Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Blogvertising- End of blog purity ?

Well i guess it had to come some day or the other...We have all been sharing all sites we love or things which interests us on the web through our blogs. Ted Murphy the founder CEO of Payperpost has through his site launched a barge of bloggers onto the web who will now be advertising for companies registered on the website to promote their products.

HP and Fox are few of the high profile companies enrolled. HP is gonna use this method to make its latest camera model popular. One thing though,HP has required all those posts made to be shown as sponsored posts if the bloggers post is accepted by the website. So has Fox confirmed this disclosure.

Another website ReviewMe has gone a step further and tried to include only those blogs that have some amount of traffic by checking for blog quality too.This then takes care of those just out to make a quick buck.

So what does it mean to the pristinity of blogs? Well i think people will still avoid those blogs which are being reviewed by those out to make a buck and read only the true bloggers reviews. For eg: David Ponce ,one of the bloggers at ReviewMe is also an editor of a techblog on one of his blogs reviewed data recovery software Handy Recover and started with saying that he was being compensated for taking his time to review this item and ended his review by saying that this software was anything but Handy.

So i guess people will still continue to read bloggers who are true to themselves so whats the problem if they make a bit of dough while they are at it.....

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Web 2.0 @ work!!

Well i have been looking up Web 2.0 for some time now and i thought its about time i posted something about it. We all know the now very famous and popular sites like Wiki,del.ici.ous, etc but id like to talk about a couple of other relatively lesser known cousins. Cause this is where the future of the real e-commerce lies according to me.

For all of the late nineties talk abt e-commerce becoming the new face of business we didn't actually see a more than a mere speck of the it. I believe it was the way businesses were designed that led to the initial failure of e-commerce. Websites merely aped the offline method of doing business instead of creating new business models. This became all the more obvious in the dot com bust.

But now with people realsing that there needs to be a completely different way of doing business on the net, the Web 2.0 model has come into being and more and more businesses are trying to take advantage of it.

The first business id like to talk about is the way clothes are being sold today. They are a few prominent businesses like
Spreadshirt and Cafepress which are doing really well for themselves and giving the so called branded clothing a run for their money. Basically on these 2 sites everyone can be a designer of their own clothing and whats more set up a free shop online without having to worry about the usual hassles of maintaining inventories, distribution channels or advertising expenses. From a top designer to a kid wanting his name on his t-shirt everyone is accomodated and thus taking care of the Long tail of designing. You can set up shop and get paid for every shirt you sell. Spread shirts made it to the no: 5 Spot on BusinessWeek's Europe's Hot Growth Companies list and has sales of about $ 10.3 million at last count.

An even mo
re interesting site i found was Kiva. It seems to be the future in investment banking. Rather than entrepreneurs having to get angel investors or venture capitalists for seed funding they can approach potentially every single person on the planet for funding.

Kiva offers funding to entreprenuers in the backward economies of Africa for starting their own small businesses. Its like microfinance but instead of a bank giving them the money its people like you
and me. If you believe in some business then you can lend some money and earn interest on it. The repayment period is generally short and so is the seed money with the minimum amount coming out to be only $ 25.

This idea can be extrapolated to funding entrepreneurs all across the globe on a much larger scale. Convincing a few seed funders for a couple of millions is much tougher than convincing a million for a few dollars if your idea is sound. I think someone would already have begun thinking about such a business model or is already having one. It seems the next natural step.
Anyways my point is ,on the face of it these business models seems so damn simple that we might be forgiven to feel like kicking our butts for not coming up with the idea ourselves. Thats the beauty of Web 2.0. Im sure this revolution of e-commerce is here to stay...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Brand Bangalore to Bengaluru??

If there is one Indian city that is today etched in the mind of any well read person across the globe it is Bangalore,i'm sorry Bengaluru....Bangalore has fallen the way of Bombay,Calcutta and Madras.
Mr Anandamurthy and Co have achieved what they had set out to do by the official name change from yesterday Nov 1st onwards. They say its an apt start to the Suvarna Karnataka year(Golden Jubilee year).I say its the worst possible start. What does such name change achieve except an awful amount of waste??
I would love to hear the costs to exchequer for the name changes for the previous cities. I can imagine it will be a one huge bill. Just imagine all the government documents that are kept in Karnataka,Central Govt or Foreign embassies across the world will have to be trashed to incorporate the name change.All the sign boards on roads,shops etc will have to be changed. I'm sure here are a million other things that i haven't thought of.
So all these money is wasted when it could have been used for much useful purposes like decongesting the choking roads of the Garden City.
I don't understand how in a democratic system like ours a few personalities for their 15 seconds of fame decide to change the names of our cities. Mr Shashi Tharoor once mentioned in his article when Madras was changed to Chennai- "The weather will be just as sultry in Chennai as it used to be in Madras. But are we Indians so insecure in our independence that we still need to prove to ourselves that we are free?"
The self declared champions of culture can claim the fact that Bangalore's name change highlights the city's origins - Bendakalooru means `boiled beans' in Kannada. I don't think even Scott Adams could have come up with such a joke. IT silicon valley city to City of Boiled beans. When everyone moves forward we Indian's love to go back centuries. After all we have a rich heritage. Prove that in action not in useless resource wasting name changes. Is name changing the miracle solution to solving a city's problem. If yes ,then by all means go ahead Change every damn city,town and village name in the country.

I have a new strip to contribute to Dilbert. A caricature of Mr Anandamurthy beating the hell out of Dilbert,Dogbert, Wally and the Pointy Haired Boss for using the word Bangalored - "Its Bengaluru-ed you dumbwits !!!"

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Wikipedia 2.0 ??

Well there seems to be a new wiki about to come into this world....Its christened Citizendium. Currently they are under construction and about to start more like a mirror of Wikipedia and then maybe look to improve on the articles on Wiki....It seems one of the original authors of Wiki has undertaken this work...He believes that Wikipedia was only half of the original idea of both Nupedia and Wikipedia,where Nupedia was more of a closed academic project and Wiki was the free wheeling side project...
He wants to bring abt a lot of changes in Wikipedia ,basically errors he thinks exist in Wiki.
Honestly as of now i don't see the utility of the project as they are not improving on the concept of Wiki at all and may just succeed in diverting a small amount of traffic from Wiki....I believe right now the creator just wants to have a wiki which has full control of which was not so when he was working on Wiki...Let see the concept take off publicly and then i guess more comments will be in order....As of now I'd call it only a Wiki 1.1 in progress, if so at all and not a Wiki 2.0

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Watch out Amazon...Zinio is here!!!

In this new era of doing business the entire way of producing,selling and buying products is undergoing drastic changes. We also see that in value chains, how Amazon has replaced the earlier brick and mortar book stores. Everything is under a state of flux and even this new value chain that Amazon has made is under improvement.It would now be possible for the publisher to delete all the middlemen altogether between him and the customer(basically that means
bye bye Amazon too).

One of the major troubles with Amazon is that a person can't get his book instantaneously even though he pays for it upfront. However strongly we argue in class we all know that we as customers are never happy to pay for something which we will get in the future.Well someone has just taken care of that major headache for us and how?? By changing the very way we read
books and mag zines.E-books have been available for some time now in the markets ..But it never feels like ur turning a page and reading...So we have a cure for both...We have a digital way of buying books online and read them exactly in the way we read a magazine,Looking at and spreading the centrefold model poster included!!! This is the Zinio way...

Zinio a Digital Magazine reader with a difference.You can purchase any of the publication magazines which are tied up with Zinio online and as soon as you pay u can download the magazine to your comp to read it at your pleasure like a normal magazine. What's even better is that because its digital the costs are drastically lower to the publishers who are selling the same
editions in hardcover magazines and this lowered cost is transferred to the customers.
You can download the Zinio reader software for free here and there are a lot of magazines to choose from (Including the favorites for adolescent teenagers(wink)...) More seriously you get a lot of free publications which gives a lot of useful info.Pretty soon im sure all magazine will be available like this.

Currently i guess it allows only magazines but i guess books are the next logical step. Looks wise the graphics are cool and its pretty simple to use.Another negative factor is the lack of feel factor which is true with every digital format.But it is available for download in Tablet PC format too...and many readers of Tablet PC e-books say that they feel good when they read
their books on Tablet PCs, as it feels like they are holding a book.So i guess that might be true for magazines too. So all those readers who just want to read their magazines and don;t feel like waiting for Amazon's ultra slow 3 day delivery period(Comeon in this age 3 days is too slow man),heres your alternative....

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Google buys out You Tube!!!

Well finally all the rumour mongers have been satisfied after Google has signed the deal to buy out YouTube for ,hold your breath......a whopping $ 1.65 billion...Yeah you heard that right.Now you can go and knock your head out for not coming up with the idea of free video sharing on the net...

If you are beginning to wonder why would Google do with YouTube inspite of having Google videos of its own,well the answer's pretty simple. Internet is gonna be the next television and those who control the Internet control the future's complete media source....YouTube is going to be one of the best places for advertisements in the future (hmm..why in the future,it could very well become right now).According to StarNewsOnline....

"The success of the YouTube acquisition will probably lie in embedding video advertising into the clips that millions of people watch everyday from their computers. So far, YouTubes management has been reluctant to include advertising within clips, for fear of alienating users.

Yesterday, however, Mr. Hurley, one of YouTubes founders, appeared more open to experimenting, saying that he was even considering testing whats known as a pre-roll a 15-second ad before a clip something he had long derided as potentially ruining the user experience.

While more marketers have been eager to advertise against online video, some big consumer companies have been reluctant to fully embrace advertising against user-generated content because it is difficult to differentiate good content from offensive material. YouTube has created an assortment of tools for users and content creators to police its site.

YouTube said it had struck accords to license content from two of the four major music conglomerates the Universal Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment and the CBS television network in exchange for a percentage of YouTubes advertising revenue.

YouTube is also expected to use new technology to identify copyrighted material that users have uploaded to the site without permission, and to share ad revenue with media companies that own the video or music content. (YouTube made a similar pact with the Warner Music Group last month, and had a previous advertising deal with NBC in June).

The deals reflect how media companies are rethinking the distribution of their entertainment content online.

The deal with Universal, the worlds biggest music corporation, drew particular attention because the company had said it was contemplating a lawsuit against YouTube over copyright issues.

Phil Leigh, the president of Inside Digital Media, said the new arrangements represented a strong endorsement that the major media companies are going to see YouTube as a legitimate business partner.

Mr. Leigh said that also suggested a rethinking of the approach the companies took to Napster. It shows that very important, erstwhile reluctant media companies have got religion, he said.

The YouTube alliances also came the same day that Google announced separate deals to license music videos from Sony BMG and Warner.

Under the terms of the deal, YouTube, which has about 60 employees, will retain much of its identity and will keep its name and its office in San Bruno, more than 25 miles from Googles headquarters in Mountain View. "

The move goes well with Google's philosophy to lead the change rather than following others.But will the user experience of viewing ads before they view the videos gonna shift the user base to some other free video sharing website.It remains to be seen.

Will this move catapult mainstream advertising from the tele to the Internet??? Or is Google killing a golden egg by swallowing it too early before its maturity??As usual Lord Time will have the answer.

I leave you with the YouTube founders own video on the site.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Fidel Castro- End of an Era

At the risk of sounding a commie im writing this post....Cuba is soon approaching the end of an era with the "rumoured" terminal cancer that Fidel Alejandro Castro is facing. With this would end the world's longest rein as head of state for a man who defied the most powerful country in the world starting with just 82 men. It is for this fact that you have to admire this man.
At a time when powerful leaders of the world like Saddam couldn't stop the wrath of US of A ,this man stood literally under their noses for 47 years without them being able to let out a sneeze.

Castro has ruled Cuba with an iron grip ever since usurping power in 1959....1959 it seems quite a long time back doesn't it...Well just for your information, 70% of Cuba's 11 million population was born after Fidel Castro came into power...That is something,dude..

Castro's first attempt to overthrow General Fulgencio Batista, the dictator of Cuba on July 26 1953, was a failure and he was exiled to Mexico.

But he didn’t give up. Along with revolutionary icon Ernesto "Che" Guevara and brother Raul, Castro lead a successful revolution. On January 6, 1959 he took over the country's rule.

With his impending death , one of the last bastions of Communism of yore (with Russia and China falling years back now) is at crossroads. I think his death would be like a final chapter in the history books of the Communist era of this century...A final nail in the coffin if you like it.

New questions arise in our minds with this thought....Will the new order of Globalization be Capitalistic Communism or Communistic Capitalism???

Whatever the future hold for us I salute the man who stood his ground against the brashness of the mighty US of A and came out without a scar...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Firangi Tehelka Sting on Indian BPOs

We all have seen the Tehelka sting operations on the various Bollywood actors,politicians and Lt generals...Now we have firangis coming in with their sting operations to bring India's most successful business over the past decade,the BPO business, to shame.
UK's Channel 4 reporter Sue Tarton( Not the "Sue kar" from RDB fame)conducted a sting operations on a few Indian BPOs and she was provided with info on the credit details of thousands of individuals,proving that the Indian BPO scene was not all that rosy-rosy as it seems from the outside.
Anyways new headaches for one of India's shining stars and NASSCOM caught with its pants down.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Google,from Hero to Big Brother???

Google's very reason on such wild fire widespread popularity is that it didn't give two hoots about advertisers.Their first preference has always been to provide the cleanest ,fastest,most relevant information to its users from day one and all its activities has been centered around it. IT follows the Do No Evil philosophy which basically is meant to safe gaurd the interests of theusers....
For a long time they didn't want to put advertisements intheir search engine but ofcourse they couldn't continue operations without making money so the started the Sponsored Links. Their basic premise has been to be the best source of information for users around the world. Thus they started Google News.When they felt consumers wanted info on the best possible deals around the world they started Froogle.Recently they started Google Scholar for all the academicians .Now they have an ambitious project to make available online all the information in all the books in all the libraries in the world.Im sure they will be successful in that too. Google slowly is getting into an all encompassing software for anything related to information.Be it search,storage,action,analysis or processing....Everything u need will be provided by Google.

Now comes a passing thought.Stop and think for a second if thats a good thing or a bad thing. Google has now data on everyones preferences of shopping through Froogle,The news we listen to through News, The information people store through the Google Spreadsheets, The associatons and networks ofpeople through Orkut, access to personal and professional emails thru GMail,your personal thoughts through Blogger,find your house through Google Maps.Soon they will be offering services of free delivery of our most commonly ordered goods to our door steps. There is something eerie and scary about someone having access to all the information aboutyou,your movements,your thoughts.WE are now believing Google information blindly.We do not stop to verify it at all. Will this philosophy of Do No Evil Last for ever....All this information can be deadly dangerous in the wrong hands. Larry and Sergey are young now,but imagine a day 25 years from now when Google has become synonmous with its name is into a googol number of things and Larry and Sergey have to pass the mantle to someone else. What will happen then??? Its a public company and being a public company makes it accountable to its shareholders and shareholders want money and i find that heavily contradictory to the Do No Evil philosophy....What if Google is taken over by the governement of worse used by the government without the knowledge of the people.??Aren't we back in Geroge Orwell's book 1984......I shudder still with such a thought and can't stop to think about the famous quotes in 1984

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength

Is it possible that a Co that started with the premise of Information is Strength will end up saying those last lines??? I don'tknow but its just a thought....Would the Google Life end up in Google heaven or Google hell????Think abt it

A fan

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ted Levitt...Thx a million

This man has inspired a a few hundred CEOs,a few thousand CMOs,A few million Brand Managers and a zillion crazy fools like me...Obviously he was the inspiration for this blog's title,as this was the first article that really got me thinking in this Marketing line...This gr8 man is no more among us ,but the thoughts he has left us with are still as engaging and thought provoking....Hats off to u sir...

I leave u all with one of my favorite quotes of his
“The future belongs to people who see possibilities before they become obvious.”

His Obituary

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Reservations - Atlas Shrugged Redux?

Any one who has read the Ayn Rand bestseller Atlas Shrugged realizes the one important message of that book. Man can move towards growth and a better civilization on one and only one premise- Ability and not Need can be its the driver.

Isn’t this the very premise we are breaking by bringing in more and more reservations today? We ask the politicians- the netas of today’s India why do you support reservations in educational institutions? And their only response- Because the students of the backward sections of the society need it. What has need got anything to do with getting into the most prestigious universities and colleges in the country .It is said that once you make it to the IITs, IIMs, AIIMS of the country your life is made. No wonder then that we have lakhs and lakhs of bright students from all over the country competing for those few thousand seats. For every one student that makes it there are at least 10000 who don’t. At least half of these 10000 students need to get into one of these institutions to make a good career and be able to support their families. Are the needs of the people from the higher castes of the society ,many of whom are also not well off ,different from the needs of the backward communities. Why take only cast considerations? Take economic considerations- Aren’t the needs of the below poverty line people > than the middle class > the rich. Then by that criteria no middle class kid can claim that his need is greater than that of the poorer kid. Take demographics next- It’s a fact that the sex ratios in these institutions are highly skewed in favor of the males. This isn’t a sexist comment but the plain truth. So should now there be a demand of greater need on the seats available by the female aspirants of the country?
There are many more such differentiating factors, that you can come up with where the aspirants will be divided into various classes and among the classes there will be a descending order of needs. Will the politicians keep on providing reservations for each such consideration? Which all needs will the politicians of the country support? On what basis will you decide whose needs are greater? A rich OBC class male students need or a middle class high caste female needs? Doesn’t look all black and white now, does it? What if you add three more variables then where will you end up, in deciding, who gets that precious seat? We will then be moving into the zone of total grayness and who wins then. Don’t you know? The one with the highest contacts or influence with the ruling authorities. Does all this help the students or the politicians then? Why don’t you see even a single political party come out against such a reservation policy? Cause they see it as one of the easiest and simplest way of obtaining the vote banks of these communities without doing any effort. You suddenly see that the politicians thus want reservations because they need this to hang onto their seats and earn more below the table money. Can the irony in this situation be any more tragic? Thus providing the seats on the basis of ability and ability alone can be the right answer.

The book mentions the worst code possible followed by the political system. From those with the highest abilities to those with the greatest needs. This is the biggest blunder any society can make. By penalizing the ones with the ability to provide growth and development to this nation for the sake of the ones with the greatest need aren’t we taking the steps towards total destruction? What happens when you penalize those with greater ability for the sake of those with the greatest need? You force them to suppress that ability and try to bring out their weaknesses in them so as to show a greater need. Pretty soon we will have everyone trying to outbid each other in the race to prove who is worse off. The more the number of people with ability who convert to those with greater needs the more will be the burden on those shrinking number of people with ability. What is at the end of such a line taken? How long do you think that they can continue bringing development to our nation in his way? It’s clearly a negative sum game in which not only those with ability loose out but as soon as they do so, so will those with the need .Thus the entire system collapses. Isn’t this the very code we are ready to adopt with the reservations?

It is the ones with the ability and only them (Of course only if they choose to make that effort) will the condition of the country improve as a whole. The nay sayers to my theory would first point out, but these people with ability don’t do anything for anyone but themselves and only if the students from their section of society are selected will these communities be able to stand on their own feet. My reply to this is just check the statistics of the number of students who have got through these colleges on reservation basis and see how many have uplifted their communities and compare it with those students with ability from these very sections of society and see what they have done for their country. You will have your own answer. If you take a look at our society today, who do you see are in the forefront of helping the cause of the backward classes? Is it Laloo Prasad Yadav and his gang of moochers or someone like Mr Narayan Moorthy or Mr Sunil Bharti Mittal. Or how does an institution like Arvind Nethralaya operate on profit in spite of providing about two-thirds of its operations free of charge? Do you think it would have been possible without them developing a brilliant method of providing the rich with a much better value than other eye hospitals and using that value to provide for the poorer sections. Ability, my dear friends can be the only motor of equitable growth. Reservations even with good intentions are only going to upset the whole cart.

The second point the pro reservation people bring up is that, those people with ability do things only for themselves. That according to me is the strongest argument AGAINST reservation. Only if the people with ability do things for themselves will real development take place. Why should they spend use their minds for doling out freebies. Again taking the example of Arvind Nethralaya , do you think it would last a week if it weren’t a profitable venture. Profit isn’t a dirty word my dear friends. It’s the just reward for ability and hardwork put in by man. They will exchange goods and services only with those people who provide them with equal value. Only then will there be a positive sum game and that’s the whole point isn’t it? A person with ability starts a business and provides employment those who don’t have any. You think big companies undertake Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities because they believe in social service and handouts? Bullshit- It makes plain business sense. They provide the people with the ability to help themselves because tomorrow when they can stand on their own feet they become loyal customers. That’s money in the bag ladies and gentlemen. I salute the first guy, who started this whole social responsibility thing. I’m sure he was one of the best businessmen in the world. That’s long term business strategy for you. No wonder the Tata’s of this world are revered by the people they support and continue to do excellent business well after more than 100 years of existence. That’s the only way forward because even though every one wants means well for others, only those with the ability can. So how dare a society try to stop those with ability for the sake of those with merely a need?

Why do you think that those students from the backward communities who have ability to get through these prestigious institutions on merit are protesting along with the anti-reservation students? Because they know once reservations come in then they will forever be branded as those privileged to get through due to reservations and cannot rightfully lay claim to their place in the society as the ones with ability.

Will just providing reservations in admissions be all the polity is looking for? What will happen next now? The next logical step in their minds will be reservation on jobs? The politicians have come up with a measure to increase the number of seats in these institutions as a measure to pacify the anti-reservation protesters (how these colleges can do it without sufficient infrastructure is anybody’s guess).But what will they do if they bring in reservation in jobs in the private sector too. Will they pass a directive to increase the number of jobs available? …….No? I didn’t think so too. How can they? when there aren’t enough jobs to go around anyway.
If we relegate our best brains to the second rung institutions we would see the best way of brain drain-literally. All the studies show that in all the 50 years of reservation policies not more than 5% of the backward sections have benefited from it. You want to help the students of backward communities to get into prestigious institutions, reduce the costs for applying to these institutions and its fees after getting selected but NOT the criteria on which they are selected. You provide a few thousand elite seats for a billion people and want to fill half of them with students of half the ability as compared to the rest. The best answer was given by Mr Babu who just started his own catering business after his course at IIM Ahmedabad (He got in through reservation seats, his parents run a road side food stall)-he said the only thing that the reservation gave him was a jump of one year. Had he not got in his third attempt, he would have cleared in the next. That’s the confidence in ones ability talking, not somebody’s need.
It has been seen that in spite of the much easier criteria for getting into these institutions most of these seats remain unfilled. Also the percentage of drop outs is highest from these reserved seats as they are not able to cope up with the rigors of the grueling courses.

Thus reservations cannot be the way forward for society because its premise is that Need and not Ability is the driver of growth. Like any scientific brain will tell you when you end up with contradictions, check your premises!!

Thus I think its time we retook the oath which will lead our country to the path of glory.
I swear – that I will never live for the sake of another man and, nor ask another man to live for mine.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Statutory Warning – Reading TOI can be injurious to your Brain!!!!

The Times of India or the Old Lady of Boribunder as the sobriquet goes is one of the oldest newspapers in India and the largest selling English broadsheet in the world. But over the past decade this erstwhile newspaper of reasonably good quality has degenerated into a 3rd class rotten tabloid format newspaper.

All serious news and content is trivialized by giving it a Page 3 look and feel. With headlines which talk abt the popular NRI names to Britney to wed Mr someone or the other being given more importance than a blast in Kashmir its no wonder that this downhill movement in the quality of this broadsheet is gathering more and more momentum.TOI has become more and more of a glam mag than a newspaper. If u ever needed to get the latest dough on Amisha Patel and Priety Zinta or Boris Becker’s girlfriend then TOI is a must read for you.Messrs Jain and co , please get out of the impression that everyone of ur readers is into the habit of reading only whets the latest lipstick color in vogue or where the Bollywood princesses had their hair cut.

Do u know whats the worst thing of all this is? People are actually getting addicted to reading this crap. The huge increase in sales for TOI just goes to prove my point. Are we going so brain dead that we are not able to differentiate between quality news coverage which is the responsibility of any newspaper and the despicable pieces the TOI hands down to us.

Im sure all of u remember the NASA exam topping student of India whom the President congratulated on TOI. The journalist didn’t even have the sense to check with NASA first if the there was any such exam in the first place. I must congratulate that kid,instant celebrity overnight. Way to go dude!!!

Im all for marketing, heck thats gonna be my chosen profession but selling editorials and headlines to the highest bidders is pushing on the limits of extreme marketing. Why don’t u just make an Ad mag instead then. At least have the guts to call a spade and spade.

A decent newspaper should also allow for critical feedback from its readers. But does TOI do that? No Sir they don’t. Not only do they not take the critical evaluation in their stride but they actually go to the extent of slapping their readers with libel suits to shut their gobs. The most recent point in case being the blog mediaah by one Pradyuman Maheshwari. These incidents will insinuate readers all the more. People from all walks of life have come out in support of Pradyuman ,as is clearly evident from the signing of petition for his cause and hundreds of blogs coming out to support him.

I guess what Vir Sanghvi said in his article in the Brand Reporter is true, the Newspaper wars between TOI,HT,DNA etc have just concentrated on increasing readership at all costs for the sake of attracting more and more advertising. For this purpose they had to make the newspapers so general in its appeal that the masses buy it in large numbers. And sadly those general features are fashion, movies and page 3 parties.

The day when the newspapers stop fighting for just readership numbers and concentrate on quality of articles and these advertisers start supporting them will being upon us the News revolution. All newspapers can co-exist on the basis of quality of their articles and the analysis they provide. Maybe then and only then will the heads of our youth be cleared of this entire Page 3 ruckus which is stagnating their highly capable minds.

Let hope the TOI can still be saved and prevent it from becoming the The Whore of Boribunder!!!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Indian Strechable Time and other things....

Have u noticed that whenever a meeting is convened it is taken for granted in our country that it will start 30 min to an hour later and the people start trickling in only after 15 min of the scheduled start of the meeting. Some how I feel this is a uniquely Indian thing and hence the apt name.

Even the people who convene the meeting keep this in mind and hence call the meeting an hour before they actually need to start, making leeway for this Indian Stretchable Time. The most common dialogue is “array yaar u call them at 6 then only will we start by 7”. There seems to be some excellent dark humor in there to me. Or as something marketing people would say “backward integration”..... Instead of looking to find a solution for the punctuality you are actually working backwards to make leeway for that unpunctual nature.

I think this topic is worthy of a research study. Why Indians en masse take unpunctuality as granted? Has it been in our genes for all these generations or is it a more recent trend we find. If it has been in our genes for generations then we seriously need to look into ways of getting rid of this nature in us especially in a time when we are integrating with the global economy in such a big way. All other people rate punctuality very high in their scheme of things for doing business. Some of them might even tolerate incompetence for punctuality.Time is so important for them.

Even when some of our exporters get business from abroad they quote the fastest delivery date to bag the orders whereas they expect to be late by some time with a million excuses later on. This brings a bad name to the entire nation. Our goods have been blacklisted due to lack of adherence to the L/C documents and other contractual agreements.

But this ain’t the funniest thing….These very Indian the moment they leave their shores for another country are the most punctual people of all….they reach their workplaces or meeting 10 minutes earlier. And this goes true not only in following the time but also following the rules and regulations laid down by the respective countries. Indians who spit all over the place in their own country will swallow the same thing in Singapore…the very govt employees of Kerala who go for strike for a couple of months bringing the state machinery to its knees take long leaves from their jobs and go to the Gulf and work 14 hours a day without overtime….these are just a few eg.Im sure ur getting the point by now.

We some how have to get this nature of not following acceptable social norms and etiquettes out of our collective system. Just take a drive any day of the week in any city of the country and you see with what gross impertinence the drivers break all traffic rules in the book. We always seem to blame the system. We say that we wouldn’t be breaking the rules if the traffic cops weren’t so corrupt to let us go with a small fine for their pockets. But that’s like a top down approach to do things. We all go and watch movies like RDB(that Rang De Basanti) and other patriotic movies and come our feeling all cleansed and thinking that we can make a huge difference to our country but the next thing we do is take our bikes and park it in a No Parking zone to have vada pav and a smoke. If we want to make big changes in our country we have to start with the small changes in our habits. Incorporate in us the need to follow the simple rules and regulations and then we can go and do bigger things like fighting the corrupt system. That more like a bottom up approach for me.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Crash - A view into the future of the world?

Just watched the movie Crash yday...For those who haven’t watched it, it describes the lives of all the communities in LA ,the boiling pot(instead of the melting pot it should have been) of all cultures and races of the world...It shows how we are scared and wary of people from other races and are prejudiced against them. The black are gangstas, the mexicans are rapists, the chinese are always looking to trick you, All arabs are terrorists etc etc etc...However hard we try to get these prejudices out we are not able to....This the basis of the movie, which is woven around a murder story and how each of the these communities interact with each other especially in tense situations....

Some how I feel this is how the world is going to be a couple of decades down the line. People are leaving their home countries to go and work in places which they presume are going to be their way to great richness and self sufficiency....but everyone has also made presumptions abt the people from different places through the huge exposure to the world happenings- Internet and Cable influence our opinions, No they MAKE our opinions....What will happen when we have to trust these other communities in the course of our lives as no one can live in isolation anymore in this "globalised world"? This is a question that needs to be addressed urgently...We can't have generalizations made for a particular kind of people....All are individuals and have their own identities...Forget the color of the skin and the slanting of the eyes and the incomprehensible accents and understand the person behind all this....Then and only then will we live in a truly globalised and a single world 50 years from now....Like they say, beware Geography is gonna be History!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Ramblings begin

Hey let me introduce myself first....I’m the unknown sell-inebriety and these are my ramblings.... My mission : To explore strange new worlds . . .To seek out new life and new civilizations . . .To boldly go where no man has gone before! wait wait wait....isn’t that the line from Star Trek. Well I believe in Sam Walton's philosophy...Steal shamelessly whatever good is there in others. How the heck do u think he built the biggest organization in the world?

I’m Vivek Menon ,currently pursuing my MBA from the Symbiosis Institute of International Business in Pune,Maharashtra, India....I hail from the city of Cochin,the Queen of the Arabian Sea....Been a vagabond almost all throughout my life, running from one city to the next....Basically a laid back guy who just loves having a good time as much the next joe...Im a student of marketing....having decided to jump into this still vastly unexplored,unexplained,uncharted space called Marketing, lets hope its not my undoing...Hehe...thats all abt me for now cos ill need to write abt myself when I have nothing else to write anyways...

These ramblings would mostly consist of my thoughts, my contradictions, my opinion about everything under the sun.....You are welcome to comment but here Im the King..Lol. Let the ramblings begin..........