zero sum game

According to a new thesis of mine, reservations may do more harm than good to the SC/ST/OBC community. Here is the summary of the argument;

H1: Communities with high level of trust ( social capital ) are more prosperous than society without.
( evd1: You don’t see destitution & beggary among Sikh, Jain, Parsi, Patel, Jew community.? )

H2: Communities with high trust level can engage in ” positive sum games ” with win-win opportunities.

H3: Reservations for SC/ST/OBC is a zero sum gain within & among the reserved community.

H4: Zero sum game competition among communities destroys social trust.

The number of opportunities being fixed & limited, there is intense rivalry between the communities to monopolize the opportunities. This rivalry destroys trust among & within communities and they can hardly see each other eye to eye. (Low Social Capital)

Hence: Reservation ->Zero Sum Game -> Rivalry within & among community -> Lowering of trust level -> Not able to exploit win-win opportunities -> Continuing Poverty & Powerlessness

Reservation = Bad for the communities getting reservation.



Your comments and feedback please!


Open letter to MJ Akbar

Hope MJ gets well soon!


Dear Mr. Akbar,

I read about you joining the BJP-RSS combo with interest. I waited in anticipation to know your mind as to why did a person of your eminence decided to join.

So, when your column hit the intertubes, I was a little disappointed to say the least.

Why you may ask?

On a broad level, the key reasons provided by you are straight out of a tweet pack of the average BJP-RSS propaganda troll on Twitter.

For example :
Your fascination with 100 cities promised by Mr. Modi. A simple enough question for you. How many such cities did Modi build or plan in the relatively well off state of Gujarat? Answer: None.

Of course you will have heard of the DMIC (and other such corridors) set up by UPA and the new cities already coming up along the route.

Or maybe not.

Because it doesn’t suit your…

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Trillion dollar Ideas!

Principles for creating Trillion Dollar Businesses!

  1. Any Business you do should be of Global Scale!   ( Google, Apple, McDonald’s etc)
  2. Create value out of thin air and capture it!      (Bottled Water, Google, Facebook, Zynga Sports! )
  3. Information is everything! Capture the shadow and you have captured the beast!                            ( Real Estate Brokerage, People’s Online Data – Google )
  4. Never do too much physical work, create incentive schemes to get things done! Always Scheme!  ( Airport trolley deposit, Bounty on a criminal)
  5. Raid the “Somnath Temples” , the markets that have efforts of lifetime captured!                      (Real Estate, Pension Funds)
  6. Create value for everyone, but take care to capture some of the value for yourself!
  7. The problems solved should be a little ahead in the future not too far out!   (Apple products )
  8. Create markets for things that did not exist before!   ( Carbon Credits )
  9. Look for markets that have huge inefficiencies!  ( Almost all real markets have inefficiencies: Don’t believe in Economic Theory)
  10. Always work on things that did not exist or improve significantly things that exist!   (The space of unsolved problems is infinite; Almost any thing that is being done today and be done in a better way)
  11. Should involve using as little capital as possible!    (So that you do not have to give away your company to the VC; Prototype many ideas)
  12. Leverage other giants to get mountains moved!   (Microsoft leveraging IBM during it’s early days)
  13. Know the rules but do not be limited by them!    ( Know the laws, do not be afraid to stretch the laws)
  14. Take money in debt but create and own equity!     ( Or it shows that you do not have confidence in your idea )
  15. Grow with vengeance but when market matures, exit quickly!   ( Life is short! there will be other ideas to pursue!)
  16. Continuously keep learning and researching new fields for opportunities, record them!  ( The most important Principle! Buy a nice notebook and record all ideas that you get, research it and record it, This is your most important resource)
  17. Business is a just a game! Don’t get too impacted by it!    ( Beyond a point money has little utility, use it to keep score )
  18. Use all the resources at your disposal, mainly the people you know!  ( You are surrounded by talented people )
  19. Do not take too long to launch, idea to inception- at most 2 months!    ( We have short attention span, the more you delay, the more likely it will fail)
  20. Always use good design and presentation!     ( Think Steve Jobs!)
  21. No Advertising, create PR by being the first and the remarkable!  ( Saves a lot of money, Do something good, people will notice it! )
  22. Be a Man, not Boy! Don’t defer to elders, listen to them but do what your gut feel says!                 (Presence of authority makes you feel unsure, if you do not trust your own guts, you cannot become an entrepreneur.)
  23. Do not stay in one online business for long! Tech changes fast!  ( Think Microsoft! Think Orkut! )
  24. Leverage Massively everything you have got!   ( Your money is the most precious money! )
  25. Where-ever possible, do not take VC money!  ( They will interfere too much, take away a large chunk of your company and maybe fire you! )
  26. Create social acceptability for the business and yourself! (If your business in not liked! It’s probably going to be out of business soon )
  27. Never buy a mature business! Only if it is highly distressed!   ( Generally not worth the money! )
  28. Maintain High-Energy Levels through the day, good health is must!   ( Must! What will you do with all the wealth if u are too sick to enjoy it )
  29. Short and simple but elegant!  ( People are overburdened with data, Get to the point straight-away )
  30. Do many businesses; let the managers and partners manage!     ( One business can never make you a trillions, there are few markets which are of  $Trillion size )
  31. Get Ideas from everybody!  ( You cannot have all the ideas, People love coming up with ideas- they would be happy sharing it with you, cause they will never ever act on their ideas; Think of all the authors!)
  32. Cater to the masses!  (If you can touch a fifth of humanity and get them to pay you  $1, you are a billionaire!.)
  33. Cater to the whims and fancies of the rich! (luxury and envy goods)   ( 90% of the world’s wealth is accumulated with the top 10% of the worlds people, they will spend on trifles: Think Gucci, Armani, Yachts, Private Jets )
  34. Cater to the Governments! ( Guys with the biggest purse, Others money spent is never wisely spent )
  35. Cater to the big Corporations!  ( Have huge money! They will buy your company for big dollars )
  36. Use glamour extensively!   ( If you want to sell to the rich! )
  37. Control media assets, but let it be as  impartial as you can!    ( It is your biggest defense! People are obliged to you)
  38. Use the understanding of irrational human behavior!   (Read Dan Airely! People are irrational and therein lies the source of all  market inefficiencies )
  39. Focus on industries that have massive network-effect! ( Fastest Billions made in telecom industry – Carlos Slim, Hutch Guy, Sunil Mittal )
  40. Have business which provides money in advance!  (Insurance .. This i learnt from Warren Buffet, Not having cash kills businesses)
  41. In Online Business reducing the cognitive load is the main thing.    ( The scarcest commodity in the Information Era )
  42. Always try to convert a one-off customer to a regular one.   (  Regular stream of income )

The principles are not in particular order, I will keep adding more as i come to it.

Finally, here are a few sectors where the trillions will me made.

  1. Real Estate:  Brokerage, Rentals, Hotels and Inns, Luxury Developments, Golf Courses, City design.
  2. Public Systems: Waste Management, Health Care
  3. Finance: Real Estate Financing, Funding education, Real Estate Mortgage fund, Seedfunding.
  4. Internet and Social Media: Better organization of knowledge, Monetizing free online content ( Think beyond Advertising) , Online Education, Gifting, Online seed-funding, Online Jobs etc
  5. Retailing: Online virtual shopping, Vegetable & Perishable Retailing.
  6. Education:  Online University , HR and Placement.

” The best way to predict the future is to create it! ”

PS: If you find this post useful, want to contribute your own points or want to discuss any of the ideas, Please leave a comment or mail me at

Why very few Indian web-portal are transnational?

In an earlier post I had written about the question I posed on the IIMB Linkedin discussion group. After hearing all the comments i am still not sure of the reasons why we have no Indian web-portal serving the world at large. I have come to a set of hypothesis of my own.

My hypothesis are:-
1. We simply never tried !
2. We are too focused on picking up the low hanging fruits!
3. We are too India centric in our outlook!
4. We do not have the right role models to inspire us!
5. Our intellectual in-confidence in conceiving and promoting our original ideas!

Why:How Indian start-ups can do better?

1. Programming skills & experience :: Work on original business model with global scope
2. English Language & Communication:: Use it to learn about other cultures and create global outlook.
3. Intellectual Freedom & Democracy :: Use it to do some original thinking ( China can never compete with us here)
4. Great Business Tradition :: Traditional Business Communities get to high tech! Move beyond trading!
5. Pro Business Govt. :: Babu-log support the small entrepreneurs, not just the big business houses.

Why was Google,Facebook,Twitter originate in USA?

This is the discussion and the comments to the question i posed in the IIMB alumni group at

Why is it that web-portals with multi-country users invariably based in the USA? What could be the barriers for and Indian or say a German website for having globally distributed user group?

I looked up the details of top 200 website on Looking at the country based usage I could see a pattern emerging. I could broadly classify the websites into 3 categories.
1. Free with global users: (google, yahoo, etc)(long tailed distribution of users) almost all websites in this category were based in USA
2:Payment and Global Usage:(eBay, Amazon) (Broad but short tail) Mostly based in USA.
3.Country/Language specific: (,, distribution) Based in individual countries.

What surprises me that most of the websites in category 1 & 2 are based in USA!!! Surprising because internet is supposed to remove all barriers. A person visiting a website does not need to know where the website is – but still we have this marked concentration of global websites in the USA!

I wonder why! I have a few hypothesis. I would like to know your opinion on the cause.

The answer to this question will i believe be of profound strategic implication.


1. One simple reason is that US Traffic converts more than any other geography. This simply means that a user from the US is more likely to have a monetary transaction online than one from any other geography.

So really, its just a demand and supply issue. Google, Yahoo are free but make most of their revenue from online advertising. So is the case with Facebook (it just kicked off Microsoft as its Advertising Partner because it doesn’t wana share any of its Ad Revenue) or any other portal.

Why is online retail (for example- groceries) in India not that prevalent. The mindset in most of the population is to gather information online, but not to convert it into an actual purchase.

2. How many Indian/ US authors in management, per employee billing of IBM Vs. Infosys?

We do not understand strategy or strategic implications !

Joseph Manuel,

3. It may be true that we do not understand the strategic Implications, the situation being as it is; what do we do now?
If i want to internationalize my website, what constraints do i face? and how do i overcome the hurdle?

4.Go ahead and do it. Winner stakes ALL
Strategise. Look for allies, partners, show them that there is more than what meets the eye in doing it

5. I think its the ecosystem issue. US has a great ecosystem which fosters technological innovation.

Paul Graham has an interesting essay on this:

Business 2.0: Who’s next?

Internet has fundamentally changed the way we conduct our business. The impact though has not been uniform. Some traditional business have embraced it and are thriving well (banks). While many old business models have become obsolete (travel agents). Internet technology has further given rise to new business models.

There are many businesses and social areas which remain stuck to the old way of doing things. My guess is that each of these areas will eventually see a fundamental change. The task now is to identify the sectors which are more vulnerable to transformation and transform it. Any one such transformation will unleash great value for the society and the agent who brings out this change.

Some areas that should be scrutinize under this lens are
i) Education: How do we most efficiently educate the billions.
ii) Property Markets: How do we reduce the brokerage charges to minimum.
iii) Poverty: How do we create opportunities of income for everybody?

There will be many more areas. If you can think of any more .. write about it in the comments.