Disclaimer: I am not here to demean good intentions or personal feelings. I am 27 and am quite active in this race of life, incessantly fighting uncalled for battles with life. The views are my personal and if it looks irrevant and contradictory to your wave of thoughts I pre appologise. Think I am naive and move on. Just like you I dont want to wake up to hate messages.
As a crazy content buff with very limited time at hand, my primary source of content consumption is The YouTube. And like any other YouTube buff, my biggest disappointment is the unskippable ads. It is not that I don’t appreciate good advertisement and storytelling, it is just that repetitive and derogatory ads disappoint me. Recently I heard an ad (yes heard, I was busy in SPSS when the ad was playing in the background). It has something to do with women empowerment and motherhood by choice etc.
Womanhood followed by motherhood’,
boy! You have my attention.
“Goes back and repeat the ad”
Re-repeats the ad.
And utter disappointment.
So, if you have not seen the ad by now the gist is—-
“there is this middle age pregnant lady who is making an announcement in her baby shower. She says that she will be a mother who will never deliver round rotis for her kids, never wait upon them when they are out late at night. She will be an independent ,non sacrificing mother such as her own mother. Her own mother, who travelled the world and did her Phd at 45 without letting children and associated sacrifice hinder her ambition.”
*Applauds applauds and some more applauds*
Hey-great speech lady but aren’t you a upper middle class working woman who might be having more than one helping hand at the kitchen. Round roties (check)- you aren’t making them, you might have never had made them, you had help, even your mum might have had help. After all your mum looks an economic pundit advising the private banks. These homely chores, they gets outsourced-doesn’t they.
Secondly, waiting upon your kids to come back home. Are you sure you mother never did that for you? I have a working mum who is really sick with some annoying cancerous cells but she still waits for me to call her and assure her I am back home. It is not a sacrifice she is making by staying up for my call.
It is called LOVE.
Heard of it?
Many might have, just that they don’t know the text book definition. Moving forward she claims that she will be like her own mother who has travelled the world and also invested in education post childbirth.
Someone in this planet explain me how does this parallel compute? Does the ad mean to say that by fulfilling your personal desires along with bringing up a child successfully makes you a not sacrificing mother?
[Stop talking like my 18th century grandmother who always rebuked my mother for pursuing her passion and career.]
It only means that you are a multidimensional woman-such as any other woman- and is more empowered than a man in being able to balance the critical decisions of life without lamenting or giving up.
This advertisement took my surprise as it came from TITAN-a brand well known to promote woman empowerment and liberal ideas. How could they become so derogatory under a camouflage?
Maybe because the target audience demography for their product is middle and upper middle class women.
Now Hey TITAN do you want to make a powerful ad- keeping the business motives behind?
Bring in a lower middle class woman. Who already has 3 kids at her toe. Make her say that motherhood is a choice and not a sacrifice. Motherhood is actually a sacrifice for those because a nine month of pregnancy cuts her off the workforce without a pay. She brings an extra mouth to feed and piles up medical expenses.
Pregancy is a sacrifice for her- because it prevents her husband from having intercourse with her- giving this polygamous male an excuse to cheat on his wife. Pregancy is a sacrifice for the daily labour working lady because she does not have the means to attain advanced medical facilities- increasing her chances of death at childbirth.
If such a woman can stand and say pregnancy is my choice and NOT a sacrifice then is makes for a cause. Then it accentuates the infinite women power (which is still undermined by nations).
TITAN RAGA, I appreciate your idea and some market research into the modern kid fearing new couples but if you really want to send out a powerful message rethink your strategy. Come up with something which actually accentuates the power of women in the face of adversity. Talk about the unsung working ladies breaking concrete walls under the ruthless sun.
We will buy your product and also appreciate you if you stop appealing to the snob heads around.
There is a very enticing term in economics, opportunity cost. By all means, as the name suggests, it is the cost of not doing something over doing something. Confusing?
Maybe some economic Nazis will bomb me for simplifying something to overtly overrated, but recently I have started un-complicating life and adopting the Buddha principle of ignoring what is no more worth my attention.
Last night I was with Henry Hazlitt’s ‘Economics in One lesson’ and surprisingly the élan with which Henry had decoded the fallacies in Economics- gave me a better comprehension of the subject than my days with UPENN.
What particularly caught my attention was the example of a broken window and the opportunity cost associated with it. The broken window at a bakery shop from economics point of view is an opportunity for the glazier to earn 230$ , the glass manufacturing industry gets an unexpected boost and a daily wage workers takes home few dollars more, his wife makes a pot pie resulting in the meat seller selling extra lamb and this extra bucks earned by the meat seller enables him to buy his son school textbooks which becomes the first step in enabling an individual to become self sufficient by having the means to attain education.
I can write an SQL query to simply the entire case
SELECT opportunity cost
FROM economic disasters
WHERE opportunity cost= Education;
My data analyst will kill me for this preposterous query but somewhere it simplifies the statement.
However, with respect to the conundrum of the broken window, the author tries to question for the opportunity lost with 230$. Maybe the baker was planning to buy a new suit with the given money. This would resulted in a gain for 230$ for the tailor who could have used the money to pay off his debt to his landlord and led a stress free life. He would have consumed less alcohol and could have saved up the money spent on injurious and judgement impairing alcohol to pay for his daughter’s education which in turn could have empowered a woman with the benefits of proper education.
So, which one seemed to be a better deal?
Reading this highly simplified economic conundrum got me into deep thinking. Isn’t this same principle applied to all the wrong (social branded wrong) decisions that we have had taken in our lives. The wrong initial career choice, harrowed relationship, reckless date, trust , travel, losing out on people, failing to keep in touch, missing out on your best friend’s wedding because you are still hung-over your break-up? Oh we have done that all and have always wondered what it would have been otherwise. In other words, what would have been the opportunity cost of this decision?
Maybe good, maybe worse who knows unless you have lived in it?
For example: How would you have otherwise figured out that someone would not have taken a stand for you unless you have worked to be in that position? How would you know if a person was worth your time or not unless you have spent or invested your time for that person? There is an opportunity cost for every action or decision that we make (unless the horribly wrong one made because of procrastination).
What are better economies of scale?
Starving a day’s meal to pay for your Skoda’s EMI.
It will be investing your time in education and climbing up the career ladder. Irrespective of your situation having a contingency plan to sort you’re in the worse case scenarios. Always and always invest in networking. And my personal favourite. Let go of people from your head. You really don’t have the space or time for such luxuries, unless you dad had his name inscribed in the Panama papers.
Growth has the most optimized opportunity cost. No matter what is at stake if you are growing, doing even remotely better than the other day. (Eg: You wake up at 5:30 in the morning because you wanted to write this article before work hits in) you are at the better side of the bargain.
Make amends at mending relations or complications which are hanging by a thread, either cut them or confront them and let the other person cut loose. It helps (although I need to apply it in my real life).
The opportunity cost of a body wash is way better than the bath salts and bubbles for someone who is wearing multiple shoes but not for a honeymooning couple. So, rights and wrongs are all situational and subjected to perceptions. Don’t cage your beautiful mind in guilt and pain. Do an economic analysis and move on to built the next regression model for a better and more optimized tomorrow.
Things get better in life. Yes they do 🙂
This year I was honored to be one of five students named Kellogg Youn Impact Scholars, and earlier this month we had the incredible opportunity to sit alongside 17 other Youn Impact Scholars and discuss the opportunities and challenges present at the intersection of social impact and business.
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So in the last post you (the annoying start-up founder) lost your start marketing officers to Adobe because of your reckless leadership and acute dumbness. This female rose up and high and achieved laurels while you got stuck in your mere survival game. This went on for couple of more years then you sold off your firm to some xyz and lead just a normal life.
Is this what you have envisioned for yourself?
Is this the reason why you took the entrepreneurial journey? I guess not.
The AWESOME Entrepreneur:
Critics apart- so who is the awesome entrepreneur. The poets and quant guy/girl. Exuding charm and charisma and building an ambiance of positivity. This guy is just a part of the start-up crowd but is aiming to be apart from the crowd.
In the industrial history no company has ever made history unless they have focused on building an environment which is conducive for its employees. Building a right environment, taking care of your employees and ensuring everyone grows along with your start-up ensure that your path is beset with lesser difficulties.
Crossing the bridge of life:
Building a start-up is almost like crossing the bridge of life where every step has to be planned and well chalked out. I had a very brief stint with start-ups before moving back to corporate and one distinct difference that hit me in the process was the fact that one cannot grow into an enterprise until and unless they are aided with the right amount of data, market research, right hiring and technology to aid in growth.
A brief case study:
Let’s take an example of a Bangalore based human relationship start-up started by an IIT alumni. This company is solely dedicated to make human lives better by using technology to create to provide optimal lifestyle solutions for humans using superior human sensing technology. This firm may be struggling with financial aid but one the founder is certain of a strong team backing him up no matter where his firm is headed.
During a conversation one evening with the founder, he told me a statement which struck me so vividly that I decided to pen this blog. Layak (the founder) told me “ I have to do something immediately to ensure that my people get a better life”. I was so startled by his vision of not only growing his firm and minting money but also go ahead a provide a superior lifestyle for his employee. This might very well be the differentiating factor between an awesome and an annoying start-up.
How to become awesome from annoying in next post
Disclaimer: I am going to use words on the little harsher side. Reason being nothing annoys me more than people who are not data/statistics oriented. It really annoys me when I see start-Up founders more inclined towards believing that miracles will give quarterly results rather than using predictive system to get the job done.
You maybe a little SAAS based product company working you a** off to push yourself into the market. Sell some subscription based products to survive, ensure that your team gets paid and you can manage to buy a 7.6lakhs (INR) sedan class vehicle after 10 years of running your company.
Sad picture isn’t it?
Let me make the picture even sadder ( the reality is Saddest I am a data analyst so I tend to paint the brighter picture no matter how much my heart is set against it)
You have a tech team consisting of mostly fresher right out of some middle tier college, they are slogging like slaves to get the features out to the testing team. During the breaks they are using your office internet to search for jobs. The situation is so desperate that you have blocked all job portals to ensure that at least they don’t end up using your internet to dump you. You have a sales and marketing team to take care of leads, sales funnel, ultimate sales and customer service. However you have done everything possible to confuse the sales team and have just given them a huge million dollar target.
You are just another Titanic:
Although you feel you have built the right ship, with right amount of resources and investment. The fact is you are a doomed Titanic.
Why do I say this?
I say this because you are investing in buying bulk emails to spam people across the globe but not investing in data and PROPER market research to build the platform on which you will build your empire.
Snippet of a conversation from such an organization:
Marketing officer: How many leads do you target for this month just to start with
CEO: I don’t know . 100, 1000,1000000, 1000000000. As many as you can.
Marketing officer: whoa! (Jerk do you know what are saying)*in his mind
Marketing officer: Well, sir that sounds ambitious (reading Freaking vagues) well, if you can break it down for me for the first month then I guess I can plan accordingly.
CEO: No, there is no limit so for everything, emails, social campaigns, ads everything I just want pure numbers
Marketing office: OK boss.
Marketing officers walks to the HR and asks “ Hey, what is the notice period in this nonsensical place”
Yes why not, this is the exact reason why you and your little start up is annoying. The indifference and non goal setting attitude of your not only projected you are a complete novice in front of the 10 years younger marketing officer but also damaged your organizational reputation in from of her. The next thing this marketing person will do is go home, change in her pajamas and log into LinkedIn/Monster etc to find a job back to an organization of repute.
YEAH big deal:
Yup, it is not a big deal in the huge workforce that is dispensable for hiring this only lady moving out is not a big deal but what you fail to under stand here is the lady is not moving out of your firm she is moving out on your crazy and insolent leadership.
Continued part in next post.:)
“There is no greater victory than fall from this earth- a free man”- Said Spartacus clad in his impressionist roman gladiator apparel in a billion dollar shooting set. “There is no greater victory than having 20 warm leads converts into customer”- said a lowly said guy in a not so awesome start-up somewhere in the face of this earth.
“There is no greater victory than creating a killer campaign which beats my own freaking records”- Said a star marketing women sitting in the comfortable pie of a billion dollar market share. Last week had loads of travel in the cards for me, and since I have uninstalled face book ( to keep my mind off the concept of public display of marriage) from all my android devices I thought about watching a series to laze away in –transit hours. Spartacus was a killer HBO mini series launched in 2010 and it became quite infamous for it bloodshed and adult content.
However, beyond the hype of sexually explicit content and gross murders, Spartacus had hidden some treasures which marketers can’t deny.
Spartacus spills the truth about marketing:
What does marketing means to you, creative content curation? Stupid blogs( which have grown so crazy in number that nobody reads them), number crunching ( this makes some sense)? Or putting on your speaking caps and participating in panel discussions.
Well Spartacus says: “what we do for ourselves die with us. What we do for other and the remaining world becomes immortal”
Exactly- become an immortal marketer by creating a breakthrough campaign which takes the world by storm. Do no go ahead and manipulate numbers to draw excuses for shortfalls. Rather take a break go to Maldives and plan a killer campaign which will pay back the credit card debt that you made for the trip.
The carrot should be stronger than the stick:
When Spartacus was purchased, by Baitiatis for a huge number of coins, as a slave. He wanted to train him to become a gladiator to pay back his debts. However after losing his wife to Galber Spartacus had little motivation for life. The strong hands of the roman guards or the lashes of the doctore’( the trainer) failed to motivate him to take up arms.
That is when Batiatis discovered his past and his love for his wife. That is when Batiatis gave him a purpose in life (the carrot) to fight and win his love back.
Similarly for marketers, no campaign will give you the desired effect just because you have innovative copy and design. Neither will threats and generic future predictions will help you sell insurances. The only way to see campaign number rise, when you give or create value for your customers, which will add some meaning for them.
For example: you are selling let’s say organic vegetables- do be generic and go ahead and say “OMG, pollution is killing everyone organic is the future start buying my apple”. Rather be more innovative and say “a little extra spending on the organic apple will expand your life by 360 minutes* (conditions apply)”.
Be direct and hit the nerve which will make an impact in the lives of your clients.
“If the cause is greater than his own life”- Gannicus or Spartacus ( not sure which dude, though both are smoking hot)
Always remember the work you are doing is the only reason why your product or service will sell, it might also become your only way to sneak into the Forbes list of 30 under 30 or 40 under 40 whatever. So never take your work as just another job which is paying the bills, try to create something which is bigger than you, your C-suite bosses, your entire organization.
“He may not have been a perfect man, but he was mine”- The pretty woman Aurelia (wife of Varro)
Exactly with your campaign or presentation or Ad sense revenue. It might now have been perfect for the quarter but it was yours. If you don’t give birth to a perfect cute healthy child then will you disown it NO. Exactly don’t turn your back from a failed campaign. Look beyond the failure and try to analyse why you did it. Maybe you were experimenting or maybe bad timing , this analysis will go a long way in creating next miracle from your laptop.
“Never Loose focus, even if jupitor himself was to tear the sky open and dangle himself from the clouds” – Onamaious (The famous trainer)
Page load time is serious business. Okay may not be for of my old PhotoShop blog which I no longer maintain, but for your main-source-of-income site it is! In 2012 Amazon analyzed its data and calculated that a page load slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year. That’s massive, in fact let me help you visualize that amount – Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion same year. You can do your math now!
Anyway coming back to reality, I have this old blog that I used to maintain in my freshman year. It was terribly built over blogspot. I copy pasted some theme, bundled a bunch of widgets and marketed extensively among my peer which lead to some good traffic. That improved my google rank especially for one particular post on Godfather style poster designing.
Fast forward today, I accidentally visited my old blog…
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Let’s take a very atypical example of a small scale company, employing some 50 heads. Working towards a common goal of breaking into their first million dollars. The team is sort of young (decent way of saying cheap labour). Everything looks fine for an Indian subcontinent aspiring to be a Silicon valley start-up . However, this Startup is destined to be doomed. They will make enough for the founding members to survive, investors still keep pushing cash but nothing beyond, nothing phenomenal.
The reason being simple and age old micromanagement
Every Company is customer/client centric- client is god, client keeps the cash flowing, bills going and company breathing but in this entire money show, what is often forgotten is – THE EMPLOYEES. The heads that are building your product, working towards your vision. Letting you make a name for yourself.
“India is a hugely populated country with thousands graduating out every year we don’t have resource crisis, when one leaves we can find two to compensate with the same salary”- Smirks a founder.
But in reality that is not the case.
Why micro-magement sucks:
How much will you enjoy if you have an annoying bird chirping all the day in your window sill. Will you appreciate someone monitoring you when you are gulping down your breakfast? NO, you won’t.
If continuous monitoring irritates you while you are doing some random no brainer job then imagine how much irritating it gets when someone monitors every action of your at work.
Yes now you know why a really smart employee became a non performer over time.
Why smart people join start-ups and how you kill them:
There are always two categories of people who look at joining small companies. First: who are looking to work anywhere and everywhere to make their both ends meet? They are the typical cheap labour who are generally dumb, not even aware of the tem called company culture and are looking to work any damn hours for any salary just to keep the working status on. (Disclaimer: These dumb folks eventually grow smart and realise their value and if you don’t know how to keep them trust me they will fly away for just a few more bucks and maybe free transport).
And the second: Reasonably smart and dynamic people, they are aspirational and are here to learn about a new business model and go heights. They are here to carry your company on their own shoulder. Money is not the alluring factor for them, they are usually well off and have more stable plans they are here to give a spike to your growth curve and then move on to their jet setting life. This is where you fail to recognize potential and is struck on basic CTC, and above all micromanagement.
Why people get lazy and starts to underperform:
When an employee starts to underperform or fail on delivery dates have you ever made an effort to figure out why he/she is staggering. Is there any change in the workplace setting that can boost her. Have you made the workplace too insecure/unstable for them or are you micromanaging. Or even worse do you have an unqualified bootlegger to micromanage on your behalf. If the second is true- trust me you are just not going to lose out on good people but also create a bad name for your brand in the market.
These people are smart heads, they will rise and shine once they move away from the cloud of your micromanagement and horrible work culture and that is when they become an ambassador ( which might not be good for your brand ).
If there is actute difference of opinion try to find a middle ground and not burn bridges between people. Smart people will always walk an extra mile and eventually becomes brands themselves, burning bridges with them ends up burning a big crater in your reputation.As a small company you will already face quite some roadblocks, why create more?
Stop Micromanagement and adopt an autonomous culture:
Create a work culture where you let your employees set their own target, respect their decision. If they are slacking and taking huge deadlines ask them why do they need so much time?
Create a sense of autonomy when they themselves challenge their ownselves and push their boundaries to deliver better. Remove any kind of management or hierarchy and see the magic unfolds. Appreciation and compensation are the two magic words which makes employees stick. Once an employee sticks around for more than 5 years in a row chances are they have created a comfort zone for themselves and will stay there forever making your product their own baby.
Appreciate people more, have an open mind when someone approaches with a creative approach and explore possibilities. Treat women with equal respect. If you are a small company remove the HR and try to listen to the problems people have at work.
Increase paid leaves, let your employees enjoy. A happy employee delivers better than sad and gloomy one. Your strict office times and stringent leaves will make them sit in the office but the work will just be a task for them not a challenge.
Sounds familiar, somewhere you are doing this? High time- get down your high horse and create a culture where you treat employees like co-founders. Inculcate that feeling of ownership in them . Show some leadership and don’t let bootleggers, inefficient window show employee spread malaria in your workspace.
As a marketer I somehow dread the Mondays, not because it is another start to a long harrowing week, nor because it is a day when you got to analyze the sales reports and brainstorm with the team , lecture a few and then move on with hot cup of caffeine. I hate Mondays because that is the D day of the week when the marketing dashboard reflects your weekly analytics and you will inevitably have some or the other disappointment to face.
I the past few years I have experimented with a number of online tools and have loved and shunned some over time. Not to mention being trapped with some with my credit card details but eventually everything becomes a part of your learning process. To start with let me talk about some email extentions which really make a difference.
1) LastPass: Are you equally tired of applications asking you to enter a new password every month. Or when you try logging into an account after long – forget password becomes your resort to restore data?
If yes, then last pass is an extension absolutely worth a shot. LastPass is the most popular password manager to help you keep track of your different log-ins, and will provide recommendations on how to be more secure. They also offer tools to automatically fill out forms, saving you the repetion of typing your name, email, and company over and over again. I was introduced to lassPass by Layak Singh, Founder Cogxio– an unique digital lifestyle application.
2) Pomodore One:
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method consisting of 25-minute work increments followed by short breaks, and it is something I follow religiously. Pomodoro One is a free program that keeps track of these time intervals and alerts you as appropriate when you should start a break or your next work cycle. At each break look away from your computer, get up from your desk, and stretch a bit to promote a healthy workspace.
3) WunderList: The best free to-do list manager I’ve ever come across, and I’ve tried just about all of them. Set custom due dates (including recurring tasks), manage multiple to-do lists, add attachments and notes, create sub-tasks, and set desktop notifications all in the program. At the end of every day I go through my email inbox and make sure that I add any outstanding items to my work to-do list. Also has mobile versions so you can keep up to date across all your devices. If you’ve never tried it, give this one a shot!
4) Xmind: If you spend a lot of time brainstorming or conceptualizing, XMind will be a nice addition to your application list (plus it’s free!). Manage gantt charts, build matrices, and brainstorm with ease all right in the app. This tool is only limited by your creativity in how you apply it.
5) Planner Classic: For someone who literally lives with their smartphone or tablet, then planner classic is a classic app which keeps everything handy and up-to date for reference.
This might not really be or even close to being an exhaustive list but these interesting applications keeps me going through this bleeding competitive marketing era.
If you are single (unmarried) and living alone away from your ‘bai’ then Surf Excel and Ariel shall not to alien names for you. The way inflation is hitting this country and the nonexistent salary hikes I am sure 60% of singles PAN do their laundry themselves.
You might have realized one thing that bothers us the most on a Saturday morning grocery shopping is the amount of money that is getting consumed by our detergent, toothpaste, jam and other basic necessities. I am sure you might have blown some 3K on the Friday night but spending your ‘hard earned money’ on weekly grocery takes a toll on you.
Why Smart Excel is the Google of Detergent world:
Google is smart, Google knows it all, but what is the sexiest thing about Google?
The multicolored vibrant name, the amount of casual approach and the irrationality associated with the brand is definitely the biggest appeal of the brand. Similarly when it comes to Surf Excel, the biggest marketing achievement of Surf Excel over its major competitor Ariel is the bright and vibrant packaging it used.
The second most interesting thing/ Marketing lesson from Surf Excel is the whole lot of content in form of washing tips/washing machine tips and emotional bonding everything present in the external packaging.
How this helps Surf to Excel:
What happens when you are in a foreign land and you cannot decide which food to eat, or let us take a very relevant example?
You are in a seven star hotel (client party) and you cannot relate to any item in the menu.
What do you order?
I am pretty sure you end up ordering the dish which has the most relevant description. The dish which has the most clear and vivid description lands up in your plate.
Similar for surf excel, being a very catchy and colorful dish with a very clear description and “Maa ka Payar” on its cover, the probability of landing in your grocery bucket increases.
Middle Income Targeting:
I strongly believe no matter what the pricing of is Surf Excel, it has always been targeting the middle income group. Middle income classified as by class than by income.
Any person with an average salary can buy very limited expensive cloths and the only way to increase the longevity of the cloth is by increasing is by taking care of the fabric. And no matter how much Salman Khan dance (as an autowala) in the TVC of Wheel, I will always end up buying a more trusted ( touching base with reality) washing powder.
Tide is poor man’s Surf Excel:
I will make an honest confession of buying Tide in the months when my budget is stringent. The only reason being the price associated with Tide.
Tide can be comfortably called a poor man’s Surf Excel giving the attempt at TVC’s and the packaging. Targeting the really middle class segment, however has not really acted in favor of Tide.
Marketing lesson from Surf Excel:
The biggest take away from the marketing lesson of Surf Excel is touching the cord where it matters the most. You are a washing powder, you are almost the necessity of every household. How do you market yourself?
No one has a Salman Khan (autowala) husband back at home and the Tide ‘safeedi’ is a blunt lie. So what connects with the middle class audience? It is the connection between a mum and her child (very practical phenomenon).
If you are a basic necessity brand, preach yourself as a basic necessity product. Connect yourself with the audience. Brand yourself or rather package yourself with some value addition (Washing Tips as in case of Surf Excel).
Reach the heart of your audience and you will find a place in their shopping cart every weekend they go grocery/household shopping.