Brand CSK

Hi Everyone

The IPL season (6th edition) is now well underway. Most of the teams have now played a handful of their initial matches. IPL is said to be the most money rich cricket league. I must admit that I have no idea about the finance of different cricket leagues all over the world. But what I know is that one of the teams in IPL has been recognized as a global sports brand.

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has been the most successful team on the pitch in the first five seasons, with two victories and even one more appearance in the final. This team has done a lot to differentiate it from the other teams, and to build a brand. They are the only team playing in yellow, while so many other teams play in some way of blue. CSK has also managed to be a team for the whole region and for all Tamils living abroad. Their team song “Whistle Podu” has been extremely popular and fans from all over the world join into performing it, like these people in San Francisco.

One challenge in running an IPL team is that the season is only for a month and a half. CSK have taken a number of initiatives in order to be a brand for the whole year. In addition to host a number of cricket tournaments in Tamil Nadu they also plan to send the team to play matches in North America and Dubai (why not Norway?) where many Indians live.

CSK pic

CSK are also doing promotion activities for other sports like chess, snooker, tennis and badminton. All of this to build an even bigger brand. With the upcoming chess world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand to be played in Chennai later this year it is another opportunity for CSK and Chennai to show up as a sports city and to even further build their brand.
As a follower of some of the staff and players of CSK on Twitter it is fantastic nice to see all the updates they come up with quite regularly. Not strange that CSK is the most in IPL in social media!

I remember some years back when the marketing director of Matchester United was on a trip to the Amazonas. There he watched a local kid wearing a cap from the American baseball team San Francisco 49’ers. This was when he decided that his football team should be the biggest brand value in the world of sport. And we have to admit that they have succeeded. What Chennai Super Kings do now is some of the same.

Talk to you soon

Karsten

How to overcome communication challenges in outsourcing

Hi Everyone

In a number of previous blog posts I have written about misunderstandings and miscommunication.  Currently I’m doing some studies at the University of Oslo. As part of this study I have read a number of research articles regarding outsourcing and challenges that exists there. Quite a number of the articles points to communication as one of the main challenges.

In this blog post I will try to sum of some of my experience in the area and to give some experience on what can be done. As this is a blog post and not a research article, I have omitted quotes from articles and such. That will eventually come in some later more in-depth posts.

First of all I will point to the fact that it is important to know each other if you’re going to work together. Even more so when you work across different cultures. When you know each other quite well it is much easier to collaborate. Some cultures are much more sensitive to this than what the Norwegian culture is. When you work with people from this culture it is even more important to know each other.

Adjust the way you speak and confirm that the other person have understood you. This is probably one of the most important things I learned in India. There is no doubt that the English I speak today is different than the English I spoke two years back. I do probably speak slower now than what I did before. One trick I have found quite useful is to explain my message in different ways. Instead of just repeating myself and ask if the other part have understood me (in which the answer will most probably be “yes”), I do say the same thing two times but with different words. If the other person seems to be confused I know I have to rephrase myself again. If at the other hand, this leads to a fruitful discussion, I will know that the other person most probably have understood me.

Another tip is to create a communication plan. This is something I have missed in a number of projects (maybe due to the informal way Norwegians usually like to communicate?). To me a communication plan is basic tool for the project management. In addition to decide schedule for project meetings and such it should be clearly stated in this plan at what level the different decisions should be made. This is particularly important if you work with people from cultures where there is a very steep hierarchy in the organizations. Having a communication plan in place it will make it very clear for everyone who they have to talk to in order to get decisions to happen. Too often this has been unclear and too much time has been wasted because people have communicated at the wrong level. In Norway where we don’t care too much about hierarchies it is absolutely that a consultant speaks to, and even corrects a vice president. The same would not be accepted in a country like India. Here the communication has to follow the hierarchy and this must be precisely defined in the communication plan!

Do you have any other hints or suggestions? I would very much like to hear from you!

Talk to you soon

Karsten

Casa Devant – a Norwegian paradise in Goa

Hi Everyone

Last week (or was it the week before?) I wrote about my latest visit to Goa, including an “encounter” with the drug mafia there.

But Goa is so extremely much than just beaches and drug. On our way to Mysore (another pending story) we visited Casa Devant in Panjim. Casa Devant is basically the Goan headquarter of the successful Norwegian IT-company Devant. For more than a decade they have successfully combined Scandinavian design and Indian technology.

Casa Devant is a Goan house (or should we say palace?). It is situated at a hilltop with a fantastic view of the Arabic sea. At the top floor balcony you can actually see both the sea and the fantastic swimming pool downstairs! Unfortunately we only had a few hours to spend there so there was not much time for the pool. The best thing with the place is that it has a room that they give for rent! If you don’t want to stay at some of the hotels in Goa, this is a very good option! The place has their own driver, some staff that keeps the place nice and clean and best of all, they have their own chef who make wonderful local dishes! We had our lunch there and it was absolutely fantastic. Casa Devant has a Facebook group.

It is said that pictures say more than 1000 words, so here you have some from our visit.

IMG_1127 IMG_1129 IMG_1133

Talk to you soon

Karsten

Prediction Punjab XI vs CSK

Disclaimar: All information in this blog post is taken from public available sources. I have no inside information into any IPL-team. Use it as you feel for. If you lose money because you have placed some bets based on this I’m not liable for that. If you win some I’m happy to be mentioned and feel free to donate some of the mone to a NGO like
Nanhi Kali

Yesterday I predicted quite well the outcome of the match between Delhi and Mumbai, so I thought I should put my head up and try to do the same for todays match.

In their first match, none of the CSK batsmen (or batting wallahs) as we say in my part of Norway did quite well. This has to change if CSK plan to retain the title. Still I have some doubt about their openers. Neither Vijay nor Hussey look that comfortable. So the first prediction is that if CSK bat first, Suresh Raina will be their leading scorer today.

Albie Morkel just came to India after having played domestic cricket in South Africa. He’s been an important part of the CSK-team for the last few years. But landing in India just yesterday make him a bit short for this match. My prediction is that he will not play today. But I do think it will be brother against brother as both the Husseys will play.

When it comes to the Punjab team I must admit that I don’t know too much about them. When I look at their line-up I find their bowling attack quite weak. So my third prediction is that they will not manage to bowl out CSK today. But one of my colleagues is from Punjab so I should maybe be a bit carefull with what I say about their team…

So this is my predictions for today. If I will be right or not we will see in some hours time. Enjoy the match!

Talk to you soon,
Karsten

Drugs in Goa

Hi Everyone

When you say Goa to people they will mostly think about nice beaches or eventually yoga. This is what Goa has got its good reputation from. But there is a darker side to Goa too; drugs. During my latest visit there this Easter it was as obvious to see as it has been before. We enjoyed the sunset over Anjuna beach when some person came over to me and quite openly asked if I wanted some hashish. Of course I immediately declined. He went on to my friend and asked the same question. He said that everything we wanted he could get us. If we wanted some drug that he didn’t have easily available he could just call some friends and then we could get it.

IMG_1122

According to Times of India there is an understanding between the local police and the mafia. This allows the drug mafia to operate quite freely in most areas in North Goa. Sometimes the drug dealers also act as informants for the police. They first sell some drug to typically a foreigner. Then they tell the police that this and this person have some drug. The police confiscate the drug and the actual tourist has to pay a heavy fee in order to avoid prison. What happens to the drug? Most probably it finds its way back to the drug dealer. Then this goes on again.

Goa has been known for drugs since the first hippies came there came there back in the 60’es and 70’es. Most of them settled down in the area around Anjuna beach. Rumors say that the most important reason for this is that there was no police station at Anjuna during those days.  With the modernization of Goa the hippies had to move northwards. Today it is probably at Vagator you will find most of them. The most famous of all the old hippies was probably Eight Finger Eddie.

The size of the drug market in Goa is of course quite difficult to say. One source predicts it to be around Rs 15 crore to Rs 20 crore a month (150 – 200 million rupees). I have tried to look for other sources but haven’t found any so this is probably as good a guesstimate as any.

If you want to learn more about Goa and drugs I can absolutely recommend the movie Dum Maaro Dum.

Should the drug prevent you from going to Goa? No! Absolutely not.

Talk to you soon

Car breakdown – when things can go better than expected

Hi Everyone

A number of times I have written about Indian service. Sometimes I have had good experiences, but other times I have been quite frustrated by the lack of service I have got, and particularly that things have taken much longer time than expected/promised. My good friend Trond Skundberg wrote an article about this different understanding of time earlier this week. Well worth to read!

Last Saturday I should drive from Mumbai to Lonavla to meet my friends living in Pune. After five minutes on the road I realized that something was wrong with the car. First reaction is anger and frustration. I could see us not coming to Lonavla at all and wasting both my day and my friend’s day. After the first frustration was over, I started to think about what to do to fix the problem instead of being frustrated. Luckily I knew there is a garage just next to my old building, so I went there and hoped for the best. Fortunately the damage was easy to spot, so even I (who know nothing about cars) could explain it to the person in the garage (who knew hardly anything about English).

They quickly said yes, yes, this is something we can fix. After having heard this yes, yes before I was off course quite skeptic and thought that this would be both expensive and take a lot of time. They told me that it will cost about INR 2500, which was fair to me. They then told me that the car would be ready at 5.30 the same day. So no trip to Pune I thought. Then they asked again: “Do you want the car at 2.30 or 5.30?” A bit puzzled I of course answered 2.30. As any good Indian would have done, we went to a cinema to kill off some time.

After the movie was done, I expected that we had to go back to the garage and be told that the car would be fixed in a few hours only. But to my surprise it as already ready when we came there at 3 o’clock! I just paid and off we went! Really nice!

This thing about different understandings of time is something that is very often mentioned as one main barrier in IT-projects that are being conducted across shores. This small example shows that Indian actually is able to do things on time, and with correct quality! But if that does not happen, what do you do then? In the above mentioned article by Trond he gave a few suggestions. Here I would like to add a few more:

First of all you have to be aware that it is YOUR responsibility to make sure that things happen when you want it to happen. Yes, sometimes it can happen, like in the example of the car, but if it doesn’t it is your problem. Secondly you have to follow up on the progress of the work. Simply asking if the deadline will be met is not good enough. It is too easy to answer yes to such a question. You have to try to set up some measurable parameters for the progress. It is also important to keep in mind misunderstandings that easily can happen. You have the obvious wording mistakes, like “half five” which in English is 5.30 and in Norwegian 4.30 (half past five versus halfway to five). An expression like “next weekend” can also mean different things. I have made a habit of always saying things two times with slightly different wordings. If the person I spoke to seems to have understood it the same way both times, it is at least one indication that he/she have understood it correctly. Hope this tip can help you.

Pune parking

My “journey” both to the garage and to Pune last weekend was quite successfully. Above you can see my car parked in typical “Pune style”. If you find a sign that say parking is not allowed at that place, do park there! The sign will probably prompt the security people in the society to look after your car more than they would have done if it was parked some other place!

Talk to you soon

Karsten

IPL 6 – my predictions

Hi Everyone

Tomorrow the new IPL season will start. 76 matches from the 3rd of April to the 26th of May.

As it should be, the IPL have already had its fair share of controversies, even before it has started. First it was the termination of Deccan Chargers, the winner of the 2009 season (or edition as they call it in India). Due to financial problems the team got terminated from the league. The team has now got new owners and will this season play under the name of Sunrises Hyderabad. The other controversy is regarding players from Sri Lanka. Due to growing political tension concerning ethical conflicts between the Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Tamils all Sri Lankan players have been prohibited to play matches in Chennai. There is still some suggestion going on that these players will refuse to play in IPL this season (sorry, edition).

IPL-logo

Do you wonder how IPL will end this season? Well, just read on and you will know:

Kolkata Knight Riders: The defending champions of IPL. There have been a lot of talk about “We can do a CSK” in Kolkata, which means that the team feel they are ready to dominate IPL for a number of seasons. Last year the team brought in Sunil Narine. He was the best wicket taker in the tournament. My Indian colleagues think that other teams now know Narine better and that he will not have the same impact. However, Kolkata still have a strong bowling attack with Narine, Brett Lee, Balaji, Kallis and others. When it comes to batting, the team relies a lot on Gautam Gambhir and ManojTiwary.

Verdict: Was last year a fluke or will Kolkata be the team to beat even this year? I think they should make it to the play-off but doubt if they will make it to the final

Chennai Super Kings: The power house of IPL (and my favorite team).They have been in the play-off every season and reached the final four out of five times. Lead by Indian captain MS Dhoni this team has been consistent in the top. Last year they weren’t really good enough in bowling. In the auction this year Dirk Nannes was added to the team. He will join Hilfenhaus and Ashwin in the attack. The strength of this team is that they have a huge number of all-rounder’s who can do well with both bat and ball. Players like Raina, Jadeja, Bravo, Morkel and others will be players to look out for

Verdict: Anything less than the play-off will be a disaster. The question is of the team is hungry for revenge after last year’s loss in the final or not.

Delhi Daredevils: The winner of last year’s point series. The team has had two huge setbacks already before the tournament have started. Star player Kevin Pietersen is injured and is not expected to participate in the tournament at all. Just before departure to India Jesse Ryder got attacked and severely injured back in New Zealand. They still have a strong team, but is it really good enough?

Verdict: Play-off is possible, but it will require that some of the less known players step up

Mumbai Indians: Maybe the most famous of all the IPL teams? They at least have the most famous player in Sachin Tendulkar. He is joined by expert bowlers Lasith Mallinga and Harbhajan Singh. The addition of Ricky Ponting as the new captain has raised the expectations to unlimited heights. There are rumors that Mumbai MUS win this season as it might be Sachin’s last season.

Verdict: Play-off for sure. But will they manage to go the whole way? Will there be too many strong voices in the dressing room?

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Maybe the most interesting team to watch? With heavy hitter Chris Gayle joined by Virat Kholi, Daniel Vettori, AB de Villiers, Mayank Agarwal and others the batting power is formidable. Legendary Sri Lankan bowler Murali is also there. All together an extremely talented and formidable team

Verdict: Play-off yes. If Gayle can hit it big they should manage to go all the way to the final.

Kings XI Punjab: This team I’m absolutely not convinced about. They do have Adam Gilchrist as captain and David Hussey is a decent batting vallah. But except from that I’m not sure. And I’m not even sure if Gilchrist is the right person to be a captain.

Verdict: Can’t see this team in the play-off

Rajasthan Royals: A team with the “Indian wall” Rahul Dravid as captain will always get a lot of respect. But you can’t play as a defensive wall in T20. They have all-rounder Shane Watson and bowler Shaun Tait who can produce well. If the Indian bowler Sreesanth and some of the local players can step up, then maybe play-off.

Verdict: If everything goes well for them and other teams slip up them maybe play-off. But I doubt.

Pune Warriors India: Pune is one of the teams that changed their line-up most during the latest IPL auction. A lot of new players came to the team. But most interesting will be the comeback to IPL for Yuvraj Singh. He’s the Indian cricketer who won the fight against cancer. Will this be good enough for play-off? Probably not.

Verdict: An almost new team will be there in Pune this year. I think too much pressure is put on Yuvraj Singh and can’t see the team in play-off

Sunrises Hyderabad: A new team built on the former Deccan Chargers. Some decent players are there, but nothing more.

Verdict: Bottom of the table?

That’s it. Hope you will enjoy watching. Now you don’t need to worry about who will win or not as I have already told you that J

Talk to you soon

Karsten

My Indian passport!

Hi Everyone

Today I came home from another fantastic nice trip to India! In one hectic week I have been in Mumbai, Goa, Mysore and Pune. More about that in upcoming blog posts. When I checked my post box I got a big surprise. It was an Indian passport there! With my name on it. Ok well, I have been in India a number of times in the last few years, but never applied for an Indian passport. Maybe this is some new Indian bureaucracy rule? If you have been in the country more than x number of days over the last few years you are granted a passport. Is it like that? Any suggestions would be very welcome. It was surely a nice end to the trip and a good start for the next month.

indian-passport

Talk to you soon

Karsten

Online trade in India (in Danish)

Hi Everyone

Today I came across this article about online trade in India. It is written by my Danish friend Jacob Knudsen. He writes very well, but mostly in Danish. At Twitter he tweets more in English, and I can absolutely recommend to follow him. You find him at @risgaardknudsen.

Will try to get him to sum up some of his thoughts on a post on this blog shortly!

Talk to you soon

Karsten