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Some good news and some bad

The Good News First

Gustav has been downgraded to a cat 1 hurricane…new orleans breathes a sigh of relief. The do need some breaks.

Oil prices have fallen by 5dollars on this news. Sort of knee jerk reaction.

Now the Bad

More storms are about to hit the east cost, Fay, Ike and Hanna – which is now upgraded to Cat 1.

More damage to come, this time to forida which was not expection the onslaughter.


The Economics of Happiness

I was feeling particularly happy today and was wondering if it had anything to do with the fat payment I received for a writing assignment. So I set about doing some research and find out that the Freakonomics blog has beaten me to it. Since they have said it so well I will simply summarize it.

1) Rich people are happier than poor people.
2) Richer countries are happier than poorer countries.
3) As countries get richer, they tend to get happier.

Moreover, each of these facts seems to suggest a roughly similar relationship between income and happiness.

What explains these new findings? The key turns out to be an accumulation of data over recent decades. Thirty years ago it was difficult to make convincing international comparisons because there were few datasets comparing rich and poor countries. Instead, researchers were forced to make comparisons based on a handful of moderately-rich and very-rich countries. These data just didn’t lend themselves to strong conclusions.

Moreover, repeated happiness surveys around the world have allowed us to observe the evolution of G.D.P. and happiness through time — both over a longer period, and for more countries. On balance, G.D.P. and happiness have tended to move together.

There is a second issue here that has led to mistaken inferences: a tendency to confuse absence of evidence for a proposition as evidence of its absence. Thus, when early researchers could not isolate a statistically reliable association between G.D.P. and happiness, they inferred that this meant the two were unrelated, and a paradox was born.

Can you the awful lot of crowding at the right hand top corner…these are the rich happy countries.

File-sharing Networks Return with Legitimate Ways to Share Music — and Make Money

Wharton Knowledge has an interesting article on file sharing in the music industry. If what they profuse is true we may have the best of the music avaible legally online istead of just garage nads and indiepop

After the U.S. Supreme Court declared in 2005 that Internet file-sharing sites Grokster and StreamCast had illegally aided their customers’ efforts to share pirated copies of copyrighted music and video files, many commentators predicted the demise of businesses that depended on online file-sharing.

But the technology that Napster, the pioneer of music file-sharing, Grokster and StreamCast unleashed has returned, supported by a business plan that respects copyright laws. Three years after the high court’s ruling, several start-ups say they have found ways to make peer-to-peer (often called P2P) file-sharing legal and perhaps profitable.

And it also goes on to say……..

Rock musician Peter Gabriel has endorsed another approach. He’s an investor in a peer-to-peer file-sharing firm called We7. Its customers can download free songs with short ads at the beginning. “The revenue generated from these advertisements goes to artists, labels and other rights owners,” We7 explains on its web site. “You get music for free, and the artist gets fairly paid.” The ad disappears after four weeks. Or customers can elect to purchase a file outright and skip the ad. Users can also share files.

Which of these models will triumph? Hosanagar isn’t sure.

“I can think of three or four outcomes we might see. There might be free content that’s used to stimulate demand for the other things, like concerts and T-shirts. There might be free ad-supported content. Or there might be a model where you buy the songs, but it will not be the rigid pricing model that we see today. Or lastly, it might be a model where payment is on a per play basis rather than a per-purchase basis.”

Read the entire article here;jsessionid=a83059d9579b7a435836?articleid=2025&CFID=71529455&CFTOKEN=56842995&jsessionid=a83059d9579b7a435836

Moneymanagement’s take on this

Like other free software and content available music too will eventually become free. The revene model will have to change for it to survive. In the growing age of technology Piracy has been refined and if the music industry does not keep up with the changes, it will lose out on a large revenue share.

Did the stock markets prempt the no trust vote.

The high drama that prevailed in the Lok Sabha may have kept the nation hooked to their TV sets so much so that the TRP of the Loksabha TV was higher than any other TV channel.

It however seems that the stock markets already knew that the Congress government was going to win the vote. The stock markets have been on the raise for the last  few sessions.

The day after winning the vote the market is rejoicing and the SENSEX has opened over 650 points up.

Are the bearish days behind us? Was this the mysterious reason why the stock market was falling like a rock? Can we please see a bull run now?

Making a success of Franchising

Success is a heady feeling. Each person’s definition of success will differ according to the goals he has set for himself. In business, success is usually measured by means of the financially well being of the organization.

One of the most successful business models of the modern world is franchising. As India is opening up to the world, franchising has become the fastest path to expansion. If you are part of the franchising business you must remember the saying….As you climb the ladder of success, be sure it’s leaning against the right building.

The advent of franchising

The word ‘Franchise’ comes from old French meaning privilege or freedom. In the middle ages a franchise was a privilege or a right. In those days, the local sovereign or lord would grant the right to hold markets or fairs, to operate the local ferry or to hunt on his land. This concept extended to the Kings granting a franchise for all manner of commercial activities such as building roads and the brewing of ale. In essence the king was giving someone the right to a monopoly for a certain type of commercial activity.

In 1851, the Singer Sewing Machine Company began granting distribution franchises for their sewing machines. Singer had written franchise contracts which were the forerunners of modern franchise agreements.

It was Ray Kroc (1902-1984), a milk shake mixer salesman who discovered the McDonald brothers’ small San Bernardino, California hamburger stand in 1954, who is credited with unleashing the wave of franchising we know today. He found they were buying so many of his mixers because they had developed a high-volume production system which enabled them to provide fast service with consistent results and low cost. Kroc became their licensing agent and recruited franchisees, starting in the Chicago area. In 1961 he bought out the McDonald brothers’ interest. By 1988, McDonald’s had opened its ten thousandth restaurant and today there are over 30,000 McDonald’s restaurants worldwide.

Franchising is clearly a powerful model to help people realize their dreams. Its success is manifested in the number of operating franchises, the number of brand names built through franchising; the millions of customers served every day, and the tremendous opportunity it represents to franchisees.

To protect the interest of franchisors and franchisee many franchising associations have come up and are doing an admirable job of guiding new entrepreneurs and regulating the existing ones.

Indian franchising market

In India, the franchising is fast becomes the hottest new business concept. To understand the wide spread impact of the business, here are some facts and figures.

ü There are over 600 active franchisors and 40,000 franchisees today in India.

ü The total investment put in by these franchisees in setting up their individual franchised businesses is over Rs.5000 crores.

ü The total annual turnover achieved by franchised businesses in India is in the region of Rs.8000-10,000 crores.

ü The total manpower directly employed by these franchised businesses is around 300,000.

In India, the franchise economy is about to take off. Currently it accounts for just over 4% of the country’s gross domestic product. But the growth of franchising in India has taken place only in the recent years and this where the action is.

Traditionally, local franchising in India was limited to the clothing and footwear brands. However, the last few years have seen the penetration of Franchising into industries like computer education, F&B, healthcare and more recently entertainment and cyber kiosks. IT education and IT enabled services constitute 55% of the total franchisors in India.

Before embarking on a franchise

To franchise a business demands a substantial investment in both time and money. Before embarking on this course, a prospective franchisor should find out all he can about franchising. Whilst financial projections will determine the viability of the project on paper, you need to understand the reality and then decide whether the corporate climate within the business is the right incubator for your business to take the franchising route. Given the large investment and the fact that other people’s livelihoods are at stage, franchising, once embarked upon, cannot easily be abandoned. The pros and cons should be weighed up carefully, and professional advice should be sought before a final decision is made. From a prospective franchisee’s viewpoint, a franchised business will be the ideal entry point to a business of his own if he: –

  • Has the financial resources to adequately capitalise the business.
  • Is able to learn new concepts easily and is open to change.
  • Is prepared to work hard for the success of his business.
  • Has realistic expectations regarding the extent of support he can expect to receive from the franchisor.
  • Is willing to follow the network’s systems and procedures to the letter.
  • Is a team player and can follow the rules set by the franchisor.

The corner stones of success

Yeh hi hai Right Choice

The right choice of franchisor is essential. The choice has to be made at two levels. First comes the choice of business. Once you have chosen your field of interest, then look around for the prospective franchisors. For instance if you have decided you wish to be in the food business you may want to choose between pizza, ice-creams or a sit down formal restaurant.

The choice should be made keeping in mind your aptitude, experience and the marketability of the franchise concept you wish to take up.


The customer expects to receive the same quality in a franchise any where around the world. The ability to easily recognize a franchise means that there will be no surprises or disappointments-quite simply, the consumer knows the business already, whether they are in New York City, Mumbai or Timbaktu. Hence the first cornerstone of a success franchise is quality and consistency.

No lone rangers

Franchising is corporative effort. The very reason you take up a franchise is to repeat the success story the franchisor. The franchisee has to follow the procedures and standards set by the franchisee even if at some point he might not be in complete agreement of the procedures of the franchisor. Even though you are the owner of the business, not all decisions are yours.

Location Location Location

The success of most business enterprises is location. Incase of franchising, the business areas are often retail oriented. Hence location takes up an additional dimension. Today’s business is extremely competitive and the customer is a busy man. He may not be travel an extra mile to eat pizza if there is a burger available where he is right now.

Adapting to local conditions

An international franchise knows the secret of success is to adapt to the local markets. The quality of the Mcdonald burger may be same everywhere but it sells more vegetarian products in India and no beef and ham products here.

It is not only the international franchisor which adapts according to the local needs but even the Indian ones who adapt to different local markets. India is a very special market. It is extremely diverse and each location may need some modification according to the special needs. The products which will work in one part of the country may fail miserably in other parts. Also the market strategy may have to change from place to place.


What is group discussion (GD)? As the term implies it is a discussion by a group of people, which involves a free exchange of thoughts and ideas among a members of the group.
Listed below are some pointers to be kept in mind for being effective in a GD:

  1. Be Natural
    • The best mantra is – “be your natural self’
    • See GD as just an extension of any other situation you encounter in normal routine.
  1. Must Speak:
    • The first principal of GD is that you must speak
    • Before you start speaking, think through the major issues in the topic.
    • Jot down points on the paper or mentally work out the framework for analysis.
    • If you do not understand the topic, ask the group what the topic means and accept your ignorance, or else wait, maybe the meaning will become clear after a few minutes of the discussion.
  1. Opening and Closing:
    • Opening a discussion is a high risk-high return strategy
    • Speak first only if you have sensible things to say. Otherwise keep silent and let someone else start.
    • Try and summarize the discussion at the end.

4. Be an active listener:

    • Carefully listen to others’ contribution to avoid pitfalls. It is very important to listen at every stage of the discussion as it will benefit you.
    • It prevents you from repeating something already said.
    • Help you take the discussion forward where another participant has left off.
    • Help you understand a topic of which you were ignorant, before the first speaker defined it.

5. Be assertive, not aggressive:

    • Do not get emotionally involved in the arguments.
    • Do not take it as a personal affront if others disagree with you.
    • Share your reasoning first
    • Do not express your stand initially. Note down major issues’ and remember not to jump to conclusions. Instead arrive at a stand of your own.
    • Remember, you are being evaluated on how you think and not what you think.
    1. Avoid any irritating gestures, like the following
    • Do not slouch in your chair, stretch your legs out, fidget or keep shaking your legs, play with your pen or any other object and do not point at others
    • Do not block your neighbors by bending too much forward in order to be heard.

    An interview is a face –to-face meeting, especially for the purpose of obtaining a statement or for assessing the qualities of a candidate. It further, indicates a physical meeting of people.
    Tips for the interview:-
  1. Entering the room
    • Prior to entering the room, adjust your attire so that it falls well.
    • Before entering enquire by saying, ‘May I come in Sir / Madam’
    • If the door was closed before you entered, make sure you shut the door behind you softly.
    • Face the panel and confidently say ‘Good day Sir /Madam’
    • If the members of the interview board want to shake hands, then offer a firm grip first maintaining eye contact and a smile.
    • Seek permission to sit down. If the interviewers are standing, wait for them to sit down first before sitting.
  2. Enthusiasm
    • The interviewer normally pays more attention if you display an enthusiasm in whatever you say.
    • You should maintain a cheerful disposition throughout the interview
  1. Don’t Bluff:
    • If you do not know the answer to a question, it is better to acknowledge it, rather than trying to bluff your way through it.
    • The interviewer will respect your honesty.
    • In our experience, interviewers immediately take a stance of grilling a candidate if they suspect him of her of lying.
  1. Interviewer Fatigue:
    • Mostly interviews are conducted the whole day leading to fatigued minds
    • A little humor as a starter will ease the fatigued mind
    • You must be proactive in offering information about yourself as the interviewers will be willing listeners.
  1. Be well-mannered:
    • The way you conduct yourself reflects your upbringing and your culture.
    • It is good to project an air of humility
    • Over confidence is often misinterpreted by interviewees as arrogance
  1. Avoid Slang:
    • During an interview, slang will probably not be understood, and certainly not appreciated. Your communication needs to be as formal and explicit as possible.
  1. Be poised:
    • Your posture during the interview adds or diminishes your personality.
    • You should keep all certificates, testimonials and other relevant documents neatly on the table, preferably in a single file.
    • It is vital to be conscious about your posture and gesticulations as they tell a lot about our personality.
  1. Eye contact:
    • You must eye contact with the panel, right through the interview. This shows your self-confidence and honesty
    • Many interviewees’ while answering, tend to look away. This conveys you are concealing your own anxiety, fear and lack of confidence.
  1. Listen carefully:
    • It is imperative for you to listen carefully to the questions being asked.
    • If a question is not clear, it would be quite in order for you to seek clarification on the same.
    • Seeking clarification is far better than giving an irrelevant answer.
    • It is very annoying when an interviewee misinterprets the questions, and answers by saying something which is irrelevant.
  1. Be natural:
    • Many interviewees adopt a stance which is not their natural self.
    • Interviewers appreciate a natural person rather than an actor.
    • It is best for you to talk in the natural manner because then you appear genuine.


    1. Tell me about yourself.
    • This is a very general question in which you can say almost anything about yourself.
    • Prepare yourself for such a question so that you can tell about those things which are important such as basic details, your personality traits, achievements, aspirations, motivations and ambitions.
    • Remember that a two sentence answer will only convey how little there is to know about your

Q What are your strengths and weakness?

  • This is a question that has stumped many an interviewee.
  • It is asked to ascertain how much you know about yourself, since a person who knows oneself well is likely to be more effective in life.
  • Go to the interview having thought out well in advance what your strengths and weakness are and how you intend to improve on your weaknesses.

Q Tell us about your family background.

  • This question is asked by interviewers in order to determine the social, cultural, religious and economic milieu you have come from.
  • It gives the interviewer a clue about your attitudes and values
  • The best approach for such a question is to bring out not only the facts of parentage and background but also some of the good principals they have taught you. Mention family values.
    Managing yourself effectively under all circumstances is critical to your success. Tell yourself that you are as much an architect of a good interview as the panel. You will enjoy the experience with this perspective.
    And lastly,

Book Reference:

  1. How to prepare for group discussion and interview (with Audio Cassette)
    By: Prasad H.M.

Published By: Tata Mcgraw-Hill

  1. How to prepare for GD and Interview, 2/E
    By: Prasad, Hari Mohan, Rajnish

Published By: Prentice hall of India