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What's with Kingfisher?

The Kingfisher mess is actually a problem at three levels, cascading in a sequence.

Its first a regulated industry problem. Meaning the government as a regulator has made it virtually impossible for any private player to make any money out of aviation industry in India. I hope you know our national carrier has stayed afloat all these years on squandered taxpayer money.

Second, its a business model problem. Kingfisher dished out a business model that was neither a pursuit of cost leadership, nor an attempt at differentiation. it was somewhere in between, stuck in the 'middle of the road'. Surely it was bound to fail.

Third, and finally, its a perception problem. Despite the legitimacies in Vijay Mallya's requests on structural changes in the industry, there won't be too many out there lending sympathy because the man's lifestyle sticks out like a sore thumb. Crafting the right perceptions about a business (never mind reality) require that the promotion game be played with utmost tact. Ego is big reason for lack of tact. Ego could be why Mallya doesn't make the mark with the public.

Businesses in India, and everywhere else need public sympathies. They need great business models, and of course free markets ensure the best businesses stay to benefit consumers. Kingfisher I'm afraid hasn't had any of three going its way.

Its no wonder the bird's going down. Here's hoping it won't crash.


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