Sunday, December 08, 2013

AAP - A potential third option?

Indian news today is completely about the 4 state assembly elections results announced today. BJP has won the highest seats in all the 4 states were counting was done and has clear majority in 3 of them to form the state govt. However for me its very interesting to note that in the Delhi state - the new kid on the block Aam Aadmi party (AAP) has had a huge traction with the voters and won 28 seats out of the 70 a mere 3 shy of BJP.

AAP was formed just a year back and has its roots in the anti corruption movement of 2011 in India. However having said that their ambitions from their manifestos are beyond just removing corruption from the country. They also promote an audacious change in the democratic system along the Gandhian philosophy o "swaraj" or self governance. Their take on this philosophy is about every constituency in the country forming their own people groups to take decisions on the most important elements of public spending depending on the needs of the constituency with the funds allocated to the local MLA. I am really interested in seeing this in action in the constituencies that AAP has won from and the impact this has on the people.If it works in practice as it is said to in theory then India would see a dramatic shift in the democratic system of functioning.

In any case the significant inroads AAP has gained in the Delhi elections makes one ponder the next set of looming questions? Can they form a state govt if there is a re-election ? Even more importantly the Lok Sabha elections are just around the corner. What chances will they have there when they are pitted against the 2 main national parties? Will the Delhi Arvind Kejriwal fever spread to the rest of the country? Will they really be a third option for the people of the country?

Every except the AAP people themselves are surprised by the impact they have created in Delhi. For sure they will not be under estimated now in the Lok Sabha elections. You can be guaranteed that both the BJP and Congress parties will be double and triple their grass root level efforts to convince the people of the country in their favor. In all cases though I feel the people of the country have benefited - as both of these national parties will most likely have to change some of their ways of functioning to be seen as equal in the fight against corruption and create increased transparency in their leadership and policies. All of which bodes well for the new India. Kudos to Arvind Kejriwal and his team to make this brilliant beginning towards this positive change.



Saturday, December 07, 2013

Return of the Scientist Rockstar

It was a pleasure to read in the Guardian today about the new Oscars for Science - The Breakthrough prize for life sciences. It seems to be the biggest prize money being given out to the scientists who have contributed in a significant way. The prize money of 3 million each is more than the Nobel prize itself. Ofcourse it doesnt come with the same prestige but I'm sure there are many more people who deserve the attention of the world than just the Nobel prize winners in the various fields. Yes, it might even be true that the 4 Tech gurus of this world (Yuri Milner, Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerburg and Jack Ma) might be doing this for some self publicity but hey, I don't mind the reasons as long as there is some good coming out of it.

I had read somewhere that scientists were the rockstars of the 19th century. Well it seems we might have come a full circle in the 21st century (or atleast showing signs of it ). Although there is no respite in the coverage of everyday motions of the rockstars, moviestars and all others belonging to the entertainment field, it is definitely endearing to see more and more coverage of the people who are doing to change the world we live in.

It somehow important that we continue with attention. Not for the sake of the scientists themselves , although of course they deserve every bit of praise that comes their way - but also for the generation of today looking for their first role models besides their parents.


Source : http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/07/breakthrough-prize-oscars-of-science

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ad to instant Action

Every company that make advertisements want it to culminate in an action of purchase.The time lapse between the two should be as short as possible to garner the maximum bang for your ad buck. This is one innovative idea to convert ad to action instantly. Way to go HUL at the Kumbh Mela. Me likey :-)




Sunday, January 13, 2013

The path to happiness

Maybe its entering my 30's, maybe its because of my search for some time now for this elusive elixir called happiness, maybe its new year resolutions time, maybe its long drinking sessions with close friends on philosophies of life, maybe it talking to my lovely wife or maybe its reading Herman Hesse's Siddhartha just before writing this post or all of the above - I'm feeling a sense of calm and contentedness flow over me, like the river in the book which ebbs and flows and is at peace with its existence, which I haven't felt in a long long time.

I realize now that the search itself was what was hindering me in finding it. I had been feeling uninspired lately to write. You can clearly see that from the decreasing quantum of material on the blog. I was feeling lost with my own inability to find the right words to put my thoughts down. Sometimes an emotion tugged at me and I wrote but mostly I was silent on the outside and burning inside, waiting to explode. I was even feeling ashamed of the poor formulation of my thoughts. But I feel a sense of freedom now. No, I don't think I have found this thing called happiness, but maybe, just maybe, I have found the path. And sorry this is not something I can share for like its written in the book - everyone follows their own path. "Knowledge can be shared, Wisdom, not so much" to re quote Herman Hesse less eloquently.

This much I can say - don't try hard in life to look for happiness - do the things that make you happy and life will find you. I don't even know if that's a quote that exists or not.If yes, then all credit to that someone, but I'm sure a lot of people before me have found this to be true and would have expressed this feeling in similar fashion and hence the idea itself is not new.

But understanding the idea took its own sweet time with me. Now that I have , I hope that I can gain something for this rare introspection. Its ironic in a way cause anyone who knows me - the word introspection is something they would consider I'm far far removed from. But surprise surprise, its here and I wish to attempt to take that leap of faith into this new found wisdom and try to take it where it leads me on wards from now on. And maybe you are on your own journey yourself (by googling the title of this blog ) and have stumbled upon this blog in the eternal world of the Internet. May you find your own way of interpreting this idea.

Don't get too worried - my family and friends who know me in real life. This doesn't mean I'm changed. I'm just more free to be me and enjoy that in its pure unadulterated version. So watch out - Will the real Vivek please stand up question has been answered - The real Viveks have stood up and be prepared to see all and hopefully I find that elixir when all this is said and done.

PS : In case you didn't get the hint -read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse :-) Cheers and Thank you for all the Fish. Wait that's Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy. Ahh well - now you know my fusion style ;-)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Legend retires

I awoke at 11 am in Denmark to the news of Tendulkar retiring from ODIs. All those clamoring for his retirement got what they were screaming for but somehow the initial silence on social media is the deafening proof that all those people of my generation are sitting with this same loss of childhood feeling that I'm sitting with. We were the ODI generation and our ODI idol has giving us his all...Thank you Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar for helping all of us forget all our worries and frustrations growing up and making us go out and play one more time to try and see if we can be own local neighborhood's Sachin and be the best we can be...If there is one role model India has seen in the past 20 years who everyone would follow -it has been YOU, no matter the regions, the religions the castes, the seeped corruption, you have made us proud. Cricket will not be the same after this for us. 









Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why cant we Live and Let Live?

With the attacks in Norway it really seems like the last bastion of peaceful living on this planet has also been now shattered. It comes out that some right wing extremist who sat in his house dreamed up an European takeover by Muslims and he murdered 93 innocent souls to prove his lunatic point.

I was relieved for minute there that it was a right wing lunatic who caused so much damage in Norway and not another Islamist extremist group. But that lasted but for a minute - the thought that followed afterwards was that the other extremist groups of the world are a kind of "taking offence" of the spread of Islamist extremism and are resorting to the same tactics to showcase their totally and utterly whacked messages around the world.

Its only one of the latest of the horrific terrorist attacks all over the world that seems to show an ever decreasing tolerance levels around the world. Bombay was attacked again only a week back. Death tolls and killings around the world have reached such epic proportions that any number less than 100 doesn't even register in our brains anymore. We are getting desensitized to murder. That doesn't say  anything good about our society today. I today's globalized world when we all will be talking working and living with people from all over the world - Being Tolerant is not a just a "nice thing" but the very basis of sustainable peaceful living on the planet. Live and Let Live or see the planet burn in hate.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Transparency Revolution

We live in interesting times to say the least. The Internet's power is slowly being  released and its true strength is coming to the fore. With the entire world wired in to what's happening in the most hidden alleyways of the world there is little that the governments of today can keep away from their people and the rest of world.

Of course everyone has seen the impact of Wikileaks and the Middle East revolutions and how the toppling of the various regimes have happened in short span of time. All this has been observed and written about by far greater thought leaders than poor old me with his laptop. What i wanted to point out was something I have not seen written around and that's a name for this phenomenal revolution happening right under our noses.

Hence I take it upon myself to christen this grand revolution as the Transparency revolution. Why? Well since the time that different forms of governments have been running the countries - be they democratic, autocratic, socialistic, republic or even anarchic - the citizens of the such governments have almost never been pervy to how the BIG decisions impacting their day to day lives have been taken by those who lead/rule/govern them.Now slowly with the help of the Internet there is more and more transparency demanded and obtained by the people and governments all over the world have had no choice but to slowly but surely let escape the secrets they have for so long kept hidden within the select circle.I understand it must be quite scary for many of these governments (yes, even the democracies are scared) but for now they have no option. Unless of course they find the way to tame the Internet entirely as a communication medium.

China is trying to do that currently - I must say I'm quite surprised that its worked till now. Just the sheer number of Chinese people who live outside China and are able to access all the information and bringing it back with them must be raising quite a scare among the Chinese Politburo members.

The worry must be quite similar with the Indian political leaders too. Though they have been "elected" by the people there is still far too much that is hidden under the dark cupboards of government that needs to be cleaned. Like I said we live in interesting times. Lets wait and watch what expose comes next !!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Customize Me

Happy 2011 everyone. I wont even bother excusing my writers block and would just like to thank the heavens above that I'm still writing :-) . A new decade's starting and it makes you look back at the decades gone by (90's rocked obviously for my generation -Go Bhumkesh Bakshi and X Files) and wonder what's in store for the coming decades.

One of the things that we notice is the almost global shift towards individualism and the personalization of everything. From your mobile phone background screens to your Christmas gifts to your cars - Everything is now customized. Mass market is so un-cool!!! I think customization of our lives is going to be one of the biggest thing for this and coming decades.

Lets imagine a completely customized world of 2030 for inspiration. A new child is born - Customized from the DNA analysis of the Mother and Father to make sure only the best qualities in both are exemplified in the child. The kid gets a name which is customized and totally unique for him/her - XtraOrdinary007 or something (Ofcourse alterable when the kid turns 18 to be customizable for the kid's choice). The DNA analysis (or whatever else can be used by medical science) gives the kids vaccination lists, his food patterns, allergies, kind of education he/she is best suited for and automatic enrollment to such a type of school and later on college. Everything you touch, feel, smell, hear are attuned to what's your customized preferences. He touches Coke and the bottle says sorry your preference is for Pepsi, find it on the top left shelf. She chooses Sufi music and the Infinity playlist Apple Imeandonlyme Pad says your suitability is for hard rock.

As the kid grows up , The Social Network of the time will provide the best friends customized for your needs and the best partners you might find around your location who are the perfect match for you. The jobs customized for your abilities are listed and your in the queue for those jobs automatically as and when they become available. The list goes on with your favorite hangouts, eat-outs and shopping destinations and brands of clothes. You begin to get the picture.

The point I'm trying to get to in this long winding way is that maybe customizing everything is probably also not something that might be best for us. Some things are better left non customized and finding out what works for us and what not is also as much about the journey as much as the destination. I hope we seek the balance in the coming years of what we what to know for sure and what might be something that we are willing to explore. Like finding the friends we need and the partner in life we seek. Like trying out the new music in store or a new hobby. Making this point is kind of ironic for me because I honestly believe this is a good business opportunity for the future and have even discussed with my brother on the topic. For that I would say, I could always do with a customized mug though :-) Customize Me but to the extent that i still have a choice of taking a small journey I would like to call Life.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Connect Not Confuse in the Information Overload Age


We live in the age of Google, Facebook, Twitter,Gizmodo et al. Its being touted as the information age. How understated is that !!!! Think for a while, we always lived in the information age. As human beings we always wanted to find out more and know more about stuff that caught our eye. Be it the apple falling from the the tree or the leaf floating on water. Something caught our eyes and we wanted to know more. Information we needed.

Today information flows to us without us even seeking it. We have so much information at our finger tips that we are too overloaded to give a decent go at things we are curious about. Our inboxes are spammed with all sorts of content, the social networking sites "push" all personal details and choices of our friends and families on our page, our mobiles are on 24/7 and fed with all sorts of ads and info....in fact we even have Google readers of the world to sort out the "Info spam" we receive into neat little folders - 99.9% of which we never read.

Clearly we live in Information Overload Age. How does this affect us as marketeers? We have all jumped/are jumping on the Web 2.0 bandwagon and utilizing all available communication channels to reach to our customer. Tweets,social networks, blogs, podcasts and RSS etc all are being used indiscriminately. Don't get me wrong, i'm all for social network marketing but not just yet willing to give a blank cheque to internet marketeers to go about disturbing the customer at every opportunity they get.

We have to clearly understand what we sell, why the customer buys it and where and in what would he like to connect with us to know more. Yes, it is the customers choice where and when he wants to connect and not the other way around.But are we doing it effectively. All studies seem to point in other direction Isn't this a waste too? People will start blocking all this extra information soon if not happening already. Its already happened with email. We spammed so much "important information" to the customers inbox that he has started ignoring/deleting emails EVEN if they really were important.

Its should not be that difficult to build a strategy for Internet/Social networking marketing if we thinking about it for a while. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer (you already are for all other products you buy in life) - Answer these simple questions - When, where, how and how much?

- When am i need of the solution provided by XXX company ?(Yes we still are selling quarter inch holes )
- Where all do i look for it (Peer group, Sales person, Company website, Product forums etc)
- Which(how) are the best ways to reach me (Inbox, mobile, snail mail, TV, Radio, Print etc)
- How much info do i need to keep you Top of Mind for utility rather than Annoyance (Daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly updates)

Our job as marketeers is making it to inform him about the better solution we might bring and make his choice is easier,simpler and faster. Help and not annoy - Connect and not Confuse!!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

RIP CK Prahlad

Today one of the best known contemporary Management thinkers Coimbatore Krishnarao Prahlad passed away. He was 69, his early demise is a sad loss to all of us.


Read his obituary in Mint