Thursday, November 13, 2008

The new colonizers

While America is preoccupied with the war in Iraq (cost: half a trillion dollars and counting), and while think-tank economists continue to spit out papers debating whether vital resources are running out at all, China's leadership isn't taking any chances. In just a few years, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has become the most aggressive investor-nation in Africa. This commercial invasion is without question the most important development in the sub-Sahara since the end of the Cold War -- an epic, almost primal propulsion that is redrawing the global economic map. One former U.S. assistant secretary of state has called it a "tsunami." Some are even calling the region "ChinAfrica."  more



Friday, September 26, 2008

Our moronic leaders

I am simply amazed at the comment made by Oscar Fernandes over the death of L.K. Chaudhary. How can a cabinet minister make such an irresponsible statement. I think he is either too dumb which he might be or he is simply trying to preserve his vote bank. 

And then there was this fiasco by Mamta Banarjee.  On one hand Chidambram goes around giving talks all over the world inviting people to invest in India and on the other hand our beloved politicians. To top it all the Prime minister refused to take a firm stand on any matter. Amazing !! 

Sometimes I think the country would be better managed in the hand of thugs. Should I be concerned about the state of affairs or laugh at it? 

What appalls me most is the stark indifference of the people of India to the political/economic climate in the country. People care more about Shilpa Shetty in Big Boss that bomb blasts in Bombay!!!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Old Memories

An old pic that I chanced upon while going through gazillions of Photographs I have. CSE Batch of 2003 :) It brought pleasant memories from the only department trip we ever went to. People were literally dragged out of their beds to join this picnic :D

Friday, March 14, 2008

Keep walking...

The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Blurb

I have aged 10 years in the last 3 months.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

WOW !!!

Super 30



I am IMPRESSED !!!!!!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hal Varian on Google

I read this post by Hal Varian on the Google blog and my first knee jerk reaction was what crap!! This seems more like a quickly put together office memo than a statement from the Chief Economist, much less coming from Hal Varian.

Here are some of my gripes about it:

Network effect

1. I think Google is what it is because of its people and that has a very strong underlying network effect. In the early years of Google, most of the tech companies were laying off workers right left and center. This led to Google getting the best and the brightest and not necessarily at the highest cost. So from a company point of view G! benefited a lot from the negative externality it imposed on other companies.

2. The initial batch of great people led to more great people joining Google, they led to more great people joining Google. More network effect.

3. Lots of creative people with small startups are in a race to sell their products to Google, some of them startup with a sellout to Google as their exit strategy. This makes Google a storehouse of innovation. Which again induces a positive externality.

4. I will be on the IM n/w that has most of my friends. DUH ? Did I miss something here?

5. The number of users affect the no of advertisers who would come to Google. Thats one of the most common stories people talk about when they talk about two sided networks.

I fail to realize how he misses these points especially for a company like Google, most of whose wealth is lying around in Intellectual capital.

Switching cost

1. It has been proven time and again that there is significant switching cost in online services even though it is assumed not to be so. I won't join a new mail service even if they paid me to, because everyone mails me on Gmail and I am used to the interface. My mails are archived here etc etc. They amount of money they pay me for which I will be indifferent to switching will be my switching cost (~$250. Come on, I am a poor grad student and this is a HIGH switching cost). There is a significant cost even though the alternative is just a click away.

Economics of Scale

1. The only this that works in these information goods driven companies is the initial capital you can put into your product, aka setup cost. The more money you have the better you are. (Hint hint: Google market cap). The marginal cost is zero. You can product a gazillion copies after the first one, almost for free. Why does he even talk about economics of scale here ?

I personally think Google is a great company. The biggest reason I can think of is its GREAT EMPLOYEES.

And yeah some bit of luck and accidental good timing.

PS: For those of you didn't know Hal Varian is one of my favourite economists, but this article by him is badly reasoned. Period.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Games

Did you know its a good thing to have a rotten child? Well even I didn't but I found out last night at 2. And have you ever played the centipede game?  And contrary to what people think , its not always good to have more information.

Well why I am blabbering all this? Because I really like this Game Theory class I am attending, though I am not smart enough to get most of it. I generally try hard to put my heart and soul in the class but most of the time I end up doodling or dozing off. Given that its a small class I guess the instructor can't help but notice. 

Though I think I am picking it up slowly and steadily. I better do because most of my research would use economics and game theory. And this class is a good preparation of George Mailath's class, who hates every thing Nash and is extremely likely to get the Nobel one of these years.

... another one of those geeky rants.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Amazing Gimp plugin



Neat plugin for image resizing. Look for the object removal method.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Happy New Year

The world is beautiful, in many unfathomable ways. In our hurrying, though, we frequently miss what is beautiful around us, in the same way that we forget from time to time what we want our lives to mean. Just to stay afloat in the modern world, many of us reluctantly choose detachment from the constant stimulus. We even turn away from beauty, as if it were another thing we had too much of.

This year, let us resolve not to turn away and embrace the beauty that surrounds us.