Silently…..and Sooner than Expected….you Slipped into the Night.

Hi again Friend

The Telephone Call.

Yesterday, after I had just announced a short break to my advertising students, a common friend, whom I had earlier informed of your status, and shared my blog with,  called me to inform me of your demise. Being preoccupied, and having no way to confirm the information, I did nothing. Just felt a bit uneasy and disturbed.

The Confirmation Call.

This afternoon, another common friend, who had worked with both of us, called  to ask me if I recalled your name. She said your name sounded familiar to her. So asked her how she came across it, and was told that she had read your obituary. I then brought her up to date on your status and how I had the pleasure of your company intermittently through all these years. Needless to mention, she was grief-stricken. It was then that I reread the papers, to see your cherubic face with that mop of grey hair. So indeed your demise slipped me…was sooner than I expected.

RIP Nitin Mukadam, am sure the angels will enjoy your company, your effervescent spirit and cheerful smile,  as much as I did!


branding/advertising communications, Corporate Life

Journeying to the Online Customer

Recently accompanied a friend wanting to get into an ecommerce venture. Sharing some learning/experiences here.

Reaching Out to the Online Customer?

As the owner of a Mom n Pop stores/Kiranawala you now want to reach out to the online customer.

Before doing this let us define our business model. What kind or product or service are we offering? Durables, FMCG, or?  Are we accepting online payment or COD?  Will we be doing our own deliveries? Do we have an exchange or return policy in place? How important is the image or product picture to the purchase? Our e-commerce venture will need to take into consideration all such factors.

Get a feel of the Online Space First.

Perhaps we could get the feel of the online space first, without the expense of our own site, and transact business by becoming a vendor to aggregator sites like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Jabong, Amazon, eBay, etc. For this we will identify one whose terms and conditions suit us best and register with them. Let us keep in mind that this arrangement can be a win-win situation.

We could take a slightly bigger step and register with some online shopping platforms like shopify.in, zepo.in, magento.com or a host of such. Platform dependent, the terms will vary –monthly rentals, software availability, etc which can be selected to meet our needs. All that we need do, is arrange a meeting with them and then need dependent, select a platform of our choice. The shopping platform is an intermediary between the pains and expenses of launching our own site and becoming a vendor to an online aggregator.

Or go the Vendor Route

In the vendor route the focus will be limited to sales, customer experiences etc whereas the online shopping platform is a closer step to launching our own e-commerce site, and therefore experience rich, but investment friendly.

A lot of technical issues will arise in the platform model like software selection, content creation, image loading, right sizing, etc for which technical expertise may be required. In most cases, they are available with the site authorities.

Driving traffic to the site

Presuming we have opted for the online platform route, we will now need to drive business to the site. As a startup on the learning curve, the promotion could be done in phases, beginning with perhaps our home page where content will need to be written. Experts are freely available for this either on assignment or contract basis. Remember we discussed product pictures earlier? These will now need to be uploaded. We will then need prospects to visit our site. One route is SEO or Search Engine Optimization. This is a very simple process, where terms or words that are searched by the potential customer are identified as key words and used by us so that our company website shows up on the google search engine. We can also create our own ads on google adwords. When a customer clicks on the ads, s/he is directed to our homepage or landing page.  The advantage of this approach is that we only pay if the customer clicks on our ad.  But there also is a small negative here. Often after the customer clicks, if we are unable to engage the customer to make a purchase, then we have lost that customer and the money paid to Google. Hence conversions become important, unlike SEO where no payment needs to be made. However expertise is required here for which many SEO experts or digital agencies are available. You can also pay for ads that will appear on different sites by bidding for the same based on the number of impressions or ad appearances.

Other routes for site promotion could be FB marketing, Twitter, Instagram, etc. which can be learnt on the journey ahead.

Till then, a happy journey!


Personal Life, Uncategorized

Softly And Silently Into The Night

Hi Friend

Third Time in a Month.

Yesterday, for the third time in about a month, tried calling you and was again blocked by your wife. Who was protecting and shielding you from any and all disturbances. And so obtained an update from her on your health. She told me how you are too weak to talk, slip into drowsiness often caused by the painkiller, morphine, days slip into nights and vice versa. Seems the diseases has spread to your spinal cord making it difficult for you to lie on your back, so often you sleep in the sitting position.

Just 2 Months Ago.

And less than 2 months ago, when I was lucky to have a long conversation with you, I clearly recall how you promised to fight that dreadful disease. How you told me you would never give up. The inspiration you got from the 3-year-old girl in the neighbouring bed, always so cheerful and chirpy, that her visitors left her bed with tears in their eyes.

I think we were more colleagues than friends, but I recall your bubbly demeanour, bouncy rotund personality. You were always eager to lend a helping hand and cared little for the opinion of others. I recall how on a crowded dance floor on a New Years Eve, I bumped into you, unabashedly teaching your partner the 1,2,3 of fox trot, to the oblivion of others. And the influence your father had on you. “Never have too much of a good thing” he advocated. Which you in turn passed on to our group, who post a drink or two, wished to indulge in more…..fun.

I am grateful to you, for in the not too distant past, visiting my house, to acquaint me with the basics of the digital world. You made no fuss over the breakfast we shared, no formalities were required between us. And yes, something  perhaps I should have shared with you earlier. Decades ago, when that Agency owner called me to switch over to his side, I learnt that you had recommended me, thank you for this. Whilst we both may have had our individual talents and skills, we never let that impact our relationship.

My Respect Deepens.

You were the person, not too long ago, who introduced me to the organiser of group meetups. And through that I came in contact with many other individuals who all claimed to know and respect you well. And then you apologised to me for being unable repeatedly to attend a few meet-ups. It was then that I suspected all was not well with you, and got the sad news straight from the horse’s mouth. Am really hurt and surprised that the rest of the groups, are perhaps still unaware of your condition, else I may have heard from them. It could be a confidence you shared only with me, for which my respect for you further deepens.

I do not propose to write a premature obituary. It is just that I am thankful I have bumped into a person like you at a few junctions in life and have been enriched by that experience. And I do hope that as you fight that terminal disease, you are granted added strength. Am also aware how grateful you are to your family who solidly support you at this hour. My salutations to them and you as you ease softly and silently into the night. May the force be with you, my friend!


branding/advertising communications, Personal Life

Likes, Dislikes, Favourites and Followers

Instant Gratification and Instant Connectivity

We are in an era of instant gratification, which has given rise to instant connectivity, or perhaps I am mixing the cause and effect relationship. Whatever, it cannot be denied that the net besides offering instant connectivity, also provides:

1) Anonymity.

2) Free expression of thoughts, opinions and feedback.

It is the anonymity that offers so much liberty and freedom. Many exploit it to their advantage, whilst there are others who prefer to reveal their identity and speak for themselves on real terms.  Often online or net connectivity leads to real-time connections, which is another advantage.

A double-edged sword, for  attack and defense.

Today anyone and everyone can express their opinions, or feedback on platforms like FB, Twitter, Blogs, etc. Many take recourse to also correct the wrong done to them through the net and address their grievances.  And yes, violations, transgressions and attacks have also happened through the net, since free access is available to all, which is the very essence of internet.


Likes, Follower and Retweets – a measurement tool!

What amuses or baffles me the most, is this measurement of opinions, thoughts and feedback. “Likes” on FB, Linkedin, etc seem to become a  yardstick for popularity.  Followers on Google another means of evaluation of posts. How do such “likes” really matter? As a writer, I am happy that so many people like my posts and perhaps that increases my popularity rating. And the more followers I get on Twitter or blogs, the higher I am on the admiration list. So far so good.

But sadly, since this has become a measurement tool, most users today, instead of speaking out their thoughts, desires,etc  have lost focus on the essence of the platform and actually reach out to their friends etc to either “like” or “follow”, thus creating artificial or bogus popularity ratings. Their goal is directed towards promoting themselves, thus creating false or bogus posts and thus impressions. Hence users make false claims, share unoriginal thoughts, etc with a focus of rising on the popularity charts. Many so-called tweeples look just to be re-tweeted and often promote each other, favoriting them, etc not unlike some bloggers, on a different platform.

And since that has now come to be the accepted norm, most genuine users today, do not give the number of likes or followers too much emphasis or due importance, which is sad. So the entire objective of sharing, is losing its impact.

I thought I read somewhere not too long ago, that FB was planning on introducing a “dislike” button. I think this is a very good idea! So FB users would think twice before “posting” for fear of getting “dislikes”! But ironically, that may drop the number of FB users, which could be detrimental to the interest of FB, a catch 22 situation. Thus the thought of introducing “dislikes” in itself may have fetched many “dislikes” and the proposal dropped.

Am curious to know, how many “dislikes” I would get for this!









Personal Life

My experiences in Online Networking.

Networking to me, online or in reality, was never a need. But in the past year or so, decided to use the net for connectivity, at times anonymously. It has been a very good learning.

Instant Connectivity:

I found that most people connect easily online. Some may be using fake profiles, I admit, but they do connect, for motives they know best. Many are overwhelmingly friendly and reach out. At times and selectively, online connectivity leads to real-time contacts. I think the google meet-ups are a good case in point.

No Bias:

Perhaps, besides the anonymity of the net, people are generally friendly by nature, and not knowing another person, take each other at face value, and are open to discover and explore, with no prejudices, hangups or biases. I find this attribute most attractive. Many such new-found connects have gone out of their way in lending a helping hand online.

Little potential for Offline Connectivity:

However, with the exception of a few, my learning is that online contacts wish to observe status quo and remain online, reluctant for real-time meetings. Often, promises are made, but seldom observed and I cannot fathom the reason for the promise.

Integrity of contacts are channel/platform dependent:

My  experiences with people have been very unpredictable, leading me to my own conclusions. To me, the most genuine/loyal/dependent contacts are from the blogger fraternity. Perhaps they all share a common agenda of getting likes/comments to their writing and eager to promote each other. Next on the loyalty ladder would be the Linkedin connects, which I suppose is due to sharing of professional interests. FB although hugely popular, has me on my guard and have come across of mix of people on this platform, genuine and fake. The Twitteratis of this world have my guard up 24/7. They are on the channel for sheer instant gratification so to them, tweeting is of prime importance, often with less regard for honesty, as hype takes precedence.  Their main aim is to gain”Followers”and since Twitter is all about instantaneous connections,, Tweeples wish to build their base overnight and become celebrities. Most often they form cliques. Of course, this is a generalization and there are exceptions.


Need for Protection:

Whatever be the platform or channel, I think there should be a strong need for protection. Am often surprised how so many personal details are revealed,with scant regard for security. Yes, there are “block” “reporting” options, etc but does one really have to resort to that?

I prefer being safe to sorry.









Personal Life

Give me a Friday, any day!

Good bye to college days

In the initial few months of my first job, I realized the futility of bonding with friends on weekdays. Somehow, despite best intentions of an early evening just to say hi,  and with the urging of friends, the evening blends into the night, making the next morning, uneasy. Rushing off to work, trying hard to focus on the past day earlier, jotting down the job list for a fresh day etc becomes an ordeal. The body is weary and the mind strays back to the last evening, like a mistress.

So after the first few months on the job, bid good-bye to my college habits and post work, remained at home. And on Friday evenings, when I did step out for some fun, my friends claimed, that my very appearance announced to them a Friday evening! And I stepped out only if not dragged out a little earlier by another close friend who visited my  home,on his motor cycle, all ready to party, which he unfailingly did till the wee hours of Monday morn.

Friday evenings are most Fun!

Come Friday evenings and the fun began. Somehow and till date, Friday evenings are more fun to me most often, than the weekend itself. Am I alone in this or is it is a global trend?  Recall just last year almost to the day, was returning to India from Australia, early one Friday evening, when we were “traffucked”, (a term that caught my fancy on twitter!). A huge traffic jam, despite Australia’s broad roads, saw us in virtually bumper to bumper traffic. The Arabic driver, without much prompting, explained to us the Australian craze. In his terms, these Australians are crazy people, they work like donkeys right through the week for 5 days, and then on Fridays, they leave office early just to party and splurge the entire week’s salary.They are in such a craze for their drinks that they recklessly speed causing accidents. Sure enough, on the opposite road, which was now completely closed to traffic, one could spot the emergency services of police and ambulances, with stretchers and other medical aid. So what’s so special about Fridays? I guess it’s the best day to unwind and party.

Saving the Weekends

Somehow the weekends of Saturday and Sunday, at least in India, are reserved for other personal activities and chores. There is always some (despite net connectivity, etc) bank visit to be made, a relative to be visited, an errand or two to run, etc. And of course, one needs to save the weekend and  recharge for the dynamic unpredictable week ahead.

There is nothing like a nice late Friday party, extending into the wee hours of the next morn, when one came home along with the milkman and bread man, just to crash. And the next thing you knew it was Saturday noon and time for lunch. So fighting the foggy mind, the parched throat and weary limbs, one climbed into the shower and got refreshed for a lovely weekend of family and reading time, music and just chilling at home!

Give me a Friday any day, and TGIF – Thank God, it’s Friday!



branding/advertising communications, Corporate Life

The importance of Feedback

A couple of years ago, was leading the relationship of a new client for the Agency. When we were first introduced to the client team, the MD had designated a client manager.  However, the said relationship manager within the first week itself began deputing other assistants, thus leading to total chaos on the account. Several client visits, emails, telephone calls just could not set the tone right as every client individual brought to the desk, his or her own perceptions, tastes and beliefs. Since each individual has a different set of aesthetics, particularly in terms of colour and design, the clashes were many. So right from the word “Go”, a productive relationship could not be established.

Observing a 2 way process.

Then came a feedback meeting. The client’s inputs, as was expected, were very negative. Since I believe that to consolidate a relationship, there has to be a meeting of minds, explained to the client, the dire need for a single individual or at the most 2/3, who could be the interface. However, for cost saving purposes, this was not possible, and the Agency expected to coordinate with various individuals at different points in time. Every fortnight or so, a new individual would call, so a new name and contact details added to the Agency list. The game of “chinese whispers” continued.  Of course, the MD was informed that the Agency was provided feedback. (Without considering the Agency’s inputs)! So no 2 way process honoured.

Providing criticisms – positive and negative.

To be fair to the Client, the courtesies, response time, etc observed by the Agency, were appreciated and positive criticism given. A bond was formed, but at a superficial level. The big grouse and negative criticism was, the client’s taste and expectations could not be satisfied. How does one satisfy the subjective taste of so many different individuals?

Constant Feedback.

Since a 2 way process of feedback was not honoured from the beginning, constant feedback was not possible. I believe that, had that happened, as in many other earlier cases, the relationship would have flourished. Constant feedback and updating of information is important for the success of any transaction. And given continuous feedback, most relationships flourish!