Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What does the "Mother of all Matches" hold for Pakistan?


With only a few hours left before this historic match begins, anticipation and tension is raw on both sides of the border between India and Pakistan. So I thought that this would be a nice occasion to reminisce about how old and deep this rivalry is.

These two teams have been arch-nemeses since the first match and each time they met on the pitch, emotions (and nerves) ran high. With a painful Partition, three wars, an arms race, a disputed territory, flip-flopping diplomacy and the so-called "export of terrorism" between the two, imagine the meaning of victory in every Cricket match that one side gains over the other (So far the count is 4-0 to Pakistan in all World Cup matches played against India). Therefore, the Pakistanis view this match as a trend-breaker while the Indians want it to be a trend-keeper. We will know in a few hours.

Meanwhile, let's talk about the reasons behind the friendly animosity (Warning: This will be a political opinion piece. You may or may not agree). Word has it that the Prime Minister of Pakistan Yousuf Raza Gillani himself will be present at the venue, at the invitation of the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh. Now, this has more implications than two leaders wishing to enjoy a great match of sport. In the Indian subcontinent, cricket is politics, cricket is diplomacy, cricket is war.

Former Pakistani military President Zia-ul-Haq had introduced cricket diplomacy between India and Pakistan. He had invited the Indian Test team to Pakistan in 1978. He later visited India in 1987 to watch an India-Pakistan cricket match at a time when Indian and Pakistani troops massed in a tense border confrontation. General Zia, accompanied by a delegation of 68 government officials, sportsmen and family members, had formal bilateral talks with Gandhi in New Delhi after watching the match. In 2005, then Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf had tried to revive cricket as a tool for diplomacy between the two neighbors and had visited India to watch a Test match between India and Pakistan in Delhi and later held formal parleys with Manmohan Singh (shown in the picture below).

At no time did these diplomacies bring any fruitful conclusions or erase painful memories, but they did ease tensions and mend relations (for the umpteenth time). The Pakistanis and the Indians have their own (valid or invalid) reasons to be at odds with each other but while India flourished through the decades since the Partition, Pakistan has suffered an endless battle against an ever-growing number of problems.

As a Pakistani, in my twenty or so years of life, I have seen the Kargill war, the rise of a nuclear nation, the two-faced alliances of the Western powers, crippling economic problems, crushing foreign debt, Musharraf's military coup, the deadly war on terror, a shattering earthquake, the struggle for an independant Judiciary, a tragic siege to the Lal Masjid, Benazir Bhutto's assassination, daily suicide attacks, target killings, ethnic clashes between Muhajirs and Pathans, a separatist movement in Balochistan, civil wars in Swat and Waziristan, drone attacks, a historic flood and a reputation that lies in the gutter. Anti-Pakistan sentiment runs high in the Indian Subcontinent, the Middle East (Ironic, given how much we support the Palestinian cause) and unsurprisingly, the Western world. The "Land of Pure", can it take any more?


Having lived abroad, I have encountered many "Pakistanis" who openly pronounce their scorn for the land of their ancestors, the culture of their forefathers and the people who are their brethren. The Western media takes special pride in showcasing us as barbarians with nukes and their governments trample on our dignity, feelings and values (as shown in the Raymond Davis case which the picture below is about) like we are beggars that they must feed to win a war that has cost them so much.

Thus it is almost pitieous to see a nation fraught with so much chaos, have its hopes pinned on 11 men to bring it some glory and happiness. Cricket is more than a trivial pursuit in Pakistan. It unites Pakistanis in a way that nothing else does. With a mix of players from all provinces, Punjabi, Pashto and Urdu, come together in a way they do at few other forums. With an identity split on religious, lingual, geographical, cultural, political and ideological lines, cricket is the only thing that truly brings out a national identity in Pakistanis.

So, let us all pray that the match which begins soon will give us a (much-needed) reprieve from the daily violence, hunger, death and destruction. If not then, may there be brighter days ahead for us as a country and nation. Ameen.

Pakistan Zindabad!

Courtesy: Bloomberg.com, CriEnglish.com, AfPak.com, Wikipedia.com, MSNBC
Pictures: Opinion-maker.org, PressRelease.pk, CricketTamasha.com, CricLounge.com

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Suffering Under A Weak Boss?

I came across this article from 2001 about how to deal with weak bosses in a work environment and consider it to be a nice refresher on managing authority figures. Anyone who has worked in a variety of companies or settings will have encountered atleast ONE frustrating boss and felt the inexplicable urge to bang one's head against a wall. So, here are some tips on what to do:

1 Recognise the signs. Weak bosses are often aggressive and emotional because they can't find rational ways of controlling their environments. In the past, they were often physically violent; now they tend to be manipulative, volatile, irascible or inept. They frequently create chaotic, confused atmospheres with blurred boundaries and lines of responsibility and communication because they're scared of taking decisions or being blamed if things go wrong.

2 Move away if your destiny is controlled by this sort of person. In an ordinary work environment, you could wait 15 years until that nice but ineffectual boss swings you a pay rise. Timid people can ruin lives, too.

3 Consider your boss's motivation. The 'weak but vain' type wants the kudos of perceived power, creating great opportunities for a strong and effective deputy or eminence grise figure. Encourage your boss to make the right decisions for you.

4 Understand that fear is the main motivator for many weaklings. 'They will always be looking for some opportunity not to make decisions so you have to think through every idea you present to them. Don't take their comments at face value - look for their motivations. One way forward is to provide the frightened ones with some certainty and reliability. You could wield more power if they trust you as a fixed point in their changing universe.

5 Play on their fears when they suggest daft projects. 'I have to congratulate you: what a courageous stance to take,' is a particularly good line. But never let on that you regard your boss as a twit: once crossed, a weak person can lack the clear-mindedness to re-evaluate your worth. They often fight dirty.

Enjoy your work day.

Courtesy: Guardian.co.uk, Dilbert :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

UNKE MUTABIQ WITH SKK - Thérapy de Smile :)

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Thérapy de Smile :)

You all must be well aware of Laughter Therapy (first time used as therapy in 14th century or so as per some records) however I want to share something new with you. I have got the opportunity to work with a few organizations, dealt hundreds of customers and team members for the past 6 plus years & know what techniques work best for customers (both internal & external). One of those techniques that brought best results was SMILE THERAPY

I have observed that Laughter Therapy is very effective & brings good results too, however there are situations where it doesn’t work or we may say not practicable. So what do we do in such situations? The answer is using Smile Therapy

The next big question: why Smile Therapy (ST) & not Laughter Therapy (LT)? Well can you use LT in a meeting where you are discussing something serious, say KPIs? Can you use it while teaching your students? Or while delivering a presentation to your seniors? These are the times where you can use Smile Therapy instead.



I have personally observed the power of ST & the phenomenal results that can be achieved by practicing it. If you disagree or haven’t tried it yet then just try wearing your best smile for few days & see how you start feeling good. I bet your efficiency will increase without even putting any extra effort :)

I have seen that some of the best people in the industry are those who wear their best smiles whenever they enter the office and without even knowing they & their teams deliver exceptional results. In my opinion smile is one of the best sources of inspiration, confidence & peace. Mother Teresa once said that “Peace begins with a smile” & I can’t agree more with it.

How to use it?? Very simple… Just start wearing your best smile & see how people smile back at you. It’s like casting a magic spell & suddenly everyone around you starts smiling. I bet if you can put a smile on someone’s face the feeling you get would be mind-boggling :)

Wear your best smile, be optimistic & lead a happy life :)

You can contact Me sahibkarimkhan@yahoo.com, or visit my Blog http://sahibkarimkhan.wordpress.com/ for more info

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SO WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME THAT YOU LAUGHED


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25th March 2011, 11:00 PST

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bummer! Sushi Restaurants Drop Japan Fish From Menus on Radiation Fears

Now this is an indication of what is seriously worrying people everywhere in the world: Sushi restaurants actually dropping japanese fish from their menus. For all those who are unaware, sushi is a Japanese invented dish made primarily from raw fish (It's more delicious than it sounds) and is a treat for all ages. Some pretty pictures before I elaborate on the sad news:













According to Bloomberg, Sushi restaurants are dropping Japanese fresh food from their menus as a radiation plume released by the country’s damaged nuclear plant heightened fears over possible radioactive contamination. While it is regretable, given the current situation, this could be seen happening as soon as the situation at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Reactor spiralled out of control. With the US actively evacuating its citizens from the country now and frenzied (and totally unnecessary) rush towards buying iodine pills in the US, you cannot help but see what the threat of a nuclear disaster can do to our collective psyche.

So What are the 4Ps of Job Placement


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4 Ps of JOB Placement

Job market & placement is and has been one of the most discussed topics amongst the young graduates for a long time. There are different schools of thoughts on how to perceive it. I identify it as a Marketing undertaking where one markets himself & his capabilities.

Just like a marketer plans every step of his new product, right from idea generation to the product launch, you must also plan your marketing strategy.

During a job hunt, interview is just 20% of the mission. The big portion 80% is planning; which needs to be done before you enter the room for interview so never underestimate the power of planning.

You must have heard about the 4Ps of marketing (Plan, Price, Promote & Placement) & how they are responsible for the success or failure of the product, same goes for Job Placement.

You MUST plan your strategy in order for the product to be a success & here the product is

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Whant to Know the Ps? UNKE MUTABIQ WITH SKK

DO YOU WANT TO KNOW
WHAT ARE THE

4 Ps

THEN PLEASE WAIT TILL TOMORROW.
18 MARCH 2011, 11:00 PST 

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Is Your Honda Going to Be recalled


Yet again a car manufacturer is recalling cars, in order to rectify a flaw that MAY be a cause of severe
accidents.

So Honda is again recalling around 21,700 Honda Civis, due to the possibility that fuel will leak in a roll-over crash, the company and U.S. regulators said on Thursday.

"If a vehicle is involved in a roll-over crash, a cracked roll-over valve may allow fuel leakage from the gasoline tank into the evaporative emissions canister," Honda said in a statement.
As information from Reuters came out, more than 18,000 cars will be recalled in the United States and about more than 3,600 in Canada, the company said.

Production in Japan is already disrupted due to the massive earthquake that came on Friday, 9.0 was the recorded on rector scale. Share of Honda Motor Co were trading at $35.35, down 4.3% at NASDAQ on closure yesturday

Honda recalled over 700,000 models in Asia and North America in February earlier this year, due a problem with a spring, that can make the engine stall. 

So Tell Me Something About Your Weaknesses

Every reader of this blog, has had an interview in their life, job, insurance, university, there are all kinds of interviews. And yet there are questions by the interviewers, question that make us think, and if answered correctly ensure our presence for that post of event or situation.




If you have been asked a question "Mr. So So, what are your weaknesses?". And then you think on one, you are not prepared to tell, and suddenly you blew up the whole interview. These things do happen and yet matter alot, so HBR brought us the tip to amke sure you are comfortable while answering such questions.

  1. Prepare an answer. Yes, you need one. Make it brief, honest, trivial, and not a fault. If possible, use something out of your control. For example, "My biggest weakness is that my professional network is in Boston, but I'm looking to relocate to Los Angeles."
  2. Get input. Run your answer by a few friends and colleagues to make sure it sounds reasonable.
  3. Ask a question back. In the interview, deflect the attention away from you by ending your response with a question for the interviewer.
So its better that you make sure you are prepared to take advantage of every situation, and that your weaknesses are not exposed but highlighted in the interview.

JAPAN - UP and DOWN

From friday onwards, Japan has been having a set of events which is as intense as the Middle East protests. There it was the oil, which is on risk, here it is a whole country on verge of a nuclear disaster.


These sort of news dominated the global markets and yet, there was another negative mark on the NIKKEI 225 index, which was down 1.44% today, classing at 8,967.62 points, being down by 131.05 points.

Asian stock and currency markets were roiled in early trade as equities on Wall Street tumbled after Greg Jaczko, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said the risk of radiation was more serious than Japanese officials had outlined in public, and recommended a “much larger radius” for evacuations.

NIKKEI 225 03/17 close
Among major declining stocks, Canon Inc. (JP:7751 3,470, -120.00, -3.34%) (CAJ 42.69, -3.04, -6.65%) dropped 3.3%, Toyota Motor Corp. (TM 80.41, -0.98, -1.20%) (JP:7203 3,270, -75.00, -2.24%) shed 2.2%, Fanuc Ltd. (FANUY 24.75, -1.60, -6.07%) (JP:6954 11,370, -470.00, -3.97%) gave up 4%, Fast Retailing Co.(JP:9983 9,620, -310.00, -3.12%) (FRCOY 11.88, -0.71, -5.64%) slid 3.1% and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MTU 4.53, -0.30, -6.21%) (JP:8306 363.00, -18.00, -4.72%) sank 4.7%.

Warnings of "possible catastrophic events" and a Japanese nuclear power plant "effectively out of control" from the EU energy commissioner, Günther Oettinger, sent US and European stocks tumbling and bonds soaring briefly in the afternoon. Then an admission from Mr Oettinger's spokeswoman that the comments were general rather than specific pared the losses.

The Japanese yen hit 16 year high against the dollar of Y80. Jeremy Cook, chief economist at World First said: "The Y80 level is a massive psychological level in the markets."

Now this isn't just a single center point to focus on at this point, the global markets are going through a set of events that are changing the numbers every minute. We have Libya, then we have Portugal's debt, then the Brent Oil is rising and at intra trade was at $111 a barrel level, with some radiated concerns from Japan. Its all to be heard at the same time, and we can only hope that the world can withstand such a situation, and there isn't a need for a G7 intervention as well

Who has the Red Debt in the Whole of European Union


You all have been reading in a few posts that Moodys has downgraded Spain, and now Portugal, there has been these debt crisis and this and that, and the public debt has gone up and so on, but now here is the fact sheet i found on Reuters website, and it will give you an idea of who is in which water, i mean who is in trouble and who is not,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Frankly speaking apart from Germany i don't have faith in any other EU Member, who is still good enough to foresee the crisis and make sure all other members are in line with their own measures as well. Germany has been making sure that a concrete bail out is presented and that European Union does its best to protect the interests and people of its member states.

There would be some details on what is an investment grade investment and a speculative grade investment, but i won't go into any furthure details, as the post itself will get a bit lengthy as you go on, like alot to digest in some time. So lets see the member states and their debt levels.

The dark ones are obviously under scrutiny and yes, there might be more cuts and downgrading with the passage of time in case of Greece and Portugal. Go through the whole of it in order to know what are these rating all about



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

OLD DATA is GOLD DATA

Management Tip of the Day


Data is an integral part of many decision making processes. Yet accurate and timely is data is very beneficial and helpful, in order to have a correct decision to be implemented.

But what about the researches and data that was done years ago, do you remember where are those computations right now. This Old Data is the backbone of many industries, infact of almost every industry. Risk managers want that for stress testing and monte carlo simulations, from estimating betas to VARs, for geologists and doctors and engineers, every single number and alphabet is as precious as gold is to the Indians and Chinese

EXAMPLE OF LOVE FOR COUNTRY SEEN IN JAPAN


I shouldn't say but  hope my country should have had the same unity and solidarity as the Japanese have in them.

Yet it has been seen that whenever there is a natural disaster it has been seen that looting and street crime rises to a height that there wont be another tomorrow to return to. 

I read this on CNN, shared via a friend on Facebook I am coping the text. 
Journalist and social commentator Ed West wrote in the UK Telegraph yesterday how struck he was by the Japanese culture throughout this ordeal. He observed how supermarkets cut their prices in the days following the quake and how vending machine owners were giving out free drinks as "people work together to survive." And West was most surprised by the fact that there was no looting.

MOODY to PORTUGAL - WE ARE ALSO DOWNGRADING YOU

Banco de Portugal
No matter how hard you try, the dark shadows won't leave you, they will always be around. I Guess this suits well for the member states of European Union. They had invested and invested, and borrowed and borrowed, and are still borrowing, but this is not to make palaces, but to make sure that that palace isnt sold to pay back for the bricks bought to make that palace. I personally feel sad for the people of the nations, who are still not out of the state of financial crisis, which stated years back. In fact, from 1980s..



But there is something to be happy for Portugal, atleast they aren't downgraded to speculative grade, and are still on the investment grade

Anyways, Moody's has downgraded Portugal s sovereign debt from A1 to A3, holding the negative outlook, as the economy might need an international bailout like its other countries such as Greece and Ireland. 

JAPAN - BOJ INJECTION MAKES MARKETS REBOUND


I did had the idea that, it is the best opportunity to make sure that you have key Japanese stocks in you bag, as the market yesterday around 16% down, on concerns that the economy would have had heavily damaged by the earthquake. So for some point it makes some sense to have key technological and construction shares lined up, apart from the power companies who would be having a beating to follow.


What concerns my idea of market rebound revolves around the face that Bank of Japan has already injected as much as 55.6 trillion yen ($688.3 billion), roughly around $700 billion of cash into their money markets and economy to get things working and stop investors from going in a state of total panic. This injection, very well known as the idea of QE or quantitative easing affects the long term inflationary pressure, that might generate, all taking in view the fragile state Japan's economy is in. And yes the yen has also getting stronger and gaining against US Dollar, which will damage he export led Japanese economy

As read on Marketwatch, The analysts said that after Tuesday’s fall, Japanese stock valuations in terms of price-to-book value are now at a 47% discount to global markets — an all-time low — while price-to-equity valuations are also lower than global market valuations.

FRIDAY 18 MARCH 2011 - UNKE MUTABIQ WITH SKK

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FRIDAY 18TH MARCH 2011 @ 11:00 PST

Want to know whats next by SKK,

STAY TUNNED 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Stating MISSION STATEMENTS

Management Tip of the Day

Companies spend a lot of time making sure that the overall objectives of the company are well integrated and job descriptions are understood. but i suppose many fail to make sure that there mission statements are taken care of as well.

As far as the total cost of Disaster is concerned, Barclays economists Kyohei Morita and Yuichoro Naga said, “Based on currently available information, we estimate that damages could exceed 15 trillion yen ($186 billion),” or about 3% of Japan’s GDP.

Mission statements tell, what is your company here for, they want to make good computing chips, a out of the world taste, a wonderful travel expressible, and so on. But are they well defined, do they really tell what are you all about, even one can state the simple lines, "WE ARE HERE TO MAKE PROFIT, AS EVERY BUSINESS HERE IS TO MAKE A PROFIT".

Mission statements are the main factor that mobilize the employees, aligning them to make sure that they make valuable contributions, and yes at the very end, enables you to focus on the communities you are in.

So instead of putting in complicating jargons and complex words, simple and profound words would do the trick for your companies.

Here is the Mission Statement of our very own The Walt Disney Company
The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to be one of the world's leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world.

IPAD 2 - APPLE LEADING the TABLET WAY with RECORD SALES

ALSO SEE
The Bizz: Are you ready for the iPad 2??
THE Bizz: IS APPLE IPAD 2 SMART COVER COPIED??

The IPAD has led the tablet world from its inception last year, and yet, allowing people to understand how does Mr Jobs, gets all this job done the revolutionary way. Allowing new ideas to work with, and new services to play with, IPAD2 is the next generation computing device. By the way if your have missed the kenote speech and launch of IPAD2, you can view it here

Anyways, let set apart the news regarding the overall design of its smart cover products, APPLE as been in the shining armor, when it came to the sales of IPAD 2. The IPAD 2 launch was a superb hit, that made people lined out, flooding to the retail stores, and what next, making IPAD 2 a hit. It has already been read at several sources that there had been around 500,000 sales in the launch weekend, and uptil now, almost 2 MILLION IPAD 2 would get sold all over, making it the best cash cow product ever seen.
"iPads are sold out across virtually all channels. We were unable to find any availability," Munster an analyst at Piper Jaffray said. He added that sales could exceed his prediction that Apple would shift 5.5 million units in the first quarter tha the iPad 2 was on sale.

JAPAN - RADIATION AFFECTS MARKETS

ALSO SEE
The Bizz: Japanese Markets, got ROCKED by the Earthquake
The Bizz: JAPAN - An Economic Powerhouse disaster
The Bizz: JAPAN - 2nd Explosion heard

It was a fear from Friday that radiation would leak out and affect the overall environmental and social life of Japan, irrespective of the earthquake that has already devastated the overall dynamics in there

Prime minister Naoto Kan tried to address rising fears about the increasing danger from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant "There has been a fire at the No. 4 reactor and radiation levels in the surrounding area have heightened significantly," he said in the statement that triggered market panic. The possibility of further radioactive leakage is heightening. We are making every effort to prevent the leak from spreading. I know that people are very worried but I would like to ask you to act calmly."

But this already had an adverse effect on the Japanese and surrounding financial markets, who had record slide in their indices since 1987. 

Radiation levels around the plant Tuesday were measured at 8,217 microsieverts an hour -- more than 7,000 above the legal limit. Anyone less than 20 kilometers of the reactors was urged to leave the area, while anyone within 20 to 30 km was told to stay inside, close all windows and turn off any air conditioners. Yukiya Amano, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog and a veteran Japanese diplomat, said Japan has now responded to the International Atomic Energy Agency's offer to assist with the crippled nuclear plants and said his staff are working "around the clock" to help. "Japan and all our member states can be assured that all resources put at our disposal are fully mobilised. That will remain the case until this crisis has been resolved."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Is Your Job DEFINING You

Management Tip of the Day

Its good to be known as Look Busy and Do A lot, rather than being look busy and do nothing, but as in case with many of the general public its sitting late hours and working more and more and more, on something which is only known to them. And more or less, they talk about their own industry, their own job and their own scope of work, which is so Dull and not so happening.

So for all those who like to sit long hours and talk the talk about their own work, this for You guys

  1. Assess how much time you spend at work. You may need to put in long hours at times, but make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. Don't stay late to impress others or because you can't manage your time well.
  2. Banish time-hogs. If something or someone is wasting your time, get rid of it. Stop attending unnecessary meetings, limit face-time with your demanding direct report, or stop visiting distracting websites.
  3. Treat non-work time as sacred. Protect your time outside of work for your health and sanity. You will only feel refreshed if you truly disconnect and recharge.
So try changing some of your routine, and do things which save you time for more other things like spending time with family, friends and yes on your health. You'll probably be able to work only if you have your health in awesome condition

Today's Management Tip was adapted from "Detach Yourself from Your 
Work" by Gill Corkindale.

JAPAN - 2nd Explosion heard

Also See
The Bizz: Japanese Markets, got ROCKED by the Earthquake
The Bizz: JAPAN - An Economic Powerhouse disaster

 Fukushima power plant

Shortly before mid-day today, a suspected hydrogen explosion blew the outer walls off the building housing the Number 3 unit at the Fukushima power plant, the same plant where a similar blast hit the Number 1 unit Saturday. Officials have also reported a total failure of the cooling system at the plant's Number 2 unit, raising fears of yet another explosion, and that the explosion was felt as far as 25 miles.

Officials said the containment vessel in Unit 2 was intact and there was little danger of a major radiation leak, but nearby residents were ordered to stay in their homes. Six workers were injured in Monday's blast.

JAPAN - An Economic Powerhouse disaster

Also See The Bizz: Japanese Markets, got ROCKED by the Earthquake

Friday seemed to be a day that doomed a country, the third biggest economy on the face of this earth, got devastated by tsunami and earthquake, releasing shockwaves of a catastrophy the country had faced before in World War II

Now this earthquake of 9.0 magnitude has wiped out a hope of an economic rebound that Japan was expecting, after having a debt issue twice the economy and inflationary pressures rising, this came as a bad blow to the country whose economy revolved around near 0 zero interest rate economy policy.

The assessment of the damage is still under review, as more then 2 million people have been evacuated and around 12,000 people dead.

But what kind of an economic damage are we looking at right now, thats the main concern for the financial markets. It is to be amused that there is to be seen an increased food prices, as Japan would be importing grains and other food items in order to supply for much needed rescue and rehabilitation work. Then there are these shut down of factories and industries, not to forge that TEPCO, the biggest electric power generator in Japan, has its own problems to face that start and end AT THE URANIUM AND RADIOACTIVE MELTDOWNS, being caused by overheating nuclear plants.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Japanese Markets, got ROCKED by the Earthquake

We are connected in this globalized market phenomena that now, even a natural calamity, makes it hard for the trades to record a modest gain, and we expect that the financial markets would react by a fall in share and economic outlooks

Japanese Economy already had a worst then expected outlook due to the weak domestic demand and consumption. Thus the Cabinet Office said Japan's economy contracted by a revised 1.3%, compared with a preliminary report of 1.1%, but yes there has been some3 hope as the economy grew by 3.9% in 2010.

Now, this quake that measured 8.9 at the rector scale, has not just rocked Japan, but has made some damage to the Asian markets as well. The Nikkei index ended the day some 1.7% lower, but Nikkei futures fell 3% in after-hours trading in Singapore as the scale of damage became apparent. Whats the cause of concern is that the markets were already under pressure from the Middle East crisis, but the scale of damage this quake has done, also made the Hong Kong Hang Seng to drop by 1.8%.

Are you ready for the iPad 2??

Yes people, Apple is indeed milking its cash cow, the iPad, to bring you the NEW second generation iPad 2 (insert eyeroll). All techie geeks rejoice!! The iPad 2 is gracing us with its presence this weekend less than a year after its predecessor, the iPad aka the fastest-selling-technology-product-in-history.

This new model will feature a faster processor which speeds up performance and improves graphics quality, and front and rear cameras allow for videoconferencing (Oh, you're just spoiling us by giving so much). It’s also 15 percent lighter and 33 percent thinner than the previous model (Nice. The old one was like a sack of potatoes). Customers have access to more than 350,000 applications in Apple’s App Store, including more than 65,000 tailored for the iPad (Thanks).



STAGFLATION? Say it isnt HAPPENING

The Toronto Stock Exchange has fallen for the fourth straight session since Thursday, showcasing a global trend of decline as economic and geopolitical news add to fears that the economic recovery is already slowing.

The continuing turmoil in Libya has been wreaking havoc on energy prices for more than a week now, China just announced an unexpected trade deficit as growth in imports outpaced exports, and sovereign debt fears were reignited in Europe as Spain’s debt was downgraded by Moody's. Is the recession really over then? Or are we heading to a worse downturn as many have predicted? Here is what one analyst had to say:

“The combined impact of all of these developments raises the possibility that the dreaded S word may be revived . . . stagflation,” analyst Colin Cieszynski of CMC Markets wrote in an afternoon note. “This is a period of low economic growth and high inflation last seen in many countries in the late 1970s, a time where equity markets traded sideways for several years, while commodity prices climbed.”

Stagflation? Here is a brief description:

"Stagflation is a situation in which the inflation rate is high and the economic rate is low. It raises a dilemma for economic policy since actions designed to lower inflation may worsen the already slow economic growth and vice versa. Stagflation has generally proven to be difficult and, in human terms as well as budget deficits, very costly to eradicate once it starts." (Courtesy: Wikipedia)


So what happened during the 1970s?

The recession of the 1970s effectively put an end to post- World War 2 economic gains. The Vietnam War (History lesson, Mr Bush?), 1973 Oil crisis and the end of the Bretton Woods System (which ensured that currency was backed by gold) brought about a recession that became a malaise that affected the US for the next 20 years (!!!) even though it officially lasted only from 1973 to 1975.

If we're headed for stagflation, then the results could be enormous since the global economy wasnt as interconnected in the 1970s as it is now and government debts were significantly lower. To sum it up, as a recent university graduate, it would be awful to suffer in the shadow of small jobs, unemployment and inflation for any longer than we already have.

Courtesy: Financial Post 2011, the Star 2008.

UNKE MUTABIQ with SKK - Customer Services Pills

UNKE MUTABIQ with SKK
Customer Services Pills


Almost seven years ago in March 2004 I started my career as a HRD coordinator with Marriott International, Karachi. This was the time when I met my mentor & an experienced HRD figure of hospitality industry, Mr. Pervez Hasan.

From the very first day I started learning from this Hospitality Industry Guru who had a rich experience of more than 25 years in hospitality industry & who was always willing to share his knowledge & wisdom with others, especially with me.

The very first practical thing he taught me was about the “Pills you need to have if you want to be in customer services”. I was amazed & excited at the same time and was thinking “Pills for Customer Services???” sounds funny, right? :)

So what are these two pills that every customer services professional must have in order to succeed? How can one benefit from these & what makes these two the most

important ingredients of customer services?

So here are the pills:
  1. 1st Pill: The first pill that one must have is “Common Sense”, the most important ingredient of the recipe. As the saying goes common sense is not so common & therefore Mr. Pervez Hasan considered it to be one of those two pills to succeed.
  2. 2nd Pill: The second pill is “Patience” which makes the sushi complete. Without patience one can’t be an efficient customer services professional.

The perfect amalgamation of the two makes one an expert of the trade. I found these to be the most important ingredients of the trade & can confidently say that one must master these two skills in order to prosper in customer services industry.

Please share your personal experiences in this regard & add to my knowledge.

ABOUT SKK:
Sahib Karim Khan is a certified Six Sigma professional, motivational speaker, enlightener (aka trainer), blogger and entrepreneur. His expertise lies in managing human resource. He has had experience managing and developing people to identify their true potential and to explore the endless possibilities of growth within themselves. He brings with him more than seven years of professional experience and in the past, has worked with organizations like Marriott International & PMCL Mobilink (an Orascom Telecom subsidiary), where he was part of Human Resource Development (HRD) & Middle Management.

Presently, He is Consultant & Corporate Trainer at Stimulus Private Limited, You can contact him @ sahibkarimkhan@yahoo.com, or visit his Blog http://sahibkarimkhan.wordpress.com/ for more info

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Rare Chinese DEFICIT - - SO WHAT!!

The Bizz: China to grow at 7 - 8%

Everyone knows that china is the superpower of today. It has the labor, the technology, the policies and the right mix of intelligence to make sure that it gets every other country to make sure that what they sell has the chit "made in china", embossed or stuck at their back. Being the biggest exporter of the cheapest products is what china has mastered over years, making it a think tank of the global economy and an engine to the overall business dynamics of the global economic engine.

So what has been heard today, is like a news that has moved the global economic thinkers, as the news of China posting a budget deficit of around $7.3 billion made a red line at the Chinese stocks around the world. This being their first budget deficit since March of 2010 and a record budget deficit after February 2004.

Now whats important to note is why such a deficit has come, this has been due to the reasons that chinese exports have risen after the inflation has taken over the material and labor costs and also due to the Lunar Holiday that resulted in an increase in the exports in January.

The government said Thursday that imports in February had risen 19.4 percent from February 2010, but exports rose just 2.4 percent. China had reported a $6.45 billion trade surplus for January. The strong growth in imports in February is part of a pattern that has been under way for more than a year, and the figures suggest that China’s huge trade surplus will moderate again this year.

As i read in the Bloomberg, last year, China recorded a $180 billion trade surplus, but that figure was down sharply from the peak in 2008, when it reached nearly $300 billion. Monthly figures early in the year, however, can be deceiving. Last March, for instance, China also reported a rare monthly trade deficit, at about $7.2 billion.

But looking back at the overall picture, inflation reached a 28-month high of 5.1 percent in the year to November. Data due on Friday is expected to show it pulled back to 4.7 percent in February.
"It's come on a day when commodity prices are off, and investors are worried about global growth and it's just accentuated the market pullback," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors.
"We believe the trade deficit is likely to be a temporary phenomenon distorted by the Lunar New Year. During the several weeks following the Lunar New Year, the holiday distortions affect exports much more than imports because exporters have a much greater tendency to take extended holidays," Yu Song and Helen Qian, economists with Goldman Sachs, said in a note. Reuters
Overall Chinese government has also done good to curtail the inflationary pressure as the lending in from the banks was very little in February, arguably, allowing a breathing space that the reforms are to perform and Chinese inflation would come down eventually by this year or so

MOODY'S to SPAIN - WE ARE DOWNGRADING YOU

It is not to anyones surprise that the whole of Eurozone is under pressure, which escalated after the financial crisis of 2008. Countries like Spain, Greece, Portugal, Iceland and even England has had its share of budget deficits and rising costs of debt restructuring that has made some of the banks to merge or go out of business.

Spain's main concern of being already under negative outlook and further downgrading is coming at a time when there are already tensions in North Africa and at a moment when China has announced a trade deficit of almost $7 billion, which has come after slowdown in overall exports and rise in inflation.

Else back to Spain, as Moody's said the downgrade to Aa2 with a negative outlook, from Aa1 previously, reflected the high costs associated with restructuring Spain's banking system. It said risks to government finances remain skewed to the downside and warned further downgrades could come if the public debt ratio increases more rapidly than expected and if the country misses fiscal targets in 2011.

Spanish government bond prices fell along with bonds issued by other governments with weak public finances, including Portugal and Ireland. Prices for German and U.K. government bonds, deemed as "safe-havens," rose as investors turned away from higher-yielding but riskier debt issued by states along the euro zone's periphery. Soledad Nunez, head of Spain's debt agency, said she was surprised that Moody's, which already had Spain's debt under negative watch, went ahead with the downgrade just before the Bank of Spain was slated to present details on its estimates on bank recapitalization needs, at around midday ET Thursday.

I would rather think that there is going to be downgrading again, as for a thought, the overall financial system has already been destroyed and now when the public spending is also getting a cut from the governments in EU. 

Spain's government has said the cost of recapitalizing the banks would be a maximum of €20 billion, but Moody's said it may be closer to €40 billion to €50 billion—compared with a previous estimate of €17 billion—and, in a more stressed scenario, they could soar to about €110 billion to €120 billion. the derivatives game and the mortgage backed securities has made enough holes in the financial system and it would be a really brave effort to overcome the previous highs.  
The Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 0.8% at 278.93. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.9% to 5880.78, Frankfurt's DAX declined 1.0% to 7059.14 and Paris's CAC-40 was 1.0% lower at 3953.55. The Euro has been trading at $1.3869 and may further slip later this week. 


With Spain, pressure has been rising on Portugal as well, as the Eurozone wants them to show a better austerity plan to curb the budget deficits and are arguing on the need for a bailout in order to save them from a further Eurozone Debt Crisis. I wont stop saying that the overall financial system is under serious scrutiny, because the leveraged system of risk management has now taken a toll on the governments, more or less the financial politics 

TALENT MAGNETS AND LEADERS

Management Tip of the Day
Our last tip was part of your entrepreneurial skills and leadership, and the correct timing of your idea, else no one requires another vacuum cleaner that sucks u the dust for an extra $10. But apart from being able to develop and sustain an idea, we need some other resources that give us a hand in making a business successfulness

Yes, its also important to have the right people to make sure that your plans are on the right track, and for that a Leader should Lead from the front. He should be able to recognize the correct Talent and be able to make sure that that talent is retained and made sure is able to provide the valuable feedback and made understood that what his job is all about. But why is a talented and smart person come and lend a hand to your idea, this is why your own personality comes. So in order to be a Leader and a Talent Magnet, HBR says that following habits need to be groomed and excelled upon..


  1. Get to know talent before you need it. Spend time networking in your industry. Figure out who the shining stars are and what excites them about their work. Fostering these relationships early will pay off later.
  2. Sell yourself, not the business. The most talented people get excited about working with leaders they can trust and learn from. Be sure people know why they should want to work for you.
  3. Take time to cultivate. The best talent is likely busy with other projects. Think of recruiting these people as a long-term game: regularly update them about your business and vision for the future.

I wonder who is the next Jobs, the talent war is already on..

Today's Management Tip was adapted from "The Six Habits of a Talent Magnet" by Tsun-yan Hsieh with Anthony Tjan.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

PRUDENTIAL and PROFITS

Almost every company has started to pose profits, and are almost ahead of all expectations that were made years ago, and are now a consistent bearer that many firms have now fully emerged from the financial crisis.  Prudential, has announced a modest result to its 2010 reports, which are a bag of proactive risk management and focus on stronger performance..

Tidjane Thiam, group chief executive, said: "Our flexibility and diversification have been instrumental in allowing us to navigate successfully the economic and market cycle. We have set ourselves ambitious objectives for cash generation not only from Asia but also from other parts of the group."

Pre-tax profits for the year almost doubled to £1.46bn, and the company has raised its dividend by 20%. Net inflows for the firm's asset management were down at £8.9 billion, compared to £15.4 billion in 2009, but it termed 2009 an exceptional year


"The emerging markets of South-East Asia -- such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand, together with Hong Kong and Singapore -- are particularly attractive. They remain the priority destination for our new capital investment. With our compelling platform of distribution, brand and product development capabilities in the high growth markets of Asia, we believe we are particularly well positioned to take advantage of the considerable opportunity that the region offers," Thiam said

THE ANDROIDS COME TO PAKISTAN VIA UFONE

UFONE, popular for its inexpensive call rates and short messaging services all over Pakistan, has thought of now to start getting some expansion into the smartphone market. YES, they are going to announce new smartphones running the Latest Android 2.2 (Froyo) and 2.1(Eclair) OS. Chip in for some detailed Specs and Price Range





FACEBOOK to challenge NETFLIX for digital Media

We all know that what the Zukerberg Productions can do to our social lives, hence, what impact facebook has on our social cloud. If i can think on and on, there not a single business facebook can't do at this point  of time.

From ideas such as commercializing the popular game Farmville to casino and Poker, floating ideas such as knowing what your friends have bought or liked to mainstream tv and podcasts. There is nothing that it can't do. What is left is that it will let you buy or rent a dvd or other digital content, so you can see it over your high speed wifi networks.

I am not kidding, if you think you can't, read this

Warner Bros, which is owned by Time Warner Inc. (TWX) is offering Facebook users the option to stream "The Dark Knight" directly through the social-networking site. The rental will cost consumers 30 Facebook credits, or $3, for a 48-hour viewing period. Additional titles will be available for rent or purchase in the coming months, Warner Bros said. WST.
Netflix has become the dominant player in home-video rentals, offering unlimited one-at-a-time DVD rentals by mail for $9.99 a month or instantly streamed movies via the Internet for $7.99 a month. The service offers online registration via Facebook.

But Now, with the involvement of Warner Bros, the whole scenario has changed. Not just you would be allowed to watch the video after a rental or purchase, but you would also be able to get the full facebook functionality, like commenting on the video, or tag out the specific things you like to share out with your friends, but this service would be available to the US Market. Many other technology companies like APPLE and GOOGLE, are trying in to make this service available to their consumers via itunes and GOOGLE's Andriod Market, but as always, its always the first one to get round the technological shoes. And it isn't a surprise that facebook will lead the way to a whole new digital franchising and data distribution network, that revolves around more than 550 million users worldwide

So the exclusivity of your social hub just got better. But this alarmed the Netflix shares that plunged 4% to $199.03 today, as the investors are now concerned that the market share may get some hammering from this facebook announcement. But this is will go on to build the market value of the already hyped $50 billion dollar company that is going to get public in 2012.

Monday, March 7, 2011

IS APPLE IPAD 2 SMART COVER COPIED??

Did someone said that Apple does all the work in secrecy, and no one knows about the Models they are to launch or not a single person is aware of the technological break through they do, unless and until they themselves announces it or the idea leaks out, like it did in case of Iphone 4 later last year.

And did someone also said that there ideas are unique. OH, then i guess i read that one wrong. No offences but just read that they might have copied something or got inspired by something that they are very proudly showing it of as their own design and idea. It goes as if Apple copied the design for their So called innovative magnetic SMART COVER.

First lets see what the Smart cover is.

THE SMART COVER doubles as the perfect movie-watching, game-playing, web-surfing, do-it-all companion. It folds in all the right places so you can quickly create a stand that holds iPad upright. The Smart Cover folds into the perfect typing stand. Its magnetic hinge holds iPad in place so you can type quickly and comfortably.

When the Smart Cover and iPad get together, you can’t help but notice an instant connection. That’s because we designed iPad to work with the Smart Cover — and the other way around. For starters, iPad has magnets built right into its frame. The Smart Cover makes iPad do things no other cover can. Close it, and iPad automatically goes to sleep. Open it, and iPad instantly wakes up — no need to press any buttons. The Smart Cover doesn’t just protect iPad, it keeps it ready to go whenever you are. 


And now lets see why people think that this is a copy of the originative design of



INCASE CONVERTIBLE MAGZINE JACKET (CMJ)Combining functional versatility with durable, form-fitting hardshell construction, the is the smartest protective solution for iPad. Custom fit for iPad, the CMJ is a lightweight carrying case that features backside snap-on attachment and a rubberized front flap for complete device protection while in transit.

Enhance your iPad user experience by utilizing one of the three secure angles provided by the CMJ. With two working angle options, secure your iPad in place for comfortable app use, scrolling or typing. And for your viewing pleasure, position the iPad more upright to watch videos, movies and more.




It might have been another revolution of APPLE's idea to give a better user expreince, but for an instance, it looks like an exact copy of what had been present there already.