All posts tagged: business

Social media

I recently discovered that a lot of people are unaware of the social media phenomenon, even though they are very much a part of it. As a believer in the power of social media, I owe this post to them. Simply put, social media collectively describes all tools that enable people to talk online. Often interchangeably used with the term Web 2.0, social media consists of social networks like Facebook, content sharing sites like Youtube and Flickr, blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger, and user-generated information sources like Wikipedia. The term, coined only recently, is creating waves in the PR world. It is a colossal avenue for people to share their insights, opinions and knowledge, through interaction with others like them on the World Wide Web.  Currently, the size of the social media community is estimated at 400 million. According to a study by Strategy Analytics, by 2015, 1 in every 6 people will be users of social media platforms. Billion dollar companies like Dell, Starbucks and Coca-Cola are reinventing themselves through social media and reconnecting …

Vision for all

If you wear eyeglasses, I’m sure you can remember what it felt like the first time you wore them. Personally, I was in denial for 2 years before I got my first pair. My bespectacled self realized that my whole world had been a blur. Suddenly, everything was bright and all those blotches had defined shapes. I could see clearly again, thanks to Salvino D’Armate, peace be upon him. Unfortunately, millions the world over, and nearly 15 million people in India can never experience their first time. I shall resist brooding over how this affects their quality of life and how unfair the financial inequality in our country is. I will however mention that the aftermath of unaided poor vision is often blindness.  A while ago, a friend told me how some IIT students had found this problem an ingenious solution. Today, I stumbled upon a similar initiative by Lions Club International. Apparently it has been in place for over 80 years! I’m still blown away by the idea, and to prevent further anticipation, here goes: …

Advertising archives from India

Indian advertisements have a nostalgic, patriotic charm about them. Here’s my collection of some timeless Indian TV commercials: The Airtel ‘Express Yourself’ Campaign, always a classic. A brilliantly funny, witty, creative Camlin ad. A really, really old one from Cadbury, something special 🙂 …..Can’t say anything about the next one… A recent ultra-creative ultra-funny one by Happydent. Another Airtel classic. Of course, the list will be incomplete without this HA-HA funny one by Orbit White 😀 What’s in your Indian-TV-commercials’ memorabilia?

The 3 best graduation speeches

Words can be ‘weapons’ of mass inspiration, especially when the right ones are found at the right moments, moments which tend to define the rest of our lives. The following three graduation speeches inspire me most as I prepare to undertake the journey that lies ahead. One. Steve Jobs, the creator of Apple, to the Class of 2005 at Stanford. Two. Chetan Bhagat, an IIT grad and the author of Five Point Someone, at Symbiosis (India) Convocation 2008. Good Morning everyone and thank you for giving me this chance to speak to you. This day is about you. You, who have come to this college, leaving the comfort of your homes (or in some cases discomfort), to become something in your life. I am sure you are excited. There are few days in human life when one is truly elated. The first day in college is one of them. When you were getting ready today, you felt a tingling in your stomach. What would the auditorium be like, what would the teachers be like, who are …

Is college education over-rated?

As a graduating student, I’m starting to question the purpose of a college education. Is a ‘degree’ really worth all the money, time and effort? Do we really learn what they think we do, does it really prepare us for the big, bad world?  I doubt it. After 3 years in college and counting, I have started to doubt that I learnt anything ‘real’ at all in college. I’ve learnt so much more outside of classes and outside of college, and that is probably complimentary to growing older. So when I consider college in isolation, I’m not convinced it’s a value-add. I found the following video on youtube. It’s so brilliantly made and clearly illustrates the point that I’m struggling to make. Maybe it’s just me, but spending close to 3.5 years in such a grade-centric environment has almost killed my belief in education, staggered my creativity and made me reconsider any ambition for further education. It never occurred to me that in college, everyone will be running a politically correct race for grades, with …

Role models

Can you think of one person you idolize, admire and want to be like? Someone who has given you hope in life, perhaps a goal, someone who makes you feel like your dreams are not so far-fetched, after all. Last night, I was filling out an application form, and the first question asked me about my role model in life. Only one name came to mind. Maybe on some level, application forms aren’t such bad things after all. More often than not, they make you reflect upon your aspirations and your stances in life. Here’s what I answered: ‘When the world was busy running up corporate ladders and minting money, one man rose up to the challenge of poverty and pledged to create opportunities for the poor. Professor Mohammad Yunus. For me, he is the epitome of social entrepreneurship. What started as a US$27 loan is today a flourishing micro-credit industry, so alluring that even corporations are seeking to exploit it! Professor Yunus struggled against the conventional banking system, upheld his conviction in the credit-worthiness …

The Ikea marketing gimmick

The Ikea store in Queenstown, Singapore, has only 1 entry, but 2 exits. As my services marketing prof aptly puts it, “They’re playing on the Singaporean mentality. When Singaporeans see a queue, they join it.” More than often, there’s a huge crowd outside Ikea, waiting to get in through the single entry door. It entices passers-by to believe that Ikea is GOOD. Which it is, by the way. And localization, as they say, is the key to good marketing. I suppose we attribute the ‘queuing mentality’ to the success of Doughnut Factory too. What else can make doughnuts special enough to be queued for for 2-3 hours?

The career quest

Yesterday, I attended a career talk by BCG (Boston Consulting Group). It was almost intimidating to enter a room full of people who exude such an aura of intelligence. I suppose it is universally accepted that some of the world’s smartest people work / have worked at BCG, and they won’t disappoint you when you meet them in person. The presentation was impressive, of course, but contrary to my expectations, it was also soft-selling, casual and rather humble. The intimidation has been replaced by admiration. I wonder if people who are now on the other side of the line, who are happy with their jobs, successful even, were ever in the same boat as so many of us soon-to-be-graduates. Did they know from the start what they liked, what they wanted to do, where they belonged? Were they aware of exactly where they stood, with respect to smartness, intelligence, skills and capabilities? Did they have the perfect attitude to begin with?  I wonder if like many things in life, our career has a defining moment …

7 shots: Mr Team Player

Although I’m not a fan of typical ‘team-building’ discourses that we read so often in management books and online, I found Randy Pausch’s tips for working successfully in groups rather appealing: 1) Meet people properly: It all starts with the introduction. Exchange contact information. Make sure you can pronounce everyone’s names [especially if you’re working in a diverse cultural group. I still can’t pronounce the names of some of my teammates-turned-friends because I never asked in our first meeting!]. 2) Find things you have in common: You can almost always find something in common with another person, and from there,it’s much easier to address issues when you have differences. Sports cut across boundaries of race and wealth [absolutely!]. And if nothing else, we all have the weather in common. 3) Try for optimal meeting conditions: Make sure no one is hungry, cold or tired. Meet over a meal if you can; food softens a meeting [unless you’re a vegetarian and the others aren’t. Then food just hardens it more]. That’s why they do “lunch” in …