May 26, 2008

What a week


It gives me an immense pleasure to share with readers of this blog, that yours truly Arpit Gupta has completed an exciting year long journey leading to Masters of Engineering and Management degree on May 18, 2008. Looking back at the year, I have enjoyed every bit of this journey comprising of long working hours, team projects, meetings, documentation and presentations. Beyond doubt I feel greatly excited upon reaching at the other end, but I am surely going to miss everything related to this program. I would like to give special thanks to all faculties in M.E.M. program and TiME staff for organizing this unique program successfully year after year.

This past week I enjoyed attending couple of meetings back to back. One of which was “The Leading EDGE Awards program” organized by Entrepreneurs EDGE to honor the 95 Northeast Ohio value creating companies. Second event was organized by ‘The founder’s café’, a, organization to connect entrepreneurs across North East Ohio and help them out in their various ventures. In the span of two days I met partners, VP’s, CEO’s, Investment bankers, Entrepreneurs (my favorite of course), professors and lot many friends.

These meetings have helped me identify the broad range of organizations that are working to drive value in North East Ohio. I consider myself extremely lucky to have got the chance of working with Entrepreneurs Edge, one such organization in a 2 month internship called as CEO for NEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Organizations for Northeast Ohio). It might sound strange to work on internship after graduation, but for me it’s a one of its kind opportunity to get hands on experience in Entrepreneurship, new product development, and working with various executives and key people of North East Ohio.

Future does looks exciting ahead and will keep all readers updated about my journey.

May 17, 2008

Mobile Discovery, blog and Web 2.0: Sharing and Collaboration is the key

Case hosted a daylong symposium on Web 2.0 and its impact on May 8, 2008. I lost my detailed notes that I took during the whole event. But, it was really encouraging to see that everyone talked about utilizing different Web 2.0 tools to create an impact on society, employees and company. During a break out session Mobile Discovery, elaborated on the results and impact of 2Dcode trial. Participants of event applauded the trial and took keen interest in exploring Mobile Discovery museum of codes. I still don’t have pictures of gallery, but it comprised of various use cases of 2d codes in trial and mockups of how this technology could be used by advertisers. Click to see an example of one such mock up

Whole MEM team and CASE community would like to thank Mobile Discovery for conducting first of its kind 2d code trial at CASE.

April 09, 2008

Response to NY Times article on Mobile Discovery

Following reaction is in response to article posted on New York Times.

As a student member of team working with Mobile Discovery for past eight months, it baffles me as how easily a journalist from elite media publishing firm can ridicule our collective efforts and results. The one sided attack on this trial connotes a narrow understanding of the vision for this trial in campus. Objective of trials is not to sell any technology or increase the cellular bills of students, but to develop the standards of this technology so that its potential could be extended to larger audience. Author of this article mention that bar code technology isn’t widely used in North America, but dint realized that the sole purpose of this trial is to find out more about the technology and do a gap audit on what’s needed for it to be useful.

A new technology had always been ridiculed by general public. But, with no real hand data available on trial, it makes me wonder how a technical columnist can be so critical of the trial that’s generating so much of nationwide interest. Trial has already been termed as success as it gives a first hand analysis as to how this technology needs to be incorporated in wider wireless and cellular infrastructure to be successful. Potential of bar code technology could still be debated, but it would add definitive value to dying print media. I would go on and term it as Marketing 2.0 - new age marketing solutions not because I am part of this team but I realize the true benefits that could be accrued by successful integration of this technology in cellular space.

It upsets me that author choose to neglect the positive outcomes out of this trial and solely focused on classroom dialogue throughout the article. We as Mobile Discovery team are proud of being associated with this trial and would continue to work hard to realize the potential of this technology.

Watch out for updates on museum showcasing the evolution of new age marketing capabilities with bar code technology.

March 21, 2008

Mobile Discovery

For past eight months me along with my MEM friends are working with Mobile Discovery, a revolutionary startup organization which would redefine the future marketing solutions for advertisers (Call it Marketing 2.0, if you wish). Our role is to carry out a Beta test in CWRU which would help them glean how Mobile Discovery would be accepted by consumers and more essentially to prove their technology to wireless carriers. A quick and simple way to define this technology is “Hyperlink for mobile phones”. A 2d code is just a pattern of black and white colors in a rectangle, but in it is embedded the information about content. You need to download a software on your mobile phone (300 KB-1 MB, depending on the cell phone) called Scan life which turns your “mobile phone into scanner” (Powerful caption to get attention). So, all you have to do is make sure you are connected to a network (Wi-Fi or a data plan provided by wireless carriers) and open this application and you are ready to scan 2d codes and access the content. To download and get going, register at Mobile Discovery (but as of now access is limited to Case community only).

Potential of this technology lies in the fact is that it makes print advertisement interactive, by letting users scan and know more about the product/service that advertisers are trying to sell. Experience of carrying out this test has been really useful to us and Mobile Discovery. We would be pushing our efforts in the remaining one month. I would be updating here more about our progress and results. To read more about the ongoing trial, please read:

CIO.com

Observer Magazine

March 14, 2008

Program Manager Interview

So, after weeks of preparation, I interviewed with Microsoft on March 13, 2008 for Program Manager Position. I interviewed with Office sharing Services and Outlook group. Usually you need to have 5 interviews to have a strong chance of getting a full time offer. Sadly, I just got three; now if that means rejection, I don’t know yet. I am not optimistic either. I did fairly well in first two of my interviews and probably got slightly relaxed in third one.

Overall the time I spent preparing for Microsoft, has given me a new perspective on product design. I believe I missed the chance very narrowly and should have gone in my favor. But, I want to continue my learning in the area of new product design especially understanding the customer’s requirements and specifying them. I would write in more detail about my interview and what all resources I used. I focused lot of my preparation time in understanding customer requirements and doing various design cases for new products. In retrospect, I should have spent some time on user interface designing. My UI design in 3rd interview wasn’t at par with ideas I generated for the design case given to me.

January 23, 2008

Update

Last five months since I last posted here, have been a steep learning road for me. I would try to summarize some of the key developments in the past and what's awaiting for me in this post.

My last post in this blog has been selected by Businesspundit in the Management and Leadership category.

Fall 2007 of my Master of Engineering and Management has been really fruitful for me. My group won the prestigious Nottingham Spirk Design Innovation Award and as a team leader for this group it meant a lot for me. Rewards, a 2 foot tall trophy and $1000 donated to Cleveland Institute of Arts in our name.

I was offered the full time role of Business Financial Analyst by Sysmind LLC. I worked on lot of other challenging projects and their results are no less than any achievements for me. This semester in fact ended in a unique journey, I completed my end semester take home exam in flight to Amsterdam and mailed it back to professor upon reaching there.

I enjoyed a good break in India and am back in Cleveland for my final semester of MEM. This time I am not taking any additional elective but my Investment Banking elective is equivalent to two of my last semester electives. This year started in a good note as I was offered the assistantship from American Societies of Material with a good pay of $20/hr.

Its, going to be another challenging journey ahead to juggle around 5 courses, 5 projects, an assistantship, and lots of other work. But who is scared of them.
So, in the words of a great professor, Let the Learning Begin !

July 19, 2007

Blue Ocean Strategy

Our MEM class had an amazing opportunity of hearing a Guest lecture which I would define as one of the most engaging, influential talk I have ever listened in my life. I am talking about the lecture from Keith Turnbull on Toyota Production System (TPS). He has been an Alcoa executive and has successfully learned TPS and implemented it back in Alcoa. His knowledge, belief and passion moved him to write a book on TPS. Words and pages of his book made him highly attached to TPS and so even after his retirement he decided to try his knowledge of TPS in the book to some other organization. For past three years he have successfully implemented TPS to BIG Eagle, Doughnut company on its various products and the effort is now to complete integrate TPS into Big Eagle Bakery system.

Though I have already read a book on TPS, it was highly insightful more so after actually studying manufacturing process and visiting different manufacturing facilities in North East Ohio. I would not write much about TPS as it would be a cliché as most of the readers have already listened to a fine speaker. For readers other then MEM class, TPS is a philosophy, a system to bring about a continuous positive change in your organization (though you can apply TPS in your life as well) by involving your own people in a much more manner. It involves minimizing waste, localizing the problem and rectifying it.

To most people, if its asked to find out the trade off that exist in Customer, People, Cost, Quality and Time; most replies would be numerous like if Quality is to increase, cost would go up and more like that. This was the same question asked by Keith to us and was not surprised that his motive was to sensitize our minds to an all together new possibility; that all those attributes are actually no trade offs but together they are one attribute and its possible to improve it as a whole.

I relate the whole Toyota Production System with an innovative thinking called as “Blue Ocean Strategy” which focuses on organizational strategy that aims to capture untapped opportunities for business with innovative thinking towards your own services and products to tap new growth opportunities in mind rather than traditional iterative cost cutting technique and optimization to same product, known as “Red Ocean Strategy”.

Toyota when in late 50’s Toyota were in shambles, they decided to adopt a new thinking towards manufacturing and not just copying the idea taken by others in the industry. They challenged what is assumed that cost is inversely related to your people and quality of final product resulting in them adopting a new and all together a “Blue Ocean Strategy” that focused on cost cutting with high people and customer satisfaction and high quality and in low time.

Entrepreneurship is another example of “Blue Ocean Strategy”, where innovator views customer requirements effectively and thus is able to provide product/service differently and profitably then others in the competition. Its essential for every business to remain profitable and solvent, that they look out for their constantly evolving “Blue Ocean Strategy”.