Sunday, November 04, 2012

Chetan Bhagat in Shillong – People’s Person

His presentation entitled ‘How to be a super achiever’ was simple and direct, interesting for teenagers.  His 6 step model (1. Setting clear goals, 2. Knowing the reason behind the goal/goals. 3.Finding the group. 4. Detailed action plan. 5. Setback dealing mechanism. 6. Faith) for achieving success was quite the same as researched by many academicians, though he made it simple.  He narrated his journey to become best-selling author and emphasized that he is best-selling and may not be best.  It  sets me thinking that the response to market forces has become such that we start thinking more on what sells best and not really what is really best.  May be he is able to relate more to the young Indians and he knows the language of the youth so they are able to connect better with him and he knows that’s what really sells.  I have read most of his books (5 point someone, 3 Mistakes, 2 States, Revolution 2020) and think that he knows the pulse of his audience and accordingly manufactures the product which sells well.   Anyway he has learnt the art of logic and rationalizations from IIT and the art of selling from IIM.  A good mix, a good marketing mix for being successful.  Market is what really matters.

CB follows Kotler who gave us 4 Ps of marketing and while Kotler was asked if one has to add one more P, what that P could be, his straight forward reply was that would be PEOPLE. Mind it CB has been a student of Marketing.  And as it looks he is a true practitioner of all those marketing principles.  Throughout the presentation he kept saying he is ‘people’s person’.  May be he is people’s person through social media and in the virtual world.  Certainly not when one looks at his rude and hypocritical behavior. I sent a mail to his secretary (email id as given on for just looking for the possibility if we could meet for few minutes.  I was at least expecting a reply, an acknowledgement, may be few words mentioning that it may not be possible or otherwise.  But there was a complete lull. While in Shillong when he was asked questions he took them but after few questions he said I would take the questions off line, but just after he finished the presentation, he vanished from the venue, leaving behind so many of us trying to meet him, so many of students who wanted to take his autograph.  (Before he went on stage he was sitting in the front row, my daughter went to him for his autograph on his book ‘what young india wants’, he said after the presentation he would do that). Somehow this part of his personality, I did not like but then who am I to like or dislike.  He already has put so much of wax as that of a lotus, that nothing affects him (his own confession).

The role for which he was called was that of a motivational speaker because he is a brand in himself and a role model for many of teenagers.  For that he fitted well though he has acquired the status of a brand for what he writes so the role ambiguity that one observes in his packaging is well balanced.  However I am skeptical about his being successful as motivational speaker in the long run.  He is following a diversification strategy through connecting to people by 9 modes (as he explained) and the challenge as he sees is to connect to rural India.  I wish him luck.  He has no intention of becoming Bhagat Baba or Chetan Baba, though the title is quite catchy. But in a way he seems to be getting towards that.

Further as any product/service there is a PLC (Product Life Cycle), he is at the level of in between maturity and saturation, where the product should try staying or going ahead, I really doubt that he would be able to avoid reaching decline stage of this PLC after 8-10 years.  Anyways peak for 10-15 years is not a bad thing.  The authors are remembered after 100-200-300 years as well that’s what makes them great authors.  Products also live long but concentration on core competency requires more serious thinking than whining away from honest intentions.  Of course intention mapping is no child’s job. 

It is the people that matters for the person and not the other way. 


  • Patricia Mukhim's report on the CALM fest in The Shillong Times CLICK HERE

  • The Shillong Times report on CB's visit CLICK HERE