Copycats: You Have Nerves of Steal !


Stealing other people’s ideas is now disguised as creativity ! I, me, EMMY to that!



Imitation might be considered as the best form of flattery. But, when ideas get stolen, used, monetised without attribution, acknowledgment, respect and royalty, it has to be considered daylight robbery. Worse, when the ‘ dubious claiming to be owners ‘(I have no compunction in calling them thieves) of the idea begin to flaunt it cockily all over social media, neither does it make for pleasant viewing or an easily digestable experience. If any of you have traveled in the same boat, it is time to rock it together. Let us not remain just chat bo(a)ts.



I am (almost) certain that iconic businesses are not made this way. Nor are iconic entrepreneurs or executives. Cons don’t become icons. They might savor the interim thrill of the non existing chase (because they got it on a platter from someone or somewhere else) of the new shiny object and bask in the after glow. One shallow does not make a summer. Or does it?



This malaise is not restricted to the non playing captains of zilch honor and high disrepute. It is systemic and has transcended like beg bugs and termites into the sanctum sanctorums of decision making in organisations and countries. Probably the culture (sleight of) handbook there is captioned ‘ With Nothing But Malaise Towards One and All ‘. With the preamble reading something like this ‘ Since we are totally incapable of doing anything original and worthwhile, the solemn promise we make to ourselves is to NOT do anything that remotely involves sincerity, authenticity, bonafide intent and commitment. That said, we reassure all our stakeholders that we will do everything in our might to steal, connive, manipulate, fraud , short change other people and organisations so that we can move around with our fed held high and head held low. In dignity, we mistrust ‘.



You and me might have heard of cheat days but there is a small community of people ( con artists) and organisations that have taken this art form and scaled it exponentially- they have redefined it as cheat weeks, cheat months, cheat years and have the despicable intent to make this into an established perennial money and reputation looting assembly line.



Still waters run deep. Steal waters remain shallow. How about this as a tagline:



To all the con artists on STEALettos:


I con, therefore I can ‘-option 1


The art of the cheat ‘-option 2



Welcome your thoughts please.
















Respect the Unexpected. Expect the Unexpected!


Psychology 101 has this to say ” The brain remembers what it least expects, so deliver the unexpected “. The brain being the laziest organ in the body is mostly on default mode, plucking our accumulated behaviors and responses that have taken space in its warehouse over the years and wanting us tenants to respond in the  ‘ usual ‘ manner.


That said, in a zeitgeist craving for attention(the most coveted social currency), with all the deficit of time, resources, patience and buying power, default mechanisms will not work.


Build in enough flexibility and buffer to prepare for the unexpected. A margin of safety. Life does throw curve balls ever so often. So, make provision for the unexpected when you design your life. That way, we will not be caught like a deer in the headlights.


To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect. Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected.


Most people want to be circled by safety, not by the unexpected. The unexpected can take you out. But the unexpected can also take you over and change your life.


Probably easier said than done but it is uncertainty which fills life with beauty, excitement, and joy. For an adventurous life, seek not security. Dance with uncertainty to create magnificence and beauty.


Fear is a reaction, creativity is a response.


When nothing is sure, everything is possibleMargaret Drabble


For those keen on understanding the importance of it, I would urge you to read this blog on uncertainty.



Creativity: Individual Success or Collective Flourishing?


It was sometime in the late 90’s. A cold, blistery Manhattan evening. And the Friday bar hopping had done its shift ( of mind, body & soul). Good bhais( after a few drinks ” all the world are brothers “- Fakespeare)  and goodbyes exchanged multiple times over with friends, I headed to the nearest subway station to board the A train to Central Park West. From out of the shadows springs this unkempt man in an ill fitting New York Yankees hoodie and Harley Davidson tracks which had me stopping in my tracks, as if playing the childhood game called ‘ statue ‘. But, this was no time to take any liberties. As I stood there( no clue whether it was rooted by fear or was I sporting a false sense of spirited bravado thanks largely to the ‘spirit‘), the man broke into Lionel Ritchie’s ‘ Hello ‘.


Normal hellos are different, I am sure of that in spite of my state of inebriation. To tell you that his voice was exquisite would be an understatement. As he sang, he put his hand out begging for a few cents or dollars. He could have easily been on any Broadway stage and deserved all the spotlight. Not just New York, but cities around the world are home to the homeless, some of whom are incredibly talented. Here was this guy at the hands of a rampant, unjust and gentrifying urban market, doing what he thought he must in order to survive. He was using the talents he had to scrape by, so he could perform the following day, and every other day, over and over again.


We are all cogs in a system that tells us that we must be ‘ creative ‘ to progress. In hindsight, it appears that capitalism of the twenty-first century, turbocharged by neoliberalism, has redefined creativity to feed its own growth. To be creative in today’s society has only one meaning: to continue producing the status quo.


That said, it has always not been this way. Creativity has been and still is, a force for change in the world. It is a collective energy that has the potential to tackle capitalism’s injustices rather than augment them. Creativity can be used to produce more social justice in the world but for that it must be rescued from its current incarceration as purely an engine for economic growth.


Heralded as the driving force of society, creativity, allegedly, is the wellspring of the knowledge economy, shaping the cities we inhabit and even defining our politics and business. Then what could possibly be wrong with that?


My counterintuitive rant here is that we need to rethink the story that we are being sold.Creativity is a barely hidden form of the ever-expanding marketplace. It is a regime that prioritizes individual success over collective flourishing. It refuses to acknowledge anything-job, place, person- that is not profitable. And that changes everything: the places where we work, the way we are managed, and how we spend our free time.


It is time to lift the veil on this ideology to reveal a set of economic and political forces pushing all of us to bend to the needs of capital.
If radical candour is the flavor of the day( far better than ruinous empathy I dare add), the redefinition of creativity would be one that is embedded in the idea of collective flourishing, outside the tyranny of individual profit.

How is your brand performing in the economy of feelings?



Ever since I can remember, marketing has focused on the USP, the unique selling proposition, and the product’s/service’s features and benefits. This is a traditional theory and applies to a rational, analytical view of value. In an oversupplied market with more, and often conflicting information, rational decision making becomes a myth.


Instead, start paying attention to what people do (which is the best indication of how they feel), not so much to what they say.


The more choices there are and the more complex life becomes, the more people make decisions that “feel” right to them, and NOT on an objective truth.


So, how is your brand performing in the economy of feelings?


Changing behavior is a herculean task- ask any newspaper brand or cigarette brand or an Operating System brand..


You would have heard of this brand called Betty Crocker fabled for their Cake Mixes– when they launched, it was launched as a plug & play product, get the mix into the oven and voila, the cake is ready! Guess what? The brand bombed in the market.


They went back into the market wherein they gave only a 70% ready product and got the customer to participate and work on the remaining 30%- now guess what?? Betty Crocker was a roaring success.


Same thing applied to Ben & Jerry when they launched their Lavender flavor- it bombed..comeback kid was twinned with a more familiar to the audience Vanilla flavour and presto..


Creative pursuits that aim at changing consumer behavior should be hinged on layering the novel on the already familiar.


Caution: The value of marketing is not where you have been told it is.


Analytics inform , emotions compel.


In an era of quantum marketing with 5G, IOT, AI, VR, AR, MR, Meta etc, connecting hearts and minds is a great opportunity.


So, Marketing 101 would somewhat go like this:

-Identify which audience you want to be serving

-Examine what they need or want but don’t have

-If you can help people get to where they seek to go, when they’re ready to get there, the stuff called marketing gets significantly easier

-Be happy with serving a MVA(Minimum Viable Audience) rather than try to be all things to all people. Delight the daylights of your MVA

-Instead of finding customers for your product or service, find a product or service for your audience


As I conclude, may I direct you to this article from BrandKnew on how marketing has changed over the last half a century






The World Doesn’t Need Another Ad Agency! NO!


It’s amazing how a simple tap on the space bar can make such a difference.


Another ” is one of those odd English words that have multiple and contradictory meanings.One definition is ‘ being one more in addition to one or more of the same kind ‘, like having another car payment or another piece of pizza( two more things none of us likely need).


But ” another ” also means distinct or different from the one first considered. That puts an entirely different spin on things, and putting a space between the letters ( ” an other ” ), underscores the point.


The world rarely needs ” another ” but it will always welcome ” an other ” -particularly in the most mature, crowded, commoditized industries, where sameness leads to staleness.


Time after time another product or service gets superseded by an other product or service, making our lives more pleasant, more efficient, more productive or better in a host of additional ways.

Seeking ” an other ” is a sound strategy to keep pace with the inexorable march of creative destruction. In the marketplace, what is, will not always be, and what is to come, has not always been. The task of strategists therefore is to be agents of creation rather than victims of destruction. Our challenge is to pursue the new and unproven while we preserve the existing and profitable.


Unless you can ensure your company, brand or service is continually and legitimately, ” an other “, it will always end up becoming just ” another “.


As I conclude, I am encouraged to direct you to this article from BrandKnew about the need for Intersectionality in the Ad Industry.






Breaking the Myth: Productivity by Undoing!


Sorry to sound contrarian here. As the defaults in our culture have made out that productivity is all about doing. And that is a big big lie! And our undoing.


The co relation here is NOT about inaction and undoing. “Sometimes sitting and doing nothing is the best thing you can do,” reminds Karen Salmansohn, best selling author of THINK HAPPY. Take some time each day to sit and just be present with yourself and your thoughts and feelings.


Slack is not taboo, it’s a good thing. Our best thoughts and ideas come from moments of slack, not from a flurry of activity and busyness. Instead of your phone, put yourself in airplane mode. Wander, drift, escape, discover, resolve..step into nothingness, the proverbial void, because that is where things that didn’t or don’t exist get created. There has to be a void so that we can create. So, don’t avoid the void.


The subconscious mind is where we store our strongest emotions. That is where life’s script gets written. As we calibrate our state of mind and body into doing nothing, we release the subconscious into the beyond where it blends the old and the new, stitches up unexplored associations and calibrates the new arithmetic to the old to discover unexpected positive outcomes.


Slowing down is a hack to go faster. Using less energy. And to go deeper. Never mind the naysayers. The rubber needing to hit the road( the default expectation) at all times, actually is a speed breaker and slows down if not stops the creation of original thought.

We are neither robots nor a manufacturing plant. Creativity isn’t run into it, you discover it. And that happens during moments of slack, not hard labour.


Lounge, stare into nothingness, interrupt set patterns. Permit your interior silence to take over contemporary chaos. Ideas don’t come with an ETA attached.


Contrary to what we have been brainwashed about, our best work will come from undoing– by slowing down, by giving ourselves space and time. Morabor(Latin for slow down). The Japanese call this intentional vacuum ‘ ma ‘.


In the perennial quest to conform and comply, and trying to beat everyone else doing the same, we happily concede defeat and give up on blazing our own trails. Running the ‘ also ran ‘ race. You might be doing okay by normal standards, but you still feel restless, bored, and limited. True success is playing by your own rules, creating work that no one can replicate. Trying to be the best will limit you to someone else’s definition of success. Don’t be the best, be the onlyOnly is much better than being the bestWhether you are Mark or Taylor, tailor your own mark. Make competition irrelevant.

Give into ONLYNESS. It’s next to GODLINESS!


The best way to accelerate is to take the foot off the pedal.



GPS Signal lost?


The past has no power to stop you from being present now. Often we allow ourselves to be upset by small things we should despise and forget. Preferring to hang onto its coat tails. And happy to play victim.


Grievance as the crutch to making things better is a disaster. Because if that is the preferred status quo, exploring possibilities and therefore resolution and progress becomes a non starter.


As Booker Washington put it ” Let our opportunities overshadow our grievances “.


Holding onto a distant past to justify a present grievance is baseless. Possibility rides on the bedrock of uncertainty. Because nothing in life is ever sure.


The assertion here, however, is that there really is no creativity without uncertainty. Put another way: dubito ergo creo. This is Latin for, I doubt therefore I create.

The outside world provokes, persists and insists that we change the story we tell ourselves. Our attitude doesn’t have to be driven by the outside world, but sometimes they overlap.


Specifically, when we experience uncertainty – no matter how uncomfortable and unsettling and destabilizing it can feel – the good news is that it opens vistas of possibility for new thought and action.


Organizations are created, powered, and led by people. To lead organizations well, we train people in disciplines such as marketing, finance, and leadership. But uncertainty presents a special challenge since few of us have received training in how to deal with it. As a result, although we may call for innovation, transformation, and change, most people back down at even the hint of risk, falling into a series of behavioral traps that limit organizations’ ability to grow and adapt. The challenge is that all growth, change, and transformation inevitably come paired with uncertainty. We have to go through the uncertainty to get to the possibility.


“In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty…in the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past, from the known, which is the prison of past conditioning. And in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.” ~ Deepak Chopra.


As a possibilitarian ( its possible to create new vocabulary, you see!), may I direct you to this article from BrandKnew which talks about unlocking your inner futurist?



Space Wanted!

” Space: a continuous area or expanse which is free, available, or unoccupied “.


When used as a noun, space would mean the unlimited or incalculably great three-dimensional realm or expanse in which all material objects are located and all events occur.


We have articulated the physicality aspect of space above.


But space also intrudes into the recesses of our mind, the digital footprint that we seek and perennially leave behind, the environment in which we work or create and live in and many such other.


Giving yourself space and time can actually lead to the birth of more creativity, better creativity, and some of your best work.



It would be worthwhile to have a gatekeeper who can sieve who or what you allow into your space– are they intrusions, distractions, irritants or are they inspiring and elevating?


If the idea is to do deep work, the kind of work that matters to you and brings you content and fulfillment, be careful of your environment and what you let in.


Just as we mind our head, mind your space!


There is a fourth space in our lives and you can know more by accessing this link



Beware! The Biggest Boycott in History

Is programmatic advertising writing its own obituary?
We’ve become obsessed with media strategy at the expense of creative strategy.
By far, the most heavily debated issues in the ad world these days are around media strategy — traditional vs digital; precision targeting vs mass reach; programmatic vs direct, etc. There is far less impassioned discussion over creative strategy.
According to ANA and PwC, 70% of advertising dollars spent on online programmatic advertising never touch a human being. Of the US$ 550 billion expected in annual programmatic ad spend in 2023, over 70% will i.e over US$ 380 billion will disappear in ” ad fees, ad fraud, non-viewable impressions, non brand-safe ad placements, and unknown allocations.
By unknown allocations, you can read ” shit that no one can figure out “.
Brands are funding an opaque eco system. advertisers are being screwed blind by ad tech ferrets. More than 800 million devices now have ad blocking. Truckloads are being spent on advertising
that is neither seen nor impacting.
And, worst, it’s actually alienating people that it is supposed to impact. The really important issue is the impact of tracking (the basis of all programmatic activity) on society and the enormous damage it is doing to individuals and to democratic institutions.
Equally important is the quality of the creatives that are putting off people.

Curiosity Skilled The Cat!

Curiosity is that strange human trait that got us out of the cave, across the globe, and onto the moon.


A trait that has led to communication and  collaboration.


“Why” has the X factor! So, start with why!


Albert Einstein quoted that a mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size. All research, come to think of it is ‘ formalised curiosity ‘.
Doubt and inquiry are the two pillars of progress. Contrary to public perception. The things that pique your curiosity aren’t random. They will point you to where you need to go. There is a toss up between ‘ chasing happiness ‘ and  ‘ following your curiosity ‘. Learning a new musical instrument, going hiking or tapping into unchartered culinary exploration, maintaining a journal, going white water rafting.. anything unfamiliar that you can try your mind and heart at..can all take us out of the default and deliver a new , happier tomorrow. The GPS to get there is inside us. It won’t throw up on Google search.
There will always be reasons for coloring inside the lines you have drawn for yourself. It is heartbreaking to leave the cocoon of certainty and comfort and embark on a path never trodden. To step into the alien, unknown, where all things that never existed are created. One cannot help but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvellous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries to comprehend only a little of this mystery every day.
Curiosity could be a lust of the mind, so give into that lust. As Ian Leslie put it so succinctly ; ” Curiosity is unruly. It doesn’t like rules, or, at least, it assumes that all rules are provisional, subject to the laceration of a smart question nobody has yet thought to ask. It disdains the approved pathways, preferring diversions, unplanned excursions, impulsive left turns. In short, curiosity is deviant“.
Let’s move on. From Intel Inside. To Curiosity Inside!

So, what’s your story? I am curious to know.