Rohit Aggarwal

March 31, 2007

TechCrunch & F***edCompany

Filed under: Blogs,Corporate blogs,Interesting,Reference — Rohit Aggarwal @ 9:47 pm

This is an interesting news: TechCrunch (TC) acquired F***edCompany (FC). TC is surely the biggest information gatekeeper about startups.

TC explains the reasons behind this acquisition and to me the crux is:

At its peak, FC had 4 million unique monthly visitors. Since FC focuses on the negative news coming out of startups, and TechCrunch tends to focus on the positive, this combination may seem odd. But the sites are in fact extremely complimentary. For example, the audiences are about equal in size and have very little overlap. So from day one we will double our reach and traffic.

via Techmeme

For more coverage see: Wired and CNET

Rohit Aggarwal

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March 28, 2007

Beliefs and Values that I try to follow

Filed under: Interesting,Research,Teaching — Rohit Aggarwal @ 4:18 am

I think, therefore I am a researcher (Cogito Ergo Sum- René Descartes)

Following are the ideas that I believe in (source-quotations.about.com):

Personal Values:

  • Of all the attitudes we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life-changing (Zig Zagler).
  • What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
  • Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value (Albert Einstein).
  • You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him (James D. Miles).
  • You are educated when you have the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or self-confidence (Robert Frost).

Professional Beliefs:

  • Motivate them [students], train them, care about them, and make winners out of them (J. Marriott).
  • It is not because concepts are difficult that’s why we can not think; rather we do not think, that’s why concepts are difficult (My words based on Lucius Annaeus Seneca).
  • Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right (Henry Ford).
  • Optimism means expecting the best, but confidence means knowing how to handle the worst. Never make a move if you are merely optimistic (The Zurich Axioms).
  • Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare (Japenese Proverb).
  • Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself (Henry Ward Beecher).
  • A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties (Harry Truman).
  • It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err (Mohandas K. Gandhi).

My favourite quote(s) from movie(s) (source-IMDB.com):

  • You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody (Rocky Balboa 2006). 
  • You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you that you can’t do it. You want something? Go get it. (The Pursuit of Happyness 2006)

March 8, 2007

Structural Hole among business PhD students

Filed under: Econometrics,Research,Social Networking — Rohit Aggarwal @ 5:41 pm

Lately I have been reading journals of other disciplines- Management, Accounting, Finance, Economics and Marketing, for understanding the literature on the second piece of my dissertation. In the process I came across one observation and the ‘Structural Hole’ theory of Ronald S. Burt. Then I started thinking over both. But before I share my thoughts let me explain my observation and Burt’s theory.

Observation:

When I thought about this idea I have never read a single paper from Management, Accounting and Finance journals and had no clue about their research. To get some head start I started bugging fellow PhD students from Management, Accounting and Finance. All of them were very helpful and give various suggestions from the perspectives of their respective fields. Then I started to realize that most of the PhD students in various disciplines spend 4-5 yrs in adjacent offices but rarely interact and discuss about each other’s fields.  I wonder how drastically things will change once they all become professors.

Burt’s theory:

Bruce has already done this job very well. The gist of his explanation is the following:

This article will explore Burt’s surprising answer to the question, “Where do good ideas come from?” And it will show how to apply Burt’s findings to promote the business of collaborative innovation.…Burt has shown that more often than not, the key to innovation is not creating a good idea but recognizing the opportunity to re-use an ordinary idea from another group. Or as Burt puts it, “Can you get an idea which is mundane and well known in one place to another place where people would get value out of it?”

My thoughts:

My observation seemed to be an instance of structural hole theory of Burt and each of the business disciplines seem to be behaving as ‘silos’. So, if Burt’s theory were to be true here, then one who acts as an information broker among the different business disciplines should be able to develop ‘good ideas’.  Since in this situation I am playing the role of information broker, I hope Burt’s theory works out for me. Anyway, I am enjoying my work and at the least I am satisfied over the fact that I have an idea what other disciplines research on in a business school.

Besides availing this opportunity of bridging structural holes, I am also cautious about my identity as an IS researcher and try to keep the balance. Bruce also warns about forming too many strong ties across departments:

…The goal is to encourage employees to be brokers, not to encourage different groups to stay in constant contact. Creating too many tight-knit links between different groups wastes time and smothers creativity under a blanket of homogeneity.

Rohit Aggarwal

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