Apple and Brahmin’s Coffee Bar

I follow Apple, a consumer product company regularly. I have also invested lot of my time in understanding the company history, product design ideology, product iterations, how it positions itself in the market, how it differentiates itself from others by tight integration of software and hardware etc. Since I follow it so closely, I tend to see many other things in those lines and try to draw parallels whenever possible. Of course I give it a good thought but I do not think it through all the intricate details as it more of a fun thought experiment. One such parallel I could think of was Brahmin’s Coffee Bar in Basavangudi, Bangalore, India. I visit Brahmin’s Coffee Bar very often and treat myself to the best idli and vades I have ever eaten. Apart from that, this blog post idea was lingering in my mind for eons now, so I wanted to put an end to that procrastination cycle.

Brahmin’s Coffee Bar (referred as BCB from now on) is a small restaurant that serves few South Indian dishes and coffee/tea and it is well known. Have a look at the menu card of BCB in the picture below.

 

As you can see very few dishes are served. Similar to Apple, which does not release whole range of models of phones, instead sells and supports only a small range of products. This helps keep the supply chain lean and react fast to market changes apart from other advantages which I am not fully aware of.

In the second picture you can see the picture of  idli and vade in a plate. One thing to notice is that the plate is very simple and lacks unnecessary design complexities which are seen in other similar restaurants. This makes the daily cleaning of dishes and replacement easy. This is similar to Apple, where it provides simple user interface (imho) and does not provide features which are used by only a small percentage of people and useful only in few incidences.

If you know how idli and vade is served in general, apart from noticing there are no partition in plates for chutney and sambar, you can notice there is no sambar. I am guessing it is an intentional omission and probably they have their reasons for it (will try to check and update the reason if I come across). Similarly with Apple, they tend to omit some very important feature that is common with other similar products from competitors due to various reasons such as controlling the hardware, competition etc. For example they removed 3.5mm headphone jack to control music sales and control it.

If you have ever visited BCB, you can notice that inspite of having lot of customers, the service is quite fast. This enhances customer experience as it helps deliver menu items fast. They do this by limiting the menu and have lots of people to serve the menu items they cook. In Apple too, they tend to do the similar thing. They kind of have lot of support personnel which enhances customer experience.

To summarise, I have jotted down some points which made me think BCB as parallels to Apple. It is more of a fun thought experiment but feel free to provide points in which the analogy breaks or give more inputs to validate my weak claim 🙂

 

 

The Spark

Series of not so exciting days, is something he could not handle. He was waiting for the spark around, the one that doesn’t allow one to sleep. Such a day did come, but, not before a long wait. A wait where the person he hated the most was no longer around him, it was him. Wait, where the last bit of infinitesimal amount of confidence was sucked out of him. He lived on a very small dosage of hope, which he carefully weighed and consumed. He knew for sure, he has to wait for a long time, to end his wait. In fact he wished if time could run backwards, for he was sure that he would be nearer to exciting times then. Sadly, like his mind, the time too was not in his control. A slave he had become, of laziness. With illusion, that of pursuit of excellence, he marched, day in and day out. Only to achieve mediocrity, and worst, make it the quality of his soul. He was fooling himself.

Times were difficult. He was in a state of mind, where he convinced himself that success should not be the goal of one’s life. He knew what he was trying to elude, he knew sooner or later it will find it. He knew, when failure find him, there is no eluding and he will be caught unguarded. He knew all along, that he had failed, it was with him all the time. He was running away from himself. Surprisingly, even with so much noise in his head, he slept very well. He was escaping life, realities and pain of dealing with them by just waiting. He could sleep in broad day light. But one fine night, he could not sleep.It was strange, he also turned off the small lamp thinking it would help him. He could not.

May be the wait ended, coz he found the spark,not around but within.

May be

It rained that day. They caught enormous amount of fish. They came back to the shore with joyous face. Looked like it will be a good year. Happiness everywhere. They all got together in the bar to celebrate. May be its a human thing, people become nostalgic and philosophical about life when they are happy.

All were drunk.

We should not live in the past. We must learn to let go. We should be less attached to physical things. We must celebrate failure. Happiness is a decision and doesn’t depend on anything but us. These were the kind of things they spoke while they were in that über-philosophical mood.

I completely agree with that. We must learn to celebrate our own failure and be happy irrespective of things we possess or want to. I went one level deep and like a greatest philosopher was asking himself questions like is expecting an answer to a question also a desire? Is not wanting to desire a desire too? If yes how could one be selfless and still be without desire? At least this time I didn’t want answers to those self posed question. I knew I was a pseudo-philosopher. Suddenly the idea of wanting to be a greatest human philosophically, without any attachment, without any desire seemed absurd. I was confused. Also unhappy. I could see the irony there. But I was happy that I thought this way.

While I sat thinking more about it the sea was calm. Within it were zillions of creatures. Also all the wealth one would want to possess. It’s own sun and moon and stars and what not. It can change weather, affect every living and non living thing ever. But it was there as though not aware of all this. May be it never asked questions. May be it didn’t desire all the wealth it has within. May be it doesn’t know about a word that gives similar meaning of desire.

May be sea is the greatest philosopher. May be.

Happiness

It was that day in the island where the sea was calm on eyes, waves were soothing on ears. Everyone waited for sun to set. The sunset here is the most beautiful and resplendent, they said. There is a hill nearby where the view of sunset is magical, they added. Some started walking towards it. Some started building a wall on which they could witness the sunset. Some sat there consuming the sumptuous treat nature had to offer. It was time, time waited for no one, so did the sun. It was a great sight, the people building the walls loved the view, the people walking to the hill missed it.

All were happy though, some liked to walk, some to build and some liked being ‘there’ and enjoy the moment. They liked the island for its sunset so much, they all decided to live there. Years passed. The walkers walked around the island collecting food for all. The builders didn’t stop building the wall, they built it higher and broader, day after day. Others carried on doing random chores that came up.

They forgot about the sunset.