Friday, July 10, 2015

Kemebe YoYo

Bob Miner was one of the co-founders at Oracle. He was one of the best programmers ever and he actually had a law degree. In any case, he was a consultant to all development architects at Oracle and when he would get tired, he would use the acronym, KeMeBe YoYo. It meant Kiss My A** Baby, You are on Your Own. This is from an Oracle history book

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kobayashi Maru

I actually had to endure the Kobayashi Maru test in my first job interview in 1992. This was for a sales job selling computers back home in India. The company was known for its aggressive sales tactics. So the test was as follows.

“You are in front of the customer. This is a big deal. You have been told by your management that you will lose your job if you lose the deal. Also you will lose your job if you agree to an un-approved discount on the price. You are in a meeting with the customer and your competitor is waiting outside. The customer says that he is going to decide only on price and that the competitor is going to give a discount he is looking for and he is going to make a decision immediately. He asks you to make a decision on the discount immediately. And BTW, you can’t call your management on the cell phone or use the customer phone to call your boss”. I did pass the test and got the job…
The answer to the sales test.
A few assumptions.
  • I am going to assume that my competitor cannot offer un-approved discounts either to make the game fair.
  • Another assumption is that I am purely selling a commodity and the customer cares only about price.
  • I have had some sales people say that they will offer something which is an intangible extra which cannot be measured and so are having and developing personal relationships whatever that means.
  • I am also assuming that the customer can delay the decision.
  • The customer is going to make the decisions purely on price.
Given that, here is the solution. The only way out here is to extend the end game and have the customer delay the decision making. The customer is being offered a discount by your competitor. What you can do to extend the end game is to offer a bigger discount than your competitor but at the same time request more time to get approvals. Since the customer is buying a commodity and is going to make a decision purely based on price, then the bigger discount you are offering should be attractive enough for the customer to delay the decision and for you to go get the approvals. You can then go back to your management to get the bigger discount and make the sale and keep your job. Another benefit of this strategy is that you will have an idea of what discounts that your competitors are offering to their customers which is valuable information for sales management. It would be even better if the customer documented that expectation instead of a verbal statement. The bigger discount you are offering should carry that caveat of documenting the price expectation by the customer which could benefit your management.

You would make a good “agent” for the “principal” by finding that discount percentage in a careful manner by calibrating it down slowly instead of doing it steeply. You can then get some kind of commitment that the customer will cease negotiations and make the deal happen and not play a “Race to the Bottom”.
I did get the job…
As I go back in time in the Spring of 92, the answer was more by instinct, intuition and gut feel than an analysis as described above and Nash was on the verge of receiving the Nobel Prize.

Tutu Thoughts

A friend just came back from South Africa and we were talking about it. One of South Africa's greatest personalities (other than Nelson Mandela of course) is Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Bishop had a unique perspective which can be felt in his quotes. One quote that moved me was his quote on humanity. The quote reads, "We are bound by our humanity, for we can only be human together". The Bishop correctly recognized that Apartheid was not an issue of discrimination but a rejection of humanity. The rejection is the root cause, the discrimination is the effect. The Bishop worked hard to change the perspective peacefully as he recognized that any improvement was going to come by recognizing this. Any oppression or discrimination results from this core fact and for this insight we salute Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Read More,
Radio Less,
Do not Rush.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Nobel Sayings

The University of Chicago has one of the best economics departments in the world. Their school of business is right there too. Their Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago has a nice lounge and a bunch of quotes from the Nobel Laureates who taught at Chicago. It is really interetsing.

The main purpose of economics is to understand and help alleviate poverty, and there is an intimate and transparent relation between investments in human capital and the alleviation of poverty.
Gary S. Becker

Mathematics has no symbols for confused ideas.
George J. Stigler

If you torture the data long enough, nature will confess.
Ronald H. Coase

When I first discovered options, I became very excited about the possibility that there was a contract that enabled you to only be able to take the upside of the return and not the downside. And that being able to take the upside only had value-and that was really exciting.
Myron S. Scholes

When one contemplates the powerful impact of sustained economic growth on human welfare, it is hard to think about anything else.
Robert E. Lucas Jr.

By investing in themselves, people can enlarge the range of choices available to them. It is one way free men can enhance their welfare.
Theodore W. Schultz

The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.
Milton Friedman.

It is a rare public policy that promotes fairness and social justice and, at the same time, promotes productivity in the economy.
James J. Heckman

One cannot understand current political and ethical trends, or properly forecast future economic developments, without understanding the cycles in religious feelings in American history and the social, economic and political movements that they have generated.
Robert W. Fogel

What counts is what you do with your money, not where it came from.
Merton H. Miller

System Performance

Over my career, I have focused on Oracle Performance and System Performance in general. I worked at Hotsos which was one of the best companies in the world on the topic of Oracle performance. Hotsos pioneered a product around Workload Characterization which was a mainframe approach and Method-R pioneered by Cary Millsap.

At Hotsos, I came up with this approach for System Performance and hope this helps.

Workload Characterization:

Workload characterization is the process of logging and tracking work done in the database by users and its associated computing costs. This data than can be studied to understand the nature of the workload and its overall impact.

Workload can be handled in one of five ways.
Eliminate – Clearly the easiest option to pursue due to the minimal effort involved and simple procedures needed to accomplish this step. We estimate that 25-50% of workload in any system is waste and can be easily eliminated and processes put in place to avoid the recurrence of the workload

Tune – If the workload is a useful workload (i.e. work is accomplished by the user), we can then assess if it needs to be tuned by using Method R. This usually involves tuning of SQL statements to consume less Logical I/O’s and computing resources like parsing etc. If the resource consumption of computing is still high, an assessment needs to be made on whether the complexity of the business requirement is worth the cost of the computing necessary to accomplish this workload. This is a hard business question and needs to be answered keeping all the stakeholders interest in mind.

Train – We find that well tuned programs can suffer from runaway workload by improper desktop procedures or user not trained to use the functionality of the software to efficiently accomplish their work. This is true in Order Management where a blind search for Orders and Customers can potentially take down the database with its demand of resources.

Reschedule – Sometimes, large batch workload runs during peak hours creating a competition for resources and slows all the workload on the system. In this case, this workload will need to be rescheduled to a non-peak time. This can be difficult in global system where there are no non-peak windows except for a small time on the weekend.

Relocate – Ad-Hoc Reports and Batch reports can be potentially made to run on a copy of the production database thereby offloading the workload demand off to the reporting database. This can significantly reduce the competition for resources and improve overall workload throughput.

The order in which to approach it economically is

1.) Eliminate

2.) Train

3.) Re-schedule

4.) Tune/Optimize Code

5.) Re-locate


Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I am an Aggie which  means an alumnus of Texas A&M University. Texas A&M or A&M or Aggieland as it is known has its main campus at College Station. In Texas, you will see car signs by native Texans which say "Texan by Birth, Aggie by the grace of God". It is funny and nice. I am however Indian by birth and I chose to live in Texas since I came to the US in 1993. I am an Aggie as I went to Texas A&M. I am a US citizen now. I came up with a slight twist.

"Indian by Birth,
Texan by Choice,
Aggie by the grace of god".