Book Review - In the Service of Republic

Here are some interesting parallels between business & politics

I’ve been reading this great book on why India fails to get policy decisions often wrong and how to go about building that capacity at various levels of public institutions.

This advice is crystallised for me in the comparison between an enterprise and a political party.

In the world of business, there is a balance between building a great product and selling it on the market. An extreme emphasis on a sales and advertising team can yield a brief surge of customer interest, but this doesn’t translate into sustained success if the product is not of high quality and the machinery of production and distribution is not in place. In other words, a firm needs not just sales and advertising, it also needs research, design and operations management. It needs a great product and the capability to produce and distribute the product, on top of which the sales and advertising offensive is essential.

While politics is about elections, the parallel between overt focus on growth is the very problem that is taking a toll on technology companies and political parties in India.

There is an analogy with the world of politics, running an election campaign is analogous to the sales and advertising problem. Political parties need to prepare to govern, alongside campaigning to get elected. Once the election results are in, everyday lost in establishing the team and kicking off a portfolio of reforms is a costly delay.

This book has interesting analytical clarity - especially when looking at topics on education, healthcare and financial industry.

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