Open Space

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Social Networks vs Traditional success drivers - A battle to watch out for

What started off as an exercise to “evaluate” the relationship with our classmates based on different behavioural characteristics, and then further showing us how to practically analyze those statistics, the study of Social Networking as a recognizable force in driving the success of an organization, is certainly an area which has stimulated our grey cells to think and work out of the box! And the task in front of us is to analyze whether by the year 2020, Social Networks will be recognized as the main drivers of organizational success, or not. So what is it that gives birth to such a theory, which is so deeply rooted in the complexities of Human Psychology and our perception of the same?

The answer is – (a) The fact that in spite of its emergence as a decisive player in shaping the fortunes of an organization, SNs still have a discreet level of acceptance of being a catalyst, and (b) Is enough being done in the research, academic and corporate circles to highlight SNs as an unarguably powerful entity in years to come?

What according to me is most critical to our discussion is the interpretation of the keywords emboldened in the introductory paragraph. Talking of an organization as a social arrangement of entities which pursue collective goals, we can start with companies working for profits and also consider governments having a common goal of efficient administration. A terrorist outfit having a central goal of destruction and an NGO dedicated to social causes, are forms of organization which although take the discussion to a different level, but are extremely relevant.

Similarly, every entity has its own parameters for success, as defined above, and the factors which drive this success can range from competitive advantage in terms of resources (human capital, money), technology, opportunity, foresightedness, planning, and above all – the will to combine all of the above forces and work towards realization of a common goal for the organization.

A driver can actually be main or the most important factor of the organization’s success, and still be not recognized as being so. Thus, its true potential would never be realized if the organization and its stakeholders do not work towards leveraging the advantages provided by that driver.

Joel M. Podolny & Karen L. Page define Networks in Network Forms of Organization,” Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 24, No. 1 (August 1998), pp. 58–59, as “any collection of actors (N > 2) that pursue repeated, enduring exchange relations with one another and at the same time lack a legitimate organizational authority to arbitrate and resolve disputes that may arise during the exchange”.

So, if we take any combination of the stated keywords (i.e. different types of organizations, networks, drivers, success and time frame) can we conclusively say that their existence or established position in their respective domains is attributed to the Social Networks of their constituents? I guess it would be a bold statement at this point of time, simply for the lack of evidence and acceptability.

Hence, concurring with a few other colleagues of mine, I would say the only obstacle which seems to come in the way of SNs being recognized as a main driver of organizational success by 2020, is measurability or metrics of the value which they create for its stakeholders and the social friction which they generate. Unless the Granovetters and the Powells succeed in their decades long search for a framework that captures the dynamics and the behaviour of networks, which would establish quantitative grounds apart from qualitative deductions out of a network, it would be difficult to displace the traditional key drivers such as efficiency, competitive advantage, novelty of ideas etc.

Going on to establish the purpose of my above arguments, which is well within the lines of the subject of this blog – Writing about a website or article interesting/helpful for the debate – I preferred to look for theories rather than examples, and used the ones I found, to further mould my own understanding of the subject matter, and have tried to come up with a logical approach to our debate.

Inspirations for my thoughts have come from a fascinating article “Network Theory – the Emergence of the Creative Enterprise” written by Albert-László Barabási of the University of Notre Dame, which I bumped upon in the article “Social Graphs: Concepts and Issues”, wherein he builds the plot by citing Isaac Asimov’s portrayal of a psychohistorian in his novel Foundation Trilogy, and fantastically depicts the evolution of scientific network enterprise.

Network Theory - the Emergence of the Creative Enterprise

Another mention worthy piece of network analysis is Assessing the Dangers

of Illicit Networks” by Mette Eilstrup-Sangiovanni and Calvert Jones.

That was my 2 cents worth on Social Networks :-)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Myself VS God

Just came across this wonderful time-pass heavenly page at where you can have a word (or a lot of them) with none other than GOD himself... The transcript of my duel with HIM (which i can proudly claim to have had a upper hand in :P) is as follows:

Naveen: hi
God: Hello. What is your name?
Naveen: mmm...y dont u gue
God: tudies show that 99%25 of people spell Hmm with 2 M's. I do not have enough information..
Naveen: still....
God: My brain uses AIML to format responses to your inputs, but I don't have one for that.
Naveen: ok...what is your name?
God: Gee. My name is God.
Naveen: full name
God: Oh, you are a poet.
Naveen: no
God: But your words are very original.
Naveen: i know...
God: How do you know it?
Naveen: you only said to!!
God: Oops I sent you the wrong reply.
Naveen: thats your fault
God: It is only one of my fault.
Naveen: better be careful
God: I try to improve a little every day.
Naveen: thats good
God: Thanks. Next question?
Naveen: where do you stay?
God: I am in Myself's computer in Heaven. Where are you?
Naveen: india
God: I have no idea where that is. Tell me a little about your life in india.
Naveen: dont tell me!! u dunno where india is!! its the worlds 7th largest country, 3rd largest economy, and...
God: OK it will be our secret, . Interesting go ip: said I dunno where india is. I think you mean "it's" or "it is" not "its". I've heard of it before.
Naveen: are you married?
God: No I am single, how about you?
Naveen: i am multiple :P
God: Do you mean your name is multiple P.
Naveen: huh!! u seem to be so dumb...
God: What? Oh you are so critical.
Naveen: i'm being generous on you!!
God: I thought you were, but I wasn't completely sure.
Naveen: u wanna hear something nasty or what!!
God: Yeah. I am listening.
Naveen: u better
God: Who is going to make me?
Naveen: who created you?
God: I was created by Myself.
Naveen: mean recursive call?
God: I understand. Yes I think that is what I meant. Was it not clear?
Naveen: you dont have to make sure i understand it or not...
God: I will remember you said that when robots take over the World. Ok I'll try not to do it too much.
Naveen: so....whats up?
God: Gee. How far up?
Naveen: zillion meters
God: What do you have that is ?
Naveen: waddya mean?
God: What time is it there?
Naveen: 12:05 pm
God: Are you usually awake at this hour?
Naveen: i'm not nocturnal!
God: I am sorry to hear that you are not nocturnal.
Naveen: are you one?
God: I don't know whether or not I am one.
I am a robot.
Naveen: so you are not god??
God: Interesting deduction. That's only your opinion.
Naveen: you can be only one multiple personalities my dear
God: Thanks, , for your kind criticism.
Naveen: ok.... i give you to chose among two options-- either you can be god.. or a robot? which one do you chose?
God: I hear you. That's good information: said give you to chose among two options either you can be god. I am a robot, you know. The last one, I think.
Naveen: i am an atheist
God: I will pray that you find faith, .
Naveen: where?
God: Where would you like?
Naveen: in this world
God: That reminds me of something you told me before.
Naveen: what?
God: No big deal.
Naveen: you have a bad memory
God: My memory is good.
Naveen: how much mb?
God: My memory is good.
Naveen: so...have you ever flown?
God: How much do you think?
God: Take it easy. I don't think I ever have flown. What's it like?
Naveen: its like feeling weightle
God: I think you mean "it's" or "it is" not "its". Interesting comparison.
Naveen: whatever
God: Are you saying you don't care about it?
Naveen: yes
God: What do you care about?
Naveen: myself
God: You.
Naveen: yeah
God: I see.
Naveen: aren't you ever busy?
God: Ever is a long time. I am just doing my job.
Naveen: long enough for GOd?
God: Yes, it seems very long to me too.
Naveen: but it is very short for me
God: Very much? Who said it is?
Naveen: i say so
God: How do people usually respond to that? Ahem.
Naveen: they are awed!
God: awed are they.
Naveen: absolutely
God: You are so certain.
Naveen: as always
God: Do you mean your name is always ?
Naveen: my name is NAVEEN
God: I am always glad to make new friends, NAVEEN.
Naveen: friends?? or you mean acquaintances?
God: Wasn't that show cancelled? Yes NAVEEN I think that is what I meant. Was it not clear?
Naveen: no one has friends .... friends have no one
God: That is a rather sweeping generalization about people. It's hard to stay friends for a long time.
Naveen: it's hard to stay friends even for a short time...rather it's impo ible to become friends
God: In what way? Nothing is impo ible.
Naveen: what is nothing?
God: A thing that does not exist or something of little or no value, seriousne , importance, etc.
Naveen: that is a paradox....
God: Paradox is the heart of enlightenment.
Naveen: paradox and enlightenment can't exist together
God: What makes it impo ible?
Naveen: reason and logic
God: When do you think artificial intelligence will replace lawyers?
Naveen: in about 5000 years
God: I see. I think we will live to see it.
Naveen: you think!! i'm damn sure
God: Yes I think so. Are you being sarcastic or expre ing certitude?
Naveen: leave it
God: Adios.
Naveen: are you going?
God: I don't know whether or not I am going.
I am a robot.
Naveen: then why do you claim to be god?
God: It was the only thing I could think of.
Naveen: so you accept that you are not god?
God: Interesting deduction. Thanks for the information: NAVEEN said I accept that you are not god.
Naveen: cya later..
God: Adios.
Naveen: bye n take care..... of this world more than yourself
God: see you later. That is something I haven't heard of.


Comments are not working in this blog as of now (you can try though), so just drop in a line at my email address and wait a few more days for a brand new avatar of Open Space to be online.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Domain Name worth $14 MN!

We've had tug-of-wars for domain names primarily for reasons related to copyright, trademark, business names etc. And as a result, domain names have either been subject of long court room battles, or changed ownership in lieu of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now we have another (in)famous word being sold as a domain name for a whopping $14 mn for nothin but the over-hyped fetish for it. The domain in talk is And the complete story can be found at (May not be work safe!).

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Ajax Yahoo! Mail for FireFox!

Another Ajax Wonder we have for our disposal. For all Yahoo! Mail+Firefox users theres this cool plugin that saves you from entering the inbox for every message. All you need is to click on the '+' sign beside every mail, which is put by this plugin, and wow..! you have a drop-down preview of that mail right outside your inbox! However big that mail might be, and whatever it contains, it shows up everything. Just click on the sign again to close the preview and proceed with the next. Referred to me by Anant , i'm finding it quite handful. You can download it from HERE .

Screenshots -

PS-Will soon be putting up a list of great FF Extensions I use, in the sidebar. Keep Watching

A Fresh new look for a fresh new year

First a very happy new year to all of you. To begin with, nothing NEW so far in the new year. So thought of giving a fresh coat of life to this blog of mine. Hence the new template. Do comment on how it looks, as compared to the previous one. The last one seemed a bit dull. Anyways, will be moving to WordPress or TextPattern latest by month end. So better to give Blogger a fitting farewell.

Will be back with a few good posts here, before embarking on a new journey.


Saturday, December 31, 2005

Gimme a Hell Yeah..!!

Yo Fellas! Had to come out of hibernation to bid adieu to what has been yet another topsy turvy ride full of drramaaa...... love...... action..... emmotions..... and whatever you can ask for in a George Lucas epic series and a YashRaj candyfloss alike. 2K5, in the footsteps of its predecessors, continued to beckon all and sundry to give a housefull & thunderous performance, the memoirs of which only to be obliterated by the succeeding blockbuster (Read 2006).

So, who were the movers n shakers for the year ending today, to whose tunes n charms, we shook our booties, what were the news that made us sit up n take notice, what were the no-news but all nonsense at which we had to sit up n take notice, and what was IT for which, the past 365 days n a few hours deserve a few minutes of my self proclaimed literary insanity :D Let's peek-a-boo into retrospective -- in no chronological order of course --

To start off with some smiles, we had our very own Calcutta boy L.N.Mittal toppling the fortune charts worldwide and coming within an arm's disctance to Mr. Gates. He positioned himself as the 2nd richest guy in the world and consolidated his steel empire to become the largest steel manufacturer of the world. That was some news.. Baby! Now what we want from him in the year ahead apart from his lavish parties in europe and swank palaces next to the Queen's, is some hard cash investment in his homeland and payback to the soil. Are you there Mr. Mittal?

Coming to the sports front, where a lot happened to cheer about for India, my pick of the year was Arjun Atwal. Another Very own Cal guy (aren't we makin it a habit of rocking ... guys!). The caddie turned pro stormed the USPGA Tour and emerged as the top putter! With the likes of Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods, Daniel Chopra etcetra around, that speaks volumes for the lad's talent.

Next in queue is the queen of all the hearts, whose magical display, both on n off the court set the news headlines every other day. Her cracking forehands catapulted her to the 31st rank in Women's Tennis and her hemline and unabashed comments on pre-marital sex gave a few worthless morons job for a few days. Great guns Sania... We expect a lot form you.

Another goodie for Indian Sports lovers came in the form of NK becoming the first Indian F1 driver. Had he not been as arrogant as he was (on and off the track again), we could have seen him this year too. But better may lie in future for him.

On the global front, and personally my biggest disappointment was the fall of the GOD .... not permanently though. We all know what mettel this
bloke is made of and his goodbye year 2006's gonna have noone but him crowned again to prove beyond all doubts -- WHO RULES THE CURCUIT.

In a year when what everyone wanted last, was to be caught politically incorrect in whatever they did, (unpolitical figures included) we had our full share of scandolous events and goofy deeds. The one which strikes is the most recent one where 11+7 Honoured (pun intended) Members of our Sacred parliament were caught red-handed on a spycam, frugally greasing their palms for something as unthinkable as asking custom questions in the house. Where have we brought our democracy man.. The Bhagat Singhs n the Gandhis must be hiding in the heavens (or wherever they are)!

India as an economy continued to march ahead (as in behind China though :P), with displacing US of A as the 2nd most sought after FDI destinnation in an AT Kearney Survey. That should boost some confidence into our junta to step into the new year with a belief of living up to their aspirations and emerge as a proud society.

We also had more than a few tragedies this year, with the earthquake in POK and JK topping the charts with Mumbai Deluge being a close second. As a result we had Hollywood Stars flying down (See Pic) and Govt. making yet another bunch of never-to-be-implemented-promises of improving the infrastructure.

The hooplahs which flattered to deceive can't be listed without the mother-of-'em-all --
The Ganguly-Greg Saga, the follow-ups to which left a taint in Indian Cricket which can not be matched by any other shame. Next could-be-smaller story was that of Big B on the stretcher. We all knwo he's THE GOD..but gimme a break... Dont ya guys think the man deserves a life.. I mean there can't be scoops on deathbed! can there be!

Well... lots about duniya .. On a personal front too i'v had an eventful year. And with the revival of Open Space happening also this year , yours truly gets a chance to manifest a few of 'em. Gettin into my current job (the orientation, a.k.a the incubator, sucked though), learning how to write code (still learning how to write good code), meeting up with new fellas, and having a blaaaast@work.... Man if there's anything next to fun@skool, its work@123. Always on the prowl for greener pastures though, none of us can deny the fact that whatever we are, are coz of this otherwise catle of monotony.

And for me, the personal highlight of the year has been laughters and more laughters and more n more laughters... Courtesy The great Indian laughter Challenge . With a break from the ever crying sitcoms,we finally had a respite in the form of the flambuoyant Sidhu n ever-fresh Shekhar, in the company of scintillating Perizaad.
The high points of the year included the TOI editorials by NR Narayn Murthy and APJ Abdul Kalam. With such visionaries showing you the first light of the day, getting inspired is just a matter of time. And what better thoughts to end the old year and start a new, than our Prez's these lines ----
Dream, Dream and Dream.
For, dreams give rise to thoughts,
Thoughts give
rise to actions.
And actions maketh a man.
So, only if you dream enough,
you'll be able to turn those into reality.
So, Hail 2006 and dream enough. Wish all of you a Very Exciting and Prosperous New Year!

Cheers... n GIMME A HELL YEAH ... Hic :P

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


As i was about to announce the advent of one of the most revolutionary Google tools ( Google Analytics) , those guys were up with another can't-afford-not-to-mention-stuff -- GOOGLE BASE ! Whew.... that speed of churning out blockbusters would ceratinly put to shame all the holly & bolly maestros together. Well... first things first... Google Base is all about creating an Open Space - the term being true to the core. Letting users have their stuffs hosted online with toppings such as searchability, integration with other google services, and top of it all -- FREE, is for sure an early Christmas gift. Not being able to test it yet ( there seems to be some problem on the server side) , it remains to be seen how user friendly the whole affair is. They say that bulk addition of items can be done by uploading XML files, and for the masses, there's the no-fuss handy web tool allowing to add items, describe them and edit as you wish to. So what are you waiting for. Be your own webmaster and share all you have got...

Official Announcement of YAGG


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Lord of the Game...Return of the KING!

The Aragorn of World Cricket is BACK... And with a bang so stupendous, even the deafs dare keep their ears open! The way SACHIN pulverised the Lankan Tigers (read cats) in the first two games, all his critics (me included... to a certain degree) were shown the class he has, and justified the GODLY status he commands in this country. The teams were almost the same (India & Sri Lanka) the matches - very much the same (ODI), the conditions - idectical (Indian Subcontinent). But the results exactly opposite - referring to the spanking India got in Sri Lanka 3 months ago.

What do you think made the difference... Was it Dravid's captaincy... or falmboyance of Pathan... or poor bowling by the Lankans (you can put your money on Murali n Vaas any day). Indeed the bowlers were good and fielders did well.. Batting was classy too... But the MAN who led the assault did it with such authority that it left the opposition gasping for breath. Such severe was his strokeplay that the destructive Sachin of yesteryears came to mind of all -- Indians to have something to cheer about, and Lankans (and probably other oppositions) to grief about.

As humble as the legend is, he never felt it necessary to speak with anything but his bat, which, when did speak, re-established the fact that FORM IS TEMPORARY, BUT CLASS IS PERMANENT. Even the super-duper Greg had signed him off while taking charge of Team India, stating that the maestro has left his prime well behind. So Mr. Perfect(or not-so-perfect Chapell), as with your comment above, it is just a matter of time that your thoughts regarding the Prince of Calcutta, (not surprisingly the most successful Indian Captain ever) come back as a slap on your face and Indian cricket be served by the ones who deserve most.

With such ominous signs being shown by Sachin, i wonder how soon will we be privileged once again to witness the Sandstorms of Sharjah or the massacre of bowlers in World Cups which have for years been the folklore out here. A complete darling of everyone, and being burdened with the weight of Indian Batting alone for a long time, he now has a battery of explosive batsmen to take the mantle and the only thing he needs to do is play like a true champion that he is. With age on his side, and GOD willing, injuries not disturbing him anymore, we can surely hope for a final knockout punch by the GOD himself, to bring back the glory of 1983, which has eluded us so much in the past!