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Why go to business school?

Should I go to business school? Will I get a better job than what I have today if I do an MBA? Do I need an MBA to start a company? Can I become a CEO without going to business school? What is the ROI of an MBA in India vs an MBA abroad?

Just because I’ve done an MBA does not mean I have an answer to all these questions, but my answer to all these questions is: it depends!

  • It depends on what you are doing right now
  • It depends on who your friends are
  • It depends on who your enemies are
  • It depends on how old you are
  • It depends on if you are single or not
  • It depends on whether you wanna have a nice matrimonial ad or not
  • It depends on how much money you have in the bank
  • It depends on how much money you want in the bank
  • It depends on whether you want to be rich or famous or both or neither
  • it depends on whether I’m confusing you or not
  • it depends on whether you wanna come back to this blog or not
  • It depends on.. I don’t know what all it depends on!!

The only good reasons according to me to go to business school are to take a break from the rat race that is life and to meet new people.

Twitter best practices for Indian businesses

Here is question asked by a colleague on a Linkedin focus group about effective usage of Twitter for businesses: “Am looking to get some inputs on usage of Twitter as a marketing tool in the Indian context. Does it work? Is it worth it? What works?

AFAIK, there aren’t any massive Twitter successes among Indian companies/products. Cleartrip is 1 of the few Indian product companies whose social media strategy I admire.

Some of the things they do well:

  • Have a high quality blog backing the Twitter account
  • Have a human approach to Twitter, they converse about variety of topics (not just their brand)
  • Respond quickly to customer queries
  • Share insightful blogs about their industry & related issues
  • Keep ratio of “Cleartrip tweets” to “Other tweets” under control
  • Use humor in tweets :)

I do not work for Cleartrip nor do I know the effectiveness/ROI of their Twitter strategy, but I sure do think they’re cool!

Follow Friday

It’s friday, so you could call this a Follow Friday post!

Twitter recently changed their home page to make it easy for their new users to understand and adopt the service. One of their biggest challenges has been to explain the utility of Twitter and how to get started, and examples of current usages seems like a good way to showcase Twitter to 1st time users. Here are some of the unique ways in which Twitter is used among the accounts I follow, partly inspired by this post by Brian Solis:

  • @thebetterindia pushes happy stories about India from their popular website thebetterindia.com to almost 5k followers
  • @diffenbot is a cool bot that finds queries on twitter about differences and @replies from the wiki of differences diffen.com
  • @gramana_z is a bunch of cryptic crossword enthusiasts that set & solve cryptic clues on twitter
  • @linger_at_coorg gives out information, deals & discounts on a cool new resort in Coorg called Linger
  • @start24x7 is a team of entrepreneurs running a helpline to answer queries from startups (now inactive)
  • @urdu101 teaches urdu by sharing urdu poetry and its meanings

What are some cool Twitter accounts that you follow?

IPL fever, temperatures rising

It’s been a week since the start of the 3rd edition of the hottest sports league in the world and like most people around me, I’ve been sucked into the euphoria. I’m chatting, Tweeting, FB’ing IPL, and that is when I’m not consuming a lot of beer watching the games.

Like every cricket fan, I have to do a couple of things with every tournament: Pick my favorite team and predict who will reach the semis/finals. My loyalties lie plain & clear with Royal Challengers Bangalore, coz I am from Bangalore and also coz I love my Kingfisher beer!! This was the team that was labelled a Test team, no good for T20, Royal screw ups & more; and rightly so given how they played in the 1st edition. But with just a few tweaks they now look the most settled unit in the league.

The ingredients that make up this unit are:

  • 1 super competitive, legend of a captain
  • 2 solid batsmen with tons of experience to handle almost any batting challenge
  • 3 top class young Indian batsmen who are ideal for this format of the game
  • 4 foreign players that are explosive middle order batsmen (Morgan, KP, White, Taylor)
  • 1 young express fast bowler, 2 good swing bowlers, 2 decent young Indian pacers (Mithun, Vinay), 1 legendary spinner
  • 1 superb wicket keeper middle order batsman, 1 promising young Indian wicket keeper as well (Goswami)

Of all the players, Pandey, Uthappa & Kohli, are the ones that stand out. All teams have 3-4 world class batsmen (Icons + Internationals), but among the 2nd in command Indian youngsters, this trio is the best. The bowling could do with another quality spinner, but one can’t have it all.

The other teams that I hope do well are Kolkata Knightriders (they deserve a break), Deccan Chargers (maybe some residual Hyd loyalty) and Rajasthan Royals (am a Warnie fan). I am pretty neutral about Delhi & Chennai, and for some reason do not like Punjab & Mumbai.

My predictions for the semi-finals: RCB, DC, MI & DD.

Let the trash talk continue!

Twitter usage

I’ve been on Twitter for almost a year now and am totally hooked to the product. I like various aspects about it and each of them excites me for a different reason, which I’ll try and list down below. In addition, I will also talk about the purposes for which Twitter is used.

Aspects of Twitter I like & why:

  1. Short & sweet – I’m lazy & don’t have the patience to write a full blog (this being post #4 on this blog proves that)
  2. Recommended reading – I enjoy reading, so interesting reading material with a degree of filtering and recommendation helps
  3. The Phenomenon – I love the web and am fascinated by massive consumer Internet success stories
  4. Something for everyone – The variety of people using the product speaks about its appeal; Mr President, Politicians, Film stars, Sportsmen, etc.
  5. Product usability (simplicity), Technology (APIs/Real-time search), Revenue model (none :)

How Twitter is used has almost as many answers as there are users. It is called Micro-blogging, Real-time Search Engine, Social Network, Social Media Marketing tool, CRM tool, Breaking News channel, and maybe a few more names I don’t know of. And the truth is that none of them is a misnomer, Twitter is a multi-utility product.  Users are coming up with more and more utilities of the platform, which can be further developed and eventually monetized. That is the massive opportunity ahead for Twitter and only time will tell if they utilize it well.

It was written

Wasn’t it. I heard Rahman in an interview say that a lot of things just came together for Slumdog Millionaire. And so it seems now, with the overwhelming success of the film across the globe, that the line from the film describes it’s own journey perfectly. A few other things that point to the same are:

1. SM is not the best English movie I’ve seen, probably not even the best this year

2. SM is a typical Bollywood flick in English, just made better

3. Rahman’s music for SM is surely not his best work

4. This is neither Anil Kapoor’s nor Irfan Khan’s best work

5. Not sure if this is Danny Boyle’s best work either (I haven’t seen his other films)

There might be a few more such not-so-extraordinary things about this film, but every aspect has come together to make it extraordinary. The perfect time for a movie to show the world hope, the perfect time to show the world a city that went through so much and the perfect time to show the world that a country has arrived. 

Jai Ho!

Federer at Aus Open

Watched Roger Federer play today in the 1st round of the Aus Open for a whole set, been a while since I did that. He played an Italian guy called Seppi and beat him in straight sets, 6-1, 7-6, 7-6.

A few observations from the game:

1. The game was a really good workout for Fedex for a 1st round; Seppi is a really good player ranked in the 30s

2. It’s very sad that someone like Seppi has to face up to Fedex so early; the guy could easily have reached the 3rd or 4th round if not for this draw. I guess that’s just the luck of the draw.

3. When Federer was being stretched in the 3rd set, I got wondering about his will to raise his game to just get to the 2nd round, which he can so easily take for granted. Found new respect for all these players for doing this for years.

4. Having wowed at all aspects of Federers game for a while, I had missed the quality and power of his serve somehow, had only noticed the poetry in the action. Worth doing a 1-on-1 comparison of his and Sampras’ serve sometime.

Want to catch as much of the master as possible while he’s around.

Tennis Predictions for 2009

1. Federer will win at least 2 Grand Slam tournaments, including Wimbledon

2. Federer will regain the #1 position in the rankings

3. Nadal will struggle through the year, but will win the French Open

Sports, Technology & Business – discussions I enjoy.