Our Promise: Sharp, Engaging, In-Depth

Forbes India: A drama critic

Published: May 31, 2009

Apologies for the long lay-off. Our launch revelry consumed practically one whole week—leaving us barely another week to close an entire edition. Considering that, we haven’t done too badly. There are plenty of surprises in store in the second issue. It hits the stands on Friday, June 5.

In the last one week, we’ve been inundated with emails and text messages from a wide cross-section of readers. I have to say this: we’re truly humbled by the response. We were confident that we had a good product. It had done reasonably well in the reader trials that we had put it through before we launched. But no one expected copies to fly off the newsstands across the country, in the way they did. Before we launched, there was some worry that subscriptions wouldn’t take off. That has been proven wrong too. Of course, we realise that it’s early days. And we have miles to go. But it sure does feel good to bask in the praise for a short while before we get back to work!

Before our launch, there was one question that we would be repeatedly asked: how will you be different from other magazines? Now that you’ve experienced Forbes India, either through the print edition or here on www.business.in.com, it’ll be far easier for you to relate to what I’m about to share. So how are we really different?

1. First and foremost, Forbes India will aim to be the drama critic of Indian business. We’ll tell you who’s performing well, who’s not and why. We don’t believe in “on the one hand, on the other,” kind of journalism. If you’ve read the cover story on Lakshmi Mittal (by Prince Mathews Thomas and Sanjay Suri) or the story on Suzlon (Ashish Mishra and T. Surendar), you’ll know what I’m talking about. The stories have hard evidence, clear reasoning and logic.

2. We tell stories, through real people and characters, just like in a play or book. So while companies may be a shade dull, their executives seldom are. Our stories will be conversational, like someone sitting on a bar stool telling you a story. My personal favourite: my colleague Dinesh Narayanan’s story on Leelabai, the Dalit entrepreneur in Madhya Pradesh. It’s unlikely that you’ll forget the plot in a hurry. Especially, when the story has been backed by some brilliant photography by our talented deputy head of Photography, Vikas Khot. (Check out his slide show ) Please do make sure you don’t miss Zen Garden , Subroto Bagchi’s unputdownable column on entrepreneurship.

3. Yes, our stories won’t always be warm and sunny all the time. They will have many conflict points. Life’s reality is that there are always sudden ups and downs and unexpected events that challenge even the most successful company. Acknowledging that reality makes our stories just that more credible. Like Cuckoo Paul’s story on Vijay Mallya . Some folks thought it was hard-hitting. I felt it was classily done, and balanced too.

4. At Forbes India, we believe in the spirit of fair play: companies and government need to follow the rules. When companies break the law or governments abuse the power vested in them, we’ll jump on the story. Example: R.N. Bhaskar’s investigative story on the Andhra Pradesh government’s run-in with Nimesh Kampani, the country’s best known investment banker.

5. If you’ve picked up a copy of our print magazine, you would have noticed that we haven’t straitjacketed all the stories into neat, little cubbyholes. So here’s no section called markets, corporate, technology or policy, like in other business magazines. The best business stories are usually an amalgam of all these areas. Yes, the Well of the magazine carries some labels — Corporate Account, First Principles, Global Game and Enterprise — and I’ll explain them in more detail in another post after the second issue is out. For the moment, just remember we’ll strive to be inter-disciplinary.

7. Upfront, our front-of-the-book section, is once again different from our magazines. We don’t rely on recapping the last fortnight’s events. Instead, we’ve used a variety of formats to add value: punchy interviews, creative visualisation of data, what-if scenario analyses and a detailed CEO briefing to keep the reader primed for the Well of the magazine. More on this in a later post.

6. Life’s real lessons cannot always be discovered inside corporate balance sheets and government policy documents. Beyond poring over hard numbers and mind-numbing details, businessmen and corporate executives also need help: To choose the best movies, books or to even plan their next holiday. Or even some advice on what’s OK to filch from their hotel room! Our Life section packs in enough to help you ahead in the Business of Life department. And there’s some high-class gossip thrown in too in our column called Insnider . I bet you’ll come back for more.

To sum up, Forbes India will be sharp, in-depth and engaging. Do you agree? Let us hear what you think. It’ll help us improve.

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  • Parmesh Rudra Joshi

    It is really great to be in business with a Forbes by my side.

    on Aug 16, 2009
  • Niranjan

    Congrats on the launch of the inaugural edition. I've been subscribing to the Asian edition and it's good to have a more India-focussed issue. I liked the content, mostly, but I think you should resist the temptation to 'jazz it up' too much and retain the intellectual flavor of Forbes International. Please have the regular columns by Lee Kuan Yew, Steve Forbes, etc. featured. And the quality of editing and proofreading needs to be improved. And the print quality! I picked this up at a jewellery store in Chennai where they were handing it out to customers, and it looked like one of those 2nd rate city socialite magazines! Please, please make it look like a classy newsmagazine - which means glossy printing on thin paper - like The Economist, Businessweek, Time, Newsweek, et.al! Have the International Forbes team even looked at a final copy of the Indian edition?! I'm sure they would not be happy with the paper and print quality.

    on Jun 3, 2009
  • robertlobo

    IG quite honestly there is too much of diagnosis and hind-sight wisdom being dispensed on the stands that one can live without. What probably one needs today is thoughts that can spark ideas that open new opportunities , showcase more leelabhai's which can help rejuvenate entrupeneurship whiich is at an all time low. I am sure you are seening this gap and are going to fill it. We have huge belly of young demographic that can unleash a new spirit in entruprenuership which is so desperately required in these times.

    on Jun 2, 2009
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