Global Themes

On Globalization & Venture Capital

How many £s does it take to cash a 1p cheque?

Talking of small change…last week I received this cheque in the mail for a single penny.

 1-penny-cheque.jpg     I had to check it twice just to make sure that it was actually a 1-penny cheque.

I cannot help wondering how many man-hours have been wasted (and are going to be wasted) on issuing and processing this cheque.

My estimate is around 2-man hours (at least) which translates into well over £12 (or $24) at the minimum wage rate in UK.

Any one else cares to venture a guess?

Long live the “traditional” way of doing business!

P.S. Coincidentally came across this BBC report which suggests that “the cost to a bank of processing a cheque was 44p” (Note that this is simply the cost to the bank – it does not include cost to the issuer and the beneficiary – in terms of time).

This site suggests that the cost of “processing paper cheques” may be as much as “between $15 to $25”. Wow. 

June 14th, 2007 Posted by | Economics, Miscellaneous | 4 comments

Making sense out of “AdSense”

Over the next few days, I am trying to figure out AdSense (yes, I am a dinosaur when it comes to online advertising)…

Please bear with me if you see strange colours and wierd placements on the site as I get to grips with the brave new world of e-commerce 🙂

June 6th, 2007 Posted by | Miscellaneous | no comments

A dream of “Democratizing Content”

When I first heard of Lokmanch.com earlier this year, I was intrigued.

“Lokmanch”(“People’s Platform” in Hindi) is an independent Hindi news aggregator site operating out of India. About three months ago, I got in touch with the two founders and was impressed by their enthusiasm, passion and obvious love for the business.

Although their position on (and perception of) “Globalization” is very different from my own take on it…I could not help admire the amount of work and energy that they had put in this effort. As it happened. I had the chance to meet with them a few weeks after the first conversation…and I came away from the meeting hooked!

Lokmanch’s vision is simple yet powerful – to make news and content available easily and freely in languages other than English and to be an alternative to current mainstream (English) media in India.

I would like to extend this idea a little further…and this is the dream  – to make information/content available to anyone, anywhere and anytime, freely…In the context of India, other than the obvious difficulties in “anywhere” and “anytime”, you also face the challenge of “anyone” since a large number of people do not speak English* – hence the appeal of non-English online news aggregator(s) like Lokmanch. This is what I would call “Democratizing Content“.

I am excited by this and will be watching them closely…and I wonder if there is any similar site (independently aggregating regional, local news content) catering to the Chinese speaking population?

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* Although by 2010, India will have the world’s largest number of English speakers and as Prof. David Crystal has memorably noted elsewhere, “When 300 million Indians speak a word in a certain way, that will be the way to speak it.”!

May 17th, 2007 Posted by | Entrepreneurship, Globalization, India, Miscellaneous | 10 comments

Belling the (V)CAT…

I scored as low as it could possibly get*…which set me thinking – is this the right test for becoming a VC?  (I can hear Tut tuts!)

Actually, Is there any right “test” for determining whether a person is well-suited for a career in VC – or more importantly, will he/she succeed?

The test misses one important thing; unfortunately it cannot be measured…and unlike the experiences and skills one has, it is entirely unpredictable and may desert you when you need it most – I am thinking *LUCK* 🙂

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* Yes, I know this is post-facto rationalisation, but…

I think I screwed up “Background” in a major way…missing on all the +5s and being saddled with two -5s (for my sins at LBS  and Monitor) 🙁

Note to Guy: Can I get a bonus +5 for “unusual” background? Radio DJ, Comp Engg, Mushroom farmer, Diplomat etc? 🙂

May 15th, 2007 Posted by | Miscellaneous, Venture Capital, What VCs really do | 4 comments

Stop the Wars…

First you had “War on Poverty” then  War on AIDS, followed by War on Terror

and now, “War on Climate Change“…wonder whats next.

So much for global peace… 🙁

May 2nd, 2007 Posted by | Development Issues, Miscellaneous | 5 comments

Mumbai Traffic and “Mera Bharat Mahaan”*

Earlier this week, my optimism about the infrastructure situation in India (see e.g. this) took a severe beating as I struggled to get to a meeting in downtown Mumbai crawling through what seemed like an endless chaos of traffic and road construction.

mumbai-traffic.jpg  ** Don’t get me wrong – I’m usually very charitable about these things…(and of course India is a weak spot!) but what really got me was not the 1hr 40min drive – I was far luckier than almost everyone else on that journey, travelling in comfort and not having to make this trip everyday – but the appalling loss of productivity and the drain on energy caused by this.

Keep Reading…

April 13th, 2007 Posted by | Miscellaneous | 3 comments

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