Saturday, January 31, 2009

Marketing gimmick

This started off as a comment here (do read it), but I guess theres reams of possibility...

Watch? Wristwatch? Are we in 1970? Did the world turn back? I overslept or something? Signed by Shah Rukh Khan? You mean that the dial has a graphic that looks like Shah Rukh Khans signature when you see under an electron microscope? And I will part with an insanely high amount of money for that privilege? How could you underestimate your customers intelligence by so much? In 2009? When wristwatches, autographed or unautographed as as passe as Hawaii chappals? SRK has a brand image for sure, but not on watches...

Imagine that! This would have come through after a meeting with high powered executives and approved after wasting much time. Somebody, some great body in that great office would have come across this statistic hidden in the 345th page of an 87643 page report. That there is this great untapped pool of people who are waiting, just waiting, for an autographed watch to part with their money. And the person whose autograph they really want, in circa 2009, is their very own brand ambassador. Once they see this promo, they will rush in droves to part with their money. So, what are we waiting for?

(Now what happens to the mass of people who parted with their money and did not get an autographed watch? Oh the blunder...)

Imagine that! Now having got the said autographed watch, each time the customer waits in queue outside the ATM or waits for the customer service executive to respond to his query while listening to barrage after barrage of advertisements, they will take one look at this miracle of an autographed watch and lose themselves and fall in love with the bank again. Huh?

Lure me? With an iphone. Anytime. I dont even want Steve Jobs autograph on it. I will close all my other accounts and come to you.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Free speech and the media

This is a bit late in the day, but if you haven't already heard about it, it is a good time to catch up.


Actually get the whole thing here, DP round up: Blogger silenced by NDTV

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Greed to Green...

A lot is being spoken about the new energy policy of the US. This piece, in particular, is quite exhaustive. The potential of the "Green energy" movement is being compared to the Moon landing and Project Manhattan. If the US manages to achieve this - and I do think it will, it will manage to shake off the recession. For the rest of the world; India in particular, this is a golden opportunity. We used cellphones to bridge the digital divide - now we can use clean and sustainable energy to bridge the energy divide. Overall, India has made good use of bio gas, wind power - and especially to power its villages, there is no better bet.

If capitalism said, Greed is good (as epitomised in Wall street), enviro- capitalism says, Green is good.

Now to translate that potential into reality.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Youtube channels

Found this spectacular link from TPWS (Too bad it is going to close down) on Failure - a video released by Honda. Do watch...



From there I found Youtube user Honda (which is Hondas youtube channel) which is a treasure trove in itself which I will go through at some point in time. For those who followed the recent developments in Israel, they too had a channel, here...

The new place to find media is the internet, not the TV. I, sitting where I am, would never have found this video of Honda had it not been for the web. Marketing or war, are you there on Youtube? Yet? The one company in India who can use it is Bajaj with its range of superb advertisements - many of them classics. As for the rest, they will wake up soon...by which point it will be too late and become a me-too strategy.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Where are you?

A superb graphic by my "Dronacharya" - truly worth a thousand words or thoughts...

Where are you on this grid?

Ashok Chakra

See this set of pics and descriptions of the Ashok Chakra (the highest peace time gallantry award).

The one thought that crossed my mind as I read through it was that almost every single of one of the officers would have been alive had it not been for better equipment (intelligence, potentially training).

Many of them are almost "lambs to the slaughter". No doubt they are brave, they fought with they had in the circumstances, but did they really have to die in this process? I am sure with better equipment, these brave cops/armymen could have come out alive and got some more terrorists?

Monday, January 26, 2009

The elephant in the jungle

The elephant, like all elephants was a hefty animal. Today, he reflected back on his life in the jungle. He had a home in the jungle; he was quite well off and healthy. He was also respected in the jungle, by and large. All the animals there knew him to be a nice guy. He shared a rapport with the bear, the panda, the mouse, the eagle and quite a few other denizens of the jungle.

However, he had a niggling problem, apparently intractable. Mice sought to take over his cave home, or atleast part of it. They sought a coveted corner in his cave actually. He had fed the mice, but they only seemed to want more of it. He had even fenced a small part of the corner for their use. They had ruined their corner and had created holes in the fence to reach his part of the cave. Whatever had had in that corner was under a constant threat. He wondered if he should move his things from there. But that might not solve the problem, he thought.

This was not something new though. When he was a little boy, mice had tried to take over the cosy corner. At that time, he had charged in with all his boyish enthusiasm and driven them off. That seemed to have driven some sense into them, but they were always there. A mouse here, a mouse there and they expected to own the corner for themselves. Lately they were becoming more and more audacious. They had begun to raid other parts of the cave.

In between for a while, when he was busy dozing, they had even created their nests in his coveted corner. It took him a little while, but he snuffed them away from there. He wondered if he should take the battle to the mice which was just outside his cave dwelling. He stopped short of doing that hoping that it would get better.

Since then, the mice menace got worse. Hope alone did not seem to work. There were now raids parts of the cave outside the corner. Every now and then, his food supplies were getting raided. He was bit quite a few times in the bargain. But he showed restraint each time, while he could have easily crushed a few mice under his foot. Now the mice had access to fire too - the great equalizer in the jungle, with help from the panda. He had a fire burning in his cave for a long time now, but the thought of using it never crossed his mind. He needed it just for the light. Indeed, he seemed to forget that he had a fire at all.

As he sat back and wondered on the years that went by, he examined his position. He had referred the mice problem at the jungle council, but it did not lead to anything. The mice had troubled the eagle and the eagle had taken the battle to the mice eating a few of them, but it did not look like anybody would fight his battle. He met the bear, the panda and the eagle, but beyond a sympathetic ear, nothing seemed to happen. The camel and the panda for some reason were sympathetic towards the mice. The eagle, right now, had an ambivalent stance, or so it seemed.

He wondered what he should do. One thing seemed to be clear, he had to fight his own battles, like in the olden days. It was too much to expect someone to come exterminate the mice in his cave. Did it matter what the other animals thought, since in any case they did as they pleased? So, why was he to bother with these niceties when it had not gotten him anywhere for many years now? He sat looking morosely out of his cave. What could he do? Elephants were supposed to have a long memory, but he seemed to losing it...

What do you think the elephant should do?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Go green, fight terror

This was an entry in Wireds Utopia blog a little while back titled Automakers Sing the Body Electric. After being stung by high oil prices a few months ago, it is almost as if all the automakers have decided that electric is the way to go...

...The future of the automobile was sealed at North America's biggest auto show this week, where all of the hottest new cars and concepts had extension cords.

...Until now, electric cars were always part of the auto industry's post-petroleum plans, but only as one of many technologies they said would lead us to a greener, cleaner future. No more: Now, all bets are on batteries.


...No one mentioned ethanol. There was little discussion of flex-fuels. And aside from Honda's ongoing infatuation with the stuff, most agree that hydrogen remains a distant dream

.
...What's more, hybrids and EVs are no longer niche vehicles that only Al Gore would want to drive. Prototypes and production models are appearing in every segment and at every price point.[Wired]

This is great news for many reasons. Despite the current downtrend in oil prices, the writing on the wall is clear - oil supply is limited and the world needs better and more sustainable options. And the connection between oil and terror couldn't be clearer. Theres a message in it for all of us. Invest in clean energy now and make the world a safer place...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Po Bronson, Question on life, answered

And the answer is not 42.



Just. Read. It. All.

BTW, he has a book by the same name, which is supposed to be very good. What Should I Do with My Life?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The cat, the bell...

Lets bell the cat is how Gaurav has shared this piece from IE - The headline says something entirely different, but heres how it is going...

Lets bell the cat...

Excuses so far
There is no bell.
Let us import an Israeli bell - since US has imposed sanctions on bells. Russian bells are outdated. We did a technology transfer 50 years back, but the current bell we managed to make weights 3 kilos and wont ring.

There is no rope.
The only rope is of 1935 vintage which can break anytime.
The newest ropes are embroiled in a kickback scandal.

Latest excuse:
There is no cat.
The cat should discipline itself.
"Don't feed the cat milk" we shout, while doing so ourselves..

And so on it goes...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Conventional wisdom, herd mentality...

What passes for “conventional wisdom” in India is, more often than not, media driven and probably as a consequence suffers from a herd mentality.

Read on here in a excellent piece by Chandan Mitra: Age of inexperience

The best meal I ever had

Inspired by this. Himachal Pradesh, 1995. Place: Dharamsala (en route to McLeod Ganj) where we, 6 friends, still in college landed up as part of our "grand" Himachal trip. It was a PWD guesthouse - a pretty good place by college student standards. It was also towards the end of the trip. We had covered much of Shimla and Manali by then. Dharamsala and Khajjiar were our last stops after which we would make our way back home. This leg saw a couple of us down with stomach trouble and the like.

Overall Himachal is good with food. Like most rural/semi-urban parts of India or slightly offbeat tourist locations, trying out local stuff or stuff close to local stuff is a far better option than trying to order Paneer Butter Masala.

At the PWD resthouse, perhaps since we were the only guests, the cook and the helper asked us what would like as dinner. We asked them what they could make and they replied enthusiastically "Anything sir". We looked at each other. After the last few days and given the current health quotient, what we unanimously wanted was "Roti and Sabji". So, we asked them if they could make us a dal, rice and capsicum potato sabji.

And make they did. I cannot express it in words, but they were exactly what the doctor ordered. Hot phulkas, dal and a simple sabji were what our travel sick stomachs wanted. We tipped them heavily despite our shoestring budgets. It truly is a meal I cannot forget...Bharat will agree too, perhaps...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

LK Advani has a blog...

LK Advani has a blog. Amitabh Bachchan has a blog. It is no big deal for both AB and LKA, but both of them are towering icons in their own space (of course there are many other stars who blog) and very very busy and it is nice to know what they actually think beyond the spin masters. In both these places, do take a moment to read the comments. Unlike the junk that is spewed on many websites, both these websites have decent commentators. Much of it is plain and simple adulation, but it is heartening to see their connect. I am impressed by a few of Amitabhs posts - and the few posts Advani has made are pretty good too.

It is good to see (some) politicians trying to make an attempt to "connect" with the people. I mean, "middle class" people. Middle class does not mean the amount they earn, it really means their own mindset on who they are. Again, it is a good attempt by someone of Advanis statures to connect to these people - who are notorious for not voting and hence ignored by the 2 rupee rice and free colour TV type politicians.

For stars, it is a way to connect, but it is heartening to see a politician of the level of LKA writing a blog. Imagine, how it would be if your local MP/MLA had a blog, a site where he or she detailed the funds they collected, the projects they finished...

Fuel prices go down

When the fuel prices rose, there was a clamour to increase the bus fares, rickshaw fares - everything.

Bangalores autowallahs have a ridiculously high 14 rupees initial fare that was when fuel price was 57.

But, how come nobody is clamouring for a price reduction now that the fuel prices seem to have come down?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Draft Arun Shourie?

Gaurav thinks Arun Shourie ought to be the BJP’s candidate for prime minister. I have great admiration for Shourie especially as a Parliamentarian and his consistent thought of national interest at heart. Truly, there arent many like him today. Here is his speech in the Rajya Sabha...

I think it is a good idea, but it would be an equally good idea if Shourie were given a high level ministerial post (like he was the last time NDA was in power) - probably Defence too. The Prime Ministers post perhaps demands someone with a "base" in the party, media, the minds of people etc. but if you think thats a good idea, details here..."Draft Arun Shourie"

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Coffee flavour

I am a sucker for coffee flavour in (almost) everything - icecreams, cakes, coffee itself. (Mild) Orange comes a (not so) close second. Chocolate, I dont like.

ITC Sunfeast had launched a Orange Marie sometime back of which I was a big fan of. A couple of weeks back, I spotted True Marie Coffee flavoured biscuits and the coffee flavour lover in me, fell for it defeating the health food freak. And having tasted it, I may end up buying more of it. I just hope there are others who buy it enough for the company to sustain the brand...

More power to coffee

Everything I learnt in marketing...

...I learnt it from the four year old.

If you want the customer to believe in something, hype it up. It could be as simple as curd rice with pomegranate topping or even chapati with cheese. But anything that is marketed with a sufficient amount of hype will win - but only in the short run. This works for movies, since it depends on a large number of people making their way to buy a movie ticket - just once. If you sell enough at first shot, great, you have made it. It does not work if the topping is the same "stale" thing or if food is perceived as "uninteresting".

But hype without value or perceived to be of no value, means the next ten meals are gone down the drain, even if you promise meals of chocolate on chocolate plates.

The trick with hype is to provide different types of hype at different points, be completely indifferent at times and of course, prove value in every hype. This includes unintended surprises - sheer customer delight. That means, a dash of special topping mid-way through a meal. It could mean, a reward for just being good (a surprise). This is something marketeers dont do very well. Even employers dont do this very well. This reward for good behaviour is a gem in marketing, which nobody uses. Thanks for being a customer for so long - so what if you did not give us a million dollars worth of business.

First of the many lessons...more later

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Are you bored?

I am bored out of my brains of the post 26/11 coverage by the media. Yes, our ministers met a lot of countries, governments, diplomats, streetlights, furniture trying to showcase the "proof" we accumulated. What have we got? Nothing. Zero. Zilch. If this was an exam we were a failure even before the time ran out. As of today we are in a completely hopeless state, waiting for the next attack. (Read this by Brahma Chellaney: DNA). The two bomb blasts at Guwahati were airbrushed for all practical purposes.

First, we ruled out any chance of us attacking Pakistan, then we ruled out any chance of even cross border operations, now we have ruled out surgical strikes. Some ministers have made grand pronouncements of "how we cannot do a Gaza on Pakistan" . If there is anyone who can do a Gaza, it is Pakistan, on India - please Mr. Minister, don't kid yourselves and us. And as of now, Pakistan has not yet ruled out an attack on India.

Now, coincidentally, having a read a bit of contemporary history, that thought reinforces itself. Pakistan has checked Indias ability over 2 scenarios - including two governments - and delightfully found the same result.

Case 1: Pakistan begins a limited scale war (how can any war be limited - this is a case study in foolishness). Kargil (by VP Malik) was the first book I read. In Kargil Pakistan mounted an audacious attack on some of our border peaks and we, the great Indians showed great restraint in crossing the border while the enemy was a few kilometres into our space with concrete bunkers and what not. And we did not cross the border, nor expand the war, nor take the war back to the enemy. We spent months looking for "conclusive proof" that the attackers were indeed Pakistani or aliens (ostensibly). And having confirmed our suspicions we wasted time, money and a lot of our soldiers lives trying to take out the terrorists + army who were lodged in our peaks.

Case 2: A Fidayeen attack a la Parliament attack (Read India, Pakistan and the secret Jihad (Praveen Swami)). India did not respond then, in 2001 and will not respond now in 2008 (and will not respond for the next attack). Then, as now, we did some major speeches, diplomats earned frequent flyer miles and then nothing happened. Nothing happened. The two are so eerily similar, you would believe it is a rerun.

That leaves us with this: If India did not nuke Pakistan for Kargil, why would Pakistan nuke India if we did something similar? If that reasoning is wrong as it has been drummed into our heads, we are not safe at all. If Pakistan organizes a terror attack on our territory, we wont do anything. They launch wars, or limited incursions, we still wont do anything. But if we do anything, they will nuke us, or the reasoning goes. Clearly, they are not worried about our nukes, but we are.

Therefore, the only thing India can do is one big thumping first strike on Pakistan, for no reason at all except for the fact that they exist. Because, at the end of all of this I am convinced that even if Pakistan nukes India, we will show restraint through whatever half life and irradiated brains we have left of us.

Given that the thumping first strike is an idiot bloggers fantasy - that leaves us with only the option of death by probability. And can someone please upgrade the police weapons, police stations, networks and equipment while we wait?

And with that I promise to stop writing on the outcome of the 26/11 terror massacre until the Predators eliminate some on the Terror top 20.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Stainless steel empire

Many years ago when we were searching for a house, the size of the kitchen was a very important thing. Indeed it was the only reason we bought the house we currently live in.

The fact that it was away from civilization (then) did not matter. The fact that it was in a place that was a swamp once upon a time, did not matter. The fact that the houses architect (or was it the builder who swapped room plans) probably built the house with a kitchen centric view, won the day. Many other, promising, houses in promising localities with a lot of potential were given up on excuses like, "The kitchen is too small" or "The kitchen is barely big enough for a balcony".

Now this being Bombay, space has an altogether different meaning. Space is meant to conserved in homes, not meant to be used for glass topped dining tables like Bangalore. So, you can have folding kitchens, folding sofa sets, folding wall mounted TVs, folding doors, windows, concealed bathrooms - anything that conserved precious real estate was a hot seller. This house made no pretense of revolving around its big, ginormous kitchen. And my mom fell in instant love with it when she saw it. Most of the others who bought flats in the same building, like other Bombayites promptly used the space to create another room, but not us.

Now why this was so, requires a bit of a background. Our kitchen is built on a premise business continuity planners and network engineers would be proud of. There are failover and back plans for every failover and back up plan. Multiple redundancies are built in. Questions, unheard of, have been asked while stocking up on steel vessels which would have bailed out many a steel mill while contributing directly to nation development. Indeed, J Tata and SAIL owe a few thousand shares to each of the South Indian maamis who built their little stainless steel empires - in their kitchen. (Not to mention Prestige and Hawkins.) (The effect of stainless steel in kitchens in Tamil culinary tradition is often compared to the discovery of fire in the advancement of humans.)

""What if" suddenly, we have 30 visitors? How can we make coffee for them?" Thus we have a coffee filter for a regular family of 4, 24 and 456. "How can they have only coffee? They surely need idli too?" Thus we have idli stands that can churn 16, 64 and 128 idlis at one go. We have all of Prestiges cookers and some of Hawkins too to accomodate these demands. "Idli has to have sambar right? That means, big and bigger vessels." Thus, like empires, was our kitchen built over time. Thankfully, the government allows only 2 gas cylinders per house, otherwise, you know what the consequenes would have been...

Steel companies, I suspect had entire marketing teams designed to feed the South Indian kitchens idiosyncracies. I also suspect, like todays Tupperware women, many maamis had stealth jobs in marketing steel vessels. One of the houses we used to visit had a maami who was known to be the authority on the latest trends in the steel vessel market. Which is why some families had mamis with names like "Eversilver" maami. Perhaps she was, unknown to us, Steelwoman. Entire Gujju communities set up stainless steel vessel shops to create a feeder system (many of them also learnt Tamil in the bargain). Stainless steel kitchen empires were created out of a combination of Indias socialism - the fact that it was the only thing that did not need a booking and waiting period - and chit funds and keeping up with the Jayaramans. Ecosystems that helped you exchange anything for steel vessels sprung up all over (remember the bartering of old clothes for steel vessels). Steel ruled kitchens! It is still a tough bastion to conquer for the others...

Non stick? Ptuui...anything that cannot withstand the banging of metal on metal is a wuss. If there is one barrier on the prevalence of microwaves in these traditional bastions, it is the fact that metal vessels cannot be nuked.

Plastic? Thats for toys.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Terror dilemma

The more time India takes to come up with a "universally satisfying" response to Pakistan, the more time Pakistan (and its actors) gets to plan yet another attack on India and beef up terror infrastructure.

What are we heading towards? What will keeping up the pressure achieve? (via Acorn)

New Delhi’s measured response has so far been spot on. By showing restraint, ignoring the calls of hotheads for air strikes and missile launches, and by pressuring the US to work on its clients in Islamabad — who have received some $11 billion in military assistance since 9/11, ostensibly to fight Islamist terror but much of it spent on those who have fomented such terror — India has achieved some results, including the arrest of some 20 militants.

So far, beyond the rhetoric, what we have achieved is the arrest of 20 terrorists - thats it. And Pakistan being Pakistan, it could be 20 random arrests. But if that rhetoric can convince the US to turn those Predators onto the "terror top 20" that would be something.

It has been done, as recently as a few days ago...

So, I will believe our "diplomatic efforts" are successful the day I hear of a drone strike on the list beginning with Dawood....Till then, it is a waste of time, effort, newsprint and blogging time...

Friday, January 09, 2009

We deserve what we get

This is old news, but it is worth a read today.

Roughly 12 hours after terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners in order to perpetrate unprecedented attacks on America, President George W Bush addressed the nation at 8.30 pm in a televised statement from the White House:

'Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes, or in their offices; secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers; moms and dads, friends and neighbours. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I've directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbour them.'

...Then, with the world watching, he stood atop a mound of World Trade Centre rubble, a bullhorn in hand, and proclaimed:

'I want you all to know that America today is on bended knee in prayer for the people whose lives were lost here, for the workers who work here, for the families who mourn. This nation stands with the good people of New York City, and New Jersey and Connecticut, as we mourn the loss of thousands of our citizens. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.' [rediff]

One and a half month after Mumbai's massacre, Pakistan is running circles around India even as fresh terrorists are hiding, escaping, attacking in the country, and preparing for more attacks after being trained in Pakistan.

We deserve these attacks and more as we show "restraint" and get slapped and kicked in the bargain...

Recalibration, not recession

I loved this post from TomPeters - This is not a recession...

Don't think of our current economic crisis as a recession. Instead, think of it as a recalibration.

Everything is different now.

If you think of it as a recession, you may be tempted to "hunker down" and wait for the economy to cycle back.

If you think of it as a recalibration, you will be motivated to focus on what you have to do differently, since everything is different now.

The way your business generates results is different, now.

Your customers think differently, now. [Tom Peters]

Thursday, January 08, 2009

We have our own America

India had a "Bollywood" while US had its Hollywood, but that was not enough.

But with their own 9/11 and Satyam being proclaimed their own Enron, India is in with a chance...

Now, all the media needs is an "Indian" Obama.

Wait for the elections and then Indian media will proclaim, we have our own America.

Satyam...

The Satyam fiasco about which reams have been written (and I dont think I have anything particularly insightful to add) will result in some amount of upheaval in the Indian IT industries fortunes. Now that the S out of SWITCH is gone, WITCH will get some more clients on their rosters. There will also be an array of disgruntled employees.

PwCs goose seems to be cooked - the others can wean off some of PwC clients. PwC had a close shave with the GTB affair, Satyam may be messier.

Bangalore may see a fallout - the elevated corridor to E-city is being built by Maytas - incidentally there is no Satyam campus in E-city - could be delayed, though it is very close to completion. Hyderabads metro is hit, but Sreedharan had warned before (and he was sacked for his prescience).

This piece in Mint however made me think. It puts together so many facts - that were true until yesterday - but are suddenly highlighted post a fraud and many of them have no connection to what happened yesterday.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

One bag less

Recently, a nearby mall has started this "initiative" of charging people for plastic bags. The new bags, they claim are bio degradable. Even if they are not, it is a great idea. Making customers pay for plastic bags - even if it is 1 rupee per bag makes it possible that they will get their own bags or atleast remember to mark a paise or two towards environmental consciousness in their mind.

The need to get rid of oil or oil related (plastics are produced from petroleum) addiction cannot be stressed, so any initiative in this direction is a good one.

What we can also do as customers is to refuse the plastic bags that shopkeepers offer us for every small thing we buy - especially medicines, small items. Eventually if it means going back to the good old days of carrying cloth bags to the market, fair enough. The number of plastic bags (and items) that we accumulate can be seen at our houses, in landfills and even in many lakes - the effects of which are disastrous all over, so the sooner we wean ourselves of this addiction, the better.

Anyway the news of biodegradable plastic bags was news to me. I was not sure that such a technology was available in India.I am still not very sure how some plastic bags qualify as "bio degradable".

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Buy, buy captives?

Though it is early to comment if this is a trend or not, it does seem like the Indian (or non Indian) IT service companies may be having the last laugh, for now. But in this game of global musical chairs or should it be global musical millstones - the person who holds the trophy may well have a Pyrrhic victory.

My worry? Overall demand is going down. When demand goes down, lesser people are required and though most IT solutions are scalable in both directions, it does not require a genius to figure out that overall IT requirement could go down too. In the short run, it is a good bet, in the slightly longer run, until there is more work coming this way, perhaps not. So, while this is a contrarian strategy to buy when the market is not so hot, but like in the past most of the industry is thinking like each other. There are other factors - like increased regulations which could call for increased reporting, better systems etc.

So, in the short run, this is a smart way to bulk up capacity, but who knows if this is cheap incandescent bulbs in a coming age of CFL/LEDs?

Monday, January 05, 2009

Recession, Schmession

The R word is the new buzz in town. 2009 is slated to be a bad year. Companies have begun tightening already tight belts. Many companies have announced layoffs - some of them at a really short notice. So, as the gloomy news pours from various quarters, people are getting mentally prepared to attack the recession - the equivalent of getting down into the bunkers for a long haul.

So, expensive movies are out as are expensive outings. Everyone wants to make the money stretch to the maximum extent possible. High rental places are slowly being given up in favour of lower rental ones. In quite a few places in Bangalore one can see empty buildings - which were hoping to get the boomtime business, now lying empty awaiting tenants. As I have written before, what this means is to live like we were brought up. Conserving money, curbing unnecessary expenses, being prudent with savings - no big deal really, but well, we were just about getting used to being to those customers whom marketeers love, right.

For a lot of Indians this is not great news (not sure for whom it would be). The reason is that the bust happened (or will happen), before the boom really helped them make money.

But as I have said before, even in the recession lies an opportunity. In many areas. In any core area where you can deliver value to customers (I mean, local businesses for the time being) there is opportunity. If you can help stretch the rupee, you are in business. So, for example if bookshops see their clientele going down - libraries may see them go up. An entire business model awaits anybody who can take the reuse, recycle, repair cycle further...

More here.

As Seth Godin says here...

The opportunity this year is bigger than ever: to lead change, to create a movement in a direction you want to go. While the rest of your world huddles and holds back, here's a golden chance to use cheap media, available attention and great talent to make something that matters.

More Seth here...

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Proof Olympics

India to go to any extent to root out terror said the Prime Minister. This came a few minutes after begging Pakistan to send the Mumbai attack masterminds to face trial in India.

Close on the heels of this announcement, the sports minister announced the Proof Olympics, where India would parade the proof of Pakistans involvement in front of all the countries that are part of the Olympics movement. Since India would go to any extent, India has decided to meet all countries which exist (which would also help the national airline get some money) and get their consensus on Pakistans involvement in the attacks that happened in Mumbai a month ago. According to sources some 147 countries have yet to approve the proof(s). Some eminent geometricians have also been drafted into this movement.

Contrary to popular perception, the memories of the said attack have not yet been wiped out from the publics memory thanks to a recalcitrant media, so India has to resort to these Olympics, said an unnamed official, unofficially.

Stateless actors 2

"Appa, my body is telling me I don't want to sleep."
"Are you sleepy or not?"
"I am sleepy, but my body is telling me I don't want to sleep. It wants to play and play."
"But what if you feel so tired that you cannot play?"
"But my body is saying that no, so it is not tired...."
"Why dont you tell your body it is sleepy?"
"I am telling, but it is not listening..."

Another day...
"Appa, those chocolates are telling me, please eat me."
"Is it?"
"They are telling me, if you don't eat me, I will be very sad."
"Are your teeth telling you anything?"
"They are telling me, eat the chocolate and brush me."

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Come attack us

...tells the new improved home minister. Well, he did not exactly say those words, but "No hot pursuit on terrorists operating from Pakistan" is nearly the same.

Not only that, he also wants Israel to stop defending itself....

On a related note, Pakistan is busy training a LeT peon (or it could be some hapless fall guy) who will be "sacrificed" to satisfy India...

The promise of change in 2009 did not last too much eh?