Archive for the ‘World Economy’ Category

Markets are conversation, again

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies.

Markets are ConversationWhen Markets become conversation, the participation benefits the parties involved, viz. (a) The Intent Owner. This is the person who has the money, spends time and effort. In a non-generic sense, this  person is the buyer/purchaser/decision-maker of goods/services/products (b) The “Goods” Owner. A person or an entity who has something of interest for which people will spend time, money and effort.

An Intent Owner collaborates with others for research, analysis and in general to discuss items offered from one or more sellers/providers. On the other hand, Goods Owners researches the intent of the buyers by listening to them and/or participating in their conversations. The conversation leads to perfect markets.

During the old days, a weekly bazaar (aka Haat in some Indian dialects) served just that purpose–Buyers collaborated, chattered while sellers listened, conversed and converted the intent into real money. However, as society got industrialized, the collaboration dropped and became 1:1 (thanks to telephone, email and other 1:1 communication media). Come Social Networks, Markets are conversation again. Social Networks are enabling the same depth/breadth of conversation where people are chattering about products, services, companies, etc. (How this is all coming together? To be continued in the second part of the post).

Following The Pirates, er, pirates follow the market

Monday, July 17th, 2006

In 1996 from the footpaths of New Delhi near Red Fort I bought my copy of Bob Cringley’s Accidental Empires: How Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions.. for INR 10 (around 25 cents in USD). That’s how free markets work. It looked like a local reprint (I still remember it was a Penguin publishing reprint).
John Batelle is excited about the popularity of his book, “The Search”, reaching the streets of Mumbai. In India the legal edition of John’s book is priced at INR 728, which is close to the Amazon’s price in US. If the cost is prohibitive, people will figure out a way to get access to it. That’s where pirates fill the gap.
And yeah, I also bought albums of Mariah Carey, Europe, Scorpions, Metallica, Madonna, AC DC, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Bruce Springsteen, U2, etc when none of the record companies were legally selling them in India in late 80s/early 90s 🙂 Markets figure them out.

Fake Louis Vuittons at Hong Kong

Thursday, August 4th, 2005

I had some time in hand after wrapping up work at Hong Kong early this week. There was nothing much to do, so, accompanied a colleague to Mong Kok area of Hong Kong to test our bargaining skills. Last I remember haggling was over a few kilograms of onions some 10 years ago, in a small street vegetable market. United States is different — 1. You go to a store 2. Choose what you like; check if it has a markdown or not 3. Swipe the card and then drive back home.
Mong Kok’s Tung Choi street, or fondly called “Ladies Market” by the locals, is full of cheap (read, imitation/fakes) goods for women viz. clothing, watches, hand bags, etc. You can safely get the right price by starting at 30%-40% of the asking price and moving up in notches, while the seller comes down in notches, too.
Louis Vuitton. The luxury leather designer surprised me here. Fakes of major designer brands like Prada, Gucci, etc. were being sold openly, except for Louis Vuitton. The modus operandi in this case was different:

  1. Choose a Louis Vuitton deisgner wear from one of innumerable catalogues lying around in the shop. Some “shops” had cut-outs of hand bags on their “walls”.
  2. Let the shop owner know that you are interested in one of the Louis Vuittons. He will tell you that all the items for the said brand are at a different place and one can go there to have a look without obligation. If the shop owner sees fear on your face he will quickly tell you that there are other tourists there…Don’t worry. We did not, as HKG has a very low crime rate. Anyway, it was worth taking a chance.
  3. Follow a local guy through narrow streets and alley, finally leading into a small room in an apartment behind multiple iron doors on the 14th (maybe different for each of the