In this blog, I intend to write my thoughts on things happening around me, the news I see in the TV, something I read or anything that captures my attention. I will try to avoid the effect of everyday ups and downs of my personal life on the contents of the blog.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Oh no! you don't have to 'google' for this word 'cos that is what I did for you. Recently, I read something that inspired me to write this post around this term. Provenance = History of origin and ownership of a valued object. Generally used in the context of a treasured art work and more on wine. The history and origin of wine is very important for the valuation of it. A key information for wine buyers. In archeology, a variant of this term is used as 'provenience' = exact location where an artifact was found. Alright! that's about the word and its meaning. Anyone who wanted close this web page just knowing what it means may now click the 'X' button in the top right corner of this window.

Let us now look at provenance, perception around provenance of a few more things and concepts around us and how it is affecting current affairs. Let us take a very popular product which is tied to a place, 'SWISS-Watches'. From middle of 16th century when the jewelers of Geneva were forced out of their business of watch making their innovation and entrepreneurship kept them going even to this date. The jewelers turned the engineering of clock making to a craft, which they mastered NOT by mass producing, cost-effective, production lines but as cottage industry, like customized art work. They built their brand over centuries which still stands rock solid. The 'provenance' of their watches fetch them a premium in any part of the world.

Ooo! that's something hard to duplicate. In modern days superior laser technologies and advancement of science has replaced expensive mechanical movements that are prone to error factors over time with cheap but more accurate quartz oscillators. With a huge market, more competition and pricing pressures the game is different. When the job of a watch is to show time accurately, sound logic would say that it is a low cost and more accurate watch which will have better market. Contrary to it, Swiss watches are still regarded the best. It is the image that was built over centuries what is technically called the 'brand'.

Provenance not always works to the favor of the place of origin. In examples like good quality automobiles, electronics or software products from emerging countries like India or Korea. They are perceived to be of lesser quality as these countries for a very long time were seen as mass producing, low cost locations than for their innovation and quality in product design. It took some of the now top companies like SONY, LG, SAMSUNG, TOYOTA and hard to believe HONDA a few decades to shatter the stereotyped mis-perceptions and establish their new brand. Each followed a strategy that fitted them well. Some hid the popular names under a new brand like Honda-Acura, Toyota-Lexus. Some piggy backed on a host name downplaying the real origin, some get aggressive and turn their roots as the USP like Colombian coffee. Some just stick to their existing reputation and make a market out of it, still Chinese silk and Indian spices sells well due to the centuries old reputation.

Hope the next time we see the 'Made in xxxx' tag of any product, we will think twice before deciding based on what we've heard about...