Global Themes

On Globalization & Venture Capital

Why the Minimum Wage may not be such a good idea after all…

Watch Milton Friedman explain why such a move might actually hurt the ones it intends to help

and read why “Raising the Minimum Wage is Still a Bad Idea” and why good intentions end up as bad policy

Minimum Wage Cartoon Henry Payne

Cartoon by Henry Payne, courtesy 

..and while on this, here is a thought-provoking, nuanced take on child labour..

October 16th, 2014 Posted by | Development Issues, Miscellaneous | no comments

Twilight Session on SocEnt at London Business School..

Looking forward to a “Twilight Taster Session” on Social Entrepreneurship at London Business School this evening!Taster Session Myths and Models

September 25th, 2013 Posted by | Miscellaneous | no comments

Getting out of Venture Capital…kind of

Dear All: For those of you who may not already know, I am leaving Amadeus at the end of eight long years – of what has been an amazingly rich and educative experience.

I am leaving to spend more time in (and on) India and a few personal passions.

I will continue to scout for interesting seed and very early-stage investment opportunities in India but expect to spend less time on Venture Capital in general.

I have been very fortunate to experience, first-hand, the boom and the bust in this industry…

It has been a true learning experience – and a humbling one too.

I expect to spend progressively less time on this blog…so do not be surprised if you don’t hear from me over long stretches of time. If you are really curious to know what I am up to (or just want to email a “Hello”), pl. leave a comment here and I shall try and get back to you.

Here is wishing all of you the very best in your endeavours – now and in the future.

October 1st, 2009 Posted by | Miscellaneous | one comment

On micro-entrepreneurs and micro-enterprises…

Fellow blogger Swaroop recently wrote a post on a dosa seller in Bengaluru that had me thinking.

Swaroop’s dosa-seller is someone whom I would call a micro-entrepreneur. A micro-entrepreneur is usually involved in an activity that manages to support his/her family’s basic needs.

A good micro-enterprise will generate profits that would be larger than most average jobs.

Needless to say, these profits are more “riskier” than a regular monthly income (salary) – especially if your regular monthly income comes from the government.

So who exactly is a micro-entrepreneur and what qualifies as a micro-enterprise?

Before I attempt an answer to this question, an important caveat: I am talking about India, not USA.

Another caveat…Not everyone who we think is a “micro-entrepreneur” may be so out of choice…Some of them may be forced entrepreneurs – forced to eke out a living doing what they are doing, either because they could not find a job they liked OR because what they are doing seemed to be the most natural thing to do (e.g. managing your parents’ micro-enterprise).

Note that micro-enterprises typically lack scalability (that elusive trait which VCs seek) and may not be particularly “innovative”. Having said that, their contribution cannot be dismissed. At the very least they provide an alternative to unemployment (and the consequent frustration and disillusionment that accompanies it); At best, they have the capacity to transform a family’s fortunes (think of all the famous “halwais” who started small…)

Back to the main point: who exactly is a micro-entrepreneur and what qualifies as a micro-enterprise?

Here is my (proposed) definition:

A micro-entrepreneur is anyone who manages a micro-enterprise.

A micro-enterprise is any business that:

  • has start-up costs of less than Rs 50,000/-
  • employs less than 5 people (typically in a single location)
  • has annual revenues of less than Rs 12 Lakhs (or monthly revenues of less than Rs 1 Lakh)

…and has uneven cash-flow, problems in employee retention and suffers from bureaucratic burdens (but these are hardly unique to micro-enterprises!)

What do you think? Comments/ thoughts very welcome.

Next post in the series: Why this sudden interest in micro-entrepreneurs?

Related Post: A nation of shopkeepers?…or entrepreneurs?

July 27th, 2009 Posted by | Entrepreneurship, Miscellaneous | 2 comments

Apple, Sony and Nintendo: A Stunning Comparison

Courtesy Gerhard Fasol of Eurotechnology Japan, a fascinating comparison between Sony, Apple and Nintendo

…On October 22 APPLE announced spectacular full-year results with a year-on-year net income increase of 38%.

…on August 29, 2008 Nintendo revised the forecast for full-year net income upward by +26.2%

…in contrast, on October 23, 2008, SONY said that full-year net income (for the financial year ending March 2009) is expected to be 37.5% lower than previously predicted

Lets look at today’s (Oct 22nd) market caps:

APPLE market cap = US$ 85.6 Billion

NINTENDO market cap = US$ 37.2 Billion

SONY market cap = US$ 19.9 Billion

Why this dramatic difference? We believe its focus. Apple and Nintendo are companies with clear focus.

…In terms of sales, SONY = 3 x APPLE …(and)…SONY = 4 x NINTENDO

annual revenues of SONY, Nintendo, and APPLE








In terms of operating income, APPLE = 3 x SONY…(and)…NINTENDO = 3 x SONY

operating income: Apple, SONY and Nintendo









In terms of operating margin, APPLE = 9 x SONY…(and)…NINTENDO = 15 x SONY

operating margin: nintendo, sony and apple

November 5th, 2008 Posted by | Global Competition, Japan, Miscellaneous | 2 comments

The worst decline in history…

Courtesy Paul Kedrosky [ via Bespoke ], this chart that says it all:


October 8th, 2008 Posted by | Economics, Miscellaneous | no comments

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