaries of $175,000 each. None of those sums include sign-on bonuses or other guaranteed compensation which would further enlarge all those high numbers.
    All in all, it made for one of the best placement and pay years in recent memory for Kellogg, which released its 2013 employment report on Friday (Dec. 6). Overall, the school’s grads nailed down median base salaries of $120,000—equal to those at Harvard, MIT Sloan, and UC-Berkeley and $5,000 ahead of local rival Chicago Booth. Only two other business schools in the U.S. reported a higher median: Stanford and Wharton, both at $125,000. Kellogg said the median sign-on bonus for the Class of 2013 was $25,000, ranging from a low of $2,000 in technology to $60,000 in investment banking. The school said that 84% of its graduates had job offers at graduation and 94.7% had offers three months later.
    Source: 2013 Employment Reports
    Source: 2013 Employment Reports
    Of course, the $375K winner had six to nine years of work experience, presumably in the investment field (schools do not identify graduates in their employment report but a careful reading of the reports allow one to often glean a sparse details about the MBAs who land the highest pay packages). He also went to work in New York City, though the $350K MBA headed to Boston for his job in private equity.
    “There is a mystery about those super winners,” says Sandy Kreisberg, a leading MBA admissions consultant and founder of 
    “My guess is they are one-off kids who got that money because they could bring in family business or knew the Snapchat kids.”
    Kellogg’s numbers also go to show, however, that pre-MBA experience may well trump business school choice in the landing of a highly lucrative job at graduation. The conventional advice that is given to  applicants to go to the best school they can get into, with strong consideration to their desired career path and preferred job location, may not always hold true. Simply getting an MBA from one of the very top schools–regardless of its specific core strengths–may well give a professional the sought-after career boost.
    “Most top schools can do more than one thing well,” says Betsy Massar, an HBS grad and founder of Master Admissions, an MBA admissions firm. “Never assume that only one school can help you meet your goals. I think it is great that Kellogg is finally making headlines for something other than marketing.  In fact, because of my own finance background, I have had the chance to work with some great Kellogg MBA candidates who come from the investment world and want to stay there.  And they felt the right fit at Kellogg.  Conversely, I have worked with some cool Wharton types who had no interest in finance, but had a great experience at that school.”
    In any case, Kellogg’s highest median salaries, $160,000—were paid in law and legal services, presumably for the school’s dual MBA/JD graduates. Otherwise, consulting ruled the roost, with median salaries of $135,000, exactly the same rate of pay for consulting at Harvard, Stanford and other top schools. Energy/utilities and venture capital was next, with median salary of $130,000, followed by technology at $128,000, private equity at $125,000, and telecom at $121,000 (see table below). Not surprisingly, the lowest median salaries—$76,750—were paid to the 1% of the class that accepted non-profit jobs which ranged in base pay from $50,000 to $95,000 a year.
    As usual at Kellogg, the biggest employers were the prestige global consulting firms. Eight of the school’s 13 largest hirers were in the consulting business. McKinsey & Co. hired 46 Kellogg grads this year, followed by Bain & Co. (38), Boston Consulting Group (34), Deloitte Consulting (34), and Accenture (13). The school has historically done exceptionally well with consulting because its graduates have a reputation for their professional presence and interpersonal skills, attributes that Kellogg has long screened for in applicant interviews.
    Other major employers of Kellogg’s MBAs this year were Microsoft (10), Amazon (9), A.T. Kearney (8), Cisco Systems (8), General Mills (7), Booz & Co. (6), Kraft Foods Group (6), L.E.K. Consulting (6), ExxonMobil (5), Goldman Sachs (5), Pwc (5), Apple (4), Bank of America Merrill Lynch (4), The Chartis Group (4), Citi (4), DISH Network (4), J.P. Morgan (4), PepsiCo (4), and Target Corp. (4).
    A similarly diverse range of companies brought aboard at least three Kellogg grads this year, including The Cambridge Group, Coca-Cola, Danaher, Davita, Evercore Partners, Nike, Samsung, Sears Holdings, and Unilever. Only 3% of the class started their own businesses, compared to 7% at Harvard and a record 18% at Stanford.
    There were no dramatic shifts in industry choices at Kellogg. The largest single chunk of graduates, 38%, went into consulting, a percentage point drop from last year when 39% choose the field. Some 19% went info finance, exactly the same percentage as 2012. Some 11% of the class accepted jobs in consumer packaged goods, up two points from 9% last year. About 12% went into a catchall category that Kellogg calls “technology, manufacturing and services”—exactly the same as last year. Some 10% went into “other services,” same as 2012. “Other manufacturing” attracted 6% of the class—identical to last year’s number—and pharmaceutical, biotech and healthcare, grabbed 4% of the grads, down from 5% a year earlier.


    Source: Kellogg 2013 employment report
    Source: Kellogg 2013 employment report

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    How much does it cost to build the world’s hottest startups?

    The answer may surprise you !!!!

    Could $100,000 and the right developer skillsmake you an overnight billionaire? How much does it really take to build a product like Twitter or Instagram? With mobile development agencies and product incubators on the rise and more corporate “labs” spinning out each day, there’s no shortage of talent to help you build the next great Web or mobile app.
    We interviewed the heads of the top Web and mobile development companies, incubators, agencies and labs to understand what it takes to design and develop the most successful apps of our generation. Here are their breakdowns of the costs and time investments to create 10 of the world’s hottest startups.

    1) Twitter

    twitter ios 7 520x346 How much does it cost to build the world’s hottest startups?
    Henrik Werdelin, the Managing Partner ofPrehype, a venture development firm based in New York City that has helped build companies like Tradable, Barkbox, FancyHands, Basno andPath, says recreating Twitter isn’t necessarily difficult, but the layered features will take time to get right.
    “The short answer is that it will take 10 hours,” answers Werdelin, who built a Twitter clone in a one-day Ruby on Rails course. “But a good developer could make it quicker.”
    This means — assuming you already have a laptop — the cost is almost nothing to build the next Twitter. Assume $160 for a Ruby on Rails course plus free Heroku, a cloud platform as a service that allows you to instantly deploy an app.
    However, Werdelin is quick to qualify his statement. “It’s not that simple,” he says. “These days, it’s less an issue of creating a technology stack and more about creating the ‘experience layer’ on top, the interface that makes a product relevant and intuitive for people to use while quickly demonstrating its value.”
    Still, a product is nothing without scalability. “You can’t just build a product today, you need to build a venture. And that involves processes, structures, feedback loops, analytics and a community.”
    Therefore, if you want to bring an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to market, Werdelin approximates that you’ll need$50,000 to $250,000, depending on the skill sets of the developers and designers you hire.
    Werdelin equates building a successful product to building a nightclub. “You need more than a DJ, a dance floor and a few bottles of alcohol,” he says. “You have to ensure that the right people come in at the right time, and you have the right decor, ambiance and music. And of course, the cocktails.”

    2) Instagram

    instagram1 520x199 How much does it cost to build the world’s hottest startups?
    “Instagram is slightly more complicated to build than Twitter because you need a wider range of skills to handle image-filtering for iOS and heavy backend image loads. However, you could still build an Instagram-like product inexpensively, in the $100,000 to $300,000range over a three-to-six-month period,” says Werdelin.
    “But even with a billion dollars of investment on day one, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever be in a position where you might grow as quickly as Instagram.”
    Founder Kevin Systrom launched Instagram with 25,000 beta users on October 6, 2010; two years later, the app continues to see massive growth, recently reporting 150 million active users. Systrom, now a multi-millionaire after selling his company to Facebook for one billion dollars, turns 30 next month.
    “Luck, timing and social engineering are bigger components than most entrepreneurs care to imagine,” adds Werdelin. And the best way to be lucky is to position yourself in a place where luck may find you.”

    3) Facebook

    facebookadscreenshot 520x352 How much does it cost to build the world’s hottest startups?
    Ben Schippers is the co-founder ofHappyFunCorp, a Web development company that has built sites for TeePublic, Of A Kind,Postography and Yeah TV!.
    “If you asked me to build for you, I would quote you $500,000 and nine months of development and design time,” says Schippers. “Others would say one million or a much bigger number. But it’s a very challenging question to answer because what it would cost to build is a small number while operational costs are enormous.”
    With the existing product in mind, the $500,000 would be broken out evenly over the nine months with the first three months dedicated to design, specifically user architecture, brand and polish design. The remaining six months would be focused on bringing the design to life, while the remaining would be focused on deployment and refinement.
    Taking into account the difference in storage costs in 2002, Schippers estimates that Zuckerberg was spending $3,000 per month on hosting for the first year and about $10 million per month by 2006 as the network grew exponentially in that time period.
    Considering Facebook’s scale, the company is now in the business of operating power plants to operate its servers, therefore, Schippers estimates that Facebook has a $30 million dollar monthly burn rate just for hosting. Suddenly, those multi-million dollar financing rounds that startups raise don’t seem so outrageous!

    4) WhatsApp

    whatsapp1 520x197 How much does it cost to build the world’s hottest startups?
    “Real-time communication support can be more difficult than other apps that provide e-commerce or news,” explains Ryan Matzner, the Director of Strategy at Fueled*, a mobile development company based in New York and London that has built apps for companies such as Elevatr, Ribbon, UrbanDaddy and JackThreads.
    “To put out an MVP of WhatsApp with basic functionality — something that verifies phone numbers, perhaps with a Twilio integration — and includes a payment management system would cost about $120,000.”
    Follow that up with another $120,000 round for design, additional development and branding. And then another $25,000 to fix the remaining bugs and add a level of stability and robustness to the technology stack.
    In total, that means WhatsApp would cost aquarter of million dollars and take approximately nine months to build, assuming you already have a large user base to assure quality and facilitate initial momentum.

    5) Uber

    UBERx 029 520x466 How much does it cost to build the world’s hottest startups?
    Artem Fishman is the Vice President of Engineering at Huge, a full-service digital agency that has recently helped build,Revolt.TV and the redesign of
    The Huge team took a deep dive at the numbers on CrunchBase to work up estimates for Uber. The San Francisco-based company made do with $50 million to build its product from scratch to current iteration. Then Google and Benchmark pumped $258 million more into itthis past August.
    “When you’re answering the question of what it takes to build the mere technical proposition, then the answer is, surprisingly, very little,” says Fishman. “Based on its early rounds, a minimum viable product for Uber cost about $1 to $1.5 million to develop.”
    It becomes increasingly difficult when you’re trying to scale your business both from engineering perspective and market penetration. For Uber, the issues are more about local regulations than scale for the time being.

    6) Pinterest

    pinterest ben silbermann 520x259 How much does it cost to build the world’s hottest startups?
    At its core, Pinterest, the popular photo-sharing pinboard site, is a very simple product. According to Sam Mathews, the founder of Neverbland, a product studio responsible for brands like Slate and, says Pinterest could be created with a team of four in just 120 days for $120,000.
    Yet, it becomes increasingly more difficult to fathom Pinterest’s cost as its user base explodes from 1 to 75 million. “It’s not about the product with something the size of Pinterest, it’s about the economy of scale,” says Mathews, who estimates that it costs Pinterest, a San Francisco-based company with 150 employees, $2 million per month in developer and storage costs to maintain its current product at scale.

    7) Shopify

    shopify theme store 520x346 How much does it cost to build the world’s hottest startups?
    To build a replica of the e-commerce platformShopify, Mathews estimates it would cost between $250,000 and $300,000 with highly-skilled designers, developers and product people.
    These costs don’t take into account the many relevant systems within Shopify’s business such as maintaining its API, the infrastructure and server space needed to support its 50,000+ shops and designing and developing all of the beautiful templates that help make Shopify so successful.
    “Oftentimes, the biggest costs with a product like Shopify come down to the decision-making process involved with the customer and product development expenditure,” explains Mathews. “But if you were to replicate the product exactly, all those decisions are made for you. You just have to figure out the architectural structure, which would take approximately four to six months.”
    Riffing off of Paul Graham’s essay How to Start a Startup, Mathews says, “To build something complex you first have to build something simple. If you want to build something complex it will never work.”
    The issue with building a product like Shopify is that it required seven years of iteration and feature roll-outs based on customer feedback and experimentation. Mathews adds, “So even if you replicated the product exactly from the outside looking in, you’re not going to have as robust a background system to manage all traffic and experiences that take place on the platform.”

    8) Angry Birds

    152826339 520x346 How much does it cost to build the world’s hottest startups?
    Our only viral gaming app on the list, we asked DJ Saul, the CMO of the DC-basediStrategy Labs, a DC-based digital agency that has built products like Grandstand and Social Machines for clients like The Washington Redskins and Nickelodeon, for input.
    “First, you have to take into account the time to develop a brand identity including the logo, color palette and typography,” says Saul. “There’s the ever-important UX, both for the app itself and especially for the game. You need experienced game designers and engineers who can develop cross platform. Then factor in building for the expansive world of Android and you have a multiplying effect on costs!”
    Saul estimates that he’d want a 20-person team working more than one year to deploy Angry Birds and at an average salary of $110,000 for a total budget of $2.2 million plus overhead. Of course, if you’re hiring an agency, you’re probably looking at 1.5 times that amount in total costs.

    9) Tumblr

    tumblr yahoo 520x198 How much does it cost to build the world’s hottest startups?
    According to Saul, Tumblr would be much easier to build than Angry Birds as you wouldn’t need game-specific designers and developers. But the testing, refining and bug squashing would remain the same.
    To develop Tumblr, which is currently hosting 140 million blogs, “The biggest looming variable would be hosting,” explains Saul. “On top of costs needed from the product marketing side, I would need a 15 person cross-platform development team working on Tumblr for just under one year. So 15 people at an average salary of $110,000 and you’re looking at about$1.65 million.”

    10) Vine: Defining the MVP

    VineAndroidBlog 0 520x326 How much does it cost to build the world’s hottest startups?
    “While the term ‘MVP’ is thrown around quite a bit in our industry, we consider an MVP to be when the product is at a “good enough” point to be released and gain traction in the market and begin to build a user base,” explains Paul Choi, CEO of Worry Free Labs, a mobile UX, design and development firm that has developed apps like KeyMe, Sendgine, TwizGrid and CraveMate.
    To create an MVP of Vine, Choi estimates that it would cost between $125,000 and $175,000with four to six months of development and design time. He says that Vine is a relatively straightforward app that leverages the iPhone’s processing power to compress video files.
    “With Vine, you’re building a backend system that stores video and a front-end that is a simple viewer and an easy way to share content out to social networks,” says Thadd Selden, Worry Free’s CTO.
    For those just starting out building an app for videos, be aware of the escalating storage costs involved. While tools like Amazon Web Services and Parse can help you get off the ground, paying for the storage for 40 million plus registered users quickly becomes a major hit. Worry Free’s VP of Business Development Brian Badillo estimates that storage costs for an app like Vine can cost well over $50,000 per month.

    All the grains of salt

    Each of these Web and mobile apps has evolved over months and some over years. Estimating costs is incredibly complicated because it comes down to hiring the “right” designer, developer or product manager who could build each app for less. There’s an enormous amount of complexity that goes into each app’s environment: not just hosting costs but office infrastructure, product management and marketing to name a few.
    There’s also the enormous looming cost of distribution — one that’s hard to measure and even harder to predict. Fifteen years ago, starting a business was primarily a technology problem. Now that the barrier to entry to start a business is so low — $100K in many cases — entrepreneurs are faced with a different problem: standing out from the crowd and getting their product into the right hands at the right time. In comparison to creating effective and data-driven distribution funnels to get your app out to millions, software is cheap.
    “It’s always easier to copy a proven model than to conceptualize it yourself,” says Paul Murphy, VP of Betaworks, a New York City product network. “The hard part isn’t necessarily the tech, it’s building and validating the product and adjusting it until you find a fit. We could probably build an MVP of any one of these products using public SDK’s, frameworks and a rudimentary design at a weekend hackathon. But cloning something that’s been proven is the easy part.”
    And truthfully, you couldn’t rebuild Twitter, Instagram or Facebook today for a billion dollars. But you could potentially spend a few million on an exact replica that no one will ever use.
    As an aspiring entrepreneur you want to build something remarkable, captivating and new; something with better features, different features or fewer features. That’s what the next Jack Dorsey, David Karp Kevin Systrom and Mark Zuckerberg would do.
    The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.
    – Linus Pauling

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    A Few Basic Science And Tech Facts Many Americans Don’t Know

    How does a power cord charge a cellphone? Magic, silly! According to a Pew poll, many of my fellow Americans are completely in the dark about how their world works, including the fact that carbon dioxide is a chemical responsible for some global warming.
    Readers can take the interactive quiz here before reading more. Pew’s quiz is especially salient this week, after another round of International test scores confirmed, once again, that America’s poorly run education system is producing a deeply unequal and uninformed society.
    Here are a few of the essential gems that participants couldn’t answer.
    Less Than Half Of High School Graduates Know The Cause of Global Warming
    Forty-nine percent could not identify “carbon” as the cause of climate change (as opposed to Hydrogen, Helium, or Radon). Note, this wasn’t about whether humans are causing global warming, just what, on Earth, is making it warmer outside.
    Equally concerning to those who think Democracy rocks is the fact that about one-third didn’t know the basics of drug experimentation. About 33 percent of those without a diploma thought that researchers should give all the participants in a study the treatment drug, rather than half (the control group).
    The graph below is not segmented by education level.
    Nano Means Small
    Nanorobots are not, in fact, robots that are very large, cold, or hot. Nano means tiny; it’s a prefix I’d like to know when an evil super-villain infects the water supply with mind-controlling robots. Or, less likely, when our government is debating pollution and crop spray regulations.
    “The inability to communicate effectively the potential risks associated with nanotechnology could create an environment where appropriate regulation and confident private sector investment are threatened,” explained a research paper from Yale’s Cultural Cognition Lab [PDF].
    Electrons Are Smaller Than Atoms And Lasers Are Not Made Of Sound
    Atoms_For_Peace_symbolAbout 33 percent of those over 65 years of age didn’t know that an electron was smaller than an atom. One would think with the Cold War’s delightful history of nuclear propaganda, someone would have noticed that the objects orbiting the center ball were smaller. In total, less than half (47 percent) got that question correct.
    Another fun fact: sound does not produce blinding light. Lasers are something we see. Despite this fact, less than half (47 percent) of Americans thought lasers were made of sound.
    Bacteria Resistance Is A Thing
    We might be slowly rumbling towards a global epidemic of drug-resistant bacteria. The more we inoculate Big Mac-destined cattle from disease, the worse our defenses become. Most people (77 percent) recognized that bacteria resistance was more of a problem than bacteria addiction (not a thing). Only 58 percent of those with a diploma or less could answer this question correctly.
    Here’s the full breakdown of the quiz:

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    Which Leads to More Success, Reward or Encouragement?

    We are a society that puts a huge emphasis on rewards, and a school of psychology is based on it. In behavioral psychology, an American invention, there are two ways to stimulate a response from someone, either reward them or punish them. This two-way mechanism works with lower animals - dog and horse trainers, for example, use food treats to reinforce the behavior they want - so it should work with humans, or so the logic goes. If you want a certain behavior out of prisoners, for example, behaviorists advise giving privileges as a reward for obeying the rules and punishment for disobeying them.
    The problem is that human behavior isn't that simple, because we have inner lives. A dog or horse will be content with a steady supply of food and a warm place to live. Those things are barely the minimum for meeting human needs. There is another duality besides reward-punishment that plays a huge part in the career arc of every successful person: encouragement-discouragement.
    To be encouraged means literally to acquire courage, while to be discouraged is to give in to fear. Soldiers need courage to charge into battle, and without it, they won't. Every person conceals a level of fear and anxiety inside, however, and in order to meet life's challenges and crises, we all have to discover how much courage we have. This is a prime example of why reward-punishment is inadequate on its own. To face your fears isn't a pleasant experience that anyone would consider a reward - it's much closer to being a punishment. Yet in the long run, many accomplishments in life come our way only if we overcome fear and acquire courage.
    These issues come up as early as grade school, where teachers traditionally offer rewards, in the form of gold stars, high grades, and personal praise. The drawbacks of this approach have been noticed in recent years, and they apply to adults as well.
    The negatives of rewards as an incentive:
    • It divides people into winners and losers.
    • The losers are under-motivated.
    • Losers resent winners, leading to passive aggression and non-cooperation.
    • The winners can become pampered, egotistical, and selfish.
    • Bonds between people are frayed; no sense of "us" as a community.
    • External rewards do nothing for inner needs such as acceptance and belonging.
    • Competitiveness becomes exaggerated, leading to hostility and vicious rivalry.
    The tough-minded may shrug off these drawbacks, and if you think that success is only about external rewards and winning, you may be tempted to as well. But reward-punishment is devoid of moral and ethical values, a huge lack when it comes to solving global challenges - witness the lack of international cooperation over climate change, as each rich country continues to gobble up rewards while poor countries aspire to do the same. The result is that all of the winners will wind up losing if our planet is suffocated.
    The duality of encouragement-discouragement has its advantages, although they don't come to mind as easily as earning a reward in terms of money and promotion.
    The advantages of encouragement as an incentive:
    • It develops a stronger sense of self.
    • People feel included and accepted.
    • The group moves forward for the benefit of everyone.
    • Fear of failure is reduced.
    • People feel that they are not alone in facing a crisis.
    • A stronger sense of self diminishes anxiety.
    • Resilience in the face of challenges is able to grow.
    • Group productivity is increased.
    These are not "soft" qualities. The band of brothers mentality that develops among soldiers embraces everything on this list. From the outside, battle looks so horrifying that non-combatants don't realize how much it means for a soldier to acquire courage and bonding with fellow soldiers. But I am not promoting a battlefield outlook. Vast areas of human society, including all of Asia, emphasize the value of identifying with a group in order to reach a goal.
    For decades Americans have considered our ways superior to everyone else's, but the landscape has changed. Anxiety over unemployment, the burden of personal debt, stagnating wages, and the widening gap between the very rich and everyone else, the loss of pension plans and medical benefits - these factors have increased people's anxieties. The only ray of hope with global problems like terrorism and climate change is to examine what it takes to find renewed courage. The old competitive-capitalist model can't do it, not for individuals or for an entire planet.
    It's time to test the value of a psychological model that goes beyond crude reward-punishment. Look at your own life, how you raise your children, how you treat other adults, and begin to offer encouragement. The following ways will help:
    • Reach out to make someone else feel accepted.
    • Take a goal-oriented perspective that solves a challenge for everyone, not just you.
    • Bond with others by paying personal attention to them.
    • Start thinking inclusively.
    • Do what you can to make yourself more secure, then extend this to others.
    • Improve the work environment for everyone, not just the elites.
    • Afford dignity to everyone.
    • Think in terms of a shared future.

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    Do You Struggle With These False Beliefs About Success?


    Success can be a catch word for anything resembling doing better than you did previously. And, as a general statement, that’s accurate. But in the corporate world, the world of business, success more often resembles a big move up—a much larger role, a bigger title, more money. And it’s a success that’s visible to those around you.

    For some few people success of this nature is what they’ve been developing and growing as an organic process since they were in grade school.

    But for most folks "jumping up" in one’s career comes with seriously weighty concerns. Some of them are quite legitimate and are a measure of mature preparation for a new role. Others are grounded in false beliefs about success, which all too often have their roots in childhood .

    The most common false beliefs I’ve witnessed over the years fall into three categories:

    *** I’m going to be overwhelmed now that I’ve got this larger role

    These people feel compelled to know everything before they even begin a new role. And since they can’t possibly do that ahead of time, they live with heightened anxiety, fearful that at each moment of their new job they will be found out as not deserving of the promotion they just received.

    Because of their anxious state, they have trouble processing new requests and struggle with incorporating their manager’s guidance. Tasks keep piling on leading to more and more confusion rather than utilizing their ability to draw on a system of prioritization. Too many meetings makes the overwhelm even worse as the unfinished assignments pile up even higher.

    Yet very often these people would be outstanding at their jobs if it weren’t for their chronic and false panic about what’s required to get the job done, which generally originated in their childhood home where impossible "excellence" was demanded and failure to meet the impossible was routinely chastised.

    *** I need to work extra hard in order to prove myself

    When these people take on a new position, they typically have their eye on the next rung up as the prize for doing well. So it makes sense to them to work extra long hours, take on more responsibilities than they can comfortably execute, and drive themselves into the ground doing so.

    Their daily mantra is something like, "If I work super hard, my boss is going to notice how exceptional I am and give me that promotion." In the meantime, as that promotion fails to happen, rather then slowing down a bit, they amp up the determination to "prove themselves" in every way they can.

    Yet, it seldom works because their edge of desperation limits how others view their actual output. Exploration of the individual’s childhood experience has frequently revealed a situation with one or both parents who were emotionally shut down, unable to fulfill the child’s need for sincere recognition, and were instead oftentimes critical of even the smallest issue that the child struggled with. 

    *** I’m smarter than everyone else and don’t need to prove myself

    This rarer group lives with an inflated and naive concept of their own excellence. While generally quite bright, and quite accomplished, they can’t quite imagine why they shouldn’t have whatever position they desire right now.

    Feedback to the contrary, providing critical input about their skills, is oftentimes a serious identity shock. They truly can’t imagine how people could see them as lacking and in need of professional and/or technical development.

    While they may be able to reorient themselves and take on the task of growing a more mature and measured sense of their abilities, they first chafe at the thought that they need to do this. Since it strikes right at the heart of their inflated identity, they often have to question how they were raised such that they have lived with such a blind-sided vision of themselves. And it can be quite painful when they have to betray the "golden child" image they were raised with in order to actually achieve the excellence that must be earned and developed. 

    Success brings many challenges that can sometimes be surprising, even shocking, and often inspiring to others when used to grow and develop beyond your previous understanding of your identity. In this way you demonstrate transformative leadership and serve as a model for professional maturity.

    I look forward to reading how success has been a catalyst for your own transformation, whether or not it came with the need to knock down a few false beliefs!

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