india

Hopes, ambitions & aspirations of the new age Indian youth from mufassil towns

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I am not a big fan of the Reality TV Talent Shows but one doesn’t have a choice if one’s spouse has a liking towards them — especially if they are of the song & dance variety. So in recent past I have ended up watching a couple of dance & song reality TV shows at home.

There is something that has struck me about the participants of these shows. I see a huge difference in the attitude & the confidence of the participants in these shows compared to few years earlier. Many of the participants are from the tier-II towns, some even from mufassil towns and quite a few are from a lower middle class income group or at times even lower. Most come from humble background and are the “first generation” singers & dancers in their families.

Almost all these participants acknowledge the hardship they faced in child hood, their family struggles, upbringing & economically backward condition. YET, they don’t seem to be stuck in a ‘cursing the god‘ mindset for their present condition. They seem to be at peace for where they were born and how they lived and come across as people who have hope and are dreamers with very high ambitions. They know how important it is for them to succeed & what success means — beyond the immediate. They come across as people ready for the struggle, hard work and eager to make their mark. They are uninhibited, clear on their goals and it is also good to see parents support these young Indians. Of course, one can see the hopes/aspirations in the eyes of the parents when they talk.

For example, in a recent episode I saw a  person who sells fruits on the roadside and who learnt to dance himself; A 19 years old girl from kolkatta who teaches dance, learns also, is a backup dancer in films, does bit choreography and comes from a petty shopkeeper family. A contestant where the father has passed away and the mother stitches clothes to support the family. A contestant who works as a welder in a steel plant and practices dance at night. A contestant who is hearing & speech impaired, a contestant whose parents are hearing & speech impaired. And believe me, all these contestant could dance pretty well. Once they took the dance floor you could only appreciate the dedication & the hard work put in by these young Indians and their talent. You could not imagine the hardships & the daily struggle they go through in their personal life. The confidence in these people is just something else. They don’t come across as the shy, ‘villager lost in town and in awe‘ types.

I, personally, am very happy & pleased to see that. A young generation full of hope & dreams and ready to slog it out for what they are passionate about is good for any country. These people are the real role models for other people in the country, with similar backgrounds, wanting to follow their dreams..!!! These are the people who give hope to their dreams and are contributing in creating a generation of youth that is ready to follow their dreams

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web2.0 auto portals in India: mee too syndrome…

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eb2.0 & Automotive portals? wow..!!! As a passionate automobile enthusiast and a firm Web.20 believer, it represents the best of both worlds for me.

I have been following the auto portal scene in India from the late 90’s and have seen them evolve, stagnate and fade away. Have witnessed portals such as indiacar.com, cybeersteering.com, bsmotoring.com come and stagnate in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

When ‘AutoMartIndia‘ (now called ‘FirstChoice‘) was launched in early 2000’s, as an automobile enthusiast I was excited as it represented a paradigm shift in the way Indians bought & sold ‘used cars‘. In fact, the term ‘used cars’ came into existence — at least in India after that only. Previously ‘used cars’ were always referred to as ‘second hand‘ cars.

In the last one year or so, I have been very impressed by carwale.com. The way these folks have approached about building an auto portal is simply great. They put in one feature at a time, must have analyzed user behavior to ensure that it was working spot on, and then built on the simple web2.0 premises of usability & simplicity tied together and anticipating user needs. Once you looked at carwale.com, you realized — why the hell did other auto portals not think of it? This is exactly what I as a user wants.!! Features like used car prices to the granular level of models/city and mileage are a great boon to users. carwale perfected this with tapping into it’s user base to come up with city/model specific indicative pricing for used cars. There are a number of other features that one can go on and on about the value proposition that carwale.com provides — both to end user(car buyer) and car sellers (individuals & used car dealers).

Of late numerous auto portals that are replicas of carwale.com have come up. In my opinion, while this is testimony to the fact that carwale.com is successful and good, is also resulting in mee-too auto portals‘ whose value proposition is exactly same as that of carwale.com. While this can also be termed as expansion of market, this leads to stifling of innovation & new business models. These mee-too auto portals are doing exactly what the auto portals of late 90’s did — copy each other.

Don’t believe me: Just look at the home pages of three different auto portals(carwale.com, carazoo.com, driveinside.com). It would be very hard for a user to distinguish one from another.