Google+ Consumer Psyche: September 2008

Leader

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Empowered employee = Good service?

The undercurrent of good service is an empowered work force — those who interface with customers have been given the tools, confidence and information from the higher-ups that they can appropriately defuse the situation at hand. Simple but effective. And sadly, very rare.

A lack of empowerment is why a waiter cannot give you a free drink or dessert, even as he mixed up your order. Or why the bank declines the signature on your cheque, even though you have proof showing you are who you say you are and verify the amount. Or why a customer service representative directs you to Airtel’s website, which will require you to hope she really text messages your password, instead of sending you a duplicate bill from May.

A great divide marks the lives we customers lead and those of the workers serving us. You can train someone to spread mayonnaise or fold jeans, but will they ever really learn to anticipate and understand and feel customer needs?

Different people have different answers to that question — and training warrants its own separate discussion. But one element we consumers do have control over is our reactions to poor service. That is to say, I can be in an American mall and someone might not get me the right size, but I probably won’t yell at them at the top of my lungs and tell them how worthless they are. But in India, I see it all the time. And I confess to also having raised my voice, then sighed many times in a way that flusters a worker even more and lets him know exactly what I think of him.

Wider Angle by S.Mitra Kalita

Atta, Tel, phone call...

People shopping at retail outlets run by Future Group may soon be able to make mobile phone calls for free.

The group, whose companies run stores such as Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar, is entering the mobile phone business as a so-called virtual operator.

The idea is to allow customers to pay less for airtime as it has become a grocery item such as rice or sugar, said chief executive Kishore Biyani. The company plans to roll out the business next year. “We are not in a hurry. We have just begun talking with some network operators,” Biyani added.
“We plan to offer free outgoing calls to customers who buy food, groceries, clothes and mobile handsets from our stores,” he said.

Future Group will also sell the service to other customers at tariffs that are lower than those offered by other telcos because it will not incur any costs related to infrastructure or air waves.

Read more here.

Service?

At Shoppers Stop, a young man approached and asked if he could help. I told him I needed a cotton kurta; he brought me silk. Really, he wasn’t helping so much as hanging around. But thinking of my task, I remained calm and began chatting.

He earns Rs5,000 monthly; my total bill alone that day would top that.

“So do you like working here?”
He shrugged. “It’s only my first week.”

That explained it. I looked around and saw dozens more clerks, stacking clothing or standing guard. Most customers were being left on their own.

Bad customer service? No, actually.

That, says Mall, is the way it should be. While he agrees that better and more intense training is needed, maybe the answer lies with the consumer also understanding his role in the new formula. Empowerment of workers is great, he continued, but the best part of the retail boom is the chance for the consumer to be empowered.

“For the Indian customers, they are still shifting from general to modern trade, from service stores to self-service,” he said, adding that the transition will take some time.

He used the example of a woman buying sanitary napkins from mostly male shopkeepers, possibly even someone known to her and her family. Isn’t it better now that she can go pick up her own pack? Once upon a time, Mall reminded, Indians couldn’t sit or lie on mattresses or beds for purchase. The advent of the department store and home furnishings showrooms has changed all that. He added, “Maybe the biggest service we can provide is to keep the customer service person out of the transaction.”

Perhaps the entrance of Westerners’ brands might bring their do-it-yourself attitude, too. That’s one way to conquer the divide.

Read more what S. Mitra Kalita has to say.

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish is the story of 25 IIM Ahmedabad graduates who chose the rough road of entrepreneurship. They are diverse in age, in outlook and the industries they made a mark in. But they have one thing in common: they believed in the power of their dreams. This book seeks to inspire young B-school graduates to look beyond placements and salaries. To believe in their dreams. Sanjeev Bikhchandani (naukri.com), R Subramanian (Subhiksha), Rashesh Shah (Edelweiss Capital), Jerry Rao (Mphasis), Deep Kalra (Makemytrip.com), Ashank Desai (Mastek) and Nirmal Jain (India Infoline) are just some of the entrepreneurs who have shared their success stories in the book.

Stay Hungry Stay Foolish also looks at alternate models such as social entrepreneurship and those who believe they can be entrepreneurs without necessarily being 'owners'.
The book is authored by Rashmi Bansal, who is an entrepreneur and IIMA alumna herself. Rashmi is co-founder of JAM (Just Another Magazine) and writes extensively on youth, careers and entrepreneurship.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mother...










When it comes to the love for child, no one can beat Mother.
You don't need a Mother's Day to tell her how grateful you are and how much you love her.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What Chiru needs to know

You are the biggest star in the present film industry. Your voice is an order for many people. You are a brand, sorry a God for many. Your followers are crazy about you and would kill or die for you without a thought. But does that mean you can afford to be complacent? Act as if you don't care? My answer is NO.

This is where Chiru seems to be lacking. He is a good actor, kicking all the goons and saving the world, helping the poor on the screen, a few activities off it like the blood bank, eye bank and CSR. But all said and done Chiru's 'Praja Rajyam' is quite new and needs a lot of care, effort, marketing to succeed. And you need to stay clear of any unnecessary controversy and tiff off any wrong people. Agreed Chiru has an aura and clean slate but if you mess up with your image you cannot build it back so easily. If you want people to respect you, you need to earn it not command it. If you want people to look up to you, show them that you care. Don't expect that everyone around you works just like the most fanatic fan you have ever seen.

A wrong action, word, look can spoil the whole relationship be it in business, politics or any thing else. All your hard work would be reduced to a castle of cards in a strong storm. Ensure you pick the right people to work for you so that they don't mess up with your image, hurt sentiments, emotions and feelings. After all are we not emotional.

Chiru
needs to win people's hearts, love and affection more than respect and adoration. This isn't the reel world anymore. Here people react and make or break you.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Are we ready for the aliens?

Many theories, controversies, conspiracies exist on this topic: Aliens. I have been following this for a long time and this is one of the most shocking of the revelations. Called 'The Alien Interview', it shook the entire world and seems to be most believed in all the revelations till date.

Accordingly the Area 51 is the host to many ETs and we share intelligence with many species who are much more advanced in all fields then the humans.

Hard to believe but interesting. Some people like Bob Dean have started singing and sang like canaries and have given extremely shocking and exciting stories about this ET business. Though many claims have been made to prove the existence of aliens, sightings of UFO like this recent one reported by DNA, nothing has been proved or found. According to Bob Dean, the Earth is just a lab for some ETs who are about to some back and prevent us from killing ourselves with some kind of experiment. The date he proposed is around 2012. So lets wait! Also start practicing a nice smile and a big Hello!

Do I believe in all this? Yawn.. pass the popcorn please...

Pic

Plan B

Too much planning has always been saving you all the time. Do you always plan well ahead? Does nothing fail you? Have you always been considered being well planned and organized? Have you never missed a bus, appointment, exam or plan? Then good.

But...

Are you ready with the back up plan? What if all your plan fails? Are you ready?

Crisis Management is what you need to be ready all the time. Because you never know what is going to happen. Keep a plan B ready and plan in the same way for it as well.

Pic: FFO

Friday, September 26, 2008

Plagiarism is my birth right

In the battle between Hari Puttar vs Harry Potter, the former wins, at least in the Indian Legal system. In what appears to be a cheap copy of what the original Harry Potter. The film's producers defended the name against the Warner Bros' stating the name 'Hari Puttar' means 'Son of God!' I salute the logic behind the judgment. Just see the pic and you will understand how close they are.

Is this all we can do? Can't we be creative enough? A nation of 1 billion people, extremely good story tellers (when you make up excuses to skip work, cover up failure, etc.) and we wait till some hollywood movie releases and scoop it down sometimes frame to frame and the dialogues verbatim! Most of the Indian directors are brought to court for plagiarism! Some of the movies look so cheap that you feel how can a director be so stupid when he is cpoying!


Itwofs.com has a good collection of the songs and a host of directors who are accused. It provides the list of the original and the fakes. Most of these directors are of great repute! Many cases have been filed, accusation made, many out-of-court settlements have been done. But we continue to happily lift works from other musicians, poets, painters, artists and pass them as our own.

Students copy in the exams, adults copy from colleagues, Professors copy from research scholars, supervisors plagiarize subordinate's work and pass it as their own and what not! Pathetic effort to stay ahead and fake a race. You can fool some people all the time, all people for some time but not all people all the time.

Better change and try something original, even if it is the stupidest thing on the planet. At least you are being original.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Customer Service or Shock!


When it comes to servicing the customers most of the companies concentrate on things like time taken to serve, positive response and other tangible or material things into consideration. The same parameters figure in their evaluation forms: Was the customer served as per the TAT? Was he waiting more than required? Was his request fulfilled? Did he come back for the same complaint? By doing so the whole point is targeted towards your TAT, your quality standards. But this is not the issue and not customer service either.

Instead the concentration should be on whether the customer was happy? Did he get what he wanted? Was his stay good? Did you get customer delight? May be this is one of the reasons why quality of customer service in India poor to average.


Prof. Sridhar Chari explains an activity conducted at SDM Institute of Management, Mysore.

An excerpt: 'Abhishake Mathur of ICICI Direct gave the example of how any bank might evaluate branch performance. For top managers, the measures of a successful branch would focus on the size of the total liability, the CASA (current accounts: savings account) ratio, customer sat scores and the like. But from a truly customer-oriented point of view, the key measures would be very different indeed. What do any of us who walk into our local bank branch look for and almost never get? Minimal waiting time at the teller’s counter, a friendly attitude from staff members and ample parking space.

How come these never get measured? And where does this finally put the customer? In ‘zones of indifference or defection,’ never in the ‘zone of delight’ that would be critical for a company serious about long-term customer retention and return on investment'


Pic

Hate iphone?

Many hate mails of iPhone are generated every day. One of them is here. I think negative publicity also is some kind of publicity. Good for iPhone.

Relaunch

Taking its first step towards creating a new image, the Postal department unveiled its new logo on Tuesday, a move that is a part of a larger makeover process that is sweeping through the department. While the logo was unveiled in New Delhi on Tuesday morning by Minister of Communication and Information Technology A Raja and Jyotiraditya Scindia, it was simultaneously unveiled by chief postmasters generals in the state capitals and will be on letter-boxes and other post office insignia in the coming months.

The earlier logo was characterised by straight lines, while the new one has a more fluid feel to it. The effect of the wings on the logo has remained unchanged so as to ensure some continuity. “We worked in collaboration with Ogilvy and Mather, and a number of staff- officers and others and designed it,” said M S Bali, Chief Postmaster General, Maharashtra Circle.

Looks like Indian Posts also recognized the need to change. Good move.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lookin for Opportunity?

In the quest for identifying new buyers for their products, automobile manufacturers are constantly trying to innovate and simplify the process of driving vehicles. Cost is often the only limiting factor. TVS Motor Company has attempted an extension of the Scooty brand with the launch of balancing wheels, a unique product that can be easily fitted on to the Scooty at the dealer level.

For the first time in the two-wheeler industry, TVS will be addressing an all-together new segment, ‘those who do not know how to ride, even a bicycle’. Much like the wheels that are fitted onto a toddler’s bicycle, balancing wheels are meant for people who do not know how to balance a two-wheeler.

It is a set of additional wheels that come as an accessory and which can be fitted on to the Scooty. It is a simple innovation that makes learning to ride a two-wheeler easy, convenient and safe says a TVS Motor Company communique.

Read the full article here.

Where'z the stuff?

Titan has joined hands with WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and has come out with unisex watches. The range includes six unisex watches with emblems representing some of India's endangered species such as the tiger, Indian rhino, Gangetic river dolphin, red panda, whale shark and the Oliver Ridley turtle.

With every Titan-WWF watch purchased, Titan will contribute Rs150 to WWF towards its efforts of the conservation of their natural habitat. Every watch in the collection captures the strength and beauty of each of these magnificent animals. Priced between Rs3,000 and Rs3,800 and presented in 13 different styles, these watches would be available at all 'World of Titan' showrooms, multi-brand outlets and various malls across the country from 12th September, 2008.


I am particularly interested in the one that has 'The Tiger' and sought to buy it but the manager at Titan World at Jayanagar 4th block tells me that the watches have not come to Bangalore. I search for it on the Internet and find nothing at the website. You tube has the launch video, Google has a news item relating to it here but otherwise nothing from the brand that would help me in locating it! I make a few calls and then find out that the model is available at the showroom in Mumbai.

3 things make you a marketing genius: A great product/idea, great communication informing the existence of the product to the target customer, and the delivery. Titan messed up in the delivery part. Will I wait? May be I will but many wont.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Marketing to women

“CEOs and marketers first need to acknowledge that women really are the boss when it comes to buying. Second, they need to understand that women are different from men in many psychological and behavioural ways that affect their relationships with brands,” he advises.

One of the many examples in the book is about how GM connected with its target of professional female audience when marketing sports utility vehicles. “It offered $100 spa certificates to one million women for test-driving a GMC vehicle.”

Another example is of Volvo, which found that women wanted the same premium design features like climate control and leather upholstery as men did, Ellwood narrates.

In contrast, with regard to the budget-level vehicles, “women expected much less than their male counterparts,” the author continues, “be it about engine performance, seat comfort, and the latest safety features.”

Iain Ellwood in Wonder Woman: Marketing Secrets for the Trillion-Dollar Customer

Marriage

“Always pick the right husband,” Nooyi advises when asked how she manages family and work and all the commitments in between.

These days, businesswomen at the top tend to say they couldn’t have gotten where they are without their husbands. To admit as much might not fit the fierce versions of feminism some of us grew up with, but that, too, is evolving.

For “marrying well” among young women today has come to mean something that has little to do with men’s bank-account balance. It, however, has everything to do with the support we can expect from our life partners.

Read more.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Don't get fooLed, Again

“Being human involves an odd dichotomy: we need to delude ourselves that we are exceptional, even if we aren’t, in order to make the most of whatever potential we do have,” Wilson observes. “We thrive on being told how great we are, and we gravitate towards people who are willing to indulge that need”.

When we allow ourselves too much self-delusion, we are in danger of becoming fantasists, wide open to exploitation, he cautions. “And if we are too blind to the flaws of our heroes and idols – and too trusting of those we perceive to be figures of authority – we risk becoming complicit in the actions of criminals or, at the very least, making idiots of ourselves.”

Quite reassuringly, however, we all have the capacity to be sceptics, says Wilson. He explains how the antidotes to delusion are logic and evidence, preferably evidence from multiple sources. “We tend to delude ourselves least about the things that are easiest to measure objectively.”

Where possible, compare information from alternative sources and look for inconsistencies and contradictions, the author guides. This is not the same thing as being a cynic, he distinguishes. “Cynics like to assume the worst of people and things. Sceptics try to make as few assumptions as possible.”


Murali reviews the book: "Don't get fooLED again". The title of the book has fooled spelt as above, with LED in capitals. Yes unless you allow to be led into fooling you can't be fooled.

Read Murali's Review here.

What happens when star performers leave your team?

Nothing!

Yes. Nothing happens when star performers leave your team. I will tell you why. The team is now imbalanced but someone else would step up to fill the vacuum. Will the replacement be as good as the original, may be not or it might be. We cant say. But definitely the team will be effected by the change. Organization is too large to depend on an individual or a group. The boat gets shaken but does not sink.

Lets look at the star who leaves. He/she is a star performer and will continue to do so if the environment there is the same or better. Good for him. I have seen and read about cases where the individual was a performer only because of the team and environment. So next time you want to break free from your team think again. If you think you can survive go ahead. But let this not be the only reason. Many people opt for lesser paying jobs in search of peace and job satisfaction.

If you are not happy doing what you are doing then there can be two reasons: You or the place you are in. Address this first.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The anti style

Who occupies most of the screen time in movies? Who has a better life in stories? Who has the best gadgets, latest technology, genius mind, extra-ordinary capacity to bear pain, heights of creativity, great looking women, lots of wealth? Yes I am speaking about the anti hero. He has everything that you would kill for. He is young, has a great body and what not!

From a marketing aspect it pays to count on the villain to endorse your product too. For a simple reason that the villain is looked at carefully and his I-don't-give-a-damn attitude makes you love him. Most of the merchandise is targeted at this. Swatch uses this strategy well.

Pradipta K Mohapatra explains...

The new range is dedicated to the 21 James Bond films already released and the one yet to be released. The first one is dedicated to ‘Dr. No’, the 21st dedicated to ‘Casino Royale’ and the 22nd dedicated to the yet-to-be-released Bond film ‘Quantum of Solace’. Every Swatch carries the distinctive style representing a particular villain.

The ‘007 Villain Collection’ was launched worldwide on 9th September and are also available in the seven exclusive Swatch outlets in India. Swatch lovers, it is your turn to get a strap piece of James Bond on your wrists!


The advantages of using the anti style?
  • Its considerably cheap
  • Its easy to get a villain than a hero
  • Breaks the clutter
  • Attitude
  • Its cool
Lets see if this works in India. I think it would.

Girls in B Schools


India has achieved the milestone which the US is just beginning to consider: A female president.

According to the CAT applicants and the B-school admits every year, about one out of 10 students in the nation’s top B-schools is a woman — yet double that number wants to be there.

Alliance Business School is way ahead in recognizing the talent among the fairer sex. Our school has almost 50% of the seats filled by girls. You can see this in our pics too.

Bamboo

Once upon a time, in the heart of the Western Kingdom, lay a beautiful garden. And there, in the cool of the day, the Master of the garden was wont to walk. Of all the denizens of the garden, the most beautiful and most beloved was gracious and noble bamboo.



Year after year, bamboo grew yet more noble and gracious, conscious of his Master's love and watchful delight, but modest and gentle withal. And often when the wind came to revel in the garden, Bamboo would cast aside his grave stateliness, to dance and play right merrily, tossing and swaying and leaping and bowing in joyous abandon, leading the Great Dance of the garden, Which most delighted the Master's heart.



Now, once upon a day, the Master himself drew near to contemplate his Bamboo with eyes of curious expectancy. And Bamboo, in a passion of adoration, bowed his great head to the ground in loving greeting. The Master spoke: "Bamboo, Bamboo, I would use you."

Bamboo flung his head to the sky in utter delight. The day of days had come, the day for which he had been made, the day to which he had been growing hour by hour, the day in which he would find his completion and his destiny.



His voice came low: "Master, I'm ready. Use me as Thou wilt." "Bamboo," – The Master's voice was grave --- "I would have to take you and cut you down!"

A trembling of great horror shook Bamboo…"Cut …me… down ? Me.. Who thou, Master, has made the most beautiful in all thy Garden…cut me down! Ah, not that. Not that. Use me for the joy, use me for the glory, oh master, but cut me not down!"



Beloved Bamboo,"—The Master's voice grew graver still—"If I cut you not down, I cannot use you."



The garden grew still. Wind held his breath. Bamboo slowly bent his proud and glorious head. There was a whisper: "Master, if thou cannot use me other than to cut me down.. Then do thy will and cut".



"Bamboo, beloved Bamboo, I would cut your leaves and branches from you also".



"Master, spare me. Cut me down and lay my beauty in the dust; but would thou also have to take from me, my leaves and branches too?" "Bamboo, if I cut them not away, I cannot use you."

The Sun hid his face. A listening butterfly glided fearfully away. And Bamboo shivered in terrible expectancy, whispering low: "Master, cut away"



"Bamboo, Bamboo, I would yet… split you in two and cut out your heart, for if I cut not so, I cannot use you." Then Bamboo bowed to the ground: "Master, Master… then cut and split."



So did the Master of the garden took Bamboo…



And cut him down…and hacked off his branches…and stripped off his leaves…and split him in two…and cut out his heart.



And lifting him gently, carried him to where there was a spring of fresh sparkling water in the midst of his dry fields. Then putting one end of the broken Bamboo in the spring and the other end into the water channel in His field, the Master laid down gently his beloved Bamboo… And the spring sang welcome, and the clear sparkling waters raced joyously down the channel of bamboo's torn body into the waiting fields. Then the rice was planted, and the days went by, and the shoots grew and the harvest came.



In that day Bamboo, once so glorious in his stately beauty, was yet more glorious in his brokenness and humility. For in his beauty he was life abundant, but in his brokenness he became a channel of abundant life to his Master's world.

Source: FFO

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Choice


Every morning that you wake up alive you get to choose between two choices:

  • To be a moron, be angry, make every one's life around you miserable, hate everything and go to sleep as a moron, hated and cursed by all
or
  • To be an angel, make every one around happy, loved and blessed
Which one would you choose?

I chose the second option.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why only women?


Whenever there is a product launch you get to see a celebrity launch the same. Celebrity will ensure people look up and watch. But this does not guarantee the sale. It ensures the product in question is in my evoke set. It takes much more than a celebrity to take the product to the consideration set and later purchase. Most of the times vehicles and anything that is handled by men have been associated to be feminine. Very few break the clutter like the 'Definitely Male' Pulsar from Bajaj. Most of the products end up launched around the feminine side and you can see long-legged models sashaying to sell the product to you.

Any product addressing a high-involvement purchase, like a car for example, is not bought because some one vouches for it. Still using models will give enough coverage and attention. So seems to be a good strategy!

  • Or can we better this? If yes what can that be?
  • How many products do you remember which were launched by a male model (Remember Lux)?
  • Were they high involvement or low involvement purchase?
  • Why can't men be used to launch a product? If yes, what are those products?
  • Why only women?
Pic: FFO

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Unity, Gimme a break!

I was watching TV today and these were the pictures that were flashed on the screen. The place is Orissa and the religion of the victim (a 13 year old girl) was not mentioned. The 'occasion' was the attack on the churches, again. Have a close look at this picture and think. Does this child have a religion, belief and is a fundamentalist? Could she convert another person to any religion?

Since last Sunday churches in Orissa, Bangalore were attacked by armed fanatics who felt they stood for the true India. Innocent people of all ages have been attacked and hurt. All this in a country where Right to Freedom of Religion is enshrined in the constitution. A country that is considered to be home for many religions and claims to be Diverse yet United. United? Give me a break.

Godhra, Orissa, and how many more do we need. This could be your daughter tomorrow, for all I know. Its a shame.

Jaago and Jeeto

This game "Jaago aur Jeeto" that starts from 12 AM the night in ZEE TV is definitely a fraud game! It asks questions and asks viewers to send SMSs with "Jeeto" at 57575 and win thousands of rupees. No matter how many SMSs you send you will never be called back. Each sms costs rupees ten!! There were instances where after 15 minutes no viewer was called and the question lapsed! I think this is a all staged where sometimes someone from their own team calls up and actually no one gets paid.

Though the entire mechanism looks flawed many people do SMS. The continuity of the show is the proof for this. Many such shows exist on various channels.

It hits the most at where it hurts but not right away. The lure is high enough to make you send the SMS. The anchor seductively cajoles, lures and what not to make you send the SMS. Why no one complains is because the effort of pursuing this legally is too big when compared to the Rs. 10/- loss upfront. Hence the success. If we keep the ethical side away, I think it is a clever idea.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

12 Illumining Speeches



1. I Have a dream – Martin Luther King; Washington August 28, 1963
2. Opening Address to the World Parliament of Religions by Swami Vivekananda, September 11th, 1893
3. Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson July 4, 1776
4. Speech to Third World Forum – Shirin Ebadi 16th/01/2004
5. Mother Teresa Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech 11 December 1979
6. Inaugural Adress – Nelson Mandela 9 May 1994 (as President of South Africa)
7. Nobel Peace Lecture – Mikhail Gorbachev June 5, 1991
8. Gettysburg Adress by Abraham Lincoln 19 November 1863
9. The Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln 1 January 1863
10. Indian Philosophy - A Glimpse by Sri Chinmoy 1974
11. Uttapara Adress by Sri Aurobindo 30 May 1909
12. Inaugural Adress John F Kennedy January 20, 1961

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wait!


Taking a break from blogging this weekend. Just a few pointers. As yourself these questions.

  1. Is your desk clean?
  2. When was the last time you wrote a letter to your dear ones?
  3. What else can you do apart from being a couch potato?
  4. Start what you have been postponing for long: Dieting, knitting, driving/dancing classes, etc.
  5. You have about 100 days left in 2008. What's your plan?
Have a nice weekend.

Change


"It is easier to change the community in which we live. But what is more difficult is to change yourself."

Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa

Use this weekend to think over this.

Top Hollywood movies

Top Hollywood movies this week are:
  1. Bangkok Dangerous
  2. Tropic Thunder
  3. The Dark Knight
  4. The House Bunny
  5. Traitor
  6. Babylon A.D.
  7. Death Race
  8. Disaster Movie
  9. Mamma Mia!
  10. Pineapple Express

Trust

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Kethepalli, 500 B.C


The Hindu Reports this...

The State Department of Archaeology and Museums has stumbled upon a significant Iron Age burial site at Kethepalli near Ramoji Film City, that could push back the historicity of Hyderabad and surrounding areas to 500 BC.

Whenever I read of any archeological find I feel elated. May be because of my interest in history.

Finding something like this is a rarity and needs a lot of patience, perseverance, commitment, long hours of work, toiling in the hot sun, in unapproachable areas and god forsaken places. And yet you would find scores of people working away their years in an attempt to unearth something or the other. Some day someone would be scooping up dust from the place you are sitting right now with a tea spoon or brushing carefully with a tooth brush with eyes gleaming and heart beating at 1000 beats per minute. Now that is what I call commitment and passion which we need to move on in our life.

Thank your fate as your work is so neat, comfortable and easy. Try doing something worthwhile for that digger to find out about you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

HR related problems

The current issues of employee-retention is a fabulous creation of shabby HR practices -- a creation of ill-bred and half-baked HR professionals, most of whom owe their knowledge to C-grade run-of-the-mill institutes strewn across India.

For most HR activity relates only to "Recruitments".Rising attrition rates is a direct reflection of the HR incompetency. HR Departments, for one, are now endowed with the skills, competency and knowledge to map individual needs and organizational goals -- a prerequisite while recruiting resources.

Today very few Indian HR professionals appreciate the immense potential of on-demand training and e-learning. For them these are jargons that typically signify nothing. No wonder that HR Departments in Indian companies (barring a few well-structured companies) has now come to be seen as a very low-end and low-dignity assignment in the management spectrum.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Functional or Emotional?

Well I think the answer is emotional. Most of the purchases we make are more emotional than functional rather every buy is an emotional buy. We even think emotional and this rides our decisions as well.

All our attics must be full of things which are not at all useful. But when we bought them they were NEEDED and buying them was the most intelligent thing to do.

Check what my Prof. Ray has to say about kids buying watches: When did kids ever buy anything because of it's functional value? Never? :-) Read the full story here.

I think this applies to adults as well.

As a marketeer if you think your product will sell on mere functional specifications, you are mistaken. Same applies to services and people.

Chalk Walk & Talk

Prof. Pratip was recounting his interaction with the students and this crossed my mind. The traditional teaching process involved 'Chalk Walk and Talk'. Students were content with the process and were genuinely interested in what the teacher said. But now the situation is different. It is much more than the three 'alks'.

I have been a student in both the systems and have been a good one (listen, note, read and question). The teacher is now expected to read much more than the basic textbooks, have more information than what is available from cover to cover. The appetite of the students is unending. The teacher is also expected to have come prepared to the class, ready with the answers to all the queries and add value to the student. Mere repetition of what is in the book is not accepted. The teacher also is expected to have good communication skills, knowledge, decorum and what not. The respect towards the teacher is not just for the age or profession but for the intellectual capacity.

Same applies to the salesmen and the marketeers. You need to know more than the consumer and be one step ahead, always. The day you loose the race you are out! Keep yourself updated, knowledgeable and stay focused. Information overload in the Internet age makes you outdated before you say 'Manoj Night Shyamalan'

So on your mark...

Its Adman's Time

The growth of India’s advertising industry is set to halve to 10 per cent by 2013, according to the latest projections by Media Partners Asia (MPA), a leading international media research agency.

The MPA report said: “...the growth of advertising on television and print media will come at a significant cost because of intensifying competition and increasing diversification....Print media will continue to lose market share with the notable exception of India, while newspapers will remain significant advertising platforms in Southeast Asian markets like Singapore and Malaysia.”

This report gains significance as the Indian media and entertainment market is expected to grow at over 18 per cent riding on the back of the increasing penetration of television, cable, direct-to-home (DTH) and the print medium.

Read more.

Role of HR?

What a HR should do?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Change

We need a mental revolution, an inner revolution; we need to get rooted in our own soul. There is a missing element in India today and it is this. That element has to be restored otherwise Indian intellectualism will only be a carbon copy of Western intellectualism. We are borrowing not only their language and idiom but also we trying to copy the very soul of the West.

So, all that we need to do is (it is impossible to share the entire depth of the subject in one evening's lecture programme. I have only tried out point out in an incoherent way, how a completely fresh mindset has to be evolved. And unless it evolves, the Indian mind, which leads India, will be in a perpetual state of confusion ordinary people are perfectly all right.
--- A speech of S. Gurumurthy given to IIT Chennai

3G

Everyone may be knowing that the Apple's iPhone 3G has been launched in India . But many of us are not aware what is 3G. so let's have a brief look into it.

What is 3G?

3G is the next generation of wireless network technology that provides high speed bandwidth (high data transfer rates) to handheld devices. The high data transfer rates will allow 3G networks to offer multimedia services combining voice and data.


Additional features also include HSPA(High-Speed packet Access) data transmission capabilities able to deliver speeds up to 14.4Mbit/s on the downlink and 5.8Mbit/s on the uplink.

3G wireless networks have the bandwidth to provide converged voice and data services. 3G services will seamlessly combine superior voice quality telephony, high-speed mobile IP services, information technology, rich media, and offer diverse content.

What are the Advantages of 3G?


3G networks offer users advantages such as:
· New radio spectrum to relieve overcrowding in existing systems
· More bandwidth, security, and reliability
· Interoperability between service providers
· Fixed and variable data rates
· Always-online devices. 3G will use IP connectivity, IP is packet based (not circuit based)
· Rich multimedia services


What are Some Disadvantages of 3G?
There are some issues in deploying 3G:
· The cost of upgrading base stations and cellular infrastructure to 3G is very high
· Requires different handsets and there is the issue of handset availability
· Base stations need to be closer to each other (more cost)
· Tremendous spectrum-license costs, network deployment costs, handset subsidies to subscribers, etc.
· High power requirements

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Transparent



As delicate as finely blown glass, the presence of this rare tropical gem is used by rain forest ecologists as an indication of high habitat quality and its demise alerts them of ecological change. Rivaling the refined beauty of a stained glass window, the translucent wings of the Glasswing butterfly shimmer in the sunlight like polished panes of turquoise, orange, green, and red.
All things beautiful do not have to be full of color to be noticed: in life that which is unnoticed has the most power.

Chores + Divorce

“Pitching in at home has become a crucial marriage-preservation skill for young men,” writes Sue Shellenbarger in the Wall Street Journal (8/27/08).

If that’s true, we might expect an increase in divorce rates in the years ahead because children, ages 6-12, are not doing as much in the way of housework as they once did.

In fact, a University of Maryland study of 1,343 children finds that kids today “are spending a mere 24 minutes a day doing cleaning, laundry and housework — a 12 percent decline since 1997 and a 25 percent drop from 1981 levels.”


So make your child work in family and you are teaching him people management, how to behave with others and thus ensuring a good family life and making him/her a better person in the society. Infact working in teams make people more reasonable and open-minded.

So you know what to do.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fairer Sex


We were discussing the change in the attitude of women before and after marriage. What changes and how quick things change and ended up with this graph on a tissue paper. I made this fair copy.


...and we believe in one another
and i know we're going to uncover
what's sleepin' in our soul

--- Oasis

What do you think? Is this correct. Or is it the other way round? Do men behave this way too? I think they do. What can be done to change this situation?

Remembering Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu

Mother Theresa is considered as one of the best entrepreneurs by Subroto Bagchi. Must be.

Singlehandedly she founded Missionaries for Charity, which consists of over 4,500 nuns and is active in 133 countries.

How would people remember Y O U?
Pic: Wiki

Friday, September 5, 2008

Psyche vs Physical

A broken heart really does hurt, just as poets claim, for a studyhas revealed that pain caused by emotional distress is more deeply felt and longer lasting than that caused by physical injuries.

For decades, it is believed that "sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you". But, now an international team has showed that the reverse is actually true in most cases.

"While both types of pain can hurt very much at the time they occur, social pain has the unique ability to come back over and over again, whereas physical pain lingers only as an awareness that it was indeed at one time painful.

"Why aren't we always suffering pain by recollections of social betrayal and other forms of social pain? Because we are pretty good at keeping these memories at bay," lead author Kip Williams was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying.


Can we position a product by using psyche over physical attributes. Yes. That is what iconic brands do. Long after the physical attraction is weaned off people still like the product just because of the psychological attributes.

Teacher's Day

Today is Teacher's Day in India. I thank all the people who were instrumental in teaching me, showing me things and making me what I am today. All learning begins at home. My mom, who is my first teacher and sacrificed her promising career for me, my Dad who is my pillar of strength, school and college teachers, people at work and many more fall in here. I learnt and un-learnt. Many a times it was easy to learn, sometimes it was not, some times it was very unpleasant but I did.

I have had the privilege of working with many people, both who were interested in helping the student and those who were not. There were teachers who treated their students as their children, sometimes even more. There were teachers who spoon-fed, who gave you the goal with no map, goal with map and user manual and so on. Many varieties, many talents, approaches, beliefs, styles, passions, natures and psyches. Let me make it clear here that I have learnt from each one of them and am still at it.

My Dad says, "A soldier defends the country from the outside, a teacher from the inside." How true.

Thank you one and all for being there.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Your views: Chiranjeevi


Bhindi with fry

Archana was bowled over by Bhindi with fry at Centenary Building, Centenary Club. We were at a know-more-meetings with Harsha and his in-laws the other day and ordered Bhindi Fry. The dish was ok types. We found it hard to see what was the difference between the normal fresh cut Bhindis and the fry we ordered. Though we all ate it in mute submission we found it odd. Archana summed it up saying it was not a bhindi fry but was Bhindi's cut and served with fry, rather, Bhindi Fry.

When a product fails to deliver what you perceive or expect it fails to make an image and ensures that you don't come back. This applies to both low as well as high involvement products. What would we do? Skip it next time. So the bhindi fry rather bhindi with fry failed to impress Archana. Though the price of the item was insignificant it failed on its promise.


Move on Centenary.

Liquid Funds

Liquid funds belong to the category of ultra short term debt funds. These can be used as alternative for short term bank deposits (deposits for less than a year).

1. They invest in debt instruments which have maturity of 1-2 months.

2. They have a lock in period of only few days unlike banks wherein you have to pay penalty if you preclose your FD.

3. They have a lower tax rate than a bank FD for a person in 30% tax bracket.The tax on dividend paid out is less than the income tax slab rate of a person in 30% tax bracket.

4.The interest rate varies with the market and it is a good option in a increasing interest rate scenario unlike bank FDs where interest rate is fixed.

5. They accept a minimum investment of 10,000.

6. These are suitable for investors who don want to lock in their money at banks for a shorter while but at the same time want to get interest on their amount.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Agressive Abhinav

Does this sound like an oximoron. May be. Read on...

A dozen security guards, meticulous verification of visitors and a 500-yard drive to a palatial farmhouse brings you to the plush environs where India's sole Olympic gold medallist has been groomed. Abhinav Bindra is waiting in the drawing room, casually dressed and composed as usual. The champion is apprehensive about 'another interview' but gets down to it anyway. Excerpts...

Have you been approached by any corporates for endorsements?

No corporates have approached me as of now. But I'm open to the idea.

People spoke of your Zen-like calm after winning the gold. Are you into meditation?

I think shooting itself is such a meditative sport that you don't need to practice any other meditation. As for my calm, I am like that only. I don't make a drama of things. And the moment of victory was so fleeting that I was sucked up in it.


Don't you think you should have stuck on in Beijing to cheer other Indian participants?

If I were there, I would have become the centre of attraction. They all deserve their moments of glory. And what could have I done there? I can't coach boxers and wrestlers; I can't give them tips. In fact, I had decided much earlier that once my job was over, I'd be back home.

Read the full interview here.

Adapt