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Showing posts from May, 2008

Pseudo Indians

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Even today Indians are living a pseudo life!

Be it color of the skin or language, we tend to 'ape' whatever the westerners do. Let me give some examples:

Fair is beautiful

When it comes to beauty in a person, it is often equated with how fair his or her skin is. Yes! It is unfortunate but a reality. Check out this advertisement from fair and lovely site. A girl, who is a theatre artist gets no audience because she is not having a fair skin. By using fair and lovely cream, she gets fair skin in 8 weeks. Followed by that she becomes a great artist. What is the message conveyed? Be fair, Be beautiful and be famous. When parents are discussing possible proposals for their son/daughter, the color of the skin becomes one important parameter for shortlisting a person.

In case of a person not having a fair skin, it is described as 'weatish complexion but beautiful'. Apart from being beautiful, fair skin is considered as rich, superior, posh and civilized. On the other hand, if any…

Startup city event in Bangalore

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Yesterday I attended 'Startup city' event organized by SmartTechie magazine. More than 40 companies showcased their products and services in the event. There were many interesting keynote addresses and panel discussions held as a part for the event. The event was kick started with inaugural keynote by Ashish Gupta from Helion Venture partners. He spoke about various stages/milestones of a startup and challenges at each phase. His venture capital firm has invested in many of the early stage entrepreneurial ventures. I have heard Ashish's pod cast some time back, but it was a good experience listening to him live. Followed by that there were some panel discussions with participants from companies like Microsoft, Sun, Amazon etc. I was not that interested in listening to them, primarily because they perspective changes (or rather looks out of phase) when big company's senior executives start talking about entrepreneurship. The real cool thing was the product demos from man…

My favorite WOMMA examples

After reading Andy's word-of-mouth marketing (WOMMA) book, I was thinking my favorite WOMMA examples. Here is the list came right on top of my mind

ExampleWord-of-mouth strategyBata chappalsPricing their products with ‘95 paisa’. (Rupees 199.95, Rupees 99.95 etc...). It has created hell lot of talking among consumers and even today. If not anything Bata has provided an interesting reason for people to talk about them. Costs nothing! Virgin MobileIncreasing customer base is the top priority of Indian telecom service provides. Virgin mobile has come up with their new idea of ‘paying for incoming’. Nobody knows about the intricacies yet. But it has already generated enough word of mouth among people by making them curious. Check out more details here.GmailWhen they started it, only gave accounts to power users with some specific number of invitations. It created curiosity among others to get a Gmail ID. Added to that, cool features like unlimited storage created …

Toilets in Indian trains

Found this interesting information in Bangalore majestic station's waiting room:
Akhil Chandra Sen, a passenger wrote the following letter to Indian railways in the year 1909. I am arriving by passenger train Ahmedpur station and my belly is too much
swelling with jackfruit. I am therefore went to privy. Just I doing the nuisance
that guard making whistle blow for train to go off and I am running with 'lotah'
in one hand and 'dhoti' in the next when I am fall over and expose all my
shocking to man and female women on platform. I am got leaved at Ahmedpur
station.
This too much bad, if passenger goes to make dung that dam guard
not wait train five minutes for him. I am therefore pray your honor to make big
fine on that guard for public sake. Otherwise I am making big report! to
papers.
During those days there were no toilet facility inside trains and the letter made railways introduce them. Many times think 'what difference it is going to make?' and start accepting prob…

BOOK REVIEW: Word of mouth marketing

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Author: Andy Sernovitz
Price : 24.95 USD

How smart companies get people talking?

As an engineer it’s quite possible to think everything from a technological perspective. Most of technologists think what if they have some ‘cool’ product they can build a business around it. In reality only 15% of overall product cost is spent towards engineering the product. Remaining amount goes for marketing, sales and support functions. No matter how much ever better the product is (in terms of technology, cool features, price and performance), if it is not marketed properly it will be a failure. Most of the technology startups fail not because of their technical expertise, but mainly because of their inability to market and sell the product. In fact, marketing determines the success or failure of these ventures.

Coming to marketing, quite some numbers of methods were invented over the years. For a startup/entrepreneurial venture (which is of my interest), its hard to invest heavily on some of the met…

No more Indian apples?

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How much globalization is good? Can we allow global players to come in essential areas like agriculture, food and fruits?

For quite some time I am not able to see Indian apples (especially himachal pradesh apples) in many of the retail shops like Reliance Fresh, More and Food world. Almost all apple shelves are occupied by Australian and Washington apples.


This news item claims that Washington apple is looking India as one of the potential markets. What will happen to Indian apple producers? Will they be able to compete with the global players or foreign companies will dominate the market?

Voted for the first time

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Karnataka state assembly polling was held today. I got an opportunity to vote for the first time. Fortunately the election commission announced that citizens can a use a list of identity proofs (apart from electoral ID cards) for voting. For the past two weeks I tried to get the electoral ID cards, but no success. Long queues, screwed up computer system, incorrect entry of my name in two different wards made my life miserable. In spite of spending more than 7 hours I was not able to get the card. Luckily, using the PAN card and voter's slip I was able to vote today (see picture below).


I have been staying out of my hometown for the past 10 years. Initial 4 years went for engineering education. After that I came to Bangalore and tried to get my name enrolled into the electoral list for quite some time. During last assembly election I was not able to get proper contact information and missed the chance. This time I made it a point to do it without fail. Fortunately things were much e…

New Horizon Media raises second round of funding

Chennai based New Horizon Media (NHM) has raised the second round of funding from Beacon India Private Equity Fund. I have been following NHM company for the past three years. They are mainly into regional language publishing. To start with they published few non-fiction books in Tamil and went on publishing in English, Children books and Malayalam. Check out more details from their website.

Coming to their books, I have read about 6 books published by NHM. Check out the book reviews of Marketing Mayajalam, Charlie Chaplin which are published them. Almost all the books are priced less then 100 rupees, which very much affordable for an average Indian consumer. Added to that paper quality, cover design and bigger fonts makes the reading as a pleasant experience. I have also listed to one of their audio books about 'Emotional Intelligence' and found it useful. Stay tuned for reviews of remaining 4 books.

Areas like book publishing is one of the fragmented areas in India today. By …

Why Indian technology companies are not innovating?

This is a million dollar question I have in my mind for a long time. We are good in enhancing, fixing, maintaining and supporting a product. Apart from that I haven't seen any great innovation happening in the technology space.

I expressed my frustration to one of my mentors and he replied 'Western companies don't want Indians to innovate. All they want is to get the work done at cheap cost by paying for engineering bodies'. He also added that the local management in majority of the MNCs are clueless about innovation, because they are not expected to do it. Whatever effort an individual makes at the bottom of the hierarchy will eventually end up in vain.

This morning I came across a very interesting quote from Atul Chitnis's blog, which made my day: Here it goes:

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
--Upton Sinclair

Education and Entrepreneurship

Last week Star Vijay (Tamil TV channel) organized a debate about the role of Education in Entrepreneurship. It was organized as a part of 'Neeya? Naana?' (You? or Me?) program. They have called for two groups for the debate. The first set was un-educated (hardly passed 10th class) and successful entrepreneurs. They have accumulated more than a crore wealth thro’ their business, starting from scratch. The second set was the educated, working, middle class people. Following are some of the interesting points from the discussion.

First, the un-educated folks have more appetite to take risk and start on their own. This is mainly because they start doing business as a survival, so there is less to loose. The educated folks get into the comfort zone quickly. This has made them risk-averse. In fact most of the successful entrepreneurs like Dhirubai Ambani, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Azim Premji don't even have college degree but were able to build business emphires. The combination …

Customer un-friendly SMS

I was trying to book a bus ticket thro’ redbus.in by logging in the travel details into their site. After few minutes got the following SMS:

We have received your request. We will call you if we can arrange a ticket for you. For an urgent requirement you can reach us at our call center.

I found this message very irritating due to two reasons. First, I don’t want to hear “ifs” and “buts” when I am approaching for a bus ticket. Second my travel requirement is urgent. In fact most of the cases it is and getting bus tickets (especially over the weekends) is pretty difficult. On top of all where is the call center number?

The mobile advertising or status messages should be short but convey proper information. Unlike the one mentioned above.