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Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

(Still The) World’s Most Powerful Medium! – IMRAN™

Posted by imrananwar on April 19, 2017

#TelevisionIn4Words is a trending hashtag on Twitter right now. I contributed to that stream with:

“World’s Most Powerful Medium!”
Yes, better believe it, it still is.
You get, as I tagged the post, “#media #news #entertainment #opinion #history #music #comedy #politics #sports #weather” all in one ‘box’!
How many heads of state, or sports champions, or politicians, or businessmen, refuse to be interviewed for TV and say, “No, no TV interviews, tweet me or ask me on FaceBook.” ?
Much that many of us complain about how TV quality sucks these days, very few spend hours daily watching TV reruns from the ‘good old days’. If anything, more and more global citizens are now getting and experiencing the power of television.
Its influence will get even greater as even greater network bandwidth and Internet technology takes global TV to every corner where traditional TV antenna broadcasts could not reach.
And, news flash for those who claim that TV is dead. When you watch video programming, dramas, sports, music, and entertainment on your iPad or smartphone, you are still watching ‘television‘ programming, even if you are not sitting in front of a television set.
Just because the shape and size of the screen change, it does not mean the medium has died.
Stay tuned… television imagery may become holographic or directly tuned into our heads one day in the future, but TV is here to stay. In many ways, it is up to the television industry on how much of the best is still to come.
What do you think?

Imran Anwar
http://IMRAN.TV

Posted in Business, culture, History, Imran, Innovation, Journalism, Media, Music, Opinion, Politics, Society, Strategy, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hanger Games: Catching Fire! – IMRAN™

Posted by imrananwar on April 7, 2016

Posted in Business, China, Dictatorship, Elections, Family, Humor, Hypocrisy, Imran, Imran Anwar, Politics, Republicans | Leave a Comment »

Prioritize DOING SOMETHING (Anything!) Over PRIORITIZING! – IMRAN™

Posted by imrananwar on November 29, 2015

I recently saw a good post on Medium about a poster that author saw on the FaceBook campus… “Ruthless Prioritization”.

That is a great topic of extraordinary significance to me. I have countless ideas. I even get started on dozens.

Yet, my actual productivity, not just output, but effective productivity that gets things done, that brings goals closer to reality, can often be drowned in my desire to organize, prioritize and optimize my tools rather than in doing what needs to get done.

Cal it procrastination, call is avoidance, call it laziness, call it stupidity, but the end result is the same…

Dreams remain dreams, and things do not get done until months later, when I kick myself seeing how easily I could have done them way back when.

One simple rule I am still trying to teach myself is…. 

Prioritize DOING SOMETHING (Anything!) Over PRIORITIZING!!

It is too easy to become OCD about prioritizing types of things important to us, then prioritizing projects within those, then tasks within those.

I find the ONLY days I get ANYTHING done is when I pick up and DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING, and literally get on a roll of getting things done.

Otherwise, I have spent one-third of my productive life investigating and evaluating tools, one-third installing and optimizing them, and one-third prioritizing things in them… leaving a big fat 0.0% of my time to DO *anything* out of what I need to achieve. 

That is still one of the single biggest weaknesses I have…

One of these days I will prioritize my list of weaknesses, to see which ones to find and evaluate tools to overcome next. [wink].

What do you think? Do you have this problem? How do you overcome it?

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Why Email Is Here To Stay, Whatever The Platform Or Interface

Posted by imrananwar on August 10, 2012

It is ironic, and a sign of the times, that the two most interesting discussions in my office email (with many colleagues far smarter than me!) AND on my personal FaceBook page (with many friends even more opinionated than me!) are both about Email, and whether its time has come and gone.

My prediction: Email is here to stay.  Here is why.

Everything has a time and place (and audience). Face to face, telephone, old fashioned hand-written letter, email, post, tweet, all have their uses and none of them really replace any of the others.  As a matter of fact, they complement each other. They enable us to build deeper relationships leveraging these micro-contacts even when we are time-constrained and distance challenged.

I am all for social media. I love interacting with many among the nearly 10,000 people following me on Twitter (http://twitter.com/imrananwar if you’d like to connect), and nearly 10,000 more on FaceBook and Flickr. But it would be highly impractical to pull all of them  into my “real” Address Book or inundate my EMAIL Inbox.  The ones who become important to me on social networks are “upgraded” (or as they become real friends, colleagues, associates) to communicate with me via my “real email.”

BUT, here is something I like to point out to people who wonder if Social Media somehow will be a replacement for EMAIL? No!

What they are talking about is simply exchanging emails in much less robust, far less searchable, far less open, and far less secure, proprietary platforms of social media firms than traditional email systems.

Here is what that means….

We do not hold discussions with clients (or even personal family members) in newsgroups or mailing lists. We interact with them usually in one-to-one exchanges of messages sent in “electronic” “mail” called “EMAIL”.

The irony is that the “one on one” communications that takes place on Social Media (FaceBook, Flickr, you name it) is in one-to-one exchanges of messages just like traditional web-based email, that are exchanged out of the public eye, not on the Wall, not in the Timeline, not on a stream, but in specific areas, e.g. called Messages. And with far less flexibility, accessibility, security, or manageability. 

In other words, using  social media to “replace” Email simply means sending private “messages” on their platforms, simply email by another name!

Social media firms know email is, and likely will, remain the most used mechanism for one-to-one exchanges…. with the flexibility of multimedia multimodal multiple-use that even telephone calls do not offer.  

FaceBook is even more obvious in showing its recognition of this fact, by forcibly inserting  YourName@facebook.com as your default EMAIL address in the About > Contact Info page, until there was a huge outcry about it. Trust them to go back on their word… Even today they have NOT “fixed” the problem as they promised and most people’s pages still show FaceBook.com addresses.

Even worse, for those of you daring enough to place their entire (email) stock in a social network, think about this…

You post something that FaceBook deems inappropriate, or if you send out 20 invitations to people and 10 are not accepted, the clerical-gods of FaceBook (and other networks too) may strike you with e-Lightning and cancel your account. If that happens, good luck recovering your email, or any of your content, from there.

With traditional email providers, even if, say, Yahoo shuts down one day (sorry, Marissa!), Hotmail migrates to Outlook.com, Gmail spying gets too intrusive, you can still easily drag your emails onto another provider/server/account/computer/device. You still “own” or have far greater control over your emails/messages in these “legacy” email approaches than you do, or likely will, in the social media sites’ Messages boxes.

The tragedy of “regular” email is that many great discussions like the ones I mention above, including those with actual knowledge transfers from smart people answering questions, are lost in email folders’ deep recesses forever. Mail apps and operating systems like Windows and OS X are getting better at helping us “spotlight” what we need to find, but it can still be a pain, especially in corporate mailboxes. Sometimes you can have 200+ email messages with the same keywords mentioned and poorly written subject lines (a pet peeve of mine) making it next to impossible to find THE particular email you are looking for with the answer to that complex question someone had answered 3 months ago.

In my humble opinion, detailed technical topics, with specific questions asked and many valuable replies sent (that are the majority of traffic on most companies internal email discussions) would be so much more effective, less intrusive, and more useful to others later, if they were held on suitably tailored Microsoft SharePoint or Wiki type collaboration platforms. So, yes, for that email is not the right tool. And the unnecessary traffic (plus resultant bloated mailboxes with each reply-all containing the last dozens of emails in each discussion, in every instance of each message, in all of our mailboxes!) give rise to the type of very discussion my Enterprise Architect colleagues are having. 

When, over time, we are able to influence people to use collaboration tools where appropriate, social/mobile media (Yammer/Twitter/Lync/SMS) as practical or needed, somehow overcome a propensity to hit Reply-All on almost every email (another pet peeve 😉 ), get in the habit of writing better Subject lines (PLEASE, You can do better Subject lines than “Doc attached” or “Here it is” or the dreaded “RE:” !!), learn to judiciously delete previous body text not relevant or required, many of the reasons we complain about email would be reduced. 

So, yes, it may shift platforms, take on new interfaces, become more “intelligent”, but Email is here to stay, regardless of what platform we exchange it on…..

What do you think? Email me! 

 

Imran Anwar is a New York based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, inventor, writer and TV personality. His day job is with the world’s best software company, but these opinions are his and his alone. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com . You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/imrananwar


Posted in Apple, Business, Imran, Imran Anwar, Internet, Microsoft, Strategy, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Question The Tough Questions To Ask In Cloud Computing

Posted by imrananwar on September 14, 2011

I am on record as suggesting that tough questions need to be asked by everyone (including clients, media AND vendors) before jumping on the Cloud Computing bandwagon. (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYl-tzTHtQk which I recorded even before having a day job at the leading Cloud Computing Converged Infrastructure vendor.)

I read a recent article, Some tough questions you need to ask your cloud provider,  by Rutrell Yasin. It is in the respected GCN (Government Computer News), a publication I also recall being interviewed by in the past. That was during my days of being CEO, EverTrac, the pioneer in location-aware eBusiness solutions, including tracking people and assets, indoors and outdoors, in the late 1990s.

In it, the writer quotes, Wolf Tombe, chief technology officer within the Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Information Technology. I am certain Mr. Tombe is far smarter, more experienced and clout-carryng in government, technology, and probably even Cloud Computing circles than I am.

But, I also respectfully disagree with his contention that some applications are “easy wins moving to the cloud, such as e-mail and collaboration tools”.

If “easy” refers to how quickly and conveniently an app can be deployed onto a cloud or converged infrastructure, then I would say, most apps, whether email, or ISV created vertical solutions, can be migrated with reasonable convenience and the expected amount of work.

If the contention is that somehow email and collaboration are no brainers to put in the public cloud, I strongly disagree.

I think that is over simplistic and dangerous. What apps are no-brainers to move to the public cloud should depend on the mission-critical or sensitive nature of the data or functionality in the app, not what the app itself is.

For example, even the simple email and internal discussion files of a nuclear weapons design agency with just 100 people would be far more critical to protect than, say, all the accounting data of a widget making company with 5000 employees.

So, as I have said before, tough questions need to be asked… by clients, by media, and even by vendors. The stakes are too high, the opportunity too huge, and the threats too serious for any of these elements to be glossed over.

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Brand New Day, Bold New World, Of Global Brands Popularity

Posted by imrananwar on May 9, 2011

There was a time, even in the 1950s and 1960s, when you could go to the least developed place in the world, that had no electricity or running water, yet be sure to find just a select few brands recognized by everyone, not just the educated elite in those countries.

These most definitely were Coke and Mercedes Benz, and perhaps a handful of others. In the 1970s and 1980s Levi’s and Pepsi, started showing up. Even though some technology companies like IBM were doing business globally, they were unknown or irrelevant to the masses.

That is not the case today. As I tweeted today:

World Top 10 Brands: Apple top, Google, IBM follow – http://bit.ly/iRdI5Z

Not only is a technology (and increasingly consumer electronics now) company, Apple, the world’s most valuable brand, it displaced another technology company, Google. To show the trend even more clearly, IBM actually rose up, to become number 3.

Other global brand stalwarts like McDonald’s, and especially Coke, have fallen.

They remain in the Top 10, but it is amazing to see the impact technology has had on the global society in just a few years. Don’t forget, it was literally 10 years ago that Apple, coming back from near death in the late 1990s with the Return Of Jobs, launched the iPod and MacOS X.

Ten to twenty years ago most people in the world would not know the difference between Unix and other similar sounding words. Today, the world’s most valued brand is based on Unix, a variant of MacOS X, running on Macs, iPad, iPhone, Mac, and counting.

Today we may think that Cloud Computing (or the impact it has) is limited to big corporations. I daresay, there is nothing stopping Cloud vendors of today from being the Apple of tomorrow.

Steve Jobs, and Apple, see that, as we know from their acquisition ($4.5 million!) of the icloud.com domain name. But, surely there will be many more new entrants of today that could be on that Top 10 List in 2020, if they have the vision.

What do you think? Will your brand be one of them? And, what are you doing today to make it happen?

 

© Imran Anwar

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Posted in Business, Globalization, Imran, Marketing, Strategy, Technology | Comments Off on Brand New Day, Bold New World, Of Global Brands Popularity

The Worst Of Times, The Best Of Times To Come?

Posted by imrananwar on March 13, 2009

Grim economic news is all around us. Not only are individuals facing the toughest economic times, businesses are hurting and entire industries are facing extinction. There has been a lot of discussion going on about several industries. Even though the headlines may be full of news about the problems faced by individual companies – like Citibank, AIG, Bank of America, General Motors and Chrysler – few are debating whether the entire automobile, banking, insurance or even real estate industries will shut down completely. But there are several industries whose very existence is being questioned.

These include the newspaper, music, book-publishing and Hollywood film industries. Each of these industries has been in flux for more than a decade. Each has had predictions associated with it that ranged from their growing even larger and more successful to completely dying within a matter of years. In the case of each of these industries, even more than changing consumer behavior, challenging economic times, bad management or unsustainable business models, the threat cited most frequently has been the Internet.

There are several key points I make to my consulting clients in the media and technology industries when starting a discussion on crafting their strategies for the next 10 and 20 years. The reality is that the Internet did change everything. What the Internet did was give every industry an opportunity to become stronger, more efficient, more effective and smarter. Or they had to choice simply to use the Internet as just another business tool – without any thought being given to reconsidering outdated business models.

The following four industries muddled along for the last 20 years. They talked about how they were leveraging the Internet. They even started several initiatives to show how they “got” the Internet. They bought nice domain names and set up slick websites. They even hired people and gave them fancy titles like Vice President of Internet Strategy etc. but they did not truly “get” it. They did not go back to the drawing board to re-evaluate their business models and see how the Internet could help or hurt, especially if bad economic times ever hit. That is exactly what the bad times did do. They hit, and they hit hard.

That is why these are the industries most at risk. A respected commentator and very powerful writer, Cory Doctorow, had written a good piece, in Internet Evolution, analyzing these four industries. He made some good points, but I had a slightly different opinion. Here is what I think about the following industries and how they can still survive, maybe even thrive, in the coming years.

– Newspapers

Even though old industries, and their biggest players, are often threatened by new technology – it can sometimes take 100 years or more for an entire industry to die. One way to ensure that death is for the industry not to take threats to its existence seriously. In the case of the newspaper industry it is already several hundred years old (well, almost).

In the past it survived by actively leveraging all the available new technologies, from the printing press to desktop publishing, not just to survive but to thrive.

When radio and TV started to be a threat to the printed newspaper, it was the newspaper owners that went on to own most of the radio and television stations. But that means they co-opted, not leveraged, the new technologies and challenging platforms.

The reason the newspaper is having such a hard time with the Internet, especially in these dire economic times, is two-fold.
One is that the element of huge investment requirements that former newspaper (and added radio/TV) empires were built on is now gone.

As a matter of fact, it is now a serious liability. Almost anyone can now start a “newspaper” or information service. Online news services now abound. There are even white label companies and websites allowing anybody to set up their own “newspaper” simply by slapping together a combination of news feeds from multiple sources. The newspaper industry, in the meantime, remains hobbled by huge investments in real estate, printing equipment, high salaries and administrative costs.

The second is still relying on the old economic business models. An over-reliance on advertising became a disaster when first the Internet took away a lot of the advertising revenue, and then the recession killed ad sales even more. I still think newspapers, as an industry, will not die any time soon. Newspapers still offer things online media cannot do at this time. Some are tangible, some intangible.

In tangible, the quality of print and the subtleties of layout and design are still unmatched on the fanciest LCD screens or in most complex HTML pages. Intangibles, like convenience, the ability to tear out an article for later reading, are important. But most of all, permanence of record and trust, are “solid intangibles” that newspapers have not yet learnt to push into the value proposition their readers associate with them.

In my humble opinion, newspapers will survive, in new and different forms. They need to leverage and market the tangible and intangible values they offer to grow. But they can only do so if and as soon as they figure out the ability to move from a bundled “all the news we see fit to print” to an unbundled, micro-payments enabled, micro-targeted, 100% customized, personal tool and service that readers cannot live without holding in their hands.

– Music

Ironically, the death of the music labels industry will actually be the rebirth of the music industry. I do not even refer to “the long tail” business model (where the idea is that instead of making lots of money from one big splash, one can make lots of money over a long period of time, or over a large number of small sales).

The new positive fact is that creators of music can get paid directly, even 100%, from their consumer and clients – without a middleman. That renders obsolete an entire industry built on many middle layers. That means that music as an industry can actually thrive now that it is unshackled and the long overused, even clichéd “disintermediation” is here to stay.

This new world will be the death toll for middle-later but it can be music to creators’ and consumers’ ears. This will require a new way of doing things. Music production and distribution online have already changed the way the business is starting to run. What is still missing is musicians, bands and other talent from getting on the electronic micro-payments bandwagon (no pun intended!).

As micro-payments become more prevalent (in my opinion, the indie music scene should be one of the biggest champions of that) I see huge opportunity for musicians of all types to make good money, – even without having to rely on live performances as a source of income.

– Books

Just like the introduction of electronic documents was supposed to have brought about the death of the paper-products industry, predictions of the demise of the book industry are premature. The future of the book industry is still being written. How and where and it’s published is still in the industry players’ hands.

What today’s technology is enabling people to do is to see themselves as potential authors, not just book buyers or readers. Lulu, Blurb, CafePress, XLibris and many others are offering to make us published authors for little cost. That means the actual number of book editions, eBooks or printed, will actually rise as almost everyone becomes an author. What will be surprising will be that the actual total number of physical book shipments will also rise.

This is almost similar to how more pages of paper went through laser printers the more documents became available to read online. In the case of the new books industry, will each one of them be a blockbuster? Most probably not.

However, even if the total number of blockbuster books physically printed goes down, in my humble opinion, the actual physical number of total books printed, using the newest services and technologies, will significantly rise.

At least for the next 30 years I still see authors believing in the higher perceived value of having a published paper-based book in their bookshelf than an eBook on their hard drive.

– Movies

Even though I am now equipped with a fully tapeless HD camera, and as well as the latest Apple tools for video editing, I do not foresee any of my creative endeavors, even in my wildest dreams, in any way threatening the amazing world of magic that comes from the best of Hollywood. (We’re talking about the good stuff, not a lot of the recent Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller stuff).

The fact that some Hollywood blockbuster movies can cost $300 million is not a sustainable business model. That is not because YouTube type videos threaten it, but because of the sheer lunacy of the numbers.

The huge chunk of money that is paid to movie stars, some making $25-$30 million per movie, regardless of how famous they are, is the biggest needed cut I see coming. The falling costs of special effects and computer animation, and easier availability of the skills for them, are becoming more tangible forces on the industry. That gives technologists and the IT industry a bigger cut of the next generation Hollywood Dollars Pie.

I foresee more, and better, Hollywood movies being made for a fraction of today’s costs., with more reasonably priced talent and higher reliance on technology and creativity of individuals, not large companies. Hollywood can do that while still being significantly better than most low-budget flicks, thereby ensuring it an audience worldwide, for many years to come.

Throw in the ability to make micro-payments for movies streamed or downloaded from the Internet to our devices of choice, and you can see a whole new revenue stream becoming available to sustain Hollywood as well as Bollywood.

==

Imran Anwar is a New York and Miami based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, inventor, writer and TV personality. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com and imran@imran.com . You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/imrananwar

Posted in 2009, Advertising, Amazon, Books, Business, Entrepreneur, Hollywood, Movies, Music, New Media, News, Newspapers, Opportunity, Publishing, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

IMRAN Economic Recovery Plan – Do You Need Help In This Economy? – “Help Us Help US”

Posted by imrananwar on January 8, 2009

Are things looking bad in this economy? Who’s bailing you out? Could you use $25,000 right about now?

Here is a working plan that will save us and the US.

Financial deregulation started under the Clinton era and, through the terrible mismanagement under George W. Bush, the economy melted. Now TRILLIONS of Dollars were given away by Bush to bailout industries that put you, me and our entire economy at risk. Even failing carmakers are getting Billions. Are you getting a dime?

Obama has good ideas but they are not enough to do anything for you, for us, for the US in the immediate situation. We need help NOW.

Here is the IMRAN Economic Recovery Plan.

It provides a specific way to trigger an economic recovery within 90 days. Ninety Days, not 9 months or 9 years.

Imran Anwar ( http://imran.com/media/blog/ ) explains the plan and the specifics on how it would work. Using a simple example with numbers, he shows how much money you would get, how you can spend it to stabilize your situation and help the economy. Finally, he explains how the government gets the money back – so we are not all paying trillions in higher taxes for money that makes bankers and other failed executives even richer at our expense while we lose homes, jobs, cars and our future.

This plan ensures legal American residents, citizens and taxpayers are bailed out. They can spend money on American businesses, so more Americans can be hired and the American government can get tax revenues again to ensure a stronger future for AMERICANS.

Would $25,000 to $30,000 help you today? If you want to get help, do something. Take action. It’s easy.

Please tell everyone you know about this ERP (Economic Recovery Plan).

Please share on FaceBook, MySpace, your blog, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon… call in on radio shows, email TV programs and hosts that you like. Write letters to editors.

If you don’t take action, no one will bail you out but you will be paying for years for money given away to bankers, oil companies, automakers and other sleazy businesses. It’s your choice. Watch now and please rate it positively so others can hear the idea and support it. Help Us Help US!

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Posted in America, Automakers, Automobiles, Bailout, Bank, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Bush, Business, Citibank, Clinton, Congress, Consumers, Credit, Credit Cards, Democrats, Deregulation, Detroit, Economic Recovery, Economy, Entrepreneur, Future, George Bush, Globalization, Imran, Imran Anwar, IMRAN.TV, In My Humble Opinion, Innovation, Loan, Merchants, Obama, Opportunity, Republicans, Rescue, Socialism, Strategy, Treasury, USA, Video, Washington, Wealth | Leave a Comment »

Profit From The Meltdown: Part 2: Huge Profit Opportunities In The Coming Recovery

Posted by imrananwar on October 22, 2008

Profit From The Meltdown:

Part 2: Huge Profit Opportunities In The Coming Recovery

By Imran Anwar

In the previous column we discussed why the current economic crisis appears far worse than it actually is. Yes, grave dangers exist if the world’s economies are mismanaged. But, so far, it appears that all major governments understand the global implications and are working together to stave off global ruin.

It is for this reason that I argue this may be the best time in the world to start investing, to take advantage of the huge opportunities and bargains that surround us, before everyone else does. This is especially true of younger generations, young families, and dynamic people who can afford to take a long term view more than someone close to retirement or already retired (unless they have significant amounts available to invest).

I believe the recession, though painful, will be short lived and will end soon into the Presidency of the new American President. This is especially true if history is any indicator. A Bush in the White House always leads this country into war and economic ruin, and his exit always leads to a historic economic recovery and the opportunity to create great wealth. I can hardly wait for Inauguration Day, 2009!

I also believe we will not have a global Great Depression version 2 between now and then.

There are several reasons for this. One is that most of the world governments and nations had learned several lessons from that historic crash of 1929 – which is referred to as The Great Depression. (I am not sure what was so "great" about it). In that particular crash, the then American administration had made many bad moves. That included not responding, not responding in time, then responding in a parochial, inward looking, protectionist way and doing too little too late.

You are not hearing me say that George W. Bush or his team of incompetent henchmen have done anything right. However, because we live in the Internet age, and most of world economies are so tightly intertwined, in general most of the developed world’s governments are working in unison to avoid a global meltdown, even while they recognize a recession is already underway.

How to minimize its damage, and to prevent it from turning into a domino effect – that brings the planet to its knees – is what they are fighting for. Bush and his team, and even Presidential candidate Senator John McCain, showed their cluelessness on the economy. At 9 AM one day McCain was saying the economy was strong. Two hours later he was saying the country (America) was in a grave crisis, as if a sudden earthquake had just taken place.

Then Bush’s Treasury Secretary Paulson said there were specific steps that would be just plain wrong – like the government taking equity stakes in American banks in exchange for large sums of capital. But, when the British, Europeans and Japanese governments did exactly that and saved their economies, literally a day later he was doing the same thing. So much for having any competent person in the White House team! (Maybe Bush can now say, "You’re doing a heckuva job Pauly"?)

But, regardless of how incompetent these people are, fortunately they are not the only ones who have a stake in saving the American economy from imploding.

There are countries with huge amounts of United States dollars stashed away in their banks. This includes countries like China. Even the Chinese Communist government, regardless of how disdainfully it may think of the United States, is smart enough to know that the greatest source of its wealth in recent years has been from manufacturing cheap goods that the American market just cannot get enough of buying.

Also, as few people realize, an American meltdown, of its economy or its currency, will also mean financial ruin for China in several ways. China’s growing working middle class depends on feeding the American consumption beast for it to survive and grow itself.

On top of that, over the least few years, despite participating in a world economy, and benefiting from capitalism and open markets, China has always manipulated its own currency to ensure its goods do not become too expensive to export. As a result, for several years, America has had a huge trade deficit with China, leading, effectively, to America owing China a lot of money.

Now its policy of protecting its own currency is coming back to bite China. That is because China is possibly the biggest non-American holder of huge reserves of Dollars. A crash of the Dollar can effectively wipe out China’s current economic wealth.

America, just like Pakistan right now, is hardly in a position to turn down economic support from any quarter. Sure, it’ll be a shameful and sad day for the United States to go begging to China. The one remaining superpower in both military and economic terms, before George W. Bush came into office, would actually now be dependent on a communist country like China to help save it’s capitalist society!

China, previously the source of cheap socks and itty-bitty cheap plastic toys could be and, I would say also for its own self-interest, has to be America’s economic savior.I also see this as a huge opportunity for Middle Eastern countries, also slush in Dollars and Petro-Dollars, to offer their help but leverage it to increase opportunities for their businesses. But, sadly, I have not seen much strategic exploitation of that of any significance. Sure, we have the occasional deal worth Billions (e.g. when a financially suffering chip-maker AMD has sold off a majority stake to ATIC of Abu Dhabi, an investment arm wholly-owned by the government of Abu Dhabi.

But, I do not see a concerted, strategic and financial effort on the part of Middle-Eastern, or Muslim, investors and entrepreneurs to exploit opportunities as I see Indian and Israeli companies doing. I can imagine us crying in 20 years about how not only do the Jews control Hollywood and the media but then how Indians and Israelis control Silicon Valley.

Yes, I do see that Arabs have started buying up real estate, the one business they understand well here in America (being among the biggest buyers of casinos and other entertainment properties also). But, can they leverage this to help establish a foothold for Arabs and Muslims in things like Venture Capital and other next-generation financial industries? Sadly, it does not appear that is even a goal for them. It seems real estate is already, correctly, being targeted for massive investments but not much else.

It is for this reason that I am quite confident that huge opportunities exist for Pakistani, Middle-Eastern and Muslim investors to benefit, not just from real estate, but also from many other opportunities to buy financial, corporate and technology company assets at bargain prices.

Even though, like everyone else, I took significant hits in the stock market during the last several months, I have actually increased my holdings, especially in stocks of Citibank, as well as Apple. I have also bought stocks of others, like Amazon, Pepsi-Cola, etc. that also got hammered a few days ago. But, the greatest upside I still see in the stock market is in companies like Apple, as well as other battered financial stocks.

Last but not least expensive desirable real estate is going to become even more expensive and more desirable as the market turns around, which is sure to do in the coming days. This will be true especially in the United States when my fellow Americans are smart enough to change the direction this country is headed in. It will happen even sooner if they elect a candidate who is not simply going to continue George W. Bush’s policies of economic disaster. We will find out on November 4.

But, don’t lose sight of the huge opportunity for real estate that exists in other markets too.

Major American institutions have created funds of several Billion Dollars to start buying real estate in countries including India. Thanks to the self-destructive tendencies of my fellow Pakistanis, people hardly consider Pakistan as a safe haven for their money (much less their bodies!), but as real estate investment takes off, there will also be a trickle-down or trickle-sideways (osmosis?) effect on Pakistani real estate prices.

I have been making my best efforts to interest American investors in also including Pakistan in the list of places that they invest in – but so far it has been a losing battle. I am hopeful in the new Administration in America (and some improvement in Pakistan’s war on terrorists) that the USA will feel a greater need to invest in Pakistan. But, similar huge opportunities exist for Pakistanis of means to invest in real estate in the United States and I am seeing that a lot more from clients that I advise on doing business in the USA.

All in all, I am not just hopeful, but certain, that the current recession will be a short one, though not without short-term pain. I am positive that savvy investors are going to start putting their money, and their instincts, to work before everyone else jumps back on the bandwagon. I am working to do that, and hope you will too!


Conclusion.

Posted in Amazon, Apple, Bush, Business, China, Citibank, Economy, Elections, Globalization, Imran, India, Investment, McCain, Opportunity, Pakistan, Pepsi, Politics, President | Leave a Comment »

How Traditional Publications Can Become The Future Of Publishing

Posted by imrananwar on July 3, 2008

How Traditional Publications Can Become The Future Of Publishing
— The Shape Of Prints To Come —

Comment By Imran Anwar (3/29/2005)

People often ask me “Is there a future for traditional newspapers and magazines, and will digital devices not make these “traditional” publications obsolete?”

Well, the answer depends on how “traditional” publishers respond to the threats from digital devices – as their doom, or as new opportunities for them to expand the horizons of publishing.

What we call traditional publications may likely not be around in 25 years, much less in 50. However, I still see a bright future for magazines and newspapers, if we look at them from just two of several possible new angles I can imagine.

One, is a magazine or newspaper considered that only if it is printed on paper? Won’t it still be a “traditional” newspaper 50 years from now if I, or more likely my children, are sitting at the beach, flipping the pages of a silicon film digital ink based publication that can be refilled with tomorrow’s newspaper wirelessly every night or every few hours even?

Two, even if almost all of the content we seek becomes available in various colorful, handheld devices, traditional magazines can still make a niche for themselves…. by being non-traditional.

The digital devices most people envision replacing paper publications have their own limitations….. e.g. the need to have a one-size fits all device, regardless of whether I am reading the NY Times’ news or MacWorld’s reviews.

But, “traditional” publications can be printed in almost any size or shape, and, thanks to modern printing technology, on almost any material.

Thus, content design for these new shapes, textures, materials and sizes will allow publication designers huge opportunities of expression that no “all purpose” digital reader can match.

I do not see any reason why imaginative publishers will not create and design their publications in varying paper sizes (poster size or pocket) or with irregular shapes (triangle, continuous scroll, 100-fold single sheet) or having unique textures (cotton, holographic paper, parchment, aluminum, suede) or have different pages filled with aromas (for recipe pages for example) and who knows what else.

Their imagination is the limit. With so much creative freedom in “paper” publications, digital devices may then seem to be limited and limiting of the “reader experience”!

Imagine people wondering, in 2025 perhaps, if “traditional electronic reading devices” will be around in 20 years and if the “real” and “sensory” (i.e. including touch, feel, smell….) magazines and newspapers will replace them. Never say Never.

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© 2005, Imran Anwar
IMRAN.TV

Posted in Anwar, Business, Imran, Internet, Monetization, New Media, Publishing, Strategy, Technology | Leave a Comment »

 
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