Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Math Behind the six degree Referral Program by Fantasy Draft

A couple of years ago, I learnt about "Six Degrees of Separation" when I was working on an MBA project. Basically, the claim is that any two people on average are 6 links apart from each other(friend of a friend ....6 times). It sounded pretty interesting to me.
Recently, I stumbled upon a case of a Fantasy Sports company called "FantasyDraft" using the idea of 6 degree referral program.Here's a video that explains how this works.
On first glance,I did not understand how this is economically feasible.Hence, I decided to work on the math behind this program. I performed a Monte Carlo Analysis to evaluate the likelihood of loss due to this program. The result showed very little likelihood(about 3-5%).
The math behind the magical number in the video is this->It is the sum of this series 5+5^2+5^3...+5^6(Sum of a GP)
Would this work for other categories and why?I am trying to dig deeper.
You can find the excel sheet on the link below.
Would love your comments and critique.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Music without borders

Recently, I changed my view to think that all music is one and the emotions that they evoke are just the same.

We have had arguments over which form of music is superior-and unfortunately with some or most  Indian Classical music enthusiasts, the popular opinion is that Indian classical is the most superior form in the world and it is esoteric and cannot be understood by the masses.

In fact, in a recent concert of TMK's, somebody asked TMK if carnatic music can be simplified. His response was "Why should we simplify carnatic music? When you say "simplify", it is almost an egotistical proposition that the less fortunate would not be able to comprehend the art form. Carnatic music is not all that difficult for people who grow in an environment where classical music is often played."

Well I agree and disagree with TMK. Here is my take.

1. TMK also added that for instance, he would not understand something like say String Theory and does not expect String Theory to be simplified.I certainly agree with him on this.There should be some effort from the learners' end

2.Perhaps, I think TMK mistook simplification for dilution- Certainly, a whole lot can be done to make classical music comprehensible without diluting it- Personally, I am confident that all well educated people can develop a taste for it if things are explained well in comprehensible terms.(Things like what are ragam/talam,  nadai,  RTP and so on)

For example, most people could learn charukesi by listening to these two songs above  and appreciating the same soul in both of them.

Rest for Later!Comments welcome!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Art or Science??

Here's a speech that I made a couple of years ago about the balance between art and science. I must admit that now, I am of the opinion that art is quicker and science only plays catch-up.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Blogging a Thought Experiment

Have you ever pondered over life’s biggest questions- Does God exist or what is the ideal job for you?(Yes-they are in the same bracket-realization of our fullest potential leads to a journey towards god or our job- I must admit that how you approach this question is based on whether your natural instinct is “feeling”  or “thinking”)

First, I must admit that writing this blog (a thought experiment) was a huge challenge as I was not sure if I was a creative writer trying to accomplish structure or vice versa. I had two completely different versions. Finally the thinker won surpassed the creative in me.

Here’s what my experience says about challenging oneself to pursue diverse mentally challenging pursuits. By the way- Just about anything is mentally challenging-sport, music, writing this blog, opening a door-It’s just the way you look at it. Your personality type can temporarily get influenced by different people, but will return to its normative state unless you wish to change yourself to differentiate yourself- You will be able to relate to this only you try this thought experiment with someone you want to learn from or influence.

Everybody’s a genius. It’s just that we fail to acknowledge our own abilities/ do not let others succeed due to lack of awareness or self-centeredness. Neither of that is objectively bad because behavior is either learnt or inborn.(- This was clearly the right brainer in me and is out of place logically –But I left it there to leave evidence)

Let us examine this concept (which concept-my left brainer asks- So you get the point right? It’s a mental battle to be creative and thinking at the same time – My right brain wants to give up and post the article).

Lamarckism(Theory of use or Disuse) has it that offspring will inherit characteristics specific traits of their parents that are useful(the fittest) at the time the offspring was born.

Since the course of evolution,   primates have been evolving at different rates- That is why apes have not caught up to man. Likewise, even among humans , although our DNA is 99% similar, different people have different personality traits. My experience tells me that personality traits are influenced by self-awareness and and an attempt to steer it towards a particular direction.

As one of the possible applications of this insight, it is worth noting that the conversation between Freud and Eienstein revealed that they both concurred that the key to rooting out terrorism is by electing the “right” representatives of the people. But what is “right” and “wrong”- This depends on the frame of reference- Feeling or Thinking.

Contact me for personal opinions or questions as I have two different experiences as a thinker and a creative-Maybe God is a mathematical constraint that humans are trying to solve through evolution. I’ll leave it at that. (This will resonate with certain kinds of thinkers)

Friday, January 10, 2014


I have been listening to some Rahman classics today. Coincidentally, I learnt that it is his birthday today. I thought this will be a great occasion to write about the genius of Rahman.

I have been a Rahman freak since time immemorial. It all started with Roja-Undoubtedly, many consider this album his best ever.Of course, I was too small to remember anything from 1992. But, I guess I saw the movie several years later. I still watch the movie just for the bgm and the songs.

Following this movie, he came up with real gems in the 90s. Rightfully, many consider this period his golden era. His genius lies in cross-contextual thinking. Anil Srinivsan, in one of his talks, pointed out an example-Chinna Chinna Asai/Chotti Si Aasha , in which he demonstrated that he fused Reggae, western classical and Indian elements in remarkable unison. This is how he created a change in the soundscape of Indian Cinema-He was ahead of his times by fusing different forms.

Clearly the difference between his music in the 90s and now is that he has lightened the emphasis on Indian Classical scales  or ragas. Indian Classical music enthusiasts might find this trend disappointing. But, if you dig deeper, you would find that his raw spirit(cross-contextual thinking) has not abated. Some songs post 2000 such as Dating from Boys(carnatic and rap) and Ommana Penne(carnatic and R and B) are wonderful examples of cross-contextual thinking.

After all, music is technically superposing melody over rhythm or rhythm over melody. If we can appreciate both aspects equally, this will improve musical openness. The reason why I came up with this apparent "Vigneshesque" digression is to help you open up your mind to the possibility that Rahman is still coming up with classy numbers despite not using Indian ragas. For example, one can really appreciate rap if you think music is created by superposing rhythm over melody. He is clearly exploring unconventional forms even today. His experimentation will never cease.

Finally, I urge non-tamil folks to open up and listen to Tamil songs as 80% of his masterful compositions are/were in Tamil.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Perception of aesthetic beauty and cognitive limits to open-mindedness

It is obvious that some people perceive aesthetic beauty more deeply than others.

This performance exemplifies the singer's extraordinary attention to every piece of micro-detail.It is worthwhile to note that such an ability to perceive micro-detail  is partly innate and partly acquired.

I love Hariharan's singing not because  I "like" Hariharan and try to reason out later.In other words, Hariharan's singing best conforms to my model of aesthetic beauty.For example,notice the intelligent use of vocal effects(subtle changes in volume)  that has a strong connection with parts of the brain that process emotion.

A person who is rooted to his perception of aesthetic beauty will instinctively repel possible experiences that do not conform to his idea of aesthetic beauty.For instance,can a person like classical music and heavy metal  equally?Likewise, can a person be equally comfortable with people with radically different world views?
Are there practical limits to open-mindedness?If there is,how many people admit that there are biased in some form or the other?These questions are by no means rhetorical.