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Hire for Attitude or Aptitude?

A stalwart in my profession (academics) always says, “Hire the best athlete.” Don’t worry about their attitude. He didn’t quite say it this way, but I bet that if faced with a choice of a star researcher who wasn’t nice to others, to put it simply, or someone who is


Letter from Santiago

Even richer emerging markets must continue to harness talent. Harnessing latent talent is a central part of any country’s economic development story. I was reminded of this multiple times traveling through Chile this past week. Chile has been Latin America’s success story, having graduated to a per capita income that

Perils of Hierarchy

Perils of Hierarchy

One of the downsides of traveling across the developing world routinely is an overexposure to hierarchy. At its most obvious, this is manifest in most accomplished individuals being accompanied by an entourage of overly fawning folks. Ostensibly they are there to help get things done, so that the eminent person


The Wind in your Sails

This post is part of my Thinking Like an Entrepreneur Series, where I attempt to distil my personal experiences for would-be entrepreneurs. Recognizing large patterns and trends in the environment is something that all entrepreneurs (and investors alike) want to do well. Such understanding can make a large difference; even


In praise of drudgery

A few days ago, I saw an old classic (movie), Jiro Dreams of Sushi.  It features one of the best exponents of the art of making sushi in his iconic Tokyo restaurant. Jiro, the sushi chef, is at it, day in and day out, for decades. The result is perfection!


Extreme weather, Boston today, Mumbai yesterday

Boston has had its worst snowfall in my 25-year memory of this city; some say that this month’s snow accumulation is greater than in any month in the past century. That might be hyperbole, but it communicates how strained the infrastructure is, roads are completely blocked, traffic snarled, the public


Jamaica and Alibaug

A couple of weeks ago, my family and I happened to visit a friend’s home in Alibaug. Mumbai residents know of this ‘beach’ which you can get to from Gateway of India in South Mumbai via a half hour boat ride, or a 3.5 hour convoluted drive. In fact, the