We, humans, have an irritating tendency to stress on relative differences to an argument to appreciate something they like. For Example – Did you know the exciting fact that the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel apparently can hold 6 Blue Wales inside it. Also, status is as tall as 2 Airbuses placed vertically (?!?), and a twice as large as status liberty. Tell me now, does this comparison generates any insights at any corner of your mind? Are they of any use at all?
The other tendency is to obsessively criticize someone, generally unrelated, to stress the importance of their topic in discussion. Generally unnecessarily and sarcastically. You can never argue what a beautiful job Liver does as against kidneys. Can you.?
One of such arguments I came across was a video sent across by my good friend. Thanks to my Baader-Meinhof’ it has been posted everywhere, including linked-in and Facebook feeds.
It’s about the talk given by a Retired Army Captain (thanks for your services) about India unInc (read India Un-incorporated), i.e. the unorganized sector. It’s an impressive 35 min long video, and it covers a set of management lessons supposedly to be learned from the street India. Please watch.
The presentation itself is impressive and well-curated, and that’s the end of it. The argument is filled with both logical-fallacies we discussed above and more. For example, Speaker repeatedly criticizes MBA Grads because he met a few street beggars who earned a few bucks without a degree. He compares a Khakra shop on a highway with Microsoft cause she refused to cross-sell a tea!
He force-fits management principles. And of course, all these, with taking cheap shots at India Inc. I do not intend to write a point by point rebuttals, but let me point out a couple of glaring holes in this argument.
Return on investment: His example was book shops on pavements generates more profit. He misses revenue. Of course, their ROI is high. 100% of those street books are pirated, and so are the DVDs. Why wouldn’t your ROI be on the rooftop all you need a photocopier to print your own books?
Equitable distribution of profit. Really? Tell me, Captain, What per cent of that profit, do you estimate, goes to the author? Zero. This is a crime against intellectual property, and no lessons learned on the street can justify that.
He goes on with his cherry-picking, ignoring all the rotten apples. He forgets to inform the unorganized sector is massive giant evils in our society. Pirating books and DVDs are the least of our worries. There are Forced begging, spamming and scamming, drugs peddling, trafficking and so on. Also, Even though India moved away from socialism, It’s a tradition of this sector to hold government at ransom, blackmail the hell out of them for benefits and then suicide. All these just avoid getting into an organized, regulated industry?
Btw. I am not denying the vital role the unorganized sector plays for India’ economy and keeps the blood flowing in her veins. Also, not undermining the importance of entrepreneurship to build this nation. But how would an economy thrive without using other limbs evolved? We need regulation, process maturity, governance, contingency planning, and most importantly, passion for improving and changing. And no sobbing story from highway dabha can change my opinion on that.
P.S1. Internet repeatedly reminds you of Few school dropouts made big in silicon valley. Hence, schools must be limiting the imagination of pupil. What they never tell you that these blokes did it despite dropping the school not because of dropping out. There is a significant difference.
P.S2. Another friend of mine indicated the striking resemblance of the Speaker with Rajdeep Sardesai, and that’s a red flag. And also, there is a possibility that Speaker may be a fan of red flag himself. You know what I mean?