Saturday, January 17, 2009


[Edit] This 'model' was refined further and was eventually published as a comic on This version is much better and logical than the raw one here. Enjoy!

This post is dedicated to all MICAns (okay, I'll admit I did that just so that all of you will actually read this) who live, breathe, eat and present models day in and day out.

Any marketing-major BSchooler worth his Kotler will know that life is all about pfaff, models and presentations. It seems that long ago, the so-called Gurus of marketing were terribly inspired by Euclidean geometry so as to continually draw them and to try and make them original pieces of work, added words like 'customer', 'positioning' and 'value'. They sound fancy too. Till the second semester of your MBA course. So much that when you hear the word 'value', you just want to take that handy-dandy pocket electrocution kit and do yourself in. Seriously.

I've seen concentric circles, triangles, layers within triangles, squares, and even triangles in circles! What's next? Three-dimensional dodecahedrons? Rhombii inside hemispheres?

You don't believe me? Take a look at that 4 Ps model, the highly overused, de rigeur for any good marketing presentation. Product, Price, Place, Promotion. By revered marketer, Jerome McCarthy.

Now close your eyes and imagine this scenario, where Jerome was a marketing student at some university, and he had to submit an assignment the next day, based on how to position a new bar of soap (that overabused-by-students-of-marketing piece of FMCG). He of course, has a wild night out with his friends, only to come back and remember that he has his assignment to finish off. His groupmates egg him on to just put together 4 slides (or whatever they used in the 60s. God, how did marketing students survive before Powerpoint?). So he just puts together 'product, price, place, promotion', writes two points each and plonks off to sleep. I mean, any of us would have done something like that, right? We might have added 'target audience' or 'brand idea' instead of one of the Ps. But hell, it stuck. And it became a model, worshipped by marketers who draw insane salaries! See how easy it is to come up with something like this?

Hence, in a moment of inspiration, I too came up with my own model. I proudly call it : The Cricket Stump Model.

The explanation:

- To maintain both market share and profits: company assets, demand and values are imperative.

- If demand remains intact, but company assets are lost: market share will fall, but profits might not.

- If demand falls, despite the values and assets, both market share and profits will fall.

There we go!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


This is what happens when joblessness meets defunct computer components.

Now excuse me, while I go and take apart the motherboard :-P

Bonus non-tech wall-addition:

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Disgruntled readers of COD will no doubt criticize my very inherent ability to pfaff and gas around. For example, that Mallu post could have been completed in all of two lines without needing to make a thesis of it. I accept this failing which is also a strength. For any marketer, this is a prime weapon in the arsenal. Yes, the world would be a better place if we could just weed out the gas, but practitioners of pfaffing will no doubt testify to its immense powers.

Enough pfaff about pfaff. Today we'll look at job titles in organizations. When I joined my software company in dear ol' Chennai, I was a junior software engineer. Six months into the job, no doubt the upper management and HR felt this was too demeaning a job title, and proceeded to 'upgrade' all of us to Associate Software Engineers'! What joy! Same salary, same suck-my-cock job, same workplace, different title! Oooh, I feel empowered. This was when I first felt like I was living ina Dilbert cartoon.

But later, when it came to the matter of putting my title on my CV, I realised how important that name change was, and thanked the upper echelons of management for 'promoting' our designation names, if not us.

Which led me to think, are all companies like this? Apparently, yes! My seniors at MICA join one agency as a Executive, Brand Communications and another one as Brand Strategy Associate, because, no doubt, 'junior account planner' sounds too douchebag. That itself is a fancier way of saying 'Presentation maker and glorified courier person'.

Yes, one will definitely agree, that title is not for the courier... Er, career-minded.
So here is what I think some rather boring sounding job titles can be upgraded to:

Truck Driver: Transportation Executive
Janitor: In-charge, hygiene maintenance and implementation
Office chaaiwala: Beverage industry logistics manager with special focus on interacting with professional end-users
Cobbler: Footwear maintenance executive

Even job descriptions can be made to sound nice.

For instance, the chauffeur of the Tata Steel management can claim the following: Played an integral part in the development and rise of the steel industry in the last 7 years by ensuring the timely logistical and personnel delivery which facilitated important business decisions such as the Corus acquisition.

The guy who washes dishes at a bar in downtown Mahim can say that he was: responsible for ensuring hygiene and quality control for repeat purchases in a retail outlet for alcoholic beverage whos business model was centered around targetting the bottom of the pyramid.

Even a beggar outside Spencer Plaza, if he ever floats a CV, can write thus: Was responsible for acquiring tax-free donations across the spectrum of socio-economic classes, based out of the biggest modern retail outlet in Southern India.

Pfaff can indeed make your CV sound very nice. I hope this post has inspired some of you to jazz up your boring CVs. 'worked as a software engineer in CTS?' Give me a break!

Thursday, January 08, 2009


I have been tagged by my dear friend and fellow Fraud Mallu, NRKey Menon, to write six random things about myself on my blog. Apparently this is some long-running game, not very unlike email forwards in its ethos.

Anyway, here are the rules:
1. I shall write 6 random things, and 'tag' six people to continue this
2. They shall proceed to write six random things, and 'tag' six random people
3. They shall intimate me when done

Very random, I agree. So here are my six random, little-known things.

1. My first crush was Martina Hingis. I still think she's very sexy.

2. Whenever I'm starved of inspiration for a blogspot, a song or an idea for a presentation, I go to the Amaltas first floor right wing western toilet, which I call the 'Idea Pot'.

3. My relationship with Nithya started off with one of the best movies I've ever seen - Idiocracy.

4. Half of the hits on this blog are from me itself :|

5. In my free time, I read Cricinfo stats.

6. Lori Laughlin is the sexiest woman in the world according to me.

There we go.
I now nominate the following:

- Nithya
- Speed
- Utsav
- Tony
- Harshad
- Venky

My work here is done!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Warning : This post is primarily for Mallus.

Just when the world was beginning to appreciate Hinglish and consider it as part and parcel of the Indianization of the world, along come us proud Mallus who stake claim to our own bastardization of the Queen's language.

This from a friend who wanted to ask me whether I was coming for the Maiden concert, and given a satisfactory answer proceeds to say:

Alright njaan ithu chothikkan vendi pingiyatha

Ping-iyatha! Brilliant, I say! And more and more words keep getting added to this ever-growing lexicon. They say fusion music is a wonderful marriage of eastern and western. To me, Mallufication is the perfect blend of languages - the tongue-twisting madness of extreme Dravidian languages and the upper-class, modern terminology of an ancient regal language.

What next?

"Sorry, njaan toilet-il thoorification cheyyan poyee"?

For the benefit of non-Mallus, which is about 92% of India and 2% of Gulf countries, the translation of the above are:
1. Alright, I just pinged to ask about this (Maiden concert)
2. Sorry, I went to relieve myself in the loo (formally speaking!)

For all those wondering, the friend in advisement is none other than GECT's guitar-brandishing hero, Mr. Raju 'Petruccinte achan' KP.

Friday, January 02, 2009


As might be privy to every unfortunate soul on my GMail contacts list, I lost (did someone say 'stole'?) my phone while I was aboard a rather sardine-tinesque Mumbai local train. Those aforementioned transportation facilitators have been giving CERN scientists the final solution to the ultimate density possible (and you thought it was a black hole! Ha!)

Anyway, the E62 and me were quite a close pair. Of course, like Mumbai continues to go to work the day following the now traditional bi-yearly cataclysm to show defiance and spirit to the outside world, I decided to stick with my loyalty for the E62 by proceeding to buy another one - second hand, of course. 4500 bucks from Haji Ali.

As mentioned before in this parable, I had to spam all my contacts once again asking them for their numbers (if you haven't done so yet, shame on you! Mail me!). I did, of course, get my fair share of caustic comments and replies which I had to take with a pinch of Sodium Chloride.

But the cream of the crop remains this fantastic reply from a batchmate of mine from GECT, Pramod Mathew Mathew:

Dear Chuck,
My heart felt condolences in having lost your cell phone.
Not surprising on a Mumbai local train.

I would like to intrepret this loss as being a direct consequence of the teeming multitudes that populate our metros which again is a consequence of poor family planning measures , the taboo associated with birth control and also the widening regional disparities in relative development of various parts of the country.

In these times of economic recession I call upon you to excercise restraint and refrain from buying a low end phone to save money, because the grave economic situation demands that more money must be injected into the credit hungry market.

Once again I wish you strength and courage in withstanding these testing times.

With love

Pramod Mathew Mathew

Phone : Nokia N70 ( in-warranty, with all accessories, price negotiable Rs. 5500-6500)
Sim number: <number> ( International/ national codes apply)