Saturday, November 20, 2010

Today 5 pm, Colaba: Disgusted with Scams? Time to Reclaim your Citizenship!

CWG, Lavasa, 2G spectrum, mining contracts, Adarsh… The skeletons keep tumbling out with mind-numbing regularity, and each delivers the same message: Eternal vigilance is the price that we citizens must pay for freedom… or else! If we remain passive spectators, we will lose our collective self respect and wealth. So the buck literally stops with ‘We the People’.

Too often in the past, we citizens failed to participate in governance. We left it all to politicians and bureaucrats while we withdrew into our comfortable private worlds. The results of our collective neglect are now all around us, too squalid to ignore.

Mr. & Ms. Citizen, isn’t it high time we dusted off our 60-year-old contract with the State, called the Constitution? Isn’t it time we re-looked at the meaning of our fundamental rights and fundamental duties? Isn’t it high time that we invested some energy and resources into enforcing our rights and delivering on our duties?

Isn’t it time we stopped nervously watching from the sidelines, and stepped into the centre-stage of non-electoral politics and governance reforms?

Come, Rediscover your Constitution, Reclaim your Citizenship. We invite you to participate in our forthcoming meeting.

Date & time: 20 November, 5 to 7.30 pm

Venue: Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA),

Cooperage, Near Oval Maidan, Colaba

Landmark: Gate opposite PVM Gymkhana on the road that comes straight from Churchgate

RSVP & Enquiries: Krish 98215 88114

The Constitution is the blueprint of India’s democracy. Although 60 years have passed since it was painstakingly drafted and enacted, few of us ever laid hands on it. We remain unaware of the role that it plays in our daily lives and the strength it can provide to our struggles against bad governance. Come, let us look at some landmark cases that the Constitution helped people win… and how these have changed the way we live. Let us look at the essential tools that we can use in challenging and changing the way in which we are governed.

Come. Let’s review some of our own beliefs as citizens that have contributed to the squalid reality around us. And then let’s move towards creating a new reality.


  • This is part of a series of interactions in Mumbai and other cities being held every month until 26 January, 2011. The series is anchored by Vinita Singh and Krishnaraj Rao. Vinita has been working in the area of social development for 16 years, largely among the urban and rural poor. Krishnaraj is a professional journalist, publisher and campaigner for proper implementation of Right to Information and other crucial rights & duties of citizens.
  • This meeting at Colaba is organized with support from Kishore Jagtiani & 3rd – 4th Pasta Lane Residents’ Association, Kunti Oza & Oval Cooperage Residents’ Association (OCRA), Colaba ALM (CALM) & Cuffe Parade Residents Association.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Disgusted with negative Commonwealth Games news coverage

Unfortunately the quality of jounalism in India tends to be oversensationalised and non analytical, with Bennet Coleman at the top of the trash heap. TimesNews, Times of India, Economic Times are virtually rags, constantly reporting highly sensationalised and mostly negative stories...notice how TimesNow has Saas Bahu (notorious afternoon soap on the battle between daughter and mother in laws, watched by stay at home daughter and mother in laws!) type editing and effects with the camera doing triple repeat zoom ins of the same spot with suitable "slashing" sounds to create a sensationalized effect. As these are pretty popular news media across India, the trash tends to be picked up and redistributed by people socially, cause India bashing are topics that get the reactions.

I had the good fortune of visiting the games village 6 weeks back. It is extremely well built and very beautiful (yes its the one above), with lovely gardens, nice architecture, very nice finishing, lcd tvs in each apartment, gorgeous bathrooms, superb fitness center, pool, etc (it will be sold as premium residential apartments after the games and if you are looking for property in Delhi it is highly recommended). It is built by an international firm, Emmar, the same people responsible for many of the beautiful buildings in Dubai (including the worlds tallest one). Check it out here

The foot-bridge that collapsed was also being built by an A list contractor...

Today the Times (website) is screaming the headline "Roof Collapses", when you read the story it turns out a small part of a false ceiling came down due to heavy cables...

Go figure!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Age of the Aggregator

Hi, so I haven't blogged for many months now, thanks to Twitter, but I wanted to write a little longer one so here I am!

Have you noticed the Aggregator phenomena that's sweeping the world? An Aggregator is a service that complies the products/service of many brands and provides them to customers in a single place. The Aggregators come into place when there are multiple brands which are very similar to each other, and of virtually equal quality, thus the customer does not mind choosing between them. Instead the customer goes to single source where they are available. In New York the department stores are the aggregators with Bloomingdales, Barney's, etc ruling the fashion scene, with designers groveling to their every demand. In the Internet era it is the topical "portals" which are the Aggregators.

In the early 2000s we saw Google and Amazon both of which are Aggregators:

Google, aggregates and organises data from the web and help your find the most relevant one. Thus you do not have to remember countless website names and URLs, just the subject you are searching for and you get to browse countless websites. A highly illustrated version of Google as an Aggregator is Google News, it aggregates news from thousands of news papers and blogs and organises them topically for you. Now you don't need to remember the news source, you just goto goto Google News and all the news you need is there. Infact it's better going to Google News than a single newssource such as CNN or BBC as there you may not get the very latest and diverse coverage available.

Amazon, aggregates 1000s (millions?) of products brands in a single portal and organises them by topic for the customer's convenience. Why goto the websites of individual brands when here you can get choice, choice, choice.

Then we also saw aggregators for travel, Exedia, Travelocity, etc. Go there and get not only a multiple choice for your flights and hotels, but also pick the best deals!

Off late we have Gilt Groupe and Groupon, both of which are aggregators of newer categories

Gilt, organises high end fashion and lifestyle brands and presents them in the form of 3 days sales to consumers. They are the Barneys and Bloomies of the Internet; why goto individual stores or designers when I can buy them in a single place?

Groupon, organises deals from around the city and presents a deal of the day to its users.

Closer home in India, we have seen the successful IPO of MakeMyTrip a travel aggregator. And we are now seeing the rapid growth of Gropupon and Gilt clones.

Aggregators have moved to the top of the value chain because they are the ones which have the relationship with the customer. The customer is no longer loyal to a brand, such as Malaysian Airlines, but the aggregator (the travelsite in the case) where he shops multiple brands and products. God has decreed that whomsoever shall have the relationship with the customer shall have the largest share of the value chain!

A new but lessor known aggregator is the Venture Capitalist. While not having a relationship with the customer he is on the opposite side, aggregating multiple investors. Instead of starting businesses he cherry picks investments, aggregating a portfolio of companies, present in virtually every sector.

No longer is the inventor, the manager, the entrepreneur and the conglomerate the aristocracy of the working world. The aggregators at both ends, one on the customer side who aggregates both customers and brands and is the vital link between them; and on the other side the one who aggregates the money and is the vital link between the money and the businesses, the new emperors, with the rest relegated to the working class.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

When the law leaves India

The images above are the infamous MF Hussain Paintings, which led to Hussain's home being attacked in 1998, his shows in India vandalized and 1250 court cases filed against him. The paintings were created in 1970, but came to controversy in 1996, when an Indian magazine published them.

Subsequently Hussain fled India and lived in Dubai, where he continued to work and prosper, owning by some reports multiple Mercs and Ferraris, which is believable as a recent work of his sold at Christie's for $1.6M. Then 2 weeks back came the stunning news that Hussain has given up his Indian nationality for the nationality of Qatar (great PR coup by Qatar).

So why does an Indian citizen have to flee just because he has raised a controversy?

Today in the papers there is a report that the Andhra Pradesh High Court will take 320 years to clear pending cases! With this kind of break down in the system of justice, people can easily take the law into their own hands, attack anyone or create harassment, with no fear of being pulled up by the courts. The story is the same across India, the law and order mechanism is in shambles: if you goto court it takes forever to get justice, if you goto the police station, it is virtually impossible to register your complaint (FIR).

In Mumbai we constantly see political parties hold the city to ransom, you dare say something that is not to their liking, and they will attack your house; and if you are a movie star that will attack the movie halls when your movie is showing causing you financial losses. The courts are helpless (probably takes 10 years for your case to be decided), so the only thing you can do is stare them down, which recently Shah Rukh Khan did and the bullies retreat with their tale between their legs. But that is not how civilised society can function.

Successive government upon government has not done much to improve the delivery of justice, neither have the powerful industrial lobbies done much to push the cause of fast justice delivery. So while on one side India has a year on year growth rate of 7%, on the other, the gap with the justice system keeps widening. Its already at proportions where justice is non-existent as we can see from Hussain having to give up his Indian nationality.

I pray and hope the Indian government, industrial houses and citizen groups awaken to the importance of a fast and effective system of courts. This is the single biggest threat presently facing our country.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Meru Cabs from Airport: the best ride

Here is a tip: when arriving at Bombay Airport, looking for a sign that says "Fleet Taxis" near the "Pre-Paid Taxi" counter, both at international and domestic arrivals. Under Fleet Taxis sign there will be a few black phones, just pick up any of your choice, my preference is Meru Cabs, and get yourself a smooth ride to your destination.

This is such a relief, because though Bombay's 1960 "Fiat" taxis are charming, they are rickety and way past retirement. Modern taxi services like Meru, Mega, Dot Cabs, Forshe (only for women) bring the much need high quality service and comfort missing from Bombay till a year back.

If you want to book these taxis for hopping around the city, you can do that do, just Google their names to get their phone numbers.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Angel Investing Drought in India?

I attended the Angel Connect breakfast meet today (on the sidelines of the TIE Summit Mumbai), organised by Alok Mittal and team from Cannan Partners (VC guys); where the lead topic of discussion seemed to be "why is their such a drought of Angel Investing in India? The big parallel drawn was with the US, where VC investments last year were apparently $30B and Angel investments were a close 2nd at $26B; and apparently in India, Angel investments are way behind VC investments.

Most people at the meet agreed that Angel Investments are chiefly in businesses that VCs are likely to fund once the model is proven. This is logical because Angels cannot write large enough cheques to carry a business all the way to sale or IPO, thus will need VCs to step in with big cheques after 4 - 8 quarters. Thus one limitation as to what businesses are being funded by Angels is the kind of sectors VC find hot.

Another agreement seemed to be that, since Angels need to spend lots of time on with their investee startup, they like the business to be local; thus Angel activity in India is chiefly restricted to business HQ in Delhi, Bombay and Bangalore.

Surprisingly some Angels differed on the fact that only business that have an exit potential need to be funded by Angel Capital. Some Angels at the meet said they fund businesses that can give them healthy dividends ! I found that quite strange and didn't make sense to me.

From my own experience, Angel investing is growing by leaps and bounds in India, at over 300% a year, with more and more projects Angel invested each year. At Indian Angel Network, since 2006 we have done 19 investments, with 10 of those coming in 2009! At this rate in about 8 years we should see Angel investments reach a very sizeable number, possibly equaling VC investments.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chrome for Mac - Advantage India

With the release of Chrome for Mac the fun of having yet another bowser for yet another operating system enhances by one more level. So now we have:

Mac: Safari, Firefox 2, Firefox 3, Firefox 3.5 and Chrome
Windows: IE6, IE7, IE8, Safari, Firefox 2, Firefox 3, Firefox 3.5, Chrome
Linux: Firefox 2, Firefox 3, Firefox 3.5, Chrome

Each or these browsers run their own Javascript engines which tend to behave a little differently on each OS, giving way to virtually infinite permutations and combinations. Which means that each time you make a release to your website, 1000s of hours have to go into testing each the minutest of Javascript functionality and tweaking it to make it work across browsers.

This testing largely being a manual effort, it's becoming increasingly expensive to produce web applications in the US and Europe. Which is why it makes sense to setup shop in India to develop your software.

Yesterday I was at IIT Bombay's IDC, where IDEO Design of San Francisco was recruiting. The big news was that they are opening an office in Bombay ! Which makes complete sense looking at how cost efficient it is to produce web applications in India.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Who do I vote for on 13th Oct?

I have always been zealous about participating in public life, rallied on by Plato "The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men". However, next week on the 13th of October, when I go to elect my state representative, I am devoid of choices. I have to choose between Sachin Ahir of the NCP, who has 5 criminal cases pending against him and Ashish Chemburkur of the Shiv Sena, who is an existing BMC corporator, where he has the track record of of running one of the cities filthiest localities!

But atleast I am informed and while I can fret about the lack of a suitable candidate, unlike the 2004 elections, I can now understand my candidates better, get details of their public records and also upcoming promises. I can even dive into their part manifestos.

All this thanks to a non profit project dedicated to providing indepth information on each candidate. If you live in Mumbai, and are voting on the 13th of October, please 1st visit to get a detailed synopsis and video interviews on each candidate.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jet Airways: An insensitive strike

As we enter the 6th day of Jet Airways flight disruptions, an airline that prides itself on quality, I can't help but feel a disgust for the pilots that brought this about. Drawing an average of Rs. 600,000 a month ($15,000/month), amongst the highest paid of Indians (where are national per capital annual income average is around Rs. 150,000), these pilots have already caused over $20M in direct losses to the airline, not to mention the Millions more in losses by way of tarnished reputation, and treemdous losses and inconvenience to the passengers of the 1000+ canceled flights.

What makes the strike worse is that global aviation, Indian included, is going through an extremely rough patch, with each airline racking up millions of Dollars in losses. Jet Airways to has been losing money all of last year. Instead of working shoulder to shoulder with the airline management, these pilots can only think of their own agenda. Selfish.

Management books have pages full talking about the need of management to communicate their position to employees. But how many employees make an effort to understand the management position? There has always been way too much focus on management trying to communicate its position to employees, but very little on employees trying to understand management.

And what is the use of unions in India? The newspapers are full of stories of corrupt union leaders who lead unions as a way to gain personally. A recent story on Pervez Pestonji Saher, a senior laundry operator, showed how he is amongst the Taj Hotels highest paid employees, at Rs. 1.5 cr a year ($300,000/year), just because he is the leader of the hotel's union. In the past there have been stories on how famous union leader Datta Samant amassed a huge amount of wealth and power due to his position.

Instead of forming unions, people should try and better understand the company they are a part off. The reaslisation that there is no master and no workers, just a team, trying to make ends meet for everyone, is the key.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Frustrated with FireFox

Firefox is turning out to be the new headache in town.

On our site Remindo, FF 3.1 does not render pages fast, when all other browsers including IE, Safari and Chrome do so. The problem appears to be that because our site is fully HTTPs, it 1st loads the entire page and then outputs it! Instead of outputting the page in small chunks. Users thus are left staring at a blank screen for a few seconds before the page appears.

With new versions 3.5, 3.5.1 and 3.5.2 this problem has been solved, and the page outputs in chunks, like it should, but a new even more serious problem has been introduced. It seems that
3.5, 3.5.1 and 3.5.2 are using a new Javascript Engine, Tracemonkey, which causes the page to freeze and keystrokes miss if your page is running a HTTP bind operation. Our page runs an HTTP bind every 4 seconds because of the Instant Messaging feature. This creates great difficulty for the user in keying in anything.

Not just Remindo, every site is negatively affected by FF
3.5, 3.5.1 and 3.5.2, when you open a page and its downloading, while you can see it page, the page scroll locks, so one has to wait for the whole page to load before one can scroll though the page.

These are shocking usability issues, but Mozilla Corporation is bent on stonewalling the issue. They refuse to acknowledge these as bugs, and keep asking users to disable add ons. Well I have disabled all my addons and there is no improvement!

For a browser that has as much as 30% marketshare, this is pathetic! Mozilla Corporation in the hurry to outdo Chrome and other browsers seem to have slipped up on the basics!

Update: Techcruch also blogs the issue: Earlier in the week Techcruch reported that FF 3.5 was not playing well with Twitter and other sites. Many comments chipped in with similar woes

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Why Obama wants to split Pakistan

When this classified US map leaked last year, showing Baluchistan as a separate country, it created an uproar in Pakistan. Rightly so, because no nation would want see a large part of itself carved out into a separate country.

Yet, it is the consistent foreign policy of superpowers to carve up countries in smaller multiple countries, so as to keep them under control and weak.

Under the Clinton administration, Yugoslavia was carved up into 3 countries: Coratia, Serbia and Montenegro.

Under the next Presidency, the Bush administration, Iraq was carved up into 3 autonomous regions, Basra, Kurdistan and Central Iraq

Now under the Obama administration we are likely to see Pakistan carved up into 2 countries, or at the very least 2 autonomous regions: Baluchistan and Pakistan.

But wait, isn't the US Pakistan's ally, giving it millions of dollars of aid every year? Yes it is.

But Pakistan's sin appears to be its growing proximity to China:

Hu Jintao has described relations with Pakistan as "higher than the mountains and deeper than the oceans"

- Lately, military cooperation has deepened with joint projects producing armaments ranging from fighter jets to guided missile frigates. The MBT 2000 tank and JF-17 Thunder Fighter Aircraft are some of the recent products of this deep co-operation.

- Since 1986, China and Pakistan have been co-operating on Nuclear Technology, having setup a 300MW power plant in Punjab in 1999, building another to go live next year; and widely suspected to have supplied critical knowledge and components for Pakistan's military nuclear program.

The US would thus like to move very quickly to carve up Pakistan, so that it always has atleast one part under its control and Baluchistan, by the sea is just perfect.

So why does the US need yet another base in Central Asia? After all it has Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, is landlocked, making it a fairly poor US base, thus a fairly ineffective staging area against Iran or China.

Baluchistan, with one edge sitting on the Arabian sea and its borders nicely touching Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, is the perfect base in Central Asia both for Military purposes and as a vital transportation link of the vast oil and natural gas reserves of Central Asia. An added bonus: Baluchistan itself is rich in gas and oil!

And who is helping Obama goto Baluchistan? None other than that lovely excuse to take over any country: Osama bin Laden. He's in Afghanistan, take it over. Oh, now he's escaped to North West Pakistan, bomb the place; now he's escaped into Baluchistan, enter Baluchistan. Love it, what a simple and wonderful excuse - and people called the Bush Administration stupid!

Ofcourse the Indian perspective in the matter is that it will be all the more happy with a carved up Pakistan, the smaller the better, easier to dominate and control.

Oh, but please note, China is not letting go so easily. It's helping build a deep sea port in Baluchistan at Gwadar at this very moment, so it has already established its direct presence in the region.

So folks, with Pakistan, US, China and India jostling over Baluchistan, and Iran probably entering the fray soon, the great game continues, get set for a bloody 7 years to see it through!

Friday, July 24, 2009

A July tale of 2 investments

July '09 will go down as a very interesting month in memory for me. For the 1st time one of my investment companies has attracted keen interest from several VC firms, so exciting times for us there. I am so proud of the founder and his hard work.

On the exact opposite end, another one of my investments, this time a web media business, which was not going anywhere in the 1st place, the founder copied all the data and users of the original website to start a parallel website! How sad! I guess some people just don't have it in them when it comes to building something.

More to come in later posts on the business that is attracting VC investments...

Monday, July 13, 2009

UH? Udaipur voted World's best city ahead of even NYC!!!

How do they do these thing? How does boring Udaipur win ahead of New York (which came in at no. 8).

I was in Udaipur for friend's wedding a few years back. We landed at a tacky airport and drove for 1.5 hrs through dusty roads to get to our "Palace" hotel: A brand new hotel designed like Palace.
We had a great time because the whole hotel was taken over by our gang and 2 days we didn't venture out. There was a man made island in Udaipur lake (yes Dubai, the maharajas beat you to it by a 1000 years), where there is a pleasure palace(no other word for it), which took centerstage. We rocked 48 hrs non stop and loved it.

But I saw the place on my way in and out, not worth a 2nd visit and not worth a visit unless your'e going with a big group and staying in one of the Palace hotels.

Not sure how a place like Udaipur comes in at No. 1, read the link and find out !

Monday, June 22, 2009

3 important reasons Bing is good for us

and all begin with the same word: Choice
1. Choice for users: Bing is the 1st real competitor to Google. For 10 years Google has dominated the search scene with its fabulous search engine. But I felt the last 5 years, the search engine has stangnated. It didn't add any new interesting functionality, it didn't improve its image search and its video search is quite basic. Now the choice exists. I now prefer Bing's Video search (remarkably better) and have also started checking search results on both Google and Bing.

2. Choice for advertisers: Rates on Google for many spots were getting quite absurd (thus the superhigh profits earned by Google!). Because Bing is bound to get good market share over the years, advertisers will have a choice, which will drive down ad rates.

3. Choice for websites: People tend to forget that search engines are nothing but a collection of data from all websites. The problem with Google has been is that websites, such as my have had to remain pretty stagnant from a content perspective because the search engine with 70% of the market, did not adopt any new ranking methods for the last 5 years! Now with Bing, hopefully things will change and each Search Engine is sure to outdo the others and release new features. Websites can now choose to release features keeping in mind that it will show up on one search engine but may not on the other, which is ok, if both have decent market share.

I really admire Microsoft for coming from behind once again with a strong product. I'd watchout if I were Google, because MS beat the leader in the Spreadsheet (Lotus), the wordprocessor (Wordperfect), the Browser (Netscape), the Gaming Machine (Nintendo, Sega), to dominate the space.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Differance between Delhi & Bombay

After a few weeks in Delhi last month and then going out a few times in Bombay, realised that the key difference between the 2 cities is how everything is stated.

In Delhi on each occasions when we went out for dinner our friends would be typically attired in a Cartier watch, Versace jeans (with belt strategically under the label), Gucci shoes, Louis Vutton bag and carrying a Vertu phone. The conversation would be about how much they spent on renovating their new farmhouse (with ear & eye popping numbers) and how they took their 3 maids with them on holiday to Monaco (Miami, London, etc). If they bumped into someone at the restaurant, their friends would be similarly turned out. The dinner was inevitably in a 5 star restaurant where there would be lots of fuss with the staff on the meal and the chef would inveitably visit our table. Later they would leave in Range Rover piolted by a chauffer in white uniform with a cap to match. We would always feel underdressed attired in rolled up sleeves with no watch and having arrived in lowly rental car.

In Bombay, out for dinner our friends would turn up for dinner similarly attired as us, usually with no watch and non descript outfits. The place we'd meet would normally be a club, or a low profile resteraunt with excellent food, where we'd be going for years and where the owner is well known to us. If the conversation ever moved to material things, then it would always be about how much they saved in doing the deal, if they bought a house for Rs. 10 cr ($2Million), you could never hear that from them, you'd hear something like "oh I got it for Rs. 2.5cr, because I knew the developer really well and he gave me a special discount", which would leave everybody at the table fuming and jealous on the bargin struck. If they went on holiday to Dubai or New York, it would be about all the art galleries visited or how they got an amazing deal at the place they stayed. They would leave in their self drive Honda or Toyota cars, or a vintage Mercedes.

In Delhi one always overstates to show how successful one is; in Bombay one always understates to show how smart one is!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

India's shameless silencing of citizens

Today's newspapers carried stories of how Sapna Pereira was arrested after protesting for not receiving a MHADA flat as part of the lottery. She had been applying for many years but did not receive an apartment; and because she is a widow with small chilren living with her inlaws where she is constantly ill-treated, in frustration she started shouting and tearing her clothes and tried to strangle herself. The answer of our self righteous government officials: arrest her and slap charges on her of creating a scence (sec 332), damaging property (section 427), et al!

2 days back, noted RTI activist Krishna Raj Rao, along with 10 other activits went to meet the Maharashtra Chief Information commissioner, Suresh Joshi, when he did not listen, they started singing the National Anthem. The government immediately silenced them and arrested them, on grounds of "tresspass" and sent them to jail for 2 days! Truly shocking.

Is this anyway to treat the frustrated and protesting citizens of our country? This is government gone all wrong. Is India turning into a Police State where no one can raise their voice against the government?

On the other hand you have politicians who incite violence which even gets people killed and they walk around free.

I was in Amsterdam a few years back when there were street protests against the government and I was happy to see that despite citizens shouting abusives at the government, the police stood by and simply maintained order. This is how our governernment needs to behave, respecting frustration and and venting of anger by our people.

May these protesters never silence due to the intimidating acts of our government. May those in power respect our people and act on the frustrations expressed.

The message the government is sending out "Don't protest, don't express frustration, don't oppose, only live in fear"


Sunday, May 17, 2009

BJP denies India a credible 2nd alternative

Once again the BJP has lost, and their numbers are even worse than they were 5 years back in 2004. Once again the BJP fought this election with a strategic emphasis on communal divide. They then went all out to promote this, with aggressive campaigning across India, running newspaper advertisements, making TV appearances, running large scale online banner campaigns; and they even gave social media marketing a go via Facebook and Orkut groups; and their leader LK Advani even aggressively promoted his blog, the 1st of a major Indian politician. So interms of marketing execution they were A++.

It is their product that was faulty that cost they yet another election. They are trying to push a communal strategy where they hold one religion superior over others, to a youthful India (60% of India is under 25) who has grown up on a live TV & Internet diet of MTV, Reality Shows, Soap Operas, Travel Shows, Discover Channel, Fashion TV, Tabloids, Social Networking, Blogging, Wikis, Gaming and 20/20 cricket; who have been indulging more and more in cross community marriages; and work in corporate cultures where all are welcome, where skill is the only thing that counts! Are the youth of India interested in one community greater than the other? Ofcourse not! They are interested in buying house, nightclubbing, playing tennis, travelling and running up the corporate ladder. This is now no longer a theory, it has been proven at great cost of 2 national election losses for the BJP.

I am however sad that the BJP product is faulty. It takes away from the people a credible 2nd alternative to the Congress, who have scored a homerun once again, up 41% from the last election! With no credible 2nd alternative, we have no choice but to vote for the Congress; there is no alternative party that presents a merit based agenda of development that we can choose from. Its sad for the country.

I would love it that India has 2 strong political parties which present an option of development agendas, so that we may choose amongst them.

The BJP may have lost, but its far from a spent force, it has the national presence and millions of party workers. It needs to shed the communal divide plank and solidly base itself on development. It should do this as soon as possible, so that in 5 years it provides India with a choice. Ofcourse it has other ills such as lack of youth in their party, but that is not as large an issue as their core positioning as a communal party. Lets hope someone in there wakes up!

Ps. its interesting to see that independents went up from 5 last election to 9 this time, possibly showing that people are looking for alternatives.

PPs. The CPI+CPM's anti development policies of the last 5 years gave them a thumping defeat, down 62% from the 2004 elections! This again shows that India wants a pro development government.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Air France fined in India for racism

Air France was fined Rs. 40,000 per passenger by an Indian court for racist behavior against its Indian passengers and did not serve them meals onboard their flights. A few years back when flying Lufthansa I too observed a very unfriendly attitude by the ground staff in Frankfurt towards many Asian flyers.

I also saw a very unfriendly attitude in the air by Air Austria staff and extremely rough behaviour at Vinenna Airport where flights were delayed due to winter weather, but there was inadequate information to passengers.

Personally, I have experienced lousy service by Lufthansa's Miles & More program, where due to errors they had missed 14 of my flight! Even after writing to their program director, he refused to give me credit while accepting that I had indeed flown those flights, but because in their computer my name (there was a mistake in the way they had entered my name) did not exactly match the name on my tickets he would not give me the credit! Disgusting!

I really don't know what Indian passengers choose to fly these rude European airlines and I can imagine its obviously due to price. I guess that is why every advertisement by Lufthansa and all these other airlines is about cheap tickets! Not exactly the best way for them to stay in the black.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Tweet Cloud

Ok, I've been Tweeting away this month, so what have I been Tweeting about? My cloud shows that Good, Remindo & Dubai are amongst my top words! See below.

Click the cloud to see a larger version and build your own cloud

Monday, January 12, 2009

Raju's jail song

Found this on the Internet today posted in a comment:

What Raju is singing
by cool bloke on Jan 12, 2009 08:59 PM

my name is Ramalinga Raju
main Satyam ka founder hoon
khaate hai khaali, balance sheets jaali
satyam employees ki hai lagne waali
jisne bhi yaad aaye, ga**d marne chale aaye
jisne bhi yaad aaye, ga**d marne chale aaye
Hyderabad ki police chowki, jholi(ssorry...kholi) number 420

Arrrrrest me please!!!!!!

abhi abhi jail ke andar ek company kholi hai
investors ne bhi lagayi bad chad kar boli hai
jailor bhi raazi, qaidi bhi raazi
kab tak chalegi yeh jaalsaazi
jisne bhi yaad aaye, ga**d marne chale aaye
jisne bhi yaad aaye, ga**d marne chale aaye
Hyderabad ki police chowki, jholi(ssorry...kholi) number 420


Friday, January 09, 2009

10 Rockstar brands started in college

While most were mucking around and getting drunk, some took the time to set up kick ass businesses. Read the whole article here

Awesome Guy Kawasaki coverage of MacWorld Expo

Guy yesterday posted FAB coverage of Mac World to his blog.

Here are some of HIS pics. Enjoy.

Here is his full post

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The differance between 2008 Jan & Now

On this day, 1 year ago......... .. RBS paid $100bn for ABN Amro.

For this amount , today one can buy.......

1. Citibank $22.5bn
Morgan Stanley $10.5bn
Goldman Sachs $21bn
Merrill Lynch $12.3bn
Deutsche Bank $13bn
6. Barclays $12.7bn

And still have $8bn change...... with which, one would be able to pick up

Chrysler and
the Honda F1 Team............

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Dubai - An insider's view of the Bubble

Dubai Marina

When in Dubai it's very rare that one gets a chance to interact with a UAE national, also known as Emirati's or "Locals" to the Expat community. Probably because they are extremely few in number, just 2%, when compared to the total population.

So, it was with much delight that I read the comments on Dubai by an Emirati with a PHD, who identified himself as Fairplayer1 in comments on I am reproducing in Full his (or is it Her?) comments dated 3rd Jan 2009:

As a UAE national with PhD in law I have to admit that Sheikh Mohamed has failed to put in place a transparent judiciary and has concentrated more on self PR by anouncing unrealistic project"

" As someone who lives and breathes real estate since its first days here in Dubai, I feel it is necessary to see the cause of the boom and only then we may be able to make some calculated estimates of the future market condition.

1. Dubai real esate growth was based on a promise of freehold, residence permit, tax free benefits for nationalities who have certain restrictions in their countries and saw dubai as a safe secure investment opportunity.

2. Government of dubai removed the residence permit guarantee by buying a property. So automatically no tax free status, coz if you are not a resident of Dubai you can not open bank account & you are still liable for taxes in your country.

3.Nakheel/emaar/dubai holding factor: All these companies hate each other and therefore fight for the attention of sheikh mohammed, which means the greed and ego overtake logic and feasibility!!! result: Excessive lands/properties/ mega projects without proper planning & infrastructure in place.

4. Universal law supply Vs. Demand: nobody realises that the already anounced projects in dubai will need about an extra 6 million people to live in it!!!! (From Lagoons, meydan, dubailand, tatweer, mizin, industrial projects, emaar, bawadi, the world, the universe, palm deira, port rashid, waterfront, arabian canal, dubai world central….)Excuse me thats almost double the UAE population.

5. Loose the Confidence You loose everything: The investors/buyers are wakening up to the reality & there is absolutely no confidence in the market not only because of the global financial crisis but mainly because of the over supply & fear of the crash.

6. Genius Government policies: dubai government is its own worst enemy, at times like this what does dubai do? They launch new mega projects & new development companies like meraas with ambitious projects that will only further dampen market confidence.

7. Investor’s security: Dubai’s judicial system is as good as any underdeveloped country with selective rights depending who the complaint is against.

8. No human rights when it comes to dubai police. infact torture and enforced disappearance has become common in dubai under the umberella of the state security they can attach anything to anyone to reach their commercial targets.

9. Everybody owns 20% of several properties: Paying a few installments does not make you theowner so when the next installments come due and there is no quick sales like the good old days, what happens? Sell below the price or lose your deposit with the developers…. results in what we call “distress sell”

10. Oil prices & Inflation: ofcourse oil prices doubled so did the cost of steel & cement & food & labor accomodation… result abnormaly increase in construction prices on a weekly basis!!!… so an increase in property prices due to rising cost….

11. Decrease in Oil prices: Sudden decrease in everything from food prices, to raw materials….. creating sudden panic as properties are cheaper to build and a fear of further reduction is iminent.

12. There are too many chefs in the tiny real estate kitchen of dubai, have you noticed there aren’t any happy faces in the media anymore!!! what happened to the so called international anouncements about their acquisitions…

13.The Sheikh factor: when the ruling family is desperately getting into everythng from real estate, to owning or managing coffeshops and bakeries, landries…. then the opportunities for the public is becoming less and less which means a lot of unhappy UAE nationals and residents…. which everyone know will not help the already unstable state of dubai.

14. Big brother factor: let there be no doubt Abu Dhabi will eventually overtake dubai for the right reasons. money is not an issue thanks to oil & there is no rush to sell everything just to raise funds for the previously anounced project like in dubai. Dubai’s power in UAE will be reduced due to lack of funds, money talks!!!

15. regulatory body with no teeth: RERA is supposed to ensure that developers/real estate agents/ landlords/ follow the rules and regulations… what happens if a developer or an agent does not follow the law? NOTHING… just a 100,000 fine… comparing to the hundreds of millions at stake its a drop in the ocean.

16. Public Prosecution & Corruption: Everything in public prosecution is relative & variable…. there are cases of misrepresentation by nakheel, for example selling thousands of villas and after 2 years just cancelling the project…. nobody can make a complaint. Likewise several private developers & real estae agents operating in a fraudulent manner are let go off the hook.

The laws broken by sheikh maktoum hasher (winner of world scam award 2008) to elevate himself from a poor sheikh to be recognised as a real sheikh:
1. Misrepresentation/ False promotional campaign (showing photos of construction of JBC1,2,3,4,5 for the sales of Ebony Ivory project) while there is no contractoron site, no building permit…. this is a criminal offense under uae law. (But RERA & SHEIKH MOHAMMED HIS UNCLE R SLEEPING!!!)
2. dynasty zarooni who is a real estate broker has been collecting money into their own account this is 100% illegal… infact in some cases they have even sold properties with 100% down payment, imagine the poor buyers when they realise te photos shown in gulfnews were lies!!!
3. ofcourse no escrow/trust account… No construction…
4. Threatening investors and staff of al fajer properties. Investors in JBC1 are forced to move to another building s that sheikh maktoum hasher the wanna be poor sheikh can make a few millions through his friends who will sell the property to new buyers.
5. There is no immunity for sheikh maktoum hasher or his father sheikh hasher maktoum, sheikh mohammed is just too busy counting the money he has lost so he is a bit distracted now. he pretends as if he is above the law, but in reality he is a coward who can only threaten drivers and junior staff in al fajer"

As a matter of interest here is Dubai's strategic vision as laid down by it's Ruler Sheikh Mohammed AL Makthoum. It's interesting to see page 20 where he identifies Trade & Transportation as the main drivers of Dubai's growth.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mumbai, Bombay, Mambai & Bambai

The original 7 islands inhabited by Kolis that became this city

Till 1996, we called this city what we wanted, we called it Bombay in English, Mumbai in Marathi, Mambai in Gujrati and Bambai in Hindi. Then divisive politics happened and the one and only exclusive name became Mumbai. Bombayites and Bambaiyas became Mumbaikars. If after that you dared call this city anything but Mumbai you risked the wraith of political goons assualting you, or attacking your house.

Why this divisive politics? What is the need for a divisive strategy? Does it win more votes? Is it the only way? What about an inclusive strategy? Why not have added the names Mumbai, Mambai and Bambai to the then official name Bombay? After all isn't dosen't our own country have 3 names: India, Hindustan, Bharat ? Germany has 2 names: Deutschland and Germany; Holland is called both Netherlands and Holland; and there are many more examples.

The names Bombay and Mumbai both have historic origins. Bombay comes from the Portuguese term Bombaim, which means Good Bay, which probably refers to the fantastic natural bay and shipping harbour, that lead to the establishment of the Bombay port, which was instrumental in giving birth to this essentially trading and shipping city. The word Mumbai, originates from the patron goddess, Mumba Devi, of the Kolis (the original inhabitants of this land before it became a city) where the word Devi translates into the word Ai, which means mother in Marathi.

So why can't we have 2 names or 4 names? Why can't we allow people to use whatever they are comfortable in using? Whatever suits them. Surely our heart is large enough, because we have an Indian heart, which is known to be especially large.

Now that the follies of our divisive methods, which pits man against man, are coming haunt us through terrible events, where the lives of innocents is being lost, let us roll back these silly divisive actions and thinking, because more than adding 3 names, it is a roll back in our divisive thinking to a purer thinking, where we are once again inclusive in our thinking.

Lets campaign for Inclusive thinking, starting with adding 3 names to the existing solitary name of this beautiful city with beautiful people.

Why is there no SAG permanently in Bombay?

The National Security Guard was established in 1985 after Operation Blue Thunder when the need for a dedicated anti-terrorism squad was felt. The NSG is a highly skilled, highly equipped and highly trained outfit of 14,500 commandos on deputation from the army, navy and air force.

The NSG has a dedicated counter terrorism and counter hostage wing known as the Special Action Group, SAG, which is tightly focused on rescue and counter attack in situations of terrorist and hostage situations.

The other wing of the NSG is known as the Special Rangers Group, SRG, whose job is to defend VVIPs (VV Important People/Places) from terrorism and other attacks and they can be seen guarding people such as the Prime Minister and important locations.

What struck me most about the terror attacks on Bombay that started 2 days back is that the Bombay Police where highly ill-equipped to handle terrorism. And ofcourse that is normal. A city's police force is raised to deal with crime and protection from anti-social elements, not high trained terrorists. One cannot expect a city's police force to have the budget, training and politics to be able to handle enemies who have been obviously trained to the standards of special forces.

The other thing that struck me was that the SAG had to be flown in from New Delhi to deal with the terrorists in Mumbai. By the time they left it was 1:30am (the crisis began at 9:30pm) and by the time they reached the airport and then onward onto the specific locations, it was already 6:00am. All the killing and hostage taking happened between 9:30pm and 6:00am! Infact as soon as SAG got in they started freeing the hostasges with the 1st batch being released at 6:30am.

So why does an important and venerable city like Bombay, the commercial capital, not have a SAG battalion based locally? why do they have to be flown in from Delhi?

Is it something to with politics? Yesterday the Chief Minister of Maharastra was quoted in the papers as saying that "we need to raise a force like SAG in Maharashtra" !!! Why???

I think it's the fault of disgusting politics and sheer Indian incompetence that there is no SAG unit in Bombay. In addition to the benefits of rapid response time, the team will be familiar with local establishments and terrain, making them that much more effective.

For the sake of nearly a 1000 people that lost their lives in Bombay and so that their sacrifices do not go in vain, let us be sensible and setup a SAG permanent unit in this great city.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Our Pledge Against These Cowardly Attacks

I hope you are safe and your resilience not too shaken by these shocking and distasteful events that are now ongoing for 48hrs in Mumbai.

These attacks by cowards on unarmed civilians at the leisure centers of our city, in the evenings when people were relaxing after working hard, and on those places which Indian & International company executives frequent, have been designed to disrupt Indian business activities and demoralize teams. They are meant to cast fear into the minds of foreign visitors and parents/families of our cities' workers. And they are meant to breed mistrust. They want us to abandon our work so that we as teams fail, so that investments into India stop, so that our growth fails, so that we descend into chaos.

Our response to these cowards will be that we will not fall for the fear that they are attempting to create. They do not realise that while we Indians may be an easy going, jovial people, we are not weaklings that will scare and run away. Our response will be that we will get back at these people by growing our country to great heights and making our country stronger. We will leave our opponents frustrated, not by attacking them in return, but by becoming successful and secure.

With several 100 dead and many more deeply wounded, this is also a time for deep reflection on the India that we are building and why we have been repeatedly subject to attacks, both from within and from external forces. For too long we have built a lawless India where the legal system is in shambles and people cannot get justice, breeding deep frustration; for too long we have built a corrupt India that robs efficiency, leading to unemployment and poverty; for too long we have built a greedy India with a great gap between the haves and have nots; for too long we have built a divisive India where we have divided up each other on the basis of caste, colour, state, wealth and religion; for too long we have built a disrespectful India where we do not value other people's opinions, always asserting ourselves; and for too long we have built an India befrit of teamwork, so that it becomes virtually impossible to get good results in anything, including basic security.

Some things thus that we must henceforth pledge:

  • we will never ever hinder or criticize any security measure or officer that is undertaken on the roads, malls, airports or offices. We will coorporate fully
  • we will not attack each other, verbally or physically, over any issue, big or small.
  • we will treat each others' point of view with immense respect and listen to it carefully
  • we will work hard, sincerely and with 200% honestly
  • we will strive to become more productive and increase our growth beyond even our own expectations
  • we will be united and work tightly as a team
  • we will spread the message of sincerity and teamwork wherever we go
  • we will never complain when we have to stand up for the national anthem, because the reason we stand is in respect for those who lost their lives defending India.
  • we will work hard to build the legal system
  • we will work hard to remove corruption from it's root
  • we will not divide people or get divided
I would like to take this moment to express my grief and sympathy for the families of the security officers and civilians who lost their lives and were injured. My heart goes out to these victims, these brave people and their grieving families. Let us become more dignified, better people and more productive so that their sacrifices are not in vain.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Improving India's economy one name at a time

One can't deny that ever since Bombay's name was changed to Mumbai in 1995 India's economy has boomed. The Mumbai change was followed by Bangalore to Bengaluru, Calcutta to Kolkatta, Madras to Chennai and a few others, all of which has undoubtedly contributed to Indias 10% annual GDP growth.

Now that Oil has gone over the top and the world economy is on the rocks, it's time to release some important strategic name reserves and make some important name related changes to shore up India's economy and ensure we do not miss our 10% target this year:

Orissa changes to Odisha
from now in Mumbai all nameboards have to be in both English and Marathi.

Both these important changes were passed by the respective state governments after debates in governing houses. I am so glad our politicians are doing the right thing and ensuring that the people live well and the economy keeps running.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

When India attacks India

It's bad enough that India's borders are being constantly attacked by Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, etc; and the secret service outfits of these countries have also created militant outfits within India that keep setting off bombs every few months.

What is even worse when Indians attack themselves. Everyday the media is filled with news of how some political or semi political outfit went violent and attacked people. Just today the story is about the Gujjar community in Rajasthan attacked people, police stations, blocked highways and dug up railways tracks. Lots of people lost their lives as a result, 1000s were injured, lots of economic damage was done and people are generally in a state of fear.

Another story today is about political parties in Mumbai, namely the Shiv Sena & the MNS are attacking North Indians and destroying property. They beat up so called North Indian taxi drivers for immigrating to Mumbai and destroyed these poor people's taxis and even killed a few. Then they went around destroying museums and commercial establishments because they had the word "Bombay" in their name.

This is happening with total and complete disregard for the law. My view is that if you are unhappy with something, goto the court and complain, but don't resort to destruction and violence. When the very political parties that are supposed to govern do this, it speaks volumes of the state of affairs of our judicial system and the liberties of the common man: there is virtually no justice in India !

India, please stop attacking yourself.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Why the US needs to lower taxes and attract foreign investments

With 30% Federal Corporate Income Tax, 10% Sate Corporate Income Tax, and in the case of New York City, another 10% City Corporate Income Tax, and with Sales Tax of nearly 10% in most states, the US is one of the most tax intensive countries in the world.

Which is a shame, because it fabulous infrastructure, highly qualified workforce, huge capital markets and large domestic market the US is one of the best places to set up a global head quarter. A company could base it global HQ in the US and cut short by many years the time it takes to grow.

But these high taxes come in the way, so instead companies want to locate the corporate head quarters in Dubai, London, Gibraltar, or are agnostic about where they locate their headquarters.

With the diminished role of the US Dollar as the world's reserve currency, the US has seen since June 2007 reduction in monthly Government Bond purchases by foreign nations from $300B a month $80B a month. This has sucked a lot of low cost liquidity out of US capital markets.

To compensate for this reduced liquidity, the US needs to go all out to woo foreign companies to shift their global headquarters to the US. And the best way to do this is to cut taxes drastically and even go as far as giving 20 year tax holidays to any businesses over $5M turnover that relocate headquarters to the US.

With businesses relocating to the US, investments will follow and the US should easily be able to compensate for the low cost $220B it is losing out every month.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The unreal world economy

Oil is at $110 a barrel, yet the price of petrol and diesel hasn't gone up in India the last 3 years. Since a year back, oil has doubled from around $60 to approximately $110 today. Yet, I am paying the same in Rupees for my petrol as I was last year.

How is this possible ?

The price of petrol is being artificially maintained. India's 3 large petrol and diesel retailing companies, all state owned, are deep in the red, their combined debt has mounted to over $2000 Billion !

This is being done to keep people happy, to keep prices from going crazy. To ensure that people can go on living and there are no major disturbances in towns & cities.

But this is not sustainable. How long can the oil companies go on borrowing? This is madness.

The price will have to correct and when it corrects by doubling, cost of food, transport and electricity will go sky high. A majority of people's incomes will go towards simply meeting these costs and people will be forced to reduce spending on new homes, new cars, new tvs, holidays, clothes, etc. The economy will come to a screeching halt.

This is not just an Indian problem, this will be a world problem. The cost of the basics is likely to go so high that people are just not going to be able to afford anything else.

Unless, the world once again gets a new source of cheap energy, quickly.

What can that be? It can only be Nuclear & Coal. I think the planet should start going Nuclear on the double. There is no more time to waste deliberating if it is good or not, it is necessary. Coal fired power has already started, all recent power plants coming up seem to be coal based.

But can all this happen fast enough, or is the planet going to be caught napping and we will end up with 7 to 10 very hard years. Well, we'll find out in early 2009 by which time oil should have crossed $200.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Google: Don't be STUPID and ARROGANT

Here is a Google horror story, and it's happening to me. Suddenly while using my email in the middle of my work day, I get the message that "Your email has been locked down for 24hrs due to illegal activity". This is not my ordinary email, but my Apps email.

I read all their reasons for the LOCKDOWN and I was in violation of none of them. I am using no 3rd party software, not using 2 machines for the same account, not sending spam, nothing. Yet it happens.

Google is so sure of their technology that they believe they are 100% right when it comes to taking severe & damaging action against a user.

The best part is their support form does not even contain support for Google Apps email. You have to fill in your gmail id in "what if your email id", so I am not even sure if their customer service centre guys will understand what is to be done.

Google, I can tell you that you are sure to lose me as a customer and my whole company if this issue is not resolved quickly and keeps re-occurring.

Update: Google resolved the issue within 30 mins of the lockdown; not sure if this was due to the complaint I filed, or if it is auto-programmed into their system.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Back to IE & loving it

After spending years with FireFox, I never imagined I'd move back to IE. But with all of FF's memory leaks, which seemed to grow with each release, I moved back to IE 7. And what a relief. All the same functionality, none of the misery. It's a shame that FF couldn't resolve this issuse, which may happen with FF 3....

Monday, April 14, 2008

Getting brand right

Getting brand right is the differance between just doing business and doing profitable business. If you don't get your brand right, if it isn't unique, the you are likely to spend a vast amount of money on being just another brand and thus you don't make any profits.

Here is a long but great presentation on how to get your brand right.

Here is another on how to get Luxury Branding right

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tips for startups

Reposting this from my original post in VentureWoods

There is an interesting post doing the rounds on the blogsphere which talks about 17 tips for startups.

Most of these tips apply to the US, but some are universal, and the one I like the most: fire employees who are not workaholics. I totally agree with this one and strongly recommend that every startup apply it. You don’t need a big team, you need 2 to 3 people working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week with no vacations. Find them and keep them.

Anyway, that post was followed by a Techcrunch post, which was a startup not too long ago and the founder had his own advice.

If you have any additional advise then do share here in the comments section.

Here are some of my tips:
1. Try and outsource as much as possible. You may not be able to recruit great people because you are a startup, but you will find fantastic entrepreneurs who are available to work on your project in an outsourced capacity.

2. Cash is a very scarce in a startup. Try and do equity deals with outsourced companies, this will bring down your costs. You will be surprised how many are willing to take equity if they like your idea

3. Don’t recruit employees. Recruit co-founders. The best people no longer want to work for companies, they want to own them, so recruit co-founders. You will be amazed at the quality of people you get, far better than if you advertsied for employees. You will need to give them some stock, but that can come from the ESOP pool. Goto to see how much you should set aside for ESPOS

4. Drive the costs down of everything. Don’t be shy of bargaining.

5. Work like crazy, don’t relax, get everything done at 5 times speed. You will run out of money faster than you think. You customers will come later than expected. The only chance you have of beating the system is keeping costs low and working faster than money runs out.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Will housing trigger Iran war?

Sub Prime is a huge mess; and housing prices are down and are likely to keep going down. The forecast of the US economy growth rate of Q4 this year was recently downgraded by Maroeconomic Advisers to 1.6% from 2.7%

A US recession appears on the way.

Each time there has been a housing crises, the US has slipped into recession, except 2 times: 1951 and 1967: Korea War and Vietnam War. Defense expenditure triggers the money multiplier which pulls an economy out of recession.

Will the US goto war in Q2 of 2008 with Iran to pull out of recession?