Cyril Shroff Describes Business on the Sub-Continent

Question: What makes doing business in India different than doing it in the West?

Cyril Shroff: Well, a number of factors which highlight differences between doing business in India and doing that in the west. Firstly, in India, Indian entrepreneurs have historically had to even now have to struggle to a fair amount of bureaucracy and still make it, make it to the top.  So they have two functions and there are more constraining policy conditions but nonetheless they have entrepreneurial energy and the familiarity with the landscape helps them to still walk through the system. 

They are able to take advantage of a number of structural factors in India such as our demographics, the availability of skilled professionals and just to share energy of a very young country. Other differences include the ability to move quickly. In India’s growth has primarily private sector entrepreneur-driven. Unlike--I don’t want to bring in the China comparison too early--but China’s growth has been largely driven by public sector and governmental intervention but it’s probably the exactly the other way around as far as India is concerned.  Businessman who would never have heard about 10 to 15 years ago, are amongst the top 10, 10 or 15 businessmen incorporates in India.  So that’s one big difference. 

The other cultural difference between doing business in India and doing business in the West is a fair amount of informality in terms of how structures work. There is a very high proportion of promoter and family-controlled businesses. Most of corporate India barring a few is promoter and family-controlled. So that brings with it, some special cultural dimensions to it as well, not necessarily in a bad sort of way but it allows this kind of businesses to act quickly in a more entrepreneurial format. So they are less institutional and more entrepreneurial. 

Question: How did India come to dominate outsourcing?

Cyril Shroff: We have benefited tremendously from the outsourcing opportunity and initially it began as a cost arbitrage because the cost of hiring skilled professionals in India was significantly lower than in the West. But more recently we moved up the value chain quite a bit. So today, we’re not just outsourcing low end jobs like call centers but have moved up the value chain in terms of research and development facilities and more complicated functions, financial, and other functions which are being outsourced to India.  A number of global financial institutions for instance have their back offices in India handling very complex financial models, handling some of the global accounting practices, so it’s. . . .  We’ve just tapped the tip of the iceberg at this point, and there is much more to come. The problem today in India is that despite our large population there are still not enough skilled professionals which can allow us to truly exploit this opportunity. 

Recorded on: April 29, 2009

India is a young country that can still move quickly in the world economy.

China's "artificial sun" sets new record for fusion power

China has reached a new record for nuclear fusion at 120 million degrees Celsius.

Credit: STR via Getty Images
Technology & Innovation

This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.

China wants to build a mini-star on Earth and house it in a reactor. Many teams across the globe have this same bold goal --- which would create unlimited clean energy via nuclear fusion.

But according to Chinese state media, New Atlas reports, the team at the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) has set a new world record: temperatures of 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds.

Yeah, that's hot. So what? Nuclear fusion reactions require an insane amount of heat and pressure --- a temperature environment similar to the sun, which is approximately 150 million degrees C.

If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it.

If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it. In nuclear fusion, the extreme heat and pressure create a plasma. Then, within that plasma, two or more hydrogen nuclei crash together, merge into a heavier atom, and release a ton of energy in the process.

Nuclear fusion milestones: The team at EAST built a giant metal torus (similar in shape to a giant donut) with a series of magnetic coils. The coils hold hot plasma where the reactions occur. They've reached many milestones along the way.

According to New Atlas, in 2016, the scientists at EAST could heat hydrogen plasma to roughly 50 million degrees C for 102 seconds. Two years later, they reached 100 million degrees for 10 seconds.

The temperatures are impressive, but the short reaction times, and lack of pressure are another obstacle. Fusion is simple for the sun, because stars are massive and gravity provides even pressure all over the surface. The pressure squeezes hydrogen gas in the sun's core so immensely that several nuclei combine to form one atom, releasing energy.

But on Earth, we have to supply all of the pressure to keep the reaction going, and it has to be perfectly even. It's hard to do this for any length of time, and it uses a ton of energy. So the reactions usually fizzle out in minutes or seconds.

Still, the latest record of 120 million degrees and 101 seconds is one more step toward sustaining longer and hotter reactions.

Why does this matter? No one denies that humankind needs a clean, unlimited source of energy.

We all recognize that oil and gas are limited resources. But even wind and solar power --- renewable energies --- are fundamentally limited. They are dependent upon a breezy day or a cloudless sky, which we can't always count on.

Nuclear fusion is clean, safe, and environmentally sustainable --- its fuel is a nearly limitless resource since it is simply hydrogen (which can be easily made from water).

With each new milestone, we are creeping closer and closer to a breakthrough for unlimited, clean energy.

The science of sex, love, attraction, and obsession

The symbol for love is the heart, but the brain may be more accurate.

  • How love makes us feel can only be defined on an individual basis, but what it does to the body, specifically the brain, is now less abstract thanks to science.
  • One of the problems with early-stage attraction, according to anthropologist Helen Fisher, is that it activates parts of the brain that are linked to drive, craving, obsession, and motivation, while other regions that deal with decision-making shut down.
  • Dr. Fisher, professor Ted Fischer, and psychiatrist Gail Saltz explain the different types of love, explore the neuroscience of love and attraction, and share tips for sustaining relationships that are healthy and mutually beneficial.

Golden blood: The rarest blood in the world

We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
  • Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
  • It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
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There never was a male fertility crisis

A new study suggests that reports of the impending infertility of the human male are greatly exaggerated.

Sex & Relationships
  • A new review of a famous study on declining sperm counts finds several flaws.
  • The old report makes unfounded assumptions, has faulty data, and tends toward panic.
  • The new report does not rule out that sperm counts are going down, only that this could be quite normal.
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