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Showing posts from May, 2008

The Final Solution : How Private Ownership of Public Services will come unstuck!

It has been about 20 years since the heyday of Reaganomics, Thatcher's privatizations and Milton Friedman's great triumph. The popular media has this habit of convoluting things - but it is almost two decades since the evil Soviet regime collapsed in Russia, and also about 20 years since Tienanmen [though this must be forgotten on the year of the Olympics].

In our minds, save that Tienanmen bit, or in fact including that Tienanmen bit, this is actually the bits of the same picture - the win of free will, capitalism, or whatever name you call this by. An ideological triumph, that is. Unquestionably, as all countries have fallen in line, there is a free market for everything including nuclear weapons, and except the poor farmers in Europe and the United States, everyone wants Doha round!

However, there is this ugly spectre of credit crunch around the corner, which must be dealt with. It is not going away, though many people have predicted at different times that the worst is past.…

The 'New' Sales

It was not long ago, experts announced the 'death' of sales function. Well, not that many businesses will buy that idea, but with the advent of Internet, consumer empowerment and abundance of information, sales seemed to be a redundant function. Or, its effectiveness was assumed to have greatly diminished.

In the sales-less world, of course, Branding reigned. The trust that people endowed a salesman was supposed to have been replaced by the trust on a symbol - a brand - and this was assumed to be the 'final solution' in the cluttered marketplace.

The point, of course, is that this is too good to be true. Instead of making products rise above the clutter, branding itself created the clutter, bringing to fore meaningless differentiation and assuming the know-all stance that every consumer always hated in a salesman. The other problem was that brands intended to be everything to everyone, that street-corner salesman at least had occassional anger and disappointment, but bra…

Case for a National Talent Management Office

I did write about this before, but newspapers everyday are sore reminders of how badly this is needed. Living in Britain of today isn't very different from the experiences of British observers in India in the late Seventeenth century - a rich society immersed in the luxuries of life, and yet oblivious of the growing threat to its prosperity. A society in denial - in short! Yes, it was not so obvious to British observers travelling to India then, but should be clear to us now with the benefits of hindsight, but hardly anyone seems to care.

Today's news is that of Conservatives accusing Gordon Brown that during his Chancellorship of last eleven years, most of the newly created jobs have gone to immigrants. The British people, they say, have moved on to benefits and lived a life of 'poverty'.

Well, honestly, conservatives being what they are, they don't even know the meaning of this word 'poverty'. Yes, indeed, living in municipal housing and receiving a payment…

My Calendar

This is a personal note. I am now back in London and shall not travel till end of June.

Wow! What a break - I say to myself. I always wanted a travelling job, but when it materialized, like many other things, it was at The Wrong Time! I quite enjoy being in different places - not the touristy bit, but the fact that I am involved in setting up real businesses in different countries is indeed exciting - but my life is in a mess right now.

When I started doing this an year back, I was patiently accumulating brownie points in adjusting in a new country. I was building my career all over again, bit by bit, and I was having a good run. Then, this opportunity came - something I wanted to do for a while. I took it - not taking that would have been against my grains.

Looking back, that was actually a step backward. I was leaning on my past rather than striving towards my future. I know I am good at this kind of work - when I say I am possibly one of the best in the world in selling training, I am…

What it means to be an Indian

Winston Churchill famously said India is no more of a country than the Equator. And, I guess many people all over the world will agree with him, including most Indians. The diversity of India is staggering. The sheer largeness of the country, the number of people, the differences - social, economic, linguistic - makes one wonder how this could remain one country for so long. As Churchill eloquently expressed - the modern European concept of a nation can not possibly explain the 'Indian-ness'.


Despite this, there have been several attempts to define Indian-ness in modern terms. The nation that Nehru built, more precisely. It always appears a bit of an hotch-potch, a political rather than a natural identity, more of an ideological construction in the lines of Vincent Smith's Unity in Diversity. Or, may be more like the abstract idea contained in Nehru's Discovery of India. In this construction, average Indians spoke English, lived a liberal social life in the cities, want…

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