It is more enlightening to read a book with a variety of ideas strung together in a collection of articles, rather than one on a particular theme. Every new anthology gives us a different insight.
Harvard Business Review on Emerging Markets is one such collection, with a range of essays. One of them, ‘The Battle for China’s Good-Enough Market’ by Orit Gadiesh, Philip Leung and Till Vestring, is an analysis on how instead of looking for premium or ultra low-cost products, middle class people are now attracted to those that are reliable and ‘good enough’ at reasonable prices. This is an important trend because in the past, it was not easy to get something dependable, of good quality and well priced, all in one.
I can apply this concept to our business of telecom infrastructure, as 10 years ago, it was pricey but now it can be made at affordable rates.
Another book that shaped my outlook is Stephen Roach on The Next Asia: Opportunities and Challenges for a New Globalization. Today our primary competition is from Chinese companies. This book is good for an understanding of China. It gives us a better picture of the strength of their underpinnings, the latest inclination to quasi-protectionism, and other details.
Clayton M. Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail had a great impact on me. It talks about companies that get caught up in the mould they create and lose sight of the big picture. Whenever we do a competitive analysis, we conclude with reasons as to why we are successful in certain areas and not in others.
The way to learn is by questioning your own performance.
Sanjay Nayak is CEO and MD, Tejas Networks
(Co-ordinated by Nilofer D’Souza)
(This story appears in the 03 December, 2010 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)