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Slang Wisdom: Indian slangs that start-ups can learn from

28 March 2012 No Comment

Slangs, sayings, songs.

India is full of them. Everything has a metaphor.

Never taken seriously- but they pack a punch. Express more in fewer words.

In one of those intellectual moments- Here are some Indian (Hindi) slangs that start-ups, entrepreneurs and everyone else can learn from:

1) Jo dikhta hai wo hi bikta hai

Translation: What sells- is only what can be seen. 

Implication: if you or your product is not visible – quality does not matter. True for politicians or doctors alike.

Wisdom: Being seen is the first step- and even trumps quality. So go out there- market like hell. Be seen.
2) Jugaad

Translation: Hack.

Indian ingenuity at its best. Whether it is using a washing machine to make lassi (a milk based drink) or to make your car run on LPG gas cylinder used at home.

Implication:When in doubt, improvise.

Wisdom: Do not let money come in the way of passion. Prototype it- use existing resources- build it. Start a version. Then scale later. Rome was not built in a day. Start from bricks first. If you don’t have bricks- use something hard. Flatten it first- to give the illusion of a brick. It will probably work. If not, improvise again.

3) Aj ki date mein

Translation: In today’s date.

Heard at every shop in North India- in many contexts. (In today’s date: There is no honesty; In today’s date- suppliers have stopped getting money on time..etc etc)

Implication: Contextualizes everything into something that is coming up as a trend or is current. Street wisdom on how things are at the current moment.

Wisdom: Street wisdom rules. At the least it gives insights into the perceptions existing in the market. Enables you to find that GAP, or just listen to people’s perspectives.  In business or marketing- that is half the battle won.

4) Chance pe dance mar le

Translation: When you get the chance, hit the dance (quite literal) 

Implication: Life does not give you many chances. But when you are getting a chance, grab it. By the neck. 

Wisdom: Be opportunistic. Look for opportunities. Understand and recognize when the right opportunity presents itself to you. And when you get the right opportunity- indulge in that moment and take maximum advantage.

5) Choti si ye duniya pehchane raste hai

Translation: It is a small world and the paths are familiar. (Not exactly slang- but lyrics of a song from yesteryears that I’ve heard being mentioned often)

Implication: The world is small- so small that six degrees are becoming 2-3 degrees of separation today.

Wisdom: Be genuine. Be nice. Everything humans do- have a relationship angle of some kind. Do not trick or fool into getting someone to do an action. Back from point number 4- don’t take that point as a license to be an ass. Good businesses are built for the long term. Life is not as short- and everyone’s paths cross at some point.

And one bonus slang wisdom- for the road:

6) Ugte Sooraj ko sab salaam karte hai

Translation: Everyone salutes the rising Sun.

Implication: Never underestimate the power of a rising star. And if you can project yourself being one- do it!

Wisdom: Understand the importance of social proof. People follow winners. Remember that success has many fathers- and leaders have many followers. A great product is a story worth being told.

…and I am sure there are a few other gems out there. Will take few at a time.


Featured image: Flickr