Saturday, January 31, 2009

Never Forget (a politician's promises) 

(Via Gautam Bastian) Here's one of the more interesting ideas I have come across in recent times. In India, politicians make all sorts of promises before an election and promptly forget all about it post-election, only to repeat the same rubbish come the next election. Of course, one wonders why voters buy the crap repeatedly and continue to vote for everything from free electricity to new roads, most of which never materialise. Neverforget.in is an attempt to keep track of these promises and hold the politicians accountable for these promises. It's very rudimentary and a work in progress, but it's definitely a good start and I wish the founders the very best.

Being Quoted in the Financial Times 

The Financial Times of London is carrying an interesting piece called "Charity Alone is Not the Answer" and it quotes from an interview Amy Yee did with me a long time back. The thrust of the piece is something that I've discussed on this blog several times, namely that international aid is a sub-optimal economic development tool. In particular, the article discusses the role business and philanthropy can play. Amy also mentions the SME fund that I helped set up with Soros, Google and Omidyar.
SMEs are an important engine for economic growth and job creation but are sorely lacking in India due, in part, to a lack of the financing needed to scale up. Reuben Abraham, senior adviser to the fund based in Hyderabad, met with George Soros in 2006 and said the billionaire financier “was intrigued by SMEs”.

The fund looks beyond India’s traditional investment sectors of IT and telecoms to invest between $500,000 and $3.5m in a variety of neglected but essential sectors, such as urban waste disposal and worker training for emerging industries such as retail, hospitality and healthcare. “Every inefficiency you see in the country is a potential way to make money,” said Mr Abraham.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Recommendation du Jour: Axis of Evil Comedy Tour 

My friend Audrey sent me a DVD of The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour. Featuring four Arab-American comedians, Dean Obeidallah, Ahmed Ahmed, Aron Kader and Maz Jobrani, this is the funniest stand-up I have seen in years. Think Russell Peters, but edgier and you have Axis. They're also on the lookout for a North Korean comic to join their act. You can find a preview of the show here. Get the DVD (or d/l the torrent), set aside an hour to watch some of the funniest, most politically incorrect humour you've ever watched.

Glasnost. In a different context. 

I am a bit torrent fan, especially since I moved to India. There is no real way one can watch the movies/TV shows one wants to, except using BT. So, it annoys the crap out of me when I hear of ISPs blocking/slowing BT usage. Thankfully, Google has just released a suite of broadband test tools called MeasurementLab. It includes a fantastic tool called Glasnost which tells you if your ISB is throttling or blocking your BitTorrent connections. I ran a test and found that ISB (my ISP, of sorts) is not messing with my connection at home. How about you?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

World Trade: A picture speaks a thousand words 

Need I say more? (Source: Economist)

QDJ: H.L.Mencken 

The definition of wealth, according to Mencken: “is any income that is at least $100 more a year than the income of one’s wife’s sister’s husband.”

Monday, January 26, 2009

ISB makes it to Top-15 Global Business Schools 

The Financial Times ranking of the top 100 business schools in the world has just been released. The Indian School of Business, where I am faculty, is now ranked at No:15 globally, up from No:20 last year. The top spot is shared by Wharton and London Business School. ISB is ranked No:2 in Asia, behind CEIBS in Shanghai. Generally speaking, one can't help but notice a trend where the U.S. dominance of the top 20 schools is in decline with Asian and European business schools catching up.

I am not the biggest fan of rankings, but I really do think it's fantastic that ISB has done so well in just 7 years of existence, including jumping 5 places in the space of a year.