Sunday, 30 November, 2008

Indian Retail yet to Arrive

Black Friday has officially kick started the holiday shopping season in the U.S.

image

ShopperTrak RCT, a retail industry research firm, said total Black Friday sales rose 3% this year, to about $10.6 billion nationwide,the smallest gain for a “Black Friday” in three years. But retailers say it could have been worse and they hope the positive trend will continue through the season. ShopperTrak has estimated that 9.9 percent fewer shoppers will descend on stores this holiday season, producing a sales gain of 0.1 percent

Compare this with Indian retail scenario

When a single Black Friday sales account for more than $450 billion ,Industry experts believe modern retail could be worth as much as $100 billion out of a total $600 billion Indian consumer market only by 2011.Kishore Biyani told CNN.com."Our sales during Diwali (the festival of lights in October) were quite good, up 18 percent year on year." 

But the 18% will be still very less when looked in actual sales figures. So when will India have its Black Friday?Big Bazaar CEO Rajan Malhotra told CNN.com, "I think it is up to modern retail to create occasions of consumption in a market like ours," noting that the chain's "Once in a Lifetime" promotion last month took sales to record levels.

Retail expert Ireena Vittal of consultancy McKinsey says 180 million of India's 205 million households are still intimidated by modern retail, ensuring that traditional retail formats will continue to grow.

I think Indian retail has still a long way to go before we have "Great Indian shopping Day" comparable to the US Black Friday.

Saturday, 29 November, 2008

Everyday Heroes

After 51 hours ,the battle still continues...As for now 148 are dead including 16 police personnel.Reports say that they are three more terrorists holed up in TAJ.Totally 10 places had been attacked during the ordeal.

Meanwhile rescued guests at TAJ have lauded the efforts of the hotel staff for their bravery and courage and their commitment towards their guests.The staff at TAJ have emerged as heroes as they shielded, hid or evacuated their wealthy guests from militants at the Taj without considering their own safety.

Mangeshikar, a 52-year-old gynaecologist, told Reuters. "The man in front of my wife shielded us. He was a maintenance section staff. He took the bullets."

Hotel workers in one case ushered guests into a conference room and then locked the doors to protect them from the militants. The guests were later rescued by the fire brigade.

Kanda Noriyaki, a chef at the hotel's Japanese restaurant, led guests trembling and screaming with fear to safety."Just imagine, they even served us food the first few hours," said a hotel guest, who did not wish to be named. "Only when the kitchens became out of bounds did they express regret for not being able to serve us food."

One person recounted how Taj staff stopped panicky guests from rushing into the lobby where militants could have shot them."They were brilliant," Bhisham Mansukhani told the Mail Today. "If they hadn't kept their cool, many more lives would have been lost."

Many evacuees from the hotel hailed the bravery of the staff."The hotel staff has been very, very brave," Mangeshikar said. "Hats off to them."

At  this time we cannot forget that many chief officers of ATS,NSG Commandos and encounter specialists have shed their lives during this battle. Hats off to their Courage & Bravery.

Thursday, 27 November, 2008

MUMBAI MAYHEM

Mumbai or Bombay which is the gateway for Brand India has been hit again and hit hard.Its not just a random blast this time,its an direct attack ,a siege .Its not just another terror attack which will be forgotten next week and It should not be.image

Reports say that there were 5 bomb blasts ,and also armed gunmen have taken atleast 50 hostages in TAJ& OBEROI ,Trident hotels.Half of the hostages are said to be foreigners.Cops,including several chief officers have been killed.As of now 60 people have been feared killed and 200 injured.Click here for latest reports

The mumbaikars were considered the most resilient people,but the fact was that they had to get used to the terrorist attacks which happens atleast every month in form or another as if it is a natural phenomenon, because they have no place else to survive in this great democratic country.

Its time to stop mourning and start acting,

India are you listening???

Friday, 21 November, 2008

New Bond Vs New Coke

Prof Ray says "The 'Quantum of Solace' Bond is one that's turned Rambo, and that's a no-no."
As a bond fan, I too said no no when Bond became like Rambo & Bourne.However QOS has got the opening amongst all Bond movies and still raking up the box office to become the most commercially successful Bond film ever made.

Unlike the new coke,the new Bond has become a hit in the market imageby breaking all box office records by previous Bond movies. Does that mean they have got the balance of retention & alterations correctly? May be or may be not, but for me the next one will not be a Bond movie but a decent action movie. (See My review of QOS)
Which made me think what if the new coke was actually successful but a considerable population missed the classic version?

Of course ,they can sell two versions of coke at same timeimage but when it comes to choosing only one of them which what will you choose? Will you choose to serve the existing market where your brand has a strong positioning or jump on to the new segment where you have to alter the brand image? I think it will be the sales figures which will have a final word. So its highly probable that atleast the next couple of Bond movies will be packed with nothing but action.

Wednesday, 19 November, 2008

Apocalypse coming in 2012

Mayan legend has it that  on 21.12.2012 , the B'ak'tun cycle in the Long Count of the Maya calendar gets completed and it is said that it will cause a major change in the world,more like a apocalypse due to tremendous natural disasters.

Now that's a great story to make a Hollywood blockbuster .Atleast Roland Emmerich thinks so. His last movie 10,000 B.C. was not very successful.But Roland says his next film "2012" will sure make up for it.This time he sticks to his formula of a apocalyptic disaster story with a huge budget which promises mind blowing visual effects.

The blockbuster director who gave hits like Independence Day,Godzilla,had earlier said he won't be doing any more disaster movies. His recent movies "The Day After Tomorrow" was also blockbuster based on effects of global warming . But Roland says "…This whole movie I'm doing next was inspired by just the phenomenon of the internet when you type in Google, '2012', you get 240 million hits. That's a lot. And it's just, so many people write about it, believe it, that our world comes to an end in 2012. I said wow. I kind of said before I will never do a disaster movie again. I said, for this idea I have to do it again."

                                                      Trailer of 2012

Hopefully we get to see the movie before the world ends...

Monday, 17 November, 2008

Nilekani's India Dreams

Infosys Technologies Co-Chairman, Mr Nandan M. Nilekani is bringing out the India he has imagined in his mind in his first book, Imagining India: Ideas for the 68356954-b277-11dd-99d2-000b5dabf613.jpgNew Century.

“It’s a definitive book on India,” says Penguin Books’ India managing editor Udayan Mitra on Nilekani’s debut offering. “It’s the kind of book that has an international appeal. Nilekani has been in the forefront of IT revolution in India and is one of the most recognized faces globally”.

Indeed, everyone who have read Thomas Friedman's "World Is Flat " will know Mr.Nilekani.After all it was his words which propelled the book's theme.

Imagining India is divided into four parts: The first dwells on topics, including globalization, India’s demographic advantage, the changing role of the entrepreneur and technology. The second is about the infrastructural challenges and the third looks at issues such as conflicting political ideologies, labour reform and higher education. The last section deals with democracy and technology, health, pensions and entitlements, the environment and energy.

It will be launched on 24 November in New Delhi,  followed by other Indian cities, Bangalore including Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad. The book will also be released in the US and elsewhere in 2009.

Sunday, 16 November, 2008

Iphone-not so "happening" in India

When Apple set 100,000 as its sales target for the iphone in India imagefor the period till Dec 2009,they thought they are being humble because of the fact that in India around 120 million handsets are sold every year of which 4 to 5% are smartphones.

But now they realise that it will be very hard to reach this modest target.Livemint.com reports that only 11000 iphones have been sold so far out of the 50,000 of the initial shipment.

So what went wrong? Is it the price? not really...because Nokia's iphone killers are doing well although they are priced same or even more(30k+range) than the iphone in India.Its too early to quote numbers of the N96 but sales is brisk according to sellers.

Two main P's that Apple got wrong are Promotion & Place-that is they did not communicate properly to the Indian consumer why they have to pay three times more than the US price.Also only the service providers  promoted and not Apple despite its retail presence. And Airtel and Vodafone thought since its The Iphone it will sell by itself and only a low level of promotion was done(only some printads ands billboards that iphone is available)    

Then Place i.e. distribution, when retail is growing in India,Iphones are sold only through the service provider outlets and not through other mainstream retailers.Meanwhile the availability of Nokia phones is much much greater in the Indian Marketplace.

If sales of iphones is to be pushed it should be done immediately by collaborating with other organised retailers  because the time is running out and before you know it consumers would have forgotten the iphone.

Who's watching Who

Although we knew before,now we have proof. Hubble has snapped up pictures of a planet orbiting around a star outside our solar system.For the first time there is an opportunity to study the nature of an other solar system other than ours.This may help us to understand and arrive at generic patterns across several solar systems.image

The planet, Fomalhaut b, maintains an orbit around the star Fomalhaut and has three times the mass of Jupiter. "Our Hubble observations were incredibly demanding. Fomalhaut b is 1 billion times fainter than the star. We began this program in 2001, and our persistence finally paid off," said Hubble astronomer Paul Kalas, of the University of California at Berkeley.

So we can see it will take an awful lot of time to study and to compare & contrast with our system.I think we need lot more  Hubbles if we hope to do so.

Thursday, 13 November, 2008

LCD-LG's Conspired Dealing

LG Display Co Ltd, Sharp Corp, and Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd have pleaded guilty in a price fixing conspiracy of Liquid Crystal Displays between the period from September 2001 to June 2006

ZDNET reports "The price-fixing conspiracies affected millions of imageAmerican consumers who use computers, cell phones, and numerous other household electronics every day," Thomas Barnett, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's antitrust division, said in a statement

Electronic majors like Apple, Dell & Motorola are the mostimage affected companies due to this price fixing conspiracy.While Chunghwa is paying US$65 million and Sharp a fine of US$120 million,LG Display has agreed to pay a US$400 million fine, which is the second-highest antitrust fine ever imposed.

Observers say that during 2000 Korean & Taiwan companies were producing excess LCD glass which forced sellers to sell US$5-10 below the cost . So the companies agreed to a price fixing collusion which resulted in the increase of prices.

Whatever the reasons may be now LG, Sharp ,etc might lose many of its valuable customers like Apple ,Dell etc unless they do a intensive damage control.

CHANDRAYAAN -1 Fired & Placed Successfully

image

Hindu Reports "The spacecraft reached its final home after commands were radioed at 6.33 p.m. from the Spacecraft Control Centre (SCC), nerve-centre of the current operations at ISTRAC, to Chandrayaan-1’s engine, Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM), to fire.

The engine fired for 58 seconds and Chandrayaan-1’s aposelene (the farthest distance from the moon) was reduced from 255 km to about 100 km. On Tuesday, its periselene was reduced from 187 to about 100 km. Thus, after the last orbit reduction on Wednesday evening, Chandrayaan-1 was truly home."

Learn more about the moon mission here

Monday, 10 November, 2008

The Queen's Question

It seems Her Majesty too is hit by the global imagemeltdown.Apparently the Queen of Britain has lost  estimated £25 million of her personal fortunes in the credit crunch.

The Queen had visited London School of Economics last week and had a briefing from professors on the economic meltdown.

Professor Luis Garicano, director of research at the London School of Economics’ management department, was quoted as saying by the British media that “The queen asked me, ‘If these things were so large, how come everyone missed them,"

That is a simple question and that's why its hard to answer.If you think about it,its actually surprising. What started as a normal real estate slump in the US has now become so huge that  Dyeing factories in Tirupur  are operating only 3 days a week. Why did they let it develop so huge? after all the sub prime crisis is been known for almost two years. What was seen as a credit crunch in US  has now become global crisis which has triggered layoffs in almost every growing sector in every major economy.

It seems in this  Global world,one man's poison is not another man's food but everyone's pain.

Friday, 7 November, 2008

QOS-007- Stirred Not Shaken

Quantum Of Solace - even though I don't like to watch Daniel Craig saying "Bond , James Bond" I still went to watch on its opening day as a true James Bond fan and also because my dad will be happy to hear it(007 movies were the best quality times for me and my dad)

Surprisingly the movie was great more than I expected.Awesome action sequences...locations...Dame Judi Dench...MI6..CIA...You even get some jokes...Danny has done a wonderful job as a action hero and wat's more,he doesn't even say "bond James bond"

But that's the problem it is not a traditional Bond movie...not  many gadgets(except a Sony ericsson mobile with GPS tracker)..no cool cars( a standard Aston Martin which is battered within the first 5 minutes)....Not even the bond girls,steal the show,he keeps on killing people and still hard lacking the sophistication of a "oo"

They have changed the recipe to the new generation of imageaudiences ..I will definitely see the next one but not  with a expectation of 007 movie...It will be just another good action packed adventure.... But I do recommend to watch this movie even to James bond fans as they will get many answers which arose from Casino Royale...regarding Mathis,Vesper, M etc.

James gets closure for Vesper ,so did I for Casino Royale and so will you...Watch it for the weekend.

Thursday, 6 November, 2008

R.I.P ,MICHAEL

From Andromeda Strain through Jurassic Park to ER image(T.V.series) Michael Crichton earned his name as the "father of techno thrillers"

He was a doctor,scientist,film director but best known as a science fiction writer by the fact that more than 150 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide.

Every novel of his was strongly based on real technological facts.He is one of my personal favourites & one of the major reasons which kindled my desire to not just read stories but to learn & understand  this system called life.

"Science is a kind of glorified tailoring enterprise," Crichton wrote in Travels, "a method for taking measurements that describe something - reality - that may not be understood at all."

Wednesday, 5 November, 2008

Flying Ferraris For the Future

Moller International is sweating  day in & day out to bring out the first ever commercialised flying car. The aspiring R&D team under the guidance of Dr Paul Moller have already demonstrated prototypes of skycars in the past.

Now the challenge is to build a commercially viable  "autovolantor" (vo-lan'ter) n. A vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that is capable of flying in a quick, nimble, and agile manner) keeping manufacturing costs in mind so that it cab be priced which will be viable for consumers to buy it.

According to reports, Designer Bruce Calkins says the car, based on the ¢G200,000 Ferrari 599 GTB will run on a hybrid fuel and electric system to power the thrusters, creating as much as 800 horsepower. He believes it will be able to travel for 75 miles by air or 150 miles by ground before it needs refuelling.image

Hope the Ferrari comes out with flying colours!!!

Remember Remember the 5th of November

The British have a reason to remember the 5th of November

Remember, Remember The fifth of November,

The gunpowder treason and plot.

I know of no reason Why the gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot. image

 

Now the Americans have a reason why the 5th of Novemberimage should be remembered.This is the day when the people of the United States of America said "We Need A Change" and may  it be the 'Change' they believed in and the rest of the world hope for.

Sunday, 2 November, 2008

November-New & Improved

Hi everyone ...I am back after the break and ready to blog the interesting things around the world.

The horrifying October (not for me personally it was good) which imagefeatured the global meltdown started from mayhem @ wall street   which led to bloodbath @ Dalal street...jobs being cut,office getting closed down,hiring being stopped ,rise in prices and of course the usual terrorist attacks etc etc has ended with the popular Halloween image

Except oil & real estate companies other Indian companies are   holding up better than expected.Markets are pulling up again and hopefully they stabilize soon.   Looks like November will bring in the Festive cheers and also Mr.Obama will bring in the Change he promised.

The New November 2008 is certainly a De Novo in many contexts and lets hope it turns out to be better than the old october.