Google Wave Invites

November 16, 2009

Have about 10 new Google Wave Invites to give away. Message me if you want them. Strictly FIFO (First In First Out).


Update: Ok Folks all invites sent out you should get the invites in the next couple of days. Google takes some time to send them out. Have fun waving.


Sentence of the day

November 2, 2009

So the combined effect of the Fed policy of a zero Fed funds rate, quantitative easing and massive purchase of long-term debt instruments is seemingly making the world safe – for now – for the mother of all carry trades and mother of all highly leveraged global asset bubbles.

Nouriel Roubini


Annals of Obvious Research

October 26, 2009

Once again the academics have fearlessly gone forth and discovered the what anyone who has ever run a business will immediately tell you.

Analysing 85 years of data on Employee selection criteria, our intrepid researchers identified the  following three characteristics of successful employee criteria

1. GMA tests (“General mental ability”)

2. Work sample tests

3. Integrity tests: surveys design to assess honesty … I don’t like them but they do appear to work.

While the bottom three characteristics assuming graphology is some general rubbish

16. Years of education

17. Interests

18. Graphology (e.g., handwriting analysis)

19. Age

Anyone who has had to hire not in some corporate environment but in an actual business especially a start-up early stage could have told you that.

What the current Argentinian Football mess may teach countries

October 18, 2009

Simon Kuper has a provocative take on Argentina’s current football mess in FT.

The key is that there are two views of what a national football team is for. The first is the professional view: the team exists to win matches. To do that, it needs to follow best international practice. However, Argentina chose Maradona because it had embraced the second – nationalist – view: the team must be the nation made flesh. Silly as Argentina now looks, many countries periodically fall into the same trap.

This is true not just of football teams but frequently of countries where they believe that there is some unique way of doing business. Whether it’s the Asian way or the Indian way so even the Scandinavian way. Business, trade and culture could be segregated in past days because it took time for innovations and ideas to spread, but in today’s day and age there is only one way and that is the global way.

Is Evolution a Fact

October 15, 2009

Emanuel Derman writes

That Paris is in the Northern Hemisphere seems to me a matter of definition rather than fact. Evolution is not a fact in that sense at all.

I would call a fact something that you ignore at your peril, in particular your peril in the material world. A fact is Maxwell’s equations, Newton’s laws, the germ theory of disease. You can’t ignore these without severely crippling your ability to live in the (modern) world.

This is a little strange because obviously the author believes in germ theory but doesn’t seem to believe that bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics is based on fact. Evolution is simply the changing of organisms because of pressures of the environment around them. It’s a simple fact and not something to argue over by linking it to God/religion.

Annals of Useless Research

October 14, 2009

An FT article highlights research from NYU Stern Business School that Hedge Funds misrepresent facts. Obviously the researchers have not ever had a sales job in their lives. Facts are frequently not just misrepresented but are frequently made up by all sales people, when pitching to clients.

One of the reasons of the Great Financial Crisis seems to be that as far as finance goes, people have forgotten the basic injunction of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). If more people understood that a majority of people working in finance are simply sales people who are selling you a product, whether it is investment Hedge Funds or buying a Home Loan. Unlike other industries viz. manufacturing or construction or Hotels or anything else, finance simply allocates money around and there is only so much that you can extract in value by moving money around. Then the only way to generate profits is by selling and charging more.

It is important to remember that when dealing with financiers or bankers of any kind.

A Tale of Two Acquisitions

September 24, 2009

In the last week there have been in the new two acquisitions in the Tech space which are pretty close to home for me. The first was 170 million acquisition of Mint by Intuit. My initial thoughts of starting a Personal Finance SaaS company for Asia was inspired  by looking at Mint and reading this article in WSJ. We are now taking MyMoneyManage into a much broader direction, focusing on not just consumers but on a broader SME market which seems more lucrative for Asia.

The other acquisition was smaller one by IBM of Redpill Solutions but probably more significant to me because I worked at Redpill for one and a half years when the Analytics business was starting off. They were crazy days of literally running around trying to convince clients of the value of tapping into the data that they have sitting around.

Congrats to the Redpill team on pulling this off!

Both acquisitions are on the face of it similar, established companies taking over smaller innovative companies which are focused on providing a different level of service to their customers,  both are also about doing more with the data of their customers. How will these two acquisitions pan out is something only future will make clear. But I would like to believe that Redpill will have a greater impact on the future with their customer focus. Mint will get absorbed into Quicken and become just a pretty front-end service while Redpill has the opportunity to really change the world with the reach and openings that IBM can give them.

Will be following with interest on how these acquisitions play out.