Thursday, May 22, 2008

Brida

"Wicca taught Brida to dance. She said that she needed to learn to move her body in accordance with the sound of the world, that ever-present vibration. There was no special technique; it was simply a matter of making any movement that came into her head. Nevertheless, it took a while before Brida could become used to moving and dancing in that illogical way.
‘The Magus of Folk taught you about the Dark Night. In both Traditions- which are, in fact, one-the Dark Night is the only to grow. When you set off along the path of magic, the first thing you do is surrender yourself to a greater power, for you will encounter things that you will never understand.
‘Nothing will behave in the logical way you have come to expect. You will understand things only with your heart, and that can be a little frightening. For a long time, the journey will seem like a Dark Night, but then any search is an act of faith.
‘But god, who is far harder to understand than a Dark Night, appreciates our act of faith, and takes our hand and guides us through the mystery’
Wicca spoke of Magnus with no rancour or bitterness. Brida had been wrong; Wicca had clearly never had an affair with him; it was written in her eyes. Perhaps irritation she has expressed on that first day had merely been because they had ended up following different paths. Wizards and witches were vain creatures, and each wanted to prove to other that their path was the beast.
She suddenly realized what she had thought.
She could tell Wicca wasn’t in love with the magus by her eyes.
She had seen films and read books that talked about this. The whole world could tell from someone’s eyes if they were in love.
‘I only manage to understand the simple things once I’ve embraced the complicated things, she thought to herself. Perhaps one day she would follow the tradition of the Sun. "
Paulo Coelho in Brida (www.harpercollins.co/in).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Smoke and Mirrors: An Experience of China

"That Tibetans themselves felt colonised by Beijing was unquestionable. The forced imposition of Chinese sovereignty was palpable everywhere in the TAR from the triumphant unfurlings of national flags fluttering from the tenements surrounding the Jokhang to the hastily flashed pictures of the Dalai Lama that many Tibetans carried with them at considerable risk to themselves. "

"Beijing had won few hearts and minds in Tibet. Small wonder given that barring select puppet-like figures like the CCP-chosen Panchen Lama, Tibetans in general continued to be treated by Beijing as suspect – marginalised and excluded from the policy making that would shape their own future. "

"This was a plight that Tibetans shared to some extent with all Chinese. China’s was a one-party authoritarian regime and public participation in shaping policy was limited everywhere. Nonetheless, given the distinct ethnicity and culture of Tibet there was an especially nasty quality to its ‘integration’ into the mainland, throwing into bold relief the bullying, homogenizing tendencies of the CCP. "

"On the other hand, that Chinese rule had brought a degree of material prosperity to Tibet was also undeniable… "

Pallavi Aiyar in ‘Smoke and Mirrors: An Experience of China’ (http://www.harpercollins.co.in/)

Friday, May 16, 2008

All about Futures

“The ancient Greek Philosophers developed the concept of natural law. All the religions of the world reaffirm that some known or unknown force has implanted an order on the physical world. The great advances of science have been predicted on the concept that the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, geology, etc. can be understood. Man’s mind seeks out structures in every activity.”

“Several very successful technical traders have developed theories about the market that begin with the assumption that the universe, in general, and the markets, in particular, work in very precise patterns. More importantly, these theorists believe that these patterns can be discovered and exploited for profit, Four of the most prominent theories are (1) seasonals, (2) cycles, (3) Elliott Waves, and (4) Gann numbers.”

“Seasonal patterns are the easiest to understand, especially if consider the agricultural commodities. The seasonal price trends these commodities undergo reflect the regular annual changes that take place in their supply-demand equation. Think about a typical crop year. What will impact the plating schedule? How will weather effect the growing season? Will there be the usual abundant supply at harvest? Studies have shown that 70 percent of all seasonal tops occur between April and July for soybeans, but 80 percent of the time soybeans prices bottom between August and November.”

Russell Wasendorf in All about Futures
http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/

Kassandra Bentley

“There are those who say growth investors don’t need technical signals for entering and exiting stocks. They believe growth stocks should be bought and held and that growth investors should be willing to stomach any price reversal as long as things are going well in the company. While we do agree that timing methods for growth investors are not as important as in other styles, because of the long holding periods for growth stocks, we thinks it is essential to have a timing indicator that will keep you out of a meltdown. As we’ve said, it is not uncommon for a high P/E growth stock that has an earnings hiccup to decline 50 to 75 percent. If you are caught in this kind of a meltdown, it can destroy several years of good performance in your portfolio.”

David Brown and Kassandra Bentley
http://www.tatamcgrowhill.com/

Outrageous Business Growth

“Outrageous business growth represents a different sales number for each business. It’s number that you’ve never reached before in your business and one which you will achieve at an accelerated rate. Now it’s time for you to decide how big you rally want your business to grow. If you want big results, then you have to play big. Most often there is a direct correlation between the amount of risk you take and the amount of the financial reward you receive. In other words, the bigger the risk, the bigger the potential gain…and also the bigger the potential loss.”

“What are you willing to risk in order to get bigger returns? Some people are concerned about playing big because they think about what they could lose instead of what they could gain. Remember, this type of thinking brings you back to focusing on lack rather than focusing on unlimited opportunities.”

If you thing big, you will get big results, and if you
Think small you will get small results.

“If you want explosive sales growth in your business you have to be willing to take more business risks than someone who wants slow or moderate growth in their business.”

Debbie Bermont in Outrageous Business Growth
http://www.vivagroupindia.com/

The 7 Triggers To Yes

“Why is it five times easier to persuade an existing client than a prospect? Because People need to be consistent with prior actions. If they’ve done business with the company before, they’re five time more likely to be consistent with that relationship than when creating a new one. No hard thinking, easier decision.”

“Our need for consistency is a treasure trove for you. You can easily leverage consistency in your favour. Author Cavett Roberts understands consistency, saying, “People are more persuaded by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer.” Show how others have benefited from actions similar to those you’re proposing. Sir Joshua Rynolds put the choice of thinking versus automatic decisions simply: “There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.” The savvy persuader will help his partner avoid that labor.”

“Because we’re comfortable with our own past decisions and actions and comfortable with the actions of respected peers applying the internal consistency trigger helps give us the sense of avoiding risk. When consistent with past actions and with peers, we significantly reduce risk. Persuade successfully by helping your partner reduce risk. Learn what your partner will be consistent with. Show how your proposition is in concert with his past actions, with other’s opinions, and you’ll eliminate the need for analytical thinking-and gain quick, automatic compliance.”

Russell H. Granger in The 7 Triggers To Yes
http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Financial Instruments Standards

“Transaction costs are incremental costs that are directly attributable to the acquisition, issue or disposal of a financial asset or financial liability.”

“Transaction costs that are included in the initial measurement are those that are paid to external partied, such as fees and commissions paid to agent, advisers, brokers and dealers, as well as levies paid to regulatory agencies and securities exchanges, and transfer taxed and duties. Transaction costs may include internal costs, but both internal and external costs must be incremental. Transaction costs do not include internal financing or holding and administrative costs, nor do they include debt premiums or discounts.”

“The treatment of transaction costs after initial recognition depends on the subsequent measurement of the instrument of which they are a part, as follows:

For financial assets liabilities that are carried at amortized cost, the transaction costs are amortized to the income statement as part of the recognition of the effective interest.

For financial assets classified as available-for-sale, the transaction casts are recognized in equity.
For financial assets and liabilities that are carried at fair value with changes in fair value recognized in the income statement, the transaction costs are expensed.

Transaction costs expected to be incurred at a subsequent data related to the transfer or sale of financial instrument, should not be considered in the subsequent measurement of the financial instrument. Selling/Transfer costs are only included in the income statement when a financial instrument is de-recognized.”

Pooja Gupta in Financial Instruments Standards
http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Naked Finance

“Why does the very mention of a financial presentation instill boredom in an audience even before it starts? If marketing executives has designed financial statements, they would no doubt be filled with dazzling images and memorable slogans. If information technology specialists had designed these documents, they would probably contain flow charts showing logically how all the parts of the business fit together. However, we have to face facts. Financial statements are designed by accountants, which means we have to make do with lengthy tables of figures coupled with technical jargon that most people don’t understand.”

“Believe it or not, financial statement are inherently exciting documents because they tell you how a business has been trading. A set of annual accounts is a summary of everything a business has done during the previous year. Investors should be clamouring for these reports to find out what id happening to their wealth. Managers should be equally enthusiastic to find out how successful they have been at managing the business Financial statements can tell you what is going right and what is going wrong. Although they may at first sight appear rather bland, you will discover you can extract a lot of valuable information in a very short period.”

David Meckin in Naked Finance
www.nicholasbrealey.com

How to Get Rich

“One of my favourite philosophers, the first-century Roman Seneca, coined the following: ‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.’ I have never come across a better definition-that’s why I’m repeating it. preparation multiplied by opportunity. Say it again. Learn it off by heart. Let it become a daily mantra. Luck I preparation multiplied by opportunity.”

“Over the centuries this has morphed into cracker-barrel soundbites, as in the golfer Gary Player’s It’s funny thing, luck. The harder I practised, the luckier I got.’ But Seneca’s original quote is far more profound and Is worth a moment of our time. Preparation is the key. Be prepared. Do the heavy lifting and the homework in advance. Get on with the job, but remain alert enough to sport an opportunity when it arrives. Then hammer it.”

“If you haven’t prepared yourself, the opportunity will go begging. It will be yet another regret in your life, another ‘if only …’ And even if you have prepared, but are too busy, probably buried in the minutiae of management, or a messy divorce, or moving house, or a hundred and one other things, then luck will again evade you. Months or years later you will be saying, ‘If only I had spotted that opportunity. I was ready for it, but I wasn’t paying attention.”

“If only…’ are the two saddest words in the English language.”

Felix Dennis in How to Get Rich
http://www.rbooks.co.uk/

Flat Earth News

“Speed. The problems of churnalism have became even worse with the arrival of news websites – some of them staffed by specialist journalists, some of them by mainstream reporters who file copy for the site as well as for their traditional outlets. For all of them, the possibility of filing their stories immediately has become an imperative to spend even less time on their work, even less time checking. Rapid repackaging takes over.”

“The pressure comes through particularly clearly in some internal memos which I was given from the BBC’s online news service, now known as News Interactive. Take one, for example, which was written on 9 December 2005 by the service’s chief
Subeditor, Rob Liddle. You need to know that it was written only six months after the BBC publicity issued new guidelines to its journalists officially advising them that ‘for the BBC, accuracy is more important than speed’.”

“Memo from Rob Liddle to News Interactive editorial. Subject: Speed and breaking news: ‘We should be getting breaking news up within five minutes.’ This Liddle explained, meant that, within five minutes, staff should: publish a one-line version of the story on the ‘ticker’ which runs across the top of the BBC website: possible sent an email to the news desk to warn them about the story; write a four-paragraph version of the story and post it on Ceefax as well as on the website; and, at the same time, do ‘checking’ Liddle went on to explain that the next target was then to write a full story of at least ten paragraphs within the following fifteen minutes. He suggested that these same targets should apply to stories which were not ‘breaking news’ news’ but which ‘would benefit the service to have up quickly-a good
Court case, say.”

“This is chrunalism at its most manic, not merely recycling but doing so at a speed which must jeopardise the BBC’s chances of running accurate stories. Five minutes would never be enough to track down and speak to enough people to check any story, let alone while simultaneously writing tickers, emails and a four-paragraph summary.”

Nick Davies in Flat Earth News
http://www.flatearthnews.com/

Monday, May 12, 2008

Global Derivatives Products, Theory and Practice

“One of the most popular hybrid products on fixed income appears on JPY market in the last years. The so called power reverse dual currency (PRDC) note with callable or knock-out feature was estimated in June 2003 to more than US$ 50 bn. The typical underlying is a swap where a funding leg in USD is exchanged against an USD/JPY option strip.”

“Power reverse dual currency have been by far the most actively FX hybrid product traded because of the very steep downward sloping FX forward curve (coming from the huge interest rated differential) and for a minor portion by the callability pick up. The first effect is stressed even more by the long dated structure, as power reverse dual standard maturity is around 20-30 years.”

“A typical structure will be the following: from year 1-30, the investor pays 3 months dollar LIBOR minus 50 basis points denominated in Yen quaterly on actual/360 day convention.”

Eric Benhamou in Global Derivatives Products, Theory and Practice
http://www.worldscientific.com/

The Appeal

“Tom Huff put on his darkest and finest suit, and after much debate decided to arrive at work at the Second State Bank a few minutes later than usual. An earlier entry would seem too predictable, perhaps a little too cocky. And, more important, he wanted everyone in place when he arrived-the old tellers on the main floor, the cute secretaries on the second, and the vice somethings, his rivals, on the third floor. Huffy wanted a triumphant arrival with as big an audience as possible. He’d gambled bravely with the Paytons, and the moment belonged to him.”

“Whet he got instead was an overall dismissal by the tellers, a collective cold shoulder from the secretaries, and enough devious grins from his rivals to make him suspicious. One his desk he rivals to make him suspicious. On his desk he found a message marked ‘Urgent’ to see Mr. Kirkhead. Something was up, and Huffy began to fee, considerable less cocky. So much for a dramatic entrance. What was the problem?”

John Grisham in The Appeal
http://www.rbooks.co.uk/

How To Rule The World

“While the White House has seen many once-subservient countries hold it at arms length, institutions like the IMF and the world Bank have had to endure being virtually kicked out the door. Argentina standing up to the IMF was like an underdog knocking down the schoolyard bully. The aura of invincibility surrounding the fund vanished, and the institution will likely never again inspire the same grudging awe. Subsequently, a number of government have moved to free themselves altogether of direct oversight from the institution by paying off their outstanding IMF loans early. Argentina and Brazil inaugurated the trend by announcing in December 2005 that they would pay off $9.8 billion and $15.5 billion respectively. The IMF, which benefit from the interest payments on long-term loans and derives much of its power by negotiating ongoing agreements with recipient countries, was nonplussed. Kirchner triumphantly proclaimed that throwing off the chains of IMF dept constituted a move toward “political sovereignty and economic independence.”

Mark Engler in How To Rule The World
http://www.nationbooks.org/

Ready to Lead?

“Networking is an important concept in work life and, as a first-time leader, it will play a useful role in your development and progression. There are a number of networks to consider:
Internal networks-identify key people within your organisation who will have a significant role in your work life, not just now but in the future, and forge relationships with them over time.

External networks-There are many business associations each targeting a specific field and you should be a member of the most important bodies. You should also search for networks where other first-time leaders might be found, because it is very useful for you to have contact with those in a similar position to you. In addition, you should build up your direct contacts and being a member of various networks will help you to do so.

Some people misuse networking and it is important that you use it for the right reason and in the right way. There is nothing worse than someone who tries to network solely out of self-interest. Keep some simple points in mind:

Don’t seek out contacts solely for what you think you might get out of the relationship.

Take a long-term view of networking. Contacts will prove useful, but rarely overnight.

Be prepared to help your contracts, but don’t immediately ask for something in return.

Don’t be a name dropper, there is nothing worse.

Networking does not mean handing out your business card to all and sundy.

Be proactive in sustaining your network.

Apart from the formal networks you will build, it goes without saying that maintaining a good social network is important-if only to keep you sane!”

Endo Larkin in Ready to Lead?
http://www.pearsoned.co.uk/

Asshole

“I was the nicest guy in the world-and it was killing me. This is not just chin music. If you’d asked anyone who knew me then-before my glorious rebirth as an Asshole-who was the nicest guy in the world, you’d get one of two answers. Either they’d say my name immediately, or they’d say some other name, then go, “oh, wait, I forget about Marty-he’s the nicest guy in the world.”

“My life was a dictionary without the world “no,” Years passed in elaborate acrobatic contortions getting out of everybody’s way Except way.”

“Here’s the kind of guy that I was: If you asked me to do you a favour-even the kind of favor that required me to go so far out o my way I needed a map, a translator, and an oxygen tank, even if I didn’t know you that well, I might hesitate a second, hoping
you’d think of someone else to irritate. But I’d always say “Yes!”

Martin Kihn in Asshole
http://www.assholebook.com/, www. Martinkihn.com, http://www.broadwaybooks.com/

Secrets of Swiss Banking

“The best strategy is to keep all the assets within Switzerland. By keeping the bond, annuity, or policy deposited in a Swiss bank safe deposit box or with a Swiss attorney or other Swiss fiduciary, you maximize assets protection even for those assets held outside of Switzerland. In the case of life insurance, one other requirement for assurance of asset protection under Swiss law is that the benefits and beneficiaries must be stated; however, owners can change the beneficiaries clause at any time. Important to understand is that if the beneficiaries are your spouse and/or descendants and not a third party, the insurance policy will be protected by law from creditors of the policyholder whether the policy is revocable or irrevocable. Even if the policyholder goes bankrupt, the assets are protected as they bypass the policyholder goes bankrupt, the assets are protected as they bypass the policyholder and automatically transfer to the beneficiaries as the new owners.”

“The question of forced repatriation, that is, the demand by your country to bring your money home, has received increasing attention recently. Reputable Swiss investment counselors who represent many big Swiss insurance companies claim without hesitation that these insurance policies would escape forced repatriation, as I the scenario of your government passing exchange controls that prevent or limit you from taking money out of the country. If your government makes such a move, likely it would also attempt to get your investment makes such a move, likely it would also attempt to get your investment capital back into the home country from foreign bands and other financial-related institutions. The reason the government could not enforce this is that the insurance policy is a pending contract between you and the insurance company. This feature is important to you and should be a strong incentive for considering Swiss insurance products for real asset protection.”

Hoyt Barber in Secrets of Swiss Banking
http://www.wiley.com/

Common Wealth

“According to the free-market textbooks, countries should simple open their markets, enforce property rights, and ensure macroeconomic stability. Economic development will follow. No place in the world, including the freemarket United States, actually pursues development policy in this manner, and for very good reason. At every stage of development, and for every sector of development, the public sector and private sector have mutually supportive roles, public-sector capital-roads, clinics, schools, ports, nature reserves, utilities, and much more-are essential if private capital in the form of factories, machinery, and skilled labor are to be productive. Economic development is a complex interplay of market forces and public-sector plans and investment.”

“There is no single trajectory from destitution to development. Iceland, India, and Indonesia are in alphabetical sequence, but their development trajectories could not be more distinct. As a small North Atlantic island economy, Iceland has leveraged its plentiful fish stocks and geothermal energy into spectacular development, mainly by reinvesting its natural resource earnings into very high levels of education ands kills
For its small population. Iceland has used its mid-Atlantic proximity to the United States and Western Europe to foster an open society in which its leading students, businessmen, artists, and entrepreneurs move effortlessly between two vast markets, equally at home in both.”

Jeffrey Sachs in Common Wealth
www.penguin.com

Just Enough Anxiety

“I love Italian piazzas, open expanses of cobbled bricks surrounded by historical stone buildings, often with a beautiful fountain in the middle. They bustle with energy as people come from every direction. Some people meet ad greet each other and engage in lively conversation, while others scurry through, their attention on where they’ve been or where they’re going. Others, like me, like to linger and soak up the ambience. The vibrancy of life is palpable in a piazza.”

“Imagine a piazza-like place in your mind. Instead of attracting people, this place attracts your dreams for the future and your sense of where and who you are now. It where your desire to learn and grow comes face-to-face with your desire for stability and protection. This place in your mind is where your thought and emotions-both positive and negative-vie for your attention. It is where your emotional and executive brains each grapple for control, as your ancestral instinct for survival meets your capacity for reason and analysis. Like the Italian meeting place, this part of your mind is full of energy and life.”

“The piazza is a metaphor for the place in our minds where we find ourselves in the midst of change and uncertainty. It represents the disparity we see or feel between who we are and who we want to be as the world around us-and within us-changes and evolves.”

Robert H. Rosen in Just Enough Anxiety
http://www.justenoughanxiety.com/
http://www.penguin.com/

The Last Chance Millionaire It’s Not Too Late To Become Wealthy

“Have you seen the bumper stickers on cars with slogans such as “My other car is a Harley-Davidson”? Boomers might well have a sign on their front lawn saying, “ My other home is a yacht.” As more people are discovering, when you boat or motor home can qualify under the Internet Revenue Service definition of a “primary or secondary residence,” you can deduct the mortgage interest on it just as you deduct the mortgage interest on your primary home.”

“The definition in the IRS code is: “a house, condominium, co-operative, mobile home, house trailer, boat, or similar property that has sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities.” This means that interest on a loan taken out to buy a fully equipped boat or RV qualifies as tax-deductible, provided you hold a title or similar ownership papers.”

“A cottage or condo that you use a certain number of weeks a year but rent out other times may be regarded, under certain guidelines and parameters, as a second home for tax purposes. That may also be true for a timeshare or fractional interest property at a resort, a suite in a condominium hotel, or even a share amounting to several weeks a year in various properties owned under the banner of a destination club. Rental property deductions are declared on a different schedule of your tax return, but the end result is the same. Your professional tax prepare will help you with the appropriate way to deduct qualified mortgage interest.”

“When considering investing in a second home, most people ask themselves, “What will this second home cost us?” But after understanding the financial and personal advantages of a second home, the question really becomes, “What will it cost us if we pass up this opportunity to invest in a second home?” Given the appreciation in value of second homes in communities across the country, it may be smarter to by your dream vacation hideaway at today’s prices, using leverage (that’s the drag that actually makes your money soar, remember), than to wait a decade or more when prices could be considerably higher.”

Douglas R. Andrew in The Last Chance Millionaire It’s Not Too Late To Become Wealthy
www.HACHETTEBOOKGROUPUSA.COM

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Risk Intelligence

“For example, suppose you work for a packaged food company, and your boss remembers spending a long time setting up a sales chain in India. Let’s say it all fell through at the last moment because some official somewhere demanded a large bribe. It was a big disappointment after a lot of hard work. It was a surprise after a lot of early cooperation and honest dealings. Your boss anchors on the experience.”

“So now your boss is very reluctant to try to set up distributors in Vietnam. You and your team believe the main uncertainties there relate to security. If you’re right, this would make your boss’s experience irrelevant to Vietnam. None of the risk scenarios your team thinks may be true in Vietnam would make a last-minute request for a bribe more or less likely. So the experience tells little about which of the risk scenarios you’re evaluating will probably hold for that country.”

“If, on the other hand, you were looking at a country where you had heard reports of bribery, then your boss’s experience may be relevant. Some of the alternative possible risk scenarios you might envision for this country could make your boss’s experience much more likely than others. For example, you could imagine a scenario where the local government keeps a tight lid on business dealings in the capital city but has limited control in remote cities. It’s quite understandable hoe distributor negotiations could proceed smoothly in this scenario only to end up with a deal-killing demand for a bribe as you tried to secure arrangements farther from the capital. This situation would have led to just what happened to you boss. She was right to bring her “anchor” to the table in this business situation because her highly memorable experience was relevant to it.”

David Apgar in Risk Intelligence
http://www.hbspress.org/

Adventures of a Currency Trader

“Together with my new-found understanding of economic reports, I had the Amazing Forex software, and I was sure that I was sure that I could make that expensive tool work for me in this system. It seemed perfectly designed to help me make a decision about what trade to take after an economic report.”

“By scouting around online, I also taught myself about leverage, or margin. I learned that forex dealers were willing to offer100:1, or even 200:1 margin. This meant with an initial investment of $1,000, I could command a $100,000 position or even more in the currency markets. What got my juices flowing about this was that, apparently, I could keep my small trading account, and once I started learning to trade like Graig, I could still make a lot of money on a daily basis. Trading for a living form home was now making sense to me. The only reason I had lost so much so fast was that I had left my traded open while I was doing other things. If I had been paying attention and trading in the short term, I could have cleaned up.”

“The math I was doing in my head was shocking. My forex dealer offered 400:1 margin. That meant that I could put up $100 in margin, and command a $400,000 position. That would be worth $40 per pip! I’d have $400 in margin left over still. Just like the woman from the forex dealer had told me on the phone-every time the price moved against me by 1 pip, or $40, that would be deducted from my available leftover margin. So, I could allow an economic report trade to move against me 10 pips before I needed to get out.”

Rob Booker in Adventures of a Currency Trader
www.wiley.com

Biography of the Dollar

“When the calendar turned to 1990, America’s economic might was becoming increasingly clear. Europeans stopped debating in pubs and cafes about which rapidly developing country would become the next economic power of the twentieth century. Those who had argued that Argentina would exceed the United Stated soon realized they had bet on the wrong horse. By the turn of that century, the United Stated was the world’s second-largest exporter. It was a leading producer of all sorts of manufactured good and raw materials. It boasted a healthy balance-of-payments surplus. Yet, for all its economic muscle, the United Stated lacked a crucial element of global influence that each of the major European economic powers enjoyed: international use of its currency.”

“At the end of 1899, the British pound accounted for nearly two-thirds of official foreign exchange assets held by central banks around the world. The franc and mark other currencies making up the remainder. The pound, which had been the world economy’s primary currency for international trade throughout the nineteenth century, faced growing challenges in that role from other European currencies. The dollar was scarcely used outside of North America.”

Craig Karmin in Biography of the Dollar
http://www.crownpublishing.com/

The Pirate’s Dilemma

“If suing customers for consuming pirate copied become central to a company or industry’s business model, then truth is that that company or industry no longer has a competitive business model. A company’s or individual’s ability to make money should be based on their ability to innovate and create value, nor file lawsuits. But for some, frivolous lawsuits are the entire business plan.”

“These companies sometimes get called patent trolls: they don’t invent or make anything themselves, they just buy patents that already exist-or register patents for good ideas already in the public domain. They then track down businesses and individuals already using those ideas, and extort money from them either by suing or threatening to sue. These companies create no value for society at all. The only purpose they serve is to make money by suing other people who are.”

“Forgent Networks was a company accused by critics of patent trolling when they purchased a patent to JPEG digital image compression in 1997, a widely used technology that has been freely available since 1987. in 2004 Forgent threw lawsuits at forty-four businesses using the JPEG technology, settled out of court with another fifty, and went after more than a thousand others. “It’s American way,” Dick Snyder, CEO of Forgent, told the Associated Press in March 2006. “We’re just doing what we believe is the right thing to gain value from what we own.”

“Microsoft and twenty-one other companies disagreed with Mr. Snyder’s interpretation of the American way, and filed countersuits against Forgent. In May 2006, the U.S. Patent and Trademarks office reinvestigated Forgent’s claim and found the patent to be invalid, because the technology was previously in the public domain. The company abandoned all claims on the patent and walked away, keeping the $90 million it had made licensing the rights to JPEGs to thirty companies.”

Matt Mason in The Pirate’s Dilemma
http://www.simonsays.com/

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Stocks For The Long Run

“Some investors claim the investment of earning is an important source of value. But this is not always the case. If retained earnings are reinvested profitably, value will surely be created. But retained earnings, especially if they are accumulated in liquid investments might tempt managers to overbid to acquire other firms or to spend these funds on perquisites and other activities that do not increase the value to shareholders. Therefore, the market often views the buildup of cash reserves and marketable securities with suspicion and often discounts their value.”

“If the fear of misusing retained earnings is particularly strong, it is possible that the market will value the firm at less than the value of its reserves. Great investors, such as Benjamin Graham, made some of their most profitable trades by purchasing shares in such companies and then convincing management (sometimes tactfully, sometimes with a threat of takeover) to disgorge liquid assets.”

“On might question why management would not employ assets in a way to maximize shareholder value since managers often hold al large equity stake in the firm. the reason is hat a conflict often exists between the goal of he shareholders, which is solely to increase the return on their shares, and the goals of management, which may include prestige, control of markets, and other objectives. Economists recognize the conflicts between the goals of managers and shareholders as agency costs, and these costs are inherent in every corporate structure where ownership is separated from management. Payment of cash dividends or committed share repurchase often lowers management’s temptation pursue goals that do not maximize shareholder value.”

Jeremy J. Siegel in Stocks For The Long Run
www.tatamcgrawhill.com

Friday, May 9, 2008

All About Stock Market Strategies

“There are those who say growth investors don’t need technical signals for entering and exiting stocks. They believe growth stocks should be bought and held and that growth investors should be bought and held and that growth investors should be willing to stomach any price reversal as long as things are going well in the company. While we do agree that timing methods for growth investors are not as important as in other styles, because of the long holding periods for growth stocks, we think it is essential to have a timing indicator that will keep you out of a meltdown. As we’ve said, it is not uncommon for a high P/E growth stock that has an earnings hiccup to decline 50 to 75 percent. If you are caught in this kind of a meltdown, it can destroy several years of good performance in your portfolio.”

David Brown, and Kassandra Bentley in All About Stock Market Strategies
http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/

Hedge Funds Demystified

“Hedge funds typically charge two types of fees-an investment-management fee and a performance –incentive fee. In contrast, mutual funds typically only charge one type of fee-an investment-management fee. With an investment-management fee. Investor pay a fee based entirely on the amount of assets under management. Traditional equity mutual funds charge a fixed percentage fee of nay where between 1.00and 1.75 percent of the assets under management. Some will charge even more. Many investors will not see this fee being deducted from their account because it is deducted each trading day whereas the price of the fund is adjusted for the amount of the daily fee. Charging a fee based on the dollar amount of assets under management is ideal for money managers because fee income will rise at a faster rate than will expenses given increasing assets under management. The drawback of this arrangement to the investor is that the money manager may be more focused on gaining additional assets through new business than on generating solid performance. This is an unfortunate conflict of interest.”

“This potential disconnect is minimized significantly with hedge funds. Tying compensation of performance thus is emphasized. As with mutual funds, hedge funds also charge an investment-management fee based on the assets under management. This fee typically runs around 1 percent, with some hedge funds charging a higher fee and some charging a lower fee.
“Hedge funds add a new element to the traditional fees in that they charge a fee based on how well your investment performs. This is called a performance-incentive fee. This annual fee is rather standardized at 20 percent of profits earned by the fund. Some hedge funds charge quarterly and some monthly, but an annual charge is the norm.”

Scott Frush in Hedge Funds Demystified
www.tatamcgrwhill.com

Mergers, Acquisitions And Corporate Restructuring

“Many companies realize that disciplined acquisition search is the key to success. Allied signal Corporation, for example, identified 550 attractive potential businesses to be acquired in 1996-97.Of these, 190 targets were selected. Further screening reduced the sample size to 52 firms, from which the company made an offer on 28. Detailed due-diligence research was conducted on 17; Allied Signal consummated 10 of these deals. Perhaps, the all-time record for acquisition search was Ciba-Geigy’s acquisition of Airwick Industries in 1974, which was preceded by a review of more than 18,000 companies.”

“One of he important sources of deal flow for an acquirer (at least a large acquirer) is an investment banker. Investment banks have M&A advisory practices to assist buyers in identifying potential targets, and I valuation, legal, tax, financing and such other matters. Because of their research base and contacts with the business community, they maintain a tab on potential sellers.”

“Companies seeking to buy or sell businesses are increasingly turning to the internet for research and advertising. Before the advent of the Internet, finding industry information involved pouring through industry databases and articles, and undertaking costly, time-consuming research. Now, with the proliferation of the Internet, companies can access industry data, gather intelligence and locate buyer/seller at minimal cost.”

Valuation criteria include a company’s assets, industry position, financial status, reputation, management, trade secrets, technology, name recognition and so on. The internet is a useful source of such information. There are web sites developed exclusively for companies whishing to buy and sell their businesses. These websites provide a variety of information like selling prices, as well as articles and advertisements. For instance, one website http://www.usbx.com/ contains a list of more than 10,000 buyers and sellers who can be searched by location, industry and other criteria.”

Chandrashekar Krishnamurti, and Vishwanath S.R. in Mergers, Acquisitions And Corporate Restructuring
http://www.sagepublications.com/

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Corporate Communications

“Today, transparency is not simply an external condition to which organizations seek to adapt but also an explicit strategy that prescribe transparency in corporate communications. Professor of strategy Violina Rindova (2000) even talks about “polished transparency” as a form of marketing aesthetics used to appeal to certain educated and inquisitive stakeholder. The use of beautiful photographs and sophisticated layouts in annual or environmental reports, for example, has a strong aesthetic appeal that stages “transparency” as a specific form of communication. The current trend of designing corporate headquarters in glass built on steel-skeletons is an obvious example of the desire to signal transparency. But there is also a more implicit trend to depict friendly, healthy and personally committed employees rather than models- in magazines and annual reports that appeals to a sense of integrity and a “we have nothing to hide here” appearance or a “if you disagree, please contact me” invitation. Clearly, we need to ask ourselves what the limits are to this staging of corporate openness. If transparency is becoming part of the marketing or PR mix of contemporary organizations, how will this development shape our notions of corporate credibility and accountability in the future? Is so, what does it mean to have access to or to “know an organization behind its products? Should we expect audiences to become blasé or cynical about organizational attempts to create more transparency? And what kinds of measures will be needed for organizations that sincerely wish to communicate openness to their surroundings? No matter what the answers to these questions are, organizations need to realize that although transparency may be a necessary strategy to copy with inquisitive stakeholder, its meaning will change as corporate communicators seek to transform it from a market condition to an explicit business strategy.”

Lars Thoger Christensen, Mette Morsing, and George Cheney in Corporate Communications
http://www.sagepublications.com/

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wireless The Latest Telecom Story

“Pulse code modulation (PCM), sampling at 8,000 times a second to reproduce any frequency upto 4,000 Hz, can reduce costs per telephone channel on short routes and can enhance line utilisation within a city. The advantages of PCM are that it is not affected by line noise or cross talk. Even a rough medium such as an old cable can do the job well. PCM is ideal to handle higher data transmission rated from computers. Control of the network and provision for privacy are some other advantages.”

“There are, however, innovative methods of encoding telephone signals into a smaller number of bits, thereby increasing the capacity of digital trunks. Already, lower sampling rates are in use, where fine sampling of speech is not needed to get the message, as in some military or emergency communication systems. Known as delta modulation, coding in this method only ascertains whether the amplitude of the speech signal is more or less than the previous sample. If the sample is more, it is one; and if it is less, it is zero. This sampling is done at 32,000 times as against 8,000 times a second in PCM. Thus in delta modulation, there will be 32,000 bits as against 64,000 bits per second in PCM. The obvious advantage of the method is that only half the bandwidth and power are necessary to transmit the same information, compared with PCM. though the samples are not as curate as in PCM, the delta method is less prone to error as the coding is simple, just one bit for each sample.”

“Sophisticated error detection techniques are used in digital communication. It involve adding one or more bits to a binary character code of fixed length. In a 6-bit code for instance, a seventh bit (also called parity bit) is added for verifying the accuracy of transmission.”

Mohan Sundara Rajan in Wireless The Latest Telecom Story

Management Principles, Processes, and Practices

“What inspires people to do what they do? Why are some people more enthusiastic than others? Why do some people succeed and others do not, given the same environment and challenges? The answer to some of these questions lies in ‘motivation’. How can one motivate the self and others? What are the factors that motivate? Which motivating factor would be the most suitable and under what circumstances and among what kind of personalities?.”

Motivation is a drive, and energizing force that directs and sustains a person’s effort to achieve a given objective and goal. The first and foremost step that stimulates a person in the conscious setting of goals. The pursuit of the ultimate goal that has to be realized, stimulates, energizes, and directs a person’s thoughts and behaviour. Thus, goal setting is extremely important for motivation and success. When a group has to perform and achieve results, cooperation becomes a basic prerequisite. It is essential to set goal for the team.”

“Motivation is need based and, therefore, can be defined as “what on does not have that one wants, one works to achieve that which one needs’. Hence, if we know what people want and need then we know what they will work for, and like working for, and so excel to achieve.”

Anil Bhat, and Arya Kumar in Management Principles, Processes, and Practices
http://www.oup.com/

Strategic Review 2008

“The air of pessimism of a possible slowdown of the US economy has been an cause of concern of the India IT industry at large. Most Indian IT service providers generate more than 50 per cent of their revenues from the US market and it id natural that a possible slowdown will impact their revenues either directly by a shift in the demand of IT service from specific industries in the US or indirectly by a shift of investments to other favourable markets and assets…”

“The real losses incurred by most financial institutions from the exposure to mortgage business are yet to be confirmed. Such uncertainties on overall projected earnings will call for stricter budgetary controls and the overall demand for IT services will go through a slump in the first two quarters of 2008.”

“However, most financial institutions will introduce new controls to their credit risk management processes. These initiatives will not only be voluntary in nature but also be made mandatory as the regulators will demand more transparency. Regulatory and process improvement initiatives would become the primary sponsors of new IT initiatives would become the primary sponsors of new IT initiative within these organisations. IT service companies who have focused on building strong vertical expertise in the areas of credit risk management, compliance and business intelligence will have a first mover advantage in quickly aligning their service portfolio to the needs of the business and still generate new sources of revenues in the banking and financial services sector. IT product companies with niche products on risk management and compliance will lead the pack during the initial budgetary control services.”

Nasscom in Strategic Review 2008
www.nasscom.in

JAVA Programming Cookbook

“This book is a collection of techniques that show how to perform various programming tasks in Java. As the title implies, it uses the well-known “cookbook” format. Each “recipe” illustrates how to accomplish a specific operation. For example, there are components, create a servlet, and of on. In the same way that a recipe in a food cookbook describes a set of ingredients and a sequence of instructions necessary to prepare a dish, each technique in this book describes a set of key program elements and the sequence of steps necessary to use them to accomplish a programming task.”

“Ultimately, the goal of this book is to save you time and effort during program development many programming tasks consist of a set of API classes, interfaces, and methods that must be applied in a specific. The trouble is that sometimes you don’t know which API classes to use or in what order to call the methods. Instead of having to wade through reams of API documentation and online tutorials to determine how to approach some task, you can look up its recipe. Each recipe shows one way to craft a solution, describing the necessary elements and the order in which they must be used. With this information, you can design a solution that fits your specific need.”

Herb Schildt’s in JAVA Programming Cookbook
www.tatamcgrawhill.com

Great Myty Conceptions

“In the mid-1930s, if you could afford to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, there were two were two choices-noisy, small and cramped aeroplanes, or quiet and spacious airships that got their lift from huge bladders filled with hydrogen gas. Back then, it was still an even bet as to which technology would not become obsolete-the faster and noisier aeroplane, or the slower and more relaxed lighter-than-air airship.”

“Following a disastrous event in 1937, the aeroplane became the favoured technology. The enormous hydrogen-filled Nazi airship, the Hindenburg, was slowly manoeuvring in to dock at a 50-metre high mast at the Lakehurst Air Base, in new Jersey. This was the Hindenburg’s twenty-first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. Suddenly, there was a spark on the Hindenburg, and then flames. Newsreel film crews captured the sudden disaster as the Hindenburg burst into enormous plumes of red-yellow flames, and collapsed to the ground. Over 30 of the 97 people on board died. The disaster was blamed on the extreme flammability of the hydrogen lifting gas that filled most of the airship.”

“Hydrogen’s reputation (as extremely flammable) still troubles car manufacturers today, as they explore the use of hydrogen as a safe, non-polluting alternative to fossil fuels for powering cars. But it turns out that the extreme flammability of hydrogen is a mythconception.”

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki in Great Myty Conceptions
http://www.harpercollins.co.in/

The Kalam Effect

“I had heard that when American presidents came in the past, their secret service and policemen had taken over security even at Rashtrapati Bhavan and officials there were subjected to their security and surveillance. There was much written about in the Press generally about the extraordinary measures they took on such visits abroad by their President. All somewhat intimidating. Whatever, but regarding Rashtrapati Bhavan and their role in maintaining security there, this was not acceptable to me. And I told the President about my views the next day. He chuckled in response, and that conveyed his confidence and trust in what I proposed. I knew he had approved my approach. That was enough for me.”

“I made it clear to the intelligence bureau that as far as Rashtrapati Bhavan was concerned, the security responsibilities would be entirely that of the Indian Police and security agencies and none from another country would be allowed, even to supervise. The only concession that was given was to have just one sniper on top of the building, but hidden and unseen by anyone else. And this we agreed to as a one-off. A similar request had not come from anywhere else before.”

“President Bush came. What a refreshing arrival, warm and friendly compared to the hype created by the Press, security and other. The ceremonial welcome was gone through to a T, with the President’s Bodyguard in impressive attendance.”

“The banquet in honour of the visiting dignitary was an event in itself. That was the second time a banquet was being held in the Mughal Garden lawns. I do not want to narrate the lengths to which prominent people, including the cream of Delhi society, went for an invite to the banquet. It was embarrassing, to say the least.”

P.M. Nair in The Kalam Effect
http://www.harpercollins.com/

Out of Poverty

“Vince Lombardi, famous coach of the Green Bay Packers, often said to his football players, “W inning isn’t everything; it’s only thing.”

“With one word change, the same sentiment applies to the process of designing
Products to serve poor customers: “Affordability isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”

“I have to confess that I am a born cheapskate, so the notion of putting affordability first comes naturally. When I need an umbrella, instead of buying a thirty-eight-dollar designer model in the department store, I opt for a functional black one bought for one dollar at the local Dollarama, where everything costs a dollar or less. I know the thirty-eight-dollar model will last a lot longer, but I also know that I will probably forget it somewhere within a month. If that one-dollar umbrella keeps my head dry for just one rain shower or, better still, for a couple of months before I lose it, I’ve saved myself thirty-seven dollars.”

“The rural poor think in much the same way, with one critical difference-they will keep that one-dollar umbrella in good working order for seven years, at the end of which it will have more patches on it than Jacob;s coat and three or four improvised splints on the handle yet will still be usable far into the future.”

“There is another big difference. To earn a single dollar, an unskilled labourer in the United States needs only to work about ten minutes, while his counterpart in Bangladesh or Zimbabwe must work for two full days. The equivalent of a Dollarama
In the developing world would be a Pennyrama. To learn how to come up with affordable products for poor customers in developing countries, Western designer would do well to start with a brainstorming exercise to develop a serviceable ten-cent umbrella. But designers in the industrialized world continue to design the equivalent of thirty-eight-dollar umbrellas for the world’s rural poor.

Paul Polak in Out of Poverty
http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/

Kissing The Frog

“Goldilocks told them that a good business usually had a history of being good. It was usually in a good industry where the business had some control over its own destiny. This didn’t include businesses that were reliant on others businesses for their own success. A history of being good was also a good sign that the business was well managed.”

“You could also get information about what might happen to the profit of a business by looking at what the analysts were saying. If this didn’t sit well with the history you would need to be cautious and seek additional information.”

“She told them the old hare advised against speculating too much on new businesses, even if the idea seemed attractive. Only time would tell if the business would be a good one. A cautious approach meant that you might sometimes miss out on a spectacular newcomer, but you also avoided the spectacular early failures.”

“But I like the idea of getting in on the ground floor,’ complained Cecil. ‘Instead of trying to catch the public coach after it has already left,’ he added, mixing has metaphors.”

“The Hare said you can invest if you want to \Cecil,’ Goldilocks replied to appease him. ‘But his advice was to only make small bets with new businesses as there is a good chance of being disappointed.’”

“This was all sitting very well with both Denise and Beryl. They liked the idea of owning shares in the Tortoise and shares in BBC Supermarkets. Beryl was also quite happy to have shares in Polly’s although she had only ever been into the teashop once. She had found it impossible to squeeze herself between the table and the chair as both were fixed to the floor and she’d had to drink her cup of tea standing up. It was a very busy shop and she was impressed-especially with the nut and berry slice that Polly made. She just wished that they catered for the bigger folk.”

“And when thinking about bigger folk, she also thought that buying into Porcine Prime Properties while the price was low made very good sense indeed. Especially after hearing all about Goldi’s field trip and the wonderful views from the cliff at Hogview Heights.”

The Brothers Middleton in Kissing The Frog
http://www.macmillanindia.com/

Outsmart

“Sometimes a market will respond so fast to your good idea that you don’t have enough time to build the necessary delivery capability without risking a sacrifice in quality. In fact, I have found that almost all fast-growing companies outsell their delivery capabilities. But you can get in trouble if you sell too far ahead. Pacing is critical...”

“If you’re too busy to answer the phone, or if you can’t maintain product quality or ensure on-time delivery, you’re going lose customers matter how popular your product. They will simply give up on your ability to satisfy their demands, opening the way for competitors to steal your turf. Nothing, whether it’s supply, demand, or anything else, should prevent you form formulating and then following a sustainable business model.”

Jim Champy in Outsmart
http://www.jimchampy.com/

Understanding Cross-Cultural Psychology

“Although at an objective level, time is construed in virtually the same way as it is in the West, at a subjective level, time in India is seen in more flexible and even relaxed terms. Time, in Indian metaphysics, is not conceptualized in linear terms. A linear model of time signifies a beginning, a middle, and an end, or, in other words, a past, a present, and a future. Time in Indian philosophy, is conceptualized in circular terms, which means that time has no beginning (or its beginning remains unknown, or is unknowable), no middle, and no end. These differential conceptualizations have serious implications for our understanding of the nature of private and social behaviours.”

“Time in India is often viewed as ‘a quiet, motionless ocean’, ‘a vast expanse of sky’. The only exceptions to this flexible construction of time are to be found in those situations which are considered auspicious: undertaking an important journey, fixing the time of christening, betrothals, weddings, funerals and so on. Such events, because of their religious significance, are seldom left to chance, one seeks diving guidance in their planning and execution.

Pitty D. Laungani in Understanding Cross-Cultural Psychology
http://www.sagepublications.com/

2.5G Mobile Network: GPRS and EDGE

“Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE) is high-speed mobile data standard that can be introduced in the GSM and the GPRS system. EDGE is considered as a 2.5G standard. A transition between 2G and 3G. When applied on the GSM system, it works on top of the High-Speed Circuit Switched Data (HSCSD) and is known as the Enhanced Circuit Switched Data (ECSD). This allows data transfers of rated higher than those allowed in the current GSM data rates (2.4, 4.8, 9.6, and 14.4kbps.) The higher data rates are 28.8, 32, and 43.2kbps per timeslot.”

“The evolution of GPRS towards EDGE is known as Enhanced GPRS (EGPRS). It is also known as EDGS classic. This allows data rates of up to 475 kbps for a receiver-supporting Rx on eight timeslots. EGPRS led to changed in the radio interface due to the introduction of a new modulation scheme called the Eight-state Phase-Shift Keying (8-PSK). The major impact of the modulation scheme is on the Base Station Subsystem (BSS) and the MS.”

Sumit Kasera, Nishit Narang, and A.P. Priyanka in 2.5G Mobile Network: GPRS and EDGE
http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/

Enterprise Security

“A new angle in the vulnerability-assessment story is the arrival of online assessment services. These services provide an automated and cost-effective way to stay up-to-data on the potential vulnerabilities in your perimeter devices. A few of the managed services can even scan internal systems.”

“As with any growing technology market, new features for vulnerability-assessment tools are on the horizon. Users want improved ease-of-use, on-click updated and better reporting. Vendors are obliging by making user interfaces more intuitive and
Vulnerability updated quick and painless. For vulnerability updates, many vendors are taking the same approach antivirus companies took by providing web-enabled updates. Symantec uses its antivirus distribution infrastructure called live update to distribute is assessment updates.”

“For reporting, user want a variety of options. Executive summaries and detailed analysis reports are standard, but users also want differential reports comparing scan results over a period of time. The assessment tools form Harris include this functionality. Eye’s Retina scanner will include differential reporting in Version 5.0, due out in a few months. Users also want to export reports to Word documents, PDF and HTML files. Many assessment products already supports this capability and the rest should not be far behind.”

“Vendors are also looking to boost their products’ performance. Currently, many scanners are slow and some cannot even handle Class C IP network without running on a fairly hefty system ( a Pentium III-800-based server with 512M bytes of RAM). With today’s scanners, evaluating an entire corporate network is not very feasible on just one system.”

Rajat Khare, and Varun Srivastava in Enterprise Security
http://www.bpbonline.com/

Monday, May 5, 2008

Representing Literatures, Politics, and Identities

“The origin of the genre of the Indian novel in English has been embroiled in controversy. Some believe it has a Persian origin predating the introduction of English, while others feel it arose as a consequence of English education and the construction of the colonial other. There are scholars who believe that the Indian novel in English arose after 1857, expressing the changed socio-political reality in India. The politics scholars, historians and critics, with regionalist and religious biases, have attempted to use its cultural significant to privilege a vernacular. There are Telugu, Marathi, and Bengali chauvinists who argue that the origin of the Indian novel in English is deeply rooted in their respective vernaculars. The Persian-Urdu influence, the post-1857 socio-political influence, the English influence, and the Telugu, Marathi, and Bengali influence are but different aspects of the Negotiations taking place between English and Indian Vernacular literatures since the early decades of the twentieth century. To appropriate the Indian novel in English within a foreign or indigenous literary tradition gives significance to that tradition. Whatever be the truth, the fact remains that the Indian novel in English has been an important literary genre to embody the social and political aspirations of many generations and has evolved and matured to be recognized in the English-speaking world through such writers as Salman Rushdie and Kiran Desai.”

Mukesh Williams, and Rohit Wanchoo in Representing Literatures, Politics, and Identities
http://www.oup.com/

Think India

“Women as mothers, have a place of pride in traditional Indian spiritual thought. But over the ages, especially in the villages, the reverence for women has eroded to something more along the lines of “Raise my children” and “Why isn’t my dinner ready? While men still pray to our great female goddesses such as Lakshimi, Kali, and Durga as the highest of all gods, many men don’t think twice before making an abortion decision involving their wives, or pulling their daughters from school and sending them to work to support their sons’ education-often forcing the girl to eke out a living as a beggar in the streets. And even though the traditional demand that a bride’s family pay a dowry has been banned by law, many husbands still torture their wives in anger that no dowry was paid.”

“Reaching out to lift women from their traditional role of virtual slavery, other programs help women learn their rights and encourage them to seek jobs outside the home. One campaign of television ads is highlighting how important it is for girls and mothers to look after their own health, while another aims at changing the mind-set of males to allocate as much of the family budget to raising and educating their daughters as they do to their sons. In urban communities, girls and boys are more or less on an equal footing; these changing attitudes will filter down to the villages over time.”

Vinay Rai, and Wiilam L. Simon in Think India
http://www.penguin.com/

Friday, May 2, 2008

It Starts with One

“Whether the focus of the transformation is on quality, innovation customer service, speed, or globalization, the full impact and benefits of the “organizational” change cannot be realized until the majority of “individuals” change. Quite simply, new transformational strategies do not make a difference until people think and act differently. Historically, as we have already pointed out, people do not change easily or quickly. When you have an organizational change that involves thousands of individuals, it is impossible to implement the change overnight; instead, it takes months and months, if not years. It takes time for the desired changes to ripple through the organization. One consequence of this time lag is the significant risk that people will get tired and lost during the interim. These two principle forces hold organizations back from moving fast enough or going far enough in their change.”

J.Stewart Black, and B. Gregersen in It Starts with One
http://www.whartonsp.com/]

The Branding of MTV Will Internet Kill the Video Star?

“One cannot thing of MTV China without associating it with Beijing-born LI Yifei, the channel’s prominent managing director and one of Fortune’s 25 global rising business stars in 2001. One of her achievements as a 13-year-old girl was winning the national martial arts championship for Rainbow Sword. She even played a role in China’s first martial arts movie produced after the end of the 10-year Cultural Revolution, form 1966 to 1976. As a teenager, she attended the city’s most elite diplomacy school. From which she graduated in 1985. Later she went to Baylor University in the United Stated to study political science, which she followed with a prestigious two-month internship with the United Nations. By that time, she had lived in the United Stated for almost 10 years. Deciding that her future didn’t lie in diplomacy, she returned to Beijing to work as a publicist for a public relations company. During that time, she worked on an account for News Corp., Viacom’s rival, at which time Viacom began to take notice of her. In 1995, Li was invited to join MTV, and Sumner Redstone named her head of China’s operations. Redstone apparently chose Li for three qualities: her character, her competence, and her firm commitment…”

“Litypifies the generation that is coming into commercial power in the 21st century, coined as a “transitional” generation. They are the sons and daughters of the Cultural Revolution, and they will be the ones to complete China’s re-emergence into the world. They think and feel like their parents, and are quite traditional and conservative; but on the other hand, they also identify with their younger counterparts. Li Yifei says of this generation, “We are living our parents’ dreams.” Her mother’s parents generation who brought some measure of normalcy and stability back into the country. It is Deng Ziaoping’s Chiana that this generation is inheriting, not Moa’s’”

Paul Temporal in The Branding of MTV Will Internet Kill the Video Star?
http://www.temporalbrand.com/

Managing Customers For Profit

“Customer attrition impacts a firm in several ways. One direct impact is the loss of revenue from the customers who have defected. The extent of revenue loss depends on the level of service commitment the customer had with the service provider. The higher the expected revenue from the customer, the more the impact on the firm. Closely related to this expected revenue loss is the lost opportunity for the firm to recover the acquisition cost incurred on the customer. It is usual practice in many service industries to offer incentives to new customers. Because of competitive pressures, the cost of the incentives offered, coupled with other acquisition costs, is so high that it sometime takes several months to break even. According to J.D.Power & Associates, the cost of acquiring a new customer in the U.S. wireless service industry is $375, and providers must retain them for more than four years to break even. This breakeven point is several months beyond the contractual period, which is usually one to two years. If a wireless phone customer quits the service provider after completing a one-year contract, the company will not have recovered a major portion of the acquisition cost. Therefore, any customer lost in the initial period will cost more in terms of irrecoverable acquisition costs.”

V. Kumar in Managing Customers For Profit
http://www.whartonsp.com/

Star Trek

“This book intended to be celebration of the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in Tamil Nadu. It is widely accepted that Tamil Nadu has been with an abundance of resources-natural, geographical and intellectual. What is not quite as well known is the extent to which these resources have been creatively utilised to crate new ventures, organisations and industries that have transformed the social, environmental and economic landscape of the state.”

“We have chosen the narrative as the form through which we hope to showcase the myriad faces of entrepreneurship activity in Tamil Nadu. The Story is often a compelling medium that can educate, inform and inspire, more so than mere facts and figures. Through recounting 101 stories of entrepreneurial success in Tamil Nadu, we hope to achieve two objectives. First we wish to highlight the enabling institutional environment, and the entrepreneurial fervour, passion and potential in Tamil Nadu. Second, we hope through our narratives to inspire the youth of Tamil Nadu to expend their horizons, tread the path less travelled and to participate in the journey of entrepreneurship…”

“This is note the book of entrepreneurs is Tamil Nadu, Neither is it a compilation of the best entrepreneurs in Tamil Nadu. It is merely a book that displays the tip of the iceberg of innovative activity in the state. We limited ourselves to successful, first generation entrepreneurs. We stated with a large pool entrepreneurs who were nominated as a result of a press release. We then went through a process of selecting 101 of these entrepreneurs to be profiled. Diversity was the underlying theme that led to the selection of our final list. Our objective was to ensure that entrepreneurs from various regions within Tamil Nadu and different sectors were represented. Our motive was therefore not to exclude, but to include voices normally not heard.”

The Fascinating Journey of entrepreneurship in Tamil Nadu in Star Trek
http://www.cii.in/ , http://www.nhm.in/

Executive Stamina

“In the mid-nineteenth century, Henry David Thoreau told us, “Every man is the builder of a temple, called his body…” In the mid-twentieth century, we were advised, “You are what you eat.” Now, well into the first decade of the twenty-first century, what are we to derive from these two pieces of wisdom? Simply this: that the personal choices we make regarding our bodies shape our health and energy.”

“The connection between nutrition and stamina is straightforward: food is fuel. Along with oxygen it is our primary source of energy. Just as we will become fatigued, and perform at a lower level, when deprived of enough oxygen, our energy will drop off when given inadequate nourishment…”

“Fortunately these days, it is easier than ever to make healthy food choices public concerns, consumer demands and, in some cases, regulatory changes, are pushing food manufacturers, restaurants, and even the media to focus on a “better for you” approach. Of course, easier doesn’t mean easy.”

Marty Seldman and Joshua Seldman in Executive Stamina
http://www.wiley.com/

International Trade And Economic Development

“The purpose of our research has been to analyse the situation of an honest government which cannot convince a of foreign investor about the credibility of an announcement tax policy. We argue that, even if the government decides to follow the announced tax rule and the investor assigns some positive probability that the host country government will do this, investment might not be forthcoming. In such circumstances, an up-front investment-subsidy might work provided the probability p is not too low. We characterize such a lower bound on p in terms of the tax rate in the rest of the world and the return on investment. If the return on investment is very high, the lower bound on p goes down considerably. If is p is high enough, one does not need a subside scheme.”

“That p is known to the government is a crucial assumption of out research work. Given that the government known the value of p, it becomes easier to design such a sharing mechanism. But even if this probability is not known, the case for trying out a tax-subsidy scheme still makes sense. If the foreign investor rejects a tax proposal, that host government can offer a tax-subsidy proposal. Also, it is clear that one could formalize the problem in terms of a lump-sum subsidy instead of an investment sharing mechanism.”

Sugata Marjit in International Trade And Economic Development
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