an "a to z" of thoughts, conversations, remarks, observations,musings about

Sunday, August 05, 2012

the season ahead - Arsenal post on the season ahead for Arsenal

Why Nations Fail - India

succint comment on India's condition

Great comment on the Guardian -

 India was one of the richest countries in the world before British came to India in the 17th century. Indeed, had India not been rich, British would not bother to invade and enslave India. Then once British defeated all the Indian Rajahs and Maharajahs in battles and took over political control of the country, they systematically began a policy of extracting wealth from the people. They did so by imposing punitive taxes, not allowing economic or political freedom, not giving the people the right to compete freely at business. The state ruled over the individual. When India became free, the successive Indian governments led by Nehru and his progeny followed the same policy of the Brits, with brown sahibs taking over from the white sahibs.... socialism and the accompanying bureaucratic rule taking over from the imperialism of the Brits. As a result, India's rise was stunted. Over the last couple of decades, socialism has been restricted some-what and a bit of free market capitalism is allowed, so there has been a major change in India. For instance, India's economy was 1/4th that of British economy in 1991. Today both countries have equal size economies in terms of GDP. But descendants of Nehru are still in power and as long as they are in power, they will not allow real free market capitalism in India, and allow the transfer of power from the state to the individual.
India is poor (albeit not as poor as before), not because of religion or caste system... but because Indians only got freedom to elect their rulers ....not the freedom to rule themselves. .....i.e, India is poor because we have political freedom, but not economic freedom.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Venkys, Blackburn and the Premier League - Part of the plan?

  • Venkys has been somewhat of a sudden star in the Indian business horizon. A few years ago, no-one had heard of them. Then they sponsored Trinidad and Tobago in the Champions League ( the cricket version that complements the IPL ). There was some favourable media press about how they were touched by this brave team, which did not have a sponsor. The T&T team played the whole tournament with Venkys written on their chest, and all of India scratched their heads, wondering who Venkys was, coz none of their products or their logo was familiar to the average Indian.
    They are listed on the stock exchange and their total market cap looks like 70 M USD. Looking at that I wonder how they passed the fit and proper person test. The total market cap of the group is say 50M pounds, and they sell Phil Jones and Samba for more than half that amount. It sounds lopsided.
    Ask any Indian, and they would tell you that the Reddy's are not stupid. They might be the cleverest of all businessmen you would have known. They did not go into this with their eyes closed. They bought something that was not in their league, by being at the right place at the right time, and making the right noises.
    The first job was to get rid of costs. So expensive players, managers, staff etc will be let go. Relegation or promotion doesnt affect them. I am sure the underlying asset, property, stadium, brand value etc will be comfortably more than their investment, so there is no way they can make a loss.
    Relegation helps by making things even easier. All players that can get a buyer will be sold, with noises about building a team for the future. If money is invested, it will be in tangible assets, improvements to stadium, purchase of training ground etc. They invested 23M in the takeover and say another 20M in clearing debts. They have already sold players for about that amount, so that means whatever remains cost them nothing.
    Now that it costs nothing, and there's still Yakubu, Pederson etc to be sold, they seem to be sitting pretty. If the club also owns property and physical assets, that is almost like a 100% profit in 2 years.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Barca Milan ... a tale of two cities

There are 3 parts to this debate -

1. Barcelona's performance - Oscar worthy. Defence is pretty rocky, though Mascherano intercepts well. Puyol is just a few games away from a downhill slide and Valdes is a shaky GK. No forwards of note and pretty bad finishing. Xavi on the verge of decline, Fabregas still a pretender. Busquets, Alves etc do the dirty work, but have lost their cutting edge. Iniesta playing with purpose and skill while Messi seems to be getting a little predictable as defenders mostly make him go around them, and try and nick the ball. Without Messi or Iniesta this team is far below the levels they were playing at a year or two ago.
2. Milan's performance - Thiago Silva, Mark Van Bommel, Zambrotta, Gattusso and Pato missing. So probably this was the best they could do. Seedorf, Nocerino, Boateng and even Robinho showed they belonged at this level, while Abbiati was the better GK by far. Tactically weaker game in second leg, as they should have relied on booting the ball upfield, since Ibra can hold up the ball well, and also Barca take their own sweet time in bring the ball forward. Mexes was not able to cut it while Nesta and Ambrosini faded away. They should take heart from their performance, as the only field goal Barca scored was from a lucky deflection that fell at the feet of Iniesta.
3. Referee's performance - As a neutral, his decision to award the 2nd penalty, spoilt the contest which was setup for a nervy tiki-taka vs italian defending stage. It would have been fun to watch, and wish he had made them retake the corner and maybe showed a few cards. Calling Robinho for handball was a cringeworthy moment, and exposed his bias clearly. Either he had lost patience with Milan, or was just giving everything the Barca protestors wanted...but for a 10-20 minute spell, he just lost it. Ruined a good match, after 3 halves of great football, which had left the match excitingly poised. UEFA should be answerable for their choice of referee for such a occasion.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

a brand new day

These days am getting very interested in Brands and how a brand is built. Its a fascinating subject, and seems to have replaced religion as a community identifier among todays urban youth. Are Apple stores the new temples, and the new product launches with queues outside the new piligrimages. Something is happening here, and you dont know what it is you jones / samsung / blackberry / microsoft / google ? Just being a popular brand is no longer need to be loved with a sufi like intensity it seems. As the Brand Consulting firm Industree says on its blog -

Just like new product slogans or campaigns are referred to Legal before being finalised, corporate communication and marketing/sales activities might benefit from a layer of brand advisory which functions independently of pressures, and is staffed by competent experts with exposure to multiple brands and the science of brand building..

BBC Widget