Business & Industry


How does this affect you?
If you are traveller, you can now take foreign tours and spend less than you expected. Your purchase power has dramatically boosted with stronger rupee.
If you are just a citizen, expect imported things to cost less and in the long run expect to save more.
If you are an investor avoid investing in any company that is exporting goods/services and doesnot have any mechanism to hedge against currency fultuations. Invest heavily in those companies, who do business locally and generate their revenues locally and who raise money abroad for further ramping/scaling up their productions and or services.
If you are a company based in India, it will now cost you less to outsource.
Like in the previous years, RBI didnot intervene and bought the dollars by releasing more Indian currency into the market. It is not doing so intentionally this time and is allowing the market to dictate the effective rate. Already there are so many industries who are crying foul for immediate RBI intervention as their margins are thinning dure to huge strength in rupee.
There may be a political decision not to intervene as this will allow the government to import goods that is costing more in the domestic market like cement. Cement industry has played hard ball with the government and did not cut prices. They have thrown age old supply/demand equation at the government and turned down their requests in bringing the prices down. Government now can import cement from neighbouring countries and sell in the domestic market.
In reality there is a supply/demand crunch in our country and government is worried about inflation and the costs the poor man has to bear. The strength in Rupee will allow the government to contain the prices and will also help them in debt servicing.

Let us see what happens in near term, but for future, the trend is likely to continue. so why stop the rupee rise?

The famed German magazine Der Spiegel (The Mirror) interviews Ratan Tata (via Bainite). I was happy to see his commitment to the safety of Indian families:

Again and again here in India, I see entire families riding a single scooter: The father drives with one child standing just in front of him, and the mother sits behind with a baby on her arm. I have seen that so often… even during rainstorms or at night. And each time, I think: Oh God, can’t we do something to help these families travel more safely? So we launched this project. Our goal is to develop an inexpensive and safe vehicle.

I found his cautious optimism prudent:

We live in a highly competitive world — and we Indians have to struggle to catch up. So modesty is necessary, even if there is also a need for a certain amount of national pride. When it comes down to it, we have managed our country’s economy poorly for long enough. There is really no reason to now think that we can conquer the world.

However, I found that his views on democracy are not very different from that of his uncle, JRD Tata:

The political system of the People’s Republic of China can make things easy. Decisions are made quickly and results come quickly, too. In our democracy, on the other hand, such things are extremely difficult. We like to say that India has the advantage of being a large market. We have provinces, we have the rule of law, we have a system of justice. But those are also weaknesses when compared with China. On the other hand, one of our strengths is that we are very individualistic, and as individuals we are very creative. But that, too, is a weakness, because it keeps us from working well together. Everyone thinks only about his own profit. India has probably lost its position to China as the world’s workshop. At the same time it has the power to be ahead of China when it comes to knowledge. Not that the Chinese are far behind. They will get there. But our challenge is to invest sufficiently in education.

A pity!

Blood bath on dalal street
As we already know, that appreciating rupee depreciates the earnings of our star companies like Infosys, TCS, wipro, Satyam etc. With Infosys earnings due on Friday the 13th, everybody is on the edge expecting Infosys to guide lower due to rising rupee. Friday the 13 is a bad number and day according Europians and also North Americans. 13 being an odd number is also a bad number according to most Indians. Will this bad omen be part of the reason for blood bath this coming friday when Infosys report their earnings?
There are several negative indicators already in the play, like rising inflation, tight monetary policy by our reserve bank, appreciating rupee etc. Already market tanked a bit when RBI raised their repo rates and CRR percentage unexpectedly. However, since then market recovered a bit, but people on the street are not convinced and are predicting that there will be a sharp pullback.
Could Infosys results be a trigger for that pullback?
Everybody is asking a bigger question. Which direction the market should go? Who and what should be the deciding factor for the market’s directionality? Most of them are just hoping that Infosys could give the market its needed direction. Down or up, only friday the 13th can tell us.
Here is what i am guessing, would happen after Infosys reports its earnings.
Competition is getting tougher and already we are seeing tightening of margins. With US slowdown and rising rupee the margin squeeze is much more stronger.
Longer term Rupee will only appreciate and Dollar has nowhere to go but depreciate. This is because of rising India and slowdown in United States. If this is any indicator than Infosys has noway but to guide lower for the year 2008 on which the market will tank.
Short term (next 6-8 months) Rupee may depericiate a bit due to RBI intervention and Infosys may guide higher based on conversion rate of RS 45 per Dollar for the year 2008. I don’t know if market will take that seriously.
Infosys and many other software firms have to come up with firm response to rising Rupee, if not, investors can safely stay away from IT companies.

Well, after months of speculations, the Logan is finally here.

Mahindra and Mahindra, today finally made its entry into the sedan segment, by the launch of Logan, through its partnership, with French car maker Renault. The car, is the first in the offering of many to come from the partnership.

Mahindra Renault Logan

Mahindra Renault Logan

The Logan, manufactured at M&M’s Nashik plant, is priced at Rs. 427,950 for the base petrol model, and goes up to Rs 568,789 for the top end model in the petrol offerings.
In the diesel the base shall cost, Rs 547,064, and the top end model is priced at Rs 643,939. (All pries at Ex Showroom Mumbai). The car comes with three engine options, which include a 1.4L and a 1.6L petrol engine and a 1.5L diesel engine.

And as I learnt from a TOI article, the engines are being sourced from Romania and Spain, and shall be replaced by locally manufactured at a later date.

As MoneyControl.com, says about the car,

The Logan redefines its segment in terms of spaciousness as well as performance, technology with the latest generation dCi common rail engine. It has been designed for the Indian market incorporating a contemporary styling and design…

One of the main USP’s of Logan, is its wide body, and as per the stats shown on the Mahindra Renault website, the car is widest ant the tallest amongst the compared competitors, like Tata Indigo, Honda City, Chevy Optra, etc. Thus what can definitely be expected from this no frills sedan is plenty of space inside, and a very roomy interior. The boot space offered is also plenty, which is 510 liters, as stated on the website. The car also comes with safety features, like airbags, and is known to have gone through various safety tests, to comply with the standards.

Mahindra Renault Logan

The car’s website has this piece of information, a lot in the offering given the price tag, inside too the car looks very much upmarket with beige colored interiors.

The Logan comes with an in-built Tachometer and an LCD display. The car is also equipped with an advanced driver information system that updates you of overall fuel consumption, kms you can travel with remaining fuel, average fuel consumption, predicted fuel autonomy and average speed. The alphanumeric display in the centre of the dashboard provides you with trip computer data, warning messages and practical information like time, fuel, gauge and temperature.

Personally, I feel this is a car that was very much needed in India. A diesel car, with a large boot, should be perfect for a winning story, add to it that it’s a common rail. I believe the car has in it what it takes to appeal to the Indian customers. And add to it the Mahindra, tag which is very much well versed with us, thanks to Bolero and Scorpio.
And just like Bolero and Scorpio, who are the leaders in their respective segment, I expect this one to be the same.

And if you haven’t read my earlier post, on my personal blog, on Mahindra Renault, then check it out. I expect them to get here the Clio hatchback and the Megane sedan, those cars are simple superb. Just love their styling.

For specifications, Check out the Mahindra Renault site,
Pics Courtesy: Official Website of Mahindra Renault Logan.

{Cross posted here}

According to Wikipedia, a startup company is a company with limited operating history. The entry goes on to add,

It may effectively cease to be a startup as it passes various milestones, such as becoming profitable, or becoming publically traded in an IPO, or ceasing to exist as an independent entity via a merger or acquisition. Most startups fail.

The catch here is that most of them fail; however, when they succeed, they do succeed spectacularly!

Y-combinator is a venture firm that specialises in funding startups:

Y Combinator is a new kind of venture firm specializing in funding early stage startups. We help startups through what is for many the hardest step, from idea to company. We invest mostly in software and web services. And because we are ourselves technology people, we prefer groups with a lot of technical depth. We care more about how smart you are than how old you are, and more about the quality of your ideas than whether you have a formal business plan.

So, it is no wonder that one of the partners of Y combinator, Paul Graham, writes about the various aspects of startups in his blog.

Paul Graham is one of the finest writers that I have come across (as is clear from the entries in his blog about good writing, and as any of the articles in his blog would vouch). In this post, I would like to collect some of the startup related posts of Graham. For the rest of the essays (and, I heartily recommend all of them), go here.

  1. Why to not not start a startup
  2. Learning from founders
  3. The 18 mistakes that kill startups
  4. A student’s guide to startups
  5. How to present to investors
  6. Why startups condense in America
  7. How to be silicon valley
  8. The hardest lessons for startups to learn
  9. How to fund a startup
  10. Ideas for startups
  11. How to start a startup

As an even casual glance of these articles would indicate, they are deep, practical and thought-provoking. So, take your time and read through them; and, in case you decide to start a startup, leave us a note here!

PS:- Here are a couple of posts of mine in response to his how to be silicon valley, wondering whether it is possible to duplicate the silicon valley experience in India.

In India’s poorest state, there’s been a new development. Workers from the Vaishali district in Bihar who earn minimal wages can now collect their money from state of the art ATMs. The workers have “debit” cards, and use them to obtain their wages from the ATM. Since most of these workers are illiterate, the new machines offer interactive touch screens with pictures and symbols to make the money withdrawal process simpler. This is a really great way to cut through the bureaucracy involved in obtaining these workers’ hard earned money. Usually they need to wait in line for hours just to withdraw the cash that they toiled to earn. However, I wonder if this will cause an increase in theft in these areas, because these machines are in a very poor part of the country. Hopefully, there are adequate safety measures in place to ensure that the ATM system is properly monitored and that it only benefits the workers instead of giving them the convenience of an ATM along the lingering possibility of theft.

Image from http://www.bbc.com

😉 Guys !!! Take your eyes of them and tell me what brought these ‘awesome’ pics appear in a daily. Your options are (a) because they are Victoria Secret Models (b)Models from Milan Fashion Week (c) I dont care what it is, i just want to keep staring at them.

Then here is the next one …

WOW Celina Jaitly… Ohhh… What brought this photo of this bomb-shell in the papers? Options (a)Kingfisher Calender 2008 (b)She donated her clothes to the poor (c)(I see the leopard skin)She is protesting like Rakhi Sawanth against animal cruelties (d)I don’t give a damn, i just want to drool…

🙂 gotcha .. The answer is no where in the options. If u seriously burnt your brains over it, don’t blame me. Blame the reporter who put these pics in his article, blame the editor approved these contents in the paper and the least blame me for putting it here. If it was not for the pic i wouldn’t have read these articles in the first place… ( 🙂 ya thats a confession i make).

The first two models in lingerie came as the photos for an article reporting the apparent ban of FTV by the government.Now the funniest part, the second photo was for the article on Celina Jaitly’s apparent comment that “The more you dress, the more sexier you look”… 😆

Now to the real matter, FTV is banned for 2 months for beaming objectionable content programs

The official Report said : The channel has been banned for showing programmes that were against good taste and decency, denigrate women and likely to adversely effect public morality, it said.

How sad!!! Many people are going to be heart broken. What the hell. The banned a TV channel for airing such a program. Then what about this paper that have these fotos in a daily basis. This appeared in the Bangalore Times supplement of the famous Times of India news paper.The funniest thing is that Bangalore is a place where ‘Night-Life’ like pubs, discos and parties are banned after 10PM (if u call that as night life) by the police.

So the print media has the authority to print anything. If its the morale of the society that the ‘government’ is planning to protect, then this is not the way to deal things.

How many schools offer proper sex education? How many youngsters have the liberty of having an open conversation with their parents on these matters? In how many homes speaking or mentioning of sex is still a taboo? Ya they might argue that they give their kids the liberty, the freedom to have a drink with them at times. But that is what you shouldn’t encourage and teach them about much important things. At least teach them to be responsible citizens, the crime rate may come down.

So for the time being guys don’t loose heart, Mid-night Hot and Too Hot at 2 will be back after 2 months. Till then read the daily edition Bangalore Times of Times of India.

(cross posted here)

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