Sunday, August 17, 2008

Download Free CEO Report

CEOs report that while India, China, Brazil are indeed gaining importance to the companies as future markets, in the near future US will continue to be extremely important.  Following is the level of importance of various markets reported by CEOs in a research commissioned by NYSE Euronext.  You can download the CEO Report here.

Market     Level of Imp. (% crucial)
US 90% (71%)
Western Europe 61% (31%)
China 53% (24%)
Canada 47% (9%)
India 42% (12%)
Brazil 32% (9%)

What is impressive is the level of importance of the BRIC markets to their 2009 business.

What is limiting Michael Phelps ability to earn big dollars?

In today's Chicago Tribune, Mike Hughlett writes about the limitations of Olympians when it comes to turning their Olympic glory into dollars. Interesting article - read it here if you haven't already. Here is my assessment of what is limiting the Olympians economic potential.

The star power of an athlete is only as powerful as the ability of the star to keep his/her name in the news. Olympics are held once every four years which limits the ability of these Olympians to stay in news. This in turn limits the Olympians ability to earn more as once Olympics are over.

This problem is not of Olympics but any sport that has just a few major tournaments. Consider Cycling vs Golf, sports that have produced two greatest athletes, Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods. A quick google search on these two names shows following statistic - Lance Armstrong - 4.3 million links, Tiger Woods - 17.2 million links (I know this is only a surrogate to earnings but it makes the point). Is this because of Tiger is a better sportsman?

No, the main reason seems to be Lance participated in a sport that had one major tournament - the Tour de France. This meant that Lance had to work hard all year, but his name only became newsworthy to US audience once a year.

Contrast this with Golf where there are twenty major tournaments each year that serve as a platform for Tiger Woods to keep his name in the limelight.

Still, Lance Armstrong was quite successful commercially because Lance lifted the sport of cycling into the consciousness of millions. If Golf is such a newsworthy sport today its because of Tiger Woods lifted it and made it interesting to millions. There are other examples - Michael Jordan did the same for Basketball and Pete Rose for baseball.

Michael Phelps is no doubt one of the Greatest athletes of this generation. True he is limited by the sport in which he plays, but no more than Lance or Tiger when they arrived on the scene. If Phelps is truly great, he will similarly lift swimming from being a moribund sport to a new level of sexiness, attractiveness or greatness. In return the businesses will reward him with contracts worth millions of dollars.

How trade union destroys industry

I came across this letter in a recent post by Mr. Pandya about the State of Tea Industry in West Bengal - Dooars region. Sadly, "go slow" and "strikes" are still the norm in Indian tea industry. Impact of trade unions has been horrible in India. It has decimated one of the most productive industries - the textile industry - in Mumbai, and it is close to destroying the tea industry.

Trade union is a great idea that gives workers a stake in the work they produce. But when trade unions become a political tool, they strangulate the very source of income that poor workers rely on. Just ask the workers of the US auto industry.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

How to find a good use for your old photos

Like any other amateur photographer, I take a lot of pictures which end up in my computer, to be looked at may be once or twice again. This time I decided I would do something with some of my interesting images. So, I was browsing through my old photos and found some pictures of Trimbakeshwar, a little town close to Nasik, India, and decided that I wanted some Ansel Adams like posters. 


A little bit of GIMP magic and viola! Here are the posters! The posters came out looking so beautiful that one of them became a gift to one of Madhu's uncle & aunt on their 50th wedding anniversary, and another set of three posters went to my dear brother in law in Ahmedabad, and brother in Mumbai.

As they say, if you have to hang bad art on your walls, it might as well be your own!

All told, the picture frames and posters ended up costing close to $100. About half of that was for the pictures, the other half for the frames.