Ganesh was a creative genius, a brilliant innovator, a compulsive tinkerer or a gizmo-geek, depending on how one viewed his obsession with gadgets . He was constantly closeted in his workshop trying to make a meaningful whole of the various parts and components that littered the place. He passionately believed that everything in life must have more than one use and endeavoured to inject varying degrees of multi-functionality into all his inventions.
Alas, good inventors seldom are good entrepreneurs and Ganesh struggled to make a commercial success of his creations. Once, he toiled for days together and came out with an indigenous version of the Swiss Army knife that consisted of a corkscrew, bottle-opener, knife, scissors, screw driver, inch tape and a monkey spanner. The merciless market rejected this contraption outright . Inscrutable indeed can be the behaviour of the Customer and one can do nothing but solemnly bow to His diktat
Undeterred by this setback, Ganesh went back to his laboratory and swung into action again. This time he designed a wrist watch, which was awesome in its complexity. It had a built-in mobile phone, digital camera, torch light, thermometer, sphygmanometer, FM radio, alarm clock and a miniature micro-wave oven to make one corn pop at a time. Unfortunately, it too bombed at the box-office as the finicky, irrational customers insisted that the wrist watch must also be able to tell the time.- which need Ganesh had not provided for
Now, Ganesh’s wife was getting impatient and would not put up with this any more. She lashed out at Ganesh for sitting on his butt all day, tinkering with his toys and not doing anything worthwhile to fetch some income for the family. She gave him a week’s notice to deploy his time and resources profitably, warning him of dire consequences if he failed to do so. She told him in no uncertain terms that she would use his Army knife to skin him alive or his microwave oven to cook one finger or a toe of his at a time, if he persisted with his madness.
Ganesh was stung by the accusation that he was sitting on his butt all day . He was determined to prove her wrong and made a mental note to begin work on an integrated model consisting of a pedometer (to be attached to his legs to measure the number of steps he walked every day) and a piezo-electric sensor glued to his trouser-seat ( which would be connected to a timer to record the number of hours he spent sitting on his butt ) and a calibrated differentiator to display the net energy he burnt every day. He was lost thus in his reverie when Serendipity smiled on him.
A farmer visiting the city had chanced to pick up Ganesh’s multi-purpose knife from a roadside dustbin and immediately appreciated its potential as an ear-poker, a nose-digger, a back-scratcher, a lice-picker , a tongue-scraper, nail-cleaner and a tooth de-stainer, all packaged in one. Soon, the word spread as it always does in our villages . There was a huge demand for the product and Rural India’s need was insatiable. The knife was re-christened as Kisan Ka Katthi and positioned by the FMCGs as the farmer’s inseparable companion. Gadget Ganesh had finally arrived. He also thus managed to keep his skin and his fingers and his toes intact.
Ganesh is now engaged in designing , for his wife, a new multi-purpose dress which can be worn as a sari , or as a salwar kameez by the simple expedient of folding it inward and twisting it to form a Mobius strip or as a kimono merely by tugging a couple of strategically-concealed strings. His wife is a very happy woman.
The lesson to you, boys and girls who want to pursue a career in marketing, is to anticipate the unarticulated needs of your customers. Learn to do this and success is yours.