How the world’s biggest two-wheeler market collapsed26 September 2019.This is the first edition of Things Change, The Morning Context’s weekly newsletter. Things Change will land in your inbox every Thursday with sharp, original insight on subjects making the news, but which must be understood better. It will be written by the best writers and subject experts, both in-house and external. Let’s cut to the chase. Understanding the slowdown in the world’s largest two-wheeler market Sales of two-wheelers in […]
It’s far too soon to hail a rural recovery23 July 2020.It’s been a bad spell of news for the Indian economy. First the slowdown of 2019, one of the worst in decades. And in this year, the COVID-19 pandemic that has taken a hammer to businesses and livelihoods across the world. Over the past month or so, though, some industry leaders have proclaimed that a recent uptick in indicators such as tractor sales as a sign of imagined growth in […]
Facebook’s vague payments launch and UPI’s global ambitions14 November 2019.Facebook just announced the launch of a new payments feature a couple of days ago in the US—Facebook Pay. It’s essentially a rebranding and consolidation of existing in-app payments on Facebook and Instagram (for shopping, donations, etc.) and a peer-to-peer transfer option in Messenger. To begin with, Facebook Pay will let users send and receive money, and also pay for things, on Facebook and Messenger in the US, with more […]
China is closer to Netflix than you think3 October 2019.This is the second edition of Things Change, The Morning Context’s weekly newsletter. Things Change will land in your inbox every Thursday with sharp, original insight on subjects making the news that need to be better understood. It will be written by the best writers and subject experts, both in-house and external. This week, we are putting the content business in perspective. China is closer to Netflix than you think […]
Roshni P. Nair
India is missing the forest for the trees9 January 2020.On 30 December, Prakash Javadekar kickstarted a press conference with a two-volume, 604-page tome in his hands. It was the 2019 edition of the biennial India State of Forest Report, or ISFR, and it brought good tidings. 2019 had otherwise been a year of critical opprobrium for the newly inducted environment minister. He had promised to fast-track environmental clearances, backed the controversial felling of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony and […]
The end of the beginning for the gig economy7 November 2019.In some senses, there’s a parallel endgame being played out in India compared with the US and North America where the gig economy is concerned. (And before you ask, no, neither scenario has been contemplated by Dr Strange.) As Pradip hinted at in his story on the mental and financial strain gig workers face, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the gig economy is the rather crumbly foundation on which billion-dollar […]
What history tells us India will do next about COVID-192 April 2020. “There are as many plagues as wars in history; yet plagues and wars take people equally by surprise,” Albert Camus wrote in The Plague, a 1947 existential novel about the disease sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran.
Yet there are no surprises in the fallout of plague and war alike—both unfailingly leave a trail of destruction, both human and economic. That said, it is the response to the situation, often by the state, that ultimately casts a long shadow, ever to be etched in public memory.
Pradip K. Saha
Mad about onions5 December 2019.On a nippy November morning, scores of groggy people queue up outside a Safal grocery store in eastern Delhi’s Patparganj residential area, well before the truck arrives with vegetables and supplies. It is barely dawn, the street lights are on, the shutter of the shop—one of the 400+ Safal retail outlets in National Capital Region—is still down, and conversations are peppered with yawns. The topic of discussion? Onions. And the […]
Flipkart vs Amazon is a closer call than you think24 October 2019.Last week, I wrote about India’s online festive sales period, and broke down how the sales battle plays out and the current state of Indian e-commerce along five parameters. Today, now that both the first and second “waves” of the sales have run their course, and the third wave has started, we’re going to get into some specific numbers from this year’s sales, based on conversations with vendors and executives […]
Less SoftBank, more venture builders17 October 2019. In the last few months, enough words have been spent on SoftBank and the several ills of its kind. WeWork, Uber, Lyft, Peloton. It’s not a great time for venture capital. Investors around the world are (hopefully) rethinking how they value tech and what you would call tech-enabled startups. Venture capital models, especially late-stage VC, definitely need review, but today I’d like to talk about a different form of startup investing, one that doesn’t get as much screen time—venture builders. Almost an antithesis of the classic VC approach.