Almost Always The Truth

This blog is about small incidents which have occured in the life of Neel Arurkar. Neel also writes about his family and friends in this blog.

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Location: Mumbai/Bangalore/Pune, Maharashtra/Karnataka, India

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

God's Own Company

It was not exaggeration when Bala, the Infosys CFO, called Infosys God's Own Company at the 26th Annual General Meeting. If you are a client, Infy assures you experience customer delight and not just customer satisfaction. Employees are treated with care and affection. With Infosys Foundation, Infosys ensures it does its bit for the society be it Tsunami Relief, Rural Upliftment or Education. For shareholders, the less said the better. The share value has multiplied more than 2500 times and I am not counting the always more than face value dividends which are doled out year after year, every year. So much do the investors love it, that its Annual General Meeting is an eagerly awaited event. As far as I am concerned, I start waiting for the next AGM as soon as I come out of one. The Infosys AGM is a family event. The loyal investors who have become billionaires, flock to Infy AGMs each year with their families, with the women dressed in their wedding sarees. The event is no less glamorous and grand than the big fat Indian wedding. After attending the previous three AGMs in Bangalore and after mistiming my visit to Bangalore this year, I made it a point to take half a day off from work and attend the webcast from Bombay. If you are planning to attend the AGM from Bangalore, you better be at the venue atleast half an hour in advance to guarantee you seats in the auditorium, else you would be accommodated in the screening halls. The directors and all the other people who need to be on the stage, occupy their seats a few minutes before 3 pm, which is when the business actually starts. A clock keeps ticking on the screen accompanied by the soothing Infy song till it's time. At 3, the bell rings and there is a brief introduction session for the people on the dias. This is then followed by an inspiring but short speech by Narayan Murthy and some insights by Nandan. Very few people are interested in what follows from here onwards till they come to the financials. And if you think people are interested in the financials because of financials, you cannot be more wrong. The financials are the last things on the minds of most people over there and I happen to be one in the most people category. Yes, I now, without any inhibitions, shame and guilt hereby declare on this public forum, that like most other people I go to the Infy AGM to party and because by being there I feel proud to be associated with this company. Coming back to the financials presentation, this is where Bala steals the show and gets the audience glued back to the screen. His presentation in addition to having all the numbers, has comic animations accompanied by latest Bollywood hits playing in the background. By including the animations he ensures that all the audience is laughing. A section of the audience which is not computer savvy and has never received those animations as forwards in the mailboxes, laughs its heart out. This old guy, seated a few rows ahead of me, went into an uncontrolled bout of loud bursts after seeing the animation accompanying this post. I had almost risen from my seat to gag him, when he stopped. The point Bala was trying to put forth, how the competition fails miserably when it tries to replicate Infosys' Global Delivery Model, was definitely not the reason that triggered the howl. The other section of the audience laughs for a different reason. It laughs looking at the laughing section of the audience. Chawlaji, a star investor and star by the virtue of entertaining the audience at the last year's AGM, wanted a place for Bala at a laughter show on the TV. I am with you, Chawlaji. Were it not for Bala, the investors would be in the refreshments area much before the voting on the agenda. But if you thought Bala is the best thing at the AGM, you are wrong. The best is always reserved for the last. Investor speak would be a more appropriate term than labeling it as investor questions. There is no one who can question the report or the company. All the investors do is they come on the stage and sing praises full of adjectives for Infy, NRN and Nandan. The other directors are sidelined, but praise and public attention is the last thing on their minds, I am sure. Last year, one investor even presented NRN with a pair of rosewood elephants that signified peace of mind and happiness. This was after Chawlaji had the audience laugh its intestine out. Chawla first found a mistake in the Annual Report where some employee was stated to have joined the then 25 year old company more than 100 years ago. He talked about how much Infosys is valued by the people, by stating how the dowry of the guy he knows doubled to Rs 20 lakhs(USD 50000) just by the virtue of joining Infosys eventhough his work profile was just the same as in the earlier company. At the 23rd AGM, he had mentioned how profitable it would have been if his friend had invested in Infosys equity rather than spending on education of his five kids. I happened to glance at NRN's face at that time and it wore an expression of sorrow. I could go on and on about Mr Chawla but then it wouldn't look a post about Infy AGMs. Perhaps only way to be just to Mr Chawla is to dedicate a post to the man himself. I would do that Mr Chawla, if you promise to entertain us at the next AGM. Chawla was surely missed this year but then Infy is a company of investors with money who are very funny.There was this guy who questioned Infosys' values because they had fruit juice packets but no packaged water in the bag on every seat. Dear Infy Management, if you dont provide us with water at the seats next year, you better be prepared to drop Driven By Values from your punchline. The investors kept trickling in at the microphone. The chairperson of the AGM kept reminding them to be brief and upto the point but the shareholders were in no mood to give up their duty of entertaining the audience. I had a question too and a genuine one, about why the meeting was not held on a Saturday as it was for the last 3 years, but I was too shy to ask it, lest I were treated like a clown by the people who were in no mood to do anything but laugh, laugh and laugh. And finally when the sitcom was over, it was time to hog. What more could one ask for? Entertainment followed by a lip smacking snack. I fail to remember number of servings of fried fish I went for. The food at Bangalore is good. But it was absolutely awesome here in Bombay and that was the only thing good about being here. Nothing can beat the overall experience of being in Bangalore and watching the AGM live. Next year, I will time my visit well.

Disclaimer : The views expressed here are in no other capacity except a very small investor.


Blogger Hul said...

awesome..i thought investor meets were normally boring.

Jul 21, 2007, 4:35:00 PM  
Blogger Neel Arurkar said...

:-) I want to go for Reliance AGM next...

Jul 23, 2007, 12:57:00 AM  
Blogger Blogger By Chance said...

Wow...Mast...Sahi hain Bhai...I will make it a point to attend it next time round...tho abhi shares nahin bechoonga...atleast for the sake of attendin the AGM...Reliance AGM ke khaane ke baarey main zaroor likhna :D

Jul 23, 2007, 3:54:00 AM  
Blogger Neel Arurkar said...

BBC : So many sentiments with that stock man. Main shayad kabhi nahi bechunga :-)

Jul 25, 2007, 2:27:00 AM  
Blogger EXSENO said...

Sound wonderful and it sounds like a good place to work too. My business meetings were alway so boring. And there was never any fun or annual anything. Lucky you.

Aug 2, 2007, 6:32:00 AM  
Blogger Neel Arurkar said...

It is a beautiful place! To check a few pictures of my workplace, click here

Aug 6, 2007, 2:56:00 AM  
Blogger Renie said...

Hi, please add your blog to our new directory of Indian Blogs, thanks!

Aug 9, 2007, 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger EXSENO said...

I just took the time to scroll down and found your comment to look at the pictures.
All I can say Neel, is 'Wow'. Those are the most beautiful pictures, not only beautiful but soothing. What a lovely place. It's awesome.

Sep 11, 2007, 6:32:00 AM  
Blogger Neel Arurkar said...

Thanks Exseno :-) It indeed is an awesome place. The campus is a city by itself and there are atleast 10 such campuses in India!

Sep 11, 2007, 6:36:00 AM  
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Sep 29, 2011, 2:29:00 AM  

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