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Control your agenda in December

We need to plan and manage the month of December better. One observes NRIs, executives of fortune 500 companies and venture capitalists storming in and out of the country. Newspapers are flush with interviews, discussions and executive coverages. These executive range from Hector Ruiz, Craig Barrett, Bill Gates to venture capitalists to personal friends who flock to enjoy one of the more pleasant months. You will also see and read about a number of conferences, leadership summits that will have endless intellectual debates on India’s issues. The output of these debates make a fair contribution to NATO. What is NATO ? No Action Talk Only. Why December ? Most visitors coming from the U.S. experience a slow month from Thanks Giving the last weekend of November to December, when Christmas the commercial festival is in full moods. Most Indians don’t relate to either of these 2 occasions and start planning to visit India. Flights are usually jam packed into India, many airlines close bookings for travel into India and if you want to visit better book in June when tickets are 50% off to peak rates. Also lot of middle managers will combine a family vacation, attend a conference and ask the company to foot the bill.

These visitors actually affect the working schedule and personal lives of many Indians. VCs waste the time of hopeful businesses by posing themselves as serious investors and listening to the passionate pitches of optimistic entrepreneurs. A question to ask them before wasting our time is how many investments have you made outside the U.S. ? how do you plan to support your Indian portfolio companies. An executive visitor of global, U.S. centric companies cause hell to the Indian office staff. They fly in and out, want a packed agenda, meetings with government officials and the poor Indian staff try to make their trip super efficient on a pretty pathetic infrastructure, in parallel negotiating meetings with extremely difficult and sometimes challenged government officials. Also everyone wants to meet Manmohan Singh or Chidambaram because their names have to be instanced on trip reports published once they are back. Basic business like servicing customers and growing markets takes a complete back seat and by the time they leave, the staff is so exhausted, a well deserved vacation follows. Good reasons why companies like GM and Ford are dying when issues like having meetings supercede the business ROI.

My sincere advice to all concerned is that you please start working for an Indian company, start your own and request their visitors to plan their trip in May or June. Excuse your self because you are closing business for the current quarter and plan to take your family on vacation after the targets are met. Its high time we started commanding some respect, qualifying these visits better. Please note I am not asking our friends to not visit, they should but we Indians should respect our own time, set expectations and request them to visit at a more convenient time.

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