5 wishes for 2009 .

Who doesn't wish to have to more and better things for the future? This is my wish list for 2009, they may look crazy, but I badly want these things to happen.

  1. 2009 Elections in India makes a revolution : This is my favourite. I would love to see a revolution happening. Bringing democracy back to life. A leader and billion people making not just one difference but a lot of difference. Off course blogs are just blogs, keyboard is just a keyboard, we really need to get our hands dirty. How I wish 2009 to be the year when it is no longer OK for Mayawati to have birthday bash, no longer OK for Devegowda to own crores worth of land,Karnanidhi no longer thinks he is the GOD and APJ comes back.
  2. Climate change no longer a Myth : Ah ! Many still don't care, but hope in 2009 people finally wake up and say "OMG this is happening because of climate change. " Are we people still not seeing that December is warm? Didn't you hear about the Himalayas melting, Chinese desert expanding.... Forget the Financial crisis it will solve by itself within a year or two, but iceage take little longer than that ! Melting Himalayan Glaciers : Direct Evidence of Climate Change
  3. Somebody really solves the energy crisis : OK lets assume we have solved the financial crisis, we have all the money, people keep buying cars, people keep building houses and industries, what next ? No energy ? I guess Indians are already seeing this problem. Rapid growth but not enough energy.... I wish there would be a revolutionary cleantech stuff that gives the world energy for free, unlimited,clean and refreshing. <span class=Ausra's Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) solar technology " height="333" width="500">
  4. People will see farming as a cool profession : Well I may be thinking too much on this one ! But people ! Industrial revolution is old story, food is becoming scarce. Billions of people eating everyday, the market has always been huge ! The market needs more to feed the ever hungry world. It's already happening, the super cool IIM guys selling vegetables, farming is not very far. Think again people, our work place won't be fabric covered cubicle, but acres of green land, amazing work tools, real pets (No more screensaver fishes or desktop flowers) and ya not to mention the great health. Well with all the financial crisis going back to farm doesn't seem to be bad idea ! Thing again folks, which is a great idea? Selling software to bankrupt banks or selling food to the hungry billions !
  5. Somebody really stops stupid scientists from doing stupid things : There are lot things happening with science that will ruin everything for human beings. Have you not seen this on Discovery Channel ? I'm not saying 2009 will be the end, but somebody has to stop stupid stuffs like genetic pollution of the food. See it's not science fiction anymore, it's already happening. This one from the move I Am Legend "So you have actually cured cancer...."

Ground realities ! Cheating the poor.

I was in a place called Shringeri this weekend to visit a very old friend of mine. He happens to run a small printing press in this small town which is just two streets in width. He is the local reporter, a deal-maker and person who helps people file RTI. So this person took me three NGOs in here are the true stories.

  1. I travelled to another town to meet a person from a cooperative society that makes products collected from the forest, like honey,dalchini,soap nut and others. This was a very well run society, it was more like a business, totally self sustainable. The manager here was very professional.They had very clean honey processing unit. (Honey tasted great and right now I have a bottle in my room and almost finished it now :),more on this latter....). They had a transport department. They asked me to help them with a website and I'm working on it now.
  2. After this I we went to meet a lady who runs an NGO. They train poor women for self employment and so on..... She is a very popular "Social worker" in the town. Seemed perfect, until we started talking in detail about the financials of the trust. All this woman wanted was money ! Get some grants, put them in her pocket and buy a car (She was jealous of another NGO chief who had bought a car from the grants she got from some organization in Delhi). Well so this is very common thing in Indian NGOs isn't it? OK read my next story.....
  3. In one of my previous post, I told you about the rural market survey and what exactly the people in these region need. Myself and Ashwin were still confused about how so many people would talk about selling expensive things to the rural poor and here is the secret. First promote yourself as a social entrepreneur, find some investment, get praised for doing something out of the box to help the poor. Then go to one of these regions, find a greedy NGO and some cooperative bank that provides loan at a very high interest rate (Yes poorer you are higher the interest rates). Find a family in need of money,tell them they would get a loan if they buy this product and the Greedy NGO gets some commission from the poor and the Social entrepreneur sold the product, the bank manager gets a bribe. The poor family would get the loan to buy this product and some extra money for a business. The only reason they would buy this product is because of the extra loan they get....... Phew ! I thought corporate managers were evil.
For people here these things are "fine" , because they have faced worst things in the past. Before the naxals came in, corruption was unstoppable. Naxal seem to bring a fearfactor among the corrupt , they somehow are responsible for stopping the illegal mining, they seemed to have helped the tribes understand the democracy. Now I'm confused more than ever, whom do we trust????

Customers,humans and robots

Starting new things with my company Enlen. One thing we figured out during our long discussions was that customers are going to be our most important assets. The market is crowded and one thing that will make us a purple cow, will be our service to customers. Luckily for us,everybody in the team accepts this. No body has a second opinion. So the next obvious thing we had in mind was, to what extent can a company accept and delvier what a customer wants?
We have heard a lot of stories, jokes about a customer care executive getting confused, trying to calm down an angry customer and then when they put down the phone the executive either laughs or curses himself for choosing that job.... Now what exactly happened here? A disappointed customer ! Really bad thing for a business isn't it? Often I have come across big companies, who really don't think customer is a king. Say for example Reliance Mobile. They really don't care if they loose one customers because they are big and loosing 600Rs per month is no big deal. They don't seem to get it, do they? Customers are humans. They have emotions, they get angry when something goes wrong. Humans don't want to interact with robots. How often have you come across IVRs that hide the human interaction asking you keep dailing numbers, throwing you from one invisible menu to another! Ah finally you found an option to talk a human being ! You ask him in a question, he searches his script and answers you. Search a script ??? Another robot!! Yes there is some guy behind all this, implementing IVR menu, preparing scripts and ultimately saving money for the company and getting an award. Oh yes he also drives away an existing customer and few potential customers who had plans to buy his product. Yes they are not visible in the company accounts, so he is safe, he is happy, his boss is happy,everybody is happy except the customer.

Ok now coming back to our plans to serve the customers. We are sticking to Zappos model. This is our customer policy.

  • No scripts, customers are humans so are we. If I don't need a robot, my customers don't need a robot as well.
  • Give the customer what he wants and if it matters give him more than he asks for. Even if its about loosing money now, this will help us make more in the future.