3 reasons government should pay attention to big business

 Dear government,Please don’t forget small business (i.e.: me), but pay attention to big business.Yours truly, Alan   This is a counter-intuitive statement, but it is true.If government is trying to spur entrepreneurship and create employment, it should spend more time helping big businesses.Why? Big business is the target market for most small to medium sized…

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Apples vs Apple

(Repeated from a presentation by Professor Cesar Hidalgo of MIT Media Labs)   The apple of Adam & Eve fame was first in the world and then in our heads.The Apple of Jobs was first in his head and then in the world.Apple is human imagination manifested in the real world.Everything that is man-made is…

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The 4 types of people in an audience

Whilst in the midst of a short course, I’m immediately reminded of the four categories of students: 1. The guy who is waiting for a chance to tell everyone how much he knows. He does this by ostensibly asking questions, and rather turning it into a lecture drawing on his deep pool of wisdom. I suspect…

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The web is like beer and coffee

It is trending towards personalisation. In America at least, the days of everyone drinking Budweiser and Starbucks are fading. People are moving towards micro-breweries for their beer, and local baristas for their caffeine.Why? It’s probably a case of affordability of the means of production. It used to be economically unfeasible for micro-brewers and local coffee…

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Finland, a very brief summary

5,4million people. Home to 3 of the top iOS games studios in the world, including Rovio, maker of Angry Birds. Commonly regarded as having the world’s finest education system.Sounds like an awesome place, except…Nokia was 60% of total national exports in 2000, and is now staring into the abyss (with their only hope being the…

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The Scrabble theory of growth

The Scrabble theory is used to describe economic complexity for countries. “Letters” can be equated to “expertise” and “combinations” can be equated to “innovations”. The theory dictates that the more letters a country has, the more combinations it can create. The increase in combinations in relation to number of letters is exponential. 7 letters equals…

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3 reasons why Indonesia is cooking…

After the Asian financial crisis of 1998 which culminated in Suharto’s departure, the Indonesian economy contracted by over 13%. Yes, 13%… That’s quite hectic!Since then Indonesia has managed to confound the critics. It has had GDP growth of over 6% per annum for the past six years in a row. Also, more excitingly, it has…

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Wages in SA vs China

According to recent reports, wages in the productive (mostly coastal) regions of China have climbed to $500pm.That is about R4,500pm versus the South African minimum wage of approx. R1,600pm.We can safely discount legislated minimum labour costs as a disadvantage for South Africa over China. To me at least, that is cause for optimism…PS: To be…

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Angola is in a tricky place

Population approx. 20mil. Plenty oil. Plenty mineral resources.A couple challenges.The population is rapidly urbanizing, creating big traffic and accommodation problems in Luanda.The government is not wildly interested in the opinions of taxpayers, mainly because oil money eliminates the reliance on taxes to pay the bills.Long-standing Angolan troops in DRC are causing problems amongst that population,…

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Cry for Argentina

In a follow-up to my Venezuela’s Woes post, I thought I’d touch on Argentina’s current dire situation.Since going bankrupt in 2002, Argentina has enjoyed a brief resurgence followed by decisions reminiscent of those made by the leadership that brought it to ruin in the 90’s.First, they nationalized the public pension fund. “Don’t worry, we’ll take…

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Venezuela’s woes

The great thing about traveling is that I’m reminded that South Africa is not alone in confronting challenges, both political and economic.Take Venezuela for example. Its president, Hugo Chavez, was reelected a couple months ago, whereafter he immediately disappeared into a hospital in Cuba. No one has seen or heard from him in two months.Better…

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Conversation between my 4 year old daughter and her teacher…

In a couple days, my wife and I are leaving for the States for a 2 week “business” trip to see whats happening in the world. Clearly our 4-year-old daughter is worried. Below is a conversation related to us by her creche head-mistress:From: Mickey Olivier Date: 29 January 2013 11:35:02 AM SAST To: Alan Knott-Craig Subject:…

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