Archive for » February, 2014 «

SHAPE UP OR SHIP OUT

MY LETTER IN TODAY’S FINANCIAL EXPRESS:
An edited version of my letter has been published in today’s (Feb 25th 2014) FINANCIAL EXPRESS:

Shape up or shift out
This refers to the news story “NR Narayana Murthy to Infosys’ fat cat laggards: Shape up or ship out” by PP Thimmaya (FE, February 20). A quote by Vince Lombardi, the American football player, coach and executive, sums it up very crisply: “Some of us will do our jobs well and some will not, but we will be judged by only one thing—the result.” Yes, Murthy is right, because gone are the days one would continue to be on the pay roll of the company on the strength of just one’s seniority. Each day one has to put in not only a great deal of hard work but also smart work, creative work and productive work. In today’s competitive environment, performance alone matters. The way one performs in one’s workplace determines how long one will continue with work. Results are everything in the world of work. This is indeed a great message for all the employees.
JS Broca, New Delhi

MY LETTER IN BUSINESS TODAY

MY  LETTER IN BUSINESS TODAY ISSUE DATED 2ND MARCH 2014

There was an interesting cover story about Flipkart AND Amazon in the BT issue dated 16th Feb 2014. I had written the following letter to the editor of BT on 4th Feb 2014:

FLIPKART VERSUS AMAZON

DAVID VERSUS GOLIATH?

Dear Sir,

This refers to your excellent cover story about the on-going turf war between Flipkart and Amazon (BT issue dated 16th Feb 2014). It brought to my mind the term “David & Goliath”. The term is used for describing a situation in which a small person or an organization (David: Flipkart) defeats a much larger one (Goliath: Amazon) in a surprising way. The reference is from the famous story in the Bible in which David, a young boy, kills Goliath, a giant, with a stone. The “David & Goliath Principle” is often referred to and quoted in the corporate success stories. The principle is pretty simple. If you’re the little guy, the underdog, or the one without the best odds of winning, but you experience success, then David and Goliath principle is said to have been proved.

It will be very interesting to see whether (David) Flipkart with its strategies like investment in technology, third-party market place, profitability versus growth and brand management etc wins hands down over (Goliath) the giant Amazon, which has learnt lessons from its China fiasco and will now certainly not be repeating its earlier mistakes and will try to gain a sizable mind share and market pie to come out un-scathed from the war. Let’s see if the Biblical story or history repeats its self or not. May the best organization win!

J S BROCA

NEW DELHI

The latest issue of BT (just out today on 17th Feb 2014) has published a highly edited version of my letter, as under:

QUOTE:

This refers to your excellent cover story about the on-going turf war between Flipkart and Amazon (Moth to a Flame and Ready for the Next Move, Feb 16). It brings to my mind the “ David versus Goliath “ story –a David, Flipkart, is having to take on a Goliath, Amazon. The “David & Goliath” example is often referred to in the corporate success stories. It will be interesting to see whether Flipkart with its strategies such as investment in technology, third-party market place, profitability versus growth, and brand management etc holds on its own against Amazon. After its China fiasco, Amazon  will certainly not repeat its earlier mistakes. It will try to gain a sizeable market pie to come out un-scathed from the war.

J S BROCA, New Delhi

UNQUOTE

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER…..

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER…..

90 going on 19

Just because you have hit 90 is not a good enough reason to call it a day. An inspiring number of nonagenarians and centenarians are not letting age get the better of them

How does one define ‘old’? Through a person’s age? But then age is just a number, many would say. Though certain divisions have been made between the young old (65-74 years), the middle old (75-84 years) and the oldest old (85-plus), there is no guarantee that the ‘young old’ would be younger than the ‘oldest old’. After all, some ‘oldest olds’ are giving the young a run for their money.

Gerontologists say how a person ages has a lot to do with how he perceives his health. Active engagement with life, which retirement can – and often does – impact, is another factor. Which is why there is a section of people that chooses not to retire – not at 70, not at 80, not even at 90. Work for this energetic, youthful lot is a way of life. You will find plenty of Indian politicians in this category. Take, for example, Bharatiya Janata Party stalwart L K Advani who hits 87 this year and is raring to contest the Lok Sabha election. Or journalist Kuldip Nayar, who turns 91 in August. The author and political commentator is still bringing out books, participating in talks and playing his role as a human rights activist.

Some Danish researchers, whose report was published in the journal Lancet last year, have also found that today’s 90-year-olds are mentally sharper than their predecessors. Here’s the proof.

KHUSHWANT SINGH

AGE: 99, AUTHOR, COLUMNIST

This indomitable and colourful writer, who was swimming, going for walks and even playing tennis into his 90s, believes in leading an extremely disciplined life, whether it is about his writing, his lifestyle or his diet. A bowl of soup or lentils scores over the heavy ghee-soaked Punjabi food which he steers clear of. Newspapers are an addiction and late nights are an absolute “no”. Last year, on his 98th birthday on February 2, the ageless writer came out with yet another book – Khushwantnama: The Lessons of My Life – in which he talks about the power of laughter and shares tips for a long, happy and healthy life. A chhota peg or two is one of those secrets.

CAPT CP KRISHNAN NAIR

AGE: 92 : FOUNDER CHAIRMAN AND CHAIRMAN EMERITUS, THE LEELAPALACES, HOTELS AND RESORTS

The grand old man of the Indian hospitality industry has not a wrinkle on his face. A peep into his daily routine explains why. An early riser, he begins his day at the gym where he does light weights under the guidance of his personal trainer followed by a walk to the Buddha statue at The Leela in Mumbai. Though he officially stepped down as chairman of the group a year ago, he is hardly leading a retired life. At 9.30 am sharp, he is in office where he stays till 6 pm looking into the strategy of the business and guiding his sons, Vivek and Dinesh, who are now responsible for the affairs of the group. At six in the evening, his wife, “Madam Leela”, as the staff addresses her, arrives. He never keeps her waiting, even if he is in a meeting. The couple then go for a short drive around the new Mumbai airport located five minutes from The Leela. Discipline – that’s the key.

BKS IYENGAR

AGE: 95, YOGA GURU AND FOUNDER OF IYENGAR YOGA

His is a routine that hasn’t changed in years. He’s up at 4 am, does pranayama (breathing exercises) for one to one-and-a-half hours, prays, takes coffee, reads the newspaper, meets pupils and does his sadhana (practice) from 9 am to noon, during which he also guides his students. The list of asanas (yoga postures) he practises, say his pupils, is too long to be penned down. After lunch, he rests for about a hour. Then from 2.30 pm, he gets down to answering the mail (which is unbelievably huge), meeting students and visitors, reading books, writing articles or giving interviews. In the evening, he listens to music, watches TV and interacts with his sizeable family, which includes children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

FAUJA SINGH

AGE: 102,MARATHONER

The man who started running at 89 and ran his last official race in
Hong Kong last February continues to walk, jog and go on the occasional run. The world’s oldest runner, who is based in London, is up and about by 7.30 am. He likes to leaves home early and is back only by evening. The day is spent socialising at the local gurudwara and walking for 6-7 miles. Like most superfit nonagenarians and centenarians, Fauja Singh believes in eating light. He’s a vegetarian and, unlike your regular Punjabi, does not subscribe to the concept of “live to eat”. Once someone asked him, “Don’t your bones creak and muscles hurt, like ours do?” And he replied, “Of course they do. But I would rather deal with them walking or running rather than by staying in bed.”

ZOHRA SEHGAL

AGE: 101

ACTOR, CHOREOGRAPHER

This impish actor who turns 102 in April did her last film, Saawariya, in 2007 at the age of 95. “She has this lust for life which keeps her going,” says her daughter, Kiran Segal, the author of Zohra Sehgal: Fatty by Niyogi Books. “She’s still vivacious, though she has slowed down a bit now,” says Segal. She continues to follow an uncompromising timetable: a light breakfast at a particular time followed by half an hour in the sun. She then reads the headlines, does her breathing exercises, recites poetry and at 5 pm sharp, has her coffee. Tender coconut water is an absolute must. A brief walk before dinner, which can include kebab, chicken or meat, followed by some fruit and it’s a day.