Funny Economics

Some wry observations from me  on the world on economics-

1) 150 years after humiliating their country in the Opium Wars, Chinese mandarins have somehow convinced their leaders and military to park 2 trillion assets in Anglo Saxon debt. If Greece geting a 50% discount on its loan is the new precedent, when will the USA force its lendors to the negotiation table.

2) Income inequality and protests are something the Arabs and Israelis have in common. Besides being the sons of Abraham of course. Note the Persians are not considered the same as Arabs.

3) Advance knowledge of geo-political events can and ensures Western financial dealers have an edge on the sovereign funds in the other hemisphere.  What used to be the playgrounds of Eton has now shifted to the pubs of Boston and So Cal.

4) After spending 1 trillion USD on arms in the past one decade (funded by guys in item 1), the United States military forces is in a much better more advanced position to wage simultaneous war.

5) Can a war in Korean peninsula affect war in the Persian sphere of influence. Just follow the money , baby.

6) Saudi Wahabis continue to fund terror despite losing a lot of money in the economic meltdown in past few years. For every 1 $ increase in Saudi oil revenue, western oil companies ,traders, financiers make more, much more.

7) Demographics is an important key to economics. An aging Japan, and stagnant West is one cause to shift from manpower intensive warfare to cyber warfare. Plus Cyber warfare is good business . Underpopulated Russia and Arabs continue to lack true economic potential.

8) There are new economic incentives to develop tools to disseminate as well as distort information flow in real time in a hyper connected digital world.

 

The Great Game- How social media changes the Intelligence Industry

Since time immemorial, countries and corporations have used spies to displace existing equilibriums in balance of power or market share dynamics. An integral part of that was technology. From the pox infested rugs given to natives, to the plague rats, to the smuggling of the secret of silk and gunpowder from China to the West to the latest research in cloud seeding by China and Glaciars melting by India- technology espionage has been an integral part in keeping up with each other.

For the first time in history, technology has evolved to the point where tools for communicating securely , storing data has become cheap to the point of just having a small iPhone 3GS with applications for secure transmission. From an analytical purpose the need for analyzing signal from noise and the criticality in mapping chatter with events (like Major Hasan’s online activities)  has also created an opportunity for social media as well as an headache for the people involved. With Citizen Journalism, foreign relations office, and ambassadors with their bully pulpits have been brought down to defending news leaked by Twitter ( Iran) You Tube ( Thailand/Burma/Tibet) and Blogs ( Russia/Georgia). The rise of bot nets, dark clouds to create disruptions as well as hack into accounts for enhancing favourable noise and reducing unfavourable signals has only increased. Blogs have potential to influence customer behavior as they are seen more credible than public relations which is mostly public and rarely on relations.

Techniques like sentiment analysis , social network analysis, text mining and co relation of keywords to triggers remain active research points.

The United States remains a leader as you can only think creatively out of a box if you are permitted to behave accordingly out of the box. The remaining countries are torn between a  mix of admiration , envy and plain old copy cat techniques. The rising importance of communities that act more tribal than hitherto loyal technology user lists is the reason almost all major corporates actively seek to cultivate social media communities. The market for blogs and twitter in China or Iran or Russia will have impacts on those government’s efforts to manage their growth as per their national strategic interests. Just like the title of an old and quaint novel- “The Brave New World” of social media and it’s convergence with increasing amounts of text data generated on customers, or citizens is evolving into creating new boundaries and space for itself.A fascinating Great Game in itself.

Interview- Endre Domiczi

imageHere is an interview with a client and partner of mine, Mr. Endre Domiczi of Sevana Oy (www.sevana.fi) .

Sevana is a Finland based company which creates excellent software and analytics  products and their latest release is their automated audio quality product. Existing releases have been a shopping cart analyzer which does wonderful automated market basket analysis.

Ajay – What has been your career journey so far ? What advice would you
give to a fresh science graduate entering the market in today’s
recession .

Endre - About my career journey 

After receiving an MSc in Electronic Engineering my first job was maintenance of the Soviet "clone" of an IBM/360 computer (I still remember some of the Russian language terminology).While doing post graduate studies (got something that would be called today Tech.Lic. in Data Communication) I was offered a job by one of the professors in a research institute. Through the research institute I got a chance to work on a nuclear powerplant simulator in Finland as a Hungarian ex-pat (important, because Tsernobyl happened in the meanwhile).

I specified and implemented the mainframe side of the communication between a VAX/VMS mainframe and several PDP’s  (I’m still proud that later on someone who saw my part of the system, written in 1986, said that it was object-oriented, but the language was Fortran :-)

One of the jobs enjoyed most was at Fiskars Power electronics. I could design the Hardware and write all software for a microcontroller-based intelligent display of a UPS (uninterruptable (or unpredictable?) power supply), which communicated with the UPS via the power line (around 1988-89).

Then 6 years at Nokia and 5 years at Nokia Research Center, where I got more familiar with object-orientation.A brief stop at Rational, followed by lecturing at the Helsinki Technical University for about 3 years (concurrent programming; UML-related topics). Somewhere in the meantime a (or rather THE) company has been founded, where I still work.

Here is the answer to the "advice" part

My advice would be – if we were speaking of a bright graduate – that his decision to start establishing contacts with potential employers during his studies and to lay down the foundations of his professional network was very wise, and now he should start using his contacts.

Finding a good position on the labor market, or a place on the IT market with a product or idea involves a certain amount of luck but also planning and conscious self management, the sooner career starters realize this the better.

Ajay - What are the key things that you have worked with in terms of technologies.

Endre- To my opinion it’s always a matter of people rather than anything else,
because people create technologies and people use technologies.

I believe that the key technologies we worked with are the way our company is organized and managed, the way our employees treat working with us and of course that state-of-the-art products (no matter what actual technology we have in mind: C, .NET, Delphi, PHP, Java etc), which our employees develop for our customers.

Two major examples are existing product providing automated audio quality measurement and analysis and the tool to mine and manage association rules in high data volumes that we expect to release QI 2009. Both are unique on the market as technology/science wise as well as functionality wise.

Ajay- What is the most creative product that has been released or is going to be released by your company.

Endre- I would mention the same two analytical products:

Automated audio/voice quality estimation is already released and we are searching and negotiating with companies to partner on its dissemination and integration to voice quality and quality of service test solutions.

All information about scientific approach, technology, tests and benefits is available from our web site (www.sevana.fi) partly freely and partly under NDA.We also put big hopes for the association rules mining system, which we develop trying to take into account needs of statisticians and marketing/sales analysts as well as typical demands in various industries: retail, wholesale, maintenance. I would like to give special thanks to Mr. Ajay Ohri whom we were consulting with about the features of such product and its market applications and demand. ( Ajay- Pleasure is mine)

Ajay-  Outsourcing has taken off really well in Poland and Romania. What
are the best known success stories of outsourcing that you can tell
of.What are the best known success stories of outsourcing that you can tell of.

Endre- Well, outsourcing may have different faces – it can be a big success and a
big failure or even a failure with a face of success. I believe that success story for software outsourcing is any company that has established a well operating and profitable company in any country, where doing software outsourcing makes sense.

I also believe that we have a good concept for software outsourcing projects as well, providing onshore software development at offshore prices in Finland.

We have our own know-how in order to make it possible.

Ajay- What do you think about the open source versus proprietary software debate. What is scenario in your local market ( across parts of the country ) regarding this.

Endre- Open source gives the freedom to the evolution of applications and services.

It can spare you from reinventing the wheel. I forgot the source, but some famous computer scientist said something like: if programmers read more they would have to write less (code)One can argue that in case of open source one doesn’t easily find a bug-fix if her/his problem is not "mainstream".

However, even in proprietary software the vendor has priorities (often market-driven) and if your wallet is not thick enough and you are at the end of the list you’ll have to wait. And fixing, making a workaround, on your own is much more difficult.

Ajay – What are the intellectual property rights conditions as well as language facilities for Russian software companies ? What is the best way to contact local Russian companies for a software contract.

Endre- Protecting intellectual property rights is a reasonable issue in Russia and a lot of effort is put to improve the situation by the government and business, however I believe that the same challenges can be found in any other country: if your IPRs are broken for instance by your outsourcing company, would you really be able to afford court trial? I am sure not every company would be able to afford it no matter where we have IPR violation: in Russia, Romania, Poland or India.

I think the best way is to try to contact individuals first, because in Russia for instance there are a lot of highly qualified people who would rather try to establish their own
business than trying to be highly recognized by local outsourcing companies. We’ll be happy to assist in providing connections to the Russian software compan
ies and individuals.

 

Disclaimer- Ajay- I advise Sevana on Web 2.0 initiatives .See more on their products at http://wordpress.sevana.fi/ and http://sevana.fi