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Showing posts from December, 2009

The Hope for next Year

Globally, its been the year of the marketer. Its been a year where perceptions have dictated realities. Thankfully, as we end the year, the 'real' reality is breaking through and so I end it with a sigh of relief.Barack Obama became president purely on perceptions. Built by marketing magic. As a product he was carefully crafted, and then positioned as a saviour. An adoring liberal populace lapped him up, lock, stock, and barrel. Global Warming is the other fraud that's been perpetrated successfully around the globe. Led by the liberal Mr. Warmist, Al Gore. The marketing juggernaut that took this canard around the world's been so potent, it almost had everyone fall for it, even buy into it .The concept of Universal health care (or Universal anything) comes next in the line of fraudulent propaganda. The Barackian world that's built on universal happiness is one that's, unlike Global Warming, beginning its journey. Add to it the belief that, inherently there isn&#…

Know One, you've known All

'I know what I want, but I won’t tell you. I listen to my parents and then try and do my own thing. I think God is great but Google is greater. My friends are everything. Hanging out with them is therapy . It’s prayer for our teenage souls. I get about 4000 rupees per month as pocket money. But that’s not enough. My curfew at home is 10.30 pm. I could do with some more time. I don’t lie to my parents. But I just hide the truth. My studies and career are important to me. I hate it when teachers don’t give me full marks even though all my answers are right. They are so idealistic, just like my parents. If I get pissed off with my friends or parents, I just give them the silent treatment. It’s better than going on a hunger strike. (That’s what my parents do!) I love my music, it is oxygen. I carry it everywhere I go. I also like my parents music. I love old hindi music. Of course I think about issues like the environment, recession and 26/11. But I don’t know what to do. What should …

Weber teaches me a lesson

Alphy thinks I am a master at the stove. She relishes the dishes I make. The other day it was my deft hands working on a roast dish that turned out near perfect. But then I let it get to me. I make it again the next day, and though Alphy likes it, she isn't as impressed as the day before. I am chastened and I've learnt my lesson.Weber taught me the lesson. Let me now share it with you. Weber's Law states that the ratio of the increment threshold to the background intensity is a constant. So when you are in a noisy environment you must shout to be heard while a whisper works in a quiet room. And when you measure increment thresholds on various intensity backgrounds, the thresholds increase in proportion to the background.The Roast on the first day set a threshold to Alphy's taste buds. Which was pretty high, I must say. After all, don't I have magic on my hands? The sad part is, that was the reason to my downfall. For the next day's roast to garner praise it had…

Why Worldspace is exiting the World

WorldSpace radio is shutting down. I am not surprised. I had predicted this some time ago. Now that the service is folding up, its time to analyse what went wrong, why the business model didn't work.

The reasons are straightforward. If the mass listener was the apparent target segment, the value proposition just didn't cut ice with him. Because he doesn't want to pay (he has access to free FM) and thejustification of variety for the price charged isn't agreeable to him. 'Variety at a price' contravenes the 80-20 principle. 80 percent of listeners tune into 20 percent of music going around. Its the same old movie music that they want, and listen to. Not classical, not jazz. Not instrumental. FM gave listeners exactly that, sans a price.

Now if the niche listener is target segment, the business model isn't financially viable. Inflows from subscriptions isn't be enough to keep operations afloat. Which means other streams of revenue have to be explored. Radio…

Sin Taxes shield the Sinner

Its often that I hear people berate products and services for the state they find themselves in. Obesity, for example is blamed on junk food. Never on the fact that people who gorge on it aren't responsible enough to stop. Its always something other than the person in question that's at fault. And so what's the solution society comes up with? Tax Fast food. Such taxes are what's known as Sin tax.

Taiwan's now leading the way in imposing sin taxes. Its planning the world's first tax on junk food in a bid to encourage the public to eat healthily and cut obesity rates. The Bureau of Health Promotion is drafting a bill to levy the special tax on food deemed unhealthy, such as sugary drinks, candy, cakes, fast food and alcohol. Revenue from the tax would finance groups promoting health awareness or subsidise the island's cash-strapped national health insurance programme.

In other words, tax the producer to protect the junkie. Note the product in question is perfec…

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Social Justice

'This country was founded and then fostered by people who valued liberty highly: immigrant generations and their immediate children. As time has passed, Americans have become more removed from that overwhelming concern. The majority of earlier generations (or their parents) had direct personal experience of what lack of liberty felt like, and therefore were willing to defend liberty at almost any cost.

Perhaps too many Americans today have grown accustomed to the blessings of liberty, and do not feel it to be threatened. Perhaps there is no way to transmit that original fierce love of liberty to succeeding generations who have not personally felt the pain of its absence. Such Americans appear very susceptible to the idea that a vast country such as ours has the moral responsibility to guarantee health care to all its citizens as an additional inalienable right — whether they can pay or not, whether the country as a whole can afford it or not, whether it will cause substandard care …

Be Afraid. Very Afraid!

Its isn't as much the act as its aftermath. Being on a plane that has a passenger trying to blow it up is downright scary. But then the scare's limited to who's on board. The aftermath on the other hand sends shivers down all probable fliers of the future. They will have their hearts in their mouth when they fly. Because the memory of an attempted blow-up will be fresh in their minds. In behavioural terms this is called the Recency effect.

My gut tells me, post this attempted blow-up incident, airline traffic's bound to suffer. Anxiety levels amongst fliers will surely be high.

Another fall out to this incident will on the Obama image. Already portrayed as weak on terror, this incident will only go to further that image. After all, the great O has on cards such asinine acts such as the close of Gitmo and the circus trial of terrorists in New York. Add to that the appeasementofrogue states, and the O weakling image is complete.

But what should be truly frightening is the f…

Merry Christmas!

Jesus the Socialist

'Jesus of Nazareth was not a symbol. Neither was He just a good teacher as some who do not fully accept His teachings about Himself like to claim. As Paul the Apostle put it, "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners -- of whom I am the worst." (1Timothy 1:15)

The call of Scripture is to do for other people, as we would like to have done unto us, but that call is personal, not corporate. That's because only people can be compassionate. A government check too often brings dependence and a sense of entitlement. A personal touch builds relationships horizontally with others and vertically with God. ...

Anyone young enough to have living grandparents or great-grandparents should take a few minutes this Christmas to ask them what life was like when they were growing up. How many presents did they receive? Unless they came from wealthy families, they didn't get much by today's standards and they wer…

Soul Brands

Watching the movie 'Miracles' for maybe the third or fourth time, I realise how I never tire of seeing such movies over and over again. In fact, the other day I watched 'The Count of Monte Cristo' again. I've done this in the past with movies like 'Remember the Titans' and 'Shawshank Redemption'. I realise I do this because these movies connect at an emotional level. Maybe 'emotional' is not the right word. Such movies connect at a 'soul' level. The triumph of the Human Spirit that comes through such movies connects at a 'soul' level.

I wonder if brands can ever do that? Surely brands can and do evoke emotions, but can they connect at a 'soul' level? Such connects are ones that 'move' you. Takes you back to the entity in question over and over again.

Soul Brands are those that connect at a deep level. They sear into our psyches. My gut tells me if this were possible it would be more for service brands than produ…

'Please do not sell'

'And yet who can deny that while our media has much to be proud of, there is increasing public disenchantment, not just with its slant, shrillness, sermonising and sensationalism, but with its core value, namely integrity. It is hardly a secret that the media is capable of misjudgement and laziness. However, what the aam aadmi seldom doubts is the “news” it transmits. That trust, alas, is breaking down.

I am not referring to the blurring of news and opinion, which itself violates the time-honoured principle: News is sacred, comment is free. However, even when news and comment are mixed up, it is possible for the alert consumer to separate the two. At any rate, even in the most advanced of democracies, the media does carry ideological/party bias, which is reflected not in the editorial pages, but in the news columns. That practice, however deplorable, a free press can live with. ...

I am not unmindful of the difficult times the media industry is going through. The market is too crowd…

Judge not. Possible?

The other day a discussion on TV about prying into celebrity private lives had Gul Panag defend Tiger Woods and the scrutiny he was facing in the media. Her take started with a treatise on the game of golf, about how many people didn't really understand the game, and the finesse required to play it. Tiger, according to her, is the greatest golfer ever and her admiration she said stemmed from his play. About Tiger being judged, she said it wasn't anyone's business.I am amused. Really, Gul, the fact that people rarely understand Golf elevates it to the status of fine art? Tell you what, it requires the masses not to engage, to elevate anything to a status of high rank. Don't you agree?I am irritated too.At the condescending nature of the discourse. We need the hoighty-toighty's of the world to remind us our lack of class. Because, guess what, we don't play golf. Or maybe because we've never nibbled on a canape'. Or nursed a glass of sour tasting vintage w…

Who wants to save the planet?

TERI honcho Rajendra Pachauri was on NDTV a few minutes ago. On being asked about the Telegraph article that featured him without the best of characterisation, Pachauri feigned righteous indignation. He threatened action against the publication. On being asked whether he was contemplating legal action, Pachauri hesitated for a moment and said he wasn't committing to anything, but would surely respond to the paper's characterisation.Pachauri going after the Telegraph? That'll be the day. Most do-gooders in the world, who do greater good for themselves than the ones they profess to care about, shy away from any action that puts them in the 'wrong' kind of spotlight (read, investigations into their activities). Any legal action they threaten to take risks them having to lay bare what they do. Its wishful thinking that the Al Gore warmist types would want that.Transparency is not easy for the ones who claim they care more for something other than themselves. Because th…

'Courage under Fire' holds; there's proof!

I predicted it.'But Berlusconi needn't fret. This is only natural considering there are many in Italy who detest him. Despite the scorn heaped by his opponents, the bloody attack and its aftermath of exhibition of 'courage' will only cement Berlusconi's popularity with his supporters. They will see him as a 'courage under fire' kinda hero.'Now its happened.Reuters reports on Berlusconi's popularity rise, post attack. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's approval rating has risen back above 50 percent after an attack against him sparked a wave of sympathy even among opposition voters, an opinion poll showed on Sunday.Brands, note the lesson in the Berlusconi attack story. The 'Courage under Fire' image story.NB. - There's now a charge that the whole thing was faked. Read the conspiracy theory here.

Wish your customer your competitor

Was out of Bangalore and at a different city last weekend. I thought the trip had many pluses. I experienced a different cultural fare, took in new sights and sounds, and most importantly ways of consumption. I went to a cinema to catch the late local fare. Sadly the movie turned out to be dubbed South Indian kitsch with lots of drama. Needless to say, it was numbskullish. The saviour was the audience. Its fun to be at a run down cinema where's there's lots of hooting. The same can be said for the mites in my seat. Hours of fidgeting. Brilliant experience.But the biggest plus was the fact that the trip got me to appreciate Bangalore, more. The next time, there's load-shedding at the most inconvenient of times (which was early this morning) at BTM, where I live, I may not complain as much. After all there are cities in India where electricity is like the Haley's comet.Brands should, if I may say, at times wish their customers went to their competitors. That's is if …

The dilemmas we face

The most profoundest of dilemmas that we face in life are the simplest. Yet, if you carefully pick them apart, you would find how 'weighty' such 'simple' dilemmas are. Like last evening at the Patna airport I was unlucky enough to be in the midst of a face-off between the airport (if you can call it that) authorities and the CISF security personnel. The airport personnel waved me in to the security check, but the CISF guys needed a break and so wanted me to go back. As I stood there mulling about this stand-off, I had good mind of giving both the parties a piece of my mind. I wanted to tell them how I didn't care what either party wanted, and that all I was looking to was to plonk my behind on to a chair so I could take some rest. It didn't matter if it was the waiting lounge (if you can call it that) or the check-in lounge. I also wanted to remind them that weren't doing me, the customer a favour, and that their blessed paychecks they get to do what they d…

The Copenhagen Buffoonery

'But boy! Was this crass, or what? The apocalyptic document revealing that even if the Western leaders hand over all the climate Danegeld demanded of them, appropriately at the venue of Copenhagen, the earth will still fry on a 3C temperature rise is the latest transparent scare tactic to extort more cash from taxpayers. The danger of this ploy, of course, is that people might say “If we are going to be chargrilled anyway, what is the point of handing over billions – better to get some serious conspicuous consumption in before the ski slopes turn into saunas.”...

This week has been truly historic. It has marked the beginning of the landslide that is collapsing the whole AGW imposture. The pseudo-science of global warming is a global laughing stock and Copenhagen is a farce. In the warmist camp the Main Man is a railway engineer with huge investments in the carbon industry. That says it all. The world’s boiler being heroically damped down by the Fat Controller. Al Gore, occupant of …

Bajaj Scooter, an icon? Me, the Pope?

I am not too sure how serious Rahul Bajaj is when he says he is not fully convinced of his company's decision to phase out scooters. I guess he is just being politically correct. After all, he is supposed to sound sad, isn't he? Rajiv Bajaj, on the other hand says what makes perfect sense, that he cares less for emotion and more for logic as the scooter business isn't profitable anymore. Elsewhere I hear the decision of exiting Bajaj scooters being portrayed as the end of an iconic brand.

Iconic brand? Did I hear right?

Far from being an iconic brand, Bajaj scooters represents what was consumer choice in socialist India. In the socialist state that was India, consumers had no choice but to buy the 'only' brand on show. Thus engineering its iconic status, thanks to the 'one' choice exercised.

Rahul's right. Logic's what's required. A logic that centers around the only entity that matters. The customer.

'Courage under Fire' a must for Brands

Its a pity that Silvio Berlusconi had to have his teeth broken, nose fractured, and lip bloodied. Yet in many ways, Berlusconi should be thanking the mentally deranged guy who did this to him. Because it gave him an opportunity to show the tough guy he was, despite cowardly attacks. In fact, it seems after the attack Berlusconi tried to climb on to his car to show he was all right, before being driven away.

Smart.

Post attack, within hours, some 20,000 people had signed up to Facebook groups lauding Mr Tartaglia, the attacker as a hero. But Berlusconi needn't fret. This is only natural considering there are many in Italy who detest him. Despite the scorn heaped by his opponents, the bloody attack and its aftermath of exhibition of 'courage' will only cement Berlusconi's popularity with his supporters. They will see him as a 'courage under fire' kinda hero.

Brands too fall prey to 'attacks'. From opponents or even plain loonies who just can't stand the …

The need to 'Score', the need to 'Scorn'

'Tiger is a star, a sexy pretty-boy, a famous athlete, the biggest name in golf. He can get girls in any city, any port, any hour of the day or night. He did not want an extra-marital affair. He wanted multiple affairs, multiple one night stands, multiple, ongoing sex contacts to juggle. He wanted non-committed sex with a series of women (eleven so far and counting), whom he had no intention of marrying.

To Tiger, sex is a sport, like golf, a form of entertainment, another way of scoring. He is no different than all the other alpha-male rock stars, actors, politicians and businessmen...


But aren’t these adult sexual matters private? Why pry? Why does the media go after these private matters and, in so doing, destroy lives?

Because we, the people, just love to read about powerful people’s sex lives. We like to see someone ruined, brought low. There, but for the grace of God, go I; or, he deserves it, who does he think he is? How dare he mess with our illusions?

We, the people, want to…

Why Gore's rabble rousing works, and doesn't

In the past I've talked about why scare tactics (read, fear appeal) may or may not work, when used by marketers. Let me now restate the 'Protection Motivation Model' to explain why Al Gore and his cohorts get away with fibbing. The interpretation of the model will also help explain why Al Gore's god to liberals and charlatan to conservatives.

One approach to the curvilinear explanation of fear is the Protection Motivation Model. According to this theory, four cognitive appraisal processes mediate the individual's response to the threat: appraising (1) the information available regarding the severity of the perceived threat, (2) the perceived probability that the threat will occur, (3) the perceived ability of a coping behaviour to remove the threat, (4) the individual's perceived ability to carry out the coping behaviour.

Now consider the canard of Climate change. Rabble rousing that Gore and his cohorts whip up surely hits home for some (read, liberals). The …

The phenomenon of Brand Rejection

A discussion with Jati at the Univ. of Toulouse1 about Brand Rejection got me thinking. Current literature of the subject is pretty sketchy, though there's been research conducted. I have in past commented on 'Brand Avoidance'. Let me now turn to Brand Rejection. Rejection can either be a pre-purchase or a post-purchase act. The difference between the two is critical in managing fallouts that come from rejection.Pre-purchase rejections are driven by 'states of mind' (read, consumer psychological set) that form negative judgements about brands. That is, the consumer isn't favourably disposed to the brand in question even before he buys it. Again, this kind of rejection can either be a fallout of pre-purchase analysis of the 'known' set, or it can even be the brand being rejected summarily, sans any evaluation. Let me illustrate. Consumers, on evaluating brands in the known set, categorise some as being 'inept'. The inept set gets rejected. A cont…

Tiger, Tiger, Going down!

For brand, image is everything. More so if the brand doesn't have any 'tangible' characteristics on which consumers can evaluate them. Like say, how can a Pepsi or a Coke be evaluated on objective terms? Most 'buys ins' to such brands are based on psychological evaluations, on how the brand can maybe aid the consumer 'project' or 'live' a certain identity. When Pepsi runs 'My Can' commercials it tries to appeal to youth living lives on their 'own' terms.

So if image is everything, is it surprising that brands are now abandoning the Tiger Woods bandwagon? After all, his image rubs off on the brand. And so if his image is taking a nosedive, brands don't want to go down with him.

Despite what Gatorade says, that's exactly why they have dropped Tiger. Also note, according to data from Nielsen Co., advertisements featuring Tiger Woods have disappeared from prime-time broadcast television and many cable channels following reports of …

Consumer Learning to be wary of

There's only so much we can do in influencing Jaden, as he grows up. I mean in trying to instill what we believe is polite behaviour. For example, we try and prevent any kind of whining, telling him there are things he can have and things he can't. And then out of the blue, once a while, he comes home and tries tantrums to get something he wants. At first we would be surprised at his changed tantrum strategy. Because it is out of the ordinary for him. Then we realise, he's picked the behaviour from elsewhere. Watching some other kid use the tactic on his parents. And so he learns from observing such behavior (learned termed, vicarious learning) and then tries it home.Our task now gets harder in trying to undo what's been instilled 'from the outside'.Consumers too get material to learn from, about brands, from two sources. One's the firm's marketing efforts and the other's the socio-cultural environment. What remains within the firm's control is …

Real Men

'Real men need to fight the cultural scourge of swing fashion trends. Real men are not trendy. They’re classic. No one wants to see lithe and androgynous men. And no one wants to see a man’s chest hair, either.

More important than the silly trends and those that hawk them is the underlying cultural acknowledgment. There is no dressing up capitulating, weak behavior. Pictures of President Obama catching a football or lining up a putt with Tiger Woods or shooting a basketball with his campaign logo on it will not make up for the fact that his actions are weak and scraping. While there is no question that President Bush burnished his image with cowboy boots and brush clearing, it would have rung hollow had he not had the gumption to back up the image. President Obama’s problem is that the image and the action don’t match.

Real men demonstrate manliness — not from superficial photo ops. So men, either you got it or you don’t. Showing heavage will display nothing but insecurity or a stra…

The Climate-Change Travesty

'Skeptics about the shrill certitudes concerning catastrophic manmade warming are skeptical because climate change is constant: From millennia before the Medieval Warm Period (800 to 1300), through the Little Ice Age (1500 to 1850), and for millennia hence, climate change is always a 100 percent certainty. Skeptics doubt that the scientists' models, which cannot explain the present, infallibly map the distant future...

The travesty is the intellectual arrogance of the authors of climate change models partially based on the problematic practice of reconstructing long-term prior climate changes. On such models we are supposed to wager trillions of dollars -- and substantially diminished freedom.

Some climate scientists compound their delusions of intellectual adequacy with messiah complexes. They seem to suppose themselves a small clerisy entrusted with the most urgent truth ever discovered. On it, and hence on them, the planet's fate depends. So some of them consider it virtu…

The Copenhagen Circus

'According to the organisers, the eleven-day conference, including the participants' travel, will create a total of 41,000 tonnes of "carbon dioxide equivalent", equal to the amount produced over the same period by a city the size of Middlesbrough. The temptation, then, is to dismiss the whole thing as a ridiculous circus. Many of the participants do not really need to be here. And far from "saving the world," the world's leaders have already agreed that this conference will not produce any kind of binding deal, merely an interim statement of intent.'The only true saviour of the world is commerce. The hard of work of mortals (read, value creation) that ends up as goods and services that are then traded. For money that comes from earnings of another who's toiled in a similar value creating activity.This is what's fair and noble.Not the 'Save the World' hypocrisy of Al Gore types whose only desire is to fill their own pockets skimming …

Spirituality ISN'T me!

'Says Sri Latha, from Oneness University, “Spirituality means coming in touch with your inner truth, becoming conscious of what you truly are. Spiritual intelligence leads to emotional intelligence, which makes you a happier person.” She recommends, “We tend to block and escape emotional disturbances. Pay attention to your discomfort, probe deeper and change your own perception of the world around you.” As spirituality doubles up as pop psychology, in an “I, me, myself” world, we seem to have evolved to seeking a higher self. Says Los Angeles-based yoga guru Bikram Choudhury, “Yes, I’m the most important person for myself. If I die tomorrow, everything ceases to matter. Self-realisation is God-realisation. Spirituality is about creating a road between your mind and your own atma or soul. Spiritualism is all about learning to connect with your own spirit.” '

I am amused at the kind of hogwash that gets passed off as spirituality. I am even more amused that there can be takers fo…

Does cultured mean civilised?

'Indians have culture but not civilization. Culture is how we entertain ourselves; civilization is how we entertain others. Culture is our attitude to beauty and ugliness, to power, to religion, and to family. It shows in our music, in what makes us laugh. Civilization is our attitude to mankind. It’s defined as social development of an advanced stage, but civilization never actually arrives; it is only reached for. It assumes there is high purpose to life, to wealth, to culture. It believes that man will exhibit the signs of his evolution. He will improve upon man. For this he must build—but what?...

Indians should buy their books from Landmark, their phones from Tata Indicom, their television sets and washing machines from Croma; and they should stay at the Taj. They should drink Tetley tea and Himalayan mineral water. They should watch TV on TataSky and get themselves insured with Tata AIG. Why?

Last year, Sir Dorabji Tata Trust gave away Rs201 crore. Sir Ratan Tata Trust gave aw…

Contrived Reality

'The ‘Bruce’ David Brooks celebrates is not just the self-effacing voice of our musical traditions. After all, in the rock pantheon he is ‘the Boss.’ Rather, the concerts are fully dramatized and choreographed presentations of Springsteen as the everyman oracle of this mythology, bourn on Wagnerian walls of sound. Metcalf observes, the persona is constructed, “a majestic American simpleton with a generic heartland twang,” a much refined invention, all “po-faced mythic resonance that now accompanies Bruce’s every move.”

The fanciful working class authenticity is key, the basis of the Boss’ claim on what Brooks sees as immense moral authority. Brooks quotes Landau, that there is “not a lot of irony” in Bruce’s work, which, if you have any critical distance from the fabricated character, attendant mythology, and anthemic music, is dead wrong, Otherwise, you are Metcalf’s “rock and roll naïf,” and Landau is a circus huckster.

Springsteen is not alone in constructing a persona, wit…

Anxious consumers buy

It was a 'horrible' news report that sent my anxiety levels sky high. A story on a tragic LPG cylinder leak that culminated in an explosion took the life of a li'l boy and had his parents badly burnt.

At home, our immediate reaction was to take a look at our own LPG cylinder usage. We replaced the old tubes used on the cylinder and the one at the stove, and changed our earlier practices of usage. We now ensure the stop-levers in and out of the house (connecting to the stove and cylinder) are shut when the stove's not in use. Plus, more importantly, we shut the valve on the cylinder, again when not in use.

Its interesting to note that anxiety levels rocket when consumers are exposed to contexts they can relate to, more so when it involves a product/brand they own or use. For example, if there's a media report on a brand of car that one owns, its more probable the owner reads it as compared to a non-owner. If one travels everyday to work, an accident on the road you tr…

What's common to IIMs & Tiger Woods?

Lousy PR.

It didn't matter that one's a set of top ranking B-Schools in India and the other's the top ranked golfer in the world. Both reacted to crisis in a downright amateurish manner.

The 'crashed' servers at CAT exam are being attributed to virus attacks. A claim that's being pooh-poohed by industry experts. In fact, cyber experts say pinning the blame on a virus attack may have worsened things for applicants. Cyber experts opined that the official explanation of a virus would open the doors for students to question the exams and approach courts to have it cancelled. In addition, the Press Conference addressed by the IIM-A director too was nothing to write about. Lame answers delivered in a fashion I call, amateurishly defiant.

Tiger Woods too reacted no better. He's clammed up fuelling even greater speculation. The Drudge Report had his crash as headlines for two days running. Allegations of an affair surface. And now it seems two women have lined up, and…

Consumer Anxiety is as much, post purchase

I remember placement time when I was at the verge of graduation. The year was 1993. I recall the anxiety that went all around before 'placement', as much as after placement. That is, we were anxious before the placement process started, and once we were selected, we still talked about how it would be with the company we were about to join.

The point to note here, is the post-placement psyche. It didn't matter we were placed. It was now about the choice we made of the company that would be our future workplace. Was it the right one, we wondered? More so, for students who weren't joining Day Zero recruiters. The reinforcement that they sought revolved around speaking about the company they were about to join, with whoever cared to listen. And in that conversation the selected student would try and point out how fortunate he was to be able to work for the particular company.

In Behavioural terms, such an 'act' is termed 'rationalisation'. And it isn't li…

The delusion in 'Buy Nothing Day'

'Without the West’s ‘irresponsible’ consumption habits, developing countries would be a lot worse off. Without the soulless global corporations sucking at the pool of cheap labour, many ‘exploited’ workers would have no job at all. Workers wages help them to feed and clothe their family, and boost the income of those around them. Also, those in developing countries acquire new skills and technology that can be used to aid development. The success of the Tiger Economies show that working with a Western economic system is better than rallying against it.

Moving towards a culture of Buying Nothing will also do zilch to address climate change. Consumption leads to the creation of wealth; and increasing wealth is exactly what is needed to deal with the issue. Buying Something leads to the creation of new, better, cheaper and cleaner products. Created wealth is invested in things such as green technology and research into geo-engineering projects. Without an economic system that relies o…

The Loo's a pointer to the Kitchen

I shudder going to cloakrooms (read, loo) at most restaurants. Because what I see may put me off. Not just would it kill my appetite, it would even get me off that restaurant. I leave, possibly never to return.

Why? Because I make judgements about cleanliness of the kitchen based on what I see in the loo. Again, why? Isn't in unfair to judge a kitchen I don't see, based on a loo I see? Shouldn't an evaluation of the serving area (diner) be the base to my judgement? That is, if the restaurant serving and seating area's clean, surely the kitchen must be?

The answer to that is comparable to what's said about character. 'Character is what you do when no one's looking'. Similarly cleanliness is about keeping clean, those areas that may not be termed a 'primary' contact point. The serving area in a restaurant is the primary point of contact. Its but natural that the staff keep it clean. The loo is only an 'allied' area. The staff may not be find…