Sunday, December 28, 2014

Emergency Response Management - a new approach

The world as we know is becoming unsafe with each passing day. Every now and then the media reports breaking news in the form of rape in ride sharing cab, day long hostage situation in cafe, mindless murder spree in school, lost in wilderness, tsunami’s and cyclones, and what not. Adversaries present themselves unexpectedly and in any form; manmade or wrath of nature. Inspite of all the advancement in technology and emergency response training and management (ERT), people and government agencies all over the world are still struggling to contain and minimize the humongous loss of lives and property. Ironically the tools and technologies to prevent or minimize the loss are to a large extent already available however, what is missing is a standard, central, and uniform approach to implement and manage. 

The aim of this article is to try and unlock the problem and propose a detailed roadmap and solution. 

The Problem
  • As discussed above adversaries present themselves in many forms and situations. Some of the common ones are listed below starting with manmade,
    • Rape in moving cars, vehicles, and isolated places
    • Hostage situations in buildings, cafes, airplanes, public transport etc
    • Terrorist attacks and bomb blasts in schools, religious places, public places, public transport etc
  • Some of the natural disasters or unintentional accidents resulting in huge loss of life are,
    • Tsunami, Cyclones, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Volcanic eruptions
    • Car accidents, rail accident, plane crash, shipwreck
    • Lost in wilderness
    • Locked out in a closed space
    • Trapped under debris
    • Animal attacks
The Technology as it stands
  • As of today one in 5 people or around 1.75 billion people in the world own a smartphone and or a smart device. A large proportion of those also have internet access on their devices. 
  • Mobile devices and smart gadgets have become an integral part of human accessory which they carry with them almost all the time. It is estimate that around 80% of people have their smartphone with them 22 hours a day. 
  • Smartphone features and operating systems have become extremely advanced and support wide array of features such as high resolution cameras, audio recording, temperature and pressure sensors, health sensors, instant communication capabilities, accurate geolocation mapping, etc
  • Cloud storage provides almost infinite data storage and retrieval capabilities and are constantly synched with mobile devices through internet
The Solution as of now
  • By now most of you might have guessed the logical solution to the problem using the existing technology. Many would even jump a step ahead saying there are hundreds, if not thousands, of emergency response / preparedness / management mobile application already in place and in use. 
  • Yes, they are present but they are not effective and the solution does not really lie in the mobile apps. If it were, there would have been a handful of extremely good ones identified and installed on maximum user devices and doing a pretty good job at that. We don’t even see stats on how these apps are effective and how many lives they are saving or have saved. 
  • The bigger problem is the apps are targeted for only individuals and of no use or help in a mass crises situation such as the ones listed above
  • In many cases we have specialized apps for specific emergency only e.g. personal safety, health crises, accident etc  
  • The app market is diverse and not many people use the same app during emergency thus having a unified emergency response solution improbable
  • Most of these apps are not integrated with the authorized emergency response teams but with close family and friends to report data to  
The Solution as it should be
  • Here I will be talking about the roadmap or broad strokes of the solution that I think how it should be. By no means is this a fool proof and all encompassing solution and I would rather leave it to the experts to detail it out. The aim is to get things moving and try and get this idea across to the people who can really make this happen. 
  • As mentioned above the solution does not lie in the mobile apps approach but has to be at a much higher level which is the mobile device itself and the operating system (OS) that it runs. The solution needs to be in the form of a standard framework and implemented by all mobile device and the OS makers. The solution should be as standard as a USB technology, or a WiFi or Bluetooth or Sim card that all device and OS makers comply with and implement it uniformly and consistently. 
  • Mobile devices as discussed above have two great advantages; one it is omnipresent and second it is an extremely powerful device
  • Lets us imaging as part of the standard the device and OS makers agree to implement the following, 
    • Easily accessible emergency intimation feature in the mobile handsets e.g. Click home screen three times, or click power off button 5 times etc
    • Enable emergency information sharing instantly once activated. For safety reasons the device should not indicate that the feature is turned on. It could only be turned off through a passcode protected settings tab.
    • Once the emergency intimation feature is turned on, the device should start capturing and transmitting the following information depending on the features available on the mobile device and as supported by the OS - 
      • Photos – periodic photo captures using both front and back camera. Photos should not be stored or displayed in photo gallery but stored in cache. The device should not make any click sound or use flash while capturing the photos. Photos to be captured using low resolution and size with decent quality. 
      • Audio recording – periodic audio recording of short duration intervals. Similar rules applied as that for photo capture. 
      • Video recording -  periodic video recording of short duration intervals. Similar rules applied as that for photo capture. 
      • GPS location – periodic capture of current GPS location co-ordinates. Similar rules applied as that for photo capture. 
      • Motion information - periodic capture of motion co-ordinates using available motion sensors. Similar rules applied as that for photo capture. 
      • Biometric and Atmospheric information - periodic capture of biometric and atmospheric information such as pulse rate, blood pressure, atmospheric pressure, temperature, orientation using compass etc. Similar rules applied as that for photo capture. 
      • Network information - Wi–Fi connection, network connection, range and distance from network points, battery status, etc. The device should automatically go into power saving mode by turning off features that drain battery such as background app refresh, location services etc.
      • Auto dial and messaging – the device should make automatic calls and send SOS messages to 2 or 3 pre-nominated persons. The calls and messages should not appear in history and neither on the display screen. The calls should be short and periodic. 
    • Depending on the internet availability all of the above information should be transmitted to a central cloud data storage. The information should be as optimized as possible for efficient and speedy transmission. The information should be stored on mobile cache and transmitted whenever the device find internet access. The information should be transmitted even if the device is switched off or partially damaged (if possible using a back-up battery or something). The information should be encrypted if possible. 
    • The information from the cloud should only be accessible to authorized agencies and in the fastest and most efficient manner. This feature will require lot of out of the box thinking to implement and ensure the information is safeguarded.        
    • All of the above information should be presented in the most sensible manner through the cloud based system for the authorized agencies and the emergency response teams to make sense of and use it appropriately. 
  • As you can imagine if the device were to capture and transmit all of the above information it would be a gold mine for the emergency response team to respond effectively to any form of emergency.    
  • The solution is effective in not only personal emergencies but mass crises situations as well if many of the affected people were to use the emergency feature on their own devices simultaneously. A wealth of highly valuable information would get captured and at disposal of the authorities and the emergency response teams. Relief strategies, medical help, police measures, military actions, etc would be so much more effective and timely if all of this information were to be available in real time.      
  • If the solution is implemented as part of the device and OS, a very important aspect of safeguarding the person in the midst of an emergency can be managed securely and safely. It is very important for this feature to run as a background process only and not visible on the user device in any form. For this and for most of the features explained above it makes sense only if this is implemented at a mobile device and an OS level itself and not as a standalone app. Owing to the proliferation of mobile devices and the technological advancements, it is now time to introduce the emergency response as an inherent feature of the device and OS.       
  • It can easily be implemented if some of the big organizations such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung were to come together and create such a standard. They have already transformed many people’s lives, the economy, way business is done, communication, and many more things through their innovative solutions. They now have the opportunity to contribute to something that matters even more and which is saving human lives. If this solution is rightly implemented and configured it does have the potential to save hundreds and thousands of lives every year. It can also prove as a deterrent for anti social activities knowing everyone is equipped with a powerful emergency protection system. 
  • As mentioned above, this is just a roadmap and a solution overview. I am sure there a way too smart people around the world and in these organizations who can detail out a very elegant solution using this roadmap. I hope it happens very very soon!      

~ Sandeep Khomne 
Pune, India

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Web 2.0 - Welcome to the New World

Web 2.0 – Welcome to the New World

A very interesting series on the Discovery channel couple of weeks back prompted me to write this article. The show was called “Download – the story of the internet”. It was a remarkably made series on the history and progress of the internet.

Internet has become a part of our life similar to mobile and transport.  Life would seem incomplete without internet. A substantial part of our time is spent on internet these days and it seems to be growing day-by-day. We are now in an age of Web 2.0. I’ll try and throw light on what it means from my perspective. Web 2.0 is a very vague term and there is no clear definition or meaning attached to it. Hence I take the liberty to put my own definition to it as well J

In the early days of internet, it was used to host websites and share information with the users. Typically people used to log on to a site, read the content, and log off. Then came emails and chat, and people started communicating with each other. Still the communication was restricted to between individuals.


Then Google revolutionized the internet and made it vastly assessable to the masses. It started motivating people to put up more websites and share more content. Still the communication on the internet was one way only.

I think the turning point was development of online applications that enabled people to post queries and get replies from multiple people. Often these people interacting were strangers to each and shared one thing in common – the domain or the topic of discussions. These online applications were called Forums. Suddenly the internet was opened to masses and provided a platform to create applications that enable people to interact with each other in the real sense. All boundaries were opened up and anyone was allowed to participate. You no longer needed a static website to provide you the information that you need. The information was getting updated real time and with more participation.

These applications that enable users to interact with each other, generate their own content and share it, view others content and give their feedback is the heart of what we call as Web 2.0.

In last 4 – 5 years lots of such applications have come up and have given the web a new meaning. The underlying technology of the internet has been the same since inception it’s just how people are using it has changed. Hence there is no real meaning of the term Web 2.0.  

The applications that are popular in the Web 2.0 era are –

·         Social networking sites such as Orkut, MySpace, FaceBook, LinkedIn, Second Life etc

·         Blogging sites such as Blogspot, Wordpress, Typepad etc

·         Photo Sharing sites such as Picasaweb, Flickr etc

·         Video sharing sites such as Youtube, Google Video etc

·         Wiki’s such as Wikipedia, WikiWikiWeb, Memory Alpha etc

·         Social Bookmarking or tagging sites such as, Stumbleupon, Digg, reddit etc

·         File sharing sites such as Megaupload, File Factory, RapidShare etc

·         E-commerce sites such as Amazon, E-bay, Alibaba etc

·         Live casting sites such as Ustream,, Stickam etc

·         Audio / Music sharing sites such as imeem, The Hype Machine,, ccMixter

·         Online game sites such as World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy etc

·         Content aggregators like iGoogle, My Yahoo, Google Reader, Google News etc

This is just a partial list and there are thousands of these kinds that are flourishing over the internet.

The key thing to observe in all these websites and the popularity associated with them is that the user is at the centre of it. All of these sites are based on “user generated content” paradigm. The users log on to these sites, register themselves, write / upload share content, edit content, view content all by themselves. The users form groups based on their interests and liking. They generate content and they consume content amongst themselves. In a way these applications have enabled users to move part of their life on the web. And according to me this is what Web 2.0 is all about.

The popularity of these applications is only because they are user centric and they give the users the freedom to use it as per their liking. As Chad Hurley founder of You Tube rightly put it behind the success of You Tube that these days’ people like to see themselves or their friends.


Slowly we are shifting from a world where we had no choice but to read and view content published by select few people via TV, Movies, Books, Newspaper, Websites to a world where we create content, share it, and view it amongst ourselves.

Welcome to the new world of Web 2.0!


Friday, October 24, 2008



I came across this on a post on a blog by Mosho. It lists down few of the simple things to follow and make it a habit and a part of our lifestyle which will contribute significantly in preserving our Global Ecosystem and reducing greenhouse gases and in turn global warming.  I have added few more points to the list.

I personally think the problem of global warming can be most effectively solved only through individual contributions rather than leaving it to governments and organizations to take measures. We live in an age of very high consumption and this is what is contributing significantly to increase in greenhouse gases like CO2, methane etc. And not just that we are also contributing towards reduction in natural gases/ oil, food production, and water. All of these are prime constituent for life and all of them are depleting at a very high rate. If the trend continues the earth will run out of these in the next century and thereby endangering the lives of future generations to come. If we were to reduce our consumption and wastage by proactively taking steps individually we can control the balance and maintain the beautiful Global Ecosystem on earth.

What we can do at a micro level to make this world a better place:

1. Every time we fill petrol into our vehicles - opt for the higher grade fuel (like Power, Turbojet or Speed) as it is less subsidized than the regular variant. This will help the country reduce its burden on fuel subsidy. Additionally these types of fuel also reduce carbon emission in the vehicles.


2. Every time you walk out of a room after dark, forget not to switch off the light. It will reduce the power demand in the country and also help in the reduction in global warming.

3. When you are in a mood to donate anything, donate a CFL bulb to someone who can replace his regular tungsten bulb with the CFL. This will also reduce power demand, reduce his electricity bill and reduce global warming. Make sure you yourself use CFL bulbs in your home and office.

4. Never turn away from a tap with water running. Go, switch the tap off. The Chinese equated water with money and therefore thought that wasting water is losing money. I agree. I also think that water is a scarce commodity and a vital one too. Therefore there is wisdom in saving water. Don't let the tap water run while shaving. You can collect water in a bowl and shave. It saves a lot of water.


5. Try as much as possible to buy goods and consumables made in your local area, your state, your country and the rest of the world, in that order. The logic behind this is the longer the distance between the consumer and the manufacturer, the more the fuel that is consumed in the transportation, therefore larger the carbon print and associated problems. This is more so in the case of imported fruits and vegetables, because along with the fuel the goods require to be refrigerated. Now we know that refrigeration comes at an ecological cost. The higher the period of refrigeration, the higher the cost.


6. Perishable goods that have to come from really far-off places need to be preserved. Now, we know that preservation can be made possible only with the use of chemical preservatives and stabilizers. Therefore the hazards associated with these chemicals, both medical and ecological, are being bought by you at the time of purchase of these goods. A study in the UAE has suggested that childhood obesity and decrease in the age of onset of puberty is linked to the preservatives used to preserve meat coming from overseas.

7. Try to ride a cycle to work. If the local grocer or barber is not very far from where you live, walk the distance. Walking to any place is only a matter of habit. Shed that ego. Walk it.

8. When in a high-rise building and you want to go down, walk down the stairs. This will save the electricity needed to bring the lift up to your level and then go down to the ground floor.

9. Keep the computer on a non-screen saver mode. Switch the monitor off when you are not working and the computer is lying idle. Go for a flat screen over a CRT monitor if possible, it consumes far less energy.

Contributed by -

Few more additions -

10. When you are done charging your mobile or batteries or any electronic appliance, remove the plug from the socket coz it drains power even when you have removed the appliance.

11. Do not use unnecessary extra lighting in your home, office than what is necessary.

12. Use a two-wheeler, or public transport, or look for options of car pooling with friends / colleagues to travel to office rather than driving alone in a car.

13. Reduce visiting excessively to Cafes, Restaurants, malls, multiplexes, amusement parks etc. whenever you can. These places have a very high carbon footprint owing to their huge structure and ambience which requires a lot of power consumption in the form of lighting, air-conditioning, etc.

14. Avoid ordering huge amount of food and wasting it.

15. Do not waste drinking water. Fill only what you need.

16. Last but not the least, practice it yourself and at the same time remind others around you as often as you can. Become a strong advocate of a green and a clean world. Educate others, remind them often, and take action.  

We consume way beyond what we need. And the irony is that a very small percentage of population comprising of people like us – “educated, well-to-do, with jobs and money” indulge in this over consumption. So it is us who are directly responsible for the disruption of the global ecosystem and endangering the lives of other majority of the population and the future generations.

Think about it. 


The GLobal ECOSYStem

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Values –

I have always been fascinated and motivated by individuals and organizations exhibiting strong value system. Value means different things to different people. I will try and explain what it means to me and mention few of them who I think have successfully endured it.

Value for one should be measured on a vast time span… in our case maybe over a span of lifetime. It’s pretty easy to define values and stick to it in a short run but extremely difficult to sustain it over decades and life time. Value needs practice needs sustainability. Values are those that go beyond self, aim for larger goals, and sacrifice short term gains and pleasures through short-cuts. Values need great sacrifices to be made, endure prolonged hardships, perseverance and sustaining without giving up come no matter what. Value is making a promise and delivering on it, putting others first, aiming for the best, and self belief.  Value is in innovation, setting new standards, changing the rules of the game, being competitive though fair.

Some of the individuals and organizations that have shown a great deal of value are Mahatma Gandhi, Warren Buffet, Tata Group (Ratan Tata), Google, and Infosys (Narayan Murthy). Of course there are many more of them. But here I will just cover in short what I admire the most of these individuals and companies –

Mahatma Gandhi –

I think his principles and teachings are universal and immortal. They are as much applicable in today’s world as they were in the past and will remain to be so forever. The path of non-violence is probably more relevant in today’s age of terrorism than it was in the past. His book “My experiments with Truth” gives a great insight on his thoughts and principles. He spent his whole life preaching and practicing non-violence and firmly believed in the same. Most of the today’s problems like Terrorism and Global Warming could be easily solved by following and practicing his teachings.  Of course like any true value principle his teachings are very tough to endure. Through consistent self-restraint and non-violence he was able to successfully contribute to India’s freedom struggle from British rule.  Given two options for gaining Indian Independence, through retaliating and fighting by means of violence and on the other hand through self-restraint and non-violence he chose the path of non-violence coz he believed – “an eye for an eye makes the world go blind”. He believed nothing would come out of violence and would only end in loss of innocent lives and hatred all around.

I personally believe similar to the struggle of independence the current issues in the world such as wars and terrorism, nuclear threats etc are very complex issues. Violence and terrorist acts from both sides just cascade the issue further and drive them far away from point of negotiations and peace. It’s very important for everyone involved to sit back and think of non-violence and peace as a path to chose to put an end to the escalating chain reaction of terrorist acts all around the world.

Some of Ganhiji’s quotes that I like are -

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”

“The earth has enough for man’s need but not for man’s greed.”

“An eye for an eye makes the world go blind.”

“A man of few words will rarely be thoughtless in his speech; he will measure every word.”


Warren Buffet –

He is a strong proponent of value investing and a devoted student of Benjamin Graham. He is extremely disciplined about his investment and has made large sums of money not only for himself but for all his shareholders. He has consistently been amongst the top 5 richest people on the planet from decades. While the entire world is in turmoil currently over the financial credit crisis, he is one of the very few who is the least affected by it. His belief in value investing and his dedicated and disciplined approach does show results in such time. Though being a very close friend of Bill Gates, he has always stayed away from IT stocks coz he says he doesn’t quite understand this field to invest in it. A recent quote about him is that the US government should learn from him and follow his principles to avoid such financial disasters in the future because – “He is the man who knows how to make big money and more importantly how to keep it.”  In spite of being one of the richest people on the planet, he lives a very simple life and is very down to earth. He is not only the greatest investor ever but also a great philanthropist and has announced to donate more than 80% of his wealth for social cause. Behavioral finance is a very complex topic and there is not greater teacher than Warren Buffet.

Some of his memorable quotes on investing and life are –

"If you don't know jewelry, know the jeweler."

"I think it's much easier to predict the relative strength that Coke will have in the soft drink world than Microsoft will in the software world," Buffett said. "That's not to knock Microsoft. If I had to bet on anyone, I'd bet on Microsoft. But I don't have to bet."

"The market is there only as a reference point to see if anybody is offering to do anything foolish. When we invest in stocks, we invest in businesses."

"Price is what you pay. Value is what you get."

“Only when you combine sound intellectual framework with emotional discipline, you get a rational behavior”.

“Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.”

“Only buy something that you'd be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”

“Our favorite holding period is forever.”


Tata Group (Ratan Tata)



Tata group is the first truly Multinational Company from India. It currently has diverse and successful business across all major geographies. Tata Group has operations in more than 85 countries across six continents and its companies export products and services to 80 nations. The Tata Group comprises 98 companies in seven business sectors, 27 of which are publicly listed. 65.8% of the ownership of Tata Group is held by the charitable trust of Tata. The sectors it has presence in are - Information systems and communications, Engineering, Materials, Services, Energy, Consumer products, and Chemicals.  Companies which form a major part of the group include Tata Steel, Corus Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Tea, Titan Industries, Tata Power, Tata Communications and the Taj Hotels.  Tata group turnover is now estimated to touch Rs 1.5 lakh crore. The man behind all this Ratan Tata is a shy man and rarely features in the society glossies.

Some of the key highlights of the Tata group companies are -

·         Tata Steel is the world's 5th largest and India's largest steel company

·         TCS is the largest IT Company in Asia

·         Tata Motors is India's largest passenger automobile and commercial vehicle manufacturing company, it recently finalized a deal with Ford Motor Company to acquire their British Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) business

·         Tata Power is one of the largest private sector power companies in India

·         Tata Tea Limited is the world's second largest manufacturer of packaged tea and tea products. It also owns the Tetley brand of tea sold primarily in Europe

·         Tata Communications, formerly known Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited or VSNL, is India's largest telecommunication company in international long distance, enterprise data and internet services

·         Titan Industries is the world's sixth largest wrist watch manufacture

Tata Motors is soon coming up with their most innovative product the people car or the one lac car – Nano.  When Rata Tata announced his plans to develop a car for Rs. 1 lac, he was ridiculed by other car makers including the global giants and they had termed his dream as impossible and foolish. Today after Tata almost on the verge of launching it there is rush amongst all global car manufacturers to replicate it. It is being termed as the most innovative product after Henry Ford’s Model T in the automobile history by the same global auto giants.

Quotes from Ratan Tata –

“A Promise is a Promise…”

-          On launching the Tata Nano in the Auto Expo 2008 and keeping the cost within 1 lac in spite of rising raw material cost.




1.      Google is one of the most innovative companies currently in the world. Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. They have so far lived up to their mission through sheer innovation, technology, and strong fundamental values. Listing Google’s facts would run into pages.  Click here to know more about the company.

Google's index of web pages is the largest in the world, comprising of billions of web pages. Google searches this immense collection of web pages often in less than half a second.

To know about their value system and philosophy read here -

“Don’t be evil” is their fundamental value on which all their business decisions are made.  The ten principles of Google are –

  Focus on the user and all else will follow.

2.       It's best to do one thing really, really well.

3.       Fast is better than slow.

4.       Democracy on the web works.

5.       You don't need to be at your desk to need an answer.

6.       You can make money without doing evil.

7.       There's always more information out there.

8.       The need for information crosses all borders.

9.       You can be serious without a suit.

10.   Great just isn't good enough.

Google main home page and its other sites in different languages are the most sought of web sites in the world. Google’s main revenues come from serving ads on their search site as well through affiliate sites. However they never defocus from their prime service that is to offer most relevant web search results and in the fastest time possible. Their home page which is probably the most valued real-estate on the web is clean without a single ad. The search results are plain text only that appear on the side bars with a separator and do not clutter the search results. The search results are unbiased and the most relevant based on their innovative page-ranking system. The ads too follow the same logic against conventional quick revenue generating methods.

I can go on and on writing about Google. I would recommend reading a book called “THE GOOGLE STORY” by David A. Vise and Mark Malseed to get deeper insight into the company.


“A management team distracted by a series of short term targets is as pointless as a dieter stepping on a scale every half hour. “

“We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google. This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner. For example, AdSense for content and Google News were both prototyped in “20% time.” Most risky projects fizzle, often teaching us something. Others succeed and become attractive businesses. “


Infosys - Narayan Murthy



Infosys is one of India's largest IT companies with over 90,000 professionals. It has nine development centers in India and over 30 offices worldwide. Its annual revenues for the fiscal year 2007-2008 exceeded US$4 billion with a market capitalization of over US$30 billion.

Infosys was founded in 1981 in Pune by N. R. Narayana Murthy and six others. N.Murthy started the company by borrowing Rs. 10,000 from his wife Sudha Murthy. In December 2005, Narayana Murthy was voted as the 7th most admired CEO/Chairman in the world in a global study conducted by Burson-Marsteller with the Economist Intelligence. The list included 14 others with distinguished names such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett.

I admire him for the way he has built such a strong company and the way they conduct themselves. Infosys is admired by all software professionals for their work and the way they treat their employees. Infosys has created a lot of wealth not only for its founders but also for all their stakeholders and their employees. Its one of the very few publicly listed companies who gives forecast guidance and sticks to it. Its founders and top management including CEOs are known to generously vacate their positions after a period of time to make way and give chance for upcoming talent.  

Narayan Murthy himself is a very modest, straightforward, and a down to earth person. His wife Sudha Murthy has made equal sacrifices in making Infosys what it is today. Both Narayan Murthy and his wife Sudha Murthy are known for their philanthropic work as well.

Some of Narayan Murthy’s quotes are –

“Our assets walk out of the door each evening. We have to make sure that they come back the next morning.”

“Performance leads to recognition. Recognition brings respect. Respect enhances power. Humility and grace in one's moments of power enhances dignity of an organization,”

“The real power of money is the power to give it away.”

“In God we trust, everybody else bring data to the table.”

“Progress is often equal to the difference between mind and mindset.”

"Ships are safest in the harbor but they are not meant to be there. They have to sail long and hard and face stormy seas to reach the comfort of a desirable destination"

Monday, September 29, 2008

Boiling Frog Syndrome

Boiling Frog Syndrome


We all go through different kinds of problems in our lives as an individual, as a society, as a country, and even as entire world. We constantly face certain problems and challenges in our lives. However some individuals manage to get out of them successfully whereas others find themselves devastated and broken by the end of it. Of course certain problems are completely out of our control and hit us suddenly without any warnings and which are impossible to guard against. But here I am talking of the kind of problems that we get ourselves into or are driven into and fail to realize the implications until very late. Few people, societies, and countries however do manage to pick up the warning signals pretty early and take preventive steps to avoid the consequences or to minimize the effect or in some cases even come out much stronger than before. These individuals have learnt the art of guarding themselves against the Boiling Frog Syndrome.


Some of the problems that are quite common are –

Ø  Global Warming

Ø  Population Explosion

Ø  Depletion and Scarcity of Natural Resources ( Gas / Oil / Drinking Water)

Ø  Shortage and Reduction in World Food Production

Ø  Economic Downturns

Ø  Corruption

Ø  Quality Control in Projects

Ø  Individual Debt / Financial Crisis

Ø  Breakdown in Relationships

Ø  Career Crisis

Ø  Health Complications

Ø  Addiction



In all of the above problems the warning signs are not clearly there to recognize in the early stages. Most of us fail to recognize them early enough. Sometimes even when we recognize them we fail to take effective action against them due to ignorance of the consequences. When these problems turn hazardous or life threatening then only we truly recognize their potential. By the time we realize it it’s very often too late. This human behavior is very common and is explained nicely through the metaphor known as the Boiling Frog Syndrome.


They say that if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will leap out right away to escape the danger. But, if you put a frog in a kettle that is filled with water that is cool and pleasant, and then you gradually heat the kettle until it starts boiling, the frog happily sits there and will not become aware of the threat until it is too late. The frog will eventually boil to death.


The frog's survival instincts are geared towards detecting sudden changes and so are with humans. This parable is often used to illustrate how humans have to be careful to watch slowly changing trends in their lifestyle, relationships, habits, finances, health, and career in addition to the environment, economy, etc. and not just the sudden changes. It’s a warning to keep us paying attention not just towards obvious threats but to more slowly developing ones.


In all the examples mentioned above the reasons and circumstances leading to trouble are initially very pleasant and have high probability of going unnoticed similar to the Frog enjoying the water in pleasant conditions. It’s only when things suddenly start going wrong and out of control that we often realize the trouble we are in. The changes are very slow and gradual for us to even notice them. But then that’s what we should be careful of and guard against. The reason being once the effects start taking place then its exponential and leaves us with very few options or solutions to fight them with.


One of the classic examples is that of Global Warming. With the whole world basking in the technology advancements and the industrialization we rarely pay attention to the slow but steady increase in the Greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere and the resulting Global Climate change. These kinds of problems require individuals to take proactive and conscious decisions to thwart off the long term disastrous consequences.


Visit Glecosys for more information on Global Warming.