Ms Chawla of Luxury Works

Ms Chawla (Photo courtesy Luxury Works)

It was an event for CEOs and by invitation only. That is more often said than done but EY, as in Ernst & Young, were true to their slogan *‘Quality in Everything We Do’*and had send me a polite invite to attend their Strategic Growth Forum India 2012 without irritating follow up phone calls. It was a very well organised three day action packed event. Action packed because, apart from the actual sessions and panel discussions, it had many breaks to network with high calibre delegates.

I am normally slow to start the day but the first day woke me fully when the very beautiful Pushpanjali Chawla joined me for breakfast. Her company Luxury Works Gifting Services aims at the super rich thereby excluding me as a potential client. Not that my Calvinistic upbringing would agree for me to become one. She got all my attention as she explained how she has to deal with expectation levels. “You may have a Maserati” she explained “but you cannot expect the same customer support as an ordinary car dealer”. As I am waiting for my BMW parts to come from Germany I could relate to that.

Spot Me

Spot Me

Interestingly, EY utilised a SpotMe device for the event. This is an electronic gadget that looks like a hybrid between the old Palm and a mobile. As I chatted with the SpotMe Product Manager, the Swiss Patrice Müller, I discovered that it has a lot of high tech stuff behind it. It was a novel experience for most of us. The gadget had the day’s program as well as a listing of all the delegates complete with their pictures and profiles. The main feature, as you may have guessed, is the feature to spot delegates. You have to select the person you are keen to meet, click the tiny SpotMe button, and the gadget vibrates as soon as he or she is within earshot. So no more squinting your eyes to try and read the name on a badge and risking leaving female delegates disturbed wondering what you are really looking at. If you are very keen to meet a particular person fast it even has a radar feature. So yes, it is an absolutely brilliant device and I hope to come across it more often.

I must confess that there was not much time for the usual email to the office. Ok, like others I did use my tablet during some of the sessions but, really, these were interesting enough for the tablet to remain closed for most of the day. The sessions that struck me as most interesting depended mainly on the panel speakers. Perhaps not so much that they were great speakers but more that it is very interesting to hear the story behind the brand: Ankit Fabia of Ethical Hacker fame, whose book I still have on my shelf, talked on digital commerce. As I have an interest in a great travel company, it was very interesting to hear Aditya Gosh of Indigo speak of high performance at low cost, and Deep Kalra of MakeMyTrip of the “lookers but no bookers” during the first few years of his company’s existence. How things can change was the essence of the tale of quite a few speakers. Harsh Mariwala of Marico was given thirty minutes to educate us on his amazing achievements. “I normally do it in an hour so it was quite difficult” he confessed to me afterwards.

Meeting Rasmus Ankersen was interesting. Just a few months ago I had met another ex-footballer, Hans van Breukelen, who had spoken on the power of belief. Rasmus had a different angle to his story but he also highlighted the power of the mental muscle and above all the misconception of high performance when it comes to performance development. I understood him fully as the defeat of the Dutch national team was still fresh in my memory: individually they all were top players, including two top scorers, but as a team they had failed miserably.

Unfortunately, I missed seeing Ms Chawla speak on “Enterprising women: thinking big and bold”. I had to catch the last flight to Goa to meet another very interesting woman: my partner for life.