Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Living the life of a chairman ...

Some time ago somebody told me that Indians don't like to walk.

Well, few days ago my wife and I went for a dinner and we decided to take a riksha to go to the place because it was quite far of.
Like usual we had compassion with the riksha having to bicycle in that high temperature of 39°C. He was sweating like anything.

My wife proposed to let him stop and do the rest of the road walking.

I looked at her and asked: "What's on my business card ?". "Your name", she answered.
"No no, my function", I told her. "Chairman" she said. I looked at her and asked her:
"And what do you think a chairman does ?"

However, we payed the riksha guy double of what we were supposed to pay.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

An much underestimated technique in business ...


I'm always surprised when I hear business people talking about 'their' business.
In most of the cases they never talk about what is in reality the most exercised and valuable technique in starting a business: Trial and Error.

Mostly they pretend that their whole business was organised and executed following a preliminary well-thought business-plan. While reality often is quite the opposite: business are not created and expanded by following strictly a predefined route. There's no GPS for businesses available!
Mostly I lack the contradictions, irony, emotions, humour, personal components, challenges, difficulties in the business-stories and the honesty of businesspeople in how they found solutions to these challenges.

Success is on the contrary rather an effect of the ability to make errors and learn from them. It is also dependent from the readiness to LEAVE the business plan for what it was and explore a new route.

I came across this blog which describes an startup publishing house in the US. It will be interesting to follow this adventure.
See Glitch du Jour.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Variating the Indian formula for Birth Control ...

Much to do lately about the advise of Union Minister of Health, Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad, who advised rural people to marry late and watch more television. That would lead to an important decrease of births in the country.

In the Times of India of 19th of July, the picture above was published:
Indian man + Indian woman – Television = Indian child

Following simple counting rules, one can derive however also the next equation.
Indian man + Indian woman = Indian child + Television

Especially the modern kind of late music shows and Bollywood films on the telly, filled with undeniably erotically very suggestive scenes, will produce quite an opposite effect I'm afraid.
I can speak from experience ... my own sexual life hasn't suffered a bit from moving to India. Quite on the contrary. However I'm glad my wife and I have passed the getting-baby's-phase in our marriage ;-)

Indian guards protect against the police !

In India everything of some value must be guarded. Be it an office, a residential area, an expensive individual house, your daughters and dogs. Fences are not enough, a guard must also be present.

For long I refused to accept the need for a guard for my office. I couldn't understand how the usual guards could ever defend the posessions of the company. Most of the guards seem simply to be taken out of their rural villages and placed before a fence. The uniforms are impeccable, but they usually feel very unsure about everything.

Unfortunately we were victim of a burglary early January this year.
Of course police came and as usual caused a lot of unrest among my employees. All employees were very scared for the harassments which would be their part if the investigation continued. At last I stopped the investigation, because I felt it would do more bad than wrong to the guys.

But of course the pressure on me to take a guard was increased also by my directors.
I came up with the old objections: it costs money and it serves nothing. Yet the pressure continued and even increased.
So did our discussions.

Finally someone said: "But sir, we really need a guard. The reason for it is not guarding your property. The reason is that IF something happens like a burglary, then the guard is responsible and not us. The police will then harass the guard, and we ourselves will be more at ease."

We now have a guard every night for 12 hours. He must be 19yrs old, unarmed, drinks every night a bottle of mineral water, tells me lengthy Hindi stories about his hometown (of which I don't understand anything).

I really hope nothing happens so that he doesn't have to fear the police.

Indian traffic ...

See the video. This could be a shot taken from our office.

The rules are quite simple on itself, only the diversity of different entities taking part in traffic is making it confusing.

Rule 1:
Blow your horn to let them know you exist. Keep it blowing as long as you feel unsure about getting noticed.

Rule 2:
Never ever really stop your vehicle. Feet, wheels and roads are made to move on, not to stand still !

Rule 3:
If you come across an accident, don't help the victim.
a) he/she is a cow;
b) he/she is a relative;
c) he/she still owes you money;
d) he/she has a high position in the administration;
e) he/she is white (well, I'm still not sure about e));

Rule 4 defines the importance you have on the road
a) A kid-pedestrian has a lower status than the adult pedestrian;
b) A pedestrian has lesser rights than the regular bicycle-driver;
c) The bicycle has to slow down for a unmotorised riksha;
d) A regular riksha has to make way for a bike;
e) The autoriksha has power over the bikedriver;
f) The bikedriver comes second to a small car;
g) A small car has to make way for a big car, and certainly if the big car is a jeep;
h) All previous types of vehicles make sure that a truck can pass;
i) A truck has to stop for a bus;
j) A bus doesn't stop for anyone, even not for it's passengers;

Rule 5:
Rules 1-4 are in all situations applicable, EXCEPT if a COW crosses the street ... then the cow does whatever she wants, forcing Rule 4 to be applied in reverse order. Rule 3 of course still applies if the cow causes an accident.
Obviously rule 1 and 2 are cancelled then.

Horning to a cow would be a bit rude, don't you think ?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A powerful combination for these times !

Combinations like this can lead to a very optimistic approach of starting a business. Indians are legendary optimists:

But sometimes this leads to contradictory images like this (the board reads: "Real Estate Consultants"):

Sunday, July 5, 2009


This article from The Times of India, Friday 3th July, speaks for itself.
What a relief gay and lesbian people must feel in this country now.
What a relief also for their parents !
The first step to remove this stupid colonial heritage is set now.
It's a strange thing to see that ex-colonies need more time to remove inhumane colonial law from their society than the ex-colonist countries themselves.

For all Indians: in Belgium gay and lesbian people are by law allowed to marry and to get children.