Thursday, June 24, 2010

The business of all that is complex

Very recently I have been following Jason Fried's posts on 37signals.com. I am impressed by his minimalist thoughts and the whole idea of customers 'growing out of' and 'growing into' your product. Per Jason, there are just a certain simple features that customers really want and a product company should strive to be the best at those features. But beyond these features, your customers will always have some desires and will keep asking for more features. One should learn to say no to such demands and crowd the Product with features that only a few of your customers will actually use. These frills not only hamper the performance of the product technically, but also make the Product manufacturer waste a lot of effort in the form of product support and other allied activities. This seems to have been working for folks at 37signals.com and many more such companies (SFDC, Flip Video recorders etc.)

I then started thinking of this philosophy in the context of Indian IT companies. How could we go bare and minimal? How could we leverage the stance of simple and minimalist products taken by some of the product Cos. That is when I realised that we couldn't. Simply because we are in the business of complexity. We are here because our customers buy products (ERP / CRM suits which are very very complex) and then ask us to further customize them to meet their desires. With whatever implementations I have done till now, I have realised that no company utilises more than 50% of a product features, yet they want some modifications, bolt-ons to that product to meet their needs. That means the product already comes with a 50% flab. The product company has tried to put in as many features but our customer still wants more.

Our sales therefore is driven by rosy dreams shown to the client. Our requirement compliance sheets are full of compliance's and we can get the products to do anything. Sales pitches are full of 'we can do all this with a little bit of customization'. The customer never thinks about why the feature did not come with the product itself? I don't see (netiher do I want to see) a way out of this as complexity and desires seem to be earning me my daily bread!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Monetizing your talent.

Some time ago I had post on a couple of business ideas. That is when the question of monetization came up. There was this portal I had envisaged where tenants and landlords could rate each other and the question was how does one monetize this? Thinking a little deeper on this, I came about thinking to myself - ' I have an idea which I think people could find useful. To make this idea a potential business activity, how could I make people pay for it?'. Then it struck me that one should think the same way about one's talent(s).
We all have a talent. That is a given. Singing, dancing, painting, acting, photography and so many more like that. If we can deliberate sufficiently at monetizing at (making people pay for it, or finding people who will), we convert our talent into business. That is when your interest becomes your work and work becomes interesting! Shouldn't be tough ...isn't it?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rajaneeti

Last weekend, with a lot of enthusiasm (and people) I went to see Rajaneeti - A Prakash Jha film with some of the best names in the Indian film Industry. By now all of you must have seen the film, so I will not get into detailing the plot or the storyline. Let's straight get to the point - did I like it? No. It was OK! But when Prakash Jha makes an OK movie, it is not acceptable. I would have liked an OK Ram Gopa Verma movie but not PJ. Probably Shool & Apaharan ( I have not seen Mrutyudand), built up a lot of expectations.
Rajaneeti, needless to say, is better than many of the recent films like Teen Patti, MNIK and what not. It has more substance than a one liner and the effort into story and screenplay shows. PJ has spent enough effort (and money) on casting with brilliant characters drawn from Mahabharat. In my opinion, nowhere else in the whole world, is there a characterisation like there is in Hindu mythology. None of the characters are black or white and all have their shades of grey. It was indeed a masterstroke from PJ to base his characters on Mahabharat. The casting was superb (but for three actors...more about it later). Many of the dialogs were well written and had the punch of a political background. The film did have a good graph throughout that kept me engaged, but...
Dialogs like ' tum mere jeshtha putra ho' - what the hell was this guy thinking man. Copy paste kiya kya Mahabharat se? All the hard work he did on 'Karara jawaab milega' he spoilt it all.
Why the fuck in the whole wide world would someone use 'Vande Mataram' tune in the climax scene? Yuck! Thankfully it was at the end so I was anyway walking out.
When PJ writes his own 'Three Mistakes of my life', they would be his 3 casting failures from Rajaneeti. I don't believe this is the same guy who boldly cast Dr. Mohan Agashe as the idealistic father in Apaharan. Just because she looks western, was there really any need to have Katrina Kaif on board? Did the character demand a western look? Bloody marketing gimmicks!! I would have preferred a mannequin dressed in a starched cotton saree on the screen. Nikhila Trikha, the actor playing Bharati, Ranbeer Kapoor's on screen mother was another failure. She had a fantastic scene with Ajay Devgan where she tells him that he is her eldest son (jeshtha putra). I wanted underplay and she went overboard with melodrama. Lastly, lets face it Arjun Rampal is basically a model, has a bad diction and should not have been cast. Kay Kay Menon would have been my man for the job.
That's about it...I am going out for a game of bowling. Catch you later!