Book Review: Titan

The Book ‘Titan: Inside India’s most successful Consumer Brand’ is written by veteran journalist Vinay Kamath.

The Book traces the path of Titan which started as a “Watch Project” at Tata Press to the Consumer behemoth it is today.

The Book is a thrilling read and one marvels at the twists and turns the company’s fortunes took over a period of 30 years.

The book is full on anecdotes which makes it an awesome read.

One of my heroes is JRD Tata and the Book brings out his “Management by Affection” philosophy. He didn’t have much knowledge or interest in watches or jewelry but he backed Titan’s plans because of his faith in Xerses Desai. It was a classic bet on the jockey and not on the horse.

There are many anecdotes about JRD in the book which are lovely…for instance, the first watch presented to him by the Titan management team turned out to be defective ! Another anecdote of how he pushed the Titan management to do more in CSR brings out the greatness of the man.

Another legend associated with Titan was Xerses Desai. He was the extra-ordinary man who had the vision, determination and the leadership skills to build Titan.

Some aspects of his personality reminded me other business successes such as:

  1. Setting international standards– From the very beginning, Xerses wanted the Titan products and showrooms to be world class. He sent designers to Europe to study the showrooms there and implement the same for Titan showrooms here. Reminded me of Dhirubhai Ambani who used to benchmark Reliance always with international standards
  2. Imbueing Quality – Steve Jobs of Apple was fanatic in his belief that every aspect of the Company which touches stakeholders should imbue quality. So not only the product, but the packaging, communication etc should of the highest quality.Xerses was extremely fastidious about the aesthetics,design etc of each and every aspect of the company, even if it was v minor. He used to spend hours checking the color proofs of the print ads so that readers could do ‘window shopping’ sitting at home. One amusing anecdote related to this was when the ad agency made an ad where the husband gifts a watch to his wife. The gift card said ‘To my dearest wife‘. To this, the Oxford educated Xerses quipped “Dearest? How many wives does he have?”. The chastened ad agency changed it to the correct grammar ‘To my dear wife‘ !
  3. Talent Magnet – Like JRD Tata, Xerses roped in the best of talent, gave them freedom and got the best of them.This open and smart culture that he created still exists in Titan today

The Book covers how the different brands of Titan evolved – Tanishq, Fast Track, Skinn, Taneira etc

I must compliment the author on a fantastic job done. After a long time, I read a book on an Indian co and felt ‘Maja Aa Gaya’ !

I would strongly recommend this Book to all investors

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *