Business, Sports, Strategy

Indian Super League – Digital Media Review

What is the Indian Super League –

The Indian Super League is touted as India’s Answer to EPL – English Premier League – which is perhaps among the most popular football league at a global level, at least that’s the perception in India. The League consists of 8 teams from Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Northeast, Chennai, Goa and Kerala. The league is co-owned by Reliance, IMG and Starsports. For other details on the league visit the Wiki Page.

Why is the league different –

The league is different from other tournaments since it does not use a Relegation / Promotion system but instead uses a Franchisee system on the lines of the famous Indian Premier League. The thought is that this works in the long run since the franchisees get time to establish themselves as brands. The trouble with this is that new talent from a local state cannot really come up and rise through the ranks. This could happen over the years due to politics etc, but I guess for the initial years this format works best for the organisers, sponsors and players, and effectively for the audiences as well.

The Indian Super League Website Review – 8.5/10

How does the Website Look:

On first glance, the website is fabulous. Works well on both the web and mobile. The URL indiansuperleague.com is slightly long, but I guess thats unavoidable, from a branding perspective. The mobile site on both iPhone and Android gives us a notification to download the app which is a fabulous strategy. Nothing better than an App to drive engagement.

The website of the India Super League

The website of the India Super League

What works – The HomePage – 10/10

The HomePage presents an easily readable view of the latest match. The matchcentre is a good place to track the match from web / tablet or mobile – View Mobile Site here. Thankfully there isn’t too much happening on the
page, but that could also be attributed to the fact that there is only one match happening at any point of time in the Indian Super League.

What doesn’t work – No / Little opinions

What really struck me was a complete absence of opinions. While I grant that the fan clubs etc would happen over a longish time period, there is just a total absence of opinions, of views, of debates.. Would love to see player perspectives, post match interviews etc displayed at a match centre level.

The Indian Super League Twitter Page review – 9/10

The twitter page has created quite a buzz with an array of celebrities tweeting tirelessly(?) throughout the league. It definitely helps to have big names like Sachin, Kohli, Dhoni, Amitabh, Hrithik etc on board, but still, the efforts put on twitter are quite impressive, and would yield a long term result very much in favor of the Indian Super League. The Page tweets real time photos of celebrities, players, goals and retweets individual club account tweets for added fizz and views.

What works for the Indian Super League twitter Page –

The activity and buzz has ensured that Indian Super league already entered the top 10 trending topics on twitter multiple times. Particularly impressive was the opening day, when ISL was trending almost for 48 hrs non stop. A lot of celebrities are live tweeting during matches and half time as well, and this definitely helps with fan interest. Now, for the tough part, can this Indian Super League create stars out of players, especially the Indian Players? Remember, the celebrities etc do help the IPL, but IPL is IPL because of the quality of competition. Can India produce a crop of players that can actually take the field by storm? This would definitely influence the league in a big way!

What doesn’t work –

No Fan retweets – I am sure fan retweets and views would rock on this page as well. While this is a double edged sword, but still, that really influences discussions and connect with the league.

Contests lack buzz and lack of daily involvement -Why not try giving away tickets at venues? That should really get a lot of fans hooked on to the page.

Twitter account of India Super League

Twitter account of India Super League


The Indian Super League Facebook Page Review – 8.5/10

The Indian Super League Facebook page really got off to a rousing start by crossing a million Likes in the first week itself. While that certainly was a sight to behold, the momentum has slightly eased off in the following week , which can be seen in the trends below. Currently, the ISL Facebook Page stands at nearly 11 Lakh Likes, but there certainly is room for lot more, especially as the league reaches its final stages in December.

What works for the ISL Facebook Page:

There is some real engaging commentary going on with a lot of user participation. The viewers are expressing their views freely. Whats important is that ISL is taking even criticism into its stride, particularly the criticism about not including Bangalore or on the lack of a relegation/ promotion system.

What doesn’t work for the Indian Super League Facebook Page:

It could be very interesting if the ISL actually starts responding to user queries, that would really help with interactivity and ensure that viewer voices don’t go unheard.

What is your opinion?

Write about your views below. Can ISL become a long term crowd puller and make India a Footballing nation? Let us know!

India Super League - Facebook Fan Page Stats

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Business, Entrepreneurship, Technology, Web

Housing.co.in – RightMove for India!


housing
Having witnessed the success of RightMove in the UK, I always wondered why there wasn’t an Indian Counterpart for it. Seeing Housing.Co.In yesterday answered that question 🙂

Housing.Co.In enters the tricky domain of Indian Real Estate! A market with innumerable dealers – who in many ways survive on the fact that market is not transparent and illiquid. Want an apartment to rent in a new city? Get ready to deal with thousands of agents, no certainty who is the landlord, no knowledge whether you are overpaying or not – absolutely no information. Want to rent out your apartment? Again get ready to deal with many many agents, always demand a big housing deposit, ask neighbours how much are they charging! In the digital age where the entire city maps are online thanks to Google – how can this still be the case?

  • Housing.Co.In provides a great layout which simplifies these things.Choose your location, Rent, Buy or Sell, Enter desired location and instant results on a map! Prices, Pictures, Reviews, Commute, Neighbourhood – basically everything you want to see before actually going to see the property.
  • Transparency: Specially in the Indian Real Estate Sector where the market is always higher when you want to buy and always lower when you want to sell! Its a boon for everyone! Initially property agents might not like it but I believe in the long run it is beneficial for them as well – as with transparency we will get more transactions!
  • Ease of moving: Going to a new city? Switching jobs? The main question becomes housing! Sir par chat to honi chahiyen na mere bhai …. hopefully this solves such issues
  • Information: Many such property websites have now started publishing market reports and market status – giving more information to users, government, industry and so on. The information advantage is also huge.

Do try it out. The number of cities are 9 for now but they cover most metros. Pretty good effort and will be interesting to watch its growth from now on …

 

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Business, Marketing, Technology

The Smartphone Commoditization era

Yesterday, I was watching one of those typically bollywood movies – Phata Poster Nikla Hero. Why – well, funny as it may sound, I like the senseless dance, plot, storyline etc once in a while. However, while doing so, I noticed a very curious thing – everyone in that theater had a smartphone and all of them looked absolutely similar. This happened with me in the local train compartment, at the bookstore, at the Ganpati festival line everywhere. That made me wonder – are Smartphones getting commoditized – so much so that Smartphones are now classified as FMEG ( Fast Moving Electronic Goods!) ?

Smartphones now getting commonplace in India

Smartphones now getting commonplace in India

With Android getting increasingly dominant in the ecosystem, and so many players jumping on to the Android bandwagon there is a definite possibility that smartphones will become the de facto standard of the mobile world. Just counting the number of companies with at least one Android 4.2+ model launched successfully in India gives you a staggering number – 15! – Samsung, LG, Micromax, BenQ, Karbonn, Sony, HTC, Intex, Xolo, Spice, iBerry, Videocon, Huawei, Gionee, Lava and many more if you dig deeper! Also note that all of these companies have multiple models at various price points. On a related note – The lion’s share of the profits on Android phones globally have been made by one company though – Samsung. However, smartphone commoditization presents a different set of challenges. I try to name a few here –

1. Early adopter disenchantment – From the day when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in June 2007, there has been a cult of early adopters – to smartphones, to tablets, to app stores and to ecosystems. Commoditization leads to disenchantment among early adopters. These early adopters will now find some other pasture to buy their technological marvels.

2. Eroding margins – If everyone is selling basically the same product, the only way to compete becomes price. Unless there is massive cartelization, prices are bound to come down, even if Moore’s law is applied to smartphones. While this is good for consumers, I doubt if the mobile industry can take such a situation. The raw material cost etc is high and increasingly, quality cannot be compromised in front of a consumer who is getting more technology savvy by the day.

3. Power of alliances and marketing grows – In such a situation, the carriers will become increasingly powerful and career bundling may again come into the picture for India. With the smartphones increasingly getting commoditized, alliances on the carrier side, retailer side, marketing side, mass media side and distribution side will become vital to stay afloat for these firms.

4. Consolidation – While some of these firms have enjoyed tremendous profits and have deep pockets – unless they diversify, there is a definite possibility of consolidation happening in the Device manufacturer industry. Similar consolidation has already been happening in the app manufacturer industry, gaming industry, e-commerce industry and I don’t see why this industry won’t see consolidation in the near future.

What is your opinion – Is Smartphone commoditization really going to happen? Let us know in the comments section! ( Image – 1)

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Graph about falling crime rates
Technology

Web security in an increasingly wireless world

Here is what happened over the last 4 days –

  • Thursday – An unknown developer hacks into Apple Developer website 
  • Saturday –  Apple detects the problem late Saturday
  • Sunday –     Apple pulls its developer website offline
  • Monday –   Apple developer website is still offline.

That this comes in the wake of this article on the Economist cover page – which emphatically states that Crime rates have fallen is an indictment on the nature of our times . To quote –

Graph about falling crime rates

Graph about falling crime rates

Demographic trends are an obvious factor. The baby-boom in the decades after the second world war created a bubble in the 16- to 24-year-old population a couple of decades later, and most crimes are committed by men of that age. That bubble is now long deflated. In most Western countries, the population is ageing, often quite fast.

Clearly, the Economist does not take into account the fact that a lot of these 16 to 24 year olds are now expert hackers and are trying out new ways to find entry doors into secure websites . Today the incentive for a hacker to hack successfully into websites is enormous. Today’s ‘power’ isn’t cash nor is it forging signs. Today’s power is data, information, Credit card numbers and passwords. The site you are reading this piece on was itself grappling some hacking attacks over the past 6 months which meant that authors could write less on a blog thats close to five years old.

My hypothesis is that today, with so many things going online, it is also getting harder to detect crimes. Someone illegally swipes your credit card in Scotland ( for example ) – and you come to know about it only 2 weeks later – how can one prevent such an eventuality? Or how can one be aware of external environments when getting cash out of ATMs ? These are questions of 2013 which are relevant from an information security perspective.

So, what can web users as alert citizens do in the wake of such attacks? I suggest three simple tricks –

1. Be watchful – especially with things like Credit cards – do not make credit card information visible in public, even in ATMs. Cover the card and swipe it carefully even at an ATM

2. Passwords and 3DS/VBV – In India, there is an extra layer of security when it comes to swiping Credit / Debit cards online. This is a very nice feature from a security perspective for the consumer ( while it causes heartaches for the vendors though 🙂 ) . Do make sure that you sign in to your Bank for the 3DS program. Also, basic hygiene rules about passwords are a must.

3. Chargeback – If in case you stay outside India, and your credit card got swiped online, there is a consumer protection tool that can help you. It is called a chargeback. The customer has to claim the same with his bank and the bank would reverse the impact of the transaction , thereby charging the merchant a refund amount at its end. This transaction is called a Credit card charge back. To quote  –

The chargeback mechanism exists primarily for consumer protection. Holders of credit cards issued in the United States are afforded reversal rights by Regulation Z of the Truth in Lending Act. United States debit card holders are guaranteed reversal rights by Regulation E of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. Similar rights extend globally, pursuant to the rules established by the corresponding card association or bank network.

Do you have any other interesting ways in which web security can be observed? Let us know here.

Image – Economist

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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

download1

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

images2

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

download3

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

download4

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

download5

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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Can India set a scorching pace of growth
Finance

India’s Growth Potential – A macroeconomic perspective

If there is one word the world can’t get enough of – it is Growth! Growth is the amazing factor in financial equations which makes companies stocks go crazy and countries future look crazy. Ofcourse this is particularly true for India which along with China has led the world growth in the past few years.

Can India set a scorching pace of growth

Can India set a scorching pace of growth

India is such a big and massive country that dividing its growth into sectors is not an easy task. Still the Ministry of External Affairs has given us numbers for various sectors (http://indiainbusiness.nic.in/economy/economic_snapshot.htm)

India grew by 6.9% during 2011-12, which is lower compared to 8.4% growth achieved during 2010-11 but is still pretty good (Data from GoI). The chart from World Bank shows slightly different figures but the theme is still the same. Indian population is growing by 1.4% during the same period. To keep things simple I would adjust the growth down by 1.4% to account for this population growth.

Its also interesting to note from the website that “growth rates of over 8 per cent in the sectors of electricity, gas and water supply, trade , hotels , transport and communication, and financing, insurance, real estate and business services. MOSPI expects slow growth in the sectors of agriculture, forestry and fishing (2.5 per cent) , manufacturing (3.9 per cent) and construction (4.8 per cent). The growth in the mining and quarrying sector is estimated to be negative (-2.2 per cent).” And here lies the reason why the world is betting on India for the next growth wave for the world! Over 8% growth rate in the sectors where consumers are in the driving seat! Indian consumer is coming out and demanding there share from the world and that is going to have a multiplying effect on the economy.

What is needed right now?

Good policies to help manufacturing compete with the rest of the world and be able to provide the goods to the Indian consumer. India does not want to become just an importer of goods but wants to make goods for their own consumers.

Emphasis on Construction and Infrastructure: The growth rate of construction and infrastructure need to rapidly increase in India to make up for the past decades and provide way forward. This will not be easy but its success is going to determine the next few decades for India. India has an advantage here but is not realising it. Many countries in EU and China have already developed their infrastructure, driven their growth numbers by infrastructure spending and are now trying to push their consumers to use this infrastructure and consumer to lead the next cycle of growth in the economy. In India we are seeing the opposite trend where the consumer wants to consume but is hampered by the infrastructure and here lies the opportunity. As we get the infrastructure ready it will contribute to the GDP numbers but the consumption it leads to will create a multiplicative effect on GDP.

Will it happen or not? We will see in 10 years! If you have any comments then do share below.

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Ecosystem rankings 2012
Marketing

Silicon Valley in India- Possible reality or Marketing pipe dream?

Silicon Valley is perhaps the world’s greatest startup ecosystem which the entire world is trying to emulate. The efforts of the countries are mapped in this fabulous Startup Ecosystem map –

 

Ecosystem rankings 2012

According to the Startup Ecosystem map, Bangalore is listed on the 19th position from among the 20 cities under consideration.

This begs the question to be asked – How is India doing on the front of the Startup ecosystem building? Not very well on any Global metric apparently.

Here are three big reasons why India very badly needs a Startup Ecosystem –

1. Massive educated workforce churned out by Universities – Every year we see such huge numbers among the work force churned out by Indian colleges – not only engineering but science, commerce etc

2. Relatively larger uncertainties for bigger companies – Given the retrenchment going on in many sectors, it won’t be wrong to say that Startups will provide employment to a larger audience than before.

3. Exciting opportunities with potentially larger impact – At a startup, there would be a greater opportunity to create an impact as compared to a smaller company.

Given this, is India missing a huge marketing opportunity by NOT making a city like Bangalore or Pune a Startup Hub?

I certainly think so. Given the huge fillip that IT has given to Bangalore or Pune or Gurgaon or Hyderabad – local Governments should be literally jumping at the opportunity at creating a startup ecosystem. It has the potential to attract the best talent from the globe to that city and more importantly is a better way to collect sustainable and ever growing revenue. Look at the model that the state of California built for itself with the Silicon Valley. While it is true that the state was blessed to have minds like Steve Jobs and Sergey Brin, the fact is the California and US Government also played a small but important part in the Silicon Valley development.

Look at Tel Aviv – In 2009, Israel had more IPOs on the NASDAQ than China , India and Russia combined. Thats a telling statistic. If Israel can do it, so can a focussed approach from a country like India, with the abundance of talented people .

To Quote the article –

Highly advanced ecosystem and bustling with tech companies

– In 2009, 63 Israeli companies were listed on the tech-orientated NASDAQ – more than from Europe, Japan, Korea, India, and China combined

– Almost every major tech company today has some kind of subsidiary in Israel: Intel, Microsoft, Google and Cisco etc.

– 39% of Israeli high-tech employees work in the R&D departments of multinational companies

  • Closing fast on Silicon Valley due to risk-taking nature

Given all of this, it may seem as if India has already fallen behind . What is the best foot forward to build a Silicon Valley in India? Have any opinions? Let us know!

Source for diagrams and quotes: Telefonica digital

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Finance

Why is the US expensive as compared to India?

Ever wondered why a simple haircut in India costs much less as compared to the US? Or why nannies can be really expensive in US as compared to India?But a laptop costs almost the same in India and the US. Why this difference exists? Why are prices of some goods and services the same whereas they vary widely in case of others?

The reason for this can be explained by what economists term as the “Balassa Samuelson effect”. The Balassa Samuelson effect captures the relationship between real exchange rate and productivity.It states:

  • The traded good has the same price in both countries
  • Productivity in traded goods determines wages
  • Wages determine the prices of nontraded goods

Lets understand it in simple words:

The reason why the prices of some goods like laptop don’t vary is because if they vary, it would create opportunities for arbitrage. If you bought a laptop in India for $1,000 and sold it in US for $1,500; then eventually price in India will be raised to $1,500.Laptop is a traded good and hence its price does not vary much across countries.

But services like haircuts are not tradable. You won’t fly from US to India just because a haircut is cheap. Similar you cannot hire an India nanny to look after US kids. So for non –tradable services like salons, restaurants , baby sitting there is a local market. In case of US, the incomes are high and people can afford to pay more. So the price levels for these services are high in US. But how are incomes determined? Balassa-Samuelson effect states that productivity in traded goods determines wages. For countries with higher worker productivity, they can trade their goods abroad and hence get richer. Prices can also vary within a country. A haircut may cost more in places where rentals are high versus the place where rentals are low. This is because land is a key non tradeable good and prices of land vary widely across the country based on supply and demand.

Apart from Balassa Samuelson effect , price levels are also determined by exchange rate.  For countries who try to depreciate their currencies to make exports attractive, the services are cheaper than they would be without the depreciation. A classic example of this case is China.

If we had to boil all this — Balassa-Samuelson effect, exchange rate down to a simple statement: it might be this: All things equal, prices rise fastest in the places where rich, talented people want to be.

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men-women-salary-comparison
Human Resources, Public Issues

Do Women earn less than men in India ?

According to many recent surveys, it was found that Women in India earn upto 26-30% lower than men on average. However, is the comparison done in the right setting? Is the comparison a fair assessment of the roles, responsibilities etc which are assigned or taken up by men/women at their respective roles? Strat.in delves deeper into this issue. Check this video about this issue in the US context –

According to the Professor, women earn lower than men because of factors such as

(a) Career choices they make ( prefering humanities, arts over science )

(b) Full time v/s Part time work

(c) Men are more career focussed and make lateral moves within the industry in the hunt of a better pay package

In India there is more to this -There are significant cultural differences about how Men and Women approach their careers. From the family, there is constant pressure on men to get into the market and find a better living for their family. Women face such pressures less often. In a significant percentage of families in India, women are discouraged to continue work post marriage. This is something that still continues in a majority of Indian cities as well, that too Metro /Tier 1 cities.

So, clearly comparing median wages is not the right approach in these matters. What is perhaps a better approach is to go in a Geography/Industry/Vertical approach and find out the salaries for those particular levels. Perhaps that maybe a better approach to throw more light on this sensitive, yet controversial issue.

Is there Salary based discrimination? Looking at factors such as skill levels etc, particularly in the IT companies, cases of salary discrimination are low, if not non existent. There may be stray cases, but colleagues in the HR departments would be in a better position to comment about this.

Salary is not equal to Productivity – Further, there is one big component that everyone misses out – Salary levels and ‘Productivity levels’ are different. By Productivity levels, one measures how productive a man or a woman is to a house. Women take up significantly larger percentage of responsibilities towards household work, cleanliness, kids, kitchen etc. All this, if were measured in parallel to salary in monetary terms, perhaps the median value that women bring to the household may grow higher than men. There is a case in point for a research to be done about this, related to Indians.

What is your view on this? Is this kind of  ‘salary’ only comparison a fair way to compare in the corporate workplace? Let us know your views!

(Note that this is a controversial issue, and hence, opinions are individual and should be respected as such. Undue dismissive/abusive/derogatory comments directed at individuals will be deleted )

 

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compare-top-smartphone-OS-marketshares
Technology

Smartphone marketshare 2012 trends – Spotlight India

 

 

Looking at the chart tells you how differently the US and Chinese marketshares have evolved for Smartphone OSes in 2012. Where do you think will India evolve? As on date, just like Symbian is absent in US and BB in China, it looks like the iOS is a marginal player in India right now, with little marketshare to show for itself. Android seems to be a fast gainer while Blackberry still promises to be a key player here. Nokia with its new smartphone OSes can upset quite a few apple carts with its need and intricate distribution networks.

Calling all smartphone OS observers, share your opinions about how the Indian smartphone user is behaving in this market as on date!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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