Jose Thomas

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Monday 16th January, 2012



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Hi Friends,

I hope you are getting settled into 2012, the New Year. Once again I want to wish all my readers a very prosperous and peaceful 2012.

I am here in New York and when I travel, which is quite a bit I always feel the need to keep in touch with my business pursuits through the internet. However even in the most sophisticated airlines I have not been able to get the internet connectivity. So the last week when I was flying from New York to Houston on South West Airlines I was quite skeptical when they announced after the take-off that there was internet connectivity on board for a fee of $ 5. I did not pay any attention to the announcement as I was sure that it would not work.

So after the flight took off it came as a very pleasant surprise to me when I took out my I-Pad and got connected with no difficulty at all and believe me this was at an altitude of 35000 feet! I was virtually running my company from this height. Leave alone my e-mail; I could even go into all my databases virtually for 3 hours 20 minutes, not realizing I was in the air running my business. I started to marvel at this thing called “technology” and all its implications. From an altitude of 35000 feet you can run your business, you can make phone calls, send e-mails, inter act with people from that height!! I was just wondering where this world was going to.

I always thought that making something new or innovative was like creating wealth. I started to think of this guy who invented this technology behind the internet. I am sure when this guy thought of inventing this, he would have got a negative feed-back from people telling him that this would not be possible, because on earth, many times I have witnessed this in the hotels I stay in, in my corporate office where we lose internet connectivity and all we hear is excuses and explanations why it is not working. Again, to my pleasant surprise, I found that at 35000 feet this technology was working!!! What does this imply? It drives home the point that it is possible if you are consistent in doing what you need to do and what you need to deliver.

I quickly went back to the 35 years, rather 32 years when I came into this business, during which time I had no clue about technology. However, in the year 1977 (if I remember correctly), I heard a rumour that computers were coming into India. Before I knew what was happening, computers where introduced into the Southern part of India where I lived. I did not hesitate. I did not waste any time. I jumped at this opportunity. I employed some people who knew a little bit more on the subject than I did and I said” Hey guys, let’s buy a computer”. This was a big deal and I was told that this was the first time a computer was coming into India which could compute and give us information. I liked this idea because I believed that if a business has to run, you need information on time and that too, when the activity happens. So I had this vision. Even today I have that vision and I am looking for newer ideas and technology that can bring my business to the next level.

So here I am in the year 1977, trying to buy this computer. I lost my sleep on certain nights when I heard about its cost, the support system that you needed and the number of people you had to employ and finally to call it as a data center; EDP, if I remember correctly it used to be called “Electronic Data Processing” Center. Technology was really starting to pick up back then. If only we could go back to those times, even if but for a moment, we would see the innocence and naivety in our own eyes as we looked onto a wonderful future of incredible technological advancement.

Finally, with the help of a few of my employees and friends we decided to buy the first computer in 1977. A machine (if I remember right) was made by HCL Computers. When the machine was delivered I found it too amazing because I was like a kid looking forward to seeing it as if a toy was being delivered to my office. Today when I look back I feel amused at the very nature of the computer: a huge box almost the size of a refrigerator. I feel really funny comparing the memory space of my first computer which was only 4MB, whereas the i phone or the hand held computer today has a memory of 32GB. We opened the box – it was a big box and it cost us quite a lot of money too. If I remember correctly, those days (in 1977) it cost us more than Rs.500,000/- which in today’s terms is quite a lot of money. But my excitement for using technology to expand my business prompted me to go for it and I think, I must claim that I was the first individual to buy a computer of this configuration. The configuration you can’t even imagine today. An i-phone has more of memory space than this main computer that I had in 1977. I had a vision at that time to help technology, to develop my business and today, let me tell you my friends that for the 30 to 40% of the Choice Group today (the company that I own); the credit must go to the technology that I brought in. Even today I am pursuing more and more technology and at this time I should even say that a couple of years back (3 years back) we tried to implement the most sophisticated technology using programs like SAP. We tried to implement it but due to various reasons it did not work. However I had the guts to scrap it and go and find newer and easier and more user friendly ways to bring in the right technology into my organization because friends business is a challenge today. The state of technology way back in 1999 was pretty impressive. We thought, and it was hard to imagine things getting much better. We were doing pretty well for ourselves and thought that we surely wouldn’t see any major technological advancements for decades to come. But now we know the world is going to change. I don’t know where the world is going to be twenty years from now. I hear there will be aero planes that will be flown without pilots, there will be ships without captains, there will be computers that will take your voice command and convert your command into action, and there will be machinery that will start off on your voice command. I don’t know what is going to happen. All I can tell you is this, I will stay tuned for tomorrow and I believe that technology is a must for developing any business. To the professionals who are in the business of software development and the professionals who are in the business of developing hardware and creating newer technologies: the future lies with you and we need you to create newer technology. The future is with you. There has been a surge of revolutionary technologies in the last decade that even Science Fiction couldn’t have predicted. Everything from the way we play, to the way we think, has been challenged due to these advancements. We need you to create newer technology so that businesses can use it and use it for larger benefits and bring in more and more success to the world and to everybody in their lives.
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Responses to
 Govind says:
you bought a computer for 500000 in 77 ??? freakin OSM !!!
 K K Jagannivasan says:
Thanks for nice piece of information. Let stay tuned for more technological creations...
 Sam Jacob says:
Mr. Thomas, i enjoy your blog and your writing. But the post is little difficult to read due to a lack of space between the lines. I regularly read this blog, and since it has ample space between lines, there's not much strain to read it. This is not a criticism to what you write but the way it's displayed on the web page.
sir,i agree with your visuals and futuristic ideas...............
 Jiby Abraham says:
Thanks for sharing it.Best wishes. God bless.
 MAHESH says:
Sir, Thanks for the innovative information, i really enjoy your writing..... wishing you all the best
 Anoop.G says:
Sir, that was an awesome blog, especially for me who was employed with Choice Trading for a period 2000-2010, for SF & PFD, to hear his captains speech . Regarding SAP I was with Choice when we were trying to implement the ERP. After that I moved to U.A.E , Were in the same industry I was amazed to see SAP working so effectively. I believe its not the ERP, But the IT professional support & the backup attached to the project may be the root cause. SAP is the best ERP I have worked so long.
 angelina rivera says:
Hi thomas my name is angelina rivera i am one ov youre employer from tastiee choice from quakertown o hope i have my work back i miss my job i want my position back please i love tastee choice.
 Thomas says:
I guess by computers you mean PCs (personal computers). Computers have been in India from the 1960s. An IBM1401, which was for many years the most widely used mainframe computer in the world, was set up at the Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta and that was sometime in 1965. PCs of course came into being in the early 1970s.
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