A colleague came up to me and said that she was having a tough time closing an order in a large B2C company. While the marketing team was convinced about our solution, the CFO had put a hold on the project as part of various cost-cutting measures, and the CMO had been unable to persuade the CFO on signing off on the purchase order. How could she break this stalemate? I suggested that she meet the CFO and speak something along the following lines: “You are only seeing the cost side of the equation and not seeing the potential benefits. The product should not be viewed simply as a solution for retention or engagement – it was a solution for boosting revenues and profits. In fact, I am so confident of the outcome that you can pay us after a year – from the upside that our product will generate for you.” I also suggested showing the CFO what our product could do; after all, every person is also a consumer and knows the friction in shopping and dealing with D2C brands. This worked, and we closed the deal.
Many a time, we see only one side of the situation. The second side is missed out. At times, this other side may not even be obvious. The CFO saw only the immediate costs but not the long-term benefits and upside from implementing our martech solution.
During the years that I was doing Nayi Disha, I was less focused on Netcore. My goal was to transform India, and I thought I could change people’s minds and their votes by persuading them about the need for freedom in India. During 2015-18, I came up with many initiatives: the need for a new Indian Constitution to replace the current one which borrowed heavily from the 1935 Government of India Act which made the people of Indian subservient to the rulers, the need for freeing city governments from the state government to drive urbanisation and prosperity, the idea of “Dhan Vapasi” to unlock resources and wealth idled and wasted by the government, and a “United Voters of India” movement to unseat the existing politicians and have a Lok Sabha of Independents to put India on a new track. (Many of these ideas are chronicled here.)
What I failed to see was the other side – the cost of me spending time on the political side and its impact on Netcore. Perhaps, I could have helped fast-track Netcore’s expansion to the US much earlier than we did. Perhaps, I could have led Netcore shift to SaaS for its sales and marketing approach faster. All of these could have accelerated Netcore’s growth. As I look back, while I was learning about India and its possible paths to prosperity, this came at a cost I did not then foresee because I had not considered the “second side” in my decisions on what was the best use of my time and in which field I could have had greater impact.