Sunday, April 25, 2010

Understanding the world

"Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock" - Ben Hecht

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Drowning in smells

So you use a soap/body lotion, a moisturiser, some talc, deodarent, hair oil/gel/cream, face wash, face scrub, mouthwash, hand wash; shaving cream & after shave(for men); and many more products for women.

Have you tried counting how many of them have a neutral or no smell in them. If you are going by the lastest or the most fashionable of the products, it is very likely that you will find it hard to even find one or two of them with no smell. So in that case you are daily using a concoction of products with smells across the spectrum from sandalwood handwash to menthol shaving cream to walnut face wash to jasmine talc to metal deoderants. Interesting! So what exact smell do you want to convey to yourself and to people around you? 

The more ironic thing about this is apart from the deodarant, most of the other products we use have a smell only when we bring out nose to the product and smell it and many of them are used in such a way that they are washed off(soap, scrub, face wash, shaving cream).
So what significant benefit do these products, each of which comes in tens of flavours really serve? 

Do people buy and use varied smelling products for just the initial virgin smell of it while using it? Do they really want to override the previous smell with the next product they use? Do they think the people close to them will smell all the flavours that they have used?

I dont know if today's marketers' have done any study relating to this. The FMCG marketers are too category focussed to sell their products and I dont think they would have thought of the overall strategic smell a person really wants to emit/give out. Maybe the biggie FMCGs should think about  making products with a strategic smell in mind.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Random stock thoughts

Broad trends of the Indian equity market:
The most fashionable things for companies to do today is to get into other domains where they are not. And most fashionable is to get into the power sector.
All companies in the infrastructure/ capital goods/ conglomerate world  have or plan to have subsidiaries companies to generate power. Be it a company dealing with metals(sterlite) or in the oil refining business (Essar Oil parent) or biggies like Tata and ADAG.

All pharma companies in India are trying to make Generics of the Original drugs that are expiring and planning to export it to the US. In the coming few months, I guess the pressure of the ruppee appreciating is going to be a main concern for many exporting companies.

Oil & shipping and ship building sector update: Expected overcapacity in oil refining and excess ships in the markets are not allowing the stocks in these sectors to rise.
The dilemma with stock analysis is this: Past performance is not an indicator of future performance. Even though I try looking ahead, I am forced to look at its past records to get a sense of the future.

Dirty linen
Came across this humourous sentence: "Both Hindustan Unilever(HUL) and Procter & Gamble (P&G) are out to prove who can wash dirty linen cheaply and efficiently."

Of hens, cocks and chickens

I found this one company which came in the sector category of miscellaneous. On closer look, the company was named "Srinivasa hatcheries". I am sure the analyst who saw saw this small company for the first time would have been confused as to how to classify it. I wonder how the analysts value this company.... By the amount of hens, cocks and chickens it has? For finance people: I further wonder whether a compounded real option valuation will have to be done to estimate further generations of chickens that can be produced... :P

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sports as a stimulus

Considering the amount of money that is being spent on the common wealth games to be held in New Delhi , India and the amount of business the Indian Premier League (IPL) is doing, I think the governments can definitely consider putting some money into sports during recession as part of the stimulus package. The multiplier effect of this is enormous: More drinks, eateries, logistics, advertisements, merchandise,etc.

In fact, IPL 3 is expected to have revenues of $1billion or Rs.4,600 crore for a period of just 45 days.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tools of seduction

"Being a language, mathematics may be used not only to inform but also, among other things, to seduce" - Benoit Mandelbrot

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cherry Blossoms

P.S: You can click on them to get full desktop size images :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

A 'complicated' feeling

Can a feeling be 'complicated'?

If someone asks how are you?
Can I answer "I am feeling complicated" ?

With so many things happening in parallel in many close people's lives, sometimes there comes a time when there is great news on one end and a disastrous news on the other. And there is not much you can do about it but feel happy about one and sad about the other. This is the state I am refering to and this is not to be confused with the state of confusion where you don't know what to do.