Why Smart Companies Do Dumb Things

Guy Kawasaki writes about one of the reasons:

Consensus. When it comes to doing dumb things, the sum of the parts is less than the whole. Throwing more minds at the problem means more data, more perspectives, more possible solutions, more critiques of these solutions, and more minds (and hands) implementing the solution, right?

Possibly, but theres also the downside of more people: once consensus starts to build, its harder to alter a decision. Its one thing to argue against a few people; its much more difficult to argue against the wisdom of a crowd. Individuals who hold out, question, or disagree are labeled as clueless, uncooperative, and not team players.

Mobile Life Youth Report 2006

Smart Mobs quotes from some of the findings of the YouGov survey of British residents:

Starting age of mobile phone ownership:51% of 10 year olds and 70% of 11 year olds own
a mobile phone (see bar chart for full age profile)
Number of mobiles: 14% of people have two or more mobile phones that they use regularly
Number of calls: On average people make 2.8 calls a day
Number of texts: On average people send 3.6 text messages a day
Phone replacement: 70% of people replaced their mobile phone within the last 18 months
PAYG vs contract: Of people who own their own mobile phones (as opposed to having
a company phone) 48% have PAYG and 52% have monthly contracts
Choosing a mobile: When choosing a mobile phone, the most important factor for people
phone is function ( 31%), price ( 29%) and style ( 16%)

Widget Web

Ajit Jaokar writes:

The World Wide Web as we know it, is exploding. From its fragments emerges a new ‘container based’ Web based on Widgets.

For the lack of a better word, I shall call it a Widget Widget Web.

The simultaneous of evolution of widgets, Ajax and other technologies is no accident since they are all feeding off each other to create a powerful new ecosystem.

Netflix’ Challenge

The New York Times writes:

Netflix, the popular online movie rental service, is planning to award $1 million to the first person who can improve the accuracy of movie recommendations based on personal preferences.

To win the prize, which is to be announced today, a contestant will have to devise a system that is more accurate than the companys current recommendation system by at least 10 percent. And to improve the quality of research, Netflix is making available to the public 100 million of its customers movie ratings, a database the company says is the largest of its kind ever released.

Indian Media Pyramid

Anand Sridharan outlines some findings from the National Readership Survey 2006:

1. NRS survey universe (Indians aged 12 & above) – 815 mn
2. Literate – 580 mn (71% of above)
3. TV watchers/ Radio listeners/ Press readers – 230/ 230/ 222 mn respectively
4. FM radio – 119 mn
5. Magazines – 68 mn
6. Cinema (once a month) – 39 mn
7. Mobile VAS users – 22mn (I suspect that this figure is a lot higher now, as the survey mentions that 38% of cellphone owners use VAS implying a # closer to 50 mn)
8. English dailies – 21 mn
9. Internet (once a week access) – 9.4 mn

TECH TALK: Gandhigiri: Mass Appeal

Once the movie was released, the term Gandhigiri started getting into public consciousness. Here is the Wikipedia entry on it:

Gandhigiri is a derivatized word focusing on modifying one’s principles and lifestyle reflecting the moral principles of Satya (the Truth), Ahimsa (passive non-violence), Sahishnuta (Tolerance) and Ekta (Unity) as practised in real life by Mahatma Gandhi.

Gandhigiri is a conjoint of two words: Gandhi + Giri, where “giri” reflects highest, top-notch or zenith. Thus, Gandhigiri is the highest semblance of practice as would Mahatma Gandhi would have done. However, the suffix -giri is often used as a pun or in opposite meaning in slang.

Some popular conjoined slang words are Dadagiri/Gundagiri which means bullism, gaddhagiri means highest servitude like of a donkey. There are websites as well trying to popularise Gandhian principles of “Truth and Non-Violence”.

Sharmistha Gooptu wrote in The Times of India:

The Gandhi of Lage Raho Munnabhai is not the historical figure we have been taught to revere for his unflinching moral strength.

This Gandhi is like a grandfatherly genie, who appears any time Munna thinks of him ‘from the heart’, and makes for a sympathetic confidant who makes tough decisions so simple.

It is interesting that in this film Gandhi’s identification is with the 20-plus generation who are most likely to scoff at the Gandhi of their textbooks.

In fact, Gandhi has been out of favour with under-40 Indians because the Gandhi they know seems too good to be true. Statist discourse has mummified Gandhi making him inaccessible in a fast changing society. Lage Raho reinvents Gandhi for us.

The Asian Age wrote:

The films success proves that though Gandhi is remembered only on his birth and death anniversaries his values are immortal. The Gandhian values conveyed in a tongue-in-cheek manner have been received well by the youngsters too.

“I found Gandhis presence in the film very outstanding especially the way it was juxtaposed against the films main theme. Gandhis presence by way of his morals has been neatly showcased,” says Nayan, a young journalist.
“Gandhis lessons on non-violence can be seen everywhere in daily life. There may be different views and perspectives about him but each one of us follow him till today, consciously or unconsciously.

NDTV wrote:

The Munnabhai effect is just not wearing out be it from websites or fan clubs.

Gandhi is cool like never before and even better are his principles or Gandhigiri, the new way of doing things that is inspiring a whole generation.

Hundred years ago, Gandhi had changed the course of history forever. Today it has taken a Munnabhai film to revoke interest in the Gandhian ideology and principles that seemed as relevant as a framed photo on the wall.

People are also talking about their own experiences of implementing the philosophy in their everyday lives. The trend is catching on so fast that people are adopting it as a lifestyle.

Tomorrow: Rang De Basanti

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