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THE PRICE AND COST OF 'CREDIBILITY'


Two headlines caught my attention today; Tata Technologies debuted on the Stock Exchanges with a gain of 175% for those who hit the jackpot through the IPO. Despite doomsayers' caution that the listing price would be affected by news of its second largest client Vietnamese EV manufacturer VinFast shutting down.

The other headline is a somber one for the new economy enthusiasts. Dutch investor Prosus has marked down the value of its stake in edtech giant BYJU'S, taking the valuation of the embattled company to under $3 Bn. This is a sharp decline of over 85% from $22 Bn, the valuation of BYJU'S during its last fund raise.


Why does one name in this case 'Tata' create so much trust in investors, lay public, governments ? The answer will be 'Credibility' but actually the definition of the term is that much elusive because it is not so much of a destination as it is a journey ; less of a achievement but more of a transient mode of existence.


As regards the BYJU story, nothing is there yet to brand it as a failure; indeed, it is a heavily bloated outcome of what is a basically simple business idea. The only problem is that everyone, from the promoter, the brand-label marketeers, the investors, the public seemed to lap up the hype, each for a different reason.


As with the fallout of the results of the World Cup, both heroes & zeroes appear to be made or unmade with the result of just one swing of the bat or one unplayable ball or that one magical catch. Are our standards so fickle that we really begin to be beguiled to think that success or failure is caused by that one chance event ?


'Credibility' in a person or an organization or a business is ultimately in the eyes of the beholder. But increasingly, the dictum that "Form is temporary but Class is permanent" has played out again & again in the lives of people, fortunes of companies and in the fate of the great teams and clubs.


Is the stature of 'Tata' brand enhanced by its over-subscription by 69.43 times ? Or is the halo of the champion 'Aussie' side brighter by belittling the Indian team effort ? The 'Tata' name remains credible due to the dignity of its lowest ranked staff and the Indian team's credibility is built over several decades of brickwork.


As for BYJU, the setbacks seem to make the company lose its halo which appears to be a case of marketing over-hype rather than the reality of the prospects of on-line education. While the concept of 'virtual' in education has come to stay, none will disagree that inflating a balloon to make it resemble an elephant can end in only one outcome; a loud blast but with almost no pieces to pick up.


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