Prep for Term 8 – to marry or date ?

We will be learning about Strategic Alliances in this term and while our Prof has given us just 415 pages to read, it set me thinking on how can I draw similarities between all the technical definitions am learning and examples from day to day life …. And this post is the result.

The business world reflects life – our parents got married (merger or acquisition) for life but today we first evaluate many partners (globalization) from around the world and then go steady (Startegic alliance), then live-in (joint venture) then either get married or breakup. In our parents’ time marriages (mergers and acquisitions) worked because there was limited awareness, no internet, they couldn’t reach out to the better choices out there, there were strict societal/parental (government) norms and the world was comfortable with the feudal system. Then came the Industrial revolution, Russian revolution twice, Computers, Internet, Facebook, Twitter, the world got Googled and my friend Steve made it his Job to put the googled world under our finger tips !! Rapid technological advances became a major motive for alliances.

The men wanted choice as always and the women had better choices for the first time and economic freedom to walk out of a bad relationship – thus entered economic uncertainty (for men at work and home), another major motive for seeking alliances.

As we had friends of every color from across the world on Facebook our outlook got global – we learnt about new customs, new ideas germinated, for some it was access to low cost capital, for some it was access to new markets, for some it was low cost production, anyway you figured out that Alliances offered lower transaction costs (another motive). Think of your parents marriage (M&A) and what it cost … A few thousand rupees would have made it a rich wedding and today you have wedding planners who play in a well segmented market – under 1 crore, between 2 and 5 crores, above 5 crores and the obscene crores segment. And then the rapid technological advances keep happening, product life cycles are short, there is uncertainty, both men and women find other cost effective options, governments have relaxed rules, and suddenly there is no longer any reason to remain invested in the 1 to obscene crore marriage. Ugly or happy divorces happen, there is huge cost again and mental trauma added to the mix… And sometimes one or both the partners just wither away and sometimes they become wiser.

The wiser ones then go the dating, steady (strategic alliances) and/or live-in (joint venture) route and may never go marry or the marriage (M&A) will be an informed decision. You know exactly the strengths and weaknesses, and whether you have complementary skills, whether there is learning opportunities from each other and hopefully if the M&A does happen, it leads to an united front, progressive or otherwise depends on many other factors. …. Yes yes I jumped to our favourite bashing boy – the UPA alliance. Hmmmm interesting, in politics rarely you find M&A and only Alliances because it offers so much more flexibility and you can play up or down the entire spectrum of goodwill to acrimony without batting an eyelid – wily politicians, huh !!

Ok, so the moral of this post and Term 8 is, be smart, date, go steady, live-in and be fully informed before you marry. No guarantees that the marriage will still succeed, but atleast you improve the chances (Arun and Prof. Deshmukh’s probability) and not burn a hole all over your sari/shirt…. Ofcourse this is gender neutral global advise. Grow up, Man.

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