Uberization, The next frontier for Innovation

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.

Even before you start a Consulting Assignment

As a HR consultant I work with several companies simultaneously and design HR solution that fits the client. It requires me to understand client’s priorities and business situation and culture as quickly as possible. Of course we talk to clients to understand their priorities but what is said is not always sufficient. Here are a few things I do to understand my clients better:

  1. Understand the industry in which the company is operating and see what kind of advice is given in whitepapers focused on the industry. Check how the market operates – fragmented or monopolistic
  2. Look at the annual document to understand how much does the company speak about its people. Most companies write about their people challenges and goals
  3. Look at company’s attitude towards its vendors and stakeholders. It could tell if the company is trying to be dictatorial or friendly as a way of operations
  4. Check what kind of reports the company delivers to its leaders. The MIS team can quickly share at least their templates
  5. Look up for its policies such as maternity/paternity, education breaks, IJP (Internal Job Postings). It will demonstrate how much cost the company is willing to bear for employees
  6. Understand the company’s supply chain and how the company makes its margin. Identifying the source of its margin gives an idea on what will sell with the key stakeholders. Key to margin may be prudent capital management, R&D and Innovation, Capital, Control or licence, size and scale of operations etc.
  7. What does the company’s clients really want from the company? May be cheaper product, convenience, and exclusivity.

Seldom do we get time to do the right thing and we end up focusing mostly on the urgent things. Avoid the trap to improve your effectiveness as a consultant and start spending some time on understanding the client. This will save time from iterating solution and winning client’s trust.


How to eat South Indian Meals?

if you are a Indian who stumbled upon this blog while surfing the web, then please move on! Its not for you ūüôā

I have  become a regular at the Saravana Bhavan in Paris and I often see locals struggling to ear the South Indian Meals. I have spoken to a few explaining them how to eat in order to enjoy it the most and folks have always thanked me and told me how much more they enjoyed this time when they ate the prescribed way.

So here is a quick guide for all folks Googling to find right way of eating south Indian meals:

  • Its okay to keep the small utensils with liquids, vegetables and yogurt outside the plate in order to make space for eating. If you want you could even keep the rice place outside.
  • Start with Bread – you may be given a roti (round brown bread about 5 inches in diameter) or Poori (brown break about 3.5 inches diameter)
  • You may dip this bread in vegetable dish – liquid with some vegetables; typically cauliflower/ potato.
  • Once you have finished the bread its time for rice
  • Go for the most dense liquid that you see and mix it well with rice. You could eat the mix with¬†Pappad (Crispy of about 5 inch diameter) You may also eat the mix with vegetable (dry)¬†provided
  • Once the most dense liquid is consumed, for for lesser dense and then the least dense
  • By now you would be feeling quite full. Take a minutes break and eat sweat provided
  • You may now finish the meal with either yogurt and rice mix or just yogurt.

Enjoy your South Indian meals!

and by the way, its okay to give tips in India restaurants and it may range from 5-10%. If you got special attention then 10-15%. In a restaurant that is very busy and you are just another customer; just leave the remaining (small) change.

Designing for what?

Today I took a long walk in Paris. It was a wonderful evening walk and just after rain had cleaned the city and rejuvenated the river.

I saw many Monuments, different¬†building designs, different¬†looking cars… and I found them rather odd. I¬†wondered why they were designed the way they were. I felt may be they were designed right way but they look odd to me because I am not used to seeing things that way; may be I am used to seeing things a particular way and those ways are¬†the ‘right’ ways in my mind. May be I should get out of my¬†concepts and change the definition of right more broadly.

Well then what’s a right design? How do I get away from my bias?

Design that meets a purpose is right design. So what is the purpose and should the purpose be right for design to be right? At the outset, it seems apparent that if the purpose is right, then perhaps the design that meets the purpose too is right!

Let me check my heuristic on what is the most common purpose in India?

  • Efficiency?
  • sabse kum may sabse jyaada?
  • Usne bola… woh samajh daar hai… (par mujhse kum)

I don’t have a very strong heuristic for what purpose drives Parisians but one thing is evident, there¬†is a need to be ‘different’. May be sometimes, when there isnt much to ‘better’, ‘different’ is just fine.