Monday, November 17, 2014

Marketing the Nation

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

The fundamentals of success of an enterprise will be largely based on great marketing of its products and services. Having developed great products and fantastic services, doesn't give an automatic recognition and acceptance in the markets without targeted marketing. Just about every product; big or small invest a great deal of resources for bringing the product to market and also keeping the product alive in the minds of the buyers will constant bombarding of advertising. With media, TV and Radio blasting stuff 24/7/365, there is plenty of air space and ears that needs to be filled with promotions and advertising, and there is no lack of audience for just about every programming.

Great products and great services definitely need marketing and promotions; even apple and Mercedes need to be constantly pushed to the market (as well as many other great products and services) to keep people constantly aware of the latest and greatest in their product space. The media never stops pushing even cola which just about everyone in the world has a favorite one. The art of constantly reminding people of a product is taken to greater lengths each year with more and more focused and polished advertising and marketing. The overall success of the product or service is directly proportional to how successful the marketing campaign is to reach out to the target audience.

As with products and services, nations also market themselves as great places to invest and promote their countries as places which are a must for tourists. Nations use their bast face to promote their countries and try and target the global audience for attracting more and more visitors each year. Even the USA, UK and other major economies constantly promote each of their nations to the global audience as places to visit, and in many cases the states with in each of the nations keep publicizing their locations to attract visitors and also investments. Road shows and promotions are also common while pushing stuff into the market. Today we see movies being promoted with so much expense and hype, the marketing budgets sometimes equal the cost of production. Everyone, every media and every company and every nation is constantly trying to woo more and more public to embrace their product or service.

Even president Obama is not too shy in promoting the USA and its tourism and enterprise. There is no markets or there is no people on earth who will not be targeted even by the greatest companies or national leaders. Typically displaying the competence and the infrastructure for the businesses and the beauty, culture and historical significance along with weather and activities for tourism are hyped with absolutely stunning locals, pictures and people. It works and there by constantly marketing stuff pays dividends.

Looking at India, which is a relatively young independence (1947 is young in the earth years) has quite a standoffish attitude in pushing products and services. Although the recent years have seen movie makers taking the lead on promotions, and also some of the major companies following suit with their global counterparts, the marketing of the nation has been a non-existing activity for the head of the state or higher level politicians. Come the new prime minister, Mr. Modi this has dramatically changed. Here is the head of the state who is constantly promoting the country and its needs, and he is not shy about asking other nations and industries and private investors to come and invest in India. As months go by in office, Modi is constantly on the horn touting his administration and his policies to bring more and more investments into India. For a politician he is very savvy with marketing and promoting his agenda. For the first time India does have a great resources in the PM himself as the best marketing lead. Modi often and constantly markets his agenda and also his country. For a stodgy political system in India, it is great to have a PM who is a great marketing lead. Not only his work ethic but also his personal pitch to the world is a welcome sight from old age politicians that have represented India prior to Modi.


All Modi now needs is the support of his countrymen in delivery of the great market he is pitching to the world. The people and their competence, the systems and their ease in building new business, the politicians and their age old issues of graft, the country and its attitude towards work and enterprise, delivery and dedication; there are so many more aspects to a successful nation. Modi promises all this and aggressively markets the nation, and with wonderful reception wherever he goes to. All we have to do now is to start to deliver to his promise. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Winter is Here

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

This week we are bracing for another polar vortex. Its only the second week of November and a couple of weeks away from thanksgiving of 2014, but we already are bracing for really cold weather. Last year when the word polar vortex was popularized by the news channels (constantly), I had the impression that this polar vortex phenomenon was only once in a while happening, and did not expect it to be as soon as with in a year of the last polar vortex.

We had a relatively mild summer in Chicago this year after a regular winter last year. Actually the summer time seems to just come and go, as there was no let up of winter until late into the spring and the winter has already arrived by early November. After all these years of life in Chicago, the cold weather doesn't bother me, but it is interesting to see the winters come early and be severe for several months. This was the pattern we are used to here, but for a few years we had mild winters and the talk of global warming becoming very fashionable.

There is nothing to shy away from speaking of the abuse humans inflict on the environment, and how we trash everything around us. We simply love to generate garbage 24/7/365 and no stopping how much and how many different ways we have for creating trash. The biggest challenges for mankind will be trash management and as we have more and more of us every year, trash management will continue to be a great challenge for the human race. We have so far destroyed thousand of species, and we continue to destroy other animals, birds and living being, and also land, forests, trees and environment, and we have no shame in dumping on the fresh water and sea water. Our thirst for garbage creation and uninhibited dumping is unparalleled phenomenon, which is only second to human greed. The governments and environmentalists and scientists and everyone else continue to warn us of grave and destructive consequences of dumping, which never seem to help in containing our desire for creation of garbage. The man kind has insatiable appetite for junk creation and dumping and no amount of alarm raised has not hampered our aptitude for garbage creation.

The weather patterns had been unpredictable for a few years and the clod season becoming less severe, but the last year was as common a winter as it should be in Chicago, and this year seems to follow suit with the normal and harsh winters of the windy city and its surroundings. The link to dumping on earth and global warming, and the changes to the weather patterns, all are true, but the severe winters coming back with a bang are also true. It doesn't mean that global warming is not a destructive phenomenon. We simply might get harsher than normal winters, and polar vortex which was a rare occurrence becomes a normal weather pattern every winter.

Unabated dumping and destructive environmental practices will have an impact on generations to come, and whatever corrective practices we will instill with the global population, will have to be adopted by everyone. Allowing for exceptions and keeping economics in front of environment, will not help the world. Cleanup drive in every part of the world, and respect for the surroundings will only help foster the planet for millions of years to come.

The severe weather patterns and changes to the cyclical patterns of seasons will not be corrected overnight, because the damage has been caused over decades of human abuse and dumping in every place on earth; land, water, air and even space junk is dumped without abandon.

For some reason known to the man upstairs the earth seems to bear the brunt of the humans, and keeps rebuilding and surviving the onslaught of dumping. We continue to see the beauty of the nature and seasons, and the life across the planet. We also see the devastation that we cause each time there is a catastrophe, and also see the mother earth some how reinvent the


Winter is here, and early in 2014. This sinks well with the normal weather patterns for the Midwest, and two years in a row the weather cycles seem to be normal. If this continues for years to come, Chicago will remain the windy city and our weatherman will have no new issues except report normal weather patterns. Its great to see the normal weather for two years in a row in Chicago, and it will be great to see the weather normal for time to come.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Money Matters

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

India's obsession with money in Switzerland banks is as old as the country's 1947 independence from the British. It might be a story for the movie makers in India and or also to the Mission Impossible franchise. The fact of the matter is that everyone knows that people with big pockets and or political connections will try to stash their money in tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of their in-country taxes, and also people who take money in return for personal or professional help and don't report the commissions, or simply people who take money that doesn't belong to them; all and many more will try to find havens for their ill gotten money to avoid both paying taxes and also reporting the money sources.

Even legitimate business, who work globally will always find tax loopholes to work within the law, and try to reduce the tax burden on corporations; all legal but when exposed becomes a concern for the country and the politicians. The illegal hoarding of money is at best difficult to assess and calculate as it is simply too much money and resources that have been in hiding for so long, and so much more being added each year, it is a matter for some supreme power to unearth all this wealth and money and make it reported income. Achieving 100% account of all money hidden in the world, will only happen with an act of god.

India's current politicians continue to squabble about who is holding money where and how much, and they constantly challenging each other to show the proof. Everyone in India, even a child knows that there is unimaginable amount of money stashed somewhere in India and outside of India by the guys who have their hands out for money from everyone who needs work done. As people pay for work (favors) the guys with their hands out will easily collect their dues, and then start to think of how to protect the ill gotten wealth. The world is a massive place to hide money and wealth and also there are enough safe havens to start spreading the ill gotten wealth in many places to make believe that it is safe. We all know that some countries resist sharing the details, where are some simply work in secrecy and coded system so the tracking is difficult. It is not impossible to track anything in the world, but it is simply made difficult by the banks and financial institutions to go to the source of the accounts, and even more difficult to find the source of acquisition of the wealth. All said and done, with today's electronic infrastructure, it is simply following the course of origin and governments should be able to at least point to the sources of the accounts.

Also protecting the account managers and account holders is not a global monitor as the local laws that govern the banking system of each country in the world. Most times the local laws are written to protect and defend the local citizens, and then aligned with the needs of the international community. India and its government just must accept the process of handling the banking laws and systems around the globe, and start to work with them.

While Modi is constantly assuring the Indians that he and his government will make all efforts to get the money back from abroad, and is trying to do their best in tracing and and tracking the illegal money, it is far from easy to prove the existence of black money/wealth and its origins. Their effort to identify and negotiate with local law enforcement on opening the information is commendable. What is for the government to do, and in its hands is to stop the process of hand stretching when working, meaning stop people from accepting and encouraging bribes. Modi himself is a great example of being above fray in money matters, as time and again his strength is that he will not involve in accepting money for favors. He simply should lean on his government to follow his principle, and it will stop the politicians from looting public wealth, and will also stop national wealth into tax havens.

This government and any government should identify and prosecute the money launderers and looters, while also looking forward to changing the system itself in promoting open and good governance that stops the looting. Modi for better than any other reason can be the leader in eliminating graft, and there by eliminating the issues with money laundering in governance, and further enhancing the use of public resources for public works.

While taking actions to track and prosecute the old felonies that involve decades of looting, it is of greater importance for this government to stop the cause of the money grabbing. On both fronts actions on working with international communities and banks, and also continuously monitoring the internal systems to promote clean and good governance, will help stem the age old problem of graft. Keeping the issue of good governance on the top of the agenda for the central, state and local governance will begin the process of stemming the graft that is so deeply rooted in the society. If this government continuously makes this a governance issue, India can slowly become a nation of laws that are followed by its politicians, bureaucrats and its citizens.