Saturday, March 23, 2013


Incept is one of the top Biometric brands in India today. Incept Technologies have been used in numerous unique customer environments in different parts of India. Systems by Incept have not only been praised by industry stalwarts and customers, but also by our competitors, due to our brilliant SME specific design.

Moreover, Incept Training Academy is India's first and the best Academy on Biometrics and CCTV Training, and has seen participation from students in different parts of the globe.

See more on our Facebook page:
And all my articles and interviews are generally shared on this page.

P.S. Today i visited my blog after years. And Just got the mood to write something about my company, hence such blatant marketing post has been created. Will probably not be active on this blog, but Fb updates from me or my team will be on.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Jan Lokpal Bill: Quick Analysis


Though I have been really busy in the past few days, but owing to the furore surrounding the movement by IAC, I read through all the 28 pages of this proposed Bill. And in a few quick words, I can give my analysis here:
1. Compare the Bill with this BILL for Prevention of Corruption, which is already in place since 1988. If this bill were implemented perfectly, an ideal situation would have arisen and there would have been no need of the Jan Lokpal. So the question is, do we need to create a new bill or amend existing bills to create a better corruption-free environment.
2. The answer is simple: We need the government to take steps and give more power to bodies which work independent of political parties (for example, separation of CBI Anti-Corruption Section and making it independent of political clutches).
The Jan Lokpal Bill at least addresses these needs, and that's what makes it indispensable for India's growth. But it is too ideal and Definitions given in Points 1 and 9 prove this point.

Bills tend to get entangled in the clutches of failed idealism, and hence even the most well intended acts sometimes give ironical growth to new dimensions of corruption. But this does not mean that we do not take any steps, due to the anticipated fear of failure of those steps.

Steps are needed; may be the Jan Lokpal Bill is not the perfect answer, but it is the best possible answer out of the available options (this reminds of my JEE paper in 2006 which asked us to select the best possible answer and not the correct answer, or was it the Fiitjee paper :P).

A Bill is needed which empowers a body which is independent of politics. But what is needed more than anything else, is, (quoting Gandhi) 'Be the Change you want to see in the world'.
My company Incept is taking steps towards being that change (special offer to NGOs, ISO Certification, automated systems to ensure timely payment of all taxes).. its time for me and my friends now to take some steps.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Family // Business.. Concept of transparency

Just back from a wonderful family reunion, and after reading a piece by Vineet Nayar, CEO, HCLT, in an HBS journal; here is an article which talks of how the business world needs to draw parallels from inside the personal lives of their inhabitants. There are innumerable ways by which functioning of family can inspire leaders to run business (as already mentioned by Vineet Nayar in his recent book 'Employees first..'), but I'll focus only on a few of my viewpoints.

Families in India have seen different phases of management styles. There was a time when we saw a patriarchal family with the voice of the father being the ultimate answer to every solution. Times changed, and Indian culture got 'westernized', similar to the westernization of Indian business market. Our business houses began to understand the importance of freedom and transparency amongst their employees, drawing parallel to the fact that parents began to give importance to the voices of the children.

Initially there was repulsion to this new 'brand' of family, with cool parents and involvement of every member in important family decisions; but as expected, this brand eventually found success and is currently regarded as 'ideal' by various 'family experts'. Similarly, there was a need in the Indian market to follow suit and create an environment where employees are not just members who follow the orders of their boss, but are integral members of the family created by the business house. This is being done, and 'Employee Satisfaction' is rated highly amongst various companies' major goals.

So the above proves, or at least strengthens, the belief presented by some of the recent 'Management gurus' that study of personal lives can be used to create business leaders. What more?

Business is always supposed to emulate successful models; and coming to the most successful model of a family, let us study a few cases. Take the case of a place in rural India where lack of infrastructure has led to limited knowledge in the younger members of the family and experience is the only criterion of measuring wisdom. Is the 'cool family' model the best fit for such a case? Well, based on my discussions with some of my friends with rural background, the answer is a clear 'No' and hence there is a need to create a median between ancient patriarchal laws and recent concept of freedom and transparency (an ideal case will be that parents exercise control without letting the children feel like 'bound in shackles'). Now taking the example of a middle class metropolitan family where parents try to impose their will and desires on their well educated children, we know that the ideal family model for such a case is very different from the former.

So my point is that we simply can't conclude the level of transparency needed in a firm without taking into account various other factors including customer demographics. So its not necessary that employees need to come before customers, the decision of whether customer or employee comes first should be driven by various other factors. This means a high level of flexibility in the firm is needed and the leader needs to ensure varying levels of transparency based on the performance of employees and the customers/ products involved.

However, whatever the case be, its important to ensure that employees feel that they belong to the company, in the same way as all of us belong to our personal families. The sense of belonging is generated by transparency and independence. If any control needs to be exercised, it should not be direct and hurtful towards freedom.

Controlled Transparency (level varying on various factors of market/ company) --> Disciplined sense of Belonging --> Better work Engagement --> Increased level of Trust within the Business house --> Growth of Ingenuity --> Better Service to Customers --> GROWTH and SUCCESS

So, would conclude by saying that the quotation "Its Business. Its not personal." is now passe, and the new quote should be "Its Business and so its Personal".

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Corporate Blood.. well.. not literally!!

Its been a long time since the last post... more than 6 months. Ignored opportunities like putting ad on this blog because i knew there was going to be a long gap...... Reason for the gap- i am not sure. But i really learned a lot and got another taste of what some call the 'corporate blood'. It was tasty and here i am!

Here I shall share a small part of the interesting things i have been learning. Well, i am sure no one is interested in what i am learning; so read the rest of it as something what i always represent- a naive point of view towards the world of marketing.

Online Marketing
No, not another lecture on how important online marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization 'and' etc. are. Because we all know now that for every small, medium or large enterprise, the reach which this media can provide goes beyond measure. And the lecture is also not on how to use this media in the most effective manner.. one search on google and there are thousands of blog posts and articles on the issue, hundreds of examples on how intelligent internet marketing boosted company's profits. I don't want to add to the list another example, though this one could have stood out amongst the hundreds.

Lesson no 1: Nothing is what you see. Everything is what you analyze.
Twitter seems like a micro-blogging platform where businesses can post regular updates and attract customers to their website. But its not just that. An analysis of Twitter, and we find that may be the above statement is currently valid for customers outside India but not very effective for Indian SMEs. But why can't we create and model T like a Youtube Channel, not a place of regular updates, but a platform of depiction of abilities of the company. A platform where all new inventions, press releases, photographs, videos and other links can be seen. Well. this worked for me, you know why, because people look up to Twitter for business purposes, and not to Facebook or Youtube for the same. So even Twitter can provide more than what they(we) think they are providing.
Similar parallels can be drawn for LinkedIn, which promises much more than eyes perceive..

Lesson on 2: Google is even more intelligent than what they make themselves out to be (and as every online marketer would know they make themselves look extremely intelligent).
Google keeps all its methodologies secret, how it decides organic search listing, how it manages its Adwords. But since Google guys know they are intelligent, they believe in the concept of awarding and rewarding any other intelligent person it knows. Hence they leave a number of hints at various locations, only for the smart ones, to track their methods.. and at the end of the day, its not really tough to manipulate Google towards you (unlike the common opinion) but only if you are smart enough (like me) to be rewarded by this marketing giant.

Lesson no 3: Wikipedia MUST be trusted (I am a Patroller in wiki, so believe me; we don't allow any wrong information to be present on wikipedia for long). And Wikipedia is Not a Marketing Platform, though again, like Google it appreciates and rewards only the intelligent.

Lesson no 4: The rate at which new things are being integrated with Web 2.0, it shouldn't be long before it will need a new name.
It is already in the need of new marketing ideas. Real time Brand Marketing getting integrated with the digital media, has ensured this: there is only one medium needed to do marketing.. only 1 (call it Web 3.0 if you wish)

Competition and Target
Lesson no 5: Getting the best from all your competitors, improvising on the same, and presenting it with adorning words is not only Fair, but also Successful.
Successful because the product actually becomes the best of the best, if the best qualities from all competitors are brought into 1 and the word 'innovation' thrown in.
Fair because I did it; called a number of competitors across the globe posing as customer, gathered the best they were offering and put these ideas in a new product with some more novelty thrown in. And I am still friends with these guys, despite 1 or 2 of them knowing what I did.

Lesson no 6: Sector Based Marketing
Not so commonly used by SMEs yet, this is a must for every company aspiring to reach out to a larger range of target group. Plan campaigns specific to sectors of target groups, and launch them with focus looking local while effects are global.

Other life Lessons
Lesson no 7: Jealousy and Competition is much more in the Corporate world than even in IIT (now this was a shocking learning)
Lesson no 8: Every second of your life can help you learn something new... there is so much knowledge everywhere
And before i start getting philosophical and hence even more boring..
Lesson no 9: Every lesson can't be shared, some experiences go beyond the limit of words.

Footnote: Many things life taught, and many things it will be teaching in moments to come. Hope to see some great achievements in near future... Now, I'm doing.. not (just) dreaming!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sales Strategies............. how to forget about those useless "Sales Training" Companies..

Recently, the MD of a successful company was discussing with me about the most important things which need to be taken care of while launching a product. Sales strategy seemed to be topping the list, and among the requirements of successful sales strategy the most important was to prepare the right salesmen for the job depending on the product requirement. It has been seen that it generally takes a lot of time to prepare an appropriate salesman. Even a person who claims to have experience in Sales takes at least 1-2 years before he is able deliver his best, especially for a product similar to the one the MD was talking about.

So here are a few 'Ashwin strategies' on how to ensure the formation of a leading Sales person. Don't worry, I am not aiming to take away the job of the so called "Sales training" companies which provide courses to sales executives of the company to make them experts. They have got their own set of expertise and its possible that they may prove helpful for some salesperson, but I personally believe such training courses are only as good as the trainees.

So lets begin stepwise. The first step- Selection.

We have to agree that true salesmen are very less in number, and the ones which are, are already part of some big company with a high pay package. So what does a new company, with serious constraints on budgets, do? A part of the answer is the famous 80-20 rule; have at least 20% of the salesmen as experts and the case of the rest of the 80% shall be dealt with later. So coming to the top 20%, how to attract them to the company with lesser salary and lesser name?

For this, let me exemplify through a case which I had experimented when I was in school: My class had a number of good looking girls and one day entered this new girl who was average looking. Let me tell you, I actually did this as an experiment (I used to experiment with human psychology even back then), and suggested to all my friends that this new girl was the most gorgeous of them all (a few of them were part of the experiment who were the actual ones spreading the news, and the rest were objects of experiment). In a few days, this new average looking girl was suddenly the most talked about and sought after girls in the class. Let me tell you, this was a case when we were in Class 5, a stage where it is easy to mould your mind. This means it is in the Human Nature to get attracted to something which is challenging and may be new (challenge was there for the best looking guys in the class when they saw that others were fighting for the particular girl). [Or why go so far into my childhood; take the case of a dog who jumps after a thrown piece of food even before it completes the piece which it is eating. But I didn't want to compare salesmen with dogs otherwise I would have been in an embarrassing situation, hence I didn't use this example]

Now let us bring out the analogy of the terms used above, in the context of salesmen:
Good Looking Girls- High Salaried Jobs in Known companies
Average Looking Girl- Average Salaried Job with Challenge in the work
Best looking guys- The best salesmen who love to challenge themselves
Class 5 students- Young salesmen with the passion in them but experience very less

Hope the example above is quite clear now. Such companies can attract the 20% needed brilliance through the challenge thrown at them which is always associated with new products. The spice in the challenge can be increased through the increased use of perks (now that FBT is abolished). Perks can be made dependent on the Sales done. Competition within the team, can be another idea, already experimented in a few companies. This means that the highest seller in a team is treated with perks by the worst sellers in the team, thus ensuring that no money is used from the pocket of the employer while churning out the best results. Such experiments can be done, but won't prove to be pathbreakingly useful. What is most important is to attract the best, by letting them know that they'll be becoming a part of the history by marketing the new product, which will take them to a new level in the corporate ladder. Ambition is another Human Nature which can be 'exploited' through intelligent strategies. And every intelligent salesman is not shortsighted enough to just look at the money but is highly ambitious and thinks of things lying ahead of them.

So this is how the 80-20 selection will be feasible.

Now lets move to the next step. Bringing the best out of the 80% less brilliant sales people.These rules may also apply to the brilliant guys.

First let me tell you what are the most important qualities needed in a salesman- confidence, motivation, convincing skills, power of persistence and greed. Some of these qualities are in-built but some of them can be built. These qualities need to be coated with the knowledge of the product. Once you know about the product and yourself believe in its high potential, you are confident enough that you can convince others of the same. But there are products which take years to understand. So for these cases, we need to derive something from the famous "guerilla warfare techniques".

Some of you might have heard of the 'guerilla marketing tactics' to launch a product (where you target your potential market in numerous short and powerful stages), but 'guerilla sales technique' sounds quite absurd, doesn't it. No, but it is not absurd, I shall explain you how. Guerilla tactics mean attacking the enemy in form of different small groups in multiple stages in order to weaken the enemy's stability and force the enemy to act in a state of over-zeal. Our prospective clients will be divided into various sectors, based on the product, and the salesmen will be divided into groups based on this. Then the guerilla technique starts. In the first stage, the best parts of the product (based on the requirements of the prospective client sector) and the basic knowledge will be taught to the salesman and with this the attempt to finalize the deal with the client shall be done. Then if needed, a second attack will be done with added knowledge of the details of the product, by the salesman who has become slightly better with experience. Thus the attacks (in form of the benefits of the product) continue steadily; and at the end our salesman is also an expert while the client is also in hand. Now the same salesman will take the deal to a complete closure, as he knows everything about the product, even technicalities. This technique may have the disadvantage of being a bit slower but it is always better than a failed client attempt and time needed for salesmen to become competent.

Now it is not as simple as I have explained above, as there are certain rules and exceptions associated with it, which can be easily known when plan is strategized in detail.

Thus using the '80-20 rule', the 'exploition of Ambition and Competitiveness in Human Nature' and the 'Guerilla Sales Tactic', new dimensions to formation of sales people can be created. But these tactics are not the end of all; as lots of changes in the techniques and their implementation will depend on the nature of product and market analysis of the product. There are certain other unconventional techniques as well which need to be followed along with these.

Coming back to selection:
Even the selection of the appropriate salesmen for the job will be dependent on these factors, especially the prospective market. Its the nature of a salesman that he'll always have an expertise of a particular kind, we need to identify what kind is present in a particular salesman and what is the appropriate market where this kind can be used. Based on this, the selection should be done. There is another interesting method I have in my mind to do the selection based on the words said above. A large number of qualities existent in any salesman is listed down and qualitative judgement on each quality is done. Based on the combinations of the result for each quality, the expertise of a salesman can be known. Now, details of all these things Later.................

Too many words...... too much gyaan..... Aaj ke liye this is enough.

Union Budget 2009- a review in my style

I am no Tax expert, neither do I know the difference between MAT and DDT. But the Budget 09 is certainly something which needs to be followed by everyone like me, owing to the fact that this budget led to a fall in the 'Sensex' while trying to please the 'common man'. But what does it bring for the people who are stuck in the middle of these entities- the common man trying to become uncommon by becoming a common part of the business world. The word 'common' is too commonly used, hence it needs a caroused explanation (sorry for the bad joke :), I just wanted to build the mood by establishing that everything this budget does is for the word 'Common').

So, as mentioned in my earlier posts, the driver of the Indian market in this period of economy is going to be SMEs and to some extent, startups. The market is seeing a surge and every new and small innovation is going to benefit. What does this driver stand to achieve from this market, how will things change for someone who is about a launch a new product, how is the Union Budget 2009 going to affect small businesses.

Lets first have a look at the interesting features of this budget- Fringe Benefit Tax abolished, sharp hike in Defence Budget, Branded Jewelleries get cheaper (non branded ones... take a plunge), IT Exemption limits increased, lots of money for higher education through IITs, IIMs etc. This is clearly budget which, in its first sight, seems short sighted and aimed only at popular developmental issues.

But SMEs will definitely benefit immensely from the FBT abolition. FBT is the tax which was put on all amenities and perks provided to the employees apart from the regular salary. This had led to a lot extra expenditure for employers, specially in marketing firms (marketing firms because their a large amount of traveling and business trip perks associated with such businesses). Now that FBT is abolished, SMEs will have their way again by luring new employees not through their basic salary, but through the option of earning through perks which the company provides. When SMEs are benefited, entrepreneurs and new ideas are benefited too. FBT abolition can be used as a unique weapon by these smaller firms, as these firms always need some unique weapons for winning over prospective employees (since they lack normal weapons like high pay package or big brand name). Now, they have a chance which every calculating mind will utilize to the best of its advantage.

Is there anything apart from the FBT news, which is going to bring a drastic change? Yes, there is. At least on paper, there is. Special funds for easy lending to smaller and micro enterprises has also been formed. Though the focus currently is rural market, it won't be long before these micro and small enterprises will benefit much more. The FM, while deciding the budget, must have kept this into mind that the base need be strengthened to allow a towering structure to be made. Thats why he focused on the right segment of market at least in this part of the budget.

But didn't the market expect much more from this budget; there is no doubt that small enterprises can thrive only when the market receives more from the FM. But lets look at the best part, the budget clearly seems to have inclined itself more towards the bigger benefits of MSEs (Micro and Small Enterprises) rather than bigger corporate houses, a clear sign that the road is going to be easier for every person who has the plans to startup. Easing the taxation system in the few months, will make this road even easier. Soon, India will also be the country with lots of hassles while having a startup removed, thus leading to greater investment in startups from established firms and VCs.

Things are looking good :) ........

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hukkaah.. Sheesha.. the new trend Or the new Market. Dare not try it. But do learn something from it.. Deception!

Strange that I am about to write on something which I have tasted in large volume only once, but the effects were so dangerous that they brought my attention to the changing trends in the society and the growth of large number of Hukka joints in various places of India in the past 1 year.

I shall just begin by telling that one full cylinder of Hukka is equivalent to 50 cigarettes; and one knows smoking 50 cigarettes in 1 night can bring the hell out of you. Yes, I know that people think that water acts as a filter to filter out the harmful effects of this delicacy. But scientific research has proven that water can never act as a filter to nicotine and hence to the effects of the interesting object called Hukka.

Now immediately, lets shift our focus from Scientific research to Market Research otherwise this blog post shall look more like a traumatized addict's health report (which clearly it is not). Market Research speaks that about 50 Hukka joints have suddenly appeared in important locations in India in the past 6 months, and is one of the most favorite form of hangout place for youngsters. Non smokers and non drinkers also come to drink Hukka regularly and this is the prime reason what makes this a success which was unimaginable initially.

Hukka- the object of delicacy- is a metaphor for an intelligent marketer who knows how deception is one of the most important things needed for survival in the market. Deception, not forgery. Hukka never claims that it doesn't harm you; but it provides a sweet flavored smell, which is not hated by even the biggest haters of cigarette smoke, and this simple 'unirrating' aura which surrounds Hukka deceives the hidden dangers behind it and hence attracts more and more customers. Simple and intelligent deception- this makes Hukka equivalent to 'Fair and Lovely' which deceives without lying or Arindam Chaudhary- one of the biggest deceits in the history of Indian corporate world.

Deception in the right manner has always been an interesting way of approaching the focused customer group. What better examples than Hukka and Arindam Chaudhary to exemplify the interesting market requirement which I have named "The Hukka effect" and which could have been easily called "The IIPM Effect". Just go through this link to know a little more about "The IIPM Effect"

So I would like to end this post by saying that this market needs an outer covering (e.g. sweet smell of Hukka or full page advertisements of IIPM) to enter the minds of consumers or clients. When immoral cases, like those mentioned above, can make a mark and earn unimaginable profits with the aid of this trump card- the outer covering (or "The Hukka Effect" as I have named it), such a covering is bound to help young entrepreneurs like me who are anyways promoting a worthy object. Its a different discussion altogether about what are the various methods of deception (use of media being an important one) which can be used to climb the ladders of success and profit without being wrong. The modes [of deception] vary with the mood [client mood].

So don't drink Hukka and never even think of going to IIPM.......... unless you want to learn the market the hard way.