Sunday, October 4, 2009

Toward India 2020: Challenges and Opportunities

MIT World is a free and open site that provides on demand video of significant public events at MIT. Saw this amazing video recently.

People sometimes ask Montek Singh Ahluwalia questions loaded with “aspirational objectives,” such as when India will “get rid of poverty.” Few are as well equipped to respond as Ahluwalia, one of the architects of India’s breathtaking economic transformation.

The current income of an average Indian citizen is about 1/15th that of a U.S. citizen. Ahluwalia envisions increasing India’s per capita income ten fold. He sees this as a matter of “simple arithmetic.” To achieve this advance, India must sustain GDP growth of 9% a year (which corresponds to a 7%/year growth in personal income) -- for 32 years. By 2040, India’s 1.5 billion people could be living more like Americans. “Regrettably, I won’t be around to see it,” says Ahluwalia.

By 2020, though, assuming such sustained economic growth, he would be around to witness “more modest results.” Indians would double their annual income to $6,600, and the nation would be able to “provide a basic level of services to the vast majority of its population,” essentially leaving behind its problems of poverty. This kind of growth, “an extremely worthwhile objective” for India, would also leave its mark on the rest of the world. It would inspire other emerging economies, for one thing. It would also shift the balance of power in global trade, with the combined economies of India and China taking on the U.S.

So can India really achieve this kind of relentless economic progress? Ahluwalia’s not sure, but invokes the successes of Japan, Korea and China, and sees reasons for optimism. Over the past eight years, India’s averaged a 7.2% GDP growth rate, and looks likely to land on its feet after the current worldwide recession. On the other hand, the nation’s vibrant democracy (420 million voted in the most recent elections) can make agreement on economic policy and its implementation difficult. Ahluwalia is “not complaining,” but acknowledges that this kind of participative society “means we’re taking longer to get done what needs to be done.”

He sees institutional strengths that will enable India to push its development agenda forward: a sense of confidence pervades Indian society; past reforms have “unleashed tremendous energy in the private sector;” the economy has opened up to greater domestic and foreign markets; and in spite of changes in government, the general economic policies continue to evolve. Ahluwalia acknowledges that defeating poverty may not address everyone’s goals for success. The true objective for India, he believes, is “inclusive growth,” an equitable and constructive distribution of economic gains via market forces, government and public means.

Friday, October 2, 2009

GE’s Immelt: We Actually Hire People

Here is an interview of GE CEO Immelt at a conference held by in June 2009. He talks about the challenge of driving continuous growth and innovation in a company of GE's size as well as the impact of the financial crisis.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Future of Global Equities Markets

Amazing conversations in this video by Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation about how a turbulent financial market combined with accelerating technologies will affect tomorrow's equity markets by three of the nation's leading market experts.

Following an introduction by Kauffman Foundation President and CEO Carl J. Schramm, the discussion is led by Harold Bradley, chief investment officer of the Kauffman Foundation, and features Duncan Niederauer, CEO of the NYSE Euronext, and Peter Bloom, managing director of General Atlantic Partners, a global growth private equity investor. The 90-minute discussion addresses current challenges in the equities markets and the trading of stocks, bonds and derivative securities in a global marketplace.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Bill Gates Unplugged

A passionate techie and a shrewd businessman, Bill Gates changed the world once, while leading Microsoft to dizzying success. He plans to do it again with his very own style of philanthropy.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Take Investing Back to Basics

Got this nice email from INGDirect about 'simple' investing.

Tough times and volatile markets come and go, but solid investing principles are timeless. Good advice right now and in any market: go with S.I.M.P.L.E. investing:

Step back – Take a deep breath. Everyone knows that mattresses might seem like the safest spot for your money. But historically, the stock market has provided an opportunity for long-term returns.*

Investigate, then diversify – Take advantage of free research and investing tools instead of jumping on a hot tip or trying to act fast. Remember to balance your portfolio across investments.

Max out retirement vehicles – Take full advantage of any employer match for your 401(k). Otherwise, you leave money on the table. No 401(k) available? Grab the tax-deferred benefits of an IRA.

Pay yourself first – A cliché for sure, but not as easy as it sounds. Unless you have savings automatically deducted from your paycheck or bank account. It's like pre-paying bills in retirement. Talk to your employer's HR department.

Live like an investor – Adopt an investing way of life by committing to the long-term view. Your saving and investing habits can even set an example for the kids in your life.

Earn rewards – Set milestones and small rewards for yourself when you "earn" it on your smart financial plan.

Even if you only follow one or two of these tips, you'll be better off than you are today. So trust yourself. Then grit your teeth and get to it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

10 ways to find joy

Read this article on the 10 Secrets to Finding Happiness During the Recession by Deborah Kotz.

1. Spend $20 on an experience rather than an item.
2. Pursue meaningful life goals
3. Be open and receptive to what's happening right now, in the moment.
4. Nurture meaningful relationships.
5. Recognize your strengths.
6. Count your blessings.
7. Keep an optimism journal.
8. Seek advice from your neighbor.
9. Get out and sweat.
10. Do unto others.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Basics of Marketing your Startup

Mahesh Murthy, of SeedFund and the CEO of Pinstorm, talks on the Basics of Marketing your Startup. This talk was at the Delhi Edition of in July '08.

Are you an entrepreneur, you absolutely need to watch this one.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Strategic Planning

Despite the challenging times, this year’s strategic-planning process need not be an exercise in anxiety or futility. Developing scenarios in greater depth, monitoring strategies more rigorously, and remaining focused on the long term will all help strategists boost the odds of creating plans that can lead their companies through the turbulence.

Three tips for 2009

Be realistic about scenario planning
It’s necessary to develop plans on the assumption that several different futures are possible and to focus attention on the underlying drivers of uncertainty.

Intensify monitoring
Since the effectiveness of such a strategy depends on an organization’s ability to adjust rapidly as the fog starts to lift, managers must identify and intensively monitor key indicators suggesting which scenario might unfold.

Look beyond the crisis

Strategic planning: Three tips for 2009
Even in these tumultuous times, strategic planning doesn’t have to be an exercise in anxiety—or futility.

Read the entire article on Strategic planning: Three tips for 2009 by Renée Dye, Olivier Sibony, and S. Patrick Viguerie in the The McKinsey Quarterly, the business journal of McKinsey & Company.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Got a great idea?

There's never been a better time to turn it into a great company. Here's a 16-step guide to help you do it right and build a bulletproof startup.

Phase One Establish a Company
Step 1. Stress-Test Your Big Idea
Step 2. Build Your Founding Team
Step 3. Draft a Business Plan
Step 4. Play the Name Game
Step 5. Incorporate Thyself

Phase Two Prototype the Product
Step 1. Stake Out Intellectual Property
Step 2. Create an Advisory Board
Step 3. Build Your Prototype

Phase Three Develop the Beta Product
Step 1. Start Staffing Up
Step 2. Assemble Your Back Office
Step 3. Launch Your Beta Test
Step 4. Revisit the Business Plan

Phase Four Launch the Product
Step 1. Build a New Board of Directors
Step 2. Develop the Sales and Marketing Plan
Step 3. Open an Office
Step 4. Hit the Market

Read the entire article by Michael V. Copeland and Om Malik on Cnn Money.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Billions of Entrepreneurs

Removing half a billion people from poverty and into the productive workforce will profoundly affect on the world economy. India and China are doing just that with insane growth rates and lots of what used to be American jobs: China is the factory floor and India the back-office, software shop. China is top-down party driven. India is a messy, vibrant democracy.

This may be the complementary duo that changes the world. Including your world.

Hear Professor Tarun Khanna in a discussion about his book, Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India are Reshaping Their Futures and Yours. Called well worth reading by The Economist and entertaining by the Financial Times, Khanna's book shows how Chinese and Indian entrepreneurs are creating change through new business models.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Why we think it's OK to cheat and steal

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely studies the bugs in our moral code: the hidden reasons we think it's OK to cheat or steal (sometimes). Clever studies help make his point that we're predictably irrational -- and can be influenced in ways we can't grasp.

In God we trust; all others pay cash

Warren Buffett's annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway share-holders is a highly anticipated, market-moving event. This time he offers his views on the current economy and the business climate. (with Berkshire performance of course)

Worth a read if you have the time.

An excerpt from his letter:

"Amid this bad news, however, never forget that our country has faced far worse travails in the past. In the 20th Century alone, we dealt with two great wars (one of which we initially appeared to be losing); a dozen or so panics and recessions; virulent inflation that led to a 21.5% prime rate in 1980; and the Great Depression of the 1930s, when unemployment ranged between 15% and 25% for many years. America has had no shortage of challenges.

Without fail, however, we’ve overcome them. In the face of those obstacles – and many others – the real standard of living for Americans improved nearly seven-fold during the 1900s, while the Dow Jones Industrials rose from 66 to 11,497. Compare the record of this period with the dozens of centuries during which humans secured only tiny gains, if any, in how they lived. Though the path has not been smooth, our economic system has worked extraordinarily well over time. It has unleashed human potential as no other system has, and it will continue to do so. America’s best days lie ahead."

Read the complete text of Buffett's letter to shareholders on the Berkshire Hathaway Website.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Economy

On a lighter note... (got this in a forward)

If you had purchased $1,000.00 of Delta Air Lines stock one year ago you would have $49.00 left.

With Enron, you would have had $16.50 left of the original $1,000.00.

With WorldCom, you would have had less than $5.00 left.

But, if you had purchased $1,000.00 worth of beer one year ago, drunk all of the beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling REFUND, you would have $214.00 cash.

Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle.
It's called the 401-Keg.

A recent study found the average American walks about 900 miles a year. Another study found Americans drink, on the average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year. That means, on average, Americans get about 41 miles to the gallon.

Makes you proud to be an American!

Bigger Pharma

Well, the pharma industry just got bigger.

Merck's $41 billion acquisition of Schering-Plough (Link)
Though Merck & Co. has agreed to pay Schering-Plough Corp. $2.5 billion if it fails to get financing for its proposed $41 billion takeover of the rival drug maker, according to a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission.

Pfizer's takeover of Wyeth for $68 billion. (Link)

Roche's bid of a $47 billion deal with Genentech. (Link)

Another article from CNN Money on Big Pharma's new landscape.

Now, Pfizer, the world's top drug maker, and French firm Sanofi-Aventis are in the race to buy a stake in Indian Wockhardt Ltd's biotechnology business.

I guess the good thing is that economy/recession/meltdown don't seem to affect the biotech industry.

Read about the article: Biotech industry expected to grow despite global meltdown

Saturday, March 7, 2009

How do you identify your True North?

Prasad Kaipa is the Executive director, Centre for Leadership, Innovation & Change at ISB. An exceptional speaker and has been an advisor/coach since 1990 for over 100 CEOs, executive team members and board members in Fortune 500 companies like Disney, Adobe, Sun, Boeing etc. Prasad advises and coaches his clients to become clear about what they aspire for and what their core incompetence is.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Business Ideas

Quote (fact) of the day:

"Ideas are a dime a dozen. The money is in the execution."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

America's Money Crisis

CNN has a nice bailout scorecard on the economy rescue: Adding up the dollars

The government is engaged in an unprecedented - and expensive - effort to rescue the economy. Here are all the elements of the bailouts.

Click here to read about it.

Also, read about 'The crisis': A timeline
A shocking series of events that forever changed the financial markets.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Biotech Acquisition

US drug manufacturer Pfizer Inc. will acquire rival Wyeth for $68 billion, making it the largest pharmaceutical takeover deal in nearly a decade, the two companies announced early Monday.

Under the terms of the cash-and-stock transaction, each outstanding share of Wyeth common stock will be converted into a shareholder right to receive $33 in cash and 0.985 of a share of Pfizer common stock.

Pfizer will begin to face U.S. generic competition in 2011 for the cholesterol drug Lipitor. Next year, Wyeth loses patent protection on its own top drug, the antidepressant Effexor XR.

Obama's Inaugural Address

"That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met. "

Read the full text on TIME