septemberthe22nd is ...

... about to die. Keep watching.

P.S.: No I am not contemplating suicide.

The Art of Looking Sideways

The Art of Looking Sideways is an awesome book by Alan Fletcher. I just bought a copy.

I had blogged about it earlier also on (on 13th Jan 2008).

This book should help me with a lot of inspiration about design, advertising, creativity, decision making and thinking. Looking forward to reading it.

And now this book becomes the second most expensive book that I have purchased after Still Reading SRK.

Other links
A vid on Youtube where Alan Fletcher talks about it.

Designed for Failure

A fortune-teller just told me that I am designed for failure and I would never have luck or fame or money or any other parameter on which they judge a person's success or failure.

Another person to prove wrong :D

Thoughts on Twitter

Randy asked this question about Twitter on LinkedIn. Here is my answer.
Quick answer to your question would be Yes. It is advisable to use Twitter. It helps in dissipating information quickly and to a fairly large set of audience. I would say twitter can be compared to a crowd where everyone has a mic and everyone is talking simultaneously. Some have larger mouthpieces and some have very small.

I am a fairly active user on twitter and still to come across a business where they use twitter. Some companies advertise about it but that is all. II havent seen it being adopted by a company per se.

For your research, I think you should talk to people @ techcrunch where they use it extensively to promote their posts. Guy Kawasaki used it to market A guy proposed his girlfriend for marriage on twitter. People use twitter but users are sporadic at best.

Also, I think we should look at the bigger picture beyond twitter. End of the day its about a platform where you can get the largest audience. These platforms have come and gone. It started with Internet, moved onto myspace, then facebook, now twitter. There would be another platform tomorrow (I have no clue what it would be but there sure would be one). We should be ready to harness these platforms rather than focusing exclusively on one single platform.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you want me to elaborate.


P.S.: Posted a link to my twitter page.

Recommendations from a friend

Monica describes me as an "enthu intelli curious will be something soon guy".

Wow. Thanks Monica for such kind words.

TED 2008: VizThink

This link on Autodesk allows you to download an interactive pdf, a vid and a movie on TED 2008.

Must read for anyone remotely interested in ideas that can change the world.

I’ve got a security mindset

Wired has this interesting article today on a new course as University of Washington on thinking like a security personnel.

Reading the article and the course blog, I realized why I always had destructive tendencies. I have always wanted to find a way to pilferage things off the markets, way to steal that large gaming console out of that building, why I always want to look at the about page and login page of a website, and other ways a person can break a system.

Does that mean I have what it takes to be a security professional? No. Does that mean I am a negative person with destructive energies? Certainly No. It means that I am someone who is programmed to think like a security professional and I can use it in other interesting ways.

What could be other interesting ways?
1. Launch a business where you consult people. Consulting is a keyword for all MBAs. All MBAs aspire to be consultants some day irrespective of their level of expertise.

2. Identify a vulnerability and create a business idea around it. Make it social, viral, more importantly feasible. Make money from it and retire.

3. Talk to other people about it. Educate them about a different way to look at things.

What next?
Talk to Prof. Yoshi and see if this course can be taken online.

Are there anymore people who think like that and would want to connect? What could be other ways to use this knack rather than feeling sorry about it?

P.S.: One of my all time favorite fictitious people is Jack Bauer. And more I see 24, more I can relate to way Jack thinks. Or may be every can relate to him and thats why 24 was such a big hit...?

Originally posted on Thoughts @ Work

Mumbai Barcamp 3

Mumbai BarCamp

Date: 29th March 2008
Loc: SJSOM, IIT Mumbai
Agenda: None :)

And this "none" agenda makes a barcamp an interesting place to go. I was there for Mumbai Barcamp 2 also and I met few good people there. Hope to bump into more people this time. Also, last time, I saw a lot of people and companies walking in herds and trying to create things without even knowing "the why" question. Hope things change this time around.


As of now 200 people have registered already. Keep watching this space for more.

Originally posted at Thoughts @ Work.

Jack Bauer - 24

I have been following the life of Jack Bauer for about a month now.

Jack gives me immense sense of confidence in ones ability. He epitomizes rebel, exceptional talent, hardwork, reflexes and other virtues unheard of in humans.

Respectfully Submitted,

P.S.: The above post indicates what life could be like for someone who eats, breathes and thinks television. And Yes, I absolutely love the TV series. Its drama, action, suspense and everything else that you can think of.

1v1: Excellence vs Mediocrity

Third in series after Popular vs Pertinent, Expert vs Employee.

Excellence vs Mediocrity

You can either pursue excellence or remain a mediocre.

A mediocre by definition is someone engaging in an act where objective is to finish the task rather than to complete it with best of abilities. Often, shortcuts are used and outcomes are ordinary. Borrowed wisdom is put to work and original thought process takes a back seat.

Excellence is where the objective is to compete with oneself. Idea is to create something out of the world even though the objective is well defined. Excellence could be in way you work, in way you opine of things or even the way you execute. People who pursue excellence sleep easy and tight.

Mediocrity vs Excellence in one line: The pursuit of excellence creates original thoughts that a mediocre person would put to use.

Both these are more about an attitude rather than expertise or availability of resources. And once you start the pursuit of excellence, its very easy to fall in the trap and move back to mediocrity. By definition, most of the human population falls in the mediocre category and funny thing is that they dont even realize it.

You can pursue only one at a time. You could be mediocre or you could be excellent. What are you?

Originally posted at Thoughts @ Work

Idea Economy

Introducing Idea Economy.

Originally posted at Thoughts @ Work.

Cricket ka Karamyudh - Ad for IPL on SET MAX

This is an awesome ad.

I love the lyrics and the vid.

Media in an Open Environment

I was talking to a colleague in office and I realized that I need to talk about taking media to a new level. I have been procrastinating it for a while. I am penning down my thoughts on media in India and invite you people to share this with anyone you think can contribute. Please add your opinions also.

In my opinion media is supposed to perform three functions
1. Inform junta about things
2. Bring people together and share opinions
3. Shape public thought

However, currently media as I see it is not really doing any of these three. Media is being operated as a business with profit motives and as my colleague put it, actual function has become the by product. I would not question why or how this happened. I shall talk about what can be done to bring it back on track. And obviously this is where I would need you guys to help me out. Please help me structure my thought process.

I think there are few things that are really critical for having media in true spirit.

1. Objectivity - Obviously we want to take sides, churn out opinions but we should do it with objective bent. We should kill a brand, praise a person but should be objective.

2. Independence - Independence is a huge word by itself and can have many connotations. Independence of thoughts, independence from influence, independence to write. And lots more.

3. Thought leadership - Apart from just publishing happenings and reporting events, media needs to have thought leadership. They should have original opinion on things. Thoughts on how to shape the society and probably a bit of foresight to be able to foresee the future.

4. Reach and feedback - There are two things here. Media could use any platform for delivery - paper, website, twitter, plays, design anything but it should have a certain reach. Atleast in the targeted audience, it should reach everyone and it should be contextual and relevant enough for them to consider it signal, rather than noise. And feedbcak is more critical than everything else. Media needs to know what is happening, how are people reacting to things, what is the audience thinking, is India covering the right things, is the media being a thought leader in the first place?

Now having established things that are critical for media in my opinion, I will talk about how can Internet help us in achieving the goal.

1. Collaboration - This word has been misused more than any other word on the Internet. When it comes to media, collaboration could take shape of co-authoring stories, thinking out loud, accepting defeats and promoting what is better, so on and so forth. Mutiny is a very good example but again we tend to incline towards popular things rather than pertinent things.

2. Reach and Feedback - With Internet as delivery model, both reach and feedback can be much simpler. With Internet, we can real time feedback from people and improvise at the same time. The time gap between conversations is reducing and making us faster.

3. Democratic - Since people on Internet are hidden behind a cloak, they can come forward and talk about things that they want to talk above without any fears of retribution. Although this silver cloak is a bane as well, it gives regular junta lots of power too.

There have to be some issues with the Internet. I foresee following issues with the use of Internet. This is not a problem because of Internet but because it is open.

1. Accountability - Everyone on Internet is hidden behind a silver cloak. If someone wants to misuse media, Internet help him. No one is owner of the content and no one is questionable.

2. Seriousness - Most people still consider Internet as "oh the internet" and think it as a collection of amateurs blogging away to glory. There are so many good authors that I cant even create a list.

3. Numbers - There arent just enough people on Internet in India. And most of people on the Internet don't really care about reading things. I am not sure how many would read this post completely, leave apart shaping opinions and contributing. If you do read , please say "SECRET REVEALED" in the comments, I will be happy to get 10 comments.

In the end, I dont know if this kind of an initiative could ever gain momentum in India or anywhere else or if this can ever replace traditional businesses disguised as media. I am just trying to present a perspective on things.

Please understand that everything I have said could be incorrect. They are just my opinions and want you guys to help me come up with something concrete.

Thanks for a patient hearing.

P.S.: I started this as a personal email to Sanjukta and another good friend (Swagat) but I thought I could share this with a larger audience too.

Originally posted @

Lyrics: Chodo Kal Ki Baatein

Posting a song after a long time. Almost brought me to tears. Even after all these years, the song is still pertinent.

Movie: Hum Hindustani Naya Daur (Thanks Millind for pointing out)
Singer: Mukesh
Lyrics: Prem Dhawan (anyone knows more about him?)

Chhodo kal ki baatein, kal ki baat puraani
Naye daur mein likhenge milkar nayi kahaani
Hum hindustani, hum hindustani

Aaj puraani zanjeeron ko tod chuke hain
Kya dekhe us manzil ko jo chhod chuke hain
Chaand ke dar pe jaa pahuncha hai aaj zamaana
Naye jagat se hum bhi naata jod chuke hain
Naya khoon hai, nayi umangein, ab hai nayi jawaani
Hum hindustani

Chhodo kal ki baatein, kal ki baat puraani
Naye daur mein likhenge milkar nayi kahaani
Hum hindustani, hum hindustani

Aao mehnat ko apna imaan banaaye
Apne haathon ko apna bhagwaan banaaye
Ram ki is dharti ko gautam ki bhoomi ko
Sapnon se bhi pyaara hindustan banaaye
Naya khoon hai, nayi umangein, ab hai nayi jawaani
Hum hindustani

Chhodo kal ki baatein, kal ki baat puraani
Naye daur mein likhenge milkar nayi kahaani
Hum hindustani, hum hindustani

Har zarra hai moti, aankh uthaakar dekho
Maati mein sona hai, haath badhaakar dekho
Sone ki yeh ganga hai, chaandi ki yamuna
Chaaho to patthar pe dhaan ugaakar dekho
Naya khoon hai, nayi umangein, ab hai nayi jawaani
Hum hindustani, hum hindustani

Chhodo kal ki baatein, kal ki baat puraani
Naye daur mein likhenge milkar nayi kahaani
Hum hindustani, hum hindustani

Lyrics Credit:

1v1: Expert vs Employee

This is second in the 1v1 series after Popular vs Pertinent

I was talking to Monica when I remembered something I had thought of about 5 months ago. Finally posting it.

Expert vs Employee.

You can be seen and known as either an expert or employee.

An employee is a "just another person". He is competent and does his job well but that is all to him. There is no such thing as new ideas, innovation, bright sparks coming out of him. He is one amongst the crowd. No one expects anything from him.

Expert on the other hand is someone who is everything an employee is and then there is lot more to him. He is expected to change the way world moves, come up with brilliant yet simple ideas and should be as close to indispensable as someone can be. Expert belongs to the rare breed.

Expert vs Employee in one line: You would not want to meet an employee but would pay to see an expert.

And interesting thing is that the distinction between an expert and and employee is often an outcome of the way a person himself thinks and approaches things. Until you start projecting yourself as an expert, no one would consider you an expert.

What are you? Expert? Employee?

Kolkata Knight Riders

Shahrukh Khan's Kolkatta Knight Riders Team for IPL.

Official Site:

Test post for Google Search tweaks.

What sells in India?

Three Four things sell in India ...

1. Cricket
2. Gossip - celeb, real people, fiction
3. Sleaze (sex is banned)
4. Religion

Thanks Ashish

Any more additions?

Kind of Business

I am always on the lookout for businesses. It just dawned on to me that I would never launch a business that I myself would not use. This rules out things for kids, grown up adults, religious sects, evangelist community and lot more.

Advertisement: Work and Die

Print advertisement for

Awesome insight. Very well done.

Found on Advert Eyes


I wrote this piece some time ago. Its about time I posted it.

In my opinion everything you do must have a "Why" answered before its done.

Why "The Infinite Monkeys"?

Because there are million things on your mind at any given point in time and there is no way that you an keep track of them on paper notebooks. Maximum you can scribble them. Chances are that you would misplace the notes and then they would be lost forever.

Logical question is that isn't blogging tougher than scribbling .. ? Answer would be .. yes it is but it gives me an easy retrieval system. Better than text files and notebooks. Data is all about retrieval. Without retrieval, its plain old information. And information by itself has no real value.

TIM is an attempt to collect online, all thoughts and things that can be helpful. It could be a news clipping, an article, a link, an interview, a piece of thought, a doodle. Anything.

Why online?

Its easier to read later. Recollect thoughts.

Why blog?

Ideally I would want a system where I can post my current moods, locations etc. This would make it very easy to recall at a later date. Since I don't have a system like that, anything that is close enough serves the purpose. And hence Blogger. I can post things with an email address and can write and edit at will. I can also put categories to the posts and all thoughts would be in context. I can make tag clouds. I can hunt for similar posts and get feedback and opinion from people.

Munna Bhai @ Jaadu Ki Jhappi

Munna Bhai gave yet another medium to express gratitude - Jaadu Ki Jhappi. Suddenly hugging someone just like that was cool.

This Jaadu Ki Jhappi was meant to express gratitude, to help someone raise their spirits, give someone respect, shower affection and what not.

One simple gesture was transformed into a nationwide infatuation.

Obviously the second Munna Bhai gave something much much bigger. Gandhigiri. Suddenly Gandhigiri was cool and was admired.

1v1: Popular vs Pertinent

Popular vs Pertinent

One can either have popular sentiments or pertinent sentiments.

This popular vs pertinent debate applies to a lot of things. You could write about popular things or pertinent things. You can broadcast popular news or pertinent news. You can talk to popular people or pertinent people.

Case in point... Indian media. Indian cricket team won over Australia and every single space was used to talk about he cricket match. Many more important things were left out.

What are you? Pertinent? Popular?

How Zero marketing can revive Indian hockey?

Prof. Ray Titus talked about reviving Hockey on his blog here. I am copy-pasting it here ...
You don't need a marketing genius to plot how hockey can come up to cricket's stature in India. For that matter, pin no credit to anyone in the cricket administration team (read BCCI) for cricket's supremacy as a sport in India.

The only reason why cricket is what it is, despite being one of the most boring of sports, is 'cause that's one game at which we are 'world-beaters', never mind the 'world' being just a few countries.

Want a resurgence in hockey? Get India to win!

Sure, that's a tall order considering yesterday's Olympic qualifier debacle. But its not impossible. Can the guys who manage the sport. Get in foreign coaches. Revamp the admin. team. Build astro-turfs for players to play and practice on. Bring in something akin to Corporate governance.

Again, an initial investment is needed. Well, its worth it, if that can propel India to become world beaters. If that happens, watch the moolah roll in. No marketing whiz-kids needed.

I dont really agree with him. I left a comment there. Reproducing it here ...
Hi Prof. Titus,

I am mostly a silent reader of your blog and agree to most of the things that you say. However today I disagree with you.

I dont think getting more facilities and making the game professional will help the status of Hockey in India.

I think there are two huge variables in making something a mass phenomenon.

1. The network effect coupled with a feedback loop: Most people (including media) talk about the game because most people want to hear about it. And more people want to hear about it as everyone else around them is talking about it. No one wants to be left behind. Over a period of time, this network effect gets a positive feedback loop and suddenly you have a mass hysteria for something. In our case, cricket.

2. Experience: Most of the current fans of Cricket have grown up playing the game in the gullys, homes, schools etc. Most of the people have fond memories of the game and somewhere or the other they relate to the game and hence the following.

Am sure there are other things also. Please share.


P.S.: Posting this on my blog as well.

Any thoughts?

Lessons from Warren Buffet for Start-Ups

Lessons for startups from WEB's Letter to Shareholders.

Warren E. Buffet is one of the most celebrated men in the modern history. Better known as WEB, he is a self-made billionaire made most of his money from investments. His flagship holding company, Berkshire Hathaway has stake in more than 70 businesses. WEB believes in taking a controlling stake in companies and chooses a company because of the business value and the kind of people running it. Any mention to WEB is incomplete without talking about Benjamin Graham - WEB's mentor and Charlie Munger - WEB's partner at Berkshire Hathaway.

I would look at his few nuggets of wisdom and look at their implications for start-ups from his 2007 letter to shareholders.

There could not be a better starting point than Charlie Munger. They are one of the most celebrated teams in the financial world. Everyone knows that we need to select business partners very carefully. All partners should trust the judgments of other partners and should stand behind every decision.

Most of the managers at Berkshire have "... no financial need to work". This simply means that the people who are working are working because they love working. Rewards for them are not economic in nature but are psychological - of taking their company to a new level, of becoming leaders in what they do and pushing the limits.

WEB further states that "these managers is that they have exactly the job they want for the rest of their working years". This is probably the most important line for a startup. Have people who like what they are doing rather then employing people.

Business Decisions
A lot of startups assume that once they reach a user base, they can sell out to a bigger player. This approach can take them only so much far. They should take a cue from WEB. He has been advocating the importance of a long-term time horizon for businesses. In my opinion, selling out is ok but only after reaching a point where you think that the other party can contribute more meaningfully to the business and its shareholders.

WEB says, "as with Berkshire, a deal is a deal.” A lot depends on the way your word is taken in the market. Especially when you are starting, a lot of reputation is on stake. As it’s said, reputation once gone is gone forever.

WEB says, "A truly great business must have an enduring moat that protects excellent returns on invested capital". Most of the startups are engaged in reinventing the wheel. I can recall just two Indian innovative products. For a country of a billion, just two innovative ideas? Need of the hour is to look at businesses that are different, can not be copied easily and hav a moat round it. The moat could be because of the scale (IRCTC), technology leadership (Zoho), people (??), knowledge of markets (Future Group?), low cost of operations (?) and many other factors. Startups need to identify their moat and build their company around it.

Realistic Assumptions
It’s always recommended to fly high. But the feet should be well grounded for that. Like in the report, WEB says, "Berkshire’s past record can’t be duplicated or even approached. Our base of assets and earnings is now far too large for us to make outsized gains in the future." It would have been easy for WEB to paint rosy pictures but he chose otherwise. Startups should be realistic when they set their goals and get down to implement them.

To end it on a light note, WEB says, "Just as Adam and Eve kick-started an activity that led to six billion humans, See’s has given birth to multiple new streams of cash for us. (The biblical command to “be fruitful and multiply” is one we take seriously at Berkshire.)". Startups need to identify a business that can grow organically and can operate for a long time.

Although WEB says "Start-ups are not our game”, I could still find these nuggets of wisdom. Anyone wants to share more?

The power of human mind.

I had written this post 30th April 2007. Just found it buried under one of the folders.
As I was coming back from office today, in the cab there was this female who I thought I had seen somewhere. I could not place her in my mind. I came to the conclusion that I had seen her in my school and she was in one of the other sections.

I started talking and I was correct. She went to the same school as I went and even she thought she had seen me somewhere and she could not place me.

She could also remember one of my classmates. This classmate was the most connected person in my batch. And proves yet another thing – that the six degrees of separation is because of certain well connected people. I don’t know how useful this realization would be …

More Details to assist memory later
I was working with the MNC in their Gurgaon Corporate Park Office and I met this person in cab. She was from Greenfields and was in the commerce section.

A Marketers Delight

A friend once told me that I am a marketer's delight. Looking back at the spending pattern of last few days, his words sound like prophecy to me.

I have bought a laptop bag because I was hanging out in a market full of bag shops (I needed a bag but the one I bought is something that I did not like).

I bought a PSP that I bought just because I wanted to own one and one of friends was coming from Dubai (I bought an iPod in 2006 for the same reason – that fake sense of ownership).

Two pairs of shoes (not that I hate shoes, its just that I did not need them. The other pair I had sufficed my needs).

This brings me to a confession. I might say that my interest lies in the area of decision-making, but I really suck at it. Need to think more before I make a purchase so as not to make myself a sucker.

And if someone wants me to gift things off my wishlist, please lemme know.

The Nidhi Kapoor Story

Did you like this post? May be you want to read my first book - The Nidhi Kapoor Story.

Check it out on Amazon or Flipkart?