Saturday, May 16, 2009

Analysis of possibilities - Part II

5:00 pm on the day of election results. PM and future PM's mummy had a press conference an hour ago. With the jubilation done with, and the dust having settled down, it is time to analyze some possibilities and aspects that stare us in the face today.

At the end of it all, RJD is twiddling its fingers with a paltry 5 seats. Mulayam Singh's demeanour resembles his name now with his party bagging no more than a apologetic 20 seats. All the prospective allies have no bargaining power with the Congress this time. This shall work in the best interests of Congress after having entered into an alliance with the TMC (Mamata Didi). You may wonder why. Well heres the juice : Mamata Banerjee , for long has had a 'thing' (if you allow me) for the Railway Ministry. Now, in a 20 against 5 statistic, Mamata straightaway scores a brownie point against Laloo Yadav in the race to bag that ministry.

The next controversy in waiting is cabinet positions for Kalaignar Karunanidhi's entire family. And that is probably going to be followed by raking up the murder charges that have been slapped on Azhagiri. Home minister Palaniappan Chidambaram had been trailing all day today. Had he lost, it would surely have been a terrible loss of face for the Congress. But Bingo!! News flashes in the evening inform me of a recount that took place in Sivaganga and miraculously, P.C has won!... My teachers in school told me , there are no miracles; Illusions are created and made to look like miracles. Well, I rest my case with a

Samajhne waale samajh chuke hain, jo na samjhe, na samjhe - just wait and watch!

Now, the mother of all possibilities. Long back, --> here , I had asked you, Whats in a name, anyway? Maybe, today , I myself shall be able to provide an answer. What do you instantly visualize when you come across the name Rahul? The maximum number of answers I have got, point to one of Shahrukh khan's cheesy characters. What if I add a Gandhi to that name? There!, you have your PM(in waiting). Thats what a name gives you : The top post in the country. Immediately after this landslide victory, every leader in the Congress has attributed the success to Manmohanji, Soniaji and Rahulji. Manmohan Singh, coming out at the press conference at 4 :00 and saying that he shall force Rahul Gandhi to take up a cabinet portfolio is as farcical as farcical can get. Manmohan singh is already not in the pink of health after his bypass surgery. So, do not be surprised if sometime at the middle of his term Manmohan Singh abdicates his throne and gets Rahulji in the hot seat. If you find this theory to be baseless, pray tell me why a mummy would want her bacchu to waste 5 productive years of his life. The mummy would rather get her baccha to become the youngest prime minister of the largest democracy in the world. This is one of those things that would get Jyotiraditya or Sachin Pilot to remark "Humne kya gunaah kiya tha ?"

Two more interesting aspects before I wrap this up.

Shashi tharoor has been promised a cabinet position. This is an excellent prospect. I am hoping that he gets MOS EF(external affairs). We need brains at the top. Young people, fresh faces and heads firmly on shoulders : Am glad that we will not see a cabinet abundant with people who visit the Apollo hospital more than they visit their constituencies.

Finally, Arnab Goswami might need to create work/news over the next few days. With the Congress winning so cleanly, he might not get any fodder to ruminate on. News is bound to get de-sensationalised (allow me to term it as boring). The Hindi Channels do not come under the purview of this generalization . Elections are over and done with; but UFOs from Mars still suck up cows from remote faraway Village roads and a Ganesha Statue can still drink milk. The hindi channels are going to be in business.

Many more possibilities are yet to be discussed. Some possibilities that could not be tested also may be discussed. One that comes to my mind is What would Pratibha Patil have done in the event of a hung parliament. Thats hypothesis now and I shall let it be that way.


>> May be continued .. >>

Friday, May 15, 2009

Analysis of possibilities - Part I

10:00 AM on the day of Poll results - Congress is surging towards probably becoming the single largest party in the country. As a candid Digvijay Singh remarked, "For the second time, we shall see a UPA govt. headed by Dr. Manmohan singh and led by Soniaji Gandhiji (sic)" and am sure that the same line is going to be used by the NDA to criticize the UPA during its stint in opposition.

L.K. Advani leads in gandhinagar but would again have to settle as the leader of the opposition. Lalu's strategy of contesting from both Saran and Pataliputra is paying off. He is leading in one constituency while trailing in another. My glee knows no bounds when i see Renuka Chowdhary trailing. Renuka is a political analyst's prototypical example of an incompetent politician. She is neither a grass-roots person, nor has the hold to argue on national issues on public forums. Credit to her for carrying on from Khammam for the past five years as a mother, daughter, sister and daughter in law. Enough of the tomfoolery; Khammam has 'jaagoed'.

MNS has surprisingly struck a jackpot in Mumbai South. Milind Deora, due to lack of development initiatives may have to spend five years on the fringes as a sevak. Although I do not favor the MNS in any way, this is a fully justified mandate by the people. Kamal Nath, who was trailing for the past hour has started leading in Chhindwara. Mohammed Azharuddin, is surprisingly leading in Moradabad. The only agenda he had in the runup to the elections is to build a stadium in Moradabad. Yes Azzu Bhai.. Once the stadium is up, you may start an academy there and insure your old-age. And ya, dont forget the the cliched crap that you mumbled the other day on television : 'hospitals', electricity. You mumbled your way through cricket. I expect nothing special from you in the parliament. Mark my words, five years down the line , Azzu would say- "We tried our bets(oops best), you know, We served , you know, the people, you know but still there, you know, are neither hospitals, nor is there , you know, electricity here. However, you know, we have built a stadium here which would churn out cricketers who , you know, would play as Kaccha Limbus in the IPL"

Kalaignar is leading in a major way in TamizhNaad. BJP has shamelessly attributed this mandate to the incursion of Vijayakanth in politics. Left parties have been amazingly done-in by the Cong TMC and the Cong UDF alliances in Kokata and Kerala. In retrospect, it seems to have been a masterstroke by the Congress in both the states in going to bed with the Left's opposition.

Potential PM Mayawati has bagged 44 seats till now. My earlier analysis was that Mayawati works on the long tail strategy and that has been proved correct.

If we see a break-up of Mayawati's victory, 60pc of her seats have come from the UP and 40pc from non UP. The entire count goes on to a mammoth 44 (for a non national level party). Giving attention to the long tail always pays dividends. Maywati's victory simply proves that fact. However, in the context of Indian elections, I find it weird that this strategy works. Consider a case where I might need to expect Maya to carry on development activity in my constituency which is in the heart of Mumbai, Maharashtra, a constituency unknown to Maya and here party(hench)men. The core fact is that Maya is plainly looking to establish a national presence with her cliched and inconsequential Dalit ki Beti ranting while not having a firm agenda on development and strategic progress. This is my primary and only argument in not favouring Maya Behen ever as a PM.

Mamata Di has hit the jackpot this time after abysmally losing out last time round while being in the fold of the NDA. Consider this : Last time, the CPM bagged 35 out of the total of 42 seats for which they were fighting on.

Its been a while, I have been garnering facts for this post over the morning today. Currently, Cong is at 208 nationally. A projection coming out is Cong (208) + Left(31) + Fourth Front(40) > 272. I feel Cong should not cut the umbilical cord with the Left. While, the Left parties are a pain in the ruling alliance, they would be a PAIN in the opposition. The Left parties are not averse to walk outs and bandhs and I, as a tax payer am just not keen on having a 30pc cut on my pay every year just to see a lack of quorum in the parliament all the time.

Also, if the Left is going to sit out of a UPA alliance, the only big party that remains is the BSP. Hell, again, I am just not keen on having my tax money build statues of Kanshiram, and Behenji in all parks all across the nation.

>>First among a set of posts. >>

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

New Refrigerator breeds.

Am sure you have come across one of these. Apparently , they call it the Pepsi refrigerator. Search on google and you get 144000 results pointing to the same. Excuse me if I sound stupid

but I was really not aware that one is not supposed to keep products other than those manufactured by PepsiCo in these Pepsi-branded coolers. The same logic holds for all other breeds such as Cadbury Coolers, Coca Cola refrigerators et al. Till date, I was of the view that these banners/logos are purely brand promotions of individual products. Evidently, I was wrong ; This is a part of such products' business model and the below account shall describe how it all falls in place.

How does the system work?
The local franchisee of a particular product approaches the shops in the locality asking them sell only their product. The targets of such requests/proposals are shop owners at critical nodes and stages. The created monopolistic chain is lengthened by approaching many more such nodal shopowners.

Whats in it for the shopkeeper?
Ah, I am no Galileo. This is possibly the first question that even the 'baniyas' pose to the franchisee representatives. Heres the key. The fridge/refrigerator belongs to the company whose product is going to be enfranchised by the shopkeeper. Maintenance, Servicing and periodic cleaning of the refrigerator is completely managed by the product company. The shopkeeper safeguards his peace of mind at a relatively small CTS - Cost to Serve. He only needs to ensure that he is stocked with the products of the aforesaid company at all times. But is this really a little CTS? Well I do not think so. Lets place it against the Opportunity Cost of the baniya.

The Opportunity Cost
Well, the primary purpose of stocking products of only a single brand is to kill the demand for those of the brand's competitors. But this approach focusses on a scenario where all the brands are equally placed in the market in terms of their demand,differentiated product offerings and also their timing of production, shipping and delivery. But that is usually never the case. Demands for such FMCG products change by the day. New products or product lines launched can also play a huge role in shaping the demand. Convenience of Use and Availability is also key in brand loyalty retention. For example: Pepsi might have soft drinks available in tetra packs whereas Coke might not. Similarly, Pepsi might have employed a poor service in shipping which might be delaying its replenishment dispatch orders. In such a case, if the demographics of a locality are bent upon having the product in a particular form and quantity, their local convenience store does not give them that provision, they would rather go to a super market and shop for the month rather than compromise on every daily purchase. Carpet Bombing does not always solve the issue of a 'need based' marketing campaign. This is a huge opportunity cost to pay as the local convenience stores end up losing customers while aligning themselves to a larger objective of that product company. However, the 'baniyas' are not people to be cowed down by such externalities. Workarounds are devised and margins are maintained at a Green level.

The Workaround.
No prizes for guessing. The shopowners bribe the person who delivers the product line and checks for aberrations in the shopkeeper's conduct as per the unspoken agreement. The shopowners also extract intelligence about the existence and timings of periodic checks from the higher authorities of the said company. Who is the sufferer? It is the company which tries to establish the monopoly by getting the grass-root players in their favor. These companies end up doing all the dirty work of maintaining those refrigerators which ultimately house their competitors' products!.

That is one manifestation of an utterly complex microeconomic scenario for you.

The next time you visit a shop which houses multiple products from multiple brands, be sure to check the cases where these are stored. If you see a Coke standing comfortably in a 'Pepsi refrigerator' or a Kitkat snoring in a 'Cadbury Cooler Case' you know what went on behind the scenes.

Blogger errors - bX-r1ezpk,bX-ic7rvl

Trust me, these errors scare the daylights out of you. Consider this: You spent a considerable chunk of your day adding widgets and beautifying your weblog and now, you cannot access it. Reason - One of the pieces of code you added, was probably not well formed and so it is behaving weirdly. In tech jargon, this situation is referred to, as a parsing error.

If you do encounter this, do not fret. There obviously exists a solution. I'll address the proactive measures of the solution first and then touch upon the reactive ones.

- First, take a backup of your blog template and of all those scripts which you have added for your custom widgets

- Second, bookmark the 'Edit Html' page of your blog. Among all the pages of your blog, only this page is accessible when this error pops up.

- Third, remember your blogger password correctly or update your browser settings with the latest password if you have the habit of having the machine to 'Remember me'. This is important as Blogger, like google, goes crazy even if you input your password wrongly once. And you dont want your account to be blocked in such a scenario.

Now, the reactive measures.

- Go to the Edit Html Page with your credentials.
- There is a checkbox at the bottom of the page saying 'Revert to original widget templates'
-Click on that and save the HTML.
-Click on the View Blog button at the top of the page and voila!, your blog should open as previous.

I am hoping that this post comes to your rescue when you use Google Search as your first reactive measure. Sadly, Google also houses just 2 useful pages on bX-r1ezpk.

I have only Peter Schiff to thank for resurrecting my blogosphere. Hope I could be of help to you with this post.