Monday, October 31, 2011

Chasing the tail lights with Mr.Jobs

I usually don't read a book just because everyone else is reading it - it makes me thinks conventionally, corrupts my thought process into more of a mass one, not the kind I usually love to live with.

But if I can take the liberty of paraphrasing Steven Levy from "In The Plex", with his new book, Walter Isaacson made me chase everyone elses' tail lights, and for the first time, I am kind of proud at being conventional.

From today, I am going to start reading Steve Jobs in Hardcover, which has gotten shipped at a 50% pre-release discount, from Indiaplaza (Yes, Flipkart; they pipped you this time!), a couple of days back.

 Now if you please excuse me, I have to go to get some carrot juice for Mr. Jobs! It's Halloween after all!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Old Versus New

To build a new system, you don't compete with the old one. You build a new system and make the old system obsolete - Buckminster Fuller

Too often, we end up spending too much time staring at the old system, trying to improvise it for the new world, that we lose the race even before we start running it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

All that glitters

is not gold. However, its better to dig and figure out that it isn't gold than not to dig at all.

I know life is too short to do all the mistakes by yourself to learn from them. But then, at times you just can't rely on someone to do a mistake for you to learn. 

You got to pay your own dues, to avail the services of genie called Mr. Experience.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Value System

There comes a time in the life, when you realize that your value system is different from that of your parents'.

Guess, then it is the time to start all over again!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Don't Shit

just because you know (or you think, you know) that someone can clean it after you.
Instead do it right the first time. And if you can't do that, just get rid of that responsibility doyen which doesn't allow you to think without being corrupt, biased, irrational.

That's the least you can do to push the humanity to be a part of thought based approach of work as against factory based approach of work.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sony Mix - Addressing the long tail of music (traditional media)

I don't even need to speak how Apple changed Music Industry using iTunes.

Most importantly, they tapped the long tail of songs which were almost impossible to sell for the Brand labels and impossible to buy for music affectionados. They end up contributing to roughly 10%-15% of the iTunes music sales now.

To understand in more detail as to long tail has contributed to iTunes Marketplace, check out Ryan Hupfer's graph.

In India, a similar effort in now being forged by Sony Mix, the new music channel by Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd. (a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment).

In their "About Us" they explain their product positioning as "Moving into the gap created by erstwhile music channels rechristened as ‘youth channels’ and other music channels dishing out non-music content as interstitial programming, we are confident that viewers shall enjoy MIX as a channel that remains true to the music genre."

A good stab at MTVs and Channel V, I completely agree with them that their is a dire need of pure Hindi music channel. But what really remarkable is the way they are using, "Long Tail" of Hindi songs, to make sure that content is not just fresh but addresses all different kind of audiences, all day long.

Kudos to them for taking the brave step!

To top it up, checkout their innovative marketing strategy

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Why did the last person leave?

Could be a thorn of a question, especially if not asked.

Better still put a positive spin, and ask as Business Insider says, "Am I replacing someone or is this a new position?"

Friday, October 14, 2011

The world owes him nothing

 He has landed on the playing field of life. The only question is: Will he Play?

More often than not, he spends his life either being busy digging the place where he stands, to skew the level field or staring at the wrong question: Will he Win/Lose?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Digital N U - My Seminar at Christ University

Last Friday (1st October, 2011); I had an opportunity to talk at Christ University, with the First Year Marketing Student.

I did a small presentation, explaining students what I do, explaining them what is Digital Media, what are its sacred pillars (according to me - clearly arguable) and how it can work for them in India.

But it became interesting after that.

It was students who made it a worth while session. They were intrigued, involved, and their quality of questions they asked blew me away!

They made me realized that it's not the IIMs but the institutes like Christ, where management education is being re-invented.

The seminar's excerpt is also featured at Christ University's Marketing Club Mouthpiece

Here is the presentation. Let me know your thoughts and how can I make it better.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Two Eulogies in two days

It takes a toll on you. All of a sudden, it makes you believe that death is imminent. It is close by. And you better live with the philosophy Steve Jobs made famous with his commencement speech, "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?"

Just in case you are not following my blog, the two people who I wrote about, were Steve Jobs and Jagjit Singh.

They couldn't be more different from each other. But from the time I have been thinking about writing this note, all I could see was similarities.

They both were geniuses in their own field and transformed the way people saw their respective industries. Mirza Ghalib once said, "When your creations are started being used by tawayafs and fakirs" - 19th century version of common man - "then you are destined to be immortal".

Steve Jobs did that to Personal Computers and Jagjit Singh to Ghazals.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Papa and Jagjit Singh

My father has been a lasting influence on how I and my siblings think, what we do and aspire. He isn't one of those expressive ones who would cuddle and would take us to play. That was Mummy's job. His way of showing love was talking about the studies, giving pat on the back when we did good and of course bashing up when we didn't raise up to the bar.

But there was one thing which bind him and me, even till today.


My Father had a childlike fanaticism about them (he is kinda grown up now). In 1970s , when buying music system in India wasn't as easy as buying groceries and wasn't as cheap as Rs. 4000;  he got it assembled, just to make sure that he gets to listen Ghazals on "just the right music system". He sat through all night in the recording shops, to get the live recordings of Ghazals on the cassette tape and spent lavish sum of his salary (by those standards) to get those tapes.

I grew up listening those Ghazals and understanding nuances of them, from him. He painstakingly spent a lot of time with me, explaining difference between Ghazal and Nazm; Makta and Matla.

Whenever Ghazals were played in our house, we connected. We became more than just tough-to-express dad and obedient son. We were friends then. I still remember him playing the tune of those ghazals on his knuckles. I have never heard someone doing something so magical.

And his favorite Ghazal singer - Jagjit Singh

He of course made sure that we listened to every one, from Gulam Ali, Ustad Mehdi Hassan, Begum Akhtar to Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

But his favorite was always Jagjit Singh. He always talked about how his voice has transformed with his age and how he has transformed and kept Ghazals alive in India. We mourned in his loss, when he lost his young and only son.

Jagjit Singh was someone who brought my father and me even closer, when he was working away from home 6 days a week and then when I was in Himachal, Chennai and then Bangalore for my studies and job, since he was someone about whom we both were passionate and love talking about.

Today morning, when I got to know early in the morning about Jagjit Singh's demise from my wife's Facebook Post (who is also his big fan), it didn't sink in for a while. And when it did, first thing I did was to call my father.

My old-fashioned restraint father, who perhaps believe that showing emotions is a sign of weakness, went silent for few seconds and then with deep sadness in his voice (which I have only heard once), said, "I was praying for him all these days. There is no substitute for him. ऐसे लोग विरले ही पैदा होते हैं !"

I am grateful to you, Jagjit Singh Ji for giving us beautiful soulful Ghazals, and to me this irreplaceable connection with my father!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Steve Jobs: Eulogy & his Legacy-Apple

Last month, when I wrote a post about Steve Jobs, his famous Stanford Commencement Speech and Karma; little did I realize that I am going to write another post about him so soon, and not for all the right reasons.

He is no more and his passing away has made even the President of United States comment about how Jobs was "bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it". Surely he was.

He first changed the way people publish content, by working with Adobe. People only talk about their conflict, in the light of iPad not using Flash. Rarely do they talk about what they both together did to publishing industry. I believe his second biggest contribution was to change the way people see music. Sony had already started this revolution, but it was Jobs and Ive and iPod, who drove it from inflection point.

Now there is nothing else which has not already been written about him, post his death. But having said that, there is one thing which was bothering me since he passed away - his Legacy.

With legacy, I don't refer to the changes which he brought about and which will be talked over for perhaps another 100 years. With legacy, I mean Apple There are theories, of course, (which I partially subscribed to) on how Apple can be and will be saved. But at the end of the day, they are al theories. Apple was Steve Jobs and Steve Jobs was Apple - at least to the people. What kept bothering me, that could the "genius" Jobs not figure out that he would need to pass on his vision. That he would have to create not just products in his life time, but an organisation, which keeps churning products based on his vision.

The answer came where I least expected it - at a Tibetan restaurant. In the hindsight, it seems almost prophetic, considering Jobs was a Buddhist. I was having lunch with 2 of my colleagues/friends, when I raised this and  one of them said. "May be he didn't leave a vision to follow because he didn't want to". And that hit me!

May be, that is the reason. It's not always easy to make people see the world the way you see.
Then why spend your last days in passing on something which is truly impossible to emulate. Damn, he could see Macintosh even when it was not built. So how do you pass this vision and legacy? All you can hope is that the people after you would run well, what you have left and carried all throughout on your shoulders. It's tough to say what Jobs was thinking when he did that, but may be....

As a parting thought I will leave you with my favorite video of his (it's not Standford speech); where he talks about the Product strategy of Apple. It is 1997 and he is talking about iPhone and iCloud (conceptually). Now how do you pass that legacy!