I was reading an article by Thrishantha Nanayakkara which made an interesting point. “There is a mythical belief that “talent leaves Sri Lanka”. This is not true. Talent is there among most professionals already living in Sri Lanka. I can quote not only professionals but also many innovative village youth who would be National assets elsewhere, unseen and unrecognized in Sri Lanka. The issue is that their talent is not visible in the corrupt system till they leave Sri Lanka. Recognition of talent abroad gives the illusion that “talent leaves” Sri Lanka, when in fact those who are already in Sri Lanka are not any less talented.” (Colombo Telegraph).
Archive for the 'Business' Category
So people are freaking out about milk powder. There are two underlying agendas here, on top of some actual science. Ministers like Yapa Abeywardene and Champika Ranawaka want people to drink more natural milk (cow and human breast) and milk companies like Fonterra want to sell more powdered milk. Behind this all is that Sri Lankan consumers want to buy both. The actual science is that certain batches of wholesale milk powder may have been tainted with botulism causing bacteria (really scary), but that none of those batches were meant for SL. The other concern is that there is a chemical called DCD in milk, which A) it seems there isn’t and B) is less scary cause there are little or no ill effects from that.
Mashallah, the Central Bank has said they’re going to allow PayPal soon. PayPal (which not ecommerce manna) is nonetheless the global currency for freelancers and small businesses alike. I know freelancers who’ve actually moved places like Singapore simply to be able to accept money – taking both forex and human capital out of the country. Never mind how hard it is to open a payment gateway through local HSBC or Sampath or HNB, not to mention how ugly their interfaces are. I think the HSBC payment gateway still shows an open
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.
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.