Memories, Daak Naams and Unwritten Rules
Hello and welcome to the 41st issue of my newsletter. This newsletter is a collection of ideas that have caught my attention. Do consider subscribing to the newsletter by clicking the button below. You will get the newsletter every Monday at 9:00am IST.
The newsletter needs attention throughout the week. I have to scan for ideas and stories, illustrate them and proof-read the newsletter until I can finally press the send button. Then it is to focus on the NEXT.
It all seems worthwhile if you subscribe to this newsletter.
Do you actually own your memories?
Machines are now able to create animated versions of photos. It is surreal and creepy to say the least. But it is also an ethical question for all of us to think about.
Should machines be allowed to modify your memories?
Your memories are not created by you alone (they are not).
Memories are well-crafted stories we tell ourselves. So the real question is - should machines modify our stories. Here is why Read this
Your reputation is a possible business model
Singapore Airlines has won awards for its customer service, including “World’s Best Cabin Crew” at Skytrax’s 2019 World Airline Awards. Staff at the company are drilled in attention to detail as well as hospitality techniques; cabin crew, for instance, are taught to remember 40 passenger names in roughly 10 minutes so they can address customers directly on board, Ms. Foo said.
Other companies known for investing in their customer service have introduced similar external training programs, including the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. and Walt Disney Co.
Now Singapore Airlines is going to use its legendary hospitality skills to make money. They will teach the world how to improve their service.
One way to think about your business is to ask: What in your reputation would prompt others to join your uniquely designed training program?
What is a “Daak Naam”
Daak Naam has nothing to do with the Dark Web. They just share half of the sound effect.
It is a secret most Bengalis will not share. Before I tell you about that, let me tell you that my name is pronounced as Uh-Bhee-Jeet. Some people try very hard to pronounce it as “Oh-Bhee-Jeet” like the true blue Bengalis. Most people still cannot pronounce Kolkata. (It is Coal-Kah-Ta and not Call-Cawta as some philistines say). So it is safe to assume Abhijit is tough for most people to pronounce. But I stray. Let me explain what a Daak Naam is all about.
Bengalis are famous for having a second identity - their daak naam. That is the name by which the family starts referring to the new born. It is a stop-gap arrangement to help the parents think of the name that will be entered in the school register.
These daak naams are terms of endearment that can be perennial sources of embarrassment. A name like Golu (popular with every cherubic kiddo) that sounded cute as a child’s name can be downright weird when seen lurking around on shaadi.com. Some people manage to get rid of those names discreetly somewhere during their teens. I was not one of them.
I then realised that I can figure out how long you have known me, depending on the the name you call me by.
LinkedIn recently created a feature that allowed people to create a small audio file to tell people how to pronounce their name. The inspiration for that comes from this post.
What is the most unusual or complex name you have come across? I once met someone whose name was Rouble. Is your brother named Dollar, I asked in an attempt at humour. “That is my sister’s name. My brother is called Franc.”
Manoj Kohli’s 4 H formula
I chatted with Manoj Kohli who is the Country Head of Softbank India. He has had the distinction of growing Airtel to a dizzying 400 million customers when he was the CEO.
A lot of people found the interview very practical and insightful. Check it out
You may want to read this post by Vineet Nayyar
How EdTech has Changed Education to a Privilege in India
Who taught you how to behave in an elevator or lift depending on which country you're reading this newsletter in? You go into the elevator and necessarily face the door through which you entered. Who made that rule? Have you ever read that anywhere?
Jeff Leitner talks about the unwritten rules. I found it fascinating. Check it out and see you next Monday.
If you liked the newsletter, do consider sharing it. And before you go, do tap the heart button below.
One of my aunts has a daak naam of "Kuli". Her daughter, i.e. my cousin used to tease her saying that when her Mom goes to Howrah Station, nobody will be able to call out to her by her daak naam because it might be mistaken to be a call for a porter (coolie).
Of course, this family joke is over a quarter century old. The last time I went to Howrah Station was in the previous century. I don't even know if the old porter system exists any more (nostalgic sigh...).
Most difficult Daak names I have encountered are Tamil names. The complex name I remember is Saravanabhavanandan