Thinks 446

FT: “[David Chalmers says he likes the idea of the metaverse and thinks it “can be as meaningful and important as a physical world”. He sees it as a powerful means of communication, education and entertainment and a mechanism for exploring the outer edges of identity and perception. This can especially benefit disabled, ageing, gender-fluid or oppressed peoples, giving them access to experiences and networks they would not otherwise enjoy. “I think virtual reality offers so many possibilities, new forms of embodiment, new kinds of experiences, new communities. That’s so exciting,” he says.”

Ninan: “By the last financial year, 2020-21, services exports ($206 billion) had virtually caught up with manufactured exports ($208 billion), in a total export basket of $498 billion. In the space of two decades, from being half of manufactured exports, services exports had drawn level….Is it too late to boost labour-intensive manufacturing for export markets? No, for China with higher labour costs still earns much more from garment exports than India. But it has become more difficult for an important reason: The rupee’s exchange rate. If India were trading in only goods, a massive deficit of about $150 billion (5 per cent of GDP) would have forced down the rupee’s value. That would have made Indian manufactured goods cheaper in export markets, and domestic production cheaper than imports. This currency correction does not happen because the deficit in the goods trade is mostly neutralised by a surplus in the trade in services. Put bluntly, white-collar success has trumped blue-collar viability.”

Ambi Parameswaran: “In 1985, I was introduced to the Indian sampling frame by the late marketing research guru, Ramesh Thadani (then head of the Indian Market Research Bureau, or IMRB). Ramesh took me through the way a good quantitative study is structured, and the journey often starts with a robust sampling frame. Voter Lists were available for a small fee those days and all good market research agencies sourced these lists to create a sampling frame. From the voter list, you randomly picked specific zones, and then selected homes (or voters) at random. If the selected home (voter) refused to answer, the investigator was told to move to the next randomly selected home (they were not allowed to replace a respondent at will; better market research agencies monitored this rigorously). It was a laborious process but it almost completely eliminated the Selection Bias. Even now large-scale sample surveys, like the Indian Readership Survey, are probably using the voter list as a starting point. What was a saviour for the Indian marketing research industry was the availability of the Indian voter list.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.