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Davos: India

Posted on Wednesday, Jan 24th 2007

The World Bank has prepared a special section online with useful information about India related to the World Economic Forum in Davos, underway this week. The theme of Davos this year is “The Shifting Power Equation.” We have organized our resources around the subthemes of the meeting:

Economics: New drivers |
Geopolitics: The Need for Fresh Mandates |
Technology and Society: Identity, Community and Networks |
Business: Leading in a Connected World

The page is located here.

Further reading: Vinod Khosla’s Marshall Plan for Rural India.

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Marketing Midwest Succotash

Posted on Wednesday, Jan 24th 2007

By Frank Levinson

For the high tech readers of this web blog it is probably important to start out with a definition for the word succotash because it probably is not familiar to most of you.

Succotash is a dish (food) made from beans and corn. Can be lima beans and corn, but can be green beans and corn too.

The beans and corn in this essay are soybeans and field corn. Both of which really are not grown for human consumption. Soybeans are primarily grown today as a source of protein for feeding to animals and field corn is grown with the same target in mind – feeding to animals but is not the source of protein but rather of carbs. These substances often get blended and palletized so that they can be fed in concentrated forms on feed lots where much of our “on the hoof” meats are raised these days.

All of this is pretty clinical.

But in the last year or two the Midwest has discovered bio fuels in a big way. >>>

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

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.