MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS

Remembering Steve

It’s been 4 years since Steve Jobs’s demise. But, he still remains in our hearts.

Steve

I am a huge fan of Steve. He is my model person. It was my dream to see him live, to attend his keynote, but it has been left behind as a dream forever.

stevejobs

His work and his vision will be remembered forever.

Steve

I always watch his commencement speech to get inspired. I always watch his keynotes to learn and mimic his presentation skills. I always remember him.

steve_stanford

Whenever I visit a beach, I never forget to write down Steve’s name remembering him.

At SantaMonica Pier

At SantaMonica Pier

At Atlantic City Beach

At Atlantic City Beach

At SantaMonica

At SantaMonica

DSCF0329

At Lake Michigan

I wish he was there, so I could tell him how big a fan I am.

REMEMBERING STEVE JOBS.

Sincerely,

SH.

10 Essential Lessons for Young Entrepreneurs

A fantastic talk has been delivered by Heidi Roizen recently. Today, In the morning I was reading the blogpost shared by the Stanford Business school and I duplicated it here in my post. In her talk for the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Series, Draper Fisher Jurvetson Operating Partner Heidi Roizen (MBA ’83) shared advice for young entrepreneurs on topics ranging from ethics to hiring.

1. Look for hard projects and problems to tackle.
“If you’re not doing something hard, you’re wasting your time,” believes Roizen. She encourages entrepreneurs to challenge themselves by looking for something difficult to take on each day or week. “I can tell you from my entire history of my career, there is nothing that has being as rewarding as being an entrepreneur and coming through the other side of that really, really hard stuff.”

2. Don’t compromise your ethics. Ever.
If you cheat, you will end up regretting it. How you act when you’re faced with ethical decisions sets the tone and culture for the entire company that you’re building.

3. Trust your gut.
Our intuition is built from months and years of observing human nature and interactions; it has been informed sometimes in ways we don’t even understand – so trust in it. Roizen shared the regret she felt when she didn’t go with her gut on some hiring and firing decisions.

4. Strive to NOT be the smartest person in the room.
The most important thing that you’re going to do as an entrepreneur is pick your team. “My goal truly is to be the dumbest person in the room,” said Roizen. You have to take the risk to find people who are so much better at you in certain areas. Your job is to manage and empower your team – not to know more than them.

5. Every time you meet someone, think relationship – not transaction.
“I believe everything is about relationships,” stated Roizen. Strive to build a connection with the people you meet so that when you actually need to ask them for something, you will have a deeper relationship as a foundation and will be able to collaboratively help each other.

6. Expect that life is going to be messy.
“Life actually is really, really random. Bad things will happen to you. You will fail, things outside of your control will happen.” Expect the messiness.

7. Get back up when you fall down.
“It’s not how many times you fall down, it’s how many times you get back up,” Roizen emphasized. “If you fall down and stay down, you will be down for the rest of your life.”

8. Allow randomness into your life.
Go to a meeting without an agenda. Meet somebody new. Allow yourself to be open to random opportunities.

9. Follow the 20-40-60 Rule.
Remember this rule: “At 20, you are constantly worrying about what other people think of you. At 40, you wake up and you say I’m not going to give a damn what other people think of me anymore. And at 60 you come to realize that no one is actually thinking of you.”

The takeaway, says Roizen, is “when you make mistakes, don’t worry about it. Because no one is thinking about you as hard as you’re thinking about yourself.”

10. Be your own advocate.
“If you are in a job you don’t like, you need to think about changing it. You cannot sit in your office and wait for someone to come and bring you an answer.” And if you are involved in something you don’t like, you need to empower yourself to go do something else because no one is going to do it for you.

Source: http://stanfordbusiness.tumblr.com/post/125445855164/10-essential-lessons-for-young-entrepreneurs

The story of the Burnt Toast

His Mom Served Burnt toast , but he was shocked when his Dad said this.
“When I was about eight or nine, my mom burnt some toast .
One night that stood out in my mind is when she had made dinner for us after a very long and rough day at work, She placed a plate of jam and extremely burned toast in front of my dad. Not slightly burnt but completely blackened toast.
I was just waiting to see if anyone noticed the burnt toast and say anything. But Dad just ate his toast and asked me if I did my homework and how my day was. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember hearing my mom apologizing to dad for burning the toast. And I’ll never forget what he said:
“Sweetie, I love burned toast.”
Later that night, I went to tell my dad good night and ask him if he really liked his toast burned. He put his arm on my shoulder and said,
“Your momma put in a very long day at work today and she was very tired. And besides, A burnt toast never hurts anyone but you know what does? Harsh words!”
The he continued to say “You know, life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people I’m not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like every other human. What I’ve learned over the years, is that learning to accept each others faults and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences, is one of the most important keys for creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship. Life is too short to wake up with regrets. Love the people who treat you right and have compassion for the ones who don’t.”
Enjoy Life Now.

Copied from source: Facebook image of Victoria Potter.

A Quote on Life!

I couldn’t stop myself posting the following quote on my blog.

Whether you have a Maruti or a BMW, the road remains the same. Whether you travel in an economy or a business class, your destination doesn’t change. Whether you have a Titan or a Rolex, the time remains the same. Whether you have an iPhone or a Nokia, people who call you remains the same. There is nothing wrong in dreaming a luxurious life. What needs to be taken care of is to not let the NEED become GREED. Because needs can always be met, but greed can never be fulfilled.

—- Rajinikanth

I bow in respect to this great person. Big fan.

Tricks to help you remember what you have learned

I read this article on the lifehack.org and I found it very interesting. Thus, I am posting the content of the article on my blog.

Article:

Memory is fallible. If you forget everything in this article, remember this fact: Researchers estimate that we lose 90% of everything we learn immediately after learning it. Ninety percent. Have I got your attention now?

Trying to recall information can be like digging a hole without a proper shovel: Sure, you can implement what you have to make the hole, but the tool you employ is makeshift. Or perhaps you only have your hands.

When our minds begin to absorb new information, there is a limited amount of time before that information becomes useless to us. For several reasons, our brains are in a constant process of forgetting. Most of the details that you learn are lost to you within a short time, because your brain only has limited space. And your brain doesn’t actually know how to determine if a detail will be useful to you at a later time… so it just forgets it.

Throughout your learning process make time to ensure that you will remember the information you want to remember by following these 13 simple tricks.

1. Acknowledge How You Learn

Articles are published every day about how the educational systems of the world are flawed, for various reasons. Perhaps the most fundamental component that is missing from these systems is the process of learning itself: students are not learning how to learn. Facts and figures are thrown at pupils, and they are asked to memorize them by rote. Students are not told about the process of learning and what goes on in that process, how the brain commits information to memory and how to recall it. Each example in this series relates to either the learning process or the ability to recall – incorporate these activities into your own processes to enhance your ability to remember.

2. Motivate to Remember

When you are interested in a subject, you are more likely to remember what you have learned. Motivate yourself with authenticity. Is this a subject that you are passionate for? If the answer is yes, then you are on the right track. If you have a zest for knowledge already, then you know this is the case when it comes to learning. Learning one task begets an insatiable urge to learn more, and your hunger grows as you realize how much there is to learn in the world. On the other hand, if you find that you are unmotivated to learn something or if you have a shallow relationship with the subject, then your brain in turn will be less interested (and therefore, less likely to be able to recall it). When you select a subject that you know you will find engaging, then you will have a greater opportunity to remember all about it.

3. Concentrate to Remember

Concentration utilizes a great deal of brain power, and signals your mind to fix a process or subject into your long-term memory. Your attention must be undivided, and your focus must come naturally. If you are fatigued or distracted, then it is very difficult for your mind to commit information into memory. Set up a peaceful space without distraction when you are going through your learning process, and you will be more likely to recall the details you’ve learned.

4. Listening and Reading Aren’t the Best Ways to Learn

When you are trying to learn and recall something, listening and reading pale in comparison to other forms of learning, like group discussions or teaching. In order to learn something well, you must be concentrating, and often we are struggling with the information we learn from simple hearing and seeing. Activities must be hands-on and, as humans, all of our best learning comes from making mistakes. So get as involved as possible in the process so that you can learn at your best.

5. Calculate Recall Times

You’ve got to challenge your mind to recall what you’ve learned. This allows your memory to not only show you that it’s working but the process itself improves your ability to summon the information you’ve learned. According to the experts, there are a myriad of times that are best for when to try to recall. (One UCLA study argues that the best time to recall something is right before you are about to forget it!) The simplest solution: study again after one hour, and a third time after 24 hours. The argument is that you will lose what you’ve learned quickly, so study it again within an hour. Also, after a full day passes you are likely to forget the information if you do not review it. While this is a broad-yet-effective solution for the recall problem, there is a better way.

SuperMemo.com houses a calculator that determines the best time to test your memory recall. Basically, a computer program figures out the moment that you’re about to forget something, and challenges you to recall it – precisely in that moment. Warning! The user interface is stuck in the nineties and the material may seem a little kooky. But I assure you, if you want to become a memory machine, this site has exactly what you need. (For more information, read this Wired article about the site’s creator, Piotr Wozniak.)

6. Take Breaks

Break up your learning, and give your body & mind time to relax. You should pepper twenty minute breaks throughout your study time, with a long break in the middle for a meal. Ideally, learning should be done on a cycle. Unfortunately everyone is different, so there is no magic number of minutes or hours that you should study. On average, an individual can remain focused on a task for about 45 minutes, so this is a good number to start with. For some, the length of your study time may be even longer. As you go through your process, pay attention to mental and physical cues to fine tune the length of your learning time (i.e. mind wandering, fidgeting, etc.). Adjust your study time accordingly.

7. Study Before Bed & After Waking

The best time to learn – or review information that you’ve learned – is just before you go to sleep and right when you wake up. Before you go to bed and right after you wake up, your brain secretes chemicals that are designed to make your memory more concrete. At other times of the day, the mind is continually refreshing the contents of your short-term memory (causing you to forget things). Also during the day, your mind is overloaded with constant information, so there is not much room for anything new.

8. Scrutinize, Connect, and Elaborate

Learning is not a static activity. Your brain is trying to make connections between the information you are learning and what you already know. So look deeper at the processes and make connections. For example, if you are learning about airflow and Bernoulli’s principle, compare your existing knowledge of laminar flow in water to further cement the new info you are learning. Similarly, by examining the processes of a task, or the details of the information, you allow your brain to have a better grasp of what you learn. Again, don’t just look at the facts and figures. Develop a working knowledge of the details and the process, thereby providing your brain with a framework for your learning. Moreover, when you connect the information with that which you already know, then your mind will remember the particular similarities within the processes.

9. Teach What You’ve Learned

Teachers make mistakes. When they fail or make a mistake, they’ve got to learn how to correct the mistake. And mistakes are good. Research shows that when you make a mistake whilst teaching, you must go back and check your work, which familiarizes you further with the processes of the task. Furthermore, when learning is hard, you are performing at your peak, and you are more likely to recall the information at a later time. Because teaching takes a great deal of concentration, your brain kicks your memory absorption into high gear. So teach what you’ve learned.

10. Force Recall

Everyone will tell you that flash cards are the best way to remember something. And they’re just about right. By forcing your brain to bring back what you learned through recall, your brain has to concentrate to get that information into your consciousness. Any kind of trivia game can help with this, provided that you don’t look at the answers – or Google it! – before you give your ability to recall a good college try.

11. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Repeating an activity, process, or detail can help you to recall it. If you incorporate what you want to remember into an everyday activity, you are exponentially more likely to remember it. Consider this example: put your doctor’s phone number into your password to access your computer (e.g., DoctorMark5236798). Should an emergency arise where you need to recall the number, you won’t have to go searching through the phone book. Essentially, by performing a task daily you’ll have no problem conjuring the information right when you need it.

12. Stay Healthy

Eat right and stay in shape – your mental health depends on it. Whenever you are famished or dehydrated, your mind can meander into Never Never Land, or else it can propel itself into panic-mode out of hunger. Therefore, maintain a steady diet. Avoid foods that are high in sugar as they will cause you to crash. Consuming too many calories can make you feel sluggish, so stay away from processed foods. Instead, eat plenty of produce and lean meats to keep your brain healthy. Exercise regularly as well. A good cardiovascular workout improves your blood flow and your immune system, which helps to restore your mental energy for more learning.

13. Reflect Upon What You’ve Learned

Spend just 15 minutes reflecting on what you learned at the end of the day. This will boost your confidence in your learning process as you are recalling the information. Your process will be further edified: you will be eager to get back into learning the next day, putting more effort into your activities and what you learn.

Memory is fallible, as I stated earlier. Do you recall what I asked you to remember at the start? Perhaps you do but maybe you forgot. Scrolling to the top to reread it is easy enough right now but you might not always have that luxury. If you incorporate these tricks into your learning habits, you will see a marked improvement in your ability to recall what you’ve learned.

 

Source: LifeHack.org

The first two weeks in Chicago

I had great dreams to do my graduate studies in Computer Science from a top-notch university, but I failed to get into them because I was from a non-CS background and couldn’t meet the prerequisites for the programs. I ended up at Illinois Institute of Technology which is a reasonable school. The school has good infrastructure, a huge library and very good professors. Like every school, most of the graduate students are from China and India. On the orientation, the career management center of IIT has showcased several statistics of the recruitment from the past couple of years. The statistics were quite impressive and the students have been hired by pretty big companies in the industry. The courses I took were all related to algorithms, I took Introduction to Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence and Data Mining. All were very interesting courses and the professors who taught these courses are so wise and adept. The classes were good. That’s all about the courses and study related stuff.

Coming to the life besides the courses! Almost all Indians stay off-campus in groups of five or six to minimize the living expenses but thanks to my dad, he invested a lot of money on me to lead a rich and safe life by allowing me to stay in the on-campus dorms. I have two good friends who came with me to the same school. One of them is my bestie who lives off campus and the other is a good friend of mine who lives on-campus in the same apartment where I live. I did think that I have one on-campus Indian friend with me on whom I can count on but things aren’t going well. Anyways, coming back to my life, I live with two Koreans and an American. These guys are so awesome and geeky. They go out either to get food/groceries or to attend the classes and they always study staying in the room which really makes a great study environment for me. I am really having a great time when these guys are around me, we make fun of each other, we cook great food and share them among us and we often discuss some interesting topics. My roommates call me a baby and a kid as I am very younger to them and I don’t drink 😛 We do call each other crazy people 😀

Actually, I started off writing this post to share about my loneliness, but I just realized that I am not lonely at all and I am surrounded by uber cool passionate geeks who are working hard to make their bright future like me. I think this is going to be my home for the rest of the two years. I will definitely work hard and make it a memorable one.

I would like to end this post by quoting Socrates, one of the greatest philosopher of all time:

“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people”.

Cheers,

SZ

Always Hungry? Here’s why?

FOR most of the last century, our understanding of the cause of obesity has been based on immutable physical law. Specifically, it’s the first law of thermodynamics, which dictates that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. When it comes to body weight, this means that calorie intake minus calorie expenditure equals calories stored. Surrounded by tempting foods, we overeat, consuming more calories than we can burn off, and the excess is deposited as fat. The simple solution is to exert willpower and eat less.

The problem is that this advice doesn’t work, at least not for most people over the long term. In other words, your New Year’s resolution to lose weight probably won’t last through the spring, let alone affect how you look in a swimsuit in July. More of us than ever are obese, despite an incessant focus on calorie balance by the government, nutrition organizations and the food industry.

But what if we’ve confused cause and effect? What if it’s not overeating that causes us to get fat, but the process of getting fatter that causes us to overeat?

The more calories we lock away in fat tissue, the fewer there are circulating in the bloodstream to satisfy the body’s requirements. If we look at it this way, it’s a distribution problem: We have an abundance of calories, but they’re in the wrong place. As a result, the body needs to increase its intake. We get hungrier because we’re getting fatter.

It’s like edema, a common medical condition in which fluid leaks from blood vessels into surrounding tissues. No matter how much water they drink, people with edema may experience unquenchable thirst because the fluid doesn’t stay in the blood, where it’s needed. Similarly, when fat cells suck up too much fuel, calories from food promote the growth of fat tissue instead of serving the energy needs of the body, provoking overeating in all but the most disciplined individuals.

We discuss this hypothesis in an article just published in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association. According to this alternative view, factors in the environment have triggered fat cells in our bodies to take in and store excessive amounts of glucose and other calorie-rich compounds. Since fewer calories are available to fuel metabolism, the brain tells the body to increase calorie intake (we feel hungry) and save energy (our metabolism slows down). Eating more solves this problem temporarily but also accelerates weight gain. Cutting calories reverses the weight gain for a short while, making us think we have control over our body weight, but predictably increases hunger and slows metabolism even more.

Consider fever as another analogy. A cold bath will lower body temperature temporarily, but also set off biological responses — like shivering and constriction of blood vessels — that work to heat the body up again. In a sense, the conventional view of obesity as a problem of calorie balance is like conceptualizing fever as a problem of heat balance; technically not wrong, but not very helpful, because it ignores the apparent underlying biological driver of weight gain.

This is why diets that rely on consciously reducing calories don’t usually work. Only one in six overweight and obese adults in a nationwide survey reports ever having maintained a 10 percent weight loss for at least a year. (Even this relatively modest accomplishment may be exaggerated, because people tend to overestimate their successes in self-reported surveys.) In studies by Dr. Rudolph L. Leibel of Columbia and colleagues, when lean and obese research subjects were underfed in order to make them lose 10 to 20 percent of their weight, their hunger increased and metabolism plummeted. Conversely, overfeeding sped up metabolism.

For both over- and under-eating, these responses tend to push weight back to where it started — prompting some obesity researchers to think in terms of a body weight “set point” that seems to be predetermined by our genes.

But if basic biological responses push back against changes in body weight, and our set points are predetermined, then why have obesity rates — which, for adults, are almost three times what they were in the 1960s — increased so much? Most important, what can we do about it?

As it turns out, many biological factors affect the storage of calories in fat cells, including genetics, levels of physical activity, sleep and stress. But one has an indisputably dominant role: the hormone insulin. We know that excess insulin treatment for diabetes causes weight gain, and insulin deficiency causes weight loss. And of everything we eat, highly refined and rapidly digestible carbohydrates produce the most insulin.

By this way of thinking, the increasing amount and processing of carbohydrates in the American diet has increased insulin levels, put fat cells into storage overdrive and elicited obesity-promoting biological responses in a large number of people. Like an infection that raises the body temperature set point, high consumption of refined carbohydrates — chips, crackers, cakes, soft drinks, sugary breakfast cereals and even white rice and bread — has increased body weights throughout the population.

One reason we consume so many refined carbohydrates today is because they have been added to processed foods in place of fats — which have been the main target of calorie reduction efforts since the 1970s. Fat has about twice the calories of carbohydrates, but low-fat diets are the least effective of comparable interventions, according to several analyses, including one presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association this year.

A recent study by one of us, Dr. Ludwig, and his colleagues published in JAMA examined 21 overweight and obese young adults after they had lost 10 to 15 percent of their body weight, on diets ranging from low fat to low carbohydrate. Despite consuming the same number of calories on each diet, subjects burned about 325 more calories per day on the low carbohydrate than on the low fat diet — amounting to the energy expended in an hour of moderately intense physical activity.

Another study published by Dr. Ludwig and colleagues in The Lancet in 2004 suggested that a poor-quality diet could result in obesity even when it was low in calories. Rats fed a diet with rapidly digesting (called high “glycemic index”) carbohydrate gained 71 percent more fat than their counterparts, who ate more calories over all, though in the form of slowly digesting carbohydrate.

These ideas aren’t entirely new. The notion that we overeat because we’re getting fat has been around for at least a century, as described by Gary Taubes in his book “Good Calories, Bad Calories.” In 1908, for example, a German internist named Gustav von Bergmann dismissed the energy-balance view of obesity, and hypothesized that it was instead caused by a metabolic disorder that he called “lipophilia,” or “love of fat.”

But such theories have been generally ignored, perhaps because they challenge entrenched cultural attitudes. The popular emphasis on calorie balance reinforces the belief that we have conscious control over our weight, and that obesity represents a personal failure because of ignorance or inadequate willpower.

In addition, the food industry — which makes enormous profits from highly processed products derived from corn, wheat and rice — invokes calorie balance as its first line of defense. If all calories are the same, then there are no bad foods, and sugary beverages, junk foods and the like are fine in moderation. It’s simply a question of portion control. The fact that this rarely works is taken as evidence that obese people lack willpower, not that the idea itself might be wrong.

UNFORTUNATELY, existing research cannot provide a definitive test of our hypothesis. Several prominent clinical trials reported no difference in weight loss when comparing diets purportedly differing in protein, carbohydrate and fat. However, these trials had major limitations; at the end, subjects reported that they had not met the targets for complying with the prescribed diets. We wouldn’t discard a potentially lifesaving cancer treatment based on negative findings, if the research subjects didn’t take the drug as intended.

There are better ways to do this research. Studies should provide participants with at least some of their food, to make it easier for them to stick to the diets. Two studies that did this — one by the Direct Group in 2008 and the other by the Diogenes Project in 2010 — reported substantial benefits associated with the reduction of rapidly digestible carbohydrate compared with conventional diets. We need to invest much more in this research. With the annual economic burden of diabetes — just one obesity-related complication — predicted to approach half a trillion dollars by 2020, a few billion dollars for state-of-the-art nutrition research would make a good investment.

If this hypothesis turns out to be correct, it will have immediate implications for public health. It would mean that the decades-long focus on calorie restriction was destined to fail for most people. Information about calorie content would remain relevant, not as a strategy for weight loss, but rather to help people avoid eating too much highly processed food loaded with rapidly digesting carbohydrates. But obesity treatment would more appropriately focus on diet quality rather than calorie quantity.

People in the modern food environment seem to have greater control over what they eat than how much. With reduced consumption of refined grains, concentrated sugar and potato products and a few other sensible lifestyle choices, our internal body weight control system should be able to do the rest. Eventually, we could bring the body weight set point back to pre-epidemic levels. Addressing the underlying biological drive to overeat may make for a far more practical and effective solution to obesity than counting calories.

Note: David S. Ludwig directs the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and is a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Mark I. Friedman is vice president of research at the Nutrition Science Initiative.

Source: New York Times.

Cheers,

SZ