What is the future of Theatre Chains?

I had to kill two hours before meeting someone.

I headed to a nearby mall, watching a movie was the best option.

I enquired at the #Inox ticket counter. There was just one option Wonder Woman 1984.

It was a weekday.

Bought a ticket for 99 Rs and selected the gold seat; a recliner at the very back. Back in the pre-#Covid days, this recliner was a luxury. 

Sir, if you add 40 Rs we offer Popcorn.

I declined. Popcorn in a theatre was gold too, back in the days.

Anyway, they checked my temperature and let me in. One of them asked me to download Arogya Setu if I haven’t done so.

A few minutes later, I was on the recliner.

There were only two other people in the theatre.

One guy was seated on the extreme left, the other on my extreme right.

Gal Gadot was spectacular but the movie was a disappointment. I had 0 expectations.

I tried to get some sleep on the recliner. I wish it had a massager too.

When I woke up, I lost the track of the plot.

Well, there was no plot, to begin with.

I stood up and stretched, wore my shoes, and left the facility.

I wondered how these theatre chains even break even in such times.

Still, they are running the show.

Hope? Or irrational optimism?

A long and painful wait till things turn around?


Evolution of Netflix and the Millennial Mindset

Evolution of Netflix in India and the millennial mindset.

2015: Rs 650 is too expensive. What are torrents for? 

2016: Let me try the one-month free option, I will binge-watch my favorite shows and then cancel my subscription.

2017: Let us share credentials, buy the 850 pack and divide among the 4 of us. What are friends for?

2018: This works! this is how you squeeze these services. Smart move eh!

2019: You know what, I will go solo. Just don’t want to share a password with random people. I need a feed that suits me. My viewer history matters so that I continue from where I have left. Moreover, I use Netflix on my iPad when I am on the move. I watch Netflix on like 4 devices. It is worth 650 Rs. 

2020: This works! Factoring in the inflation, 650 Rs is nothing as compared to 650 Rs back in 2015. This is a killer deal.

2021: I don’t really have all the time to consume Netflix but it doesn’t hurt to subscribe to it till eternity. It is a pain to unsubscribe and subscribe to it. I don’t even remember the last time I unsubscribed from Netflix.

Valuation of Netflix in 

2015: 40 Billion dollars
2021: 230 Billion dollars

Consumer behavior in a nutshell.


And the theme for women’s day would be opportunism

Conversation between me and my wife on #Women’s day

Wife: Why so many organizations influence women to wear traditional on women’s day?

Me: I believe that is symbolism, it makes you look special. I think you should just stick with the theme and enjoy. Unless you want to look the odd one out.

Wife: What is the point of looking special? Don’t you think it is limiting and defeats the whole purpose of celebrating women?

Me: Well, what is the purpose of women’s day? To make women feel they are valued or they are special or equal?

Wife: Well, who knows!. Suggest me something, quick!

Me: Wear something traditional but comfortable, how about the Kurta that you bought last year?

Wife: Yeah, but that has to be ironed ( Goes and irons the Kurta)

Wife: It still looks a little wrinkled

Me: Don’t worry, looks good. Book the auto, you are getting late

(She reaches office and calls me)

Wife: You know what, Uber gave me a discount! It is women’s day. She goes on to narrate how a woman in Saree almost met with an accident on her bike. 


What my wife went through is a small example of how her decisions and choices were inadvertently limited on women’s day.

I can only see one theme on every women’s day. The theme of “Opportunism”; creative ads and discounts


We park our hopes in PE ratios

When it comes to money, we, humans, are so fascinated with the unknown and the inexplicable.

Take Bitcoin for instance.

Most of us know that Bitcoin is a Cryptocurrency that has appreciated a million folds over the years but you ask a random person how Cryptocurrency really works and you get a half-baked answer.

Stock markets are a similar story.

Tesla is trading somewhere around 1000 times its earnings. (PE ratio)

This means people are paying 1000 Rs for Every 1 Rs that Tesla earns today.

No wonder why Elon Musk is the second richest person in the world (richest a few weeks back).

Well, Coal India is trading somewhere around 6 times its earnings.

People are 1000 times more hopeful towards uncertainties around electric vehicles than coal, a resource that will remain a stable source of thermal power for most of the 21st century.

It is interesting.

PE ratios are interesting, it tells you where people are parking their hopes.

Back in 2013, Facebook’s PE was 110.

Today it is somewhere around 25.

You know where Facebook is heading.

Zoom Video Comm has a PE ratio of 150.

In July 2020 it was 1500 🙂

Sometimes, all you have to do is exist

Yesterday I received a call from Sharekhan. Sharekhan has been my stockbroker for almost a decade now. Anyway, it was good to hear a local dialect (Konkani) because the call was from Mapusa, Goa, my hometown. The lady wanted to know whether I would be interested in buying some MFs through Sharekhan. 

I politely declined and diverted the conversation to their core offerings, that is, brokerage charges on the stocks. 

Your brokerage is almost 5 times more than other brokerage firms, I said that laughingly. 

The response was funny. She said, we know sir, but there is hardly anything we can do about it. Firms like Zerodha are quite new and we won’t be able to match their prices.

I said, well, then why do you think I should stick with you?

She said because we have people to support you. (She meant service)

I asked a couple of more questions around the platform and the discussion was over.

I just reflected on the sorry state of some businesses that opened in 2000s :

#Sharekhan will never be able to match the brokerage of #Zerodha

#Crosswords will never be able to match the prices of #Amazon

Idea-Vodafone will never be able to match the unit #economics of #Jio

And yet they exist!

Think about it

Or maybe sometimes you only need to exist…


Lovely Youtube Ads

These days I end up watching the full ads that YouTube makes me go through.

I watch them even when there is a skip option.

Reason? They are so creative !

We hardly consume ads on television these day, thanks to the OTT platforms like Netflix.

But I tend to get hooked to YouTube ads.

Creators of these ads have no pressure of time limit.

Some ads are even 2 minute long.

Some are so meaningful.

Some are so fresh and novel.

These ads just beat the content created by individual YouTubers.

Come to think of it, it is content vs content.

Reminds me of the 90s and 2000s where some ads aired during primetime just don’t fade away.

Obviously ads shows on YouTube don’t intend to have that top of the mind effect but they are more tuned towards call to action.

Do they even have a big budget? I don’t think so.

Just high quality, medium-low budget targeted advertising.

Makes so much sense.

What do you think?


Creating Vs Coordinating

Some advice for people in their early #careers

There are two types of opportunities in this world

Creating and coordinating

Creating is for those who appreciate originality, those who like to think and apply

Copywriting, coding, drawing, designing, building, developing, solving

Co-ordinating is a different world all-together 

It is all about managing resources, selecting #resources, and aligning resources.

Scheduling, conducting meetings, talking, listening, influencing, negotiating, taking notes, enabling, planning, organizing, calendarizing

While creating is celebrated more in books and movies, coordinating takes a backseat 

Terms like innovative, out of the box, free and radical are associated with creating

Terms like mundane, boring, soul-sapping work get associated with co-ordinating

Unfortunately, there are more opportunities for coordinating 

Because the world works that way

The economy tolerates mediocrity in coordination

The #economy has zero-tolerance for mediocrity in the creation

Mediocre creators are punished by the economy

Mediocre co-ordinators simply survive

Excellent co-ordinators excel much faster than excellent creators 

And it is easy to be a mediocre coordinator because there are just too many of them

Decide what you want to become 🙂

The Value of Middlemen

Last year just before the onslaught of the pandemic, I decided to rent a place closer to my office.

It was mid-February, I wanted to cut down on the daily commute.

In the first week of March, I found a broker and paid the brokerage. I was supposed to shift by mid-March.

The following week, everything came to a standstill. Pune was worst hit.

WFH was declared and I was forced to drop my decision of shifting.

I demanded my brokerage, citing the obvious.

The broker was not rude, but a difficult conversation was imminent.

After a series of follow-ups, I received 50% of the brokerage back.

A few weeks back, the same broker called me, asking whether I need a home for rent.

We had a short conversation but I might seek out his help again.

The bottom line is that brokers are here to stay.

They are the glue between supply and demand.

Neither supply nor demand want to have those difficult conversations.

The supply and the demand have their egos and values to protect. 

The broker is like a matchmaker with all the databases of inventory and locations. Thick skin and experience to handle difficult conversations is their forte.

A platfrom cannont replicate the tacit knowledge and behaviours that brokers have on offer. Not yet.

That’s where we pay a premium the “Brokerage”

The Onslaught of Credit Card Calls

The onslaught of credit card calls. I am sure you are facing it every day.

It is relentless. Imagine in 2021, a human voice is cheaper to hire than a robocall.

In India, you could pay some youth Rs 500-1000/day and make him or her do hundreds of calls.

I wonder what could be the conversion ratio here?

Is it even efficient? 

The system never learns, unlike some algorithm that might target a different set of potential customers.

Duplication of data. The same bank might call you four times a week.

I don’t think the inefficiency is because of a lack of automation, India provides software automation solutions to the world.

The inefficiency is because of the easy availability of cheap resources.

A human resource willing to call 100 people a day is more economical than the pursuit for selling financial products through creative marketing and advertising or automated calls.

Sometimes I feel the developing world is slower towards progress because we want to preserve jobs and create more jobs.


The complex business of Food Delivery

The food delivery business is really complex.

There are too many moving parts.

The App, the bike, the biker, the restaurant, the cook, packaging, handling, traffic, weather, address, customer service, payment gateway.

The problem is no one could be held accountable for your #experience.

Delay? Would you blame it on the delivery guy or the restaurant? Or the externalities?

Taste? The delay or the restaurant?

Packaging? The restaurant or the pile of multiple packages that were kept on your package?

Or do you blame #Swiggy and #Zomato for quality control? 

Moreover, the elements of the food delivery system benefit very little from the #learning curve effect

Here is why:

No one sticks in this system for too long.

There is a lot of attrition.

Delivering food is a side gig at best.

No one wants to make a career in it.

Restaurants fold their business faster than they pop-up.

No continuity and learning curve benefits, no operational #excellence.

But given all that, it feels like magic when all these elements work together in tandem.

It makes my day when that sumptuous hot biryani arrives before time on a rainy day.

However, I admire the Pizza delivery operations.

Their vertically integrated #operations simply rock.

And they have been doing this for ages!

Leave your comments.