World Heritage sites in India

The UNESCO has a list of sites it deems as world heritage sites. These are the sites which hold a universal appeal to people from around the world. India has quite a few of these. To which places have you been to ? The ones in bold are the ones I have visited... the remaining are only a matter of time. Maybe have a bike ride to visit all the Heritage sites ! Now .. thats some thought!

I've been to Humayuns Tomb, Qutab Minar and VT, but not inside. So, I am not marking them as the ones I have seen already.

The X in black

Thanks to Rajiv on the CBZ group for these pics.

Side pose in all black looks neat. The mags are supposedly the same ones in the karizma, though i think that the disc is smaller.

The tail cluster is now compact with the side indicators all integrated into one unit. The brake light is now a lcd cluster.

The console does not look so good. the balance is not there in it. Also the side indicators now have just one console indicator - a step back if you ask me.

The story of Hayden and Pedrosa Crash

Captains Log 2006.

After year of ruling the motorcycle championships , winning seasons with impunity, the God was actually behind for once ! Rossi was playing catch up with the american rider Nicky Hayden.

And then the race which changed everything...

Pedrosa knocked Nicky down. His own team mate ! Which in a single slide of madness made the lead of 12 points for Nicky slide to 8 points behind Rossi. Oh ! What in gods name was Pedrosa thinking (though Rossi fans were jubilent) ??

Why did he do it ? Some conjectures...

[I think i will be going in for a new dish on Starship Rishi. The signals from my service provider are void of Star Sports]

The story behind Calvin and Hobbes

Picked up an article from the Washington Post on the comic strip of Calvin and Hobbes
Interesting reading. What strikes me the most was that the author was anything but like calvin or hobbes in real life.

You can read a daily strip here.

Also a wikipedia article on them has more details.

Happy Diwali

Happy Diwali every one ! Enjoy yourself like never before. Have fun and be safe !

... and for those in confusion ... may you see the light !

Green Google

Man ! My respect for Google keeps going up.

After reading the Google Story, it connected with me as to why Google is getting the success it has got till now. If you have not read the book - read it. Recommend it into your corporate library if you cannot afford it ;) ... and all the other companies here in India only worry about how to make non-functional policies !

So, today, the story which captured my mind : Google Goes Solar.

You may argue that they are not going to run their data centers with the soloar panel , but man .. they are making the effort in the green direction. Awesome stuff. Slashdot as usual is up to the wisecracks about 'Google now being dependent on Sun' ;-) (in case you dont know Sun is also a company). You can find a vidoe of their partners EI Solution making use of Google Earth and SketchUp to show the project. Pretty cool !

Another story/blog picked up as to why Google is a better place to work than Microsoft - Google vs Microsoft.

The Ultimate Marketing Mistake

Got the following as a forward. Good reading.

Changing a Winning Ad Slogan for No Good Reason Some Marketers Learn Nothing From Others' Past Mistakes
- By Al Ries

Published: August 06, 2006

Back in 1974, BMW sold 15,007 automobiles in the American market, which made the brand the eleventh largest-selling European vehicle. Here are U.S. sales of the top ten that year:

* Volkswagen 334,515
* Capri 75,260
* Fiat 72,029
* Opel 59,279
* Volvo 53,043
* Audi 50,432
* Mercedes-Benz 38,170
* MG 25,015
* Porsche 21,022
* Triumph 18,396

'The Ultimate Driving Machine' has been BMW's primary ad slogan for 31 years.

The following year, BMW's new agency (Ammirati Puris AvRutick) launched an advertising campaign that would make both the agency and the brand famous: "The ultimate driving machine."

31 years
It's been 31 years since the launch of the ultimate driving machine. So how is BMW doing? Not bad.

Last year BMW was the largest-selling European brand in the American market. Here are U.S. sales of the top ten.

* BMW 266,200
* Mercedes-Benz 224,269
* Volkswagen 224,195
* Volvo 123,587
* Audi 83,066
* Land Rover 46,175
* Mini 40,820
* Porsche 31,933
* Jaguar 30,424
* Bentley 3,654

Owning a word
One of the most important conceptual ideas in marketing is "owning a word in the mind." In almost every market, in almost every category, the leading brands are brands that can be identified by a single word or concept. BMW owns "driving." Mercedes-Benz owns "prestige." Volvo owns "safety."

Three of the top four European automobile brands own a word in the mind, but what about the No. 3 brand, Volkswagen?

Volkswagen is a fading star. Among today's European market leaders, it's the only brand that has actually lost sales in the U.S. market in the past two decades. Ironically, it's a brand that got to be the leader by owning a powerful concept in the mind. "Small, ugly, reliable."

After its remarkable marketing victory, what do you suppose BMW is going to do next? It's the Curse of the New Generation. With a new executive vice president of operations at BMW of North America and a new advertising agency, the brand is about ready to launch a new advertising slogan, according to an article in the July 10, 2006 issue of Automotive News.

The new slogan: "A Company of Ideas."

New print ads
A company of ideas? Sounds more like General Electric than BMW.
According to Automotive News, one of the first print ads in the campaign delivers the message "Safety isn't just ABS and DSC but also DNA." In other words, forget about performance, let's go after safety."

Meanwhile over at Volvo, they are playing around with the opposite idea. Forget about safety, let's go after performance.

It always happens. The grass is greener on the other side of the freeway. Maybe so, but it's not as easy to make a U-turn in the mind as it is a U-turn on the highway.

Any successful brand got to be successful by standing for something in the mind. Changing what you stand for is almost impossible unless you don't stand for anything at all. In other words, a brand that is nowhere in the mind is a brand that can be changed. A brand that stands for something in the mind is a brand that is forever locked into its position.

Cemetery of failed products
In the cemetery of failed launches are thousands of products like Xerox computers, IBM copiers, Tanqueray vodka, Listerine toothpaste, Coca-Cola clothes, etc. These products didn't fail in the marketplace, they failed in the mind. They tried to stand for something that didn't fit prospects' perceptions about the brands.

Mind first, market second. You can't short-circuit the process by taking a good product to market to demonstrate its superior performance and then, in the process, changing perceptions in the mind.

It's not just BMW. Take Pepsi-Cola, for example. What comes to mind when you think of Pepsi? Back in 1963, the brand launched an advertising program that has to be the "ultimate" cola campaign.

"The Pepsi Generation." This idea took advantage of a key psychological principle. The younger generation looks for ways to rebel against the older generation. Since the older generation was drinking Coca-Cola, it was easy to convince the younger generation that they should be drinking Pepsi.

Back to winning slogan
How long did the Pepsi Generation slogan last? Just four years. For the next 16 years, Pepsi experimented with a number of different slogans ranking from "Taste that beats the others cold. Pepsi pours it on" to "Pepsi Now!" Finally, in 1984, it went right back to what made the brand a strong No. 2 to Coca-Cola. "Pepsi. The choice of a new generation."

Nothing is as vulnerable as a powerful advertising slogan. Year after year, creative hot shots take a crack at it, figuring that if they can topple the king, their reputations are made for life.

One of the reasons given by BMW's new executive VP for driving away from its ultimate driving machine slogan is the fact that a recent research study revealed that only 25 percent of its target market would consider buying a BMW. I think that's pretty good.

Can't appeal to everybody
After all, you have to expect that some prospects would prefer an ultimate comfort machine, an ultimate economy machine, an ultimate capacity machine or an ultimate prestige machine. Even an ultimate Japanese machine or an ultimate American machine. No brand can appeal to everybody.

In his book, Adcult USA, James Twitchell tells a story about Rosser Reeves. An executive of Minute Maid once complained about Reeves's refusal to fiddle with the advertising, saying "You have 47 people working on my brand, and you haven't changed the campaign in 12 years.
What are they doing?"

Reeves replied: "They're keeping your people from changing your ad."

The 80-20 Rule

In software, we have a 80-20 rule which i came across in some book a couple of years back . Basically it states :
The last 20% of the code takes 80% of the time.
Hmm.. now you know why we always miss the targets and the projects go into the 'bug-fix' phase and then keeps in it ;-)

So, this started me thinking... are there are other ways this rule can be generalized ?

Lets take wealth...
80% of the wealth is controlled by 20% of the people !

Wow ! Makes sense.

Lets take class results. only 20% of the class will be in the top (80% and above).

Now , we come to the performance of people. We have a lot of people saying that a person is giving 150% or 200% into the work and that is why he is doing so good. Actually its not that. An average person puts in only 80% of the work ( hey the code is good enough!). A performer just does that 20% extra and that is where the whole difference lies.

So, if its yourself you are looking at and thinking how you can be better - just identify the 20% you are not doing, and do it ! Its a simple secret for becoming good at whatever you are doing.

Nothing Xtreme

In my last post I was pretty excited about the new CBZ that was going to come. I had also said that finally HH was giving the CBZ its due. Well, i want to take all that back, for the new bike is not a CBZ. Its not extreme. Its a totally diff bike with a 150cc engine. First pics below , thanks to the people on the pulsar, cbz and bikenomads group.

The sticker. As per nitin - thats the only X-treme part of it - and that too due to the lettering.

New Stickering - only thing which it seems HH is doing.

Side Profile
Things to note:
  • ZMA style alloy wheels.
  • Black painted engine. I guess HH got heartburn when they saw the fear the black
  • Passion(?) style body coloured rearview mirrors. More jhakas ?

Instrument Panel
This is a step backward
  • Single indicator for left and right indicators. yuck.
  • Redlining at 9k rpm. Looks to be a high revving bike.
  • Wierd look of the console if you ask me.

Nothing to write home about.

Following pics show the rear tailight arrangement. Pics are courtesy Nitin.

All in all, i guess I would not have been so unhappy if they had not used the CBZ name here. That really hurts.

News in the press :

In the line of BULLSHIT

Pervez Musharraf the dictator president of Pakistan has written a memoir called In the Line of Fire. However, with references to how kargil war helped India-Pak relations etc, it would be a more apt title to call it 'In the line of Bullshit'. What a pompous ass this Musharraf is.

Read more at the great india mutiny site.

CBZ Xtreme

The king is back ! If you have been watching TV, then the teasers are already on - with the catch line "from the makers of the CBZ". Finally the beast gets its due.

The CBZ had been the bike I always liked. Its still my first love. And it sure feels good to see it is going to come back. If you have not seen the ads then check them out at the new site cbz Xtreme.

As homage, I have changed the backdrop of my desktop with a backdrop of the CBZ. IF you need the wallpaper, just ping me!

Happy Dusshera

Happy Dusshera to all !

Historically Dusshera has been a day which is being celebrated because of the victory of Rama over Ravana. Oft it is shown as a victory of Good over Evil. But, the ramayana by Ashok Bankar has given some food for thought. What if it was not exactly like this ... but was a bit different ? History often is not as it happened but as the winners want to show it happening. (By the way , I strongly recommend this 6 book series of the Ramayana as told by Ashok Bankar).

To all my readers - guys, sorry for no updates, and for the inordinate delay in publishing the comments, I was out of town. Took a vacation and did not want to touch a computer or come online all throughout that time period.