Thursday, May 27, 2010

Incredible Iran?

According to International Monetary Fund (IMF) figures, Iran is the sixteenth largest economy in the world, consistently enjoys healthy growth rates and trade balances, and has a low national debt burden. While Iran's real growth rate of around five per cent a year for close to a decade has far outpaced that of Western economies.
Despite having had one of the youngest populations in the world for the past two decades, the Iranian unemployment rate has stabilised at around 12 per cent since approximately a decade ago.

The country's economy is also one of the most diversified in the region, second only to that of Turkey.
Iran's petrochemical exports have grown 15-fold since 2000 and her steel and car manufacturing industries are the largest in the region with outward investments in several countries.

More importantly, Iran is among only a few countries learning to master high tech areas such nanotechnology, nuclear technology and space exploration. In addition, it has one of the most sophisticated military industries in the region, despite having one of the lowest military budgets.

The 2007 US sanctions against Iranian banks ironically ensured Iran's immunity from the global financial crisis that was about to explode. Moreover, and despite the sanctions, the net flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Iran has grown steadily too, save for the 2008-2009 blip. The EIU estimates that Iran's net FDI will rise by 100 per cent within the next four years.
Iran was among the few major economies in the world not to be severely affected by the crisis. Smaller banks from emerging economies, Islamic banking and less formal means of cross-border payments, including cash and 'hawala', provided the best protection for those who were kept out of the ailing Western banking system as a form of 'punishment'.

Iran's exports grew from $8.5bn in 1987 to $70bn in 2006, representing an 824 per cent increase.
Iran's exports have continued to grow since. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), they are expected to reach $82bn this year.

Iran's largest export market is Iraq, followed by China. As irony would have it, Iran's trade with both countries has grown exponentially since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The United Arab Emirates and Singapore have emerged as two of Iran's largest trading and foreign investment partners, although European countries as a group also form a substantial trade partner.

The Iranian government has responded to the increased costs by reducing other transaction costs for Iranian exporters. These include reduced freight costs and taxes for certain types of goods and greater use of expanded and improved free trade zones and special economic zones.
Iran has also set some ambitious targets for elevating her 'ease of doing business' ranking in the region. The index is a World Bank tool for comparing business environments across various countries, and Iran currently ranks in the mid-range compared to other countries in the region.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Keep those flight tickets

When you get so much free spaces on emails, spare some space for those old emailed flight tickets in your inbox. You never know when it will come in handy.
Take for instance, my aunt's case. She has travelled to UK a few times to meet her son who lives there. And then one day, she lost her passport in India. She applied for a new passport and got it and applied for a new visa for seeing her son in UK. The UK visa team rejected her application on the basis that they were not sure whether she returned back to India during the vaildity of the visa term or stayed back as an illegal immigrant after the proposed visa duration stay as the new passport lacked the immigration check seal of departure from UK. Although the UK's immigration department has details of my aunt's checking out of UK, the country's system puts the onus on the foreigner to prove that they left the country in time and didnt violate any rules. This is one of the ways the government tries to permanently avoid other people coming into their country.
To top this, the British Airliner says they keep information of passengers for only three months and since the travel was beyond that period, they cant give them a copy of the ticket or the confirmation of travel. I wonder how these same airlines and airports would have all the required information and recorded video of the passengers if the enquiring people were some anti-terrorist detectives.
The saving grace was that my aunt's son had a email copy of the ticket lying somewhere in his inbox which he found out.
Moral of the stroy: Despite feeling sometimes that an email/document(air tickets, bank accoubnt closing letter, bank account statements after closing a bank account) is a piece of junk i have to live with, one may never know when it will be a life saviour and where.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Another Marketing gimmick

When you wish someone prosperity, isn't it for a lifetime? It doesnt seem so for marketers as usual. Five years ago, a common man in the city was unaware of an auspicious day called Akshaya Tritiya. Maybe people seeing star calenders knew about it and did whatever they did on those days. But suddenly, this day has become so conspicuous, unignorable and synonymous to buy gold on this auspicious day for prosperity with every jeweller advertising it. So I ask again: Does the prosperity the gold (supposedly) brings expire in one year and new gold have to be bought every year?

Victoria's secret revealed

I figured out Victoria’s secret. Starvation and liposuction

Sapranos quotes

"You heard about the Chinese godfather?  He made them an offer they couldn't understand."

"I'm like King Midas in reverse, here.  Everything I touch turns to shit."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Crap Marketing

You should know when you are in an Indian five-star hotel when you don't find any usuable water (water tap/mini hand shower) anywhere near the commode. Instead, they keep only toilet papers there. What angers me the most is that they have a lot of Indian customers and still make us feel awkward when we are in the most vulnerable situations on Earth...
Are they purposely send out a message that they dont want Indians by trying to irritate us or are they retards?

P.S: The first lesson in marketing is always "understand your customer needs".... Ya right! 
I bet if you ask them what they studied, they would say "that marketing crap". 

Beggar "demands" more money

RBI recommended that banks not enter the already competitive life insurance business as the break even time is high and it is a capital intensive business. Then there was news that LIC may ask for a banking license. The chairman in an interview said it is a decision of the board and he cant confirm or deny it. LIC has a listed subsidiary called the LIC housing finance. The rumour news went that LIC housing finance went and RBI license to open a bank. The funny part is that LIC housing finance is a small company and goes asking(begging) for money from the parent LIC every few years once it has completed disbursing its loans and wants to grow further(Capital Adequacy Ratio concept). What could be the height of the competition? Both parent and subsidiary opening different banks and fight it out... Fortunately, I am sure the LIC board is smarter than this rumour :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

All about the 'G's

An excellent article on "g forces".
Did you know that you create 3g s in a sneeze?

Desk entropy

Most difficult proof reading

What is the one book almost everyone goes through in their lifetime but is the hardest to proof read?

The Dictionary!

Unlike technical books, where even a small group of experts can have an authority on the matter, the dictionary contains thousands of areas of words and no small group of experts can proof read and verify what is written.
I wonder how the dictionary companies like Oxford dictionary, Webster's disctionary, etc actually proof read them. Moreover, in today's internet world, do they just see the new words used in Google/Yahoo and add them to the next edition? How do they find new words that are being used? Do they even rely on unconfirmed research from unreliable sources to and add the new words based on these researches?

I have my questions and reservations. Further, I wonder what will the daily work of a person working in these dictionary companies. What kind of resources do they have at their disposal? Do they have huge libraries & online databases? Do they go to different countries to see the frequency of usage of certain words? What will one have to do/be to get into these companies to work on the core of their work? I wonder...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Life = change

"Life is change and change is life"

Ideal personality: Why MBTI is so not right..

When I first knew about the MBTI test ( and that I was supposed to take it, I thought I was definitely strong in some areas and was kind of in the middle for some of the other parameters.
I was administered the MBTI test at my management school and I found it very hard to choose one of the two answers when asked to choose from. I had fair amount of instances on either side and if it was another day, I could have as well ticked the other option. With many a questions in limbo, I didnt really feel the test helped in testing me, or I was not quite the normal guy falling quite clearly in such sharp black and white categories (as it should have been perhaps).
Somewhere down the line in the last 1.5 years, I have been able to see that all for each pair of MBTI, one preference or the other is more beneficial depending on the circumstances. Sometimes, keeping your mouth shut helps to prevent further embarrassment and trouble, while at times going out of way to shout out your point is beneficial.
Similar with Sensing and iNtution. Wiki says { Individuals who prefer sensing are more likely to trust information that is in the present, tangible and concrete: that is, information that can be understood by the five senses. They tend to distrust hunches, which seem to come "out of nowhere". They prefer to look for details and facts. For them, the meaning is in the data. On the other hand, those who prefer intuition tend to trust information that is more abstract or theoretical, that can be associated with other information. } Again this preference is and should be based on the situation (or atleast that is how I have always used it). Without intution, how else can one even try to understand such vague things like atoms, their chemistry, radio frequencies, nuclear physics, integration and differentiation in mathematics, visions of leaders, faith on god, etc. On the other hand, how can you ever make a sound decision without any basis. Both extremes seem ridiculous.
If you think over it, even the other two pairs will be like that.
MBTI test says that these are personal preferences only and nobody can be a perfectly any of the 16 different conmbinations and it is not strictly a type to be classified into. People do exhibit both sides of a pair. The point why then classify it like that? Why not have three things instead of a pair. The third should be the center region in between the extremes of the pair.
And that I think is the perfect personality!
A person capable of being in neither of the MBTIs, but right in the center for all the four pairs and one who feels most confused as to what he really is after being given the test. He will be the most suitable in the ever so dynamic situations of the current and future worlds where prefering different ways to different situations and maybe even different ways for same situation at a different time is required. [If you understood the last statement, I assure you that you will qualify as "intelligent and wise" in Ajit's Intelligence test ;) ]
A perfect personality is a flecible one capable of handling a delicate as well as a hard situation. He is flexible in approach and knows when to stick to what and what is to be achieved. Extrovert helps in life to make new friends and contacts and achieve the unimaginable but being introvert and doing your own work is beneficial when you have a job in hand to complete all by yourself. The perfect personality should be able to do the right mix of both extremes right one after another or sometimes even simultanoeusly. e.g: Being introvert while being extrovert like when you go to a party and introduce yourself or make an effort to meet up someone(extrovert behaviour) but hardly talk anything (introvert behaviour). It is in a way like playing good cop, bad cop alone and seeing which is the best way the situation can be handled and then choosing the suitable role.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cracked open

"Author(Substitute as necessary) just banged her head in the wall... it cracked open. Mercifully, there was nothing inside :D "