Monday, August 25, 2014

Completed long pending certification

Finally today I appeared in a long pending certification. Content of the training material was given so much that I could never finish everything and hence I was never getting fully confident of appearing for the exam. Ultimately I got fed up of waiting and decided to appear in the exam no matter how good or bad the preparation was. And I turned out lucky that I cleared it! :) 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

It's Entertainment at Box Office

Watched It's Entertainment today. Filled with sidesplitting comedy and comic scenes - it's great entertainment for all. Kids in the theater were heard enjoying a lot; good decision by parents to bring them along :) Akshay is the best and Krishna Abhishek has done great role too. 

I also noticed that 90% of the movie was shot in Bangkok. Don't know what will happen to Narendra Modi's "Come, Make in India" slogan! After returning back, thought to check the financials of the movie: Cost: Rs 75 Crores; Box office collection: ~ Rs 71 Crores after two weeks. It appears that its production cost was too high; even if it earned more than Rs 100 Crores, it won't have made much profits. Apart from spending on too many stars (who had got small roles anyway), one major factor for such high production cost would be shooting 90% of the film in a foreign location. 

When Modi asks to "make in India", it is not only to generate local employment and local business but also to save costs and make more profits! I hope movie makers learn this as soon as possible - so that their finances also keep entertaining them!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Touching Cows

A cow had roamed to the middle of the road, attracted by speck of greenery on the median strip. As she was busy dealing with the grass, a car zoomed past her. As soon as it passed besides her, the driver brought his hand out and touched the cow on her back. It is a Hindu custom where it is considered sacred to touch a cow. We can guess that the purpose of this custom would be to encourage people to serve cows, to feed and protect cows who give us milk second only to our mother’s milk. So does this casual touch-while-you-go business serve any real purpose? 

This gesture is indeed ‘symbolism’. At the very moment the driver was touching the cow, he must have felt reverence for mother cow; at that moment he must have had pious thoughts in his mind; and hence I think this custom though symbolic in nature would still help preserve some goodness in the hearts of practitioners… 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Merry Go Round

In our neighborhood park there is a small merry-go-round which runs when pushed manually. Once a mother was seen pushing it while several kids enjoyed the ride. But she was holding the ride and also running round and round as the ride moved. I wondered why could not she stand at one place and simply push the ride to get it running! Why take the pains to run along with it? On second thoughts I could get it - She was not moving with the ride but in fact she was moving with her kid! If she stood at one place and pushed the ride, she would need to let her kid go out of her hands which she did not want to do... Tells how difficult it is to judge others from our own frame of reference. Also how parents take emotional decisions to protect kids while kids can judge them logically and consider them wrong...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Car's Windshield

Cab driver stopped the car and went on to clean the corner of wet windshield. The moist and hazy surface was not getting perfectly clean. He kept trying and wondering what was wrong... I suggested to try cleaning from inside. He tried and it was done in a moment. That is how we keep trying to solve problems from outside while at times key may be to try from inside...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

Independence of our country was earned at a great price and is ensured everyday by great sacrifices. If we could follow some bullet points from the wonderful speech by our great PM Sri Narendra Modi, our country will attain greater heights:

(1) Avoid imported goods and buy more ‘made in India’ items.

(2) Impart good values to sons so that daughters remain safe.

(3) Keep our localities neat and clean.

(4) It is our responsibility to build the nation our freedom fighters dreamed of.

Happy Independence Day India! Long live 15th August!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Vistara - Luxury Airline from Tata

Why all airline companies in India should have English names? (e.g. Air India, Jet Airways, Indigo, GoAir, SpiceJet). Here comes Vistara - newly launched airline, majority owned by Tata and it is called "Vistara" - word derived from Sanskrit word 'Vistaar'.

Here are some glimpses of Vistara:

Brand Vistara having a premium positioning has been designed elegantly:

All images courtesy the airline's Facebook page:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Parikshit Sahni

Happened to spot Parikshit Sahni in one of the old movies and observed how good looking he has been! This picture shows him with his father Balraj Sahni . And what to say of their acting skills!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Do Big Budget Films Make Economic Sense?

These days a lot of big budget super hero films are being made. But do such movies make better sense economically? 

The most profitable film of year 2013 was Aashiqui 2 with production cost: Rs 9 Crores; Earnings: Rs 110 Crores; Return on Investment: 1122%! 

Second most profitable was YE Jawani HAI Diwaani (cost 45 Crores; Earning: 190 Crores; ROI: 322%). 

Big budget Dhoom:3 The Movie did pretty less (Cost: Rs 150 crores; earning: Rs 500 Crores; ROI: 233%). Krrish 3 with prod cost of Rs 115 Cr, earned only 160% returns. But relatively small budget films like Ram-Leela (cost 35 Cr); ABCD - Any Body Can Dance (cost 12 Cr); Grand Masti (cost 31 Cr); all earned more than 200% return on investment. Even production time of big budget films would be much higher. And fair budget movies are mostly shot at locations in India and hence generate local employment. Big budget ones shots at foreign locations do not benefit our economy in similar way. 

To me big budget films look like keeping too many eggs in the same basket. Even from social point of view, most big budget action films are pure entertainment, almost in the league of video games, while small budget films with strong story lines have both soul and a good social message most of the time...


Related Post: It's Entertainment at Box Office


Saturday, July 26, 2014

When all the wars are over...

“and when all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful.” - Ruskin Bond

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What Makes Great Leaders

I just received a Project Management communication which is circulated to all teams to share thoughts and improve project management competency. Somehow a thought came to my mind related to the importance of project management. Managers play a very important role and it is unimaginable for a team to work well without an effective leadership. Managers not only give direction to the team and ensure that deliverables and targets are met, they also motivate the members to give their best. Leadership styles can be different for different managers and in different environments, but role of leadership is never of less importance.

When it comes to motivate team members, I wonder how far managers or leaders of today actually go. Are they aware of the things going behind the faces (or voices in case of virtual teams)? Do they get chance to understand each members aspirations and pain-points? Do they take members’ answers and responses at their face values? Do they have opportunity to make bonding with team members so that members could trust them with what they actually think about things going around? How do they handle complaints? Do they just pretend to listen and brush aside complaints; or do they play the game of ‘punishing the victim’ to make sure members do not feel encouraged enough to even complain! It seems the creative ways in which things can go wrong are as many as there could be creative ways in which things can go right…

If we look at the real life stories of leaders like NRN, Premji, or JRD, there is an element which is common in all great leaders. That element can be described in words like humility, sensibility or empathy… A team member may be facing a low phase in his personal life; which may be impacting the way he responded on the work. May be a member is facing some problem due to which he is not performing as per expectations; a problem for which he needs your help to resolve but he is not able to mention it. A very good worker did some mistake for which he has apologized; does the leader have the heart to forgive, forget and move on? In case of conflict, may be root cause of the problem lies with a member who enjoys your rapport, but you will perhaps never see this fact since you are not going that far to analyze the situation. A lot of leaders these days play the strategy of keeping things under the carpet instead of trying to resolve real issues. No great company can be formed on the foundations of weak and short-sighted leaders.

Do managers or leaders display some level of empathy or sensibility? This is a vital pointer. Just like things from personal life can impact behaviors in professional life; things that happen in professional life also impact members’ personal lives. Do leaders care about the later as much they would care about the former? Even under constraints most of the time managers still have the power to reach win-win decisions which could be best for them as well as for members. But how many times they try to actually make win-win decisions? How many times they stop at their own benefiting positions, caring nothing for what the member wants? It feels sad for the level of frustration and suffering which young employees at the bottom of pyramid go through; and it is baffling to know that many of those sufferings could be prevented just if the leaders had a little empathy or understanding…

Individually this can still be understood and managers can make course corrections. But if this becomes collective malaise where every other manager displays apathy, insensitiveness and short-sightedness, then it is a recipe for disaster. Perhaps this is a key difference between great organizations and those which are not…