Cynicism 101 – Does India need Facebook?

I know nothing about sex because I was always married. – Zsa Zsa Gabor

With due respect – and with a slight twist while keeping the flavour: 

We know everything about social networking because we were never social.

I’d like to dedicate my quote to all social networking initiatives, sites, professionals and users. (And by the way, I too have memberships of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn).

First, a bunch of disclaimers:
1. If it creates controversy, great. It is meant to. If it provokes your intelligence and emotions; and punctures your ego, my job is done. It is intended to.
2. I have no intention here to suggest ‘mine-is-better-than-yours’ OR that Indian culture is any better than others.
3. This is not a patriotic or a political rambling. So please read between the lines. (If you read only with your eyes, white space is all you’ll see).
4. This post is an ‘equal opportunity, equal responsibility’ piece. Me included.

My thesis is simple. India does NOT need Facebook.   Continue reading “Cynicism 101 – Does India need Facebook?”

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Innovation 101: Throw money at the financial crisis?

Get your heads out of the sand
Get your heads out of the sand

I’m pushing 50 and I always thought my general knowledge was passable. Until I watched Slumdog Millionaire and found out that it wasn’t George Washington’s mug on a $100 bill but Benjamin Franklin’s. Strange coincidence and somewhat evangelistic that he was the one who said

He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money. – Benjamin Franklin

So what’s America trying to do to quell the current storm that doesn’t want to go away. Allegation or not, the only course that seemed to come to you was to throw money at the crisis. How smart is that? Doesn’t surprise anyone outside the US but you are taken by surprise when the bailout money gets generously distributed against ‘bonuses payable’ among the very people that caused the crisis to happen. Continue reading “Innovation 101: Throw money at the financial crisis?”

Raju, How could you?

Satyamev Jayate  (Sanskrit: “Truth Alone Triumphs”) is purportedly the foundation stone of India’s value systems. The Indian newspapers have been indulging in wordplay about how Satyam means not ‘truth’ but lies. Like every other scam, this too shall die out of public memory and that’s no surprise. What is surprising is that while we keep touting the need for innovation, we’ll do exactly the opposite in Satyam’s case and in every such future occurence.

First let’s look at some ‘facts’.

1. We are expected to believe (media plays Government spokesperson here) that one man is responsible for the Satyam scam and that he kept at it for 7 years without being found out. Yeah! We believe you!

2. The Indian business environment (read regulatory frameworks) encourages entrepreneurship and officials are above board. Corruption is the fault of the citizen and not the government. Yeah! We’re wet behind our ears. 

3. The 53,000 employees of one of India’s IT powerhouses does not have even 3 employees that can be elevated to the Board and we need the Government to appoint some ‘untainted’ officers. Yeah! See what happened to Colin Powell?

4. If the Indian Government does not follow the leader (read US Government) by bailing out the company, employees will be on the streets. Yeah! Sure, the company was paying its salaries on receipt of monthly payments from their customers.

5. Statutory auditors are supposed to sign on Company results based on the Chairman’s statement and are not meant to independently verify the accounts. Yeah! Capitalistic businesses will protect the interests of the guys who pays most and therefore they would defintely find private players more attractive to side with.

The truth could be that there are several ‘powerful’ vested interests locked into the company. How many hand-in-glovers are involved in the scam is something I think will unfurl in the weeks/months ahead.

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