Naga Chokkanathan

Archive for February 2011

Recently, one of my friends lost his laptop. It was stolen during a train travel.

Later, when he narrated this incident to us, he was mentioning that he lost a 60,000 rupees worth laptop, because of a small mistake, carelessness. Another friend corrected him ‘You lost much more than 60,000 rupees buddy, what about all the data inside that laptop?’

‘Of course, I had lot of data, but the thief is not going to misuse that, Right?’

‘How do you know for sure? Anyway, whether the thief is going to use it or not, You lost some invaluable stuff, Isn’t it? Why are you not worried about that?’

This friend, is from an information security background. And he shared his experience that many people, even the super-intelligent geniuses attach too much of value to their electronic gadgets, and forget all about the data inside. They share important personal or business information through Email / Other online interactions / Pen Drives etc., ‘If you are careless about data and careful about the laptop, it means you are more worried about protecting the jewel box, than the jewels inside!’

We liked this Analogy and he gave us some more examples, comparing data to gold. ‘When you buy gold, you keep it in a secure place, you don’t allow everybody to see it or touch it or steal it, Similar way, all your information has to be protected by password / backup etc.,’

‘At the same time, just because you want to protect the jewels, it doesn’t mean you can keep it in a locker far away from your place. Then it will be useless, won’t be available when you want to wear it for an event. That’s the second dimension.’

‘Finally, When you have lot of jewels, you want to sort them in such a way that you can quickly locate what you need, when you need. Otherwise you end-up wasting time in searching for that necklace and won’t enjoy the party. That’s the third dimension.’

‘Same laws apply to data inside your computer also. Make sure it is secure, available when you need it and sorted in such a way that you don’t waste time looking for data when you need it.’



N. Chokkan …

25 02 2011


Buy Chicken Soup For The : Indian Golden Soul

My Article "A Dream In Eight Boxes" is published as part of the latest “Chicken Soup” Series of books, "Chicken Soup For The Indian Golden Soul". If you get a chance to read it, Please share your feedback. Thanks in advance!

URL to buy the book –>


N. Chokkan …

23 02 2011

Note: I wrote this Email to the CEO of and tweeted about it. Because there is no response, I am posting this in my blog. Let me clarify, Its not the matter of 4 rupees, What they are doing is unfair and I want the world to know about it!


Good Evening,

My name is Naga Chokkanathan, I am from Bangalore,

Recently I saw the Advt about SeventyMM’s offer – Pay 1 Rupee to get a one month trial subscription of your services and I wanted to try it. I registered thro’ the website, But for some reason I couldn’t complete the transaction,

Next day, a teleservice person from your side called me, and asked me to punch in my credit card number in the IVR system. It gave an error, I was asked to try again.,

Curiously, while I was trying it, I got a SMS from my credit card company that my transaction for 1 rupee is approved. But your telesales representative clearly told me that it is not approved. She asked me to try again,

If the transaction value is Rs 100/- or so, I wouldn’t have tried it again, But this is just 1 rupee, So I decided to try again. This time also, I got an approval SMS from my credit card company, But your person said its not yet approved – not reflecting in her system.

So we tried again, again – Same result, Finally I gave up.

Today, I got this month’s statement from my credit card company and surprise, the 4 transactions of 1 rupee are still there – That means, I am charged for them and I assume you got the money from me, But I didn’t get any services, nor I got my money back!

Not sure if it is all a trick. Many other people would have tried to pay that ‘just 1 rupee’ thro’ your IVR and I assume they would have got the same results. Now I am not really willing to dial your call center and ask for those 4 rupees back. It is simply not worth all that effort – Similarly many others would also drop it and what happens to all those 1 rupees we lost? I only hope its not an intentional mistake on your side!


Naga Chokkanathan,


Last week I delivered a training program for a small team of Business Analysts. One of the topics we discussed was, “Conducting Executive Interviews”.

This module covered in detail, how to extract your customer’s requirements by asking series of questions. It concluded with a summary that by asking the right questions, you will be able to know the real intentions behind what the client wants to achieve and plan your software design / development accordingly.

During the next break, one of the participants approached me with a curious argument ‘Asking questions and extracting real requirements is theoretically correct. But normally we business analysts don’t do that, we are expected to pre-determine the requirements, and then ask intelligent questions in such a way that the client ends up saying what we want to hear! That way we will end-up doing less amount of work to complete the product implementation.’

I didn’t understand his argument and asked him to explain. He gave me this story:

A and B were close friends. They studied together, worked together and even went to the same religious center for prayer.

During one of those prayers, They felt like smoking. But they were worried if it is against the religious laws

After the prayer, A went to the priest and asked “Sir, can I smoke while I Pray?”

Priest was very upset to hear this and said “No, Absolutely Not!”

B was seeing all these and he decided to play it differently. He approached the same priest and asked “Sir, Can I Pray while I Smoke?”

Priest said “Sure! Why Not?”



N. Chokkan …

18 02 2011

Currently reading Outlook’s Special Commemorative Issue on Sachin Tendulkar, titled “Sir Sachin”. Found this interesting piece from Harsha Bhogle’s article:


(Image Courtesy:

Context: March 1, 2003. @ Centurion, World Cup Match Between India Vs Pakistan, Sachin scored 98, But towards the later part of his innings, he was struggling because of Cramps and surely a runner was needed. But he continued to hobble, waving all requests away. Later Harsha asked him for the reason and this was Sachin’s response:

Whoever ran for him, Tendulkar said, would have to be at least two yards quicker than him, because he would have to assess whether or not a single was on. He would have to see how hard, or softly the ball had been struck, where the fielder was and then think of the possibility of a single. But, said Tendulkar, since he was batting, he already knew all that and so had an advantage. His Single, he said, began before he hit the ball.

I must have looked quizzical, even disbelieving, because he elaborated. He knew, he said, where the fielder was and adjusted his stroke accordingly and so the single was conceived before the ball was played and executed with soft hands.

It was an extraordinary story about one of the great one-day batting performances of all time. And he told it like it was a simple narrative. He wasn’t boasting, merely stating things – unaware, I suspect, that it wasn’t quite as obvious to someone else. That to me is the essence of Tendulkar, The ability to conceive an innings and execute it daringly.

This collection has wonderful articles and pictures and a must have for any Sachin follower. Only complaint, I feel it is not priced right (Rs 100/-). Sometime back “The Week” Brought a similar Sachin Special and gave it for free (along with their regular issue), Outlook could have done something similar, or priced this at Rs 40/- or 50/-.


N. Chokkan …

12 02 2011

Today morning, I couldn’t locate my mobile phone and house keys. After thirty seconds of rapid searching in obvious places, I got frustrated. I called my mobile number from my land line phone, and It started ringing. So I could easily locate it by just following the ‘sound’.

But things were not that easy when it came to locating my house keys. Technology couldn’t help me and I had to spend another 15 minutes searching for it!

I am sure all of us come across such problems once in a while (if not everyday J), So why not invent a technical solution for this too? Sort of Google-for-home?

Here is my idea:

  • There is a small RFID tag that I can attach to anything – especially things I am more likely to misplace (Keys, TV Remote Control, Spectacles / glasses etc.,)
  • This tag has a 4 digit number, which I have to note down carefully. For example (House Key – 1234, Car Key – 2345, Remote Control – 3456 etc.,)
  • From that point onwards, Whenever I misplace these items, all I need to do is, pickup my phone, dial a number – punch in the 4 digit number of the misplaced object … Immediately, It starts ringing / buzzing, I can go and locate it

This may look like a silly idea, or a wild imagination to solve a simple problem of mine. But guess what, most of the successful innovations are results of “Scratch your own Itch” – Make something you want to use! I found the following examples from the popular book “Rework” By Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson (Founders of the famous “37SIGNALS” company): James Dyson (Invented world’s first cyclonic, bagless vacuum cleaner), Vic Firth (Invented “Perfect Pair” drumsticks), Bill Bowerman (Invented Nike Waffle Shoe when his own team faced problems with their running shoes) and Mary Kay Wagner (She was the first ‘user’ for all her skin-care products)  – these people (and many others) scratched their own itches, and went on to become very successful product owners!

So, what is your big idea?



N. Chokkan …

11 02 2011

Earl Nightingale

(Image Courtesy:

Earl Nightingale, a famous motivational speaker / author has given an excellent quote, about what determines someone’s ‘market value’. According to him:

The amount of money you make will always be in direct proportion to:

  1. The demand for what you do
  2. Your ability to do it
  3. The difficulty of replacing you

This is true not only for individuals, but for software / applications/ products as well. Products can survive and have a long lifetime only if there is demand in the market, that product can really satisfy the demand well, and no other product can replace it.

Most LPs were pressed in black vinyl with a paper label in the center of each side. However, colored and picture discs were also made

(Image Courtesy:

For example, consider an old LP Record, or an audio cassette. Both of these technologies had their ‘peak’ durations when there was heavy demand for them (from music listeners), and then they were able to satisfy those demands very well. But they both failed in #3, they were easily replaced when CD / MP3 format came along, which was lot more convenient and cheap.

Guess what, this applied only to the products, not to the companies. The same music companies who were producing LP Records / Audio Cassettes are now producing CDs / Releasing their songs in online music stores and so on. This was possible only because they made them ‘irreplaceable’, eventho’ their old technology was replaced.

This means, any individual, company or product needs to go thro this simple test very often: Is there demand for what I am doing? Do I have the ability to satisfy this demand well? Am I replaceable?


“Why Not?” series completes its first anniversary tomorrow Smile Thanks for all the responses and support Smile


N. Chokkan …

04 02 2011


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Organization He works for / belongs to.

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