Reflections on Demonetisation in India

Prime Minister Modi’s radical decision to cancel 500 and 1000 INR notes was unprecedented and unexpected. It was designed to stamp out the black economy and in a sop to nationalists was sold as an anti-terrorism measure. No mention was made of the likely impact on political parties who rely on cash donations to grease wheels during election time.


In the short-term the measure has drawn attention to India’s corruption problems and the importance of undisclosed cash payments in all spheres of the economy: 86% of transactions are in cash and much of the paperwork is inaccurate. If successful, the longer term outlook will be beneficial if it leads to a more transparent economy. The challenge will be changing the culture of backhanders and inaccurate invoicing. The question will be if this is just a clearing of the balance and the citizenry will start hoarding the new notes as fast as the old!

Money Reputation

Businesses and citizens rely on the stability of the currency to plan for the future. Modi has show himself to be bold, but the question is whether this will worry people about what else he can do in the future. What other tricks does he have up his sleeve and what impact might that have on investment decisions.

Money is a figure of trust – it means nothing if you cannot trust it – simply a piece of paper to light a fire. Indians have discovered that bundles of paper that were designed to tied them over in the future are now worth nothing. What will be the longer-term impact on citizens? Indians already have an obsession with gold and other portable stores of wealth – will that increase in future?

Speak with Passion

Michelle Obama has proven that speaking from the heart is what matters. Some might argue that Donald Trump does the same, but being a demagogue is not the same as speaking from the heart. He appeals to the heart (perhaps) but mainly to people’s visceral beliefs and hangups. The First Lady has managed to speak both passionately and with an authentic sense of indignation. It is those two characteristics that make her so popular. It does not matter whether she is necessarily right or wrong so much as the fact she believes what she says and it is not hostile to other groups. Executives might learn from her!

Apple Siri gender bias or glitch?

Siri’s obvious unwillingness to help a woman to find abortion clinics has created ire. The latest controversy could not have come at a time when the company is facing tough competition from their Android-powered counterpart.  Angered by Siri’s failure to locate even one result has had people sign mass petitions to Apple. Blogs and comments are keeping the controversy alive thus putting Apple in a delicate situation. We have to see how they tackle this serious issue.

As always, the problem with Apple is they fail to understand that to develop such an effective feature, Siri has to learn about the user; it should customize itself to know every detail about an institution or an individual. Guess what? Siri transforms your speech into a search algorithm and uses the 3rd part search engine to obtain result. If the search engine fails to return the information, Apple gets the blame for not having programmed that way.  Continue reading “Apple Siri gender bias or glitch?”

Anatomy of a modern-day political PR campaign in India

The Anna Hazare fast, now that’s its over, was a nifty PR campaign and a great political one at that. While the 74-year-old Anna with his 12-day fast resembling the many fasts that Gandhi made for the country before and after independence has become an icon; ‘Team Anna’ walked away with PR success.  Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and other popular people like actors Anupam Kher, Om Puri and Aamir Khan all made up the PR machine behind the scenes for Team Anna.  Continue reading “Anatomy of a modern-day political PR campaign in India”

How to avoid accidental social media disasters

Do you have an active social media life? If the answer is a ‘Yes’ you need to be reading this post.

Post the ‘Weinergate’ incident, when an accidental tweet with an obscene photo that should have been made via direct message to an on-line girlfriend went public on Rep. Weiner’s timeline forcing his resignation, it is time to list out ways to avoid such social media disasters.

Armed with Android smartphones and numerous social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter is by itself a challenging situation. So you have your personal Twitter and Facebook account, and your companies’/clients’ both on a computer and sometimes even on your smartphone. Juggling these daily is daunting to say the least.

The other aspect is your own social life and how you conduct yourself in social circles, what pictures you post on Twitter and Facebook and so on. Ask around and you’re sure to know quite a number of people who have suffered the ‘Freudian slip’ or in this case the ‘Freudian click’ sending the wrong message to an ex-flame/spouse. You end up dealing with not just the horror of such a predicament but also the sinking feeling that it could have been easily avoided.

Here’s how you can avoid accidental social media disasters: Continue reading “How to avoid accidental social media disasters”