Friday, February 27, 2009

Today’s technology

‘When I started out in advertising, art direction was awash with rules. Nowadays it seems anything goes. This freedom (to which we all owe Apple Macintosh a big hug) has brought fantastic results.’
– Dave Dye, Leagas Delaney

‘ I believe the electronic information revolution is truly the magic of our times. We are forever indebted to the Mac. But even the most powerful computer will never be a substitute for human insight.’
– Micheal Shaffron, Saatchi & Saatchi


‘If you want to be a well-paid copywriter, please your client. If you want to be an award-winning copywriter, please yourself. If you want to be a great copywriter, please your reader.’

- Steve Hayden, Ogilvy‘There is no such thing as long copy.

There is only too-long copy. And that can be two words if they are not the right two words.’

– Jim Durfee, Messner, Vetere, EuroRSCG

Art Direction

Never let it get in the way of an idea.

‘Visual language is more important than the word.
Visual language is universal,
communicating across cultural and language barriers.’
– Warren Eakins, Leagas Delaney

‘I often produce about a hundred layouts over a few days.
When I arrive at one that feels right,
I scrutinize the layout over and over again,
then I improve it.’
– Alexandra Taylor, Saatchi & Saatchi

Be simple. Be fresh.

‘People are bombarded with imagery. So keep it simple, like a billboard. And you will win.’
- Dean Hanson, Fallon McElligott
‘Don’t be different just to be different. Be simple. Be visual.’
- Luke Sullivan, Fallon McElligott

Keep a twist in the headline or in the visual.

'If the idea in the ad is being carried by the headline, it means the headline will contain a twist, a shock factor. Therefore the accompanying visual must play a subservient or straight role. And vice versa.’– Jim Aitchison, The Ball Partnership

Should you be rational?

‘Anyone who thinks you need a rational benefit is ignoring 90% of the human brain, which is irrational. There is no rational benefit to Coke and Pepsi.’
– Neil French, WPP

Look for an idea.

‘People are hard to shock with execution. You tend to remember execution for a short while. You tend to remember ideas for a long time.’
– Gary Goldsmith, Lowe

‘I think in the best execution routes there is an idea. In a lot of it there isn’t, and unless the image is truly outstanding, it isn’t as memorable.’
– David Abbott, Abbott Mead & Vickers.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Avoid the obvious.

Find out what everybody is doing in the category and do the opposite.

‘Research said that all beer must be light coloured these days, so we decided to make ours black. It must be light in alcohol, so we made ours 12% alcohol. The ads must have photographs of girls, so we decided not to have any photographs of girls. They must have status symbols, so we said, no status symbols. They must have crowds of blokes having a jolly good time in a pub. We said we’ll have none of that either. Every rule we could find about beer advertising, we decided to break.’

– Neil French on XO beer -

Find a unique feature in the brand

The feature could be in the brand name, packaging, shape, design, or price. It could be a little detail in the production or history of the product. For this you must learn as much of the product as possible.

‘In the absence of knowledge, you will be doomed to rely more and more on adjectives; always a mistake.’

– Bob Levenson, Doyle Dane Bernbach-

Print advertising changes superficially...

Print advertising changes superficially. We go through fashions – borders, typography, colour type, etc. Techniques change, but I don’t think the enduring principles of good communication will change that much. Because it’s about human behaviour and reaction.

– David Abbot, Abbot Mead & Vickers -

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Life as a leader, Life as a dreamer
People are unreasonable, illogical, self-centered
Love them anyway
If you do good
People may accuse of selfish, ulterior motives
Do good anyway
If you are successful
You will win false friends, and true enemies
Succeed anyway
The good you do today
May be forgotten tomorrow
Do good anyway
Honesty and frankness
Make you vulnerable
Be honest and frank anyway
People favor underdogs
But only follow Top-dogs
Fight for some underdog anyway
What you spend time building,
Maybe destroyed overnight
Build anyway
People who really need help
May attack you if you help them
Help them anyway
Give the world best you got
And you may get kicked in the tee
Give the world you got anyway
NOTE: Never realise who wrote this poem... but i liked it a lot.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Slowdown and the fear of loosing your job

Last few weeks have been discomforting. Got news from my previous company, that some 500 people were asked to leave, on grounds of non performance and cost cutting under slowdown... some people had been hired less than 12 months ago. The aftermath saw about 10 more people quitting almost immediately, the reason 'I will quit before I am asked to leave'. over the past one month had heard atleast 20 other stories of people being asked to leave from various media companie, TOI, HT, IT, Outlook, Reliance Retail, Subhiksha and a few more...
Some of the companies were actually doing quite well or so it seemed, and then it makes you wonder, whether this is happening because of the slowdown or are the companies firing under cover to undo some of their past sins.
A company I know, showed about 30 crores of loss in the last quarter. the official news was that the loss was on account of firing some 300 people and the pink slips cost them that amount. The fact was that they had to write off about 30 crores of accumlated bad debts over the past 5 years. some retail companies again fired a lot of people, maybe because of their over exposure to taking risks in rampantly opening retail outlets in every nook and corner they could find to have the first movers advantage rather than actually studying the viability of the outlet in that area.
But whatever the reason for firing, there is a sense on uncertainty and insecurity with employees.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Corporate Blooper

This is how technology dependance usually results in corporate bloopers. My company has an internal portal for employees. As a part of this site, there is a section that encourage employees by congratulating them when they complete a specific tenure... well ... and so it seems they take the data, not from the HR data but from the date on which their email ID was created.... probably for one, it was easier for the programmer to access that info and two because the data might not be way off the mark on the DOJ because a email ID is created within 1 week of joining....

but then things go wrong from there on.... one day I see the following screen

A person by the name "Application testid9" has completed 7 years in the organisation and tops the employee list for that day...

the error was later on corrected after some manual intervention...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Million Dollar Homepage

The Million Dollar Homepage ( ) How many people smacked themselves on the head for not thinking of this? About a million? Alex Tew made an initial investment of £50 on the domain name and a basic web-hosting package. Then, he proceeded to sell a pixel on his page for one dollar. The rest is history. He reached his goal of earning one million dollars and then some. Now, he’s selling 1000 limited edition poster prints (signed by Alex himself!) and offering an opportunity to “own a print of Internet history.”

The then 21-year-old student from Wiltshire, England to help raise money for his university education. Launched on 26 August 2005, the website is said to have generated a gross income of $1,037,100. The site's Alexa ranking as of 4 February 2009 is 46,523, having peaked at around 127.

The home page of the site consists of one million pixels in a 1000×1000 pixel grid, on which image-based links were sold for $1 per pixel, in minimum 10×10 blocks. The purchasers of these pixel blocks provided tiny images to be displayed on them, a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) to which they were linked, and a slogan displayed when hovering the cursor over the link. The aim of the site was to sell all of the pixels in the image, thus generating one million dollars of income for the creator.

On 1 January 2006, the final 1,000 pixels left were put up for auction on eBay. The auction closed on 11 January with a winning bid of $38,100.00, bringing the final tally to $1,037,100 in gross income.

visit for more info....

Top 10 Indian Scams in recent times

8000 crores - The biggest corporate scam in India has come from one of the most respected businessmen. Ramalinga Raju resigned as its chairman after admitting to cooking up the account books. His efforts to fill the "fictitious assets with real ones" through Maytas acquisition failed, after which he decided to confess the crime. With a fraud involving about Rs 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion), Satyam is heading for more trouble in the days ahead. The company's balance sheet as of September 30 carries inflated (non-existent) cash and bank balances of Rs 5,040 crore (Rs 50.40 billion) as against Rs 5,361 crore (Rs 53.61 billion) reflected in the books.

6000 crores - Ketan Parekh Harshad Mehta's footsteps to swindle crores of rupees from banks. A chartered accountant he used to run a family business, NH Securities.Ketan however had bigger plans in mind. He targetted smaller exchanges like the Allahabad Stock Exchange and the Calcutta Stock Exchange, and bought shares in fictitious names. His dealings revolved around shares of ten companies like Himachal Futuristic, Global Tele-Systems, SSI Ltd, DSQ Software, Zee Telefilms, Silverline, Pentamedia Graphics and Satyam Computer (K-10 scrips). Ketan borrowed Rs 250 crore from Global Trust Bank to fuel his ambitions. Ketan alongwith his associates also managed to get Rs 1,000 crore from the Madhavpura Mercantile Co-operative Bank. According to RBI regulations, a broker is allowed a loan of only Rs 15 crore (Rs 150 million). There was evidence of price rigging in the scrips of Global Trust Bank, Zee Telefilms, HFCL, Lupin Laboratories, Aftek Infosys and Padmini Polymer.

4000 crores - Harshad Mehta, He was known as the 'Big Bull'. However, his bull run did not last too long. He triggered a rise in the Bombay Stock Exchange in the year 1992 by trading in shares at a premium across many segments. Taking advantages of the loopholes in the banking system, Harshad and his associates triggered a securities scam diverting funds to the tune of Rs 4000 crore (Rs 40 billion) from the banks to stockbrokers between April 1991 to May 1992. Harshad Mehta worked with the New India Assurance Company before he moved ahead to try his luck in the stock markets. Mehta soon mastered the tricks of the trade and set out on dangerous game plan. Mehta has siphoned off huge sums of money from several banks and millions of investors were conned in the process. His scam was exposed, the markets crashed and he was arrested and banned for life from trading in the stock markets. He was later charged with 72 criminal offences. A Special Court also sentenced Sudhir Mehta, Harshad Mehta's brother, and six others, including four bank officials, to rigorous imprisonment (RI) ranging from 1 year to 10 years on the charge of duping State Bank of India to the tune of Rs 600 crore (Rs 6 billion) in connection with the securities scam that rocked the financial markets in 1992. He died in 2002 with many litigations still pending against him.

1200 crores - C R Bhansali scam resulted in a loss of over Rs 1,200 crore (Rs 12 billion). He first launched the finance company CRB Capital Markets, followed by CRB Mutual Fund and CRB Share Custodial Services. He ruled like a financial wizard 1992 to 1996 collecting money from the public through fixed deposits, bonds and debentures. The money was transferred to companies that never existed. CRB Capital Markets raised a whopping Rs 176 crore in three years. In 1994 CRB Mutual Funds raised Rs 230 crore and Rs 180 crore came via fixed deposits. Bhansali also succeeded to to raise about Rs 900 crore from the markets. However, his good days did not last long, after 1995 he received several jolts. Bhansali tried borrowing more money from the market. This led to a financial crisis. It became difficult for Bhansali to sustain himself. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) refused banking status to CRB and he was in the dock. SBI was one of the banks to be hit by his huge defaults.

1000 crores Cobbler scam - Sohin Daya, son of a former Sheriff of Mumbai, was the main accused in the multi-crore shoes scam. Daya of Dawood Shoes, Rafique Tejani of Metro Shoes, and Kishore Signapurkar of Milano Shoes were arrested for creating several leather co-operative societies which did not exist. They availed loans of crores of rupees on behalf of these fictitious societies. The scam was exposed in 1995. The accused created a fictitious cooperative society of cobblers to take advantage of government loans through various schemes. Officials of the Maharashtra State Finance Corporation, Citibank, Bank of Oman, Dena Bank, Development Credit Bank, Saraswat Co-operative Bank, and Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait were also charge sheeted.

600 crores - Home Trade had created waves with celebrity endorsements. But Sanjay Agarwal's finance portal was just a veil to cover up his shady deals. He swindled a whopping Rs 600 crore (Rs 6 billion) from more than 25 cooperative banks. The government securities (gilt) scam of 2001 was exposed when the Reserve Bank of India checked the acounts of some cooperative banks following unusual activities in the gilt market. Co-operative banks and brokers acted in collusion in abid to make easy money at the cost of the hard earned savings of millions of Indians. In this case, even the Public Provident Fund (PPF) was affected. A sum of about Rs 92 crore (Rs 920 million) was missing from the Seamen's Provident Fund. Sanjay Agarwal, Ketan Sheth (a broker), Nandkishore Trivedi and Baluchan Rai (a Hong Kong-based Non-Resident Indian) were behind the Home Trade scam.

595 crores - Dinesh Dalmia was the managing director of DSQ Software Limited when the Central Bureau of Investigation arrested him for his involvement in a stocks scam of Rs 595 crore (Rs 5.95 billion). Dalmia's group included DSQ Holdings Ltd, Hulda Properties and Trades Ltd, and Powerflow Holding and Trading Pvt Ltd. Dalmia resorted to illegal ways to make money through the partly paid shares of DSQ Software Ltd, in the name of New Vision Investment Ltd, UK, and unallotted shares in the name of Dinesh Dalmia Technology Trust. Investigation showed that 1.30 crore (13 million) shares of DSQ Software Ltd had not been listed on any stock exchange.

171.33 crore - Abdul Karim Telgi paid for his own education at Sarvodaya Vidyalaya by selling fruits and vegetables on trains. He is today famous (or infamous) for being he man behind one of The fake stamp racket exposed in 2000. The loss is estimated to be Rs 171.33 crore (Rs 1.71 billion), it was initially pegged to be Rs 30,000 crore (Rs 300 bilion), which was later clarified by the CBI as an exaggerated figure. In 1994, Abdul Karim Telgi acquired a stamp paper license from the Indian government and began printing fake stamp papers.Telgi bribed to get into the government security press in Nashik and bought special machines to print fake stamp papers. Telgi's networked spread across 13 states involving 176 offices, 1,000 employees and 123 bank accounts in 18 cities.

210 crores - Uday Goyal, managing director of Arrow Global Agrotech Ltd, was yet another fraudster who cheated investors promising high returns through plantations. Goyal conned investors to the tune of over Rs 210 crore (Rs 2.10 billion). He was finally arrested. The plantation scam was exposed when two investors filed a complaint when they failed to get the promised returns. Over 43,300 persons had fallen into Goyal's trap. Several criminal complaints were filed with the Economic Offences Wing. The company's directors and their relatives had misused the investors' money to buy properties. The High Court asked the company to sell its properties and repay its investors.

43 crores - Virendra Rastogi chief executive of RBG Resources was charged with for deceiving banks worldwide of an estimated $1 billion. He was also involved in the duty-drawback scam to the tune of Rs 43 crore (Rs 430 milion) in India. The CBI said that five companies, whose directors were the four Rastogi brothers -- Subash, Virender, Ravinde and Narinder -- exported bicycle parts during 1995-96 to Russia and Hong Kong by heavily over invoicing the value of goods for claiming excess duty draw back from customs.

32 crores - The UTI Scam - Former UTI chairman P S Subramanyam and two executive directors -- M M Kapur and S K Basu -- and a stockbroker Rakesh G Mehta, were arrested in connection with the 'UTI scam'. UTI had purchased 40,000 shares of Cyberspace between September 25, 2000, and September 25, 2000 for about Rs 3.33 crore (Rs 33.3 million) from Rakesh Mehta when there were no buyers for the scrip. The market price was around Rs 830. The CBI said it was the conspiracy of these four people which resulted in the loss of Rs 32 crore (Rs 320 million). Subramanyam, Kapur and Basu had changed their stance on an investment advice of the equities research cell of UTI. The promoter of Cyberspace Infosys, Arvind Johari was arrested in connection with the case. The officals were paid Rs 50 lakh (Rs 5 million) by Cyberspace to promote its shares. He also received Rs 1.18 crore (Rs 11.8 million) from the company through a circuitous route for possible rigging the Cyberspace counter.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Starving Billionaire

ZIMBABWE Inflation at 6.5 quindecillion novemdecillion percent

The Zimbabwe dollar now seems to have lost all its appeal, and calls for the adoption of a foreign currency to replace the struggling monetary unit and put an end to the country's crippling hyperinflation are becoming louder.

Dollarisation, or the use of a foreign currency - not necessarily the US dollar - in parallel to, or instead of, the domestic currency, has long been a daily reality for most Zimbabweans. Record-breaking inflation has made them reluctant to accept the local currency, preferring either to trade in a more stable currency, or to barter.

The monthly inflation rate passed the 50 percent mark - the threshold for defining 'hyperinflation'- in March 2007; in January 2009 the RBZ issued the world's first 100 trillion dollar note.

In an article in the December 2008 issue of the financial magazine, Forbes Asia, put the annual inflation rate at around 6.5 quindecillion novemdecillion percent - 65 followed by 107 zeros. Prices double every 24.7 hours.the hyperinflationary crisis of Hungary in 1946, in which prices doubled every 15.6 hours.

Indian reality - DevD

Saw the movie - DevD - after a long time.... The genius of Anurag Kashyap is in its full bloom with practically controls each and every aspect of film making, not that i know much about it, but this is by far his best direction...

One thing comes out clearly with Kashyap... his portrayal of real life people and their personalities on reel-life brings out uncanny resemblance with people you know, and what happens in day today society... the director makes no attempt to hide or glorify the inner most feelings of a girl and boy in heat or that of a father who realizes he cant face the world because of daugther's foolish steps on one hand and that of a father who hides her daughters overtures to an unacceptable relationship and finds out a way to get her married off quietly...

it also brings the brashness of a regular spoilt brat-kid and youth from a rich family who has no idea on what he will do with his future ... scenes like the BMW accident, the MMS scandal, the typical kothis of Delhi brings out real life characters with a disclaimer that it being "purely coincidental" or rather "a deliberate attempt with hurting sentiments"....

somehow I was expecting Kashyap to also put a scene Jessica Lal murder case but I guess he could not find an angle for it in the movie...

more importantly he tries and portray the youth and the earlier generation in its likeness to reality... how Paro still comes as a married woman to meet Dev in his shoddy hotel, how she is clear in his mind what she wants and what she does not... how Dev has his realisation on value for life.... every scene, though quite a few of them, have been crafted to give out a meaning and show you the mirror...

The casting is another brilliant attempt to move towards hiring new people and clearly puts forth that a successful movie does not need super stars but a great director...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mind you English

A Colleague the other day commented on the word "wacky" as being spelt wrong and the right way of doing it is "whacky"... checking the antecedents of the word found both being right, while the former being more right...


because "whacky" as defined by is a slang form of "wacky" ...

but then why the confusion... probably because our overt dependence on US English that adopts the slang cousin more and probably non conformance of standard style sheets by prominent newspapers..

I think its neither... it seems people tend to use as a noun in various scenarios like a blogger who calls hime self whaky, from Bayer, whackynation, whacky sports...

probably the 'h' brings in more more punch to the craziness of the word...

dont know why I am writing this but maybe someone who reads this makes some sense to my thought process...

but the correct usage of the word lies at "wacky" and not "whacky"

Fifth gear Car of the Year - Volkswagen GTI

The Volkswagen GTI... don't know when it will come to India... but the car is remarkable in every sense.... see it for yourself in the video....

The car launched, way back in 1983 in US stores, as the Rabbit GTI with a 1.8 Ltr 90 BHP engine has now transformed into a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine capable of 200 Bhp and a six-speed manual transmission that sends power to the front wheels.

Nuturing the genius within....

Saw a very interesting talk from Elizabeth Gilbert today... on

for those who don't know Ted... its a platform for people to discuss on ideas that probably help others ...

Everybody has a genius within him/her... what matter is how you sustain it and nurture it and actually manage it... genius, while it helps takes you to spurts of fame, or glory due to one of your unique moments of genius... but this puts in pressure on the person to perform better next time and in way drives him to under performance....

Elizabeth who is an acclaimed writer came with her latest book "Eat, Pray, Love" pushes her to the creative genius moments and now has a lot more pressure on her that whether she would be able to actually out do her genius on this book for the remaining 40 years of her life which she plans to spend writing better...

As she puts it... no person is a genius... it is those moments of extraordinary work of recognition within a group (however small) that calls him one... how to sustain that moment is the secret which we need to to find out our way...

A new beginning

the last i signed in was on 28th November 2008 when Mumbai was attacked, molested and raped by 10 terrorists from Pakistan who

The anger and angst still burns in my heart and many other mumbaities, who felt so insecure in their own homes... what followed next was spate of protests, debates and deep inside Mumbaities started thinking of issues that have not been addressed for so long... Internet became the most vocal platform to ask for a separate Mumbai state...

but while this was happening... i was undergoing my own change in looking outwards to prepare for the people who work with me... intimidate me ... and moreover not let me settle in my job....

just like the terrorists did...

The best way to counter them is probably not be like them or what Purohit did... but put up a strong front, face them and not worry about the consequence that you might be worried about... look at the other side... what haveyou got to loose, when people just want to screw around with your happiness and keep you unsettled anyways...