7 Ways to Ruin Your Next Pitch

My last post, 'The Power Of Presentations' was based on my experiences as a presenter. So it was only fair, that I wrote a follow up post from another perspective; the perspective in which I was at the receiving end of presentations.

Most points listed below stand true for presentations of any kind. But these here are drawn specifically from interactions with PR agencies. Individually or collectively, these mistakes made by agency personnel ended up sticking out like a sore thumb or worse, failed to win them the business all together.

So, here go the 7.

1. Not researching the client inside out

If you are a PR agency, then a new client has reached out to you, since they have a reasonably established intent to improve their public image or outreach. And you're trying to demonstrate that you understand their business & products well. Consequently, besides showcasing how you plan to address their needs, you also need to showcase that you see the problems they currently have, and even the ones which they've probably overlooked.
To do this, you'll need to research extensively on their recent outreach campaigns, their markets, their business models, and even their partners' & competitors' outreach programs.
No amount of team swag can compensate for sub-standard research.

Read more at LinkedIn
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The 2016 Big Ticket Growth Items for Electronics in India

The above are the big ticket items identified by DeitY for 2016. But micro-ATMs deserve a special mention. Micro ATMs are expected to be viable where ATMs are not. ATMs need at least 80-100 transactions a day to be viable as they a lot and and have monthly operating expenses of close to  Rs 20,000 after taking into account rental, telecom charges, AMC costs, electricity expenses and security guard.  A micro ATM costs less than Rs 20,000. It is widely expected that payment banks will use micro ATMs to reach out to rural poor to bring down their cost of operations.
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The Power of Presentations

In 2008, I came across a remote village in India’s Western Ghats which was doing something unique. The village was re-introducing a native fish species into the local river, the numbers of which had dwindled considerably due to a recent dam upstream. Every year, they'd import live fry from other parts of India and release them in the streams around. The river was the village’s lifeline and had been supporting them for generations. So in many ways, besides being a river rejuvenation project, it was also an economic one.

The project drew me strongly and I realized how it could be made more effective while improving rural employability. So, in less than a week's time, I located the village and found myself sitting with the village elders, presenting about the nuances of the project. That presentation, and the discussions following lasted for four hours. But, by the end of it, I had won their trust. I helped run their efforts for the next two years.

Read more at LinkedIn

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The Proof of an Intelligent Investor

Source: Google Finance

[Update] As further proof of what's below, FTSE 100 is now trading higher than what it was at pre BREXIT. 

[Original Post] The after math of BREXIT shook up several markets. FTSE 250, which is a composite of very UK centric businesses took a severe hit that morning, and so did FTSE 100. FTSE 100 is composed of firms which draw less than 30% of their revenue from inside the UK. 

So, amid all noise of doom and despair, you'd expect scrips of any kind fall. At least that was the prediction by several from the media and a few from my peers. 

But, here's what sets the case for existence of an intelligent investor. 
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The After Effects of BREXIT

Courtesy - FT.com

Now that dust is settled and UK is bound to get out of European Union, some after effects - short & long term come to mind.

  • Sterling will take a hit in the short term. 

    • Besides investors sentiment, it is possible that several remaining countries in the EU might just dump their sterling reserves - both out of fear and perhaps some even out of spite. All that extra sterling in the world market will take it lower. 

  • Rise in Inflation

    • With both labour and goods finding it hard to enter as easily, temporarily both goods and services will become expensive. Most importantly food related since UK imports a significant portion of it. A weak sterling might become worse off as its buying power dwindles.
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World's Fastest Supercomputer is soon going to be ARM based

Image hosted and courtesy of IISc

There was a supercomputer story which broke ground on 20th June at the International Server Conference, which  got missed by most of Indian media. But it's very compelling any way you look at it.

The background:
  • India’s Sahasrat is supposed to have capacity of around 1.46 PetaFlops. (as per public sources)
  • China’s Sunway-TaihuLight is supposed to have a capacity in excess of 100 PetaFlops(public sources)
But, Fujitsu announced at http://www.isc-hpc.com/ on 20th June that they are building a
1000 Petaflop ARM based supercomputer for Japan’s RIKEN institute.

Some international magazines did pick this news up:
This effort is part of Japan's 'Post-K' supercomputer program(The ‘K' is their current supercomputer)

Basically, once Japan's new supercomputer goes live, it will be
  • 10 times more powerful than the fastest supercomputer in the world today.
  • and around 700 times more powerful than the fastest supercomputer in India today. 
Either way we look at it, India seems way behind in the supercomputing race.
And China’s Sunway-TaihuLight is no more a benchmark
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4 Problems With The Elevated Bus Concept

Many a magazine enthusiastically covered the idea of the elevated bus concept from China.

The concept in itself though is riddled with problems which seem rather hard to solve

1. Lane changes & turns 
Imagine the cars under the bus trying to take a turn or change into the lanes which aren't straddled by the bus. The bus could move in behind you, while you transited into these adjacent lane. The car will either get crushed or dragged along for a distance and then simply spun around.
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China Seems Unstoppable

(Image courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bginch88/)

Between all the China discussions in my circles, several have predicted doom and despair for China. Sky high corporate debt, state sponsored zombies, high interference in the stock market and currency and low domestic consumption - everything was supposed to be stacked against it.

But there's something about China which reminds me of a quintessential magician - pulling rabbits out of a hat and being able to do so time and time again. So I've maintained, that while China does have its share of problems, what it also has ingenuity and the capacity to intervene at a massive scale. As a global suppliers, in many ways, they quite literally, have the world eating out of their hands.

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A Certain Prediction

Predictions often go wrong. Unfortunately, its commonplace that the predictions which do come true are celebrated extensively, leaving many to believe that true, enlightened visionaries do exist.

But history has shown that, a majority of predictions often go wrong. And rightly so, there are several statements on the act of prediction. Here's another

"I never really make predictions and I never will." -Paul Gascoigne

I'd like to throw a few into the mix.
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Unparalleled Market Dominance


All three brands above are owned by a little known Italian company by the name of 'LUXOTTICA'. Besides that, Luxottica is also licensed(often sole) eyewear manufacturer for just about every luxury brand imaginable. 

It also owns several popular eyewear chains across the world and eye care insurance firms. Watch the CBS 60 coverage of Luxottica here.

This is reminiscent of De Beers, which once controlled around 85% of the diamond market. 

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Too Much Hustle, or Just Enough?

I receive my share of mail solicitations. But, this below by far was the most concise and interesting. 
----- X -----

I don’t want to keep bombarding you with emails, but my job is to follow up persistently on strong potential matches, which is why I’ve continued to hustle.

However, I haven’t heard from you yet, and maybe one of these reasons sums up why?
  1. You already use a different trade show for new leads.
  2. Right now isn’t the best time to talk about Trade Shows, and I should check back in at a later date.
  3. You’ve fallen and can’t get up. In that case, please let me know and I’ll call 911 for you.
Please let me know which one it is, because I’m starting to worry that it might be No. 3.
If none of these reasons are the case, could I have an opportunity to explain how valuable our Trade Show series would be to your team?

When do you have 10 minutes to talk ?

Thanks for your time today.

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An Experiment in Undriving

The world will soon look for a simpler, singular word to describe autonomous, self-driving cars.
And I’d like to throw these in the hat.

UNCAR  - Not Car Like, self-referencing, self-explanatory.
UNDRIVE  - also self explanatory.
ULTRACAR  - since supercar is taken.

Here's a video on Mercedes-Benz's first ultracar

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Progress Vs. The Illusion of Progress

We've all witnessed a re-org which succeeded. But here's a quote to explain the ones which didn't.

We trained hard—but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we were reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing, and what a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while actually producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.- Petronius Arbiter 
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