Naga Chokkanathan

Archive for November 2011

We have a BPO / Call Center in our building, yesterday I saw a notice there for a “Free Eye Checkup Camp”, organized by a famous hospital.

Till few years back, “Free Eye Checkup Camps” used to be a social service done by various hospitals and other organizations (at least in India). They took Doctors / nurses / other health care staff to remote villages, to conduct free eye checkups / treatments / even surgeries for hundreds of people in a single day. This helped poor people who couldn’t travel or afford a traditional treatment.

Now, the same “Camps” are being used as “Campaigns” by large hospital chains. They basically do free checkup and consulting, in return to having your details in their database. Also, if you have any serious problems in your eye / vision, you will go to their hospital for a (paid) treatment, isn’t it?

When you look at it from the other side of the table, people working in an IT company or BPO won’t need a “free” eye checkup, they can always go for a paid checkup, But when it is offered for free in their own premises, they will go for it, as time is their only investment.

So, modern “Free Eye Checkup Camps” are a WIN:WIN for both parties, they generate leads to the hospital, and in return, those leads get free checkup and consulting. Overall, society is happy as more and more eye problems get detected early. Beautiful model.

Coming back to the BPO “Free Eye Checkup Camp”, When I saw the notice, I got curious, I wanted to see how this famous hospital convinces Call Center employees to go for an eye checkup.

From a marketing perspective, it should be a piece of cake, EVERYONE knows IT / BPO employees strain their eyes too much by looking into those monitors all day, and they need eye checkups frequently. If you are lazy, use the eye checkup camp conducted in your own office premises, at zero cost, perfect!

But guess what? That hospital’s notice about the “Special” Eye Checkup camp had none of these points. It was the usual “Close your eyes, imagine a life without vision” etc., stuff… Generic, Boring, Junk text.

It was a stunning example of “Lost opportunity”, Here they have a clear segment : Young people who look at their computer monitors all day (or night), tons of material available online and offline to tell them why it is important for them to check their eyes regularly, and all you manage is an “Eyes are essential to human beings” kind of statement? Oops!

I can understand why this might have happened. Most likely, the hospital has a generic template for Eye camps which they reuse multiple times, changing only the company name. It will be easy and convenient, but imagine what can happen if there is a ‘targeted’ message. If I am in that position, I would create a special template for IT / BPO employees, one for Housewives, one for senior citizens and so on, so that I can use the one which makes sense in my target audience, for any given camp(aign).

Whatever may be your medium, if audience are not getting an answer for the magic question “What’s in it for me?”, it will be ignored.



N. Chokkan …

24 11 2011


Sowmya (Or Soumya)

… Being a south indian, I always thought this is a female name. Never knew it was also used as a male name in some parts of India.

When I picked the book “I’m Not Twenty Four” By Sachin Garg, that was the first surprise. I went to my twitter page and asked folks there if Soumya is really a name used by men. Many replied “Yes” and confirmed that it is common among Bengalis and few other states nearby. One of the many things I learnt from my twitter timeline 🙂

After this ‘gyan’, I came back to the novel and felt really happy about it. Because, this entire story / plot is caused because of the name “Soumya” and the fact that it can be used by both Men and Women. According to author Sachin Garg, half of India thinks its a guy’s name and the other half thinks it is a girl’s name.

This story is about Soumya Kapoor, a ‘delicate delhi girl’, to quote the author. She attends an interview and gets job in a steel company.

That’s when the confusion starts. HR people in the steel company assume she is a ‘boy’ and decide to send her to a remote village in Karnataka called Toranagallu. Even her train ticket arrives with her gender as “Male”.

Soumya is surprised, but she has no option now. It is too late to look for a new job. So, she travels to Toranagallu and tries to settle in this unusual location, especially for a city girl.

Unfortunately, the name confusion continues in Toranagallu too. She is assigned to a task that is typically a “Man’s job”. Again, she has no option, point of no return, if you would excuse the cliche.

By this time, a part of Soumya likes Toranagallu, but another part wants to get out to the civilized world as soon as possible. She tries to do the job assigned to her and the story unfolds with many more twists and turns.

Interestingly, this is not one of those pulp fictions which are supposed to be the-middle-class-indian-story. Author Sachin Garg describes a unique environment, which most of us wouldn’t have a chance to see or experience. The ‘City Girl In A Village’ theme is NOT used to ‘create’ a bollywood story, instead all the characters, their intentions, confusions and relationships are well detailed, without compromising on the racy pace of the story. You can finish this book very fast, yet will not forget it that easily.

If I have to talk about the negatives, I felt the language is exceptionally good in some places and very weak (even careless) in few others. All the chapter titles are very creative, but honestly I felt there is no need to title the chapters in this book 🙂

Another point, this book costs Rs 100/- (and is available in many online stores for Rs 70 or less) Not very high, at the same time, that can’t justify the bad production quality. The paper used is very below average (even pirated books have better paper 😦 ) and in few places, I couldn’t read the print at all, too much of ink, or too thin a paper, or both.

These small issues apart, I enjoyed the novel. Especially the fact that a name can create a full length story 🙂


N. Chokkan …

12 11 2011

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!


Last couple of months, I was following Nokia and Microsoft to understand what is their strategy in terms of Smart Phones. I was curious to know whether two ‘failed-in-smart-phones’ companies can combine and manage a big hit this time. If they do, it will be a biggest case  study for synergy in partnerships!

Today, I did a presentation for our team @ CRMIT ( “Nokia and Microsoft : What’s in it for mobile developers”. Even tho’ this looks like a technical topic, the presentation covers in general my observations about what these companies are trying to achieve and how, with few facts that mobile developers will be interested. Browse thro’ and share your comments:


N. Chokkan …

11 11 2011

Tomorrow, I am attending a training program and it starts at 9 AM.

So, I called our office car driver and asked him to pick me at 8:15 AM. He agreed.

After few hours, I learnt that the training program is cancelled. So I called the car driver to cancel the pick-up.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t reach his mobile number. So, I wrote a mail to our Admin person:

Hello ,

I asked to pick me in my house tomorrow 8:15 AM for a training, But it is getting cancelled, hence please inform him about that, he need not pick me tomorrow morning,

Best Regards,


Few minutes later, I got this mail response from this admin person:


I have informed to pick you up at 8:15am tomorrow. He will be there on time.

Thanks and Regards,

Oops. I went back and re-read my mail, it said clearly ‘he need not pick me tomorrow morning’, but still, the admin person read it as ‘he has to pick me tomorrow morning’.

When I mentioned this story to a colleague, he was not surprised at all and told me that it is very natural. He explained that the admin people are used to getting lot of Emails about ‘car bookings’, and not many ‘cancellation’ mails. So when there is a mail with words like car – booking – pick – morning – 8:15 AM etc., by default they assume the mail is about someone wanting a car and make the arrangements automatically.

Of course, this is wrong and He / she should have read the mail properly before taking an action, But the brain is sometimes blind. We only see what we want to see, and make assumptions to fill the gaps, even if they are already filled with contradictory data.

We all do this mistake at some level or other, don’t we?


N. Chokkan …

10 11 2011


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Organization He works for / belongs to.

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