Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Crucial Difference

There were two attempts at forming professional sports leagues in India in recent years. Well, two attempts that we'll focus on today.

One tried to stimulate interest in the sport.
One made use of the interest in the sport.

One, the IPL, was a huge success. Is a huge success.

The second, the PHL, flopped. Perhaps not miserably, but it certainly didn't succeed.

Should the PHL have gone about it differently? How about first investing in school leagues in major cities? Do this for five years, complete with providing facilities, entertainment et al at the major matches - build the grassroots, and then the league.

In other words, the final, top billing league is the place to reach - not the place to start.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Asia's Airports the Best!

I must have my geography all mixed up then - India is still in Asia, isn't it?

Seriously though, four out of the top five airports in the world (as decided by those who use the airports) are in Asia.

Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore and Nagoya in Japan are the first four, and Halifax in Nova Scotia make up the top five.

The differentiator? Apparently the people who run these airports look upon them as businesses - rather than as public services. Which, the article that I linked to goes on to say, is why no American airport is in the top five.

A timely indictment of all public services in India, as far as I'm concerned.

What say you?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Another Search Engine

... although I don't know that I'll ever use it instead of Google.

Newssift is aimed squarely at business people, and has some features that it thinks will prove to be of meaningful use to businesspeople. This includes contextual search, source identification and sentiment-tracking. The last bit apparently tells the user whether the search-term in question is "favored" by the business at large.

I don't deny that these features are useful - useful enough to wean me away from Google is another story.

What do you do when the business is so lucrative, and the currently dominant player so... dominant?

Keep trying, I guess. Good luck, you guys.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fascinating Stuff... Really Fascinating

I like marketing, and I'm doing academic work in economics.

From either angle, I can spend hours dissecting this.

If only they could come up with a solid counter-factual in India.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

But I doubt I Will...

Because communicating (apparently incessantly) in single sentences is too... brief.

Are Facebook Status Messages akin to Twitter?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Twitter and all that

I don't know if it is micro-blogging or something else altogether.

It's that I can't wrap my head around it.

I couldn't wrap my head around blogs either - it took me a long time, and once I did, I was hooked.

The reason I didn't blog earlier was because I thought it's not exactly writing. And I didn't appreciate the idea of a diary being maintained for all to read. For that's what I thought blogs were.

But I finally figured for myself that it's just a way to communicate with anybody who wants to see your work. And if you like communicating, well, wow! What more could you ever ask for?

I don't know if I'll ever have a twitter feed - but I'll be very interested to know if my perceptions change in this case as well.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Adding Incremental Value

There's a local cafeteria here, that serves really good food.

The owner is rude, but's that's a plus point - people come there as much for the quirkiness as they do for the food.

He (the owner) keeps a tin full of small pink candy at hand, which he dispenses instead of change when he's out of it.

And it's reached a stage, after many years, where people ask him to round off the bill by means of adding a couple of candies to the order. Every year, he has to up his requirements of the little pink candy.

It's never going to become a lead product, but it's a nice way to up sales just a little bit.

You got any pink candy?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Exception That Proves The Rule

Don't. Never. Ever.

Appear too busy to an employee, or a team-member or a colleague.

Take the time out if they want to chat. Spend whatever little time it means and communicate. Without a point. If you actually are too busy, take a rain-check. And get back to them later. But do it.

Not because it's good corporate behaviour (though that it is).

But because it's good.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Being Specific is Good

... generally speaking.

What I said yesterday applies in equal measure to all professional communication. E-mail, snail mail, blogs, meetings - everything.

Distill it down to one point - and if you can't, redesign.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Are they a means of presenting a point?

Or are they a platform for being really cool and jazzy? With animations and fade-outs and what-have-you's.

Question: Can you sum it all up in one point?

If not, get back to the drawing board.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

... and on the other hand...

The iPod is awesomely cool.

What amazing genius. Just the one wheel and just the one button to do everything? Brilliant.

And in comparison, the Zune could not suck more. Not if it tried.

So here's the thing - if your competitor comes up with something that cannot be beaten, because it is probably the coolest ever, then don't waste time. Accept that they won that battle, and congratulate them. And then...

Go build something else that is equally cool.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It's All Relative

I use Microsoft Vista on my notebook - an HP Pavilion.

I like the notebook, it's been a little more than a year and a half that I have been using it, and so fat, it has provided stellar service.

Here's the thing - I like Vista too. I'm aware that this makes me part (whole?) of a very minuscule minority, but I don't mind saying it. It's never crashed (so far), is pretty easy and intuitive to use, and has a host of features that I think make it better than XP.

Admittedly, I'm not a very technical user, so I may be missing some of the finer points - but isn't that the point? For a relatively basic user, this is just fine!

My point is - I don't think Vista is all THAT bad, and I don't think the Macs are all THAT good. The rest is all hype if you're a cynic, and all marketing if you're not.

Disclaimer: Not a Microsoft Stooge. Not by a long way.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

In line with yesterday's post...

Have a look at this report.

Selling vanilla is good. Really good.

Adding fancy toppings is nice as well. It'll probably get you higher revenues in the long run. And making fancy toppings is very cool.

But if the kid has a cut in his pocket-money, here's the thing -  he'll still eat ice-cream.

It'll be plain vanilla without the toppings though.

And can your business adjust for this?

Monday, April 6, 2009


And I'm not happy.

I own, and really like, Sony Ericsson phones. I don't know if it is because I've gotten used to it, but I honestly think the interface is very easy to use.

But I'll say this much for the entire range. If it's cheap that you're looking for (and reliability in terms of being long lasting), you'll never, ever, think Sony.

And in times like these, that's not a good thing.

Is that a branding thing? Did SE choose not to position themselves as a low-end alternative? Or did just happen?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Marketing Stimulus Bill

... or something like that.

Stimulating demand is easier said than done - at least, that's what my avatar as an economist says - but there is certainly merit in most of what is written here.

Have a look.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Is Piracy a Good Thing?

And to those in the know, this might not sound all that outlandish.

Consider the effect Moser Baer has had on video piracy, for example. By lowering prices significantly for most movies, whether in VCD or in DVD format, Moser Baer has effectively subdued video piracy. It has also forced its competitors to reduce prices - and we, the consumers, have gained.

Is there a new distribution model waiting to be discovered for the publishing industry? It is not without it's shares of problems either.

And if so, what should that new distribution model look like?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

The man inspires confidence like nothing else.

He's quiet, cool and in control. He's always got an idea for a situation, and he's always willing to try something else. He's got a team that will follow him anywhere, and he knows it.

He backs up his leadership with his performances. Truly marvelous.

And that translates into amazing market equity.

The question is - is he overusing this equity?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

First the one, and then the other

Read Seth's blog - a post that he put up recently.

And now go read this.

I'm a trained economist - I like having data to back up hypotheses.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Yapril Fool!

It don't really matter if you take this day seriously or not. Google does.

Over the years, Google has built a rich tradition of pulling a fast one on the world - including sending us to the moon, making us smarter, reading our minds (although some might say that's not really a hoax) and helping us find that special someone. There's a whole host of others as well.

The impression most people (including myself) people have of Google is that it's a fun place to work. This certainly reinforces that image. There's a heightened sense of curiosity around this time every year - what will Google come up with this time? And there's a nice feel-good factor to the whole thing.

Inexpensive, fun marketing.

A concept worth emulating.

But hey, it's not always fun and games. Sometimes, they sell you a double dummy.