Monday, November 30, 2009

A Raj Thackeray in every state...

Everybody hates Raj Thackeray. Er. Except those 13 seats he won in Maharashtra... And there were other seats where he did not win, but got quite a few votes. What of them? Oh alright, mainstream media hates him then. The truth is that whatever the shouting screaming hosts of English TV channels may want to say, many people think Raj Thackeray is their voice.

What Raj is doing is tapping into the Marathi Manoos "anger". No, not that Gavaskar, Tendulkar or Nana Patekar, Ritesh Deshmukh et al are angry - they got their opportunities. There is a class of people there who feel that they don't have equal opportunities as compared to others. This is his basic premise. And he is right. The truth is that in India, there are no equal opportunities. (There are equal outcomes. And he is trying to fix the outcome the way he perceives.)

Is there anything wrong with that? Perhaps no, considering the state of affairs today. What Raj is saying is a very simple thing. I am a representative of Maharashtrians. My people do not get jobs. (You can argue whether they are his people or whatever, all that is beside the point). Give them jobs. Exactly the same way we dole out reservations. Some representative of a caste (or subcaste, religion or a combination of them all) comes and says, give me reservation. Give me preference, give me jobs. And if it does not happen, burn a few buses, block a few highways to achieve it - and get a few votes transferred en masse from one party to another showing their power. The government (any government, I mean) has shown the way that this is the only way it can happen. So, each time reservation is extended anywhere to any institution, any job - they are all arguing for the same thing. ( Essentially Raj has brought a new dimension to the reservation issue. He is demanding reservation on the basis of language - not religion, not caste - hitherto the favoured basis for reservation. So, other politicians have to be wary. ) Did I hear you say merit? That went out of favour long ago. And reservation is just one thing - it happens in the way ministries are doled out, "important people" are protected - it is all a network of patronage...What is the wrong in the way that Raj is going about his job? The truth is that every government runs scared of mob violence (regardless of whether it is against cartoons or by cartoonists) and bows to it...

And then say, he comes to power with or without support and then, what gives? Every party has pushed its own agenda... (The media may say that is no justification etc. etc. Big deal - as if that is going to stop him. Each time they do it, his popularity increases. It is possible that this is a tacit arrangement between one Maratha strongman and him. Perhaps...)

From reservation in institutions to reservation to a city is just a logical step. We have reserved electorates where you fix the candidates - he is saying fix the city. It is tough to argue with him because we do exactly the same thing everywhere else, dont we? So, what is the way forward? The truth is that given the state of affairs in our country, there is sufficient political space for a Raj in every state. (Actually some of them are already there, they just have different party names.)

The only reason, it may not happen everywhere - is because, you see, not too many places in India have made that kind ofprogress and attracted migration to such a large extent. Until India becomes a meritocratic society with unlimited opportunity, the truth is that there is no other truth...

Friday, November 27, 2009

I am confused

From this report, it looks like oil has been struck at Kerala. Cut the sarcasm, neither is it petroleum nor is it coconut oil. I mean, it looks like the next crop of jihadists will be the really angry people of Kerala. (not some, few, just a tiny miny few)

But how come? From the Congress-Communist controlled dream state with a literacy of 100% and where the majority and minority live in such amazing harmony? (Some parts of this sentence were sarcastic.)Now, what in the boondocks could have caused them to go to war with the country and state they love and adore so much - and which has given so much to them? And hell Narendra Modi and RSS, VHP are as alien here as lotuses in a desert. The BJP has not won a seat here in centuries.

So, why oh why on earth would these cool dudes want to have another terror plot on the anniversary of 26/11, itself a terror plot?

Beats me? They must surely be repressed, oppressed, poor, uneducated, frustrated, angry chaps. On the other hand, they might just be brainwashed and offered good money to blow up a few "bad guys". Choose your answer...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

This time, last year

Today you are sitting in your living room enjoying the day watching the news channels "celebrate" an anniversary. Of an event a year back.

If you remember, at this exact point in time, India was facing perhaps its deadliest terror attack yet - we called it a war here. I say yet, not because I am a pessimist. I say yet, because the terror problem remains unresolved. Because the source of the problem and the source of the funding both remain - growing in danger each day, but clearly not abating. And each time there is a time of calm, you know it is because there is a bigger storm coming. And we dont seem to have any warning system in place.

But let me take you back to a year ago. This was the day most media shouted, enough is enough. Apart from the fire in the hotel and other parts of Mumbai, there was fire in every editorial, on every lips. Then from the biggest reality show that lasted for a few days with TRP ratings shooting (yes, pun intended) through the roof even as people were people were being shot on the roof, we moved on. We went back to our daily routine scraping our living while some important people got increased security levels. We gave awards to the dead soldiers and policemen. And named more awards for some more soldiers who are willing to die for us.

From then, we moved on to exchanging dossiers (Sada, Masala, Rava, Rava Masala), finding scapegoats, denying the problem, running to US, sharing proof with many countries not necessarily in that order. So, today as you read this, spare a thought for those 183 people who died unnecessarily. And of course, as trophy, we have one dolt who remains as perhaps the most reported guy in recent Indian history. We chose to make scapegoats of politicians instead of holding any government accountable. And even as we speak, both India and Maharashtra completed an 'issueless' election. And we remain in denial about the terror problem and our friendly neighbourhood...

And a year down the line, we are planning to talk with some of the perpeterators. Are we better prepared? I don't know. Though, this time we will have soldiers ready faster, if their airplanes are available - in some cases we just need buses to ferry them since we now have mulitple NSG hubs. From a reactionary perspective we are ready.

Do we have anything that prevents the adversary from undertaking another adventure along the same lines? Do we have something that puts fear in their hearts? No.

But we have candles to light, just in case...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Truth behind 26/11

See this at MOB...The truth behind 26/11, a beautifully crafted documentary of the terror attacks whose first anniversary we will be marking by creating more dossiers. The video is a little less than an hour long, but worth every minute of your time...

Don't watch it, it could make your blood boil.
Don't watch it, because it will remind you of things that we are all supposed to have forgotten.
Don't watch it because everybody hoped that nobody will produce something like this, so that, you the miserable will forget that 26/11 ever happened, but thanks to the effort of the Dan Reed and the folks who helped put this all together.
Don't watch this, because it isnt good enough for Bollywood to make a (hard hitting?) movie on this - they have better things to cover...

But do watch it if you want to see how 26/11 happened with some dots nobody ever joined for most of us...

Thanks Dan Reed and folks! For all the shouting anchors and the saturation point media coverage, if there was just this one thing that we could have that gave you an insight into how dastardly the terrorist show was, it is this...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


YAOLC is going to be launchedin 3 years...YAOLC? Yet Another One Lakh Car. Get it?

Once upon a time, Ratan Tata visualized the 1 lakh car - now known as the Nano. Many laughed at him, some behind him and many derided it. But then, he and his team went ahead and delivered it anyway.

And now you have the spectacle of yet another 1 lakh car YAOLC. Now, first point is that anything that aims to be YAOLC will be a me-too product. Once Maggi 2 minute noodles was launched, no other 2 (or 1.5 or 3) minute noodle could be Maggi (and many tried that and continue to do so). Unless there is a game changer.

So, Bajaj two things, please don't burn up the wires for YAOLC which will see the light in 3 years or call it something else. By then the Nano will be available in the second hand market for the price of a bike (or less). And god forbid for your project, in an electric avatar. Car sales may have zoomed in October, but petrol aint gonna last us forever...

An idiot bloggers humble suggestion - go for something more radical than the YAOLC, something BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal as Tom Peters would say) perhaps for a 1l akh electric car or something that you promise you will replace all your rickshaws with. Now that will make people sit up and take notice and maybe your marketing will get done for free too...

Digital age

This is a digital age in photography. Scanner technology and digital photography have come of age. Yet, ever so often, we apprehend spies with photographs and documents - hard copies or with maps in an age of wikimapia. I cannot believe that in this digital age, a person who is smart enough to spy is not smart enough to send the whole damn thing via cyberspace.

One plausible explanation (apart from the one obvious explanation) is that they were carrying digital images that were recovered. The other one is that the really important stuff has to be "delivered in person" to "prove their worth".

Now that begets another obvious question. How well protected and guarded is cyberspace? Any idea?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Marathi, Hindi and all that

A nice column on the Marathi Hindi issue. As a non Maharashtrian, who can read, write, understand and converse in Marathi, I could be someone Raj could extol as a Mumbai citizen. (Apart from that to add to my Maharashtrian credentials - I like Maharashtrian food, am an unabashed admirer of Shivaji). But then, I am also someone who someone has learnt to speak Kannada recently, who can vouch for Mohanlal in Mallu movies and can understand Gujarati as well. Point being, force will not work.

Soft power does.

While on this, it might not be out of context to say that AR Rehman popularized Tamil in Mumbai (perhaps all over the country). During the late nineties, his songs were the rage in college festivals all over in Mumbai. The songs were so good, people forgot "Madrasi" and danced to his tunes. Perhaps they were in other parts of the country as well, but that's for others to comment. And I personally know of Maharashtrians (and other Indians) who have bought his Tamil collection and gone on to love it!

I learnt Kannada here not because of the KRV or somebody like that. I learnt it so that I can get my work done better here than stand up as an "outsider". But I still don't like Kannada movies - I have tried to see a couple and not liked them - sorry folks, lot of work needs to happen there! But give me a good movie in any language and I will see it and that's the only it can happen - by making quality stuff and making people interested.

Hindi films helped spread the language more than "Hindi days" in government organizations ever did. The same holds for other languages...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mobile phone call drops

Its frustrating isn't it to get call drops every few minutes or seconds...and here is a reason why. And the reason, as the author says is not as complicated as we think it is. It is a very simple reason.

While that is one part, remember that call drops happen only when you are connected - the general availability of networks itself is an issue. I have found it extremely frustrating to get a stable network connectivity. Surely the largest (or thereabouts) market in the world deserves better?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We are a nation of...

We are a nation of shoplifters, eh? Asks this article. I don't know and cannot comment. What I do know is that headlines are sometimes catacylsmic...So, I searched about our wretched life for some doomsday predictions and heres what I found...

But what I do know is that previously studies of this nature have told us that India is a country plagued with AIDS. Also heart disease (40% of Indians are at risk). Also diabetes (50.8 million here). Smoking risk is catastrophic. Cancer (one of the highest cancer rates in the world ) Obesity is also an epidemic.

At this point, I gave up.

And then we still have malnourishment, malnutrition, Tubercolosis, Leprosy, High Blood Pressure, Depression and a host of other known and unknown ailments to go. Almost every half big shot who gets arrested, falls sick - this is anecdotal, but if you read the papers, you know it right? Man, we are a sick nation arent we and we shoplift too!

Offered without comment. Perhaps it is someone seeking funding or creating a market - god knows what. Perhaps we are really unhealthy or getting there real fast. Or all this is creating a new health consciousness...Something...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The pit...

These LeT chaps have to be given an award for creativity - even if they get the death sentence for everything else..

Using this Headley guy (aka Daaud Gilani) and others like him is a damn smart idea. You know why! I am sure this guy must have managed to achieve quite a bit during his stay here.

And it appears that he also something to do with 26/11 and left a few days before etc. - there were a lot of rumours about "internal support" for and during 26/11 and I hope we get to the bottom of it, but knowing India, it may never happen. He also ran a visa facilitation agency - now god knows what his contacts here helped him achieve...

More as we get to the bottom of this pit...

A history of social networks...

Humans have always craved attention from other human beings (or their profiles these days). But to think that this is a new phenomenon would be making a big mistake. Social networks and networking are not a new thing at all...

When the phone was invented and launched in India (a difference of a few centuries till the time we did not have to shout), it was used for - you guessed, social networking - remember those wrong numbers were people chatted for hours? The same thing.

Twitter with 140 characters is difficult? Try the phone. Three minutes were the norm for a local call and everything that you wanted to say had to be completed by then. Timers (or beeps) allowed maamis to exchange s(t)weet 3 minute conversations. (And if you think 3 minute conversations is a joke, talk to anybody at a wedding. By the time they reach "today", it will be an hour.)

Once they got used to the phone, maamis called each up other and asked each other the recipe for Molakootal simultaneously sizing up the culinary knowledge of the maami and getting to know 'whats cooking' in the house. (For a long time, this was the only thing people exchanged on phones apart from festival dates). If this were on facebook, Janaki maami would have updated it with a recipe for today and then Chandrika maami would have helpfully suggested frying the jeera before burning it. And then of course her kids would have disliked "molakootal" while the Gujju kids would have died for it...Yes, yes, the maamas were there somewhere, social networking on buses and trains and on platforms while they waited...

But even before that, entire recipes were exchanged on the 15 paise postcard - which is perhaps singularly responsible for many people learning to read (imagine you could read private messages written on something that had no envelope duffer and hence causing atleast a 15 percent jump in Indias literacy levels). Nobody will admit that's how they learnt to read real fast, phonetics or no phonetics, but apart from giving bored sorters on mail trains something to do, this is what the postal network did for us. It made us more social. And then, somebody had to invent the envelope and make those status messages private...(And then literacy went down again, since there was no motivation to read addresses...)

And prior to that for local area gossip, there were temples. The best saris were worn to temples, as was the newest jewellery. Often it made it easy to communicate to god. "Oh god please give me the fancy jewellery that Saraswathy maami is wearing - it is right here in front of you". It was also the then modern equivalent of a watering hole where people gathered and exchanged juicy bits of information in the guise of spirituality. There was a Tuesday group or a Shani group for people who shared a common interest.And now theres Sai baba on Facebook. There were also schools, marriages and many a social function, but we leave them for now...

Prior to that, we social networked across walls and hedges, occasionally throwing something that really poked someone - todays pokes are harmless. Even prior to that, we strutted about in fancy headgear or clothes often borrowed from the latest hunting victim...And that's what we are doing these days. From showing off a trinket we found or a bone we found to updating our status on Facebook, we always were a social animal, now we are a social networking animal.

This was something that kept running in my brain for the last few days and this article had a sentence "Back even further, in the hunting and gathering days - the 60s - there were no computers of any kind. At all. The primary method of social networking was drawing pictures on cave walls."

And this piece begged to be written.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Of sports and sportspersons

I read this from Prem Panickers blog and it set me thinking...The link is about Agassis new book etc., but it is also about Agassi and how he was pushed by his dad (pushed being an understatement - you might want to read either the link or the book) in the formative years.

This will probably be a multi part post as I try to wrestle with my thought process. But one of the first questions that comes to my mind - can anyone reach the pinnacle of sport without being super focussed? Think Abhinav Bindra who trains at his own private range for hours. Think Saina Nehwal who trains so hard she has no friends. And the Abhinavs and the Agassis are the survival bias candidates - the guys who made it big. Many others dont...

Here are some of the questions, I am wrestling with...

Can someone become a top class sportsperson without spending all those hours and sacrifices? (clearly no).
How much of this becoming a top class sportsperson is about self motivation and how much of it is about being pushed (by someone - coach, parent)
At what point does the pushing become self motivation and vice versa?
How self motivated can you be at age 7 or 10 or 13? Is that self motivation? Really? Or is it something else being explained as self motivation?

I remember my better half saying, how in her school days, the poor guys always ran the best. They, in many cases, were running away from their "hard life". This was their potential passport to success or to put it in a different way, training helped them get their mind away from their daily hardships.

(I recall reading something similar about Rajyavardhan Rathores army background in an interview where somebody asked him about stress or something. Does someone have a link to that?)

Initial thoughts I hope to sort better over the next few days...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

What an MBA does not teach you...

There is an old Tamil saying which roughly translated states, "What you have been taught and the food you have packed will only last so much when you are out on a journey..."

Obviously, there is no course in the world that teaches you everything you need to know. And yet, there is nothing in the world that cannot be learnt. On that note, we will see what a typical MBA may not cover...

Typically, every MBA course covers the syllabus, the subjects and the groundings in most of the subjects. Add a few seminars, papers, presentations, internships, competitions in the mix and you have the mix of things you will be doing through the course.

Now there are a few things that cannot be taught. And of course, there are a few things that are typically not taught. We will walk a tightrope between these two distinctions.

For one, a course is not real life. Case studies are case studies. They don't make you responsible. Here's what I mean. It is very easy to suggest a radical approach for a company in trouble in a case study. To get it past the screaming board (or others baying for your blood) is an entire story in itself. Which is when, it gets whittled down, beaten, mangled to the final sorry thing that it becomes. And if you have to get it past in the way that you conceived it, it pretty much means putting your neck on line. Of course, this is impossible to teach, but you get a hang of it if you try to go against the grain in any group assignment. Add pressure to this volatile mix. Can a course simulate pressure? Over a long drawn out timeframe?

From then on, it does not teach you either how to set up a business, grow and run a business without compromising your values. As I said above, writing a case study and starting an actual business are completely different things. But if you wish, use your MBA to set one up. If it succeeds, great, if not, you have the learning.

How do you handle non-performers? Face it. Teams are like trains. There are one or two engines, a motorman, a backup, a guard and lots of passengers and luggage. Will you dump the luggage? Or the ballast? Or the passengers? Or will you chose to be politically correct? I don't have an answer, but there are two things people usually do. One is to suffer silently - the engine is seeing us through in any case. The second is to be politically correct - keeping everybody happy. If, and this is a big if, you manage to create engines out of your "passenger coaches", you can do it anywhere and everywhere. If you avoided this problem, don't. This is a big component of real life. And you will realize that even in the highest offices with values set in stone, handling non performers is tricky, often devious and usually very clumsy. Does the MBA teach you about people? Of course it does. It may not be a course, but teach you it does. However most of us miss the course and the lesson.

Selling is an important art to learn. Before you decide to skip this paragraph thinking it is for the marketers, remember, it is important for all specializations. Which is a pity, because most often people look the other way when it comes to lessons in selling - including marketers - because selling is what the little guys do, right? Cut the jargon - selling or marketing - not too different in a organization. Ultimately, you need a buy in. Coming up with an idea or an initiative (especially one that is 'different') is difficult. But compared to getting the organizations buy-in, it is a cakewalk. And how do you get people to buy-in? Sell. Knowing when to sell, how to sell, who to sell, undersell or oversell is an untrainable skill that you gain by experience or mentoring. Messages need to be customized, 'whats in it for me' is more important than 'this will ensure my promotion'. Think that's the only place? No. Every report you bring out, every feasibility study you create, every requirement document, every proposal needs to be sold. Try getting your class to be in half an hour early for every single day of the course. If you have managed to sell it, tell us about it.

Punctuality. The single biggest problem of the MBA would be solved if people treat it as an extension of work and not as an extension of college. Look at people saunter in ten minutes later into the lecture or presentation. Try doing that in the world of business - especially if you are meeting an American client. They won't. Meetings start sharp on time and typically end on time as well. And yes, nobody can teach you punctuality but yourself. And yes, many deadlines are non-negotiable. And many things will not get done in one all night session before the submission date. Ask those who slog for months trying to get one single project out of the door...

How to manage the boss? This is a skill that cannot be taught because bosses like subordinates come in a million combinations. If you have a boss that does not have to be managed, either your boss is good or you are lucky or badly wrong. But at some point in time, this will be your test. Can it be taught? Well, if you take the profs as your boss, especially if they are leading through an initiative, potentially yes. Put into a nutshell, a large majority of people skills are built over time and there is no single correct answer. You have to keep at it and learn as you go.

A corollary of this is "how to be the boss". A lot of people lose all memory of their people skills the moment they have a couple of people report up to them. And that is when they decide to behave like mini tyrants and dictators.

Does it teach you gratitude? Hopefully, this is one skill which does not need to be taught. Thanking people is like planting a seed. Sometimes, those seeds become trees at the hottest point of time in your journey.

These are some of the skills, an MBA may or may not teach. But when did that ever prevent you from learning these things while you are doing your MBA? Understand that many of the skills that are not taught, can be learnt. Often, all it requires is an open mind.
(This is a draft. A neatly edited version of this made it to print someplace. Will link it when I get the link...)

Monday, November 02, 2009

Choosing the MBA Specialization

Solve this puzzle. How to choose your specialization?

Heres your answer: Marketing is for those who can talk well. Finance is for those who are good with numbers. Operations are for those (who are good with numbers plus) with a manufacturing background. HR is for those who can handle the touchy feely stuff - or those who are bad at maths or non engineers, if you want to be politically incorrect. There is always MBA in IT that is available for those who came from an IT background or those who want to go to an IT company. End of puzzle.

That is the common street talk on the specializations on the MBA circuit. Add minors and majors to the mix and you can think of yourself as a person who has a major ability to talk well and a minor interest in IT, therefore you pick up a Marketing - IT combo. Now, if you can see for yourself how absurd this is, you will know what I am driving at.

What is important to remember is that none of the specializations are mutually exclusive in real life. Which is obvious, considering business is not meant to be mutually exclusive. Anything and everything in an organization and real life is interconnected.

Second, as a human being, who has cleared various tests and reached the doors of the MBA, your ability to learn and pick up any specialization is also a given. Which means, if it was about passing exams and gaining a specialization, you can clear an MBA with flying colours in any specialization. Don't agree. If could you could do so in graduation, why not in post grad?

And then, there are trends. Or call them fads. Organizations see demand going up or down for certain specializations depending on what state of the business cycle they are in, the economy (of their target market) is in. If you wish to cash in on that, don't. Trends will come and go, but both your passion and your qualification will remain.

So, how does one approach specializations?

Many years ago, at an interview for one of Indias most recognized automobile companies, was a line up of eager students, including me. One of us walked out post interview and as it happens, we were eager to know what did they ask him. He said, much to our surprise, 'they asked me about the fielding positions in cricket and I was able to do it instantly'. Instantly, one of the students in the room drew up a sheet of paper, grabbed a friend and having jotted down the positions, started memorizing the fielding positions in cricket. After all that appeared to be the trend. What he did not realize was that the company was basically looking for the level of passion of the engineer when they asked him what his favourite sport was. (Needless to say the guy who drew the cricket fielding positions made it.)

Very often we tend to approach specializations in the same way.

Heres one example. Let us say that you are a Chartered Accountant. So, your grounding in accounts is impeccable. From here, can you become an IT requirements consultant in Finance? Check. Can you move onto marketing financial services or working with potential overseas investors? Check. Can you handle operations in a BPO or a Bank with an added MBA degree? Check Or you are deeply passionate about HR? Check.

Replace CA with any other degree and you will find that it is almost impossible to justify why anybody with any qualification should or should not take up a particular specialization.

Heres a thumb rule. Remember, that the MBA is an addition to your 15 or 16 plus years of what you have already done. So, if you are an engineer or an economics student, the MBA is just the icing on the cake - the cake is what you already have - the sum total of your studies and your experience. Now take a second look at those specializations. And then take a long hard look at your interest and strengths. What do you like to do will answer the former while what you are good at will answer the latter. A combination of these three should ideally lead you to the specializations. If you are in doubt or in a fantasy about the nature of jobs after acquiring the said specialization, please meet a few people who are in the kind of job you long to do and ask them exactly what they do. Beyond jargon, beyond the gloss, beyond the job description, ask them what is the exact work that they do and if that interests you.

So, once again, think about why are you in the race for an MBA. At the end of the MBA what would you want to become and why? It is important to like what you are into, regardless of what your friends are into. It is equally important to be good at your job. By no means does that mean that you can be ignorant of other specializations. And as you work in organizations, you will realize that many are.

So, if you are in for a regular specialization, it is self evident. (If it is not, talk to people you have worked with or know you well or with a professional counsellor - they will help you.) If you have the choice of two, use that choice wisely. Just taking the hottest two together may not be the best message you convey to a potential recruiter - it will not help you masquerade as "either". Think Icing, think Cake.

Now, for the second part of an often asked question. Does it matter?

The answer is a tough one, though I would take a stand here that does not really matter in the long run. Heres why.

Once you enter into a company, the only thing that matters is performance. So, if you a finance specialist, if you perform you get to move higher. If you don't, the person who does, gets to move higher. As you gain in the years, it is important that you broaden your perspective as you go along. And what that means, knowing how the different parts of the business interplay and ensure success. Strategy means holding the different levers like the reins in a chariot so that your business runs smoothly in the right direction. Is that possible for a one trick pony? No.

Heres an exercise. Take a look at a sample size of CEOs (or whatever else is your goal) across industries. Find out what their education/specializations are. Do you see a correlation? Then, into this mix, ensure that you include a mix of large corporates, SMEs, neighbourhood businesses, start-ups in it. See that data again.

My bet is that there will be no correlation (indeed there will not even be a correlation of basic qualification or MBA or anything else).

And if there is, you know which specialization to take...

(This is a draft. A neatly edited version of this made it to print someplace. Will link it when I get the link...)