Thursday, June 06, 2013

Dear Mr. Narayana Murthy,

Dear Narayana Murthy,

Because of Infosys, your son and yourself, my wife and I had a very intense yet stimulating debate two days back. The evening which we could have spent watching some matches at Roland Garros on TV, we spent discussing your coming back into Infosys with your son. 

She was upset that I wrote negatively about Infosys and you on Facebook. She said that I was very harsh on both. She feels leadership is not emotionless decisions but one which is about people, hence very emotional. I agreed and disagreed. 

Let me cut the chase and go to what I think . 

  1. HR at Infosys has failed big time. Shame on them!  
  2. Infosys is not a "professional" organization.  

People are saying that you are to do another Steve Jobs. Even if you do, then? Poor Tim Cook is still suffering from Steve's ghost. 

I have a question for you, and to your HR. Would you bring back any other retired employee? Say, a Project Manager, Coder or an Admin Manager? Why have you been given special treatment? Don't you have a retirement policy?

Next point to ponder. 

If Congress decides to make Rahul Gandhi the PM candidate, I wouldn't be surprised. 

If Ambani brothers decide to make their children head of their respective groups, I wouldn't be surprised. 

Or for that matter your competitor Azim Premji would not surprise me if he follows the family traditions. 

But, not Infosys! Why did you have to bring your son into Infosys? Couldn't you find anyone else who could have done that job? And what is this Re. 1 salary stunt? What are you trying to prove? 

Your HR policies were something that other organizations would have wanted to emulate. But I think behind those great places to work atmosphere, your succession policy failed big time. 

The biggest mistake you and other founders did, in my opinion, is the want to be CEO of the organization by rotation. Why? Just because you are founders, all of you need to take a stab at the position? All of you wanted your names get etched into history books? It seemed like a merry-go-round. 

With you and your son in the organization and this merry-go-round, it feels Infosys today is a hybrid variety of Family-cum-Friends organization. A unique breed! To be proud of or not, I am not a judge. But Infosys, I knew, wasn't supposed to be that way. 

All the best in your old role. Hope there is a quick and sure turnaround. And maybe by then your HR will also have a good time to work on a succession plan. Could be Rohan, never know!

Love and regards,


Monday, June 03, 2013

When Ads Speak The Truth

Kudika vendam, appadiye sapiduven! 

Translates to I don't want to drink, I will eat it. That was the legendary line from Horlicks' ad.  

For a matter of fact, I myself preferred eating Horlicks as a kid rather than drink. I am sure many of my generation also used to do the same. It was more delicious that way. And the ad was not far from the truth. Not many ads can boast of capturing the true essence of what the product or service does? 

Last week, Indiblogger organized a bloggers meet in Chennai - The Ambi Pur Experience (). Though my blog is listed on Indiblogger, I have never been to any of their previous blogger meets, despite wanting to. Sabbatical and a nudge from a good friend, I found myself at the meet.

How many remember the Ambi Pur ad? It is a blind test conducted where people are made to sit in a car and share their experience about the perfume and how they felt. What the participants don't realize is that they are sitting amidst a mini garbage dump set up in the car. They are shocked to find that despite such filth the car smells fresh and nice.

If you own a car you know how cars can become smelly and unbearable to drive. My search for a good car perfume has never been successful. There are so many brands, some known and otherwise. I have tried few, including the previous Ambi Pur model. But never been satisfied with their performances. After sometime, one just doesn't feel the perfume.

The blogger meet replicated the blind test ad for the bloggers, more than 200 of them that day. I was eager to experience the brand promise. And I must say I was sweetly surprised to find the ad true. The car was filled with bad odor emanating sources like a shoe, plates with stale food...but the car smelt fresh. Later on a representative from P&G explained how the company had not only worked on the formula of product for great experience every time you use it but also how the design of the product has been changed to make it more effective.

I came back from the meet after collecting the complimentary pack of Ambi Pur Sky Breeze, one of the five variants available.

But then I prefer only camphor to keep my car fresh, nowadays, and didn't want to change that. But that Ambi Pur was so effective, I fitted it into the window AC in my bedroom, as suggested by the P&G representative.

I was not sure if the Ambi Pur would be effective considering the room is much larger than the size of a car. But then I switched on the AC and the result was instant. The room was smelling great. In fact it remained so for quite a while even after I switched off the AC.

Planning to try other fragrances.

Thanks to the blogger meet, as a customer I found a good product that delivers on the promise and as a marketer an ad that captured what the product delivers.

Tata Sky Responds

Tata Sky gave me an additional waiver of Rs. 750. Please read this previous blog of mine.

I am not sure if it was:

1. My interaction with customer service executive who would have escalated and then management took action, or,
2. My interaction with a senior executive at Tata Sky with whom I chatted on Facebook, or,
3. My blog on the subject

I am still forming my thoughts on which form of reaching out to a brand is more effective if you want them to listen. Will take little more time for that blog.

It certainly would make sense that brands treat existing customers equally if not more than a new customer.