Superstar: The real deal!


No sooner had I written a post on “Superstars of the corporate world”, my favorite internet time-sink came out with a post on the Real Superstar- Rajinikanth. I am humbled by this. Rajini Saar knows everything, he does. He is making American ezine write about him. Very well Saar!

http://www.slate.com/id/2267820/

Saar has been introduced appropriately. Here is the actual quote.

This is Rajinikanth, and he is no mere actor—he is a force of nature. If a tiger had sex with a tornado and then their tiger-nado baby got married to an earthquake, their offspring would be Rajinikanth. Or, as his films are contractually obligated to credit him, “SUPERSTAR Rajinikanth!”

Vatch out Hollywood! Yindian movies are coming to a theater near you…and before you know it, your kultural monapaly will be demolished. Peepul all over the vorld vill be vatching yindian moviej. And singing yindian sawngs. Favorite greeting will be “Abey! Kuttey!”, and favorate gaali vill also be “Abey! Kuttey…main tera khoon pee jaounga”. Just vatch it! Eh!

More seriously, I think Indian movies are becoming slicker by the day, and with arguably better (!) storytelling than Hollywood. I have heard from friends that Indian movies are dubbed and sold in countries far beyond the reach of the expansive Indian diaspora. Obviously, if we can watch Hong Kong movies, they can watch Indian movies. The main problem used to be distribution reach into theaters. Once the Indian distributors figure that out, I am betting that Indian movies will do better than Hollywood in the long run. Indian movies are cheaper to make (the old Rupee-Dollar story), and can have themes more relevant to the developing world than standard American fare. As for the song and dance- well, audiences will have to get used to them! 😉 I’m looking forward to the time when Hollywood films start inserting in a gratuitous song/dance to show a couple romancing. World movie watchers…you are welcome!

Advertisements

Things teux deux


Ever struggled with unending, uncoordinated, unwieldy to-do lists?  I certainly have.  I tried all the usual stuff – outlook tasks, yellow/multi-coloured stickies, pen-n-paper, calendar alarms – the works.

I finally discovered to-do  nirvana in a simple web-app called teux deux. I’ve used it for about 6 months now – and I can honestly say that I am not worse organised than before!  I started by listing the reasons it works for me, then realized that it all boils down to the superiority of simple design.  Try it!

The Art of Choosing


Our batchmate Niranjana (featured on the blogroll on the right) has taken it upon herself to keep up the book reading averages for the entire MBA batch. On her fantastic site you can see her reviews of gazillion books. One that I’d like to point special attention to an interview she did with the author or The Art of Choosing, Sheena Iyengar.

Sheena was also featured in a recent NYTimes interview around the same book, and she has a few snazzy YouTube videos about her book as well. Niranjana’s interview can be found here, and is excerpted below:

If Sheena Iyengar’s name seems familiar, it’s probably because you read about her research on consumer choice work in Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. Iyengar, a professor at Columbia Business School, now has her own book out. The Art of Choosing deals with choice in all its aspects, across fields as varied as music, art, and medicine, and draws on everything from pop culture to brain imaging technology. Iyengar also mines her personal life for this book, and her choices — to study psychology at Stanford, to marry a man from outside her religion, to use sighted language although she is blind — are at least as fascinating as her research findings.

Can we really be choosy choosers when it comes to branding? You mention in your book, for instance, that Lancome’s Mousse Makeup and Maybelline’s Mousse Foundation are made in the same factory, are nearly identical in their composition, and that experts have detected no difference in their performance, but L’Oreal, which owns both brands, sells the first at $37 and the other at $8.99. You cite several such examples of nearly identical products being branded and priced very differently. All this almost suggests to me that we consumers are often the dupes of these large corporations.

Are companies trying to manipulate us? Yes. Companies use branding to create differentiation when there’s very little actual difference because the market is so crowded.

Should we worry about being manipulated? Only if it’s in a domain that’s important to us. You need to decide what’s important to you, and that list can’t be long. For those things, you really pull out everything, use your gut, reasoned analysis, gather information from other people. For other things, find the acceptable one. If that means you’re being manipulated, so be it.

But companies need to give a lot more thought to how they should be branding in a more honest way. It’s good for the customer and for them — they really don’t need to add irrelevant options. One of the things they can sell to the customer is that every choice we offer really counts, that it is meaningfully different from other choices.

Check out Niranjana’s other reviews at her blog.

Looking for seed funding?


Check out kickstarter which helps creative people find seed funding for their projects.  This from their FAQs section

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors.

We believe that…

• A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide.
• A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement.

Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.

The site recently helped launch Diaspora a new social networking site that plans to take on facebook.  More about that here.

Meeting “Fixing”


Gaurav, Google has the answer to the biggest problem that large companies face – scheduling meetings!  Techcrunch reviews Google’s Smart Rescheduler feature here

“The person scheduling the meeting enters the names of the participants, how long the meeting will be, and a date by when the meeting must take place. The Smart Rescheduler then goes out and looks at everyone’s calendar to see when everyone is free, taking into account different time zones and other commitments on their calendars

What the Rescheduler does is look at all the soft constraints and actually ranks the best meeting times. Different attendees can be prioritized so the meeting is set around their schedule. Soft constraints are taken into account like partial schedule overlaps, times blocked with no other attendees, meetings where someone’s been invited but hasn’t yet accepted, or meetings organized by that person. These factors often indicate a schedule that can be altered.”

Personally, I love the last bit – the algorithms used to determine what can be changed.  Especially the “times blocked with no other attendees”.  No more games of blocking one’s calendar with random activities, just to prevent other’s from trying to schedule meetings during that time.  It also suggests that meetings can take precedence over anything else – a worrying sign if someone actually hoped to get work done in office!