Sunday, August 31, 2008

10 Habits of Asian Media Consumers

KK Birla passes away: Chancellor of BITS Pilani

KK Birla was the founder of the KK Birla group, one of the largest sugar makers in the world. He laid the vision along with Dr. S Venkateswaran, former Vice Chancellor, to expand BITS Pilani. He emphasized all-round development of the individual and was one of the last few surviving legendary industrialists of the old India. He was a big lover of our alma mater, BITS Pilani and gave his time and his money to the school. He will indeed be missed.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Healthcare: 14 million jobs and growing (NETIP Conference Panel)

Today, I had the opportunity to moderate a panel with three outstanding people: Amar Sawhney, 2006 New England Entrepreneur of the Year and Founder of 5 companies, Anita Goel, MIT Technology Review Under 35 Innovator and Founder of Three Companies revolving around nanotechnology, diagnostics and medicine, and Pravin Chaturvedi, Biotech Entrepreneur, Founder of 3 companies and mentor of many aspiring entrepreneurs. These are three extraordinary entrepreneurs with PhDs and hundreds of patents between them who are not only well recognized for their successes, but serve as inspirations and role models for all of us in the industry.

Here are some conclusions from a very interesting hour-long panel discussion. The topic of the panel was Healthcare: 14 million jobs and growing. I've also attached some slides we put up to set the stage for the event. These slides are best seen by clicking on them so you can see them at a good size

• Education is important. But Amar says what’s more important is attitude not degrees. There are many skills that can be translated into this industry - like quality control, manufacturing and fundamental skills.
• We are all in this industry because we want to make a difference. Amongst this next generation of 20-somethings there is a groundswell of social entrepreneurship because this generation is interested in searching for meaning
• The chips that Nanobiosym is creating will help reduce the cost of healthcare through point of care molecular diagnostics because we cannot afford to ignore the 5.5 billion people and make drugs for a few. But they will do it in a sustainable manner where the business does make a profit
• Pravin wants to create drugs that make people better. Corporate attitudes have changed too when he compares it to the time twenty years ago when he was told that malaria drugs don’t matter
• Amar says speed is important in medtech so it does not make sense to leverage India to start a medtech company today; in biotech cost is important so India can play a role in medicinal chemistry and outsourced research
• Wellness is creating an entirely new consumer-driven industry with new products
• Be business savvy when you are evaluating companies to join. Understand whether the company is creating something that people will buy and result in a sustainable career before you jump into the fray
• There is a lot happening at the convergence of technologies – nanotechnology, medicine and information technology for example; look at ideas that are using these skills
• When you think of India, don’t think of cost arbitrage because that doesn’t last (look what happened in IT). Instead focus on areas where knowledge can be transferred
• There are regulatory and IP barriers in working outside the United States. In India, step into these areas with care. But the government is willing and keen to bring knowledge into the country
• There are cultural barriers to be overcome. For example, Indians don't really understand stock options so give cash instead. Retention is an issue in areas.
• India is good for contract research and outsourced services and IT at the moment.
• You're all young, so try India for a couple of years, don't take our word for it.
• This is an exciting time for the healthcare industry. It is recession-proof and will continue to grow. Much will happen here and in other places that will be relevant to all of us.
• Boston is a great place to be. Lots of jobs. Its hard to find scientists to fill positions here and easy to network your way into jobs.

Thanks to Mahak Nayyar, panel producer and Shobhit Chugh, Conference Organizer for inviting us.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I am an American

Today is a big day. Almost twelve years after I entered this country, I am an American Citizen. I was sworn in at Faneuil Hall, the cradle of American liberty. It is an an emotional moment. There is so much to say for a nation that has given me so much. My citizenship doesn't diminish my love for India (where I grew up) or my respect for the United Kingdom (my country of birth and citizenship). What I can say for now is that I am proud of being an American and grateful to be granted the privilege.

America is truly one nation where one can pursue one's dreams and where anything is possible. My thoughts are better expressed in the White House letter that was given to all 379 citizens today from 79 countries:

Our country has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by principles that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests, and teach us what it means to be citizens. (the entire letter is below the picture)

It is a big day and a time to celebrate with my family of Americans.

And have a Budweiser in celebration !

Dear Fellow Americans

I am pleased to congratulate you on becoming a United States citizen. You are now part of a great and blessed Nation. I know your family and friends are proud of you on this special day.

Americans are united across the generations by grand and enduring ideals. The grandest of these ideals is an unfolding promise that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, and that no insignificant person was ever born. Our country has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by principles that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests, and teach us what it means to be citizens. Every citizen must uphold these principles. And every new citizen, by embracing these ideals, makes our country more, not less, American.

As you begin to participate fully in our democracy, remember that what you do is as important as anything government does. I ask you to serve your new Nation, beginning with your neighbor. I ask you to be citizens building communities of service and a Nation of character. Americans are generous and strong and decent not because we believe in ourselves, but because we hold beliefs beyond ourselves. When this spirit of citizenship is missing, no government program can replace it. When this spirit is present, no wrong can stand against it.

Welcome to the joy, responsibility, and freedom of American citizenship. God bless you, and God bless America

The President

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A day to remember Senator Kennedy

"For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." - Senator Kennedy, 1980

Monday, August 25, 2008

Feeding 1 million children every day: Join us on Sept 21 in Waltham, MA

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an outstanding organization currently feeding more than 800,000 children a day across India using high-tech kitchens preparing nutritious food in a scalable manner.

The cost of feeding one child for a whole year is $28. This organization started in 2000, and has grown exponentially and is now spreading from Karnataka into UP, Rajasthan and Bihar. For many of the children served by Akshaya Patra, the school lunch they receive is the only complete meal they consume throughout the day. Impact studies performed by AC Nielsen have shown dramatic improvements in children’s attendance, enrollment, and health after receiving Akshaya Patra’s school lunches. It is a public-private partnership with no parallel.

I am a member of the Host Committee for the Annual Gala taking place on September 21, 2008 at the Westin Waltham. Mr. Narayana Murthy is the keynote speaker. Join us for a fun evening where you will meet the outstanding South Asian leaders in Massachusetts. If you cannot attend, do make a donation. More information on the gala if you click here.

NETIP Annual Conference 2008

NETIP is having its annual conference from August 29-31. It will be a gathering of 1000 south asians in Boston. I've never attended this event before, but it promises to be exciting. I am moderating a healthcare panel. Its a very well organized event, and meeting young ambitious people is always an energy booster. Here are the fun highlights of this conference.

Friday night

Born into brothels: Kids with cameras exhibition
Dinner party
More partying at Roxy


Boston Bhangra workout
Laughing Club
Desh Deshpande Keynote
South Asians in the Media & Entertainment
Creating Social Impact through Entrepreneurship
Tarun Khanna Keynote (HBS Prof. talks about India v China)
Dream: A South Asian President ?
Speed dating
Dinner Cruise on the Odyssey
More partying at Felt


South Asian documentaries screening
Marrying Anita: Book reading by author
Vikram Akula Keynote (Microfinance company founder)
Emergence of Indian Sounds in World Music
American Born Confused Dating
Acting: Be the next superstar
Stand-up comedy by Rajiv Satyal
Performance by Boston Bhangra
Performance by Burlington Taiko