Indian Railways – Automatic Ticket Kiosks

It was 5:10 AM on 26th January when I reached Bangalore railway station and I was supposed to travel by general compartment. The ticketing counters open by 5 AM, and there was a long ‘hanuman tail’ queue in almost all counters. I was cursing myself for getting late by 10 minutes (normally I go sharp 5 AM and stand in the as the first person in the queue) and thinking whether I will get a place to sit in the 6:30 AM train to Chennai. Also our Indian junta was giving me ‘dhakka’ from all directions 🙁

All of a sudden I discovered a ATM like machine with touchscreen saying ‘Swipe your Credit/Debit card and get tickets to Chennai and Mysore’ and I was taken by surprise. In the past I have done some case studies about photo kiosks and with lots of excitement, I approached the kiosk. It had a simple touchscreen which had four different combinations for Chennai and Mysore. I selected ‘chennai’ and ‘super-fast’ combination and swiped my debit card in slot provided in the right hand side. Thats it! After about 30 seconds the ticket was automatically printed in the left side slot. All of a sudden people saw me getting my tickets printed and I gave a small demo to some of them before rushing into my train to catch my seat in general compartment. The kiosk picture shown below.

This kiosk is been launched not more than three weeks back and the experience was simply awesome! It was promoted by Canara Bank in association with Indian Railways with a meager service charge of Rs.5. It saved time of so many people and eased the queue for so many people as most of them were traveling to Chennai or Mysore. Being an embedded systems engineer I cannot stop appreciating this and I saw technology really making a difference in India. But the unfortunate point is people were not aware of this kiosk until I started printing the tickets for the first time that day.

This kiosk should be launched for any station to any station along with a touch screen in local language. Today almost all the government employees, farmers and students have debit cards which would definitely help them to get tickets quickly. In my blog about Indian railways, I briefly touched about the potential of Indian railways and how technology need to play a major role in that. Also last week I came across the article where Indian railway is becoming net-savvy by giving WiFi connections in railways. After my kiosk experience I really get the ‘aha’ experience of technology.

Reflections on ‘The Guru’

I like only two type of movies: serious and comedy. Since Mani Rathnam’s ‘THE GURU’ belongs to the first category watched it on the theater (after a long long time). Overall the movie was pretty good at the same time raises lots of questions about building businesses in India. Before getting the business, let me quickly run thro’ the movie.
The hero Gurukant Desai, who hails from a small village in Gujarat moves to Turkey for employment and make some quick bucks. Because of his hard work and commitment (and of course his shrewdness)he raises very fast, but comes back to India and starts his own company. The first set of scenes itself says that ‘Guru’ is the story of Dhirubai Ambani and Reliance. If not for anything I would appreciate Mani’s attempt to make movie based on real life heroes. Long time back he made an excellent Tamil movie called ‘iruvar’, which was a neat sketch of lives of MGR and Karunanidhi. Unfortunately it was a commercial failure but I liked the movie. Unlike the typical ‘pyar mohabbath’ time-pass movies this movie conveys a message to aspirational, middle-class, hardworking people.

When the hero Guru starts his ‘Sakthi trading corporation’ in 1950s ‘license raj’ environment he faces lots of problems from the government and nethas. In order to race ahead in this adverse conditions Guru ‘bhai’ gets dowry, tilts the government, irks the authorities and finally emerges as India’s biggest business powerhouse. Now what is the message conveyed? In order to become successful and wealthy do an individual needs to take Guru’s path? Do we need to consider his strategy as a formula for success? Before coming to the conclusion let us analyze the ‘license raj’ a bit more.

In his book ‘India unbound’, author Gurucharan Das explains very clearly about the license raj and how it ended up as a zero sum game for India’s economy. After independence, ‘India’ (read ‘India’ as Nehru) embraced ‘socialistic-democracy’ as the main ideology inspired by the erstwhile USSR. Unlike USSR, in India it worked in reverse way by as it ultimately ended ‘capitalism for rich and socialism for poor’. The big, rich, fatty businesses were growing leaps and bounds whereas the poor suffered big time. The impact on corporate sector is even worse. Every corporation was owned by the government and in order to open a private business house, one has to go through all sorts of pain by applying for licenses. The word ‘competition’ was literally wiped off and the Entrepreneurial spirit was burnt in the infancy stage itself. Except for family owned businesses (which was more inherited from forefathers) new ventures were totally out of the scene.

What does it lead to? One end it lead to incompetent, lazy, red-tape public sector organizations and in another end small businesses were killed. Today all public sectors (except a few) have become ‘sick units’ and government is trying to slowly get rid of them by ‘disinvesting’ its stakes. Even some of the very few successful PSUs failed miserably and made no difference to people’s lives. I don’t see any device made in BHEL or BEL or NTPC is ever been useful to any average middle class Indian. They might have built boilers, electronic voting machines, power grids or transformers but where do they stand today? Did these organizations built any products at low cost? Did they invent any device which made life easier for a farmer? Did they create any product which is competing at the world level and stand for any unique values? Did they create any healthy competition? The answer is BIG NO.

In this kind of environment if an aspiring individual starts his business how can he think of making it big? That too going by the rules of ‘sahibs’ of ‘license raj’? And anybody (like Guru ‘bhai’ in this movie) tried to ‘work around’ this system we call them ‘un-ethical’. There was only one way out and where is un-ethical comes into picture here? If we call that as un-ethical what about today’s knowledge industry? Can we call all companies in the world are 100% ethical? What about ENRONs of this new world? What about insider trading that happens in the services industry? How many of us are aware of one engineer billed under two different projects? How many of us know about companies cook up their employee’s resumes to get a new project? Is it not un-ethical?

In my opinion the ‘idealistic’ environment never exists and ethics is totally subjective. Why do I say that? Let me take one example from from Ramanaya and Mahabharath as well. How did Rama kill Vaali, brother of shughreeva? Is it the correct way according to the war principles? Didn’t lord Krishna shout ‘Ashwathama hata’ (to confuse dronacharya), which eventually killed drona? We accept them because it was done to protect ‘dharma’. I would augment my opinion to that and say whatever Guru ‘bhai’ has done is to protect ‘business dharma’ which created a lot of wealth, generated lots of employment which has a significant positive impact in the society. In fact this is what Mani Ratnam clearly conveys thro’ Guru’s final dialogs in the court.

Overall it was a nice movie with a lot of messages!

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Ganguly and media

In today’s match against WI, former captain and the comeback kid Sourav Ganguly scored 98 runs and played a significant role in India’s victory. I was watching the post match analysis in some of the media channels and finally got irritated with a high level of ‘immature’ comments. All our ‘famous’ commentators like Jadeja, Yashpal sharma, Arun lal are back with their useless opinions. These are the ones who slammed Ganguly some months back. Whatever said in the past is completely reversed now and the ‘dada’ has become a poster boy once again.

I am not able to understand the behavior of the Indian media. No-logic! No-commonsense! No-ground realities! .What’s the big deal if Ganguly is out of the team? According to me, every player goes thro’ difficult times and makes a come back. Players who don’t have that reinvention capability remain forgotten heroes. It should be taken with the right spirit and appreciate the game of cricket as it is. Unfortunately in India nothing is taken in a realistic sense. We seem to ‘over-hype’ anything about cricket and make players to move in the ‘pig-to-prince’ spectrum and derive pleasure out of it. We burn effigies of players and coaches when they are not playing well, and perform poojas and dances when they become match-winners. Our media faithfully adds fuel to the scenario by calling arm-chair-activists and conducting SMS polls.

The cricket is just a came and should be given proper priority. Because of the ‘undue’ priority, cricketers become celebrities and start making money in advertisements, brand endorsements etc. I am not against it but what is the value we give to other sports and sport personals? Games like hockey, athletics, soccer, kabaddi have already taken a complete back seat. Neither they get media coverage nor do people watch it on TV. Players who belong to these games hardly make a living out of it and some of them come from very very poor family. For example, Indian athlete Santhi Soundarajan, (who won the silver medal in 2006 Asian games recently) is from a very poor family. Her parents are working in brick- kiln and she could hardly afford three times meal per day. She was in the media when she failed her ‘sex-test’ after which she is totally out of picture. According to her to her coach, P. Nagarajan, her upbringing in impoverished rural India, where she reportedly only started eating proper meals in 2004, may be a reason behind the test results. Why the media is not discussing anything about that? Why only cricket? Why only they get millions of money in sponsorship, whereas people like Santhi could hardly make a living out of her profession?

In my opinion, the Indian media is totally negative and covers less of reality. Ranging from mega-serials to cricket it focused only on tapping people’s emotions for making money.

Am I ‘proud’ to be an Indian ?

The Times of India recently launched ‘India poised’ campaign showcasing India’s achievements and problems in various areas. I am able to see the big-B’s TV appearance, huge banners near Richmond road (Bangalore), with this new fad. With India’s republic day is nearing, TOI can get some premium and publicity by initiating such things. These initiatives definitely bring in ‘feel-good’ factor among Indians at the same time there are lot of crude realities, which we need to digest. With over 5000 years of history and 57 years of democracy, I started asking a simple question to myself ‘Am I proud to be an Indian?’. After deep introspection within myself I got the answer ‘yes and no’. How come I can get two answers for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ type question?

I feel very proud when I look back India’s glorious past. When the red-Indian tribes were living in north-American jungles, we had a great civilization here. Traces of Indus valley civilization shows the signs of democracy, knowledge about sanity system, collective living and so on. The vedas and upanishads are great source of knowledge even though it is very difficult to interpret them and understand completely. Recently Germans discovered that sanskrit is the best language for computer software usage (I am yet to dig more on this). If westerners can be proud of their management theories by showcasing Peter Druker and Stephen Covey Indians have much more to showcase in Arthashastra (Chanakya) and Thirukkural (Thiruvalluvar).

If westerners boast of their medicines, Indians had ayurvedha as answer. Pathanjali had yoga-sutra, which is proven technique for physical fitness and natural healing.We had great universities like nalanda, vikaramasheela which are equivalent to today’s MIT and Stanford. Students from various parts of the world used to get educated from these universities. Indians invented ‘zero’ without which there is no computers today. We have great architecture and symbols like tanjore brahadeeshwara temple speaks for the high caliber talent in those times. Yes! I am proud indeed when I look into this past! Mera bharath mahan!

Having said that what has happened in the last 1000 years of the history and whats the state of affairs today? We were invaded by every other country in the world and lost tones and tones of materialistic and intellectual wealth. Apart from loosing them, we allowed the British to program our minds by adopting their way of education system. Now let us take latest picture:

  1. Out of 1 billion Indians, 300 million earn less than $1/day and 600 million earn less then $2/day. Among total population 22% of the people live in below poverty line.

  2. Out cities are known for excellent medical institutions like AIIMS and loads of private players. But the rural India the scene is pathetic. We are number two in AIDS affected population in the world.

  3. Only 68% of our population is educated and illiteracy is still a never ending problem even after 70 years of Independence.

  4. Corruption and caste based discrimination are omnipresent. Only in the urban portions things are slightly better off.

  5. After opening up the economy in 1991, the Indian middle class have raised big time. But still the 33% of India’s wealth is with 10% of the population, which shows how discontinuously the wealth is shared. If you want to see this difference in front of your eyes come to Bangalore. A government employee earning an average salary cannot have a good life because of the in-appropriate wealth distribution. Soaring real estate prices are typical example for it.

At the personal level, let us talk about the morality and responsibility of Indian citizens. We don’t keep our streets clean, we spit in public places,We don’t follow line discipline, We keep complaining about anything and everything without taking ‘responsibility’ for anything. If we can boast ourselves as a ‘tolerant’ country by allowing all foreigners inside, why my fellow Indian cannot tolerate for the traffic light to become green? Why should he keep honking his horn when the signal is showing orange? What about the sanitation system? Even today my town school (where I studied) don’t have proper toilets and some residential schools in Karnataka has got 1 toilet for 40 students. Whereas the rich-urban kids are talking about writing IIT-JEE entrance test.

How much amount of economic liberalization benefited the rural Indians? How much amount of technology has penetrated farmers in order to empower them? Except for the mobile phone connectivity and a good banking system I don’t see anything happened for the rural India. I am writing these things based on my experience as I belong to sub-urban town and some of my school friends still make their living by driving auto-rickshaws, working in garment industry as daily wagers and doing the small-scale builder’s job. At the same time our CNN-IBN and NDTV would be conducting polls like ‘Is India shining or not?’ and conclude that we are doing great. Rubbish! Sitting in a AC room in any metro city how can they predict whats happening at the grass-root levels? Now if I ask myself ‘Am I a proud Indian?’ the answer is a define ‘NO’.

In conclusion I would say we need to take the pride of our glorious past and build a great future. My motherland has got so many problems, so what? After all she is my mother. Its time to show more in action than in words.

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My experiences with the ‘chasm’

I started my career with a startup company, which failed eventually . After reading the ‘crossing the chasm’ book my Moore, I can map my observations to the chasm paradigm. I am not in a position to give out the company name, but the learnings are more important. Let me share my chasm experiences in this blog.

To start with, the company was a typical Silicon Valley based, venture funded startup. It had its engineering center in Bangalore with about 120 employees both in India and in the US. The company was into broadband gateway business, mainly focusing on home-gateways or Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) product. It raised about 9 million series-A and 13 million series-B venture funding apart from the initial angel funding. It was the year 1999 and everything looked so good at the beginning. Before this company the angel investor and the CEO has sold 14 startup companies to various huge corporations. In early 2000, the company was valued about 300 million USD.

From the technology standpoint, it had an excellent product called ‘Gateway-on-a-chip’ (GoC), which was a patented Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC). This custom designed hardware architecture for home-gateways will provide an integrated platform solution for Data (Internet browsing), Voice (Voice over packet) and security (Firewall and Virtual Private Networks or VPNs) and related applications. Following were the unique selling propositions (USP s) of the product:

  1. The platform provided customized hardware and software, suitable for home-gateway development. Since the software was customized for the hardware, the routing software was the best in terms of performance.
  2. The hardware was custom designed and it was very difficult to replicate it in a very small period of time. By having this high entry barrier, competitors were finding it hard to replicate it.
  3. The target customers were Original Equipment Manufactures (OEMs) and the integrated platform would reduce the time-to-market for them in a big way.
  4. The software was highly customizable and the features can be chosen in a plug-and-play fashion. Multiple combinations of data, voice and security products can be built by arranging them like ‘Lego boxes’.
  5. The company was mainly betting on Voice Over DSL (VoDSL) area and it was already inter-operating with almost all the major gateway vendors. The interoperability was proven in various trade shows.
  6. Apart from that, the .com bubble was bloating big time and high-speed Internet was the talk of the town. The GoC cutting edge product was competing with all big players and all set to take-off.

Mapping to the ‘chasm model’, (see the figure below) the company already has technically superior product, thereby attracting the ‘technology enthusiasts’. The VC community and telecommunication industry was betting big time on the VoDSL technology by looking into its bright future. The platform was already bought by some set of initial customers who were planning to ship the product in high volume. I could literally see the excitement in employees and Christmas parties, ping-pong tournaments, fashion shows were a common phenomenon. The ‘visionaries’ were all set to make it big. Unfortunately we were not aware of the ‘chasm’ we need to cross.

Fundamentally VoDSL technology is all about running a single copper wire to the Small-Office-Home-Office (SOHO) which would provide up to 16 telephone connections and Internet connectivity. The SOHO market was very hot in the pre-2000 time frame as ‘get-rich-quick’ dot com companies were mushrooming like anything. Having a single VoDSL would reduce investment costs for these SOHO customers. But the fundamental problem with this technology was, its was cannibalizing land line business of telephone operators. If any service provider (say AT & T) provides this VoDSL service, they may end up loosing their long distance land line business. So put in the chasm model, the ‘pragmatists’ like AT & T were not ready to adapt this technology. Because of this simple reason they stopped investing in VoDSL deployment in large scale and the VoDSL gateway companies started shutting down one by one. Now what do we do with our VoDSL home gateway? Simple! Its of no use. Whats the point in using a device at my home, where there is no support from the service provider side. The company was in deep shit.

As the company also had data solution (router, firewall, VPN) it started pushing for it big time. Since the company’s main bet (VoDSL) is no more, it brought in huge amount of work pressure to R & D teams slogging day and night. Every time the marketing and sales folks would give wonderful presentations about design wins but nothing got into the main production. As the company was operating in the OEM model, shipping units in large scale was very vital point which we missed big time. No doubting any more! We have become victims of the chasm.

Its really amazing how valuation of the company drops like droplets during the chasm period. Other events like telecom melt-down. .COM bubble burst, 9/11 attack fueled the company fall even further. One of the semi-conductor major took 51% stake of the company for just 25 million USD, which valued about 150 million USD before the chasm period. In spite of the huge corporation support, the company didn’t take off from there. Ultimately the company filed for bankruptcy and rest is history now. After knowing the ‘chasm’ model, I am able to co-relate and understand the failure my previous company much better now. At the same time the excitement and thrill that the high tech venture offers is mind-blowing. It should be experienced than writing or talking about it.

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BOOK REVIEW: Crossing the chasm

Author: Geoffrey A Moore

Price: 17.95 USD

ISBN: 0-06-051712-3

This book is one of the all time classics in the high tech product marketing and Innovation. Its been in my ‘reading list’ for years together and one of my colleagues literally forced me to read this book in order to have interesting ‘coffee-table’ discussions. As a matter of fact we had multiple discussions and I got ample amount of insights into technology product marketing. This book provides a basic frame-work, where any technology and its growth can be fitted in.

To start with, what does it take to build great technology product and how to measure the success of any technology? The author introduces two key terms ‘fad’ and ‘trend’ to understand the consumer behavior, which is very key in innovating and marketing any technology product. The former (fad) is seen only among the small segment of people who are technology enthusiasts or special interest groups. These are the people who hook themselves to the latest gadget and start admiring its technology. They try out all the features and options given in the product. The later(trend) is when any particular product or technology is widely accepted by large pool of customers and it creates sustainable business around it. The success of any high tech product venture depends on how quickly and successfully it is able to change the ‘fad’ to a ‘trend’ and sustain it. In order to achieve this transformation, one should understand how the new technology is adopted by the customers. In order to do that, the author introduces the terminology ‘Technology adaptation life cycle’. This is all about understanding how the technology would be adapted by various types of customers. This categorization is based on the psychological nature of various customers.

Before getting into the categorization, the author classifies the high tech innovation into continuous and discontinuous innovation. The continuous are the ones which bring incremental changes to the existing product or service. Whereas the discontinuous innovations brings in big leap changes, which totally change the way we do things. For example the Google’s gmail is a continuous innovation, which brought excellent new features like unlimited storage, excellent user interface, labeling the email etc. Whereas hotmail is a discontinuous innovation, by bringing in mail access to via the Internet. The challenge in high tech marketing brings in huge amount as marketing these discontinuous innovations require change in the customer behavior. So the main objective of the marketing is to bring in a ‘compelling reason’ to buy the product. In order to bring in that compelling reason it is important to understand the various customers.

To start with, the ‘technology enthusiasts’ are the first set of folks who deal with any new technology or product who create the ‘fad’. As I said in the beginning of this blog, these people are ‘geeks’ who always shop for the latest equipment or software and try it out. They build the product with the technical expertise and the are only interested in ‘how’ the new technology works. But these enthusiasts contribute only to very thin portion of the total customer base. Followed by them are the ‘visionaries’ who foresee the the advantage of the product by bringing in huge order of improvement. They are good at the ‘productizing’ a technology idea by intuitively predicting the future. For any entrepreneurial venture these two are generally achieved pretty easily as they have got visibility up to this point. But the real challenge is to move to the next phase by selling the product to ‘pragmatists’ who belong to the major portion of the customer base. They are also called as ‘early majorities’ and they are pretty skeptical in adapting to the new product as they are low-risk takers. Majority of the technology firms fail in this phase because they fail to convince the pragmatists. When the organization in transitioning between the visionaries and pragmatists it is in the ‘chasm’ phase. Crossing the chasm successfully determine the success of the organization and the focus of this book. Followed by the pragmatists are ‘late majority’ conservatives who are the volume players. They enter in when the market is matured but take advantage of their existing vast customer base. Followed by them are the ‘laggards’ who are very conservatives. All these types are shown in the diagram below.

Now let us come to crossing the chasm. How can the firm convince the ‘pragmatists’ and make them adapt to the new product? This is similar to capturing a new land with the help of the army. In order to do that the niche market (or the beachhead) needs to be captured. This starts with addressing the pain points of the niche market customers. Creating a competition and showing a value proposition is the key for making the pragmatists to buy. This gives them the signal that the product is matured. Now what about winning the competition? This is where the positioning of the product comes into picture. The positioning needs to be done depending on what phase of the technology adaptation cycle the product is in and the author suggests the following approach:

  1. Technology-enthusiasts: Name-it-frame-it
  2. Visionaries: Who-for-what-for
  3. Pragmatists: Competition and differentiation
  4. Conservatives: Brand and trust

After the positioning the product properly, distribution and pricing comes into picture. In this phase we can say the product has successfully crossed the chasm. After that the organization moves into altogether a different phase. In this time the financial and people aspects needs are totally different and the author gives some more details in these areas. In the end the author describes about product management and product marketing management roles which emerges after crossing the chasm. The author has given multiple examples while explaining the concept. Unfortunately these examples belong to the 1990s time-frame and I found pretty hard to co-relate with today’s world.

More than anything, this book has given a ‘structured framework’ for individuals to think about high-tech innovation and product marketing. Working in the ‘engineering’ world we tend to believe coding and bug fixing are the only part of the product. In reality they are just the tip of the iceberg and there is much more things happen after the engineering releases the product. As a matter of fact no organization fails because of its technical competence as most of them become victims of the ‘chasm’ as they fail to market to product by showing a ‘compelling’ reason to buy.

Overall this book is one of the all time classics, which is a must read for technology professionals. After reading this book I am able to think why my previous organization (a technology startup) failed. I will write a separate blog about my ‘chasm’ experiences.

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Education in regional language?

Last night I was watching a TV program ‘Education in India’ in NDTV profit, where a set of educationalists (in my words arm-chair-activists) were talking about the current education system and the discussion turned to giving education in regional languages. Somehow everyone was glorifying the need of English language and telling there is not much need to stress regional languages. When any state government (recently in Karnataka and Maharashtra) tries to ‘impose’ a regional language, people start protesting as if they were born with English language. Frankly speaking I am not able to understand the reason behind simply ‘aping’ the west by embracing English big time.

Speaking from my personal experience, I learned all my education in Tamil till the age of 17 and I was able to understand things much better because it was taught in my ‘mother tongue’. But unfortunately for today’s parents they derive enormous amount of pleasure and they proudly say ‘My son speaks with me only in English and he doesn’t even know how to read or write his mother tongue, because it is of no use’. I am not against learning English language but why should we glorify it? Why we can’t we try to appreciate strengths of our regional languages?

I got my shock of my life when I got chance to interact with Chinese and Japanese folks. They barely speak good English (whomever I have interacted) and I have seen technical papers written by them with lots of grammar mistakes. Apart from that, ranging from MS windows to mobile phone screen, everything is in their language. My simple question is ‘What did they loose by not knowing English? Didn’t they demonstrate to the world their excellence in automobile and electronic fields?’ . One of my friend was doing his PhD in a French university and he told me that they translate the latest books and journals to French.

As again saying, I am not against learning English. In fact I am writing this blog in English and in my workplace I use English most of the times. Today India is having competitive edge because of its large English speaking population. What I hate is the ‘duality’ of some people by using some strange accents and showing-off their ‘pseudo superiority’ of knowing English language.

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Leadership and Management

The new year is on very much and I trace back one of my initial blog titled ‘The manager mania’, where i briefly touched upon leadership and management. It made me think more in that direction and sharing my perspectives in this blog. Whether you are a corporate guy or a government employee,these two words are gaining more and more importance. At the same time attributes of leadership and management has gone through changes over time. What exactly do I understand by leadership? What is management? How different they are? How important for an individual to know about them? Read on.

What is leadership?

According to me ‘Leadership’ is all about setting a clear direction for a great vision by empowering and enabling individuals. It is more about understanding the present, visualizing the future and leading to the future. This term can be applied to any particular discipline. Some examples are ‘corporate leadership’ ‘thought leadership’ ‘technical leadership’ ‘political leadership’ ‘personal leadership’. Depending on the discipline the vision and mission varies but the core principles remain the same.

Basically leadership comes only in two forms: Power leadership and Inspirational leadership. The former is more about tight control and top down approach. The leader is given certain authority or power to lead people. Adolf Hitler’s leadership comes under this category. The later is more of bottom up where the leader leads by example by inspiration by setting example. Gandhi’s leadership is a wonderful example for the same.

In today’s world the inspirational leadership is more suitable and applicable because of two main reasons. First, individuals are much more aware of the happenings than ever before. In today’s knowledge are the amount of information is in abundance and it empowers people. Second, the ‘democracy’ is emerging throughout the world which believes ‘for people by people’. Because of the two reasons the world has moved to ‘interdependence’ state from the ‘dependence’ state. Individuals and countries are connected in terms of trade, bi-lateral relationships, sharing resources. From the psychological point of view, human brain is having left and right hemispheres. The right side of the brain is more intuitive, visual, imaginative and dream oriented and left side is about analytical, number crunching and execution. For individuals the right side of the brain plays more role when it comes to leadership.

Grilling down to personal level, leadership starts with taking ‘responsibility’ with a strong character which is driven by a dream or vision. Our Indian philosophy is an excellent resource for learning personal leadership. My first remembrance for leadership goes to my my childhood days, where I was taught wonderful verses from ‘thirukkural’ (two thousand years ago by thiruvalluvar). Later on I was exposed to ‘Bhagavad Gita’ and ‘Artha Shastra’ as well. All of them are mainly focused towards character building which is the foundation for leadership.

What is Management?

The word ‘management’ is all more about execution. It is a structured approach towards solving a problem in a optimized way. The leadership is all about ‘focus’ and management is about ‘speed’. Focusing on a particular direction in a high speed is the only way to achieve the vision. This also means leadership and management goes hand in hand.

The Analytical thinking and optimization plays important role in management as management is all about methods and practices. The western world have designed wonderful, proved management techniques. They have built great organizations and corporations based on excellent management methods which generated huge amount of wealth in those countries. For example Hewlett-Packard has got Management By Walking Around (where managers work closely with engineers by walking in the shop floor) and GE’s Fix-sell-or-close (The management principle introduced by Jack Welch for GE’s businesses).

In conclusion, I would like to say leadership and management are two sides of the same coin. One looses value in absence of the other and they are two sides of the same coin. So let us take the leadership lessons from the Indian philosophy and management from western world. In a way this will ‘synergy’ between opposite corners of the world.