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Open Happiness – and get obesity

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Since when did sugar become synonymous with happiness? There was a time when cocaine was not a banned drug, it actually was an ingredient in Coca Cola and that is what gave it the name Coke. But that was when we didn’t know any better. We have, since then, banned cocaine and have removed it as an ingredient from cola. Sugar has been and is still used very liberally in our food and although it is not a dangerous drug like cocaine, consuming copious about of it, as in sweetened drinks like carbonated drinks and packaged fruit juices don’t so any wonders for our health either.

Sugar can’t be banned. We have not banned the production and sale of tobacco and alcohol but we have imposed a lot of other bans on it. It requires a license to sell it. People can consume it only after reaching a specific age. They can’t be consumed in public and so on.

With the kind of opposition we are seeing towards unhealthy food, are we also heading towards a future where sugar and oil have a status somewhat similar to tobacco and alcohol? We have banned cold drinks and fast foods from some schools, McDonald’s has been asked to stop targeting kids with advertising and toys in Happy meals. Maybe in future we will have sugar packets with warning that it can give you diabetes, hypertension, obesity and other diseases and maybe have gory pictures as on cigarette packs in some countries. What do you think?

With that being said, I’d like to support the statement of Coca Cola CEO that “It is wrong to blame one brand or one product category for health problems.” While sweetened drinks are a reason, they are not the only reason for all the health problem and I feel it is up to us to have more healthy food. Maybe we should cook more often and eat out less.

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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

— Marianne Williamson
from “A Return to Love”

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Olympics – The spirit and the reality

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“True Olympic spirit is often found away from gold medallists with their agents and sponsorship deals”

The above is the spirit of Olympics purely as a sporting event – something it ceased to be long ago and below is the spirit of Olympics as it stands now with sugar coated corporate greed. Check out some of the sponsors to understand what I mean

McDonald’s and Coke – The biggest irony. The brands that has been consistently making people fat and unhealthy, giving them obesity, hypertension, diabetes and so many other ailments is sponsoring an event that is actually everything the opposite of it.

DOW Chemicals – A company responsible for killing thousands of people in Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The London Olympic committee refused it take it off sponsors list inspite of India’s protest. India is sending its athletes inspite of this.

The IOC, under International Olympic Committee Official Programme defines the spirit of Olympic as :

“Olympic Spirit strives to inspire and motivate the youth of the world to be the best they can be through educational and entertaining interactive challenges. Olympic Spirit seeks to instill and develop the values and ideals of Olympism in those who visit and to promote tolerance and understanding in these increasingly troubled time in which we live, to make our world a more peaceful place.”

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Microsoft Surface – WYSIWYG or not?

Posted by Navin Harish - 2 Comments

Last morning I woke up and saw some posts of Microsoft launching Surface. Surface is a tablet which is supposed to take it not just a step but a few leaps closer to a computer. From what I have seen so far, it looks promising and the next time I have to buy a computer or a tablet, I will be seriously considering it. It has full USB, it has a cover that works as a keyboard and the size of the screen at 10.6 inches is big enough to comfortably work on. It also has Microsoft Office making adoption in work place easier.

I can’t help but think about the original surface that Microsoft launched years ago which never made it to the market. All this makes me wonder if the Surface tablet will actually come out and if it does, will it really be as awesome as promised.

The most important thing a laptop user will miss in this is the hard disk capacity but I guess that is a fair enough tradeoff for a much smaller and lighter bag that you will have to carry and the space you will save on your desk, unless you are a designer working on huge Photoshop files requiring lot of disk space and more processing power.

In the footsteps of Apple

The strategy of Microsoft is like Apple in more ways than one. They will be making both the hardware and the software and they will be selling it only from their own stores

But not perfectly

While they have adopted some of the good things of Apple, they have left out some of the most essential parts. Apple has always been very secretive about their products; I guess you will remember the episode of a “found” iPhone in a pub before it was launched. That was an important ingredient in the strategy that resulted in people queuing up outside the Apple stores on the day of the launch and the cult following of Apple products. If I know everything about the product and that too four months before the launch of the product, there will be no excitement left for me when the product is actually launched.

While Apple is able to reach the crescendo at just the right time, companies like Microsoft and Google are known to fizzle out at the time when it matters the most. Google+, Google Drive are examples of products that could have gained majority market share but failed because they were not marketed properly and an OS crashing when it is being launched is something every company would like to avoid. I can’t help but think about the original surface that Microsoft launched years ago which never made it to the market. All this makes me wonder if the thing will actually come out and if it does, will it really be as awesome as promised.

Losing the first mover advantage despite being the first mover

Microsoft has given Samsung and all other tablet makers ample time to pick up the best things of Surface and go to market before Microsoft. Why would it want to lose the first mover advantage despite being the first mover?


What’s in a name? Ask Sunny.

Posted by Navin Harish - 1 Comment

No, not Sunny Leone. See, this is what I meant. I am talking about Sunny Deol. Just ask him how humiliating it is for someone to spend 30 years in the film industry, shouting at the top of his voice and when someone takes his first name, the person who comes to mind is not him but a porn star we know barely an year ago.

Balwant Rai ke kutton ne bhi Sunny Deol to itna frustrate nahin kiya hoga jitna Sunny Leone ne kiya hai.

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Aurangzeb Road

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We have road named after the most cruel Mughal king Aurangzeb who was responsible for killing thousands of Indians.

Aurangzeb killed Hindus, Hitler killed Jews. What are the odd of finding a road named after Hitler in France or Poland or even Germany?

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The data is there for you to misrepresent

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Comparison of Petrol and diesel prices

The data is there, all you need is to dress and misrepresent it to suit your agenda.

Hindustan Times ran an article on Diesel cars. The pull out from the above infographic is the fact that the price difference in Petrol and Diesel has gone up from Rs.5 in 1989 to Rs.30.25 in 2012. WTF. How can you talk about talking the cost difference without talking about the cost? Reading the same data also reveals, more accurately, that the price difference between the Diesel and Petrol has dropped from 242% in 1989 to 173% in 2012.

The data is there, all you need is to dress and misrepresent it to suit your agenda.

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Employee welfare

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All your claims of employee welfare fall flat on the face when you employ contracted staff – like security and housekeeping who have to put in a 12 hour shift everyday.

Your responsibility doesn’t end with people on your payrolls, it has to extend to all the people working for you.

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I want to help, but don’t need to feel guilty or humiliated

Posted by Navin Harish - 1 Comment

You are running an NGO that helps people suffering from cancer, well that is very nice and yes I would like to help you with your cause. However I am not going to help you today, I will not help you tomorrow either. Before I help you, I need to understand how credible you are. I will need the URL for your website and some more information on what you have been doing before I make a commitment.

Oh! And what about the five year old suffering from cancer whose dad makes less than 3000 bucks a month? Well, isn’t too late to start collecting funds for that? If you are running an NGO like you said, you need to have funds available with you to provide timely help. I am sure you don’t go out looking for money every time a new patient comes in.

The second thing I find is being told how I’m “not doing enough”. For crying out loud, Barack Obama won the presidential election by collection small amount of money from a lot of people so why does the representative of an NGO who comes to pick up the cheque from home forces me to give more than I am offering. “Sir for 1500 rupees more, you can sponsor the schooling of x kids for one year.” I know, and for 3000 rupees more I can sponsor the schooling of 2x children. I can do the math. Why don’t you realize that I also have limitations on how much I can offer. Don’t thank me for what I am offering but don’t humiliate me either for not giving enough. Thank You.

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Corporate Social Responsibility

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Corporate Social Responsibility = Donating 1% of the MRP to a social cause
Marketing = Giving 30% discount to increase the market share.

Any corporate house will make a big fuss about donating 1% of their sales to a social cause but at the drop of a hat will offer a huge price cut to increase market share or to drive a smaller operator out of business.

If you are doing good do it for the sake of it. If you are inspired to help a cause, you will donate your money and energy to it, you won’t wait for your customers to buy something before you make a contribution. That is using a cause to increase your sales, not social service.

This is a marketing trick to take the customer on a guilt trip and then make you buy something by giving you a “feel good” factor for “making a difference”

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