Two is a magical number.
In math, it is the only even prime number—the only even number that is divisible only by one and itself.
It is the first number most people whose name isn’t Ramanujam learn to multiply, and even those with no head for numbers can keep doing it till at least 50 times two.
Illustration: Jayachandran / Mint
When used as an exponent, two indicates a square of a number—or simply the area of a square each of whose sides is a given length; thus 4 square is the area of a square whose side is 4 units long—and is again the only square with which most mortals are familiar.
Two is a magical age for a child.
It is the age when mischief is still condoned, and even the most daring misdemeanours looked on with a kindly parental eye. It is also the age when most children are no longer toddlers, yet not just ready for pre-school. Scientists tell us that by this age, a child’s brain is 80% as developed as it will ever be.
As a number, two, and its derivatives such as double and second, have a lot of significance in business.
According to business historians, it is the second generation of family businesses that grows the business. The third grows and diversifies the business, and few family business houses stay together after the fourth generation. Interestingly, at least 70% of India’s companies, big and small, began life as family businesses and many are still that.
The cadence and lure of doubling one’s investment in two years, maybe even less, has been used by vendors of snake oil schemes through the ages to attract unwary investors. And for a business, doubling revenue, earnings, even workforce, is almost always a good thing—a sign of growth, prosperity and profitability.
Most businesses, products and brands—unless their name is Edsel or Newton—are, by the time they turn 2, well on their way towards that—profitability.
Two years is usually enough time to judge whether a product or brand is going anywhere. If they aren’t, the companies and businessmen behind them have two options—shutting shop, or going back to the drawing board to come up with either an improved offering or an altogether new one.
By the time it turns 2, a successful product or brand should have begun translating hope and promise into some very real numbers—customers, revenue, maybe even profits.
Mint turned 2 on Sunday.
It is backed by one of India’s oldest and most respected media firms, started off with an articulated vision (which always helps, and which you can see on Page 30), and a partnership with arguably the world’s best business paper, The Wall Street Journal.
In two years, the paper has built a loyal readership of between 139,000 and 220,000 (as measured by the Indian Readership Survey, dear reader, but you can still choose to take it or leave it) and has emerged the preferred read of people the Mint newsroom likes to term the “smart set” in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
Mint has several things going for it, not the least of which is probably the smartest bunch of editors, designers, content managers, photographers and writers you will find in any newsroom across India (and all our employees are accounted for).
R. Sukumar is editor of Mint.