Friday, July 24, 2009

Unexpected side-effects of the recession

Consistent , high quality service is a smart strategy in good times and bad. Service however is a subset of the organization's values and culture . As they say in Ayurveda - you can't treat a part without addressing the whole.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New shop window

The new shop window - (3G) Mobile phones, the high-end online fashion retailer, persuaded shoppers to buy couture dresses and shoes on the Web. Now, it is betting they will buy luxury goods from their cellphones.

This week, released its iPhone application, the Net-App. Shoppers can browse new handbags, clothes and shoes; read the weekly fashion stories that editors publish on the Web site; and make purchases.

One-fifth of’s customers have an iPhone or iPod Touch, Ms. Loehnis said. “Our customers love to shop from their homes or offices, but we want our customers to be able to shop from a cab or while waiting in line and really maximize what little free time they have.”

Not sure how much fun it will be to buy 1000 $ shoes through the mobile . Would be certainly handy to manage purchase of essential goods and services through the mobile in the hours otherwise lost in commuting (in Mumbai ).

Whatever form it takes - the new shop window is here to stay.

Versatile clothing

Visited the website of one of my all time favorite companies - Patagonia - a US based retailer focused on apparel and accessories for outdoor clothing. Patagonia is a role model in various aspects of business - from their ideology , culture , environment focus , product design.

It's fascinating to see Patagonia's customer reviews on products . Clearly the customers love the products and feel part of a community .

Versatile clothing is consumer friendly and environment friendly . It if it fits well and looks great - it deserves an Oscar. Who would have imagined that a dress from an outdoor gear company could be worn to a meeting or a wedding as much on a hike or a vacation. Clearly borders (between clothing categories) are fast disappearing. One hopes that such versatile apparel will be available in Indian retail soon. Here we are still in the dark ages in terms of quality , easy to maintain western wear for women !

Monday, July 20, 2009

Caminho das ├Źndias

Indian style soap operas have a new audience - half way across the world in Brazil ! Fact is stranger than fiction . And this is really strange fiction.

Caminho das Indias (Portuguese for 'India's way') is a popular soap opera in Brazil that has viewers glued to television sets .

Watch part of an episode here . Quite amazing and hilarious to see Ekta Kapoor type settings being enacted in Portuguese .

The serial has done (for India ) for successive Indian governments , dept of Tourism , business have not so far - generated a wide spread interest about India among Brazilians .People now use words like achha, theek hai and Bhagwan ke liye (for God’s sake) as common slang,” said B.S. Prakash, India’s ambassador to Brazil who’s been inundated with emails from curious Brazilians.

Caminho’s success is affecting everything and everyone Indian in Brazil.

“Before the show, only people interested in yoga knew about India. Now, we have many more diners coming in. And everyone wants to drink chai,” said Madhava Lila Deva Dasi, who owns a restaurant called Gopala Madhava in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city with 11.1 million people. “Suddenly, Indian costumes and jewellery have become very fashionable.”

Maybe the next Caminho das Indias will be made in China :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The road stops here...

California state is struggling with fiscal problems and looking at some tough measures to cut down government spending .

Hard to imagine a politician in India saying 'the road stops here'.  Here the origin of a problem is always due to the opposition party or some external event / entity.

Irrespective of what Mr Schwarzenneger does to resolve the crisis and the extent to which he is able to resolve the problem - it is heartening to see him taking accountability to resolve the crisis.

'The road stops here ' applicable to individual 'crisis' situations too :)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

My network

This is not me . It is however the network I use. 

This is the latest series of ads by Loop mobile . The point of which escapes me entirely.

Maybe this is the latest concept in advertising. Create ads that can't be comprehended . That way customers wonder what it was about / post it on their blogs etc . The purpose of recall is achieved.

(if this ad was modified to show a mobile tower and 'my network' written very near the image I would have agreed wholeheartedly . It would accurately reflect the range of 'my network' . All the folks who have trouble reaching me on my Loop mobile now you know why..) 

Post script - a net search revealed that the idea of the ad is that the network follows you wherever you go. If so , then the ad is off on 2 accounts -
- the point of the network coverage does not come across (clearly). The Vodafone ads made the point re network clearly and in an engaging way with the pug .
- As a Loop mobile user for the past 9 years I can attest to the fact that the network has always been and continues to be erratic . It would do Loop mobile customers a world of good if Loop mobile diverted some of their ad budget into improving the infrastructure and the network experience. 

A fine balance in Kutch

Interesting insights by Rohini Nilekani
....Meanwhile, in Kutch, the work continues. Using new technologies and approaches, people are innovating beyond earlier models to create a sustainable water infrastructure. Solar pumps have been installed in some places to compensate for the irregular supply of electricity. New kinds of percolation tanks are being built, new designs tried out for storage and distribution. Local people are being trained in operations and maintenance. Many NGOs are involved in this huge capacity- building exercise. It seems to be yielding social dividends. Quite unusually, in the Kutch villages of Haripar and Karamta, we met strong women leaders who were at the forefront of the discussion, with the men sitting quietly in the back rows. But it will take the strength of the whole village to accomplish the mission they have set for themselves. It is no mean task to convince people all over again to live within their ecological limits.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Future me

Through Futureme you can write a letter (email ) to yourself , pick the future date for the email to be sent to yourself. Reverse of 'Letters to my younger self' . 

Interesting to see that the past , present and future self is acknowledged as being different persons. 

Now , write a letter to your present self :)

There's no toilet paper...

...on the road less travelled.

Hilarious book on travel (mis)adventures by various writers. Delightfully funny (the parts I've read so far). The striking bit about the tales is that the events by themselves are not unique . The perspective of the writers and their ability to find humor is. It's the book equivalent of listening to funny tales by someone with a poker face.

The delightful and therapeutic benefits of humor are undeniable . Find , create and share humor.