Thursday, December 24, 2009

Disappearing again for a bit, so...

...Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays to all :-)

though considering where I am, this is FAR more appropriate:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Links I liked from my two month backlog: Part II (India-centric International Development)

Continuing on:

1. The Top 10 Gadgets of the Year:

2. Home-made tools of a bicycle-maker:

3. I'm a passionate believer that infrastructure is necessary for proper economic development (this is why I do what I do). Here, WB economic advisor offers his views on how South Asia can overcome its infrastructure shortfall.

4. Loved this look inside the changes in the Indian Post Office. Let me tell you, you can judge a LOT about a country's development based on how well the postal system works, and how much it is used (which are obviously related!!).

5. Loved this nifty anti-clogging drain device. AWESOME bit of invention.

6. A personalized look at what big business is doing to smaller, personalized businesses. I loved the tenderness of this post.

7. The latest from PostSecret. It puts everything into perspective, and is a snapshot in time.

8. The dangers facing India's growing e-waste production

9. India's e-health revolution that will change healthcare for good!

10. How scale and innovation can coexist.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

You've got to watch Ryan Lobo on TED

(photo source: photobucket)

Ryan Lobo was one of the stars of TEDIndia, in my opinion. His presentation was not only spot-on point, but hauntingly beautiful and poignant. It was wonderful to come across someone so young and talented, and brave enough to go in a direction that his soul dictated. In the process he has collected a jewelled archive of stories; three of which he shared with the audience.

I've had the opportunity to interact since then with Ryan on a personal level; away from TED, in a more relaxed atmosphere, he indulged me in more stories over steaming cups of chai. I was moved by his earnest desire to do his job well, his commitment to authentic story-telling through multi-media, and most importantly by the person he is. Behind all his talent is an amazingly down-to-earth, accessible, yet deeply thoughtful human being.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Links I liked from my two month backlog: Part I (Business)

After two months of internet drought, I'm actually reveling in the past 12 hours of high speed internet access in a nice, clean place. When you are trying desperately to line up your next job contract and don't have access to the net, it can be incredibly frustrating.

Anyways, I've largely used the past 10 hours to catch up on my reading, which has been woefully behind.

Here are some of my favorite links (in NO particular order) from the backlog:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

An Update: What's going on with Tworque and me??!!

India is beckoning. It is alive and buzzing with excitement (photo source: Dharmesh)

A few of you have been recently hinting that I have been a little too quiet (thanks for noticing and for the prodding). So I thought I ought to explain what is going on:

Since this blog is a side-hobby, it is extremely dependent on my availability of internet and free time. In the past several months, I have been traveling a lot with little access to the internet.

Right now, I am in India. I came here because I had heard that the place is buzzing with ideas, innovation, and vitality…something I have been waiting for years to happen. I had to see it for myself! Would I feel inspired enough to stick around??

Already in the past month, I have been so impressed by the energy of this place. So much enthusiasm and promise, as I have never seen before. Of course, I have also been very lucky to come across a lot of people wearing their passions and hopes boldly on their sleeves. Younger and older entrepreneurs alike are popping up all around, taking chances and doing something ‘different.’ For a country that is so gripped by conformity, this is a SIGNIFICANT indicator of the wave of change sweeping through.

If anything, India’s development is significant for the map of the world’s development. The world’s largest democracy has some of the greatest economic disparity, with some of the world’s poorest people living side-by-side with the richest. The enormous economic growth here against such a backdrop along with its mélange of castes, languages, religions, geography, and lackluster governance defies logic; probably as a result, India’s growth will provide a roadmap for the development of underdeveloped economies as we move forward.

As Hans Rosling predicted in his recent TEDIndia talk, its only a matter of time (July 27, 2048!!) before India (and China) regain(s) their original position(s) of leaders of the (free??) world. I’m here to see if I can be in the thick of things, if I may even venture to say…to lead a small part of it. But only time will tell. Hopefully, I’ll find enough internet and time to take you along for the ride...assuming I even have one! ☺

Three great job opportunities

Got this in my mailbox this morning:

Job 1: Business Analyst, based in London
Teach for All is looking for a Business Analyst to be based in London (although location appears to be flexible).

Job 2: Employee @ The Hub, San Francisco
The Hub is hiring employees. Read more about what they are looking for here.

Job 3: Microinsurance Fellowship Program, LeapFrog Investments, based internationally

LeapFrog Investments, the world’s first microinsurance fund, is looking for outstanding and dynamic young leaders to join us as Global Fellows.

Are you passionate about market-driven solutions to poverty?
Do you want to be on the forefront of innovation in microfinance and alternative investment?
Do you want to apply your skills in financial analysis, private equity, or insurance to help change the lives of 25 million poor people?

LeapFrog Investments
LeapFrog invests in businesses that provide insurance to low-income and vulnerable people in Africa and Asia. The fund targets strong financial returns for investors while expanding a growing portfolio to provide valuable insurance products to reaching 25 million people with insurance – 15 million of them women and children.

The role
This is a unique chance to work as an Investment Associate with a cutting-edge organization in microfinance, and the industry leader in microinsurance. Fellows will help LeapFrog to source and act on exciting investment opportunities, and to grow the microinsurance sector. Working directly with the LeapFrog Principals, Fellows’ responsibilities can include financial modeling, investment due diligence, industry analysis, day-to-day operations, marketing and transaction support. There will also be opportunities to work directly with our portfolio companies, helping their high-impact businesses grow and succeed. Flexibility and initiative are essential to thriving in LeapFrog’s entrepreneurial environment.

The role requires a minimum 12 month commitment. Fellows will be staffed to LeapFrog’s offices in Sydney, Johannesburg or Edinburgh and may indicate a preference at the time of application. LeapFrog will cover flights to and from the placement country, accommodation, and work-related travel expenses. Fellows are expected to secure their own funding for other living expenses – LeapFrog will assist in this process.

This intensive one-year work experience will provide Fellows with hands-on professional development opportunities, allowing them to hone their skills and deepen their understanding of microinsurance and impact investing. The role is also designed to deepen Fellows’ own leadership capacity – working daily with and learning from industry pioneers. Each Fellow’s work will help grow the movement to sustainably protect and enable the world’s most vulnerable people. Together, LeapFrog Fellows will form a cohort of like-minded changemakers, poised to change the world and markets around them.

Ideal candidates will have had significant demonstrated experience in business analysis – including financial modeling, monitoring and evaluation, and/or forecasting and project costing. Candidates with legal training will have transaction or insurance experience at a highly respected firm. Experience in developing markets – particularly in LeapFrog’s target countries in Africa and Asia – will be considered a significant advantage, as well as experience in microfinance, insurance or impact investing.

Additional skills sought:
• 3-5 years experience in private equity, insurance, investment banking, management consulting, or law
• MBA or advanced degree in Commerce, Finance, Economics, Actuarial Science, Law or related field OR significant and comparable experience
• Complex financial modeling experience including DCF and valuations; transaction or insurance experience for candidates with a law background
• PowerPoint proficiency
• A sound understanding of financial statements and analysis
• A can-do and collaborative mindset – comfort with the ambiguities and demands of a rapidly evolving environment
• Strong communication skills, both verbal and written

Interested and qualified candidates should send their CV and cover letter before January 15th, 2010 to Rachael Neumann, with “LeapFrog Labs: Fellowship” in the title, at

Placements will commence on March 1st, 2010. A later start date (around June 1st, 2010) is possible for candidates graduating this year.

About us
LeapFrog Investments Ltd created and manages the world’s first microinsurance fund. Launched with President Bill Clinton in 2008, LeapFrog has raised $47 million to date from banks, funds, and microfinance and insurance investors. Its profit-with-purpose investment approach has been hailed by many global leaders as a new frontier for microfinance and alternative investment. In the recent Closing Plenary of the Clinton Global Initiative 2009, President Clinton hailed LeapFrog as “Insurer to the Poor”.

Learn more at:

LeapFrog Labs
LeapFrog Investments also runs a not-for-profit technical assistance facility out of its Edinburgh office called LeapFrog Labs. LeapFrog Labs is a separate, grant-funded research and development facility. It aims to tackle some of the toughest barriers to access to financial services for low-income people. Labs administers the Fellowship program.

Learn more about Labs at:

Rachael Neumann
LeapFrog Investments
+61 450 996 459

And another job opportunity available: Teach girls about entrepreneurship

Got this in my mailbox a couple of days ago:

If you have a moment, I'd appreciate your help. We're launching a program in Silicon Valley ( to teach girls about high tech entrepreneurship and to inspire them to pursue careers in science and engineering. The program has gained a lot of traction and we've already built some exciting partnerships. We are looking to hire a Technical Director to lead and expand this effort. Please see the job posting below and forward to anyone who you think might be interested.

Thanks for your help and I hope all is well.


Position Title: Technical Director

Reports To: President

Compensation: The Technical Director will be responsible for raising his/her salary with the president’s help.

Location: San Francisco Bay Area

To Apply: Please email resume and cover letter to

Iridescent, a non-profit that gives children from underserved communities access to cutting-edge science, is launching a program in the San Francisco Bay Area ( The Bay Area program will focus on high-tech and entrepreneurship for high school girls. We have a proven track record and strong infrastructure. We are looking for a dynamic and highly-motivated Technical Director to lead and grow the Bay Area program. This is the perfect opportunity for someone who is interested in making a big impact in the exciting field of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education.

The Technical Director must be a creative and organized thinker capable of managing a diverse set of responsibilities. The Technical Director must be a driven self‐starter who thrives in a fast-paced entrepreneurial environment. The Technical Director must have a deep belief in Iridescent’s mission. The Technical Director is a key member of the Iridescent team and must share Iridescent’s belief in high-quality work, strong work ethic, and attention to detail.

Other qualifications include:
• Strong technical background (degree in engineering or science is preferred)
• Prior work experience in high tech is preferred
• Highly organized individual with excellent project management skills and
• exceptional attention to detail
• Resourceful and entrepreneurial individual with an ability to find creative solutions to overcome obstacles
• Demonstrated ability to make strategic decisions in complex situations
• Exceptionally strong verbal and written communications skills
• Demonstrated ability to manage and lead public outreach
• Ability to balance multiple priorities and definitive deadlines
• Strong research abilities and ability to keep abreast of current advancements in related fields (education, business, philanthropy,
non‐profits, etc)
• Belief in a creative approach to education that makes full use of current technology & trends in education
• Skill and experience in interacting with all levels of individuals at corporations, government agencies, and educational institutions
• Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite, especially Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
• Flexibility to grow with the organization and assume new and expanded responsibilities
• Ability to quickly learn about and use new software, technology and processes
• Belief that a small group of motivated individuals can truly change the world
for the better
• Work assignments will be consist of a majority of self‐generated projects reflecting individual strategic choices that are aligned with the organization’s overall objectives, as well as assignments provided by the President.
• Occasional travel will be required (~10%).


• Develop an extraordinary and effective curriculum for Iridescent to inspire young people to learn more about and pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
• Develop marketing collateral and a “pitch” deck that can be used to gain additional sponsors, investors, and supporters.
• Recruit mentors for teaching and volunteers for facilitating the program.
• Train and manage the team of mentors and volunteers to ensure that their experience in working with Iridescent is positive and productive.
• Liaise with relevant non-profits and professional groups and develop long-term strategic partnerships.
• Develop effective documentation on all important protocols (such as recruiting, training, implementation, etc.) to enable scaling of Iridescent’s model.
• Develop formative, summative, and longitudinal assessments for education programs delivered to all stakeholders (children, parents, mentors, teachers, sponsors, etc.)
• Consolidate results from all evaluations and develop and publish results.
• Track and maintain records on all course participants (students, mentors, volunteers, etc.)
• Publish educational articles on curriculum and pedagogy in education journals.
• Communicate results regularly with key Iridescent stakeholders (volunteers, chapter leaders, board members, advisors, sponsors, etc.)

• Identify and pursue additional sources of funding for education programs, ranging from sponsors, individual donors, grants or other unique sources, as well as partners who will create and provide content for education programs, ranging from individual volunteers to government agencies.
• Explore, develop, evaluate and implement a successful earned income stream of revenue.
• Organize fundraising events and social mixer events to increase Iridescent’s visibility and income.
• Utilize and contribute to online social media networks for Iridescent and Iridescent‐related events with tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Iridescent’s blog etc.

We have lofty goals and work hard towards achieving them. No task is too demeaning or trivial if it helps us move closer to our goals. We believe that only through entrepreneurial persistence and visionary thinking are solutions to seemingly insurmountable social issues made possible. While we externally strive to create a better world, we are internally working to build a culture that supports passionate, forward thinking people who will help deliver radical breakthrough solutions to today’s most critical and meaningful challenges. To this end, we are working together to create an environment that fosters learning and growth and encourages creativity, transparency, and diversity.

Please email resume and cover letter to