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Sunday, November 30, 2014

GADGET GIZMO SPECIAL...................... Panasonic India launches ELUGA I smartphone at Rs 9490

GADGET GIZMO SPECIAL Panasonic India launches ELUGA I smartphone at Rs 9490

NEW DELHI: Panasonic India Monday launched its new smartphone, ELUGA I with a raised curve display and priced it at Rs 9,490. 
The ELUGA I sports a 5-inch Raised Curve Display Panel for better viewing angles and for making longer viewing "Strain-Free" for eyes, the company said in a statement.
Powered by quad core 1.3GHz processor and 1GB of RAM, the new phone runs on the Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system and comes with 8 GB of internal memory which can be expanded upto 32GB.

The smartphone comes with an 8 MP rear camera with LED flash with 1080p video recording capabilities and a 2 MP front camera. It comes equipped with a 2000mAh Lithium Polymer battery.

"Customers today prefer relevant innovation, so we focus on creating categories of products for various segment of people, rather than focusing on a specific genre," Pankaj Rana, business head - mobility division, Panasonic India, said in the statement.

The company has also introduced an Smart Swipe functionality with ELUGA I, where in, a combination of number of fingers and direction of swipe can help user perform various predefined functions, providing ease of access.

The smartphone box packs an Interactive Flip cover with which the users can access the smartphone faster by easily locking/unlocking, attending calls and checking notifications.

ET 24 Nov, 2014




What makes someone ordinary become extraordinary? Is it their intellect or good luck? Is it their charisma and leadership qualities? There’s no definite formula, but there’s also no denying that there are common traits that make successful people stand apart from everyone else. There are ways of doing things and thinking about the world that people at top just do differently.
Robert Greene, best-selling author of The 48 Laws of Power spends a lot of time researching and interviewing the most successful people. In his most recent book Mastery, he analyzed the lives of those he called “masters” to pinpoint their secret to greatness. Below Greene shares common things he thinks successful people do differently.


When looking at the most successful people throughout history, Greene found that it’s an emotional quality, not an intellectual one, that separates them from everyone else.
We live in a culture that tends to really emphasize intellect and going to the greatest schools and all that,” Greene tells Fast Company, but success is really more dependent on “a resiliency and a love of what you’re doing.”
Since intellect isn’t the core driving force for success, Greene says that successful people won’t always show signs of great potential in their early years. In Mastery, Greene points to Charles Darwin who, as a youth, was always in the shadows of his cousin who had a much higher IQ.
Darwin was a bit of a loser. His father thought he wouldn’t end up amounting to much,” says Greene. “He kind of wandered around and took this job on a boat sailing around the world and it ended up Darwin became perhaps one of the greatest scientists who ever lived. But at an early age, if you looked at him, you would say, ‘I don’t see it there.’”
If you don’t feel emotionally connected to your work, Greene suggests looking within yourself. Keep a journal and think about the experiences that really excited you. What do they have in common?
If you can’t look at what you like, what you don’t like, then it’s pretty hopeless,” he says. “But I think most people generally have up until the age of 50 and can go back and do this process.”


If you’re going to follow your passion and put all of your energy into your work, you can’t care too much about what others think of you. So successful people don’t.
Overall, you have to have some level of connection to yourself,” says Greene. “You have to know what makes you different. What you love, what you don’t love.”
Some people have a hard time with that. They listen so much to other people. They’re on Facebook all the time. They’re so concerned with what other people are thinking that they have no relationship to themselves and what they really love.”
But successful people revere their individuality. If you look at the ones at the top, “they’re one of a kind,” says Greene. “Their business reflects their weirdness, they’re uniqueness.”


The worst thing you can do to your career—and your life—is to allow your brain to get stale, says Greene. This is when you start thinking about and doing your work in a way that doesn’t spark creativity or inspire innovation. There are ways you can loosen up the rigidity that happens, especially when you get older. Greene advises developing an interest in a study of science or literature.
Spend some free time delving into this new field that interests you but is not directly related to what you do,” he says. “That will kind of give you ideas and give you perspective that you don’t normally get from reading the Wall Street Journal and listening to your colleagues. You need outside sources of information.”
In almost all fields, the greatest innovators are those who came from outside of the industry they transformed because they’re able to think differently and aren’t tied down by “conventions and dogmas," says Greene.


With everything that’s fighting for our attention every minute of every day, the ones who get things done are the people who can focus. One of the biggest distractions that keep our attention is our phone, says Greene, so successful people separate themselves from their phones.
I have noticed that a lot of the people I’ve interviewed are able to not get too distracted. In other words, they’re able to focus more than others,” he explains. “They know how to turn off their smartphones.”
I remember that I was interviewing Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator in Silicon Valley, he didn’t even have a smartphone. I’ve found a couple of other people who are like that. So they’re not people who get lost in all of the information glut.”


Steve Jobs once said that the only thing that separates him from other people is the ability to focus.
He would close his door and not let other people in,” says Greene. That was his focus routine. How he was able to shut out the rest of the world. Anyone who wants to accomplish something great, needs to be able to do the same.
For Greene, the author focuses by meditating 30 minutes every morning. He’s been doing it for over four years and says it’s “the greatest thing” he could recommend to anyone.
Basically, it slows everything down. You find that you don’t react to everything that goes on around you,” says Greene. “It’s very calming and in the heat of the moment while other people are getting excited, I don’t know why, but somehow, it changes something in your brain where you’re not so reactive to everything.”
Greene says he’s able to look at situations in front of him with “a bit of a distance” and has an easier time knowing what matters and what doesn’t. His trick is to to empty his mind to get rid of useless distractions, but meditation itself is “not easy and is a struggle every single day when you sit down to do it.”
You only have so much energy in life, mental energy. If all of these things in your day-to-day affairs are weighing you down, bothering you, creating anxiety, and making you insecure, it’s draining a lot of that valuable time that could be spent for creative focus,” he explains.


Once you start getting used to your successes, you’ll start taking it for granted. You want to stay in a familiar, comfortable place instead of push yourself when you feel that frustration that often comes before the brink of greatness.
I find a lot of writers, their books tend to resemble one another,” says Greene. “They’re not challenging themselves. I don’t like that attitude. I don’t want to live in my past success. I want my next book to be even more successful.”
To continuously challenge himself, Greene says he starts every new book with “the
assumption that [he] can easily fail and no one will read this book.” That fear allows him to work “like a fiend to make it successful.”
No one was born an expert or a master of something. You may be the smartest person in the world, but if you don’t know what drives you or can’t seem to focus, you won’t get anything done. According to Greene, the most important thing for success is finding something that you feel emotionally committed to. The most successful people are usually not chasing money when they decide on their craft because “money isn’t the greatest motivator in the world,” he says.

HAPPINESS / MARKETING SPECIAL ......................Time, not, money is the key to happiness: Wharton marketing professor Cassie Mogilner

Time, not, money is the key to happiness: 

Wharton marketing professor Cassie Mogilner says use time , not money 

Wharton marketing professor Cassie Mogilner researches happiness. In a series of papers — "Happiness from Ordinary and Extraordinary Experiences," co-authored with Dartmouth professor Amit Bhattcharjee; "How Happiness Affects Choice" and "The Shifting Meaning of Happiness," both co-authored with Stanford professor Jennifer Aaker and MIT professor Sep Kamvar; and "The Pursuit of Happiness: Time, Money and Social Connection" — Mogilner looks at the different experiences and emotions that factor into human contentment, finding that happiness isn't just one thing, but also isn't as unique to each person as we might think. In a conversation with Knowledge@Wharton, she discusses her findings and their implications for consumers and marketers. Edited transcript:
On the connection between time and happiness

I research people's happiness, and what I've found across the work is that time plays a critical role. For instance, I've looked at what is the effect of merely drawing people's attention to time, as opposed to our other resource of money. How does that impact people's levels of happiness? How do age and, more specifically, the amount of time people feel like they have left in life influence both how people experience happiness, as well as the types of experiences that elicit greater happiness?< .. 

For example, I have found that focusing on time leads to greater happiness than focusing on money. The way that I explored that was building on prior work, which tracked how people spend their days and also how people feel over the course of their days, finding that people are happiest when they are connecting with other people. They're least happy when they are doing work or commuting. I wanted to see if thinking about time vs. money would influence people's tendencies to behave in particularly happy or unhappy ways.
The most surprising conclusions of the research
I thought it was really interesting that when a 20 year-old says, "I feel happy," and when a 60 yearold says the very same thing ... they're likely feeling very different things. One will be feeling excited, and the other, a greater sense of calm. I also think it's surprising — and actually quite nice — that ordinary experiences, those little moments that pop up every day, can produce as much as happiness as extraordinary moments. I think that's really powerful in terms of where people find the happiness in their life.

On the practical implications

An interesting implication for consumers, or really anyone who's interested in feeling happy, is to shift attention away from money, which is a resource that tends to absorb most of our attention and our thinking and planning on a daily basis, and shift attention to this fundamentally precious resource of time. Making that shift will remind you and motivate you to behave in ways that are happier, and to spend your time in more fulfilling ways.

Another implication is to understand that what makes you happy, and even the way that you feel happiness, will or has changed over the course of your life. So you shouldn't evaluate or assess your level of happiness, or hold yourself to a standard, based on a concept that you had when you were younger. You should allow yourself to accept and appreciate that it is maybe those quiet moments, those calming moments, where you really will find happiness. It doesn't mean that you're boring if you're fired up about a Friday night on the couch watching TV or movies.

What this means for marketing

The research has tremendous implications for marketers in two ways. First, you see more and more examples of marketers through their campaigns and branding trying to really connect with consumers on a fundamental level by promising happiness. And what it suggests is that they should think about, first of all, who they are targeting. What demographic are they trying to speak to, older or younger individuals? And relatedly, how should they be communicating the happiness they're promising? Is it excitement, with loud colors, high energy and intense color? Or should they be conveying happiness as a more tranquil, serene, calm type of happiness to really connect with and resonate with an older consumer?

In addition, there is a trend toward dialing up the experiential aspect of your product or brand. It's suggesting that, again, marketers should consider who they're looking to connect with and speak to in order to inform the types of experiences that they are positioning themselves with a respect to. Is it exciting, extraordinary, types of experiences? Or is it those more every day, mundane experiences that will really resonate with their target consumer?

How "Happy" (the song) relates to the research

There was a news story from a couple of weeks ago when six Iranians were arrested for posting on YouTube a video of them dancing to the Pharrell song "Happy." First of all, the fact that the Pharrell song "Happy" has become a phenomenon in and of itself suggests that this emotion of happiness is so fundamental and so motivating and so resonant with people
On the misperceptions dispelled by the research

Happiness is not a singular thing that people are pursuing and will someday find. It's also not purely idiosyncratic and something different to everyone. Instead, there is predictable regularity in how people experience happiness, as well as in the experiences that elicit happiness. Also, there is a systemic shift over the course of people's lives whereby when people are younger, happiness is more about feeling excited, and as people get older, happiness is more about feeling calm.

On what sets the research apart
We should be shifting our attention away from money and toward time. There is a lot of attention and business research focused on money and the bottom line. There is also psychology and happiness research questioning if money does buy happiness. I would argue — and my research would argue — that there is a lot of value in shifting attention altogether toward the other resource that is so fundamental to us: time.

MANAGEMENT/ LEADERSHIP SPECIAL .....................Millennials Want to Lead. Are They Ready?

Millennials Want to Lead. Are They Ready?

In the near future millennials will occupy every consequential leadership position in the world, be it in business, academia, government, or in the non-profit sector. Will they be ready to lead?

Contrary to popular belief, millennials (the generation born between the years 1984 and 1996) around the world are ambitious and eager to work hard to become leaders. But they want to do it on their terms, in jobs that give them meaning and allow them to contribute to society.

In a global study of millenials by the INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute (EMI), the HEAD Foundation and Universum, we surveyed over 16,000 millennials in 43 countries to better understand the many workplace stereotypes. While there were differences across regions, 41 percent of all respondents confirmed that it was very important to them to become a leader or a manager, and younger millennials noted an   nterest in coaching and mentoring as part of a leadership role.

But, as important as becoming a manager is, only 24 percent strongly want a fast-track career with constant promotions. Most millennials’ focus is to grow and learn new things (45 percent), the second most important goal in their lives after work-life balance. A whopping 73 percent chose work-life balance over a higher salary and 82 percent picked a better work-life balance over their position in a company, while 42 percent would prefer to have no job than one they hate.

The biggest fear for 40 percent of respondents globally is getting stuck in a job with no development opportunities.
As millennials will make up the majority of the workforce a few years from now, attracting, recruiting and retaining them will be essential for companies. Most importantly, as they increasingly take on leadership roles across the professional world, organisations should question whether they will be able to lead in the increasingly uncertain environment we’re facing and groom them accordingly.

Lead me to leadership
While it is clear that many millennials have their eyes set on leadership positions, they will spend most of their careers as followers rather than leaders. Therefore, it’s important to understand what the perfect manager looks like to this generation so we can align our organisations accordingly and support their growth to become leaders in their own right.

The perception differs across geographies, but empowerment is very important. In North America and Western Europe, millennials apparently find it very important to be empowered by their manager, whereas those from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Middle East feel less strongly about this.

Overall, millennials connect the term empowerment with the ability to make independent decisions. It is less about being empowered in the actual work or job and more about having personal freedom at a more conceptual level. At the regional level, North American millennials want to avoid being micro managed while those in the Middle East want their managers to have all the answers.

Millennials also support a high-touch approach from their managers, with many expecting weekly feedback, this being more prevalent among European, American and Middle Eastern respondents, a far cry from annual personal development plans.

Support me, but don’t boss me around
While millennials are not particularly eager to work with their friends, most of them see teamwork as the way forward. Autonomy, however, is a subject that clearly divides West and East. In North America and Western Europe, it is not top of millennials’ minds, but being autonomous in one’s work is very important in APAC and CEE. We also asked them whether they saw their future as specialists or generalists as they felt in general more pessimistic about their futures. What we found was that in all regions apart from CEE, those who prefer to become specialists are in the majority, possibly because they sense that being a generalist is associated with being a higher risk position in times of uncertainty.

How can we groom millennials?
Employers can address the leadership ambitions of millennials not just by expanding or enhancing their internal leadership programmes, but making different career paths available. Providing specialist tracks, opening up avenues beyond regular full-time positions to ensure employees can rotate between departments and job roles.

Furthermore, as we take the differences of the findings across geographies, there will be significant need for cross-cultural awareness. Companies should allow exposure to different geographies as well as functions before allowing them to assume senior management roles, ensuring future managers have had significant exposure to other cultures. 

Diversity also needs to apply to gender. The differences between the preferences of younger and older millennials is much wider than those between women and men. Therefore, it will be essential to segment any efforts towards millennials according to age and not just according to gender or their field of study.

It is also clear that employers will have to develop offerings aside from salary and benefits, such as learning opportunities, training programmes and flexibility towards their ambitions. Organisations such as Procter & Gamble make fast track candidates rotate between categories and geographies as well as functions before they move upwards.

Develop a granular strategy
Looking at the diversity of views and preferences across millennials in 43 countries, some commonalities exist, but they shouldn’t be addressed as one group. Asia Pacific is perhaps the best example. Addressing Japanese millennials and Indian millennials as one group is bound to end badly. Therefore, employers, large multinationals in particular, should not jump to conclusions based on regional findings alone.

Henrik Bresman, INSEAD Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Vinika Rao, Executive Director of the INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute
Read more at

CITIES SPECIAL .........................The Smartest Cities In The World (3)

The Smartest 

Cities In The World (3)

Over the past several years, the idea of the being "smart" has emerged as a key mechanism for cities to find innovative solutions to the challenges that they are facing. Increased demand for infrastructure, housing, transportation, jobs,energy, food and water are all straining city governments and infrastructure, as people around the world flock to urban centers in hopes of a better life and more opportunity. For many years, the push to create smarter cities was led by technology companies looking for uses (and buyers) for their products. But in recent years, cities have begun to think more holistically about what being a smart city could mean, and have innovated new ways to modernize how a city serves its citizens.

For the past several years, I've published an annual ranking of smart cities, and with each passing year I have sought to improve the quality of the ranking methodology. This year, This year, I embarked on a rather ambitious experiment Leveraging an international advisory panel, I expanded the survey to 62 indicators n Smart Cities Wheel that I developed a few years ago.
Smart cities are a complex phenomenon and any effort to measure them needs to contain breadth and depth of indicators—and this year I have that. I have added several more information technology related indicators, like broadband internet and the number of mobile applications that leverage open data initiatives. But I also have added low-tech indicators to ascertain how much a city is embracing shared mobility, like measuring the number of bikes and cars currently in their sharing programs. I have also added citizen participation metrics, such as the number of citizens engagement events held each year and percentage of citizens who vote in local elections.
I sent a survey of these 62 indicators to 120 cities around the world (30 cities in four regions). Unfortunately only 11 cities around the globe were able to participate due to the complexity and time required to collect such diverse data. Given the small sample size, and some inconsistencies in the data, this year I am not reporting formal rankings.
But I did learn a lot about what these cities are doing, and what makes a smart city in 2015. In looking at these examples of smart cities around the globe, I've divided them into three categories: Pioneering Smart Cities, cities that have been on the leading edge of smart city development for some time (for these cities, I also discuss the challenges that face them in advancing their development even further). Emerging Smart Cities are cities on the cusp of true innovation. And Next Stage Smart Cities will be on the leading edge of innovative metropolises soon, if they keep up their good work.


5. Vancouver
Vancouver has a soft spot in my heart given that I lived there from 2006 to 2011. Like Copenhagen, its credentials as a green city are quite evident. In fact, Vancouverites participated en masse in a program to develop a long term strategy for the city which resulted in an ambitious (and probably unreachable goal) of becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020. It helps that 97% of all energy in Vancouver comes fromrenewable energy sources (mostly hydro). Vancouver was also a pioneer in providing major incentives for green buildings which helped to foster an entire ecosystem of green building expertise from architects and engineers to producers of building products.
Vancouver also scored very well in the smart people and smart living categories. A full 48% of Vancouverites were actually born outside of Canada. Diverse cultures tend to breed more innovation. Also Vancouverites have the longest life expectancy (almost 84 years!) compared with citizens from the other cities in the survey.
Challenge: While Vancouver’s quality of life and green credentials are competitive globally, Vancouver has yet to really take a lead on smart city initiatives, especially compared with the leading European cities discussed above. In order to stay competitive on a North American and global scale, Vancouver will need to continue to invest in digital technologies and support the rollout of broadband throughout the city.

6. Vienna
Vienna is last alphabetically, but definitely not least amongst these leading smart cities that participated in the survey. The city appears fully committed to growing its presence in the smart cities arena. It has a dedicated team of experts focused on growing their smart cities portfolio, which already contains more than 100 active projects.
Vienna is innovating across the spectrum of smart cities initiatives. For example, the city possesses the most EV charging stations of all the cities sampled (440) and has very active bike and car sharing programs. Unlike other cities on the list (e.g. Barcelona), their bike sharing program is fully accessible to visitors, not just residents.
One of my personal favorite projects Vienna has developed is called Citizen Solar which allows citizens to co-invest in new solar projects in a collaboration with the local energy company, Wien Energy. More importantly, however, Vienna has one of the most ambitious smart cities strategy (Vienna Smart Cities Framework Strategy), which is planned out to 2050. Furthermore, Vienna took the extra step of incorporating the strategy into law to minimize the risk of future mayors throwing the plan out to start over.
Challenges: The city needs to do more to proactively support and promote entrepreneurship. Vienna has done much to support local universities to conduct research and development but there is a need for more entrepreneurial spirit. Also, the city needs to do more to promote itself as a smart cities leader. It is known for a fantastic quality of life and a commitment to social equity, but it is under-represented in global conversations about leading players in the smart cities movement, given its impressive credentials.


TIME's Best Inventions of 2014 .......................... 9. The Chip that Stops Your Slouching

      TIME's Best Inventions of 2014

      9. The Chip that Stops Your Slouching

    Lumo Lift / $100
    Available at
    You can probably guess why so many people have posture that causes back pain: “We simply forget” to stop slouching, says Monisha Perkash, whose company, Lumo BodyTech, created the ultimate reminder. Once users clip the Lumo Lift, a chiplike gadget about the size of a thumb, onto their shirt, it analyzes neck and spinal positions and vibrates when they’re less than ideal. Although the system isn’t perfect—it can buzz when you lean for necessary reasons, like taking a phone call—it has exceeded internal sales goals. Half of its users are women, which is impressive given that early adopters for gadgets often tilt male.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

ENTRPRENEUR / INVESTOR SPECIAL ......The problem with 'management' is that it's strangely generic,

The problem with 'management' is that it's strangely generic

Technology entrepreneur and investor. That's the short bio for Peter Thiel. A more detailed one would read: Co-Founder of PayPal, Clarium, Plantir Technologies, Founders Fund,and The Thiel Foundation.
Thiel wears many hats: entrepreneur, investor and self-confessed conservative libertarian. Through his Founders Fund and personal investments, Thiel has invested in Elon Musk's SpaceX, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, and Spotify.Yelp, and Spotify.

The Thiel Foundation, on the other hand, was set up to promote freedom in all its forms, be it political, personal or economic. In 2010, Thiel set up the Thiel Fellowship to identify and nurture the tech visionaries of the future. To this end, he has also formed Breakout Labs to help independent scientists, inventors and engineers to work on their most radical ideas.

Teaching a course on start-ups at his alma mater in 2012 set the foundation for his new book, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, co-authored with Blake Masters. Drawing upon his experiences from hatching start-ups and investing, the book is about creating companies that create new things.

- BA. Philosophy, Stanford;

- J.D., Stanford Law School

- He was a US-rated Chess Master and among the highest ranked players under 21.

- He was born in Germany, his parents moved to the USA when he was a year old.

- He founded 'The Stanford Review' with Norman Book in 1987, now the university's main conservative newspaper.

- He deeply influenced by Rene Girard's 'Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World'.

- He is the co-producer of the film, Thank You for Smoking.

According to Thiel, it's important to learn from successful entrepreneurs but not to copy them. The man behind some of the most innovative tech companies in the world shoots straight and explains why the concept of management is more about politics than solving real problems. Edited excerpts:
What's the power law you talk about in the book?

A power law describes any exponential distribution. The distribution of success among companies is a concrete example: the most successful company in any given cohort will tend to be more valuable than every other company combined. That means the 200th employee of the most successful company will do vastly better than the founder and CEO of the 200th ranking company. It's the most important pattern in business, but it's hard to grasp intuitively because we rarely encounter such unevenness in our daily lives.
Do you believe that entrepreneurs don't benefit much from modern business education?

Business education is mostly irrelevant to entrepreneurs. You may meet some smart people while you're there, but when you take into account the opportunity cost, I think it ends up being a neutral or negative proposition.
If Peter Thiel was to give advice to would be entrepreneurs researching multiple ideas, what would be the key factors you would ask them to look at?

Three things matter for deciding whether to work on an idea. One, you should care strongly about getting it done. Two, you should have good reason to think it will actually work. And three, you should be the only one working on it. The first question is about your own motivation. The second question is about the substance of a specific plan. The third question is about avoiding competition. No general formula or checklist will help you to answer these fundamental questions. 

People are questioning your statement that Apple is not an innovator. Apple is often cited as the best example of a company that's led by game changing innovations. What's the logic behind that statement?

Both statements are true: the iPhone was a breakthrough, but successive versions of the iPhone have been incremental improvements. Those incremental improvements have made a lot of money  because of the monopolistic lead that Apple opened up at the start. Their phone business still generates such huge profits that Apple will struggle to invent anything that makes an impact by comparison, and that's why 
Tim Cook has the hardest job in Silicon Valley in following Steve Jobs.
An Indian e-commerce player Flipkart was valued upwards of $ 7 billion within 7 years of starting up. The company has been chasing topline growth aggressively and VCs are funding the growing losses. Is this a sustainable model?

Relentless reinvestment works when there is a definite plan for how to make profits in the future - even if that may be very far out in the future, as with Amazon, where Flipkart's founders used to work. I can't speak to the specifics of their plan, but I do think markets  always underrate longterm thinking.
Which three tenets of modern management do you disagree with?

One should be wary of "disruption" and "leanness," but it's much more important to understand that there is no formula for creating a uniquely valuable business. It's not that some buzzwords are good and others are bad; the point is that you don't become successful through buzzwords. The problem with "management" as a concept is that it's strangely generic: it's about how to administer a big organization, no matter what the organization is trying to do. That means it's really about politics rather than solving concrete problems.
Do you think society will benefit more if entrepreneurs focus more on other sectors than technology, which has been for some time been the poster boy of entrepreneurship? 

No — unless by "technology" you mean consumer software applications or information technology. I think new energy sources, textile materials, farming techniques, or medicines are all very much examples of technology, and very much in need of entrepreneurs. I would argue that it's only because of stalled progress outside computers that we have settled for such a limited definition of technology; in the first half of the 20th century, everyone understood it to include chemicals, aviation, agriculture, and dozens of other fields. I think that's what we need to get back to.
Why is old money (traditional business power houses) finding it difficult to get a grip over the digital economy?

I would flip this question around: it's not remarkable that old businesses have trouble dominating new fields. That is always going to be hard. What is really impressive and unusual is for an established company to create new things. For example, Apple's second wave of success required an extraordinary second founding by Steve Jobs. Most businesses don't have a founder available to take charge.
In which areas of the world economy do you see bubbles and in what areas do you see opportunities?

I think the biggest bubble is the government bubble, which starts with bonds and extends to anything that acts like a bond in generating income, for example blue chip equities that pay dividends. I think the opposite of the government bubble is in technology companies working to create products that will generate huge value in the future, no matter what the Fed does.
By when do you think the next big global idea like Facebook or airbnb will come from the emerging economies like India or China?

I predict that leadership will come from the richer countries, simply because new technology is the only way forward for a place like the United States. India and China both have incredibly talented and driven people, but they can create tremendous wealth just by moving peasants from the countryside into new cities. It's not easy to create new cities, but it doesn't necessarily require new technology.

By Priyanka Sangani, ET CD141121

MANAGEMENT / CULTURE SPECIAL .....Culturally Savvy Leaders Boost Strategy Implementation

Culturally Savvy Leaders 

Boost Strategy Implementation

Business culture is a reflection of societal culture. Understanding its complexity is essential for those leading diverse, multicultural groups and implementing strategic change.

Societal culture and its complexities and sensitivities are directly reflected in employee behaviour in organisations. Successful implementation of corporate and branding strategies requires a complete on-boarding of the individuals within an organisation who would be driving this change in a culturally sensitive manner.
In Asia, a region typified as a melting pot of cultures and sub-cultures, implementing an effective strategic change within an organisation requires an in-depth understanding of the prevailing culture.

Earlier I talked about how boards should influence and implement a culture of branding in organisations. One of the key success factors behind an efficient and competitive brand strategy is the involvement and training of every individual in the organisation in the branding process. This is where the understanding can be achieved, but also where complexity and the nature of the organisational culture start playing a crucial role.

Organisations as cultural mirrors
Asian organisations, historically and even today, are characterised primarily by strong hierarchical structures. This in turn leads to a very linear form of decision-making and influencing. But, the concept of collectivism is also important. This is reflected in the phenomenon of placing more importance on the connections people have with other people around them. The combination of both these aspects leads to an environment where disseminating and implementing change becomes challenging.

The uniqueness and also the relative commonality of Asian cultures around themes of prestige, status and power are reflected within organisational structures too. The hierarchical decision-making structures in Asian organisations can be directly linked to Hofstede’s concept of “power distance”. In short, cultures with high power distance believe that more powerful people must be deferred to and not argued with. China has a high power distance level of 80, compared to 60 for some South East Asian countries and the world average of 55.

In addition to the cultural factors that inhibit change, it is also important to keep in mind that many successful Asian organisations initially started off as family-owned businesses. Although there has been an evolution in the mindset of running family-owned organisations in Asia, it is still a long journey before there is a complete overhaul of the thinking towards change management and strategy implementation. Younger generations at the helm of these kinds of businesses are doing better in terms of bringing in fresh perspectives, fresh thinking and new visions for future growth.

Understand culture for effective change
To ensure the success of a corporate or branding strategy in Asian organisations, it is imperative that the organisational culture is deeply understood, assessed and integrated into the implementation plan for the strategy. Some key factors to be mindful of are:

Organisational structure:
This should include a mapping of the structure at a global, regional and country level. The drill-down is important because structures at individual country levels can significantly impact the effectiveness and implementation of strategy.

Careful selection of those responsible for implementation:
Corporate culture in Asia still endows a high level of importance to the individual stature and position of individuals responsible for driving change in an organisation. Thereby, it is critical that boards select individuals within the organisation who have the visibility, personality, command and respect of employees across the region. Hierarchical decision-making increases the importance of power by multiple times, so it is important that the individuals selected have a reasonably senior position in the management and leadership teams.

Communicate with care:
Asian cultures are primarily collectivist, conversationalist and shared-valued driven. These aspects are prevalent and strongly visible within organisations. Elements of the communication programme to be utilised for informing and educating employees about a strategic change should be carefully selected and drafted. This essentially means using formal forms of communication that have clarity, have objectives, can touch the emotional bonds that employees have with the organisation and can reinforce the importance of their participation in the process.

Local belief systems:
It is not uncommon for local business units of regional and global organisations to operate with separate business objectives, policy and future targets. Some organisations deliberately allow this to happen and for some organisations this happens due to poor control over local market operations. So, when an organisational level strategy is being implemented, it is important to assess and measure how the strategy is going to impact a specific country operation. This is where a “bottoms-up” approach is required while drafting the strategy. In short, a situation where a local market completely ignores a strategic plan because their considerations were not taken on board needs to be avoided.

Step-by-step implementation:
Any form of strategy implementation takes time and patience. In Asia, it may take longer because of all the factors discussed earlier. So, it is vital that the implementation plan is pursued with discipline and with focus. Again, the importance of keeping the key individuals invigorated and driven throughout the process is critical.

It is only through a rigorous process of understanding and respecting organisational cultures, that strategic change can be implemented successfully in places like Asia. Expanding globally and exposure to Western management styles and organisational structures is opening up Asian thinking but the influence of culture in organisational decision-making will continue to be a critical factor.

Martin Roll, Business and Brand Strategist, Founder of Martin Roll Company (INSEAD MBA ‘99D)

GADGET GIZMO SPECIAL .... Never buy a phone again


    Never buy a phone again

    Ask anyone about a dream feature on their future phone and the usual suspects will crop up. A phone that bends and folds, a phone that can change colour at the press of a button and the old favourite – a phone with a battery life of more than a week. But of late, the one thing that seems to have fired up people’s imagination and is featuring high on the wishlist is a modular phone.
It could save the world and youAt its most basic, a modular phone is a brilliant idea. Think of a basic frame for a phone and every other single thing that makes up a phone is an add-on module. Thus, you add a screen of your choice, a RAM module, a processor you prefer, a battery (or maybe two batteries if you are a power user), a basic camera or a top-of-the-line camera module if you are a photography enthusiast.

What you put together is totally customised by you. Every time a new feature or a new technology comes up that you really want, just buy the  specific module and replace it on your phone. And if something goes wrong with your phone, swap in a replacement module of just the defective part.
Electronic waste is dramatically reduced, the number of discarded phones comes down drastically and the amount of money wasted on lusting after the next big thing is also eliminated.  That dream-like device may just be about to become a reality.

PhonebloksIt all started off with a video about a product called Phonebloks, with the tagline ‘a phone worth keeping’. The video showcased a product that could add and subtract block-like modules that could be put together Lego-brick-style. Whatever was new, cutting edge and on top of your ‘I want it now’ list could be ‘blocked in’ on to the phone in an instant.

The idea went instantly viral worldwide. But Phonebloks had a few serious problems. It was more fantasy than reality, there weren’t any real working prototypes and the company behind it was clear that they weren’t going to make it. They just wanted to be “thought generators” and assist anyone who wanted to take this up.

Project araGoogle, through its recently acquired company Motorola, took the idea of Phonebloks forward with a special division that came up with a phone idea called Project Ara. Even when Motorola was sold to Lenovo, they didn’t sell this division but retained it.

Today, the first Project Ara phone is a working prototype and may well see a commercial release in 2015. Project Ara is even more ambitious than Phonebloks.

Google will release three different-sized (a mini, a medium and a very large sized one) phone endoskeletons called, well – Endos. That’s the only thing that Google will make and they will price these Endos really low – something like Rs. 2,500.

They will then partner with and encourage other companies to come up with basic to very high-end modules that will fit onto these Endos. Companies wanting to make modules won’t have to pay any license fee nor any commission to Google. Anyone with a great idea and a vision for a module can make them with some governing principles on compatibility and module size.

Each module will fit onto the endo with a semi-permanent electromagnet and you can keep adding and subtracting to your heart’s content. Want to move from a HD to a 4K screen, want an optical lens for the camera, need a glucometer or a heart rate sensor, want a fingerprint scanner, more RAM or even a micro printer? Just slide in the module! Thus, you can build yourself a really basic phone or the world’s most high-end phone. It’s your call!

The Modu that wasn’tA phone called Modu tried this modular approach a few years back. It was the world’s smallest fully functional phone. You could use it as a normal phone, or if you really wanted more features, just slid it into specially built jackets.

Bigger screen, better camera or even a photo frame – there was a Modu jacket for it. Unfortunate pricing (very high) plus very limited jacket options made sure the Modu died a premature death.

Lenovo layers it inLenovo has brought a first taste of a real semimodular phone with Vibe X2. Instead of blocks, this one works on the principle of layers. You can add a battery (to get three days of battery life) or a JBL sound system plus speakerphone layer (it even has add-on mics for a full conference call) and many more layers are expected. The Vibe X2 is a great phone that can add new things – but not replace them.

A humbler approach
Then, there is the Project Ara rival called Vsenn that is also ready for commercial release soon. This is a modular phone with slightly more humble aspirations as it will only have three swappable components – its camera, battery and processor/RAM.

Thus it seems that the journey towards a real modular phone that can be swapped and upgraded and custom-built just for you is about to happen. And if a modular phone becomes reality, future generations will look back and laugh at the time when we used to buy a whole new phone just because we wanted one new feature.
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3