January 2006

So, if you were the CEO of one of the largest mobile phone company in the country, how would you gain customers? Let me guess. Invest in latest technology, scale up operations, agressive marketing, best services, lowest tarrifs, value-added services blah blah – yes, yes, I know all that. Most of us would have done the same.

Well, this is what happened around here. An 11KV High-Tension line fell on the transmission tower of a reputed mobile company. No winds, no rains, no storms – nothing. The line just fell! And it happened just a few days after another major mobile company (a competitor) entered the market, and started providing services in this region. Pure coincidence? Eh!

The other day I was negotiating prices with one of our vendors here. This guy has recently taken up the distributorship of this new mobile phone company for this region. And just to confirm my doubts, I heard one line of a conversation that was going on there. “BSNL par line gira diya.” We dropped the line on BSNL, someone told him. Our vendor (the newly appointed distributor) smiled.

BSNL is the largest telephone company in India and one of its towers near Farukabad was hit by an 11KV line recently. What with latest technology, agressive marketing, best services, lowest tarrifs and value-added services? How do you beat that!! An 11,000V live wire falling on one of your transmission towers, and your services getting disrupted for days! Customers waste no time in switching providers if they can’t call up their loved ones on your line.

As they say, “All is fair in love and war”. Rural business in India is no less than a war!

Apologies for not being able to post for quite some time.

We are planning to launch a promotional campaign this month end, and that is consuming most of my time. Its like planning, designing and executing the whole promo. I have not done much of it before in my software career – things like designing the ads, writing sales pitch and thinking of ways to attract general public! As much as I like it for the creative and imaginative opportunity it offers, I do hate on other important things getting delayed because of this. Wish we had an ad agency here, we could have made use of their services.

But till the time the first ad agency comes up here, its me and my partner, trying to understand the advertising world. Lets see what else this retail will teach us.

I think its time to read The Mirror Makers, by Stephen Fox. 🙂