Sadhu’s Weblog

2000 posts

That is 2000 hits for my blog which now has 30 posts. I’d like to thank all my reader friends for their encouragement and support.

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These days very few would be interested in reading about General Motors and any of its follies. But I’m sure you’ll burst out with laughter when you come to know of GM’s sacrifices and plans (to cut costs). Please note that layoffs and shutting down plants have been a regular exercise for GM and probably those might not draw enough attention as its ‘latest attempt’. Given below is an excerpt from a latest press release by GM which states the waning carmaker has decided to part ways with the No.1 golfer and Buick’s long-time endorser Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods has been endorsing Buick for nine years now. You’ll be shocked to know the reason behind GM’s decision. ‘The current industry crisis and fear of bankruptcy’ is what you might be thinking. Poor thinking I’d say. The press release reads

It comes out of a mutual agreement that included Tiger Woods’ desire for more personal time for the 14-time major winner who is expecting his second child in late winter as well as the search for budget efficiencies during a  difficult economy for General Motors.

You might be flabbergasted to know that GM termed the timing of this decision as ‘sheer coincidence’ and not the result of the crisis. The statement by a top executive from GM says it all.

This decision is the result of discussions that started earlier in the year and the timing of this agreement with these other activities is purely coincidental.

Guess what? A wishful thinking GM might want to use this ‘latest cost-cutting attempt’ to plead with the govt. for any rescue package, and Tiger Woods will now have ‘more personal time’ at his disposal.

P.S.: To know the reasons why GM ends endorsement deal with Tiger Woods read this.

Detroit - On the verge of collapse

Detroit - On the verge of collapse

The Detroit needs a Saviour desperately but the question is if it “is worth the effort”.

It was bound to happen and they are facing the worst ever humiliation. The humiliation is for the Detroit’s Big Three—General Motors, Ford and Chrysler—looking for ways to save themselves from the devastating downfall. Reports and expert opinions state there is no way the US car majors, GM and Chrysler in particular, can escape the misery of running out of cash to manage their operations.

It happened this way. The US carmakers found themselves way behind their Japanese counterparts in their products and strategies. For years they would sell the same old gas guzzling Pickups and SUVs not realising the need to shift to cars customers need. Japanese companies, led by Toyota, did well to bring out hybrids and, small and fuel-efficient cars. Dipping sales and continuous losses unsettled GM and the world’s leading carmaker is now on the brink of bankruptcy. Ford and Chrysler are also struggling to put back their businesses into working order.

While one can foresee the fall in Detroit’s number—probably a merger of GM and Chrysler would take place—the auto crisis might affect the Japanese car makers badly. The collapse of an auto maker could affect the Toyota and Honda—they invested heavily in the North American market and assemble almost 50 per cent of the vehicles they sell in the region—integrated system of supply chain being the problem. Most of the suppliers hence look vulnerable to the industry’s troubles.

Whether the govt. is willing to come to the rescue of the auto companies is the question. The Democrats are seeking help for automakers to save millions of jobs from a possible collapse. Will the Bush administration look at transferring some amount from the US$ 700 billlion bail out plan to the rescue of Detroit? If not, this would be a tame and disastrous end to Detroit.

Ponting - The confused Aussie captain

A bewildered Punter

What made this series remarkable is how often Australia played like India and India played like Australia.

Mihir Bose

Indian team has regained the Border-Gavaskar trophy thrashing the Aussies 2-0 in the four test series. The hosts beat the visitors in Mohali and Nagpur drawing the other two matches, to clinch the trophy which they lost to Aussies in 2004. As expected this series has gained a lot of significance right from the beginning. The way this Indian team conquered the Kangaroos in this series is laudable. Throughout the series, barring a few sessions, Australians have been overpowered by the Indians. The fact that Australia lost the series without winning a match would definitely hurt them.

Beating the Australians in their game—aggressive cricket, mind games and not to forget giving back (their sledging)—is something this Indian team has learnt over time and successfully implemented during the last two encounters with them. What has this resulted in—A team that dominated the world of cricket for a decade is left in a quandary over its future. The 2-0 defeat to India is something Ricky Ponting and his team will not able to digest. This series brings to fore interesting points—answers to issues that were left unaddressed for quite sometime, and a few questions that need answers.

The questions unanswered were—when will the Aussie dominance end? Which team has the ability to dethrone them? Indian team is probably the answer for both. Indians have outplayed the Kangaroos throughout the series, in style. Here is a team that has shown the world they can not only challenge but dominate the mighty Australians. Over the last decade, India stood a tough contender to Aussies and the current Indian team finds itself in a better position than them. The only thing that Australians can take pride in is the finding an off-spinner who has successfully troubled Indians on their home turf.

What needs answers is Indian team’s composition? India’s Spin bowling has for long been India’s strength but with Anil Kumble bidding adieu to cricket it will be difficult to fill that space. All these years, India’s hopes rested on the Fab four—Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman. Rahul Dravid, arguably one of test cricket’s all-time greats, finds himself out-of-form while Sourav Ganguly, the most successful Test captain for India, has finally called it quits. Tendulkar and Laxman have come up with good performances but how long they can shoulder the responsibilities is something the selectors have to think about.

Indian team is definitely strong but it is high time the selectors identified the possible replacements (for the Fab four). The team has an able leader in Dhoni—an aggressive cricketer with a fresh thinking and positive approach towards the game—and a right combination of youth and experience. Consistency in winning is what this team needs to dethrone the Australians and become the champions.

Image Courtesy: Cricketnext

As consumers you and I would have had numerous shopping experiences but at times we end up with shocking experiences. This post is about one such experience of mine. How I wish I had not overpaid for the same product? Did it ever happen to you? You might not have realised it like I did, or did you?

Do not run away even if you’re not enticed to read further. Stay there and read through the post. This is an attempt to let all my reader friends and others know how to be watchful while shopping. You’ll know how we tend to ignore or do not realise paying more for the same product bought sometime ago. What happened is:

Last week, my sister bought a Head & Shoulder shampoo (bottle) from a nearest retail store. I had purchased the shampoo (bottle of same brand and volume) a month ago but did not check for the price though. The other day when I went for a head bath, my brains reminded me to check for the price of the bottle and it was Rs.69. My curiosity rose when I saw the empty shampoo bottle and to my surprise it was Rs.64.

For a moment I was dumbstruck and was trying to prove myself wrong. But a careful look at both the bottles and I realised it was true. The company did increase the price by five rupees!!! Goodness me. How did I miss this? And this is not the only one, I told myself. I do not check the prices of a few products and this experience taught me a lesson—even a petty purchase needs a thorough observation.

What does anyone infer from this? Be watchful of any price rise before you pay the bill. It could be petty/nothing but this is not just about my five rupees. It’s about considerable price change (read price rise) that goes unnoticed. It is about what we as consumers ignore / fail to think about.

So, you now know what to do the next time you go for shopping. Do you?

Obama mantra Change we can believe in wins

After eight years, we’ve had enough of the same old thing. It’s time to bring about real change to Washington and that’s the choice you’ve got in this election.

stated Obama in his election campaign. The question was “Has Change come to America?” and a strong “Yes” comes with Barack Obama winning the US Presidential election. Barack Hussein Obama, the 47-year-old democrat leader, made history becoming the first Afro-American President. Obama defeated John McCain, the Republican contender in the longest and costliest Presidential election ever for the White House. Projections and forecasts based on the opinion polls have put Obama on top of his counterpart McCain. Obama’s resilience and determination stood tall against the historical strength of the Republican contenders and his triumph was mighty for the Bradley effect. Amidst the national financial crisis, Obama’s victory cuts out a pleasant surprise to the millions of American citizens even as the Republicans begin introspecting and investigating the reasons behind McCain’s staggering defeat.

What factors might have favoured Obama against McCain? Throughout his campaigns, Obama assured the citizens on what his government would do for their benefit—regulating the economy fairly, creating more jobs for Americans by saying ‘No’ to outsourcing, shifting focus from Oil (Iraq) to curbing terrorism (Afghanistan). The fact that Obama won 338 votes (far more than the 270 needed) shows that the change mantra has worked well for Obama. A New York Times editorial states

Barack Obama won the election because he saw what is wrong with this country: the utter failure of government to protect its citizens.

It remains to be seen how quickly Obama’s dream to bring about change can be realised. For now, the challenges for America and Obama are plenty. What needs to be addressed without more ado is the disastrous financial crisis facing the nation and healthcare issues.

Watched “Hero Honda Dhak Dhak Go”!!! Perplexed? Wondering what Hero Honda is doing? Of course not a music video; Hero Honda’s silver jubilee ad campaign it is. A music video kind of an ad featuring Hrithik and Priyanka Chopra in a road show with their Hero Honda bikes (Karizma and Pleasure) while Irfan Pathan seems busy practising for his next match. Even as the audience endure these shots (supported by a music track), Sehwag and a few more cricketers join the party. Also seen among the crowd is Olympian Rajvardhan Rathore. BTW, when was the last time you saw an ad with so many stars? Probably no way near, down the memory lane. What is the company’s take on the music video err… ad campaign. Mr. Anil Dua, Senior VP (Sales and Marketing), says

The idea is to celebrate this milestone in our journey retaining the brand’s core values but present these in a youthful manner. We wanted to celebrate the young and emerging India — an India which is confident of taking on the world.

Certainly Hero Honda is rejoicing its 25 year successful run as the country’s leading motorcycle manufacturer. But is it not too much of celebrity involvement rather than endorsement? It would have been better of sending greetings to all the customers and come up with better marketing strategies. God save companies from the evil ad brains.

End Note: Business Standard named it the grandfather of all celebrity endorsements.