Thursday, August 9, 2007

I don't think I'm in Kansas anymore

Umm, in case you haven't heard, a tornado hit New York. What the bloody Jesus?

It took me three hours to get from the hovel to the office -- and then when I got there, I was one of only five or so people in my department resourceful enough to navigate the wild, wild world of thousands of stranded subway users, fighting for a bus heading for the Midtown Tunnel.

I did walk about two miles, snicker at a woman trying to vanquish a foot of standing water with a small mop, invite myself to share a taxi with three people who had only limited English skills, and lost my leg to the jaws of the 7 train at the Jackson Heights station, but so be it. Delhi crowds prepared me well; whereas claustrophobic Americans were hysterically imploring fellow riders to "Act like human being, not animals!", I was smugly listening to Golmaal Golmaal ... Everything's Gonna Be Golmaal and wiggling around frenetically, my eyes glazed in bliss.

That said, I thought I would stop dealing with woefully inadequate infrastructure when I left the "third world." So much for conventional notions of modernity and backwardness ...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

It really IS a Wallyworld

After months (years?) of speculation, it's official -- Wal-Mart is setting up a B2B joint venture with Bharati Enterprises to enter to the Indian market.

I'm not sure what the impact will be, but one of the most interesting things to watch may be how W-M's reputed supply chain organization will link small farmers and manufacturers to retailers. (It's estimated that 30%-40% of India's food rots in the fields or spoils in transit due to insufficient infrastructure.) It's not an incredibly sexy topic, but it certainly could have an incredible impact.

An endnote: I have to say, I have to delight in the thought that in the near future, whether in sleepy old Sonora or dusty Delhi, people like my grandmother will be able to unite in pursuit of an ever-better buy (Grandma: "Why would I spend $70 on a pair of jeans when I can get them for $12.99 at Wally World? Are you crazy?")