Thursday, April 23, 2009

Innovation in bribery

Thursday, April 23, 2009 View Comments
Basab writes a very hilarious albeit intriguing post on bribery in Indian elections
Today, bribing voters has become so common that all serious candidates must spend a good chunk of their election funds on it. Since other issues matter little (fomenting communal hatred being an important exception), candidates must compete with each other on the quantum of bribes per voter. This is good for the economy as it redistributes wealth from industrial houses and foreign corporations to the aam aadmi. Also, almost all the money distributed as voter bribes is spent immediately which gives a boost to local businesses like country liquor distilleries. In total, the voter bribes industry now accounts for an estimated 2 percent of GDP and about 50 basis points of annual GDP growth.
Oh but it gets better, check this out:
At the G-20 summit later this week, as world leaders discuss what each country is doing to restart the global economy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will argue that voter bribes in the runup to the general election should be treated as India’s ’stimulus package’.
He further elaborates on the innovations that have been taking place in this domain. Do give it a read.

At the same time I wonder if one could take a leaf out of his book and apply it to the relatively non-existent BITSian politics. Sam chats? Mosquito nets? Beer?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On Addiction

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 0

Sometimes we try new things and like it a lot...or sometimes we might not like them at all.

Dedicated to one of the smartest boys I have met. Kaalu.

Image source:Why's (Poignant) guide to Ruby

Friday, April 17, 2009

Grab onto one (or more) of these

Friday, April 17, 2009 0
Some awesome opportunities to look forward to:

You want to start up. So what excuses are you going to through? Can't get a B Plan in shape? Can't get venture funding? How will I manage it with acads?

Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at BITS Pilani has come up with a solution. All you need is a good idea. And if you have a team in place, that's just kick ass, but if you do't that's alright as well, just jump aboard the train.

Sounding too vague? Check THIS & THIS ASAP!

Last year I remember that Vivek was telling me how he doesn't really want to startup, but what he actually wants to do is just gives ideas to people to start up. 

If you have got ideas for the next big start-up, come share them in an innovation brainjam. The event is called Idea Cafe. More Info about it HERE

All this fine, but what about the Summer? Have you still not found something to get yourself involved with for the long suration of the holidays. Does working in a fast paced environment excite you? The I suppose you would be interested in Summer in a Start-up.

Links for today

Here are some cool links to check out

Top ten fake bands of all time:Can you guess which bad made it to the top? They are legendary (and no its not Stillwater, though I'd have liked them to). The TIME mag compiles this list of 10. site is particularly interesting for it uses the power of the masses to monitor the elections. Ambitious, yes. Guys such as Gaurav Mishra are behind this project, along with champions such as Ushahidi. Do check it out. 

Spam produces 17 million tons of C02:All those newsletters that I delete without reading...

And to finish it off, THIS

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What I have been watching lately

Sunday, April 12, 2009 2
2 interesting documentaries that I have seen recently


Comedian Bill Maher goes through great lengths to find merit in religion and ends up creating an entertaining satire. His journey takes him across the world where he meets a catholic priest who tell him that Jesus is the 6th most popular figure in Vatican (and not 1st), head of the Human Genome Project (who is deeply religious), a guy who claims to be Jesus reborn. Bill also goes to Speakers Corner in Hyde Park where he preaches about Scientology.

Obviously the documentary has little original material, however the delivery is killer Its directed by Larry Charles, the same chap who made Borat.

My favorite scene is when Bill goes to a gay bar in Amsterdam which is run by a muslim gay couple and strikes up a conversation with them telling them that
they aren't really against you being gay, they are just against specific actions of yours, say like anal sex, which well if you that out of picture in homosexuality, what are you left with, just the blow job.

The movie becomes a drag at certain points and Bill gets on your nerves b'coz he does a little Karan Thapar where he simply doesn't let the other person speak and keeps on enforcing his views and trying to sound funny.

But, surely go for it.

The other documentary was E Athletes. Teja (more popularly known by his backronym @jet in BITS) told me to watch this one. The documentary is about professional gaming, more specifically professional Counter Strike gaming which speaks of fierce rivalry between the big players and how they get the big bucks. The conclusion being that there isn't enough money in professional gaming yet to sustain one's family but its getting there especially with onset of professional leagues.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Great Success! List of BITSians to get admission into IIMs

Saturday, April 11, 2009 5
Here's the basic list of guys I know personally, I'm sure there are a hell more, so do keep updating the list through the comments section

2005 Batch
Aravind Vijayasarathy A,B,C,I,K
Ashwin Iyer B,C,L,I,K
Aditya Radhakrishnan I
Abhishek Humbad B,C,L,K
Ishan Bhanu C
Tushar A,B
Manavpreet Singh B,C,K
N Anerudh C
Karan Dhall B
Salil A
Astha Modi K
Ritesh Agrawal A

2004 Batch
R Vijay A,B

2003 Batch
Sriharsha Majety B,C

Navin Madhavan (B Wait listed)
Ayshwarya Vikram (A waitlisted 6)
Anil Kumar K (B waitlisted 17)

Thanks to Tapan, Sushant, Garima Dhingra, Ajay Srinath for inputs

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Brain of BITS 2009

Thursday, April 02, 2009 1
In my post about APOGEE I mentioned the Brain of BITS, the lone wolf quiz. It's the ultimate test of mettle for any BITSian who is quizzically inclined. Getting on stage is an honour, winning the prize is beyond words. It's significance is not really a matter of opinion and any one who questions its superiority is clearly out of his mind.

Many have ghotted (that's BITSian for mugging) for months and some even cheated (albeit unsuccessfully) to get on stage, but in the end, none of it counts. This years BOB is now uploaded on the Keep Guessing : The BITS Quizlog It's probably the only BOB quiz with an online presence, but then everything must have a first. Try it and then pass it along.

As for BOB itself, for the next year or so, it rests in the room of King Diamond, a brilliant quizzer who deserved the title and his real name is known to be Siddharth Ravichandran. His online home can be found here.

Creating more opportunity in the social sector amongst the youth

Nitin Rao, a NIT Surathkal alumnus started E4SI (while still in college!), a unique fellowship program that helps the engineers from top institutes to spend their summer interning in an organization that’s working for a social cause.

Now in its second year, the number of applications that the folks at E4SI received this year increased by a phenomenal amount. Most of the publicity was word of mouth. But the point I am trying to address is a different one.

Now that E4SI is expanding, it will start receiving even more number of entries. With 400-500 people fighting for the 24 coveted slots, many good (and deserving) candidates are bound to lose out. Clearly after a point of time even the judges can’t be objective.

At such a juncture it would be a great idea to create a group (say on Facebook) with the profiles of the candidates who just missed out. These are high potential candidates who would fit in other similar organizations as well. Social enterprises looking for high potential talent will find this resource highly beneficial. The students will also be grateful for its only the facilitation that is lacking in this space. The students are willing and the organizations I am sure are in need of brain power.

This is something world famous marketer and Acumen Fund supporter Seth Godin did when he announced his internship for college students. This helped spread goodwill as well as showed the candidates that Seth cared for the initiative they took to apply for his internship. Obviously the Seth Godin brand name helped the others find decent offers for their summer as well.

And that’s something Taya over at Next Billion has blogged about.

    What strikes me most about the opportunities at these organizations is their exclusivity-in the sense that they cull the "best of the best" through limited edition fellowships. Just to be clear, I have no problem with the notion of wielding the power of the "best and brightest" to tackle the world's problems. In fact, it's a rather poignant reversal of fortune; usually the least powerful members of society are stuck with the worst resources. However, after the superstars are chosen, I wonder what happens to the "best of the rest" and the "rest of the rest." Presumably, the folks who apply to these programs are smart, ambitious, values-driven, change makers in the making. What I wonder is, "what happens to these people?" Is their energy and enthusiasm lost or is it simply redirected? How can we tell? Do we care?

While I have taken E4SI as an example, I would extend the suggestion to other similar initiatives as well such as Kiva, Acumen Fund etc. Using an already existing brand name to indirectly vouch for equally deserving candidates to enter into the developmental sector.

Cross posted on the Mutiny

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