Monthly Archives: January 2007


I have always believed in the importance of narrative, and stories in organizations. Sometimes, these narratives assume even more importance than logical/efficient decision making. A typical example is the commonly heard “this is how we do things here”. I found an interesting blog that is dedicated to such stuff – Anecdote. Anecdote is a consulting firm that works in this niche area.

Here’s an interesting post from Anecdote – the difference between a sound argument and a good story

Bruner called the two modes of thought ‘logico-scientific’ (or paradigmatic) and ‘narrative’, arguing that:

the types of causality implied in the two modes are palpably different. The term then functions differently in the logical proposition ‘if x, then y’ and in the narrative recit ‘The king died, and then the queen died.’ One leads to a search for universal truth conditions, the other for likely particular connections between two events – mortal grief, suicide, foul play. (pp. 11–12)

To compare the two modes, Bruner claimed, is to understand the difference between a sound argument and a good story.


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Filed under Organizational Behaviour

What should I do with my life?

I will be posting links to interesting articles that try to answer this question that has troubled mankind for long. Will update this post over the next few days.

Steve Jobs – You’ve got to find what you love

Po Bronson’s book – What should I do with my life?

Most attempt to answer it with one eye open, one eye closed. We let our fears govern our decisions; rather than challenging the validity of those fears, we accept the boundaries set by those fears, and end up confining our search to a narrow range of possibilities, like the guy looking for his car keys under the streetlight because he’s afraid of the dark. Some broad examples: we confine ourselves to a range that is acceptable to our parents or our spouse; we confine ourselves to places inhabited only by people “like us,” meaning of our class and education level; we place too much emphasis on being respected by an imaginary audience; we shy away from avocations that take a long time to mature and pay off

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Filed under Miscellaneous


On Jan 21st, I wrote this on an alumni group of XLRI

“I doubt if the i-Phone will succeed – the main reason being that for once Apple is entering into a field that already has a lot of path breaking innovation happening (in a few years phones went from being just phones to cameras to music players to e-mail clients etc).

The I-pod, on the other hand, was launched in an environment where there was hardly any innovation happening on the portable music player front. The Macintosh, and its GUI was also launched in a similar technological environment. Both these products turned into icons because of the disruptive innovation they brought in. Iconic products tend to tap into the customer’s need to identify with something that is path breakingly unique unique, and not possessed by many (atleast to start off with).

My guess is that the i-Phone does not have enough disruptive innovation built into it.”

On Jan 24th, Peter Fader, in an interview featured at Knowledge@Wharton said:

Fader: Apple is facing a very different market. It’s a market that’s far more mature than the MP3 Player market was at the time. It’s a far more sophisticated customer base. Apple had the opportunity to go into the MP3 market and basically reshape that market and create the standard for customers’ tastes and preferences.

Those things have already been done by the myriad players in the cell phone market. Apple can do a very limited amount of reshaping. I think that when this phone actually hits the market, some of the grand visions that Steve Jobs has as well as some of the Apple zealots are going to be rather disappointed.

Interesting to note the high degree of similarity. Talk about synchronicity!

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Filed under Marketing

Sagarika Ghoshe on the Ardh Kumbh

Kumbh 2007

“I had expected raucous crowds, filth, stampeding multitudes and ghastly conditions. Instead, among the dirt poor pilgrims that moved towards the sangam, I found dignity, introspection and a deep quiet.Among the rogues and trickers in the sadhu samaj, I found philosophers, graduates in physics and chemistry for whom god was a quest for the ancient energy that started the earth.”

The Kumbh reminds us of the purity in man’s eternal quest for truth, which these days has been defiled by the likes of VHP who claim to be representatives of Hinduism.

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Filed under Mystic, Religion

Guru – The review

Watching Guru made me realize why we never make it to the Oscars. The reason is this – even our best directors shy away from making a film that is not commercially safe. So, one has to endure arbitrary five minute dream sequences where a bunch of dancers emerge from nowhere to dance to A.R. Rahman’s tunes.

Equally tragic is the fact that in the midst of all this commercial pandering, Mani Ratnam is hardly left with enough time to develop Guru’s character, and his rise from rags to riches. The relationship between Guru, and the morally upright editor of ‘The Independent’ (played by Mithun) is also drawn with hasty caricaturist strokes. Why, even the crtical relationship between Guru and his wife, who stands by him through his entire life, inspite of realizing that Guru married her primarily for the dowry which was to be the seed capital for his first venture. Here was a glorious opportunity to present the Indian nari in her true selfless ego-less glory. Instead, one has to suffer through beautiful songs that would be much more beautiful were they to stay out of the narrative’s flow.

In the midst of all this is the unnecessary, and purely irritating ‘side’ plot of how this investigative reporter (Madhavan) from The Independant falls in love with Mithun’s multiple sclerosis afflicted daughter (played listlessly by Vidya Balan). If this entire sub-plot were removed, Mani Ratnam may have found some more time to present both sides of the allegations againgst Guru. On one side is the story of a heroic entrepreneur who twists the rules of the game in the interest of his shareholders, and on the other is the scheming villain who breaks laws in the name of capitalism.

The film stands out primarily due to Abhishek Bachchan’s sincere effort, which truly marks his coming of age as an actor. The final “capitalism in the midst of the license raj” speech by Abhishek in front of the enquiry commission is quite something. Equally breathtaking are the occassions when Guru addresses his shareholders (assembled in a packed cricket stadium). Unfortunately, the film which could have been a extraordinary testimonial to the Indian entrepreneur who makes it inspite of all odds, turns into a rather long winded saga filled with unnecessary sub-plots, and songs.

Update: Novelist Amitava Kumar shares my sentiment.

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Filed under Movies

Industry acceptance – Technology lag

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Filed under Thought Panel

Stock market analysts

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Filed under Thought Panel