Will 2013 be the year of the enterprise startup?
Business, Leadership, Marketing, Technology

Is 2013 the Year of the Enterprise Startup ?

There has been a lot of talk about enterprise startups becoming ‘cool again’ , ‘the place to invest’ and so on. So what has really changed? How have enterprise startups, long considered boring and ‘un-scalable’ become sought after again? Here are the top three reasons

enterprise-startups
1. Tremendous focus on ROI at enterprise level
– The one common thread across all enterprise startups is an unwavering focus on ROI. This focus has particularly come in the spotlight in the wake of the global downturn that hit the World Economy in 2008. After this, there has been a definitive shift towards optimally using all resources, without exception, at an enterprise level. This has created newer opportunities and startups are exploiting those.

2. B2B outreach is easier than before – The biggest problem for a B2B startup is marketing. For example, an Accenture advertisement at best serves as a branding tool in the minds of 99% of the advertisement viewers. After all, mass media is definitely not the way to reach out to the enterprises. However, with the advent of channels like Google, Slideshare, Linkedin etc, this process has become simpler and inquiries through these channels are increasing for enterprise startups.

3. The advent of the cloud – Cloud, the ease of access and lowering costs of storage has meant that enterprise startups can stay afloat longer by curbing their expenses to the minimal. It wouldn’t be far fetched to say that enterprise startups owe a lot to services like AWS ( Amazon Web Services) for actually enabling their business models to go afloat at a lower cost than before.

Given all these factors, it is natural that enterprise startups are doing all sorts of innovative things and most importantly, at scale! Here are a couple of areas in which enterprise startups are totally cracking the whip –

(a) Analytics – A huge area where startups are innovating big time is analytics. An analytics backbone is a huge plus across sectors, be it in the ad network domain or in the enterprise effectiveness domain.

(b) Cloud storage – Startups like GitHub, Box, Dropbox, Diablo, Messagebus, Gridstore etc are all innovating on the cloud storage front and evolving new business models that are not only sustainable, but also scalable. And, they are well supported by Angel/VC money as well.

(c) CRM – Salesforce has literally become a common factor across almost all major companies today. The scale that Salesforce has been able to achieve has proven the scalability of B2B Startups. However, in the field of CRM, Salesforce is not alone and is closely followed by competitors like SugarCRM.

Given this, its natural that top VCs are entering the fray here –

KPCB is investing $200 mn

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers will invest at least $200 million this year in mobile applications and cloud computing services for corporate users, investment partner Matt Murphy said. The Menlo Park, California-based venture capital firm, which boosted its enterprise-technology investments in 2012, will also seek security-startup investments, Murphy said in an interview.

Startups focused on corporate users are benefiting as employees adopt personal smartphones and tablets for work. That’s triggered increased investment by companies in new tools to manage mobile and cloud-based computing, Murphy said.

“The traction in our enterprise portfolio really surprised us,” Murphy said. “We view the timing and opportunity as even better than in 2012.”

WSJ Articles about enterprise startups

When Andreessen Horowitz VC Peter Levine looked around a conference room Thursday in San Francisco and saw 10 reporters sitting next to five CEOs of enterprise tech startups, he could barely contain his glee. “There’s a renaissance in enterprise computing – if this were five, six or seven years ago, to get one person to show up in this room would have been quite difficult,” he said. Perhaps he was calculating how much those exits would be worth. After all, 80% of tech IPOs next year are expected to be from enterprise startups. Andreessen Horowitz has invested more than $100 million in the startups in the room.

An India view

In India as well, there is an unquestionable need for enterprise startups. In fact, a lot of Indian startups focused on the enterprise have made global waves too – Zoho being one such example. Will India react or adapt to this boom in Enterprise Startups? What enterprise startups will emerge from India in 2013? Have your say below.

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Business, Leadership

Top 5 Indian Newsmakers of 2012

A lot has happened in 2012, from the demise of so many wonderful musicians, artists to a number of glorious moments, new public figures and what not.

So, basing my decision on research from numerous trends on news, search engines and public opinion these would be the top 5 Indian Newsmakers of 2012.

5. Rajesh Khanna

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He is the one who has created news even after death. He had made a nation go crazy during his stardom days and his demise was also marred by so many controversies that people continued to talk about him.

As a friend of mine said, God seems to be planning a complete movie in heaven and hence he had selected the top stars of Bollywood to be called upon in 2012. We would always remember Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Dara Singh, Yash Chopra, Bhupen Hazarika, Jagjit Singh and Ravi Shankar.

4. Sunny Leone

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Though the hype of Sunny Leone had died down towards the end of 2012, but the earlier part of year belonged to her. She was the most searched celebrity from India on all the search engines.

Poonam Pandey and Sherlyn Chopra (with her Playboy deal) are giving her a good competition in this field. Sex sells.

3. Saina Nehwal

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This year belonged to more sports than just cricket. Saina maintained her momentum throughout the year and was an inspiration to lot of women in the country to take up sports. The Olympic bronze added to her list of medals, though everybody believes she would achieve much more in years to come.

Retirement of Tendulkar has created enough buzz in the media in the recent days but that is what people had started expecting now though nobody can come out in open to say that. There were other good sportspersons to be remembered in 2012 like Mary Kom, Viswanathan Anand, Vijay Kumar, Pankaj Advani, etc. who provided remarkable feats in 2012.

2. Arvind Kejriwal

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He was a lesser known human being in 2012 and wow, he has done wonderfully to go up in the news during 2012. Call it using or misusing media, he has brought many politicians out in open. Though people have now forgotten the episodes of Robert Vadra and Nitin Gadkari, but he has created enough damage. He has even displaced Anna Hazare, his mentor from the news making point of view.

Well it is for us to see whether this is just a noise making machine or would we see a better politician this time in our country.

1. Narendra Modi

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Touted as the next Prime Minister of India, he was in limelight throughout the year. Though in the later part it was more because of the elections in Gujarat and his spectacular win there but even before that he was part of branding Gujarat and  BJP to be a development-pro party. 2013 and 2014 will be equally important for this man to achieve the plans he has made.

 

A lot of Newsmakers are still left out but then you count people “who make News” and not just “who are in News”.

2013 may belong to so many people, even some of the above ones might get repeated as well. Let’s see.

Advance wishes for a Happy new year to all the readers.

 

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Leadership

Why Sachin deserves the Bharat Ratna

Sachin Tendulkar. The name needs no introduction in any part of the country. If there is one sportsman from India who even the US President has heard of and is appreciated by legends from other sports as well, it is Sachin

In 2011, the Government of India modified the eligibility criteria to allow sportspersons to receive the award and opened the award “for performance of highest order in any field of human Endeavour from the earlier criteria for the highest degrees of national service. This service includes artistic, literary, and scientific achievements, as well as “recognition of public service of the highest order.” “(Wikipedia)

Let us break this criterion up – “for performance of highest order in any field of human Endeavour”. If we take any field of human endeavor as sport, Sachin stands atop every conceivable record, barring one – highest test average, which is, incidentally held by Sir Don Bradman, who had to say this on Sachin – “he bats like me”

Sachin, the human being

But the Bharat Ratna has not been just awarded for excellence – a look at the list of winners would tell that they (well, most of them) were excellent human beings as well. Here also, Sachin scores. He is not just an inspiration to many budding sportsmen (not just cricketers), but to an entire generation of Indians as well who grew up watching him. His fitness and longevity meant he kept on being there in front of our eyes as a role model

Many sportsmen at different point of time, have engaged themselves in charity, sometimes, out of genuine interests, sometime out of greed for being in front of the flash bulbs, but for Sachin, its has not just a duty, or a passion – to him, it’s a way of life. In his Biography “Sach”, by Kolkata journalist Gautam Bhattacharya, there are several instances which shows his commitment to the differently-abled, the elderly and the homeless

There is a personal anecdote for me to say – something that I haven’t picked from any book or erstwhile published material – something that I saw myself- in the India-England 2012-13 test series, during the 4th test at Nagpur, between tea and lunch, when Sachin came to field at third man boundary for 2 overs. A 12 year old girl, hand partially affected by polio, tried to hold up a poster that said – “don’t go, Sachin” someone shouted and caught the great man’s eye. Between overs, he came running to the boundary, took a piece of paper and pen, wrote something and threw it back to the girl. It said – “always there for you, little one” in Marathi

Sachin and controversies

Sachin was a prodigy who burst onto the scene when he was barely in his teens. At that time some UK magazine wanted him to model with a glass of beer in his hand. He refused to do so, not because he was legally under-age, but because he felt young children who looked up to him might be influenced to make a wrong choice. Such a man can be expected to stay away from controversies. Sportsmen, especially the brilliant ones, barring a few, have been known to indulge in a wide range of controversies – involving money, drugs and women. Sachin married early and had a strong Marathi middle class value instilled in him by his parents and brother which prevented him from going astray

But he did have to face a few controversies – allegations that he dated a erstwhile Bollywood leading lady (who is no more), rumors over illegal methods to buy a house at Bandra, tax-evasion case while getting a Michael Schumacher-gifted Ferrari into India have dented his image. But then, nobody is perfect. Some of the other winners have had worse records to speak for. This doesn’t justify Sachin’s methods, but just shows when a person has been almost an epitome of goodness, even God is willing to forgive and forget

As a person who has grown up watching Sachin, I want to present a case for Sachin getting the Bharat Ratna, Atticus Finch style: “If there is one institution in this country who gives as much joy to an investment banker as to a fruit seller, if there is one institution in this country for whom people across faiths have prayed together, if there is one institution in this country who has united Indians, that institution, my Lord, has been Sachin Tendulkar. Yes, he is an institution in himself”

 

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narendra-modi-1
Business, Leadership, Politics

Modi, the management guru

I first heard of Narendra Modi, like many others, post the unfortunate Godhra incident and the subsequent riots that shook the collective conscience of the nation. Before that, I must admit, I had never heard of him. In fact, in those days, the only two CMs of any state I knew of was the West Bengal CM and the Tripura CM – Bengal because of obvious reasons and Tripura – because the person concerned had a long reign at the top. And I knew vaguely about the Delhi CM, and knew that “one of the two” were CMs in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh

In those days, I, like most young men of my state, were enamored of so-called “leftist” ideals, and found Modi to be a hate figure. Over cups of coffee, reading about his interviews, his “methods” in various magazines, I had a strong dislike for him. Then I got admitted to an engineering college, and started concentrating on my studies. NaMo gradually slipped out of my mind, almost _ though some reports of the Best Bakery case, the Sardar Sarovar Dam protest, the “ban” on Fanaa just about kept him alive in my mind

The next time I heard of him was when a professor in the college where I was doing my MBA came out with a report on how NaMo had used masks of himself to spread his message and keep his persona alive and kicking. We had a long discussion over cups of coffee in the canteen over this strategy, and the parallel it had with the world of marketing, specifically, brand positioning

It is at this point of time that I began to take interest in the management guru (not the politician, not the stylish gentleman). Here was a man who did not have much formal education, yet symbolized and stood for many of the principles and theories taught in long lectures and to which many people owe their PhDs

I have picked here 5 aspects based on 5 incidents of NarendraBhai

1. The masks before 2007 Elections and Swami Vivekananda in 2012

It’s a oft repeated statement in marketing that if you keep reminding a customer something over and over again, chances are – he will not forget to buy the product. Here the “product” was an idea – “Brand Modi” or rather, the implicit message “Vote for Modi”. Now there is a risk in this – “what if the idea is oversold? What if the customer, here the voter, gets angered and refuses to vote?”

The answer to this is simple. Again, using a marketing parlance, if we consider the 4Ps of marketing – first P would be the “product”. If the “product” is value for money, “positioning” will bring a smile on the face, rather than irritate the customer. An example of a bad “product” over positioned and angering the customers, in the world of politics, would be, without going into great details, celebration of birth and death anniversaries of “certain leaders” in all leading newspapers, and crediting anything under the sun to them. That does not apply to NaMo. He has delivered over the last 5 years, hence the “brand recall mechanism” created through masks worked to a great positive effect (http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/modi-masks-arehottest-items-in-gujarat%60s-poll-mart/307407/)

In the past few months, NaMo has made Swami Vivekananda as his own. It is said that he is a big fan of the 19th Century Great and has spent a significant time in Ramkrishna Mission in Calcutta, which was established by Swami-ji himself. (it is rumored the respect towards Swami-ji also comes from sharing the same first name – Vivekananda’s real name was “Narendra Nath Datta”). It’s also a matter of luck for NaMo that Swami-Ji’s 150th Birth anniversary falls in 2012, election year in Gujarat. And NaMo made great use of this as a political weapon – tweets, blog posts, youth fairs, yatras, even cricket kits given away as rpizes – everything had a brand association with the great Ascetic. NaMo projected him as a symbol of great Hindu pride (http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/narendra-modi-begins-month-long-vivekanand-yuva-vikas-yatra/1/216855.html). Here the management lesson seems tobe a clever association with a well known “brand” (personality in this case), who has great brand potential, yet has not been used by anyone else for some reason

2. Focus on women and children

This is not an attempt to be sexist, but the ladies generally make more rational voters. They vote based on issues which affect their livelihood, budget and less on matters of caste or religion. Modi understood this perfectly well. Right from day1, his focus has been more towards the women and the first time voters. He was faced with a serious challenge as far as women’s literacy and health and nutrition issues were concerned. And he took on these issues head on – he introduced several schemes for girls – “kanya kelavani”, giving away money earned from selling gifts given to him as charity to organizations fighting female foeticide etc (http://zeenews.india.com/news/states/auction-of-modi-s-gift-articles-gets-good-response_608102.html ) . The message was clear and simple – “Ladies’, I care for you, something very basic which many leaders in this country don’t”. This simple message found a lot of takers. Today he has a dedicated vote bank. He followed a simple management principle – choose your target wisely and kept on persisting with his promotion

3. Modi, the darling of the corporates

It’s an old fact in the history of politics that businessmen and politicians are the best of friends. The reason is not hard to fathom. Each one of them feed off the other. The politician needs funds; the businessmen need the right business environment. Modi was clever enough to realize this fact very early. He had realized how the incidents of 2002 had damaged his reputation in certain sections of society. He had to find an alternate way to build a reputation. And he chose the path of development. Development would require funds, and for most of his tenure he had had to deal with a hostile government at the center. So he thought of an alternate way – business

The people he governed are ones with good business acumen, he reasoned. So why not give them an ideal opportunity to carry out business? There is the story of how when the Tatas decided to pull out of Singur, Modi immediately send an SMS to Ratan Tata welcoming him to Gujarat, and a dejected Ratan Tata didn’t have too many alternatives but to invest in Gujarat (http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_i-just-spent-one-rupee-to-bring-nano-to-gujarat-narendra-modi_1391096 ). Uninterrupted supply of power, almost unheard of in other states of India barring a couple in the North-East, broadband connectivity in almost every village of Gujarat means both large and small scale industry has thrived as well as benefits of mdern technology could be used by the people

He has made business easier to be carried out, and this has been an invitation for investors, from not just in India, but from other parts of the world as well to flock to invest in Gujarat. The “Vibrant Gujarat” summits” have seen MoUs worth lakhs of crores being signed, and a significant portion implemented as well, which has brought huge investments to the state. Corruption has almost been eliminated, setting up business is easier than many parts of India, and the infrastructure (road networks, ports etc) compares to best in the world. Reduced costs and red tape has made investing attractive, bringing down unemployment significantly. This has had domino effects in terms of healthcare, sanitation etc and education. People have more money to buy better agricultural products, thus bringing up agricultural productivity. Higher returns mean they have more money to send their children to school; arrange for more nutritious food and make better sanitary arrangements. Thus Gujarat has entered into a virtuous cycle of higher income -> more taxes -> better quality of life. A simple lesson of finding what your customers (in this case the voters) need the most and provide that service the best turned out to be a trump card for Modi

4. Use of technology + social media and great back-up and PR-team

Modi-speech-with-3D-technology

Narendra Modi has 1 million followers on twitter (https://twitter.com/narendramodi ). Now, that is no mean feat. Leaders far bigger to him as far as constitutional authority is concerned, heads of state, etc have far fewer followers. It is here he scores big. He understood the value of technology and social media, something which would appeal to the youth and place from where he can take direct feedback from. It also helped him spread his message quicker and cheaper. He has taken potshots at his political rivals, showcased his methods and results and has connected to a segment of the population that is rarely given too much attention – the aspirational middle class. His use of 3-D hologram technology turned out to be a huge hit wherein he could be heard and seen, as if live in a number of places at one time (http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-12-10/news/35726564_1_keshubhai-patel-sanjiv-bhatt-gujarat-parivartan-party ), as did his Google+ hangout hosted by actor Ajay Devgn(http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/287292/modi-answers-netizens-on-google-plus-hangout.html )

NaMo has a great back-up team and an efficient PR-team, which not just keeps posted about him, helps spread his message on the social media, but also does great research for him. For example, when he went to China earlier this year, he had his visiting cards made in Mandarin, besides of course, having done solid research on the business environment of the country (http://www.sunday-guardian.com/news/modi-woos-china-in-mandarin ). The Management lesson obviously is  have a good back-up team and to be well prepared when visiting a potential client (here he was wooing Chinese investors to Gujarat, and created the simple analogy of being the “two fastest growing economies in Asia”

5. Turning adversity into advantage

Narendra Modi has inherited a state ravaged by an earthquake and jolted by communal riots. Red-tapism, nepotism, poor infrastructure almost engulfed the entrepreneurial spirit of his subjects. However, in 10 years, he not just turned it around for the state, but for his own image itself – his lack of immediate family members barring his ageing mother and estranged mother (rumors of a wife were later found to be unfounded) kept him away from own personal gains, aided by his RSS-background discipline. He has cleverly molded his own image with that of Gujarat. Any insult to him was turned into an insult to “6 crore Gujarati”, his own portrayal as a “CM = Common Man” and “servant of the masses”, evoking of “Gujarati asmita” or pride has made him a man of the masses he lorded over. And the opposition – Congress, has fallen time and again into cleverly laid traps. In 2007, Sonia Gandhi called him “maut ka saudagar” or “Merchant of Death”, and he immediately used this to his advantage by claiming this was an insult to the state. Needless to say, he won by a thumping margin (http://www.indianexpress.com/news/no-2002-no–maut-ka-saudagar–sonia-cong-tread-carefully-on–muslim–issues/1042507/ ). Even this time around, during the campaign he was called a monkey by the Gujarat Congress Chief ( http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/gujarat-congress-compares-narendra-modi-to-a-monkey-bjp-files-complaint-290404  ), which he immediately turned into “Lord Hanuman out to serve Lord Ram – the people of Gujarat” argument (http://www.firstpost.com/politics/modi-in-3d-yes-i-am-hanumans-monkey-ganpatis-mouse-527686.html ). Here the management lesson is “take stones thrown at you and turn them into milestones”

It is difficult to predict whether Narendra Modi will win Gujarat, leave alone to go the national scene as a possible PM-candidate. But history will remember him as one of the longest serving CM of Gujarat. And his legacy of trying to bring all round development as well as his methods of electioneering, bringing in industries and taking care of deprived sections of the society will remain for long, a lesson in management for a lot of people

It can be argued none of this matters as far as voting is concerned, people vote a host of issues; even if he wins in Gujarat, he won’t be able to replicate it elsewhere and such claims. Well, all these can be argued, statements and counter-statements put in, but what matters is that these are some of the traits that very few leaders in India has shown. It is of little wonder then, that he will have several spokespersons who will speak on his behalf, not out of fear or greed, but out of love (http://in.news.yahoo.com/aishwarya-rai-lauds-gujarat-rapid-progress-141105303.html )

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Twitter image of Arvind Kejriwal
Leadership

Arvind Kejriwal – India’s newest leader ?

Arvind Kejriwal by now has seen it all. Right from the day he became part of Team Anna at Jantar Mantar grounds at the historic fast to this week, when he launched the Aam Aadmi Party. On Nov 26 though on twitter, Arvind Kejriwal asked a very pertinent question to the media –

To this particular question, a lot of eminent personalities, writers, journalists and ardent followers of this phenomenon called Arvind Kejriwal have replied – and these replies truly cover the views of what the luminaries of the nation think about the nation’s media –

Answer by Pritish Nandy –

Not to be left behind, the irepressible Rajdeep tweeted in a way only he can – Reply by Rajdeep Sardesai –

Twitter image of Arvind KejriwalWhats indeed interesting is that while the media had a total blackout at the launch of the Aam aadmi Party – no one missed the news anyways! The news was all over Facebook and Twitter and Emails. Nearly every email group I am part of discussed about the Aam Aadmi Party. The point with Aam Aadmi party though is that, just a launch function will not be enough. A party is judged by the work it does and the newly formed party has a long way to go.

But none the less, Arvind Kejriwal has had a brilliant start indeed and as a mass leader he certainly looks capable enough to take Anna’s stance ahead in today’s world, in a more relevant manner. One thing particularly noticeable about the Aam Aadmi Party is the way India against corruption facebook group or Aam Aadmi Party Twitter accounts are already generating a massive following among the public. By doing this, Kejriwal is certainly presenting the youth with a credible option to consider for sure. Further, lets admit it, Facebook and twitter are perhaps the fastest modes of crowd mobilisation today, and will continue to grow as more and more Indians start using smartphones. Given this, the policy of using social media as a mass communications tool is indeed laudable.

In fact, almost all campaigning for Obama’s elections of 2012 was keenly contested and propagated on Social media, and now, even India, at least the Internet-enabled India is going to be increasingly influenced by these Social media behemoths and activity done on them. Particularly interesting is how this IIT alumnus is speaking at various centers about what change needs to be brought about in India.

Arvind Kejriwal’s speech in IIT Madras –

Part 2 –

Part 3 –

Part 4-


The words are indeed thought provoking to say the least. But corruption is an issue, and elections aren’t won over issues – they are won over votes. The votes gathering, the awareness generation etc are processes that take time. Will the Aam Aadmi Party be able to overcome all those obstacles ? What are your views about the Aam Aadmi Party ? Do you identify with the need of the Aam Aadmi Party?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Balasaheb Thackeray
Leadership

Balasaheb Thackeray – an example in visionary leadership

Balasaheb Thackeray

His Antyayatra ( the last journey ) to the cremation grounds was perhaps the grandest ceremony witnessed by Mumbai after Babasaheb Ambedkar’s passing in 1956. On a Sunday afternoon, 20 lakh ( 2 million ) people came out of their homes, and stood peacefully in the Shivaji Park ground to witness the cremation of their leader. Note that these weren’t people hastily assembled. In today’s Mumbai, getting even 1000 people at an event is considered to be an achievement, given the distances and the wide ranging priorities of people.

And yet, 20 lakh people turned up on Sunday to see their leader for one last time. Clearly, such an event does not happen for an ordinary individual. But Balasaheb wasn’t ordinary. He was much more than that. Over the past few days, I have seen so many ‘intellectuals’ criticise sitting on their comfortable armchairs the work done by him and his party. Firstly, to all these intellectuals, I would say, that he created an organisation which did work. And not one which would turn up every five years to the doorstep for votes. Believe it or not, Sena does work at a local level – and it works for the common man like no other organisation can or will.

So what work does Sena do? Giving you three practical instances of works done by the Shivsena Shakhas ( Giving Mumbai examples because I stay here) – A college demands a capitation fees of Rs. 5 Lakh from a middle class family to admit a meritorious student. A lot of middle class families cannot afford this kind of donations. The Sena helps this student and her family. Now, is this ‘Gundagiri’ or is this ‘social work’ ? In the eyes of the press, it will be ‘Gundagiri’. But at ground level in Mumbai, given the depressing and growing rift between the rich and poor, its social work. Its work that secures that families’ future prospects. Its work that gives a deserving student a chance to actually fulfil her dreams. Now, is this work in the eyes of people who live in Mumbai – Yes.

Another case – There was an accident on the road in the middle of the street involving a bike and a car. A full blown crowd of 500 people comes around the scene. But no one wants to touch the bike rider and take him to the hospital. The bike rider is bleeding and can lose consciousness given the blood loss. At this juncture, people from the local Shakha turn up and actually take this injured bike rider to hospital. Again – Is this work in the eyes of people who live in Mumbai – Yes it is.

Another case – a couple live in a 1 BHK flat – an 85 year old man and a 82 year old woman. The 85 year old man passes away for some reason, and their kin cannot reach back in say 12 hours. At this juncture, whats required is on the ground help as well as emotional support. In the area I lived, there was only one organisation that gave this kind of support. One last time – is this work in the eyes of people who live in Mumbai – Yes it is. Note – for all the above three incidents, I was personally an eye witness.

Now coming back to who was Balasaheb Thackeray – He founded the Shiv Sena – an organisation which through its network of Shakhas does local work. Is this not leadership as we learnt in B-schools? I certainly think so. The difference being that unlike other armchair intellectuals, he created an organisation that did work fearlessly. And it worked for the local people. Given the prevalent social fabric of Mumbai, the need for such an organisation was & is immense. Now, the question of whether everything done by Shiv Sena is praiseworthy. I don’t think they intended everything to be praiseworthy in the first place. It was in no sense an ideal political party. Could they have done more when they were in power- certainly Yes. But there is no question that they tried – They completed 45 bridges in Mumbai in those 5 years.

I don’t think Balasaheb created the ideal political party. But that wasn’t the goal either. He created a party that did work. And Mumbai critically wanted doers . Mumbai’s socio-economic problems at the ground level are so complex that only those who have lived in Mumbai could care to appreciate them. Mumbai is a city where for every Nariman Point, there is a Kurla ; for every Bandra Kurla Complex, there is a Dharavi ; for every airport, there are stretches of slums surrounding them. To add to this, there are ever increasing migrants. Transportation, traffic are unsolvable problems in Mumbai almost now. Further, Mumbai has been a favorite terrorist target and gets hit with torrential rains every season. Given all of this, an organisation that did work at the ground level is so badly needed. And Balasaheb created that organisation.

So, there you go, this was the reason why 20 Lakh people turned up at the cremation ground that Sunday. Balasaheb and his organisation touched these many lives, and lives of so many more watching on TV. Critics continue to criticise the man, but the fact of the matter is that Balasaheb was himself a doer and he created a party of doers. For creating this organisation and doing work in a city all social activists had given up upon, Balasaheb deserves the respect and affection that he rightfully gets.

Rest in Peace, Balasaheb! 

(Views are author’s own )

(Image: 1)

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Leadership, Marketing, Strategy

What is the missing piece in personal branding?

People have realized that the most important brand they should work on is they themselves. Proliferation of forums,  blogs and social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are a testament to that. People have gone far enough creating sites about themselves or creating videos on YouTube.

So, everything looks complete, what is the missing piece one may ask.

One of my colleagues asked me the same question which prompted me to do some research on this topic. The results of this study might be expected by a few but may be surprising for others.

The first startling fact was that people do not believe on most of the claims people make unless

a) Someone known to them endorses the person
b) Person is endorsed in a media report or article
c) He/she has completed a degree or certification they believe in.

From above the learning is clear and the results depict what changes you need to make.

The next fact which was surprising was reluctance to share personal branding material with others, this was majorly true for people outside media, entertainment and HR fields.

a) People believe that they should not share it with colleagues as it would mean they are looking for a job, which is not necessarily the case
b) The circles are comparatively limited to their area of work.

So, they lose from both ends. These are the people who must realize the need for personal branding more than others.

For a start,  try using brand yourself for knowing how you are doing currently.

Have fun marketing yourself.

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Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Strategy

Opportunity hunting on the Internet

You have heard of so many things that the Internet has been promising to change for more than 15 years now. Whether it is the dream of online quality education, or finding dream job vacancies in Mumbai , or finding out amazing travel hotspots, Internet / companies doing online business has/have always tried to position themselves as ‘cutting edge’. I define this as ‘opportunity hunting’ – in essence Opportunity hunting is finding or discovering exactly what you want online!

Opportunity hunting has evolved –

One indicator of opportunity hunting online is the number of search visits on Google. How you may ask? Since the internet has evolved, there has been the phenomenon called the rise of platforms which unlock opportunities. Right at the start of Internet revolution in 1995, yahoo unlocked the opportunity of finding every important thing or ‘opportunity’ online on one single page. Then as the Internet started expanding and opportunities started getting created all over the place, there was the rise of the search engines, which can now be effectively put as the rise of Google circa 2002. Perhaps Google is the biggest ‘opportunity hunting ground’ on the Internet even now.

primary search engine interest graph

Number of searches of key search terms on Google since 2004

Then, in 2004 something happened. Internet started connecting people – first with the rise of Friendster, then orkut and then finally came Facebook. Facebook was a pioneer in what is called web 2.0 today and it unlocked a lot more and different ‘opportunities’ on the Internet. For one, it created social experiences – Check the Facebook widget on the right side of this page to know what I am talking about. Strat.in becomes a great place to hangout because of the people who read our posts, and that also excites authors to contact us!

Parallel to all of this, there was a rise of Wikipedia which unlocked Internet’s opportunity hunting from a knowledge perspective. Who would have imagined that the world’s most diverse encyclopaedia created is by a non-profit organisation? Or that Internet would crash the glass ceiling of knowledge which was till now reserved only for the privileged few who could attend universities? Similar examples of opportunity hunting include other such big platforms!

Right, so there are these opportunity hunting destinations – so how can you leverage them for your benefit ? Thats the moot question, isn’t it?

Here are my tips for opportunity hunting on the Internet

1. At least have a faint idea what you are looking for – That always helps! Even if you are looking for a date or an opportunity to work on a research paper with a professor from a top school in the world – knowing what you want always helps!

2. Start with Google & check out review sites – Typically, on the social web today, there are amazing review sites. Right from imdb or rottentomatoes for movies, to several book review / shopping sites for books – there are amazing ‘opportunities’ that have already been uncovered by people! Do not reinvent the wheel for opportunities such as these – to save time and even money!

3. Do not get overwhelmed with choices – Many a times, people get overwhelmed with choices. When you log on to a job site, do use filters well enough so that you can narrow down to a decent number of filters . Avoiding this situation helps when it comes to opportunity hunting!

4. If an opportunity is good enough, act on it – Indecision or not taking a decision is also a decision, remember that. Like in real life, opportunities do not knock everyday. If there is an opportunity you feel should be taken, then go for it! All great men/women have necessarily taken opportunities which others before them spurned !

What are your tips on opportunity hunting? Let us know in the comments section!

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Leadership

Meet renowned Indian Cartoonists – Event Note

It is said, and quite rightly so that its easier to make people cry than to make them laugh. One job then which would be completely unenviable would be that of a cartoonist, who have taken upon themselves to make people laugh week on week. One such cartoonist and an avid Strat.in reader is Shreyas Navare. Apart from his day job, he is a famous cartoonist who runs Dabs and Jabs on Hindustan times for more than four years now! This exhibition at the Nehru Center is a show case of his original sketches, and whats more, many of these sketches will also go on Sale at the exhibition . This is your chance to meet R K Laxman, Rana Kapoor ( MD of Yes Bank ) and Ad guru Alyque Padamsee. So, do make it a point to visit the Nehru Center, Worli, Mumbai between 20 to 26 November! Here is the event invite to all Strat.in Readers ( also below the post ) –

Especially when you are a political / current affairs cartoonist, you have to be able to put your thoughts almost instantly into your cartoon strip for impact. Here are three leadership lessons one can learn from cartoonists

1. Timeliness – The cartoons have to strike you when the topic is hot or much discussed.

2. Wit – Wit is an essential ingredient of Cartoons. Perhaps the oldest proponent of witty cartoons is the team of cartoonists from Amul . Posting two examples of wit over here.

 

3. An all rounder of repute – A cartoonist has to necessarily be well versed in so many aspects of life. A good sketcher, with an artist’s eye for detail, with excellent current affairs knowhow and an inborn knack for humour is an unusual combination indeed!

 

Event Invite –

Would you like to hear about unique events happening in your neighborhood on Strat.in ? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook Page ( See link on the right side )

 

 

 

Sources – 1 2 3

 

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Business, Leadership

Marissa Meyer can have it all!

Marissa Meyer’s helping prove you can have a successful career and family life at the same time. Mayer  disclosed her pregnancy to Yahoo when its headhunters contacted her about the CEO position. No one on the board expressed an issue with that. She even resumed work within a few days after delivery.

So what are the characteristics the tech leader Marissa Meyer?

Smartness: Marissa Mayer was always smart. She was accepted into every college she applied to — about 10 schools.Mayer finally did her Masters in Computer Science from Stanford.After Stanford, she had 14 offers to choose from. She chose an offer from Google and was Google’s 20th employee.

Passion for her job: Meyer is extremely passionate about her job. At Google she would work from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm. After gymming, she would answer emails till 11 pm. She was totally excited about the potential of technology and her products to change people’s lives.

Persuasive speaker: Mayer is an exceptional storyteller and presenter. Mayer believes pictures are more persuasive than bullet points. Mayer doesn’t deliver presentations. Her slides just complement her storytelling.

Great  motivator:  Mayer isn’t just a good listener. She actively invites her employees to help build the brand. Mayer used to hold office hours at Google where employees would get few minutes of her time.  These interactions were apart from the regularly scheduled  meetings. They were a great way to discuss new ideas. Many of Google’s most popular features got their start during office hours.

 

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