The Bata CEO on Leadership

Bata CEO Alexis Nasard to Christine Tan, Managing Asia at CNBC Asia on replying to the question; ‘What would you like to achieve as a CEO?’

Transform Business in to an Institution, (which is) Build to Last.

The best business interview in a while. Learning can happen with the right intent on the content. The Lebanese Civil Engineer and Haas MBA is a tough cookie when he says, that the young should follow passion rather than instinct. Work hard on something that one loves and hope to succeed and make money along the way. Pure Gold.

Towards a Philosophy of Creative Practice

I have been writing since high school and seriously since first year of college, and the writing trajectory had been spaced into several formats; research papers to begin with, punctuated with articles and essays and more recently poems. My writerly practice is undergirded by a sense to respond to the machinations of the world around us and to create a response to create awareness through criticism and feedback. While this might not seem very creative in a conventional manner in a statement of artistic pedagogy and I have not attended MFA school yet. The world through social media echo chambers are monologues and monolithic, and real informed Deep engagement to stand the test of the refreshed feed on Twitter. While my writing is self consuming and speaks to the chaotic immediacy of our times where digital, migration, urbanity and sustainability (all intertwined themes that I scribble on) are the mega trends of our times. Different formats in framing a response evoke a varied sentiment. All written art does not need to have the character of haute couture, but needs to have a story to narrate in a distinctive voice, one which I hope that I am on the way to carve. This is my first attempt to frame a philosophy of writerly practice.

Expert Knowledge in the Data Age

In this data age, the resources with understanding will be rewarded, not surface level data, but insights which would add to Solutions and to the bottom line. Data means hardly anything if it can’t be monetised. Excess of data, means the reliance on search engines for access. Understanding and connecting the dots is more important. I have a sense that subject experts will be back with a vengeance, hitting the über generalists hard. We want safe and reliable systems right?



When the sunset is better than the latest LED screen

When the iPhone is a miss

Something is wrong

The brain prompts

‘You can’t take the perfect sunset pic’

But, the soul is soaking in the serenity

Life needed to reclaimed

From digital

And lived on its own merits

Red Sparrow: Movie Review

Red Sparrows, a heroic spy thriller from Russia, where a former Ballerina, with the State run Bolshoy Company is injured by her Male compatriot, in a sinister ploy to remove her from the scene with a younger dancer. The character Dominika Igorov, is an angry woman, taking care of her sick mother. She is pushed in to the spy trade as a honey trap agent, by her Uncle, who is a senior SVR operative. Dominika played by the über talented Jennifer Lawrence, is caught in an American espionage ring between Moscow, Budapest, Vienna and Moscow. The heart of the visual narrative is the fine print of a visually appealing dancer, who is retrained in to a spy agent, to feed her mother and is a human actor in a Global power play. Lawrence carries every frame in the film on her slender but stoically firm shoulders. Spy thrillers cannot get better than this. The Bond/Bourne/Kings Man franchise is a notch below than Red Sparrows. Spy Craft preys into human vulnerability and feeds into realpolitik. The supporting cast of Russian characters and the American crew, including a familiar face from the House of Cards series, is competent. The visual mosaic is apt, but not overwhelming. This is a film which adds a layer to ones aesthetic vocabulary. The Tigers of the world have to relearn. Swag is in embodiment. Lawrence exemplifies it.




Research Methods Matter

I write on a basket of issues; sustainability, digital, migration and urbanity. All of these themes are undergirded by a particular immediacy, and need

perennial conversations with the world around. I am piqued by social research methods, one subject I was not particularly interested in graduate school as I had a brutal tutor. But in real life, consulting, think tank research and non profit strategy, data poor environments mean research designs are most significant.

The Data Delusion

The entire Cambridge Analytica debacle was expected in the era of the hyper digital. Technology in smart phones with fast and cheap data makes connectivity ubiquitous. There is an entire generation who are digital natives, who type on keyboards on their cell phones faster then they can write. This strain however causes, laziness and a tendency to take the digital as a panacea. Office work takes place on Facebook messenger groups and families share updates. Facebook whether we like it or not is ‘second nature’ for many to connect, as it does not cost a dime. The flip side for the cost neutral communication is privacy, where quite a few people of us feel that ‘I am not important’ even if my data is sold off for less than innocent ends. The digital era, has made digital ethics and privacy lessons mandatory to people and organisations alike to recapture the space where they have ceded to social internet. Critical thinking is the intellectual first responder in these times.

Social media, runs on our data, and it is time that we understand the ramifications rather than get stunned by the artificial filter bubbles created by firms such as Cambridge Analytica as data is the new oil for these firms. Information warfare with Alt Facts in the Post Truth era is real. Sadly very few understand. The danger is even more real and present for knowledge sector firms such as professional services and media.