Google+ Consumer Psyche: August 2008


Saturday, August 30, 2008

McCain picks Sarah Palin

Some 12 hours after the Democrats across the U.S were energized by Barack Obama's acceptance speech, McCain regained some of the buzz with his choice of Sarah Palin, 44, a maverick Republican neophyte who was not even on the shortlist of candidates that at one time included the Indian-American governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal.

Palin is the youngest and first female governor of Alaska, a state that became part of the U.S only in 1949 some 80 years after it was bought from the Russian Empire for $ 7.2 million (about 2 cents an acre). She came to national attention because of her whistleblowing on ethical violations by state Republican Party leaders two years ago. She won election in 2006 by first defeating the incumbent governor in the Republican primary, then a former Democratic Alaskan governor in the general election.

Palin is certain to add some excitement to the rather staid candidature of McCain, notwithstanding his record as a war hero. According to the political grapevine, Palin could well be a conservative posterchild: She hunts, eats moose burgers, ice fishes, rides snowmobiles, and owns a float plane. She also holds a lifetime membership with the National Rifle Association. One of her sons, the eldest of five children, is in the army and is currently deployed in Iraq. The youngest, who is suffering from Down’s Syndrome, was born only four months ago.

McCain's pick of Palin is clearly aimed at attracting female support, especially from Democrats disgruntled over Hillary Clinton's loss in the primaries and Obama not picking her as his running mate thereafter. The choice also balances the Republican ticket, since McCain himself is seen as more centrist than conservative. Palin delivered her fifth child despite knowing about the Down’s Syndrome, which will make her a heroine to the pro-life, anti-abortion groups.

Mumbai Meri Jaan

Bidisha Ghosal reports Mumbai Meri Jaan as a must watch and this is rare.

A film on the lives that the seven bomb blasts in Mumbai on July 11, 2006, changed could have easily turned into a hackneyed one, but Mumbai Meri Jaan is different. The six stories shown in the film are fresh. From the corporate (Madhavan) who finds it difficult to get back into the local trains, the TV journalist (Soha Ali Khan) whose husband dies in the blasts and then gets a taste of her own medicine when other newshounds ask her how she feels, to the Hindu bigot (Kay Kay Menon) who tails a Muslim man simply because of his cap-their lives startle you with hitherto unrealised depths. The relationship between the rookie cop (Vijay Maurya) and his mentor (Paresh Rawal), who is on the brink of retirement, will be the one to touch you the most, as will the portrait of a chaiwallah (Irrfan Khan).

While the performances are brilliant, the real heroes of the movie are the director and the writers. Director Nishikant Kamat and writers Vinayak Joshi and Upendra Sidhaye have done an outstanding job. In recent times no other film has been able to give a human face to the Indian police. It also had the courage to bring the Hindu face to face with his own bigotry. Even the callousness of the media has been handled in a sensitive manner.

It is a must-see; watch it to be touched and for new perspectives and a better understanding of people.

We are moving

After much deliberation and anticipation we are moving to the new campus of Alliance Business School at Anekkal (Click here to locate it on Google Maps). A dream come true! We are making history.

We are aware of the initial hiccups in any new venture. No fast net, proper food, power, malls, PVR, Forum, McDonalds, CCD, Greenlands Bakery, hospital, etc.

It also doesn't have traffic, noise, artificial air, congestion, pollution and so on. The good news is we have a large sprawling campus, small village and Mulaqat coming! And change needs patience.

Its our campus. So let's do it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Are you deaf?

There once was a bunch of tiny frogs who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower. A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants. The race began. Honestly no one in crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower.

The crowd started shouting statements like: "Oh, WAY too difficult!! They will NEVER make it to the top." or "Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!"

The tiny frogs began collapsing one by one, except for those who in a fresh tempo were climbing higher and higher. The crowd continued to yell, "It is too difficult!!! No one will make it!" More tiny frogs got tired and gave up but one continued higher and higher and higher. This one wouldn’t give up!

At the end everyone else had given up climbing the tower. Except for the one tiny frog who after a big effort was the only one who reached the top! Then all of the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it? A contestant asked the tiny frog how the one who succeeded had found the strength to reach the goal? It turned out that the winner was DEAF!!!!

Never listen to other people’s tendencies to be negative or pessimistic. Playing deaf works.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Addicted to blogging?

85%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Look what I found online. After answering a few questions I get the above score.
Check and tell me yours!

Obama VP Txt Reaches 2.9 Million

Nielsen Mobile (press release): "Nielsen Mobile, a service of The Nielsen Company, estimates that 2.9 million US mobile subscribers received a text message from the Obama campaign over the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

How does Nielsen know this? Nielsen Mobile monitors shortcode marketing (the use of text-message shortcodes such as the 62262 “O-B-A-M-A”) through the world’s largest telecommunications bill-panel, an opt-in panel that reports on the billing activity for more than 40,000 subscriber lines in the US. It’s just one of the many ways Nielsen reports on wireless and mobile media consumers."

Kick the dead

"Sorry your work cannot be done! Why? The rules won't agree!"

You must have heard/said this many times. Most of the meetings, plans, proposals and daily activities often hit a dead end as some stupid stubborn rule exists. Why is it there? Who put it there? How to overcome it? No one knows or wants to. Defeatist people close their eyes and let the rulebook rule and ruin. Winners make/move things

Sometimes its not the rule book is not the only problem, people in positions are. They strictly follow the clock, time table, rules and regulations and come across as the most sincere person on the planet.

What are they actually doing? Creating a block, hurdle in the smooth functioning of the process. If you need to get things done think what the customer wants, smile and accept the application and check up with people who can do something about it. Empower your employees to think and use discretion in cases which can help your business.

Plan, think and work in a way that encourages people not to walk but run, win and complete the unfinished tasks, dead plans, relieve the painful customer and get the process going.

Let me relate a story my Dad told me once.

All the MPs in the Indian Parliament were postponing a particular bill for many days and kept on discussing for long. Lal Bahadur Shastri was the PM then. One day he came to office with a pair of old stinking socks in his coat pocket. No one knew where the dirty stench was coming from. After a long search and discussion Shastri revealed and put them on the table to much disgust of the MPs, especially ones around him.

One of them asked him, "PM sir! You are supposed to dispose of the old socks and not carry them around as if they are something important!"

"Exactly!" replied Shastri, "but I wanted to see how long can we carry dead weight as we are doing with this bill!" Needless to say the bill was passed before lunch.

Move the dead weight over. Either finish it or cancel it. Read my earlier post on why sometimes it is better to kick the rule book.

So what are you going to complete today?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


(David Archuleta)

I hang up the phone tonight
Something happened for the first time
Deep inside
It was a rush, what a rush
Cause the possibility
that you would ever feel the same way
About me
It’s just too much, just too much

Why do I keep running from the truth
All I ever think about is you
You got me hypnotized, so mesmerized
And I just got to know

Do you ever think
When you’re all alone
All that we can be
Where this thing can go
Am I crazy or falling in love
Is it really just another crush
Do you catch a breath
When I look at you
Are you holding back
Like the way I do
Cause I’m tryin, tryin to walk away
But I know this crush aint goin away, goin away

Has it ever cross you mind
When were hangin, spending time girl,
Are we just friends
Is there more, is there more
See it’s a chance we’ve gotta take
Cause I believe that we can make this into
Something that will last, last forever, forever

Do you ever think
When you’re all alone
All that we can be
Where this thing can go
Am I crazy or falling in love
Is it really just another crush
Do you catch a breath
When I look at you
Are you holding back
Like the way I do
Cause I’m tryin, tryin to walk away
But I know this crush aint goin away, goin away

Why do I keep running from the truth
All I ever think about is you
You got me hypnotized, so mesmerized
And I just got to know

Do you ever think
When you’re all alone
All that we can be
Where this thing can go
Am I crazy or falling in love
Is it really just another crush
Do you catch a breath
When I look at you
Are you holding back
Like the way I do
Cause I’m tryin, tryin to walk away
But I know this crush aint goin away, goin away

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

చిరంజీవి, the next CM?

చిరంజీవి is all set to launch his party today at Tirupati. For once all the roads to Tirupathi are for another reason: చిరంజీవి is announcing his party today, on Mother Theresa's birthday. Read my earlier post on this here. Here is what I found on the Internet.

  1. Chiranjeevi is the most popular telugu cine hero and commands a huge popularity
  2. His social activities like (Blood donation and Eye donation) helped so many poor people
  3. He is a legend in his Kapu community and very popular in in some BC Communities like Balija
  4. He is a rare cine personality who little egoism and mingles well with all sections
  5. Chiranjeevi commands huge fan following in the whole state especially in the coastal belt
  6. In the politically active Godavari districts, He can get maximum seats
  7. His clean image may help for his party to get more neutral votes

Disadvantages :
  1. There is no political vaccum in the Andhra Pradesh with Telugu Desam and Congress which have permanent vote banks
  2. He is not that much popular with elders and rural people compared to youth
  3. He is not that popular in other communities compared to Kapu caste people
  4. All fans may not like him politically as caste combinations came into prominence
  5. His Cola ads and other controversies may gain prominence once he enters into politics
  6. It may be difficult for his party to get honest candidates to contest elections
  7. His political inexperience may cost him in today's dirty politics
But Chiranjeevi is known to come back from oblivion and score straight hits and play cards close to his chest. Lets see if he can spin success like he does in the movies and like the legendary NTR and MGR.

What do you think? Please participate in the poll.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Doctors vs Economists

The upper hand Doctors enjoy over Economists.


For all its excellence, the medical profession still leaves a lot to be desired. Medical errors kill tens of thousands a year; doctors still have little idea how to treat many complaints such as gout, the common cold, backache or many degenerative diseases; and their treatment of the mentally ill is still often atrocious.

And yet, for all this, doctors get much less obloquy than we economists get for our frequent failures to forecast recession - even though our errors are less costly than doctors'. Why is this? Here are some possibilities:

1. Survivorship bias: A man who's been cured by a doctor lives to tell everyone. A man who's been killed by one stays quiet. Economists' "victims" - those stupid enough to believe forecasts - don't keep schtum.

2. Publication bias: New medical research is often presented as an exciting breakthrough. Economic research rarely lends itself to such glowing headlines.

3. The fight against nature: If doctors are unable to cure disease, this is seen not as a failure of their intellect, but rather as testament to the force of hostility of nature, against which they are heroically battling.

I too believe it is the doctors and surgeons of the world who enjoy far more luxuries, and shirk responsibilities much more than Economists. Medical failure kills much more human lives than the billions of dollars lost in the forthcoming recession.

Another aspect pointed out by Chris is that economists have always been 'genuinely brilliant' and given world-class inferences on economic theories, whereas the contemporaries( I mean doctors during the time) of Adam Smith, and John Keynes not half as enterprising.

Chris Dillow's blog

What is Monthly Income Plan?

MIPs or Monthly Income Plan would be suiting for retired people who would need a monthly income plan but they have not opted for assured pension during their working life period for various reasons.

Let us go through more in detail about the Monthly Income Plan

Objective: To generate regular monthly income to investors in the dividend plan

Asset Allocation:
  • Fixed Income Instruments = 80-85%
  • Equity = 15-20%

Assured Return?

  • As with mutual funds , the monthly dividend payout is not assured butthere are certain good funds which has a good track record of givingmonthly dividens without fail

  • For a person in the 30% income tax slab, MIP scores over other debt products by having a Dividend Distribution tax of 19% instead of 30% in bank FDs

Suitable Investors:
  • Those who are nearing retirement or attained retirement
Some of the funds are given below. If you have any more please add to the list.

  • Baroda Pioneer MIP
  • Birla Sun Life MIP
  • Birla Sun Life MIP II
  • Birla Sun Life MIP II
  • Birla Sun Life Monthly Income
  • DBS Chola MIP
  • DSPML Savings Plus Aggressive
  • DSPML Savings Plus Conservative
  • DSPML Savings Plus Moderate
  • DWS MIP Plan A
  • DWS MIP Plan B
  • FT India MIP
  • HDFC MIP Long-term
  • HDFC MIP Short-term
  • HSBC MIP Regular
  • HSBC MIP Savings
  • ICICI Prudential Income Multiplier
  • ICICI Prudential MIP
  • JM MIP
  • Kotak Income Plus
  • LICMF Floater MIP Plan A
  • LICMF Floater MIP Plan B
  • MMIP Floater
  • Magnum Income Plus Inv
  • Magnum MIP
  • Principal MIP
  • Principal MIP Plus
  • Reliance MIP
  • Sundaram BNP Paribas MIP
  • Tata MIP
  • Tata MIP Plus
  • Templeton MIP-DM
  • Templeton MIP-G
  • UTI MIS-Advantage Plan
  • UTI Monthly Income Scheme

Monday blues: Monday + School

Sunday, August 24, 2008

David Blaine to hang himself

David Blaine is getting ready for his next stunt and he had decided to hang himself upside down above the Central Park for 3 days and 2 nights. Looks like David Blaine is getting a package trip to the Central Park, lol!. Anyways I am sure that this will be a huge event in New York’s Central Park, he’ll be up six stories high on a high wire off the ground.

David chose Central Park because he knows that they’ll be a lot of people who will show up and the energy that comes to each person will feed him as his energy and knowing that everyone will show up there to stare at him. David says,

There are always some crazy things. I get flashed quite often. Luckily, mostly from girls.

This stunt is going to be called a Dive of Death. It will be aired on television on September 24th. So lets wish and cheer for David goodluck and hopes that no accidents again on this one. Goodluck David!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

ICICI Phone Banking Group moves to Hyderabad

India's top private-sector lender, ICICI Bank, plans to consolidate its call centre operations in Hyderabad,the media reported on Saturday.

ICICI Bank, also listed in New York, will shift operations from its Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore centres to Hyderabad, the paper said citing K. Ramkumar, ICICI group head of human resources.

"As we grow, we will eliminate inefficiencies. Logically, it is a better idea for us to move to Hyderabad from where we can handle our back office and technology functions more cost effectively," he said in the report.

However, a small part of the back-office work would continue to be handled in Mumbai, he added.

The Hyderabad call centre already employs 2,500 executives, while the two call centres in Mumbai have 1,800-2,000 people, the paper said.

Last month, ICICI Bank posted an unexpected 6.1 percent fall in quarterly net profit, hit by investment losses and slowing credit growth.

This means a good growth of BPO based job opportunities in Hyderabad.

Permission Marketing: References

Lovely has a point on Social Marketing. What happens if your doctor or lawyer or friend approaches your family or friends quoting you as a reference? What are the implications?

First, you loose the trust, feel cheated. Then your friends loose faith on you for giving out their personal info. The doc/lawyer will loose out from both. He lost your friend as well as the existing one: You. So how do we use the network of others or contacts to increase your clients? How do you sell your product / service to a network?

Simple. Permission marketing applies here as well. You approach the first one and then ensure they are happy and extremely satisfied with your product/service and then you go further asking for a reference. Your offer should be the best and outstanding. Ask them to approach or introduce you first. Then make your move. Fix an appointment and meet. The advantage here is that the prospect knows about you, your product, what to expect, how to react and so on and you have already closed half-the deal. It would be easy for them as well, as this is an existing relationship extended. The reference makes all the difference. I call it Social Marketing.

Lookalike: Statement?

While the status of his relationship with girlfriend Katrina Kaif remains unclear, professionally, Salman Khan is busy with his pet project “Veer”, a film he himself has scripted and is extremely passionate about. News has just come in that he has found a Katrina lookalike to act as his leading lady in “Veer”.

The hunt was on for a fair skinned girl and a Mumbai girl has finally been selected, and is currently undergoing training. We know how after his split with Aishwarya Rai, he found Sneha Ullal, an Ash lookalike, to star in his home production “Lucky”. And now a Kat lookalike. Is their a message in this about the status of his relationship with Katrina?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lessons from Chiru

Shift the focus!

Though his fans were expecting that he would launch the party on his birthday, he preferred to do it on the birth anniversary of Mother Teresa.

The actor told his maiden press conference on Sunday that he was inspired by Mother Teresa, who dedicated her life to serve the needy.

Chiru, who has been acting in films for 30 years, was already engaged in social service and runs a blood and eye bank here. As he dons a new role, his fans are eagerly waiting to see him as the next Andhra Pradesh chief minister.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hancock Customized

We were at Forum, Bangalore and found this. Normal Hancock posters had New York's buildings but Indian posters had Taj Mahal. Customization at its best. Even superheroes need customization!

Positioning a brand in the customized manner is necessary to be endearing to the people.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

-- Nelson Mandela

Big Bore 2

She was the tormentor in Big Brother and had got a lot of flak for her allegedly racist comments against Shilpa Shetty. Jade Goody was once again in the headlines after she came to India to participate in the Indian version of Big Boss to give the audience a glimpse of the real her.

With Jade Goody on her way back to the UK, speculations are rife whether bikini babe Sherlyn Chopra will be replaced with her in 'Bigg Boss' to boost the hoopla.

“But for Sherlyn to say 'yes' to 'Bigg Boss', she needs a great incentive,” said her publicist Dale Bhagwagar. "Only if she gets what she deserves to be away for a full three months from the promotions of her latest musical success 'Dard-e-Sherlyn', will she agree to be on the show," he added.

So move off Jade its time for cool chicks! This is already fixed.

You know what, I have a strong feeling Jade will be back to the show and Rakhi will win this version.

iPhone 3g?

The pricing announced by the two mobile providers is: Rs. 31,000 for the model with 8 gigabytes of memory and Rs. 36,100 for the 16 GB model. This price is a bundle of their Internet-plus-cellular service with the handset.

This might seem stiff compared to the current price of the 3G iPhone in the U.S. — $199 (about Rs. 8500). But that is the price charged by telecom provider AT&T, who adds different tariff slabs for the services. Since they tend to be much higher in the West compared to India, they heavily subsidise the phone and make their money by tying the customer to annual subscriptions. Read full story.

I got a call today from Airtel that I can be one of the first to have iPhone in India by paying 5K today and the remaining 31K on Friday. A total of 36K? Will I buy it. Sorry. Because its too costly and I am not even sure what all functions will work in India and have no assurance from either Airtel or Vodafone about the same. I think both these companies have taken a bold step by going for too much margin. The number of people who look for iPhone are going to be a disappointed lot as this is a huge price and was not expected. When any product is priced too high when the margin is known to the customer it might backfire. I think it would with iPhone in India. Lets see what people think.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lessons from The Republic of Phelps

Piyush, the sale-u, said, "If Phelps was a nation participating separately in the Beijing Olympics, he would be ranked 7th or 8th in the list of medals!"

What made Phelps so dear to the world?
He came, he swam, he conquered.

He said he would come for the 8 medals and win, all gold. Then he did! What do we learn from this? Check these:
  • Dream big
  • Dream clear
  • Dream realistic
  • Work hard
  • Love your dream
  • Patience pays
  • Hard work pays
  • Have the passion, motivation, zeal to realize your dream
  • One motivated committed person is more than an army of losers
What do you think?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mera bharat mahan

Kill a brand, indirectly

When a company decides to introduce a brand does it check if it is killing any brand from its umbrella. I think sometimes the positioning is not that easy as it looks. It means that the brand may step into its own territory by positioning a brand in the wrong way.

Look at R1 and R15. Look at both of them. Both seem good, same in structure, looks and style. May be only Arun will be able to find the difference. I don't, at least not in the first look. Now there is a huge difference between the prices. R1 cost around 10 lakhs while R15 costs 1.08 lakhs. I agree that the consumer looking for R15 will be different from the one looking at R1. But if I am looking at R1 and have spent 10 lakhs on a bike while a similar looking bike from the same stable is available in the market for 1 lakh. Will I feel bad? I think Yes.

Arun has a different argument. R1 is not a commuter bike and floats a 1000 cc engine and is for the higher segment. Its a bigger bike and looks grand. If you look both of them together, you will find the difference. Only 2% of the entire bike segment and only 10 may be there in Bangalore. His argument is Yamaha brought R15 so that a middle class person will be able to own a bike that has all the features a sports bike should have, almost like R1. So it is ok to introduce R15 in to the market. About 400 bikes have sold out in Bangalore on the day of its launch. So if the market is paying so much to get the bike that 'looks' like R1 why not introduce it into the market and capitalise on the craze?

Seems a good argument. What do you think?

Monday, August 18, 2008

پرویز مشرف , Next is WHO?

Pervez Musharraf (پرویز مشرف) is the fourth leader to come to power in Pakistan by force. Many more may come as the political situation is not stable. Any democracy should be strong and act responsibly to uphold freedom of the people. Hope Pakistan moves towards freedom, brotherhood, peace and democracy.

Any force stays as long as its anti-force gains strength. No force has reigned the planet continuously. Pervez is no exception.

All the best Pakistan.

Create an opportunity

If opportunity doesn't knock your door, create one!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Balapuwaduge Ajantha Winslo Mendis

Balapuwaduge Ajantha Winslo Mendis worked as a gunner in the Srilankan army. No wonder he is successful and passionate. Old habits die hard. When winning becomes a habit you need to be really persistent in what you do.

Despite being a star cricketer, winning many awards Mendis enlisted to the army as his father, who was the sole breadwinner for his family, died of heart attack. He didn't complain! All winners are hard workers and beat many odds to win. On the other hand we have people cribbing and whining. His laurels in cricket have earned him promotions in the army ranks. He is a Second Lieutenant now in the Sri Lankan Army!

Are you a winner?

212 Movie

Sarah sent me this...

Heard of the 212 movie? Watch it here

Saturday, August 16, 2008

13 District Chasing Scene

Best Chasing Scene ever!

David Belle, the founder of parkour, appears in the film as one of the main characters.

Parkour (sometimes abbreviated to PK) or l'art du déplacement(English: the art of movement) is an activity with the aim of moving from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible, using principally the abilities of the human body. It is meant to help one overcome obstacles, which can be anything in the surrounding environment—from branches and rocks to rails and concrete walls—and can be practised in both rural and urban areas. Parkour practitioners are referred to as traceurs, or traceuses for females.

Founded by David Belle in France, parkour focuses on practising efficient movements to develop one's body and mind to be able to overcome obstacles in an emergency

Go kiss the world!

Chethan sent me this nice piece...

Some experience shared by Subroto Bagchi at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

I was the last child of a small-time government servant, in a family of five brothers. My earliest memory of my father is as that of a District Employment Officer in Koraput, Orissa. It was and remains as back of beyond as you can imagine. There was no electricity; no primary school nearby, and water did not flow out of a tap. As a result, I did not go to school until the age of eight; I was home-schooled. My father used to get transferred every year. The family belongings fit into the back of a jeep - so the family moved from place to place and, without any trouble. My Mother would set up an establishment and get us going. Raised by a widow who had come as a refugee from the then East Bengal, she was a matriculate when she married my Father. My parents set the foundation of my life and the value system, which makes me what I am today and largely, defines what success means to me today. As District Employment Officer, my father was given a jeep by the government. There was no garage in the office, so the jeep was parked in our house. My father refused to use it to commute to the office. He told us that the jeep is an expensive resource given by the government - he reiterated to us that it was not 'his jeep' but the government's jeep. Insisting that he would use it only to tour the interiors, he would walk to his office on normal days. He also made sure that we never sat in the government jeep - we could sit in it only when it was stationary. That was our early childhood lesson in governance - a lesson that corporate managers learn the hard way, some never do.

The driver of the jeep was treated with respect due to any other member of my Father's office. As small children, we were taught not to call him by his name. We had to use the suffix 'dada' whenever we were to refer to him in public or private. When I grew up to own a car and a driver by the name of Raju was appointed - I repeated the lesson to my two small daughters. They have, as a result, grown up to call Raju, 'Raju Uncle' - very different from many of their friends who refer to their family drivers as 'my driver'. When I hear that term from a school or college-going person, I cringe. To me, the lesson was significant - you treat small people with more respect than how you treat big people.

It is more important to respect your subordinates than your superiors.
Our day used to start with the family huddling around my Mother's chulha - an earthen fire place she would build at each place of posting where she would cook for the family. There was no gas, nor electrical stoves. The morning routine started with tea. As the brew was served, Father would ask us to read aloud the editorial page of The Statesman's 'muffosil' edition - delivered one day late. We did not understand much of what we were reading. But the ritual was meant for us to know that the world was larger than Koraput district and the English I speak today, despite having studied in an Oriya medium school, has to do with that routine. After reading the newspaper aloud, we were told to fold it neatly. Father taught us a simple lesson. He used to say, "You should leave your newspaper and your toilet, the way you expect to find it.

That lesson was about showing consideration to others. Business begins and ends with that simple precept.

Government houses seldom came with fences. Mother and I collected twigs and built a small fence. After lunch, my Mother would never sleep. She would take her kitchen utensils and with those she and I would dig the rocky, white ant infested surrounding. We planted flowering bushes. The white ants destroyed them. My mother brought ash from her chulha and mixed it in the earth and we planted the seedlings all over again. This time, they bloomed. At that time, my father's transfer order came. A few neighbors told my mother why she was taking so much pain to beautify a government house, why she was planting seeds that would only benefit the next occupant. My mother replied that it did not matter to her that she would not see the flowers in full bloom. She said, "I have to create a bloom in a desert and whenever I am given a new place, I must leave it more beautiful than what I had inherited".

That was my first lesson in success. It is not about what you create for yourself, it is what you leave behind that defines success.

Over the many intervening years, I grew up, studied, joined the industry and began to carve my life's own journey. I began my life as a clerk in a government office, went on to become a Management Trainee with the DCM group and eventually found my life's calling with the IT industry when fourth generation computers came to India in 1981. Life took me places - I worked with outstanding people, challenging assignments and traveled all over the world. In 1992, while I was posted in the US, I learnt that my father, living a retired life with my eldest brother, had suffered a third degree burn injury and was admitted in the Safderjung Hospital in Delhi. I flew back to attend to him - he remained for a few days in critical stage, bandaged from neck to toe. The Safderjung Hospital is a cockroach infested, dirty, inhuman place. The overworked, under-resourced sisters in the burn ward are both victims and perpetrators of dehumanized life at its worst. One morning, while attending to my Father, I realized that the blood bottle was empty and fearing that air would go into his vein, I asked the attending nurse to change it. She bluntly told me to do it myself. In that horrible theater of death, I was in pain and frustration and anger. Finally when she relented and came, my Father opened his eyes and murmured to her, "Why have you not gone home yet?" Here was a man on his deathbed but more concerned about the overworked nurse than his own state. I was stunned at his stoic self.

There I learnt that
there is no limit to how concerned you can be for another human being and what is the limit of inclusion you can create.

My father died the next day.
Two years back, at the age of eighty-two, Mother had a paralytic stroke and was lying in a government hospital in Bhubaneswar. I flew down from the US where I was serving my second stint, to see her. I spent two weeks with her in the hospital as she remained in a paralytic state. She was neither getting better nor moving on. Eventually I had to return to work. While leaving her behind, I kissed her face. In that paralytic state and a garbled voice, she said, "Why are you kissing me, go kiss the world." Her river was nearing its journey, at the confluence of life and death, this woman who came to India as a refugee, raised by a widowed mother, no more educated than high school, married to an anonymous government servant whose last salary was Rupees Three Hundred, robbed of her eyesight by fate and crowned by adversity - was telling me to go and kiss the world!
Success to me is about vision. It is the ability to rise above the immediacy of pain. It is about imagination. It is about sensitivity to small people. It is about building inclusion. It is about connectedness to a larger world existence. It is about personal tenacity. It is about giving back more to life than you take out of it.

It is about creating extraordinary success with ordinary lives.

Thank you very much; I wish you good luck and Godspeed.

Go, kiss the world.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Consumer Psyche

Consumer Psyche explains how marketers try and sell. What you are made to believe, the story behind it. The idea is to understand the behaviour of Indian Consumers, why they behave how they behave. Is there any easy way to figure it out? What are the trends that are followed?

What triggers the actions of a person? How can we make a person behave in a way we need and how can we not? Is there a way to make a person think and react in a way we want for a particular situation and in all others behave in his own way? Isn't this amazing?

Well through this Blog: Consumer Psyche, I would like to check and see what all lessons I learn along my way. Welcome aboard! Its a long voyage! Wish me luck.


Vamshi Krishna/Tiger

Lil Tribute

Jayahe! Jayahe! Jaya Jaya Jaya Jayahe!

Sare jahan se achcha

Let our flag stay high! Stay hard, fast, ahead of all others and make your country proud. Just like Abhinav.

(Look how calm he is and has his emotion under control)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy Independence Day

What does Independence day mean to you?

All my childhood right from my home, school, college, friends and society I was told that it is to celebrate the great feat of showing the British the door and driving them away with nothing but non-violence and Satyagraha. Something that happened over fifty years ago. This was the reason why I could do what I am doing now sitting in my room comfortably blogging! I have food to eat, dresses to wear, a cover over my head and money in the bank. I can roam freely in my city and have an education, 15 bank accounts, 8 credit cards, bike, Internet, my parents have a great job and so on! All I need to do on an Independence day is to wake up late, as there is no office or college, brush late and keep watching TV for to avoid independence day special movies, chat with some unknown online friend, order a pizza with coke and when bored get a DVD (hold on I would order one, thank god for the independent India I have a phone and even the DVD rental guy has one!) and get back to sleep.

Or may be I could call up some of my friends to come over (I hate traveling on a holiday) and play a video game or watch some boring stuff on the idiot box while munching on Big Mac Burgers, sipping coke and watching MTV or some foreign channel! If bored I have my own collection of Bryan Adams, Jackson, Iglesias in my lappie which I can connect to my imported speakers to have an excellent feel of the thump! By evening we could order some junk food and spend chatting up about idiotic bosses, funny colleagues pulling each others leg, cursing the government for the power cuts, thanking Michael Faraday for inventing the generator (Did he?) until each one of us is tired and starts to snore and has to be sent home before they get too comfortable.

Or we can book a ground for playing cricket! Yes it's Independence Day dude! everything has to be booked in advance: movies, hotels, parlors, tourist plans, vehicles and even theme parks as its gonna be crowded to the hilt and spilling. Oh how long since we played cricket.
Bharat scored his all time best score, some 18 runs of 24 balls, and was the man of the match! No he was not the last batsman, he opened the innings. Well, that he can critique Sachin , Saurav, Dhoni and advice BCCI, Ramakant Achrekar is a different issue. But on the field he is the best of us and you know what is the on-field experience. I think it is time for us to play this 15th! We can go to Ohri's in the evening and spend our evening there talking about our exploits and dreaming of 'representing India in the international arena' as Gandhi puts it! No this is the RJ not the 'dhotiwala' Gandhi. He has tatooes, lip and eyebrow piercings and has the f*** word permanently in his vocabulary. He has one good quality though which is that he conserves water; by drinking beer, of course. That seems to be a nice plan for the day! No bosses, no schedules, no targets, no assignments, no profs, no exams, no classes, no problems, no nothing! Only bliss, freedom, independence and masti.

No we don't care if a person dies every 3.6 seconds due to starvation all over the world (I can't feed all?), 36 crore Indians don't eat anything for the day (Good for them no need to enroll in any weight loss program or try very hard to achieve Kareena's Zero figure or Sharukh's Six pack), women are beaten, molested, killed, made to work hard, underpaid (I don't do it nor is it done to any of my friends or relatives. So why bother?). I don't care if people beat up each other, loot kill or die on the streets in some other state or some other colony or street (I am safe right). I dont care if children are malnourished, uneducated, illegally employed, beg on the streets and are traded like animals (Not mine and I don't do). I read this news everyday! So I don't care! I don't care if Mala's (my maid servant) daughter drops out of school as she couldn't afford the fees (its her bad luck), if some one dies in the traffic (Must have ignored the seatbelt! Thank God I am insured). I don't care if the prices rise (I have a decent salary and why the heck is government doing anything about it?). Pass on the Bangalore times, lemme check the latest fashion fad and I should add a reminder in my new 16 GB iPhone 3G to pick it up from Garuda tomorrow! What should I do otherwise? Pick up some Tee from my 500 odd old ones stuffed in the cup board? BTW I should give the green one to Mala's elder son on Independence day! He has been nagging me for an old dress for long. You know what I like this one. I bought it when I was in my 10th class in 1996. I should send a mail to my boss justifying why I should get my hike this month mildly threatening that I would quit unless it is hiked. Hey I should also check my email and ensure that I forward an email to everyone in my address book a nice greeting wishing them happy Independence day!

Oh! I should check where I have kept the small trinket of Indian tricolor that I have been saving for the last 4 years. I remember using it on 24th January (was it 24th or 26th?) when all my office colleagues were going 'Ooh' and 'Aah' when I pinned it to my Lee jacket, right over my heart. I don't want to buy one this year, it has become costly! Who would pay 7 Rs for the trinket? I am not a politician! BTW, I have to feign illness tomorrow and go without makeup. There is some blood donation camp at work and they want some free donors. C'mon I am not succumbing to the Dracula (

Lemme tell you about Pranitha here. She is sick, emotionally depressed and such not-a-fun aunty types who doesnot have any sense of humour. She spends all her time reading some stupid books, writing silly articles about child care, women health, litreracy and stuff. Dracula is what we call her. She organizes all the blood donation camps, comes around with a box slit in the top begging for alms (collecting funds) for some stupid child's operation in some government hospital, or to pay some dropouts fees and so on. Though I like to relieve my purse of all unwanted coins (It gets heavy with all the coins in it) its her peaceful, smiling face that hurts me a lot. She wears shabby clothes (must have been from the Egyptian Mummies), no make up, no perfume and so on! You know what? She oils her hair and comes to office that way! You should never go shopping with her or for that matter anywhere! All the beggars, hawkers on the street know her and mill around her calling Pranitha didi and flash their unkempt, diseased, shabby, dirty teeth and hold her hand. She thinks it is cool!!! Yaak! She even visited a mental asylm on her b'day and treated all the dumbos there, spent her full evening there! Gimme a break. After all what all changes can she make? Can she change the whole of India? Can she eradicate poverty, unemployment, disease, pain from all the opressed? C'mon, she is not a Gandhi or Bose. The funny part is she think so! She thinks if all the employed in India help 2 poor people in a year all poverty would be eradicated by 2020! Some vision though! I hate her. We hate her. Every one I know hates her. So she must be having a lot of stupid plan for this 14th and15th. I should make a conscious effort to skip her this time. I couldn't do it last year. She was wearing a white cotton sari and had a flag on chest and washed! her hair and was so so cool, beautiful that everyone just followed her to the Draculian table to give blood. Some said she looked soo peaceful and happy! May be yes. She always is! I can be fooled once, but not again.

So unless you are like this old aunty Pranitha and want to waste your time helping someone, doing something for the country stuff? chill out and plan to have a blast and tell me what you did on this Independence day! As for me, I would rock , blast and have a hell of a time from morrow till Sunday!

Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What you said!

Do you think alcoholic beverages should carry more prominent warning messages?

Yes: 82.5%
No: 17.5%

No. of votes: 17

Poll closed on 12.08.08

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Legend of theTata: Worth the read

This is a very absorbing story . It is a bit long but very interesting.

It was probably the April of 1974. Bangalore was getting warm and gulmohars were blooming at the IISc campus. I was the only girl in my postgraduate department and was staying at the ladies' hostel. Other girls were pursuing research in different departments of Science.

I was looking forward to going abroad to complete a doctorate in computer science. I had been offered scholarships from Universities in the US ... I had not thought of taking up a job in India .

One day, while on the way to my hostel from our lecture-hall complex, I saw an advertisement on the notice board. It was a standard job-requirement notice from the famous automobile company Telco (now Tata Motors)... It stated that the company required young, bright engineers, hardworking and with an excellent academic background, etc.

At the bottom was a small line: 'Lady Candidates need not apply.'

I read it and was very upset. For the first time in my life I was up against gender discrimination.

Though I was not keen on taking up the job, I saw it as a challenge. I had done extremely well in academics, better than most of my male peers...
Little did I know then that in real life academic excellence is not enough to be successful?

After reading the notice I went fuming to my room. I decided to inform the topmost person in Telco's management about the injustice the company was perpetrating. I got a postcard and started to write, but there was a problem: I did not know who headed Telco

I thought it must be one of the Tatas. I knew JRD Tata was the head of the Tata Group; I had seen his pictures in newspapers (actually, Sumant Moolgaokar was the company's chairman then) I took the card, addressed it to JRD and started writing. To this day I remember clearly what I wrote.

'The great Tatas have always been pioneers. They are the people who started the basic infrastructure industries in India , such as iron and steel, chemicals, textiles and locomotives they have cared for higher education in India since 1900 and they were responsible for the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science. Fortunately, I study there. But I am surprised how a company such as Telco is discriminating on the basis of gender.'

I posted the letter and forgot about it. Less than 10 days later, I received a telegram stating that I had to appear for an interview at Telco's Pune facility at the company's expense. I was taken aback by the telegram. My hostel mate told me I should use the opportunity to go to Pune free of cost and buy them the famous Pune saris for cheap! I collected Rs30 each from everyone who wanted a sari when I look back, I feel like laughing at the reasons for my going, but back then they seemed good enough to make the trip.

It was my first visit to Pune and I immediately fell in love with the city.

To this day it remains dear to me. I feel as much at home in Pune as I do in Hubli, my hometown. The place changed my life in so many ways. As directed, I went to Telco's Pimpri office for the interview.

There were six people on the panel and I realized then that this was serious business.

'This is the girl who wrote to JRD,' I heard somebody whisper as soon as I entered the room. By then I knew for sure that I would not get the job. The realization abolished all fear from my mind, so I was rather cool while the interview was being conducted.

Even before the interview started, I reckoned the panel was biased, so I told them, rather impolitely, 'I hope this is only a technical interview.'

They were taken aback by my rudeness, and even today I am ashamed about my attitude.
The panel asked me technical questions and I answered all of them.

Then an elderly gentleman with an affectionate voice told me, 'Do you know why we said lady candidates need not apply? The reason is that we have never employed any ladies on the shop floor. This is not a co-ed college; this is a factory. When it comes to academics, you are a first ranker throughout. We appreciate that, but people like you should work in research laboratories.

I was a young girl from small-town Hubli. My world had been a limited place.

I did not know the ways of large corporate houses and their difficulties, so I answered, 'But you must start somewhere, otherwise no woman will ever be able to work in your factories.'

Finally, after a long interview, I was told I had been successful. So this was what the future had in store for me. Never had I thought I would take up a job in Pune. I met a shy young man from Karnataka there, we became good friends and we got married.

It was only after joining Telco that I realized who JRD was: the uncrowned king of Indian industry. Now I was scared, but I did not get to meet him till I was transferred to Bombay. One day I had to show some reports to Mr Moolgaokar, our chairman, who we all knew as SM. I was in his office on the first floor of Bombay House (the Tata headquarters) when, suddenly JRD walked in. That was the first time I saw 'appro JRD'. Appro means 'our' in Gujarati. This was the affectionate term by which people at Bombay House called him.

I was feeling very nervous, remembering my postcard episode. SM introduced me nicely, 'Jeh (that's what his close associates called him), this young woman is an engineer and that too a postgraduate.

She is the first woman to work on the Telco shop floor.' JRD looked at me. I was praying he would not ask me any questions about my interview (or the postcard that preceded it).

Thankfully, he didn't. Instead, he remarked. 'It is nice that girls are getting into engineering in our country. By the way, what is your name?'

'When I joined Telco I was Sudha Kulkarni, Sir,' I replied. 'Now I am Sudha Murthy.' He smiled and started a discussion with SM. As for me, I almost ran out of the room.

After that I used to see JRD on and off. He was the Tata Group chairman and I was merely an engineer. There was nothing that we had in common. I was in awe of him.

One day I was waiting for Murthy, my husband, to pick me up after office hours. To my surprise I saw JRD standing next to me. I did not know how to react. Yet again I started worrying about that postcard. Looking back, I realize JRD had forgotten about it. It must have been a small incident for him, but not so for me.

'Young lady, why are you here?' he asked. 'Office time is over.' I said, 'Sir, I'm waiting for my husband to come and pick me up.' JRD said, 'It is getting dark and there's no one in the corridor.

I'll wait with you till your husband comes.'

I was quite used to waiting for Murthy, but having JRD waiting alongside made me extremely uncomfortable.

I was nervous. Out of the corner of my eye I looked at him. He wore a simple white pant and shirt. He was old, yet his face was glowing. There wasn't any air of superiority about him. I was thinking, 'Look at this person. He is a chairman, a well-respected man in our country and he is waiting for the sake of an ordinary employee.'

Then I saw Murthy and I rushed out. JRD called and said, 'Young lady, tell your husband never to make his wife wait again.' In 1982 I had to resign from my job at Telco. I was reluctant to go, but I really did not have a choice. I was coming down the steps of Bombay House after wrapping up my final settlement when I saw JRD coming up. He was absorbed in thought. I wanted to say goodbye to him, so I stopped. He saw me and paused.

Gently, he said, 'So what are you doing, Mrs. Kulkarni?' (That was the way he always addressed me.) 'Sir, I am leaving Telco.'

'Where are you going?' he asked. 'Pune, Sir. My husband is starting a company called Infosys and I'm shifting to Pune.'

'Oh! And what will you do when you are successful.'

'Sir, I don't know whether we will be successful.' 'Never start with diffidence,' he advised me 'Always start with confidence. When you are successful you must give back to society. Society gives us so much; we must reciprocate. Wish you all the best.'

Then JRD continued walking up the stairs. I stood there for what seemed like a millennium. That was the last time I saw him alive.

Many years later I met Ratan Tata in the same Bombay House, occupying the chair JRD once did. I told him of my many sweet memories of working with Telco. Later, he wrote to me, 'It was nice hearing about Jeh from you.
The sad part is that he's not alive to see you today.'

I consider JRD a great man because, despite being an extremely busy person, he valued one postcard written by a young girl seeking justice. He must have received thousands of letters everyday. He could have thrown mine away, but he didn't do that. He respected the intentions of that unknown girl, who had neither influence nor money, and gave her an opportunity in his company. He did not merely give her a job; he changed her life and mindset forever.

Close to 50 per cent of the students in today's engineering colleges are girls. And there are women on the shop floor in many industry segments. I see these changes and I think of JRD. If at all time stops and asks me what I want from life, I would say I wish JRD were alive today to see how the company we started has grown. He would have enjoyed it wholeheartedly.

My love and respect for the House of Tata remains undiminished by the passage of time. I always looked up to JRD. I saw him as a role model for his simplicity, his generosity, his kindness and the care he took of his employees. Those blue eyes always reminded me of the sky; they had the same vastness and magnificence.
(Sudha Murthy is a widely published writer and chairperson of the Infosys Foundation involved in a number of social development initiatives. Infosys chairman Narayana Murthy is her husband.)

Article sourced from: Lasting Legacies (Tata Review- Special Commemorative Issue 2004), brought out by the house of Tatas to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of JRD Tata on July 29, 2004 .

Monday, August 11, 2008

Abhinav Bindra makes India proud

Gold medalist Abhinav Bindra of India (C), the runner-up Zhu Qinan of China (L) and bronze winner Henri Hakkinen of Finland pose for pictures on podium during awarding ceremony of men's 10m air rifle final of Beijing Olympic Games at Beijing Shooting Range Hall in Beijing, China, Aug. 11, 2008. (Xinhua/Jiao Weiping)

The Khel Ratna was well deserved.

舞动的北京 : 同一個世界 同一個夢想

2008 Beijing Olympics mean many things to many people. Will they be successful? I think yes. Look at these numbers.
  • 31 venues
  • the most expensive games in history with a total of $40.9 billion spent
  • Development of infrastructure, energy, transportation and water supply projects
  • 4 billion viewers
All this translates to more people working, more freedom of expression, more income, more education, more purchases, tourism and what not. More views through the Bamboo Curtain and bringing China closer to the world. After all its all about: One World, One Dream!

Wanted Drift Sequence

Wanted trailer.
A must see.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

iPhone 3G Killers

Though it is still early days for any potential iPhone killer, there are some compelling phones loaded with touch screen and, not to mention, umpteen bells and whistles that are trying to take a stab at the iPhone market.

The ones that come close are those that can compare or exceed the iPhone's performance, price and features such as touch and 3G capabilities.

Here's a look at some of the contenders:

LG Voyager (Rs. 6500 Yet to release in India)
Samsung Instinct (Rs. 5500)
HTC Touch Diamond (Rs. 27,500)
Blackberry Thunder(Price not known)

Read more.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Viral Marketing: Why so serious?

In May 2007, 42 Entertainment began a viral marketing campaign utilizing the film's "Why So Serious?" tag line with the launch of a website featuring the fictional political campaign of Harvey Dent, with the caption, "I Believe in Harvey Dent." The site aimed to interest fans by having them try to earn what they wanted to see and, on behalf of Warner Bros., 42 Entertainment also established a "vandalized" version of I Believe in Harvey Dent, called "I believe in Harvey Dent too," where e-mails sent by fans slowly removed pixels, revealing the first official image of the Joker; it was ultimately replaced with many "Haha"s and a hidden message that said "see you in December."

After the death of Heath Ledger, on January 22, 2008, Warner Bros. adjusted its promotional focus on the Joker, revising some of its websites dedicated to promoting the film and posting a memorial tribute to Ledger on the film's official website and overlaying a black memorial ribbon on the photo collage in

Dravid Ignored? What you said!

This is the result of the poll whether Dhoni deserves the Khel Ratna award.

Thanks for the response.

Read the main article here.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Injurious to health

"Only smoking is injurious to health," said Bijay, "but drinking? No one said anything about that!"

It triggered many thoughts in my mind. He was going out to his friends place and was discussing plans for the evening. A movie and booze were on the list. I told him its not good and he shouldn't be addicted to anything and hence should consider stopping the habit. I have heard many reasons why people do what they do but this was different. No one said anything about drinking! Its true. In fact many advertisements exist where they show people enjoying a drink and coming across as posh and cool! All this is encouraging.

Now does mentioning that smoking is injurious to health change a few minds? May be yes may be no. But the fact remains that no one said anything. May be Romdoss is right or may be Amitabh! But I think it sure worked with Sharukh Khan who quit smoking today. A step towards betterment is never late. May be people just drink because no one told them not to!

So what do you think, should every bottle of booze have posters asking not to drink?

Beijing Olympics 2008

In a few hours the Olympics are going to start in Beijing. Paes and Bhupati magic is going to work this time. May the best win.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The death of 'Mumbai Dabbawalas'

All the hype of the 'Six Sigma' certification does not ensure the Dabbawalas will continue to stay in business for ever. For all I know unless a swift, corrective, evolutionary action its death knell for them. Here is why I feel so.

  • The target market for the Dabbawalas was the government people, elderly and low or middle earning group who believe in the family values but they no longer staff the modern offices. People now earn almost 4 to 5 times the salary their parents do and have office canteens to eat from. Canteen facilities are now part of the corporate policy and the food costs as cheap as Rs. 15/- which makes it to Rs.450/- per month

  • The upcoming companies work round the clock and difference in the timings, shifts, age group of the employees, choice of the food, urge to get out of office for lunch and so on drives the people to opt away from family food

  • Increase in the disposable income, availability of options, need for freedom and choice make people eat outside

  • The hype of 'Six Sigma' certification and all the media coverage puts a lot of pressure on the Dabbawalas which would result in high stress levels. I have another problem with the 'Six Sigma' certification. Forbes did it but what was the duration of the study, what is defined as an error, how was it measured and so on

  • Each Dabbawala earns about 12K per month which is very low and the tribe is dying. The average age is increasing and the number of the new Dabbawalas joining the group is less. The risk of unemployment is high and alternate jobs are more as the education levels and IQ levels are high from the older generation

Then if everything goes against the Dabbawalas is there a way out, to survive. I think yes. Let’s see what are the options.

  • Increase the range of services from mere Dabbas to offices and schools to other areas like money-to-home, dabbas-to-hospitals, insurance, etc.
  • 2,00,000 customers in a city like Mumbai with over 2 crores population is very less. The base can be easily raised to almost 10 lakh. This needs a lot of work in terms of infrastructure, people, training, costs and so on
  • Use more technology, resources, referrals to strengthen the existing base, promotional activities to increase loyalty and thwarting competition

So I feel unless the Dabbawalas act and act fast, smart I can hear their coffin being made. What do you say?