Human Resources, Planning, Public Issues, Reflections, Strategy

The Value Of A Human Life

It was utterly shocking to read of Friday’s tragedy in Bangalore when a young 25yr old woman lost her life during a mock fire drill. The incident was captured live on camera and was repeatedly flashed across news channels. Its the loss of a young life in the most callous of circumstances that shows the quality of our systems and practices. Most of you folks reading this blog are probably around the same age as this girl. Or may be you have brothers or sisters of the same age. Think about it. Feel for this girl…and her family.

The accident could not have been more freakish.

The fire police expected the employees of the building to use ropes and enact an escape in what would have been a real fire with blazing fumes. Unfortunately, the rope snapped and gave way, presenting a horrifying sight of the woman flying down to her grave.
Indian news channels and newspapers carried the news on Friday. On Saturday the news was reduced to a corner section with a headline that the chief of the fire police admitted there was a lapse and that there was no standard procedure for such drills. Today news channels are not even carrying the story. And local newspapers may forget about it at the end of tomorrow.
It can be argued that this was an accident.
But there are may questions being raised: Why were there no safety nets? Why were the employees asked to use ropes and climb down? How come no-one thought of the consequences of the rope snapping up? How was the rope being suspended? Why didnt the police have a training officer to help women with the task of climbing down considering that even many men cannot easily do it?
But all of these questions ultimately hinge on the one big question: Why is there no respect for human life in India?
Our country does not value human life. Our governments, our system, our administrations do not value human life. Yes we value our families, our friends and brethren. But it stops there. The death of a nameless face hardly moves us. Which is why we saw on television the administrator who had a ‘canned’ answer ready when reporters asked about compensation for the victim’s family – the company would take care of the compensation from their end. And government will provide compensation based on the investigation.
That was all there was to it.
What if this was the death of a celebrity.
How would we treat it? Yes, I agree that a celebrity would bring out a lot of emotion and coverage across the country and even have massive investigation agencies lined out. But does an ordinary citizen deserve any less?
This is not the first such instance where our nation has shown how much it values a life. And we all know it. But we dont remember because we often attribute these incidents to nameless faces that we dont relate to.
This is not the same when you look at countries such as USA or those in Europe.
Entire buildings are shut down if a single person was affected due to a freakish accident. Laws are changed to avoid such events from occuring again.The affected victims are fully represented in trial courts, and ordinary citizens are empowered to sue any power of authority: right from the railway station where the accident took place to the mayor of the city who is ultimately answerable. The leadership cringes in agony at the death of a fellow human. Authorities visit the families of the victim and personally share the grief of the family.
It is in these times that the true value of a human life is appreciated – because its not just about how we deal with the loss of our loved ones. That is always paramount. But sometimes, a society is characterized by how we react to the loss of the loved ones of others.
Its only so much that we can do in the aftermath of such an accident. No one can bring back the life of the nameless 25 yr old girl who has frozen in our minds as helplessly flying down to her death because of the incompetence of the fire personnel.
However, whether we really value human life or not will be seen in the context of how we respond to this tragedy.
There have to be some very clear action steps/changes in mindset that I think we as a society can take on:
1. Exhaustive investigation
The authorities must thoroughly investigate what went wrong and how this accident was caused. The findings must be well documented and made public. More than making it public, all relevant departments of the fire police  as well as other agencies must be made aware of how and why this incident happened. The goal should be to ensure that such incidents do not happen again. We CANNOT allow for the odd thought that “sometimes these events happen”- NO.
2. Process! Process! Process!
We have to infuse in our work culture the absolute mandate to follow the process that is documented and is in place. We all have those bouts of complacency where we take short-cuts because of our gargantuan confidence that “nothing can go wrong today”. More often than not we get through with this. But on that one odd day when something can go wrong, it can be very very fatal. A lot of people get away with driving rashly on the road, or driving after drinking, or texting while they drive, or selling/buying adulterated food products, or smoking cigarettes knowing that is injurious to health. A lot of people play with their ethics by paying bribes to make their way ahead, or forging documents to forge ahead (pun intended). Yeah, mostly nothing happens. But sooner or later, the indiscipline or lack of ethics catches up – and when it does, it can be really really bad.
3. Contingency Plans
We need to bring upon a culture of factoring in contingency plans in our aspects of work. Its probably grossly exaggerating to label this as contingency: but surely, the planners of the mock drill should have had safety options and back up plans for any part of the drill that could have gone wrong. This is not just for the fire department, but for all of us. Think about your fields of work: You may be writing a computer program that could alter the lives of millions who claim their insurance from a company, or you could be designing the combustion engine of the next generation sports utility vehicle. Every step that we take must be fool proof. There is no greater joy in being able to impact the lives of people through our work. But we need to make sure that while we work towards the happy path, we are also ensuring that the consumers/customers/beneficiaries of our products have a way to redeem themselves should anything go wrong. Because the essence of life is that – things do go wrong.
At the core of all of this is the realisation we should lay a premium on the value of every single human life.
This is the least that, nameless faces like us, can do by way of a tribute to 25 yr old girl who died on Friday.
Thanks for reading
S Rao
Note: The picture shown above is that of the tree of life. It was found on the internet. No copyright infringement is intended.
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The Curious Case of Sports and a Nation’s Brand

With the grand finale of the FIFA World Cup just round the corner here is an interesting observation: suddenly geography classes in primary schools across India have come alive. The tulips of Netherlands, the beer of the Deutsch, the samba dance of Brazil, the political maps of an unheard Slovenia, the matador of Spain….. I am always able to get brownie points while sitting in a group and discussing soccer nations, coz no one seems to have heard of Togo, San Marino…..and i would have never known these nations had I not followed the World Cup qualifiers. Ok cutting straight to the point – there is something about a nation’s brand that stands out when bespoken of in a random context. I like to believe that sports has been a great driver of this and has positioned many countries to transform their economies.

Lets look at few ways in which countries build such a brand for themselves

Exclusivity of hosting
Many countries have taken initiative and worked hard to retain certain sports events year after year.
A good example are the 4 grand slams: Australian Open at Melbourne,Australia; The French Open at Paris, France; Wimbledon at Wimbledon, England and The US Open at New York, USA. Tennis stars guage their careers based on these just these 4 tournaments. Fans across the globe eagerly follow these 4 tennis tournaments.
Another example is the Tour de France – the most challenging of all cycle races and one that bestows incredible honour to the winner. Ofcourse there are a number of other cycling events, but the Tour de France is the prize that most cyclists vie for. So do the fans!

By taking an early initiative and branding these events in the psyche of the sporting afficionadoes, these countries/cities/towns (depends what kind of administrator is reading this) enjoy a tremendous brand recall in the minds of the public. This translates into yearly bursts of tourism revenue as well as marketing and advertising pull.

Exclusivity of participating nations
A great example here is The Ashes Test series between the England and Australian cricket teams. Ever wondered why there is so much media buzz before an Ashes series even if one of the teams has been on a damp form all through the season? Well…it just works that way. The sports fan loves a contest. And the sports authorities have ensured that the build up to the Ashes is as high as possible even if not exactly replicating the series excitement. All of this translates to more revenues, TV viewing time, and an added brand recall for England and Australia.

Bidding
Many sporting events like the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, the FIFA World Cup and the like, are hosted on a rotation basis at different countries. The entire bidding process from the draft of the bid, bid submission, bid logistics, infrastructural capabilities, to the marketing and campaigning involved in winning the bid – everything is tied into the brand image of the country or nation that intends to win the bid. This in turn is tied to the revenues, growth potential and opportunities that come by winning the rights to host a major sports tournament.

Name of the tournament
The Sultan Azlan Shah cup is a prestigious field hockey tournament held annually in Malaysia, played by the top ranked teams in the world. The tournament brings a stream of visibility, revenue and brand recall to Malaysia every year. It also helps Malaysia hold its own with the name of the tournament – named after a king of Malaysia, Sultan Azlan Shah. There is instant brand recall associated with the Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia, as also with Sir Frank Worrel for the trophy named after him for the series between West Indies and Australia. Sadly, our very own Indira Gandhi Memorial Cups and the like, dont really have the same impact (case in point: i dont even know which sport it is for!)

Political Impacts
Last week, the Nigerian president suspended the Nigerian football team after their disastrous performance in the ongoing World Cup. The suspension was revoked. The British premier David Cameron watched the England-Germany Round of 16 clash along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He went on record to comment that technology should be used to prevent teams from being denied goals the way England was. Former Australian PM, John Howard often commented on Australia’s cricketing exploits (‘chucker’ to a certain Murali!) and was even in running for the ICC Vice-President this year. Not to mention our very own Sharad Pawar requesting the PM to reduce his workload because of his commitments to cricket (wow!). Sports is often tied to a nation’s pride. Especially a sport in which the country has a history of excellence. No wonder the BCCI reacted so sharply when India exited so early in the 2007 World Cup, or the Brazil soccer federation when the Dutch sent them home. Nelson Mandela used the rugby world cup (aptly won by host nation South Africa) to unite people of different colors in his nation.
These are just some of the many examples…

Key takeaways
1. Every nation should actively promote a sport and persevere in making the national team a world beater in that sport
No,I am not talking about having a ‘national sport’. We dont have to complain that hockey has been neglected even though it has been the national sport of India. Its alright. We know we are world beaters in Cricket. When Indians meet up in the West, they talk cricket. When an Indian interacts with an American, there is a great probability that he would be asked about cricket. There is nothing wrong with that. Hockey was our sporting brand some decades ago. Cricket has become India’s sporting brand today. We should nourish this. And I dont mean to say that we should neglect other sports. We can leave that discussion for another day. The point here is to excel on the global stage in whatever sport we take up. Another great opportunity for us right now is Chess, what with Vishy being crowned as the latest World champ.

2. Every nation should strive to popularize a sport in which it excels.
This will help to create global tournaments involving countries across continents, and thus infuse a healthy shot of tourism revenue, marketing, advertizing and infrastructure dollars. And a concerted effort in this regard can lead to these tournaments becoming exclusive annual events in that country/city/town – thus making for a continuous stream of opportunities and revenue (even if annual).
Opportunity for India: The IPL. If we can make sure that other cricket T20 leagues do not overshadow the IPL, we continue to attract top players and stars, and spread the game to more regions in the world, the IPL can become the world’s hotbed for cricket. We wouldnt be surprised then if someone from say Honduras would learn his cricket in the IPL and inspire a national team in that country. Exaggerating?? Think about it…Didier Drogba’s exploits at Chelsea in the English Premier League have brought so much visibility for his little home country – Ivory Coast.

3. Use sports to spread harmony and peace:

There can be nothing better and more impacting than two countries fighting a sports battle in a sportive manner and spreading warmth and brotherhood amongst each other. I know we are tempted to think of India-Pakistan cricket matches, but we can leave that discussion for another day.

Sure would look forward to your comments

Shantan

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Apple, A Stylus, and Anti-trust: Random Thoughts

Waiting for the stylus..from Apple!

Waiting for the stylus..from Apple!

Woa! What’s a tablet pc without a stylus! That was the trigger for a wonderful lunch time conversation today.

Some of the pre-‘ipad’ tablets definitely came with a stylus. A nice sleek piece of finger-ware that allow you to write on the tablet as if like a notepad. Ofcourse..the tablets themselves are a little conventional in their design. The screen of the pc needs to be rotated and then folded backwards. You can then place the tablet like a book or a notepad and take your notes via the stylus. I guess the Lenovo Thinkpad tablet comes with this design.

Apple’s latest piece of stunning gadgetry is in a utopia of its own. 1 million iPad units sold in just the first month!

Well..we were thinking…how about a stylus for the ipad?
The ipad already renders itself for some very wholesome experience with viewing photos, watching videos or reading books. Most of these operations are ‘finger’ controlled making use of Apple’s revolutionary touch-screen technology – now synonymous with almost all Apple devices post the iPhone.

However for actually writing something (by hand), or taking notes (in a classroom or meeting) or simply drawing a caricature, the ipad may seem a little less wieldy on its own. I am not sure coz i havent yet got my hands on one…but just think of it…can you really write that well with your fingers?

Ofcourse..there are already people who have gotten started. Check this video and more:

Third party companies and possibly developers are already designing different models of the stylus for the ipad. Infact there are already some for the iphone and ipod touch and are also being promoted/sold via Apple’s website.

But the real question is: Will Apple itself design and sell a stylus as part of the ipad accessories?? They are already providing a keyboard doc, a case to stack up the ipad as a photo-holder, wireless keyboard…….but not yet a stylus.

Unless Apple designs and sells a stylus as part of its set of iPad accessories…it will be hard to believe that the stylus is infact an integral part of the iPad product strategy. Because it may even impact the iPad design. Where would you stack the stylus after using it?? In your shirt pocket?? Na!

I hope to see the next versions of the iPad come with a neat little slot for stacking an (Apple made) stylus! And well..dont we want to lay our hands on another piece of marvellous design? Trust the stylus to be a neat little blade of white silver……aah well…lets leave the imagination for Apple! They usually dont disappoint.

The other thing running in my mind is the latest news about a federal lawsuit against Apple…all well the anti-trust guys!
Is Apple wrong in closing its domain to outside platforms such as those that support Flash and Adobeware?
Steve Jobs was at his marketing best when he outlined the reasons for the Apple universe having no place for Flash (Adobe) here

Post last month’s software release of iphone OS 4, there was also news about Apple deciding not to allow developers to use non-Apple tools in building apps for the App Store (iPhone/ipod touch/ipad and the like!)

Apple has its reasons for doing so.
While the official explanation has been technology constraints, clearly Apple is trying to play big-brother in ensuring that it can stay ahead of the pack in an exploding market for digital consumption.

The question is: Is Apple right or wrong?

I know that there will be many opinions on this..but my take is that: Apple is not wrong.
Here is my analogy.
Assume the government has 100 acres of land to be sold for retail businesses.
If a big retail chain like Walmart buys out the 100 acres of Government land available, there is nothing wrong with that. Walmart has earned the right to flex its muscles and its money power.

But to buy the 100 acres of land and use it as a parking lot or just simply not do anything, is clearly an attempt to prevent small retailers from growing or investing in the same.

Lets take one more example:
Big companies like Google, Microsoft want to stay at the top all the time.
Whenever there is a new player in the market who threatens their progress, these companies (Google especially, in the last few months) just buy them out.

There is an argument that by buying out these companies, Google is preventing the competition from taking it on.
But what is wrong if YouTube itself planned to sell out to Google to make the big bucks.

So the question kind of gets philosophical. If you have the firepower to take on the best, then beat them at their game. Else sell out to them, make your money and go! Thats what Sabeer Bhatia did with Hotmail.

So is it right for us to accuse Apple for doing wrong?
They have a star product line and they want to stay number one. If developers dont want to develop applications because of Apple’s new regulation on non-Apple tools, they are free to move out to another platform. Apple knows that their superior product and product strategy can afford to command this position. If developers are not happy about this, or if Adobe is upset about Jobs not allowing Flash….well, they should go out on their own and do something better than what Apple does.

Beat them at their own game! Its better than time and money spent on crying foul and setting up litigations and lawsuits! Netscape couldnt do that to Microsoft, but Google is (with their steady build of online versions of Microsoft’s core offerings)

For all those marketing and legal geniuses reading this – i know you guys have a different point of view which is perhaps right. I might be wrong in this…..but think about it! You really think Apple should be faulted for a product that nobody else can do well?? I dont think so

Shantan
PS: A note about Apple that i read somewhere that sounded really cool: Apple is a software company that builds mindblowing hardware!!

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Opinion: The Consulting Firm Behind the IPL (and the IPL Commissioner)

Opportunistic Marvel

IPL genius?

All of India and Indians all over the world are chanting the IPL mantra. Everyone is rooting for their favourite teams. Suddenly people find pride in being a Rajasthani or a Hyderabadi. Karbon Kamal and Citi Moment of Success have entered the DLF Maximum of Webster’s New Age stories!
Nothing beats it.

Who should be credited with the success of the IPL?
Everyone seems to chant one name: Lalit Modi.
And it beats me to no end when I wonder the hype this man is generating.

Here is what Jayaditya Gupta of Cricinfo says about Modi
“The charges against Tharoor are best handled by the political system; they are not really germane to cricket, except where they show up the inadequacies of the BCCI’s/IPL’s basic auditing and safeguarding process. Far more threatening to it are the charges levelled against Modi, a man who has, almost single-handedly, created a billion-dollar industry and changed the nature of cricket, a man whose genius – there is no other word – has transformed the lives of hundreds of people directly connected with the game, and thousands, millions, at several removes.”

Its the words in bold that irritate me.
Lalit Modi might have been the public eye of the IPL, but the real design of the entire tournament, concept, advertizing, logistics etc is by an A- class consulting firm called IMG- a specialist in Sports Management and Consulting.

I do not have time to get into the actual details of their work(will do so eventually), but i want to summarize it in a nutshell

BCCI woke up late to the threat of ICL that threatened to lure away cricketers, past and present away from the BCCI. They decided to come up with their own league. And since Mr Lalit Modi was a General Secretary (or something of that sort) at that time, he was additionally tasked to get this whole thing underway to save the BCCI. Had it not been for the ICL, there would have been no IPL.

BCCI contracted with IMG, a sports management firm to conceptualize and design the IPL format. There are so many aspects to a billion dollar league like this, that it is impossible to imagine them to be the ‘genius’ of a Lalit Modi: Here are some
1. Modelling the IPL on the lines of the EPL football league
2. No of teams and the tournament structure.
3. The franchisee model and rules regarding bidding
4. The player auction process
5. Player and team budget planning and control
6. Business rules to prevent player trading and insider trading
7. Player contracts
8. Match rules: duration of match, timeouts, powerplays
9. Player code of conduct
10. Composition of team structure in a playing 11.
11. Logistics
12. Ground logistics, T20 infrastructure
13. Player loyalties: Sachin played for Mumbai because he was rated as an icon player. So? well the IMG guys created a value proposition that every icon player would receive a share of the highest paid player in their team. Everything has been thought through to the last dollar.
12. Marketing and Advertizing ( this will include all the myriad things that we are taking for granted right now:
Allowing corporates to sponsor not just teams, logos, grounds and billboards, but cricketing moments too. so you have your DLF maximum, Citi Moment of Success and Karbon Kamals ; the sale of merchandize; the sale of broadcast rights; the deal with Google-YouTube; the billboards on the cities and bylanes; the broadcast of IPL in movie theatres; timing of cricket matches to coincide with prime-time television.

And these are just some of the topics i am touching. We havent even got into the business model – how everyone would make money, and how much money would go to the BCCI. How does Preity Zinta make money when she pays a hefty sum in owning  team that regularly looses every match! (Hint: it lies in the mix of the playing 11 and the proportion of foreign players as part of the playing 11. Who will not come to watch a flamboyant Hayden in a losing Chennai team!!). Every stadium earns revenues via advertizing, sale of tickets and broadcast rights, of which a significant share goes to the BCCI.

No offence to Mr. Modi. I appreciate the way he has led the IPL initiative the last 3 years. He has been its guiding force and has led the IPL to become the world’s richest league. Besides, its not his job to do what IMG did.
But to hail him as the father of IPL or think that the IPL has been his ‘genius’ and ‘innovation’ is utter farce and a slap on the face of aspiring business leaders, managers and consultants! Remember: it was only after the success of IPL-1, was Lalit Modi given this position full-time!

If you were in the BCCI at the time Subhash Chandra launched the ICL, you would fear competition and your own job.
You would immediately open up your coffers and send an SOS to IMG.
They would come.
And design the IPL..down to every bit of its innovation.
And make you feel good when you tell the world that you created the IPL.

Thats Lalit Modi’s story. I am wondering if IMG is also providing consulting on how to use Twitter!

Thanks Lalit Modi….for teaming up with IMG.
Thanks IMG…for the IPL.

Shantan

PS: as i write this, Lalit Modi is in the eye of a huge financial scandal hovering around the IPL. Also, BCCI is no longer working with IMG (its been a while since they have been out). Hmm well…..need i say more??

For more information on IMG: http://www.imgworld.com/sports/cricket/default.sps

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Business, Marketing, Public Issues

The Marketing Gimmick Called The Earth Hour

Earth Hour. Really??

Earth Hour. Really??

Yesterday the world celebrated Earth Hour.
I saw on NDTV and read in the news stories of how countries across the world, as switched off their lights for 1 hour.

While this is indeed a progressive step towards a Greener world, I was sad at the entire marketing gimmick the Earth Hour stood for!

Sample this:

1. NDTV showed pictures of a pompous celebration at India Gate. The lights turned off in a countdown, and soon there was basically a huge celebration. Singers danced and sang. The Chief Minister gave a speech. There was lots of celebration to mark the event and show everyone that the government cared. Just that lights were dimmed out. Who would want to miss out on a few minutes of fame here and there?

2. There was discussion on how people would get to watch IPL during thet one hour called Earth Hour! Huh. And some channels carried an added news show to show viewers who could not catch the action! The Earth Hour would have had a greater significance, if Lalit Modi had decided not to schedule a match that evening. Well does anyone care? For Earth Hour? Yes, if its a vehicle for more publicity and fame.

3. Every NGO tried its best to contribute to its visibility as part of the Earth Hour. An embassy in Chennai switched off their lights for one hour and then someone provided a soundbyte to explain their support for Earth Hour.

This is just a snapshot of my observations.

My point is simple: Would people have cared to participate in Earth Hour if there was no video coverage of the event? I would say no. There are still very few of us out there who really care for a Greener India..let alone world.
Did we really save energy for this one hour (supposedly 1 hour every year since 2007 when it was conceptualized by Andy Ridley of the WWF) this year?
Well yes, u may say.
And No, u may agree after calculating the rise in TRPs of TV channels trying to profile the event since a few days.

My suggestions to the observants of the Green World campaign:

1. Have a “Earth Hour” once every month, and make it a lifestyle; rather than have it once a year and make it a show-stealer.

2. Provide incentives to consumers of electricty (u and me included) to observe an “Earth Hour”: This would need some design and definition. Perhaps a rebate on units consumed between a certain time of the day or during a certain season. Believe me..it works when you bring in the financial rewards!

3. Track energy saved during these ‘Earth Hours’ and use the information for design and development of better products and devices that are greener and more energy efficient. I wonder if the energy companies really cared about yesterday’s earth hour!

4. Switch off unused lights and devices during off-peak or closed hours
Well we each have our own responsibility to save energy, but I am talking of the big buildings and towers on the streets and the tourist attractions. Does the Sydney Opera House have to flash all its full colours in the wee hours of the morning, when there are no(or very very)few visitors? I havent been to Sydney so I wouldnt know, but really..its something to think about.

An hour saved everywhere by each of us, ultimately all adds up. Not the once a year- media frenzy over switching off lights on India Gate, Opera House, Eiffel tower and long oratory serenades of movie celebreties and superstars (Thank you Abhishek Bachchan. By the way..how much did they pay you?)

Proponents of the Clean and Green energy campaigns would probably be upset that I ve set out to critisize the spirit of the Earth Hour. I am not. I am just pointing out the wasted ‘energy’ (pun intended) in marketing the same!

Update: I was reading one of the links posted on one of the comments below. Well seeing the pictures actually. If you actually look at some of the pics, you will see the lights switched off and the streets brightly lit – lit by the heavy traffic that runs on the streets and freeways.

Did someone think of a way by which the collective illumination of car headlights can be tapped to power public lighting in the area (or even the streets!). i mean…we wouldnt really need street lights..thats one innovation that can go a long way! Think about it..

Shantan

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The iPad: Strategic Insights on Another Piece of Stunning Gadgetry from Apple

Steve Jobs unveils the iPadSo the news is out.
Its the iPad!!!

Gosh! The device perfectly lives up to the hype generated in the last few weeks as the last post describes.
Check out the Apple website or just google for the iPad, and you can get to know all of its features, its sleek design and everything else that makes it another Apple masterpiece.
What I wanted to share here are some strategic insights the the iPad offers for analysis.

1. Technology Reuse and Organic product evolution
Bloggers were talking about the new Apple device to be a tablet that runs on the iPhone OS. Well almost.
The iPad runs pretty much on the core of the path-breaking iPhone. The user interface is similar. And thus the user experience too. This is a perfect case of building or creating a new technology that can be reused, or made reusable from a design standpoint. Everything about Apple is a case study in evolution. The iTunes laid the platform for the iPod. The iPod got itself into a phone cum internet connection device called the iPhone. And now the iPhone has heralded the iPad. There have been many instances of technology products that cant scale up or grow organically and have been constantly forced to redesign from scratch. Oh i reminded of Microsoft Vista now. But hey dont want to spoil the party- its Apple’s day today!

2. Brand-Continuity
Closely tied to organic product evolution is brand continuity. The look and feel of the iPad is just like the iPhone or the iPod touch. Black aluminium shell and multi-glass touch screen. Oooh!

3. iTunes Store. App Store….and now….the iBook-Store
With iTunes for music and App Store for iPhone applications, Apple has basically pioneed the online store model as well along with its iPods and iPhones. The iPad brings with it the iBook-store, where users can easily buy and read books. There are already 5 major book publishers who have signed up for the bookstore to offer books online. Is this the end of the Kindle? Quite frankly, Amazon’s Kindle looks silly now. Personally i feel Amazon should have stuck onto its core competency of online retailing instead of getting into the e-reader device market. The Kindle is definitely not an iPad beater. And i am pretty sure Amazon will soon start selling iPads on their store. They already sell all the ipods and iPhone models. Will they sell the iPad too? That will be interesting considering that they claim Kindle to be the most sold holiday gift of 2009.
Amazon also has its own Kindle store where users can buy the Kindle version of online books for the Kindle e-reader. Keep a watch on who wins the ‘store-wars’ now? By the way, the iBook-store application on the iPad is a visual stunner. take a look at the pics online. just visit www.apple.com
Life is good with Apple around! Truly

4. No its not Intel or AMD. Its Apple! Huh? Yeah!!!!
For a very long time Apple fashioned its devices based on chips/processors made by a company called PA Semiconductors. Apple has since bought the company. But they also changed their anti-Intel stand in 2005 and started using Intel chips for their devices. Now hold your breath. The iPad runs on a chip called A4. And yes its designed by Apple themselves specifically for the iPad combining the latest in hardware and software technologies with a processor speed of 1Ghz. At the start of today’s launch of the iPad, Steve Jobs openly declared that ‘Apple is a mobile phone company’ with its mobile phone revenues that have exceeded Sony, Samsung and even Nokia. For a company known to make computers and then music players, this is a terrific statement to make. And to think that they also made their own processor for the iPad? Whoa!!

5. iPad might slay the smartphone/netbook/e-reader in one shot
Just check out the device on blogs online. And read its features. Its got everything that will make you think its better than any of these devices I just mentioned. Not sure however is its capability to effectively work on corporate documents, and Office like files like presentations and word documents. It does allow those too, but for a device thats basically giving u the ultimate pleasure of entertainment and convenience, its not fair to expect it to replace your office laptop! And no! the iPad is much much more than a large sized iPod Touch. Whats going to be interesting is the global rollout of the iPad. Kindle is today being sold globally. iPhone took a while to enter India.  Wonder whats the Apple strategy on the iPad. Too early to tell perhaps.

6. Online Shopping. And Others
Online retailers and merchants now have the biggest incentive to invest more in online retailing. Coz the iPad comes with wireless as well as 3G data plans. That means you can either connect to the internet as you would on your regular laptop, or use your cellphone wireless network. Either way, online retailers who earlier jostled for increased screen space on the mobile phone (read smartphone) will now have a larger than life screen size to work with. And yet not too big to prevent shoppers from carrying the device in their hands and shopping on the move. Other players are moving quick too. The gaming industry is the biggest benefactor of the iPad with Electronic Arts reportedly already working on custom made iPad games and software. The newspaper industry plans capitalise on the pricepoint economics that have come along with the technology innovation. Oh by the way, on stage today was a demo of a New York Times application for the iPad where users can read newstories on the device and and view videos of stories right within the article. So you can click on a ‘newspaper picture’ in the article and ‘the web-clip’ or news video starts playing. A startup called Vook (meaning Video on Book) was in the news recently for creating e-readers and e-reader software that allows readers to read e-books and also view videos of the story embedded. Its not rocket science. But its new. Apple will kill them all with the iPad. We arent surprised.

7. The iPad SDK

When Apple announces a launch, there are some things that have become the norm: Steve Jobs announces the product in a packed house auditorium with a stunning life-size slideshow. He wears blue jeans and a black turtle neck shirt. Expect the words “never before” and “breakthrough” all the way, and dont worry, you are never disappointed. Steve Jobs means what he says. Then there is a ‘store’ launch. There is talk of ‘Apps’. And so as we were expecting, Jobs announced that there the iPad would have access to all of the 140,000 iPhone Apps. They would work bigger and better on the iPad. But there were also Apps specific for the iPad. And Apple released the iPad SDK kit. Which means developers or people with passionate ideas like you and me can create applications for the iPad. Expect an explosion of the iPad apps.

8. AT&T and the pricing
Apple did not ditch AT&T contrary to customer dissatisfaction with the AT&T network connectivity on the iPhones. The reasons are ofcourse strategic. It makes sense to continue the deal with AT&T as Apple can extract a sweeter deal than if it partnered with Verizon. Besides AT&T has a more robus wi-fi network across the USA. The iPad starts at $499 dollars. Both Apple and AT&T (which has been coaxed-or bullied- into offerring a contract less 3G plan along with the device) have collaborated to keep the price affordable. I mean..did we really expect to get a tablet PC for 499$? From Apple? I got my HP laptop for like 600$ after some discounts. And it runs on Vista. What a pity!

Well the Apple website has a link to sign up for getting notified about the selling of the device.
80 minutes after Steve Jobs announced the device, that link was down. The last time Jobs announced a new version of iTunes, Twitter broke down.
Apple just loves to turn the tables. Sometimes literally. Well almost!

Oh take a look at the iPad for yourself and do share your thoughts.

Shantan

The iPad!

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Why 3 Idiots Is Not The Best Movie Made- The Flaws and A Critique’s View

All Izz Well. All? Hmm

All Izz Well. All? Hmm

Here is something to reflect on. Well as much as the movie 3 Idiots as created history at the box office and continues to entertain one and all, the movie definitely has some critical grievances. I ll try to address some of them. Some of these are directly related to the movie, some to the entire project, and some to the marketing of the movie itself. Ofcourse I will try to highlight some other worthwhile points too. Well perhaps grievances is a strong word…but lets see.

1. Heart-warming and entertaining, but predictable at many points.
Director Raju Hirani and Abhijat Joshi have definitely spent a good deal of time in writing the script. The duo paired up for Munnabhai MBBS and Lage Raho Munnabhai before this, and definitely had stellar stories to tell. This time however, the script gets predictive at many points. The “Russians invented a pencil when Americans were trying too hard for the anti-gravity fountain pen” is a cliched old story for the classes if not for the masses. And when Rancho raises his hand to make a point to Virus, you are almost sure of what he is going to say. One woud have expected something more inventive from Hirani. The suicide of Lobo, the character of Pia, parents reactions,..are also pretty predictable. You almost know whats coming next at some points. And then again, the drama of the pregnancy at the end is another unrealistic interpretation- i mean…this is what convinces you that “hey this is a movie after all”, from your initial belief in the director of the movie that this is the real truth – and Hirani and Aamir with their tremendous story-telling and acting skills respectively, have taught us to think just that way! I guess this was the biggest drawback of a film that has otherwise broken all records.

2. Male-chauvinist? May be
College. Without girls? That was kinda surprising coz the movie hardly had moments that reflected on this aspect. Yes, there was Pia- but she was there mainly as Virus’s daughter, which is fine as thats what Chetan Bhagat wrote. But there could have been a more female touch in the plot or story lines. agreed that its different from a regular bollywood…but come on, you need to know that the movie is intending to capture everyone’s hearts (read next point)

3. Too much of it!
There was a tad too much of guys in their innerwear or peeing and the like. I mean…if you are sitting with your girlfriend i am not sure you want to see too much of that in the movie. Well not that its a big issue coz a lot of girls and women (i went to watch the movie with my two young cousins-girls) did have a laugh themselves…but i am not sure if they really wanted to see a lot of that. In the same vein the use of some of the words in the plot…as i mentioned..it appeared a little cliched for the classes rather than the masses. But hey, who said the movie was meant for the classes only.

4. Classes and Masses
Which brings me to the point that, as much as the movie is extremely entertaining, critics probably would have expected more from Hirani given the brilliant reputation he has built up post the Munnabhai movies. This is basically a movie that dealt in cheap comedy. The movie rings a bell with the young audience (read Guys!) who are in college or just out of it. It is this niche group of people (college youngsters – boys typically) who have contributed to the movie becoming an all-time record grosser at the box office in just 3 weeks. So much for the hype and marketing of the movie!

5. Serious flaws in the script
The movie shows Madhavan or Farhan with an avid interest in photography. And this is shown in the scene where Rancho is drawn to the brilliant wildlife pictures in Farhan’s living room. Well those pictures definitely look like pictures from the wildlife in South Africa/African Safari. So does that assume that Farhan has already toured Africa with this passion for wildlife photography? If yes, then we need to ask which Indian parent of an average engineering student would allow him to tour Africa and prevent him from engaging in his passion for the same. I mean..think about it!

In a similar vein, the movie shows Raju has being extremely serious about engineering but is scared and is pressurised-and in typical bollywood style he comes last and Rancho, first. Also, the pigeon or bird in Virus’s nest is a living bird right? i am not sure, coz it doesnt move an inch! Pia says Virus wanted the sons to be engineers and daughters to be doctors. So was Mona a doctor or med student too? not sure. may be i missed it. Well its questions and thoughts like these which kinda make u feel let down. Especially when its the director of the Munnabhai series with Aamir Khan in the mix. Ok i agree some of these are kinda very harsh, and do not subscribe to such a detailed analysis of what is but a Bollywood movie.

6. The VVC-Hirani seal in the starcast
U had to find a Boman Irani. One main hero (Aamir for Sanjay Dutt). One sidekick (well we had two-Sharman and Madhavan for Circuit). One lady who has previously not acted in the earlier movie (Kareena for Vidya Balan or Gracy Singh). Jimmy Shergill was there in both Munnabhai movies. The cameo role here was taken by Jaaved Jaffery. Shantanu Moitra for the music. Some form of cult transportation ( if it was the tri-cycle scooter in Lage Raho Munnabhai, there was the hospital ward room barging red scooter here). Hmm…some pattern. But not a bad thing – well thats the making of a brand.

7.Dialogues- Brilliant
Without a doubt, Hirani and Joshi have scripted dialogues brilliantly. ‘Aal Izz Well’ has gone onto become an anthem in itself and the characters have carried them very well. Reliance, the distributors, have cashed in well on the tag-line in their insurance business. Sure enough, Hirani knows how to make us laugh. But then again, the comedy is kinda stale at many points.

8. The Chase
The movie has a plot where Raju and Farhan (Sharman and Madhavan) go in search of Rancho (Aamir). Only after seeing the movie would you be able to associate the ‘Catch Me in you can” game that Aamir fed the nation with in the weeks before the release. Well much has already been written about Aamir and his marketing for the movie here on stratin so i wont really elaborate on that more.

The Controversy:

Ah..this was something we could have avoided. But i actually found it very interesting! Chetan Bhagat did have a point in not getting his name at the start of the movie in the ‘Story’ credits. Not fair to relegate his mention right at the end after talking about all the spotboys and assistants. Having said that, Chetan’s has got his share of fame already. May be it was a lost battle. All the same, it will be interesting if Hirani or VVC or Aamir decide to kiss and make up with Chetan should they (and most definitely they will) win an award or two at the Filmware night

Final thoughts:
Aware of the risk of sounding like Rajiv Masand, I would not really claim credibility of my viewpoints, but i guess its a fair observation made purely from a first impression. The movie by itself is a stellar piece of entertainment. Aamir’s acting has been brilliant, the script awesome and the casting just perfect. Flawless? i am not too sure. Did we really expect Hirani-Aamir to be flawless? Well may be!

Shantan

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Why Buffalo neednt fear Bangalore!

I am doing a project for one of the world’s leading companies in its domain. Everyone of you has/is still using one of their products. I cannot officially reveal the name as i have signed an NDA with them. The post below is purely a personal insight and opinion that i have gained from interacting with them, and no part can be treated as an official record.

outsourcing

I think American companies will continue to outsource IT to low cost countries. But there is a parallel process and job structure that has grown because of the process of outsourcing IT jobs. Read on…

In the late 90s and for most part of this decade, Indian IT firms have marched ahead in the quest for becoming leaders in the area of IT outsourcing. It made perfect sense for companies in North America and Europe to outsource their IT operations to vendors in low-cost countries such as India, China, Brazil and other smaller countries in Latin America.

The outsourcing wave of the West heralded the growth of stellar companies in the East that delivered consistent quality IT solutions to these companies. Companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, and Wipro developed as global IT firms that sought to deliver high quality solutions to customers.

Some of the things that worked in this ecosystem are low-cost of manpower, excellent talent as well as the advancement of the English language in these countries.

A lot has been written about outsourcing..especially IT outsourcing.And American companies have been receiving significant flak for outsourcing IT jobs to Bangalore, when thousands in America are being rendered jobless.

However there is a parallel job- structure that has been going hand in hand with outsourcing of IT.

This is Quality assurance and Quality control.

Wait a minute.I am not talking of quality of the core processes of the company. I am talking of the quality of the “outsourced process” itself.

American companies are significantly saving costs by outsourcing their IT. But they are investing in core smaller teams that make sure Indian companies such as Infosys, TCS, Wipro are actually doing their job well.

Here is a figment of what these quality teams actually do:

  • They make sure that outsourced jobs are matching a certain quality standard.
  • These quality standards are typically a function of the geographical spread of the outsourced vendors, their language, their communication (particulary applicable for call centers and BPO companies in India/Brazil).
  • They make sure that the cost savings gained in outsourcing of jobs is not lost in the face of poor quality outsourced service which will ultimately affect their customers globally or in their country of operation (typically USA, UK etc).
  • Ensure that their customers are not affected by the way outsourced vendors process the business operations.
  • These quality teams in the companies have a mandate to make sure that at any given time, the outsourced vendor is delivering quality of service at a defined acceptable level.
  • They do this by a consistent but random check on operations happening at outsourced locations.
  • They have specific tools for doing so, and they also play a key role in providing feedback to their own managements for product improvements.

So while companies in the West are cutting jobs by outsourcing their IT and business processes, they are also creating jobs in their firms to monitor the quality of the outsourced work.

For most companies, this is more implicit. And its something that has been happening quite naturally. For most other companies this is a very formal business unit: quality control for outsourced business processes.

When companies first outsourced, they needed a few of their teams to actually monitor or track what is being outsourced.Sometimes, outsourced companies such as Infosys, TCS actually send their own personnel onsite to assist these teams.

For the most part, I am guessing that the equilibrium is shifting.
While the West initially built IT systems for their businesses, they are now building quality check systems to track the quality of the outsourced work.

Is this something to cheer about in the context of Indian outsource vendors? Debatable.

Will this continue for long?
I am not sure.

For now though, i d like to believe that there should not be a fear of losing jobs in USA coz of outsourcing IT to Bangalore. Coz for the most part, and i hope Barack Obama is reading this, there is a huge quality team that has been created in Buffalo for this outsourced job!! Well…atleast in a way!

Comments and opinions are welcome!

Shantan
(shantan.rao@gmail.com)

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In-flight Magazines – An Opportunity Being Wasted And How Airlines Can Get More Creative!

I am not a seasoned traveller. Well atleast not yet. Yet I have been on a handful of flights over the last couple of years.And guess what? I have been bored on many of those.

flight-1

Most airlines have some sort of a medium by which they plan to keep their customers connected. All flights have the customary drinks/beverages and some cookies/peanuts. Some big airlines, especially the international ones as well as our very own flamboyant Kingfisher, have amazing in-flight entertainment gadgets. However I shall not be talking about them in this post.

I shall talk about the in-flight magzines. flight-2

Recently our plane was stuck on the run-way for a good 2 hours as the weather was inclement. Neither could the plane take off, nor could it go back to the airport gate. And most of us were bored and stuck in our seats. Some folks switched on their ipods, some opened their laptops.And I,like most others, checked for the in-flight magazines that are stacked up on each seat.

You know what! No-one likes these in-flight magazines.They are a pain to read.

Why are they not popular?

  • Stale content: Who really wants to read about some obscure holiday plans that the vice-president of the airline recommends to all the readers. Yes, this is an in-flight magazine, and is predominantly a manifesto of the airline. But do people really care? Would they attract more customers if you bore them to infinity while talking all heavens about their airline? Well they already know that. Thats why they decide to fly your airline [well ideally atleast!]
  • They are not updated: Well this is debatable. but most of the times i have only found issues of the magazine that are hardly the latest.
  • Compelled to read: Passengers have no choice. They place their baggage in the cabin. Then sit. Look at the windows. Greet the passenger next to them. Make a couple of phone calls. Switch off the phone. And then…then what do they do? they dont know. So they stare at the magazines stacked behind a couple of safety instructions and the like, and pick them up. They dont enjoy reading them. Well occasionaly perhaps they might.
  • Sales tool: Airline companies use the in-flight magazines more as a sales tool. They talk of the various options the airline has and the rewarding flying experience, and round it off with tonnes of advertisements. As a passenger, i dont care once i have boarded my flight. I need to know about these things before i board my flight. Presumably, I already know. That is why i am in the plane! The airline companies dont seem to get this…well atleast their in-flight magazines seem to indicate.

How this is hurting the airlines?

Hurting is a strong word. But i am tending to think that in-flight magazines are not adding any value to an airline’s customer service.

  • They are being relegated to something inconsequential.
  • It is a candid waste of paper and printing resources.
  • More importantly they are putting off the customer. Well many of them dont care. They have enough to think about during the flight, or work on on their laptops, or just sleep. However at some level or the other, they are being affected by the quality of the in-flight magazines. For most, it is not adding to good customer service. For some like me, it is putting them off!
  • They are just adding to the weight of the plane [ok..dont mind this one! :-)]

How can airlines make the in-flight magazines better?

Aah..this is the interesting part.
Well first of all i assume that airlines dont want to eliminate these altogether. I think they are required for 2 reasons:

  1. The in-flight magazines also contain important information such as maps of the destination airport, and other logistical details, as well as information that may help travellers plan their future trips. Also some of them carry instructions for emergency landing etc (though most airlines have a separate booklet for this)
  2. People still love to have a good read in the plane. And not everyone owns a Kindle as yet!

That said airlines can certainly improve and make their in-flight magazines a lot better. Here are some suggestions

  • News: People love to splurge on the latest news. The magazines must carry some articles or posts about the news happening around us. Perhaps airlines can enter into partnerships with existing magazine or newspaper companies to provide this content. People love to read about celebrity gossips, sports, latest in politics.
  • Weekly editions: I think the magazines should change everyweek or atleast every fortnight. Again this will have cost structures to be justified if it is decided to refresh the magazines every week. Well every fortnight? Am not sure! Its arguable.
  • Relevance: Less posts about what the vice-president of the airline did for his last holiday. I mean, who cares about that!!!
  • Engage the passenger: Most games have a section on sudoku, or crossword or other games. However when i pick up the magazine, i often find someone who has solved half the puzzle or the sudoku. I sometimes get the kick to continue and solve it. But hey..whats my reward? Airlines should have an engagement model: They could do something like ask the passenger to cut the piece of paper carrying the solution and drop it in a box at the front of the airline before the leave the plane, and promise them a reward if their answer is correct. Or perhaps promise them more flyer miles if they are correct. Or have a monthlong contest where passengers can continue one puzzle after another during different flights, and they win a free flight ticket if they get the answers correct (the catch..they should fly the same airline….aint it good marketing??).  This way, not only are the passengers are incentivized for their journey and make them feel occupied and good during the journey, but they will also be more keen to know if they won! So they will come back….yeah they might come just check the airline website to check if they won, or they may come back to fly again.Either way, it works. This Engagement model also provides the airlines a good measure of their customer service.
  • Let the passengers contribute: Nothing motivates a passenger more than an in-flight magazine carrying an article posted by the passenger. Passengers(the blog maniacs like straters!) are encouraged to contribute to say an “airline blog” when they buy a flight ticket. And the airline can pick a good post and put it on their in-flight magazine. While it is rare that the same passenger might read the magazine, it works because if the passenger contributed a post, it means that he/she was engaged in someway with airline. Ofcourse, fellow passengers often like to hear about someone like them. Think of it as an airline version of Readers Digest 🙂
  • Profile a Passenger: Passengers can be asked to send in pictures of their holiday or their experiences. These would get featured on the in-flight magazines. If the airlines get their logistics, printing schedule and content management in perfect synchronization, it might even be as fascinating as having “Just-in Time in-flight magazines”. These means, you finished a nice holiday in Bangkok today, and decided to fly back to Mumbai day after. You book your tickets today, and then you submit your holiday pictures tonight. The airline publishes them tomorrow. And you see it on your in-flight magazine the next day you board the flight! Nothing like your 30 seconds of fame when your co-passenger spots similarities between you and your picture in the magazine!
  • Reality Show: Airlines can create a reality show. Something like interested readers can participate in a “Become an airhostess” contest or a “Become a steward contest” or “Suggest a menu item for us” contest…..or….(now this is crazy 🙂 ) “Become our pilot” contest!

Lets have more suggestions in the comments section. Come on..arent we bored of those grizzly old in-flight magazines.

Shantan
(shantan.rao@gmail.com)

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MS Dhoni: A Case Study In Reactive Leadership

dhoni-dada_extraordinary_gesture

MS Dhoni is young. He has been a captain for about 2 years. And he s already made his mark. Dhoni has all the makings of a reactive leader. Who is a reactive leader? And what is reactive leadership? Let us analyze with Dhoni as the example.

Reactive Leaders Anchor The Boat:
Dhoni has had a dream start to his captaincy, what with winning the T20 world cup for india in south africa in 2007.
When the victorious T20 world cup winning team returned to india, they were given a open-top bus drive through the city of mumbai. While Sreesanth and Yuvraj danced to the crowds and Sehwag and Harbhajan played to the gallery, Dhoni was a picture of calm and composure. A simple smile on his face. Acknowledging the cheers of the crowds.

Great leaders have a sense of perspective. No achievement is small. And yet no achievement is larger than life. Everything should be put in perspective.
So in a sense..standing with this dancing team-mates, and flashing a calm and contented smile…was ample proof of a man in control. Accomplished. And allowing his team-mates to celebrate, while he provided the inspiration. But you know what? Dhoni did not plan to do this in the plane from Johannesburg to Mumbai.
Its what I call “Reactive”. It is the weight of the moment, and just that moment that made Dhoni do what he thought was right.

They react! Expressively:
And yet this was the same guy who exulted with this hands facing the sky, when India won the match against Pakistan.After scoring his brilliant 183 not out against Sri Lanka in 2005, Dhoni simple held the bat in the shape of a gun and appeared to say “Fire!” It was that moment of achievement. And he was expressive. And he was back with his mild demeanour again. There was nothing planned before. There was nothing to be bothered about later.

Maturity but not necessarily with age:
When he was made vice-captain, Dhoni slashed his locks. He cut his hair and looked trim. Great leaders lead by example. That act of trimming his hair was a sign that he was taking on responsibility. A sign of maturity. A sense of discipline. Oh but Dhoni never learnt that from anyone. It just spurred him on when he was given that responsibility.

Sensing Emotions…..of the moment:
This is by far the greatest quality that differentiates a reactive leader from the other kinds of leaders. On the last day of Ganguly’s farewell Test match, Dhoni did one of the most surprising and endearing moment in cricket folklore. With the match heading towards a draw, and India having all but won the series against the Aussies, Dhoni the captain, decided to pay tribute to Ganguly: a great servant of Indian cricket but also the captain under whom Dhoni made his debut.

He asked Ganguly to captain the team for one last time. Ganguly did so for a couple of overs. And then tossed the ball back to Dhoni.

To me that was the epitome of a reactive leader’s guts and values.Great leaders are reactive. And they empathize. And they win the hearts.Dhoni had clearly paid the finest honour for Ganguly with this gesture.

They Speak Out:
Once a selection committee member leaked the minutes of the meeting to the press, saying Dhoni did not want RP Singh instead of Irfan Pathan; and was thus willing to resign. Dhoni stood up. He rubbished the claims. But he also made a strong statement by saying he didnt want one bowler to feel he was not wanted over another.
I think in a single stroke, Dhoni was able to win both these bowlers….who are now both in the team. The team remains united.
And they think of Dhoni as their leader.

They Speak For Themselves:
There is no doubt that Dhoni has played well. His runs and his skills on the field are hardly debatable.

Cricketers are a pricey set of people. They play for a lot at stake. And no-one wants to lose their place in the team. Yet MS Dhoni openly said during the tour of Sri Lanka that he was fatigued and wanted to be rested for the Tests. I havent heard in recent times of a player who has been open and candid about his wants. Most players keep playing on inspite of fatigue or injury, as they fear for their place in the team. As a consequence they lose pick up serious injuries on tour and have to return midway. Viru would agree!

They are Confident About Speaking Out:
“How much money does one need it life?”, said MSD in a news interview. Reactive leaders dont fear for their place. They speak their mind out. They might not always get it wrong. But what sets them apart is that they dont care if they get it wrong. I am sure many of you might be eager to put Ganguly in the same box. Fair enough.

They Kill Issues Quickly:

More recently, Dhoni was in the news during the 20-20 World cup, when apparently there was a rift between Dhoni and Viru over the latter’s match fitness.
I was following the news. It lasted just one day. Nobody spoke of it the next day. I like to believe that Dhoni not just resolved the issue. But actually killed it.
The result: A Happy Team

They Want To Win…..As Planned:
In the recent one-day series against West Indies in the Caribbean, Yuvraj Singh scored a brilliant 100 and India had touched a score of 300+. With a fine batting effort, India held the upper hand. Yet when the Windies started their chase, India looked edgy. They almost lost their way. However some tight bowling in the last few overs ensured India won the match. So in the last over, when Harbhajan took the catch to send back the last West India batsman, Yuvraj and Harbhajan rejoiced at the latter’s decision to push Nehra to bowl the last over. Suddenly the whole team was celebrating what was a tense final over.Dhoni as the commentators noted was not happy at all. He didnt flash a smile. Just removed his gloves and joined his mates and then walked back to the pavilion.

When asked why he was not happy at the moment of victory at the post match conference, Dhoni replied, “I didnt like way we played. With such a strong batting display, we should have won comfortably”. Would you ever expect the captain of a team not celebrate the moment of victory in a match that almost went down to the wire? Well thats my take on being a reactive leader. They sometimes dont react at all!

My next post will talk about another kind of a leader. Any guesses?

(PS: This is writeup by a regular strat.in author about Incredible Indians. From tomorrow, we would start the reader’s articles sent to the Incredible Indians contest)

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