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Showing posts from February, 2013

Rating Ratings

'What is perhaps most disturbing about Rate My Professors is the impression it conveys that education takes place only in the classroom, that it consists of an interesting or boring presentation by a professor who engages or fails to engage his students’ interest. In fact, this is a part, but only one (insufficient) part, of what education involves. What Rate My Professors entirely obscures is that education happens primarily (or, more often, fails to happen) outside the classroom: in the students’ reading of course materials, reflection on them, review of course notes, drafting and re-drafting of term papers, memorization of facts in preparation for exams, consultations with the professor in his or her office, discussion with other students of course ideas, and so on. That many of our students no longer do any of these things tells us why Rate My Professors has become such a central part of the modern university experience, and why professors face an uphill battle in their classr…

Its the baking, not the cookies stupid!

When it comes to cookies for the kids, if its a make versus buy decision, the 'rational choice' would be 'buy'. Making takes time, messes up the kitchen, can cause physical pain, and of course the outcome can't be predicted. But present the cookie choice to Alphy on Valentine's day, she'd pick 'make' over 'buy'!

That's 'cos it ain't only about the cookies. Cookies can't be a complete expression of her love for her kids. Its the making plus the cookies that completes it for her. Which explains why she baked cookies yesterday.

If marketers can't get the 'baking story' because they're totally focused on cookies, they'll miss knowing Alphy and her kind. You see, the Alphy-kind aren't just buying into rational solutions, they bring their heart into the game. So on Valentine's day, quit selling her cookies, help her bake!

Knowing when its cookies, and when its baking is knowing Alphy. Tell you what, tha…

Why the Vista D90 won't fly

Sure, you can strap a dodo to a parachute, build this fantasy story, and  wrap it round the Vista. Sure, design-wise, you may have a new roof, GPS, cosmetic changes to the exterior, voice-overs that wax eloquent about the engine, but you know what the problem is?

Despite you drumming and presenting it to me as the 'new' Vista D90, its just one look, and I am thinking Indica! Don't you get it? You call it the Vista, but my long term memory engineered mostly by the countless taxi-Indicas on the road, take me to the latter!

With a crippling long term memory of the Indica, you think you'll wean me away from the Swift? Think again. Wanna have a breakthrough in this category with consumers? Get a complete makeover and get something that looks nothing like the current Indicas on the road!

Till then, doom beckons!

Jesus in Disguise

The Ad's real, Abuse is real!

When I first saw the commercial (featured above), its message hit me like a bullet. I can think of two reasons why that happened. Prime among the two relates to me being a father to two li'l children. I am so reminded there could be trouble round the corner for the li'l ones. Even mine. What added to the communique's scorching effect is the contrast between the first ninety percent that seems harmless, and the latter ten percent that reveals a story that hits like a sledgehammer.

The shock element in the end that unfolds in the story has been crafted superbly. But what makes it potent is that it peddles a reality that's all too real, which the father in me unquestionably knows. This isn't some crappy fantasy for idiots who are buying cars or soaps. This is real!

Abuse is real!

Portraying reality isn't easy. Its must be done with care. It can't be subtle, it can't be harsh. A fine balance between the two can hit home. Like it did with the one featured a…

String the Deviant, and quick.

If our aim is to take revenge for grave crimes that some children undertake, like rape and murder, by all means let us imprison, even hang them. But if our aim is to help reform the child, as we would our own, an adult prison is the least likely site in which a child's intrinsic capacities for goodness can be reclaimed. 

The problem with the weepy nonsense Harsh Mander parades in the TOI stems from what it does to conservatives like me who believe in justice. Harsh uses words like revenge to paint (note, subtly) conservatives as bloodthirsty savages bent on punishing all juveniles.

Nothing can be further from the truth. In fact I'd willingly join ranks with liberals (like Mander) in believing children must be protected, nurtured, and rehabilitated if necessary. But where I break ranks is when I refuse membership into the dimwit club that buys into utopia. Instead I choose to believe in the bell shaped curve. I believe there will be outliers among juveniles. I believe such rare…

You ain't Me, I ain't You.

Alphy tells me there's stuff she's comfortable talking about with her friend, and not me. I am perplexed. When it comes it to me, I can't think of anything 'grave' enough to have a tete-a-tete with another. Sure, I wanna say my piece at times, but to talk 'stuff', I surely want none of that!

Now careful thought tells me I've been stupid enough to think Alphy has nothing important to talk about, just 'cos I don't have any. Know what, women have so much more to talk about. Its 'cos they are infinitely more thoughtful and interesting than the male of the species.

Straight away from a business perspective, my gut tells me its far more challenging to market products and services to women. Note, I am not talking about the differences in the way firms need to market to men and women. I am talking about which one's more challenging. You get a more thoughtful audience (read, women) to market to, I'd say think twice, thrice, and more, before …

Listen to the Radio

Bend over buddy, I mean Shah Rukh!

So, grow up, Shah Rukh, and learn to take it on the chin like a man. Don’t bite the hand that fed you – and made you who you are – by running off to an overseas publication and crying your heart out...

Though reading it made me retch, I still think its brilliant advice being dished by Venky Vembu. If the crowd is why you are who you are, bend over, prostrate. Kiss your imaginary or real hurt goodbye. Bend over buddy, and remember you are nothing but for the screaming dimwits.
Pathetic, but true!