what we think

We don’t think of ourselves as know-it-alls, but we do like sharing our thoughts, experiences and POV from time-to-time. We are in continual learning mode and here is what we think, when we think it.

We Arrive at Basil!

Basil Business Marketing Meeting

We have had a fantastic trip so far, but meeting with our partners at Basil is the main reason for our long journey. It is great to be here and we are looking forward to a productive 24 hours.


They have very cool space in the AVS industrial corridor of Bangalore. They have been at this location for a little over a year and have 50 full time professionals on three floors with room to expand. More on the facilities later.

About Basil

Creative Programming Design AgencySo who is Basil and how does BlueSilver work with their team in Bangalore?
Basil is a creative design production and programming studio that BlueSilver represents in the United States. BlueSilver also uses Basil services for current consulting clients who have various print production and programming needs. The full scope of services through Basil includes a whole suite of global creative services including print design production, illustration work, interactive programming (including Flash development) and data management.


This is an important point. The services Basil provides through BlueSilver are not meant to replace the big ideas or strategic direction coming out of an existing agency relationship or corporate marketing team. Rather, they allow creative and interactive marketing professionals to spend more time thinking about the next big idea and developing original thinking and design, with an eye toward growth. Leaving the production work to Basil.


A few other important points about Basil:


  • Basil was founded by former advertising agency and creative executives.
  • Its staff works on United States and United Kingdom time zones.
  • It has a proven track record of success serving some of the world’s largest brands such as Coca-Cola and Uniliver.
  • Basil has leadership experience working within agency organizations including Y&R, Dentsu, Bozell, Lintas and JWT.


We’ll talk more about Basil as the day progresses and our trip concludes.

Off to Bangalore

It is early Monday morning in India. After a great weekend with Sanjeev’s family and friends in Kolkata, we are now off to Bangalore, or Bengaluru, to meet with our creative design production and programming partner, Basil Communications. We will be in meetings all day Monday with Basil executives and an agency from the United States interested in utilizing global creative resources for design production and illustration needs. A U.S. senior VP of creative services and senior VP of production services will be representing the firm.


In addition to talking in-depth about the U.S. firm’s specific needs, we will be taking a tour of Basil, go over their in-depth capabilities and discuss how a partnership between BlueSilver and Basil works for U.S. clients. We will also be staying late to see first-hand how a Basil account service and design team works seamlessly with a North American agency everyday in the U.S. Eastern Time Zone.


Later that night, we have plans to go to dinner at ITC Windsor Hotel’s Dakshin before retiring for the night at the Oberoi Hotel. We’ll have breakfast with the firm’s representative and Basil on Tuesday morning then off to Delhi to catch our late flight back to United States.

Nizam’s – Kolkata Institution

George Rafeedie Business TourWe had a fine lunch at a Kolkata institution, Nazim’s. It has a long history that dates back to 1932 and is known for its rolls and kabobs. The roll I had was chicken wrapped in bread that is fried. You eat it like a burrito and it is called a kathi (stick) since the chicken is grilled on a stick on coals before being wrapped into the bread. I am linking to this article because it does a good job at bringing the experience to life.


Sanjeev’s father used to go there in the 50s and was the first place he took his new wife after a long honeymoon driving trip across India. Nothing else was open as they drove into town so they went to Nizam’s.


If you are ever in the area, definitely stop by.

Sir Stuart Hogg

Business Professionals

Our trip keeps getting better. On Saturday we spent the afternoon in the central shopping district walking around the Sir Stuart Hogg Market, or New Market. It was built by the British in 1873 and is comprised of hundreds of vendors selling everything from spices, to fish, to t-shirts and jewelry. Residents of Kolkata can get anything and everything they need from the market, and tourists are definitely welcome. We did some shopping and bargaining with several colorful characters and walked out with a few nice items to remember the trip by. It is named after Sir Stuart Saunders Hogg who was an advocate for the building of the market while serving in many British governmental roles.

Favorite Food. So Far.

George Rafeedie Business MeetingIf you’ve been to an Indian restaurant anywhere in the world, you’ve probably seen or had Butter Chicken or Murgh makhani. It’s a great dish of chicken in a wonderful and ingredient-filled sauce typically eaten over rice. As is the case most of the time, dishes seem to jump out a bit more when you are eating them in the country of origin. We’ve had it twice so far in Dehli and Kolkata and look forward to it again soon.


For people who grew up in India, the “street food” is a favorite. For various reasons, Westerners like myself probably should stay away from the street food. However, it is fun watching it being prepared, sold and eaten all over the place. Maybe I’ll have to break down and try something before I leave!


Another great dish includes kabobs of chicken or lamb covered in all kinds of spices. When we were in Dehli we had great Kabobs at one of the city’s famous restaurants, Bukhara.


Home cooked lightly fried prawns, lamb and chicken patties as light appetizers and deep-fried mashed potato patties round out my list.


But I can’t leave out the fact that the Chinese cuisine in Kolkata is excellent. We dined last night at the Taj Bengal Hotel’s, Chinoisorrie, with Sanjeev’s brother, Bicky, pictured above.


More on food later from me and Sanjeev.


George Rafeedie Marketing BusinessAt one point Kolkata was the capital of the British Empire’s presence in India. It was also the intellectual and cultural center of India for many decades. However, when the British decided to move the capital do Dehli, and with the decline of industry, Kolkata went on a steady decline up to the modern day. Here is more in-depth information on Kolkata.


Sanjeev’s parents, Gopal and Neena, pictured above, have lived in Kolkata together since the 1950s.

Chicago to Delhi to Kolkata

P2190031If you have been following our Twitter updates, you know we are now in Kolkata. We were only in Delhi for one day, but it was a great visit. Our hosts were incredibly hospitable and what I was able to see of the city made me realize how historic this part of the world is. We were able to visit The Red Fort, India Gate and The Parliament Buildings. Plus, we had lunch at a place that was one of Bill Clinton’s favorites when he visited as president in 2000 – Bukhara at the ITC Hotel.


We are now in Kolkata for the weekend to visit Sanjeev’s family. We just had a great dinner with his parents and brother, and we look forward to a weekend of relaxation, site seeing (and some work) as we prepare for our trip to visit our partners in Bangalore on Monday and Tuesday.