Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Live a well-lived life

Useless Debates

The debates we take part in in schools are unrealistic and non-practical. The world doesn't and can't function from an extreme point of view. Maybe these debates may play a part in a students' narrow thought process by not accepting the whole picture or talking about things he/she doesn't believe in. Why should kids at a young age take stands on issues where the best solution in the real world is usually the middle ground.
If indeed the students' thought process has to be evaluated, his vocabulary and speaking skills have to be tested, let there be a competition of how should certain problems be solved instead of blind arguing as in a debate.
Let big or small or technical problems be thrown to this non-brainwashed people to come up with maybe some very innovative solutions.
How should India tackle the China threat? Or what kind of new design will you make for machine that has to clean up mines. What kind of mobile games would be a hit with adults or children?
Why not make the students really think, discuss and speak about it? 
Guess what, Nokia went to kids around the world and asked them to draw what they would like their mobile to look like with what features. And, this is how even big companies get ideas for the future.

Lets make tomorrow's future think about the future rather than make them recite about the past and argue about the present.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Extreme product development/marketing

Look at the two pictures:

What did you think it was? Liquid chocolate and strawberry syrup? You would be forgiven to think that. That is what I thought it was when I first saw this. Coloured shapely bottles with pictures of two tweens on it. I opened and smelled it and found the smell of chocolate and strawberry syrups respectively. But what was surprising was the brand name on it: Parachute advansed. Parachute brand is the most popular cocunut oil brand which is mainly used as a hair oil(and also for cooking). Ok, so I assumed Parachute has entered the edible eateries segment with syrups. But advansed is like a technology used for refining the hair products for specific use. Just to be sure, I read what the product actually was. Turns out it was shampoo.
Almost 99% of the people would have thought it to be something other than a shampoo(with the word shampoo written in such small words on the bottle)
Lets look at the consequences: How will a parent convince a three or four year old that the product the kid is demanding to eat is not an eatable in the first place. It looks like a delicious eatable, smells like one too. Big trouble ahead for parents!
What suppose the parent adds this 'syrup' on a home made cake or on an icecream/milkshake and gives it to the kid? I wonder if the company is going to get sued for making kids ill...

Since the marketers are "always" "trying" to make things "easy" and "convenient" for the consumers, why not they come up with a product which can be used for multiple purposes? Say you get up, and brush your teeth with this product as a toothpaste, then squeeze out some more of this stuff and use it as a soap, wash off and then apply some more on the body and let it dry working as a moisturiser. Then scoop some more and apply onto the bread and enjoy a delicious sandwich on way to the office. Won't such a many-in-one product "delight" customers?
Consumers can then need not have to remember so many things to buy when they go to a supermarket. Things will be more easily manageble. From cleaning the shelf of the bathroom that has on the average 3 to 5 or more different products to not throwing away unused product since it has reached the expiry data as it will be used frequently. A frequent traveller can slip in one of these many-in-one products into the travel bag and not have to worry to find the many things as used currently running across the house to just pack a bag. Maybe consolidation of products is the next level/generation of marketing and product development in particular for the marketers. The irony of this game is that fewer marketers would be required when this is done. A true revolution!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

5 reasons why US is going to go downhill

Frequent International Interferences
The frequency with which US is involved in fighting other countries since 2001 is very high. Iraq, Afganistan, Pakistan and now Libya. The costs are huge, but the benefits in terms of oil is greater for USA. But the skepticism of the world on its activities is increasing all the while. The conspiracy theory on the attack on the pentagon, the non-provability of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, Contradicting claims of the US and North Korea on the torpedo that sunk the South Korean ship, Doubts if Osama Bin Laden was actually killed by a US raid,etc are helping build the skepticism on what US says.

Spill Out of Crises
The European debt crises in Ireland, Greece and expected crises in Portugal and Spain have brought the attention of the economists to the debt amounts of the countries and see a realistic picture of US debt. They have started questioning the assumptions and no longer see it as rational in blindly justifying US debt as something godly and always safe. The US crisis itself has forced the US economists to relook at the US debt and justify themselves being called rational. S&P's negative outlook on US sovereign debt is just the beginning of being rational. Faith of and on the dollar has diminished and is expected to further diminish. No one has yet able to think a perfect currency/thing which can be used to measure against all other currencies. The only possible solution that seems close to come to place in a few years time maybe the equivalent of the SDR(Special Drawing Right) of the IMF. It is equivalent to the basket of freely convertible currrencies. But in the coming scenario, Yuan may be added to this basket sometime in the current decade when China allows complete convertibility. The complete faith on the US Dollar is going to come down. The draw down of the US Dollar forex reserves is also going to play a major role in the downhill of US.

More internet availability and accessibility in the world in helping others know of the torture faced by US victims in Guatemala and the killing of two unarmed Pakistanis by a CIA contractor. Not to mention, the widespread news of wikileaks and videos of violent human rights violations by US soldiers in Iraq is there for all to see. Add to this, the ease and fastness with which conspiracy theories  are spread.

Weapons Technology
One of the main strengths of US has been its military muscle. The world's dependency on that is reducing. China is growing rapidly in weapons technology with the development of the anti-satellite missile, the anti-aircraft carrier ballistic missile, the stealth aircraft and of course, their own aircraft carriers. Japan has initiated developing its own fighter aircrafts and it is expected to reach the market in the coming years. India is planning on ICBMs(Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) and the Brahmos is world's leading cruise missile. The FGFA program with the Russians for the development of the fifth generation fighter aircraft is also supposed to be leading edge. With money always acting as a crunch to all the countries, most of these countries will be willing to sell the products to 'their' allies. The market share of US is going to go down. Compared to the other countries, US cannot fight on price too.

Rising Developing Countries
The rise of the BRICS countries and their collective power to say 'No' to US to bulldoze its way in trade agreements and climate change conferences at the cost of others shows reduced US ability to force others. The recent mention of British PM David Cameroon wanting the next IMF head to be from Asia also shows the way things are going in the world.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Strange relationship

There are many situations one comes across in life where you have a strange relationship with the other person. One category of them consists of meeting people with whom potential relationships are possible but is not yet converted into a formal relationship.For e.g., interacting with a potential tenant, a potential in-law, etc. Sometimes, the relationship cannot even be defined as a 'potential relationship' category.
What about a tenant, showing the house to a potential new buyer of the place who is going to kick out the guy showing the house. What relationship could this possibly be called? It is just a strange relationship...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A real Optimist

An optimist is not one who sees the glass half full, but one who sees a glass half empty and asks for a refill