I’m happy to be featured in Echelon magazine’s 40 Under 40 feature, profiling young people who contribute to the economy in some way, mainly in business but also in terms of innovation and thought leadership. It’s an interesting article not just in that I’m in it (mainly for work on indi.ca and Kottu but also YAMU) but also in that the magazine takes a bit of a critical stance. It’s worth reading the editorial (which I can only find in print) where they describe that only a few women are included and that all of the 40 are from middle to upper middle class backgrounds.
Archive for the 'Business' Category
Sunil G. Wijesinha has an interesting article in the Mirror about Sri Lankan service culture, or the lack thereof. He’s got some interesting stories from his times at the ETF and Dankotuwa Porcelain. Sri Lanka is strange because you can get excellent service at streetside kades or dodgy bars and then awful service at much more expensive places. I will say that most 5-star hotels have gotten better, but not commensurate with their cost.
Andrew Sullivan is my favorite blogger and I read his page a few times a daily. Honestly, the only things I read are Sullivan, Metafilter, Devour, Slate, and Kottu. If there’s nothing new on those sites I’m like ‘why’s there nothing on the Internet?’ As if the Internet suddenly became a 12 channel TV. But I digress.
There are a lot of Sri Lankan eCommerce sites these days. Anything.lk has combined with Dialog’s various ventures into wow.lk, a shopping aggregator of sorts. Venture capitalists have backed takas.lk (an electronics store) and just today I saw AVStore.lk, a site selling somewhat specialized audio equipment.
Dialog has recently re-launched wow.lk, formerly a Suntel portal, as a sort of e-commerce aggregator. I’m sure it was a Herculean effort to integrate iBuy, anything.lk, Tradenet, etc, but it all sorta comes together. Into something I don’t want to use, admittedly, but something which I’m sure has some appeal.
Dialog Axiata (Sri Lanka’s biggest mobile company) just bought a big share of German-backed start-up Anything.lk – 26% for 1.59 million USD, valuing the less than two year old* daily deals company at around $6.3 million. I’ve known anything.lk since it was a directory site run by a few friends, to when it partnered with the international Rebate Networks to relaunch as a daily deals company in 2010, which is why I say the company is two years old.
The ITU (the UN’s ICT Agency) is trying to introduce regulations that would nationalize the Internet, forcing countries to pay fees for content people download and expanding the authority of national governments to censor and control content. Essentially, this body of regulators who I thought mainly held conferences with each other is trying to stage a bit of a coup and take over the Internet. Thankfully, it seems like this won’t happen.
As mentioned, by everyone, the state funded budget airline Mihin is a bad idea. It’s been losing money since it began, the full extent of the losses being masked by the fact that it gets subsidies and gives bad debts to other government institutions. This lame donkey has also been yoked to the national carrier SriLankan, bringing both down. The latest report is that Mihin has lost Rs. 8.5 billion (about $65 million) since it began.
I initially thought the video above was a bunch of Sri Lankans watching their money disappear into the air, like Mihin Space. However, it seems that it’s not a government launch, per se. It seems that it’s a private company called SupremeSAT which has Presidential son Rohitha Rajapakse as an engineer, fresh of his bachelor’s degree in Russia.
This new site ikman.lk has been growing quite fast, advertising heavily online and now on TV and radio. It’s also pretty good, a simple site with more than the critical mass of classifieds to become a market leader. So who are they? It says copyright Saltside, so I looked that up. It’s a Swedish/Dubai company now launching the same classifieds system in Pakistan and Bangladesh.