Sunday, May 24, 2009

One line reviews...

நினைத்தாலே - Surprisingly well made movie. Sensible and down-to-earth
Seabiscuit - Visual symphony, truly!
சுப்பிரமணியபுரம் - Surreal, and on violence. But for a violent movie, it has the perfect ending!
பில்லா 2007 - Too funny seeing Nayanthara and Namitha as cool, lethal hotties. Movie "tries" to be too sophisticated.
மாயாவி - Highly underrated! What a poetic ending!
குசேலன் - Wasted opportunity. Gets caught in the middle of using Rajni as a guest / full time cast

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Price it right

In marketing, pricing is of vital importance. There are a lot of subtle cues that people look for or use in determining the product to buy. For example, I saw a soap solution that was priced at Rs 40 for 125 ml. The same soap solution was priced at Rs 80 for 250 ml. If the customer has no real need for 250 ml of the soap solution, there is no way he is going to buy the 250 ml version. If it was priced at Rs 45 for 125 ml or say Rs 75 for 250 ml, you are throwing a challenge to the customer and the customer may end up buying the 250 ml version. It is an incentive to the customer to buy more by offering an implied discount.

A more counter-productive pricing example I witnessed was for a custom drink here at Coimbatore (ஜிகர்தண்டா - 'jigarthanda' you must taste it - it is an almond based drink that is extremely refreshing). 150 ml was priced at 15 Rs while 200 ml was priced at 25 Rs. The first case, the unit price for 50 ml of the drink is Rs 5, while in the latter case it is Rs 6.25. Why would a customer pay more price when he is buying larger quantity?

Friday, May 15, 2009

This scene epitomises Friends

I was trying to find some footage that is representative of the "feel" of Friends and found this one. There are certainly others, of course.

Just wait until the phone rings @ 1:49!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Internet and the open era!

I think, in the near future, we will be in an era where everything will be on record!

The power the Internet puts to the end user is mind boggling. The end user is a publisher! And the potential audience is the entire world!

Rules that earlier governed so many aspects of society will be sheared - they already are to good extents. Case in point: this incident where a man blogs about the situation he faced when he tried to picture an open ATM. This was later slashdotted and he finally went on a local news paper as well!

Well, my point is not to argue about the right/wrong of this incident - but would people behave the same way if they knew they were on camera all the time?

If only something like this happened in Chennai or any city in India for that matter! Interesting incidents already anyone?

Friday, May 08, 2009

Cities and Parking

The rate at which vehicles are growing in cities, in the next ten years it is going to be road-filled-vehicles all the time. Apart from drives becoming slower, which is already the case in cities like Chennai, Hyderabad [not talking about Mumbai - it maxed out long back], parking is going to be the next major major issue. Not many buildings are planned for parking - partly because they haven't thought about it - and even if they did, there's no space to allocate. It is very common to see a ten storey building that houses an IT park (which means that 15-20% of people will take cars to work) with a seating capacity of 5000 people. Which means it should be able to house 500 cars and 1000 bikes comfortably. Very few buildings have that scalability.

I think the Government of major cities [Mumbai ruled itself out a long time ago - there is just no space!] should use this as a key juncture and construct parking houses at strategeic points in the city. These will be say, 15-20 storey buildings that just house vehicles for parking. Taking Chennai as example:

1) Areas like Mount road, Parrys, OMR, Mint street, Perambur, Ambattur, Tambaram, Sriperambudur and probably few more areas can be targets
2) Each building should be capable of housing 2000 cars and 5000 bikes approx
3) Multiple strategic buildings will serve as critical housing-hubs for these vehicles when we hit threshold increase. We might actually wonder how we did without these earlier
4) These buildings can be high-tech and can pay themselves back in say 10 years or so
5) Solar powered
6) Rain water harvesting
7) Charge say 100 Rs for a six hour slot and 25 Rs for a 6 hour slot for cars and bikes respectively. 20Rs and 10Rs per hour for every additional hour thereof
8) Use a preloaded card that can be used for swiping / debiting amount for every parking. If we coordinate and integrate, this same card can be used anywhere in India for similar services [just make it Visa enabled or MC enabled]
9) For a premium, allow Valet parking - people with cars drop their car and go
10) Until the building recovers its cost double charge all vehicles. Make the accounting transparent [running LCD displays / web]
11) Allow battery operated shuttles for a 3-5 km radius around the parking lot to allow visitors to get themselves dropped to their point of interest. Make this a premium service with the same debit card they use to avail parking.
12) Open maintenance of these facilities [parking lot, battery operated vehicles] to private players on bidding basis. But lay strict quality terms with stringent exit clauses on quality of service
13) Allow easy complaint mechanisms which cannot be overridden easily
14) Open up card maintenance for the owner on the web

If we plan for this now, we can push several cities up by a few notches in terms of infrastructural cabability on a critical aspect. Additionally, this will open up a business model that can employ many people.

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