Saturday, September 11, 2010

Is Orkut dying

I read an article some days ago that Facebook had taken over Orkut (in India) in terms of total number of users. At that time, I did not pay much attention to this article. However, I did notice the difference yesterday. I celebrated my b'day yesterday and, as expected, some friends wrote scraps for me on Orkut and others wrote on my wall on Facebook. Now, when Orkut was at its peak in India (I guess in 2006), I remember getting 100 odd b'day scraps on Orkut and hardly anything on Facebook ( I don't even remember if Facebook had the feature of wall posts!). The stats for yesterday - 50+ posts on Facebook and around 15 scraps on Orkut. I have many friends who are both on Orkut and Facebook and even among them, most posted on my Facebook wall and not on Orkut. For me, it is a strong indicator of the future - Facebook will keep up its growth and Orkut will have a really hard time adding new users.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Back from Hiatus

I've been out of blogging action for a long time now - the key reason for my absence was work (loads of it) and lethargy (I didn't feel like blogging when I got off work). Now that work is back to normal, I am back to blogging.

The past 3 months were quite intense for me. My company was participating in a trade show in USA and I was put in charge of the entire event. This doesn't sound big was it was quite a challenge. I had to ensure that everything was in order, which meant:
1. Renting the exhibition space
2. Designing the booth (working with our booth designers)
3. Making the booth functional (furniture, electrical, network connections etc.)
4. Graphics (working with our designers to get booth panels, display graphics, brochures etc.)
5. Giveaways (choosing and sourcing giveaways for visitors)
6. Communication (sending out emails to prospects, before and after the event)
7. Logistics (taking care of travel and accommodation)
8. Product demos - This was the most important part. There was no point in doing anything if we couldn't demo our products successfully. This involved working with different teams to ensure that our products were ready for demo, everyone was trained on the latest features, laptops/mobiles/hardware were configured properly and most importantly, failure points were identified and backups were ready for contingencies.

 Because the buck stopped at me, I had to ensure that EVERYTHING was in place. e.g. I had to proof read each and every word on our marketing collateral (brochures) before it went to print. This was quite demanding and at times I was literally talking in my sleep.

In the end, the show went really well. We were pleasantly surprised at the number of visitors in our booth and now have some very promising leads to pursue. Personally, it was a great learning experience. It helped me develop an eye for detail and I can see the difference in my work style now. Hope this habit stays for life..

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kotak Securities - Worst Customer Service

If I were to rate companies on the poor customer service operations, I'd rate Kotak Securities as the worst. This award winning company has really shocked me with their lack of accountability and careless approach. Here's what happened.

I had invested in 2 mutual funds and on Dec-29, I sold these funds because I wanted to invest in new funds (to claim tax benefits). I called them few days later to check when and how I'd receive the money. They told me that  they could not credit money electronically to my account because of a name mismatch between my Kotak Account and my Bank Account (This name mismatch occurred because someone in Kotak mis-spelt my name while creating my account!). So they would send cheques to my registered address. I requested them to send cheques at my current address because I don't live at my registered address any more (the registered address is my parents' address). They said they would try to do it but no assurances were given. After calling them several times, they told me that one of cheques had been dispatched to my registered address on Jan-18th (20 days after I sold my funds!!). I still haven't received that cheque and have called them several times. Every time I call them, they tell me that they  are coordinating with their back-end team and will give me an update soon. The last update they gave me was 3 days ago when they will still coordinating with their team.

The story of my other cheque is worse. Ironically, the 2nd cheque was supposed to come from Kotak Mutual Fund (a part of the Kotak group of companies). Till date, no one has been able to tell me if that cheque has even been dispatched. Imagine this, I sold my mutual funds over a month ago and till now they can't tell me where my money is.

I must have called Kotak Customer Care at least 15 times in the past month and have even escalated my issue but there is no resolution in sight. Here's what I intend to do next:
1. Write to the head of Kotak Securites, explaining this situation.
2. Write to the head of Kotak group
3. Find out the regulatory body who deals with these issues and write to them
4. Close my account with Kotak once I have collected all my dues
5. Discourage people from opening account with them.

Any suggestions to deal with this issue and get my money back??

Customer Service Woes

For the past 2 weeks, I've spent almost 30-40 minutes each day over phone, complaining to companies and trying to deal with multiple issues.
Issues: credit card problem, mutual fund redemption, extra billing on internet account, bank account problem etc.
Companies: Some of the leading names like Reliance, ICICI, Kotak Securities, Standard Chartered etc.

Till date, none of these issues has been resolved and I am still fighting. This has made me realize the pathetic state of customer care, careless attitude of companies and lack of regulatory/reporting mechanism to deal with customer complaints. My next few posts will be dedicated to the problems that I've faced

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Year Gone By

I had started blogging 3 yrs ago and I've not been as regular at blogging as I would have liked. However, one of my resolutions for 2010 is to be regular at blogging.. Let's see how it goes...

To start with, 2009 is over and I was thinking about my life over the year gone by; Here are the highlights for the last year:

1. Graduation: I had always wanted to do an MBA and after postponing my MBA plans for 4 yrs, I finally finished MBA in 2009. Even though this was probably the worst year to get out of a b-school, I still feel it was completely worth it.
2. Travels: I love travelling and 2009 (esp. the first half) was great in terms of travelling. Some of the places I travelled to are London, Loire Valley, Barcelona, Brussels, French Riviera (Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo), Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna. Among these, trips to Barcelona and Budapest were really great.
3. Books: I got back to reading after a long time and read many books in 2009. Most of the books I read were about history and wars. All the books I read were great but these stood out:
The Haj and Exodus by Leon Uris, The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, Emperor Series by Conn Iggulden , The African Dream written using excerpts from the diaries of Che Guevera and AK-47 by Michael Hodges.
4. Getting back to work: Getting work after graduating with MBA in 2009 was not easy; It took me some time to get the kind of job I wanted and in the end the wait was worth it. I am currently working with a young technology company and am really enjoying the experience.

So this is it for 2009. I hope 2010 will be much better.