Monday, August 18, 2008

Overheard : Web 2.0 Entrepreneur talking to a VC

Web 2.0 Entrepreneur: hey how is this for a company... - so basically people get on the site and plan for a trip that they know that they will never take... that way they dont spend the money and they still get to feel the joy of planning an exotic trip...


Venture Capitalist: Sounds exciting!! what is the revenue model gonna be?!?


Web 2.0 Entrepreneur: Hmmm. That is a hard one.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

An Immediate Threat

It has been sometime since I was affected by terrorism; the last time being 9/11, when I woke up to chaos and calls from family and assurances from my side that things for most part were okay. But the blasts in Ahmedabad are affecting me, not to the same extent as they affected those that lost family members; but I do find myself questioning the safety of my family while we are in India.

In the past, I have argued against Bush's ideology and methods on dealing with terrorism the and often times quite vehemently. But now I am having second thoughts… does fighting them there, so we don't have to fight them here actually makes sense? Does the propagation of war on other shores actually make the shores at home safer? Does India need to adapt the same stand and go on the offensive against these radicals? Are we safer if India eliminates three terrorists for every civilian that is killed by them (a la Israel)? The United States does not negotiate with terrorists, what is India's official standing on the same? I do not know the answers to these questions… but idealism aside, what I do know is: my family and I are safer in the US of A than in India. The law of averages can be discounted when you are on the side from missiles are being launched than the side where those missiles are landing.

Now before I start sound like a "Dick" (Cheney): what caused these blasts in Ahmedabad? The Gujarat state government provided fodder for these radicals by not prosecuting the thousands of cases of torture, rape and murder of Muslims that were filed after the Gujarat riots… did Gujarat to a certain extent bring this upon itself? Yes.

However, the broader problem is that of radical religion. The madrasas in Pakistan and India which are funded by the Wahabis in Saudi Arabia need immediate government intervention. The intervention needs to be direct in India and indirect in Pakistan. The alternative to these madrasas is the secular public school system, which has been decaying for years in Pakistan… Pakistan needs to rejuvenate its public schools and provide viable alternatives for its youth. India needs to take a cue from Europe and close any institutions that foster and ideology of hatred and violence.

This has been said before by people on both sides of the political spectrum, Maher and Limbaugh alike: the US of A needs to issue a direct order to its client-state, Saudi Arabia: stop funding the madrasas or else… well in the words of a not-so-great Presiduck: you are either with us or against us.


Creative Capitalism

While in transit on my honeymoon, I picked up Time's latest issue with Billy G on the cover talking about Creative Capitalism… which begs the question – what am I doing reading on my honeymoon. But you see, the W (W = wife, with a marked reference to George W. Bush – a conservative who is a spending liberal, just like my wife) and I have a prenupt that states in paragraph 5, line 12 – "It is okay for Riff to get distracted from Bill Gates and Katrina Kaif."

Anyways getting back to "creative capitalism", after reading the very well written piece I sent a note to my visionary CEO: "Gates met Haque." Haque being Umair Haque, the edge guru who had called to attention the huge market that exists outside the immediate core; some refer to it as the market at the bottom of the pyramid. I, too had written about how the new Gates needs to focus on the edge to fulfill his philanthropic ambitions… but apparently Gates (being Gates) was already doing exactly that. And I being I and not having access to Gates' mind and his Calagenda (maybe he uses MS Exchange) did not know that. What I absorbed:

  • The bottom of the pyramid is a huge (read $5 trillion in purchasing power) market that is currently being underserved.
  • Serving that market is financially rewarding and brings with certain intangibles… read PR and dedicated employees.
  • Moving the bottom to the middle ("the strength of a strong middle class" say the Republicans) is systemic growth.

But there are minds out there that can absorb more, and people out there that can do more… so this honeymoon or weekend, think of ways on how one can get more creative about capitalism… because there is profit to made and lives to be bettered.

It is back to the beach for me.