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World in Figures II

Posted on Wednesday, Jan 24th 2007

As I pondered the question of rebalancing the population of Canada, I looked up their unemployment rate: 7.8% in 2004. GDP? $978 Billion.

So let’s look at the GDP statistics ($ Billion):

1. United States 11,711.8

2. Japan 4,622.8

3. Germany 2,740.6

4. UK 2,124.4

5. France 2,046.6

6. China 1,931.7

7. Italy 1,677.8

8. Spain 1,039.9

9. Canada 978.0

10. India 691.2

Ofcourse, with China and India’s growth rates, this ranking would change in the next few years.
Something else, however, will also change for those two nations: population. In 2050, India’s forecast is 1,592.7 Million, and China’s is 1,392.3 Million.

Bangladesh at 242.9 Million and Pakistan at 304.7 Million represent scary statistics, as neither country has any economic momentum, are breeding terrorism, will face tremendous space/housing crunch.

Unless alliances can be created with a richer nation like Canada or Australia, with whom they may have a basis for some win:win economically viable deal, the picture would continue to look grim.

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Children’s World

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 23rd 2007

BBC announces children’s world. Read our analysis of the Pre-Teens space in Segments and LifeStyles.

Some raise the obvious security question. But clearly, the segment deserves attention, and BBC has decided to pay it.

IBM’s Entry into Social Networking

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 23rd 2007

Smart move, as IBM enters social networking. Anyone who has experience with large enterprises, knows, how tedious it is to locate people with the right expertise. Thus, I envision a LinkedIn equivalent which serves less as a tool for recruiters to find candidates, but more as an internal expertise locator, should be an absolute killer app. Here’s more detail on the announcement.

Needless to say, this is targeting a very different user base than the MySpace-FaceBook audience. “Lotus Connections has five components — activities, communities, dogear (a bookmarking system), profiles and blogs — aimed at helping experts within a company connect and build new relationships based on their individual needs.”

Likely to bring together project teams, I see this suite of web 2.0 collaboration products as a step in the right direction. As Shai Agassi, heir apparent at SAP had said earlier, “When web 2.0 meets enterprise 3.0, the game will get really interesting!”

Indeed, imagine when all this becomes combined with the existing collaboration and communication tools like Microsoft Sharepoint, Webex, and the project management tools? Now we’re talking!

My prediction: every one of the big enterprise players – IBM, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle – will have a collaboration suite that has an integrated environment including community tools like what IBM has just announced, as well as web conferencing, project management, project portals, and various other computer-telephony related functionality.

Further readings: International Herald Tribune, Business Week, Connecting the Dots, Marc’s Voice, Kevin Maney, SeekingAlpha Software Stocks, Bloggers Blog, Ed Brill, Trends in the Living Networks, WSJ and New York Times

Video FAQs

Nokia in India

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 23rd 2007

Market Share of the handset market: 79%

4 Major Segments:

Live – New Users

Connect – More evolved users who look for more functionality, features and connectivity. Accordingly, phones in this segment would have GPRS, camera and music capabilities.

Achieve – Enterprise users who need to have business functionalities in their phones.

Explore – High end users; most prominent segment for the company in the coming years; five different areas – applications, imaging, mobile TV, music and gaming.

Norwest’s India Strategy

Posted on Monday, Jan 22nd 2007

Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) is scouting for buyouts in the Indian IT space, looking to invest $300 million in India over the next three years. NVP is targeting companies in the range of $25-30 million operating in the services and product development space.

NVP currently has invested $50 million in four IT companies in India and is planning to invest in another 10-15 companies over the next 2-3 years. Though NVP does not have a dedicated India fund, they expect total investments in India will touch $300 million over the next 2-3 years.

The fund recently made a $20 million investment in KPO outfit Adventity. It has invested $13.8 million in Persistent Systems and another $10 million in social networking site Last year, NVP, Reliance Capital and Television 18 Group formed travel portal Yatra Online. In India, the fund will invest in semiconductors, consumer internet and media companies.

Needless to say, NVP is one of the 120 funds chasing India, especially consumer internet and media deals in India. Valuations will continue to get bloated up, making actual return on investment challenging.

Will the Digital Era Change Writing?

Posted on Sunday, Jan 21st 2007

The rock album is dying, with digital services letting music fans cherry-pick individual songs they like. But will something similar happen to writing? Is the novel endangered by slice-and-dice nature of the Web?

Interesting article from the WSJ comparing the Future of Books to the Present of Music.

My take:

Most non-fiction is better presented in the form of shorter essays. Large business books are almost always unnecessary, and the real content in them could be synthesized into a 5-page piece. Perhaps, the Novel form of books will survive, but all the rest of the book genres will come under tremendous threat by the digital age, as micro-content distribution becomes mainstream.

The book will certainly survive, but the size of the print publishing industry will probably lose a great deal of ground to the digital format.

World in Figures

Posted on Sunday, Jan 21st 2007

The Economist sent out its 2007 Pocket edition of the World in Figures book. It is always interesting to look at the world issues with statistical data.

Here’s an interesting set –

The largest countries (‘000 Sq Km) in the world are:

1. Russia 17,075

2. Canada 9,971

3. China 9,561

4. United States 9,373

5. Brazil 8,512

6. Australia 7,682

7. India 3,287

8. Argentina 2,767

9. Kazakhstan 2,717

10. Sudan 2,506

The largest populations (Millions, 2004) are:

1. China 1,313,3

2. India 1,081.2

3. United States 297.0

4. Indonesia 222.6

5. Brazil 180.7

6. Pakistan 157.3

7. Bangladesh 149.7

8. Russia 142.4

9. Japan 127.8

10. Nigeria 127.1

Canada has a miniscule population of only 31.7 Million people with the second largest territory of 9,971,000 Sq. Km. Bangladesh has 149.7 Million people residing in a miniscule country of 143,998 Sq. Km.

I have an uncle who lives in Alberta, Canada. He tells me stories of how you drive through the province and see “Temporarily Closed” signs at local McDonald’s, because they have no workforce to work there. A booming oil economy sucks up all available workforce, leaving many small businesses unable to operate.

Makes me wonder. Am I the only one who looks at the statistics above, and feels that some rebalancing would be appropriate? Could Canada not strike a deal with over-populated countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, China and India, and staff up?

e-Tickets in India

Posted on Sunday, Jan 21st 2007

Economic Times reports:

“The growth in e-ticketing during 2006 over the previous year has been perhaps the highest in the world. According to industry data, shared exclusively with SundayET by Amadeus, a travel IT supplier which tracks the trend on a monthly basis, e-ticket penetration grew from a measly 10% in 2005 to 65% in 2006. The figure for the year 2004 was a meagre 4%. This percentage reflects the total airline tickets sold through the net.

Amadeus India managing director, Mr Ankur Bhatia, feels that by the year end, e-ticketing penetration in India would be as high as 90%, which is roughly what the global average is now.”