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Showing posts from 2008

Piracy zindabad

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Its hardly few weeks since Aravind Adiga's novel 'The white tiger' won the man booker price. Starting this week I am getting emails from vendors like indiaplaza.in, Crossword etc. about the deals/discounts they are offering for the book. While I was pondering which deal to go with, got a huge shock when I went out for lunch today. The pirated version of the book is already available on roadside shops for 145 rupees (check photo below).


In countries like India, piracy spreads faster than the original version. When are we going to realize the importance buying original copies or start innovating around piracy?

Related article: Piracy = Opportunity

Tech entrepreneurship events in Bangalore

The San-Francisco bay area of the US is popularly known as ‘Silicon Valley'. Its wealth generation story is well known, where it created umpteen numbers of billionaires over the past three decades. Companies started from the valley literally rewritten the technology entrepreneurship, thereby creating history. The amount of contributions by valley based technology entrepreneurs to the bigger world is unbelievable. Starting from Hewlett-Packard to latest Google every other company has changed the world to a larger extent. These valley based world class product companies, literally created the term Multi National Company (MNC), which is a house-hold name today. It was mainly due to the valley entrepreneurs and their ability to take risk, identifying the opportunity and tapping the correct market had made all the difference. Added to that, world class universities, access to venture capital and world class minds created the ideal ecosystem for entrepreneurship.

India is in the similar …

India Layoffs

The famous dialogue "welcome to the real world!" from the Movie Matrix hit my head yesterday. I was watching all major news channels covering news about Jet Airways laying off 800 employees on a single day. Clearly the global financial crisis has hit India, starting with Aviation Industry.

Going forward I see it affecting multiple industries, which would result in major job cuts, downsizing and salary cuts. For yuppy Indians, who earned five digit salaries from day one need to face the ugly face of capitalism in coming days. No amount of crying, cribbing, protesting or complaining to political party would help during turbulent times. This is not a typical governmental setup, but the reality -- let us face it! Only who has the capability to adapt will survive during difficult times. Its high time we say Good bye to double digit salary growths and frequent job hopping.

BOOK REVIEW : Games Indians Play (Guest post by Sai Madhav)

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This is a guest post by my friend Sai Madhav. I have been trying to pull him into blogging :)

Title: Games Indians Play review

Author: Raghunathan

Vocabulary of the book: Very good

I initially thought the book is about consumers–traders who try to maximize their rewards/returns in this pragmatic world. However, I realized soon, that the book is about social life in conjunction with psychology and philosophy.

Raghunathan believes that we, the Indians, need self-regulation in the fist-place rather than regulation by external factors (i.e. law/government). He proved that behavioral economics, Game theory etc are nothing but the phenomenon we encounter in our daily lives, from which we fail to grab positive results.One interesting aspect which the author highlights is, Intelligence is not about quick returns but maximizing rewards by sustaining relationships. His analogy between Gita and Game theory is commendable.

With the examples he quoted (about Indian politicians / executives / administ…

iPhone - Not India phone?

It’s been a month since Apple's much hyped iPhone launched in India. In midst of huge expectations the product hit the market on Aug 22, with Airtel and Vodafone taking up the distributorship in India. In order to boost up the initial sales, both service provides kept their shop open throughout the night. More importantly India's 'tech' city Bangalore was all geared up to welcome this popular Gizmo, where many technologists lined up in the showroom to pickup their phone before their friends. The next day's local newspapers flashed pictures of proud iPhone owners from the city. The first say sales numbers were pretty good and everybody believed iPhone will take off in India in a big day, given its one billion population. Much against the expectations and media hype, the iPhone sales started taking nosedive in subsequent weeks and it has not even crossed 1500 handsets throughout India. It clearly proves that iPhone is a big failure out here.

According to Geoffrey Moor…

Consistently inconsistent - Auto rickshaw meters in Bangalore

Inside Bangalore city, autos were supposed to be the best mode of transport in a cost-effective way. Compared to other metros like Chennai, Bangalore had a well regulated meter system in place, which was hassle free. Especially for IT employees, autos used to be used to be viable alternative to commute to workplace, back and forth. There were numerous folks who use autos to commute on a daily basis without any worries. In fact many of them preferred auto journeys, given the city traffic conditions. Added to that auto drivers were friendly and co-operative, thereby making the journey comfortable. Unfortunately over the past three to five years auto rickshaw journey has gone from pleasure to pain, and getting worse day by day. After traveling in an auto, individuals end up having head-ache, tension apart from emptying their pockets.

Based on our recent study, many of the city residents experienced set of different problems with auto-rickshaws. First problem is about getting an auto to re…

Book review: A search in secret India

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Author: Paul Brunton

Price: 450 INR

Understanding spiritual history of India is not all that easy. It traces back more than 3500 years in time and most of the contemporary interpretations exist in deteriorated form. The current state of affair is so pathetic -- sometimes makes one feel spirituality is worthless. At the same time, developing deeper connection with spirituality is very critical in order to achieve harmony within. Especially in the current materialistic environment, human beings have become more cynical, thereby closing all doors of self realization. In the current setup spirituality needs to be approached from a western, critical perspective where it can be learnt by applying logic. The book 'A search in secret India' is one such spiritual account written by a westerner with an analytical approach. For present day Indians it provides a simple, logical but very insightful journey into spirituality.

The book starts with the author Paul Brunton, a British embarks on a…

Presentation on High performance entrepreneurship

Got the link for this presentation from one of the blogs. Summarizes important aspects of entrepreneurship.


Landmark Forum - Part III

Please read my previous posts about Landmark Forum (Part I and Part II) before reading this one.

In the past few weeks, I have been getting multiple comments for my posts about Landmark forum. Here is the summary of those comments:
The landmark forum provides spiritual dimension to an individual. It helps the attendees to lead a peaceful life with full of self-expression. Why are you commenting on it?Today's world is filled with misery, where people are selling anything and everything. If we can tolerate a phone-call from a credit card salesperson, why not a spiritual/self development course like Landmark forum, Art-of-living etc?I think the commentors didn't completely understand the point I was trying to convey. It is not my intention to criticize these organizations or courses and say they are of no use. My take is to learn, understand and internalize them and practice in real life. Also understand that 'transformation' is a journey, rather than an instant capsule to …

Cinema and Politics in South India

The association of cinema and politics has got a long history in Southern India. The political landscape of southern states (especially Tamilnadu and Andra Pradesh) has been significantly altered by actors turned politicians. The Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi joined the league yesterday by launching his political party 'Praja Rajyam' from Thirupathi. Almost all the major news channels covered the party launch. He literally swept the media by storm with attractive statements about various issues faced by people of Andra Pradesh. Nothing new -- yet another film star joining the party!

Cut to 1970s! The Tamilnadu state was primarily governed by Congress party, which was systematically toppled by the Dravidian moment. It was a significant change for the people of Tamil Nadu, which provided a platform for film stars enter into main stream politics. Primarily the Dravidian moment was launched by Periyar in 1925 to restore 'self respect' among lower caste, which formed the lowe…

BOOK REVIEW : Go Kiss the World

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Author : Subroto Bagchi

Price: 399 INR

Related posts:

Book review: High performance Entrepreneur

Book release: Go Kiss the world

The first book of Subroto 'The high performance entrepreneur' primarily depicted various aspects of Entrepreneurship. If the first book is all about 'work' the second one 'Go kiss the world' is all about 'life', thus completing the 'work-life' hemispheres. In the year 2006,Subroto delivered his famous speech to the students of IIM-Bangalore on the same title, where he shared some of his life lessons with management graduates. This book is an extension of that speech covering many aspects of his personal and professional life. This book has couldn't come at a better time where India is going through a huge transformation. Thanks to economic policies and availability of talent pool, the number of jobs for young professionals is growing at an exponential phase. Well paid global jobs are getting poured into the country in e…

Live Green

One of my colleagues prepared this slide set about Global warming. Any thoughts?
Live GreenView SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: environmentgreen)

Hey Ram

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On Independence Day, one of the TV channels aired Kamal Haasan's ‘Hey Ram'. I have a long, transformational and emotional journey with that movie. Way back in 2000 I watched it during my college days along with one of my friends, upon his compulsion. I felt it was a total junk, where I commented that Kamal put together multiple documentaries to form of a movie. I hardly understood the movie and cursed my friend for wasting my time and money. After all, spending 14 rupees for a movie ticket along with 6 rupees for the transportation (share-auto) was a big deal in 2000.

Cut to Bangalore. It was the year 2005 (Oct 2nd, Gandhi Jayanthi to be precise) and the same movie was shown in Sony channel. I was alone at my home as my room-mate had gone to office to fix a customer facing issue. As no other movie was aired during the same time, I started watching the movie with more concentration. By 2005 I was mature enough to understand the world better and read few chapters from Gandhi'…

Infosys and TOI

Not sure why every other news about Infosys covered by TOI. Some samples:

MTR won't cater to Infosys, Wipro anymore

Hardware, Software and Parenting

The first one talks about MTR pulling out of providing catering services at Infosys and Wipro. And I clearly remember another news in TOI (not able to get the link) when MTR was given the contract in Infosys. My question is simple -- whats the big deal? There are many other companies in Bangalore, where cateres change every now and then for many reasons. Does it worth publishing it? These things are not necessarily unique about Infosys.The second one is even funny. It talks about a intranet portal launched at Infosys for providing parental guidance to their employees. This also just another gimmick from TOI. Many of the MNCs operating in India have much advanced counseling and networking platforms regarding many life issues like stress management, maintaining work-life balance, parental issues etc. In fact my organization has appointed 1…

Its not the critic who counts

Came across this wonderful quote from Andy's blog. Its so true in Indian context, where there are more talkers (critic) than doers!
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

-Theodore Roosevelt

"Citizenship in a Republic," Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

On IRCTC

Last week I was watching 'Innovation at work' program in CNBC-TV18, which covered some case studies done in India on the field of innovation. It was interesting to see IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd) as one of the cases, which showed how they built the online reservation system (http://irctc.co.in) as 'incremental' basis. Started off in the year 2000 with mailing the printed tickets (i-tickets) to customers, IRCTC has come a long way by offering multiple services like e-ticketing,package tours,budget cab booking and season tickets. Check out some their list of achievements here.

Yesterday I was traveling back from my native place to Bangalore in a newly introduced train. In order to confirm train timings I called 139,which turned out to be pleasant experience. There was a well designed IVR system and the support staff was providing a professional quality service in the local language. Upon digging more I learned that IRCTC has outsourced supp…

IT returns filing

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This year's IT return filing process went like a breeze. The IT department has put up wonderful online FREE filing system, which worked perfectly. Promptly received ITR-V by email, in form of read only PDF document. In order to get it stamped, they opened up additional counters in Institute of Engineers building (opposite to Indian express, near Shivaji Nagar) exclusively for private companies (check the picture below). Ample amount of space,volunteers and guidance was available to help people, who are filing returns using printed forms. Within 5 minutes I was able to get the acknowledgment from the counter allocated for my organization.


In case you have done it yet (BTW, today is the last day for filing) here are the steps to file it online:
Open the site https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in.Register for user (give the user id also as a PAN number).You will receive the registration mail.Login to the site with the credentials provided in the mail.Go to downloads menu.Download ITR1 f…

On private security agencies

Following serial bomb blasts in Bangalore, security has become top concern for all IT companies. While its true that the blasts are not targeted on them, companies are not taking any chances. However all IT companies have private security agencies (on contract) to take care of the facility for 24 hours. I have my own questions about these agencies.

Who are they?

When many of the IT companies (especially MNCs) started their operations in India, they wanted to ensure their global security policy to be followed here as well. Sniffing this as an opportunity to make a business out of it, many people started jumping into security contract without having proper background information. Most of these agencies hire ex-army men (read it as retired army men) as their chief security personal and started providing services to companies. In order to meet a contract requirement of a company, they need to provide X number of people, which they were falling well short of. So these folks in turn go to ru…

Piracy = Opportunity

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We all know how omnipresent piracy has become in India. For example, I came across the following advertisement (check out the picture below) board in Chennai for refilling inkjet cartridges and laserjet toners.


Even though refilling is not legally approved by printer manufactures, its an organized industry in India. Check out their website for more details and check out their interesting caption "Almighty gives only one life, but ASHCOM gives 6 lives", thereby saying that they can smartly refill the cartridge 6 times before getting rid of it forever. In a country where regulations doesn't exist or taken for granted, its impossible to expect people to buy cartridges/toners every time they run out of ink. The piracy is not restricted to cartridges alone. In Bangalore, everybody would have seen roadside bookshops having pirated copies of "best selling" books (recent addition: Go kiss the word by Bagchi) for 50-100 rupees.

And I don't need to talk about software…

Bottom of the pyramid : Aravind eye clinic

I was watching some videos about 'Bottom of the pyramid' idea by C.K.Prahlad. One of their case studies was about Aravind eye clinic, which was amazing. Check out the video to get a 'eye opening' business model.

Embedding 'word of mouth' marketing inside products

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One of my friends just got back from US and gave me a pack of stride chewing gum, which he bought there. More than the gum, their cover design fascinated me, because it embedded excellent word of mouth marketing messages (check out the pictures below).

Here are some of the interesting things I have learnt:
They have smartly used caption -- "The ridiculously long lasting gum",by mentioning "Good for you, bad for us". Excellent sense of humor in their messages (even the cover cuttings include smile), while conveying the marketing message indirectly.Asking customers to participate in conversation by logging new ideas into their websiteOverall its a very interesting design, thus provides a reason for people to talk (crux of word-of-mouth marketing).They have not spent anything extra to spread marketing message.Embedding marketing messages along with a product is a great idea. Next time you buy a product (be it a chewing rum or gadget) watch out for its cover design, man…

Serial blasts in Bangalore

After finishing a casual phone call with my mother at 2:15 PM, I opened up NDTV's website to catch-up with afternoon news. I couldn't believe my eyes to see big,bold,black letters which read "FLASH : SERIAL BOMB BLASTS IN BANGALORE". By the time I informed my family about my safe state, panic has set inside the office. Almost everybody was on phone finding about their friends, spouce, children, parents and informing that they are safe. Upon reading the news further, I leant that all of them were low intensity blasts, primarily aimed to threaten people. Started off from office early (at 3:30) to avoid traffic jams caused due to panic. The traffic was normal and the city is very much functioning except the affected areas.

I have been living in this city for the past 7 years and it always provided me 'home-away-from-home' feeling. Without any question, I have developed a emotional bonding with this place and it feels really bad when terror has struck the city. It…

The Art of listening

Times of India do publish some good articles once in a while. I came across one this morning. Check out the article titled 'The Art of listening'.

This article couldn't have come in a better time as I am learning this wonderful and powerful skill in a slow but steady phase. Even though the article has used terms like 'manager' and 'leader' in multiple places, I feel its very important for every individual to to listen to others to have a better understanding about with their spouce, children, boss, business partners, investors, customers and perspective employee/employer. In fact, many problems in life can be easily solved by developing this skill. For the past few weeks I am applying this in my personal and professinal life. Trust me -- it has yielded excellent results so far. Don't think listening is 'just another management fad' and rule it out.

Here is another related article by Bala:

You heard me but can you listen?

Marketing : According to Dilbert

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Came across this interesting picture which reflects my current thinking.

May be Dilbert put is too bluntly calling Marketing as a 'fraud'. In reality (based my real time experience) it doesn't matter how great a particular product/service is. It is all about how well it can be marketed and sold to customers. Business/Entrepreneurship happens when the customer signs a cheque and nothing else is more important than that.

My dear idly Vada

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My better half is out of station and I am back to bachelor life for few days. Its been quite a while since I had breakfast in roadside Darshinis. This morning I stopped by one such Darshini to have idly-vada combo. Got a shock when the shopkeeper returned 3 rupee change in return for my 20 rupee. Man! A plate of idly vada costs 17 rupees, that too in a roadside Darshini?

I am still better off as the 2-3 rupee raise doesn't pinch my pocket much. But what about a daily wager who is earning 50-100 rupee a day? 12% inflation means he may end up eventually skipping a meal? Added to global oil price raise, the local inflation is hitting Indians big time. What happened to UPA's 'Aam Admi' promise?

In search of a good news paper

I have been living in Bangalore for the past 7 years but not able to find a good daily newspaper of my taste. During my school and college days I used to read Hindu, because I had much more time with me even though Hindu's political viewpoints doens't match mine. After coming to Bangalore I was not able to continue with Hindu, mainly because it was looking as if I am reading Chennai edition. Their business section was totally hopeless -- primarily focussing on manufacturing/auto industries, which I don't have any idea. Added to that almost all the job ads,events and happenings were Tamilnadu and Chennai centric and very less about Karnataka and Bangalore.

In order to feel more connected I had to choose TOI, which turned out to be a total crap. Other than some of their supplimentaries (Times Wellness, Ascent and Education times) and Sunday columns by Sashi Taroor, I don't see anything useful about it. Their daily supplimentary 'Bangalore Times' carrys semi-nude p…

Book release : New Age Of Innovation

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Last Friday there was a book release function held in Crossword Bangalore. Famous strategist and professor C.K.Prahlad and his colleague M.S.Krishnan launched the book and spoke about what new age of innovation is all about. For more details check out their website.

As businesses are growing globally, it becomes critical to provide a great 'experience' to each of their consumers. Every consumer is unique with their own choice and providing great experience comes with having proper offerings. This is what they call 'N = 1', where N denotes the unique customer experience. In order to provide a great experience, companies end up sourcing resources from multiple sources, which they call 'R = G'. Prof.CK quoted the famous example of Apple iTunes business model, built around their revolutionary product iPod. Every user of iPod has their own choice of music (Classical, Rock, Pop etc..) which is unique to him/her (N=1). In order to provide N = 1,Apple sources music cont…

Give me a missed call

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Found a very interesting sponsored 'no parking' board this afternoon.

It reads: 'just give a MISSED CALL to xxxxx and get information about Bangalore (picture below)' In their website the caption is mentioned as 'A new gateway to Bangalore just a missed call away' :)
This is a really cool marketing technique, which generates instant word-of-mouth.

The corporate lingo

I live in a apartment complex, where most of them are working in the IT industry. We have formed a committee to take care of various aspects like resident grievances,moderating accounts, maintaining equipments, planning budgets and organizing events etc. We also appointed a operations manager to execute these activities in a planned manner. The committee has various positions (President, Vice-president, Secretary etc..) which in most of the cases held by folks who are in entry/middle level management positions in IT industry. These folks use 'corporate lingo' in every other opportunity they get. Recently I came across couple of interesting scenes.

Scene 1: Operations manager's resignation

Last Sunday Mr.President of the association called for an 'urgent' meeting to announce the resignation of the operations manager. Here is what he has to say:

"This is to inform you that our operations manager X has resigned from his current position. He got such a lucrative off…

Bill gates : End of an era

Microsoft's chairman and founder Bill Gates retired from the company yesterday. The 52 year old will Gates spend major portion of his time for philanthropy along with his wife on their Melinda Gates foundation. With his major stake in Microsoft, Gates will serve as a non-executive chairman with one day a week spent for Microsoft. According to me this truly marks end of a great era with great achievements and contributions. As a Harvard dropout, Gates wore multiple hats as an Entrepreneur, Technologist, Strategist and a great business thinker. He also set a great example for thousands of young entrepreneurs throughout the world that an individual with his dream can significantly change the world around. Hats off to this great person!

My memory travels back to my hostel room, where we used to have intense debate about Microsoft and Bill Gates. Many of my friends used to argue that Gates has stolen the idea of Windows (from Apple), built software with loads of bugs, monopolized the s…

BOOK REVIEW : The three mistakes of my life

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This is the third book by Chetan Bhagat.

I have never read fiction ever since the reading habit caught into me. Chetan's Five point someone (FPS) changed my habit by taking me back to my good old college days. With similar expectations I bought this book and I would say I am fairly happy with the book. The most interesting point about Chetan is the canvas he uses to paint the whole story. He used business, cricket and religion as a background in this book (similar to IIT in FPS).

The story starts with three friends Omi, Ishan and Govind belonging to lower middle class family in Ahmadabad. These folks are perceived as not-so-smart kind among the neighbourhood. With his passion towards building business Govind pulls in his buddies to start a shop, selling cricket accesories inside the temple's shopping complex owned by Omi's uncle. Ishaan (the local cricket buff) offers free coaching tips to customers, thereby creating a good reason for people to visit their shop. As the busin…