Guest Blog

Being #2, Avis Cars and Tamil film music…

Guest Blog #32 – Anand C

The piece, “What should you do if you are #2?” which I got to from Marketing Playbook, got me thinking…

As Laura Ries says in this post, Avis is one of the most memorable #2 campaigns (some other examples are also listed), focussing on why they are different from Hertz. This ad, created by Bill Bernbach is indicative of the theme of the campaign that converts disadvantages to advantages:

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Of course, positioning runs deep in Laura’s blood. Her father, Al Ries (literally) wrote the book on “Positioning”, in addition to several follow up (and not as interesting) books.

Her post has a lot of lessons for the harris jeyarajes, the bharardwajes, vidyasagars and Raja family’s second generation (and the other umpteen upcoming tune-makers). Instead of trying to be AR Rahman clones (the undisputable #1) that seems to be the way to go, it makes a lot of sense to differentiate from the #1 as much as possible – like focus more on melody and less on percussion, put out pieces inspired by village and folk music, more lyrics-inspired music, more situational tunes, etc.

In a way, this is a painfully long restatement of Guru’s simple plea earlier… there is no strong #2, and there seems to be scope for an Avis.

Guest Blog

Looking back…looking forward…

Guest Blog #31 – Anand C

I’ve been getting into several conversations about why I blog… in an attempt to try and answer that question, here’s a compilation of the things I’ve been intrigued by, as represented by past blogs:

Co-Blogs with LazyGeek: (World Themes for Indian Cinema)

1. The Man Who Saw Infinity – on Math Genius Srinivasa Ramanujan
2. ‘EYE’ THINK, THEREFORE ‘EYE’ AM – on Dr.V (Arvind Eye Hospital)
3. The Man in the Mirror – first attempt at verse.
4. Art for Art’s Sake – on dance and the arts.
5. LAUGHTER, THE BEST MEDICNE (Nightly Dose) – on NBC’s Jay Leno
6. Coming Soon…
7. ???
8. ???

The Lonewolf blogs:

1. Vairamuthu’s magAKK! – what kicked it all off!
2. Satrangi…Only You… now Fanah! – on ARR’s magic!
3. Social Influence in Media – Art or Science?Influence is one of my favorite non-fiction books.
4. Funda on FanahRipples thought this was interesting!
5. Footprints… – Bengali poetry in Hey,Ram translated into English.
6. Thillana’s Mann Vaasam – blogging about a concert.
7. Happy Birthday, Mr.Feynman! – learned he is Kingsley’s idol.
8. Reflections on Mani Ratnam’s Aayitha Ezhuthu
9. What makes NEWS? – rant!
10. Mani Ratnam and the “relative grading” syndrome!
11. On Coincidence… – 5 movies that impress upon the theme.
12. Week in Review – Once upon a time… – remembering a old teacher.
13. Mr. India, redux?
14. Goodbye, blue skies? – on space travel
15. The road to Nirvana… – wondering why Kurt Cobain died young!
16. Aayitha Ezhuthu titles – an easter egg? – thanks, Pradeep!
17. Fahrenheit 9/11, Control Room and the rise of a new genre? – Mitochondria didn’t think so!
18. An ode to 90 school children… – Kumbakonam fire tragedy.
19. Joy of getting something unexpected… – On hearing Matt Damon, watching Catch-22.
20. Glass-bangles Vinayaka (OR) Beauty is skin deep? – on R Parthiban
21. A tale of two Flip-flops
22. HmmM… Night?
23. David VS Goliath and the spirit of August 15th – on independent shops VS 800 pound corporations.
24. You may say I’m a dreamer! – titled after John Lennon’s lyrics from ‘Imagine’.

Looking at the topics above, I think I blog for the experiences it brings… for the interesting new people it introduces me to…for the freedom to think about the things I like.

Thoughts?

Guest Blog

You may say I’m a dreamer!

Guest Blog #30 – Anand C

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We’ve all heard the “graduation speech” bit in most schools about the need for the young to dream. But it’s interesting to see Ms. Marilee Jones, the Dean of Admissions at MIT, integrate “day-dreaming” more of a criteria in the application process. More importantly, kudos to her for coming out and telling the public about it.

This response from her captures the essence of the problem with conventional admission systems:

Baby boomers have such high expectations for themselves and for their kids. The parents think kids have to have music lessons. They’re expected to play two or three sports. They’re expected to belong to certain clubs. They’re expected to do community service. Each one of those activities is headed up by an adult, who expects a lot from those kids.

We have a whole generation of kids who are being trained to be workaholics. They have no free time. They are being trained to please adults. And what started as a natural reaction to not wanting to have your kid home while you’re working has been reinforced by the college admission process that expects kids to have lots of activities.

About three years ago, I asked a group of students: “What do you daydream about?” And one kid said to me: “We don’t daydream. There’s no reward for it, so we don’t do it.” Boy, that hit me right between the eyes.

We tend to make our lives appear planned, smooth and thought-through on any college application, because “sat next to the window and dreamed about doing good for my hometown” or “read every spy novel in my library for no good reason” does not get any points or consideration in an admission process – until now. By giving kids the ability to be flexible and by giving the admissions process the flexibility to take in these flexible kids, MIT is sending out the impression that it’s OK to not be perfect and still succeed.

This new system (50 out of 1,665 would not have made the cut otherwise), is definitely a first step in the right direction.

Maybe we will discover the Ramanujans when they are young if our school systems thought about a similiar system of admission…

Guest Blog

David VS Goliath and the spirit of August 15th

Guest Blog #29 – Anand C

I love the underdog. Among the few Biblical stories I know, one of my favorites is David VS Goliath… it never ceases to inspire.

As if reminding me of a religion I know nothing about, two little independent shops in the Northern California area keep emphasizing on the concept of the little guy – the underdog. Sheer inspiration in just their audacity in taking on the 600 pound gorillas of their industries… drumroll please…

Megabooks in University Avenue – located right next to a more than 50,000 ft. Borders bookstore and still surviving. Very aptly named, and rumor has it that one of the owners is called David.

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Red Rock Cafe – located two blocks from a Starbucks and catering to those who still care about the spirit of an independence of the shop as much as they care about the aroma of their coffee.

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In their own little way, these two little icons are thematic of this blog, and fitting reminders of the spirit of August 15, no?

Guest Blog

HmmM… Night?

Guest Blog #28 – Anand C

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The title of this article caught me by surprise. The case that Michael Agger makes is cogent, even if he had to rely at times on exaggeration of the facts and ignore some rough edges to make his case (for instance, the fact that Praying with Anger, M Night‘s first film grossed $7,000 has *nothing* to do with anything). I would put this article somewhere in the middle of a spectrum, where one extreme is mindless icon-bashing and the other is a journalistic sincerity to preserve the essence of story-telling in film.

In spite of all its shortcomings, this piece does make one ask – “Is good story-telling defined by the sincerity of what the creator wants to say, or has it been reduced to saying what the audience wants to hear?”