amitbhatnagar on February 21, 2012

Thanks for the support on part 1 of this post. There were some comments, many re-tweets and likes for the original post, but perhaps the best part was when Sachinist.com reached out to me for my permission to republish the blog on their website! Part 1 is now re-published on their website and by now, has 300+ likes! 🙂

Sachin TendulkarAs promised, in the concluding part of the post, I will focus on comparing Sachin with Sachin, i.e. I will compare Sachin’s current form (which Sachin haters are questioning) with his overall career (which even the harshest Sachin-critics can not challenge).

A method to analyze a batsman’s form through the years is to track a running average for 10 innings, i.e. instead of drawing a graph for scores in each innings, an average is calculated for every 10 innings (i.e. 1-10, then 2-11, 3-12 and so on) and a graph is drawn for these running averages. This allows us to take into account fluctuations in a batsman’s form over a period of time and get rid of temporary peaks and troughs that a single double century or a duck may create.

In the graphs below, I have plotted both the career average as well as running average at each point in Sachin’s career. So at any point the running average graph is higher than the career average, you can assume that Sachin is in a very good form (Anything higher than his terrific career average has to be terrific!) and if the running average is below the career graph, perhaps he is relatively (remember, relatively!)  out of form.

 

Sachin ODI Career Graph

Check out the above graph and decide if Sachin is really at the lowest point in his career; so low that his critics and many former Cricketers want him to be dropped from the team. Far from it, in fact in ODIs, his current performance is comparable to his overall career (until recently it was higher than his career form).

Sachin Test Career Graph

In tests, though the current performance is lower than the career average graph, it is far from being Sachin’s lowest point in his career. I guess most Sachin fans remember that dreadful word “Endulkar” that was used to describe him being out of form and indicated that he was nearing his career end. As you can see from the graph, that dip in form was quite deep and lasted for a long, long time. But he fought back and showed that he still had a lot of Cricket left in him! I am sure he will bounce back again very soon! (And before you get too hung up on the fact that his test form is below his career form, remember that it is still around 40, which is considered quite decent for most other batsmen!)

Finally, here is another set of snapshots to show that Sachin’s current form is consistent with his complete batting career. The following pie charts compare a breakdown of  Sachin’s scores by score-ranges.

In ODI, If you see carefully, the share of non-performance (0-24 runs) and average performances (25-49 runs) has more or less stayed the same. (Combined 68% for the whole career, and 69% for last two years) What has definitely risen is the  share of great performances (100+ scores) and extra-ordinary performance (150+scores). Sachin haters, Is that what you call as being terribly out of form?

ODI career pieODI current pie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In test matches, the picture is even clearer. The share of non-performance (<25 runs) has dipped from 44% to 36%. And together below 50 scores, account for just 59% of recent innings as compared to 62% for overall career. The share of centuries has declined a bit (16% versus 17%), but that can hardly be considered an evidence of being in a bad form. This is still a century in every sixth innings!

Test full pie
Test Present pie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To conclude, I would again say that I am certainly disappointed with some of his recent showings, but I am sure that he will do what he has always done; he will answer his critics with his bat! He already has almost all batting records in both Tests and ODIs in his kitty, and the hundredth 100 is just another milestone that will come by soon. But as my friend Alok says (and I can not word it better!),  “Tendulkar’s greatness lies not in his stats, but in his willingness to carry the nation on his shoulders and not shirk away from responsibilities.”

Tags: , , ,

amitbhatnagar on February 15, 2012
I think I am gradually becoming a naastik :(

Sachin Tendulkar after scoring ODI Cricket's first double century One of my cousins was a bit concerned on reading the above line as my Facebook status earlier this year (Naastik =”athiest” in Hindi), but those, who know about my love for Cricket, understood what I was referring to. I was referring to my decreasing faith in God of Cricket: Sachin Tendulkar. He has repeatedly faltered, especially in last few months, when Team India needed him to perform miracles. Yes, miracles! After all, that’s what Gods do, and that’s what he was used to be doing in pre-Ganguly era, when he almost single-handedly carried the burden of the whole team. That’s what he was doing when he took India to World Cup semi-final in 1996, Finals in 2003 and finally to being World Champion in 2011!

But lately, he hasn’t been at his Godly-best! He is still doing better than most of his teammates, but he could not prevent India’s 0-4 drubbing in England last summer, and then, again by the same margin in Australia a few days ago. I don’t care much about the 100th hundred, but as an ardent fan, I am concerned that it has been close to a year that he has scored a century, which is the longest he has waited for an international hundred (except for his second hundred way back in 1990.). He has again and again failed to capitalize on good starts (Twice falling in 90’s), and I must admit that I am deeply disappointed in him.

But it should stop at just that! If you want to stop deifying someone, go ahead and strip him off his God status, but at least, recognize his existence as a super-human (or at least a simple human). You don’t need to turn him into a selfish devil. But this is exactly what a number of Cricket experts and fans are doing. I read this article on Cricketnext, and it made me very angry. And the kind of support the article has got from some of the fans (both in the comments section and on Twitter) made me even angrier. They are calling Sachin selfish and claiming that he is overstaying his welcome in international arena. Many want him to retire from ODIs, and a good number want him to quit international Cricket altogether.

I am just a passionate follower of Cricket,  not an expert. But since I am a data-driven guy, I thought I could perhaps try to run some numbers to check whether I am just being emotional and supporting my favorite Cricketer blindly. The results didn’t surprise me at all, but I hope they provide some answers to Sachin haters.

All the statistics below are based on raw data sourced from Statsguru of ESPNCricinfo. Except for the first graph, which does not include the Ind-Aus ODI on  Feb 14, 2012, all graphs are current, as of today (Feb 15, 2012). First three graphs are based on data from last two years, while the last two (will be covered in the next part of this post) span Sachin’s entire career.

Since Sachin is overstaying his welcome in international Cricket, at least two or three (maybe more) Indian Cricketers must be consistently performing better than him. Right? Unfortunately, data does not support this.

Indian ODI Test performance: Last 2 yearsLet us begin with data from ODI over last two years. Most people are questioning Sachin’s stay in this format. The same people are mostly okay with Gambhir, Sehwag, Kohli and especially Captain Cool Dhoni. (Don’t get me wrong! I am a fan of all these players too, but need to draw a quantitative comparison to answer Sachin-haters)

Well, if we go by the two main ODI parameters: batting average and Strike rate, Sachin is still decisively the best! Over the last two years, his batting average is the highest, and his strike rate of 95 is third highest among Indian batsmen. That means he is still scoring runs, and that too at a pretty brisk pace. Even if he is keeping his personal landmarks in mind, he is not slowing down the team’s score rate. Then, what makes him selfish, and how would you differentiate between scoring for oneself and scoring for the team? Yes, the team does have a lot of enthusiastic young Cricketers, and we have learned to win without him in the team, but to say that he doesn’t have a place in the team would be unfair.

Indian Team Test performance: Last 2 yearsComing to test matches, even in his bad patch in Australia and England tours, he was our second best batsmen. I know that from a batting legend, we expect more than being best or second best in a group of non-performers. We want him to win or at least manage draws for us. But overall, Sachin-haters are much less vocal about his place in Test side. This is understandable, because here he stands much taller as compared to the rest in the team, especially when it comes to away-matches. (Graph excludes Kohli, M Vijay and others who played very few matches, but none of them were anywhere near the top ) But it was funny, when after the Australian debacle, one of my very good friends, unfortunately a Sachin hater, posted an FB update asking for forced retirements for Sachin & a couple others, and followed it up with “If required, drop Dhoni and Sehwag from the test squad for the next series” . Forced retirement for Sachin, and “if required” for Dhoni & Sehwag!!! Look at the attached graph and you’ll know why I found this outrageous. I know that Raina, Kohli and Sharma may be the future, but right now, we need Sachin to play at least another year of test Cricket.

Indian Cricket Test match-Share of teamscoreAnother way to look at the comparative performances is to compare share of the team pie, i.e. on an average, how much share of the team’s total is contributed by a particular batsmen. This allows us to take into account the value of a batsman’s contribution  in relatively low scoring matches. For example: Dravid’s 146 against England (Oval, 2011; Team score: 300) is far more important than his 119 against West Indies (Kolkata 2011; Team score: 631) To calculate this, I have calculated average of a batsman’s contributions, only for the matches that he has played in. The results may not offer a fair comparison, as I haven’t given any extra credit, if a batsman is not out. Also, this may be a bit unfair to batsmen like Raina and Dhoni, who bat at #6 or #7, and at these positions, usually it is not easy to contribute a lot, as either you under immense pressure because of top order failure, or you don’t have much to contribute, as top order has already amassed a huge total. Still, it can give us some idea about who is contributing the most to team’s score.

Here too, Sachin’s graph stands considerably taller than everybody else. On average, he scores 15.5% of the team’s total score, which is really high, when you are in the same team as Dravid, Laxman and Sehwag, all of whom, contribute between 13-14%  to the team score on average. (I didn’t run this analysis for the 90’s. I am sure this would be even higher for Sachin then!)

In the above three examples, I simply proved quantitatively the obvious:  “There is still no one in the Indian team, who comes close to Sachin”. But is Sachin really doing very bad, as per his own very high standards. Is this really the lowest point in his career? (Most of you know the answer to this question!). Isn’t two years a long period to compare someone’s current performance?  I will try to address these in the next part of this post.

Tags: , , ,

Amit Bhatnagar on Quora.com on February 14, 2012

I had a similar Question, but when I didn't get any answer on how it would work, I went ahead and tried a workaround..

You can find my answer (and some more) here: Amit Bhatnagar's answer to Is there a way to export the contents of a Facebook group?

See question on Quora

Amit Bhatnagar on Quora.com on February 14, 2012

Work-around: For now, I have implemented a workaround by creating a dummy FB user for the group. I have set all group notifications on for this user, which makes sure that all posts are delivered to the gmail inbox of this user.. Next, I used a WordPress plugin called Postie to allow me to post by email. This way all posts on the group are getting blogged on my wordpress blog..

This does not give me allow me to export previously posted content, but
all new posts are being taken care of.. (You can actually export the
previous content too, if you already have notifications set for the
account that you want to use for blogging)

I know that blogging by email is a native functionality that WP provides, but Postie is much more robust and versatile. Also, I made some code level changes to add functionality like adding tags to the post depending on the content. (I asked the group members to use Twitter type hashtags that are later added as blog tags)

See question on Quora

Bryan, The Retweet that you mentioned would not carry any RT/MT
indicators, nor can it be adjusted, as the original poster had
mentioned.. He is referring to the old fashioned retweet (i.e. before
the retweet button came. Some people,including me, continue to use this,
 when they have to add a comment or even a LOL), where you clicked reply
 and added RT manually..
The norm is that in case you left the original tweet intact and any
comment you added are outside of it, you should be using RT. If you
modify the original tweet (maybe to adjust length, or dropping an
irrelevant part), you should be using MT (Modified Tweet), and not RT,
as any Grammar mistake or factual distortion may be attributed to
original tweeter, if RT is used.

The answer, of course, is that many people still don't know what MT is, and i guess the solution is simply to use this more often, make people google for what it stands for, and gradually, this would become as universal as RT.

See question on Quora

amitbhatnagar on March 15, 2011

Contd.. from here

Okay! Now, let me put on my Product Manager’s hat! As a Product manager, I would certainly pay heed to the above feature requests. But I also need to think of the features that end-user will not normally think of, and also the ones that will make Facebook some money. I have one such feature in mind:

Facebook surveys

Everyone needs to conduct some surveys at times: from schools conducting end of semester surveys on quality of teaching to companies seeking feedback for a new product they have launched. But traditionally, the response rate is quite low, especially for business surveys. We have an opportunity to add value here by providing a survey-forum. (I know Facebook allows for single question polls; I am talking about full length surveys, and some more.)

How it will work? Creating the surveys will be free for everyone: students, housewives, or general people using surveys for personal purposes or even, business purposes. However, I make a distinction on reaching out to respondents:

  • Reaching  out directly: You want to send out a survey to your friends, or you have a business with a fan-page with 40,000 followers, and you ask them to fill out a FB survey. No problems! Go ahead and do it for free, and we’ll make money we usually do: by just keeping you and your followers/friends a bit longer somewhere on Facebook.
  • FB mailing lists: So, you are planning to launch a new upscale restaurant for Chinese food in downtown San Francisco targeting mostly young people, but are a bit apprehensive about the idea. You want to conduct a field survey, but are concerned about the high costs and low response rate. No problems! Come to us, and we will give you the most comprehensive target list that is possible. We can include people precisely in the age group and geographical area you are targeting. From their recent check-ins, we can help you target people frequenting existing Chinese restaurants. And from their other “Likes”, interests and other information in their profile, we can even figure out their education and income levels if you need that. Of course, this will come at a price, but as you can see, this will be totally worth it!

To improve response rate, we can award varying level of virtual money to all respondents, and some real gifts for some randomly selected respondents. (We can work on how to make virtual money more valuable, but that’s a different feature idea for some other time!)

I found this writing exercise very interesting. Quite often, I keep on noticing things on different websites, which I would like to be a different. On Facebook, the list above is only a partial list of many such small things that I feel, can improve my FB experience. Will have to think a bit hard to recall all of them! Maybe another post, a bit more serious than this one, some time later!  But right now, I guess I will follow soon on what I feel can be added to LinkedIn. (And for that, I have much more serious, and important ideas. Surprised that they haven’t implemented those yet!)

Tags: , ,

amitbhatnagar on March 15, 2011

Some time back, I had applied to a startup for a Strategy intern position, and as a part of application, I had to answer some interesting questions. One of them included what would I like to see in Facebook. I didn’t want to delay the application, and submitted whatever I could think of in 30-40 minutes (and have sometimes thought of inadvertently). Thought of sharing this on the blog…

What is facebook missing that you would like to see?

I would like to answer it from two perspectives: the end user’s perspective and a product manager’s perspective. Of course, the Product Manager needs to pay attention to what the end user wants too, but very often, for evolving services like Social Media, the end user doesn’t clearly know what he wants, and may end up stating some obvious answers, derived mostly from comparison from other similar services. It’s the product-management that comes up with ideas that gradually become a part of end-user’s experience. For example: How many of us thought that we need to “Like” a status update or a photo posted by one of our friends? Most of the time, a comment like “Kool dude!” or “Nice picture” did the job. And now that Facebook has introduced the concept of “Liking”, it has become an integral part of end-user’s Facebook experience. We are so used to “Liking” now that we have started missing a “Dislike” button!

Anyway, without further adieu, some features I would like to see from the end-user’s perspective. All responses are in voice of a generic end-user, not necessarily me!!

  • Personalized recommendations: I have listed what my favorite books and movies are. You even know what I have been doing lately. I have just listed Spanish in my list of languages, and added a couple of Spanish movies in my favorite movies list. You know the tastes of my friends with whom I hang out the most.  Why can’t you help me figure out which movie or book I should try out next (a la Netflix)? Or maybe you can send a mail when a theater play that I would love is in town. You exactly know what I want, don’t you? So, why can’t you share your knowledge about me with me? I am even ready to tell you the names of the movies I detested, or the actors I can’t stand if that helps!
  • An “Unsubscribe” button: I love to congratulate a friend when he changes his status from “In a relationship” to “Married”, or to tell another how cute she looks in the Chinese dress she just tried for a photo. But what I absolutely hate is that flurry of comments/mail notifications that will follow, because all friends of my friends would like to add a comment too!! In fact, I have stopped commenting on some of my friend’s updates because I know that they have a huge following, and one small comment is going to spam my mailbox for next seven days! I don’t want you to stop the mail-notifications completely, because many a times, I actually want to be a part of the conversation. But can you offer me a simple “unsubscribe” button that I can click as soon as I make a comment, or may be when I know that the conversation has nothing interesting for me?   (FB does provide an unsubscribe option for conversation on groups, but not at individual account level)
  • Testimonials: I know my friends love me, but I want the whole world to know how awesome I am. Okay! Okay! Not the whole world, just that new, cute girl on the campus, whom I plan to send a Facebook friend request soon! I have tons of recommendations on LinkedIn that describe my professional excellence, but can I have some testimonials from my friends that tell everyone, how caring and/or cool I am! (Even that arcane Social media site Orkut allowed these!!)

For the Product Manager’s take, click here.

Tags: , ,

amitbhatnagar on March 13, 2011

Sorry, didn’t get a chance to post the answers earlier. If you haven’t tried the questions yet, read no further and try this and this. I know some of you found this quiz way too easy, but remember this was not a quiz for regular quizzers. In fact, half of the participants were perhaps participating in a quiz for the first time.

Anyway, without further adieu, here are the answers to the questions from the elims

1. Roger Federer
2. Norah Jones
3. George W Bush
4. Sony VAIO (Check out the logo, really cool!)
5. Amazon.com
6. Apple
7. Lady Gaga
8. Literature
9. Subway
10. IKEA
11. Southwest Airlines founder (Most MBA students will have at least one case on Southwest. So didn’t find it right to leave out Southwest completely from a quiz for MBA students!)
12. Jetlag
13. Fear of #13 (Did you notice the question number??)
14. Bankrupt/ Bankruptcy
15. BlackBerry

And here are the answers to questions from the non-business rounds:

Will follow up with a post on Business rounds and the final round!

Tags: ,

amitbhatnagar on March 5, 2011

As written here, I recently organized a quiz at my business school. The quiz was organized under the banner of International Business Association, and had a mix of business and non-business questions related to the US and the rest of the world. Here are the questions from the non-business rounds:

As before, the comments are moderated, and I will approve them all, in a 2-3 days once I feel everybody has had a fair chance at attempting the questions. (Please post your answers here as comments, not on FB link for this post) Will be posting the questions from non-business rounds tomorrow.

Tags: ,

amitbhatnagar on February 26, 2011

Once a Quizzer, always a quizzer!! (Or in MNNIT lingo, once a Gnosiomaniac*, always a Gnosiomaniac!!) I was active in quizzing in my school days, and in my undergrad days. So, when I entered the corporate world and found the quizzing action missing, I organized some quizzes at my former employers CA and Adobe. I intended to do the same, when I came to US for my MBA. Finally, I got a chance to realize this dream of mine, when I organized a Quiz under the banner of International Business Association. The attendance was slightly lower than my expectations, but that was more than made up by the action. I am so excited by the success of the event that I have decided that I will repeat the action once I join back the corporate world!

Anyway, without further adieu, here are the questions from the elimination round. If you are a seasoned quizzer, you may find some of them extremely simple, but I believe there is some good stuff for everyone.

Leave your answers as comments to this post. I have enabled comment-moderation, so that everyone gets a fair chance. Will post the answers in a week and the questions from the main round in a couple of days.

Elimination Round

1. Nike created this logo for X. Identify X

Q1 Nike

 

 

 

2. The birth name of this multiple Grammy Award winning American music star is: Geethali _______  _______  Shankar, but she has now dropped “Geethali” and “Shankar” from her name, and goes by the name ____ ___ (the parts blanked out in the full name). Which singer are we talking about?

3. “Decision Points” is an autobiographical memoir released in 2010. Who is the author?

4. The logo of this company represents an integration of analog and digital technology, with part of logo representing an analog wave, while the other represents binary code. Which brand?

5. Which company is the parent company of The Internet Movie Database (IMDb)?

6. The image below shows the first logo of which present day company:

Logo of which company

 

 

 

 

7. By what name do we know the singer Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta?

8. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1953. Which field?

9. What is the most famous offering of a company called Doctors’ Associates?

10. Swedish lawyer Ingvar Kamprad grew up in a village called Agunnaryd on a farm named Elmtaryd. At the age of 17, he founded a company named after his name, and the places he grew up in. Today, Kamprad is one of the world’s richest man, while the company he established is the world’s largest retailer in its segment.

Which company are we talking about?  

11. His name is Herb Kelleher. What is his claim to fame?


 

 

 

12. The medical term for this condition is desynchronosis. What term do we layman have for this?  

13. What is Triskaidekaphobia a fear of?

14. In North Italy, when a moneylender went out of business, the bench that he worked from, was physically broken. What modern day business term has its origin in this practice?

15. What is the Canadian company “Research In Motion” best known for?

*Gnosiomania is the Annual Knowledge-Festival of MNNIT, Allahabad. The word Gnosiomania, a neologism coined in MNNIT itself, means an Obsession for knowledge.

Tags: ,