The Future of Energy

Atanu Dey has a fascinating discussion in his inimitable style. Here is how it begins:

Fossil fuel is dead, declared CJ.

CJ likes to make those kinds of superficially profound statements. We were meeting after a long time. I was in Delhi for a conference and caught up with CJ at the Taj Mansingh Hotel coffee shop. We were discussing the spike in the gas prices.

Dead or not, seventy dollars a barrel for crude was bad news for India considering that India imports about half of its energy needs. Will slow down the economy a bit, wont it? I said.

CJ is a contrarian. Never seen him see an issue the same way that prevailing wisdom indicates. You can count on him to prepare to make hay when the clouds come rolling in.

I think it is a great deal of luck that oil is peaking, he said. That is one of the best things that has happened lately. It is good for the world, and it is going to be excellent for India. The only guys who stand to lose are the bad guys.

Jignesh Shah of Financial Technologies

Business Standard has a heartwarming story of a successful Indian entrepreneur who also heads India’s second-largest commodity exchange (MCX).

In 1995, with Shah as the dreamer and Neralla as the architect, they set about starting a financial product company that would not just restrict itself to trading systems for equity, but create products that would attack all high transaction density markets, whether commodity, equity, currency or bond.

Until then, technology in India was predominantly a skilled manpower supply story but we were going to create products that were a means to an end, not an end in itself. Our sights were set on transaction markets, explains Shah.

From a starting capital of Rs 5 lakh, self-funded by Shah mortgaging his home, FTIL grew from five work terminals to a 5,000 strong workforce and covered 80 per cent of the domestic base, powering practically every major Indian internet site during the internet boom.

Says Shah, We are getting into mobile-based digital transactions for micro credit; it is a trillion dollar market. It will capture all low-end transactions, mobilising small money at a quarter of the cost. When media turns completely digital, we will be there too. I have a library with 5,000 books on various complex market opportunities that FTIL can get into when the time is right. We will create billion dollar stories out of million dollar ones. We are players in a high-speed, high-stakes game, we cant stop now.