Monday, November 30, 2009

Points to remember in equity investing

I don't do investments personally but usually rely on my stock brokers, nonetheless it is always good to get some advise from experts in these areas. Just thought of sharing this article for the benefit of people like me who if decide to do investments - what areas should one watch before taking the leap.

Points to remember in equity investing


The key objective of any kind of investment is optimizing wealth creation. This essentially means the rate of return should surpass the rate of inflation. Else, the actual value of investment made diminishes in net worth.

There are essentially two types of instruments for investment - equity and debt. Though debt instruments or other fixed income instruments like income funds, bonds etc offer consistent returns they may be outdone by inflation in the long run

. The known remedy to make capital surpass inflation is to invest in equity instruments. This helps investor grow their capital much faster and will help beat inflation inspite of sharp periods of decline. Equity investment refers to the buying and holding of shares of stock on a stock market by individuals and funds in anticipation of income from dividends and capital gain as the value of the stock rises.

Here are the top four factors in your 'points to remember' list.

1. Choose stocks based on the performance of the company

Collate historical data of the company in which you are planning to invest in and check their profit graph. They should be a minimum cap of around at least 20-25% on the returns from the capital invested by its shareholders.

Checking long term helps you assess the true value of the company while a shorter term of 6 months could just be a reflection of market mood rather than the solid foundation the company is based upon.

2. Strike the right balance and stick to it

a) It is essential to take a very disciplined approach towards your stock planning.

b) Be prepared to stumble over unexpected bumps when you start out or for that matter be prepared to be surprised from time to time as the volatility of the market is such.

c) The best results await those who participate in the long drawn out game that last well over a number of years to the tune of 10-12 years to be precise.

d) Strike a balance with your stocks, don't accumulate too many and then again don't invest in too little. A moderate diversification should be the key factor in striking this balance, i.e. perhaps say about 15 should be a good way to diversify for someone who wishes to stay invested in the long term.

e) Understand the companies you are invested in and also keep a tab of the trading volumes of a particular stock purchased. This will help you estimate the percentage of active participation in that stock and is also a test of its liquidity quotient.

f) Have a secure allocation plan in place, consult the experts and avoid temptation to buy too much into one single company.

3. Keep a tab and consistently evaluate the investments

Be in touch with every change that happens with regards to your stocks. During the lean times there might be good opportunities thrown up for the grabbing. Don't lose sight of those if it makes investment sense for you. Figure out how you buy low at such points in time.

Keep track of the stock worth in order to determine if key elements that prompted you to buy the stocks in the first place are still secure in place or if your earlier expectations have been undermined.

Keep track of the prices on your finance worksheet and subject them to a quarterly and yearly review. This will help you reassess and reallocate according your current risk capacity.

4. Errors are an individual's portals of discovery

Your experience with stocks may be a mixed bag of both good and bad. Store away good pointers from the things that worked for you and learn from the bad experiences in perfecting your investment skills. Begin the exciting journey of making your every penny count!

Source: - An online marketplace for your personal loan and home loan needs.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Interesting Article : "How stress is costing your company millions"

USUALLY, when organisations run stress management programmes, they see it as a “service” to help their staff safeguard their personal wellbeing. This may explain why many organisations take only a passing interest in stress management programmes. It’s not seen as an issue that directly affects the bottom line.
After all, to quote a managing director of a local small or medium-sized enterprise I met recently, “staff’s stress is their own business. If they cannot handle the pressure, then they should just learn to deal with it or get out.”
On one hand, I can certainly understand and empathise with this MD; organisations just cannot (and should not) coddle their staff or deal with all of their staff’s personal issues and frailties. Organisations expect their staff members to already possess a certain level of emotional resilience and personal mastery to begin with.
On the other hand, business people, being the pragmatist we are, will act if it has a direct impact on our profits, and an overwhelming amount of research from around the world indicates clearly that high stress levels translate into losses.
Consider the following:
According to the American Institute of Stress, job stress costs the US industry over US$300bil annually as a result of:
·Employee turnover;
·Diminished productivity;
·Direct medical, legal, and insurance costs; and
·Workers’ compensation awards.
Research by Perkins (1994) cited in the Harvard Business Reviewshowed that 60% to 90% of doctor visits were stress-related.
Job stress costs the US industry over US$300bil annually
Northwest National Life reported in 1993 that one million absences each day in the workplace were stress-related.
According to the US Bureau of National Affairs, 40% of job turnover is due to stress.
The figures speak for themselves. When organisational stress is unmanaged, there is a cost to pay, if not in the short term, then certainly in the long term. For this reason alone, more organisations need to pay more serious attention to the issue of work-related stress.
What can be done to effectively manage stress?
The key to effective stress management is to intervene at the organisational level rather than just the individual level. While sending staff members to some stress management workshops may shape up to be a convenient and relatively cheap solution, it takes more than that to address stress at the macro level.
·Conduct a diagnostic study: It’s unwise to take action without understanding the problem. Intervention needs to be based on facts.
“Is stress really a problem in this organisation? Who exactly is stressed? Why are they stressed?”
Chances are that there are specific departments in your organisation, or specific job roles, that experience higher stress levels than the rest. That helps isolate the problem, and may save you from having to train every single staff in the organisation.
It is also important to identify the root causes of stress, especially if they are systemic within the organisation. A diagnostic survey will allow you to identify macro trends.
For example, our psychology team recently conducted a study for a multinational company and discovered that its main cause of stress was faulty communication processes.
In another government-linked company we worked with, we isolated the stress problem to two departments, and this was due to the heads of department’s management style.
It is encouraging that in the last two years, more organisations are approaching research units and academic units, like our own psychology department, to run diagnostic research in their organisations.
·Eliminate unnecessary stress: Let’s get one thing straight – all work will contain some element of stress. It is impossible to completely eliminate work stress and this is not desirable because a certain level of stress is necessary to create motivation and impetus. There are certain work pressures that are simply unavoidable.
A CEO will always be stressed about meeting the expectations of their board, and a salesperson will always be stressed about their sales targets. Nothing wrong with this, as long as the stress levels don’t reach a stage where it affects their health and their work.
Having said that, there are elements of work stress that are unnecessary, and where possible we should seek to eliminate these “additional” stressors.
Prevention is better than cure. Having identified the systemic root causes of stress within the organisation, the next step is to address these causes directly. This will involve organisational change; whether it be changing systems, or procedures, or management culture.
For example, if the communication system is the problem, then direct resources to improve communication quality so that staff are clear about their goals, roles, scopes of responsibility and expectations. If lack of supporting infrastructure is the problem, then explore affordable options to address this issue.
In my observation, almost every problem has available solutions that are cost-effective and viable.
·Build resilience among staff: This is where stress management training fits in. We have to understand that the purpose of a stress management workshop/seminar is not to lower stress levels temporarily. It is not to help workers feel better at “now”. It is not to offer short-term relief.
The purpose of stress management workshops is to equip staff with the skill sets necessary to manage stress themselves. It is about building personal resilience so that come what may in the future, they are ready to deal with it.
The logic here is very simple. We cannot change the fact that work will involve challenges, pressures and “stressful situations”, but we can strengthen our staff to be able to deal with these situations.
Some say that “resilience cannot be trained, some people are just born strong”. While research indicates that a genetic predispositions may in part determine our susceptibility to stress, training and acquisition of skills and experiences can significantly improve a person’s ability to handle stress and pressure.

  • Dr Goh Chee Leong is vice-president of HELP University College and a psychologist. 
  • 5 Reasons to Hire Credentialed Professionals

    Here in Malaysia clients have lot of concerns about security, I am sure this is a common concerns in most parts of the world and with the IT playing a major role in all aspects of life.. the information security role will be as important as others.. Here is a nice article I found in one of my mails. 

    The need for heightened information security measures has never been greater. To date, more than 60,000 certified professionals and their employers have learned to protect the enterprise and outmaneuver cyber attacks the (ISC)² way. There are 5 major reasons why an organization should employ credentialed professionals when recruiting information security personnel.

    • Experience: Credentialed professionals have already gained years of experience in the industry and have met a prescribed educational standard.

    • Continuing Professional Education (CPE): This ensures candidates must continue their education and prepare to handle the onslaught of ever-changing information security challenges with new and innovative alternatives to the status quo.

    • Certification Mandate: More and more organizations - public and private, such as the U.S. Department of Defense and financial institutions, are now requiring certification for their information security personnel. If you are a service provider or subcontractor you will need to employ certified staff as well.  Having employees with superior credentials puts your organization in a position of strength and presents a positive light.

    • Global Recognition: Hiring managers are literally bombarded with resumes from around the world. However internationally recognized qualifications, such as CISSP® and SSCP® as opposed to nationally recognized qualifications, automatically raise the bar allowing you to judge the credentials of each candidate more equitably.

    • Common Language: Vendor-specific credentials can be very limiting when new technologies are introduced. Conversely, (ISC)² credentials are universal circumventing all ambiguity with industry-accepted knowledge as well as current trends.

    The CISSP certification is held by information security professionals who develop policies, standards, and procedures as well as manage the implementation across the enterprise. A major point that sets the CISSP apart from other security certifications is the breadth of knowledge and the experience necessary to pass the exam. A CISSP candidate cannot specialize in just one domain; they must know and understand the full spectrum of the (ISC)² CISSP CBK® to become certified. What's more, in order to maintain their certification, CISSP's are required to earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits every year.

    About (ISC)²

    The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc. [(ISC)²®] (pronounced as "I-S-C-squared") is the globally recognized Gold Standard for educating and certifying information security professionals. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, (ISC)² issues CISSP®and related concentrations CISSP-ISSAP® /ISSEP® /ISSMP®, CSSLPCM, CAP®, and SSCP®credentials; offers a portfolio of award winning education products and services based upon (ISC)²'s CBK®, a compendium of information security topics, and is responsible for the (ISC)² Global Information Security Workforce Study.

    More information is available at

    Friday, November 6, 2009

    Five elements of Every Steve Jobs Presentation

    I want to share this Friday learning article which I received from my boss.. There are 2 good things in this article.. content and mention of Steve Jobs... Hope you guys like this.

    Steve Jobs does not sell computers; he sells an experience. The same holds true for his presentations that are meant to inform, educate, and entertain. An Apple presentation has all the elements of a great theatrical production—a great script, heroes and villains, stage props, breathtaking visuals, and one moment that makes the price of admission well worth it. Here are the five elements of every Steve Jobs presentation. Incorporate these elements into your own presentations to sell your product or ideas the Steve Jobs way.
    1. A headline. Steve Jobs positions every product with a headline that fits well within a 140-character Twitter post. For example, Jobs described the MacBook Air as "the world's thinnest notebook." That phrase appeared on his presentation slides, the Apple Web site, and Apple's press releases at the same time. What is the one thing you want people to know about your product? This headline must be consistent in all of your marketing and presentation material.
    2. A villain. In every classic story, the hero fights the villain. In 1984, the villain, according to Apple, was IBM (IBM). Before Jobs introduced the famous 1984 television ad to the Apple sales team for the first time, he told a story of how IBM was bent on dominating the computer industry. "IBM wants it all and is aiming its guns on its last obstacle to industry control: Apple." Today, the "villain" in Apple's narrative is played by Microsoft (MSFT). One can argue that the popular "I'm a Mac" television ads are hero/villain vignettes. This idea of conquering a shared enemy is a powerful motivator and turns customers into evangelists.
    3. A simple slide. Apple products are easy to use because of the elimination of clutter. The same approach applies to the slides in a Steve Jobs presentation. They are strikingly simple, visual, and yes, devoid of bullet points. Pictures are dominant. When Jobs introduced the MacBook Air, no words could replace a photo of a hand pulling the notebook computer out of an interoffice manila envelope. Think about it this way—the average PowerPoint slide has 40 words. In some presentations, Steve Jobs has a total of seven words in 10 slides. And why are you cluttering up your slides with too many words?
    4. A demo. Neuroscientists have discovered that the brain gets bored easily. Steve Jobs doesn't give you time to lose interest. Ten minutes into a presentation he's often demonstrating a new product or feature and having fun doing it. When he introduced the iPhone at Macworld 2007, Jobs demonstrated how Google Maps (GOOG) worked on the device. He pulled up a list of Starbucks (SBUX) stores in the local area and said, "Let's call one." When someone answered, Jobs said: "I'd like to order 4,000 lattes to go, please. No, just kidding."
    5. A holy smokes moment. Every Steve Jobs presentation has one moment that neuroscientists call an "emotionally charged event." The emotionally charged event is the equivalent of a mental post-it note that tells the brain, Remember this! For example, at Macworld 2007, Jobs could have opened the presentation by telling the audience that Apple was unveiling a new mobile phone that also played music, games, and video. Instead he built up the drama. "Today, we are introducing three revolutionary products. The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device…an iPod, a phone, an Internet communicator…an iPod, a phone, are you getting it? These are not three devices. This is one device!" The audience erupted in cheers because it was so unexpected, and very entertaining. By the way, the holy smokes moment on Sept. 9 had nothing to do with a product. It was Steve Jobs himself appearing onstage for the first time after undergoing a liver transplant.
    6.One more thing…sell dreams. Charismatic speakers like Steve Jobs are driven by a nearly messianic zeal to create new experiences. When he launched the iPod in 2001, Jobs said, "In our own small way we're going to make the world a better place." Where most people saw the iPod as a music player, Jobs recognized its potential as a tool to enrich people's lives. Cultivate a sense of mission. Passion, emotion, and enthusiasm are grossly underestimated ingredients in professional business communications, and yet, passion and emotion will motivate others. Steve Jobs once said that his goal was not to die the richest man in the cemetery. It was to go to bed at night thinking that he and his team had done something wonderful. Do something wonderful. Make your brand stand for something meaningful.

    All of us can improve our presentation skills, if we apply ourselves. In the race to excellence there is no finish line.

    Article by: Sandeep Bhattacharya

    Monday, November 2, 2009

    My first canvas painting

    The photo that my wife took - she asked me to paint this

    My painting

    For the last two Saturday's I have been sitting in with my son in his art class; well not near him, but in the outside area, and guess what I was doing?????
    I was attempting my first canvas painting. I used acrylics for this time.
    My wife challenged me by asking me to paint one of the photographs that she had clicked some time back during our outing at the Mines Park.
    I spent some 7 hours doing this; and as said before I did it over 2 Saturdays.

    The teachers at the art school did help and guide me during this attempt. Their help did wonders to the painting.

    Do let me know what you think of this painting....I'll be waiting !!