Friday, November 24, 2006

For Webex World Is Not Flat Yet

People don’t change when you tell them there is a better option. They change when they conclude they have no other option.”
:-Michael Mandelbaum quoted in The World is Flat, Thomas L. Friedman, pg 462

Today at office I was looking for some web based remote screen sharing products to help my team trouble shoot the problems in our software installed at client location in Singapore . I called a friend of mine for advice , his one line recommendation was WebEx. He was using Webex for some time and was very happy with results . I value this guy's opinion so half of the sale was done for WebEx even before i even saw their website.

I went to India page of WebEx .it was a professional looking website . i was impressed and straight away decided to evaluate the software . WebEx was one step closer to sale . They asked me to register to use evaluation version . It was a pretty much simple and easy registration which asked for very relevant questions .But halfway through the registration i discovered something amusing

The trial they were offering was only for 20 minutes. Yes only 20 minutes . They expected me to evaluate & decide about a web-based enterprise grade product in 20 minute ? How on earth this company is in business? I grew suspicious of something and i jumped to US page of WebEx . Result was exactly the as I expected ,On US website of WebEx they were offering a trial version for 14 days . you can see this in these two attached screen shots.

As an Indian Techie i was hurt to see this discrimination . if you find this offensive or disturbing and you feel like cursing MNC and Firangi folks for this discrimination .than hold your anger for few minutes, you are In for some more facts .

Webex is headed by an Indian .

Mr. Kiran Datar [according to their website , according to wikipedia their CEO is Subrah S. lyar.] .In news section of their site they have boasted about their India Connection and touted how big an opportunity India as an emerging market represent and how they have plan to capture this market with 20 minute demo . I can understand why they are proud of their India connection .A lot of indians are at senior position in various US Based IT companies .This india connection helps WebEx to close a deal fast . Fact is that they are comfortable using india for the commercial gain in US but they don't think indain Techie worthy of there server sapce and bandwidth . I find it pathetic

We live in a Flat World ,At least that's what Mr.Friedman want me to believe . A steady stream of Advertisement and promotion keep telling me that Customer is king . They keep telling me that they will move mountain to make me happy . They don't differentiate among customer on the basis of color,cast,creed, race geography or any thing. All customer are equal for them . but are they ?

We all know that this is not true. All customer are not equal some are more equal than other .

I knew it when Air Hostess delay providing me water bottle in Air India but whole bunch of them spring to action when a Firangi White man ask for something . from Smile to the amount of drink in glass ,everything is Extra large for Mr.White .

I knew it when i walk in to an uptown bar where they don't mention cost in menu and i ask cost of three things before ordering one .

Truth is i don't mind all this very much . As a human being all of us are prone to biases and its only natural if these biases reflect in our dealing with our customer at our workplace also .

Thats one reason i used to be so happy in cyberspace . At least a website never makes that discrimination. Website is totally oblivious to all that . website reflects the company policies and companies don't diffrentaite among customers. At least not on record . Specially in Hi-Tech Products , in products where your target customer is a highly qualified IT professional i don't think any differentiation will be of any help to anyone.

But some Companies do it . in a very subtle way . i found web ex in same league . its unfortunate that an Indian don't find Indian customer worthy of something which he is giving free to rest of the world . i know chances of closing a sale is less in India , i know some folks might use the service for long time by creating multiple account one after another . But still i don't think insulting Indian customers with 20 minute demo is a good step .

coming back to the quote i wrote in the start of this post . i seriously wait for the day when My country became big enough a market that comapnies like WebEx can't even think of doing these type of cheap stunt . when our customer won't tolerate this . when [like china ] we can tell companies what is allowed in inda and what is not .

I don't know who read my blog but if you happen to know someone in Webex please ask them to read this and correct their mistake . I for once will not be recomnending webex to anyone anymore .