Mobiles and Development

The Economist writes:

Mobile phones have become indispensable in the rich world. But they are even more useful in the developing world, where the availability of other forms of communicationroads, postal systems or fixed-line phonesis often limited. Phones let fishermen and farmers check prices in different markets before selling produce, make it easier for people to find work, allow quick and easy transfers of funds and boost entrepreneurship. Phones can be shared by a village. Pre-paid calling plans reduce the need for a bank account or credit check. A recent study by London Business School found that, in a typical developing country, a rise of ten mobile phones per 100 people boosts GDP growth by 0.6 percentage points. Mobile phones are, in short, a classic example of technology that helps people help themselves.

There is anecdotal evidence that reducing taxes on handsets can boost government revenues. People would rather pay a small tax on a legal handset than no tax on a smuggled one that cannot be returned if it goes wrong. There are some hopeful signs: India cut its import duty on handsets to 5% last year and plans to scrap it altogether. Mauritius recently cut its taxes on handsets to boost adoption.

The GSMA is now making a 50-country study that will, it hopes, provide conclusive proof of the benefits of cutting taxes on mobile phones. The aim, says Mr Soppitt, is to show that a win-win-win scenario is possible, in which customers get cheaper access, manufacturers and operators sell more handsets and airtime and governments raise their tax revenues. (Oh, and the digital divide vanishes, too.) With its new focus on low-cost handsets, the industry is doing its part to extend access to communications technology. Now governments must do their part, too.

Promoting Your Blog

Kiruba Shankar has some suggestions:

1) Get your own domain.
Kick out the secondary blog addresses like yourname.blogspot.com. Buy your own domain. Show you are a professional. Show you are serious enough.

2) Get your custom email.
This has been my blog’s best marketing tool. My email is ‘Kiruba @ Kiruba.com’ and I don’t use any other free emails. Every time I send our an email, I promote my site in a subtle manner. My point is, why promote Yahoo or Hotmail, when you can promote yourself.

3)Publish your URL in stationaries.
Use it in your E-mail signatures. Use it in your business card. In your letter pad. Heck, I even have it on my helmet.

4) Add a blogroll
It’s the equivalent of ‘You scratch my back, I scratch your back’. Sign up with Blogrolling.com. Add up your frequently read blogs.

6) Register your blog at India.Blogstreet.com.
Blogstreet is and will continue to be the most important blog directory. Why wouldn’t you want to be here?

7) Provide RSS Feeds
Many people use Newsreaders to subscribe to their frequently read blogs. Don’t miss out on this crowd. Make sure your site has RSS feeds. If you don’t know what this is, ask a tech friend.

9) Write daily.
When people visit your site, they invest in their time and Interent time. And more importantly they think about you. Respect that. Don’t make them turnback empty handed.

Global CEOs and Indian Owners

An interesting commentary in The Times of India on the challenges (and change) in Indian companies who bring on CEOs from abroad. The article first discusses the need:

Increasingly, leading Indian corporations Wipro, Indian Hotels, Ranbaxy, AV Birla Group or even L&T want to go overseas and transform themselves into global corporations. Having worked in protected markets, these firms don’t quite have the exposure or a large talent pool to execute their global agenda.

And that’s exactly why they need a global CEO. Said Sonal Agrawal, senior director, Accord Group India, a leading executive search firm, “Indian firms look at expats/NRI CEOs clearly for the global experience they bring to the table, in terms of sheer skill of managing operations.”

Jet and Sahara are good examples. Their CEOs, hired from abroad, know how the game is played overseas and bring global practices as well.

There’s other reason. A highly successful global manager tends to act as a magnet. Very often, competent people are willing to work for them. That makes it a lot easier for Indian companies, who would have otherwise struggled to build a strong talent pool. It’s much the same when it comes to raising money in international markets.