Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Globalization of Olympics: Sports, Money, Power and Politics

When it comes to globalization of sports, nothing comes close to the appeal of the Summer Olympics. Remember how China rolled out a red carpet for the opportunity to show they could really-really host the games in style. . . and announce to the world they have arrived.

However, what the games really are about is money … and really big money. London Olympics is still a few years away and money is already rolling in (London 2012: Big money rolling in as sponsors line-up for the Olympics). After the big downturn, American economy needs a boost; and what better boost than the Olympics? (even if it is years away) Why do you think the president of America, perhaps the most ‘powerful’ man in the world is throwing his personal weight on this bid?!

I would love for America to host the Olympics in the coming decade. And hopefully get an opportunity to catch the ‘grand’ opening/closing show. . . . But the Globalized part of me thinks we should give others in the world a chance too. Olympics were held in America last in 1996. There are 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs). Most countries don’t ever get to host the Olympics and America will get an opportunity in less than 20 years; what gives? Rich get richer? Should we not give others, say a third-world country an opportunity to make a few billion dollars too?

On the other hand, by going all out personally to root to bring Olympics to his hometown, Mr. Obama has a lot more, including his political credibility at stake; and all of us would like to root for the champion of healthcare reform to have a few quick wins; right?!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Globalization, migration and reverse immigration

I came across the interesting article in today’s USA Today titled "World's talent opts to leave USA" The front page article builds on research from Duke University's Vivek Wadhwa, who studies reverse immigration. It is also a topic that is hotly debated among immigrants, especially those from India and China. [Links to articles on Returning To India].

What the article does not talk about is the story of scores of Indians and Chinese who effortlessly switch between continents, helping bridge the global divide if you will.

A few weeks ago I met a fellow Desi (Indian American) at a Holiday Inn in Cincinnati where I happened to be staying for the night. He had migrated to Ohio about 15 years ago, got his green card and naturalized as an American citizen along with his wife and kids a few years ago. He then decided to move back to India and found a job with a software firm in Chandigarh though he was from Mumbai. Things didn’t work out as planned on the work front but his wife and kids liked it there, especially as the kids had started a new school year. They decided to stay back while he was back in Ohio, looking to re-join HP-EDS, his previous employer

I guess, my story is a bit like this too. I have spent over a decade in the US. However, unlike other typical immigrant (or reverse immigrant) stories, mine happens to be that of a global journeyman. After migrating to the States, obtaining a “coveted” Green Card, I moved back to India and joined an Indian software giant (Infosys). After spending for a while "offshore" and authoring a book on Offshoring, I moved back to Anytown USA. Based here, I also travel to Canada, Europe and elsewhere . . wherever business opportunities take me. Do I consider America "Home" Sure! Do I think of India as "Back Home" Sure!

Wonder where research on migration and reverse immigration leaves folks like me? And mind you, I am not the only one on this globalization journey.

ps: Vivek Wadhwa also frequently writes on the topic in BusinessWeek (Why Skilled Immigrants Are Leaving the U.S.)

Other interesting blogs on the topic

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What is the most effective way to show disrespect to a President? Throw a shoe or call him a liar?

Two unrelated but interesting issues items have caught the attention of the media and digirati, both about the effectiveness of getting media attention by public display of disrespect to leaders of our times:

  • President Obama being called a “Liar” by an elected representative while delivering an address to the U.S. Congress and
  • Trelease of the (famous/infamous) Iraqi Shoe Thrower who attempted to show disrespect to Mr. Obama’s predecessor, Mr. George Bush by hurling shoes at him during a press conference in Iraq.

For students of international business, lessons in basics of cultural mores and etiquettes around the globe have a lot of significance, more so in the increasingly connected and globalized world we live in. Given the culture of global disrespect, I wonder if the younger generation of business leaders will be using these ‘case studies’ to their list by studying the most effective ways to show disrespect to business adversaries? ;-(

While globalization and international trade is all about finding win-win deals, synergies and opportunities, there is the aggressive, ugly side of business and here I am sure some businessmen (and women) are taking a leaf from the buzz. An easy excuse, after showing a pre-planned disrespect, in an international business context would be that of a Faux pas? There again, such disrespect would not either make for front-page-news or get a limo as a reward

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Globalization: Chinese Empire strikes back at America on Trade

The recent “trade spat” between China and the U.S. over Tires, Chicken and Car Parts is fascinating to observers of globalization and world trade at many levels:
  • It brings into sharp focus the nature and volume of global trade and the highly interconnected world we live in.
  • It signifies the emergence of China as a strong global player standing up to America
  • Global downturn also means countries, and more importantly politicians are extremely cognizant of local interest, domestic lobbies and voting blocks: especially local workers who are hurting with high job losses (America is experiencing a historic high of nearly 10% joblessness)
  • The few headlines on globalization and trade spats, are perhaps the tip of iceberg when it comes to issues and challenges
  • Of course, it is not just about tires and Car parts: Indians cheered when their Commerce Minister - Kamal Nath – stood up to WTO trying to protect the rights of marginalized farmers ( fearful that on top of their burdens of a crippling drought and deep debts, they will face an influx of cheap foreign crops from countries like the United States)
  • Much closer to my day-job as a Technocrat lies the issue of global restriction on movement of experts and service professionals: the H1-B visa caps or European work-visa restrictions.

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Blog post from above 20,000 foot in the air: Trying out GoGo Inflight Internet on Delta

Most of us in the business of consulting know of the 20,000 foot-view. And from 20,000 foot above, life certainly looks different. And there again, frequent fliers dream of the mile-high club and other perks that comes one’s way.

Given how cyber connected we are, should I have been surprised that airlines would offer internet access from up in the air? Surely not. This labor day weekend on a Delta airline flight (DL 1196) from Atlanta to Philadelphia, I got around try a free promotion of GoGo in-flight internet (This blog entry was posted while on air).

My initial reactions: Wow. This is cool!

One of the first things I did after logging in using my wi-fi enabled laptop? Check my Skymiles account: And sure enough I see posted :06 Sep 2009 Delta Flight 1196 from Atlanta, GA to Philadelphia, PA (K) 666

Now, as a technologist, seamless integration like this does not cease to amaze me: less than ½ hour after the flight takes off, (my boarding card scanned at gate), my skymileage account was updated. Now, this is probably as real-time as I want it to be! Any better/faster response and it will perhaps come at a higher cost to Delta (and to the consumer: me)

To ZDNet's blog query: Would you use in-flight Wi-Fi? (Would you pay for it?). I would say, it is a service worth having, especially for business travelers. For short haul flights, the $9.95/12.95 flight pass may a bit pricy but I guess it is worth it if one is working on a hot proposal and really needs to be connected.

Yet another frequent-flier perk: it is a matter of time before Delta, Air Canada, United et al begin offering this as a “perk” to the elite/platinum/super-elite members?!
The speed is not terribly fast. So I wonder about current use of VOIP/skype/Yahoo messenger chats. Wonder if this service would cannibalize the sky-phones ?
Bottom Would I be willing to pay for this every time I travel? Maybe not (till it is offered as a perk). Would I be willing to pay for it on a need basis? Sure: if I have an important client meeting to attend and I want the directions mailed to me or be able to check-in for the next flight or confirm my rental car. Like I said: an excellent tool for the globe-trotting business traveler.

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Ps: though I have not been actively tracking blog statistics or even attempting to promote this blog (yet), I have a couple of followers. Thanks Rock and issam for googling/following my blog