Friday, November 23, 2007

Airtel Narrow Minds

This is an amusing anecdote.

With all my BSNL troubles, I applied for an Airtel broadband connection in the meanwhile. This was, like, a month and a half ago. Two weeks back, an executive calls me and asks if I need DSL at a certain address. I said, no, that is my office address. I need DSL at my home address. He said, oh, I will ask the executive of that area to call you back.

Yesterday, another executive called back. He asked if I needed DSL at a certain address. I said, no, that is my office address. I have applied for DSL at home which-- despite what companies would wish-- is still not the same location as office. He said that area has no feasibility. I said, I know. That was the case 3 years ago as well. I just took a chance that in 3 years, Airtel would have attempted at penetrating more of the city rather than merely squeezing more out of existing customers. After all, isn't that the reason the government is wary of letting private sector rule the roost? That they will merely focus on a minority that is profitable and lose sight of rural-obligation or wide penetration.

He said, yeah whatever. Then he added, but sir, if you want at the certain address I can come and fill the forms now!

With morons like these representing the best Indian firms, I wonder how far the Indian success story will last?

On a related note, I have been so disappointed with India's answer to Fry's and Circuit City. Everytime I go to eZone, the electronics super store by Big Bazaar guys, I leave without buying anything. Yes, they stock well and cost less-- which is what will make them successful in India. But they staff so poorly that the "fun" of discussing technology with an expert before buying some high-tech gadget is lost. They do nothing more than point to the items, after reading the labels as if its the first time they've been to the shop!

In the race to be low-cost and high-profits, we are losing out on developing a professional, smart bunch of workers. In the long run, what our large population needs are motivated, driven people and not merely zombies manning McJobs.

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