Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Digital Revolution

A lot has changed since the onset of Digital Media. What earlier used to take days to reach, now takes only a fraction of a second to travel to the other side of the globe. Going digital has helped businesses reach out to a far greater audience spanning geographies, time zones and sometimes even cultures.

But all you digital gurus already know that, right?! So why am I rambling the obvious? Because, it is time for businesses to focus on the consumer more than ever. Increasing digitization has  made life simple, or even more complicated? 

I found this excellent piece on how the digital revolution is leaving the consumer behind by Simon Silvester, [written some time back but relevant even today]. Aptly titled- My Brain Hurts, this study tells us how the increasing pace of technology is overloading the consumer and that is it time for businesses to pause and help the consumer understand the technology that is supposed to make their lives simpler.
An excerpt:-
‘The new net boom’ announces Fortune.
In California, venture capital is flowing.
After five years in the doldrums, tech is back.
And it’s back big time
Last time it was only dotcoms, telecoms and computers
that boomed.
Today virtually every industry on Earth is experiencing
rapid change.
Hollywood is digitizing.
Airlines are digitizing.
Fast food service is digitizing.
Soon, with the arrival of radio ID chips on every package
in every supermarket, the humble food and drink
industries will digitize too.
But as the world again gets excited by all things tech,
perhaps we should pause.

Read more of this wonderful paper by Simon Silvester,Y&R EMEA here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Leadership Lessons from Music: Itay Talgam

Off late, I've found myself reading up on the emerging management styles of corporations and how it will determine the course of their business. The success of any management style depends a lot on the leadership that is imbibing and driving it.
A lot has been said, written, debated and ignored about leadership. To put it succinctly- leadership in theory is overrated and in practice underrated. As someone who steers clear of management books, i wanted to relate leadership to the things i liked to do and see whether there were any lessons that could be learned from them.
Music tops that list and i began asking google whether it could show me what music has to teach us about leadership. I stumbled upon this absolutely mindblowing TED video of Itay Talgam, an Israeli conductor and a business consultant. In his 20 minute talk, he shows us how leadership is about enabling people yet at the same time being in control- one that does not stifle the individuals but energizes them to do more. He uses examples of some of the world's greatest music conductors and tells us how each one had a different kind of leadership style which led to varied outcomes.

Watch his inspirational TED talk on Lead Like the Great Conductors

Quoting Itay, ""But you can see the music on his face.You can see the baton left his hand. No more baton. Now it's about you, the player, telling the story. Now it's a reversed thing. You're telling the story. And you're telling the story. And even briefly, you become the storyteller to which the community, the whole community, listens to." 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Perfume: The Book vs The Movie

I saw Perfume : The Story of a Murderer movie a few months back and i chanced upon a copy of the novel while browsing through the shelves in a bookstore. I picked it up to find out what elements of the book had the movie failed to capture. The main character, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, is described as "one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages".
The story then moves to describe how as a baby (one who is born in the middle of the filthiest and smelliest parts of Paris), Jean Baptiste does not have a baby-odour or in other words, Jean Baptiste does not have personal human odor. What he does possess is an extraordinary "olfactory" functions- his heightened sense of smell. As he grows up, he develops an uncontrollable desire to create the perfect perfume- one that will make up for his lack of personal scent and transform him into a human. Grenouille is a cold hearted, emotionless individual who in the entire plot is only driven by his incessant need to create the perfect scent. As a reader,one cringes at Grenouille's life and ultimately at how it ends.

However, in the movie, Grenouille [played by actor Ben Whishaw], one cannot help but feel sorry for Grenouille and in a strange way, understand his need for creating the perfect scent.All in all, it was definitely the movie over the book for me. The book drags at times when it goes into details of the various processes that are deployed in creating a perfume- making one skim over several chapters. I'd give the movie a 8/10 and the book 6/10 for keeping me hooked