From Kindle to Google Maps are some of his favourite brands
I have been a nomad all my professional life, shopping for interesting assignments and bagging quite a few. What I love about my role at Croma is the ability to innovate at speed — decisions taken on a Monday are in execution across the country by Thursday, and a preliminary report card is available for review the next Monday. Add to this the culture of attacking the problem and not the person, and impatience with long, prepared presentations — suffice to say, I have not once felt tired at the beginning of the day in the last five years.
What I dislike – and this is not specific to Croma but across every one of the 10 organisations I have been associated with – is the way HR functions. HR is tasked with regulating rather than inspiring talent in large organisations. I believe there is an alternate model of managing large teams which is waiting to be discovered, or perhaps I am just dreaming.
By the time I enter the office in the morning, I have had around three hours to collect my thoughts and prepare my plan for the day — being an early riser helps as does the Mumbai traffic. Most days, I am not able to follow the plan. Retailing is a daily business and there are always issues to address and opportunities to chase that come up in the course of a day. Typically, I use my hour-long walk back home to recharge and clear my mind of all office-related matters.
Typically, I spend the weekend lazing with the family. On the rare occasion when I feel like braving the Mumbai traffic, I catch up with old friends at some restaurant serving interesting food. As I have got older, I have started putting a premium on time spent with old friends — people I can be ‘young’ with. One thing I have started enjoying immensely are road trips with family or with friends.
I use a lot of gadgets to simplify my life or make it more enjoyable. From the Kindle I read on, to the smartwatch I keep track of my lifestyle with, I am pretty ‘wired’. The one app I can’t live without is Google Maps — it’s a critical part of my strategy in navigating Mumbai traffic and also a companion on my travels.
I have had the opportunity of working on some iconic brands over the course of my career. However, the strongest connection I have felt is to a brand I have never directly been responsible for — Sprite. I felt a strong resonance with the world view expressed by Sprite in the brand’s communication of the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Sadly, the recent work of the brand has diluted this position, but I continue to be a ‘baaki sab bakwaas’ guy.
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