Show, not tell

In the year 2018, we decided to dive deeper. The stories got lengthier and ideas turned into matter, lots of matter, text and numbers. That’s when we decided to change the narrative and let the numbers do the talking. Here’s a show.


While we were working on the Ayushman Bharat’s piece, data was hard to collate. You’d imagine that a ballpark figure for the number of hospitals in the country would be available with someone. However, in Vivek’s story on India’s biggest foreign e-commerce investors, it was a matter of data aplenty.

Clash of the conglomerates

When Indian investments of Alibaba, Google and Amazon were laid on the table, a plausible investment strategy emerged. Notice how Alibaba has fewer investments than others but the size of the investments is higher. Amazon's investments, though they look unrelated, are part of its plan to be the everything store. Google, slow to the game, played catch up by investing in companies in the e-commerce space.

Do read the story for more such insights.


A similar comparison between the top pharma multinationals in India was undertaken by Seema and the results were beautiful. Did you know that in the 1980’s the Indian pharmaceuticals market was dominated by MNCs? They held 80% of the stake. As of FY18, it is the Indian companies that hold 79% of the market share.

Bristol-Myers, Roche, Novartis, AZ: Big Pharma’s shrinking club in India

Bristol-Myers Squibb, Boehringer Ingelheim, and MSD set up their subsidiaries in India at a time when the World Trade Organisation-compliant product patent regime kicked in. Cost effective R&D and growing domestic market was the catch. Yet as of 2018, the Indian revenues of these companies is just a speck in the global revenues for these companies. The story remains the same for Roche Products (Pharma) that set shop in India in the early ’90s.

If you would like to know the story behind these numbers, Seema’s piece will not disappoint.



Indian pharma industry may have been a downer, but in the start-up economy, some companies have had a really good year (read exits). Be it Walmart’s acquisition of Flipkart or Mercer buying Mettl. But one might say that exiting at $40 million is not much of an achievement for Mettl, but Sumanth begs to differ. Just take a look at the returns that VCs have made in their investments.

Read the story here.


Indeed numbers can speak volumes. Yet there were such times in the newsroom when numbers went on mute and words were just on a spring break. For example, how does one explain the business model of a company that starts off by investing and acquiring seemingly random businesses like gyms, kitchens and diagnostics? Take a peek.

pharma The High Temple of Fitness

Mukesh Bansal’s inspiration for comes from Apple, the company that sells iPhones and premium products for the consumer that owns an iPhone. But unlike, Apple, at inception, produced personal computers. It eventually moved on to other electronic products and media sales. Will the success of Apple Inc. be easy for to replicate?

Read Gayathri’s story to know more.


Another interesting operational model that we designed this year was on Droom, an online marketplace for used vehicles. The infographic is compelling not because of the complexities of the business but the strategies it used to become, as it claims, the largest used vehicles online seller by GMV.


Read one of The Ken’s best investigative stories by Ashish here.


If envisioning a business strategy was complicated, mapping regulatory bodies, private companies, think tanks and others that are part of tech policy-making in the country was a labyrinth of a mess as Arundhati and Olina found out. It took seven charts to explain this the right way. Find them here.



Not all graphics at The Ken dwell in intricacies. Sometimes, they just paint a clear picture like this one by Roshni, that explains the process of cloud seeding.

Despite a lack of results, India remains thirsty for cloud seeding

The idea is simple. Cloud seeding will lead to artificial rain, which will lead to less pollution in Delhi and NCR. This is what IIT Kanpur and ISRO believe.

But is history on the side of cloud seeding? This is the question that Roshni explores in her story. Find the answer here.

At The Ken our plates are not just full but they’re colourful (as you may have noticed). Our stories are assorted — sometimes baked, sometimes deep fried. Then we have the salad days. If you’ve liked the taste of our appetizers, subscribe for the complete meal and cake.

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