Category Archives: Etc.

Why Gene Hackman Stands Out in the Classic Western ‘Bite the Bullet’ 0 (0)

The phrase “bite the bullet” refers to the act of enduring a painful or difficult situation with courage and fortitude. The 1975 Western film “Bite the Bullet” tells the story of a grueling 700-mile horse race across the American West in the early 1900s, and the various participants who must “bite the bullet” in order to survive the journey. The film features an impressive ensemble cast, which includes James Coburn, Candice Bergen, and Ben Johnson, among others. Director Richard Brooks did an excellent job of bringing the story to life, creating a sense of authenticity and realism that draws the viewer into the world of the film.

At the center of this compelling story is Gene Hackman’s character, Sam Clayton, a former Rough Rider and current mercenary who enters the race as an afterthought. Hackman’s performance is outstanding, and he brings nuance and depth to Clayton’s personality. He is a tough, no-nonsense kind of guy who has seen it all and done it all. He is not particularly likable, but he is undeniably skilled, capable and kind both to animals and humans. Hackman’s portrayal of Clayton is masterful, conveying both his physical prowess and his emotional complexity.

The other actors in the film are also excellent. James Coburn, Candice Bergen, Ben Johnson etc put in terrific performances.

The film’s plot is well-crafted, and the tension builds steadily throughout the race. The challenges that the racers face are realistic and harrowing, and the sense of danger is palpable. The cinematography is also impressive, capturing the beauty and brutality of the Western landscape.

“Bite the Bullet” is a classic Western film that delivers on every level. The movie is a testament to the skill of director Richard Brooks, the talents of the ensemble cast and crew. But it is Gene Hackman’s portrayal of Sam Clayton that truly elevates the movie to a higher level. His acting is superb, and his characterization of Clayton is nuanced and multi-layered. It is no wonder that Hackman is considered one of the greatest actors of his generation, and his work in “Bite the Bullet” is a shining example of his talent.

You loved ChatGPT. Wait until you see its rivals. 0 (0)

One of these alternatives is Jurassic-1. Numbering some 178 billion parameters in its largest form, the LLM is the brainchild of AI21 Labs, a research start-up-turned-product and platform manager founded in 2017 with the goal of creating models specialising in language generation and comprehension. “We didn’t want to play a pure research game like DeepMind,” says Ori Goshen, AI21 Lab’s chief executive (though it, too, is flirting with the idea of its own superpowered chatbot.) “We admire DeepMind, we think they’re great. But we also wanted to bring real commercial value from the get-go.”

That same instinct is present at Cohere, another AI start-up based out of Toronto. Its latest model, explains its chief operating officer Martin Kon, powers classification, semantic search and content moderation across 160 languages. “That might not be exciting to consumers who enjoy generating poems about their cats or images of dogs in sushi houses, but we feel it’s certainly incredibly exciting to CEOs and executives of companies, organisations, and governments of all sizes everywhere in the world,” he says. 

Full article here–>

Engineered in India…with love and dedication. 5 (1)

..with love and dedication.

On Page 201, the author quotes an incident from the company’s early days in HUDA Maitrivanam building in Hyderabad, and his shock when he sees a woman employee walking up the stairs to their 6th floor office. (Having worked in the same building in 1995-96, in another software company I had firsthand experience of this issue, where the elevator would go out of service at the drop of a hat.)

The following paragraph sums up the attitude of a Founder-CEO who takes every problem head on and in the process keeps building the character of his company.

“There was no way I would allow an expectant mother in my employ to endanger herself and her future child walking up and down six floors! I took the matter to the Director, STP (Software Technology Park) Hyderabad, J.A Chowdary. Apparently, he was not equipped to deal with it at his level either, but he raised it with the Secretary, Department of Electronics (now Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology), Government of India, who helped us resolve the issue. It took weeks of chasing, but the building finally had a functional elevator!”

The success story of Cyient (erstwhile Infotech) had to be told, as many companies that started digitization services in the 90s folded in due course or failed to scale or pivot. And, who better to tell it all, than the Founder of Cyient himself—Sri.B.V.R.Mohan Reddy.

‘Engineered in India’ is part memoir and part business and management book, as the author himself mentions in the introduction.

  • Part 1 paints a detailed journey of a middle class boy who falls in love with mathematics at an early age, becomes an engineer, gains work experience (ala craftsman mindset in Cal Newport ‘So Good, they can’t ignore you’) and transforms into a highly successful first generation technopreneur. 
  • Part 2 does a brilliant job of taking important business themes and mapping most of the incidents/milestones from Part 1. 

In a way the first part of the book is like an epic movie and the second, the making of the movie featurette, spanning across the crafts, which in this case, the important aspects of a business. The second part covers significant attributes of a successful and sustainable company:  pursuit of excellence, customer centricity, quality and process orientation, people development, strategy and business transformation, money management, crisis management and institution building. (A timeline of events/milestones mapped to these attributes, as an appendix would have been nice as a cross-reference, while reading Part 2)

In the last chapter on institution building, he highlights his belief in ‘Clock building and not time telling’ (From Jim Collins ‘Built to Last’) and his methodical succession planning exercise.

Any first generation entrepreneur’s book is a necessary read as one gets to pick up learning across the functions of a business, as he/she is so involved in every aspect. (This book calls for taking extensive notes, mine exceeded 10 pages).  What makes ‘Engineered in India’, even better is the fact that Sri.B.V.R. Mohan Reddy, though being a very successful person was satisfied to remain in the shade rather than bask in its glory, stuck to his engineering ethos and when the time came, he did not hesitate to hang in his shoes for the new generation to take over. While his individual story takes a new turn, the story of the company he founded continues.

Related Links
Lakshonline on Built to Last

Lakshonline on So Good, they can’t ignore you