Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Birth of Hugh Marston Hefner: Founder Playboy.

At 80 years old, Hugh Hefner has had an impressive career building a multi-million dollar industry and living the life of his dreams, all the while pushing the limits of and revolutionizing the American publishing industry. How did he manage to achieve all this? “You stay in touch with the boy who dreamed impossible dreams,” he says.

Those dreams began on April 9, 1926 when Hugh Hefner was born in Chicago, Illinois to teacher parents Glenn and Grace Hefner. Both conservative Protestants, Hefner grew up in a very traditional household. He recalls of his early years, “I was a very idealistic, very romantic kid in a very typically Midwestern Methodist repressed home.” It was precisely this repression that sparked the creative and rebellious side of Hefner. He notes that there were never any displays of affection between his parents, forcing him to escape to “dreams and fantasies produced, by and large, by the music and the movies of the ‘30s.” 

A student at Sayre Elementary School and later Steinmetz High School in Chicago, Hefner was never more than an average student. Although he had been tested and found to have an extremely high IQ of 152, Hefner was too busily distracted by his extracurricular activities to focus on academics. In addition to being president of the student council, Hefner also founded a school newspaper and created his own comic strip called Hef, which humorously detailed many of the real-life events that Hefner was experiencing in his own school life. 

It was at the age of 16 when the man the world now knows as ‘Hef’ was born. Hefner was in love. “She was working at a drugstore that summer – my summer of ’42,” he recalls. “I would go and pick her up and take her bowling or dancing…that was a very sweet and delicious time for me.” But, Hefner found himself rejected by this girl that he adored. Determined never to know failure again, Hefner reinvented himself from head to toe as ‘Hef’, a charismatic, charming and popular man.

After graduating in 1944, Hefner enlisted in the Army, serving as Infantry Clerk as well as drawing cartoons for various Army newspapers. He was released in 1946 and pursued his bachelor degree at the University of Illinois, where he also spent time drawing cartoons for the Daily Illini and editing the campus humour magazine Shaft. He received his degree after just 2 ½ years and began shopping around his ideas for a cartoon strip. 

Unable to find a buyer, Hefner was forced to take up unrelated jobs at the Chicago Carton Company and the Carson, Pirie, Scott department store. He was unwilling to give up his interest in publishing and finally landed a job as a promotion copywriter at Esquire magazine. It was here where Hefner learned the ins and outs of the publishing business. In what seemed to be a stroke of bad luck for Hefner, Esquire subsequently moved its offices to New York, leaving him unemployed. But, again unwilling to give up, Hefner decided to create his own magazine. Armed with just $8,000, Hefner was about to embark upon an unforgettable career. 

For more Learning Check out:

Why the Best Leaders Are the Best Leaders

The Best Leaders

From 1996 to 2007, manager Joe Torre led the New York Yankees to the playoffs every year - winning an astounding 17 series in the post-season. Over those same 12 years, the Los Angeles Dodgers did not win a single playoff series. This past season, Torre departed New York to coach the Dodgers. The result? The Dodgers won their first post-season series in 20 years, while the Yankees missed the playoffs altogether.

Ask Yankees and Dodgers fans, and they will tell you that Joe Torre's leadership matters. However, they may not be able to tell you exactly why Joe Torre is an excellent leader. What's true of the fans in New York and Los Angeles is true for many of us. We experience the effects of leadership without understanding the cause.

In this article, I hope to make plain why the best leaders are the best leaders. In a nutshell, remarkable leaders give their best to their people, and get the best from their people. Let's look at how this happens.

The Best Leaders Give Their Best to Their People By...


People naturally follow leaders they respect as being more advanced than they are. For this reason, personal growth is directly proportional to influence. If you desire to gain followers, then pay the price of getting better.

To give people your best, you have to elevate your leadership capacity. Consider the metaphor of walking up a narrow staircase - you can only go as fast as the person in front of you. When leaders stop growing, they quit climbing and impede the progress of everyone following them. However, when leaders grow, they ascend the stairs and create space for those behind them to climb higher.

Personal growth involves challenging yourself, and pushing beyond the realm of comfort. When is the last time you did something for the first time? How long has it been since you felt in over your head?


"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."
~ Albert Einstein

Serving others is an attitude issue. Unfortunately, many leaders operate under a king-of-the-hill mentality. They attempt to pull down anyone above them in order to secure the top spot for themselves. In doing so, they clutch at power, grapple for control of company resources, and strive to dominate others. Seeing relationships as win-lose propositions, they ultimately burn bridges and isolate themselves.

The best leaders take an entirely different approach. Rather than dragging down anyone who threatens their position, they extend a hand to lift the performance of teammates and coworkers. They function with a mindset of abundance as opposed to an attitude of scarcity, and they wield their influence to prop others up rather than to elevate themselves. Over time, they are honored for the contributions they have made to the lives around them.

All leaders serve. Sadly, some serve only themselves. Serving is a motives issue, and the crux of the matter boils down to a simple question: "Who?" Does a politician serve the public or his pocketbook? Does a CEO serve to benefit her shareholders or to support her lifestyle? The best leaders set a tone by serving and prove they are deserving of being out in front.


Growing leaders have something to share; serving leaders have something to give; modeling leaders have something to show. As V.J. Featherstone said, "Leaders tell, but never teach, until they practice what they preach." The best leaders embody their values. Their passion exudes from every pore and demands respect.

The Best Leaders Get the Best from Their People By...


The smartest leaders realize the limitations of their wisdom, and they listen to their people in order to capture invaluable insights. However, leaders don't just listen to gain knowledge, they also listen to give their people permission: permission to challenge the process, permission to test assumptions; and permission to take risks. Nothing turns off an up-and-coming leader like the deaf ear of a superior. The best leaders don't simply listen to incoming ideas; they proactively draw them out of their people. They listen actively, not passively.


Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. To touch a heart, a leader has to be open to disclosing his or her identity by sharing personal stories and owning up to professional weaknesses. Mysterious or aloof leaders may be successful decision-makers, but they won't get the heartfelt loyalty that comes from authentic relationships.

As simple as it sounds, making a person feel known correlates powerfully to their job satisfaction. In fact, Patrick Lencioni lists anonymity as one of the top indicators of a miserable job. Leaders dignify their people by studying their interests, learning about their families, and finding out their hobbies. Conscious of the power of connection, the best leaders refuse to be barricaded inside of an office, and they take responsibility for relating with others on a regular basis.


Gifted teachers have a way of making students out of disinterested bystanders. The best leaders have an infectious thirst for knowledge, and they take pride in cultivating knowledge of their craft and awareness of their industry. A leader's teaching ability depends upon ongoing personal growth. As Howard Hendricks said, "If you stop growing today, you stop teaching tomorrow."


The best leaders understand the differences between training people for tasks and developing people to be better leaders. 
  • Training Developing
  • Focus is on the job
  • Adds value to specific things
  • Helpful for a short time
  • Changes a performance Focus is on the person
  • Adds value to everything
  • Helpful for a lifetime
  • Change the performer
The best leaders view their people as appreciable assets and prioritize investing in the talent on their teams.


After one of my presentations, an audience member approached me who was visibly indignant about my speech. "Why is motivation last on the list?" he demanded. "Well," I replied, "because if you listen, relate, teach, and develop your people, then they will be motivated!"

Sustained motivation comes by creating the right environment for your people and by doing the right things consistently to nurture them. Consider a flower. It cannot grow in the Arctic; it requires a climate conducive to growth. Yet, even in the right environment, the flower must be planted in hospitable soil, exposed to sunlight, watered, and freed of weeds.


The Best Leaders Give Their Best to Their People by...
1. Growing 2. Serving 3. Modeling

The Best Leaders Get the Best From Their People by...
1. Listening 2. Relating 3. Teaching 4. Developing 5. Motivating 

Dr. John C. Maxwell
John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold over 16 million books. His organizations have trained more than 2 million leaders worldwide. Dr. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP and INJOY Stewardship Services. Every year he speaks to Fortune 500 companies, international government leaders, and audiences as diverse as the United States Military Academy at West Point, the National Football League, and ambassadors at the United Nations. A New York Times , Wall Street Journal , and Business Week best-selling author, Maxwell was named the World's Top Leadership Guru by He was also one of only 25 authors and artists named to's 10th Anniversary Hall of Fame. Three of his books, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership , Developing the Leader Within You , and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader have each sold over a million copies

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Interview with Guy Kawasaki. Next Gen Entrepreneur

He is Silicon Valley's original evangelist but that’s just one of Guy Kawasaki’s avatars. His others include being an entrepreneur, a venture capitalist, a sought after speaker, a blogger, a columnist, a best selling author — and during an interview, an excellent raconteur.

In his 25 years as a Silicon-Valley watcher, the 54 year old managing director of Garage Technology Ventures has seen trends come and go, fortunes made and unmade and in the journey, he himself made some costly mistakes (he was offered the CEO’s job at an internet company by Michael Moritz in 1995 and he refused it. The company’s name was Yahoo!). But trust a man of his ability and humility to distill all the ensuing learnings into remarkable insights and then pepper these with anecdotes to conjure up a racy account that is lapped up by the readers of his books — and the audience, if he is speaking. His tome on startups, The Art Of The Start, is considered a Bible among entrepreneurs.

In Mumbai recently to speak at a SAS leadership conference, he held the audience rapt — and occassionally in splits —with his witty remarks and suppositions (I believe in god as there is no other explanation for Apple’s existence till now). He confessed he loved India, and Mumbai especially, and during his visit, he happened to visit a Ganesh pandal decked in full glory and came back mesmerised by the sheer number of people and the ensuing madness. “It’s the Super Bowl for you guys’, he noted. The children peddling the latest best sellers at traffic lights at one tenth of their original prices had him wondering whether they already had his soon to be released book Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging & Outmarketing your Competition. “They are India’s very own,” he said. 

But the crowning glory of his Mumbai trip was a visit to Dhobhi Ghat that set him wondering about the ‘business analytics’ involved. “How can you send a pair of jeans there and get the same one back,” he wondered. “And that too without RFID chips, no barcode scanner,” he said. Well, its innovation at work Mr Kawasaki, Indian style. India still managed to surprise him and it takes a lot to surprise a man who has had pitches made to him about buying out Israel! In a candid interview with CD, Kawasaki discussed innovation, the art of entrepreneurship and Apple, where he was once Macintosh’s chief storyteller. Here’s Kawasaki unplugged:

What gives Apple that Midas touch?

Somehow that company has it in its DNA to create products that people see as extensions of themselves. I think that this is (points to his Apple notebook) something that makes me more productive and creative. People view iPods as something that makes them happy and iPhones as products that make people more productive … even though for a short while with that battery. While the battery is good you are more productive (laughs). I think it will be difficult to find someone who says my Vista machine makes me more creative and productive. It’s hard to imagine that conversation. Having said that Microsoft has 95% marketshare, so maybe that’s why you care about what people say, but that’s the difference.

What part of that ‘specialness’ is Steve Jobs himself?

One hundred and five per cent. Obviously, he has bright people working for him, but he attracts bright people. I don’t know where the company will be without him. In a sense he is to Apple what Lee Kuan Yew is to Singapore.

Can you trace any commonality between revolutionary companies like Apple, Mircosoft, and Google?

Yes, the commonality is completely contrary to most people’s idea of venture capital. Which is every one of the mentioned companies had two co-founders who were not proven. They were nerds. So Google was founded by two Phd students in computer science, and Steve was a college dropout.

The Start-Up Artist

Bill Gates was also a dropout. It was not like Bill Gates was VP of say Data General and decided to write personal computer software. Looking at these companies, you should invest in unproven teams, in unproven markets, and unproven technologies. Contrary to what VCs say, which is invest in proven teams, proven markets, and proven technologies. That’s the digital divide (laughs).

Every company is on the innovation bandwagon, but why have none of them been able to replicate Applestyle innovation?

Some of this is due to the financial structure. Most of the companies that are publicly traded have to show good financial results in 90 days and most of the innovation cannot take place in the 90 days. And number two — Apple is a rare exception — as you grow larger it becomes harder to innovate. The larger you get, the more the installed base, the more infrastructure you have. There are 26 million people out there saying build a better Macintosh and who are you to say I will build something different. That’s why it takes a Steve Jobs who doesn’t care — 26 million people say this, and he goes and builds an iPod. It’s very hard to do.

What stage of the entrepreneurship cycle do you think we in India are?

I haven’t been in India long enough to say. Statistically there should be four Steve Jobs in India because we have 300 million people, and you have 1.2 billion. So there are four Steve Jobs in India. You just have to find them.

A programmer in India shouldn’t want to be just a recipient of American outsourced work. That’s not entrepreneurship. The Indian entrepreneurs should not say I want American outsourced work or I will build an Indian version of Youtube, Flickr, or Twitter. The product should be such that people in Silicon Valley say I am an American version of this thing that they built in India. And I can’t think of any such example.

Who would you blame more for the internet fiasco in early 2000s, the entrepreneurs or the VCs?

It was no one’s fault. Life is cyclical, it goes through a growth phase and there is a death phase. Not everyone died, right? I would make a call that the world is a better place today because of an So it was a great biological experiment, most of the life-forms died, but some lived. The ones that survived are doing great. Yes, there was a lot of waste, yes, there was a lot of stupidity but fact is that people can now say that was a stupid idea. I will tell you that when people were starting Yahoo, Google, and Cisco, somebody was saying that’s a stupid idea. So it’s very easy for us to say what went wrong now. A very good example is Webvan (a defunct web grocery business); now we can say it was a bad idea of supplying celery to the doorstep and that $200 million went down the drain. Sitting here I can tell you it’s a flip of a coin whether Webvan was going to be a success or not. We could easily be saying that Webvan changed the world. So the message is you just don’t know. Since you don’t know you as an entrepreneur can try and if you fail you fail.

What’s your take on Web 2.0?

I don’t know what that means. People call me to attend Web 3.0 conferences and I tell them I don’t know what even 2.0 is. My comment to these kinds of labels is that I don’t think that any customer wakes up in the morning and says I need a Web 2.0 application. They may say I need something to balance my cheque-book, I need something to manage my inventory, I need to create a personal profile. I can understand that; but nobody wakes up and says I want a Web 2.0 experience today.

What are the few steps that an entrepreneur should get right?

Prototyping is the first thing. That’s the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth thing. The sixth thing is to write a business plan. And don’t even think of the exit plans, it’s a joke. Statistically, the logical exit plan is bankruptcy. Entrepreneurs should focus on the prototype because a prototype will tell you whether people will use the product/service or not. It proves to the investor whether you are serious or not. It enables you to find out whether customers want it or not. Prototype is the key, not the business plan and definitely not the research either.

A lot of companies seem to be promoting the concept of Intrapreneurs aggressively and it hasn’t lead to something very substantial. What seems to be the problem?

Some of it works. In the US, when people talk about great examples of intrapreneurship; one of the most cited examples is 3M sticky notes. But that was 30 years ago. Tell me that in last 30 years all you have is stickies. It’s not easy. For all factors, in a publicly traded large company all that the sales force hears from the customers is that we want better, faster, cheaper existing products. So, in a sense you don’t have to listen to your customers, they will always ask for better, faster, cheaper products. No one will say I am an Apple II customer, create something that that will make my existing product obsolete. Nobody says that … and that’s why it’s hard to jump curves for companies.

A practical problem that entrepreneurs face is too much advice. VC’s, peers, bloggers, i-bankers, everyone is doling out advice. How does one segregate bad advice from the good?

As a general rule of thumb do the opposite of what a venture capitalist says. If he says go for market share, do the opposite. If he says build infrastructure because you need to service your best customers better; don’t. You will end up spending precious dollars on IT staff and other things. If the VC says outsource to Bangalore; do it internally. Generally speaking, it’s pretty good advice to do the opposite of what VCs tell you.

Article Resource:
Author: Vinod Mahanta is the Chief Editor in the The Economic Times, Mumbai and the article appeared in one of their successful columns Guru Speak dated: 19th Sept 2008.

The Animation Man: DQ Entertainment.

Tapaas Chakravarti loved comics enough to mop up an impressive collection, but for a long time, thought little of making a career out of it. A sales and marketing professional, he had modest ambitions and a low-risk job profile until eight years ago. Then, overtaken by a passion for animation and entertainment, he chucked his job and started DQ Entertainment that has grown into one of India’s largest production houses for animation and visual effects now.

Sitting pretty at his vaastu-designed office in a winding lane off Hyderabad’s posh Banjara Hills area, Chakravarti talks of taking DQE, which started as an animation outsourcing firm, to the next level of creating own animation titles and diversifying into games. Set up in 1999 with an initial investment of Rs 5 crore, DQ Group has today become a Rs 250-crore entity with 3,200 employees. It has expanded its production facilities to China and Philippines and has lined up a number of projects involving the creation of intellectual property. 

But the dream of entrepreneurship was not easy to realise for Chakravarti. When he started, there was no funding available for animation ventures. So, he dipped into his savings from his stints at Sandoz India (now Novartis), Coats of India and Shriram group and started the firm. But within a year, early track record helped DQE get its first equity investor. Four others came on board in 2002. Now, the promoter holding is only 25% with investors including International Finance Corporation, TDA Capital Group, India Value Fund, and IL&FS Investment Managers holding the balance. 

“We focused on outsourced animation work to begin with. But, for the last three years, the thrust is on IP generation. Only 25% of our revenue come from outsourcing now and the rest comes from outsourced work and co-production,” Mr Chakravarti says. 

The National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) estimates that global animation market will grow from $59 billion in 2006 to $80 billion by 2010. The market for animated content and related services is estimated at $25-26 billion and forecast to cross $34 billion by 2010. Gaming market worldwide is expected to grow from $21 billion to $42 billion, while the gaming content market is estimated at about $7 billion in 2006 and is expected to cross $13 billion by 2010. 

“What makes us different from our competitors is that, we moved from being an outsourcing partner to an IP generator. We also have strong tie-ups in place, which helps us produce quality content,” he says. DQE has partnerships with leading production houses such as Universal, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, France-based TFI, M6, BBC and Italy-based RAI Group. 

The company has also formed joint ventures with two French production houses: Method Films and Onyx Films. “We have picked up 30% stake in Method and 5% in Onyx. Under Methods Films JV, we are looking at producing feature films. And, with Onyx, we have started working on two feature films. Skyland will be ready for release in 2008 while Night of the Child King will be released in 2009,” he says. 

DQ Entertainment is now ready to diversify into the gaming segment, covering the gamut of 3-dimension console games, mobile games and online web-based games. 

In the pipeline is a console game based on Harry Potter. “We already have the content in place as we own IPs. The challenges lies in transforming the art into technology,” he says. 

It is also setting up pre-production and post-production studios in Paris and Los Angeles at an investment of $10 million. While the Paris studio will be a joint venture with France-based Onyx Films, the US facility will be set up by DQE itself. 

The company has also lined up strategies to address the talent crunch, which is a major challenge for companies in this segment. DQ is working with state governments and setting up its own training academies to ready supply of trained manpower. “We are working with Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh for setting up animation academies. We are planning to set up 10 academies of our own,” he said. The company has added over 4,000 animation and gaming personnel to the talent pool and it is aiming to train over 3,000 more in next two years. DQE will also invest Rs 19 crore on a new campus in Hyderabad.

Interview with DQE CEO Tapaas Chakravarti.

What's the latest news with DQ Entertainment Ltd?

A major long-term contract for 4 - 26x26 3D TV Series and 2 feature films in 3D have been finalized on 17th of January with a major French producer to be co-produced with Broadcasters from Europe and USA. This production will be completed between 2006 - 2009. The deal is over Rs 180 crores - a major break through for DQ Entertainment! On 2nd of Jan, DQE also went ahead and signed a contract for two 2D TV Series with a European major with a deal over 50 crores to be completed in the next 18 months.

We are working on a 3D console game based on the animated TV series Skyland, which is our co production with a French studio and has sold in 77 countries. This 3D console game production has already started in France and in India with confirmation from a major US publisher for sales and marketing by middle of 2007. We are very happy that the second season of Skyland - 26x26 co-production is also confirmed to start by 3rd quarter of 2006.

Last year we worked on 26 projects some of which are continuing into 2006. 20 of these are TV series and 6 are Direct to Home Videos.

We are the largest outsourcing and co-production studio in the world with a total of close to 2700 artists. Amongst these 1900 artists are working at DQ's 2D & Flash animation units in India, South East Asia and Far-East, while over 850 artists are engaged in the 3D division in India. We are looking to grow to 4000 in the next 18 months, which will include maximum growth in 3D Mobile and Online games. 

The gaming division already has over 192 people under training with ambitious plans for rapid growth.

When and how was DQE formed?

Originally in the early nineties we were a software and multimedia company, but I always had a passion for art and cartoons. I had a personal collection of more than 4,000 comics, which I have now donated to a library.

In the Mid 90's due to my international exposure, I knew that something could be done in animation. We wanted to kick-start the studio but nobody was willing to fund it. All the investors then, thought that only Disney and Warner did animation. The Mid 90's witnessed the dot com boom and investors were of the opinion that we should start a dot com company. 

With no funding available for an animation venture I invested my own earnings in 1999 and formed DQE. By the end of 2000, the company got its first equity investor and four more investors came in 2002 after they saw our immense performance and we have never looked back since then.

Managing a vast multitude of creative people must be tough. Please throw some light on your management practices?
We call it superior management skills where artists are empowered with freedom for being creative under the company guidelines. Every employee of the company has a feeling of ownership for the work that they do and also for the company.

The key factor is believing in ourselves and the creation of a core management team that has the same conviction. Equally important is simplicity of operations, corporate governance, where each and every person's role is well defined. Enough freedom is given to an artist to use his/her creativity for quality and we have very effective management for production.

Every project has to be of the best quality and on time. Non-stop training and development for creative people with very well defined HR, Technical and creative programs. We set up the DQ center for learning around six years ago and In house training has been one of our major investments in the last six years. 

We have developed (and patented) a proprietary ERP system, which is the first in the world for production management, people management, and company management. 

What is the most important issue facing the Indian animation industry?


Gear up for training fresh people, If the government comes forward and takes animation training on their agenda then many studios will be saved from bankruptcy. 

This Industry is growing rapidly; entrepreneurs and big companies are also in the fray. In a long-term perspective this augurs well, it is a good sign and the Indian industry will have more recognition worldwide. But short term such a scenario will mean a severe war to retain talent and human resource.

Today the attrition rate at DQ is just 2 to 3%, however we are gearing ourselves for a higher percentage.

My message is you should invest in training. You must train and invest in training and development. It is a must investment.

Do not crib, cry and fight with competition, we are a democratic country. People can move after their contracts have expired. All good companies must invest in training and manpower. Not depend on hiring people from other studios. All big companies in IT sector have robust training programs and sizeable investments in training, in spite of that there is a 20% attrition rate there, the BPO industry boasts of an even higher rate close to 30%.

The people here don't want to move because they believe that DQ is for them, they are looked after well, still there is some attrition due to the hometown factor. I consider churn as a cross-fertilization of knowledge, this will grow the industry and people do come back, it's a circle. 

30% of investment in our company has been into training. It is a humungous task and only this way one can create a lasting workforce and a company that generates value and world class award winning content.

We believe that the Central as well as State Governments have to take progressive and quick initiatives to promote creation of local content for TV and theatrical markets to further enhance the potential of this industry.

Could you elaborate on the Awards bit?

We have won quite a few International Awards. Toddworld - 56x 11 mins, , a co-production with Mike Young Productions for Discovery Kids was nominated for Emmy. Delta State (Flash animation cum live action) won awards at BAAF, Mumbai and then at Annecy, France. Two of our other TV series will be competing at the 05-06 Emmy Awards. Our company was selected as the top 100 Asian Companies for the year 2005 by Red Herring, California. 

Future Plans?

We are already in the process of creating TV and Theatrical content for India and global markets, produced exclusively by us and assisted by US and French based companies. 

Skyland was co produced for four Broadcasters and sold in 77 countries including Nickelodeon U.S., that is the kind of business model we are pursuing. We have to create a series that sells in 77 countries!!

Major thrust area for us in the next 3 years will be 3D Online and Mobile Games development on a large scale and enhancing capacities for 2D, Flash and 3D Animation production for Asian and Indian Markets. There will also be a major foray into distribution Merchandising and Publishing. 

Most of the co productions out of India are nothing but dignified reduction of price to get orders, It was true for us also initially but now in the last one year we have a sizeable share in the backend of most of the projects we do. We will move towards real co productions with hard currency investments where we will be involved in the pre production, original property ideas, distribution and merchandising with partners. 

We are also rapidly expanding into high end games development, animated feature film production for worldwide distribution and other children's entertainment related businesses. Many big things will happen in 2006 and onwards.

No plans for opening other studios in Indian cities in the near future, long term we may expand to Mumbai, Bangalore or Kolkatta.

A large fund raising is bound to happen sooner or later, with objective of global growth plans. Vision 2010 for DQ is to be a globally recognized children's entertainment company.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tony Robbins is Born...

“Success is doing what you want to do, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, as much as you want,” says Tony Robbins. For the past 15 years, Robbins has been doing exactly that. As one of the most celebrated motivational speakers and life coaches in the world, Robbins has come from humble beginnings to rise to the top of his game. He not only talks about how to achieve success; with best-selling books and seminars behind him, as well as being Chairman of five private companies that together generate over half of $1 billion, Robbins has himself become a successful entrepreneur and a model of what it takes in order to achieve your dreams. 

Anthony J. Mahavorick was born on February 29, 1960 in Glendora, California, a low-income suburb of Los Angeles. When he was just seven years old, his parents divorced. His mother would later remarry twice, and he would take on the surname of his second stepfather, Jim Robbins. An ambitious child, Robbins dreamed of one day leaving his modest upbringings behind to become a sports reporter. He attended Glendora High School and in 1977, was elected president of his student body. The passion, for which Robbins has since become legendary, was not so beneficial to him as a child; at the age of 17, Robbins was kicked out of his house for being “too intense.” 

Anthony Robbins: Founder of Anthony Robbins Companies

It wasn’t long before Robbins found his niche. After discovering the motivational speaker Jim Rohn, Robbins became inspired. He began to read personal growth books by the hundreds – over seven hundred in just a few years. He also discovered that he had a personal knack for sales, where his early career excelled. With his voracious appetite for self-help books and his impressive sales technique, Robbins soon found himself in the seminar business. 

Initially, Robbins found himself selling tickets for another popular motivational speaker. He had an impressive ability to sell tickets to almost anyone, even breaking all the sales records in his first month. By any measure, Robbins was a success and was now in an income bracket beyond his dreams. But, Robbins wanted more for himself. 

“I remember the moment my life changed, the moment I finally said, ‘'I've had it! I know I'm much more than I'm demonstrating mentally, emotionally, and physically in my life,’” recalls Robbins. “I made a decision in that moment which was to alter my life forever. I decided to change virtually every aspect of my life. I decided I would never again settle for less than I can be.”

Robbins began compiling all the knowledge he had amassed over the years and developed a unique motivational seminar that he himself began delivering to public audiences. They were fast sellouts. Then, in 1983, Robbins discovered Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a radical and relatively new therapeutic technique that Robbins would go on to study and promote in his seminars. After only briefly studying the basic principles of NLP, Robbins hit the road with his new seminar; it turned out to be the road that would establish his career and turn him into the success he is today.

For more learnings check out:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Coffee King: Howard Schultz is Born.

“I wanted to be in charge of my own destiny,” says Howard Schultz. “It may be a weakness in me: I'm always wondering what I'll do next. Enough is never enough.” Schultz used this weakness to his advantage, taking the U.S. by storm with his vision of a coffee shop the likes of which the country had never seen before. Today, as a so-called ‘third home’, Starbucks has revolutionized not only the coffee industry but also society at large. 

Howard Schultz was born on July 19, 1953, in Brooklyn, New York as the oldest of three children. He grew up in Bayview Project, a government-subsidized housing unit. His family had little money and both parents worked long hours to try and support the family. Growing up, Schultz spent most of his time playing sports, taking a particular liking to football, baseball and basketball. He found that he quickly excelled in each of these in high school and used it to his advantage, receiving a football scholarship to Northern Michigan University. 

Schultz was determined to escape poverty and become the first member of his family to graduate from college. In 1975, he realized his dream and earned his bachelor’s degree in business and marketing. But, while Schultz’s academic career was soaring, his family life was taking a turn for the worse. His father was starting to suffer from the never-ending stream of low-paying, dead-end jobs he was forced to work. “I watched my dad’s self-esteem fracture,” Schultz would later recall.

Nevertheless, Schultz was determined to make more of his own life. After graduating, Schultz moved back to New York and got a job working for Xerox Corporation. He then switched to working as a salesman for Hammerplast, a Swedish housewares company. When he noticed that he was selling many coffee percolators to a little Seattle-based company, Schultz flew out to see why.

In 1981, Schultz met with Gerry Baldwin, one of the owners of Starbucks, and he immediately fell in love with the company and the concept. In less than one year, Schultz had left Hammerplast and had become Director of Retail Sales for Starbucks. But, Schultz’s vision for the company soon took a different turn from its original owners. 

When Schultz first joined Starbucks, it had 12 retail outlets and was dedicated to selling coffee beans and coffee-related products. In 1983, Schultz went on vacation to Milan, Italy, and became infatuated with the idea of coffee bars, places where gourmet coffee was served not in beans, but by the cup, and where people could come to meet and relax. “I believed the relationship I saw between people and coffee in Italy was transferable to America in a big way,” he said. 

“Great companies recognize who they are and who they are not,” said Schultz. “But they must have the courage to examine transformational opportunities”. The owners of Starbucks disagreed with Schultz’s vision. They had little desire to expand their company in the way Schultz was proposing. But, confident in his idea and the untapped possibilities, Schultz left Starbucks and started out on his own.

7 Reasons Why Speakers Flop.

7 Reasons Why Speakers Flop

Few qualities create a more vivid impression of a leader than the ability to speak in public. The higher a leader rises within an organization, the more frequently she is called upon to address others. Ironically, hapless leaders are offered little or no training to develop their speaking skills. A fortunate few ooze natural communication talents, but the vast majority must labor to sharpen their speaking skills of else suffer from their deficiency.

As a professional who makes his living giving speeches and seminars, I have sat through hundreds, if not thousands, of executive presentations. Most of the speeches I have heard (or endured) have been less than memorable. Far too often, the presentations have been painful, not only for the speaker, but also for the audience trying to feign interest.

The majority of presenters, even those who flopped dramatically, were well-intentioned. They had a message they believed was relevant, or a passion they were eager to share. Moreover, they stood to gain something, whether support, respect, or credibility, by delivering a masterful presentation. Clearly, nobody sets out to destroy his reputation with a mind-numbing speech. Why, then, do communicators fail so miserably when they have every incentive to excel?

Thoughts and emotions require technique to be successfully communicated. Consider putting in golf. Without technique, it doesn't matter how brilliantly you wish to hit the golf ball, or how shrewdly you've accounted for the slope of the green and the speed of the putting surface. In the end, only good form and practiced skill allow you to consistently make great shots. Public speaking is no different.

Public speaking, like any skill, must be developed. The more often you speak, the better you become — IF you learn from your mistakes. The fastest gains to improve your speaking ability come when you eliminate potential sources of disaster. While I've observed great creativity in flopping a speech, there are seven common reasons why speakers fail.

1. A disregard for time

Long-windedness — speaking beyond the allotted time — may be the easiest way to alienate an audience. Strangely enough, it seems to be epidemic among business leaders. Speaking overly long is rude and smacks of arrogance and self-importance. It suggests to the audience that the speaker values his presentation greater than the time of his listeners or anything else on the program.

The length of a speech shouldn't be a function of title or power, but a function of how long a person has agreed to talk. Start on time and stop on time. Not only will your audience respect you for it, but also you will demonstrate respect for your audience.

2. Unclear purpose

Here's the million-dollar question of any presentation: What's the point?
I'm puzzled by the number of leaders who ramble through a speech without saying anything of substance. I'm equally dismayed by the number of leaders who cram 21 bullet points into a 30-minute presentation. Communicators frustrate people when they rattle off reams of information without pointing the way to practical application. If you cannot identify a concise, worthwhile purpose for the presentation, you probably shouldn't be making it.
Design your speech the way the pros do. Begin by asking, "At the end of this presentation, what do I want listeners to think, feel, and do?" Good presenters speak to the head, the heart, and the hands.

3. Inadequate preparation

There is no excuse for "winging it." The best speakers are borderline neurotic in their preparation--even if their demeanor suggests otherwise. Presenters who come across as brilliantly unscripted likely spent hours practicing in order to appear "off the cuff."
If you paid for a ticket to a Broadway show where none of the actors had practiced in advance, you would demand your money back. Too bad the audiences of executive leaders don't get the same privilege. Each speech is a transaction. Your listeners are paying attention, and you owe them a worthwhile presentation in return.

4. Failure to capture attention

The scarcest resource in the world used to be time; today it is attention. The average listener is bombarded with messages from many different sources. From email to radio to voicemail to cell phones, everybody is trying to tell us something, and your attempt to give a speech is just one more bombardment.

Your content and delivery had better grab the audience's attention right out of the shoot. You don't have the luxury of "warming up" your audience. Hit them square between the eyes with something that will break their preoccupation with the thousands of other stimuli clamoring for their attention.

Most importantly, make your remarks relevant. Postmoderns are less interested with the question "Is it true?" and more interested in the question "How does it affect me?" Yes, you need to be intellectually honest to prove your points, but never forget to demonstrate that your message matters to the listener.

5. Pomposity

Ego-driven leaders are more concerned with what followers think about them than with what followers do because of them. Rather than influencing their listeners, pompous leaders attempt to impress the audience. In doing so, they manipulate rather than inspire.

A preoccupation with self is deadly to a communicator. Self-absorbed leaders speak in order to get their needs met rather than to meet the needs of the audience. Unfortunately for speakers, audiences are quick to pick up the scent of a pompous communicator and they will tune out any presenter perceived as arrogant.

6. Boredom

Today's audiences are filled with people who were raised on MTV. This generation spent its formative years watching music videos that contained 150 images in the course of a minute. For them, watching a talking head is about as stimulating as staring at a blank computer screen.

A speaker who entertains never fully flops. Don't get me wrong: entertainment by itself is not a worthwhile goal for an executive presenter, but is sure beats the alternative, which is to be boring. For a speaker, the value of entertainment comes from its ability to mentally engage listeners. I've found the best way to educate is to slip good ideas in on the wings of entertainment.

Great restaurants know that the presentation of cuisine is as important as its preparation. Speakers would be wise to take note: presentation and perception go hand-in-hand. The best communicators use the sizzle to sell the steak.

7. False endings

I've seen the following scenario play out hundreds of times. A speaker starts to conclude, even tells the audience of her intent, and then tells a pithy, witty story. The audience responds favorably, and the speaker gets a rush. "Wow, they liked that. I've got an even better story," she thinks to herself. And then she ends again with another story/quote/challenge. Like a junkie in search of another fix, the speaker keeps ending until there is no positive response, but rather visible signs of disgust. By then, it is too late to recover.

Conclude concisely. Each false ending weakens the message in front of it. A simple rule to remember: good endings only happen once.


The beginning of excellence is the elimination of foolishness. You can ramp up your speaking performance by analyzing your last presentation with these seven questions:

1. Did I stick to my allotted time?
2. Did I develop and present purposefully?
3. Was I thoroughly prepared?
4. Did I capture attention at the very beginning?
5. Did I positively influence listeners?
6. Was I appropriately entertaining, or at least not boring?
7. Did I end only once?

An affirmative answer to each question virtually guarantees that your next presentation won't be a flop. Not only will your communication be flop-proof, but you will likely be perceived as an articulate and effective speaker.

Mark Sanborn

Friday, October 17, 2008

Making His Golden Greeting: Joyce Hall is Born

Entrepreneurs from West...Joyce Hall Founder Hallmark

Whether it is your birthday, bah mitzvah or anniversary, we all know the feeling we get when someone gives us a greeting card. For Hallmark founder Joyce C. Hall, creating that feeling was his life’s work. A high school dropout from humble origins, Hall worked hard to not only create a business for himself, but to revolutionize an industry. 

Joyce Clyde Hall was born on August 29, 1891 in David City, Nebraska as the youngest of three sons to parents Nancy Houston and George Hall. His father was a Methodist minister who brought his children up in a religious environment. In fact, it was due to his Methodist background that he even got his name. “I was born the day a Methodist bishop name Isaac W. Joyce happened to be in David City,” said Hall. And, while he admitted to always being annoyed by the name “Joyce,” he pointed out, “Clyde wasn’t any great shakes of a name either.” As a result, he would later come to be known only as “J.C.”

Growing up in poverty, Hall began an initial venture selling perfume door-to-door when he was just nine years old in order to help support his family. When he was sixteen years old, he started clerking in his older brothers’ bookstore. He then pooled his savings together with his brothers to launch the Norfolk Post Card Company. They quickly discovered, however, that their market was a limited one.

When Hall turned 18 years old, he ignored the pleas of his family and dropped out of high school. He packed up two shoeboxes crammed full of scenic postcards and boarded a train for Kansas City, Missouri. Once there, he began going door-to-door to drugstores, bookstores, and gift shops selling his cards. This time, he found greater success and Hall began taking the train to every city he could throughout the Midwest, selling his postcards to eager buyers. 

With a small room at the YMCA as his home office, Hall started to manufacture and sell his own line of postcards. He printed invoices and along with them, mailed samples of 100 postcards to dealers throughout the Midwest. As Hall expected, some of the dealers kept his postcards without ever paying. Others were angry at the unsolicited attempt and sent the cards back. But almost one-third of dealers who received Hall’s cards returned nothing but a check. 

In only a few months, the 18 year old had made over $200, and used it to open his first checking account. From there, business only got bigger, and in a few years, Hall was confident enough in his venture to ask his brothers to join him in opening up their own specialty store. 

In little time, the Norfolk Post Card Company store had opened, selling both postcards and stationery. Business was good, but Hall was worried about their losing appeal. With that, Hall decided to shift the focus of his business in a move that would forever change the course of his life. 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

For Entrepreneurs: Getting The Timing Right

Essentials in Entrepreneurship.

Q. We are a team of two looking to enter the KPO business. I am a medical doctor with a postgraduate degree in hospital administration, with seven years work experience in healthcare management. Currently, I am working as a healthcare analyst. My partner is a software engineer with three years experience in developing various business applications. Both of us come from a middle income background. With my expertise in the healthcare space and my partner’s in the IT space, together we are looking to start a healthcare KPO in either Bangalore or Gurgaon. Since both of us are sole breadwinners in our families, we would like to have your guidance about how to move out of our current jobs slowly and go about our venture? Is it advisable to work part-time? Also, we are also worried about the capital investment needed for this space, since we both earn a salaried income, how do we go about convincing investors to invest in a completely new company? 

Ans. Your intention of starting a KPO business is noble and I would encourage you and your partner to actualise your thinking. I would, however, suggest you take a relook at the order and the timing of what you want to do and when. Any business revolves around fulfilling customer needs and, to state the obvious, the objective is to generate sufficient revenues to cover costs and be profitable. Whether it is a KPO or any other business the principle remains the same. Everything in the business needs to be architected to meet the needs of the customer. The competencies and capabilities of the management are necessary but not sufficient conditions. 

The customer needs (and thus the product proposition) are typically complex and need more than just the capabilities of the entrepreneur or the management. What you need to answer is, what is the product proposition that you have for your customers and what do you need (in addition to you and your friend) to be able to deliver it? How is this product proposition that you are (or will) construct compare with what is already available in the market to the customer and how is your proposition different or superior? In cases where the product proposition is not different or superior, how do you intend to compete with the competition and is the market large to have your offerings in addition to what is available today? Are your price points acceptable to the customer and sufficient to allow you to make a profit to meet your personal objectives? As you prepare a plan to answer these questions the answers to what all has to be done and when it has to be done typically starts to emerge? Let me explain. Look at creating a business like cooking an exotic dish. You first need to have some idea of the end result of what the exotic dish is going to be. Then you need the various ingredients for the dish like meats and vegetables of various types, spices and condiments of various types, other garnishing and sauces etc. 

An expert chef will add different quantities of the ingredients at different times depending on need and what end result is needed. The chef may decide to make a particular dish as he/she has some ingredients available... but he/she still needs to get the balance items based on the needs of the dish. In the same way, for a business you need a combination of skill sets, capabilities and competencies packaged together as a product proposition for the customer who will pay a price for the ‘product’ or ‘service’. From what you state, between you and your partner you have the domain knowledge and capabilities in the healthcare and IT arena. You need to ask what else is needed to create a value proposition for your target customers. Obviously, you and your partner will use your competencies and your knowledge of your areas of expertise and your understanding of the needs of the customer to create this ‘proposition’. You then need to validate the proposition and answer some basic questions. Based on the answers you will modify or fine tune the product proposition. Once you have a somewhat realistic product proposition you will ‘flesh’ it out or ‘explode’ the proposition to determine what all is required in addition to the skills you and your partner bring as also the timing of the needs of all the inputs needed. 

This will form the first business plan for your offerings. The essential content of this plan will be the timing that you and your partner need to follow to join the new venture, the funding needs and the timing of the funding. Some realities: Competency in a particular domain (healthcare and IT in your case) alone do not guarantee a product proposition that will be attractive to the customers and be profitable. A good product proposition alone does not mean it is a business plan. A business plan does not guarantee funding. Funding does not guarantee success. All these are necessary steps... some of these steps are sequential and some can be done in parallel. Your questions of whether to work part-time or full-time and how to tie up the funding comes as an out come of this planning process. The product proposition and the business plan can be conceptualised part time or full time. If the planning process is robust then the answer will leap out at you from the business plan itself. The business plan discussed with potential investors will also tie up funding and once the funding is tied up you and your partner will be able to determine if it is worth taking the risk of leaving the jobs and tying up the other ingredients of the product proposition. There are three constituents to a business: customer, employee, and investor. 

The business plan has to address all three. If you can cater to all these three constituents then you have a good business. I have seen meticulous and detailed plans that lay out week by week what will happen and I have seen “cowboy” shoot from the hip attitude that says ‘we will figure it out’. Both can succeed... The only common element that I have seen is that all successful business have customers that are willing to pay for the services/products. In the end that is all that matters. 

Answered by: Raman Roy 
Chairman & Managing Director, Quatrro