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Solution for Google Map – Travelling tour guide

Google Maps

Concept: Travelling tour guide
Platform: Mobile based
Application: Google Maps

Benefit to user: Make road journeys fun, informative and interesting
Benefit to Google: More people will use Google Maps for travelling, the existing ones will show higher brand loyalty

Explaining the concept in 150 words: My wife, Richa and I, enjoy visiting places of historical importance, this time we were enroute to UNESCO World Heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora. They are Buddhist cave monuments dating back to 2nd and 1st century B.C. We started on a 427 KM road trip from Mumbai. As usual Google was very helpful except a few hiccups, turns…re-routing…From Mumbai to Ajanta we would have passed so many places, landmarks, monuments…which will come to life only if we knew about it. Else they are just structures.

Google Maps at any point of time know where the vehicle is. What if there is an option within Google Maps to switch on a tour guide (audio based). The tour guide will provide fun, interesting information about the places, landmarks as we pass by.
End result: A happy family with rich experience.

What do you think?

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It started as a time pass, no brainer game. But this one turned out to be different, way different. In a span of some 3 months I have been a part of so much learning and action. I wanted to share the same –

• Leader – In the first clan we had a leader named Rick, now Rick won’t communicate. Most of the time he was missing from discussion, aloof, not taking active part in running of the clan. Though people respected him but no one loved him. This resulted in other clan members taking active participation in running of the clan.

• Rewards – It does feel good when one gets rewarded and ones owns loyalty to the person rewarding them. As Rick was mostly absent Indrajit took care of rewarding people with promotion. It felt good. People were happy with him and man we had quite a few co-leaders and elders in the clan. Indrajit was the craze as he had the power and if you approach him he will promote you.

• Revolt – The growing popularity of Indrajit and Rick’s reluctance to discuss the transfer of leadership led to formation of a new clan, Phoenix Slayers. The popular leader Indrajit was in charge. There was an exodus of people from the old clan. We all were happy members of the new clan.

• Hard work – As expected in the new clan people had expectation from their new leader. Since almost everyone was promoted to the highest level there was nothing more which Indrajit could do. We needed people to run the clan and this meant hard work. This is where Deb comes in. She was active in the previous clan as well but in the new clan she will be in a totally different avatar.

• Persistence – Deb started working with and on the clan members, she will get up in the middle of the night to check on the clan members, schedule wars, advice green horns. She went on to make a blog to help people do better at clan wars. Deb was always involved giving shape to all major decisions in the clan. She was putting in hard work, was persistent and loved what she was doing.

• Getting noticed– If you love your work it will show and that’s what happened with Deb. The clan members started looking up to Deb for guidance. If you keep polishing copper it will start to shine and Deb’s hard work was shining. People loved her.

• Change – Deb started to bring a first a few and then some major changes in the clan which also includes demotions and kick outs. Indrajit, the leader, could not do much as the majority was with Deb. This meant a change was in the cards.

• Murmur starts– Members of the clan had started talking about change in leadership. These were the same people who were happy with Indrajit at one time but no longer supported him. They had realized that Indrajit had outlived his purpose and the clan needed a new leader if it has to grow.

• Graceful exit- Finally one evening Indrajit bid farewell to the clan as he handed over the leadership to Deb. He knew his time has come and made a graceful exit. I am sure I am going to miss him, especially his attitude of taking everything in his stride.

The COC journey will unfold many more chapters as we continue to grow. Do share if you have a story to tell.

Posted in articles - business

Indian Super league, #LetsFootball


So it’s finally here. First of all a standing ovation to all the sponsors behind ISL. Hero, Reliance, Star India, Bollywood stars, Sachin (the living God) and all other sponsors you are doing a huge service to India by reviving football. 10 years from now, the youth of the country will owe their presence in the world football to you.

Yesterday the first match between Mumbai and Kolkata marked the beginning of all the great things to come. I agree that it was an amateurish start that the first yellow card came out 1:35 minutes of the game, that there were too many fouls, that if the world has to take our football seriously then the stature of the game has to go up. I am absolutely with you. Yes, some of us may have felt dejected by the quality of the game especially Ranbir’s body language sucked. But don’t criticize the game as yet.

Let me tell you a quick story and then we shall come back to ISL. Roger Bannister an Englishman was the first person to run a mile under 4 minutes. This was done in 1954. Imagine the number of times Roger would have tried to finally achieve one mile or 1.6 (approx.) Kms in under 4 minutes. Wikipedia says in the last 50 years this record has been lowered by almost 17 seconds. What happened in the last 50 years can be attributed to evolution. But Robert was the first guy who set the things in motion, who started something, who gave a benchmark for people to follow.

Similarly football in India will improve, but it will take time and money. What we can do is support the game with viewership numbers. Give the sponsor a reason to support the game, else sponsors like Adidas who associate themselves with football will be seen missing from action, though it was a delight to see the football sporting a Puma logo. For our future generation we as Indians need to help sustain this game. Criticizing is very easy, it doesn’t take any brains. Right now, at this very moment you can be angry about almost anything under the sun, bad roads, traffic jam, procedural delays, corrupt cops, bureaucracy, the list is endless. But criticizing doesn’t end in a solution. You have to be a part of the solution, big or small doesn’t matter.

So let’s give ISL a breather, let’s watch the game for at least first 3 years before making any judgement. Everything good takes time.

Now ISL guys, you have to be on top of the game to ensure fans keep coming back. Coming to the website, it is crying out for attention. The horizontal scroll is not working properly, the pictures need to be high resolution and please edit them. If you have to compete with the big boys then your work has to be top notch.

Look at this picture –
Indian Super league
Who is the guy on the right hand side of the picture? This is lazy editing. My readers please do not get confused thinking Rishi is criticising, am not. I am pointing out the careless mistakes which should have been avoided.

indian super league 2
See the same picture is edited, with color and brightness correction it looks much better. One has to be passionate about such things else qualifications doesn’t matter. At times, we are so busy being correct that we fail to understand that the strings need to tug your heart. The website needs attention; “enough gyan”.

Now am all set to catch today’s match between NorthEast United FC and Kerala Blasters FC; Let’s see another match full of Indian action, #LetsFootball.

Posted in articles - business

The tele marketers of the digital world

Who can forget the hordes of tele callers hounding us for various things right from selling a bright future to a trip abroad. These people had all the traits of super achievers, they were persistent, never gave up and if by chance you are rude with them then they will hunt you down. Had the Government not intervened it would have almost impossible to stop them. You can almost compare them with Agent Smith of Matrix. If you block one of the callers they will simply change the number and start calling you again. Apps like True caller, spam blocker would have just died out.

But thanks to the intelligent people at the right places, somebody woke up and said – Hey this is wrong, this harassment has to stop. Am sure they were also harrowed by the tele callers else we know our Government machinery does need some motivation to work (that’s under the previous regime).

You know, it is said that nothing can be destroyed forever, matter just changes form. So what happened to the tele callers? What did they morph in to? The answer is digital advertisers! And this time they are stronger and more irritating than ever before.

So what happens when you try and watch a video? The first thing to pop up is an advertisement and sometimes there is no option to skip them, you just have to bear it out. The word NUISANCE will be an understatement. No one likes to be forced fed. If one wants to watch something they will land up else stop bothering them.
Now why is this happening? It’s simple, the brand managers, marketers have very limited creative sense.

Almost all the big companies depend on a system to run things, to protect people and if necessary hide behind it. So when these people are exposed to the concept of digital being the new platform what do they do? They treat it like another TV and start slapping ads before videos. I have huge war chest, so I spend of TV, Print and then go for bulk on digital. Just bombard people with the advertisement, focus on reach and hope people will take the correct action.

It’s not their fault, till now the entire marketing approach was about reach, it was about push. People have a budget and they advertise, calculate ROI and everyone celebrates, which is great. But when you are on digital, push no longer works. People have to like your content. Now that’s difficult, no one told anything about this to the number guzzling marketers. Their creative sense is limited to what the creative agency puts on the table. Now it’s an uphill task for them.

One brilliant campaign which I would like to talk about is, The Photographers case by Fox Crime. The campaign was true to the genre of the channel. It was a case where one had to look for clues and then move ahead. The execution was flawless, great graphics and very good story. No wonder it went on to win the Yahoo Big Idea Chair Award in 2011.

The promotion attracted the genre of people who would be interested in the programs Fox Crime has to offer. Now this was intelligent targeting, as compared to the heard approach of advertisers with big budgets, “Just spend the money on reach and we shall get hits”.

Going ahead such a harassment from the digital advertisers will have to stop. It’s causing negative reaction towards their brand. No one likes to wait and especially on digital. If I want your adv. I shall see it, else stop bothering us!

Posted in articles - business

The obsession of hiring celebrities as brand ambassadors!

Brand Ambassador

Let’s start this blog by one simple question.

Q) Which is a bigger, larger than life, super luxury brand between these two?
A) Kareena Kapoor or
B) Jaguar

People who answered Kareena please close the page now!

Seriously how can a mature company like Jaguar do something as naïve as this?
What are they expecting to gain out of this? Kareena will make Jaguar a bigger brand? In this case Merc, Audi and BMW guys, yuhuuu there’s nothing to worry about!

Will Kareena make Jaguar sell more? Only time can tell, but in my opinion people who can buy a Jaguar, know better!

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Kareena, she is the grand daughter of Raj Kapoor and a brilliant actress.

A timeless brand like jaguar which transcends boundaries, age, sex, race, religion does something as random as this; then who knows what’s going to happen next!

Now let’s look at this – OLX hires Kapil Sharma

Imagine the amount of money which would have gone to hire a big star like Kapil. By no means will he come cheap. Now let’s ask a few questions.

Q) What will this do for OLX
A) Make it a household name since Kapil has mass appeal. Hopefully this will increase traffic to your website, so it’s great.

Q) Customer comes to your page and then what?
A) The product sucks, its BAD. Anyone who has used OLX can tell the website is riddled with fake seller. You need to clean your product, make it Brilliant and not just great before getting a barrage of customers. But then who wants to do this tedious leg work.

One has to wrestle with your website to get anything useful out of it.

Another case, Philips hires Arjun Kapoor

Someone please tell PHILIPS, and I have worked for Philips and have huge respect for that company. This is a great company for a fresher, filled with very genuine intelligent people; there are a lot of human values in this company, a rare quality which very few companies can boast off.

Recently they hired Arjun Kapoor. Philips you can’t do this! You are a bigger brand than a fresher who is yet to make his bones in the industry. Stop undervaluing your brand.

Your shavers are world class and you guys are the No.1 in the industry. This is not a leader’s move by any standard. If I am No.1 then I shall behave like No.1 in all my communications.

Another example is Ponds hires Varun Dhawan.

I mean Varun is good but at the same time he doesn’t carry any meaning for the common people. One could replace Varun with Arjun and the result will be same. How is this a brand fit?

The fault –

This is a fast world, it’s a digital world seems to be the new mantra. Most of the people want to jump jobs in a year of two. Quick results and smart work! Brand managers and marketers are in a rush to make an impact in this limited number of years and get something to write on their CV. No one is willing to do the leg work, get the basic execution right. I think I read in a book that most CEO’s fail not because they do not ideate and see the next curve but simply because they are weak on execution.

Hfff…now let’s try and end this blog on a good note, not all celebrities are brand misfits.

Gillette hires Rahul Dravid
It’s a Brilliant fit with the campaign they are running. Dravid is known for being a gentleman and has been a responsible player of the Indian team for many years. He has carried the hopes of 1 billion people umpteen number of times and has delivered success. Now cut to the radio campaign (am a radio guy, I listen to radio quite a lot) A child is telling his dad about the cricket match he had, he mentioned that the batsman hit his bowl for six and he abused him. Dad was taken aback; he asked why would you do something like that? Child says, it’s what the players do on TV. Then the dad corrects him saying you must not do such a thing rather congratulate the batsman for playing well and then improve your game. The spot ends with the message – if one person slacks in his responsibility then the work of other person increases by that extent. Something Rahul has always done for India.

Now my readers, thank you for your time. Your comments, questions, abuses…all are most welcome, just keep it coming.

Posted in articles - business

When the “Gods” of Croma woke up!

I shall continue the story from where we left in the previous blog, ‘When will the “Gods” of Croma wake up’.

The service engineer walked up to me, looked me in the eye with a conviction of a believer and said – There will be no water leakage post this servicing, he couldn’t have said anything better to please me. Like a child I believed in his conviction and got the AC serviced for the nth time.

Day 10 post servicing, the chronic problem returns. There is water all over my wooden furniture; my cats are getting stressed because of the incessant noise of water falling from the AC on to the floor. In short the problem was back and there is nothing which I could do about it.

water that was soaked by the rug till morning on just one of the days

I went back to Twitter making sure Croma people to take me seriously; I tried everything, even to the extent of threatening a complaint in consumer forum but to no avail. Somewhere the response from Croma became too mechanical and lacked human touch – Imagine a robotic voice, “We have informed the higher authorities, they will get in touch”.

At this moment I genuinely felt very helpless, I was on the verge of giving up when I decided to give it one more shot. I started reading about Croma, taking part in forums where consumers have had similar complaints, did they manage to get a solution and just getting to know more and more about the retail giant. Accidentally I stumbled upon a man called Ajit Joshi, who will turn out to be the CEO  & MD of Croma, next couple of hours went in to reading about him. I knew what I had to do!

Next day I called up Croma, got the details of Ajit and put him a mail. My job was done, I had done everything possible, and everything I could have. But someone can still argue, you could have sat on dharna like the AAP guys!  Not funny…

Kehte hain bhagwan ke ghar der hai andher nahi. In no time I got a response from the Croma team. It was like Shiv, the destroyer, had woken up and was raged so see his world in such a state of lethargy. All the devtas (deities) of Croma lok were in action. For the first time I felt even Giants can be swift.

My problem was addressed immediately and was handed over to a capable team who kept me informed on what is happening. Finally this Saturday (03/05) I got a new AC, with promises that this will not leak.

A quick review about the new AC – its smaller in size as compared to the earlier model, it’s not overwhelming. The design has definitely improved and looks classy. Noise has vanished, yep that’s right the AC is not noisy anymore. And finally the cooling, you can compare it with the best. Overall a good product and is worth the money.

After a long time, I once again sleep in the cooling comfort and this time its calm as well!

Posted in articles - business

When will the “Gods” of Croma wake up…

~ How bad customer service kills a brand! ~


It’s a battle of David and Goliath where the part of Goliath is being played rather well by multi-brand retail chain, Croma. A quick background story will bring you up to speed – I brought this 1.5 ton, super-efficient, 5 star Croma AC. Being a TATA group company, which prides itself on trust, there is no reason why I will doubt this offering. I paid the full price – not that I was getting any discount on it. Being unaware of how bad the product is, I got it installed. And this is where the problems started!

The AC is very NOISY; light sleepers and people with small children, please avoid. But the cooling was good – being an optimist, I choose to look at the positive side. After replacing my old Japanese AC, this was one of the best experiences of sleeping in cold room, albeit a bit noisy.

Day 4, 2 AM, I woke up with noise of water falling. OMG there is water on the floor, I need to remove my air purifier. Where is this water coming from? The AC!!! Why is water pouring from the AC? It’s a brand new AC! Being a TATA loyalist, I decided to bring this to the notice of Croma representatives so that they could take the necessary action. Within 24 hrs, they send a representative and the problem seems to go away. Great job TATA guys, well done. Though I am a bit disappointed because no one likes to see any problems with a new product for which you paid full price. I decided to let it go, only if this had been the end of it.

My readers, in one year I have faced more than 4 repairs done under various pretexts. Every time I will request an expert opinion from Croma, they send a service engineer to do some servicing job. Finally, after the fourth repair I decided enough is enough; I cannot let this lazy, ignorant bunch of Croma people spoil brand TATA. This is the day I start my online update on what is Croma doing about my case.

I reported my first Twitter update stating what has Croma done with me and I need my money back. The digital team of Croma reverted immediately and asked me to share my contact details. Then they called me up and said –

Me – your brand new AC has undergone 4 repairs in one year for the same problem, obviously the solution is not working coz the problem reoccurs.

Croma – we are sorry for that and will pass the complaint to higher authorities, they will take a decision. 

Me – appreciate it, however, if the product is being fixed for the same problem again and again, there is clearly something wrong – I need my monies back

Croma – will pass the details to the higher authorities

Me – how soon can I hear from the higher authorities, makes them sound like “GOD”

Croma – soon

Now imagine what Croma does? Holla the “super intelligent” guys send another service engineer.

Service engineer – your AC needs servicing, the charge is Rs.500

Me – what? Your AC has had a problem for over a year and I am not looking for any servicing

Service engineer – servicing will fix the problem

Me – no thank you but I’m not paying anything

The higher authorities, “GOD” did not call the day after, after all GOD has so many people to attend to, and must be busy. But then GOD did not call me for 3 days after that, and in fact, at the time to writing this blog, I am yet to hear from the higher authorities.

In between the service engineer calls again –

Service engineer – Sir I have been asked to service your Croma AC free of cost

Me – why you wanted to charge me

Service engineer – no idea! I have been asked to do so

How does this make me feel? Like I am a trouble creator in merry land and I should be quieted. No one is actually interested in solving the problem and ensuring that other customers do not have to experience similar problems. All I am saying is that there’s a problem with a Croma branded AC and it needs to be looked at seriously. A mere sweep-under-the-carpet approach will not work. But unfortunately the “GODs” at Croma don’t seem to be bothered.

I shall continue updating on what happens in the story…