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Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Dog named Moti!

It is funny for a dog to be named "Moti". I named him exactly that as that was one name that was not taken on my vet’s database. Yet when you find yourself searching for a generally acceptable, easily pronounceable name for more than 10 dogs it is rather difficult. Yet, I named him exactly that as that was one name that was not taken on my vet’s database. Moti came as a quiet, lean, brown pup with intelligent. This shy reluctant puppy was as small as my hands. But aggressive he definitely was! He insisted on biting any hand that touched him. None of the “cho-chweet” gang members ever got close to him ever!
This pup’s day was filled with lot of interesting things. Mornings were spent waiting for breakfast. After a heavy breakfast Moti would get his chain and absolve himself of guarding duties for his day nap! Between dreams he also had lunch! Evenings were designated for fights with yours truly! On a saner day Moti insisted on a tug of war with his rug as a rope. Usually he liked to wrestle with me. At his age it was easy for me to beat him. Nights were designated for “hunting” expeditions with coconut tree branches as targets that were usually found dragged all over the yard and often shredded and bitten. All this exercise made Moti a really big and ferocious guard dog. And he took his guarding duties seriously.
The newspaperman once found himself lying on the road under his own bicycle with Moti waiting to take a bite. The only person Moti listened to in such situations was me! I could take his food from under his nose! Occasionally some storks, pigeons and rats tested his hunting skills. My neighbors’ dogs typically liked to test Moti’s patience from behind our gate. Occasionally Moti broke free and taught them rules of the jungle.
People often found themselves face to face with Moti who liked to put his head out of the gate grill. We had to install a separate bell outside of the gate for people to ring without touching the gate. Yet, the most interesting was how is hid himself waiting for people to open the gate and come in before he confronted them with bare teeth and red eyes.
Yet for his aggressiveness Moti was a gentle dog! My cat took full advantage of this nicety. This skinny (more appropriately lean) hero used to pick fights with all the fat and plump toms in the neighborhood and then run to Moti for protection. The cat even developed the confidence to go between Moti’s legs with his tail up!
I will always remember how “angry” Moti got when my sister and I had fights. I will always remember calling his name out as soon as I returned home. I will always remember how Moti used to obey a “NO” command with dish full of meat in front of him. I will always remember how his enthusiasm for games would wane away if he sensed I had a bad day! Last week, Moti died of illness and old age. I will always remember him!
P.S. = As I console myself the memories of Moti come back to me in the form of Taggy (his son) who incidentally is exhibiting the very same traits he has inherited from his father.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Individualism and Innovation

Very recently I read an article that explained that Indians are rather individualistic and general process principles are not well adapted to mass manufacturing. This, the author deduced, manifested in higher dominance of Indian products/services in creative space. There also appears to be a lesson in this history.

This explains to a certain extent why there are no truly national parties in India. In fact, never in the history of India has there been a single leader ruling the entire Indian subcontinent. The only exception to this rule was Indian National Congress (founded by Alan Hume counting Mahatma Gandhi, Lokmanya Tilak and Subhashchandra Bose amongst its members). After the Indian National Congress (that was gratefully buried after independance; the current congress is a version used to be called Congress I), most of the current crop of political parties are essentially agglomerations of regional parties including the BJP. At one level this is the very core of democracy and possibly the single most important reason why Indians have taken to democracy like no other nation has.

This traditional Indian mindset is most apt for start-up ventures or companies that are just finding their feet on global stage. To my mind this explains the Indian successes in IT and manufacturing (in specific cases involving commodity products). Using capital better and more creatively Indian companies have created enough wealth to buy-out global giants.

Sadly, this is also the reason why Indians have not innovated most of the new path breaking products. In industry driven by creativity, like advertising, Indian companies have not been able to sustain innovation in a people-independant manner. Path breaking innovation needs the bedrock of processes. It needs standard, non-deviating operations to release the time and free the energy required to design and bring to fruition a path breaking innovation.

To a certain extent, these changes are visible in the software industry particularly in the BPO business where process orientation is a prerequisite. The next phase of Indian corporate development will essentially revolve around the way companies are able to assemble an efficient, non-deviating operational core to free up talent and resources for great more impactful innovation.