Saturday, November 24, 2007

My early Journalism Experiences

Journalism is something I enjoy all the time. Somehow I couldn’t pursue journalism as a career. As I shared my teenage investment experiences in an earlier post here, sharing some teenage journalism experiences in this post.

Member of advisory board, Silicon Times.
During engineering days I was writing technical articles for a Bangalore based IT magazine called Silicon Times. Now this magazine has died as the owner and Editor Mr Harsha has abandoned the magazine and has taken up a job with a MNC, most probably because returns from the print magazine were not decent enough. I was also member of advisory board for this magazine for few years and had to stop writing after my job training started. Few articles I wrote for Silicon Times are available here, though not in the precise format as it was published: Cyber Begging Snooping Unified Messaging

Hannover Messe press conference
I also did some freelancing for a person called Prasad who was running a not so popular Kannada fortnightly which had circulation of just few thousands, covering mainly south Bangalore city. This person had pass to enter press Gallery in Vidhana Soudha. Once he took me to a press conference organized by Hannover Messe (Hannover Fair, a popular exhibition event held in Hannover, Germany every year) organizing committee which was held in Lee Meridian Hotel, Bangalore sometime in late 2004/early 2005. That was my first and most significant press meet I ever attended. I was asked to join only few hours in advance and wasn’t given any briefing as to what this press meet is about, hence I couldn’t prepare well for the same. While most of the invitees were given only a notepad and pencil at the reception, I was given a big press kit as I gave my press card. This press kit had all details pertaining to Hanover Messe and Ligna (Ligna is a separate event focusing on Wood Industry), a CD full of high resolution photos. I have not discarded that press kit yet and believe it is lying somewhere in my house along with other similar objects of historical/emotional significance.

Senior executives in charge of Hannover Messe had flown in from Germany and I attended their presentations with utmost interest. They explained how Hannover Messe is attracting more and more participants every year and how participating in that event would generate value etc. Next they covered LIGNA, a dedicated fair for those involved in wood industry. Ligna would showcase latest equipments that can be used to cut more and more trees in less time, technologies to process a chopped tree etc etc. The presentation also explained how much percentage on earth is still green and how much potential wood cutting industry has!

I wanted to ask a question “What compensation plans you have to reduce the environmental impact you’ll be causing by promoting deforestation”, but for some strange reason that question never came out of my mouth.

In that meet I could get first hand experience of speaking to German people and made an attempt to understand their accent. I still cherish that press meet as it was my first face to face exposure to international community.

My stint with Vijay Times
I did some freelancing for Vijay Times, the then English wing of Vijaya Karnataka daily. I worked for one lady called Vijayalakshmi, who was in charge of NIE (Newspaper in Education program) and was also heading a NGO called Sahaja Foundation. Her face was looking quite similar to that of my mother and she also had a son named Shrinidhi! First day I met her I had a severe competition, from a lady who had M.A in journalism. But that lady wanted desk job while VT wanted someone to do field work. Hence I got an upper hand. I covered several school events for them. Once I was also sent to Kolar to cover an event there wherein a senior air force official addressed the school children about opportunities of pursing a career in Indian Air Force and benefits one would get by doing so. Few of my reports got published while many didn’t, though I got paid for all the reports I’d submitted. But they were not publishing my name in the reports, because they were very minor event reports to put reporter’s name beneath (Most of them were like “An inter college basket ball tournament was held in ABC school and XYZ school were the champions, Mr. ABC distributed the prizes and said basket ball should be given more importance and funding by the government”).

I enjoyed this stint as reporter. Any organization you go, you’ll get lot of importance if you are a reporter. Senior people at the event would instruct their subordinates to give you any information/help you need. Occasionally you may get some free bees or good lunch/dinner as well. But there was a flip side also- Most of the reports we submit might not get published, either because there’s not enough space or editor thinks a particular event not important enough. But the organizers of the event I reported would always think that I didn’t report the event properly. (An inter school volley ball match is hardly a news for a state level newspaper, but schools do await publication of their events eagerly and one can understand their disappointment if it never gets published. I was risking my credibility because of this) Also I had to listen to statements like “Deccan Herald gave us a very good coverage last time while your paper didn’t publish any photo of the event” or “it may take some time for us to send photograph of the event, why don’t you publish my photo instead”…Eventually I stopped taking any of these assignments mainly because my exams were nearing and besides I was not getting any credit for my work. That basic reporting wasn’t much fun either. Even that lady (Vijaylaxmi) left VT after sometime.

My investigative journalism stint:
I was in final year when my college mates were getting placed one by one. One day I received a mail which read as follows:
“Dear Sir,
You’ve been short listed for a senior position in a Delhi based company and if you’re interested we’ll send you air tickets shortly so that you can come to Delhi to attend final interview.

If you’re interested you’re required to deposit Rs. 500 in the name of Mr. Raj, our HR Director, ICICI Bank account Number xxxxxxxxxx so that we can be assured of your interest and send you air tickets”

By the time I reached end of this letter I was sure this is a fraud. It had no name on it, by no means I was eligible for a senior position and it is very strange for a company to ask for money. I decided to investigate- I went to Chamrajpet branch of ICICI and told the lady at the counter “I have an account number, can you tell me if it is current account or savings account”. The lady looked at the account number and said it is a savings account. That confirmed my doubts (Companies wont have savings accounts, only individuals will). I sought permission to meet the manager and I was allowed in. I showed the manager a printout of the mail and said I’m suspecting it to be a fraud.

The manager was very helpful. He logged in to his computer and had a look at the account in question. He said that the account was held in one of their branch in UP and the account was getting hundreds of deposits ranging from Rs 500 to 5000 from all over India and the money was being withdrawn through ATM every few hours. He was convinced something is fishy and said he’ll write to the manager of that UP branch about the suspicious activity in this particular account.

I wanted to file a police complaint on that person for possible fraud but I didn’t have a strong case. I’d lost nothing, I didn’t have enough evidence to convince police that it is a fraud and since other person was in other part of India local police may not be able to do much, except may be refer it to UP police. It was too much of complexities for me to enter into at that time hence I backed off. One week later I checked with the ICICI branch manager who said that he’s yet to hear from his UP counterpart. I left my email ID with the manager but never got any updates from them. Hope that person was nabbed and thousands of people were prevented from loosing their money in the hope of a dream job.

Though I wrote few articles for school magazines and served as member of editorial board, my first article in print was published in Vijaya Karnataka, the then new but now Karnataka’s leading Kannada daily. Around 10-12 of my writings were published in various sections of this newspaper. Some of those articles are readily available in this blog in the form of scanned images-here and here

Another small article got published in Youth Express, an Indian Express (now “The New Indian Express”) supplement.[Read that here] I wrote few articles for a Mangalore based local paper, called Kaanunu Loka.

Most significant work in print media has been publication of a Kannada story in Sudha Magazine during September 2001.

Another half page article got published in Vijaya Karnataka during April 2003- Read that here.

Sometime in 2002 I even managed to take part in an ETV Kannada television show. Details in this post.

Because of freelancing I used to stay away from the bunch in my peer group. While others spoke of the movies they saw during the weekend or the places they visited, I used to say "I attended this press conference" or "wrote an article on that" or "had to visit that school where this event was going on"

Almost all my creative writing stopped after I started working. I resumed writing after the launch of this blog. Blogging was easy and quick compared to print media. Chances of my articles getting selected for publication were one in ten. Also popular newspapers and magazines do not care to tell you when your article will get published. One will have to wait for long time. Articles get edited and authors may never get any feedback from readers. But writing in print has its own merits- Seeing your name in print can be a joy. If an article appears in print it carries much higher credibility than when it is published in a blog. (One can publish any junk online but print media will scrutinize a content on various parameters before publishing.)

Thinking of diverting attention from blogging and try writing few articles for print media again.

Also read: Teenage investment experiences * Event blogging experience * Experience with SBI * Using internet for latest news- way back in 1999

April 2009 update: Some of articles published in print during 2008-09

Thursday, November 22, 2007

January to March 2007 - Summary of posts

Listing Quick summary of various posts published during January to March 2007. Sorted in the order of popularity/usefulness-Those topping the list
for each month represent most popular/interesting posts of that month.

Need to fix some formatting, will do that soon.

January 2007  Total Posts: 13  Archive  Top Feb 07 March 2007
(Some not so good posts are not listed. Check archive for that)
Orkut as a marketing tool
Explains how many people are using orkut as a marketing tool to promote their products and services.

ICICI Cashback offer-Your Chance of winning
ICICI Bank had launched an offer wherein they would offer guaranteed
cashback starting from 1% to 100% based on the sum of digits in approval
code. This post is a quick analysis of your probability of winning 100%
cash back

Hampi India: Video, Photo and tourist Information
Collection of some photos, videos and other tourist information related to Hampi (A UNESCO heritage site in Karnataka, India)

Marketing Petrol (My old Kannada Article)
Contains newspaper scanned image of a Kannada article I'd written during engineering days which was published in Vijaya Karnataka

Categorizing my posts
Describes various categories under which posts in this blog are classified.

Animal Photos
A slideshow of photos I took in some zoos.

Olympus FE 170 Video review-First video on this blog

Video review of FE170 digicam.

JNVC Udupi Snaps

Photos of JNV Udupi, its staff and students as well as beautiful scenery around

Choosing your financial advisor
Tips on choosing your financial advisor

How to write Secret Letters?
Try writing a secret letter this way... (My article that was published in
Youth Express, (An Indian Express Supplement)

An award winning Kannada mini poem and other articles...

A small kannada poem which won a prize in Vijaya Karnataka

My article in Media: on Christiaan Barnard

Kannada article about Dr. Christiaan Barnard which got published in health
supplement of Vijaya Karnataka

My articles in Media:First One My first article that got published in print media

February 2007  Total Posts:9  Archive  Top Jan 07 March 07

 Never go for Club Mahindra Membership
The most popular article on this blog till date

An analytical challenge: Predict Trajectory

See the images in the post and predict what trajectory the car would have taken before coming to halt
Redundant Questions and obvious answers
Some questions are so obvious still we keep asking them
My favourite video: ಕೃಷ್ಣಾ ನೀ ಬೇಗನೆ ಬಾರೋ....(krish...

Krishna Nee bEgane baaro is a popular remix song by Colonial cousins. Above post
hosts a video of that song

HTML “joke” tag and its attributes
Use this format to tell jokes next time onwards

Weak Mobile Signal? Try this (Patent pending)

Some villagers in AP hang their mobile phones to a pole outside their home so
that they can catch network.

ಮೊಬೈಲ್ ಸಿಗ್ನಲ್ಲು ಸಮಸ್ಯೆಗೆ ಪರಿಹಾರ

Kannada version of "weak mobile signal? Try this"article

enidhi drives tractor

A video of me driving tractor
To advice or to advise?
Explains the difference between the term advice and advise

March 2007 Total Posts: 12  Archive Top Feb 07 Jan 07

Bangalore BMTC Volvo City Buses

Another popular post on this blog because of timing related info on BMTC Volvo
City buses.

Skanda Giri Hills-Bangalore-photos videos and tour...

Skanda Giri hills (also known by several other names) is a trekking spot some
70 kms from Bangalore- Full tourist information and photos in above post.

Why Spiderman can't work in India...
A photo epic on why Spiderman cant work in India

Kudos BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corpo...

Lists why Bangalore's public transport System is relatively better than its
peers in Chennai and Hyderabad

Patronize your customers

In business it is very essential to patronize your customer in every way
possible. This post gives more reasons and examples

Remembering Manjunath

Manjunath was an IIM graduate and was working for IndianOil Corporation and
was killed by Oil Mafia in UP

Read this fancy number plate
See if you can read these fancy number plates

The compulsions of IT people

Few compulsions IT employees face.
Questions you shouldn't ask an IT employee
Some questions you should avoid asking anyone working in IT industry

Durgam Cheruvu

Photo slide show of Durgam Cheruvu (Durgam Lake), Hitech city, Hyderabad

16 rules for happy life (ನೆಮ್ಮದಿಯ ಜೀವನಕ್ಕೆ ೧೬ ಸೂತ್...

See if you can follow these rules and be happy...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My blog was discussed at Barcamp5 @ Bangalore

Though no official information exists, it has been learnt that my blog ( a particular post in fact) was discussed at recently concluded Barcamp5 at Bangalore. (under "word of mouth advertising" collective)

Barcamp is a get together event for bloggers wherein they discuss latest trends, technologies, happenings pertaining to blogging.

Last week Barcamp 5 was held at IIM Bangalore and it has come to my notice that Chandrachoodan Gopalkrishnan spoke about my club mahindra article explaining the power of blogging.

For the uninitiated, My "Never go for Club Mahindra" (New URL )article has been the most popular article on this blog so far and has received over 129 comments till date.[details]

This post is also in top 3 when you search for club mahindra in Google.[details]

I'm delighted to hear that this post was discussed in barcamp.

Information that this post was discussed at Barcamp5 has been derived from below blog posts:
"Check out this interesting blog which was posted in the month of Feb. This blog was discussed in BarCamp5 @ Bangalore this month. And more interestingly if you type club mahindra this blog stands out at the second position on seach results."
and 2.
"Chandrachoodan started the discussion by talking about Gang of Girls by Sunsilk. A platform which talks very little about shampoo and sunsilk but is a classic example of word of mouth advertising. it’s a platform for users or others to interact and express. He then spoke about a blogger who wrote something against Club Mahindra which became so huge that if you google for Club Mahindra it comes as the 2nd result. So that’s the power of word of mouth."

Thanks to Deepak and Sanjukta for sharing this information.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My teenage investment experiences

Recently I’ve started experimenting with shares. I’ll write about that later. I had a quest for saving since childhood, mainly because of my mother. Sharing some incidents/experience in this regard.

A FD of 1000 Rupees (Sometimes in year 1996-97)
I studied in a residential school, known as Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya. My parents used to visit me once a month (as per school regulations parents could visit only once a month-all those asects warrant another story altogether). While school used to take care of most of the generic arrangements-food, stay, textbooks, notebooks etc we had to spend money only when we needed things not provided by school. For this reason our parents use to leave a small amount with us so that we can get things if needed urgently through school office attendants who would get it from town for us.

Our school was dealing with Hebri branch of Syndicate Bank (now I guess they have closed business with Syndicate Bank and have shifted account to some other bank, for a reason not officially known) and I managed to open a Savings Bank account there (I’m unable to recall if I opened a new account there or transferred my earlier account).

One day, I took permission from Principal and went to town and entered the Bank. I had saved around 1000 Rs from my pocket money and wanted to open a fixed deposit. Bank staff simply refused to open a FD for such an amount. (Rs. 1000 may seem like a small amount today. But a decade ago, I’d saved that amount from my pocket money and that had taken around 9-12 months or more to accumulate that much). I was determined to get better returns on my savings and wanted to create an FD for an year (One year and 1 day to be precise, because interest rate was higher if the term was 'above one year') so that I get more than twice the interest I would otherwise get in savings bank account.

But the bank staff was insisting Rs 1000 was too small to open a FD and suggested that let it continue in Savings account only. I insisted that technically they can open FD for that amount. After some discussion, even escalation to manager and influence (that a family member works in the same bank) I was allowed to open the FD. I got the Vikas Cash Certificate (VCC) (Syndicate Bank’s name for FDs) which showed maturity value some 110 rupees more than what I’d paid, in a nice plastic envelop with Syndicate Bank's name and logo (a faithful, friendly dog) on it and I was a happy man finally.

These days many banks have stipulated minimum of Rs 10000 for FD and my first FD experience is still fresh with me. I’ve been renewing this FD after every maturity and I may never be able to encash it, since my current signature is extremely unlikely to match with my 10 year old signature.

Denial of Student account at SBI N R Colony Branch
Once my engineering studies started I needed a bank account in Bangalore. My uncle took me to State Bank of India (SBI)’s N R Colony branch in Bangalore. The branch manager refused outright to allow me to open an account. His arguments were that students never keep any money in the account and don’t even maintain minimum balance and running such accounts will be a loss for his bank.

My efforts to convince him that I will comply with minimum balance requirements and other guidelines went in vein as he was just not willing to listen.

He was probably right that it is seldom profitable to run student accounts. But what he missed was the opportunity to get a new customer for life. Someone who will be a student for 4 years will be an earning professional for another 40 years. Turning someone young away because of the probability that his/her account may not generate enough profit will significantly reduce the probability of he/she ever patronizing the bank again in rest of his life.

Eventually I opened a student account with UTI Bank (Now AXIS Bank) Bsk 2nd Stage Branch. Some staff there used to remember my name and call me by name and ask about my well being etc every time I visit the branch. It was such a good experience dealing with them (Now those executives who used to recognize me by face appear to have been transferred, and new staff do not remember anyone by name, probably because now they have several thousand customers while when I opened the account there I was one of the first few customers for that branch)

I do not mean to say SBI is bad. They’re modernizing and providing good service. But here n there you’ll still find few short sighted officers who think bank is doing a great favor to you by allowing you to keep your money with them.

Every time I get an unsolicited marketing call asking me if I’m interested in SBI credit card, my first encounter with SBI Manager flashes back

Syndicate Bank came up with IPO sometimes in mid 1999 and for the first time I felt like buying some shares. I hardly new anything about IPOs that time (except that one gets shares at cheap price that way). I had few hundred rupees in my pocket and I simply went to a Syndicate Bank branch and asked a staff there “I want to invest in IPO”. That staff was taken by surprise but soon recovered and gave me couple of application forms (those blue colored oversized papers) and told that I have to apply for min of 50 shares and make full payment in advance. After the issue closes it is possible that few shares will be allotted to me too. (Depending on how much it has been oversubscribed).

I had enough money to buy one or two shares but not enough for 50 of them. I came back empty handed.

Now when I look at Syndicate bank’s shares I occasionally think how much profit I would have made if I had bought some shares through IPO.

Student Bank at JNV
Since there were incidents of money theft among students in our residential schools we had formed a student bank. I was single handedly heading that bank for more than an year.
Bank used to open once a week. Students used to submit the money with the bank, or withdraw it, I used to make a ledger entry to that effect and ensure that actual cash and cash as per cashbook entry does tally and close the bank and keep the money at secure place in principal’s chamber. I had plans of keeping this money with the local bank and get interest on it but school staff said NO, citing administrative concerns.

Related: ICICI Cashback Offer: Probablity of getting 100% cashback

Also read: My teenage journalism experiences

Employee Error and its business impact

How does it sound if a supermarket says MRP is Rs 50 but we're selling the item at Rs 53.70?

Have a look at the image below, that's what Subhiksha's price sticker seem to suggest.

Unless you watch it carefully you may not notice this:
The original price was Rs 58.00, but the way it is stroked out suggests MRP is Rs 50. This will simply turn customers away.

Probably it is a case of little carelessness by the employee and ignorance by supervisor.

Above was detected in Besant Nagar Branch (Chennai) of Subhiksha.
Fix that Subhiksha...

Similar: Rs 10 off on Samsung TV | Attention AP Tourism |
Related: Supermarket Super savings-a word of caution| Facts about Big Bazaar

March 2008 update: visited this store again recently. Above error has been rectified.

Feb 2010 update: Unfortunate that Subhiksha has gone bankrupt.. hope they recover very fast

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Openings : Business Analysts and Project Managers with Oil n Gas domain expertise

There're some key job openings at one of India's leading IT services company. These are immediate requirements and for long term onsite assignments. If you or anyone you know are interested in these openings send in the resumes.

CNG Business Analyst (2) -
Key Job Responsibilities (essential position functions):

1. Thorough understanding of natural gas marketing and trading REQUIRED.
2. Experience with OpenLink Endur with working knowledge of associated data and configuration PREFERRED;
3. Significant experience with Accounting and Settlements REQUIRED.
4. Collaborate with business users and technical team members to determine appropriate solutions for business needs. Work with business users to specify and document new and modified functional requirements.
5. Perform business analysis and design.
6. Identify and clearly define scope of solutions.
7. Facilitate, gather and document business and functional requirements for solutions.
8. Work with commercial and technical teams to review, design, test and implement Endur-based solutions.
9. Develop and maintain all business and functional requirements for functional area
10. Develop and maintain testing scripts
11. Perform regression and functional testing
12. Direct and monitor end user participation in testing
13. Manage ongoing training activities

CNG Project Manager (1)
Key Job Responsibilities (essential position functions):

1. Develops and manages project schedules and reports status to management.
2. Manage stress testing of system components to manage systems integrity and risk. 3. Participate in UAT and regression testing as new versions of Endur are rolled out to the floor
4. Manage special projects and initiatives associated with Endur implementation.
5. Focus of these projects are to maximize CNG’s return on its investment by making sure the users have the tools needed to streamline their processes.
6. Develop contingency systems and process improvements for trading and logistics systems’ support.
7. Ensure alignment between the user’s requirements and the applications and processes in place in different scenarios.
8. Position requires ability to establish and maintain relationships with multiple Global Gas Management teams, ability to establish and manage relationships across OPCO company boundaries, knowledge of critical gas trading and marketing requirements and ability to manage complex and highly critical projects.

How to apply?
Send the Resume to enidhi at gmail dot com. I'll forward it to the concerned executive.

Disclaimer: This author doesn't work in HR department and is not official designate to publish openings and collect resumes. This post is published in his personal capacity with an intention of faster fulfillment of the openings. Author's responsibility ends in forwarding the CVs to concerned executive after basic evaluation and further communication, if any, candidate shall hear directly from the management/HR.

Monday, November 12, 2007

BSNL Chennai Telephones-Exerience account

This is an experience account on BSNL Chennai telephones excel prepaid connection, drafted on a different style (Third person narration), hope it makes a good reading.

Earlier last month, when eNidhi India CBO (Chief Blogging Officer) landed in Chennai he needed a new mobile connection. After using Vodafone (Formerly Hutch) for over two years in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, he decided to try some different service provider this time.

Though there’s a general perception that anything run by Government is bad, our CBO decided to try BSNL excel prepaid service, due to following reasons:

1. Some of his relatives have been using BSNL prepaid service in Karnataka for over 2 years and they were quite happy with its service

2. BSNL call rates are cheaper than other operators

3. BSNL broad band service is far far better compared to rivals Airtel and Tata Indicom. (As experienced by many friends who are using it)

4. Couple of reviews rated “Very Useful” in consumer review websites about BSNL gave good overall opinion about BSNL

5. In their initial days prepaid SIM cards of BSNL Excel used to be sold in black for thousands of rupees, people used to wait for months to get their connection. Things have improved thousand times at present and connections are available almost immediate.

6. Vodafone Hyderabad (formerly Hutch) used to torture our CBO a lot with all unsolicited marketing calls regarding their sundry recharge offers, caller tunes etc, despite registering with them not to disturb. He was hoping BSNL will not disturb him that way (Read: Ladies who call me everyday)

7. Since BSNL is in business for quite long time we at eNidhi India were expecting them to have good infrastructure and better voice clarity and service.

Hence he went to a BSNL franchise and filled an application for prepaid connection, submitted documents, made the payment. he was given an option to select a sim card and he chooses one. It was Friday evening. He was told it will be activated within few hours or latest by tomorrow (Saturday 11AM). As a pleasant surprise, they gave him an umbrella with BSNL logo on it. (It is of very poor build which eNidhi India Business Analysts valuate at Rs 63 ). He was happy to get this unexpected gift and left the store.
BSNL umbrella
Nothing happened by Saturday 11 am and when he went and enquired, the lady there pulled out his form, kept it on top of the bundle of other applications and told “it will be done by 1pm sir”. Nothing happened by 1PM as well and it was finally activated by evening (he could make outgoing calls). He’s finally happy and gave the number to all his contacts. Next day he received couple of mails saying they tried to call him but couldn’t. Taken aback he tried to call on his number from a friends cell and got a voice message that the number you’re trying to reach is suspended. Our CBO called BSNL customer care to check what it is and they simply told “wait for some more time sir, incoming will be activated soon”. He had no idea they will activate outgoing after one day, local incoming after 2 day and STD incoming after 2 days etc. Finally by Sunday evening incoming was activated.

Now, he attempted making outgoing calls. To his shock the clarity was pathetic. Breaking voices, inaudibly low voice, unexpected disconnections. He was not expecting that and such a service simply doesn’t serve anyone’s purpose. He struggled to manage for next few days as the clarity was pathetic both at his office as well as at residence. By Wednesday he had suffered several instances of not being able to attend the call properly. Some calls he couldn’t hear what other person was speaking, some calls got cut abruptly while additional money and effort was spent by himself and his caller trying to call back each other. As this started affecting his credibility and work, he had to call an emergency meeting of eNIdhi India Board of Directors (consists of only one person called Shrinidhi Hande) at eNidhi India global headquarters to discuss corrective measures for this.

eNidhi India CBO (Chief Blogging Officer) Shrinidhi Hande suggested that we should abandon this BSNL connection and go for a new connection with a different service provider and requested the board to approve (and fund) this initiative.

eNidhi India CTO (Chief Technology Officer) Shrinidhi Hande explained the board that poor voice clarity is a problem specific to service provider as the earlier Vodafone connection on which he was roaming in Chennai had very good clarity. eNidhi India CFO (Chief Financial Officer) Shrinidhi Hande explained the financials involved: The prepaid connection had resulted in an expenditure of Rs 249 plus Rs 2 (for photocopying identity proof). Of this Rs 63 was recovered by means of Net Asset Value of that BSNL Umbrella and another 30 Rs by means of talktime that came with the card. Further the scheme had one year validity and had 365 SMSs free, which can be evaluated at Rs. 36.5. Shifting to new connection would mean a loss of Rs 151.5 on the investment made. Since BSNL call rates being lower, the money that will be lost in terms of excess amount spent on calls and SMS was roughly evaluated at Rs 50 per month.

eNidhi India COO (Chief Operational Officer) Shrinidhi Hande explained with power point presentation (with embedded flash animation for effect!) that opportunity cost of not being able to receive a call and talk properly exceeds the cost of taking new connection and price difference. He also suggested that the sim card being valid for one year, can be preserved to ensure business continuity in case of problems with new number.

Finally the board approved taking new connection and global tenders were floated for the same. eNidhi India CBO Shrinidhi Hande decided to personally examine the tenders and went to The Mobile Store in Thiruvanmiyur to check Aircel, Airtel, and Vodafone. The pricing were almost similar, though Airtel was fractionally expensive. Deciding to try Airtel, he zeroed in on one number and asked the store executive to activate it. One phone call and 2 minutes is all it took for full activation of the sim card and the executive recharged it soon after that. Our CBO made the payment and was given a tamil movie DVD (Moserbaer cheap movie DVD-details here) of MRP Rs 34, but NAV (Net Asset Value) of Rs. 0 since our CBO don’t know Tamil.

eNidhi India project crack team initiated various measures necessary to ensure smooth migration to new number. Email and SMS communication was triggered to all key stake holders about the new number and earlier excel sim card was decommissioned sine die. Because of this unbudgeted expense and overhead, eNidhi India had to write off an amount of Rs 451.5 (Rs 151.5 + Rs 50*6 months) and revise annual revenue guidelines downwards by 15 basis points.

That is the story of how BSNL lost a prospective customer and a private player cashed in on the opportunity.

Update: The Mobile store people didn’t send our CBO’s ID and Address proof documents to Airtel Office in time-4 days after activation of new connection our CBO got an SMS alert to submit identity and address proofs at the earliest. Upon enquiry at the Mobile store he was told “We’ll send it today Sir

Disclaimer: Poor audibility and voice clarity was observed at author’s place of stay and place of work during his initial few days of usage. Network coverage and signal strengths vary depending on location, number of users and several other factors. Individual experiences may vary.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Photo Quiz on BMTC Volvo : Try this

Here’s a quick quiz for you. Have a close look at the image below: It is the image of Volvo B7RLE transit buses and this image taken from BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) Website [Check this link to see the image on their website]

There’s something unusual in the image (With reference to the bus and BMTC). Figure it out and write a comment with your answer.

The Bangalorean (has an empty profile hence not linking)and Logesh were the first to respond with correct answer. Thanks to them.

BMTC has used image of the bus it doesn't own. The above photo is of a bus used in left hand drive countries and not India. I guess BMTC took this photo from a presentation VOLVO salesmen gave or from somewhere else.

Major Update, 12th Dec 2007 PlanMad has made a serious observation in his comment, wherein he says
"Guess what, all you guys are wrong. If you notice the volvo logo in the front, the diagonal stripe is in the wrong direction. It should actually be from the top right to the bottom left, not the other way round.

This means that the image has been horizontally flipped. This is indeed the BMTC volvo from the roads of bangalore
Volvo City bus, Bangalore
That was out of the box thinking-I flipped the image horizontally and you can see the flipped image here.

Full details on BMTC Volvo Service| BMTC is better than its AP and TN counterparts | Hyderabad-Bangalore by Bus|

Now Two TVs in Kundapura-Udupi-Mangalore Buses

Earlier this author was surprised to see local buses operating in Kundapura, Udupi, Mangalore Sector keeping TVs inside buses and showing movies to passengers who boarded the bus for a local journey. My earlier post related to this can be read here (English version) or here (Kannada version).

Recently this author was shocked to find that some buses have gone one step ahead and are housing two TVs inside. Apparently, in my earlier article I’d written “Whenever there're standing seats (Passengers standing when all seats are occupied) those sitting in left half of the bus are denied this golden opportunity of watching movies on the go. Because of this people have requested for a dedicated secondary TV for left half of the bus.” Now this wish appears to be fulfilled as some bus owners have introduced second television inside their bus. (Refer image)

Shall we call it power of blogging? (And take all credit saying my article made bus owner bring in additional TV?) “The blog post just requested for another TV, it didn’t stipulate that the TVs should be in working condition, hence we’ve just kept a TV” Bus owner has reportedly stated in his letter to RTO authorities.

Meanwhile NH17 is at its all time worst condition these days, totally non motorable. Not only the film actress shakes her body, the entire bus and passengers inside will shake thoroughly as the bus tries to maneuver deep pits and wide potholes, praying god to let them reach home in one piece. Hope National Highway Authority of India wakes up and gets the roads back in shape.

I’m just wondering what next in this in-bus entertainment series… two more TVs for backward classes? (I mean those who are sitting in last few rows)?

Kannada version of this article is available here

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Perfumed shirts from TN Cooptex

Co-Optex, a state owned textile company in Chennai has launched scented shirts. These shirts emit rose and other varieties of perfume and can be used grab attention among your peers.
Image of Cooptex perfumed shirt
Where can I get these perfumed shirts?
They are being sold at Co-optex stores in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu. Check cooptex website for address of nearest Cooptex store. Call up and check with them if they have the stock.

Cost: Priced at an MRP of Rs 330 onwards (Festive discount 20% off), they are quite affordable and I see no harm buying them.

Material Quality: Cotton, normal. Reasonable for the price tag.

Do they really release aroma?
Yes. But by and large it goes undetected. I mean not strong enough to be detected by anyone, unless they come very close and sniff...

What are the oprions we've got?
I'm told all are half sleeve shirt. Only vanilla aroma was available in the shop I checked, though earlier press releases said they were available in multiple aromas.

Company claims the scent will last upto 50 washes but that needs to be checked. As of now to me it looks like an equivalent of Bajaj’s claim that some of its bikes deliver over 109 kmpl (whereas on road they deliver little more than 50% of that claim) These shirts may retain the perfume longer if you’re travelling in cars and work in air conditioned office. The effectiveness will be zero if you travel in crowded bus or ride a two wheeler to work or your work involves outdoor activities.

I bought one such shirt recently. I will update this post after a month or so to tell you how many washes the perfume is lasting.

But then, how will people around you distinguish if the scent is emitted from your shirt and not by any perfume you’ve sprayed on your body? Won't they confuse it with another deodrant flavor?

In other news, Indian Railways plan to sell perfumed tickets as well.

Branding: With no offence to the corporation, I feel Cooptex is totally unaware that there’s something called marketing. After their launch cooptex called a press conference and told media about this product-That’s the end of it. NDTV aired a few minute report on this, newspapers published it in some remote corner and washed their hands. Cooptex hasn’t issued any ads, their website has no information about this product.[As per my knowledge-if they've issed ads in newspapers and channels I haven't checked I'm open to rollback my statement on this] In other words, no proper marketing has been executed to promote this new concept. So not many people are aware that this kind of shirt is available…
aroma shirt from Cooptex TN
I called 2-3 cooptex outlets in Chennai to get some more details about the product-Never managed to get an English speaking person on phone. Eventually decided to visit their shop in T nagar (It is located in Pondy Bazaar-address at website just says Thyagaraya Road, T Nagar). The store had very few pieces left, though it was a festive season (wherein they are expected to have enough stocks). I was planning to buy 2-3 shirts and gift them but after seeing the shirt (and smelling it :)) I wasn't impressed. So just bought one.

Someone tell Kishore Biyani about these shirts-I’m sure he’ll be able to sell lakhs of shirts across India in few days by implementing an aggressive branding, campaigning and pricing for these shirts. [Kishore Biyani is founder of Pantaloons, Bigbazaars and many other retail ventures which now operate under the banner of Future Group] [Read: Big Bazaar-facts you would like to know], Book Review: It happened in India (Kishore Biyani's biography)

What do you think of this new concept? Will it click? Do you prefer to wear an aroma shirt instead of spraying some deo? Drop a comment.

Similar: Supermarket super savings: A word of caution

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Predictive Journalism-Reporting made easy

Reporting news was never so easy. Whenever a specific event happens, a set of statements from various corners follow without fail. This post is a collection of such events.

Event 1: There’s a bomb blast somewhere.

You can release following news items without hesitation (Add breaking news for effect)

1 Sonia Gandhi has expressed her condolence for the families of the victims

2 PM Manmohan Singh has said “India will not tolerate this cowardly act of terrorism”

3 Local police have said blasts might have occurred from something which might be anything from locally made crude bomb to sophisticated IED (Improvised Explosive devices)

4 State Government has ordered an enquiry into the incident

5 Security has been beefed up across country. All metros on red alert.

Event 2: India looses a cricket match

1 Dhoni (or whoever is the captain): We lost because of bad batting/bad bowling (depending on whether we failed to chase a total or to defend a small total)

2 A senior team member: what if we have lost a match? We still have n number of matches left (where n = total number of matches in the series-number of matches already played) [If n=0, quote upcoming series]

3 An ex cricketer: Our batsmen should bat properly, bowlers should learn to bowl properly, fielders should field properly…(BY virtue of their experience they have professional ways of telling this sentence in highly impressive ways. Add terms like line and length, consistency, team spirit, non dependency etc for additional effect!!!)

Scenario 3: Suppose there is a flood in particular state

1 People living in low areas are advised to get lost (go to safer areas)

2 Chief Minister to conduct an aerial survey of the flood affected area

3 State asks for more relief funds from Centre

4 State home minister says rescue operations are being conducted on war footings

5 Delegation of state cabinet to go to Delhi and meet the Prime minister to press for further aid

6 Prime minister promises every possible assistance

Now can you think of few more scenarios where subsequent happenings are highly predictable? Think about It and drop a comment…

Related: Watching news in movies | Moserbaer cheap movie DVDs|

Friday, November 02, 2007

April May June 07 - Summary of posts

Listing Quick summary of various posts published during April to June 2007. Sorted in the order of popularity/usefulness-Those topping the list for each month represent most popular/interesting posts of that month. For a change I've added some background colour-drop a comment if you think the selected colours are harsh on eyes.

June 2007 Total Posts: 13 Archive Go to Top April 07 May 07
mGinger feasibility study
mGinger is a service where you’ll get paid to receive (and read!) commercial SMSs-A detailed analysis of this new business model with feasibility in main focus)
Lightscribe direct on disc labeling
Gives all information you might ever wish to know about the lightscribe technology, using which it is possible to burn labels on CD/DVD disc surface
Drive-in Cinema in Coastal Karnataka
Local bus operators in coastal Karnataka (Udupi,Kundapura, Managalore) have started adding video coach buses to their fleet, to woo daily commuters. A thought.
If Dell sells Motorcycles
How Dell’s product customization page would look if Dell were to sell two wheelers? A thought.
Coco Fresco Hyderabad
Coconut board Hyderabad has introduced mobile coconut vending machines called Coco Fresco. This post gives related details with video.
Factors to be considered while bidding for office canteen...
What all go into consideration when you want to bid for office canteen?
Karkala photos
A set of photos taken around Karkala Bahubali and other places (Udupi, Karnataka)
Endpoint Manipal
Couple of photos taken at endpoint, Manipal (Udupi,Karnataka) and the video of Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE)’s official video  based on Summer of 69 song
My favorite lyrics lines  Couple of songs which I like due the meaningful lyrics in them…
June Photo Updates
Some random photos
Shrinidhi beats 1.2 million websites for rejection handling
Now it is 2 million…
Photo Quiz
Check this post for a photo and a question

May 2007Total Posts: 13ArchiveGo to Top April 07 June 07

Dell’s Dilemma - Part Two
Studies various factors related to Dell’s Direct to customer business model and tries to find out why this model may be at risk and suffer a loss in current marketscape.
100 posts-An introspection
A quick introspection after publishing 100 posts in this blog (Now the count has changed, I’ve deleted some old posts)
Celebrating Blog Anniversary
Shares blog stats and few thoughts on the occasion of completing one year of my blogging. Published on the day this blog completed one year.
Work phone: A serious joke
Read this joke- a serious one though.
First time visitor's Guide to this blog
A quick collections of all information a first timer would like to know about this blog
Thomson Buys Reuters
I had a kind of personal attachment with Reuters-This post reveals some of my feelings associated with Reuters, written on the occasion when Thomson bought Reuters
The Approach
How you approach a situation makes lots of differences in final outcome. Read further.
Dell’s Dilemma - Part One
Part 1 of my article on Dell
Work as an independent Consultant...If you can...
Highlights the differences involved in working as a paid employee vis a vis an independent consultant.
Bike Review of Honda Unicorn 2007
My review of Honda Unicorn Bike
Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less-By Jeffrey Archer
My review of Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less-By Jeffrey Archer
Photo Exhibition: Set 1
Some generic photos taken around Hyderabad/Bangalore.
Felis domestica: Our pet cat's photo session
A set of photos and videos of our pet cat. Have a look…

April 2007 Total Posts: 2 Archive Go to Top May 07June 07

Excessive blogging Syndrome
Read to know more on side effects of blogging too much-we term it excessive blogging syndrome or compulsive blogging syndrome.
Kondapur weekly bazaar: A photo epic
A set of photos taken near Kondapur, Hyderabad during a weekly bazaar

Read Other Quick Summaries: July, Aug, Sep 07 | Best of 2006|