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Showing posts from April, 2013

The Business May 1st, 2013: The “G” is Silent, but Your Laughs Won’t Be!!!! Edition

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I don't want to win a lottery

What is man's greatest weakness. No, its not sex. No, its not even gambling.  It is his uncanny ability to fall for every "get rich quick" scheme.
Take the case of the collapse of the Saradha  (and probably numerous other such schemes) in West Bengal. This was a classic Ponzi scheme. Investors were attracted by fantastic returns (15-50% !!!). The early investors were paid off with money collected from subsequent idiots. Bingo. An avalanche started. Two years on, it has collapsed leading to much hand wringing and vociferous shouts of indignation.
What attracted my attention was not the scheme per se. They are dime a dozen. Remember the Emu farm scheme a little while ago in Tamil Nadu. Emu farming I believe - never mind that not one soul who put money into it had seen an emu in his life. But what has really got my attention is the response to the affair after it broke news.
There has been much clamour for regulation of such funds and criticism of governments for not regulatin…

European private TV has matured, but needs new strategies for development

The European television industry is one of the most balanced in the world, with public service broadcasters, advertising-supported broadcasters, and pay television operators reasonably dividing television revenues among themselves. For the 27 countries of the EU, pay TV accounts for about 38% of total revenue, public funded broadcasters for about 34%, and advertiser supported television for about 28%. Unlike the US where private television dominates, most Europe private television began after liberalization broke the monopolies held by public service and state television in most countries. It has taken decades for private television to establish a mature place in the market. When looking specific countries, however, total spending on TV (advertising, subscriptions, public funding) is not evenly spread. Adjusted for population, it ranges between €5 and €30 per person among nations, with an average of €15. There a notable differences between southern, central, and eastern European natio…

Alibaba and the Fourteen Years

Which is the biggest ecommerce company in the world ? Take a guess. Amazon ? E Bay ? You would be wrong if you guessed either of them. The biggest e commerce company in the world is Alibaba. Its portals handled a sales volume of some $ 170 bn. That is more than the volumes handled by Amazon and E Bay combined.
No, this is not some elaborate hoax dreamed up from 1001 Nights. Alibaba is indeed the largest e commerce company in the world. The reason you may have never heard about it is that it operates almost exclusively in China. It started life as simply Alibaba.com , a business to business portal. It then added Taobao - a consumer to consumer portal, whose similarity to E Bay is, of course, entirely coincidental. Now it has started Tmall, a business to consumer portal, which again, bears a completely coincidental similarity to Amazon. All this in just fourteen years. The last two, if you click on the link, you will see are entirely in Chinese. And therein lies the issue. Can Alibaba re…
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My fiancé, talking about his new job after B-School:
I remind him about his student loans and he's like:

Not interested in the US anymore ?

So says Huawei. Really ?? No, not really. They are very interested in the US. Its just that they have realised that the doors to the US are simply shut for them. There has been a spat going on between the US politicians and Huawei for some time. It looks like the politicians have won.  And it begs the bigger question - can any company in the world be exclusively in one country or region (however big that might be) and hope to be a major player in the world.
Huawei is a telecoms company. They sell networking equipment significantly cheaper than say Cisco. They used to be crappy ( Cisco would snigger at the mention of their name). Not any longer. Same quality, half the price. In an uncomplicated world, companies  should be falling over themselves to buy from them.  But then, the world is not an uncomplicated place.
Huawei is a Chinese company. So what, you might ask ? Huawei's founder and leader was formerly in the Chinese army. Still so what ? Well, the ties with the Chinese governme…
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When I pick my husband up today from his last day of business school classes, ever, I'll be like:
but I bet he'll be like:

Any Meaning in the Two-Year-Old sales?

Now that the boutique sales of two-year-olds in training are over, and the middle-market and lower-end sales are about to get underway, perhaps it’s time to take a look at the sales numbers and see if all the optimistic statements about market recovery have any more validity than, say, European politicians’ repeated insistence that just a little more austerity will bring the confidence fairy right back. It’s the business of those politicians to keep telling voters that recovery is just around the corner, and it’s the business of the executives at Fasig-Tipton, Keeneland and Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. to assure their constituency – thoroughbred breeders and consignors – to hang in there for just one more round of (literally) betting the farm.
But, as in the case of economic recovery in general, after a reasonable number of years, it makes sense to look at what’s actually happened since the worldwide economic crash in 2008. What strategies have worked, what haven’t, and what’s the outlook…

Those black American songbirds

The Business, April 17, 2013: The Fourth Birthday Celebration Edition

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Happy birthday! Feliz cumpleanos! Bon anniversaire! The Business celebrates its fourth birthday with an eclectic lineup of special guests, along with all your Business regulars. We blew out our candles, and wished for a dream lineup of guests - and, as Anne Hathaway would say, it came true! From the dream factory that is Hollywood, we welcome back our good friend and star of stage and screen, Baron Vaughn. From the dream worker-owned-collective that is SF literature, we welcome Rumpus managing editor Isaac Fitzgerald. And from the chocolate factory Dandelion, we welcome chocolatiers Greg and Erica. After all, what would a birthday party be without dessert?

April 15, 2009 was a very different time. The #1 song in the country was "Poker Face." "Hannah Montana: The Movie" was #1 at the box office. Some people actually thought President Obama's birth certificate was a fake! And four SF comics started an experiment: a two-hour show, split four ways, every week at a t…

"Lala" Infosys

Infosys was , is , and will be a great company. Unarguably. But even great organisations suffer from malaise. Surprisingly, Infosys suffers from the malaise that you would not normally attribute to it - the Lala problem. Yes, I know, I am throwing mud at a great company, but you have to expect it if you lose 20% of your market value in one day.
Wait a minute. Isn't Infosys one of the most professional of companies ? A company that sets the standard for corporate governance. The company that raised the bar on ethical business. The company with the middle class values ? All true. But Infosys suffers from the same problem that family run companies have - the company is handed down from one  "family" man to another.
Only in Infosys' case, the "family" is not blood related, but the group of founders who set up Infosys. The peerless Narayana Murthy established it. The relentless Nandan Nilekani drove it to the status of a world leader. Kris Gopalakrishnan then took…
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Whenever someone I don't know comments on this blog, I'm like:

Now you know, why this kolaveri di !

Murderous rage is exactly what I am feeling for all "coders" at the moment. Noticing that a good rant has been somewhat long overdue on this blog and given that I think I have solved the answer to the famous question - why this kolaveri di  , I think this post is justified !
You see, a couple of days ago, Samsung released the new Android OS (cutely named Jelly Bean) for its smartphones in India. Yes I know, Jelly Bean is ancient news, but that's how long it takes for things to come to India. Yours truly's phone duly got updated.  And promptly lost all its screens, settings, etc etc. Having been a veteran of software upgrades from MS DOS (anybody remember) and having been burned a few zillion times, "kolaveri" had long given way to stoic resignation . But this one takes the cake.
Remember the prompt when you are trying to delete and move something - it asks you - are you sure and gives you the option of OK or Cancel ? Notice it next time when that comes - its …
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When I ask my boyfriend if he booked a hotel room for his parents for graduation, he's like:
I realize they'll be staying with us and I'm like:
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Since I work at home, most days I'm like:
When I actually put on clothes on makeup and go work at a coffee shop, I'm like:
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When my husband agreed to be a club officer his second year even though he already had a job, I was like:
(he agrees)

The Business April 10th, 2013: The Many Miles to K Before I Sleep Edition

The Business is lovely, dark and deep this week.  Come hear the sweep of our easy wind and downy flake!

Our guests are simply poetry.

Miles K!

In August of 2003 Miles K was sitting in an Airstream trailer, writing jokes and smoking meth out of an energy efficient light bulb. By 2004 he’d quit smoking meth but was still writing jokes and in 2007 he began performing stand-up. His act runs a gamut of surreal characters, Kaufmanesque pranks and observational insights. He has been Rooftop Comedy’s Comedian of the Day. His website, cleverthingstosay.com, is viewed thousands of times daily and his work has appeared on superdeluxe.com.

Dave Thomason!

Dave Thomason is a stand-up comedian who was born in San Francisco and now tells jokes there. He recently won Rooftop Comedy’s Silver Nail Award recognizing the best up-and-coming comedians in the nation. Dave has performed at a bunch of neat-o festivals across the country, including the SF Sketchfest, Bridgetown Comedy Festival, and the Aspen Rooft…
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When my husband comes home just after leaving for class, I'm like: but he is never like:

Thus spake Ravi

In my previous post on His Master's Voice, I speculated that "the LP nut", Ravi, would have an interesting comment. Instead I got a full post from him, written in his inimitable style. A classic, a collector's item and a passionate and wonderfully written piece. Here it is, as he wrote it.