The Tinted Glass in Customer Service: what customer service training lacks

I arrived at Bangalore airport covered in sweat and carrying a semi torn bag. It had been an extremely muggy summer day, and I spent quite some time outside to get Uber to the airport- one cancellation after another, you know the drill. The long ride through Bangalore traffic snarls was exhausting, and the cab’s AC was not working either.

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Don’t Worry, Make Money

In India there is a lot of stigma around making money. I regularly speak to young entrepreneurs in mentoring sessions or while just catching up with friends who are starting up or considering starting up their business journey. What I hear often is a deep seated sense of guilt about making money. Turning a profit. The guilt comes from the fact that the society, especially society in Bengal, where I am from, tells you since your childhood that businessmen are evil incarnate. They tell you how, in business, you cannot make money without cheating someone. Making money in business, and turning a profit is almost always equated with the cheating your customers out of their hard-earned cash. Our folktales, media and now, social media are flushed with stories of dishonest businessmen. This is the narrative that we grow up with. As a result, we see traditional entrepreneurial communities like the Marwaris, Sindhis and Gujaratis as morally corrupt, and which leads to many unwanted stereotypes.

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Burj Khalifa in Kolkata & a Case for Virtual Travel

Why do people rush to see a tin foil model of Burj Khalifa, or a cloth and plywood model of the White House? Why are we intrigued by a scaled down model of the Big Ben, Angkor, Sukothai? Durga Puja and the popular theme pandals can tell you a lot about unfulfilled wanderlust of people and can be a key to unravel the massive potential for immersive virtual travel.

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App Cabs- Algorithm vs People

Ryde, a new app-based cab aggregator has launched their service in Kolkata a couple of days back. This is the third such company to have launched in Kolkata in the last 4 years attempting to take some market share from Uber and Ola in Kolkata, capitalising mainly on customer frustrations, especially about surge pricing. None of the previous ones survived. Will Ryde be the one to make the market monopoly of the Big Two?

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Breaking News: You can be a Start-Up Founder without Knowing How to Code!

So you think to be a start-up founder you need to be a coder? If that was so, neither I, nor my wife and Co-Founder Chelsea would have founded Immersive Trails and ran it successfully for the last 4.5 years. I am an archaeologist by training and Chelsea, an anthropologist.

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“It Won’t Work”- why you should not give a F to naysayers

All my life I’ve been told things won’t work:

1. When I wanted to study history since Class VI my school wanted to talk me out of it, because I won’t get a job.

2. When I went to the UK to study Archaeology, people said I was wasting my parents money, that they didn’t have & my time. Who ever got a decent job being an archaeologist? Zahi Hawass, may be, but who else?

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29th August 2008

If you are from a low-income family and a student of humanities with high aspirations, then you are bound to hit some major roadblocks in India. Something happened on 29th August 2008 which made this deeply entrenched in my mind. Those who know this, Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture (RMIC), Golpark offers a 1 lakh rupee fellowship every year to a few students who have successfully been selected for any university abroad. There is no subject restrictions, or at least there weren’t back then. At the time I applied for the fellowship in March-April 2008, I was already holding unconditional offers for MA Archaeology from 6 major UK universities. This was even before I completed my final BA exam, so an unconditional offer was quite something, and was beyond my expectation. My father asked me to apply for this fellowship as it would help us fund the airfare and pay the deposit and advance for the University accommodation. I applied for the fellowship and waited until the end of August for a decision. In the meantime, I had accepted the offer from the University of Exeter.

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Know and Say “No”

When Leicester City went into the 2016 New Year, top of the English Premier League table, it surprised everyone, including the longtime Foxes fans, its management, the owners and some new fans like me. Leicester was almost relegated the previous season and had miraculously pulled up a “Great Escape” in their last 10 games under then Manager Nigel Pearson.

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Tourism in Post-COVID19 Bengal- Rebrand, Empathize, Go-Micro

Immersive Trails Co-founder and wife Chelsea McGill and I have been to several tourism meetings in the last 4 years about branding and marketing Bengal. The two topics of discussion were common in these meetings.

1. Branding and marketing targeted at the “inbound”

2. Tourism=Durga Puja

In our limited experience in building an experiential tourism company from scratch, I think this has been our Achilles Heel in branding Bengal.

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How to Privatize Indian Archaeology the Right Way

I proposed something radical on a talk that I gave yesterday. Radical that is, in the context of Indian archaeology. I proposed that the government allow semi-privatization of archaeology with some level of government oversight.

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