Sunday, May 2, 2010

Business trivia

Business legend: Raghunandan Saran

Commercial vehicles manufacturer Ashok Leyland celebrated its diamond jubilee

recently. The company was set up in 1948 by Raghunandan

Saran as Ashok Motors, the name chosen being that of his

only son.

Ashok Motors was incorporated in September 1948 in Madras

and commenced business in December, settling in the fishing

village of Ennore.

The firm wanted to produce cars in collaboration with Austin

of the UK, but Austin was not keen on India, according to

'Moving India on Wheels'–a book on Ashok Leyland

authored by S. Muthiah.

As negotiations with Austin did not take off, Saran decided to

join hands with Leyland of the UK for making trucks.

On July 4, 1955, Ashok Motors Ltd. became Ashok Leyland Ltd. and produced in 1955

the 1,000 12-ton Comet bus and truck chassis for which it was licensed.

Business legend: Thomas Bata

Thomas Bata served with the Canadian army in 1938 after

the rise of Nazism forced him to flee his homeland. He came

back in 1989 when Vaclav Havel, the Czech dissident leader

and playwright became President.

Havel awarded him the country's top decoration, the Tomas

Garrigue Masaryk Order, in 1991.

Bata also served as chairman of the Organisation for

Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) business

and advisory committee on non-members.

The Hindustan Contessa is a model of car manufactured by

Hindustan Motors of India, utilizing the tooling of the British

1972-1978 Vauxhall Victor/VX FE series. The Contessa

Classic was a popular choice for govt limousines. It was one of

the few Indian manufactured luxury cars in the late 80's and

early 90's. The production of this car was stopped in 2002.



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Bain & Co

Bain & Company is one of the world's leading global business consulting firms and was

founded in 1973 on the principle that consultants should deliver results

- not just reports - to their clients.

Bain's logo is called True North. True North is a navigational point on

a gyro compass - an unchanging point of reference and grounding,

despite shifting conditions and turbulent environments. An ordinary

compass finds magnetic North easily - but is unreliable because

Magnetic North changes with time and location. True North never wavers.


PayPal is the result of a merger between Confinity and

Confinity was founded in 1998 by Max Levchin, Peter Thiel, Luke Nosek, and Ken


􀂙 was founded by Elon Musk in 1999.

To block potentially fraudulent access by automated systems,

PayPal used a system of making the user enter numbers from a blurry picture, which they

coined the Gausebeck-Levchin test.

PayPal was the first dot-com to come out with an IPO after the September 11 attacks.

In October 2002, PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion.

Bharat Electronics Limited

Starting with the manufacture of communication

equipment in 1956, Bharat Electronics Limited

(BEL) went on to produce receiving valves in

1961, germanium semiconductors in 1962 and

radio transmitters for AIR in 1964.

In 1966, BEL set up a radar manufacturing

facility for the Army and in-house R&D.

In 1970, manufacture of Black & White TV Picture Tube, X-ray Tube and Microwave

Tubes started.

1972 saw BEL manufacturing TV Transmitters for Doordarshan. The following year,

manufacture of Frigate Radars for the Navy began.

1989 saw the manufacture of the first batch of 75,000 Electronic Voting Machines.

In June 2007, BEL was conferred the prestigious Navratna status.

Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that forces you to be concise. Unlike blogging where

you are free to write however long you want, Twitter only allows 140 characters. That's

around 25 words. Two sentences.

Whirlpool also offers the lower-priced Roper brand



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The Infiniti House of Inspiration, a joint initiative of Nissan and Hearst Magazine,

offers vivid and stylish attention to Infiniti's luxury performance automobiles.

"FOSS" stands for Free (and) Open Source Software.

CERN is European Laboratory for Network Collision

Prof M. S. Swaminathan has coined the term 'Evergreen Revolution'.

HOW WOULD YOU MOVE MOUNT FUJI?–a recent book by William Poundstone

BRAND WARFARE–a recent book by David F D'alessandro

The first official 'Formula One' race was at Silverstone, England, in 1950

Morgan Stanley economist Stephen Jen coined the term "Olympic Curse".

Crowdsourcing is a term for the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an

employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of

people, in the form of an open call. The word was first coined by Jeff Howe in a June

2006 Wired magazine article.

Wired magazine was founded by American journalist Louis Rossetto and Jane

Metcalfe in 1993 with initial backing from software entrepreneur Charlie Jackson and

industry pundit Nicholas Negroponte of the MIT Media Lab.

Vaporware: A term for products announced far in advance of any release, which may or

may not actually take place.

Condé Nast began his empire by purchasing the men's fashion magazine Dress in 1913.

Nast received a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1897 and got a

job as advertising manager for 'Collier's Weekly' (1898–1907).

What is common to supermarket firm Tesco, coffee shop Tchibo, hamburger chain

Hesburger, periodical Cosmo Girl, broadcasters MTV, ESPN and Disney, airline

Easyjet and music bands the Twins, Nelly, and Kiss? All of them have tried to get into the

telecom business as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO).

Richard Branson's Virgin brand started using T-Mobile's network and spectrum to offer

cellular services in the UK in 1999–it was world's first Mobile Virtual Network

Operator (MVNO).

Jim Rogers, a well known global investor, heads Rogers Holdings in Singapore and was

a co-founder of Quantum Fund with George Soros.



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Incorporated in 1984 by S. P. Mittal, Chairman, Greenply is engaged in manufacturing,

marketing, distribution and branding various types of plywood, flush doors, block boards,

laminates, decorative veneers and particle boards.

Intelligence Quotient was a term coined by German psychologist William Stern in 1912.

Earliest IQ tests were developed by Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon in the early 20th

Century. Stanford-Binet IQ test is the most popular one.

In 2001, Dr Villoo Morawala-Patell, plant biologist and PhD from the 'University of

Louis Pasteur' started Avesthagen Ltd. Her venture was financed by the Tata and

Godrej groups.

TrueType is an outline font standard originally developed by Apple Computer in the

late 1980s as a competitor to Adobe's Type 1 fonts used in PostScript.

PostScript (PS) is a programming language created by John Warnock and Charles

Geschke in 1982 and is best known for its use as a page description language in the

electronic and desktop publishing areas.

Vijay Govindrajan is the Professor of International Business at the Tuck School and

founding director of Tuck's Center for Global Leadership

The earliest street lighting in London can be traced to 1878 when the Victoria

Embankment was lit with 20 electrically-powered Jablochkoff candles. Paris branch of

the General Electric Company installed these candles.

Pioma Industries, the owner of Rasna, experimented with a fizzy fruit drink called

Oranjolt that bombed even before it could take off.

Pergo in 1977 invented laminated flooring. Laminated flooring was first sold in Sweden

in 1978.

Viswanathan Anand, the current brand ambassador for NIIT, also endorsed Memory

Plus–a pharma brand.

He was elected first President of the All India Goseva Sangh. He died on 11 February


The Global Compact is a partnership between the United Nations, the

business community, international labour and NGOs. The objective is

to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially

responsible policies, and to report on their implementation.

CoRE (Corporate Roundtable on Development of Strategies for Environment), launched

by The Energy Research Institute (TERI), is envisaged as a means to facilitate industry

in addressing the environmental problems plaguing India.



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Business legends: Henning Holck-Larsen & Soren Kristian Toubro

L&T was founded in Bombay (Mumbai) in 1938 by two Danish engineers, Henning

Holck-Larsen and Soren Kristian Toubro.

In the 1930s, Henning Holck-Larsen and Soren Kristian Toubro represented Danish

manufacturers of dairy equipment in India.

The war-time need to repair and refit ships offered L&T an opportunity, and led to the

formation of a new company, Hilda Ltd., to handle these operations.

The sudden internment of German engineers

(because of WWII) who were to put up a soda

ash plant for the Tatas, gave L&T a chance to

enter the field of installation - an area where

their capability became well respected.

In 1945, L&T signed an agreement with

Caterpillar Tractor Company, USA, for

marketing earthmoving equipment.

At the end of the war, large numbers of warsurplus

Caterpillar equipment were

available at attractive prices, but the finances required were beyond the capacity of the

partners. This prompted them to raise additional equity capital, and in 1946, Larsen &

Toubro Limited was born.

Prestigious orders executed by the Company during this period included the Amul Dairy

at Anand and Blast Furnaces at Rourkela Steel Plant.

Its corporate HQ is called L&T House.

In 1976, Holck-Larsen was awarded the Magsaysay Award for International

Understanding in recognition of his contribution to India's industrial development.

To compete and grow in a globalised business environment, L&T is implementing a

strategic plan (LAKSHYA) for 2005-10.

Brand icon: Courvoisier

Courvoisier is a brand of cognac currently owned by Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc.

Although no evidence exists that Courvoisier cognac was the favorite drink of Napoleon

Bonaparte, who died in 1821, before Courvoisier was officially established by Felix

Courvoisier in 1835, the company website claims the following:

The origin of our history goes back to the beginning of the 19th century with Emmanuel

Courvoisier and his associate, Louis Gallois,

running a wine and spirit merchant company, in

the Parisian suburb of Bercy. In 1811 Napoleon

visited their warehouses in Parisian suburb of

Bercy and he was hosted by Louis Gallois, the

Mayor, and Emmanuel Courvoisier.

Legend has it that Napoleon I later took several

barrels of cognac with him to St Helena, a treat much appreciated by the English officers

on the ship who named it 'The Cognac of Napoleon'.



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The brand came to be owned by the Simon family who established the Napoleon

silhouette which has adorned every bottle of Courvoisier since the 1920s, and they

introduced the distinctive and elegant Josephine battle to honour the empress in 1950.

Courvoisier was served at the official opening of the Eiffel Tower.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, popularly known as KPCS, is a process

introduced by United Nations resolution 55/56 that is designed to certify the origin of

rough diamonds from sources which are free of conflict.

Chapter 11 is a US tax code that shelters companies from their creditors. If GM goes into

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, they might also be forced to sell the Indian and

profitable Chinese operations

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) in the US gifts one free XO laptop for every branded

laptop purchased on online retailer Amazon.

Nandan Mohan was awarded the prestigious Joseph Schumpeter prize for innovative

services in economy, economic sciences and politics in 2005.

SKS Microfinance was founded by Vikram Akula, a Ph.D in Political Science from the

University of Chicago who worked at McKinsey. His request for financing is turned

down by Ford Foundation in 1996. Akula pioneered the SmartCard Pilot project that uses

SmartCards at village level. The project won him the CGAP Pro-Poor Innovation award

as well as a $50,000 prize.

A group of high-tech companies that includes Cisco and Sun have formed the IP for

Smart Objects Alliance. Simply put, the organization intends to create a new kind of

network that will allow sensor-enabled physical objects — appliances in your home,

products in a factory, cars in a city — to talk to one another, the same way people

communicate over the Internet.

23andMe is a privately held personal genomics and biotechnology company co-founded

by Google co-founder Sergey Brin's wife Anne Wojcicki.

Roadrunner broke the long-sought-after petaflop barrier: 1 quadrillion calculations

per second. Built by IBM for Los Alamos National Laboratory, Roadrunner will be used

primarily to simulate the effects of aging on nuclear weapons

Watson's Hotel, currently known as the esplanade mansion, is India's oldest surviving

cast iron building, located in the Kala Ghoda district of Mumbai (Bombay). It was

named after its original owner, John Watson.

Among the hotel's notable guests was Mark Twain who wrote about the city's crows he

saw outside his balcony in Following the Equator. It was also the first place in India to

screen the Lumière Brothers' Cinematographe invention in 1896.



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According to rumours, Indian industrialist Jamsetji Tata was denied access to the hotel.

In retaliation he opened the Taj Mahal Palace, a hotel that stands near what is now the

Gateway of India in 1903.

Rajasthan Dairy Cooperative Federation markets its products under the brand Saras.

Allen Breed, Walter Linderer and John Hedrik held patents for airbags. The 1973,

Oldsmobile Toronado was the first car with a passenger air bag intended for sale to the

public. By 1988, Chrysler became the first company to offer air bag restraint systems as

standard equipment.

Horton Automatics developed and sold the first automatic sliding door in America in

1960. The company co-founders Dee Horton and Lew Hewitt invented the sliding

automatic door in 1954. Their automatic doors used a mat actuator.

A Philadelphia pharmacist named Asa Candler invented the coupon in 1895. Candler

bought the Coca-Cola Co. from the original inventor Dr. John Pemberton, an Atlanta

pharmacist. Candler placed coupons in newspaper for a free Coke from any fountain - to

help promote the new soft drink.

The first patent for bar code was issued to inventors Joseph Woodland and Bernard

Silver in 1952.

Willy Müller invented the first automatic answering machine in 1935. This answering

machine was popular with Orthodox Jews who were forbidden to answer the phone on the


System 360 was the first commercial mainframe computer launched by IBM

Sintex India Ltd gets its name from a process called sintering and was formerly known

has Bharat Vijay Mills.

Ted Turner of CNN once challenged Rupert Murdoch to a boxing match.

A new brand of wine called Zampa, red, white and sparkling, has hit

the market. It is made in India from grapes grown around Nashik. The

seed for the grape has been brought from vineyards in France. And the

man behind Vallee de Vin (Valley of Wine in French) is Ravi Jain, a

one time employee of the late Manu Chhabria and a business partner of

Vijay Mallya.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) traces its roots to the pioneering efforts of Seth

Walchand Hirachand, who set up Hindustan Aircraft Ltd at Bangalore in association

with the erstwhile princely State of Mysore.



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