Friday, June 23, 2017

Mukesh Ambani shares entrepreneurial lessons ..

Mukesh Ambani is India's richest industrialist, though Reliance family is second to Tata Sons as the largest business conglomerate in India.

Frankly speaking, I used to think of him as a person who inherited a great business empire from his father. Despite academic qualification from one of the best business schools of the world, I really had doubts whether he would succeed. But the recent launch of Jio telecom which made India the most competitive telecom field in the world was something which would make everyone stand and applaud. Putting up to $33 billion into the telecom sector in the new startup, he not only made Jio the most promising telecom player in India, he made India the most competitive telecom field in the world. Even Vodafone had to call quits, were it not for Birla's Idea Telecom's timely intervention.

Recently while talking to a crowd of well-wishers, fellow industrialists and media persons at a NASSCOM event, he shared his life lessons on entrepreneurship.

Though these lessons are simple, they are heavy weight, worth their weight in gold... Since it comes from one of India's greatest entrepreneurs, it has great value for youngsters and old alike. Click here for the youtube video of the talk..

Here are his life lessons, hope someone out there benefits from it.

1. Figure out what one wants to do in life, what dream to pursue ..

2. Find a problem one is passionate about before finding a solution to the problem

3. In whatever actions or dreams one pursues, create societal value which benefits the society first, later financial returns will follow ..

4. Realise that failures are just a step before success, learn from them and never give up.

The next two points he says are non-negotiable ..

5. Treat investor's money with great care than one's own money

6. Have the right passionate team aligned with one's mission

7. Always be optimistic, entrepreneurs help spread positive energy in society

Now my respect for this person has increased by many times. As he says, creating societal value is one thing entrepreneurs should be primarily concerned about. When Mukesh visited IIT Bombay during the late 90s, though I attended hsi talks, I never then was impressed by his capabilities and personality.

Now I am thoroughly impressed with this person and his abilities to influence society and work wonders. I still have some anguish at the way he handles national wealth of oil in the Krishna Godavari basin for his personal aggrandisement.

george..

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Why is General Motors exiting India .. ?

General Motors , over a century of operations around the world ..
After India's attraction as a manufacturing hub for some of the global popular and mid-range auto majors like Ford, GM, VW, Toyota, Renault, Hyundai, Suzuki, Skoda, Fiat, Volvo, BMW, Audi, Mercedes etc, for the first time we find GM is exiting India. As a management case study it makes great sense as to what went wrong with GM's India operations at Taloja, Maharashtra plant and how they could have salvaged it.

US takes pride in General Motors as the second great automobile company to come out of US in 1908 in the last century. One of its greatest CEOs Alfred P. Sloan already has the MIT Institute of Management named after this great leader. It is a great shock to the rest of the world and a great lesson for other automobile companies from around the world who already have operations in India or are planning to open up new ones to understand what went wrong with GM India strategies ? GM India now makes cars only for the Latin American market. 

The major reasons for GM India operations failure as has been outlined after a research by Prof. Vijay Govindarajan of Tuck School of Business are five in number (HBR, June 2017 issue).

After a thorough analysis of the reasons of the inglorious exit, we find the withdrawal of GM from India is due to the failure in two fronts, leadership and strategy.

Failure in Leadership 
1. Frequent change of Indian leadership - 9 CEOs have come and gone in 21 years heading the India operations, though the latest has been around for 14 years. The long term impact of frequent change made the situation within the country very fluid and no leader had a vision and long term plan for the company in India, GM having already exited from India two times in the past.
2. Local leaders never got autonomy to take independent decisions - Indian operations being large and catering to a billion plus population needs to have lot of autonomy content inbuilt, Indian CEO cannot be interacting with Global CEO and with Global HQ for each and every action to be taken to spearhead Indian day to day operations. This lack of autonomy to Indian CEO affected GM India operations and dented it's image much. 
Failure in planning strategies 
1. Indian operations can be run only with India specific strategies -  India being a global player and set to lead global economy by 2050 AD, cannot be expected to follow strategies suited for other economies. India is by nature very cost conscious and Indian customers are some of the greatest cost bargainers and at the same time demand unparalleled quality in the products, unlike other global customers. Global Companies need to look at such stringent cost and quality constraints as opportunities for growth and global leadership. General Motors failed to understand this truth in India. (the recent example of Vodafone running scared of their Indian telecom operations finally having to team up with Birla's Idea telecom is an example to quote) Suzuki and Hyundai, global auto leaders have suited their operations to manufacture sub compact cars for the middle class customers and have reaped intense benefit, together they control about 65% of Indian market.
2. Indian strategy has to be focused on volumes and scale, not just on expensive high end cars - Indian customers are very diligent when it comes to spending money on cars. They study the market carefully, make personal observations and ask their friends and relatives many times before finalising on a high value purchase - a societal norm too. Indian customers are extremely obsessed with value for money and do not allow themselves to be taken for a ride by the automobile companies. Companies that have a good dealership and maintenance chain across the country frequently do succeed in their domestic operations. Maruti, Hyundai, Tata etc have great maintenance network across the country.
3. Lack of a long term strategy - a long term strategy is much needed for success in Indian markets. India having opened to almost all auto-majors of the world now is a great ground for improving product competitiveness. It also holds promise to be the world's largest automobile market very soon especially with the advent of electric cars. Short term myopic strategies rarely succeed and fail in India because Indian customers are some of the smartest in the world. Despite initial setbacks, a company that focuses on long term vision only can hold itself and withstand intense competition from other global competitive players operating within the country.

This GM India withdrawal case should be an eye opener not only in the automobile sector but in the FMCG sector too. Indian cost consciousness already is making waves in the high-tech space technology and atomic energy market, India leading over the rest of the world in high-quality cost consciousness.

India once again proves to the world, that though it outwardly appears to be a castaway, it is high time countries and companies around the world started taking it seriously, if it is to stay in business in the country and plan for its future survival in the world..

george..

Ref : 1. Govindarajan, Vijay and Gunjan Bagla, What US CEOs can learn from GM's India failure, HBR, June '17. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sadhguru on why we need to save our rivers

Sadhguru - Jaggi Vasudev ..
Great video.

Great civilizations around the world have thrived and survived on rivers. The Egyptian civilization around the river Nile, Mesopotamia civilization around the Euphrates Tigris, Indus Valley civilization around the river Indus, Chinese civilization around the river YangTseKiang etc.. 

Human civilization all over the globe over the past 10,000+ years have been interwoven with rivers, thriving on river banks .. 

Indian rivers in a single generation have from being perennial, become seasonal .. shocking ..

We need to save our rivers for survival of mankind on planet earth .. !!

https://youtu.be/u7HliAsgKH0

GE..

Will Indian politicians allow the US game plan to disrupt Asia ?

Has the Indian political establishment fallen to CIA designs and plans to disrupt Asian economic growth ? Yes, there are all indicators for that ..

By pitting India against China, US intelligence has managed to push both countries not to worry about their economic growth, and instead concentrate on the nationalistic pitch, gain cheap publicity for the leaders to find an excuse to fight and distract from productive growth. 

Indian political leaders have clearly fallen to these destructive plans, looked outside their economic growth and derailed the economy in the long run.

The present Indian PM instead of playing to the gallery should be smart enough to see through this US game to continue their economic and political domination of the world. The former Indian PM was intelligent and smart enough to understand this, understood the priorities and acted accordingly. 

Present Indian PM Modi should realise that it is quite easy to ruin the economy, but it is very difficult to build it to greater glory and prosperity.. 👍👍

GE..

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Kochi metro sustainability initiatives ..

For the first time in the world - Each of the stations on Kochi metro are Platinum certified GREEN BUILDINGS , the highest ratings for sustainable buildings across the world granted by the Indian Green Buildings Council. 
E Sreedharan's contribution to Kochi metro has been phenomenal ..

This recognition is besides the already existing reputation for Kochi metro as
1. the most advanced metro in terms of signalling systems, connectivity etc 
2. the cheapest one in the country (at Rs 220 crore/km compared to Rs 337.3 crore per km for Bangalore Namma Metro, a clean Rs 107.3 crore more per kilometre !!) and  
3. the fastest executed metro in the country in just three and a half years compared to Bengaluru Namma metrro which has been struggling to cover an additional . 
To cover phase I of Bengaluru Namma metro (43 km) which is 60% more than Kochi Metro distance of 26 km, Bengaluru Namma metro has incurred INR 13,800 crores over Kochi's INR 5200 crores, a clean 150 % more. Inefficiency or corruption whatever it be, this is shocking..

When we talk of green buildings, we have to say that all the Kochi metro stations are built using locally available materials ensuring least transportation of building materials and storage, least disrupting natural streams and wetlands, ensuring best use of natural lighting eliminating expensive unnecessary indoor lighting,  best use of natural ventilation,  maximum use of renewable energy - almost 25% is solar energy and recycling of water, ensuring very healthy places to gather and travel to. 
The surprise never ends ! 👍

LED lighting across all stations, water efficient toilet fittings and rainwater harvesting in stations makes the Kochi Metro a greatly renewable energy type of ecosystem, recycling the precious resource of water, unheard of anywhere in the world ! 👍 Even every fourth pillar of the metro is an enviable hanging green garden full of flowers and rejuvenating the environment with Oxygen.

In short, the Kochi metro has the lowest Carbon footprint among all the 200 metros of the world !! 🙏, making Kochi leaping towards being recognised as the green capital of the world, with the world's first and only 100% solar energy powered and energy neutral International airport in the world, competing along with the Kochi Metro.

george.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Byju's coaching classes.

Turning a coaching business to a mammoth online education venture worth $600 million in 2017, generating revenues of Rs. 260 crores, headquartered in Bengaluru in just 10 years from 2007 is a mammoth task.

Especially the organisation when it gets featured as a Harvard case it raises many an eyebrow. It is just great to read how this Malayalam-medium student from Azhikode, Kannur, Kerala is leading Byju's to be  India's first edu-based unicorn ..

Running the organisation, exhibiting great leadership
Byju's has already been valued at $600 million and set to be India's first edu-tech unicorn (>$ 1 billion valuation), It has already been financed by venture capitalists Sequoia Capital and Sofina, Chan Zuckerberg initiative and so on.

Byju, an Engineer by profession was already giving coaching to his roommates on how to crack the Indian Institutes of Management Common Admission Test, already having cracked it twice with 99.9 percentile, he loved the teaching profession. Both his parents are teachers.

Even though Byju's started initially as a classroom coaching class, it spread to classes in huge two thousand seater halls and later to recorded sessions in other cities of India, to Tab based teaching and from 2015, it has moved to Smartphone app based teaching (Android and iOS based) .. www.byjus.com ..

Today Byjus caters to a whole lot of competitive entrance exams in the country starting from UPSC exams, IIM entrance exam CAT, IIT JEE, NEET for medical entrance, GMAT management aptitude exams for foreign Management Institutes, +1 and +2 preparations..

We wish this largest great edu-tech venture which is exploiting the power of technology to scale up in volume and to grow large.

Here is a very short management casestudy prepared on the challenges faced by Byju's at scaling up, how to overcome them and look out for innovative ways to make the learning ecosystem bright and colourful all over the world... May be useful to business school students to understand the challenges faced by educational startups from any part of the world and why they find it difficult to scale up.

george..



Wednesday, June 07, 2017

World's first carbon-neutral village - Meenangaadi in Wayanad, Kerala ..

Ponds help raise watertable and charge wells
In 2006, the English village of Ashton Hayes of 10,000 people tried to become the world's first Carbon neutral community. Over the last decade they could reduce their emissions by 23% but is still to be a carbon-neutral community. 

When the all-polluting US and the Western world is struggling to live up to their  promises to build a greener world, Meenangaadi village in Wayanad district in Kerala has already taken the great steps to become by 2020 the world's first carbon-neutral village ..

With the active cooperation of the supporting government, public and the local administrators, the village of Meenangaadi is becoming a model to the whole world !!

Another pond of the 467 new ones dug to catch water ..
The Finance Minister of the state of Kerala in India Dr Thomas Issac went to Paris in Nov 2015 to present a paper on Waster Disposal at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, He came back with an audacious plan - make Meenangaadi, a village of 34,000 people in Wayanad district as India's first Carbon-neutral village by 2020.

Nestled in the Western Ghats this village of 34,000 people over 54 sq. km has been facing the worst implications of climate change, with drop in rainfall precipitation and lowering of water table, a decline in rice production and spices like cardamom, pepper, tea, coffee etc.. By 2050 AD, the average rise in temperature around this area is predicted to be around 2.5-3 deg C

Beena Vijayan, Meenangaadi gram panchayat president
taking soil samples to find the Carbon content in
Meenangaadi soil. Courtesy - The Hindu. 
The villagers are well aware of the ills of pollution, they have been well informed of the benefits of a carbon neutral environment for their children and grandchildren and together they sincerely desire the town to be carbon-neutral. Not to forget, the impact they would be making globally as the first Carbon neutral village of the world !!
"To bring the town’s net carbon dioxide emissions down to zero, we will conserve and expand our forests, plant more trees, reduce carbon emissions from households, promote self sustenance through organic farming, and recycle our waste.” - Beena Vijayan, Meenangaadi gram panchayat President .
Scenic views around Meenangaadi ..
In their greening spree, the villagers have planted on 38 acres of land (the area of 20 football pitches)  which includes public and private land, 4,50,000 coffee plants, 32,500 cardamom trees and 20,000 other shade trees which were provided to the villagers for free by the panchayat. Free organic vegetable seed and buds belonging to cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, beans, bitter gourd, ladies finger, tapioca and chilli were also provided to the villagers to help imbibe a sense of awareness of organic farming practices among the villagers.

The crematorium in the village now runs on LPG saving precious wood which was earlier used to burn dead bodies. The town has completely shifted to LED bulbs and in even envisaging starting an LED bulb manufacturing firm in the village to meet the needs (the problem of having to offset the carbon emissions from the plant would be the next problem for them).

Getting ready to get global attention ..
Of the 467 ponds newly dug in the village to help raise water table and charge the wells in the town. almost 420 of them are fish rearing bringing extra revenue for the people of the village and for owners of private compounds where some of these ponds have been dug. The village has also set up an aerobic composting plant, that converts the organic wet waste in the village to manure that could be used for the vegetation. A bio-gas plant to convert organic waste to energy and a solar park that will feed electricity to the energy grid of the state are other ways by which the village is planning to go carbon-neutral.

The MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) Chennai is helping the village authorities along with a group, Thanal from Trivandrum to do a soil audit and energy consumption audit in each of the houses in the village to find out how much Carbon the village emits and then offset it by their innovative actions as outlined above.

George..

Ref : 1. Balachandran Manu, The world's first Carbon neutral town could end up in the planet's most polluted country, qz.com, Last visited 24 June 2017.

         2. www.thebetterindian.com, Kerala village to be the first Carbon-neutral panchayat, , Last visited 23 June 2017

        3. Manoj, E.M., Meenangaadi marches to Carbon-neutral tag, The Hindu, March 2017..

Mukesh Ambani shares entrepreneurial lessons ..

Mukesh Ambani is India's richest industrialist, though Reliance family is second to Tata Sons as the largest business conglomerate i...

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