Google+ Consumer Psyche: October 2011


Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday Blues: Have a heart

I love good ads, even with some sting. Here is an disgusting way to garner some publicity by Micromax. Is it a good marketing vehicle? Yes! Is it right? I don't think so. I feel that marketing comes with a responsibility and good spirit. What am I taking about? Watch this...

Beating Monday Blues is easy. Treat someone way below your rank and position in your office, home or wherever today with real, genuine affection and gratitude. See how it unfolds joy and happiness in the person! Busy with our daily schedules and month end pressures we tend to behave as if normal people do not have problems like us. Everyone, however low his/her cadre is, has their problems. Share some love and no wonder it brightens their day up!

Have a happy Monday! God bless!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Let God Arise!

Can Facebook help you live longer?

I read a lot. That means I chose what to read and what not. And if I am exceptionally impressed with something only then I re-post. Here is one such gem of an article from Dr. Jame Abraham. Read on...

It was about 8.30 p.m. Darkness was spreading its wings outside the hospital window. The evening nurses were busy charting the patients assigned for the night. The corridors, which are usually bustling with resident doctors and consultants, were almost empty except for the cleaning crew with their noisy and heavy equipment. The smell of bleach and cleaning solution pervaded the atmosphere.
Room 854 was dimly lit and very quiet.

Mrs Payton was sleeping peacefully. She had an internal fixing of right femur the previous night and had not fully recovered from the sedatives that were used for the procedure. Her husband was slumped in a chair holding her hand and in deep sleep. His head was resting on the side of the bed. The silence in the room was only interrupted by the soft dripping sounds of the IV Fluid. Muted scenes from the old popular show MASH danced across the TV screen. I am sure; one of the nurses must have pressed the mute button when she saw them sleeping so peacefully.
A beautiful bouquet of fresh red roses and their wedding photo resting on the side table were the silent witnesses in the room. They were probably in their twenties in the picture. She looked so radiant and happy in her long flowing white wedding gown. He was in his military uniform. He fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars. They were high school sweet-hearts.

I almost felt guilty waking them up. A hospital is a horrible place to rest. Often in the middle of the night, when you are fast asleep, the nurses might come and ask, “Are you sleeping?” and then stick a cold thermometer into your mouth.
“Good, you have no fever. Now you can go back to sleep.” It is a cruel joke.
Reluctantly, I followed “the rules” of the hospital.
“Mr Payton, sorry to wake you up.” I touched his wrist gently. His fair skin revealed prominent blue veins.

He jolted out of the chair. “Sorry, I could not keep myself awake.” He rubbed his eyes with both hands.
“Finally, my age is catching up with me.” His paunch moved rhythmically with his laugh. Payton is nearly 84 years old now.
“We spent all night at the emergency room. They took her for surgery only early in the morning.” Payton was not complaining. He was just stating the facts. I have never heard him complain.

“Dr Abraham...” Mrs Payton woke up with a smile. Her memory was fading, but her smile was not.
“Have the children left?” She scanned the room. “I don’t know when I fell asleep, they were still here, I guess,” she looked at Payton.
“Yep, they left around 8 when the visiting time was over.” Their whole family was with them all day.
“What happened, Mrs Payton? How did you fall?” I pulled a chair and sat close to her bed.

“Oh, I don’t know, I think I tripped on the carpet,” she looked at Payton.
“Honey, you missed the step to the patio. I didn’t know that she was going to break her bone!!”
“I am glad she did not hit her head.” Mrs Payton looked pleasantly confused.
“Her head is too hard. It does not crack that easily doc,” Payton had not lost his sense of humor. “I have been married to her for 60 years. I know how hard-headed she is,” he laughed.
“Mrs Payton, you have been married to the same man for too long. I think you should think about finding a new man.” Mrs Payton laughed at my joke.
“Dr Abraham, I have been thinking about that for the past 50 years. I am afraid that no good woman in her right mind will take him,” she looked at his face and then at their wedding picture. He was still holding her hand.
She had an early stage breast cancer. She was on an anti-oestrogen treatment, which can potentially cause thinning of the bone or osteoporosis. I wondered if her fracture was caused by that.

“We may have to stop the pills for cancer and assess your bones carefully with a scan.”
“Doctor, whatever you say.” They echoed simultaneously.
“We just had another great granddaughter last week,” he pulled a picture from his smart phone.
We talked about their grandson graduating from college and great grandson playing basketball.
As I drove back home, I thought about the Paytons and their secret to happiness and longevity. Are both concepts intertwined? Do happy people actually live longer?

A Canadian study titled, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy: Positive Affect and Reduced Ten Year Incident of Coronary Heart Disease,” crossed my mind. The study followed 1,739 adults in their mid-forties over ten years. On a one-to-five scale, trained nurses rated the subjects for “positive affect”—defined by the authors as “the experience of pleasurable emotions such as joy, happiness, excitement, and contentment”. Each one-point increase in positive affect was linked to a 22 per cent reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease (such as heart attack). I thought that was pretty amazing.
Emotion such as happiness is your reaction to the environment. Two people can live through the same experience and react in totally different ways. Is the glass half full or half empty? I am pretty sure that the Paytons always looked at life as half full. Even after spending long hours at the hospital emergency room, they were not upset with the world.

According to a Danish twin study, about 10 per cent of how long an average person lives depends on his genes and 90 per cent is dictated by his lifestyle. But what is the perfect formula for the ideal lifestyle. Dan Buettner, who lead the Blue Zone Project, learned some fascinating tips about longevity from various corners of the world. He went to Sardinia Island of Noro Province in Italy, and Okinawa, Japan, which have 10 times more centenarians than the average US population.
He identified factors like low-intensity physical activity, a vegetable-based diet and wines as important ingredients for long life. But the social connectivity of these communities was extremely strong. In these communities, the social equity of a person increases as you grow old.

Another amazing aspect of the Paytons’ story is that they are so connected. They have a large family and they are very much part of the community they live in. Probably, happy people are more connected, too. He still plays golf with his buddies several times a week. She volunteers at the local church. Their social support and connectivity are amazing.
I have never seen Mrs Payton come to an appointment by herself. I wonder how Payton will cope if anything happens to her or vice-versa. The concept of “dying from a broken heart is not just a myth”. The chances of dying when a partner dies is about 50 per cent and it is called the widowhood effect.

Isolation kills; social connectivity is important for longevity. A Denmark study showed that, the feeling of loneliness was found to be associated with increased cardiovascular mortality, especially in males.
Social media, especially Facebook, has revolutionised the concept of social connectivity. More than 750 million people are connected through Facebook. If Facebook is a country, it will be the third most populous in the world after China and India. An average person has about 130 friends on Facebook. It is almost a new measure of social equity.
What draws people to Facebook and other social media? Is it a fear of open communication? It definitely provides an outlet and avenue for people to live in a social world of their choice.

But is that going to help us live longer? I don’t have the answer to that. Facebook has more traffic than Google. One in every 13 people on Earth is on Facebook. Almost 50 per cent of the 18-34-year-olds check Facebook right when they wake up. In 20 minutes almost of 2 million friend requests are accepted. The study of impact of Facebook “Facebookology” is in its infancy. But I think its social impact is definitely worth studying.
The Paytons’ keep it very simple. Their definition of social interaction is probably limited to within a 50-mile radius of their birthplace. It must have expanded slightly when their grand kids moved out of the state for college education and jobs. But their core group of support still remains close to the place they have lived all their lives. It is personal and tangible. But it is going to be different for their grand kids who prefer to build their social equity through social media from within their bedroom walls. Can they still reap the health benefits enjoyed by the Paytons?

As I opened the garage door, the digital clock on the dash board showed 9.30 p.m. Yet another day of coming home late from work. I am not sure if that is helping with my social connectivity. Adith came over and gave me a hug with a sweet smile. His older brother, Abel, was busy on his Facebook page, nurturing his virtual connectivity!

Dr Jame Abraham, MD, FACP, is Bonnie Wells Wilson Distinguished Professor, chief of oncology and medical director of Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, West Virginia University, USA.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pointing mistakes vs Helping to improve

Got this as a forward...

Once upon a time there was a painter who had just completed his course. He took 3 days and painted beautiful scenery. He wanted people's opinion about his caliber and painting skills. He put his creation at a busy street-crossing. And just down below aboard which read – “! I have painted this piece. Since I'm new to this profession I might have committed some mistakes in my strokes etc. Please put a cross wherever you see a mistake.”

While he came back in the evening to collect his painting he was completely shattered to see that whole canvass was filled with Xs (crosses) and some people had even written their comments on the painting. Disheartened and broken completely he ran to his master's place and burst into tears.

This young artist was breathing heavily and master heard him saying “I'm useless and if this is what I have learnt to paint I'm not worth becoming a painter. People have rejected me completely. I feel like dying” Master smiled and suggested “My Son, I will prove that you are a great artist and have learnt flawless painting. Do as I say without questioning it. It WILL work.”

Young artist reluctantly agreed and two days later early morning he presented a replica of his earlier painting to his master. Master took that gracefully and smiled. “Come with me.” master said. They reached the same street-square early morning and displayed the same painting exactly at the same place. Now master took out another board which read –“Gentlemen, I have painted this piece. Since I'm new to this profession I might have committed some mistakes in my strokes. I have put a box with colors and brushes just below. Please do a favor. If you see a mistake, kindly pick up the brush and correct it.” Master and disciple walked back home.

They both visited the place same evening. Young painter was surprised to see that actually there was not a single correction done so far. Next day again they visited and found painting remained untouched. They say the painting was kept there for a month for no correction came in!

Moral: It is easier to criticize, but difficult to improve! There are lot of people around us who just wait for an opportunity to critics us. Don't get carried away or judge yourself by someone else’s criticism and feel depressed. Be Yourself.

God is good. Period.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Super Bass! Super Boss!!

Onika Tanya Maraj or Nicki Minaj is a sensation alright. I saw her songs(with > 300 million collective hits) Super Bass and saw it rise up the charts and swing teen-music-choices and paint the world pink. Here is the original song with over 170 million hits! If you think it is the best then I have something better. Two kids, Sophia and Rosie, Eight and Five sing to her song and have about 25 million hits between them in less than a month!

A lot of channels found them and get them on air but Ellen takes it a step further. Watch the video below to see.

That is wonderful. I know the kids are too good but am talking about the power of the Internet! The ease with which technology can take you so fast from something so small to something so enormous and sensational. Good luck Sophia and Rosie.

If only we can understand and fathom the mechanics of internet and use them to better reach our target audiences... but isn't that another story?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Packing it right

We have all learnt our lessons in marketing and sales right from childhood. Some of us have been taught in business schools and on job! It all boils down to what to say, how to say and when to say so the listener can comprehend and understand the message without any disturbance.

The intent is to give a maximum desired impact on the subject. Sometimes marketers(even common people) go overboard to give out the message in an excellent packaging which in turn damages the actual message and the intent goes awry. Sometimes it is the opposite. The message is given too much importance where it gets boring and uninteresting. Very few actually get it right. Here is a good example.

Call it good packaging! I would love some feedback on what you think. What am I thinking? Guess...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Blues: Bury and Move on

Monday morning again....

Do you learn with time or just get dumber? I think the latter happens most often. What makes you think you are better? What makes you think you evolved over the last few years, months and days and you think you can handle things better? Why am I being so direct? People tend to look at their pain as an addiction and love to be afflicted time and again. What makes them tick to the pain and tolerate it while they have always tried to get away from it?

This happens most often in relationships and that too in broken ones. Happens to both the sexes and yes, you go, revisit and get smacked more for the same and swear that you will never go back again only to return a few days later. The reason is that I tend to think that I am much better off managing this situation and hope I can do better and deliver all those dialogues and come-backs I wanted to last time. Trust me, most of these adventures prove to be fatal and hurt you even more. The best way is to accept that you have been an idiot once and make sure you don't need to validate that time and again. Walk away and improve but don't go back to the relationship that had already hurt you, especially if you are sure you will not be happy there.

This Monday, I want you to come out and ditch the stupidity and stop convincing yourself that you are smarter. Alas, very few are, especially in the matters of the heart. So what next? This Monday, cheer up and try something else, some one new... Our population hit 7 billion the last I heard. Talk about choice!

Pic is from here.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

All I need is YOU!

Way of Christ!

As a student of psychology, I learn every day and from almost everyone I see, meet or speak to. What makes someone stick to something or not? What motivates someone more than anything else? Can everything be analysed and allocated to the confines of a simple pyramid designed by Maslow? Don't think so. Traditional marketing gurus would fit what I am going to say in to one of the top chambers of the pyramid though! The more I learn, I know there is more that is unknown!

Something I envisioned and started with a good friend Peter some two years back during my graduation has snowballed in to a community. I am very happy and proud with the result as this was unexpected and frankly hardly anytime was spent on it. Skipping the marketing and behavioral discussion, Way of Christ has > 2100 followers as of today. Join if you would like to get good verses, thoughts and you can also post prayer requests, verses, etc.

Thank you Lord!

Yes! At the Cross, there's room!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Aliens - The Truth

I have written a good post about aliens some three years ago. I have researched a lot and am more enlightened, read, learnt and wiser now and here is my view now. I will try and put it in as subtle a way as I can be and here it is.

I have a bowl with fish in it. There are two fighter fish, one turtle and few guppies. There is plankton, artificial grass, some white and colored stones. I make sure there is food available all the time and that they exercise enough to earn it so they wont get sick. Once in a while I change the water and clean the bowl. If these fish think they are the only fish and that this is the only place with fish in the world then they are sadly mistaken. If they think they are too smart and know everything then again they are mistaken.

Compare our solar system and the blue planet to the bowl. Get the drift?

Take it raja!

Let me state at the outset that I love the way the team at Bingo has built a good brand and a better aura around it. Bingo ads many not be brilliant like the Zoo-zoos or have superstars selling it but have some insanely stupid logic and catches the viewers attention. This is precisely what makes people skip the Lays charisma and look at Bingo. The taste and flavor isn't much different but has a local touch and sympathizes with the person buying it.

The ads thus stand out among the clutter and manage to stay on the buyers mind long after he had watched it. Here is another brilliant ad. I am sure Bingo is going to stay for quite some time. So take it raja!


Sometimes when everything seems closed and you have reached the dead end, nothing you do works, the only solution is to keep trying and seek out options.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Book Review: Revolution 2020

Did you read the book? I finished reading it on 8th October, 2011 as I had pre-ordered it on and got it delivered on 7th. A bit bulky from his other books and longer than usual, Chetan packs this one with a girl stuck between two boys who happen to be best friends and this is right from cover to cover. Written in a true bollywood style, I felt the story looks like a screenplay, fit more to the screen and a bit less oriented to a reader who is holding the book. Call it arrogance or the price of setting of high expectations after his Two States, I believe any book should be more oriented in engaging the reader rather than what happens next. I wouldn't give out much here as I think you should enjoy the book when you read it.

Now let's talk about the story.
Two friends from a small town engage in childhood as miscreants and end up becoming a good friend, obviously, a girl from a rich well to do family and as they grow fall for her and she falls for the boys too. Yes, for both of them. One of the boys, Raghav has a zeal to change the world and Gopal is pushed to the gutter due to his lesser IQ and poor financial condition which he simply blames on his parents genes. Fastforward a few years and Raghav is good at academics and Gopal is still in  gutter, only deeper. By a stroke of luck, Gopal gets a first hand taste at corruption and moves quickly high to set out something he never would have chosen otherwise and becomes successful while Gopal and the girl choose to stick to their dreams. How it all changes is when Gopal and Raghav have a face off with each other due to their ideals, principles and choices and how society responds to each of them. Yes, there are a couple of times where the 15-line-Chetan-Bhagat-style-love-scene come and go.

Themes: I liked this book for the treatment of its themes.
  • Chetan looks at Love in a tangled way between emotions and corruption and how it cannot be bought or rather how it evolves over a period of time and how it can mean a lot even to people in their best or worst phases of life. R2020 seems to believe that how one manages a relationship is more inclined to what he believes in and how important his ideals are and I agree partially to that. Unfortunately many people do not believe in emotions when they have a choice and chose to misuse the word love and unfortunately 'moving on' seems to be the trend today. Chetan scores in this aspect.
  • Corruption is something Chetan pitches in as casually as possible. There are hard core corrupt politicians, normal people who do everything or either pushed to, from breaking bones to kidnapping, land extortion, threatening to doing good. There is a government official who uses his official car for all personal reasons and still thinks he is honest. I think this is the pulse of the resent state! As long as I don't take a bribe and I don't bother about others taking I am not to be touched and as the book puts it, it is smart.
  • Chetan has also done quite an amount of research on what happens in education system, politics, corruptions, cheating, misleading of both students and children and their hard earned money and how one can earn a lot by looking at a stake in education. Once considered sacred, education is the cash cow now, repeatedly milked and ill-treated and R2020 does justice when looking at this. The state of education, right from coaching centres to get into colleges, coaching to get in to coaching centres, exams, fees, choices, unfair, unrealistic expectations of the parents, confused students... Chetan gets brilliant here.
Would I recommend the book? Of course, yes! Why would you want to miss a good story written in simple English and is fun to read? Why would you not want to read the best selling author of Indian English literature till now? Get a nice mug of hot chocolate, cozy up in your favorite place, tune in to your i-pod and let Chetan take you away in his own style for a boat ride down the misty waves of Ganga. If you feel the stench which comes from the burnt bodies, it is only for a small stretch, you might get lost in the smokey dope or hear a lovely voice carried by the waves too.

Though I think the book could have been cut by 20-25 pages and it doesn't match the brilliance of Two States, R2020 would be a quantity seller than a quality seller.

Rating: 2.5/5.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Blues: Start with a prayer

This Monday, start with a prayer and set out to reach your goals with more vigor and passion than what you actually want to and seek satisfaction in finishing the task you set out to.

I would not ask for earthly store — Thou wilt my need supply;
But I would covet, more and more, the clear and single eye,
To see my duty face to face, and trust Thee, Lord, for daily grace!

(J.J. Maxfield) 

Miracles, signs and wonders will be plenty when  you seek something and pursue with passion. Cheers!

ps: Yes, marketers believe in God too :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Don't believe all that you read!

Human psyche is interesting. Very interesting. You can read, decipher and understand two things from the same source and yet come out with a different belief for each. When you read something related to things you don;t like, you feel it is false. When you read information matching your belief system, you think it is true. But most of us believe everything we read in papers, especially if it is related to health and wellness, and think just because it is reported in some foreign magazines or newspapers it might be true. Sometimes it is better to take information pitched in science journals about something studied comprehensively too with a pinch of salt. This becomes even more important when you see some self proclaimed gurus come out with claims on what you should eat, drink and do to be healthy on tv every morn. Watch out for the real data and not the spoofed up facts. How you can be cheating yourself when you read things and follow or best put, you self-medicate.