Archive for December, 2006

This post comes as a result of some musing after watching the movie – Notting Hill recently.
Apart from being an extremely well made, highly entertaining romantic comedy which I thoroughly enjoyed – an incident from the movie struck me …

If you have seen the film, it’s at the dinner (William’s (Hugh Grant’s) sister’s birthday party) at which Bernie (Hugh Bonneville) asks Anna (Julia Roberts) how much she made in the last film she worked – and she says “15 million dollars”.

Hmm …
So I pondered …
How did it all start? I mean – how did movie stars start getting paid so much.

If you think about it, every job comes with an upper and lower limits of payment – which are pretty much well defined for a period of time.

Like, for example, it is an accepted fact that most of the bigger movie stars make millions of dollars for a film. If you think about this a bit more – you can say that this is justified as the distributors of the film eventually rake in enough money which justifies them being able to pay their actors.
This finally brings us to how much we end up paying for a movie ticket.
Here in Pune – a night show in a decent enough hall costs anywhere from 150 bucks – 200 bucks ($3 – $4) a ticket which even though is kinda on the higher side by Indian standards – I don’t think people seem to mind paying it nowadays (by the number of shows running housefull even on weekdays).
And finally again, people don’t seem to mind because the standards of living have gone up.
So indirectly, the more money we tend to make, the more money those actors tend to make :).
I know this is a dumb metaphor – but there is a definitely connection there (I can sense it :)).

In the end if you think about it, (even though I haven’t got the faintest idea about acting) – does it warrant a sum of 15 million dollars to be paid for a film?

I will consider the next case – that of a software developer which I can more relate to.
Again, in India – it is a well known fact that software developers (or Computer Science / Engineering graduates) tend to make more money than most of the other faculties when they start off.
Even further down the line (couple of years), a software developer is likely to make more money than a similarly skilled mechanical engineer working in an automobile company.

And if you think about it – all software developers do is sit in front of a monitor all day long and type code. You don’t actually need to be a genius to do it – just about any human being with a normal level of IQ and will power can do it.
Furthermore, in most of the projects – major parts of the code which you need, can be found somewhere on the internet by careful searching – which makes it more of a jigsaw puzzle assembling job than actual, smart work.

So what do software developers do – which results in them getting higher salaries, air conditioned offices and the like?

Where did all this trend start?
And how do we go about accelerating it … ? :)


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Just a small heads up …

Yes. I am still alive and kicking.
This post comes almost a month after my last one – and though I have been pretty lazy in not blogging as much as I would like to, I will still go ahead and blame the weather …

Somehow, even though the colder months bring with them the promise of sitting by a nice fire in the garden, curling up on the couch under a blanket with a nice book – and many such activities that one can indulge in when the weather is so cold generally, the winters have always brought a lot of stress and difficult decisions to make for me …

One way or the other, I manage to get myself into these really cascading depressing situations which takes the bright and warm (nowadays exceedingly hot) summers to get out off …

In the meantime, I have read this book – Freakonomics – which I will recommend.
Even if you don’t agree with many of the controversial topics of debate that the authors have chosen (I somehow agreed to 99% of them), you will find yourself looking at things from a more economist’s point of view once you have gone through all the pages.

The other very interesting book that I am going through right now is – Games People Play – a book which deals with transactional analysis and social psychology in general. Though it makes for a pretty interesting read, it does tend to get technical at places …

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