The Shiv-Hari Duo of Pandits Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia

Shiv-Hari is the duo of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, two of the most distinguished contemporary Hindustani Indian classical musicians. Shivkumar Sharma is the virtuoso of the Santoor ( Indian hammered dulcimer) and Hariprasad Chaurasia of the Bansuri (Indian transverse flute.)

Sharma and Chaurasia first collaborated in 1967 as part of a trio with guitarist Pandit Brij Bhushan Kabra to produce the album “Call of the Valley”.

The duo later formed Shiv-Hari and teamed up to score music for many popular Bollywood motion pictures, viz., Silsila (1981), Faasle (1981), Vijay (1988), Chandni (1989), Lamhe (1991), Parampara (1993), Sahibaan (1993), and Darr (1993.) Chandni, Darr, Silsila, and Lamhe were made by film director, script writer and film producer Yash Chopra.

Pictures of the Shiv-Hari Duo

  • Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia with Ravi Shankar
    Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia with Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.
  • Shivkumar Sharma, Hariprasad Chaurasia, and Brij Bhushan Kabra
    Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia first collaborated in 1967 as part of a trio with guitarist Pandit Brij Bhushan Kabra to produce the album “Call of the Valley”.
  • The Shiv-Hari Duo with Amitabh Bachchan and Yash Chopra
    The Shiv-Hari duo conferring with actor Amitabh Bachchan and film director, script writer and film producer Yash Chopra during the making of Silsila (1981.)
  • The Shiv-Hari Duo of Pandits Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia
    Over the decades, Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia have also collaborated on many concert tours and played Indian classical music together.
  • Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia with Annapurna Devi
    Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia with surbahar exponent Annapurna Devi, daughter and disciple of Baba Allauddin Khan, and first wife of sitar exponent Ravi Shankar.

The Black Madonna Icon of Czestochowa in the Jasna Gora Monastery, Poland

Czestochowa, Poland

Outside Czestochowa, in an industrial area, is the Jasna Gora Monastery that houses the famous Black Madonna Icon. Over the years, this famous shrine to the Virgin Mary in Poland has become the most important center of pilgrimage for the Polish people and for Roman Catholics.

Legend has it that this portrait of the Black Madonna icon traces its origin to Luke the Evangelist. St. Luke is believed to have painted this portrait of the Blessed Virgin on a bench that was produced by Jesus when Jesus was a trainee-carpenter learning under the guidance of St. Joseph. Following the crucifixion of Jesus, this bench was brought to the Holy City of Jerusalem. After Jerusalem fell to the invading Romans, some Christian monks hid the Black Madonna icon during their itinerant travels.

Empress Helena, the wife of Emperor Constantius and the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great discovered this bench in the fourth century when searching for the relics of the True Cross and brought the picture to Constantinople, modern Istanbul. From the third century to the eighth century, this portrait remained in Constantinople.

Jasna Gora Monastery, Czestochowa

In the eight century, during the rise of Islam in the Middle East and the following the siege of Constantinople, some Christian holy men carried the portrait to Belsk in east-central Poland. During the looting that followed the 1382 Tartar invasion, the portrait remained hidden because a mysterious cloud enveloped the chapel that housed this portrait. After the Tartars abandoned their siege of Belsk in 1384, a Prince of Belsk took the Black Madonna icon to a then-obscure parish called Czestochowa and entrusted it with the Pauline monks of St. Paul of the Desert at the Jasna Gora Monastery near Czestochowa. Over the course of time, Jasna Gora became a centre of pilgrimage for Polish Christians and Catholics.

In 1430 The Hussites attached Czestochowa and embezzled the Black Madonna icon. Legend has it that as the Hussites were leaving Czestochowa, their horses mysteriously halted at the edges of the village and they could not be spurred to move forward without abandoning the Black Madonna portrait. When the Pauline monks found the portrait stained by mud and blood, they could not find any water in the wells of the village because the all the water had been used to fight a big fire incited by the invading Hussites. Then, a miraculous fountain initiated itself to aid the monks. This spring is said to have magical powers.

Kaplica Cudownego Obrazu, Chapel of Our Lady

After the Hussite invasion the Poles fought for three hundred years with the Teutonic Crusaders, and all the decisive victories won by the Polish nation in these battles are attributed to the miraculous help of the Holy Virgin. Thus the safety of the shrine of Czestochowa is identified with the very safety and independence of the whole nation.

In the seventeenth century, the Black Madonna icon is credited with saving the Jasna Gora Monastery when the Swedish army took siege of Czestochowa for more than six weeks during The Deluge. Even though this event is not significant from a military perspective, the event inspired the Polish unity and independence over the centuries. On 1-Apr-1656, the King of Poland Jan Kazimierz consecrated Poland to the protection of the Mother of God and proclaimed Her the Patron of his kingdom and acclaimed her the Queen of Poland. That preserved Czestochowa’s reputation as the spiritual capital of the nation of Poland.

Black Madonna Icon of Czestochowa

The Jasna Gora Monastery is a functioning Monastery inside which the ‘Kaplica Cudownego Obrazu’, or the Chapel of Our Lady, holds the venerated Black Madonna Icon, Poland’s most revered icon. The unveiling ceremony is held at 06:00 and 13:30 on the weekdays and at 06:00 and 14:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. The veiling ceremony is held at 12:00 and 21:20 on the weekdays and at 13:00 and 21:20 on Saturdays and Sundays.

A museum holds, among many artifacts, arsenals, and religious objects of interest, the medal from the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize received by Lech Walesa, the Polish politician, trade-union organizer, and human-rights activist.

Behavioral Interview Questions by Competency: Analytical Problem Solving

Behavioral Interview Questions: Analytical Problem Solving

Analytical problem solving is the ability to use a systematic approach in solving problems through analysis of problem and evaluation of alternate solutions; use logic, mathematics, or other problem solving tools in data analysis or in generating solutions.

  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Thinking back over the last five years of your work, describe a situation in which you had to use mathematics to solve a complex problem. Take your time, remember a good example, and tell me all about it in detail.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate show knowledge/skill in mathematics, perhaps deriving formulas, using modeling techniques, and/or conducting statistical analyses? Was there elementary skill in mathematics, requiring only basic addition/subtraction/multiplication/division?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “To what extent has your past work required you to be skilled in the analysis of technical reports or information? Pick any specific experience, which would highlight your skills in this area and describe it in detail.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate conduct a close review of detailed technical information, requiring a professional education or training to understand? Was there a superficial/ incomplete review of information, perhaps covering materials such as popular magazines?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “What was your greatest success in using the principles of logic to solve technical problems at work? Be specific.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate use inference/deduction to solve a technical problem, using tools of logic such as mathematics or computers? Was there little use of more than obvious facts/procedures for problem solving?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Describe a time when you were proud of your ability to use your mathematical knowledge or research techniques to solve a problem.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate conduct/direct work which used research designs and/or statistics/mathematics? Was there use of only basic clerical skills/elementary mathematics as directed by someone else?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Solving a problem often necessitates evaluation of alternate solutions. Give me an example of a time when you actively defined several solutions to a single problem. Did you use any tools such as research, brain- storming, or mathematics?”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate develop alternative solutions to a problem based on a clarification of objectives and a review of facts/causes? Was there an obvious/standard solution or an autocratic solution, reflecting little specification of alternatives?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Give me an example of any time when you used tools such as survey data, library research, or statistics as important contributors to the definition of a specific problem.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate have a primary role in research design, formal data collection, and interpretation? Was there acceptance of questionable information or assumptions, or over-dependence on others?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Enumerate the analytical tools with which you feel competent, and then give me an example from any time in your working history, which shows your ability to use analytical techniques to define problems or design solutions.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate make an informed decision on which tool was best for a specific task, and use the tool with minimal supervision? Was there little actual use of the tool, even with supervision?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Tell me about a time when you were systematic in identifying potential problems at work. Feel free to display your analytical skills.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate anticipate and identify a problem, then collect data and analyze it? Were there a lack of anticipation/preparation and/or use of a trial-and-error approach?

Behavioral Interview Questions by Competency: Customer-Orientation & Customer Service

Behavioral Interview Questions: Customer-Orientation

Customer-orientation is the ability to show care and concern for customers and make them feel valued; willing to deliver timely and reliable customer support and exceed customer expectations; Ability to create a customer-led orientation in a work group.

  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Describe a time when you chose to exceed, rather than meet, a customer’s expectations. Why did you do so, and what were the results?”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate identify a level of customer support to achieve and actively pursue it? Were there results below the customer’s expectation, or above expectation but due to other than the candidate’s actions?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Describe a time when you went way beyond the call of duty to ensure reliability and make sure your customer’s needs were met.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate take proactive steps, such as making sure a product worked, double-checking delivery schedules, or identifying backup plans? Was there little management of a product/service, and/or little effort to make sure all details were in order?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “All companies have some customers or accounts that are less profitable or more trouble than others do. Describe a time when you made such a customer feel highly valued, possibly leading to additional business.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate show attention to the customer and clearly indicate the high priority of meeting the customer’s needs? Was there inattention to the customer, incomplete or inferior treatment, or a failure to prioritize his/her needs?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Describe a situation in which normal or planned turnaround time or delivery would be too slow for a customer’s needs. How did you address the customer’s needs?”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate take concrete steps to speed up delivery, such as rescheduling, or changing shipping approach? Was there lack of concern for the slowness, or little or superficial effort expended to correct it?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Describe a situation in which you converted a hostile or dissatisfied customer into a repeat buyer.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate take proactive steps to gain the confidence of the customer, perhaps addressing necessary issues or focusing on approaches to improvement? Was there avoidance of the customer and a failure to address the issues?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Describe a situation in which you took initiative to create or improve a customer-led orientation in a work group you managed or were part of. How did you ensure success of this effort?”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate initiate a multifaceted approach, perhaps including education, values analysis, and/or measurement? Was there resentment of the customer or a belief that customer support was someone else’s responsibility?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Customers often need support in deciding exactly what they want. Describe a time when you invested time and effort in helping a customer evaluate his/her needs.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate invest time/effort into meeting with the customer, including asking/answering questions and reviewing options? Were there little effort to help, brief/ forced answers to questions, and little initiative to explain options?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Describe a time when your care and concern for a customer was clearly manifested in the way you delivered your product/service.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate attend closely to the customer’s needs, perhaps showing high attention to detail and/or following up on progress or results? Was there an absence of concern, evidenced by little management of the product/ service, perhaps with an assumption that delivery would take care of itself?

Motivation: Praise is better than Criticism

Criticism In the day-to-day rush to get things done, recognizing employees takes a backseat to everything else managers have on their plates. However, praise is important.

A study by Wichita State University found that praise and commendation by a boss is a very strong motivator. The survey also found that nearly three fifths of employees do not receive any form of recognition or appreciation on a regular basis from their supervisors.

Some managers are quick to criticize employees for their mistakes. That employees will be motivated because of the repulsiveness of the criticism and change their behaviors is an absurd notion. For this reason, criticism is very counterproductive. Managers unfortunately do not realize that criticism only motivates employees to do anything to avoid criticism and not focus on doing a better job.

The best managers hit upon creative ways to delivering well-timed, sincere praise to employees who do well. Here is what you can learn from them:

  • The most effective praise is well timed. Good managers praise their employees as soon as the employee displays the desired behavior.
  • Praise is effective only when it is genuine and heartfelt.
  • Managers that excel at recognizing their employees are very specific in their praise. They avoid generalities and discuss identifiable achievements of their employees in such a way that the desired behaviors are reiterated.

Seth Klarman’s Recommended Books on Investing

Seth Klarman's Recommended Books on Investing

Seth Klarman is an American private equity investor and founder of the Baupost Group, a Boston-based private investment partnership firm. Seth is himself the author of a renowned book on value investing: “Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor.” One of the world’s most respected value investors, he once said,

It is important to remember that value investing is not a perfect science. Rather it is an art, and necessitates dealing with imperfect information. Knowing you will never know everything must not prevent you from acting. It requires a precarious balance between conviction, steadfastness in the face of adversity, and doubt, keeping in mind the possibility that you could be wrong.

The Worst Business Decision Ever (Hint: Xerox)

What crosses your mind when you think of an archetype of failing to recognize enormous business opportunities and renouncing innovations?

Xerox: The Worst Business Decision Ever

Xerox PARC, now an independent but wholly-owned subsidiary of Xerox, is celebrated for its pioneering technology inventions. It produced the first computer to use the desktop metaphor and mouse-driven graphical user interface (GUI) to let users interact with computers and software. They failed to capitalize on the huge opportunity. Someone else commercialized a large portion of Xerox’s ideas.

Xerox PARC invented the idea of icons, windows-based interfaces and dialogue boxes, point-and-click interfaces, local area networks, WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) text editor and many other technological innovations that are at present part of the very underpinning of the personal computer industry. Years later, Xerox’s management even acknowledged, “whole companies have been built on inventions born at PARC.”

Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)

The fundamental flaw lies in Xerox’s strategy. Xerox’s leadership was preoccupied with determining ways to protect its mainstay, the copier business, from impending competition from Japanese companies. Xerox decided that it was a copier company and let go of the business opportunities in its technological invocations, even if PARC’s innovations had significant potential in the future of nascent personal computer industry. Steve Job’s innovation, the Apple Macintosh, borrowed from the work of PARC and created the first successful commercial computer with a graphical user interface.

The other choice that killed a great business opportunity was the decision by IBM that it was a computer company, not a software company. That made possible the rise of Bill Gates’ Microsoft Corporation, which went on to dominate the world of operating systems and applications software.