Thursday, December 15, 2005

KTWV 06 Issue 23: An entry on three of my blogs

Prof. Ajeet Mathur, a good friend, a Mumbai Cathedralite and also a Delhi Stephanian, has just sent me an electronic copy of an article which has just appeared in a publication celebrating the history of Tampere, the major industrial city in South Finland, his present domicile.

I thought it appropriate to provide a link to it on all my three blogs, my personal blog, the Cathedralite Seventh Heaven Blog and the Stephanian Kooler Talk Web Version Blog.

Having read it during its composition stage, I can say that it is hot, hot, hot.

I had dicussed this with him just last weekend and wondered whether he thought some of his more caustic comments would get through the "Editors" (Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko and Antti Kasvio (eds.) eCity: Analysing the efforts to generate local dynamism in the City of Tampere to Meet the Challenge of Changing Global Economy, Tampere University Press, 2005).

He was on his seat's edge.

The book appeared publicly today, and he immediately wrote to me thus:

The Tampere book is published and officially released with my article intact!

With "Communities at Risk" (2003) and this, I have the satisfaction of having given sufficient warning of the shape of things as a dutiful resident as part of my respect for the flag I live under.

I shall post you a published copy tomorrow.

Here is the electronic version. Please feel free to circulate it to those who care or blog it as you wish.

Someday, when I have a personal homepage, I would be happy to provide a link to it for all interested persons to know. But that may not be before March 2006 because I am a technical ignoramous and have other things on my mind now.

Best Regards to you and Annikki,


If Ajeet is an technical ignoramous, I wonder what I am!!

"Communities at Risk" is also another great piece of work by him.

His Discussion Paper "Finland - India - Economic Relations A Twinning Study of Trade and Investment Potential" published in 1998 was a ground-breaking publication.

I had the honour of co-authoring the paper "To Serve or To Rule? Paradoxes of Shared Authority and Appropriated Power in E-governance". It was read by Ajeet at the e-Governance Conference in New Delhi in Decwember 2003 as I could not attend.

Here is an example of the hard-hitting writing of Ajeet in this article:

There are a variety of myths circulating in Tampere designed to foster confidence among residents and prospective partners and investors in Tampere that do not stand up to a reality check. In popular perception, the two universities, particularly the Tampere University of Technology spawns innovations; these innovations are incubated in a virtual science park; and, incubated innovations create new dynamic enterprises attracting large amounts of venture capital thereby creating a multiplier effect for new jobs and enhanced flows of incomes and asset creation. In reality, public money in the guise of projects has been used to fund jobs with soft targets and when a project ends, a 'next big project' is needed to repeat the cycle, since little of lasting value remains. Names of agencies change, agencies merge with each other to acquire fresh identities, new organisations get mandated and organizational forms undergo such metamorphosis that old wine in new bottles is easily mistaken for a new engine of innovation on which hope is pinned for a while until it is dashed again. Hermia was an ingenius institution that enabled students of the Tampere Technical university to be drafted into labouring for companies needing cheap student labour while the flowback from the beneficiaries to the University remains unknown. The total amount donated by Tampere region companies (including Nokia) to Tampere Technical University is about Euro 250,000 according to the list coordinated by the Tampere Chamber of Commerce. With few exceptions, hardly any inventions of the University developed commercially as a return on public subsidies and investments and most of the firms counted in powerpoint presentations evangelising the Tampere model pre-date Hermia or have nothing to do with the Technical University. In making an actual count together with Hermia senior executives, I could locate only 13 enterprises in all under the umbrella of e-accelerator (the number on Hermia's powerpoint slide was 300), of which just two had something to do with the Tampere Technical University. The first pillar of Tampere's business development strategy, Hermia, was entirely focused on technology and real estate brokering, and never organised to provide any international business development expertise to existing firms or to new ventures. Hermia officials candidly admit they have no idea where the medium and large enterprises in the Tampere region obtain international business know-how.

In 1999, a second pillar, Professia Oy was established from public funds (and mandated to develop knowledge intensive business services in 2002). After five lacklustre years of existence, this agency launched a 'Tampere International Business Office' in mid-2004. This old-wine-in-new-bottle initiative never compiled even a starting kit for investors in the region. Most of its budget was spent on staff salaries for its seven employees and travelling to exhibitions and making contacts overseas to entice investors to Tampere. From € 1 million injected into it, an income of € 28,000 was reported which works out to 2.8 percent return on net assets, well below long term market interest rates. On 17.8.2005, Professia Oy merged with Oy Media Tampere which employed seventeen persons with a 2.2 percent return on net assets which is even lower than Professia Oy (according to the press release of the merger announced on 17.8.2005). The fused entity in announcing the merger hints at new horizons and a stronger organisation but its business plan remains unclear. The use of public funds in Tampere is not associated with transparency or disclosure and residents are expected to believe that this old-wine-in-new-bottle that didn't deliver much in five years of functioning will now function as the beacon of new hope. 'Project thinking' with soft targets is a hallmark of the Tampere region. The big breakthrough is always optimistically depicted to be in the future. During Spring 2005, hope was pinned that Tampere would host the ASEM summit in 2006 during the Finnish Presidency of the EU and the wave of traffic that would arise through Euro-Asia business contacts. Meanwhile, Hermia leading the ICT sector big projects was being hived and restructured to give way to the biotechnology and health sector spearheaded by Finn Medi under the ambitious catch-all expression of the next big project BIONEXT.

Ajeet pulls no punches. He tells it as it is.

You can download a pdf copy of the article from this link The Future of International Business in the Tampere Region1 by Prof. Ajeet Mathur, University of Tampere

Hope you enjoy it. I am sure Ajeet would love to have feedback from you on this paper.

It is my homour to share two alma maters with him!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

KTWV 06 Issue 22: First Hemel Hempstead Explosion neighbour checks in

I knew that some of our friends were not far from the Hemel Hempstead explosion in the UK.

I just had a mail from Dr. Anthony Stone, who taught Mathematics in our college during my time there in the 1960's.

Dr. Anthony Stone

He stays just two and a half miles from the explosion spot.

He assured mt that there was no damage at his residence.

Sadly, his wife, Bertha, has been admitted to hospital with a fractured pelvis. Two years ago she suffered a fractured hip.

In 2000, Tony came and stayed a week with Annikki and me when we were living in our penthouse in Torikatu in the centre of town.

Tony is very sprightly, both in mind and body, but poor Tony and Bertha have been having a lot of problems of late.

Do visit his Catend Study web site as it will show you his close and longtime links to India as well as he delving into the inner secrets of mathematics. As can be seen from his site, Tony had a fascinating way of teaching.

Have you ever thought when the 3rd Millenium began? No, it was not 2000!
Or do you know how to calculate the time of day from the shadow?

On his site you will find such fascinating pages as History | India | Links Other Sites | Mathematics | Theoretical Physics | Theology | Time | Transliteration Pages

Take a few minutes to visit the site and send a message to Tony. He will appreciate it.

KTWV 06 Issue 21: An Apology (?) 10 years on????

Those of you who read the Comment attached to the last post on my Kooler Talk blog would have seen a post from Shujoy Dutta where he apologised to me for what he had sent me by email about 10 years ago?


Second, his original email which I posted on the Kooler Talk Web Version site made me work even harder to make the web site and then the blog more inclusive. He thinks he came over as angry. I never thought so. I thought he came over as an individualistic Stephanian - for which I thank the good Lord. Without people like Shujoy, our world would be just plain old boring.

For that I need to thank Shujoy.

Sadly, once again, he has not given me his email address.

I am unable to send him a personal email of thanks. No sarcasm intended.

Also, although he has made it big in the advertising business as the Creative Group Head - copy, in the well known ad agency, Bates India, the web site of the company seems to have vanished from the internet due to a glitch. Bates India is reputed to have done a great ad for Indian Airlines and they have several great clients including part of the account of the Finnish multinational giant - Nokia. (Don't forget to check out the blog entry on my main blog about Nokia and contracts - so that you do not get your fingers and toes burned.)

Truthfully, though, Shujoy's comment has been the ONLY negative comment that I ever received.

I was not hurt as I firmly believe that every person is entitled to one's own views.

My nostalgia for the college, as also my old school for which I also run the international nostalgia site, has been shared by so many of you, as is seen from the vast amount of correspondence and the many copycat sites that have appeared online.

But, there is only one Jacob Matthan, there has been only ONE original Kooler Talk Web Version, and there is only ONE Kooler Talk Blog!

As money has never been a motive for this Kooler Talk Web Version and the Blog, no one can ever accuse me of doing this for any other reason than I believe in what I am doing.

Thanks Shujoy, you helped me 10 years on and you have helped me once again with your recent comment. Please send me your postal mailing address so I can send you a table top calendar of my wife's "Edible Art"!

All that said, I thought that you should read about the work of the team with which Shujoy is associated as it appeared in an online article Indian Airlines, with a bouquet full of warmth

Sumita Vaid Dixit


NEW DELHI, August 16 2005

Let your heart fly' is the message both the ads conclude with.

The idea of associating warmth, friendliness and care with the brand Indian Airlines, came from the brief. "The agency was asked to work out a campaign that would compel people - especially the non IA-flyers to revise their opinion about IA and see it in a positive light. Since perception is a matter of mind and emotions, TV was chosen as the medium of communication. The agency was briefed to deliver a campaign, which is visually pleasing, arresting and one that creates an emotional connect with the viewers," says Manjira Khurana, head, marketing, Indian Airlines.

To that adds, Radharani Mitra, executive creative director, Bates India, "Indian Airlines is all about the heart! What we can say positively as a differentiator is that people feel comfortable being themselves on board IA. Our service doesn't smell pretentious."

That required the agency to replace the 'rational service prism' with an 'emotional filter'. "Today's flyer is too involved in rational brand comparisons but also seeks to bond with a brand emotionally. So far, perhaps she has viewed IA through 'a rational service prism'. We needed to provide her with 'an emotional filter' that'll make her connect with IA at the heart level," explains Mitra.

The need to connect with the consumers was driven by the basic marketing concern - Indian Airlines' poor brand perception. "We have been rated as the most trusted airline in the country as per the latest Brand Equity-ORG Marg survey. Research shows that all our rational product benefits are very well recognized but the brand valuation is not commensurate with this. Therefore, the brand perception had to be improved," informs Khurana. "While the brand's rationale block is solid," Mitra adds, "our task was to envelope it with emotions or intangibles to achieve image leadership."

The ad does send a message of warmth and care, and with the festival season round the corner, it could well translate into packed flights for Indian Airlines.


Creative team : Radharani Mitra, executive creative director, Shujoy Dutta, creative group head- copy; Ashish Rehi, art supervisor, Abhinay Deo, director, Ram Sampath, composer.

Do I have to be a little tongue in cheek? :-)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

KTWV 06 Issue 20: Celebrate Founders Day

Today is the 124th Founders day of our college, and I would like to extend my best wishes to all those who share the fond memories of College that helped shape my life.

I have sent a note to Principal Dr. Anil Wilson to convey my greetings to all those associated with our great institution.

As this may be the last issue of this blog for this year, may I also convey the very best Season's Greetings to all my regular readers around the world.

Do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you plan to be anywhere near this part of the world so that we can organise a reunion.

To give you an idea how this old critter looks like now, I thought I would share my picture with you.

JM as Father Christmas

And to jog the memory of those of you from the college in the early 60's, so as to visualise this guy who used to be in college with you, here is a picture of me from that era:

JM in the 60's

Have a great Founders Day and an even greater and prosperous New Year.