November 28, 2014

The Indian Taxi Industry - A Cost gulping Business?

Hi Guys,

TaxiForSure, Ola Cabs, Uber – three names that have been dominating the headlines of Startup sites in India. If you are living in any of the metro cities of India, there is a lot of possibility that you would have used their services or at least downloaded their App. While Uber is an international phenomenon, the other two startups are home based and are heavily funded by investors.

As the articlein Live Mint today rightly points out, these players are doing the same as that of ecommerce companies. Throwing huge discounts in order to win Customer Loyalty. Deep down, I feel there is a flaw in the entire model of winning the customer loyalty.

There have been too many organized cab models in India before the advent of these firms – Meru, Easy, Fast Track, etc. Many of them were regional players. Though there was some customer dissatisfaction, generally customers were happy since they got a Taxi on call. The price model was good enough that everyone in the model – the owners, the drivers, the customers were happy and satisfied.

Now enter the new arrivals. To disarm the existing players, what can you do? Offer better services – Mobile App, GPS Tracking, etc. Still, Customers don’t switch? Well, then there is only one thing you can do. Play with the cost (in most of the marketing case studies, students’ first option would be cut the price. And any professor would advise not to use that option unless other options are exhausted as price directly hits your margin). All the new entrants reduced the cost by nearly 25-30%.

As the articlein Mint points out, these firms provide the discount to the taxi drivers. That is if the actual fare was Rs. 500 and the passenger paid just Rs. 280 due to discounts, then the driver would have got Rs. 200 less. Ideally the owner should have got Rs. 100 (20% of 500) as commission. But instead they now give Rs. 120 as discount. Imagine the situation – Cost: Rs. 120. Revenue: Rs.0. For the driver, it doesn’t make a difference, the customer wins, the owner loses.

Why are these firms doing it then? All in the hope of gaining Customer Loyalty. If you travel in Ola cabs today and like it, you will become a customer of Ola is their thought process. So, the Rs. 120 they lose today would be compensated if you travel twice tomorrow (when they increase the fares back). But then, what is the logic behind the fact that you would stick with them in future?

Michael Porter in his famous five forces strategy would look at the five forces that drive the competition. A simple analysis of the five forces for the Taxi Industry looks like this (pardon me for the very simple analysis).

What can we arrive based on the analysis?
  • Too low switching costs
  • No Product Differentiation
  • Industry operating completely based on cost factors.

Even if these players can consolidate at some point down the line and increase the price, what is the probability that a new player who has Deep Pockets won’t jump in and give low fares?

Is there Economies of scale in this business? With no Fixed Assets, no employees (in the form of drivers), the Economies of scale boil down to the marketing spends. It does help when you have a large market share, but it’s nothing compared to the economies of scale enjoyed by the retail industry or manufacturing industry.

With virtually no costs associated for the driver or the customer to switch players at a later stage, the industry looks like another cost gulping business, where you are going to lose a huge chunk of money in the name of gaining a false market share. Well the investment might look like a solid pillar, but then the pillar might well be laid on a sand dune waiting for a storm to wash it away.

Till the storm, I think as customers we might well enjoy our share in gulping the money.

Happy Reading!

October 11, 2014

The Big Billion Day and the Lessons learnt!

Hi Guys,

‘The Big Billion Day’ will remain a most spoken about term in the Indian E Commerce Space. There are lot of chances as to that a case study would be written about it and lot of analysis would be done as to what went wrong and how it could have been done correctly. Flipkart made a blunder with the sale and it not only backfired on them, but boosted Snapdeal and Amazon by a huge magnitude.

Flipkart claims that it achieved the target of a billion dollar sale, but no one can verify their claims from the outside. If it did achieve, then Flipkart grossly miscalculated the potential they had. This is one problem with most of the flash sales. Big Bazaar had the same problems with their sales during their starting stages. Flipkart already experienced backlash with the flash sales of Xiaomi mobile phones and still I’m not sure as to why they headed for a day sales. A week long sales like what Amazon is doing would have been a better deal.

Another question is as to whether Flipkart made an attempt to fool people with false sales and stock outs. If it did try, then it has done nothing but eroded the trust people had on Flipkart. If it was unintentional, then it is a wakeup call for Flipkart. What the day has done is leave a black mark on Flipkart, but I don’t think people would move out soon. But, if people face the same issue a few times, then surely its going to hit the sales of Flipkart.

Out of the whole issue, Snapdeal has been the biggest gainer. With the dramatic advertisement in Newspapers, Snapdeal just ambushed Flipkart’s advertisement. If claims are true, they had 15 times more visit than a normal day. Snapdeal’s problems lie in the backend. Many people are unhappy with their processing of orders. So, for Snapdeal to set itself up, it needs to correct its backend issues before focussing on Ambushing Flipkart and Amazon.

There are lot of questions hovering on internet as to what would be the impact on Flipkart? I feel that this incident in itself would have a very low impact. Particularly it was a good strategy by Flipkart to apologize to its customers. E Commerce is just booming in India and Customer Loyalty is virtually non-existent in this space. If Flipkart can offer better price than other major players, surely people are going to choose Flipkart. But, as I said earlier, if Flipkart has two or three more incidents like this, it is going to take a hit on them.

The final question that arises in my mind is ‘what is the potential market size of E Commerce in India?’ From the way people flocked Flipkart and other E Commerce sites on Monday, it is humungous. With a country with a population of more than a billion and a country that gets more internet connectivity day by day, a country that gets more comfortable with online banking over time and gets comfortable with buying online every passing minute, it is difficult to predict the size. I think Flipkart created too much awareness on the sale beforehand and it boomeranged back.
It has created a small dent on the face of Flipkart. It is up to Flipkart to bring back its glory or fall back to a stage from recovery is difficult.  It is also a great lesson for other E Commerce players in India.

With Government announcing that it will look into trader’s interests, the space becomes more interesting. Lets see how this space develops over the next few months.

Happy Reading!

August 15, 2014

Marketing Lessons: How to dissatisfy a customer with and without delighting him?

Hi Guys,

It is so often said in Marketing that a mere Customer Satisfaction is not enough and you need to go ahead and delight the customer for Customer is always the king. I and my friends have been facing quite a few situations with a few service providers recently. So, I decided to jot down those experiences into a blog post.

When Twitter came to the Rescue
One of my team mates had got a postpaid connection from a Telecom Service Provider (whose name rhymes with the largest network provider) in northern part of the country where they are not very strong. He got into a scheme where he prepays and enjoys quite a few benefits. The provider charged him some prepayment charges and along with that usual monthly bills as well. Dissatisfied he called the customer care and they said nothing can be done and he needs to pay the bill. He wrote mails and contacted them some 30-40 times.

The main problem with many of our customer care centers is that they  don’t have a database for the complaints and every time we need to start from scratch. He had been asking for a revised bill and they cut off the connection after some point of time. Again he called Customer care and got the same response.

Frustrated, he tweeted about the poor service. And came the response! The largest Network Provider tweeted back saying that they have better offers and asked my friend to switch to them. These guys then realized and called back and requested my friend to stay with them and the issue will be resolved. That is how the situation is hanging in now. I hope they do a proper service.

When Customer service goes beyond delighting
There are two situations. First faced by a friend and second by me.

You buy a mobile phone using your credit card around 11 pm for around Rs. 15000. And then you doze off. The bank calls you back at 11.30 pm. They say they are suspecting a fraudulent usage of the card. The credit limit of the card is far higher and the amount is not that worrying to call you in the mid of the night and disturb. This is when you get annoyed, even though the customer service is good. This is what happened to my friend.

This happened to me the next day. I was trying to book tickets to travel home through a Ticket Booking service provider that is creating huge waves in South India through huge marketing spends. I have used their service before that too and their customer care unit is just great. They quickly respond and call you and help out in booking.

When I was trying to book the first time around 11.30 pm, the payment transaction failed and I was not able to book the ticket. I tried immediately and the ticket got booked. I got a call around 1.30 am. I was wondering who is calling in the middle of the night. It happened to be their Customer Care Center. They wanted to guide me booking that failed ticket. I got so aggravated and cut the call after giving a few harsh words.

At least, in the first case it was credit card and you could say it is better to be safe than sorry. The second case is a very poor customer service model where you service the customer based on reply back time and do not consider the privacies of the customer and the gravity of the situation.

I have very often seen scenarios similar to the Network service provider, but scenarios at the other extreme are new to me. It is good that companies are focusing on customer satisfaction, but it essential for them to know the limits as well.

Happy Reading!!!

August 13, 2014

5 and Growing! Thank you once again!

Hi Guys,

5 years. 234 posts. 185000+ Views. Yes, it is my blog’s Birthday!

To think that this blog has been part of 1/5th of my life and has been existent across most of my college life, it is amazing. Thanks to everyone who has been reading my blog, spreading words about my blog and letting me know your valuable comments.

In the past one year, the number of posts I have written has been comparatively low. But I have spent quite a lot of time writing some of the posts compared to the earlier years. The posts I wrote last year has sometimes helped me when I attended interviews and I was asked questions on the economy. The feedbacks I got on some of the posts has also been very encouraging. I will try to write more such posts in the future.

The number of readers so far is a little more than 185,000. I never imagined these figures when I started writing way back in 2009. All of you readers have given me a great identity in the Internet space. It has come so handy for me in many situations when people have asked me what you have done apart from academics or when people ask for my hobby.

It has been a little more than two and half months since I entered into the phase of life called the corporate world and after that the number of posts has decreased. I had so many thoughts to write in between and never got the time to write. Today, I had a serious introspection on what I have been doing these days and realized that I should start spending more time on useful activities when I am at home. I will try to write more posts in the future similar to what I did in the past years.

If you are interested in knowing the history of my blog and the people who are behind this, you can read my previous Birthday Posts.

4th Birthday Post            3rd Birthday Post          2nd Birthday Post          1st Birthday Post

Thank you everyone who has been supporting me over the years! Keep Supporting!!!

Happy Reading!!!

P.S: August 12th is my blog's anniversary. Published a day later on August 13th

July 2, 2014

Interconnected World and the hassles they bring along!

Hi Guys,

A post after a long time. I think this is the first time, I haven’t written anything for more than month since I started blogging. Adjusting to the routine of office hours kept me busy for a few days and then FIFA World Cup kept me busy towards the later part. With the rest days ahead of Quarter Finals, I also get the time to update my blog.

Somehow randomly this thought struck me as to how interconnected today’s world is becoming. Everyday a new device or app is developed to improve the communications and interconnectivity. Last week, my brother joined WhatsApp and I thought that incident would never happen. As he says it has become a necessity. The last time, he was out of India, each message I sent him would cost me Rs. 5. Now, I can send messages at nearly zero cost through WhatsApp.

The options that are provided with technology is also increasing. It is very good for people who love technology and are quick graspers. But, for people who are late adaptors and find it difficult to adapt, it is a big issue. As my dad says earlier, there was a simple download option in Gmail. Now, since Google’s Drive is proving to be a good tool for cloud storage, Google has integrated it with Gmail attachments and it becomes difficult for him to comprehend what is happening as Gmail provides 3 different options.

With the increasing number of Apps and facilities in the Internet and Smartphones, managing things has in itself become a head ache. Often, some useless groups are created in WhatsApp and whether you like it or not, you have to bear all the nonsense communications happening there. The best thing WhatsApp introduced was the privacy settings of blocking the time you were last present.

With the increased number of Accounts, managing Passwords is also a big trouble. I have a constant fear of my accounts being hacked by someone or me forgetting my password for a very important account (which has happened quite often and ‘Forget Password’ helping me most of the times) After one of my mail IDs was hacked, I became very conscious about the complexity of passwords I set and it has led to lot of confusions and mix ups.

Every good has a bad in it and every bad has good in it. It applies particularly well in the field of Technology. As the interconnectivity and ease of communication increases, the troubles they create also increases. The rate of development is too quick and keeping track of the developments is a difficult task. No ones knows what the future holds. There might be better technologies and apps and then these apps would look silly.

There are two ways of looking at things. As few people say, ‘The world was a better place when Apples and Blackberries were just fruits’. The positive way of looking at it is the comfortness these technologies have brought it and make use of it in a proper way.

Happy Reading!

May 6, 2014

Quiet - Susan Cain - Book Review

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was randomly browsing through YouTube and came across the TED Talk of Susan Cain on Introverts. I became so impressed and got this book 'Quiet'. And this is one of the most amazing books I have ever read.

Susan Cain, an introvert herself has done a splendid job of researching through numerous articles, research papers, places, cultures, people and has presented a wonderful book that is in support of Introverts, who are viewed down upon in this world. As the title of the book says it portrays 'The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking'

The author has divided the book into four parts. The first part talks about how Extroverts became the model people due to Urbanization and how various advertisements and people like Dale Carnegie at the start of 20th century were examples of that. She presents examples of lot of CEOs who were introverts and how leaders are not necessarily extroverted as they donot need to talk to masses. With the help of Steve Wozniak she describes how Group Think kills creativity.

The next part deals with the Biological part of Introversion and Extroversion and how these two people behave. Highly reactive infants tend to become Introverts (they are more cautious, alert and avoid strangers). Lowly reactive infants tend to become Entroverts (they are carefree, social and enjoy new company). The author gives the example of how Eleanor Roosevelt was behind the good deeds on Franklin Roosevelt and why Introversion helps. In Financial World, Introverts tend to do well than Extroverts (eg: Warren Buffett)since they think more before taking decisions. Introverts tend to be Threat Oriented and Extroverts tend to be Reward Oriented, which is why many M&A deals fail.

In the third part, the author talks about Soft Power and the impact of cultures of the Ideal. Western world has always given importance to being vocal, whereas the eastern world has given importance to being silent. Talking is important in western classes, whereas listening takes a step above in the eastern world.

The fourth part is how to be in the practical world and I would say this is the most spectacular part of the book. The author talks about 'Free Trait Theory' and 'Free Trait Agreement' where an introvert behaves like an extrovert for the love of his/her job. This consumes lot of energy for them, but they accept it for their profession. The same applies to extroverts when they have to turn introverts. She also points out the differences that could arise between an Introvert-Extrovert Couple and how it can be solved. Finally, she gives a few guidelines to parents of Quiet Kids and how to rise them in the vocal world.

Right from the start of the book, Susan Cain gives lot of examples and case studies to make things clear. Providing examples of Introvert-Extrovert Pairs like Rosa Parks - Martin Luther King, Steve Wozniak - Steve Jobs, Eleanor - Franklin Roosevelt and how they made use of each other, she provides clear examples of how none is below the other. Also examples like Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Steven Spielberg, JK Rowling, Susan Cain clearly depicts that the world needs introverts. Insights of class participation in Harvard Business School and how some CEOs or Founders are completely opposite of being vocal, Susan Cain questions the authority of the Ideal Leader depicted by the school.

This is a book that questions the Extrovert Ideal that is blooming in the world and makes Introverts feel inferior. This book does not undermine the extroverts, but says that the world needs Introverts as much as they need Extroverts.

I would say this is a must read book to people who want to understand Introverts, who are interested in Psychology or who feel Introverts can't survive in this world.

Happy Reading!

April 28, 2014

Are Paper Bags better than Plastic Bags?

Hi Guys,

A few days back I was watching a TED Talk by Leyla Acaraglu on the topic ‘Paper beats Plastic? How to rethink Environmental Folklore’. I knew some of the disadvantages of paper (a few years back I had written as to why Plastic cups are better than Paper cups?), but I never thought that Paper bags are as environmentally dangerous as Plastic Bags.

There is this trend across the world of throwing out Plastic bags and embracing Paper Bags. In the big retails outlets in India, you are charged some money for being provided with a Plastic Bag, but then the outlet can provide a Paper Bag for free (though not many do as it means more costs). If you carry a paper bag with you, you are seen as an environmental friendly person and you become a nature lover. And all environmental enthusiasts back this idea and encourage Paper Bags.

What are the disadvantages that Paper Bags Possess?

To begin with, Papers are not manufactured from a healthy source. They are made from trees. The process of manufacturing paper involves lot of machinery and a huge amount of clean water. 35% of deforestation in past 40 years is for the purpose of manufacturing paper. On one side of the equation, environmentalists’ advice Reforestation and on the other side they encourage Paper. Trees are the main source of absorbing Carbon Dioxide and providing Oxygen apart from other numerous purposes.
Are Paper Bags really good?
Photo Source: Wiki Commons

Paper requires nearly four times more energy than Plastic to be produced. Paper Production emits more ‘green house’ gases than plastic production (around 70% more) and causes more water pollution (around 50%).

The most common reasoning done by the paper supporters is based on weight. They say a kilogram of paper is much better than a kilogram of plastic. But as Leyla Acaraglu points out in her talk, it is not an Apple to Apple comparison. You need to look at the functionality. Anyone who has used both would know that paper bags weigh more than plastic bags to the tune of at least four times for carrying similar weight. So at the end of the day, if you tend to use Paper Bags, you use more paper than corresponding plastic bags.

When it comes to Biodegradation, Papers are said to be better. Papers are actually better. But only if they are made into a Compost. For that purpose, the paper should be less inked and should be like how it was produced. Most bags we buy has inks printed onto it and it doesn’t become suitable for a fertilizer. Most of papers end up in landfills and it takes a lot of years of biodegrade. Papers ending up in landfills produce more Methane than plastic and hence more ‘green house’ gases.

In terms of Recycling, it is found that Paper consumes 90% more energy than Plastic to be recycled. The paper has to be made into pulp again and it is possible only with less inked paper. Most plastics can be recycled though to a lower quality (technically they are downcylced).

The main disadvantage of plastic bags lies in the fact that they are littered around and lot of wild life end up dying after eating them. Apart from this fact, paper bags don’t have much of an advantage over plastic bags.
So, if you are a person concerned about Environment, it is better to leave Paper Bags. The better solution lies in reusing bags without getting them each time. Also, cloth bags could become a real alternative. It is always important to consider the other end of the spectrum.

Happy Reading!


April 18, 2014

Has Samsung lost its plot in Indian Smart Phone Industry?

Hi Guys,

When I saw the ratings for Samsung Galaxy S5 in Flipkart, I was quite shocked. I expected a poor show, but I didn’t expect 1.6 out of 5 for the new phone. It made me think as to whether Samsung has lost its plot in India somewhere down the line?

To understand this sudden dip, it is essential for us to understand the evolution of Touch Screen Phones or the Smart Phones (both terms might be mutually exclusive, but most Touch Screen Phones are smart phones and vice versa) in India.

Nokia 7710 was first touch screen phone in India (year 2004). But, it was in the late 2000s that Touch Screen phones got a bit popular in India. When Nokia introduced a stream of Touch Screen phones in late 2000s and early 2010s, there were few takers. But, they were not much impressed with the interface. Sony had a few good phones and then there were niche players like iPhones for which Apple didn’t have any proper retail strategy in India. It was around this point of time, Google’s Android phones were becoming popular.

It is at this stage that we need to understand how the commonly used jargon in Strategy class ‘Diversification vs Focus’ worked here. Diversification is a strategy where a firm is present across different sectors instead of focusing on a single business (eg: Tata Group). Focus is a strategy where a firm concentrates on a single business and focuses all its efforts on the single business unit (eg: Ferrari in Sports cars).

In the early 2010s, the touch screen market entered the growth phase. Diversification strategy works in Growth phase. Samsung introduced a few Android mobiles in India and they were becoming a huge success. Buoyed by the success, Samsung started introducing a wide range of phones available across all price categories from Rs. 7000 to Rs. 40000. At this point of time, other players were very focused like Apple or HTC. Samsung had phones to offer to all type of customers. The Diversification worked for Samsung. Customers thought Samsung Phones had value for the price they paid for. These phones became an aspirational product for many of the youngsters. Samsung rode on the absence of competitors.

The next phase is an interesting one. Around 2012-2013, Samsung introduced Samsung S3, which was a total revamp of S2 and provided a wide range of features. They also had large screen phones at the middle segment like Grand which was also a success. On the other side, they were losing the market at the lower end of the market. Micromax had slowly started to dominate. They offered phones with same features at around 50% of the price Samsung provided. Samsung’s ‘Cost Leadership’ strategy started to vanish. At the other end of the spectrum, Apple started to focus in India and iPhone4 and 4S were major successes in India. Nokia’s Lumia Series with Windows 8 OS had quite a few takers who wanted alternatives.

Enter the next phase in late 2013 and early 2014. I feel this phase is the beginning of Maturity phase in the Smart phone market with less and less innovations coming and cost becoming an important factor. Micromax rode on the ‘Cost Leadership’ strategy and made Hugh Jackman their brand ambassador. They introduced 5 inch screen phones for Rs. 10000 odd and their Canvas series was a huge hit. The same features in a pure branded phone would cost double.

Nokia’s Lumia had its set of loyal customers. Apple had started to increase its value share. Google’s Nexus 4 and 5 were real alternatives to people who were looking for premium segment phones.  Moto G opened to a stunning response with all phones sold out in Flipkart in no point of time. Samsung had no significant launches in the mean time. I have a feeling that Samsung started to think that they belong to the ‘Premium segment’. Launching Galaxy S5 at Rs. 51000 (around the price of an iPhone) just proves what Samsung thought about the phone. If you compare S5 with Galaxy S4 at around Rs. 35000 or Nexus 5 at around Rs. 30000, you will know how overpriced S5 is.

At this point of time, Samsung still is the leader in Indian Smart phone industry by a huge distance. But, if you think as to how Nokia lost its plot a few years back, you would wonder if Samsung could lose it the same way.

Other point to ponder is how Samsung is going to respond to the competitor’s strategy. At one point of time, Samsung were the ‘Cost Leaders’. Now Micromax has taken the tag away from them. It would be difficult for Samsung to occupy the same rung as Micromax. Competitors like Nokia, Apple have entered into ‘Differentiation’ strategy with unique products.

The question that comes to one mind is whether the time has come for Samsung to shed its Diversification strategy and start focusing on a particular segment? Also, do they have the time to do the same?

It would be interesting to observe how the smart phone industry would pan out in the next months (Years is too long for the industry).

Happy Reading!

March 27, 2014

The flaws in our Security System!

Hi Guys,

A few days back as I was at Chennai Egmore to board a train home. There were a flock of people entering the station and the Railway security personnel stopped us and asked everyone to open the baggage. As there was no scanning device, they had to search manually. When I enquired, they said it was as per the order to the Election Commission. It took some two extra minutes for me to get in.

Most people didn’t expect it to happen, but none were at discomfort too. It was a smooth check. Simultaneously, my thought process took me to another world. What if a person wanted to take excess money in his baggage at this point of time? Is there any possibility? I figured out there are lot of easy ways. He could just walk in through the other entrance. He could come through an electric train. He could board the train at another station. There are no security checks anywhere. These are not tough to think and it came to my mind in a matter of two minutes.

Another serious doubt that came to my mind was how come the security personnel never thought about these steps. Apparently anyone who would like to smuggle would not come straight through the front gate unless he is an idiot. Are the checks done in order to stop smuggling or is it done for just a show off?

This doubt has been in me for a long time. A few days back when I went to C.M.B.T (Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminal) in Koyambedu during a festive time, strict checking was going on at the entrance. But, I came through a bus and it just went inside. So, there was an easy way in. Two years back when I went to Madurai Railway station to send off my brother before Diwali, strict checking was done in the main entrance. After sending off, I came via overhead platform directly outside and there was no checking (the same platform could be used to enter the station as well).

All these incidents create a sense of panic in me as to how prepared we are? Whenever you see news that strict checking are done in Public places to avoid any untoward incidents, you feel safe. But, when you see the quality of checking, a sense of fear creeps in. And most of the checking is done during festive season expecting an untoward incident. But, if you see the pattern in the past, untoward incidents happen on the most unexpected days.

When I think so much about the quality of security, God has been kind with us that not many major incidents have happened. I hope that the Government realizes that namesake security is as good as no security and the efforts are ramped up.

Happy Reading!

March 23, 2014

Redefining Cricket Telecast using Analytics!

Hi Guys,

It has been a long time since my last post.  This time writing it from the comfort of my home and typing in a traditional Desktop Key Board after a long time.

If you have been following World Cup T20 in Star Sports, you would have noted that Star Sports is providing viewers with lot more details than usual. You get a huge analysis of data about the pattern of a batsman’s scoring rate in particular overs and against a particular bowler of a category of bowlers. You get the same type of details for a bowler and also for a team. You are also provided with the line and length at which a batsmen hits or bowlers takes wickets.

This is completely an innovative move on the side of Star Sports to provide viewers with the analytics that only teams had. Another important thing out of the whole analysis is that Star Sports is providing meaningful pattern out of the data available.

In today’s world, you have a whole bunch of data. More often than not, analysts tend to slice and dice the data without finding any proper meaning in the data. As long as you do not get meaningful patterns out of the data, there is no use of Analytics.

From what Star Sports has done, you get meaningful pattern out of the existing data. You tend to know how good a batsman is in the initial 10 deliveries, how effective he is against seamers, which is his favorite area. So far, a few teams might have analyzed to this extent. But, now this opens the door for everyone and strategies can be easily designed based on the analysis. This removes decision making based on gut feelings.

The disadvantage though is that the analysis is based on matches played after either 2010 or 2012 which means the sample size (or population) is too low and you cannot come to a conclusion based on this data. There are many other factors like the pitches played in, the quality of bowlers or batsmen and external conditions.

Despite the disadvantages, this is a great move from Star Sports to provide a far more reliable prediction than the earlier versions of plain analyses.

Happy Reading!

February 22, 2014

Choir of Flames!

Hi Guys,

A guest post after a long time. This time it is a short story written by my friend Chirag Dagar.

Every breath, every moment proclaims an unheard story; the story about the past minute, second and about the moments of impact.

The sun shone brightly in the early hours of the morning welcoming a new day, the winds subdued against the might of the sun in the long arduous days of May-June. For all, summers meant a time to rejuvenate, relax and enjoy; but for Charlie it was an opportunity, an open window to work instrumentally towards his goal of qualifying for the National Diving Championships. Fascinated by the beauty and elegance of a dive suspended mid-air, he started swimming from an early age to later on pursue his dream of performing Dives at major levels.

Diving encompassed the conclave of the mind and the body, the body pristinely executing the directions of the mind. It was about procreating each moment, those fractions of a second, that impulse, the stance, the grace, molding your body, articulating the body to that perfect posture.  It was only when Charlie commenced his journey on the path of relentless efforts, he realized the paramountcy of faith in oneself when odds stand against, savor the pain, yet stride perpetually on the path undertaken.

Having triumphed at the State level, Charlie was destined to make it big at the major championships.

And then came the day, the arena packed with assessors, supporters and a few chosen ones to compete for the elusive spot. The moment had arrived for which Charlie had gone through grind, trained his mind to get the picture of the perfect dive engraved in his mind, body and soul. Doubts, they stare at the face like the jagged daggers of the enemies, diminishing the trust in ones’ potential to deliver. Doubts existed for Charlie, his first step towards a breakthrough, so did hope. It was his time to shun the clouds of uncertainty and shine through to claim what was there for him.

On the blow of the whistle, Charlie synchronized the reverberations of the spring board to dance to the tunes of his body, and ascended to make this moment, a moment of impact, a moment of victory.

Contemplating back, he emphasized on the transition from doubts to the belief of conquering the fears, the illusions created by mind. He reflected on the smallest of the moments, the moments of work and the grind that brought answers to the doubts, dwelling into the unwavering faith to fulfill his destiny.

Happy Reading!

P.S: The author's profile is

February 20, 2014

Enhancing Productivity of Google Chrome through Extensions!

Hi Guys,

Google Chrome has become a primary browser for most of us. Though there are lot of people using Firefox and Opera, I find people commonly using Google Chrome. Today I experimented with a few extensions and thought that these extensions would be useful for you. They enhance your browsing experience. There are lot of extensions and you might find many other extensions useful or better, I am just sharing extensions that appealed me.

Ad Block Plus
Annoyed by all the Pop Up Ads and Banner Ads in Websites. This is the best way to filter them. After installing this Extension, I am having no trouble with Ads in any of the sites. Particularly, I used to face lot of trouble in ESPN Cricinfo and Times of India, where an Ad would just pop up and disturb. Now, no such Ads come. The best thing about this is that it filters the Advertisement Videos on Youtube too. You can enjoy Ad less videos.

There are lot of invisible websites that track your movement when you visit certain sites and slow down the speed of your browsing. They also make note of your data making your browsing unsecure. In order to avoid this, install Disconnect. It cancels all the requests made by such sites.

Taking Screenshot is a big headache many times. You need to Print the Screen and crop the image. This extension gives you an easy way of taking Screenshot and gives many options to process them.

This is extremely useful if you use Facebook and Twitter frequently. This helps you to buffer your posting in such a way that more users note it. It also has a URL shortener and an easy RT option.

WOT stands for Web of Trust. You find lot of links when browsing. You are not entirely sure as to whether they are not safe or not. This Extension just gives you a green signal near the link if the website is safe. I have used this in past too and it is a very reliable means of finding out a site’s reliability.

Mediaplus helps you to view Images and Videos with enhanced features. You can zoom images, videos and move them across. It would be useful, if you see lot of videos often.

The name is quite confusing, but this extension enhances your Gmail by providing many options like tracking your email, scheduling your email and keeping your mail private.

Turn Off the Lights
This extension is simple. If you view a video and donot want disturbances, click the Bulb button and the surrounding area would turn dark.

I also found some other interesting extensions like Night Reading Mode to enhance Night Reading, Neat Bookmarks to have a more organized Bookmark folder and Page Rank Status, which gives you all the important ranks of a website.

There are many other similar apps and extensions in the Web Store. If you search for sometime, you have all chances of landing in a gold mine that would improve your productivity.

Happy Reading!

January 23, 2014


Hi Guys,

‘Do you believe in God?’ is the question that many people have asked me. I have asked the same question to myself. After lot of debates, I have sort of reached a conclusion. Before, I reveal what my belief is, I would like to write more about beliefs.

My dad often used to say, ‘It is very important to have an unquestionable belief on something. That something maybe God, Astrology, a person, a thought or even self’ It is because, we would always have someone to shoulder upon. If something wrong happens, we can always go back to our belief system and question. You feel comfortable at the end of the day.

More often than not, people try to force their belief systems into you. You might hear comments like, ‘This astrologer is very good and can predict your future’, ‘That temple is very powerful and all your wishes would be granted’, ‘Go and see that Doctor. He is so good’. More often than not, it is based on Psychology. If I don’t believe in something, I don’t. You can’t force me to change in a moment.

To come back to the first question, whether I believe in God, the answer is that ‘I Do’. When I look around the universe, the complicated network of suns, stars, planets and way organisms have evolved, I think God is there. There is something mysterious around all this. But, then it doesn’t mean that I believe in praying. I find so many contradictions. If God is omnipotent and present all around, I don’t find meaning in going to a temple or a religious place. If you believe that it was God you created you, then don’t you believe that God would know what you want. Paradoxes, aren’t they?

Anyway, I like going to temples for I often find some peace of mind. The most important thing is that the temple should be quiet. There are a few temples where you go and the next thing you want to do is come out, for the place would be completely chaotic. If people believe that it is where they can find solutions, then it is good for them.

Sentiments are also part of our belief system. Many people might have some crazy sentiments. But it is so important for them. If they don’t do it and they fail, the failed act often comes back to haunt them. You know, ‘You would be very rational when it comes to others, but when it comes to you….’ Think about it.

There are lot of other belief systems like Astrology, Numerology, Horoscope, signs and zodiacs. People go to an expert and if it happens right, then they develop deep beliefs. But then, I don’t think any of these experts would be 100% right. For if they are right, they would be Gods who can predict the future.

Beliefs are Psychological in nature. They create a system for you to survive in. You feel there is something beyond you and you can follow some footpaths.

Respecting others beliefs is more important. Don’t hurt them, just because you don’t believe in that belief. Going to temple for the sake of love is not going to cost you anything. Obliging to some sentiments doesn’t affect you. When people force you to go beyond a certain limit, stop. I have often seen people doing things for sake of doing and ending up having a firm belief on something. It gives them a strong grip on life.

My belief is a thought. I always believe in the thought that ‘Whatever happens, happens for a reason’. You might believe in anything – God, Devil, Person, Sentiment, Thought. But, do remember that other people believe in something different and that is important for them. Don’t hurt their beliefs.

When I was working for an assignment, I found these beautiful lines by Fritz Perls. It is known as ‘Gestalt Prayer’

I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful.
If not, it can't be helped.

Happy Reading!

P.S: This post has evolved from conversations I had with my friends, parents and even myself. 

January 20, 2014

Interesting Behaviors!

Hi Guys,

Are people inherently Good? Are people inherently bad? Well, I don’t know. I believe that there is a bit of good in every bad and vice versa. But, I do believe that people are inherently interesting. The way people do things, behave or act can be very intriguing. Everyone has got some individuality in them and I don’t judge people based on their behavior, though I can’t avoid observing. This is a post on some of the people I have seen and known.

This incident happened when I was studying Engineering (I guess third year). I happened to be in my friend’s room one evening. A few other friends were there too and we were just having some random conversations. We decided to watch a movie and the movie was ‘Paranormal Activity 3’. One of my friends was dead scared and he said he wanted to go as he was staying alone in his room. Two of my friends forced him to stay. They started the movie, switched off the lights. And we started watching the movie. The scared friend asked, ‘Whether the movie was real?’ And actually in the title card, the director would have thanked the police department for giving records and this added to his nightmare. The movie was not that scary. But, thanks to the extra efforts made, he was so afraid to go to his room, by the end of the movie. I’m not sure how peacefully he slept that night. People who are not afraid of ghosts are actually stimulated to scare others.

This incident also happened around the same time and in the same place. It was another day and I happened to be there. My friend asked me if I am free. I said, ‘Yes’. Till date, I’m wondering why I said yes. He said he was planning to take some short films and he wanted to know my opinions on the story. He called me to the terrace. He went on to say three stories – one romance, one drama and one unconventional story. From the way he said, it was like he was nearly ready and he was going to start shooting next week. I spent 2-3 hours suggesting and arguing with him. Till date, he has not started the shooting. I’m wondering why I was the chosen candidate to say the stories.

Imagine, you are a professor. What would you do, if you ask students to solve a problem and they say the answer in order to confirm? Refer the book or refer your notes. Isn’t it? We had an interesting professor during my Engineering. She would ask us to solve problems. As usual, there would be some who would start solving immediately, some who would never even touch and some like me who would solve now and then. After some time, she would ask for answer. There used to be lot of responses. And you know, how answers would be confirmed? It would be by means of majority. Or sometimes average of different answers that arise. Sometimes, it would be more interesting when most people don’t answer. She would ask some students (4-5) and if 3 students get the same value that would be the answer. I’m still wondering how our answer papers were evaluated.

And there are lot of interesting people who we meet every day. Sometimes, we would be the interesting people for many other people. There is a friend of mine who is confused as to where he belongs to. He used to say that he was from Bhutan and now he says he is from Bhopal. When I traveled in train last time, there was passenger who kept on asking to every other passenger whether Chennai Egmore was the last stop or the train continued. He was afraid of oversleeping. A few days back, there was a passenger in a bus who refused to pay for his luggage (a sack) and headed the bus to a police station (I got in between and changed). We live in an interesting world!

Happy Reading!

  1. I was one of the two friends who forced the scared friend to stay. A self-noted interesting behavior.
  2. This post in just an observation of behaviors. There are a few exaggerations in order to make the narrative interesting. If anything hurts anyone, I am sorry.