Today in my International Business class (usually 120 minutes of pure, distilled boredom, but this particular class was rather interesting) the discussion revolved around the relative ease of starting and/or operating a business in different countries, and how you, as an international entrepreneur, might use indicators of transparency and ease of doing business to gauge any potential market before you actually jump in. So everyone was getting all sophisticated with cliche-ridden business lingo and citing outdated cases, when a student who usually spends most of class time almost sleeping came up with this “theory”: He basically said that when doing business in Third World countires, you should be looking for places where there is direct parallel correlation between the two above mentioned indicies. In other words, ideally you’d like to do business in countries which are high on both indicies (i.e. little or no corruption and a low level of bureaucracy), but you can still do business in countries with a high level of corruption and a high level of bureaucracy, since a little greasing of the palms will help get things rolling. However, should your business be cornered somewhere that scores high on one and low on the other will basically screw you. That is, in a low-corruption high bureaucracy country, that frozen fish shipment of yours will rot in its containers at the destination port while waiting for the agonizing customs clearance, and you can’t use bribes to get things done, thus your operations will eventually go belly up.
I thought this observation was funny and actually kind of true. Of course this guy was thinking on the assumption that business ethics are a constant.
What is it with all the asinine vowelless names?! Flickr, Frappr, Mappr, Syncr, Scanr, Crappr…
Idly browsing the Internet these days makes me feel like I was sleeping in a virtual cave for the past few months (which is an eternity in Internet time) and woke up in the new and improved world of Web 2.0 to see all those newfangled implements seemingly stuck at a perpetual beta (how may betas can you count in the above logo collage by the way?), where social software is king, and rss, rich media and Ajax programming are all the rage.
So I run from sign-up page to another, eager to benefit from all that Web 2.0 goodness, with apps that do everything from photo sharing to online to-do lists. Not all that shines is Web 2.0 though, many apps are all filler no killer, making me regret that 30 seconds I spent filling up the sign-up form. Sifting through the junk, here is what I think are some both cool and useful web apps, with some being higher on the cool than useful scale.
Flickr: if you haven’t heard of that already, then you’ve been living in the cave with me.
Blinklist: “social bookmarking“...a communal pool of web links. Useful becuase I have a ton of bookmarks I am tired of organizing them into folders, and syncing everything between my desktop pc and laptop. Using websites like Blinklist or Del.lic.ious I can just keep all my bookmarks online without organizing anything, then find what I need later using tagging, which is another Web 2.0 wonder.
(Also see Spurl
Rememberthemilk.com: Online supercharged to-do lists. I dig it becuase I don’t like PDAs, and paper organizers are so 20th century.
There is also Backpackit
Youtube.com : Video sharing and blogging. I can post videos without having to host them on my own webspace (albiet with a great deal of quality loss).
Last.fm: Social music network. Uses a plugin that grabs whatever is playing on your media player and uses that to recommend new music.
Netvibes: “Modulated” personal start page, with rss reader, Gmail checker, etc. Kind of like My Yahoo on steroids.
43things: Kind of cool but I don’t really get the point behind it. A list of things you’d like to do (or have done), and you can give or be given “cheers” on these things. Collective wishful thinking? There is also 43places (places you want to go or have been to).
WhatShouldIreadNext?: Being a fan of paper-based entertainment, I am always asking myself this question since I really don’t have a certain genre that I stick to. Plug in a book title + author name and get a list of recommendations for your next book. There is also Reader2
Now all I am missing is a website to do my laundry and fix me breakfast.