Stardate 11008.3

No, not the musical group from the 80s but the highly efficient little organ inside us that keeps the red stuff enriched and flowing.  From my basic understanding, our heart is made up of four chambers (and Salima http://www.linkedin.com/pub/salima-mulji/14/a3/59a keep me honest here please).  Each apparently routing the blood stream in a different direction; to a different destination.  Viewed in isolation, these chambers seem to be working in a completely disjointed manner, however, when seen together: precision and singular focus.  Amazing!

In our discussions today at the National EPB/IPN meeting, I couldn’t help but be drawn to this image.  Farid (Business Services), Taj (ESS), Saleemah (Financial Services) and I (IPN) have different mandates, different target demographics, and we each (using Chairman Amin’s words) bring a different lens to the discussion.  And while individually, each one of us may have appeared to be moving in different directions – completely opposite at times – in reality, we were enriching ideas by making them flow in different directions, holding them to different standards and scrutiny, ultimately polishing and enhancing them to the point where they were ready to bring life to our programs and services for 2010.  Amazing indeed!!

Who would’ve thought that the *Economic* Planning Board is all heart!!! 😀



Stardate: 11005.8

Not totally sure of the first few minutes, but here is how the story goes, a massive explosion happens sometime in the past.  What is the “past” anyway?  Well, that’s a topic for another day.  Getting back to our story.  There is debris all over – the explosion is so massive, it is still happening.  Debris hurtling in all directions at dizzying speeds.  Some pieces are still white-hot, others have cooled some, and yet others are down-right cold.  The accidental star – well, star dust – of this story is a giant somewhat-egg-shaped blue ball still with a fiery core that is fiercely racing, more like rolling, through space.  This third rock from the sun that we call Earth.  Now, why would this seemingly invincible giant blue ball – resulting from a cosmic explosion – need our protection?  Can it really be fragile in some sense?

No matter which side of the fence you sit on, one thing is for sure the Clean and Renewable Energy sector is here to stay.  And the possibilities are green in more than one sense!  Which is why for one of the sessions at the upcoming Regional Ismaili Professional and Business Conference (RIPBC) in Dallas, IPN is putting together an expert panel to discuss this extremely important and rapidly emerging sector of the economy.  Our goal from an IPN perspective for this session was to cast a net 10 years out in the future to identify new knowledge areas (nKA).  The next step was to zoom in on the nKAs with the greatest potential for sizeable socio-economic impact in relatively short order.  Another factor to bear in mind was the location of the RIPBC; the nKA would have to be relevant.  No surprise then that energy – green energy – kept bubbling up to the top in our discussions.  We sealed the deal when Shajahan, HS for AKEPB USA, proposed Shafiq Jadavji as the lead for this initiative.  Shafiq is an incredibly sharp individual with a strong grasp of this sector.  The scope and format of this panel has pretty much been his brainchild.

So, is green energy the next big thing?  A springboard for investment and engagement?  Or a pothole?  Well, having had subsequent discussions with the panelists, I am  sure that attendees will get a running start on ideas for re-greening the planet and their wallets!  ;-D

Back to the earlier question of protecting our planet.  Ignoring the harm we are causing our environment is like failing to notice that the branch we are cutting – yep the branch way on top of the tree with a great view and fresh air quality – is the very branch on which we are sitting.  Here’s to protecting this big blue ball we call home!  😀


Stardate: 11005.5  

As promised in https://bkarim.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/stardate/, here is a simplified snippet of C# code to compute stardates!  Enjoy!  😀 

Simple Stardate in C#

Simple Stardate in C#


PS for those who would rather see the code in plain text:

DateTime utcNow = DateTime.UtcNow;
double century = Math.Floor( utcNow.Year / 100.0 );
double starCentury = century – 19.0; //Hack: In order to keep it consistent with Star Trek
double starYear = utcNow.Year – ( century * 100.00 );
double starDay = ( utcNow.DayOfYear * 24.0 ) + utcNow.Hour;
double totalHoursInYear = ( DateTime.IsLeapYear( utcNow.Year ) ? 366 : 365 ) * 24;
double starDate = ( starCentury * 10000.0 ) + ( starYear * 100 ) + ( starDay * 100.0 / totalHoursInYear );

The Outliers

Stardate: 11005.0

Back in Birmingham after an action-packed weekend in Orlando (Florida).  Considering weather conditions and the anticipation of heightened security (read: longer slower lines), I rushed to the airport an hour and a half before my flight on Saturday – only to find out my flight was delayed by about 40 minutes.  The connecting flight, to make matters more exciting I guess, was not.  I had 4 minutes (what’s new).  My flight from Birmingham, brought me to a gate in terminal D while my connecting flight was impatiently preparing to leave from terminal A!  Less than a minute left and I am about 10 gates away – I can almost see it… but will I make it in time?

Made it!  Not because of an incredible feat of agility or a remarkable dimple in space-time.  When I got to the gate, I realized that the connecting flight was delayed after all; by about 15 minutes at that!  So much for an edge-of-the-seat-drama.

HS and I travelled to FL this weekend to join the FL IPN team host an ICS program geared toward placement preparation.  I loved the format of the program – it was very content-focused but not intimidating.  We had super-star panelists and an equally candid and no-nonsense moderator.  The panelists each had over a decade of HR experience in diverse vertical industries.  And they were not shy in the least in sharing their expert opinion and advice.  There was even time for some one-on-one resume review.  The goal of this workshop was to empower attending IPN members with the tools to give them a competitive advantage in realizing their career goals.  Even in this economy.  Especially in this economy.  Based on HS and my observations and early evaluations, the program was very well received and we anticipate that, it will be followed by focused action by the attendees leading to some exciting positive outcomes in terms of placements in the short-run and top-performing IPs in the long-run 😀

Both HS and I were extremely pleased by the thorough planning and impeccable implementation by FL IPN and EPB; for you, we have one word: Bravo (pun intended)!!!  Another aspect that was most inspiring – one that is very dear to my heart – was the effective collaboration between the institutions.  Many kudos to the AKYSB and AKEB for their remarkable partnership in this endeavor.  IMO, it is this kind of collaboration between institutions that will help us make quantum leaps.  The era of going at it alone is history; now is the age of coming together.

PS fringe benefits of volunteering: Although this seminar was designed for people exploring opportunities to advance their careers, I learnt a great deal from these panelists about managing our hiring process and overall HR management to bring back to elixir international!  😀


Stardate: 11003.6

An innocent cosmic activity; the Earth rotating about its axis, dutifully following the laws of Physics.  Makes a profound impact on the inhabitants of this beautiful blue planet; the germination of the notion of Days leading to more complex measures such as weeks, months, complete calendar systems and, yes, holidays.  Now, what happens to the notion of days when you undertake a trek along the stars to explore new life and new civilizations?  But I digress.

Quick Disclaimer: The idea for this post was not mine; it was sparked by Deepika’s (a.k.a DSingh) curiosity around my decision to use Stardates to mark my posts.  Oh, and also the underlying question, what exactly is a Stardate and how is it computed?

According to the great oracle of our age, Wikipedia, “a stardate is a means of specifying absolute dates in the fictional Star Trek universe” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stardate).  Given that, can you think of a better calendar system than this for a TNG fan (such as myself) to mark my ship’s log – umm, I mean blog – entries?  The same post also discusses the inherent complexity in computing stardates for various episodes in keeping the timeline consistent.  So, I rolled my own version of a stardate.  In keeping with the TNG tradition, the first digit in my version of a stardate derives from the century.  The next two are the year in the century, and finally the rest simply denotes the percentage of the year that has elapsed; CYYPP.pp

Let’s dissect “stardate 11003.6”, the first digit ‘1’ represents the 21st century, the next two digits ’10’ represent the year 2010, and the trailing portion ‘03.6’ is the percentage of time that had elapsed in the year 2010 when I started this blog post.  Stardate 11003.6 is roughly equivalent to 1/13/2010 6:00 AM UTC.  More on computation in the next episode – umm – blog post ;-D


Stardate: 11001.7

In 5 days, I will be crossing a significant milestone – the mid-point of my first year as Chairperson, IPN USA.  On our “State of IPN” call earlier today with IPN leaders from around the country, I felt a great sense of satisfaction and pride (the good kind) as I heard each IPN Chair report on the various accomplishments and on projects that are underway in their respective jurisdictions.  Needless to explicitly mention it but, the IPN Career Services (ICS) Tower continues to dominate the motif – given the current employment scenario – for many of these projects.  Overall the meeting was very inspiring as I could “see” the developments across then nation and also draw from the dedication and wisdom of my colleagues.  This here is one of the most rewarding aspects of my role, I get to work with the very best.  I am continuously surrounded by people who excel – yet remain humble and approachable – in their respective fields of endeavor thereby widening my horizons with knowledge that I would have needed months of formal training to acquire – talk about fringe benefits!

Stardate: 11003.0

Midpoint Mubarak!  Midpoints can be most inspiring, most intimidating, or sometimes both!!  I guess that is simply the nature of a midpoint; they are just as much a reflection of the past as they are a roadmap (and timeline) for the future!  We have come a long way over the last six months particularly in the areas of organizational development and capacity.  Here is a 3D visual in words:

  • On the horizontal plane, IPN USA comprises of seven regions; NE, SE, FL, MW, NT, SW, and W
  • Four Towers (plus Marketing) in the vertical plane; ICS, ILS, IOS, and IEP

And as of October 18, 2009, we officially have a global dimension!  Spanning the globe with the establishment of the Global IPN Forum (or GIF) with six participating nations: USA, Canada, UAE, India, Pakistan, ANZ (Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea).

Mad hatter

Stardate: 11001.4

Is it just me or does the must-learn space expand exponentially and almost immediately with respect to one’s current knowledge base?  It seems as though the more I learn, the more I discover is out there to master.  Reminds me of the limitations to approaching light-speed captured by the famous E = mc2 relationship; yet another naturally occurring asymptote perhaps programmed in existence to avoid the God-complex!

Why this train of thought?  I guess it began with a call earlier today discussing various upgrades to our software platforms and the new technologies on the horizon.  Specifically, we were discussing strategic initiatives that must be incorporated in our technology roadmap.  Now, any such discussion that is void of resulting implications to the end-users and their line of business is dangerously myopic.  So, that lead us down the path of trying to divine the evolution of various industries and segments including healthcare, utilities, field-service, distribution, and so on.  And then to anticipate their technology needs and the optimal means of addressing those needs – see where I’m going with this?  Well, neither do I!  ;-D  But, I’m sure that as we continue these meetings over the course of the next few weeks, a lot of this will begin to crystallize – at least that is the hope 😀

And this is perhaps the basis (at least partially) for those natural asymptotes; So that we would continue to learn,  continue to find challenges and experience the exhilaration on surmounting them!  (Only to find more challenges, …)