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Confined to our homes, trying to hide from a virus and with the global economy heading to the toilet it’s easy to succumb to negative thoughts.

But consider this.

The earth is healing with clear skies and a new appreciation of our natural resources when six months ago it was burning up at an alarming rate.

Humanity had a chill pill forced down our throats to help us focus on the relationships and activities that matter most from family and friends to yoga and fitness.

The world is fighting a common enemy where the foot soldiers are doctors and nurses drawn together by their Hippocratic oath. Not gun toating armies or militias out to draw the blood of each other spurned on by the rhetoric of septuagenarian strong men who have come to power but now are forced to work together. …

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The rumours of the death of Retail Banking have been greatly exaggerated for a few years now. Banking CEO’s have been chasing each other like lemmings, traversing Route 101, hobnobbing with startups and sounding the alarm that the hoodie clad, kale eating, limousine liberal tech startup founders they are meeting are coming to eat their proverbial lunch. An industry acronym has been coined and now everyone is a #FinTech. All it would seem you have to do to become a card carrying member of this club is launch an incubator, seed / invest in a startup or run a hackathon. And you don’t have to do it alone there is a plethora of service providers from traditional to new ones that see themselves as startups (why not?) to do that for you. …

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Donald Trump promised America to make it “Great Again” many of us found it outrageous and ridiculous but 59,343,327 people and counting didn’t. They bought his story and in doing so did just the opposite and killed the American dream as;

Fairness died because a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic man with no experience beat a woman who spent her entire life in public service fighting for issues becoming the most qualified candidate ever.

Unity died as never before did states seems less united between the bi-coastal liberals and the conservative rust belt. …

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As a perennial student of politics there is no greater spectacle than the US national conventions which the democrats have turned into a rockstar event and this one was no exception.

Brilliant speeches, clever politics (dem’s reaching across the aisle) and fabulous fanfare. This election is historic for everyone in the US and the world. Not because it could elect a woman. America is very late to that party. But because it could choose a very dangerous demagogue.

The world seems to be backlashing against sensible and pragmatic if at time painful realities for hateful bellicose and irrational rhetoric. Let’s hope this convention and the coming months does enough to stem that tide and, remind people as Obama did “don’t boo, vote!”

Message to all Bank Bazaar Employees (Friday, 12 February 2016)

Dear Colleagues,

Following Adhil’s note and an incredibly busy and educational few days with the Bank Bazaar management team in Chennai I wanted to take the opportunity to reach out to you, as I wrap up my first week aboard a plane back to Singapore, as the latest member of your team.

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Adhil did a great job of telling you about me so I thought I would share with you the three reasons why I joined Bank Bazaar.

Opportunity. There is a popular faux-Chinese blessing that goes “may you live in interesting times” which is meant to be ironic but applies to the world we live in today. A world which if you look at the financial markets just this week is in flux. Institutions and rules that we once thought were infallible are looking vulnerable or fragile. The financial services industry which is the bedrock of any economy is being challenged by regulation and innovation, both at the same time. However, in all of this chaos lies opportunity. Immense opportunity. As we move into what the World Economic Forum recently called the Fourth Industrial Revolution (read more here) technology will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. With new rules come new players. Companies that no one knew a few years back but are now household names like our lead investor Amazon or in some instances have become verbs like Google. But I am convinced that Silicon Valley is no longer going to be the only factory of these innovative companies. China has already shown it is another one and India is well on its way. Bank Bazaar with its track record, platform and investors is well positioned to be one of those companies not just in India but in Asia.

Data’s growing role in our digitally integrated lives.

Data is not a new term. It has been in our vocabulary since the late 17th century when the Latin word ‘datum’ was adapted to refer to multiple pieces of information or ‘facts’. But not since the mid 1980’s, when the world was introduced to an android character by the same name in the TV series #StarTrek #TheNextGeneration, has ‘Data’ become so much a part of our lives and the zeitgeist (see illustration below ‘The Data on Data’).

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The Data on Data: Usage of the word data in literature and the internet since 1800's courtesy of the Google Book project

So the obvious question that arises is whether this is another passing management fad or is this indeed the elixir that transforms industries and allows those who consume it to stay relevant as we are gripped by the forces of a Digital Revolution?

Why India and Pakistan’s attempts at peace are always fractured and what needs to be done by both sides.

See here’s (one of) the problem(s) Pakistan.

There is no difference between good terrorism and bad terrorism. The 26/11 attacks on Bombay was India’s #Peshawar (or America’s 9/11). LeT are a terrorist outfit and they target India but don’t bring harm to Pakistan (for now). But they operate on your soil in the same way some are accusing Afghanistan, for those who brought terror to the school children. …

Graduation keynote to the 2014 INSEAD Masters in Finance

Aman Narain, MBA Class of 2005

Dean Mihov & Prof. Masa thank you for your kind words.

Insead Master in Finance Class of 2014, let me start by congratulating you on becoming the pioneer class of this program. Having had my brain and liver endure the gruelling demands of the full time MBA program, I stand here in admiration of your dedication to complete such an intense program without the luxury of pressing the pause button on your career and life, as I did ten not so long years ago.

I also wanted to thank you for the honour of inviting me back to my (and soon our) alma matter — to be your graduation speaker — and in doing so check one item off my bucket list. …

Two Triumphs and a Tragedy

October was a very special month for South Asia.

First it celebrated the renaissance of another favourite sport — Hockey. Both Pakistan and India made it to the final’s of the Asian Games in Incheon and put on a nail-biting performance that could have gone either way. In the end, India won but South Asian’s all over the world celebrated a hard fought game where the real winner was the subcontinent.

Then late last week something truly special happened. Pakistan and India again featured together in a remarkable recognition of two individuals who jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize. Again the whole subcontinent jointly celebrated the remarkable accomplishment of the world’s youngest Nobel laureate, Malala Yousafzai, and Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.

Have not seen an elected leader electrify an audience (esp. overseas) like this guy. Modi’s keynote at Madison Garden was epic and a masterclass in the mixing of substance with style, sprinkled with humour like this little quip to get things started.

On a day when China is (tear) gassing its citizens in Hong Kong and locking down electronic borders. You can’t help feel excited about what India under Modi can do for itself, the region and the world by embracing social media and social change.

The former tea boy now world leader was joined on stage by an unprecedented forty congressmen & women on at Madison Square Garden. Amongst raving fans, he served a new flavour of “the American Dream” in the country of its creation. This time with a little more spice and many more colourful accoutrements.

‪#‎MakeInIndia‬ ‪#‎ModiInAmerica‬


Aman Narain

Experience economy & biz transformation junkie. Working at the intersection of Biz, Design & Technology. Occasional political wonk and devoted Dad.

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