The urban crowd struggles to understand small-town people. They are not as modern as big city people; they are not as savvy and perhaps not in with the times, is the general consensus. But in our latest issue, stories of entrepreneurs from the country's smaller towns—saddling openness of India and grit of Bharat—poke holes in this generalised perception. Small-town mentality, once a taunt and a jibe, has now become a badge of honour. These founders are fearless, high-risk takers and adapt to changes as swiftly as fish takes to water—in the case of PC Musthafa, like fish to the batter. Here's the intriguing story of how Musthafa built a business empire on the back of idli-dosa batter.2) Semi-final cheersThe recently concluded elections for five state assemblies have charged up political corridors for the finals that will take place next year—Lok Sabha Elections 2024. There are promises of Modi Guaranty from the rulers. The exuberance on Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg on December 3, 2023, celebrating the win in the Hindi heartland that might sway votes in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh for the big final. The winds of anticipation are undoubtedly changing the atmosphere, and Indian bourses reflect some movement. They love a stable government, political and policy continuity, and chances of government policies turning populist next year. But there are also reminders from the opposition about assembly wins failing to convert into Lok Sabha seats. So, is the joy of the stock market rational or misplaced? Let's find out.3) Reaching the fast laneThis November, Toyota completed 25 years in the country. The journey began with the multi-utility vehicle Qualis. Soon, the Japanese automaker began selling the Toyota Corolla. But this journey was defined by Toyota Innova, which is still one of the top preferences for buyers looking for multi-utility vehicles in India. Today, Toyota operates in India with a slew of models that cater to categories across the industry, ranging from Glanza to MPV Rumion, to its sub-compact SUVs Hyryder and Urban Cruiser and the large MPVs Innova Crysta and Hycross. The company also sells popular models such as the Camry, SUV, Fortuner, and Vellfire in the country. According to Harshvardhan Sharma, the head of auto retail practice at Nomura Research Institute, “Toyota India story is a classic case of persistence, uncompromising quality, and sustainable growth deployment.” Why is he saying that? Here's the explanation.
1) The aim is to be globalThe skincare and beauty industry has long evolved from merely bringing a celebrity to endorse a brand to having these celebs be active partners in the development of products to now giving the market share to celeb-entrepreneurs. According to a 2023 report by McKinsey, the beauty industry generated around $430 billion in global revenue in 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6 percent through 2027. Celebs are getting a piece of this massive pie. On a global scale, queues form outside retail shops to get their hands on the latest drop by Rihanna's Fenty Beauty, Selena Gomez's Rare Beauty or Kylie Jenner's Kylie Cosmetics. On the home ground, Katrina Kaif's Kay Beauty has been unmatched in popularity so far. But it turns out Deepika Padukone's 82 East is quickly gaining ground. As the brand completes a year in the market, Padukone and co-founder Jigar Shah reflect on the reason behind their philosophy, their journey so far and their ambition to go global. Take a look.2) Younger every dayWhen the Taj Mahal New Delhi opened on an autumnal Dussehra day in 1978, ‘New Delhi’ was as yet a sluggish town of new money; a political capital but not yet today's cultural, social, and gastronomic capital. The Emergency was just over; a Morarji Desai-led Janta government was in power, and Coca-Cola had just quit the Indian market after a policy change. Against this backdrop, the new Taj at 1 Mansingh Road—just the second hotel to be opened by the Tatas, after the Gateway of India icon they built in 1903—decided to bring in a dash of sartorial style and glamour. A Yves Saint Laurent fashion show kicked off its events calendar, which was highly unusual. ‘Lifestyle’ had met Delhi. The rest, as they say, is history. It’s been 45 years for one of Delhi’s most iconic hotels. But the Taj Mahal New Delhi is not doddering into its middle years. Instead, it relaunched with a bang—after a refurbishment that has taken around three years and over Rs 200 crore. Here's a look at the luxe reimagination.3) Generative AI tools for creatorsEvery day, there is a debate about the ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI). But one thing is clear: There is no escaping AI. Just look at how NVIDIA, the maker of advanced chips powering AI, has seen its market valuation quadruple to over $1 trillion. Leading tech companies at the forefront of AI—Google/Alphabet, Microsoft, Apple, and even Facebook/Meta—have seen their valuations spike in the past six months. The Sam Altman-Open AI saga was watched with curious intensity around the world. When markets favour something, it is difficult to get rid of. Generative AI is no exception. It is a remarkable tool. Its influence and the potential to revolutionise enterprises are evident. Software giants and startups alike are introducing products and features based on generative AI to serve creators. From Adobe's Firefly to Runway AI Gen-2, here are five generative AI tools that were creators' favourites for innovation and creation.4) Be the adultWhen people come together at work, they bring their different personalities, thinking, and philosophies with them. Even if they are all working towards the same goal, conflict arises just like Thanos in the Marvel movies—it is inevitable. But instead of letting it wipe out your organisation with a snap of a finger, one should develop some strategies to work with difficult colleagues. There are diligent ways to transform even the most challenging relationships. On this journey of solving or facing conflicts, you can also develop the skills and confidence needed to boost your career. Amy Gallo, a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review and co-host of its Women at Work podcast for the past four years, brings her insights on conflict resolution in her new book Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People).In this conversation, she offers three principles to help you get along with anyone.