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Showing posts from July, 2008

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…