The fall of Newspapers; don’t blame the readers

Last Sunday, I was badly searching for a newspaper in my house.

Not to read.

But to use as a disposable sheet to manage beard trimming operations.

I found one old newspaper that was used as a base to keep mangoes.

After trimming, I neatly folded the paper and kept it for future use.

I was surprised to realize that we produced almost 0 paper waste. 

I remember back in the days when I was living with my parents there was always a big stack of old newspapers in some corner.

Once my dad consumed the news, the value of the newspaper dropped to almost 0.

It was then used to wrap food parcels, press oily pooris, and whatnot.

Back then I always used to think newspapers get their major revenue share from reader subscriptions.

I used to wonder, how come they afford to give such thick copies.

Well, now I know that advertisers paid for the newspapers.

Classifieds and big front-page ads were the bread and butter. Subscription revenue might have covered the logistics.

The news was only to grab our attention.

#Newspapers won’t go out of circulation because there are no readers. 

Newspapers will go out of circulation because eventually, it will make less sense to #print#ads

Brands will reach out to people who need not be readers but just passive media consumers.

Nevertheless, newspapers will leave a huge vacuum, not in the reading space but in the utility space. 🙂

#advertising

Pathetic Product? Provide kickass customer service

Today when we came back from running, there was a big patch of spilled milk at our doorstep.

The packet had slowly leaked. Damaged due to poor handling.

After a good run in pleasant Pune weather (especially after the cyclone), this is was an ugly scene.

And this was not even the first time.

Wife in furious mode: I will call them (Supr Daily) right away and blast them.

Me (frowning): Tell them to deliver a fresh packet. I was trying to preserve a good mood. Why cry over spilled milk? *metaphorically and factually speaking*

We called customer service.

A lady on the other side started with an apology

This was followed by an apology and then some more apology

I started laughing, I can’t use your apology to make tea right?

Sir, I have already refunded the amount in your Supr daily wallet, please check

*that was fast*

After the call, my wife said, let us shift to some other delivery service. I am done with this.

I said, hold on for a minute.

What if the other new delivery agent offers a bad product and also has poor #customerservice? Or a better product with substandard customer-centricity?

Surp daily has poor delivery operations but awesome #customer service. 

You can either have an awesome #product or kickass customer service. Pick one.

#customerexperience

Pick your narratives carefully

Yesterday, I was reading about how the Corona Virus was produced in a lab based in Wuhan, China. 

The source was credible. It was a very long narrative, supported with facts. 

Nevertheless, it was just a narrative. 

The problem is that the world works on narratives. 

World issues are so complex that fiction can be built using objective facts.

Sounds like a paradox? 

Take Bitcoin for example.

The single narrative that is driving Bitcoin to the sky is the “fact” that Cryptocurrency is decentralized. No single organization, government, or bank controls it. 

A few days back when Elon Musk sold billions of worth of Bitcoins, the Bitcoin lost 15% of its value.

Decentralized? Not anymore right?

One man can change the fate of a currency by 15%

Which narrative would you believe now?

Elections work the same way. Election campaigns sell narratives. Of course, they package facts but only in the sequence and structure that sells.

In hindsight, there is no lie. 

Very few people can afford a lie. 

Lying is cost-intensive and risk-intensive activity. 

There is only the truth. The greater truth and the lesser truth 🙂

There are only narratives based on convenient truths.

Pick your narratives carefully.

Why the iPad doesn’t have a calculator?

Apple iPad doesn’t have a calculator. 

iMac, iPhone, and Apple watch all have stock calculator apps.

There is a story behind this.

Back in 2010, Apple was only weeks away from launching the iPad.

A guy name Scott Forstall was leading iPad software development. 

The iPad calculator meant for the launch was just a scaled-up version of the iPhone calculator

Just a month before the launch, when Steve Jobs saw this design and right away called Scott.

“Where is the new design for the calculator? This looks awful!!, said Steve

Scott replied, what new design? we are shipping this design 

Steve said, No, pull it. We can’t ship that. Redesign the calculator or ship the iPad without it.

With only a few days left for the launch, Apple decided to launch the iPad without the calculator.

The rest is history. 

iPad users have to rely on third-party calculators. 

In an interview, one of the top executives of Apple reasoned that 

“We want to do it when we want to do it really really well”

Great to see #appleinc lives by that value.

But isn’t it #counterintuitive?

Do it well or don’t do it at all?

Please leave comments.

#productdesign#customerexperience

There is no free advice

Last week, my left eye developed redness

Google made me more paranoid. Too much information.

It was high time, the redness did not recede after a couple of days. Hence I booked an appointment on #Practo.

The doctor looked at the image of my eye and asked a couple of questions. 

After which he declared it was Episcleritis 

My heart skipped a beat

Is it dangerous Doctor, I asked.

Not at all he said 

He prescribed eye drops and that was it

What if the redness sustains? 

Don’t worry it is common. Get back to me after 5 days.

I used the eye drops for two days and my eyes were normal

The doctor gave me advice with accountability attached to it

Very much unlike the free advice available online

The doctor’s advice came at a modest price though

We live in a time where free advice is all over the internet. 

But where is the accountability?

Well, you don’t need to have any #accountability because the advice is free right?

For instance, people who offer stock market tips have no skin in the game, do they even buy stocks that they recommend?

LinkedIn is no different, free advice is all over the place because stakes are so low for those who offer that advice. 

It is not their fault, the internet makes it easy 

What do you think? 

#linkedin#advice#internet

The other side of COVID

Until early last year, Everest Kanto Cylinders was an obscure small company manufacturing seamless steel cylinders to store oxygen, nitrogen etc.

Today, the share price of Everest Kanto Cylinders company surged by almost 20% 

1 year returns? Over 800%

You don’t need to be a scientist to figure out why this magic happened

Thanks to surging COVID cases 

Last week as I was enquiring for life insurance policies for me and my wife, I was told that Insurance premiums are bound to rise steeply. This was owing to steep rise in claim settlements.

It is interesting to see how the economy is accommodating the impending onslaught of COVID or similar events in the years to come

There are rumours that Zomato (a food delivery company) will be a $50 billion company in next 5 years

The organised restaurant chains would grow multifold

#Zoom Video Communications Inc is almost a 100 billion dollar organisation today

Last year around this time Zoom was worth $20 billion 

Am I trying to show you the positive side?

Not really

I am trying to appreciate the velocity at which world is trying to adapt and move on

Had it been 1921, it would have taken decades altogether to fight COVID-19

Let us hope for the best 🙂

Bernie Sanders Vs Entrepreuners

“We are at a time in #American history where two guys, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, own more wealth than the bottom 40% of the population of this country. That level of greed and inequality is not only immoral. It is unsustainable,”

This is how Bernie Sanders expressed his annoyance on Twitter.

Well, that logic is slightly flawed, here is why

Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk hold huge amounts of stocks in their respective companies

Amazon was not profitable for more than a decade since its inception

Only in 2020, #Tesla reported a net income for the first time

This implies a significant amount of Bezos’ and Musk’s wealth is locked in the overpriced stocks of their respective organizations

For instance, Bezos owns 10% of #Amazon

Amazon is worth 1.5 trillion dollars

Who else owns these stocks?

Mostly the citizens of the USA.

These people have parked their hopes in these stocks. And since 50% of Americans hold stocks, you get the idea where the disparity in wealth comes from.

It comes from the “collective #greed” of millions of people

hence, it is not correct to hold #entrepreneurs accountable for wealth inequality 

I wish I could explain the Indian scenario with the same logic 🙂

Managing risks beats Decision Making any day

More than taking the right decisions, life is all about managing risks. 

Aspiring for a stable government job or private job is a part of managing risk.

Investing in an FD or a small-cap mutual fund is again managing risk.

Choosing to drive at night or during the day is again a choice to manage risk.

So most of our decisions are simply less risky or riskier.

And yet, we label them as good and bad.

Starting a risky business that succeeds is a good decision.

The business that fails in hindsight becomes bad decision. 

In hindsight, we always tend to curse our decisions.

Result? 

Regrets.

But the cycle never stops. We compare our decisions with others and suffer.

Instead, focus on your ability to take risks.

If you don’t like to take risks, so be it. Live with that.

If you love to take risks, don’t regret it when things go wrong.

If you still wish to take it, get yourself covered.

Wish to drive at night? Buy a safe car and get yourself insured.

Don’t like the risky small-cap fund? buy an FD but don’t complain about the returns. 

The quality of our decisions depends on our appetite to take risks as individuals.

#managingrisks#risk#decisionmaking

Story of every meeting room before the pandemic hit us

Meeting rooms always had a crazy demand.

Premium property perpetually blocked by souls who over the years had developed a strong belief system around the significance of meetings.

These rooms have creative names; hope, mars, Kevin Spacey room, Medula’s lair, you name it.

It was considered taboo to replace a meeting with an email.

It was so upsetting to see these spaces blocked for hours on the calendars.

Some rooms were booked well in advance. Predictive analytics?

“This room is booked”, was the assertion if one was found using a room booked by others.

Some people were almost residents of these meeting rooms.

You would never find them at their workstations.

Their workstations were merely parking spots for their bags, rewards, smiling photos, and other paraphernalia.

In the mornings, these meeting rooms smelled of room fresheners. 

Thanks to office boys. They “owned” this task!

Post noon they smelled like food.

In the evening they smelled like humans.

Forgotten chargers, underused diaries, and pens.

A whiteboard was full of action plans.

Fast forward it to the present.

Now you have infinite meeting rooms.

#Meetings are conducted on a whim.

All you need is a link.

Do we conduct more meetings now? 

You tell me.

India’s COVID wave : Think before blaming the governments

Our healthcare system was always broken. Let us think before we blame the governments. 

It is our collective mindset at play here.

Let us understand why Healthcare or for that matter any industry thrives?

We all know the answer; strong demand drives industries and organizations to grow.

Healthcare is expensive. And only the rich can afford the best healthcare in India.

But what about the poor and the middle class?

Well, the truth about any service is that someone has to pay for it.

And no one is ready to pay for healthcare in India.

People prefer to delay treatments and avoid visits to hospitals. 

They believe in Jugaad. Or suffering. Or both. 

But here is a universal truth.

The backbone of any national healthcare system is not governance.

It is the health #insurance sector. 

The private health Insurance coverage in India is just 3%.

In the US it is around 70%.

With no insurance, people don’t prioritize their health concerns unless they are extremely critical.

So why invest in a #healthcare capacity, when it doesn’t make any business sense.

We as people of this nation never prioritized health.

The doctor-population ratio in India is 1:1456 against the #WHOrecommendation of 1:1000.

Why it is such a surprise that this covid wave is a shock to the system?