Friday, December 21, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Award Marketing?

Now who wouldn't love to receive awards. They are a sign of performance and achievement for any company/individual. A sign declaring to the world,Yeah ! We/I did it.But what if this was the exact emotion someone wanted to play on and make a smart buck?

We recently received the Frost and Sullivan award of Service Excellence for 2007. Our entire team was over joyed on hearing the news and were jumping on their desks and patting it each other silly ,basking in that warm feeling of a job well done. But then came the catch. We were required to pay an astronimical amount to Messers Frost and Sullivan to publicly use this award!!! And they had given awards not just for Best Sales and Best Service but a multitude of different names- Best Product leadership,Best Brand Leadership,Best Channel Leadership etc etc- You get the drift.On hearing this piece of info all the joy and merrimaking stopped and we were overcome by this dirty feeling. The apt descripton of the exact emotion was given by a collegue- The feeling that comes when you realise that the beautiful woman you wooed was actually a prostitute.

This incident got me thinking about Awards given in the Industry. Someone at F&S must have had a bright spark. He said -Lets split all those industries out there - B2B or B2C .For each of these industries lets spilt them into a million sectors ,split these sectors into a billion sub specialities and award companies in a kazillion categories in each of these and end up making a tonne of dough from them when they try to use these publicly.

I don't even know if its F&S who first has this idea or just copied it from the other consultants. The big question that arises here is the validity of these awards then. Do we win next year if our performance was still the best(Very likely as we won with over 60% score) but we didn't go ahead and BUY this award??

I know this isn't a very recent phenomena and has been going on for some time now.I guess like they say,you start to think only when you faced with the situation yourself. I'd like to throw open this discussion for all those who have an opinion on this matter.

Are such awards becoming Marketing gimmicks in the hands of the Awarders??Why ask the winning companies to pay for the award which they have rightly deserved according to the Consultants??Or is the research done in a way to give out as many awards as possible?? Let me remind you of the Best B-schools category given in India by all the Business magazines which rate the college of the "Planning Poiny tailed-dude" as no:4 after the 3 IIM's.... Are there better options like - Asking each of the competing companies to a small fee for participation and wait for the fair results to declare the winner. Im sure they are already making enough on the sponsorships of the Award ceremonies. Is this Award Marketing??

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Marketing blogs list

Heres a quick list for all those who are searching for that list of excellent Marketing Blogs to read....Read your heart out ladies and gentlemen...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Don't Practice Swimming....SWIM

Scene 1 Take 1

Narrator: Some time in Early 2004 Yours truly went along for a ride with few friends.They were going to attend the selection process for a software company and were very tensed. Yours truly was bored and was just along going for the ride.

Round 1 of Selection: Written test- Aptitude

Almost all qualify including Yours truly.

Round 2: Written Test - Technical

Four of them clear including Yours truly. Almost all further tests attended by all four.

Round 3: Oral test - Technical

Yours truly has no clue and for most of the questions says "Pass"

Round 4: Oral test - Technical round 2

Only Yours truly has this special technical round.Again similar questions. Again "Pass" being the most popular answer.

Round 5: Interview with CFO

CFO: "Lets have a honest discussion here rather than an interview"

Yours truly : (Yeah Rite!) "Of course sir"

CFO : "So tell me,something about your future plans"

Yours Truly: " Well somewhere down the line I'd like to start my own business"

CFO: "How do you plan to do that?"

Yours Truly:(All smug)"Well i plan to work for a few years,get an MBA after that,work again for a few more years and then start the business"

CFO: "But then why don't you start one right now?"

Yours truly:(Surprised)"Well for starters I have no experience,I don't want to make any mistakes when I do start"

CFO : "I have just one thing to say, Does practicing outside a swimming pool for days with all the hand and leg movements make you swim from the first time you enter the pool??"

Scene 2 Take 1

Circa 2007

Yours Truly:I now KNOW what you meant sire.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Of Skaal,Gom bui,Santé,Na zdrowie,Cheers et al....

Well I'm back...again...I think...mebbe...not so sure anymore???

Just had a 2 week sojourn to Viking territory,Denmark....It was an eclectic mix of around 40 people who were there to "NETWORK"...The Danes,The Chinese,one silent French dude,one fiery Polish gal and us Indians.

And u know what I found??? I could try to be profound and say that the world is really a global village now and that thoughts of young people across the world are the same and all that stuff - but NO....that's pretty obvious(All the guys stamping on each other to impress the girls is ample proof)

I found that....Wait..... hold for it.....hold for it.....hold for it.....We have no Indian word for Cheers(Or at least none that seemed quite like it...I googled it and the best I could come up with is-Aap ki lambi umar ke liye...Yuck)!!! That was pathetic when i was hearing Skaal,Gom bui,Santé,Na zdrowie in full fervour(thats Danish,Chinese,French and Polish for the un initiated in the world of Cheers in different languages)
But do not fret my Indian mates,I didn't give up so easily...When everyone asked me what is the Indian word for Cheers i promptly replied-"We Indians don't waste our time talking when we have drinks in front of us..Its Pour and drink for us"

Denmark can be dead quiet for the average Indian with a population of 6 million(That's just Pune's population)...Nothing happens after 5 in the evening...Still the beautiful landscapes,cute little houses with gardens make it a photographer's paradise...Heck even my pictures look like they belong in a postcard.

I also found quite a few similarities.Beer drinking and cribbing about everything from football to politics is their favorite pastime( We just replace the football with cricket).

Also Danish humor was very similar to our Indian humor.Danes are the masters of sarcastic humor.Sarcasm has been developed into a fine art there. Straight faced and dead serious sarcasm that can tempt anyone into thinking they are being just plain rude...Im sure atleast the Chinese didn't get the joke...Hehehe

Overall it was an interesting 2 weeks there- had lots of bland food,caught an egg at full dive,found im an ENFP,that I need to slow down my English,played a Princess,drank crates of beer and after thousands of Skaals- had loads of fun.
Most importantly though - I can proudly say I Made quite a few good Friends...
Seeya when I seeya mates...Will miss the fun we had together...

Right now though I need to run off for some real spicy Indian food!!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Citizen No:1

We have selected Pratibha Patil as the new President of India. Following Dr Kalam's footsteps is a tough ask for anyone, but all the drama that was the prologue to this Presidential term with all the mud slinging on both Pratibha Patil and Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat has made it almost impossible to Pratibha Patil to be a credible representative of all the citizens of the country.

Charges of mismanagement are raised on Pratibha Patil of the closed Pratibha Mahila Sahakari Bank and allegations of her protecting her brother on some murder charges.Similarly corruption charges on Shekhawat.All these will make sure that every child in the country will look at Pratibha with certain trepidation.

This shouldn't be the way a country looks at their Citizen No:1. For long the President is someone whom almost the entire country has been proud of. Now with the excess politicization of this office we have lost this too!!!Thank you very much

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Somebody's gonna get hurt real bad

Tomorrow I go back home after getting my first salary.Have plans to buy things for Mom and Dad and bro and treat other relatives.Feels good that now i am in a position to do so.Wished my dad "Happy father's day" around a couple of weeks back and wrote that i admired and respected and loved him even though i could not say "My Dad's an ATM" anymore.

Life's changing yet again but at this new cross road im forced to think back about what Mom and Dad did for me and my bro.I used to hate all those scoldings and beatings Mom used to give for not doing homework and watching too much TV.Always scared of her oft repeated threat,Do this or Ill tell Dad! and the worry that Somebody's gonna get hurt real bad would push me to do whatever that she demanded.Even now im sure if she sees me sitting idle watching TV her first reaction might be to ask me to go and study.Hehehe

Now when i look back I guess it was all meant for this day when i am able to stand up on my own and have a personal sense of achievement. But this would not have been possible, if not for all those years of knocking sense into my head by my parents.So I now know when i stand proudly among my peers who I need to be grateful to.

MOM and DAD u guys are the best and thanks for everything you have ever done for me.For you it might just have be part of parenthood and unconditional love,for me it was my entire life.Praying you guys are always there to scare me with "Vicky,Do this or Somebody's gonna get hurt real bad !!!!" Love you always.

Move over Mr Bill Gates

Carlos Slim Helu              Bill Gates

Move over ol fella, theres a new richest dude on the block- Carlos Slim Helu. Neither is he slim nor is he the villain of a cold war era movie. He's worth about $ 67.8 billion, a $ 8.6 billion lead over Mr Gates. Hmm...$ 67.8 billion, that's only approximately about 8 % of India's GDP.

FYI his companies include Telmex and America Movil. Telmex owns 90% of Mexico's telephone lines. 13 seems to be unlucky for Gates as its been 13 years ,he's been on top of the rich pile.

Well ek din hona hi tha. Im sure soon some one else will come an replace Mr Carlos too. Just keeping my fingers (toes and everything else too) tightly crossed and hoping it is me.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Does our society hate success??

I was reading through some comments of the gapingvoid blog and suddenly a thought struck me. Microsoft has been kicked around and bad mouthed all over the world especially in the blogger space. If you read the articles about it when it started, people couldn't stop praising Bill Gates,Paul Allen and their team for doing whatever they did with Microsoft. As it grew bigger and bigger the plaudits started coming down and the brickbats started increasing. So the thought was ,does this world hate success?

This thought didn't come from a just this example of Microsoft. You can see for yourself there are umpteen companies which as start ups and during their initial fame periods were considered path breaking,ingenious and world changing.But as they became bigger and more powerful the resentments against them kept on increasing. Take Google and Apple for example. Google could do no wrong. Larry and Sergey were demi gods( Still are to millions i assume). But as soon as Google started expanding the critics (from the experts to the roadside hawker) started finding all sorts of faults with it. Why does it have to buy You Tube....Orkut,Adsense and all other tools will make Google big brother,its strategy is no strategy at all etc etc etc. I'm not taking some kind of moral high ground here.I too have questioned Google's future plans. Same with Apple and Steve Jobs. Ditto with GM and Ford.The list goes on.

I'm not trying to say that criticizing is wrong but what we see is that we who love the companies when they start off slowly start having reservations which turn into resentments as soon as they become bigger and successful. Of course not every step these companies take is right but we begin to see only the bad things and as we all know ,now with the power of the Internet bad news spreads like lightening. Soon everyone is focusing on all the small mistakes the companies have made. They dig deep into the history and find faults at every nook and corner. Even from the times when they loved the companies.

Don't look at me like im talking some strange alien language and you are not one of those people.You know what im talking about, deep down.

So i ask this question to myself again. Does our society hate success.Is that why we always rooting for the underdogs?? Root for Microsoft when IBM was big. Root for Google when Microsoft is big. Root for Toyota when GM is big. Your getting the point.

Sure we all know there some serious mistakes committed by companies. Environmental pollution,child labour etc etc. But not all the companies make such big mistakes to be be turned into such open, free for all big targets for everyone and anyone to shoot at.

I also think that this is syndrome is not just limited to business.Take sport for example. We rooted for Alonso when Schumi was unbeatable.For Nadal just to see Federer lose a game.

Bill Gates is made out to be devil incarnated himself,inspite of being the biggest philanthropist on the planet. Richard Branson is looked upon as the playboy of business,inspite of coming with the most amazing businesses. Steve Jobs is considered arrongance personified.

These things then make me ask the following questions that i seek from myself and all those who can give me an answer

1. Does the society resent(if not hate) success in some weird psychological way
2. If it does, Why so? is it right or wrong?
3. Whats the way to keep on being successful and keeping resentments to a minimum.

PS: Do comment after you read. I'd like to see all possible perspectives .Thanks

Sorry was getting over my MBA

Well its been a long while since i updated this blog. Like i said was getting over my MBA. So now I'm officially an Btech, MBA. Lol...sounds pretty sad or cool depending on whatever context.

Haven't been sitting on my ass doing nothing though. No sir. Been traveling for a month. Yeah im sorry this post is gonna sound like a travelogue but i had to write about the one of the most relaxed months of my life.

Started off with the Golden temple. A beautiful sight to sore eyes especially sore after seeing the sights of Amritsar. I always thought it would be a bustling modern town but it looked more like a second class mechanics backyard. So just sat there for a couple of hours watching the Golden temple and listening to the songs of the holy singers while sitting by the lake there.

Went to Jallianwallah Bagh right next door to the Golden Temple. Walked through the path leading to it( Where General Dyer came in from and attacked those poor souls). Felt a certain eeriness while walking through it but when I saw people living on either side of the walls nearby i realised that as with everything else life had moved on in this place. That feeling was confirmed after i saw the wall with the labeled bullet marks(Yes they were labeled).They felt fake to me.Those bullet marks. So if i felt like that i wondered how many others would have felt the same thing.Made me feel real gulity .Nice dedication monument built there though.

Moved on to Dalhousie to escape from the horrible heat. Came to heaven. Hotel room facing the evergreen filled mountain slopes. Chilly weather and nice treks. Best coffee i tasted in a hotel before. Went to mini Switzerland(Khajjiar) and rolled around in a huge plastic ball.Had hawkers coming to me every 10 seconds to sell me a solution to help me reduce weight. Yeah rite. Found nice little waterfall following an instinct.

Went to Mcloed Ganj(Dharmshala) from there. Thought i would stay there for a few hours before moving on to Manali. I was wrong. Stayed there for a week. Exposed to Tibetan culture and detailed history for the first time. Loved the momos and the movies played in the small theatres on Jogibara Road. Had the best pasta from Jimmy's Kitchen( No I'm not being paid by them) and saw a gompa for the first time in my life. Regret not having bought a Tibetan music CD. I missed the music that was playing all the while in the background the moment i left the place. Bought a smoking pipe though.

Moved on to Manali finally. Was the lone Indian in the bus from Dharamshala to Manali. Talk about feeling out of place in your own country.Thought it would be packed with people.Wrong again.Best hotel found again.Lonely planet rocks. Facing the snow clad mountains.There was actual snow there,dear me. Trekked to this amazing waterfall. Felt like it was top of the world and stopped for mashed potatoes at the place down below. Amazing how awesome it felt when i had the first plate and not so much on my second one. Law of diminishing marginal utility poking its ugly head again, on my mashed potatoes this time. Went biking to the mountain pass.Rapeling over the river Beas. Tried my hand at squash and tennis.Played pool and TT. Took pics with a yak.

Himachal is the best place to be during the summers. Stay away from Shimla though and don't try to pack 10 places in 10 days please.

Finally i was reaching home again after more than a year. I'm from Kerala btw. Train chugged along on a bridge. The lovely river shining in the sun and endless coconut trees on both its banks till eyes could see. Forgot the heat. Realised i missed those damn coconut trees and the sloping tiled homes more than i cared to admit. Second thoughts home is good,home is great, I'm back!!!! Kerala rocks at all times.Proud to be a mallu. Damn i never thought i would say that.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What about Hygiene Mr Lalu??

The Rail budget is out and everyone is cheering for Mr Lalu and why not??He achieved what was once thought to be impossible, bringing Indian Railways back in the black. His aam aadmi budget has brought in cheer for everyone in the country.

One question that i feel remains to be addressed in any discussion regarding the IR is that of hygiene and cleanliness in the trains and at the railway station. If we really are to be anywhere near the top railways in the world we need to do a HUGE clean up act. Its neither the super fast A/c coaches nor the dedicated freight corridors which are going to make Indian Railways a common man's friend but the Hygiene factor.

One walk down any Indian railway station will reveal whats the real problem. The stations are stinking with urine smell and there is human excreta everywhere on the tracks. This is not the fault of Mr Lalu and his railway department,but the aam aadmi himself. We don't have any sense of public hygiene or health hazards arising out of the lack of hygiene. We litter the stations and use them as public urinals. Also even though its specifically mentioned in all coach toilets NOT to use the toilet when the trains have stopped at a station,people end up doing there business right when the train stops.

I still don't understand our mentality of spoiling our own country by throwing litter in public instead of the garbage bin,spitting pan all over the walls, making ones love public by writing on national monuments etc etc etc....and how these very people when they enter Singapore, Japan or UK are following every rule to the 't'. These very people never do any of the above things in these countries.

Please don't tell me that its the uneducated poor people who do it. This behaviour is common all economic classes. It just as common to see a rich babu spitting pan out of his posh car as it is of seeing a poor guy using the road as a public urinal.( In fact the babu is doing a bigger demeanor as the poor dude might not be having a home let alone a loo.)

So its high time i think we Indians woke up and stopped considering our country as the world biggest garbage dump and started cleaning up our country. Everyone of us can make a difference.So next time you see that plastic bag on the ground put it in the nearest rubbish bin.

Save Indian Railways,Save Indian Roads,Save India.

PS: Keep up the good job Mr Lalu and don't forget to use your container for spitting the pan.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Think Simple

Found a blog link that reminds me any amount of analytical thinking bullshit doesn't really explain things as clearly as this...

Sunday, January 21, 2007


I recently got this as a forward. Even though i feel the sum mentioned in this article is grossly overstated its still worth a thought and maybe some more first hand primary research.Who knows maybe i can sell it to Madhur Bhandarkar for his movie Traffic Signal.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Be a Loser??

I read today's editorial page of TOI and came across the Be a Loser article in the Devil's Advocate column by A Srinivas and i must say i was shocked to say the least. He starts with Australia's crushing 5-0 ashes victory over England and goes on to ask, doesn't Ricky Ponting and Co get tired of winning?? According to him winning at all times is dehumanising. The real victors in sport or life need to taste defeat at some point or the other to be decent folks. He even goes ahead to state articulately that there is exquisite delight in defeat and misery even if it concealed in the loneliness of success.

What a load of bull i say. Especially coming from a newspaper that's been tom tomming about India Poised for 2 weeks now. Is this how Indians will take over the world.By being exquisitely relishing defeat in all areas of life? Does he think we will produce the next World Champions or World Business Leader by accepting defeat as the right thing. This world only remembers winners and not the also rans.

Everyone knows Charles Lindenberg crossed the Atlantic first,can anyone tell me who crossed it second? I think the author is confusing aiming to be the best at everything you do with letting success get into your head.These are two different things.Anyone who lets his /her success get to their heads will fall down hard and fast in today's world. But one who keeps his head inspite of his successes is the real champion.

Does defeat make me less arrogant and help to to love and to be more tolerable? Does defeat make you more mature,human and able to enjoy life's little happinesses more than someone who have tasted victory?Should he be ashamed of his victories? Should he be ashamed of having done something better than anyone else is able to do consistently over a period of time? Should Ricky Ponting be ashamed that his team beats the crap out of every team in the world?

The answer is obvious but I must say we have really hardcore Indian cricket team fans out there who would find such an article inspiring. Go on Indians who are poised,taste defeat and become a forgiving saint. I personally would like India to savour victory.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Starting of a Brand New Year

So heres to this new year...Let it bring India's 10 % GDP growth, reduce prices of petrol and all other essential commodities, pristine roads to Pune, World Cup victory for India, more jobs for the unemployed,excellent monsoons for the farmers, no tsunamis, more need for marketeers etc etc etc and finally bring me loads and loads of George Washingtons.....

Had a the laziest 3 days of my life in Goa for New Years...Cheers