Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Guests from the Emperor’s Court (Update for week ended 18 November 2011)

Guest Post by Narayan Swamy.
Narayan Swamy is currently a senior banking professional at an International Bank in Mumbai, India. He has over 20 years of banking experience across corporate and private banking in India and has lived in all the metro cities of India. This is a re-post of his blog post by the same name on his blog Making Sense of The SENSEX.

Chinua's father was an honorable businessman. He was respected in the village and his expertise in putting together gunpowder, oxides of copper and mercury was unrivaled. He had learned this from his father. He had also traveled to the court of the Emperor to present some of his masterpieces which were used in the Moon Boat Festival as well as the New Moon Year of the Rabbit. The foreigners had already started making inroads into the Emperor’s Court, by then, as advisors and tutors to the young Emperor. The Spanish also brought along a lady teacher to keep the Dowager’s palace members engaged in a new dance technique, which was so different from what the concubines danced to, tuned to the lilting shamisen. An Italian who traced his origins to a certain Signor Polo also tried to re-introduce the complicated wheat pasta into the royal kitchen. Chinua's father saw this as a negative influence on his people, as he had a hunch that trouble would not be far behind. He had grown up on the Confucian style of living, where foreigners were to be treated as guests, but if they made your home theirs and their food yours, it would be with no so good consequences. And he wanted to tell the court minister who had brought him to meet the Emperor and his Prime Minister. But little did he know that a traitor lurked behind the curtains. His horse was killed in what looked like an accidental explosion of fireworks, and his battered body could not even be transported back to his village. Di Hong had accompanied to Chinxuato Beijing for the funeral. And after they had returned to their village, just as Chinxua’slife had turned turtle, the Little Emperor’s life turned turtle, too. The turncoats had done him in. The Dowager’s drinks were poisoned and she was leading a life of a vegetable, with little abilit y to control and protect the Little Boy Emperor. The Europeans had started battling amongst themselves for the Golden Throne. The Prime Minister was murdered on his way to the Temple inside the Forbidden City. The countryside had started turning red, as the Red Uniformed army of the English started sailing upstream the Pearl River and pillaging villages, destroying crops and houses, leaving bloodshed in their trail. Chinxua had another battle to handle – that of Ni Bao vs Di Hong; but that could wait for now. And as Di Hong got to hear of the neighboring village being attacked, he rushed to the house on the Southern Bank of the Pearl River. He gathered some valuables, tied them up into a bundle, slung it over his back, and quickly asked the women of the household to follow him into the mountains nearby. They would have to leave the sheep and horses behind. Chinua said a prayer, lit some joss sticks, and stuck them in the sand bowl in the courtyard in front of the house. She bolted t he red door of the house (not knowing why, as she was sure that the marauders would break every lock and every door). She took a pearl from her precious belongings and prayed to face the gushing river opposite her house, and after the whispering prayer, turned around and threw the pearl over her right shoulder (for good luck) into the river. The pearl went back to the same river from where it had been fished. It was a sort of gratitude she gave back to nature. And that night they disappeared into the mountains with Di Hong as the protector.
The Italians and Spanish have been playing a different game on D Street this week. Apart from dancing their flamenco and cooking some spaghetti, they had also been plotting to turn the D Street Red (behind the curtains). So this week saw a series of reds for the D Boyz as they tried very hard to protect their SENSEX, which was stained red all week long. The D Boyz tried to run for cover and hid as they saw the pillaging and marauding on their Street helplessly. They could not even take flight as the kingfishers on the trees had fallen off due to clipped wings. The D Boyz just hid behind the Sensex and hoped that they would not be harmed. The hammering on the street saw the Sensex fall 800 points to 16371. Last seen, a few of the Boyz had managed to rush into the makeshift shrine of their beloved Elephant God to seek solace a nd protection. Will the Elephant God protect them? Will He rid them of their troubles?
Chinua had so longed to meet Ni Bao before she fled her village, but without saying any words, Di Hong had conveyed his objection through his dark eyes. Chinua had collected an old silk painting of her grandmother, one where she was a young woman with a young child on her knees. Her father swore that it was not him, but Chinxua knew. She had never met her grandmother but knew that she was still around protecting her family, like all dead souls. She would light an oil lamp for her once they were deep in the mountain forests, but did she carry any oil with her? She had no time to worry about this, as she had larger worries that bothered her. Like the sound of the hooves, she could hear in the distance and a shriek or scream that interrupted the otherwise silent night. She had to flee from the village, at least for the night. Di Hong wanted to stay back with the women in the mountains to protect them from the wild animals (in the mountains as well as those that were in the village now). But he had to protect the factory and the village folk as well…
Although the shenanigans of the Europeans and stock markets were not so good this week, life is not so bad. So take this weekend break and enjoy yourselves with your families and friends. Indulge in your interests especially those that make you happy. All tense phases of work or financial markets will pass….. like an Old Chinese Proverb - After every night comes a dawn…..

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Indian startups, Can we change the world?

Can your startup change the world for better?....

Of late, there is a lot of talk in the media (the section of the media that covers entrepreneurship) about the shift in focus of the technology entrepreneurs in India from a service-based model to a product based model. It seems Indian IT industry is going through a metamorphosis that would transform it from being an outsourcing destination to being a builder of products that is differentiated by intellectual property and uniqueness. These two articles,  Why Silicon Valley should fear India and Indian Software Startups Similar to Excitement of Late-90s Silicon Valley that was published in Washington Post and the NASSCOM Emerge Forum makes a good case of the point. The articles also highlight the success stories of Indian start-up companies in the product space. All that is good.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Social Media: Is Indian Financial Market Firms Doing It Right

In a previous post, I had talked about adoption of social media among firms in the Indian financial market. Now we look how these firms are using the social media and whether it is the right way to do social media.

Indian financial market firms seem to be mainly using blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Orkut for their marketing activities. The firms selling trade and investment tips use the social media very aggressively than stockbroking firms. Tip sellers are using social media as a broadcast medium, they use blogs to publish their free tips on a daily basis. Most of these firms also have Twitter and Facebook accounts. On Twitter also it is mostly one-sided broadcast of buy/sell calls. On Facebook, the modus operandi seems to be to befriend possible leads and then add them to groups they had created and then post the messages to the group.