Population Time Bomb – The forgotten Bomb

Sorry for this bad habit of contemplating things which are very diverse and at some level quite de-focused, but I guess that is what Sunday’s are for.

Sunday night, nice kebabs’, Patiala peg and the mind goes wa wa vooooomm……

During my stint in the IT industry we learnt a term called Root Cause Analysis (not a cousin of Root Canal so don’t worry). Root Cause Analysis is all about identifying a problem, look for what caused it, then looking for what caused what caused it and going on till we reach the bottom (or close to it)….I am sure intuitively all of you would have understood it what I am saying here…

With a peg too many inside me, I started doing the root cause analysis of various problems our country faces…..let me share my analysis with you (so that you don’t get bored, I will skip the intermediate steps and go straight to what looked to me like root causes…

  1. Not enough drinking water, not enough electricity, not enough (or wide enough or square footage of well-made roads) etc. etc. essentially poor physical infrastructure. There are many causes but one cause that seems to stare in the face is that if we assume we have half of today’s population and same infrastructure…..imagine roads with half the traffic, imagine same amount electricity but half the load, imagine, same amount of water treatment plants and pipelines but half the people to drink it,
  2. Imagine same number of Doctors, Medical Colleges, Seats, hospital beds but only half the patients,
  3. Imagine same number of jobs but half the takers
  4. Imagine half the people generating half the stinky smelly and dangerous garbage…!!!!

…….the thoughts could on endlessly.

While one can argue that there are other serious causes (and that argument will also have merit in it) and having the same of everything will not be easy (and that too will have some though lesser merit in it) but one common cause in all of this also always will be that we are way TOO MANY PEOPLE….

US has 3 times India’s area and 1/4th the population, that gives them 12 times advantage off the starting block right away…..

One of the reasons why no one even talks about population bomb is because post Sanjay Gandhi’s infamous Nasbandi campaign during Emergency, Population Control has become a hugely politically incorrect word.

However, someone will have to bell the cat before it is too late

Who will?

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My dear Humans….

This is your God speaking…..

How are you doing today?

Scared, Worried Mentally disturbed….and why not you don’t know when will this Corona go away, when will your normal life return, when will you be able to spend time with your friends, have fun, go to malls, movies and enjoy life as you used to……

Missing it? Well you should.

The same way other species, that I created, have been missing their normal habitats. The same way a Deer, a Tiger and other animals have been missing their normal days since the time your species decided that you are the “most intelligent”, “most capable” species and you have been destined to “rule” the earth.

Fishes, Birds and so many other species have been happily surviving and enjoying living on this earth for more than a billion years (I am quoting your own data J), but you guys (you prefer to call yourself Homo Sapiens) came on this earth just 100,000 years back and look what you have done.

You have denuded the forests, made so many other fellow species extinct (because you enjoyed hunting and eating other species), you have created so much pollution in Air, Water and Land that today even the Ozone layer has got depleted, you have created a drinking water crisis and the list goes on…..

And you did not even stop at destroying others and the environment around you; you have worked hard to destroy each other in name of world domination, religion, colour, money and what all. You fought innumerable wars, killed each other in the name of God (I am still confused about it, on one side you say I am one that why label me differently).

I created Earth in all its beauty and glory, but I made a small error (Yes, God also makes mistakes), while I created an intelligent, potentially capable species but forgot to remove arrogance, selfishness and greed from it. And look what happened.

I was thinking and then I decided to start showing you some glimpses of my powers and tell you what can happen if you don’t learn.

Since you people believe (and rightly so) that everything that happens, happens because of me and also for the good. Let me tell you, Cororna Virus is also my creation.

I decided to show you a…..what do you people call it…..a trailer, a glimpse of my powers. Like a parent who uses bit of a punishment when Children start going haywire. A small grounding, admonishment, a stick sometimes goes a long way in nipping a potential problem in the bud.

That is why I created a small weapon, the Corona Virus. This weapon is so small that the naked eye cannot even see it.

Since you consider yourself intelligent (and I know you are, because I created you), now think, if you are so scared, so disturbed and so helpless against a micro-organism what will happen if I start bringing out my main and real weapons….

And why will I do it (after all you people consider me to be your protector, guardian, caretaker), the answer is simple…..I am not only your guardian but I am also the guardian of all that exists. Every species, every planet, everything is under my guardianship.

I will not allow one of my creations to usurp and destroy my other creations.

How do you guys say it…..after all they also have rights!!!

Trust me, this Corona will go away. You are handling it well. Few more months and things will be back to normal….

But remember, I have just showed you a trailer……

Learn to live better, learn to live with others (humans and other species), learn to stop trying to dominate the world thru your religious beliefs, money, lust for power and one upmanship, above all learn to control your greed, selfishness and arrogance. In 100,000 years of your existence you have created more havoc, disturbance than millions and millions of years of other species.

You must know, that I will not allow one of my creations to become subjugated to one species at the cost of others. If you won’t learn I will bring out and unleash my real weapons.

If I have created you, I can destroy you also.

Taking cue from your own language….This is for your Information and necessary action please (FYIA).

This is your God speaking…..over and out….

For the time being…..

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When Car Loans are cheaper than Education Loans….

No no, I have not gone wonky…

I am still the same, slightly silly, slightly off the track, slightly philosophical and slightly…well….may be wonky. What to do, I am what I am…

Enough about me, read on…

There is an old saying….it goes something like this…

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime

Let me paraphrase it for the benefit of this article and to make my point….

Give a man some easy money and he will enjoy it till money lasts, teach a man how to make money and he will enjoy a lifetime….

I am sure, my dear readers, you will agree that the shortest, cleanest and best path to make a man self-sufficient, financially and otherwise, is to get him solid education.

Now, let’s face it, in the modern world education costs money, especially tertiary education which enables a person to develop skills and knowledge which enables him to make money and earn a decent living.

Let’s also face it that, in countries like India, there is so much poverty (still) and “good” tertiary education is so expensive that a lower middle and poor class (still the majority of India) cannot afford to send their kids for good quality Tertiary education. The uncontrolled growth of private educational institutions has made the situation worst.

So, what do you do if either your child is brilliant or you want to get them higher education so that he/she can lead the family out of the circle of poverty….

Unfortunately, there is only one major option….take a loan.

Have you ever tried doing that or have you known any person who tried doing that….

The number of criteria, the number of requirements, the number of documents, and the number of securities that one has to produce is like nobody’s business. And then on top of it, even if the bank agrees to give you a loan, the interest rates/EMI are killing.

Now, compare the education loan to getting a car loan, low-interest rate, very low or close to zero down payment, few years income tax records, an earning statement (of a much lower value) and voila….you have the loan….

Imagine, knowingly, we are feeding fish to men and not making our best efforts to teach him how to fish…

And all the above is happening in the know of the Government and RBI.

Sad isn’t it…

So, one day I decided to talk to my banker friends to understand why? I got a unanimous answer…

The default rate in Education Loans is high. Not because the student runs away but more so because many of them don’t get jobs which enable them to pay the EMI and over and above allows them to live a comfortable life.

Valid Financial Logic.

However, this, in my opinion, is not just a financial issue. This is a social and developmental issue.

Our Govt. comes up with zillions of welfare schemes, they subsidize agriculture, cooking gas, they make cheap housing (and the list goes on), they even write-off loans but all these are nothing more than giving fish to the hungry.

Education, on the other hand, teaches people how to fish but, for some reason, Govts. don’t care….

They will not make banks subsidise, give low-interest benefits, write off loans why? Because it is not a vote catcher.

The bane of democracy is that everything is about the next elections….

Also, I guess the other reason is that the fear politicians have that if most of the population gets educated they will start asking questions and demanding their rights…something no politician wants to be on the receiving end of.

In short, giving fish helps in the next elections, teaching how to catch doesn’t…

Sad……but true….

Till a time comes when the situation is reversed, we have to reconcile ourselves to the fact that…

The Car Loans will be cheaper than Education Loans….

As always, please do give your thoughts and comments and if you like this article, please do like, share and subscribe to my blog…

Until next time, stay safe…

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The World would have looked very very different…..you don’t believe me !!….read on..

I am sure most of you have heard the saying; a butterfly fluttering her wings in India can cause a hurricane in Canada….

It may not be literally true but it conveys a very deep meaning ….

Meaning that one small insignificant incidence in one place could cause major things to happen somewhere else…

It coveys that coincidence can sometimes change history…

Is it true….well….let’s check it out…join me in the journey of this discovery of coincidence which changed the world.

It was the summer of 1914. Balance of power in Europe was shaky at its best.

Archduke Ferdinand, crown prince, of Austria, was also the Inspector General of Austrio Hungarian Army. The army had decided to hold its military exercises in Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital. Archduke was invited. Serbian nationalists saw this as an insult to them – they wanted to strike back.

In the morning of June 28th Archduke and his wife travelled in an open car. Their motorcade was to take them thru the Serbian area but few proper safety precautions were taken. The security was so poor that their route was also made public to the people.

This was a great opportunity for the seven Bosnian Serbs with Ultra-nationalist called Black Hand to try and assassinate the Duke….they placed themselves along the way…they had strapped explosives to their bodies, carried loaded revolvers and were all equipped with cyanide so they could commit suicide rather than be caught.

As the motorcade rolled along the Appel Quay, a major street running through the centre of Sarajevo, a Bosnian Serb named Nedeljko Čabrinović threw a bomb toward the archduke’s car. The driver was alert and sharp, he quickly managed to accelerate out of the way, and the bomb hit the vehicle behind, injuring several people.

Instead of cancelling the program, Ferdinand decided to act brave and continued his day schedule. They reached the city hall, met people, Ferdinand gave his speech. After Franz Ferdinand made his speech and tended to some official business, he wanted to visit the injured adjutant in the hospital before leaving town.

For security reasons, it was decided that the motorcade should proceed out of the city via the Appel Quay, rather than take its planned route along Franz Joseph Street and into the narrow streets of Sarajevo’s bazaar district.

As chance could have it, the drivers of the cars were Czech and they were being given direction in German. Neither did they understand the instructions nor did anyone bothered to translate them.

As a result, the first car turned onto Franz Joseph Street, followed by the second car, carrying Franz Ferdinand. Amazingly, this wrong turn took them right to where Gavrilo Princip (another of the original party of seven) had stationed himself along the originally published route for the motorcade.

Ferdinand’s security, realising that the Drivers have taken a wrong turn, yelled at the driver that he had taken a wrong turn. The driver, shocked by the yelling, braked the car to a stop……right in front of Princip.

Princip, also confused and shocked by the ease of the opportunity, recovered quickly and fired…… two shots. The shots were perfect; Ferdinand was hit at a point-blank range above the heart, killing Ferdinand on the spot.

This assassination would provide the necessary spark and a nudge to an already fragile balance of power in Europe.

A month after Ferdinand’s death, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.

By 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente, consisting of FranceRussia, and Britain; and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy.  Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and approved partial mobilisation after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on 28 July. Full Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; the following day, Austria-Hungary and Germany did the same, while Germany demanded Russia demobilise within twelve hours. When Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on Russia on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, the latter following suit on 6 August; France ordered full mobilisation in support of Russia on 2 August.

And the First World War was on….

It would take only a single crisis—the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, by a young Bosnian Serb nationalist in Sarajevo—to push the continent’s six major powers into World War I, which devastated the continent and killed some 17 million soldiers and civilians.

Read on….the story continues to become even more interesting….

As we all know that Germany lost the war eventually and that lead to the treaty of Versailles.  A treaty in which Germany was humiliated, stripped of its economic abilities, its military was largely disbanded, it was forced to sign the Article 231, later became known as the War Guilt clause. The treaty required Germany to disarm, make ample territorial concessions, and pay reparations to certain countries that had formed the Entente powers. In 1921 the total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion gold marks, roughly equivalent to US$442 billion in 2020).

The German economy went almost bankrupt, the unemployment rate shot thru the roof, German Mark became almost a useless currency. In other words, the life of a German citizen became hell…

Result: Germans became more and more upset due to the series of humiliations being piled on them.

The country was ripe and desperate for a saviour….in walks Hitler….

People loved him; he made all the right promises in the right way….it felt that Germany will once again get what it deserves.

Soon, he was the Dictator of Germany…started what eventually became World War II.

When WW II ended, Europe got divided between Capitalists (led by the US) and Communist (led by USSR).

Cold war happened, leading to ever more dangerous weapons including Nuclear weapons being created,  eventually leading to the collapse of USSR, causing the US to become the only Superpower. This allowed the US to start wars in the Arab region, leading to creating of Terror Organizations (that was the only way radical Islamists could retaliate), World Trade Centre and other acts of terror causing deaths of thousands of innocents all over the world including India.

USSR’s demise led to the rise of China and rest….as we say is history….

Now, let me do what is called a rapid flashback (used in movies quite often)….

If Ferdinand had not travelled in an unsecured car

…and the driver could speak German

…and he had not taken the wrong turn

…and the would-be assassin had not been exactly there at the exact same spot

…and he had missed the aim

…and Ferdinand had not been killed

…and the WW 1 had not started, and Germany was not humiliated thru treaty of Versailles

…and Hitler had not come to power

…and the WW2 had not happened

…and the world had not gotten divided into Capitalists and Communists

…and the cold war and making of dangerous weapons had not happened

…and the US had not become the only global superpower

…and the US had not tried to play dirty in the Arab world

…and Terror groups had not risen

…and terrorism had not engulfed the world

…and China had not become a rival to the US

….and, and and even more and…

WHAT WOULD THE WORLD HAVE LOOKED LIKE TODAY…..

I am sure I can’t give you a good answer to my own question, but I can tell you one thing for sure……

The world would have been very different from what it is now….geopolitical, economical and otherwise….

This is what I meant when I talked about the butterfly effect at the beginning of this article…

As they say, a butterfly fluttering her wings in India can cause a hurricane in Canada….

Meanwhile, please do like, comment, share and subscribe to my blog…

Signing off till next time…..Salute’

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How to vote in elections?

Hi..! I am back,

Again, let me clarify that I have no affiliations with any political party…..:-)

As the time of any elections come near, every time the word “Cheers” is heard (now I don’t have to explain why)…..a big sip and/or a gulp happens which is then followed by one standard question…”So, who are you voting for?, Aur beta kis ke liye vote kar rahe ho iss bar? Or any of many variations of the same question…

I thought I will share my thoughts on this subject…..as always you may find them a bit off the track but anyway, social media gives me the tool to be off track!!!

Here is my recommendation for you, carefully look at all the candidates in your constituency

And

Vote for the best person (does not matter which political party it belongs to)…

By best I am talking about a person who is most honest, most sincere, most committed a person with a good heart and good intentions…

Needless to say, nobody is 100 % so you will have to look at them relatively…

If theoretically this happens all over the country, you will have decent people sitting in the parliament, congress, senate or whatever the representative body is called in your country…

BTW, I refuse to accept that decent people cannot be good in governance also…

Don’t you think decent people (belonging to whichever party they belong to) will try their best to do things which are good for the country, for its poor people, for the needy, for its future, for it to become Economically, socially and morally strong…….i think they will….

I know that this write up will generate lot of skepticism initially, but may be……just may be even if we get majority of decent people in, it will start making a difference….

Well that was my thought, share yours….and if you like this thought, please share with others as well….

Till next time, NZOY..!!!

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Can’t we do just this much…

A beautiful thing happened with me a few years back. I saw something and it re-triggered my thoughts. So sharing with you.

My mother, who was very old, was having a problem for quite some days and somehow to allopathic medicine was not working. I came to know (thru a friend) that there is a homeopathic doctor who has a clinic nearby and he has some expertise in that area.

Deciding that there is no harm in trying I took my mother to the Doctor. He came down 3 stories from his clinic to see my mother in the car where she was sitting (she was not mobile), did the check up and discussion in the car and then he and I went up to his clinic where he made the medicine.

After he had given the medicine to me and given me the instructions on how to administer them, I pulled out my wallet to pay him his regular fees……

He immediately stopped me. Confused, I asked why…..he said something very nice and interesting…..

He said, I don’t take money from patients who are 80 + years and older.

I asked why…..and his logic stumped me….stumped me by its simplicity, common sense and effectiveness as an approach.

He said, look like most of us I also want to do something for others but then being a fully occupied doctor I don’t get time to devote to helping others. Therefore I thought and came to this conclusion that can I bring in the element of social service in my work itself. That way, I won’t have to work extra hours, I will be able to do some real help for the old people and I will be doing in the area where I am best at…..

Now, that also triggered my thought process.

Why can’t our hospitals and doctors do something like this…..the social security net is highly inadequate and as a result our super seniors are forever struggling. It will be able great way to do CSR, help our very old people and do it in the area of their strength without putting any extra work outside their normal work hours. And yes, there will be some monetary impact but how much? After all how many people reach that age bracket?

Also, every organization spends a good chunk of money on CSR; use that for helping the old…instead of for…to be a bit blunt….doing things which in some organizations can be bit of a PRish CSR activities….

Add to the above; imagine also the good wishes, blessings and the goodwill it will generate….

This is the least we can do for our elders….at 80 + they are playing their last innings, they are weak, they have done their bit for the country, and they know that……the end is near….

Can’t we….do just this much?

Think about it?

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Women’s right, who needs it who gets it.

These days where ever you look, read, tune into TV channel, attend a seminar on anything even remotely related to the women…..one omni-present thing is some variation of the following “women are the weaker section, they suffer all the time, men rule women, women have no say in anything….etc. etc. and etc.”….

As chance could have it I go so much exposed to “poor” women radiation that it forced me to think….

I am sharing my thoughts with you…..please you also think (does not matter if you are a man or a woman)….and reach your own conclusions…And yes, read till the end, please don’t get emotional, keep your ego aside and read with your rational hat on…..

I started by looking around me, my family, my relatives, my friends, the social circle I move in (essentially middle class people) and I did not find many examples of “poor women” as described in the media. I got completely confused….on one side my intuition was telling me that women do need support but I was not able to find that women….

And then suddenly it popped…..

The seminars, discussions, debates etc. are happening in the big cities, amongst middle to upper class women, among elite women of the country (financial, education, career wise elites) but they are not that much of the sufferers….However, due to this massive pressure getting generated they are getting the benefits…..

As they say which kid cries more mothers tends to give more milk to that child….. (well not exactly but you get the drift)….

Then who are those “weak, poor women”? I thought and finally I think I got the answer, fundamentally because I grew up in very small cities and got a chance to see the rural India…

They are the ones who live in rural areas, in the part of India which is very poor, dependent on agriculture for their survival….and trust me, it is a huge part of India…they are uneducated, unskilled, live in a social milieu which is very old fashioned, old thinking, traditional to the extent of being almost idiotic, where men rule the house with a stick etc. etc. They are the ones who need all the help, reservations, externally given power, economical crutches…

And who gets benefited with all the rhetoric being generated in all the media (and we have tons of it these days including the latest cousin….social media)….the ones who already have it….

The kid who has the wherewithal to cry gets the milk and the kid who doesn’t know how to make its cry heard, doesn’t…….

Are you as unsatisfied as I am…..And yes, before I end, read the same article again, only replace women by people of reserved category….….!!!

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How to be in the 10 % of Start-ups which succeed?

I am sure you all know that there are various surveys, studies and analysis done globally which conclude that majority of start-ups fail.

If this statement makes you feel uncomfortable, it is meant to.

Because unless you feel uncomfortable and, therefore, become more careful you will join the 90 %. However, if you do things right and in the right way, there is no reason why you won’t be in the 10 %. Since, I work with start-ups and SME’s for a living; I have interacted with lots of eager beavers… (Young ones with dream, gleam and dollars in their eyes) and have, sadly, seen many of them with same eyes with emotions replaced by dejection, a sense of failure and brooding about their future.

So why this 90 % failure Start-ups rate, here are some of the reasons that I have observed:

1. Doing a start-up because everyone around me is doing:

Sometimes when I am at various events, meetings and mentoring sessions I feel as if “doing” a start-up has become a game for both the people and the investors. These are strong words but I hope you know what I am talking about.

2. Weak business model:

We all know that most of the start-ups today (especially in e-commerce space) are running in losses. We all know that if we buy something at Rs. 100 and sell at Rs. 80 and use the investor funds (which I believe are more easily available than ever before) to bridge the gap, it will eventually fall flat. Loss leading philosophy can work but only if it is well thought out, is reasonable to execute and turns around to profits within a reasonable time frame and at a reasonable scale. Now, I don’t want to take names here but there are companies and investors which have gone from launch, to seed, to Series A, B etc. and are still not making money. Every next line of investors puts in money at a higher valuation hoping to get an exit at an even higher valuation, but if the basic business model and execution is not sound how long do you think this climbing on each other’s back can happen……I leave the answer to you.

Related Blog – Is Money EVERYTHING?

3. Are you really solving a long term problem of your market and customers?:

Think very deeply, this question has multiple questions and issues hidden. We are seeing start-ups which are solving imaginary, temporary or problems which are not much of a need/pain for the customer. Clearly, a sure shot preparation for failure.

Now, I have said many things above. Due to lack of space, many of course, are left uncovered. But let’s talk a bit about how does one judge if one is serious about a start-up, how does one know that the business model is sound and how does one know if the problem being attempted to be solved is a real, long term need of your customer eco-system.

Here are my suggestions. By no means this is a complete list, I am sure much more could be added but let me give a few:

Why are you doing a start-up:

1. Would you like to work:

a. for 16 hours a day

b. have no earnings for at least 1 year

c. get no holidays

d. and no one to recognize you

If the answer is “yes”, then is it because:

e. you think the eventually you will succeed because

i. many around you are succeeding

ii. do you dream of days when you will be driving a swanky car and living in a palatial home

or

iii. is it because you are seriously passionate about something and you want to see it coming to fruition? And benefitting the users (Business or Consumers)

If your choice is i and/or ii then please think again…..history has shown repeatedly that people who chase money do not mostly get it but people who chase excellence in problem solving make it big.

2. Do you have a good business model:

Try and answer the following question:

a. Will your business succeed even if there was no funding? If it will, just much more slowly, you are on the right track. On the other hand, if your model will succeed ONLY if you got x amount of funding, analyze things again, very carefully, you may or may not be on the right track.

b. At what scale will your business start making money? Is that scale achievable in reasonable time at reasonable level: A business which takes 5 years and assumes 7 times the growth (numbers indicative to show the point) is not a good idea to pursue. Why, because in that time and at that level of growth even a small slip can derail your plans.

3. Addressing a REAL problem vis-à-vis a short term problem or a non-issue:

We are observing that these days’ people are thinking that digitizing anything is solving a problem and thus will work as a business.

Think like this, IT is only a tool, a tool to enable doing things faster, better, in a more efficient and effective manner. However, by itself it is nothing.

Therefore, to be sure, whenever you look at possible business ideas, look at things which have been problematic for people for a long time, things for which people will pay for now and in the future, look at the needs which fill a big gap in people’s lives. Once you have done that augment and/or support your solution with technology. Don’t think technology before the solution, first think solution then think how you will make the solution stronger by using technology.

Although I have not covered all the possible points that I could have regarding deciding about a start-up but the above discussion would have given you a decent picture of what and how you need to go about deciding if you should do a start-up and if yes then why and how.

Hope it helps some of you to succeed, even if it helps 1 of you, my writing’s purpose has been achieved.

God Bless you….

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Journalism, Journalists and Media — Have failed us, MOSTLY

That’s a strong statement to make, isn’t it…Yes it is…I will tell you why

Let me tell you a real story…it was around 10 years back, I was sitting with a very senior and respected Indian journalist of his times (his times because he was retired by then).

I asked him, how has journalism changed over a period of time in India? He gave me a beautiful short statement which hit the nail on the head…here is his exact statement:

“Earlier Indian journalism was heavily influenced by British style of journalism, “Newspapers are for news, and if they make money too it is great. Now days, journalism is influenced by American style of journalism, Newspapers are a business, their primary job is to make money, if they have to give some news towards that purpose then so be it”.

(Now, my American readers may feel a bit upset to let me give a disclaimer here, his use of the word American was more of a way to describe two approaches rather than bad mouth any country).

Today’s media and journalists seem to be working with only one agenda in mind….how to make more money…open any newspaper and news channel and you will see the examples…

Gone are the days when news reporting was balanced based on facts, looking at all the perspectives and sides etc.

Let people make their own judgment, their own conclusions.

Now, why am I writing this on Press, Media and Journalists?

Simple, they have the biggest reach, biggest influencing power, and therefore the biggest accountability / responsibility for doing their job in a sensible, mature and responsible manner.

Just in case you are thinking that I am arguing for only painting a pretty picture, let me answer it upfront, I am not…

The picture is not always pretty and so there is no need to paint it that way.

Do tell us what has happened, good bad ugly but don’t make is worse or uglier just because it sells more.

You have a huge reach, don’t misuse it.

To read the full article, please click on the following link

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Is Money EVERYTHING?

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction and any resemblance with any reality is purely coincidental. Any resemblance to any person, country, or incident is purely a matter of chance. The writer is not responsible for it.

Although, it is quite possible that many may identify with this write-up.

My name is John (although it could be Bob, Micheal, Arun, Jose or Platini). I am, thanks to my hard work and luck, now a CXO level officer in a large multi-national company. I started my career at the lowermost level in the organization and by sheer dint of my consistent performance reached the level I had always dreamed of.

A CXO level executive.

Today, working from home, my mind is torn between what I am asked to do and what I believe should be done….my conscious is killing me, the pain is written all over my face. Should I or Should I not…..the muddle in my mind is become deeper and deeper and deeper….more of that in a bit.

Here is what happened:

John’s phone rang. It was the companies CEO. He said we need to talk, is this a good time? One thing John had learnt in his working life was that when the CEO calls, it is always a good time.

As expected, he said “Yes Boss”.

“John, I will not waste my time in pleasantries because there is nothing pleasant about what I have to tell you. The Board has decided that to tackle the drop in business, due to corona, we have to lay off at least 25 % of our employees and cut the salaries of the remaining employees by 10 to 20 %”.

John was shocked into silence. His biggest fear was coming true. John always believed in the power of good employees. He always believed that the success of an organization depends on the quality of its employees. He believed, that he has been successful in his career because he always chose a great team to work for him. He clearly communicated the objectives to them, monitored regularly, provided mentoring and guidance whenever required and boom….the success happened.

This approach has worked for him, time and again. And now this. His mind went in overdrive.

John called the CFO of the company; he was keen to know the financial situation of the company. He could call the CFO because he and Bob (the CFO) were school friends.

He mentioned about the call he has received and asked Bob, “Are we in that bad a shape? I thought we were doing well. At least, that is what I have been reading in the press”.

Bob’s loud sigh could be heard over the phone.

Bob said in a quiet tone, “So it has started finally. Well, no we are not in a bad shape. We are sitting on enough cash to last out more than a year”.

John exclaimed, “then why”??

Bob responded in a de-moralised tone, “John, this debate has been going on in the Board for the last 3 days, all of us including the CEO have been trying their level best to convince the Board that we can and we must be more patient. Let’s at least sit tight for next 3 months and if we see Covid coming under control and if we see that a vaccine is around the corner then we may not need to take any drastic action otherwise we can pull out our swords at that time.

John “Makes sense, so then?”

Bob “We failed. As you know John, the Board is run and dominated by the owners of the company. From their perspective, waiting for 3 months is throwing cash away. They want the money NOW.

John, an employee-oriented CXO was disappointed, his mind’s whirl became even worst…

John, having worked in the industry for a long time, knew that sometimes the power and desire of money/ambition clashes with the requirements of being a good and sensible human being. And sometimes one has to do such things to save the jobs of other employees, ensure the longevity of the business and for the “larger” good of the other stakeholders….But should the same priorities apply in case of pandemics like this? Knowing that employees laid off will not be able to find jobs these days.

Companies spend a lot of money on Corporate Social Responsibility. In such a situation, should not the charity begin at home? Or CSR is only done because companies get tax exemption??

John’s mind went towards another issue, the average age of the company’s employee is 27 years (termed these days as “millennial”). For some reason, they don’t understand the seriousness of the situation. They are still working hard, they are upbeat about the company, they believe that they are working for a successful company which works in cutting edge technologies and they are proud of the work they do and the company they work for.

Hi, This is me Manoj Tandon; back again……

please look at the above situation from a distance and give you thoughts and opinions on the following questions:

1. How do you picture the Board’s decision? And what do you think they should have done?

2. What do you think about the reaction of the top leaders? What can they do or should do to make the situation better?

3. Read the above as if you are an employee of the company and tell what you think would be the right answer to this puzzle.

Here are my answers (due to shortage of space, I will try to be as succinct as possible):

1. Boards, for obvious reasons, tend to look at things in money, market, margins etc. kind of terms. Since they don’t have to meet the employees daily, share the pleasures of success and pains of failure with them they mostly tend to become impersonal in their decision making and behaviour.

2. Reactions of top leaders are more understandable, for two reasons. One, that since they are dealing with the human side of an organization (it tends to be almost 50 % of their daily work), they feel more the pain of the people who work for them (compared to a typical Board). In this case, however, there is one big weakness that is coming to the fore. If the young employees are not feeling the sense of trouble looming then it is the fault of top leaders. It is their job to communicate with the employees regularly. If the employees are living in their world, clearly the Top Management, while people-oriented, is not leading properly.

3. If I look at it from an employee perspective, I have all the reasons to be a bit upset. A bit, because while my company has been doing well but due to the prevalent situation across the world, I must have my antenna’s up to know that something like this can happen and I need to start thinking and preparing my Plan B.

Now, what should John do? Again my recommendation (would love to hear you):

On the Board and Senior Side:

1. Taking the matter to the board or seniors with just the human side will not help. They will all express sympathies but will not change their decision

2. If any change of decision is possible, John needs to build a business case out of it.

a. What is the impact on the company’s ability to deliver now and in the future if people are laid off?

b. Will some revenue remain unrealised? If there are less or demotivated people, once you lay off a substantial amount of people, whether one likes or justifies it whichever way, the morale does always go down.

c. Many companies (those who can afford it and this company seem to be able to), are using this time and availability of resources to create new IP, new Post Covid 19 offerings depending on how the market is expected to change. John has to ask himself this question that can the extra workforce be utilised for creating IP or a group of IP’s in a short period of time judiciously using the people. If yes, then make some very specific and focussed plan for it and present that to the board.

On the employee side:

1. Start orienting them towards the fact the business is down. Not because the company is not doing a good job but because of Covid 19. Draw parallels between other companies facing the same problem.

2. Urge them to think of ways they can contribute more

3. Maybe form task groups to come up with ideas about how they can contribute directly or indirectly to increase companies business.

Some more thoughts from my side:

1. Most specialists are reasonably confident that a solution will be found soon. Vaccines are under preparation and are being tested in various labs all around the world, and very competent doctors and scientists are working around the clock to find a solution.

2. Although overall the world is in a state of high alert, however lurking somewhere in everyone’s mind is confidence that given the amount of effort, energy and money being put in to find a cure/vaccine, the solution will inevitably be found. It may take some time, but it will happen sooner rather than later. Medical science has advanced too much to not be able to find the solution.

Will it take 3 months, 6 months, 1 year or more? No one knows.

You may be wondering why I have authored this article?

Simple:

· this situation is currently happening in many places

· is being thought about at many places and

· if you follow the news closely, it has already happened in many places all across the world. It is REAL.

So the question is — Is money EVERYTHING? Are their situations where “employee welfare” tops “money for the business”? Please do remember, as I had said before, there is enough cash in the company to last more than a year.

As always, please do like, share and comment below. More opinions, better thinking, better judgement.

Meanwhile, stay safe and God bless you.

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