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Learning from mistakes.. of others

Its easy to criticize. It comes easy. But it is not so productive. All it does is fill you up with negative energy and criticizing someone else only spreads that negative energy. So I was trying not to do any of that on this blog for the longest time. But that self censorship meant drying up of my writing habit altogether (coupled with the fact that I have been busy with better things in life. :) )
So here's another positive perspective.. i can dig dirt objectively. This objective dirt digging can actually help me (and you) not repeat those mistakes, the mistake by others. (Its so much harder to see our own mistakes!) So I try to list out fundamental and grave mistakes of others.
I have done that before with,
ET's abysmal editorial that completely lacked integrity (and logic).
Sergey Brin's weak -ass reason to invent Google glasses.
Issues with Indian advertising (badly written, but some useful stuff there).
Hypocrisy of social media 'activists'

Ford Figo scam ad co…

Scratch that Label

Chomsky apparently is a 'Contrarian'. Amartya Sen is 'anti growth'. 
Labels come easy, comprehension not so.
Chomsky is 84 and Amartya Sen is 79 - Both have spent major part of their lives in bringing to light facts and ideas that the mainstream and the powerful want to dust under the carpet. They are not attention seekers and side show freaks. They are heroes, the few brave ones who are fighting for well being of people through justice and truth. 
and these heroes get branded as 'Contrarian' and 'anti growth'. The question to be asked is - by whom? Often these are people who don't read enough or don't read what should be read. They do not (or don't want to) comprehend the effect of ideas.(who benefits? how so? at what cost?). The ones whose source of perspective is Arnab Goswami and such other sensationalist prime time TV trash. For them, ideas are like fashionable clothes or a recent movie - useful as social conversations and nothing beyond …

Kutla tilt

Mumbai to Lanka

Marketer's assault on our Language 2: "Evolution" / "Educate"

Marketer's assault on our Language = MAOL

What do you do to wash your behind in the washroom? Do you trust your hands to do the job with water, or do you use paper?
One day in college, a Chinese professor talked about this pertinent question when talking about cultural differences. She talked about how people see tissue paper as an essential solution, while there is an ecologically better solution 'at hand!'. The students were surprised with her point of view. Most of the students hailing from Indian metros, saw the tissue as a better alternative, a logical next step to the 'primitive' practice of washing with hands. That was one of the easy ways to differentiate oneself from the lower classes. The upper class is the one that has access to western lifestyle, which in Indian imagination is a 'step up', a logical next step. But this was different. This was a Chinese lifestyle too. (which is fairly absent from Indian imagination and hence exotic). and here was…

Is the edit page of 'The Economic times' written by daydreaming bonobos?

The thing with an empire is that that you can't keep on ignoring it. As biased and abrasive it might be to all things sacred, one has to deal with it, allow it in consciousness from time to time. I have managed to keep TOI out, but do read ET often. There are many things wrong with the publication. I will talk of just one instance right now (otherwise i will end up writing a thesis).

Read the editorial today - 'Open up for more Foreign investment'.

I haven't read a more inane editorial ever before. well, that is perhaps because I skip editorials most of the time. I understand that editorials have become lobby vehicles. But can't they be atleast intelligent? Is a well researched argument too much to ask for from the biggest business daily of the country?

First off, what is it with ET's love for FDI?
If ET were a doctor, it would be a road side haqim (wearing neck tie in a Air conditioned tent, modern haqim)
Like an unqualified quack, ET keeps on presc…

Pehle aap

The Volvo (not just your average bus) screeched to a halt somewhere between here (Gurgaon) and there (Kasol) in the middle of the night (didn't bother to check time, it was somewhere around hungry time). The screech  put the dhaba waiters into accelerated motion. Towel on the shoulder, slippers under the feet. Hands busy waving away the flies. Eye roving compulsively and furiously over the fat contingent vomited out of the bus, straight into the washrooms. The washrooms lacked soap. (there perhaps was something that resembled a soap near the wash basin, but one can't be sure.) But that didn't deter us to go order food in the restaurant after visiting the washrooms.

At a distance, there were 3 portly men. One sitting, the other two were standing. They were intently avoiding each other's gaze. If accidents of timing made one catch another's gaze, both ended up smiling profusely with wild hand gestures. One can only surmize that the gestures were theatrical acts of e…

What good are Google glasses? OR How tech companies can chose not to be evil.

Why invent Google glasses?
Here's Sergey Brin trying to answer that question.

Doesn't his argument seem a little unconvincing - a weak reason to deploy the best of the brains on the planet and 3 years worth of efforts. 
 The primary pivot of his argument is the glass' ability to improve social posture (?). He talks about how when interacting with your cell phone, you look down, away from the rest of the world. How when nervous, one fiddles with cell phone to escape the real world.
So how is Glass a solution? It is an even more 'evolved' tool to keep the outside world 'out'!

Ok, so Glass frees your hands. for what? for better documentation of our narcissism? These series of innovations (social media, smart phones, glass) are answering the most base yearnings of our narcissistic behavior.

When you look down, atleast there's that bit of honesty - 'yes, I am looking away from you. Sorry for my awkward inability to be social.' With Glass, how hon…

How can I be more helpful?

Have you ever 'helped' anyone? any thing - small, big/ inconsequential, saved the world?
By help I mean, of being useful for someone other than self and when some effort/ money/ time would be required to be spent.
Truthfully speaking, I haven't much. Upon that realisation, I quickly rationalized that perhaps its an 'ability' - An ability to help. Which is to say, that some people are better at it than others. Perhaps, its just me trying to distance myself from the responsibility or perhaps I have hit upon something here. Anyways, here's the thought process.

If the tendency to 'help' is an 'ability' that is intrinsic to individuals, what factors would influence it? (I won't get into the 'born with it'/ learned sort of debate. Sure it can be acquired. Yes we can. :) )

I thought of a few. They could be,
1. Empathy
2. Inner lightness/ inertia
3. Habit of rationalizing
4. Following the norm

1. Empathy
I think I am am right when I say th…

How 'integrated' is advertising in India?

Recently, an academic researcher asked me a few questions about the challenges and problems faced by agencies while working on Integrated marketing campaigns.

Well, my reply was a rather long and unstructured list of complaints. So here's the disclaimer, I am not a pessimist. :) But i am good at comprehensive exploration of shit gone wrong. These lists are useful in making things better.
I am sharing my reply here because it might be a good starting point to complete the picture. My reply choses the negatives - someone can add positive anecdotes, someone can add experiences from other geographies. I have largely written from experiences I have heard from fellow planners I know and my own experiences, which is not a good research design. :P
So in a way.. here's the hypothesis and I am asking any planner out there to validate, improve upon or point out the bullshit.

Title in bold were questions asked by the researcher. Text in italics are my hypothesis' which are largely a…