Saturday, December 29, 2007

watch The Kingdom

I watched the movie "The Kingdom" today. If you abstract away the Schwarzenegger style invincibility of the american FBI team in the movie, it was an excellent movie.  I particularly liked the ending, where they show two sides of the conflict.  My favorite characters were Colonel Hyatham and Colonel Al Gazi... man, did the guys looked stern and intimidating!

The movie does not explore too deep into the relationship between US and Saudi Arabia - understandably, as it is not a political flick like Charlie Wilson's war, but the entire movie made me sit up and wait for the next scene!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The lost art of handwriting

An interesting article on the Times brought back a lot of memories of writing.  I really mean "writing", like with a pen (on paper).  Yes, it might come as a surprise, but I am sure many of us have really stopped writing.  It has been quite a while since I actually wrote a message o someone.  I usually type, as I am sure many of those who read this, when I want to communicate with someone.  yes, I know phones are easier, but often I feel email is a much easier way of communication as it allows us to think and phrase our thoughts and feelings properly. It allows us to correct our mistakes without the receiver knowing the raw material.  In essence the received gets a filtered well said message. 

Well, I think there lies the bigger reason for the downfall of the art of writing.  true, we could discard the piece of paper if what we said made little sense, but more often than not I remember that I used to get my message right, the first time.  It improved my grammar and I use to think before I actually wrote a sentence.  I don't do that very diligently now when I type, and understandably so.  Writing always seemed romantic to me.  I liked to write with a pen and I still fondly look at my collection of fountain pens from my college days.  I still walk along the aisles of expensive writing instruments at shops and just started with a Sheaffer recently.My dream is to own quite a few Mont Blancs and right now being fascinated with Kafka, I have an eye out for this beauty.  You might think I am crazy.  Well, we all have our passions :)

Apart from the snobbery of my self-imagined hobby, a pen, any humble one, is all that is required to really write a message to someone.  This new year, my resolution is to write a few hand-notes to some of my friends.  I think it feels more personal when they see my hand writing, as if a part of me communicates with them.  I hope my feeling is right.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A new definition of marketing!

The American Marketing Association has announced a revised definition of "marketing".  I ma reproducing it here,
Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

A couple of important changes from the previous definition are the incorporation of the concept of marketing as an activity rather than just a function and second,  the inclusion of broader stakeholders mainly society.

Does society have a stake in marketing? Or rather does marketing need to take the interests of society into account while conducting its activity? As society in general becomes highly networked and consumption no longer a private activity the implications of the marketing of goods and services are far beyond a particular individual or firm's interests.  Individual consumption now has the potential to shape and influence a whole population's preferences due to the Internet and more importantly social networking sites. 

Thus, the real change is not just marketing operates in a networked world, but the fact that marketing now has the capability to actually measure how such networked structures operate and also gauge the effectiveness of structures to its activities.  A new world of opportunities awaits marketers and I am sure it will be wrought with challenges as well.  On a positive note, life's more exciting when its is uncertain.