Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Time to Rethink

by Atif Abbas

‘August’, month which portrays our freedom, month in which one color stands out of all the colors that is ‘green’ and month in which Pakistani flags on the roof tops and on the fa├žade of the homes show that we are a nation having our own norms and above all demonstrate that we are free.

Each years August brings breath of relief reminding us that we are free as increment in years of freedom reached the figure 62.

I want to induce realization among citizens of my country about transmission of our media. This August, does anyone observed that the media gave too much room to Indian shows, songs and celebrities. How we portray our patriotism? Don’t they think what they are exhibiting to the whole world; they can put anything on-air for wealth.

Private channels are broadcasting Indian shows, movies and news about Indian celebrities. This reveals an image of weakness of our media as if they have failed in entertaining - hence require Indian bits & pieces. What we are illustrating to our young generation; what we want to convey to them?

Does this mean we want to introduce them to Indian norms, traditions and culture as our media is promoting Indian customs. What is being represented about our own country – is question of integrity. The country in which you can freely do any act, you have freedom of speech; one can only realize this freedom when he/she knows the importance of a nation having its own boundaries.

Are we shy of our own people that we require other countries folks to cover areas to make news. We are ourselves making our structure of norms so brittle that our future generation will not recognize our own heroes but the actors and celebrities of other countries.

Till 1996, Pakistan Television (PTV) was pretty famous in India and Indians use to watch Pakistani drama’s instead of ZTV’s. Thus, Indian Television banned PTV and now you can measure the extent to which our channels are influenced by Indian media. Doesn’t this make us rethink about what to be banned.

Still there is time to ask the whole nation to promote our own culture and heroes so we can withstand our own identity with our own flag.

Image Courtesy: Reuters

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Life Well Lived


If you’re kind to people who dial the wrong number,
If the sight of a red cardinal against a path of snow gives you pause,
If you don’t always have to be first at a four-way stop,
If you smile more than you complain,
If you still marvel at the caterpillar/butterfly thing,

If you sometimes have something to cry about,
If you still can spot a good climbing tree,
If you can share,

If you throw the little fish back,
If your heart hurts for another,
If in the silence before sleep you are filled with the sense of gratitude……

……you have life well-lived.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Feature Fatigue

by Atif Abbas

Being Homo sapiens, we ask for more and thank less - this is human nature. We want the thing we cannot afford. We like things that are in other person’s hand and when it comes to Tech-no-logy, man is becoming more vulnerable and greedy. Yes, you are right; I am talking about Cell Phones.

It’s the strategy of marketing to present things to create temptation and eventually make luxurious thing(s) – a necessity. Take the case of toothpaste; it has been made a crucial household item. But the case is no more like the same with cellular technology, which has made cellular items so advance and affordable. This advancement on one side makes people greedy when it comes to features in a cell phone.

People having a good cell phone switch to an expensive one because that phone has some extra feature without thinking that the feature is of their use or not. A cell phone is no more a phone to talk, you can watch movie in it and so on. The switching to a more advance phone and finding that the old phone was more comfortable causes a fatigue, called 'feature fatigue'.

The initial attractiveness increases by offering such features in a product but ultimately decreases customers. You can observe that Nokia 1100 is mostly used at every level of customers of cell phones. You can see people with cell phones having tremendous features and you ask them how many times they have used the features other than calling and messaging and they tell, they have never used any of these features.

A phone’s basic purpose is to call and do messaging but now a lot of features are offered in a cell phone and people are eager to buy such a device but when they find that their simple phone was easy to use they appreciate their previous phone and comment, ‘all we have to do is make a call ’. Thus, people don’t see what their requirements are and spend their money on expensive phones.

* The same thing applies to other products; manufacturers like to add more utilities in their product so it will appeal the public and they buy it. As people want a Swiss-Army knife approach in every product they use; they go for features offered in one product but when they start using it they are unhappy with the product having increased complexity.

See the electronics giant Koninklijke (Royal) Philips Electronics' new brand promise: sense and simplicity. The concept is that products should be easy to use and should improve the quality of people's lives. The company apparently wants to take this idea beyond sloganeering: It created a Simplicity Advisory Board, a think tank consisting of designers, healthcare specialists, and technology experts, to help translate the message into new products.

Products are appreciated which do one thing very well. New Yorker published cartoon that shows a man arriving in a store with a simple question: "Do you have any phones that make phone calls?"

* Facts excerpted from "Defeating Feature Fatigue," Harvard Business Review, Vol. 84, No. 2, February 2006.
Image courtesy: MS-Word 2000