If you have read much of world news lately, you will notice there has been ongoing tension between the Kurdish region and Turkey. Reflecting back on the stability issues, this must be diffused in order to allow significant external investment to take place.
SM: How do you answer the questions regarding the recent threat of invasion by Turkey? — this is the type of thing that would be certain to concern potential investors. QT: On the Turkish issue, the recent increase in tension is the result of Turkey’s objection to the presence of the group formerly known as the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) inside Iraq. >>>
A final story: On a hot summer morning in 1995, a Fortune-10 corporation had sequestered all their Indian software vendors, including Infosys, in different rooms at the Taj Residency hotel in Bangalore so that the vendors could not communicate with one another. This customer’s propensity for tough negotiations was well-known. Our team was very nervous.
First of all, with revenues of only around $5 million, we were minnows compared to the customer.
Second, this customer contributed fully 25% of our revenues. The loss of this business would potentially devastate our recently-listed company. >>>
The WSJ reports that eBay has quietly opened its classifieds site, Kijiji (what a lousy name!) to the US audience, positioned to compete against the wildly popular Craigslist, in which it owns a 25% stake.
Investing in a conflict area is risky business, but there are resources in Kurdistan which will draw in Oil producing companies. Microfinance structures could also benefit the agricultural region. However, in order for a “boom” to be sustainable, there will need to be a significant investor confidence in security – particularly for the finance industry (which will also have to offer financing programs which conform to religious mandates, and there are plenty of those programs out there).
The trend will likely see multi-national corporations demonstrate interest in the oil industry (and China has also been demonstrating interest of late), followed by regional development. >>>
While these first two events were rather fortuitous, the next two, both concerning the Infosys journey, were more planned and profoundly influenced my career trajectory.
On a chilly Saturday morning in winter 1990, five of the seven founders of Infosys met in our small office in a leafy Bangalore suburb. The decision at hand was the possible sale of Infosys for the enticing sum of $1 million. After nine years of toil in the then business-unfriendly India , we were quite happy at the prospect of seeing at least some money.
I let my younger colleagues talk about their future plans. Discussions about the travails of our journey thus far and our future challenges went on for about four hours. I had not yet spoken a word.
Finally, it was my turn. >>>
When The New York Times entered into a deal with Monster Worldwide this February to display Monster’s job ads in NYT’s career sites, it became yet another example of how vertical portals like Monster’s job-related one has come to prominence. [We have recently covered the Online Jobs vertical in detail.]
Prior to the NYT deal, Monster had entered into alliances last year with dozens of newspapers across the US and at least 8 TV stations. The NYT deal saw Monster scaling a 52-week high of 54.67 on Feb 16 on the back of total trade of 5.64mn shares. The stock has since retracted around 24% and now trades at 41.47 (July 2). >>>
SM: Please describe some of your team building experiences. Is your management team complete now? It seems like you’ve had a founder transition, and the company has already burnt a lot of capital. These are indications of problems with the team, normally.
MS: Yes, we’ve had some problems, but they were not with Founder transition. Our Founder had a great idea, and he was great at pulling a company together around the idea. He was also a great biz dev guy, hence we started off with a deal with Travelocity. Big win. And then, he wanted to move on and start another company. >>>
Political stability must be viewed as a precursor to economic development. How else do you explain the success of microfinance in places such as India, Mexico, South America, and its failure (for the most part) in Africa (aside from limited success in places such as Kenya – which is a rather stable government for the region)?
That theory holds in place for areas where the United States has previously been involved in major conflicts and had troops remain in place – South Korea being a prime example, but let’s not forget the rebuilding of Europe after World War II. Is there a correlation – does US military equate to stability over time? Here I want to gauge the economic effect that Qubad feels the US military is having on the country. >>>