March 15, 2020 Informative 696

How deadly is the coronavirus?

Comparing the 🦠coronavirus to Ebola and MERS is reassuring. But that doesn’t mean we can discount Covid-19 as being just like the flu. The current 3.4% mortality rate is 34x deadlier than the seasonal flu. Even the estimate of 1%, which takes into consideration unreported mild cases, means the virus is 10x more deadly. Could the coronavirus spread as widely as the flu? Yes, if it’s allowed to.

Mortality might be lower than the others, however the rate of transmission is so high which makes it more alarming, it will over exhaust supplies and doctors. And if that happened, more people might die due to the lack of health support and the mortality rate may exceed many other viruses 🦠

Credits: BloombergOpinion IG

March 7, 2020 General 663

These startups raised billions and then laid off thousands. Workers are shocked and frustratedpermalink

Just a few months ago, discount hotel chain OYO seemed unstoppable. The India-based startup touted plans for global expansion and saw its valuation double to $10 billion in October. But in mid-January, the company began sweeping layoffs that have seen thousands lose their jobs. Last September,, a car-leasing startup that raised nearly $400 million in a funding roughly a year earlier, acquired one of its rivals, Canvas, only to slash 40% of its workforce weeks later. The goal, according to a memo at the time that directed CNN Business to from its then-CEO, was to “be a smaller team, focused on doing fewer things well.” One laid off Canvas-turned Fair employee said it was “a rollercoaster.” (Fair declined to comment beyond the memo.)

Actually the ‘startup’ model always been around the ‘hyper-growth’ at any cost1. So they could outcompete the established players or get too much head start over the new comers., or otherwise just grab as much market share, in a shorter period of time, as they can. 

However it comes at a price and price is what VCs are willing to pay or at least used to pay for the hyper-growth. Traditionally businesses grow organically, as did our. However VC-Startup partnership totally changed the economics and dynamics of the businesses. 

Anyhow speaking of Flexport specifically, I guess laying off merely 50 personnel does not even count as opposed to other larger lay-offs, for instance Oyo another Softbank funded startup laid off over 3300 personnel.

1. However in the aftermath of WeWork fiasco, things are changing quite rapidly, in particular Softbank has made a major shift in their strategy, they are trying to minimize losses and seek profitability in the near future for their funded startups., by reducing headcounts and overheads.

January 14, 2020 General 752

Success Vs Failure

Neither success nor failure are spontaneous. Both are the result of an enduring process. No one becomes a billionaire overnight, and no one goes bankrupt overnight either. In short, you have to persistently screw up a lot of things to go bankrupt. And likewise, you have to persistently do most things right to succeed.

November 2, 2019 General 546

WeWork's Failed IPO, Ouster Of the Founder and Softbank's First $6.5 Billion Quarterly Loss

I don’t’ think Softbank made a mistake by investing in WeWork1, If you are sitting on top of a $100 billion VC Fund, and you want to shop for startups., suddenly you would realize, that all of the ‘tech-startups niches’ are either too much saturated or dominated by very big players, leaving a little room for any disruption.

So where would you invest then., you have to look for startups, that are still looking promising and going through hyper-growth, so it made a perfect sense (as a late stage VC). And I guess it’s the very reason Softbank bought them out, It’s a great idea with too much growth.

However it ended up being a way more expensive deal for the Softbank than they would have anticipated and nearly lost $4.6 Billion as shown in their recent quarterly results, that reported a total loss of $6.5 Billion (Wework + Uber) for the first time in 14 years, that’s a major setback to their aggressive investing strategy., and raising the successor to their first mega VisionFund.

Edited following the quarterly results posted by the SoftBank.

1. The only mistake Son made was, he invested in the startup not its founder. Always invest in founders first then their startup. This would serve as a great lesson for the VC community.

October 27, 2019 General 280

Getting I.T. Right: What forwarders can learn from DHL’s strugglepermalink

An 800 pound gorilla (DHL) tried to use SAP for digital transformation, and lost $1 Billion in the process. When in IMO they could have achieved all this under $10-$20 Million, only if they had hired 50-100 full stack Rails developers.

But neither do they know what is a full stack developer nor Rails. They just know SAP and Oracle. That their teachers taught them in the 90s. On a serious note, scaling is the major issue for a company of that size, But I guess Rails could have handled it easily. For instance most probably twitter runs on Rails too.

October 26, 2019 General 253

Bangladesh looks at flying boxes to alleviate congestionpermalink

That’s brilliant, never been to Bangladesh though, but everyone who did, tells the same, too much traffic congestion. It’s the most densely populated country in the world1. However I cant’ appreciate enough how their Govt is involved in developing the export sector and its infrastructure. In particular their garment export industry that was kicked off, a decade or so ago, by the Pakistani garment exporters who were facing at the time, crippling electricity shortage 8-10 hrs per day (now 1 or 2 hrs per day).

Bangladesh took advantage of the situation, offered them lavish terms to move there. But as soon as their own exporters caught up, they were left hanging in the middle, even the land/properties they had purchased won’t get sold, because everyone knew they are going back. A little brutal on the part of Bangladesh Govt., but very smart for their own good.

[1] Of the larger countries, Bangladesh is the most densely-populated with 1,252 people per square kilometer; this is almost three times as dense as its neighbour, India. It’s followed by Lebanon (595), South Korea (528), the Netherlands (508) and Rwanda (495 per km2) completing the top five. Source

October 26, 2019 Informative 266

What is the difference between a Freight Forwarder and Customs Broker

So let’s first begin with customs broker. A customs broker is licensed by the Government to handle the customs clearance of goods for their customers, it involves preparing goods declaration, paying duties and taxes according to tariff of that product on behalf of their customers, and finally getting it released from the customs and delivering the shipment to the customer.

On the other hand a freight forwarder or more precisely an international freight forwarder undertakes the job of handling international transportation of the goods from one country to another, using various modes of transport such as by land, by sea and by air. They are also responsible for preparing shipping documents such as Bill of Lading or Airway bill. Moreover, when requested by the customer, they also arrange the cargo insurance of the goods.

Normally both of these services are offered by a single company, nevertheless both are very different and specialised jobs, so therefore, some companies may only be offering either of these services.

Hope this would explain you the basic difference between a freight forwarder and customs broker.

October 8, 2019 General 240

The Life of A Freight Forwarder

We are capable of calculating quotations for three major projects, making booking for 5 different shipments and answering 12 totally unnecessary calls per hour, all simultaneously. We do not require sleep and are at your service 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. Our home numbers are your numbers.

We are responsible for production delays, traffic jams, mechanical problems with trucks, aircraft and ships and depressed economic conditions overall. We are totally responsible for any lost or damaged freight and will personally replace it upon request.

We have powers which allow us to add unlimited weight and volume to and upon an already overloaded truck. We create miracles by loading unlimited weight and volume into airline/ sea freight containers. Furthermore, we can always motivate drivers to be your free-of-charge temporary employees to help with loading and unloading.

Yesterday’s delivery requirements with cargo loading today are regularly completed the day before yesterday, ten times a day, every day. We know that when you order a truck for loading on Monday that you really needed it on Saturday, but that you only want the overnight load delivered the following Wednesday. You want us to be at the office on weekends & public holidays to unload your goods at 2 am to ensure that your truck returns in time for your normal deliveries.

We are always friendly with a smile, have mastered telepathy, show empathy and gladly act as our customers’ psychiatrists. We embrace the challenge when you cancel the space with the airline and one hour later expect the airline to hold the space for you just in case you require the capacity again, and do this daily.

We embrace the opportunity that you allow us to develop our negotiation skills with airline staff in securing capacity on already overbooked flight and allowing us to freely negotiate a cheap spot rate for the freight as well.

We speak all languages and know the location of even the smallest town anywhere in the world. We are able to obtain a freight rate inclusive of clearance and door delivery to the strangest of places at a moment’s notice. At your request we can comply with any and all additional requirements your company may have. We also repair vehicles and computers!

For undisturbed road traffic, we have clocked our vehicles and if that does not resolve a traffic jam, we are capable of freeing the roads of traffic, upon request, in order to meet cut-offs.

Naturally, payment of our invoices is optional, and if your company has financial difficulties we will gladly advance unlimited funds for as long as you require them.

Our lives have been enriched by the endless opportunities that you have allowed us to experience.


Your Eternally Grateful.