Saturday, August 25, 2012

An advantage university-based business schools have over standalone business schools

This is something I've realized now at NUS Business School. NUS Business School is based in the heart of NUS. NUS itself is a sprawling university with centers and schools for science, law, arts, social science, computing, engineering, mathematics, design, medicine, dentistry, public policy, music, and others.

NUS also has full-fledged arms that cultivate, facilitate and promote entrepreneurship and technology commercialization - NUS Enterprise, along with NUS Entrepreneurship Centre (NEC) and NUS Industry Liaison Office (ILO) - as well as full-fledged and well-endowed research wings.

One of the electives this semester is Technopreneurship, and an optional add-on to that is the Frugal Innovation Lab. The latter, in particular, is about creating a working prototype of an innovative product or service, along with a comprehensive business plan to commercialize it. The teams in this Lab are all cross-discipline, with individuals from engineering, science, business and entrepreneurship blended together and made to work like a startup, complete with funding. Need information about IP protection or patents? Find someone related to law. Need advice on human anatomy? Head to medicine. Materials? You have it.

That's where I realized the potential and power of a business school that's inside a university. You have experts and students from all disciplines right next to you, and forming cross-faculty teams is effortless. Business schools in universities such as NUS, NTU or IITs have this unique advantage that standalone schools don't necessarily have. It's about fully utilizing these resources.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cheapest way to call Singapore, from anywhere!

Mobile phone service is quite expensive in Singapore. All three mobile operators - SingTel, StarHub and M1 - offer prepaid plans and rates that are identical for all practical purposes. The following table from SingTel's website is almost identical to corresponding tables from StarHub and M1.

However, there's a clever way to make ultra-cheap calls to landline and mobile phones in Singapore - and it's Skype! Look at the table below. Only ~1 USD for s.i.x.t.y m.i.n.u.t.e.s of calls [at current exchange rates, calls made using Skype cost one-seventh of the mobile phone rate at peak hours, and if you go for the 400 minutes subscription, this difference becomes over one-tenth]. This is literally dirt cheap. Unlimited Singapore is only ~7 USD per month! For people who make a lot of outgoing calls, this is a steal!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Should we punish the actual perpetrator of the crime, or the seller of the means which was used?

A quick answer to this question is that we should punish the actual perpetrator - the criminal. I strongly disagree with the recent rulings in America that pronounced as guilty Megaupload and its founder Kim Dotcom. While there is no doubt that Megaupload [and similar websites such as RapidShare] was misused by some/many of its users to illegally acquire/spread copyrighted content, that misuse by its users doesn't and cannot make Megaupload the perpetrator.

Should firearms/guns be banned in America because some people misuse them? Should knives be banned because they are/were used to commit murders? Should we ban Google because it helps people to commit plagiarism? Should liquor be banned because it's the cause of so many accidents and conflicts? Should we ban the Internet because people use it to illegally acquire/spread copyrighted content? Should bikinis and miniskirts be banned because they can lead to rapes? Should DVRs be banned because people use them to store copyrighted content and to skip adverts? Should aerospace engineering be banned because it's used to design missiles?

Why are we punishing the products, the tools, the means, and not the actual criminals? Why doesn't the American government identify and beat the hell out of the people who uploaded/downloaded the content?

Related news:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Some amazing statistics about Singapore's GDP

All figures for area, GDP and population ["facts"] are from Wolfram Alpha, as on 14-Aug-12. The analysis and calculations are mine.
  • Area of Singapore= 697 square km [can be thought of as a square with side 26.4 km]
  • Area of India= 3,287,000 square km [can be thought of as a square with side 1813 km]
  • Real GDP of Singapore= USD 184.6 billion in 2009 [price adjusted to 2008 USD]
  • Real GDP of India= USD 1,379 billion in 2009 [price adjusted to 2008 USD]
  • Real GDP per square km for Singapore= USD 264.85 million
  • Real GDP per square km for India= USD 419,531
  • Number of times India is larger than Singapore [area]= 4,716
  • Number of times India is larger than Singapore [real GDP]= 7.5
  • Interpretation #1: India is 4716 times larger than Singapore [geographical area], but India's real GDP is only 7.5 times larger. Amazing land utilization in Singapore!
  • Ratio of real GDP per square km of Singapore to that of India= 631
  • Interpretation #2: Singapore produces six-hundred-thirty-one times the GDP for every square km as does India!
  • Caveats: We must remember that there are some inherently non-productive land areas in India, such as barren deserts, mountains, etc., and also that Singapore's population density is 17.2 times that of India. We should divide the 631 we had got by 17.2 to get 36.7, a more practical estimate of relative land utilization obtained by normalizing population density.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Laughable double-standards of America

Excerpts from a recent story in the Los Angeles Times:

"Hillary Rodham Clinton warns outsiders against sending in terrorist fighters."

"On a visit to South Africa, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was also warning about terrorist infiltration of Syria and interference by outsiders."

"Those who are attempting to exploit the misery of the Syrian people, whether by sending in proxies or sending in terrorist fighters, must recognize that that will not be tolerated,"

"The United States has publicly assailed what it calls Tehran's "destructive behavior" in Syria."

All of these statements make me laugh. America and Hillary Clinton are corrupt beyond what words can describe. They both have the shamelessness to arrogantly warn others about outside interference. It's just laughable.

UPDATE (18-Aug-12): I'm laughing at the statements given by USA regarding Britain's (not Great Britain's) open threats to raid the embassy of Ecuador in London.

The proposal was adopted despite the US saying OAS has nothing to do with the issue.


The US State Department stated earlier on Friday that the OAS has “no role” to play in a “bilateral issue between Ecuador and the United Kingdom.” Not party to the 1954 OAS Convention on Diplomatic Asylum, the United States“does not recognize the concept of diplomatic asylum as a matter of international law,” the statement read.

America, how about having the same stance on other countries' internal [Syria, etc.] or bilateral issues [Iran-Israel; North Korea-South Korea; China-Philippines; India-Pakistan]? How about having the same stance on diplomatic asylum in your embassy in China?

Overall I'm happy that Britain is getting defamation and hard slaps from all over the world. It'll finally wake up from the dream it is in and realize that in today's world, it's no more significant.

UPDATE (18-Aug-12): There's this interesting story on RT in which a very valid point is raised - where is America's condemnation of the sentencing of a prominent human-rights activist in Bahrain?

We urge Russian authorities to review this case and ensure that the right to freedom of expression is upheld,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.

Don DeBar, a New York-based activist and journalist, believes America’s negative reaction to the Pussy Riot verdict, but a lack of attention towards the human rights situation in Bahrain is indicative of its double standards.

So what’s happening is that the United States, for some reason that will become apparent later, is stirring this up to make Russia look as if it were a repressive, lawless state while the United States, which has more incarcerated people than the next three countries on the planet, and that’s only in absolute terms; in relative terms – more than any other country on the planet. The United States has all these people in jail and is going to lecture countries about how their legal process should work. I think it has no credibility around the world, and I think it’s shameful.

Where are you America?