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Showing posts from July, 2014

What marketers can learn from MasterChef Australia

I've said it before, I am saying it again. The act of cooking and that of eating are way behind in my list of priorities. In fact, I don't think much about either of those exertions. Yet despite harboring such 'poor' attitudes, the latest version of MasterChef Australia has grabbed my eyeballs like no other. I've even agreed to forgo newstime for the cooking show. Needless to say, Alphy is pleased.

The real revelation from the show? Its about people! Food's incidental to the people story. Sure its about food, but its really not about food, its about people. No wonder I can't take my eyes off.

The lesson to marketers? Its about people and their lives, dimwits! Its not your products and services that matter. Its about them being need-solutions that help people live their lives better. If you can't get that, meaning you are obsessed with your glorious products and services, you frankly don't deserve any consumer patronage. If by chance you are having …

No country for children

20 children die. Scores are grievously injured.
Their deaths seem to be the result of an unmanned railway crossing, and a callous driver.

As a nation, we are a zillion miles away from greatness.
For now lets hang our heads in shame.
For the country we've built for our kids.

Let's mourn.
For our kids.

Let's weep.
For ourselves.

The binary payoffs in parenting & consumption

It is easier for me think my attempts at better parenting is about ensuring my kids don't suffer my shortcomings. Sure that's true, but it's only half the story. The other half is about me. Doing it right is so I don't fall short when I self-judge (my parenting).

The same plays out in the consumption arena too. Buying stuff for my kids is so they can be happy. Plus it warms me up too. The payoffs cut both ways.


The real problem of a sexless marriage

A sexless marriage is not an actual problem — it’s just one outward symptom of a deeper disease. In focusing on fixing sexlessness in a marriage we miss the source of what’s driving it. In any marriage — apart from where physical illness prevents partners from performing — when either husband or wife all of a sudden isn’t interested in sex the reason is so obvious and simple it seems silly to point it out: something else exists that is more important to them than their marriage. They have found a new idol and their devotion to it will destroy their lives as a result. They are engaged in self-sacrifice in service to their new deity.

This whole viral discussion got started because supposedly the wife was turning down the husband because she was too busy with her career and it was tiring her. In other words, she loves her job more than him. She has made her job the false god of her life and she is willing to let her marriage collapse and deteriorate as a result.

Both of these problems — he…

Why Bangalore Schools shirk responsibility, deflect accountability

Agreed Sandeep, the blind caning the blind ain't the story. Its corporal punishment that needs condemnation. On the issue of accountability of educational institutions (for crimes committed on their premises) that you raised, note there's more than what meets the eye. Know what the real problem is?

Human behavior & liberal attitudes!

Behaviour first. As homo sapiens we are either designed (as believed by takers of 'monkey-to-man' story) a certain way, or have 'fallen' (as believed by takers of 'god created us' story, yours truly included), and so are quick to deflect fault. Meaning, we skip blame, palm it off to others, and focus of self-preservation. Institutions too do the same as they are in the end an aggregation of people, and people in groups look to self preservation. So don't expect people or institutions (educational and others included), now or any time in the future to take the blame, accept their faults, and turn over into new leave…

The Mental Disorder of Liberalism & the Case for Death Penalty

Liberals are the part of the reason why our children, or most vulnerable face danger from sexual predators. In my book, liberalism is a mental disorder (I stand firmly with Michael Savage on the issue). Any movement that says it is wrong for a state by law to execute heinous predators, and fights for the right to slaughter unborn babies must be a diseased one.

In shifting focus away from death penalty as legitimate punishment, liberals point to the sorry state of convictions and tell us we must focus on bettering legal processes. Of course we must, but that's no reason why we should take death penalty off the books. Note my arguments on why the state has a right to take life. I will now focus on why taking lives (via due process of law) can engineer deterrence.

The behaviorist school of learning believes learning to be a 'stimulus-response' process. The cognitive school sees it as an act of 'information processing'. Here's how the animals who assault our women…

The Bounce-House illustration of Human Psyche; Mine

We troop to the mall last weekend and Brooklyn finds an inflated playhouse set up outside. She insists she wants to do the tumbling act inside the bounce-house. I am reluctant, and this is why.

Classic case of perception formation, learning, and attitude adoption. Then retrieval and an exhibition of behavior.

The news story catches my eye because as a stimuli it engages the anxious parent in me. I take the information in and form a perception of how dangerous an inflated playhouse can get. I read more, watch the tragic video, and learn. What follows is an attitude that's made up of an unfavorable disposition towards inflated playhouses. This predisposition is retained via my long term memory, retrieved at a later time when I encounter the bounce-house outside a mall. What makes it worse is the learning I've had about how most of what you encounter in India are death-traps in disguise.

So what do I do?

I take a walk around the damn thing to see if its fastened to the ground. I…

The real challenge for Tata's Revotron engine

Never mind the squeaky sing-song voiced Narain Karthikeyan endorsing the Revotron engine, the real problem for Tata Motors would be current circumspect attitudes consumers have toward its products. Those attitudes are mostly via bad publicity.

The real challenge for Tata Motors is changing attitudes so consumers will make its new products part of their consideration set. That will require more than Narain's sing-song voice. The only way attitudes will change is via great publicity (forget advertising and PR), and post purchase experiential consumer endorsements. To engineer the latter, namely consumer endorsements, Tata Motors will first have to dangle enough carrots so its first set of buyers bite.

Here's hoping the company has a great marketing strategy lined up. Else Revotron will sink faster than a wink.

Riding & Risk Taking

There are ways I can minimize the risk — by riding defensively, riding sober, knowing my own and my machine’s capabilities, etc. — but I also know there are some risks that are simply beyond my control. But you know what? There a lots of risks that are within my control. We’ve become so pathologically risk-averse that for most people it is inconceivable to assume any additional risk no matter how much joy you might get back in return.

You want to know what’s truly dangerous? Not taking any risks. Hanging out with like-minded middle-of-the-roaders. Absorbing the same brain-ossifying stuff from media factories every day. Jogging. Putting helmets, flotation devices, and auto-deploy epi-pens on your kids every time they leave the house. Passivity. Not paying attention to where your car, or your life, or you country is going.

If you don’t get that, that’s OK. I’m not trying to convert anybody,...

- Carter Edman, 'An Open Letter To Every Person I Meet Who Finds Out I Ride a Motorcycle.'…

Look who's talking; Crony Capitalists in India advocate fiscal prudence

Indian industrialists opining on the idiot box think badly managed subsidies mean the 'undeserving' middle class in India garner the Lion's share of cost savings.

Really? You mean the only 'legitimate' value creating class in India needs no payback from the taxes they paid government? That all those lowered prices and cheap goods must go to the mooching class the political establishment fosters for votes? I guess you also mean crony capitalists who reap the benefits of cronyism should be allowed to continue with their moolah-making run sans any competition from global players.

Fat chance.

Bring in free market competition first. We'll then talk fiscal prudence and subsidies.

Hey DC comics, what are you, heartless stupid?

Bet you are.

For having refused the Superman logo to adorn a memorial statue for 5 year old Jeffrey Baldwin. You must be daft to worry about the logo being associated with child abuse. You must again be daft for not worrying about how this news is making me feel!


You heartless dimwits! You are equally bad marketers. I know you've raked in millions in the past and may continue to do so in the future, but that still is no guarantee your brands will live forever. A tipping point will be reached at some point in time. Then you will come to your senses. I hope for your sake, it isn't too late then.

Yours truly,

An anguished father of two. 

The idiocy in outward and inward focus

When does the parent in me turn dumb? When I think and act as if parenting is managing and raising my children. Sure it is, but that's just one half of the management act. The other that I'm missing, is managing me. Its the dimwit in me that forgets the latter half.

Dimwitted marketers behave similarly too, albeit vice-versa. They focus too much on themselves, and not much on consumers. They think they are in the business of products and services, and not solutions to consumer needs.

The lousy outward focused father in me gets parenting wrong, while the inward focused business guy gets marketing wrong. The good thing is, there's hope for the both of us!


What's the problem in teaching Sanskrit & Yoga in schools?

Absolutely nothing.

In fact you can teach fly fishing and tap dancing for all I care. You see, that's not the problem. The real problems are, one, who decides what kids in schools learn, and two, what should they be learning?

You can go on and on with the guru-shishya story all you want, but education is and will always be a service provided. Someone provides it, someone else receives it. In a free market the provider of a service is allowed to decide the kind, content, and price of the service he offers. Buyers can then decide if they like what's on offer, and pay for it. Meaning, education service providers are free to decide what they want to teach in their classrooms, and buyers (parents) and consumers (children) are free to decide if they want the learning that's on offer, or not. It isn't the place of government to decide what's taught or what's learnt.

So now the second question, because there are enough socialists out there who will say this will be th…