Murtha-Hoyer Vote: Pelosi Shines Despite Defeat

Nancy Pelosi supported John (lost to Steny Hoyer) in the race for No. 2 spot in the House. It shows the Ms. Pelosi stands up for what she believes in no matter what the outcome of any polls might be. It also shows that she values loyalty. Considering the margin of Hoyer’s victory, its hard to imagine that Ms. Pelosi might not have had a sense for it prior to the actual vote. Yet she stood up for John Murtha. In general, this is a good sign as opposed to the conventional “she started with a defeat” take on the issue.

Cricket: Two Spinners Strategy Might Work Best

The SA Tour is going to be a tough one for India. With Viru out of the first ODI and Yuvraj out of the series, it gives the team and its players a golden opportunity to unearth some new talent and possibly make a final call on a few players. The pace department seems to be a good mix of youth (Sreesanth, Munaf) and experience (Zaheer, Agarkar). (Pathan is best treated as an all rounder). But the spin department is where India’s real experience lies in Kumble and Bhajji.

It might be a safe bet to play three seamers (Munaf, Sreesanth and Agarkar) and two spinners (Kumble and Bhajji). Dhoni, Sachin, Dravid, Kaif, Dinesh Karthick and Pathan to make the rest of the team for the first ODI. It might be worth giving Dinesh Karthick who is known for his ability to accelerate the scoring rate with unorthodox shots, a chance in place of Raina, who appears to have run into horrible form. In Viru’s absence India might do well to send Dhoni out with Sachin, followed by Dravid at number three. This would leave the task of accelerating the scoring in the last 10 overs to Karthick and Pathan.

Cricket: Ashes Fever picks up

The Ashes fever has certainly picked up down under. Deniss Lillee, Bobby Simpson and others have criticized the lack of youth (or rather the presence of too many 30+ aged players) in the Aussie side. Richie Benaud meanwhile has gone on record that Ponting is the best Aussie captain ahead of the likes of Mark Taylor and Waugh. England meanwhile is struggling and have already lost Trescothick. The Aussie selectors has brought in Tait, Stuart Clarke and Mitchell Johnson to back Brett Lee ands McGrath. Along with Shane Warne, this seems like a more than formidable bowling attack.

On paper the Aussies appear way too strong. It remains to be seen how things turn out on the field. My guess is that England will do a lot better than anticipated.

India: Fighting Corruption

Check out this recent report on President Kalam’s idea of an independent commission to tackle corruption. Its good to see that corruption has caught the attention of visible people like President. The Right to Information Act passed by the Government of India in Oct 2005 was great step in this direction. It will certainly help if the President influenced the Government to follow through and prevent any roadblocks for the implementation of the RTIA. Ironically, the RTIA appears to be stuck in bureaucracy with a huge backlog of cases!

Gmail slower?

I noticed that Gmail has made some UI changes particularly when reading and replying to email. Man, and it has become much slower! Bad idea.

Already Gmail is slow when the connection is not superfast. The new changes have made it worse.

US Election Results Nov 2006

Firstly, The American electorate deserves a BIG Thank You for setting the stage for at least a semblance of Checks & Balances in Washington. A quick look at the post elections Good, Bad and Ugly.

The Good:

  • Chances of some changes in Iraq policy. “Read my lips the US won’t be staying the course”
  • When George Bush was re-elected the rest of the world was baffled. Now, the rest of the world can at least be partially in sync with the US because its obvious from the election results that the US public in general are unhappy about the war in Iraq.
  • Rumsfled got the boot. Its about time!
  • Six years of GOP domination has come to an end. Thankfully, there will be some level of checks and balances going forward. A bunch of investigations (hopefully worthwhile ones) are guaranteed with the Dems in control.

The Bad:

  • There is not much difference between many Republicans and Democrats these days (a friend who voted Libertarian thinks that the difference is as bad as the difference between syphilis and gonorrhea!). There are no shortage of people in the Democratic party who are anti-gun control, anti-gay marriage, anti-abortion etc. Makes you wonder what they are doing in the Democratic party? Its just that the Demos seem to have learned from their mistakes. They have now decided to do whatever it takes to win the elections and a majority and then deal with any issues.

The Ugly:

  • The Demos might try an impeachment. This will be a complete waste of time and energy.

Aussie Win ICC Cup, Forget How to Behave

The Aussies pushed Sharad Pawar to pose for photos after the victory at the ICC final. Prior to that Ponting gestured with his figures asking Pawar to part with the trophy! Poor show from the otherwise super talented team. I wonder why a quick apology hasn’t been forthcoming from Cricket Australia. Mr. Pawar was nice enough to say “It was a small thing, a stupid thing, I don’t want to react.”

The WI showed the world the other extreme of what they are capable off. A shameful show at final after a series of good performances. One could argue that any of the other teams could have put up a better show in the final.

Referring to the WI Sidhu put it as only he can, “Beware of the naked man who promises you his shirt!”

Youtube: Inside Job?

I recently attended a conference focused on startups. The topic uppermost on the minds of all and sundry was Google’s 1.65B acquisition of Youtube. It has certainly left most people scratching their heads. Entrepreneurs are busy trying to figure out how Youtube did it. “They have no f….. business model” complained one. “More than half the stuff there is copyrighted stuff” complained another. “What technology do they have? Nothing. What business model do they have? Nothing. Yet every VC I talk to wants to see these! How the heck did these guys get funded?”, lamented another.

There have been experts who have claimed that Youtube was profitable. There have been others who have questioned the math.

Check out this article in the Mercury News. Here is a relevant quote from the article.

“I don’t think we would have spent $1.6 billion to acquire YouTube,” Levinsohn said. But, he added, “If you’re going to run a (sale) process of one of the hottest companies on the Internet, you should do that openly. There’s no advantage to shareholders to do these things in private. You don’t necessarily get the best value in the market. If it were out being shopped, maybe it could have sold for $2 billion.”

Based on this comment one can certainly infer that Fox was never approached by Youtube. Considering that Fox has deep pockets, Fox had recently acquired MySpace, and the fact that Google recently had a huge ad deal with Fox, it would make sense for Youtube to have at least approached Fox?

Sequoia — backers of both Youtube and Google won’t obviously comment on this. But if you are an entrepreneur, you would do well to stop trying to figure out Youtube’s business model or its non-existent technology edge and instead see if you can get the right VC to back your next idea — dotcomm-ish or otherwise. The fact the Sequoia would laugh all the way to the bank was a foregone conclusion (scroll down to see my comment/prediction:-), well at least for the most part.

Cricket: WI Destroy SA

The ever unpredictable WI completely destroyed SA. What looked like a decent defend-able total was made to look relatively easy thanks to Gayle. Despite this performance its highly possible that the WI batting might collapse in final for under 100 runs. The Aussies in peak form are going to hard to take on. The good news is that both teams have fought hard and deserved their berth in the finals.