Sunday, November 07, 2010

Vinod Khosla: For Profit Poverty Alleviation

Visionary Vinod KhoslaImage by brettwayn via Flickr
New York Times: Sun Co-Founder Uses Capitalism to Help Poor: commercial entities can better help people in poverty than most nonprofit charitable organizations .... an increasingly popular school of thought: businesses, not governments or nonprofit groups, should lead the effort to eradicate global poverty..... Rich Indians “are more into temple building and things like that” ..... moneymaking versions had grown much faster and reached many more needy borrowers. ..... He said he wanted to help create a new generation of companies like SKS, which started lending as a commercial company in 2006. It now has 6.8 million customers and a loan portfolio of 43 billion rupees ($940 million)..... CashPor, a nonprofit Indian lender to which Mr. Khosla has also given money, has 417,000 borrowers and a portfolio of 2.7 billion rupees ($58 million) even though it started operations in 1996. ..... Besides growing faster, SKS, India’s largest microfinance company, has become a stock market darling. The company floated its shares on India’s stock exchanges in mid-August, and they have risen 40 percent since then. .... Khosla’s 6 percent stake in SKS is worth about $120 million, about 37 times what he invested in the firm in 2006 and 2007 ..... Khosla said it might take at least a year to set up his new venture fund. ..... these “social enterprises,” as they are sometimes known, cannot be solely relied upon to address the many entrenched causes of poverty. ..... “I am relatively negative on most N.G.O.’s and their effectiveness,” he said. “I am not negative on their intentions.”
I have admired Larry Ellison over the years. The guy's biography reads like fascinating. Now I have found a dude who is less dramatic, but not less towering. Khosla speaks to me. He came to America as an international student
Vinod Khosla at Web 2.0Image by ptufts via Flickr like I did. He thinks of where he came from. The idea is not to go back, but to take back, to give back, to do. His clean energy drive over the years has been about all those cars he sees crowding the roads in China and India over the next 50 years.

Looks to me like I will be competing for some money from the microfinance fund he is working to set up. But I am not moving. I am staying put in New York City. But I would visit the Bay Area a-n-y day. Been there, done that, loved it. It is just that the number one thing I bring to the table is large scale group dynamics. People are at the center of the microfinance business. And you have to be in New York City to meet people from all over the world. This is where it is at.

And the city has become quite a techie place. It is about to take off, if it has not already.

TechCrunch: Guest Post: Could Tiny Somaliland Become the First Cashless Society?
How China’s Entrepreneurs Are Helping It Win
M-Paisa: Ending Afghan Corruption, one Text at a Time Afghanistan supplies 92% of the world’s opiates ..... Four months ago, the Afghan National Police began to pay salaries through mobiles (using a text and Interactive Voice Response system), rather than in cash. The platform used was based on the M-Pesa service that has become highly successful in Kenya. ..... One of the higher-ranked Afghan commanders was so angry (and dumb) about losing his cut that he took all the SIM cards from his underlings and tried to collect the money himself. ..... Local stores have effectively become banks and the finances of Afghans who used to carry cash around the country are infinitely more secure. ..... Afghanistan is the poorest country in the world outside Africa, but it also has a 40% penetration rate of 12 million mobile subscribers out of a population of 30 million.

New York Times: Talking Business: Unyielding, an Oligarch vs. Putin he ran Yukos Oil, which under his leadership became the best-run, fastest-growing, most transparent company in the country — a gleaming symbol of hope for Russian industry. Mr. Khodorkovsky, however, has spent the last seven years in prison, much of that time in Siberia .... , Russia’s most prominent political prisoner .... “He was the most visionary of all the Russian oligarchs” .... “He understood that the way to get the best valuation was to run the most transparent company.” ..... He was also preparing to list Yukos on the New York Stock Exchange. He was worth a reported $15 billion. ..... The other oligarchs either fled the country or began currying favor with the Kremlin ..... “The illegal takeover of businesses,” he wrote, “differs greatly from U.S. hostile takeover practice in that it relies on criminal methods such as fraud, blackmail, obstruction of justice and actual and threatened physical violence.” ...... Khodorkovsky’s lawyers have filed a brief in California ..... the United States government has done nothing publicly to protest the trial. Mr. Khodorkovsky appears to be low on the list of human rights priorities for the administration..... “He has become a prisoner of conscience, and he deserves the sympathy and help of the world community,” said Elie Wiesel, the Nobel laureate.
Churchill Club Top Ten Tech TrendsImage by jurvetson via Flickr‘The Fate of Every Citizen Is Being Decided’: Neither does anybody believe that an acquittal in the Yukos case is possible in a Moscow court. .... I want to talk to you about hope. Hope — the most important thing in life. ..... I was 35. We were building the best oil company in Russia. ...... Stability has come to look like stagnation. Society has stopped in its tracks. ..... the massacre of Yukos — those I found myself unable to protect, but whom I remember every day .... A country that tolerates a situation in which the siloviki bureaucracy holds tens and even hundreds of thousands of talented entrepreneurs, managers and ordinary people in jail in its own interests, instead of and together with criminals, this is a sick country. A state that destroys its best companies; a country that holds its own citizens in contempt, trusting only the bureaucracy and the special services, is a sick state. ... ..... raiders in uniform .... The names of these prosecutors and judges will remain in history, like the names that have remained in history after the infamous Soviet trials. .... Your Honor, I can imagine perfectly well that this must not be very easy at all for you, perhaps even frightening, and I wish you courage!

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Understanding How The Innovator’s Dilemma Affects You “An innovation that is disruptive allows a whole new population of consumers access to a product or service that was historically only accessible to consumers with a lot of money or a lot of skill.” ..... incumbents in markets – especially large and well entrenched markets – seldom survive fundamental technology changes in their industries ...... there is a huge and rapid sucking sound that pulls the bottom out of the market as waves of customers “trade down.” ..... And becomes a $15 billion company doing $1.2 billion in recurring run-rate revenue and growing while Siebel is sold to Oracle for a mere $5.8 billion. ...... I am reminded about how dismissive traditionally television media is about YouTube – even to this day. About how dismissive traditional print was about blogs or the airlines views the “peanut serving” Southwest Airlines. About how Microsoft viewed Google Apps. Sony, the iPod. US automakers made the mistake with
green genesImage by Esthr via Flickr the “low end” Japanese manufactures until the Toyota became the Lexus. What future have telcos for call-based revenue in the era of Skype? ..... the best they can do is to help fund their successors.

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