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Commentary

Random Reads: The Big Fight, Social Media, UID Kaput?

The Big Fight between Ma-Mu and John K about the demise of Taggle, the kamikaze (or not) act of Air Deccan, and how we should not do things. I think it’s good that we do proper post-mortems of companies without looking at the ego lifting parts of the pieces involved (“I said Air Deccan wouldn’t work”, “Not till after it was dead”, etc.)

The story is of a much-chased space (“deals”) spoilt by the small fact that no one thinks getting a haircut for 80% discount at Rs. 200, implying a regular price of Rs. 1000, is a good deal. And then the “pivot” to sell electronics, of all things. And investor panic buttons were on, as they usually are. Of a smart team chasing a formula chased successfully before, and the local dynamics hurting before helping. The point to learn is: when you fail, fail big, boss.

John K and the Taggle team are not worse off; and regardless of what anyone says, they tried, they made a brand, and they individually come out winners even if the company lost. That is sadly the Indian story – of very few big exits – but at least it’s not a story that the founder was a Tata/Birla/BigName.

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A parliamentary committee has rejected the Nandan Nilekani run Unique ID (UID) Project, for four reasons: Inclusion of residents rather than citizens, private data collection could lead to misuse, duplication of work done by the National Population Register and the big costs of the project.

So much fun. First they reject FDI in multi-brand retail. Now UID. I don’t think this government is capable of any reform. I know that UID has flaws but it can’t be summarily rejected like this. If this is how large projects are run – sometimes yes, sometimes [NOO! ROLL BACK!] then this country is really not worth investing in.

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How social media is changing the stock market. Mentions Stocktwits, the US stock conversation site that builds on top of twitter. There is no such site for India, but the number of online conversations about Indian stocks on twitter is next to nothing; even then, I find that discovery of news, rumours and head fakes are better on twitter – the junta is definitely more informed than much of the media out there.

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A bank manager at HSBC tries to swindle customers out of 1.3 crore, by promising high returns on their unused savings account balances. The first rule of being a bank customer is: DO NOT TRUST YOUR BANK MANAGER.

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Greece likely to default in Jan? Interesting post, but I don’t think so.

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OT: Read Sidin Vadukut’s piece on Ashwin Ravichandran .

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