Sunday, June 12, 2005

When Kari met PC - Part 2

A tale Follow the saga of one entrepreneur's tryst with personal battle against political correctness.

The first part is here, and the third and concluding part is here.

The link to the post on therapeutic touch was through the 10th Skeptics' Circle, a mela-type post over at Skeptico.

The [PC]2 (Politically Correct, Pretty Cool) Funds are run by a team whose members first met in the early 1990s at a Woodstock Festival of Plays for the Children of Flower Children, that their war-hating, love-loving parents took them to. They finished their schooling during the early Clinton years under a John Dewey inspired curriculum, met up again at Harvard, dropped out, grew pony tails, and formed an internet company that sold 'love potions'. The buyers of their potions were told to enjoy them while watching a Keanu - Angelina video called Passion Preloaded. Their venture was an instant hit, a rarity in the dot com era, and it was successfully acquired for a billion Dollars. With so much money in their pockets, they set up the [PC]2 Funds, with Carl "Peppy" Smith, the one with the longest pony tail, as their chief.

Many observers feel that [PC]2 Funds's street cred is fully deserved; Peppy and his partners have nurtured so many companies into Wall Street's darlings. Consider s2 Personal Care that sold, among other things, bath soaps renowned for their shy softness (or, was it soft shyness?); or, t2 Services, a provider of training in Therapeutic Touch techniques to practicing nurses; or, i2 Books that filled a great void in the market for beginners' guides for the intellectually inclined.

When the venture market in the US became too crowded and brutal, it was inevitable that [PC]2 Funds would turn to emerging markets. They did, and their first non-US client was Kari Kalan, who was trying to raise money for his group blog venture.


The meeting took place in an ashram in Pune. Kari found the ashram and its environment, with all those devotees with long, flowing hair, creepy. He felt almost like Advani did when he (er, Advani) entered the VHP headquarters after his recent Karachi visit. Kari's discussions, however, went reasonably well, until Peppy dropped a bombshell, saying "everything sounds good, but don't you think you have got to bring some balance into your blogs?".

Kari was perplexed. "What do you mean?"

"Look! All said and done, about half the people in this world have longer hair than the rest. Your bloggers' median hair length is less than 25 percent of the median for the entire population. We suggest that you hire a few from the other side of the spectrum. Remember, we take the first 'PC' in our name quite seriously."

Kari's management training had prepared him for handling situations like this one. He said, "You know, we are already working on this problem. We have got a few interviews lined up later this week with some really hot bloggers with cool names: Rambha, Tilottama, Hariharan, Premananda ... But, I don't know how to put it ... As I see it, our success will most likely ride on the people we have already hired".

Peppy was rolling a flock of hair in his fingers when he asked, "Do you think your new recruits may not be cut out for greatness?"

"Do I think that? Absolutely! Considering their innate differences with, er, normal people, and considering the time they spend on grooming their hair, I don't see how they are going to take us forward!"

"You don't mean long-haired people are not as smart as the others, do you?"

"Hey, don't get all sensitive here, Peppy. It is just a hypothesis."

At this point the talks broke down. Kari was told in no uncertain terms that either his team got more, um, politically correct, or else. Kari was very upset; he tapped into the very core of his self, and it responded with 'Remember the first lesson, Kari: listen to the guy with the money'. So he did.

They set up another meeting the following week to assess IndiJoIndi's progress.

(to be continued ...)