Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Day's Work

Nothing happened today. Well, almost. The usual happened: I returned to work after a few days break - full of aspirations to get things done - but, unsurprisingly, end of the day, had most of my to-do list sitting pretty untouched. The small things I expected to finish were just too small to attend to, and the big things, too big. My time was eaten away by whatever I don't remember now. I came home rather late, struggling to finish a spreadsheet that must go tomorrow, and missed my commitment to go to swimming every day. Consistent with the day of false starts, that was my only consolation.

Indeed, I make it sound too gloomy. There were good things too. My application for Overseas Indian citizenship has finally arrived the Indian High Commission in London and I shall pop over tomorrow to pick it up. This is closest I can get to dual citizenship: This allows me to stay in India as long as I like and work if I want to, even get back my Indian citizenship someday if I manage to stay in India continuously for a period of five years. This, in a way, connects me back to the country I left earlier, and allows me to dream of return some day.

I have also got my hands on Clayton Christensen's The Innovative University, something I was intending to read for last couple of weeks. I read earlier Dr Christensen's Disrupting Class, and that was the start of my long and deliberate journey to Higher Education, and I am very much looking forward to read this one. I am also reading, and immensely enjoying Michael Lewis' The Big Short, a fascinating tale of Wall Street at the threshold of the economic crisis. My takeaway for today is a comment made by Sy Jacobs, an investment banker cited in the book, on the sub-prime mortgage industry, "Any business where you can sell a product and make money without having to worry how the product performs is going to attract sleazy people." Indeed, this seems like an observation on the For Profit Education industry of today.

I also took time early morning to write a draft of my idea of the Online Learning business. It has been a while I have done such exercises, and it felt good to try to get back in practice. I almost enjoyed, despite the extra time it took, to format my essay nicely and to add page numbers etc., not so much to make it readable but to make it look like a serious work. Surely this is quite disjointed, a series of discreet ideas barely hanging together, but I intend to return to this in the next few days time. This is indeed something I wish to do, but, for the moment, this is almost a practice, getting back to the habit of writing business plans which I made some effort to learn. I am still struggling with the new Excel - I am still so used to the look and feel of MS Office 2000 - and so far producing cash flow projections has proved to be a challenge. However, I am goading myself to think this is only just the first obstacle in the path of my entrepreneurial make-over, and I must keep going.

I am also preparing to go to India. I have booked myself for flights in the last week of October - couldn't do any earlier as I am taking an intensive, three week, session for a new MBA class in the first three weeks that month - and intend to stay for two weeks. My to-do list in India is long, and priorities, apart from visiting my father and my sister first time after the two catastrophic deaths in the family, will be to get back in touch with India, travel around a bit and see some of business contacts, old and new, exploring what we can do to partner and extend our education offering to Indian students. Those who know me know that I am quite passionate about this thing, and though this visit is already becoming extremely busy, I am looking forward to it.

I am already too sleepy and must sign off now. Hopefully, I should be able to keep writing this diary, on and off, chronicling what promises to be one of the most interesting phases in my life.

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"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

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We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

- T S Eliot

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