2 Skills that could get you better jobs in the future

•September 9, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Could a robot do your job? Millions of people who didn’t see automation coming will soon find out the painful way. The answer is a resounding yes.

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs study predicts that 5 million jobs will be lost before 2020 as artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and other socio-economic factors replace the need for human workers.

The good news is that those same technological advances will also create 2.1 million new jobs. But the manual and clerical workers who find themselves out of work are unlikely to have the required skills to compete for the new roles. Most new jobs will be in more specialized areas such as computing, mathematics, architecture and engineering.

Governments and employers in every sector are being urged to retrain and re-skill workers to avoid a crisis.

“Without urgent and targeted action today, to manage the near-term transition and build a workforce with future-proof skills, governments will have to cope with ever-growing unemployment and inequality, and businesses with a shrinking consumer base,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

New skills for new economies

So what skills should workers be acquiring to make sure they have value as the Fourth Industrial Revolution gathers pace? Some may be surprised to learn that skills we develop in pre-school will be valued highly.

David Deming, associate professor of education and economics at Harvard University, argues that soft skills like sharing and negotiating will be crucial. He says the modern workplace, where people move between different roles and projects, closely resembles pre-school classrooms, where we learn social skills such as empathy and cooperation.

Deming has mapped the changing needs of employers and identified key skills that will be required to thrive in the job market of the near future. Along with those soft skills, mathematical ability will be enormously beneficial.


Single skillset jobs in decline

Deming shows that in recent years, many jobs requiring only mathematical skills have been automated. Bank tellers and statistical clerks have suffered. Roles which require predominantly social skills (childcare workers, for example) tend to be poorly paid as the supply of potential workers is very large.

The study shows that workers who successfully combine mathematical and interpersonal skills in the knowledge-based economies of the future should find many rewarding and lucrative opportunities.

Refocusing skills education at grassroots

The challenge now, says Deming, is for educators to complement their teaching of technical skills like mathematics and computer science, with a focus on making sure the workers of the future have the soft skills to compete in the new jobs market.

Reliance Jio – The real picture is in the details

•September 2, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Posting this on behest of a friend…

Spoiler Alert!

Reliance Jio is a truly IP based 4G network that uses a packet switched network for making phone calls and receiving calls compared to dedicated circuit switched networks used by legacy carriers(idea, Airtel etc.). They prefer to call it by the adorable name of ‘VoLTE’ (a.k.a. Voice over LTE). Many of the existing Jio users might be familiar with this terminology.

Is then unlimited free calls really free?

As I already said, it’s not. VoLTE uses a Internet Protocol based Packet Switched Network to make outgoing calls and Incoming calls. And for doing the same, VoLTE consumes your data from your plan. Now, well assuming a single channel of audio has got is gonna take up 500KB per minute; to have a full duplex call, you’re consuming about,

500KB + 500KB = 1MB per minute from your data plan.

>>More shocking reveal towards the end.

And all other major cellular carries around the world who does have a VoLTE enabled voice calling feature including AT&T and Verizon are not charging any penny from the users as minutes. Instead, they’re in-turn getting the money by terms of net data consumed.

Is it really Rs.50/GB?

Their announced data tariff doesn’t say so. The minimum amount that one needs to spend per month towards having a Jio connection is Rs.149. Now lets see what you get with it:

Yep. Rs.149 gives you .3GB and 100SMS. Now what is the cost per GB of that basic plan? Lets do the math:

149/0.3 = Rs.450/GB!

Now what does the top tier Rs.4999 data plan gives you? Neglect the free WiFi part. Who want’s what? Math again:

4999/75 = Rs.66.653/GB!

Now the question is who’s ready to Rs.4999 every month on cellular data? Not me. For month’s I’m used to BSNL’s COMBO125 plan which gives me,

177 Minutes to any network in any proximity without consuming my data.200MB of 3G DATA that won’t vanish just like that.100 free SMS to any network in any proximity

Which is very comparable to what Jio is offering as basic except for vanishing data speeds and vanishing data every time I make a call.

So how much does it really cost you to make a call in Jio?

Considering the base plan which costs you Rs.149 which would be very comparable to the amount many of you would be spending monthly on your data and minutes; per GB of data is costing you 450rupees.

Cost per MB = 0.45 paisa Assuming a net of 1MB of data consumption per minute, Cost per minute = 1 * 0.45 paisa = 0.45paisa/minute.

>>Here comes the shittiest part, you’ll need to be spending the exact same amount on receiving calls as well.

Rs.0.45paisa/minute for receiving calls?

Are you good with 300MB/300minutes of incoming/outgoing calls for 149rupees? Or are you really ready to pay Rs.499/month at Rs.124.75/GB? It’s upto you.

That said half of this is mere speculation, we need to see the actual service rolling out by January 2017. It’s upto Jio to decide weather to meter or un-meter the VoLTE data consumed.

Choose wisely. Don’t be fooled.

The blockchain disruption

•March 29, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Trends & Technologies That Help Retail In Their Digital Transformation

•March 13, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Trends, new disruptive technologies, robotization, digitization, datafication, and new consumer expectations all have massive impact on the way retailers do business, marketing and media. The speed of these changes will surprise and shock them.

And if you think “OMG, another new technology?” Yes, in the era of digital Darwinism only the species most adaptable to change will survive. To be more specific: the only constant is change!
Trends & Technologies That Help Retail In Their Digital Transformation

Here are a few trends and technologies that could ignite retail revenues:

1. Robots & drones enable Amazon to deliver digital shoppers their products faster than a pizza. How will you as a retailer react upon that trend?

2. Dedicated product search engines is why digital natives prefer Amazon above Google. Shoppers don’t want Google’s clutter when they are in the buying mode. Retailers might want to reinvent their digital shop-in-shop strategy?

3. Social commerce has failed at all major social networks for over a decade. See, Like but no Buy?! How on earth can retailers monetize their massive social fan bases this way? Now social platforms are confusing digital shoppers even more with their buy buttons: 20% of the inventory will be for sale, but the other 80% won’t.

Retailers can coin social commerce by keeping their eyes open for the next generation social shopping platforms. The ones that are one big buy button.
4. Selfie trend is being coined by some smart lingerie companies, who distract data from female selfies, so similar bras can be ordered directly online. Again a Shazam-like virtual recognition software. The software is already being used by a range of top retailers including US department store group Macy’s, designer fashion site Net-a-Porter, and European online clothing retailer Zalando. We have already seen Flipkart trying to do this within their mobile app recently.

Alibaba even accelerated the selfie into a payment system to boost their already massive eCommerce figures.

When most retailers still assumed that the selfie was just another stupid, irrelevant internet meme, Alibaba proved to the world that facial recognition is more unique and trustworthy than our fingerprint.

5. Smart algorithms are already helping several retailers to pick the right prospects (intelligent prospecting) and decide on the best price (individual dynamic pricing).

6. Showrooming retailers like Nordstrom have integrated their most popular items on Pinterest into their shopping windows to lure digital native into their stores in the main shopping streets.

7. Beacons will close the loop in omnichannel strategies, but retailers need to keep pushing to get ‘Google analytics-like software’ in place. Measuring offline store traffic, ARPU and customer ROI, is a pillar in the foundation to build upon.

8. Virtual Reality was assumed to be a gimmick for gamers. VR however is a technology that can help retailers to extend their offline showrooms. Without paying for the super expensive square meters.

9. IoT will not only connect 50 billion apparatus, it will also give CMOs in retail access to 50 billion new consumer touchpoints. And thus fuel data-driven integrated digital retail marketing.
Which other trends and technologies will change the retail landscape forever? I’d love to hear your ideas.

The future in balance – 2025

•October 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

The future will be derived by strong desires for personal freedom and people’s need to gain control over lifestyles that are moving faster and faster.
My goal in compiling “the Future in balance – year 2025” is to help stimulate thinking and hopefully make it controversial enough to cause these topics to be debated.  Please take some time to challenge the assumptions, and let me know what you think.

Time for brands to think about Virtual Personal Assistants

•September 28, 2015 • Leave a Comment

As shown by Baidu’s virtual assistant announcement, tech giants are racing to humanize technology—but what are the implications for you?

Virtual Assistants can be said to operate at the intersection of knowledge databases and services and products that further enable personalization. With so much opportunity underlying this area from a service and product standpoint, it’s no wonder players like Apple, Facebook and Samsung are all working to crack this space. And the latest foray comes from China’s search giant Baidu as they announced the release of Duer, a voice-activated concierge service that will be installed on millions of smartphones across China.

The search app will handle requests like ordering food or getting advice on medical matters. The company is also boasting superior image recognition capabilities that will also be embedded into Baidu’s self-driving cars, which they’re making alongside BMW.

Some makers like Apple or Microsoft are taking a device approach (think Siri). Others, like Google and Microsoft, take a cloud approach, while others are taking a more programmatic approach (think Facebook’s M.)

The central mission for these developers is intuitive design that encourages conversation rather than swiping, clicking and typing. Facebook takes the approach of using a mixture of algorithms and human operators for their virtual assistant product, M. This is intended to give Facebook a leg up on how Apple, Microsoft and Google interpret demands, which is focused on automated responses to factual queries and simple commands. On the other hand, what Siri or Google Now do is not simple at all, because these platforms are meshing together a slew of apps to generate the best answer.

When we looked at Baidu’s Duer, it’s not clear which approach they are taking, but it is most likely to be the approach of other tech giants (which means it will either be based on cloud technology or device).

Assessing the Opportunity

The first step to adapting in a fast-moving world is always a sound business strategy. Virtual Assistants are just a small part of the shifting technological landscape but there are at least three key opportunities for brands in this realm:

Maximizing containment on a website
Increase sales through up-selling and cross-selling
Improve customer experience

If you’re still not taking these platforms into account, keep in mind that Virtual Assistants will be accessible by anyone with a mobile phone. Brands will need to adapt to the knowledge that voice-oriented platforms like Siri and S Voice because of the way they enhance way-finding and lessen friction in the consumer journey overall.

Today consumers are increasingly expecting their identity and history to be integrated into a variety of brand touch points. — that brands are expected to be knowledgeable on some level.

Data provides brands and technology companies with unprecedented chances to accomplish a more personalized experience for the consumer. Thus brands must continually respond to the technology industry’s advancements. A coherent business strategy makes it easier to ascertain the best way to approach disruptive and subtle technological advancements.

FMCG ecommerce – Not going anywhere!

•May 1, 2015 • 2 Comments


Look at India around you and you will see a land of extremes. The FMCG category in India is a replica of this, with products catering to each section of the Indian population layered very well with the SEC/LSM categorization we marketers do to target the right population who would buy these products. Years ago we saw the birth of mordern trade which gave a glimpse to all large and small FMCG players a potential that could be harnessed for the better. They were supposed to allow more control to the FMCG players and better inventory management along with organised profts and so on so forth. Well, years ahead from that point we can say that this potential is still not realised with only 9% of FMCG sales coming through this organised retail format. This is still an urban phenomenon and lacks the personalization of service that Indians crave about always.

The ecommerce story is not unfolding the very same way. A lot of effort, money and patience has been put here to unravel the potential and will be done so over the next few years. I believe that though this story will not fade away but there will be no scale to run this business in a profitable way. Look at the way the traditional business runs….it is very personal with the grocer knowing the buyer for months if not years. He lends a credit limit to him every month to retain him. Does home delivery over a call for even a small item like a thandai or a can of coke. They can even return the the products easily if they do not like it. The Indian buyer loves this personalization that ecommerce can never deliver. Also the economics does not work out. All buyers today look for deals and discounts which is kind of stereotype that ecommerce has been labelled these days. It has been driven by the flipkarts, bigbasket and snapdeals of the world which run these deals as customer acquisition tactics and will not fly in the long run. At this category is not where you can run this as price points are in tens of rupees and weights in gms. An I am not even getting into the delivery aspect of the business which is the achilles heel of Indian ecommerce ecosystem.

My take here is FMCG ecommerce whatever that is going to happen is going to take a pie out of modern retail and not change anything else within the ecosystem. It remains to be seen what will the flipkarts, bigbaskets and snapdeals of the world do about it as we move ahead. Will they keep pumping investor money down the drain to keep the consumers coming back with deals and discounts? Also interesing will be the strategies of large players like HUL, P&G, J&J, Godrej, etc. Will they see through this smokescreen and make the right investments going forward.

Let’s wait and watch….