Tuesday, May 29, 2012

An open letter to India's graduating classes

# POST 0054

Dear Graduates and Post-Graduates,

This is your new employer. We are an Indian company, a bank, a consulting firm, a multinational corporation, a public sector utility and everything in between. We are the givers of your paycheck, of the brand name you covet, of the references you will rely on for years to come and of the training that will shape your professional path.

Millions of you have recently graduated or will graduate over the next few weeks. Many of you are probably feeling quite proud - you've landed your first job, discussions around salaries and job titles are over, and you're ready to contribute.

Life is good - except that it's not. Not for us, your employers, at least. Most of your contributions will be substandard and lack ambition, frustrating and of limited productivity. We are gearing ourselves up for broken promises and unmet expectations. Sorry to be the messenger of bad news.

Today, we regret to inform you that you are spoiled. You are spoiled by the "India growth story"; by an illusion that the Indian education system is capable of producing the talent that we, your companies, most crave; by the imbalance of demand and supply for real talent; by the deceleration of economic growth in the mature West; and by the law of large numbers in India, which creates pockets of highly skilled people who are justly feted but ultimately make up less than 10 percent of all of you.

So why this letter, and why should you read on? Well, because based on collective experience of hiring and developing young people like you over the years, some truths have become apparent. This is a guide for you and the 15- to 20-year-olds following in your footsteps - the next productive generation of our country. Read on to understand what your employers really want and how your ability to match these wants can enrich you professionally.

There are five key attributes employers typically seek and, in fact, will value more and more in the future. Unfortunately, these are often lacking in you and your colleagues.

1.You speak and write English fluently: We know this is rarely the case. Even graduates from better-known institutions can be hard to understand.

Exhibit No. 1: Below is an actual excerpt from a resume we received from a "highly qualified and educated" person. This is the applicant's "objective statement:"

"To be a part of an organization wherein I could cherish my erudite dexterity to learn the nitigrities of consulting"

Huh? Anyone know what that means? We certainly don't.

And in spoken English, the outcomes are no better. Whether it is a strong mother tongue influence, or a belief (mistakenly) that the faster one speaks the more mastery one has, there is much room for improvement. Well over half of the pre-screened résumés lack the English ability to effectively communicate in business.

So the onus, dear reader, is on you - to develop comprehensive English skills, both written and oral.

2. You are good at problem solving, thinking outside the box, seeking new ways of doing things: Hard to find. Too often, there is a tendency to simply wait for detailed instructions and then execute the tasks - not come up with creative suggestions or alternatives.

Exhibit No. 2: I was speaking with a colleague of mine who is a chartered accountant from Britain and a senior professional. I asked him why the pass percentage in the Indian chartered accountant exam was so low and why it was perceived as such a difficult exam.

Interestingly (and he hires dozens of Indian chartered accountants each year), his take is as follows: the Indian exam is no harder than the British exam. Both focus on the application of concepts, but since the Indian education system is so rote-memorization oriented, Indian students have a much more difficult time passing it than their British counterparts.

Problem-solving abilities, which are rarely taught in our schooling system, are understandably weak among India's graduates, even though India is the home of the famous "jugadu," the inveterate problem solver who uses what's on hand to find a solution. Let's translate this intrinsic ability to the workforce.

3. You ask questions, engage deeply and question hierarchy: How we wish!

Exhibit No. 3: Consistently, managers say that newly graduated hires are too passive, that they are order-takers and that they are too hesitant to ask questions. "Why can't they pick up the phone and call when they do not understand something?" is a commonly asked question.
You are also unduly impressed by titles and perceived hierarchy. While there is a strong cultural bias of deference and subservience to titles in India, it is as much your responsibility as it is ours to challenge this view.

4. You take responsibility for your career and for your learning and invest in new skills: Many of you feel that once you have got the requisite degree, you can go into cruise control. The desire to learn new tools and techniques and new sector knowledge disappears. And we are talking about you 25- to 30-year-olds - typically the age when inquisitiveness and hunger for knowledge in the workplace is at its peak.

Exhibit No. 4: Recently, our new hires were clamoring for training. Much effort went into creating a learning path, outlining specific courses (online, self-study) for each team. With much fanfare, an e-mail was sent to the entire team outlining the courses.

How many took the trainings? Less than 15 percent. How many actually read the e-mail? Less than 20 percent.

The desire to be spoon-fed, to be directed down a straight and narrow path with each career step neatly laid out, is leading you toward extinction, just like the dinosaurs. Your career starts and ends with you. Our role, as your employer, is to ensure you have the tools, resources and opportunities you need to be successful. The rest is up to you.

5. You are professional and ethical: Everyone loves to be considered a professional. But when you exhibit behavior like job hopping every year, demanding double-digit pay increases for no increase in ability, accepting job offers and not appearing on the first day, taking one company's offer letter to shop around to another company for more money - well, don't expect to be treated like a professional.

Similarly, stretching yourself to work longer hours when needed, feeling vested in the success of your employer, being ethical about expense claims and leaves and vacation time are all part of being a consummate professional. Such behavior is not ingrained in new graduates, we have found, and has to be developed.

So what can we conclude, young graduates?

My message is a call to action: Be aware of these five attributes, don't expect the gravy train to run forever, and don't assume your education will take care of you. Rather, invest in yourself - in language skills, in thirst for knowledge, in true professionalism and, finally, in thinking creatively and non-hierarchically. This will hold you in good stead in our knowledge economy and help lay a strong foundation for the next productive generation that follows you.

Together, I hope we, your employer, and you, the employee, can forge an enduring partnership.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

70 Reasons to Stop Complaining about Rising Inflation (Plus 1 More)

# POST 0053

Emergency Post: 70 Reasons to Stop Complaining about Rising Inflation (Plus 1 More)

Credit to Original Poster : Vishal Khandelwal (safalniveshak.com)

I know…I know how much you cursed the government last night for raising petrol prices by Rs 7.5 per litre!
I know how much you’ve started loving all those ‘revolutionaries’ who are calling for a nationwide protest against these hikes!
It’s funny to see all those queues outside petrol pumps with people waiting to get their vehicles pumped up with as much fuel as possible…as if that is the only fuel they will need for the next several years. (They must’ve burnt more fuel waiting to get their tanks filled up!)
(By the way, the reason for this ‘emergency’ post is that if I had not written this today, many of my readers would’ve unnecessarily burnt their blood for an additional 24 hours before they read this) :-)
“These politicians are thieves! They’ve ruined my life!” exclaimed a friend who just returned from a long foreign holiday.
“How will a common man survive when prices of petrol and everything else are rising so fast?” he asked me as if knew the answer to his question.
“Don’t revolt. Rebel!” I told my friend in a saintly voice.
“What do you mean by that?” he asked.
“Revolution is when you give away control to the revolutionaries (like the protestors) who portray themselves as fighting for your cause. Instead, they are fighting for their own cause…to get more powerful!”
“But…” he interrupted.
“Wait, I’m not done as yet!” I said, “On the other hand, when you rebel, you try to take things under your control. Instead of revolting against others, you become a rebel by trying to change yourself.”
“Now did you get me?” I asked.
“Good! Let me explain it the other way. Don’t expect medicines to cure your sickness. Instead, avoid sickness by remaining healthy!”
“What the …!” he said, visibly disturbed. “Why can’t you make it simpler?”
“Okay. I was trying to tell you things that could’ve served as lessons for a lifetime. But since you insist, let me get down to the specifics.”
“Now that’s good!” he said.
“See, what I’m trying to say is that instead of blaming the government for raising prices of petrol and worrying how it would hurt you, why don’t you worry about things that are under your control?” I asked.
“And what are those things that I can control?”
“Simple…cut your living costs as much as you can. When you save money in other places, even a fuel cost hike won’t pinch you much!”
“Wow! And how do I cut costs and save more money than I’m already doing?”
“Well, here are the ways…”
70 simple ways to save money
A. Food
  1. The best thirst quencher is water, not juice or cola (plus there are great health benefits).
  2. Cut back on the convenience foods (learn some cooking instead to help your wife).
  3. Instead of going out to eat at work, take your own lunch.
  4. Eat a good breakfast before leaving for office (it decreases your desire to buy and eat a big lunch in the middle of the day).
  5. Pack food before you go on a road trip.
  6. Avoid that expensive (and fatty) dessert at the restaurant. Go for a walk and have an ice-cream instead.
B. Clothing
  1. Instead of throwing out some damaged clothing, repair it instead.
  2. Go through your old clothes…and find ones that you can still use.
C. Shelter
  1. Look for a cheaper place to live.
  2. Avoid an interior designer…learn to design your own home (you’ll love it!).
  3. Paint your home.
D. Fuel
  1. Use your car less. Use public transport…or simply walk whenever you can.
  2. Go for reliability and fuel efficiency when buying a car (if you are bent on buying one).
  3. Air up your tires (it helps in improving mileage).
  4. Carpool to work (saves fuel plus helps a lot in networking).
  5. Don’t speed (it helps save fuel, plus you don’t have to pay the traffic fines).
  6. Unless you drive a Ferrari, don’t buy premium fuel.
E. Communication
  1. Go through your mobile phone bill, look for services you don’t use, and ditch them.
  2. Talk less on your landline or mobile. Instead use emails, letters, and free online services (like Skype).
  3. Cut unnecessary Internet costs – avoid using 3G.
F. Entertainment
  1. Invite friends over instead of going out.
  2. Swap books, music, and DVDs with friends instead of buying new.
  3. Hit the library – hard.
  4. Read more. Reading is one of the cheapest – and most beneficial – hobbies around.
  5. Cut down on your vacation spending. Instead of going on long foreign trips, pack up the car and explore beautiful India.
  6. Travel during off season.
  7. Book tickets and hotels early to get early-bird discounts.
  8. Watch morning shows at theatres (better wait for CDs/DVDs).
  9. Keep distance from lavish, high-flying friends (this is most important!)
G. Shopping (Now this is the biggest list!)
  1. Sign up for every free customer rewards program you can (but still try to avoid shopping!).
  2. Write a list before you go shopping for groceries (avoid ‘I-may-need-this’ syndrome).
  3. Do holiday shopping right after the holidays.
  4. Avoid designer labels (if you are not a celebrity).
  5. Avoid extended warranties (if your new TV won’t last three years, perhaps it’s not worth buying in the first place!).
  6. Shop online…you can get some great deals.
  7. Have a snack and drink a large glass of water before going shopping.
  8. Ask for discounts on products and services (just ask…you may be surprised!).
  9. Before making a large purchase, calculate how many hours of work it takes for you to make that much money.
  10. The highest-markup items at the grocery story are on the shelves at about chest level. Reach up or kneel down to select the cheaper brands.
  11. Beware of ‘discount store syndrome’. Just because you’re in a discount store doesn’t mean you’re getting the best price on every item. So stay aware.
  12. Be alert of overly-helping salespeople. They usually don’t have your financial interests in mind.
  13. Have the courage to say “No!” to your wife (at least sometimes :-) )
H. Kids
  1. Don’t spend big money entertaining your children. Spend some quality time with them instead. They’ll love this more.
  2. Learn to say no! Let them know that money is earned via hard work and doesn’t fall freely from the ATM.
I. Utilities
  1. Turn off the television. Seek an evening hobby instead.
  2. Remove all unwanted television channels.
  3. Use less of your washing machine and air-conditioners.
  4. Be diligent about turning off lights and fans before you leave.
  5. Install CFL (or, even better, LED) bulbs wherever it makes sense.
  6. Pay your bills on time to avoid late penalties.
J. Miscellaneous
  1. Make your own gifts instead of buying stuff during birthdays and festivals.
  2. Instead of giving a gift, write a heartfelt letter to someone.
  3. Clean out your closet and sell useless stuff online.
  4. Give up expensive habits, like cigarettes and alcohol.
  5. Keep your hands clean to avoid unnecessary medical bills.
  6. Give a gift of a service instead of an item.
  7. Get rid of unread magazines, newspapers, and online subscriptions.
  8. If something’s broken, give a fair shot at repairing it yourself before replacing it or calling a repairman.
  9. Exercise at home or in open air instead of paying for the gym. Develop a ‘prison workout’ system.
  10. Avoid trying to keep up with the Joneses. It’s a costly illness. Chances are they’re in more debt than you are.
K. Money
  1. Switch to a lower interest home loan.
  2. Switch to term life insurance.
  3. Buy low cost mutual funds.
  4. Don’t trade…invest. Avoid excessive brokerage.
  5. Clear your credit card debt in time (better still, destroy all your credit cards).
  6. Shop around for cheapest medical insurance.
4 more ways to save (and earn) money
  1. Live like your parents lived. If you don’t know how, just ask them.
  2. Make a budget (first allocate money for savings, then spend with the rest).
  3. Master the thirty day rule. Whenever you’re considering making an unnecessary purchase, wait thirty days and then ask yourself if you still want that item. Quite often, you’ll find that the urge to buy has passed and you’ll have saved yourself some money by simply waiting.
  4. Use your talent to earn extra cash…like teaching guitar or writing skills to kids on weekends (you are more talented than you know!)
Even if you can make just 10 money-saving choices from the above list, you’ll do wonders for your financial life over the long term.
Here’s a simple math. If you can just save Rs 50 per day, or Rs 1,500 per month…and invest the same consistently, you will have Rs 49 lac in your kitty by the end of 25 years (assuming 15% average annual returns during this period). Sounds good?
Some final thoughts…whenever the struggle against rising inflation feels like it’s too much, know that there are millions of underprivileged souls out there fighting for the sake of their survival (forget petrol, all they want is a petty meal a day). Look for ways to help them!
As Warren Buffett once said, “If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity that has money, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.”
So stop revolting…start the rebellion. You’ll love it!
Anyways, can you think of some other money-saving tips not covered above and that can be of help to others? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The New World !!

This is the age where:

You don’t often visit people’s house for a long chat; you at best make telephone calls.

You don’t get down to face-to-face conversations; you simply send e-mails

Ha, and people say on mails what they dare not tell you on your face. Is that the new world of hostility?

You are down in the dumps; you don’t meet a friend, you instead splurge at a mall or a Cineplex.

You don’t get down even to telephonic conversations; you simply text

And the guy who texts wants an instant reply. Text, counter text and counter text….. Its endless.. And meaningless

You tell one thing and you mean something completely different

You hence have to read between the lines.

What you say is not what you do; what you do is not what you say. But you end up justifying everything.

Words like Please and Thank you are no longer part of the lexicon

Judgements are instantaneous. We go to town saying Obama didn't call Singh until our PM clarifies that they couldn't fix a call

Hope I am wrong on each of these counts

Welcome to the world of oneupmanship

Friday, March 30, 2012

Do home loans kill entrepreneurship ?

Who doesn’t want to start some venture of their own? Majority of the people are in jobs and a big number of people do not like what they do. If they had a choice, they would really run away in this very moment. But our responsibilities in life and the situation we create for ourselves makes sure that we are stuck and can not get out of the rat race. We see so many people who want to work in start-ups, many people who really want to do something which they really love and enjoy even if it does not pay a lot but it’s not possible for lot of people to simply quit and start something of their own.Does home loan kill entrepreuneurship ?
One of the co-founders of Flipkart, Binny Bansal made an interesting comment that Home loan kills entrepreneurship.
India is definitely happening and there are a lot of opportunities in different fields. If you are thinking of starting up, this is the best time. But don’t take a home loan,that actually kills entrepreneurship. You can never get out of it. – Binny Bansal , co-founder flipkart.com (via)
Home loan is a big commitment, especially in a family where there is one earning member. People take jobs, get married, get a home loan, car loan etc, have kids in between and life becomes so “formula driven”. Income has to be earned and expenses have to be taken care. Risk of job loss, income loss due to medical emergencies and similar kind of risks are on the minds of a people who are paying for home loan – and this pressure kills the dreams of doing something of his own and the natural thinking then becomes – “Not an issue – Let me earn for next X years and once I retire, I will live all my dreams”. I am not sure if it really works at the end or not.
There can’t be a bigger liability than owning a house on Loan
Santosh Navlani of moneysights.com confirms in one of his comments, that saw same kind of thing while he was hiring people.
I am an entrepreneur & meet many people who at times are potential employees for my start-up venture. Now, most of these house-owners even if they are “excited & thrilled”, don’t join a start-up which would offer them great earning potential in the future because of the uncertainties that a start-up job brings to their income. Simply because they have a huge liability!
If one factors the cost of “forgoing” the pursuit dreams, I guess there can’t be a bigger liability than owning a house on loan. I have seen people getting stuck in wrong jobs where they sacrifice their long-term future by satisfying the urge of saving the rent. And yes, you don’t decide to pursue a dream of start-up or a job-switch by thinking extremely hard on it. It just happens that you are not able to take the job anymore. The last thing one wants then is fear of home-loan coming in way.
So what you do if you are young enough, unmarried and want to taste entrepreneurship? This is the right time to take the plunge and take the risk, so that you have that cushion to come back in the game if you fail. Once you take a home loan and are married, life is full of commitments and you will not be excited enough to start something on your own or join a more fun (low paying – at least in starting years) job. One of the friend who didn’t want to reveal his identity shared with me on Facebook.
When I was 25, working as a software engineer at Hexaware Mumbai in 2002, earning Rs. 25,000 per month, I quit my job and went to Goa, following my dream and started a completely new career stream at an income of Rs 4,000 p.m. At that time, I was single, did not have any home loan or other commitments and that certainly helped otherwise I may not have been able to take that jump.
Interestingly, when I met a few ex-colleagues from software industry recently, to my surprise, I figured that not only I earn more or equal to them, but am also much happier because I am enjoying what I’m doing. They confessed to not enjoying their jobs and feel that as software professionals working late nights to meet client calls in US, long daily commute to office etc. they felt as though 10 years of their personal life was “sucked” by their jobs.
There is saying – “If there is a will, there is a way” and a lot of people I talked about on this topic, said that if a person has the guts, vision and passion, he can make it real, even if he has huge debt!. But we are talking about the masses here (majority of people) and for most of the people it’s really difficult to take that kind of risk, even thought they have huge passion and mindset- the situation just does not ALLOW IT.
Do you really agree to it ?
Would you like to share about your experience and thoughts on this topic ? Do you really think that home loan (or any such kind of huge responsibility) really kills entrepreneurs and stops people to explore low paying but hugely satisfying careers ? Really ?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sachin was Destined to Win, Dravid was Determined to win !!

Rahul Dravid who announced his retirement today, has been one of the greatest cricketer that this country has produced and unfortunately will get the least credit for his contribution to the game, because all of India reveres Sachin as the God.

Sachin Tendulkar is a phenomenonal batsman and a thinking cricketer. He's clearly the best batsman this country has produced if the not the world. I think he was born gifted and has a amazing sense of timing and hand eye co-ordination. He showed it, way early in his career and progressed by building on it. He is, as I would say a “natural”.
Every single Indian who picks up a bat aspires to be like Sachin Tendulkar. Mother pray and fathers bray in coaxing their litters into wielding the willow. But for every Tendulkar, there are a million who fall by the wayside and are left selling credit cards and writing blogs :-).
Let me examine another cricketer - Rahul Dravid. I wouldn’t by any stretch of imagination call him a natural. Dravid is the hard working, technically correct cricketer who puts in a lot of effort and displays tenacity. He unfortunately is not gifted with the raw natural talent that Sachin has ( This is true for 99.99% of us ). So he has made that up with sheer hard work and getting down to the basics. I would put Anil Kumble in a similar bracket as Dravid.
Dravid will not be as great as Sachin but he has left his indelible mark on Indian cricket.
The problem is that all of us aspire to be like Sachin when we are as talented as Dravid, if not worse. We walk in believing that we are potential god’s gift to mankind and leave the field with dreams shattered and egos hurt.
The key to success is to realise whether you have the natural talent of Sachin and if not, to change track and become like the hardworking Dravid. Strategy No 2 clearly has a higher probability of success

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What can CEO’s learn from Amitabh Bachchan ??

How come a man who was almost being forgotten and completely written off, could spark everyone’s imagination once again? A legend whom banks had almost abused was writing cheques of One crore. Gosh!!! It was big money those days. It still is but, in those times, it was unheard of on telly. How could television make such a big star out of a sun almost set? All of a sudden, everything seemed to be not just alright but incredible. Producers were making beeline at his doorsteps. His cash boxes were ringing like never before. Amitabh is the most expensive and the busiest star again.

I’ll start with some lessons, learning and clues, covering diverse perspectives.
The first and most important lesson I draw from his days of ignominy when he was down and almost out. The learning is change becomes inevitable if you are resolved to turn things around you. No matter how much intimidation you face but, persist till you have the last laugh. You will (have the last laugh). And, whether or not you think you can achieve something you are actually right. A lesson for every individual.
Second I draw from his early days. This simple learning substantiates the old saying that most of the accomplishments in this world are credited to some tired persons who kept trying in spite of streak of disappointments. Dont Give up. You are not out untill you think you are out.
The third lesson relates to Marketing Management and refers to Product Life Cycle. Amitabh Bachchan’s life substantiates the PLC theory at times. At other times, it totally defies them all. The bottom line, however, is that if the product is dynamic enough, it can give the competition a run for its money. Such an old brand, Big B had his rough and tough times but has remained competitive for so many decades and has seen almost 4-5 generations (taking 10 years time frame for a new batch of actors entering). When he arrived there, it was the times of likes of Rajesh Khanna, Vinod Khanna and Dharmendra. His arrival on the scene was followed by the generation represented by Rishi Kapoor, Mithun Chakraborty. Then came the time of Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor, Sunny Deol and Govinda. Then came the Khans. And, now we have the new blokes like Ranbir, Imran, Neil etc.
It was only during the times when a product re-look was required and he failed to match with the times, the sun started fading out for Amitabh. He went for bad films that didn’t either suit his aging persona or, were clichéd or, looked desperate to match with the new competitors at different times. He was mostly not being himself.
By the late 1980s Big B was at the peak of the Maturity stage, in terms of the product life cycle theory. Like most other products, defending market share was a very difficult task by this stage. Not only that the new entrants had entered and occupied a lion’s share in the market but our product (Big B) was also exposed to the hilt. It was losing its sheen and aging. Amitabh tried several strategies to resurrect things as a marketer does in a bid to help his product survive this decline. But, a mere tweaking in his characterization would not help. That is why, his bid to re-invent himself did not work wonders for the next 8-9 years between Shahenshah and till the launch of ABCL. Some of the well-chiseled characters worked but its impact remained strictly limited on the entire prospects of the product in the market.
Agneepath, Shahenshah, Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan and Suryavansham were only some of the examples of this. Both offensive as well defensive strategies can be seen at work in the promotion planning of his films in this stage as compared to films before this. The larger-than-life positioning was normally made ostensible at this stage than before. Just like in history when kingdoms started getting diluted, the feudal lords as the remnants of those kingdoms started flaunting titles bigger than ever.
The problem with ABCL also had its root cause in the same market positioning of Big B. If it would have been a fresh startup or an unknown entrepreneur, maybe it would not have dwindled so much as ABCL was made to. I can safely cite the example of Satyam. Suppose, in its bid to regain its pride and positioning, if Satyam launches a new milestone venture in the near future, it would attract more cynicism than support. At the decline stage, if one has to diversify, the new product or venture is ideally preferred to belong to an entirely different domain and not have a direct connection with the existing product/brand that is declining. This is generally done with two objectives in mind: 1.to create alternate means of business and income while the previous product/brand is dying, 2. different domain/sector is suggested even preferably with a different brand-name so that the evils of the previous brand do not harm the nascent venture/brand. However, in the case of Big B, the biggest base was the goodwill of the name Amitabh Bachchan. His entire positioning at that point of time had no residual value, other than his name. It was an unavoidable decision he had to make if if he would have thought not to. Still, somewhere, he needed to draw a line and decide. He would have probably done better for himself. The evils surrounding the brand Amitabh Bachchan marred the prospects of his new ventures.
His entrepreneurship failed for a multitude of reasons. My take is that he was probably bit early, and initiated corporatization in Bollywood before Indian cinema was prepared for that. Though he was proactive, he also suffered for lack of earlier management experience and, more so, because he was individually on a downside. He was not bankable. Had he been bankable, his enterprise could have been saved. What was termed as huge debt could well have been prided as “credit line”. Further, as he was entering multiple new domains of production, events and lifestyle etc., it would have been better if he went little slow both in terms of the range of activities and also capital at stake. The markets were opening up, no doubt but, India was yet to see the kind of corporatization he was eying.
But, for Big B though, the best was yet to come. A product that has been leader for decades in the market knows the customer better than any new entrant. It’s only a matter of right initiative at the opportune time. He lagged. Was jolted. But, resurfaced to never fade again.
At the lowest ebb of life and time a superstar of his stature could have seen, Amitabh realized some of these nuances harder way. He realized that after so much of trauma and experiments, the older product wasn’t left with a future anymore. That the existing product must be killed and make way for a new product. TV was the right route. For, it helped him change his domain and positioning both. We saw Amitabh with grey beards that he didn’t prefer to dye but, flaunted with pride. It became his signature that he still carries. Maybe as his lucky charm.
For TV, he was the biggest star Indian television could ever have seen. This positioning he might not have got on the bigger screen. It was like when a product is old and trashed in the United States, it is launched in India with a huge success. Everyone lapped him up and watched him in awe on TV. TV was also born again, thanks to the Big B. It helped him regain his charisma and an altogether new positioning. The markets realized that the product had not died, only changed to a more effective and efficient version to suit the requirements of the time. With this new positioning, it was time again for him to mark his re-launch (in true sense) on the big screen. This time not as a shadow of yesteryear’s star trying hard to be what he used to be 20 years back. But, as a product that combined all the earlier features and was still the best in the marketplace. This was like the product phased out in the US, launched in India, then manufactured in India and, subsequently exported to US, albeit at a lower price (due to lower costs) and much of value addition. Amitabh, however, beat the marketing theorists here as this time he had got value additions but commanded an even higher price.
While his old fans were gleaming with joy again, the new fans were being born everyday. Amitabh was reborn. Scripts were again being started to be written exclusively for Amitabh. He was the lead actor in films even if where had just 5 scenes. His silence in many films sounded more powerful than the howls of Gabbar Singh in Sholay. Amitabh was a new product, in a new package, combined with the strength of the old. Like Surf Excel.
In this phase, however, he had learnt that this was the age of McDonalds and fast food joints. That this was the age of the “impatient”. That he must maximize his business, visibility and gains because, you wink and someone else may be at the helm of affairs. Competition was there as never before. And, he was oddly pitted against actors half his age. Unfair. But, who said business was a fair game! Amitabh meant business. It was coming his way more than he would have even anticipated in the 70s.
Marketing and Product strategy again at play. Amitabh preferred the strategy of “rapid skimming”, common to markets with high competition. This strategy suggests high promotions and high price. Had it been the same old Amitabh, he could not have been able to command a price higher than the most of the top stars of this time. But, it was a new Amitabh Bachchan. Suddenly, he was everywhere. It was in this phase that Amitabh did the higher number of films per year. And, he featured in the highest number of TV commercials at times. Events. International tours. He still is the busiest of the celebrity brand ambassadors and would endorse from a chocolate to the cement and cosmetics.
Having seen and been on the top and also bitten dust, Amitabh became tough enough to sustain the second coming and surmount any challenges. He has not aged, just become seasoned and weathered. His eyes look ripe but still gleam like a young man at the sight of sunshine and rain. 
We are sure to see him giving us too much to learn and implement in our lives and profession.