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