As with many profound discoveries it began innocuously enough. “I don’t believe that there are truly a billion Indians,” my friend Marcel has remarked more than once to me. Of course, when he first made this statement as a graduate student, maybe because it was after a late night party at Ms. Chan’s, I didn’t … Continue reading 4 Degrees of Separation – The Indian Network
Admiration, respect, possibly adulation or envy are the emotions that pop to mind when people talk of Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, who are not just among the world’s richest men but among the most philanthropic. Yet fear or trepidation seems to have been the emotion stirred, if we are to believe the media, by these two men when they took their message of giving to China and are rumored to be bringing it to India. Even before the Joy of Giving week rolled out at the end of September, newspapers in India and elsewhere were talking about “…concern among some of China’s wealthy that they would be pressured into contributions” and of Gates and Buffett’s dinner plans in India.
“How can I help you?” The principal was polite, but somewhat reserved. This was our first meeting with her. Contrary to what my wife and I had heard from other parents, she was neither fire-breathing nor scary. Sure, with her hair in a tight bun, a somewhat conservative raised-collar white shirt and severely cut skirt, … Continue reading Are you a pushy Asian parent?
I am never sure how best to answer this question. My first, unvoiced response is a curt “no.” But I then settle for a more ambiguous, “No, I am not a medical doctor.” In India, where politicians insist on being addressed as Dr. A or B, usually having been bestowed an honorary degree — deserved … Continue reading Caveat Rx! Do you know more about your TV than about your doctor?
“You want us to pay you $120,000 and I have a quote here from your [much larger] competitor for $30,000!” In our first startup, just as we had built up our reputation in a niche, we encountered competition from a larger Indian firm at one of our major customers. The purchasing manager had become a … Continue reading Don’t cheat yourself, by aiming too low!
“What does Anand Mahindra winning the entrepreneur of the year award mean?” I hadn’t realized the same question had also been lurking in my mind until my friend raised it. Before I could really wrap my arms around the issue, he continued. “Does it make sense, that in a nation of a billion folks, and likely … Continue reading Are We Celebrating India’s 10,000 Entrepreneurs
“Saif sir and Shah Rukh sir, I appreciate your question…” I had turned on the television soon after getting home from work in the hope of wiping out a rough day. The FilmFare awards — Bollywood’s tribute to its own – were on. The speaker was Neil Nitin Mukesh, an up and coming heartthrob in … Continue reading Getting rid of our Sir-ji culture
We've all heard the story of the boiled frog. The one that's so comfortable in a pot of water, that's being slowly heated, that it cooks to death. Wikipedia claims that the scientific evidence for such a boiled frog scenario is contradictory at best. But the metaphor's worked well enough for innumerous editorial writers, from … Continue reading Are Marketers Leading us off a Precipice?
"Can you please talk to my father? I had just finished explaining the offer of a full-time job we were extending to one of our contract engineers. "Your father? Why?" I asked. "That way I can honestly tell my friends, who want me to take another job, that my father insisted that I take this … Continue reading 3 Steps to Improve Our Hiring Situation
"I've already spent more time on this than this deal is worth to me." That's what a prospective business partner said to me, complaining about the 45 minutes we had spent in a meeting together. I was taken aback. I had just flown most of the previous 20 hours (from Bangalore to Chennai to Frankfurt … Continue reading Indian Standard Time Warp