Notes to Myself


February 2017

What’s Your Favorite “Game Changer”?

I am from Pune. Praising someone doesn’t come naturally to me. By the way, the first and the second line had no connection. I did not use “And hence…” or “So”. So don’t jump to conclusion about Punekars based on my second line.

“Praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its value only to its scarcity” said Samuel Johnson. So I praise sparingly 🙂

The reason I am writing this blog is my recent banter with a friend who quote a possible Government decision on direct fertilizer subsidy a “game changer” (the Government would deposit fertilizer subsidy amount in the bank accounts of farmers directly). We got into not-so-healthy debate on use of word “game changer”. Here is my point.

We use the word “Game Changer” too loosely and the word has lost the importance or significance. This has been the case since many years; however, of late the deterioration in value has really accelerated. Here are few headlines I compiled:



Crackdown on black money: Is Govt’s bold decision a real game-changer?

Anti-corruption game-changer


GST, currency change to be game changers for economy: Jaitley

GST – A game changer for Indian economy

GST won’t be a game-changer, only a name changer

Creation of New Districts in Manipur State:

Creation of new districts could be game-changer in Manipur polls

Cash Transfers/Direct Benefit Transfers:

Cash transfers, a potential game-changer

Liberalization of FDI:

Liberalization of FDI – A game changer for the Indian Economy

Aviation Policy:

‘Game changer aviation policy’: Airlines, flyers to get fare deal now


Aadhaar-based payments will be a game changer in digital banking

Jan Dhan Yojana:

Jan Dhan Yojana is a game changer, says YES Bank’s Radha Singh

Make In India:

Make in India theme is a game-changer for economy: Baba Kalyani

Surgical Strikes Against Pakistan:

Surgical Strikes – Game changer

National Health Insurance Scheme:

PM National Health Insurance scheme will be a game changer

How many more Game Changers? Is Swachh Bharat Abhiyan a game changer. Is India’s win in World Cup Cricket a game changer? Is India’s first individual Gold/Silver/Bronze Medal a game changer? An Indian composer winning 2 Academy Awards (Oscars) – is that a game changer?

Is Game Changer the only word we have to describe significant things?

How about “path breaking” (movie) or “trend setter” (person) or a “milestone” (event/achievement) or a “landmark” (decision). Or other such adjectives?

I looked up the Oxford Dictionary for meaning of Game Changer:


I think every decision or event has (or supposed to have) some influence and causes some change. Merely because of that it should not be called a game changer. The key point is “significant shift in current way of doing or thinking”.

Let me try to explain how I see it.

Invention of electricity, as a form of energy, was a game changer. Invention of a more power efficient variant of a light bulb (which saves say 30% power) is not a game changer. It is a significant improvement, or a milestone. But it is not a game changer.

Wait. Even the improved light bulb can be a game changer – for an ailing company that manufactures some outdated bulbs and that comes up with this R&D breakthrough which changes fortune of that company.

So it is contextual. Baba Kalyani saying that “Make in India is a game changer” should be taken in context. For his business the initiative opened up lucrative opportunities and hence it could be a game changer for him. But not for a tea stall owner in some remote Indian village.

However, the analysts and observers are too eager to term everything as a “game changer”. I wonder if they ever keep track of what happened to previous game changers. In short Game Changer is equivalent of “Breaking News” for media journalists.

And the obsession is not just India-specific phenomenon. Check this:

Why President Trump Could Be a Game-Changer for Stocks

So what’s your favorite Game Changer?

My favorites is the following:

Successful implementation of schemes to be a game changer: Arun Jaitley

What a revelation! So mere announcements won’t change the game. Implementation will. That’s something new and not very convenient…



Interesting forwards on Valuation

I received a series of interesting forwards on Valuation of companies. It shows how markets reward future growth over the steady and stagnant growth.

Valuation, Jan 2017:

  • Snapchat: $25 billion
  • Viacom: $17 billion

Valuation, Jan 2014:

  • Viacom: $37 billion
  • Snapchat: $3 billion

Facebook valuation in 2007:

  • $15 billion (after Microsoft investment)

Facebook’s valuation in 2017:

  • $377 billion

Valuation – February 2017:

  • Ford: $49 billion
  • Tesla: $44 billion

Valuation – February 2012:

  • Ford: $49 billion
  • Tesla: $4 billion

2016 Revenue:

  • Google: $90 billion
  • Time Warner: $29 billion

2010 Revenue:

  • Google: $29 billion
  • Time Warner: $27 billion

Apple’s valuation in 2017:

  • $700 billion

Apple’s valuation when iPhone was unveiled in 2007:

  • $75 billion

Valuation, February 2017:

  • Amazon: $400 billion
  • Walmart: $210 billion

Valuation, February 2012:

  • Walmart: $202 billion
  • Amazon: $82 billion

Number of Google Employees: (Global Workforce*)

  • 2017: 72,053
  • 2011: 32,467
  • 2007: 16,805
  • 2005: 3,021
  • 1999: 8

*start of each year



Memories…Only memories

उसने टाइप किया

आई मिस यू एंड डिलीट

फिर टाइप किया स्टिल लव यू एंड डिलीट

फिर टेक केयर लिखा और सेंड कर दिया

रिप्लाई आया: यू टू


“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Read some old emails between 14th Feb 2007 and 15th Aug 2010…





A sarcastic take on eCommerce start-ups

I received the following sarcastic write-up on WhatsApp about the eCommerce start-ups that are burning VC money. Thought of sharing. It summarizes the problem precisely!

I’ve got a BIG eCommerce idea that will dwarf Flipkart and Amazon together. I’m going to sell CASH. At a discount of 15%.

Consumers can buy cash at a discount of 15%. Send me Rs.850 and I’ll send back Rs.1000.

The mind boggles at how much cash I could sell. I’ll have no dissatisfied customers. No complaints on social media.

NO DELIVERY OR OTHER LOGISTICS problems. No packaging. No ST, CST, excise, octroi.

No production problems.

No warehousing issues.

Endless scalability.

You want me to increase the turnover to Rs. 1000 CR? Done. Rs. 10000 CR? Done. You want me to go international? Done, I’ll sell dollars, yen, euros, all at the same discount. As much as you want.

With a GUARANTEED cap on losses at about 16% (15% discount + bank charges).

Bigger, safer and better than any existing eCommerce business.

Any VCs around?

Corporate restructuring, mumbo jumbo and Metrics

My organization is undergoing “yet another” corporate restructuring.

It happens so frequently that I think it is one of the deliverable or KPIs of the top management – every year they would announce some “significant corporate restructuring” to make the organization “lean, agile and responsive”.

CEO announced organizational changes in a long email and said that his direct reports would send further communication detailing out respective org structure.

So far 3 BU heads have announced their re-org. And it all sounds mumbo-jumbo to me. I cannot figure out how the Metrics would change, or be defined and how the effectiveness of re-org would be measured.

Here are some citations from various communications related to re-org (and all of it is REAL verbatim communication, not made-up!)

  1. Given the strategic nature of XXX business unit to our growth and success, we are moving XXX within Corporate Strategy
  2. I (the Chief Strategy Officer) will work closely with Mr. A (BU head), who will lead the XXX Group, to craft the right Go-To-Market strategies, and create a compelling and differentiated leadership position for us in the market as XXX experts.
  3. YYY channel business will also roll up within the Corporate Strategy. We believe there is strong growth potential within this business and keeping it under the CS Organization will allow us to invest the right effort in leveraging this opportunity.
  4. Mr J will join the Corporate Strategy team, with a global focus on select Strategic Partnerships and Channel Relations
  5. Mr. P will lead Corporate Marketing; Mr. Z will support me (Mr CSO) on Strategic initiatives and will have a dotted-line reporting to Mr. P
  6. In FY17,  we executed towards our strategic intent to enable business transformation for our clients through digital innovation and driving operational efficiencies through automation, by leveraging our tools and with shift left initiatives
  7. Solution leaders will focus on enabling sales support, solutions & domain skills development & partnerships
  8. In FY17, we enabled large business transformation for our clients through consulting, innovation, and domain-led solutions.
  9. Over the years, we have built a solid foundation for growth with a strong leadership team, differentiated solutions, and robust delivery capabilities. We are realigning the ZZZ organization for FY18 with changes that will help us build on this foundation and accelerate business growth, sharpen our go-to-market, improve our prospect-to-win ratio and continue our heritage of delivery excellence.
  10. ZZZ Solutions leader will be responsible for tying together all horizontal solution and industry domain expertise to address multi-skill proposal requirement and enhance our win ratio
  11. The Operations leader will support the SBUs in ensuring the right talent is available to staff engagements, maintain utilization and talent acquisition as well as improve profitability through operational efficiency
  12. Our go-forward structure has been designed to simplify and accelerate decision making, empower leaders with end-to-end responsibility and improve our ability to realize our FY18 business goals of resuming industry leading growth, expanding profitability, enhancing operational excellence and strengthening our position as a leading Transformation expert.
  13. In summary, the changes we are making will enable us to function more effectively as an organization, improve our operating efficiencies, create new growth opportunities for our team members, support our clients more effectively, and capture a larger share of the market opportunity available to us.
  14. I am confident that with our realigned organization we are better positioned to make FY18 the best year in our history!

How does that sound in terms of meaningful, actionable and measurable strategic plan? Read it two or three times again if you “really really” want to understand the purpose of this re-org; or want to have a healthy laugh! The write-up can hold true for any re-org in any year!

There are many web pages that help you generate corporate jargon – some precisely call it as “bullshit buzzword generator” tools. Just Google this term to see examples.

Here is a Dilbert cartoon and a link to Corporate Bullshit Buzzword Generator that helps you build a catch phrase which could be thrown into any Strategic discussion.


I found another website which has taken the buzzword generator idea to a new level!

This website generates not just jargon but entire conversation! Isn’t that amazing?!

Anyways…what’s your bullshit buzzword for the day?


P.S: This reminded me of a conversation with a customer who jokingly said: You guys said you have set up a “Center of Excellence” for some of your clients. I want something extra. How about a “Center of Perfection” for me?

Well, why not? As Mark Twain once said “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

What? Was it William Shakespeare and not Mark Twain who said that? Even better…that just proves the point. What’s in a name?

A “Center of Perfection” would sound as sweet as a “Center of Excellence”…maybe, a bit sweeter. And the best part is: both would do nothing!

I am waiting for my day when I would announce a corporate restructuring “to create 5 “Centers of Excellence” which would roll up into a new strategic “Center of Perfection” in order to enhance our market leadership through focused differentiation using CoE/CoP as vehicles for accelerated growth!

I knew I was made up for this B***S***!!!


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