Thinks 807

Sanjiv Mehta: “At the core, marketing is about getting insights, deciphering them, and converting them into products. Then you have a very clear distinctive brand proposition. Next, you make your consumers believe in it. Marketing has two aspects to it—one is the product, the physical part—the characteristics, the needs, the wants that you want to meet. The second important bit is traversing the mind and the emotions of the consumers. That’s the reason why we also say that purpose is so important, because today’s consumers do not just want the physical attributes which the product delivers; they’re also looking at what a brand or a company stands for when it comes to the planet and people. And in an era where homogeneity is being lost, because everyone is becoming more individualistic, the marketing indicates that you need to be able to de-average to understand the cohorts at a smaller level and cater to those needs, which will allow you to win in the marketplace. The benefit today is that the marketers of yore did not have access to the technology that you get now. But the core purpose of marketing never goes away. Many times, people say that the era of brands is over. No way. Today, I feel the relevance of a brand is even more because you can make your brand distinctive not just by the physical attributes but by what the brand stands for.”

Nathan Baschez: “Every article has thrust and drag. The thrust of a piece is what motivates readers to invest the energy necessary to extract its meaning. It is the reason they click. Drag is everything that makes the reader’s task harder, such as meandering intros, convoluted sentences, abstruse locution and even little things like a missing Oxford comma. When your writing has more thrust than drag for a group of readers, it will spread and your audience will grow.”

Arvind Krishna on the initial uses of AI: “One is anything around customer care, answering questions from people . . . it is a really important area where I believe we can have a much better answer at maybe around half the current cost. Over time, it can get even lower than half but it can take half out pretty quickly. A second one is around internal processes. For example, every company of any size worries about promoting people, hiring people, moving people, and these have to be reasonably fair processes. But 90 per cent of the work involved in this is getting the information together. I think AI can do that and then a human can make the final decision. There are hundreds of such processes inside every enterprise, so I do think clerical white collar work is going to be able to be replaced by this. Then I think of regulatory work, whether it’s in the financial sector with audits, whether it’s in the healthcare sector. A big chunk of that could get automated using these techniques.”

Kevin J. Elliott: “One of the frameworks that I bring to thinking about democracy, and I think is very helpful for understanding political systems in large complex societies, is that there’s lots of different roles available within any given society. That also goes for politics. I tend to think about a division of labor within democracy, different roles that people play. The role of an ordinary citizen is going to be shaped by the institutional arrangement that they find themselves in, the specifics of the democracy that they live in. They’re going to have certain institutions that take their input in one way or other, and they aggregate that. They put it together with other inputs, and then it outputs eventually a set of decisions somewhere down the line.”

Robert Waldinger: “What is it that we found that really contributes to well-being? There were two big items over 85 years: one is taking care of our health. The part that surprised us was that the people who were happiest, who stayed healthiest as they grew old, and who lived the longest were the people who had the warmest connections with other people. In fact, good relationships were the strongest predictor of who was going to be happy and healthy as they grew old…No life is without twists and turns and challenges. That’s not the truth of life for anybody. The other thing I would say is that it’s never too late for these things to happen for you.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.

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