Monday, October 03, 2005

Engineering is applied science. Marketing is applied engineering.

Engineering is applied science. The questions that should concern engineers are - How do you reach the benefit of science to more people? How do you make things more accessible and affordable? How do we use technology to do more things that are beneficial to people?
Marketing is applied engineering. The questions that should concern them are - How can we get this stuff that we’ve engineered into the hands of more people? Are the desired benefits being realized by those who are using it? How can we make it better?

Contibuting to developing human capital

Many young people starting out on their work lives see us as a training ground from where they can graduate to (what they think are) bigger things in life (like a say a job in an MNC). We don’t see a problem in this. We're happy to train people and happy if they pursue learning inside or outside of the organisation we believe that the human resource in our country has to become substantially more capable to compete in the world markets for products and services and we are happy to contribute to it’s development in whatever way we can.

A honest day’s work

A few day back I was reading what Rahul Bajaj had to say in the Indian Express column on ‘India Empowered’ on what would truly empower India. He said India can be truly empowered if all of us push the limits of our achievement in our own sphere of work. I couldn’t agree more it was as if words were pulled out of my mouth and appeared on the paper before me. But, I think, before we reach out to excel in our field of work, we have to learn to do ‘a honest days work’. The person who idles away his time at work or is not putting his time to good use at work, is as much guilty of dishonesty as the person who takes bribe to dole out favors.

Return on Investment V/s Total Cost of Ownership

You can’t invest large amounts of capital on the promise of productivity gains, because productivity gains can be only measured in retrospect. It makes more sense to buy the more cost effective stuff that does the work well. What you can only be sure of (at least to some extent) is that the stuff you have bought will help you do things faster, with less errors or at lower cost but that it will result in more sales or profit is much harder to predict. Therefore it makes more sense to invest using the Total cost of ownership (TCO) computation rather than on a prediction of a certain Return on Investment (ROI).
The TCO as opposed to the purchase/transaction price (which can be deceptive), covers the upfront capital cost, set-up cost, running cost, cost of renewal etc. All the costs you’ll incur through the lifecycle of its use.
In fact a lower TCO makes a higher, faster ROI more possible. That’s all one can be sure of.
Of course new technology that completely alters the economics (creating structural changes) is an altogether different matter and may well be worth the risk.

India and the meaning of work

India is not the political territory but an idea. An empire, of ideas and ideals for life. It's influence is currently limited and it’s values lost on many (even in this country). But I think that India will have a profound influence in shaping the 21st century not so much by the growth in power of it's economy or the might of it's military (those things are needed more to preserve India (the idea)) but by rediscovering the ideas that created this spiritual empire. And I don't mean just reciting the teachings of the past but starting off where Buddha, the Sufi saints, Nanak, Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi left.
In the pyramid of human capability and performance, India's most significant impact will be in showing the way towards building greater spiritual and emotional capacity.
The contribution of the western world to scientific thinking, was added to by the Japanese in brining mental focus and pursuit of quality at work. India has the potential to bring greater emotional and spiritual understanding to work and human endeavors. India, I think, can make substantial contribution to shaping the context and meaning of work.