EF - A Handbook On LifeSkills for Teachers, Parents & Professionals

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Education



John Sculley was a top executive at Pepsi and had everything going for him. At a time when Steve Jobs and his partner (Steve Wozniak) were just putting Apple together Jobs wanted Sculley to join the company and be its CEO. A hesitant Sculley was persuaded by a question that is now a famous quote: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world”? It’s often not where you started but where you finish that counts. Jobs had dropped out of college because he felt his calling lay elsewhere. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard the day he spotted an edition of the “Popular Electronics” magazine with a home-computer on its cover in 1975. He and his partner (Paul Allen) met the computer manufacturer and offered to write software for it. In one of his books Gates mentions that he felt he had nothing more to learn from Harvard. Both Jobs and Gates dropped out of college not because they were bad students or bad learners. They dropped out because they had their own visions.

So when Smriti Irani was appointed HRD Minister some folks questioned her educational qualifications for the job. The harsh criticism mostly came from Madhu Kishwar (an anti-Modi turned Pro-Modi activist) and Ajay Maken of the Congress. Naturally, our media then made a big story out of a petty issue. The response to Ajay Maken was easy because no Congi even has the moral or legitimate authority to raise this question as I tweeted him thus:


It is easy to dismiss a nit-picking politician but that does not answer the question if Smriti’s education or rather lack of it will be a hindrance to her new job. Some analogies that came to the defence of Smriti are also frivolous like this one from “Item-girls” specialist Suhel Seth:

Anyone who has read about Gates would know that he was a child prodigy with software designing and meddling with computers. He used to indulge in that since age 9. And when he saw the opportunity in software while still in Harvard he had a clear vision that one day every desk will have a computer. Classifying Gates as “not educated” is a silly defence for Smriti. Gates had a clear vision which has been borne out by the success of his company and by the fact that many desks in the world do have a computer now. There’s an old joke at Harvard where the Head tells professors: “Be kind to your “A” students because they will come back and be your colleagues. Be kind to your “B” students because they will be prominent public figures like politicians, lawyers. But be particularly kind to your “C” students because they will come back and donate money to our institution”. In other words, even top business schools mostly know which students are likely to succeed in which domain of life. Maybe Smriti had a talent for theatre and acting and maybe that’s why she dropped out of school.

I must mention here that I am only going by reports that she is 12th pass and I won’t bother verifying because it is immaterial to me. If she has filed any affidavits that claim differently that is for scrutiny and for her to clarify. In companies we often tell even the best MBAs “You may be an MBA but imagine you are only 12th pass, you will work like there is no tomorrow and find success”. But the question about Smriti’s education in terms of handling a ministry like HRD is not entirely invalid. After all, what we want to understand is even if she is going to be advised and receive a lot of counsel on policy-making will she be able to comprehend many concepts that form the basis for a good educational policy and HR development? Some with great degrees failed to comprehend good advice. Some with zero formal education who had to start to start with a zero base have often done better jobs. Time will tell.

That brings us to the question on what exactly is education? And that is the true purpose of this post. In simple terms education is a process of acquiring knowledge and skills to face life situations. Schools and colleges are a uniform formal system for such education for the masses. Each stage is a qualifying process for the next. Primary qualifies one for middle school, middle school for higher secondary, higher secondary for college and college for post-graduate and on it goes. This “assembly line” mass education is indeed meant for the masses to offer them enough knowledge and skills to make a reasonable citizen who can make an honourable living. But this system need not be the only one where knowledge and skills are acquired. Many who have found greater success in life have acquired such knowledge and skills from other sources. From the streets, from family, from friends, from experience and, most of all, from their own imagination, curiosity and dreams. At a starting point we tend to respect formal degrees a lot more. For other people we tend to respect their performance outcomes. But in the end in both cases it is finally the performance that counts and earns respect.

Just as Gates was a child prodigy in software, Smriti may have been a child prodigy in acting. Gates has contributed a lot more money to the world than many banks have. Sculley was selling Pepsi but shifted to computers. The reason is simple: Basic principles of sales and marketing remain the same regardless of the product or service. Has Smriti had her education in other ways than formal schooling? The answer would be yes because whatever knowledge and skills she acquired through her own pursuit brought her success. Did she migrate to politics successfully? The answer is yes; she joined politics and became an MP. Whether publicly elected or elected to the RS, she has demonstrated the knowledge and skill to get there. A renowned management firm is known to have once stated that after years of research they discovered there are only two indisputable truths “Water flows down and performance counts”. We have known people to migrate to different domains and responsibilities successfully. Smriti’s test starts now and time will tell whether she was the right choice for the job.

The outrage in some circles both ways; rubbishing Smriti and also dismissing anyone questioning her education stems from at least one possible reason and that is our most educated public figures have performed badly. In particular, people in govt and media with high qualifications from abroad have disappointed. The Macaulay Putris and Putras have heaped most scorn on ordinary Indians. Take a look at Sagarika Ghose:

It doesn’t occur to Sagarika that she spouts the same kind of filth that Mani Aiyar disburses with unrelenting frequency. She and Mani Aiyar are from the same Oxbridge clan. Mani Aiyar has been a darling at her channel for years and a regular panellist. Suddenly, Sagarika discovers Mani Aiyar is “foul mouthed” but didn’t have the guts to say it all this time when Congress was in govt. And why the comparison with Mani Aiyar at all? Why not with Rajdeep Sardesai or Barkha Dutt? They are all from the same clan but it is convenient to trash Mani Aiyar now for Sagarika because he has become irrelevant.

Education is not a limited venture or project. It’s a continuous life-long process. The purpose of formal or informal education is to make our children life-long learners. Any system or policy that contributes to it can do so through many different people with different education and abilities. Our job is to just keep learning. As for Smriti, water flows down, performance counts. That’s it.

      

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Getting Back To Our Roots



(This is a MaxiPost)

India now has been declared a “Polio-free” country. It is a fantastic achievement. We owe a small debt to Dr. Jonas Salk who created the polio vaccine. Salk could have made millions with his vaccine but he did not. He didn’t even patent it and famously said "There is no patent; could you patent the sun?" although many other reasons are cited for the vaccine not being patented. Salk was the son of poor, uneducated Jewish parents who wanted their children to get the best education and prosper. There are many good things that have come to us from the West and we should continue to borrow the best from their societies and cultures. But there are a few thousands of people who have borrowed the worst from the West and have constantly looked down up Indians as low-class citizens, particularly Hindus. These are just a few thousands but they are the worst scumbags and scumbaginis in Indian society. Some of them aren’t even Indian anymore. They come mostly from politics, the news media and also an assorted bunch of Commies who pass themselves off as “intellectuals”. Under the Congress, which has ruled India for much of the last 67 years, these people have collectively damaged the Indian soul.

The recent movie “Argo” was quite successful. It’s a true (secret) story of the rescue of a few American Embassy employees from Iran in 1979. The other story is that many were hostages for over 400 days and were released only in the last week of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. There was a failed military attempt too by Carter to rescue them. The assassination of JFK, Vietnam war, Watergate, Iran crisis all led to low self-esteem for Americans. It turned around only after Ronald Reagan took over as President. Indians have gone through a similar phase in the last 10 years and maybe even before; particularly Hindus. Unemployment, terror attacks, LOC killings, sailors kidnapped, endless rapes, massive corruption, land-grab, minority appeasement and a general lack of direction. Even in such a situation the media morons and the “Intellectual morons” (IMs) wanted Congress to win and continue in govt. What explains this slavery? Only money, perks and zero accountability! They tried everything. They lied as much as they could. If they failed to read the churning on the ground, it is generally because they have no connection with ordinary Indians. Most of these people particularly loathed Hindus, their traditions, their customs and their society in general. Which is why Modi’s win signifies something spectacular as I tweeted:

The entire force ranged against Modi harped on the same fake secularism, doles, reservations and fear-mongering. The media criminals and the IMs heaped abuses on Modi. They called him Hitler, Fascist, Butcher, Polariser and all the choicest epithets their foreign education has taught them. They celebrated when the US foolishly banned Modi. Extreme morons who were in parliament even wrote to Obama to extend the ban. They used all these abusive names without the slightest qualm on how seriously they damaged the public discourse. The list of IMs is very long but here is a glimpse of some of the samples:

The first man in the top row was emailing his students trashing the Gujarat model as if he knew a damn thing about it. The second IM in that row threatened to leave India if Modi became PM. I hope the joker does leave and settle in Papua New Guinea. The filth that passes by the name of Mani Aiyar needs no elaboration. The last one in the image is an interesting character. Yogendra Yadav, allegedly a professor and researcher, showed us what this entire IM community really is. Full of filth! His utterances during his campaign, claiming India will burn if Modi becomes PM, was out in the open.  He even became the Muslim Salim for votes. The other IMs too would have been indulging in the same filth had they joined politics. Their true colours would have shown up. Far from their dooms-day threats it was Modi who carried his campaign with far more dignity and focus. All these IMs and political parties were busy abusing Modi but he was smart chasing votes. He got them! With undying energy and spirit Modi criss-crossed the country seeking a mandate. And now they can’t stomach the fact they have been proved to be fools and proved to be so wrong in their estimates.

There is this other IM, the queen of anti-India, anti-Hindu filth, who hates anything remotely connected with India or Hindutva. She has already declared (in a Paki newspaper) dooms-day and that the poor will rot in hell now that Modi is going to be PM and BJP in power. Totalitarian? Such stupid jargons are peddled with no reason or logic. Anyone who can write two sentences in flowery English and has been thrown some awards by the West is automatically an expert on India it seems. These are the termites in our society. One of the good things about the current turn of things is that such anti-national, anti-law idiots will not go unchallenged because the monopoly of the MSM is long over. They hate the Hindu society, they hate Hindu traditions. Some like the C5M even hate Hindu festivals. How things came to such a pass has its source in our Independence. Mahatma Gandhi fought to get rid of the British but made the grave error of installing Nehru as PM who wasn’t any different from the British in his thinking. Nehru in turn found Communism to be a more attractive ideology and that became the fountainhead for all the fraudsters roaming around as “intellectuals” in our society. I call them “Foreigners dressed as Indians”.

Dr Jakob De Roover is a researcher at the India Platform, Ghent University, Belgium and best narrates how this fraudulent group of intellectuals operate. I would add that this formed the vast “establishment” nurtured by years of Nehru-Gandhi govts. Here’s an excerpt from his article in Outlook:

Sadly, the average educated European is informed exclusively by one section of Indian society: the intellectuals and journalists who call themselves ‘secular’ and ‘progressive’. Now, this group is a product of centuries of colonial education and western hegemony. They preach old colonial stories about the moral corruption of India. This explains why they are so popular among western academics and journalists: these ‘native informants’ happily reproduce what the West has always thought about India and confirm the unscientific commonplaces about ‘Hinduism’ and ‘the caste system’ that are still sold as knowledge in western universities.

Inspired by Indian secularists, western commentators depict the BJP as an evil force, which will throw India into the dark ages. Some even agree that it concerns a ‘fascist’ party, as though this term can be bandied about like a cheap epithet. In reality, the BJP is a democratic party similar to many right-of-centre parties in Europe: combining a liberal socio-economic policy with the aim of reviving traditional culture. But, as is the case with nationalist parties in Europe, this aim unfortunately takes the form of retrograde nationalist rhetoric… We need the Europeans who are fascinated when they hear that we have completely misunderstood another culture and that we have major things to learn from India. It is this Europe that should now wake up and open her eyes to the new world of the 21st century. It is this Europe that will meet India anew and treat her like the sister she is.

Frankly, our media crooks and the “intellectual morons” are far more European and Americans than those people are. Add to that concoction a white Italian woman who first entered the corridors of power and then became queen herself. And since then the entire country has been turned into one big “Gandhiland”. A “fake-Gandhiland”! Streets, roads, central places, airports, projects, govt schemes, universities, bridges – everything became Gandhi. Most of it underserved. Read “The Gandhi Septology” on how this perversion of our culture has happened and how a country became branded in one single family’s name. The rest of the great Indians are idiots? And this is what the media crooks and IMs want more of?

While screaming “secular, secular, secular” what exactly have Congress and its clones been doing? For power and the freedom for corruption they have destroyed institutions and made policies driven by religion. Muslims! Muslims! Muslims! What about Muslim this, what about Muslim that? What will happen to Muslims? Will Muslims suffer? Why should Muslims deserve special treatment anyway? Sure, give all the benefits to the poor. Nobody will grudge that. Why special policies for Muslims or Christians or any community? If at all there has to be discussion on religious lines, it is time to ask what every religious community is doing for India and not the other way around.  And they talk about “divisive” politics? Every clone of the Congress is a branch of its termite-infested decaying body. SP, NCP, INLD all of them broke away to create their own private fiefdoms. How in the world are these parties and politicians uniting anyone?

In 1984 there were around 36 political parties in India and now there around 450. If not power and private fiefdoms what do the people heading many of these new parties want? In the last ten years there has been an extraordinary growth in Christian Missionary activities that lure poor people into conversion. This is a crime against the poor and, as in Gujarat, I hope that this nonsense of conversions will be banned and end the designs of the West to “Christianise” India. And the missionaries have the audacity to predict persecution of their church (Read here). I doubt Jesus will ever stand with these haters and fear-mongers.

As against that, the govt at the Centre and some states have been destroying sites of Hindu history, taking over temple management, taking control of temple wealth. Every crony of this establishment would have no problems if the Hinduism itself is wiped out. They want to burn the very philosophy and culture that nurtured them. They accuse Hindus of communalism when it is Hindus who have historically accommodated and absorbed foreigners, refugees and welcomed alien religions. They all know that if India is still secular it is because of Hindus and not otherwise. I don’t think Hindus want a “Hindu Rashtra” as these alarmists like to scream every now and then. Nobody is demanding the majority should dictate all policies. It is not just that this “establishment” trashes Hindu culture but the Commies have even falsified our history. Murderers have been glorified and patriots have been described as terrorists. All that must change. History cannot be altered but false history must be rectified.

Tomorrow Narendra Modi will be sworn in as the Prime Minister. What bothers some political parties, the fraudsters in our media and the IMs is that even the Muslims are not buying their nonsense anymore. They are hurling more abuses at him in frustration. They are even unwilling to accept the people’s verdict. We should borrow the best from the West. The fringe elements should stop complaining about frivolous Valentine cards or Beer bars. We can learn from Brazil and we can learn from Burkina Faso but the core of India and its Hindu culture must be restored. Govt must be removed from temples and autonomous state or national bodies by Hindus should be formed to oversee the management of temples. Hindu pilgrim sites should have the most modern facilities. False history must be rectified. Some posts back I explained the difference between a “fad” and a “trend” in marketing terms. Modi is not a “fad”, he is a “trend” that will last long. His determination for a “Congress-Mukt Bharat” will be underestimated only by fools. Mere hate-mongering hasn’t succeeded in the past and will not succeed in the future.

I borrow a lot from the West and even use it on these pages. But we are children of a great civilisation that forms our roots. Our parents, forefathers and many great warriors, saints and souls have invested in us. Many have died for us. Let me borrow from the West again and quote former American President John Quincy Adams: “We ARE, who we WERE”. We should be unwilling to let hate-mongers in politics, the media and the IMs destroy that investment. The Hindu anger coupled with a general anger by all communities against the Congress and its “Sickular” clones is what has given BJP and Modi a very decisive mandate. Only the wilfully blind will fail to recognise this. We cannot hope to survive as a nation and move forward by destroying our own roots. I am sure Narendra Modi remembers it more than anyone else as he takes over as PM. 


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Advertising Doesn't Sell



There are “Intellectual Morons” in this world who now rant that Narendra Modi’s advertising campaign won him the election. In contrast the Congress is blaming their ad agency for its failure. What it shows is that these people haven’t really grasped what advertising does. We’ll get to that part soon.

Ever had a product or service to offer and invited an ad agency to discuss a campaign? Guess what the agency’s first question to you would be? “What’s your budget?” You have no idea because you didn’t put a number to it. So you tell them your plans and explain in great detail what you hope to accomplish. They’ll tell you “this will cost 75 lakhs”.  You tell them it’s beyond your reach. So they’ll chop off some media plans and tell you “Okay, we can do it in 50 lakhs”. Then you tell them you didn’t plan on spending 50 lakhs. They will simply ask you “how much exactly do you want to spend”? You tell them 25 lakhs. They will chop of a lot more from media plan and somehow fit it to your budget. Done! Imagine you had to travel from Delhi to Ahmedabad and the cheapest fare by any mode is Rs.200 but you have only Rs.150 in your pocket. What the ad agency is telling you is “It’s okay, instead of Ahmedabad just travel to Ajmer”. You want to go to Ahmedabad but since you have only 150, would you get off at Ajmer or will you get the remaining 50 and travel to your desired destination which is Ahmedabad? You wanted your product to go to a place which costs 75 lakhs but what the agency is indirectly telling you is “It’s alright, since you have only 25 lakhs we will get your product somewhere half-way house, get off at Ajmer”.

If a layman believes advertising sells, there is absolutely nothing wrong in it. But when “Intellectual morons” (IM) try to convince you it was advertising that sold Modi then they deserve an answer. Advertising doesn’t sell. Here’s an IM who thinks BJP bludgeoned its way to a victory with a massive advertising campaign. Bludgeoned? The IM’s name is Jayati Ghosh. Yeah you guessed right, she’s from the hotbed of commies called JNU who is also on the KnowledgeCommission created by the MMS govt. And her garbage naturally finds its honourable place in the Modi-hating house called “The Guardian”. Here’s a pic of her article:

She writes: “This general election in India was almost a test case: just as advertising can make people want a particular brand of soft drink or breakfast cereal, can a massively funded and aggressive media campaign make people choose a particular leader? The answer, sadly, seems to be yes”. You see, that’s why I call her an intellectual moron. If a layman had said this to me I would have said fine but these are IMs running universities and knowledge missions. The rest of her article is the usual hate-Modi, hate-RSS, hate, pogrom, blah blah so I will choose to leave that alone since I have stated in principle that “pigs will find garbage anyway”.

So advertising worked for Modi, is it? But the problem is the Congress is blaming their ad agency Dentsu for its failures. So are these IMs suggesting Modi merely had a better ad agency? TOI reports: “Dentsu cannot be absolved of the blame for the debacle. They not only charged a premium for the creatives, but they also released ads at an abnormally high premium in connivance with various media houses," a senior Congress leader alleged”. Even the blame is mostly about costs and hardly about the content or message. You will find other reports that suggest that Dentsu failed to project Rahul Gandhi as a Youth icon. I’m laughing. What happened when they did come up with some ads? People made parodies of it. Remember “pocket science”?

Advertising is a means of communication. It communicates your message or it communicates the position you hold. It helps create awareness and move more people to an interest in your product. Advertising doesn’t sell. So what sells? In simple terms we call it publicity, word of mouth, referrals and so on. That’s what sells. Good referrals about your product, people telling each other this movie is good or bad, works. Many big budget movies with a huge ad spend don’t succeed. The simple reason is referrals, reviews and word of mouth may not have been good for that movie. No amount of advertising can sell a bad product. Here’s a good graphic explanation of how advertising works and how sales outcomes happen (From: Advertising Doesn't Sell Anything which I recommend for a read also):

At the top left corner I have marked the box which shows what must support advertising. I recall a show that C5M was doing in a small village in UP during the elections. Some of them told her that they deal regularly with people in Surat and how they were earning a lot of money. That their family members were working in Gujarat. They told her how they hear about the good infrastructure, water supply and power supply in Gujarat. They told her how easy it is do business in Gujarat. Now, that is coming from a small town in UP. Are intellectual morons telling us advertising got BJP 71 seats in UP? That there were no referrals, no word of mouth? Nothing? Live in denial and they will make the same mistake again.

Advertising also combats the competition in the market. So if you take Congress as the competition for BJP and Modi then what affected Congress? The adverse impact on advertising is bad publicity, bad referrals, lack of belief in your advertising message and negative word of mouth. A person may have hundreds of comfortable and safe train journeys but one bad journey that has an accident or incident. He or she is likely to tell everyone about that experience. Watch a new movie that you find is good; you aren’t going to scream to the whole world. Watch a bad movie, you’ll tell everyone. You will even tell people “Don’t waste your money on this bogus movie”. Won’t you? That’s who we are. Positive word of mouth and referrals are tougher to get. This is why the extraordinary positive word of mouth for Modi is a spectacular achievement which is being under-rated. The media failed to read and deliberately denied it. It is not advertising alone. It’s his relentless campaign, the acceptance levels of his messages and mass aspirations.

The box at the bottom right corner also explains the reasons for the Congress debacle. They had negative word of mouth, negative referrals from which they had to combat a positive product from Modi. The entire country had their scams and corruption in their minds when they thought about Congress. A paint brand had the line “Whenever you see colour… think of us”. The Congress acquired a similar tagline “Whenever you think corruption… think of us”. That is a bad reputation which mere advertising cannot fight back. Congress may blame their ad agency but deep down they do know what beat them. Advertising doesn’t sell!

The Congress punch-lines were turned into parodies. The Modi punch-line became a mass sing along rhyme. “Twinkle twinkle little star… Ab ki baar, Modi Sarkaar”. Thousands of such rhymes became popular. This is not the work of an ad agency; this is mass purchase of a message through word of mouth. One may try to create a “positioning” in people’s minds through marketing but people are not fools. People create the “positioning” that they see the product as. RahulG became “Pappu” and that became his positioning in people’s mind. To counter it the Congress called Modi “Feku” but the Feku tag did not stick because it was not backed by real perception whereas Pappu stuck because people perceived RahulG to be Pappu. Perceptions play a big role in the market place. Perceptions drive purchases too. Modi’s message was largely “Vikas”; what was SoniaG’s message? Zeher ki Kheti? Secularism?  She learned nothing from “Maut ka Saudagar” it seems. Constantly rubbishing another product generates more interest in that product and if it happens to be good then people end up buying it. Which idiots write speeches for Sonia and Rahul? They should review that.

Our media is not filled with bright people. Most of them are Sagarikas. Till the last leg of the election they were debating nonsense like Mrs Vadra’s “Choohe” and “Joan of Arc” type nonsense and other utterances of silly politicians as if those decide election outcomes. The media morons too have no connection with people. They are like Jayati Ghosh, the JNU’s intellectual moron.

One of the key aspects of a market battle is that your competitor puts you out of the consumer’s mind space. “Out of mind = Out of business”. The Congress, its clones and all the intellectual morons who harped on secularism, polarisation, divisive and so on had gone “out of mind” of voters. That’s why they went out of business and BJP scored a clear majority. Advertising doesn’t sell! Don’t let any intellectual moron ever tell you that.