Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a desert.
Congress said, “Someone may steal from it at night.” So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job.
Then Congress said, “How does the watchman do his job without instruction?” So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person to write the instructions, and one person to do time studies.
Then Congress said, “How will we know the night watchman is doing his tasks correctly?” So they created the Quality Control Department and hired two people. One to do the studies and one to write the reports.
Then Congress said, “How are these people going to get paid?” So they created a time keeper and a payroll officer position, then hired two people for the roles.
Then Congress said, “Who will be accountable for all of these people?” So they created an administrative section and hired three people: An Administrative Officer, Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal Secretary.
Then Congress said, “We have had this command in operation for one year and we are $18,000 over budget, we must cutback overall cost.”
So they laid off the night watchman.!!!
As far as the value of the raw materials in them, this varies from Olympiad to Olympiad. For the recent 2012 Olympics in London, the medals were the largest of any in Summer Olympic history up to that point, weighing in at 400g for the gold medal. Of this 400g, 394g was sterling silver (364.45g silver / 29.55g copper) with 6g of 24 karat gold plating. At the price of gold and silver when these medals were won by various Olympians, this means a gold medal in the London Olympics was worth about $624, with $304 of the value coming from the gold plating and about $320 coming from the sterling silver. Since then, the price of gold has dropped about 18% and the price of silver has dropped about 39%.
For the current 2016 Rio Olympics, the gold medals are one-upping the London Games, weighing in at a a half a kilogram, with about 462g of it silver, 6g gold, and the rest copper. So by current gold and silver prices as of July 13, 2016, these medals are worth about $561 total, with approximately $301 of the value from silver and $260 from gold. So, despite being 1/5 more massive than the London Games Olympics medals, and having the same amount of gold and much more silver, due to the significant drop in gold and silver prices since 2012, the Rio gold medals are worth less at their awarding than the London Games medals were worth when they were awarded.
Of course, athletes can often get much more than this selling the medals on the open market, particularly for momentous medals, like the “Miracle on Ice” 1980 men’s U.S. hockey team gold medal. Mark Wells, a member of that team, auctioned his medal off in 2012 and received $310,700 for it, which he needed to help pay for medical treatment.
Most auctioned medals don’t go for nearly this much, though. For instance, Anthony Ervin’s 50 meter freestyle gold medal won in 2000, even with all proceeds going to the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami, only sold for $17,100. John Konrads’ 1500 meter freestyle gold medal won in 1960 only sold for $11,250 in 2011. This is a great return in terms of what the raw value of the materials are worth, but certainly nowhere close to Mark Wells’ medal.
Gold medals in the Olympics weren’t always made mostly of silver. Before the 1912 Olympics, they were made of solid gold. However, they tended to be much smaller than modern medals. For instance, the 1900 Paris gold medals were only 3.2 mm thick, with a 59 mm diameter, weighing just 53g. For perspective, the London 2012 medals were 7 mm thick, with a diameter of 85 mm and, as mentioned, weighed 400g. The 1900 Paris gold medals at today’s value of gold are worth about $2300. For the 1912 games in Stockholm, the last year the gold medals were made of solid gold, the value of the gold medals at current prices of gold would be around $870.
If the current 2016 Olympic gold medals were made out of solid gold, they’d be worth about $21,625 each. This may seem feasible, considering how much money the Olympics brings in, until you consider just how many medals are awarded during each summer Olympics. For instance, in these 2016 Olympics, about 2,488 medals have been produced, including 812 gold medals. At $21,625 each, that would be just shy of $18 million dollars for the gold medal materials alone.
As it is, with the current gold medals having about $561 worth of materials, then $305 for the silver medals, and about $5 for the bronze (which are mostly made of copper, with a very small amount of zinc and tin), about $708,000 is still being spent on the raw materials alone for these medals, not to mention the cost of having them minted.
Source……..www.today i foundout.com
As a boat docked into a tiny seaside village, a visiting businessman complimented the local fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.
“Not very long,” answered the fisherman.
“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the businessman. The fisherman explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.
The businessman asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, and sing a few songs… I have a full life.”
The businessman interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”
“And after that?” asked the fisherman.
“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to the city, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.
How long would that take?” asked the fisherman.
“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the businessman.
“And after that?”
“Afterwards? Well my Friend, That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the businessman, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”
“Millions? Really? And after that?” said the fisherman.
“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings doing what you like and enjoying your friends.”
Kestrel Aviation Management Boeing 787-8 BBJ.
In July, China’s HNA Aviation Group will welcome a shiny new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner to its fleet.
This plane is special because it is the first 787 Dreamliner to be built purely as a private jet.
HNA’s new Dreamliner is symbolic of a hot new trend in private and corporate aviation — long-range, mid-size, wide-body airliners.
“It’s an emerging market that didn’t really exist in the past,” Kestrel Aviation Management CEO Stephen Vella told Business Insider. Kestrel oversaw the design, engineering, and fabrication of HNA’s new Dreamliner which has an estimated total cost topping $300 million.
Airbus and Boeing have long offered versions of its airliners to private customers under their Airbus Corporate Jet and Boeing Business Jet programs. However, buyers of these airliner-based private jets have long gravitated to either four-engine, jumbo jets like the Boeing 747 or smaller, narrow-body jets such as the Airbus A320.
“The market is traditionally separated into two buckets,” Vella said. “The big Boeing 747s and Airbus A340s primarily catered to heads of state while the smaller Airbus A320 and Boeing 737s are popular corporate runabouts as well as secondary planes in government fleets.”
Boeing 787-8 BBJ interior.
Although twin-engine, mid-size, wide-body jets such as the Boeing 767 and the Airbus A330 have long been available, they never quite caught on with the private jet crowd.
However, in recently years, ultra high-end private jet customers have become increasingly interested in the new generation mid-size, wide-body planes such as the Dreamliner and Airbus A350.
According to Vella, several factors led to the shift.
First, leading business men and heads of state are generally pressed for time. As a result, they prefer be to able to fly anywhere they need to go non-stop. Until recently, this simply wasn’t possible in a twin-engined jet. The traditional thinking in the aviation dictates that there’s safety in the number of engines a plane has.
Regulating bodies such as the US Federal Aviation Administration have even placed limits on which ultra-long-range intercontinental routes twin-engine jets can fly. As a result, government and corporate clients looking for a plane which the range and capability to go anywhere in the world had to turn to four-engined jumbos.
However, with the incredible reliability of modern turbofan engines, the regulatory limitations on twin-engined jets have essentially been wiped out. Now, planes such as the A350 and the 787 can fly anywhere the owner requires, but in a slightly smaller and more affordable package. For instance, HNA’s new state-of-the-art composite Boeing has a range of 9,800 miles even when packed with passengers, luggage, and fuel. A similarly outfitted A350 ACJ will be able to delivery that type performance as well.
“You can fly between virtually any two points on the globe,” Vella said of the Dreamliner.
Secondly, the price of crude oil has fallen dramatically over the past two years. Even though cheaper fuel makes buying and operating a thirsty, four-engined, jumbo jet much more attractive, low crude prices have also cut dramatically into the income of Middle Eastern governments. Unfortunately for the 747 BBJ, they are also some of the plane’s biggest customers.
According to Vella, all major Middle Eastern governments such as Saudi Arabia, operate large royal fleets, many of which are jumbo jets, for elite members of the ruling family and officials to use.
Over the next decade or so, these fleets with need to be updated. Vella, whose company has bought and sold more than $50 billion worth of commercial and private jets, believes the Middle Eastern clientele are ready to do some belt-tightening and downsize to smaller planes.
Finally, another factor that has benefited the Dreamliner-sized jet is the increasing public sensitivity towards political largess. Unlike the US, where the plane that operates as Air Force One is held in high esteem and seen as a symbol of national power, the public in many countries view a large presidential aircraft as a sign of political over indulgence.
According to Vella, this is a particularly sensitive issue in Europe. However, a smaller aircraft with the performance capabilities of a jumbo, but in a less attention-getting package is a reasonable alternative.
“The mid-size jets have less ramp presence,” Vella said. “They offer the owner much more discretion.”
After all, it’s hard to arrive discretely in a jumbo jet no matter where you go. Even at the world’s busiest international airports, an aircraft the size of a 747 or Airbus A380 is conspicuous.
But all of this requires some perspective. Even the “smaller” 787 BBJ is still an absolutely massive aircraft. At 186 ft. long, even Donald Trump’s converted Boeing 757 is dwarfed by the new Dreamliner. And with 2,400 sq. ft. of living space, it offers the same amount of room as an average American suburban home.
According to the long-time aviation executive, over the next 15-20 years, demand from just the Middle East for Boeing 787-sized private jets will top 30 aircraft. That may not sound like many planes, but at more than $300 million a pop, that’s about $10 billion in business from just a handful of customers.
In fact, Vella believes demand from East Asia will be just as intense over that period of time.
“Because of the high number of long distance and (trans-oceanic) flights the customers make, these are the perfect planes for Asia,” Vella added.
Whether the market for these mid-size, twin-engine wide-body private jets actually skyrockets remain to be seen. But with the unprecedented level of advanced technology, luxury, and performance it can offer, they are an undeniably attractive option for the right buyer.
Source…..BENJAMIN ZHANG in http://www.businessinsider.com.au
துபாயின் ‘உலக வர்த்தக மையம்’ பற்றி ஒரு கதை உண்டு. 70-களின் தொடக்கத்தில் ஒரு தொழிலதிபர் துபாய்க்கு வந்தார். இடம் ஒன்று வாங்கி, கட்டிடம் கட்டிப்போடும் எண்ணத்தில் துபாயின் ஷேக் ரஷீதின் அரண்மனைக்கு அவர் சென்றார். அவருக்கு இடம் விற்பதற்கு ஷேக் இசைந்தார். ஆனால், ஷேக்கின் சர்வேயர் காட்டிய இடம் நகரத்தின் மையத்தை விட்டு விலகியிருந்ததால் அந்தத் தொழிலதிபருக்கு அந்த இடம் பிடிக்கவில்லை. மிகுந்த பணிவுடன் மறுத்துவிட்டார். அதற்குப் பல மாதங்களுக்குப் பிறகு தான் மறுத்த இடம் எவ்வளவு வளர்ச்சி பெற்றிருக்கிறது என்பதைக் கண்ட தொழிலதிபர் சேக்கிடம் சென்றார்.
முதலில் காட்டிய இடத்தை மறுத்ததற்கு மன்னிப்பு கேட்டுவிட்டு, தனக்கு மறுபடியும் அந்த இடம் தேவைப்படுகிறது என்று கேட்டார். அவருக்கு ஷேக் வேறொரு இடத்தைக் காட்டச் செய்தார். அந்த இடத்திலிருந்து பார்த்தால் தூரத்தில் பாலைவனம் தெரிந்தது. அதற்கப்புறம், தொழிலதிபர் துபாய்க்குத் திரும்பி வரவேயில்லை. அவர் கண்டு பயந்து ஓடிய இரண்டாவது இடத்தில்தான் இப்போது ‘உலக வர்த்தக மையம்’ இருக்கிறது.
அந்தத் தொழிலதிபர் மட்டுமல்ல, ‘உலக வர்த்தக மையம்’ வந்த பிறகும் பலரும் துபாயின் வளர்ச்சி குறித்து ஐயமே கொண்டிருந்தனர். ஆனால், இப்போதோ அந்த வர்த்தக மையம்தான் துபாயில் இருமருங்கிலும், வானளாவிய கட்டிடங்களைக் கொண்டு நீளும் ஷேக் ஜயது சாலையின் நுழைவாயிலாக இருக்கிறது.
இதனால் உலக முதலீட்டாளர்கள் சுண்டியிழுக்கப்படுகிறார்கள். ஆக, தீர்க்கதரிசனமாக துபாயின் சேக் ரஷீத் செய்த செயல்தான் துபாயின் கைகாட்டிபோல் ‘உலக வர்த்தக மையம்’ இன்று நின்றுகொண்டிருக்கிறது.
இன்று அதிகார மையமாக இருக்கும் இந்தக் கட்டிடம் சற்றுப் பழமையானதாகவும் இருக்கிறது. 150 மீட்டர் உயரத்தில் அதை வானளாவிய கட்டிடம் என்று சொல்ல முடியாதுதான். ஆனால், பிரபலக் கட்டிடக் கலைஞர் ஒருவர் துபாய்க்கு வருவார் என்றால், துபாயின் கட்டிடக் கலையின் பெருமையாக ‘உலக வர்த்தக மைய’த்தைப் பற்றித்தான் குறிப்பிடுவார்.
ஷேக் ரசீதை ஆங்கில ஊடகங்கள் ‘வியாபாரி இளவரசர்’என்றே குறிப்பிடுகின்றன. உலகின் பொருளாதாரத் தலைநகரங்களுக்கெல்லாம் அவர் பயணித்து அங்கே வர்த்தகச் செயல்பாடுகளெல்லாம் எப்படிப் பொழுதுபோக்குடன் ஒன்றுசேர்கின்றன என்பதைக் கண்டார்.
அவரது நம்பிக்கையான கட்டிடக் கலைஞர் ஜான் ஹாரிஸிடம் வர்த்தகச் சந்தைகளுக்கான மையம் ஒன்றைக் கட்டும்படி பணித்தார். முதலில் பொருட்காட்சி மையமொன்றுக்கான திட்டமாக ஆரம்பித்து இறுதியில் அது ‘உலக வர்த்தக மைய’த்துக்கான திட்டமாக மாறியது.
நியூயார்க், டோக்கியோ போன்ற நகரங்களின் வர்த்தக மையங்களையெல்லாம் பார்வையிட்டு வந்தார் ஜான் ஹாரிஸ். துபாயிலேயே மிகவும் உயரமான ஒரு கட்டிடமாக, 33 மாடிகள் கொண்டதாக ‘உலக வர்த்தக மையம்’ உருவாக ஆரம்பித்தது. இன்னும் உயரம் வேண்டுமே என்று ஷேக் கேட்டுக்கொண்டதற்கு இணங்க, 39 மாடிகள் உயரம் கொண்டதாகக் கட்டப்பட்டது.
வானளாவிய கட்டிடம் ஒன்று உங்கள் நகரத்தை உலகத்தின் கண்களில் முக்கியத்துவம் பொருந்தியதாக மாற்றுமல்லவா, அது போலவே வர்த்தகச் செயல்பாடுகளுக்கு துபாய் தயாராக இருக்கிறது என்று இந்த உலகைத் திரும்பிப் பார்க்க வைத்தது இந்த வர்த்தக மையம்தான். சொகுசு ஹோட்டல், உயர்தர அடுக்ககங்களைக் கொண்ட மூன்று கோபுரங்கள், ஒரு கண்காட்சி மையம், வாகனங்கள் நிறுத்துமிடம், டென்னிஸ் ஆடுகளங்கள் போன்றவற்றைக் கொண்டு ஒரு உலகளாவிய நகரத்தைப் போல உருவானது அந்தக் கட்டிடம். 24 மணி நேரக் கண்காணிப்பு/ நிர்வாகம், பாதுகாப்பு ஊழியர்கள், தொழிலதிபர்களுக்கான கிளப், பயண ஏற்பாட்டு நிறுவனம், அஞ்சல் நிலையம், திரையரங்கம் என்று சுமுகமான வர்த்தகப் பரிவர்த்தனைகளுக்கு ஏற்ற ஒரு சூழலைக் கொண்டு செயல்படுகிறது அந்த மையம். ஜன்னல்களுக்கு வெளியே அவலட்சணமாக ஏ.சி.
பெட்டிகள் தொங்கும் கதைக்கே இங்கே இடமில்லை. எப்போதும் 22 டிகிரி செல்சியஸ் வெப்பநிலை இருக்கும் விதத்தில் அங்கு சூழல் அமைக்கப்பட்டிருக்கும்.
நகரத்துக்குள் ஒரு நகரம் என்ற திட்டத்தின் முன்வடிவம்தான் ‘உலக வர்த்தக மையம்’. நாம் அங்கே வசிக்கலாம், வேலை பார்க்கலாம், விளையாடலாம். உள்ளே இருக்கும் ‘பாலைவனச் சோலை’ உள்ளிட்ட ஒவ்வொரு இடத்துக்கும், ஒவ்வொரு அங்குலத்துக்கும் ஆகும் செலவு மேலாண்மைக் கட்டணத்தில் சேர்க்கப்பட்டுவிடும். பொருட்காட்சியின் தரையமைப்பையும் கூட பனிச்சறுக்குத் தளமாகவோ குத்துச்சண்டை தளமாகவோ மாற்றிக்கொள்ள முடியும்.
தொழில் செயல்பாடுகளுடன் பொழுதுபோக்கும் ஐக்கியமாகிவிடுகிறது இங்கே. கட்டிடம் கட்டும்போதே ஹாரிஸிடம் சேக் இப்படிச் சொல்லியிருந்தார், “வர்த்தகத்தை மனதில் கொண்டே வசதிகள், பொழுதுபோக்கு போன்றவற்றுக்கு நாம் முக்கியத்துவம் கொடுக்க வேண்டும்.”
500 சொகுசு அடுக்ககங்களுடன் ஒரு நகரம் போல அந்தக் கட்டிடம் செயல்பட்டுக் கொண்டிருக்கிறது. துபாய் ஷேக்குக்குச் சொந்தமான இந்தக் கட்டிடம் நகரத்தின் ஏனைய பகுதிகளிலிருந்து தனித்து இயங்குகிறது. அரபு உலகின் மையமாக இந்தக் கட்டிடத்தை ஆங்கில ஊடகங்களில் ஷேக் விளம்பரப்படுத்தினார்.
உலகிலேயே உயரமான கட்டிடங்கள் துபாயில் தற்போது கட்டப்பட்டுக்கொண்டிருக்கின்றன. அது மட்டுமல்லாமல் ‘பாம் ஜுமைரா’ போன்ற தீவுக் கட்டமைப்புகளும் உருவாக்கப்பட்டிருக்கின்றன. அவற்றுக்கு முன்னால் ‘உலக வர்த்தக மைய’த்தின் கட்டிடம் சிறு மடுபோலக் காட்சியளிக்கலாம். ஆனால், துபாயை உலகுக்கு விற்றது இந்தக் கட்டிடம்தான் என்பதை மறக்கக் கூடாது.
1981-ல் அபுதாபியிடம் ஆயுதங்களை விற்பதற்காக அப்போதைய இங்கிலாந்து பிரதமர் மார்கரெட் தாட்சர் வந்தபோது துபாயிலும் தலையைக் காட்டிவிட்டுச் சென்றார். அப்போது அவரை ஷேக் ரஷீத் வர்த்தக மையத்தின் கோபுரத்தின் உச்சிக்கு அழைத்துச் சென்றார்.
உலகின் மிகப் பெரிய செயற்கைத் துறைமுகமான ‘போர்ட் ஜெபல் அலி’யை அங்கிருந்து ஷேக் காட்டினார். பிரிட்டனின் பொறியாளர்களும் கடன் நல்கையாளர்களும் சேர்ந்து உதவியதால் உலக அரங்கில் துபாய் மேலே மேலே செல்ல ஆரம்பித்தது. அதற்கான உதாரணமாக ஷேக் அந்தத் துறைமுகத்தை ‘உலக வர்த்தக மைய’த்தின் உச்சியிலிருந்து காட்டினார். துபாயின் ஒரு கட்டிடம் துபாயை உலகுக்கு விற்ற கதை இதுதான்.
தி கார்டியன், சுருக்கமாகத் தமிழில்: ஆசை
When he was young, Renuka Aradhya would beg for foodgrains, which he’d sell for a living.
Today, he owns a company that employs 150 people and directs three start-ups.
Renuka Aradhya’s company today has a turnover of Rs 30 crore and employs 150 people.
This by no means is the finishing line even though the 50-year-old entrepreneur started life’s race with a major handicap.
Renuka was born poor. Very poor. He has seen the kind of poverty that put him on the streets to beg. The poverty that kept him hungry both literally and metaphorically.
Where does one begin to tell this entrepreneur’s story?
From pushing a handcart under a blazing sun to now owning a fleet of 1000 plus cars? Or from transporting 300 dead bodies to ferrying foreign tourists who left tips in dollars? Or from failing to clear Class X exams to now rubbing shoulders with the industry’s who’s who?
Or the fact that with his foresight he was able to ward off Uber and Ola poaching his business, and is making the next generation ready to dream big by bringing his daughter-in-law (who comes from a poor family) into the business.
Ernest Hemingway wrote a long time ago, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
Here’s Renuka’s roller coaster journey in his own words because no other words will do it justice.
Every day is a winding road
I belong to a village called Gopasandra, in Anekal taluk near Bengaluru.
My father was a pujari at a temple allotted by the state government though he did not get any fixed salary.
After conducting the puja, he would go to nearby villages to beg for ragi, jowar, or rice. He would then sell the grains in the market and with the money that he got from the sale he would take care of us. We were three children — two boys and one girl.
I would go begging with my father to these neighbouring villages, which is now Electronic City.
After I finished Class VI, my father thought he would put me in somebody’s home as a domestic help to make ends meet. My school fee till Class X was taken care of by my teachers because they would get me to do their domestic work like washing utensils, dusting and sweeping.
I started working for an old man who had a severe skin ailment. I would tend to him, give him a bath, and apply skin ointment all over his body.
Since I belonged to the pujari clan, I also had to perform puja at a nearby temple. After that, I would go to school. I lived there for one whole year.
Soon after, my father admitted me to a boys’ ashram in Chickpet, where I remained for three years.
The hostel would give us two meals a day, one at 8 am and the other at 8 pm and nothing in between.
I remember I was always hungry. I could not focus on my studies at all and my mind was occupied with trying to find how I could lay my hands on some food.
It was mandatory in this ashram to learn Sanskrit and the Vedas. I quickly picked this up because I realised that if I could accompany the seniors in some naming ceremony, weddings, or pujas I could eat at those events. But it was not very easy to get hold of these opportunities. I had to placate my seniors by offering to do their personal chores like washing their clothes.
As a result, I failed in Class X, passing only in Sanskrit. I then had to return home as my father passed away and the responsibility of my mother fell on me. My older brother was married and not keen on taking care of her or my sister and me.
In poverty, there is no unity. Lack of money can make people selfish and mean. If people lived happily together in the midst of poverty then they are gods.
I soon started working in a factory in Audgodi. I was there for a year.
This was followed by a stint in a plastic manufacturing company and then an ice-making factory.
I then found a job as a sweeper in an AdLabs branch.
My mind is sharp. I soon got a hang of printing and helping out with the work.
I was there for three years and had to quit because I was getting drawn into nefarious activities by some employees, who expected me to join them as well.
I am glad I quit because I heard later that they were found out and sacked.
I joined Shyam Sunder Trading Company where I started working as a helper.
The company was into making and trading in bags and suitcases. I had to load a handcart with suitcases. Another helper and I took turns pushing and pulling it through the city roads and transported them from the factory to the shop. Soon, I was promoted to a sales position.
After working there for a few months, I thought ‘why not start my own business?’
Since I was familiar with this business, I decided to make covers for suitcases and vanity bags.
I would take my bicycle and go around the city shouting for customers who wanted covers stitched for their suitcases and bags. It did not work out well for me and I lost Rs 30,000.
I was back to square one. My brother, who was a security guard, found me a job as one.
The reason I kept moving and starting all over again is because I wanted to achieve something. I did not have any educational background. I was not even a high-school pass. I had no money and no family connection. I did not have any mentors, no one to guide me. But I was always in search of opportunities.
I was around 18 when I got into bad company — drinking and gambling. Thankfully, the older boys I used to hang out with moved out and I escaped a life that would not have taken me anywhere.
When I turned 20, I told my mother I wanted to get married.
I thought that marriage would make me more responsible and focussed. I was earning Rs 600 as a security guard, so to make a few extra bucks I started taking on odd jobs like that of mali (gardener), or climbing coconut trees.
I remember that I charged Rs 15 per tree and I would climb 20 trees per day.
Not satisfied with what I was doing, I decided to become a driver, though I did not know how to drive.
I did not have any money to learn driving and to get a driver’s licence. So I borrowed some money from my brother-in-law and pawned my wedding ring.
All went well and I got my driving licence. But the first day of my driving job was a big nightmare.
I was meant to reverse the car and park it, instead, I banged it into the gate. That job lasted only a few hours. I was back to being a security guard.
It was very depressing. I would go to the temple and bang my head on the steps lamenting my destiny and how God was being so unkind to me. I wanted to drive and yet here I was going back to doing what I thought I had come out of.
Since I was always looking out for an opportunity, I met a taxi operator who decided to give me a break.
He told me not to worry if I banged the car. ‘Just run away from there,’ he told me.
I was so grateful that I told him he needn’t pay me till I can prove myself. I’ll manage with the driver ‘batha’ (per day charges on an outstation trip), I told him.
I remember carrying large stones in the car. Whenever I had to halt at an incline, I would pull the handbrakes and quickly place the stones next to the rear wheels to prevent the car from rolling back.
Imagine how many stones I must have left behind me in a trail (laughs).
I was determined not to go back to being a security guard this time. In the nights, I would practice reversing the car, parking it, and managing inclines on the road without the stones. Slowly, my confidence grew.
My first outstation trip was to Gokarna. I learnt that if you drive slow and steady then everything works out well. So that’s what I did.
I was so nervous that I did not dare press on the accelerator too hard. Imagine my surprise when I got this feedback from the guests saying that I was a very good driver (laughs).
One more thing I learnt was that if you take care of your customers, then you’ve won the battle. I got very good reviews from my customers and because of this, I was always in demand.
I worked at a transport company for four years. Besides ferrying passengers, the company also provided vehicles to hospitals like Nimhans to transport dead bodies back to their homes for the last rites.
I have transported approximately 300 dead bodies across India. And many times, I have done so alone because there was no one from the deceased family to accompany the body.
And look at the irony, immediately after I came back from one of these trips there would be a group waiting to go on a pilgrimage to Sabarimala. I would sprinkle some holy water on the vehicle and get on with the next journey.
This also taught me the impermanence of life. That nothing is enduring. That life and death are nothing but two ends of a long journey.
You know the most important learning for me in my journey has been that to earn money you must have a vision. And to make that happen, you must make the best of opportunities that come your way. You must do whatever you are doing with total dedication and keep a good track record.
One day, fortune will surely smile upon you.
My wife used to work in the garment industry. First, she was a helper and then she went on to become a tailor. Together, we would earn Rs 900.
I was soon upgraded to another travel company. Here I got an opportunity to drive foreign tourists.
I would get good tips in dollars. Over the four years that I worked there I had a neat sum saved up from these tips.
I got my wife to withdraw her PF money, and together with the amount I had saved I started a company called City Safari with some other people.
Once the company started doing well, I was made the manager.
When I was only a driver, I would often think that one day instead of submitting a trip sheet I should be the one collecting it. And that dream came true with my new post as manager (smiles).
Around this time, I bought my first car. It was an Indica.
I had to take a loan from the bank. My older brother refused to be a guarantor, and I had to seek someone else’s help.
In another year-and-a-half, I bought one more car. With these cars, I went to work for two years with Spot City Taxi.
As you can gather, I wanted to build my own travel/transport company.
A company called Indian City Taxi was on a distress sale. I did not have any knowledge of merger and acquisition, justpaisa de do, company le lo (give money, buy the company).
I bought that company in 2006 with Rs 6.5 lakh. I had to sell all the cars that I had by then to produce this money. The company had 35 cabs attached to it and they would make Rs 1000 commission per vehicle, so in a month Rs 35,000 was assured.
I took a lot of risks, which thankfully paid off.
I had earlier registered the name ‘Pravasi Cabs’ when I had three cars of my own. So I called my new company that.
I was an entrepreneur now. The name came to me from the foreign tourists and expatriates I drove around. Pravasi is the Sanskrit word for expatriates.
However, it was not all that easy. There were a lot of complications.
Anyway, to cut a long story short I soon got my first client — Amazon India. When they were setting up their Chennai office, they also helped me expand my business there.
Now the thing with corporates is they pay after three months, and I did not get my payments even after six months. So I took loans, and through the years have ended up paying lakhs as interest.
But mind you, the money was not for me. I would give my wife Rs 20,000 every month to run the house. The rest was all for the company.
I poured my days and nights with hard work. Slowly, revenue started coming in.
I thought of expanding my business and getting more clients.
What if Amazon withdrew? I would end up on the streets. Hence, I slowly got more clients like Walmart, Akamai, General Motors, and others. I did not have a sales team, no marketing team, nothing.
I never lost an opportunity even if my cut was three percent, I did not care. I just wanted to get into operations.
I had to increase my turnover, only then would I get funding from the market or banks. But if I concentrated only on profits, my turnover would decrease.
At this time, we were in on-call service, employee transport service (ETS), and train/bus ticketing (which I left after a year). I owe a lot to Amazon for supporting my growth.
I do not have any barrier to starting operations. I just look for three things: the attitude of the local drivers, their behaviour towards customers, and vehicle availability.
Are we nearly there, yet?
I learnt English by conversing with tourists.
When the car would be parked while the tourists did the sightseeing I would wait in the car either trying to read from an English newspaper or write passages from it.
I did not waste time gossiping with other drivers or smoking. I would either read or catch up on my sleep.
As my business grew, I felt the need to attend networking sessions, workshops and talks on marketing, customer retention or economics of running a business.
A lot of my personal growth happened this way. The other advantage I had was that I am very tech-savvy; I can work any gadget.
Three years ago, I started providing buses to schools.
Initially, the understanding was that we had to manage with the transport fee that the school charged.
The first year, I lost Rs 10 lakh. I made an agreement with the school that I would give them 35 percent for the next 10 years. So I would invest in the buses. This is the first year that I am going to break-even. I started this because I could not rely on only ETS.
And, surely, when Ola and Uber came along, it impacted the taxi industry greatly.
But I escaped because I had around 700 cabs attached to me. I lost about 200 to them. But I was still left with 500.
My idea was if I had more than 500 vehicles then no one can touch me. But if I had 100, 200 cars, then certainly I would have had reason to panic. In fact, many taxi operators had to shut shop when Ola and Uber speed chased them.
I believe that because I dreamt big, I managed to escape. If I had a small cab agency and was satisfied with earning Rs 40,000 a month, my business would certainly have been punctured.
I realised the best solution was to have a new scheme for my drivers, which was an owner-cum-driver scheme.
The deal was that for an advance of Rs 50,000, I would buy them a new car. He had to work for 36 months, and after that, the car would be transferred to his name. Whatever he earns, he keeps, we just deduct the EMI for the vehicle. We now have 300 vehicles like that, and I have the liability of all those vehicles on my head.
Besides this, we also provide training to the drivers regarding behaviour and how to manage their finances.
You know, my growth has been only this much because I wasn’t educated enough. I do not know the planning and strategies like the IIT and IIM guys.
I am also a director in three start-ups. Along with six other directors, I sit on the board of loaddial.com.
It is an aggregator of goods vehicles. I am also a director in a company that will provide affordable housing to people like drivers and garment workers.
I have a few other concepts like having a Foodpanda like app for smaller cities and towns.
In three years, once I cross Rs 100 crore I will go for an IPO.
As a social responsibility, I want to encourage women drivers.
I am ready to even waive the Rs 50,000 advance if women come forward saying they want to become owner-cum-drivers. We have also created an all-women call centre for Pravasi in Karwar.
I believe in the power of the mind. What we think, we become.
How many times will you say ‘I do not have any experience so how will I do this?’
Initially, there will be more criticism and less goodwill.
But slowly the criticism will fade away.
Whatever God has given me, I have shared with everyone. And I firmly believe that because of this I have managed to get myself educated and get rich.
I took my chances and during all those times when I picked up an opportunity even though it was not financially viable, I firmly believed that one day God would give me back double. Otherwise how else can a security guard today drive a Rs 23-lakh car?
The people of Kozhikode are silently funding an initiative that feeds anyone who is hungry for free, with utmost dignity.
“Nalla Manushyar Aanu” – “They are good people.” This is a default comment that you will hear about the people of Kozhikode, Kerala. From its fabled auto drivers who return every penny of change, to its palliative clinic that provides free care for the terminally ill, to simple heart-warming selfless conversations, the tales of Kozhikode’s good hearted people are greatly cherished.
Now here is a reason why you will also chime in with some words of praise – Kozhikode makes sure no one in the city goes hungry! Be it the poorest, the not so poor, be it you or me – the hungry will be served food for free, with utmost dignity.
People in need can collect a free meal coupon from any of the distribution centres and walk into any restaurant in the city – a meal will be served, no questions asked, no explanations sought.
Pic for representation purposes only: kerala.in
“We cannot ask a hungry person to get his hunger attested by a certified gazetted officer! That is why we insisted on the philosophy that ‘no questions will be asked’. If you ask for a food coupon, you will get it, it is as dignified as that,” says District Collector of Kozhikode, Prashant Nair, the chief architect of this project called ‘Operation Sulaimani’, eponymous of Kozhikode’s very own local black tea, served with a dash of lemon and cardamom.
The project was launched by Kozhikode’s District Collector, Prashant Nair, who envisaged this as a community owned and community driven initiative in its entirety. The Collector’s office initiated it and the Kerala State Hotel and Restaurants Association roped in over 125 city restaurants to become a part of this.
But, there are no big sponsors nor do any government funds flow in. The small and big contributions by the citizens are dropped into little boxes with ‘Operation Sulaimani’ inscribed on them.
The volunteer team has placed the boxes across the city, into which nameless donations are made. This money is used to reimburse the meal coupons that are collected at the restaurants. Interestingly, Team Sulaimani does not take a penny from the collected money to meet its administrative costs. This money is meant only to feed the hungry, they insist.
In April 2015, Operation Sulaimani made the free meal coupons available at the Collectorate, Village and Taluk offices. Coupons were also distributed along with newspapers with the intent that people who read newspapers can offer the coupons to those in need. An army of volunteers went around the city to spread the word and distributed the coupons.
Just two days after the launch of Operation Sulaimani, the Collector got a massive one crore donation offer, which he refused. Yes, he refused!
The team believe that the spirit of Operation Sulaimani lies in the collective responsibility taken by the people to care for each other rather than an act of benevolence by any individual or organization.
This collective spirit has proved to be indeed powerful by feeding 9000 people in the last one year, not running out of funds, and not showing signs that the city’s good spirit will allow them to run out too.
One of the striking aspects of Operation Sulaimani is the fact that it gets fulfilled within the capabilities of existing systems. No big kitchens to feed the hungry were built and no massive funds were sought in the name of hunger eradication. By leading people to any restaurant in any part of the city, it blended the cause into the everyday function of Kozhikode’s restaurants.
The District Collector adds, “There is no food wastage nor do we have to worry about the safety of the food. If we had chosen to build a large kitchen to supply free food, we would have all these problems. But we just decided to use the existing system and make the best use of it.”
One of the restaurants in the vicinity of the city mental hospital feeds several people who come in with coupons. The restaurant owner says his life has never before felt so blessed.
Many restaurant owners like him do not want to take the reimbursements but Team Sulaimani insists that they are paid.
Some people doubt if such a facility will be misused, but the team is not worried about that. Rather, it is finding it challenging to reach more people who are in need. The members found that hunger is not just about the people on the streets, the homeless, it is also discreetly present within our communities. Reaching these people and making them aware that food is the last thing they need to worry about is what the team is obsessed with.
If you noticed, we haven’t got any quotes from any beneficiary of Operation Sulaimani nor put up their photos. Team Sulaimani believes that the dignity of the people should not be infringed on, and we salute that spiri
Source…..Ranjini Sivaswany in http://www.the betterindia.com
A farmer in Banda, Uttar Pradesh, upcycled an old bicycle to make a low cost plough, and then inspired his neighbours to do the same.
50-year-old Ram Prasad hires farm lands following the Bataidari system, or sharecropping, where a landowner gives his land on rent to farmers who plough the land and share the sales with the owner, in Chahnehra village of Banda, about 130 kilometres south of Kanpur.
When the farmlands were facing serious droughts, he had to sell his bullock to feed his family. Without his bullock and less money to maintain tractors and such equipment, times were difficult. Add to that the unpredictable weather: sometimes grave droughts, and sometimes premature rains. When Prasad realised that all these factors only burdened farmers with rising costs and no returns, he was adamant that he had to improvise an economical way to sustain farming.
It took him seven years to experiment with various materials. He finally got a breakthrough by converting an old cycle he found in his backyard, with some pieces of iron, into a plough.
The ploughing machine that he invented would cost only Rs 3000 to 4000.
Compared to the cost of a mini plough, bullocks or tractors, this is a more economical option for farmers.
The machine is simple, economical, and easy to assemble. With a single wheel, front and rear handles, and three diggers attached to it, the machine does not require fuel such as diesel or kerosene to operate.
“All it requires is two men,” said Prasad to Times of India, “I have also helped many farmers by converting their old bicycles into a ploughing machine.” He also adds that other than just ploughing, the machine also can be used for weeding and sowing.
Ploughs currently available in the market start at Rs 20,000, and are either manually operated, or mounted on a bullock or a tractor. But the cost only increases with bullocks and tractors. Generally, a pair of bullocks cost Rs 50,000, while a tractor costs as much as Rs 500,000. Along with that, there’s the variable price of fuel or fodder, which creates a dent in their finances.
Prasad’s innovation has caused a significant reduction in production costs. All it needs is a cycle. Plus, there’s no fuel requirement. In situations of droughts and economic crises, such an invention could change the lives of farmers tremendously.
Srikanth Bolla, CEO of Bollant Industries, has set his sights on changing lives
Get rid of him. That was the first thing that neighbours told Srikanth Bolla’s parents when they came to see him soon after his birth in a remote village in the east coast of Andhra Pradesh 24 years ago. Bolla was born sightless.
That’s what, he says, scores of parents ordinarily did and still do – abandon babies born with disabilities. Instead, Bolla’s parents, who owned a small piece of land in the village and earned only about Rs 20,000 a year, chose to give him an education.
Today, Bolla is the CEO of Hyderabad-based Bollant Industries, a company with a turnover of around Rs 10 crore that employs uneducated and physically challenged people to manufacture eco-friendly, disposable consumer packaging solutions out of natural leaf and recycled paper.
Recently, Ratan Tata invested an undisclosed amount in the company. Other investors include Srini Raju of Peepul Capital, Satish Reddy of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and Ravi Mantha, one of India’s more prolific angel investors.
Bolla started out by accompanying his father to the farm but found he could not be of much help. So his father decided to send him to school, which was some 5 km away from home. For two years, he says, nobody acknowledged his presence in school and he was made to sit on the last bench. Fellow students did not accept him during physical training periods.
For the first time in his life, he says, he felt he was the poorest child in the world because he was so lonely.
His father then moved him to a school for special children in Hyderabad, where he started topping his class and also played chess and cricket. Later, he worked with former president APJ Abdul Kalam on the Lead India project, a movement to empower the youth through value-based education.
However, despite scoring 90 per cent in Class X, he was not allowed to take up the science stream because, he claims, he was blind. “I was made blind by the perception of people,” he says. With the option of science refused to him, everybody thought he would settle for the commerce stream. Instead, Bolla sued the state government. “Moving away from the problem is not in my blood,” he says.
After six months of fighting it out, he was allowed to take up science with the rider that he was doing so “at his own risk”. By this time, half of the academic year was over and Bolla did not have books or any other study material.
A mentor at the college he joined converted all lessons into audio books. Bolla passed with 98 per cent. But another hurdle followed. He says he was not allowed to apply for competitive exams because he was blind.
So, he started applying to universities in the United States and got admission in four of them, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University. He opted for MIT and was its first international blind student.
In 2012, after graduating from MIT, he launched Bollant Industries. The company now has around 450 employees, 60 per cent of whom are differently-abled.
The company, with five plants in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka, has started work to set up a larger facility at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh with an investment of Rs 10-15 crore. It currently exports 10-15 per cent of its produce to the US, Australia and Germany.
Life, he says, has taught him many lessons. Compassion is one of them. “Compassion,” he says, “is not about giving a coin to a beggar at the traffic signal. It’s showing somebody the way to live and giving them the opportunity to thrive.”
The world looked at him and said you can do nothing, says Bolla. “But I look up at the world and say I can do anything.”
Photograph, kind courtesy: Massachusetts Institute of Technology