Have you heard of the phrase ‘frog in the well’? It denotes nature of mind which ignores the big picture and focuses and just a minute aspect at any given time. The Frog essentially starts to think that the well is the world and starts to work under this constraint. As such there is no problem with this concept other than the fact that the frog is putting unnecessary and untrue constraint on itself. It seriously limits the possibilities of what it could achieve.
With that context I would like to talk about a frog that knew the world; which wondered the the earth and on a fateful day fell into a deep well! It quickly figured out the constraints of living in the well and its depleting memory meant that it slowly forgot the world. While a faint memory of the world still existed; stiff constraints of surviving in the deep well meant that the frog is fully focused on day to day survival… slowly but surely the world was just the well for the frog.
I was watching a movie where the hero was sent to London for education, where he gets educated in finest school and just as he earns his degree, his parents call him back to the village. Once settled, he realizes how trivial the problems of the village are. He had seen the world and could clearly see how he could be part of a bigger play. But given the constraints, falls in the well, and continues living in the village. He is so engrossed with solving problems of the village that eventually, the village becomes his world. The trivial issues of the village consumes him completely making him the frog that falls in the well.
If a frog is destined to live in a well; what can it do?
In the east, many including the Buddhists believe that detachment is the way to go. They realized that one typically moves from one well to another – a losing game eventually! so appreciating this fact, living a detached life was seen as one way to create necessary condition to live liberated.
Once Brahma falls into the same “frog in the well” mentality and starts to feel that he is the most powerful in the universe. When told that Krishna, a small boy in Vrindavan, is the supreme lord; Brahma flies straight to test Krishna. There Krishna is seen playing with his friends in a beautiful garden and the agitated Brahma abducts all friends of Krishna and takes them all to Brahma-lok, the adobe of Brahma. Seeing this, Krishna takes forms of all his friends and goes back to each houses – not letter anyone in the village know what happened. Seeing the smart way Krishna manages the situation, Brahma realizes his mistake and comes to Krishna flying in his swan. While reaching Vrindavan, Brahma sees millions of other Brahmas flying into Vrindavan to see Krishna. It was now that Brahma realizes that there are many Brahmas in the world and that he is just one creator among many – a typical “Frog in the well” attitude had taken over Brahma blinding him completely. From the story, I find that the ancient Hindu texts favor a storytelling method of reminding people that they are in a well and there is world outside.
I believe introspection is the starting point – to understand how we sometimes behave like a frog in the well and to believe that there is a world outside to conquer.
Since my childhood I always heard stories of asetic people and cherised living a minimalistic life. Happiness was always simplicity; Fashion was bad… Really bad!
Gandhi gave away his dresses and took to a simple dhoti … And he became Mahatma! And Buddha… Did not retain even that! And a great many famous and rich Indians are living a minimalistic life… Azim Premji, NRN, Gopinath… are all heros. This was my context.
It takes experience to realise, fasion is not bad by itself. Yes, testing cosmetics on animals is horrific; A byproduct, which now recides more in history. Today’s fashion is much more…. It means delivering better experience by better design. And experience includes looks, smell, touch and a lot lot more.
Did you know that a research was done to understand why some people are attracted to some smells? It turns out that ancient chinese always knew the connection between olfactory and the brain and inturn emotions. Yes, your colleagues’ purfume can make you happier!
Fashion can help you live a more content life with just a few things. Minimal in terms of number. So as we move towards a world of abundance, fashion will help move from ‘having more’ to ‘having better’ and feeling better and live a minimalist life.
So all you people who want to live asetic and minimaist life, loosen you purse and broaden you mind. Learn fashin read fashion and lead a fashionable minimalistic life that makes you and people around u experience life better.
I was in a marketing class when I had a transformative experience; we were introduced to a new idea that jolted a deep rooted faith. It unfolded like this; we were discussing “what is Value Add?” and several of us spoke about our understanding but the final conclusion was that “Value Addition” is activities for which client is willing to pay. And it had a very important corollary, Non-Value Adding activities are those activities for which client is NOT willing to pay.
My earlier philosophy was that a company must do what it believes is required– irrespective of whether the client is willing to pay for it or not. I believed that cost of such activities for which client is not willing to pay for should be added on top of the cost of activities for which the client is willing to pay for. However after paradigm shift, I started believing that non value added activates should be at best be eliminated!
Steve Jobs once famously quoted “When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.” But this quote didn’t have any meaning for me.
A few days back, I was at a very famous 5 star hotel for my holidays. My family and I were awestruck at the beauty of the hotel – the architecture was phenomenal. On the last night of our stay, we invited our relatives for dinner and we were thoroughly impressed by the hospitality and comforts. After a sumptuous dinner; my wife and I walked our guests to their bike. We had a good walk until we reached the basement – When we reached the car park we realised it was a different world! It was at best shabby. Then we walked to the bike parking and the situation worsened – it had instructions all around – parking at owner’s risk, don’t leave helmet on the bike etc… We felt bad that such a beautiful hotel had such a bad basement. It was dirty, no paint … plain ugly! It hit us more badly when we realised this parking was mainly for the employees who took such good care of us! It also made our guests go to a place so bad before they could get to the restaurant.
I felt why did the hotel leave the place so bad? I stumbled upon the fact that normally clients never get to this place! We never had before! We left our cars to chauffers for parking!
What do MOST clients pay for? Food, beautiful rooms and corridors, hospitality… Those are all top class! Who cares about comfort of the employees and their parking? So it becomes a “Non-Value Adding” activity and cost.
Uberization is a metaphor for phenomena where mobile technologies are leveraged to connect a buyer and a seller by creating a digital marketplace for services; eliminating the traditional middlemen, who could be playing the role of an aggregator or capital provider or logistics/infrastructure provider etc.
I consider Uberization as Industrial Revolution 3.0 because of its disruptive ability and ability to drive next phase of productivity gains, which is now getting stagnant. It essentially eliminates the middlemen thereby creating more margin for seller and lesser price for buyer without any loss of quality to the service. The fact that the buyer and seller are closer also increases the ability of seller to customize product more by understanding their needs better. Also the digital marketplace is highly scalable and thus a proven model can be taken across geographies rather quickly. Online market place also provides benefits that an aggregator traditionally provides such as brand awareness and consistent and unique value proposition. It also could help meet compliance requirements and bring discipline to the market once it takes sufficient scale.
Are there flipside to it? Yes of course! Recent times I have seen some; Uberization empowers the buyer and the seller and it expects them to use the power judiciously. Also Uberization is a new phenomenon and Law and order is still catching up to protect the seller and the buyer. This makes the buyer and seller more vulnerable. A segment of buyers and sellers are still having change management challenges and have not adapted to the new ways of operating. This has led to multiple channels of order for seller; complicating the value chain.
Despite the challenges, Uberization is the way to go because dream of every nation is to create a society where there is minimum inefficiency between the seller and the buyer and Uberization delivers on this promise.