Posted on Leave a comment

Thanksgiving : KARVY-ng the Customer – the new Turkey?


Today, the Fourth Thursday of November, will be celebrated in the world’s largest economy, the U.S.A., as Thanksgiving Day. One of the key traditions is Carving of the Turkey and dinner with family. Back home in India, among the fastest growing large economies, KARVY-ng of a different kind has been reported by SEBI.

Unfortunately, one of the leading Stock Brokerage and Security firms is suspected to have raised money by pledging Customers’ stocks placed in their custody. This, by misusing the Power of Attorney the clients would have shared with the firm for other purposes.

Customer, the New Turkey

This development comes close on the heels a recent discovery of gaps in Security of Customer Data…… Of customers being taken for a ride or rather, their data going places, without their knowledge or approval. Technology Service Providers and Marketers getting enriched while rendering the Customer Privacy values poorer. KARVY seems to have taken Customer Care to more s(ub)lime levels. Customer Car(v)e may be the new function. Why Celebrate or Thank customers. More profitable, may be to leverage Customers and tank them.


Those not familiar with SEBI and those open minded enough to believe that intelligent life could exist beyond earth may think of SETI . Speaking of intelligence, one is surprised how the banks allowed the said Customer stocks to be pledged with them. Maybe the MoF, GoI could engage some SETI – like search. The Search for Economic Transgressors in India may well be a worthwhile pursuit, even if the search for intelligence or Corporate Governance in our financial institutions may disappoint.

Strengthen Whistle Blower Policies (as needed) and Communicate the same

Human minds and endeavours being what they are, no amount of Law may completely eliminate wrong doing. One way to minimise this is to make it mandatory for each establishment to prominently display whistle blower policy/ process/ rights to all employees and stakeholders.

Do you feel it is easy to be a whistle blower? What more should the government or society do to ensure whistle blowers are not left high and dry, just because they answer to the Call of their Conscience?,_2011


Posted on Leave a comment

Secure Data or SeeUR Data – Privacy under Cloud?


An IT Security expert, Vinny Troia of Night Lion Security has revealed that personal information of almost 1.2 Billion users has been compromised by exposure. This data has been left unprotected
on a Google Cloud server. These data may have originated from two different ‘Data Enrichment’
Companies. People Data Labs (PDL) and OxyData.Io (OXY). Innocent consumers may part with just their e-mail ids to a Marketer. But marketers may leverage Data Enrichment to know much more about the consumer than he or she may like to share. Now personal data left without protection on a cloud server means it is potentially available for anyone to exploit, not just Marketers who may pay for it. In the wrong hands it can injure the well-being of individuals and communities. An individual’s basic Right to Privacy is anyway compromised.

Servers may not necessarily Save Ours (Data)

We assume our data (including surfing patterns) is our own and it is safe. We may have some knowledge that our data is being used by Technology Service Providers (for genuine software related purposes as claimed by them). A few of us may even be aware of other entities whose business models is to ‘scrap’ and garner more detailed information about users online. Those agitated by this may even get more bellicose when these entities call themselves ‘Data Enrichment Companies'(DECs).

Terabyte Trove – Data, the new Treasure

Searching for hidden or lost treasures of gold and precious gems is passe. Data is the new wealth. The Indian concept of Anna-dhatha takes a new connotation. Annam (food) is no longer analog. It is increasingly digital. And the Dhatha (Provider), is increasingly Data. Thus it is no surprise that DECs desire Data Dumps. The average person may baulk at these mountains (even if not in machine language). But the DEC’s raison d’être is mining these treasure troves, sorry terabyte troves.

Communication/ Adherence to Users’ Data Rights – Businesses’ Responsibilty?

Today, not all businesses may feel the need to be pro-actively transparent about their stand on Consumers’/ Customers’/ Users’. But laws will gradually ensure the rights of users are not violated. We already see the European Union authorities piling on the pressure on technology giants on some issue or the other.

What are your thoughts on DECs/ Data Mining? Do you feel the current Laws are sufficient to meet the needs of an increasingly tech-driven economy? Do you feel Businesses leverage DECs and (grey areas in) the law to know more about customers without their knowledge? Do you feel Customers will trust those Brands/ Service Providers better which are pro-actively transparent (in the absence of clear laws) and have a clear policy which is communicated to all stakeholders? We would love to know….

Posted on Leave a comment

Freedom From the Fear of Failure


The Nation gets into its 73rd Independence Day and we are reminded of the huge sacrifices made by thousands who made India’s Independence possible. For every known leader (who is at least a footnote in History, if not an entire Book by himself/ herself), we have hundreds of unsung heroes/ heroines who gave up all that they had…. including family/ income/ wealth/ youth just for the Vision of an Independent India.

Friends and relatives of our freedom-fighters would have tried to reason with them…… “How does it matter, whether it is Ram or Ravanan who rules? Why are you bothered? What difference can you alone make?” The kith and kin may have been sincere in their pleas…. In any case, many of these initial ‘nay-sayers’ would also have started supporting the freedom struggle morally/ materially/ financially. Else it may not have been possible for many of the freedom fighters to continue in the Independence movement. But it is to the credit of our Independence seekers that they plunged into the struggle in the first place, without much hope or anticipation of help. Continuing generations of Indians are indebted to these self-less samurais.

Similarly, most businesspersons by their very nature, take risks akin to the huge odds that our freedom fighters took, away from their comfort zones. As India progresses towards the $5 Trillion GDP Economy mark, a lot of heroes and heroines will be needed. Whether big or small, farmers or product manufacturers or service providers, entrepreneurs or intra-preneurs, old age or new age domains, Business Brave-Hearts will be needed. Businesses also generate prosperity for more by generating more employment opportunities.

Likewise, students/ professionals/ artists et al need to break the shackles of the fear of failure. May they be encouraged to follow their passion and contribute to society and the economy in the manner best suited to their strengths/ tendencies. May they not be haunted by fear of parental or societal criticism.

On this Independence Day, let us pray for all our warriors. May they forge ahead without much fear of failure. If at all this fear is needed, it should just be as a catalyst for them to take necessary risk-mitigating steps. Into the Days ( of Freedom from the Fear of Failure), may our Knights across the spectrum, wake…!

Jai Hind!

Posted on Leave a comment

The Evolving Human, The Evolving Organization – Beyond Emotional Intelligence


The Evolving Human, The Evolving Organisation – Beyond Emotional Intelligence

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) giving way to Emotional Intelligence

Intelligence Quotient is universally recognised as a definitive indicator of a person’s intellectual abilities. But it is also accepted that the IQ tests administered need to be neutral enough with respect to context/ culture/ language. Else they may not really help adjudge. For the better part of the last century, IQ test frameworks have been evolving to be more comprehensive and accommodative.

Over the last few decades, we have had some softer/ lesser quantitative frameworks to better understand indicators for longer term success. Emotional Intelligence  (E.I.) and the slightly lesser known Five Factor Model framework try to  understand how a person with an average/ slightly above-average IQ could still be (significantly so) more successful in personal and professional lives than a person whose only claim to fame could be a great IQ. It is now almost common knowledge at least in Academia/ HR Circles that ability to work with people, willingness to accept mistakes/ learn afresh (to name a few) are better indicators of success than merely an high IQ.

Limitation/s of  Emotional Intelligence

EI as an indicator and as a concomitant of success is not surprising. It is a good framework to instil many desirable qualities. But it is common these days to see white collar crimes without any ‘underlying basic need‘ for it. For eg. burglary is fairly common with the motive to buy food/ medicines.

Whether abroad or closer home in India,  white collar criminals commit their offences to pursue objectives which are far less acceptable (in comparison to the small time thief). Surely the Mehul Chokshi/ Nirav Modi s and the Vijay Mallyas were not struggling to make ends meet. Obviously the level of manoeuvering required, to do what they did, does not come easy. IQ alone cannot make it possible. With IQ alone, we may be able to blackmail/ threaten vulnerable/ helpless bank officials. But getting these plans so elaborately made with officials’ connivance needs some amount of EQ ‘flair’.

Enter Ethical Emoting

The inference that stares us in the face in light of the above is that Acting in a Responsible/ Spiritual manner is an absolute must. If workers at the lowest echelons of power and prosperity are expected to be clean, how much more, the onus on those far above them. Unless leaders and managers are able to dovetail this critical parameter into their actions, their flair for EQ or their IQ ability comes to naught…..or to put it slightly differently, behaviours built solely on IQ or EI cannot guarantee Sustainable Success. As Abraham Lincoln said “…..we cannot fool all the people all the time…”  There can be no compromise on Emoting ( in the sense of working/ behaving/ acting) Ethically/ Spiritually.

IQ to EI (EQ) to EE (SQ)


Spiritual Quotient ensures All-round and Lasting Success

In an ideal world, all of us would lead our lives, both personal and professional in an ideal manner. So ideal that it would not be much of a world (as we know it and delight in) in the first place. There would no ego/ sorrow/ deceit/ violence/ mindless competition surely. Ironically,  we may also be deprived of the context where satire/ humour/ laughter/ pursuit of excellence/ etc also thrive.

Thus the Journey towards the Ideal is more interesting surely than the destination. Poetically Robert Browning put it in his inimitable style….” ….Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp …Or what’s a Heaven for.”  🙂