Monthly Archives: May 2005

The XLBangalore Alumni Meet Report

It was time for the XLers in Bangalore to party on the 28th of May, and party they did !!
All the 270 of them and the 50 family and friends who turned up !
They burned up the dance floor and relived old memories as the drizzling Bangalore summer shower and cool breeze was the time for XLers from the 70s to the 2000s to reach out across 4 decades.
The chief guest for the meet was the XL Director Fr. Casimir Raj, SJ who spoke about the “alumni homecoming” at Jampot every year and invited the alumni to participate in this year’s homecoming!
Other guests from Jampot were XLer of the 77 batch and current IR Prof Pranabesh Ray (aka “Pray”!) and the current head of the Jampot Alumni Association, Mr. Rana Sinha.

Our thanks go to the current batch of 2006 XLers doing their summers for their unbridled enthu and fight to make this meet a resounding success! The XLBang Alumni Committee would specially like to acknowlege the efforts that Desmond, Dhananjay, Surya S, and Vijay put in – three cheers to them! From the alumni side awesome effort was put in by Titto, S Suryanarayan and Kuru (but, of course!). XL kids, Nikhil, Nisha, Krishna, Lester, Rahul, & Rhea helped us out with the registrations. And a big thanks to Angira for the pics (we’re waaaaitinggg…)

The XL Alumni Comm also gave Rs.13,001 to Satish Venkatachaliah’s Round Table as our annual contribution to a worthy cause.Cheers to Panna & Nash (of BM 96)for winning the “much coveted” hamper for the first couple to dance. And we would like to thank our sponsors who made the drinks, entry and dinner all economical for all of us! They are:

National Sponsors
Cognizant Technology Solutions

Principal Sponsors
Allegro Capital Advisors

Diamond Sponsors
Adecco People One

Gold Sponsors
Eicher Consultancy Services(ECS)
SAP Labs
Fortuna Consultants

Liquor & Beverages Sponsors

Batter Fried Prawns Sponsor (and were they yummy!!)
Pure Waterhouse (David D’Costa from the 1976 batch)

Gift Sponsors
Metro Cash & Carry
Indus League
Fortuna Consultants (Harinarayan of the ’74 batch)

Media sponsors
Business Standard

The pens from Fortuna were much sought after as were Indus-League’s T Shirts for the event (designed by Zameer!) which were a big hit and were sold out by midnight (if you have an extra t shirt pleeeze pass it on to me !)
Thanks are also due to Bob Punch who came down to MC for the meet all the way from Kolkata ! (sorry Kolkata, your loss!) and Anuja Singh who conducted the “make the mummy” game for the kids (no, not what you are thinking about !)
Lots of people turned up and some prominent XLers were N Krishnkumar (KK), Bijou Kurien (also the president/COO of the XLBang Alumni), Bharti & Jacob Kurian, John Idicula (Treasurer of the XLBang Alumni), Mervyn Raphael, Prateik Kumar, Saji Zacharia, Ravi Parmeshwar, NS Muthu, Azfar Hussain, Satish Venkatachaliah, Vishy Shenoy (the Biryani Merchant!) amongst others.
Some conversation pieces that were picked up by our undercover journalists:

“Do you really think I should invest in commodities….what should I do with my shares in the tech sector…?”
“Oh my god, how she’s changed, she was such a nerd in XL, and just look at her now…! wow !”
“Since when have you been in Bangalore?? Seven months? And you haven’t bothered to contact me??”
“Hmpfh, my batchmates never turn up for the alumi meet….idiots !!”
“So are you really looking out for Branding people for your company….wellll…I’ve got 3 years experience in sales and one year in Industrial marketing…could we meet sometime next week…? What’s your cell number ?”
…”yaar, mujhe koi naukri dila de re…xljobs mein mere liye kuch nahin aata”
“I’m looking for guest lecturers to address my students…can you spare 1 hour in a month..?”
….till next year folks !!


The infinite variety….

According to this Fast Company article, you can get consultants on almost anything ! From compost to Satanism !

This painstaking research was done by the magazine’s Consultant Debunking Unit. Don’t also miss the Frog metaphor story for Change Management !

Blogging getting focus of Indian MSM

Rashmi Bansal has written an article on blogging in the latest issue of Businessworld. This is the third article on blogging in the MSM after India Today and one article written by Peter Griffin in Man’s World.

Rashmi’s article is however more corporate focussed and she tries to evangelise the corporate world to take up blogging. The examples used are the usual one , Robert Scoble (“chief humanizing officer”). But she does better by telling the readers that even Tom Peters blogs (ok its a team blog). Of course, to readers it might still seem to say “So what” and Rashmi does take Wipro to task for its dull and dry blog. Of course, people who visit that site might not get the whole philosophy of blogging. It would just look like a different website. And they’ll go away scratching their heads wondering what the fuss is all about. The ironies of a blog is that the difference can only be experienced when you write one and then use tools like PubSub or bloglines to find that you have triggered a conversation. The power then hits home.

Which businesses will blog the most?

I believe that businesses that rely on ‘expertise’ and ‘brain power’ like professional services firms will be the first to take up blogging. The ones that need to connect to a global pool of people and that can show their expertise merely by commenting. Firms like the tompeters company will benefit the most from blogging. Their customers would have access to their thoughts every written post.

In India the issue with corporate blogging lies in the following reasons:

1. Traditionally we’ve had most organizations that are closed to even internal questioning. Though a lot has changed over the last 15-20 years, yet the majority of Indian companies continue to be mired in the old mindset. Case in point, I dropped in to one of my previous firms, it does innovation consulting and training for organizations. And we got chatting and I told them, “you know, you should start a blog”…and I was greeted by two blank faces. Now these are the folks telling corporate India to start thinking afresh and break away from the past, and they didn’t know what a blog was. Then I launched into how they can publish their thoughts comments, build a community of innovation thinkers, utilize RSS , and more …when I realized that I had lost them. One had gone back to reading emails and the other was staring at me trying to understand what I was saying. Then I took a deep breath and said “tom peters blogs” “he does?” “yep, go check out ” and I left.

2. The language issue and the bandwidth issue: Two issues compound together to make it a greater issue. Ordinary folks who speak and read English fluently although high in number are still a small fraction of India’s population. Of these the one’s who are on the net and technically savvy are a small part. Most of these folks use the internet primarily for email. Awareness of what is a blog is itself low. However blogs in local languages would alleviate some issues, but losing out the opportunity to connect to readers in different parts of the country. Growth in broadband would surely help in encouraging users to move from reasearching and emailing to actively engaging on blogs. The difference in blogs (and other social software tools like wikis, bulletin boards, chat) and the rest of the net (static websites and stuff on them) is they encourage the reader to move from a consumer focus to a participant focus.

3. The third danger I foresee is that blogging becomes a fad and everyone jumps into it without a clear understanding of its powers or having the end clarity in their minds. As I posted on Naked Conversations the rhetoric is getting has heard so much about change management , about technologies that will change the way we work that maybe we need to take another argument…tell them that blogging is a tool, but the change is really that one they need to make from a centralized communication medium to a many-to-many conversation, that open honest communication is too important a thing to leave to marketing and corporate communication and PR groups . That is the real challenge for organizations… or else they well embrace the tool, but not the mindset and then they will blame the bloggers, for hyping this new tool !

The do it yourself economy, and the long tail of supply

Picked this up from Dane’s blog:


But a number of factors are coming together to empower amateurs in a way never before possible, blurring the lines between those who make and those who take. Unlike the dot-com fortune hunters of the late 1990s, these do-it-yourselfers aren’t deluding themselves with oversized visions of what they might achieve. Instead, they’re simply finding a way—in this mass-produced, Wal-Mart world—to take power back, prove that they can make the products that they want to consume, have fun doing so, and, just maybe, make a few dollars. “What’s happened is a tremendous change in awareness,” says Eric von Hippel, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and author of the recent Democratizing Innovation. “Conventional wisdom is so strong [in business] about find-a-need-and-fill-it: ‘We’re the manufacturers; we design products; we ask users what they need; we do it.’ That has begun to crack.”

This is really exciting stuff. From the age of the guilds we have travelled the route of large organizations to free agents and now virtual organizations. These businesses would also move the chain to finally own the brand and leverage the long tail through technology. I’ve been thinking. Most of the thoughts about the long tail is about the selling to the niches addressed by google and blogs. Although Chris Andersen has talked about the long tail applied to suppliers (the ebay example).

The example closer home is ITC’s e-choupals, and eliminating the middleman. This is the power of technology when applied to the the long tail of supply ! Businessworld has a story on how the supply of agriculture goods is being overhauled.

(bad blog post Gautam, two thoughts in one post…not done…!)

This is a little off topic….but…anyways

My BSchool alumni in Bangalore are meeting for our annual summer bash (with the rains here it doesn’t feel like summer !) tomorrow.

So this post is for any XLer who’s in Bangalore tomorrow evening. The schedule for other cities in India is here.

You’re invited !

I’ll be back to normal posting level on Sunday (as soon as I get the hangover over with ;-)!)