Sunday, August 26, 2012

World Maps - 696 World Maps

What does our world look like if we don’t measure it in physical terms of miles and meters?  What if we measure our territories by coffee consumption and rainfall volume?  You can see what that looks like by clicking on, the World Mapper website.  The site has almost 700 maps covering 31 categories  Each one is different.

These maps give us a way to understand statistics –for example how adult literacy compares in almost 200 territories   -  by looking at a brightly colored map.  Want to see changes in population?  Look at maps from 1500, 1960 and estimates for 2050.   The pinks and reds, the colors  of the continent of Africa that were small in 1500 are at the center of the map of 2050. 

Think of any sets of numbers you want to compare and imagine how today's traditional map would change.  Which countries would be large and which would be small, how would our world look?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

India & Brazil: A Special Bond?


A recent article in The Globalist ( examined the similarities between India, which is usually compared to China, with Brazil,  a third member of group of countries known as the BRICS.  The piece was written by Ruchir Sharma author of the book “Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles”.

He writes of the similarities in the cultures of the two countries where long standing close relationships are a fundamental element of society.  Tradition and values are shared within the group and it is likely that members of ones group are given special consideration in all matters, opening up the possibility of favoritism and corruption. 

One way to discover if his idea can be confirmed is to review the most recent Corruption Perception Index prepared by Transparency International. (  Their 2011 report ranked the perceived levels of corruption in over 100 countries.   New Zealand was rated the least corrupt with a score of 9.5 (the best possible is 10 with the worst being zero).

As far as India and Brazil, the results do not reveal the similarity suggested by the author.  Brazil ranked #72 with a score of 3.8 while India was #95 at 3.1 (The other BRICS nations, China and South Africa, were #75 at 3.6 and #64 at 4.1 respectively).

This report is just one tool that can be used to compare countries of the world.  The authors premise that there is a special bond between India and Brazil is worth considering and watching to see what we observe. 



Sunday, August 12, 2012

Speak Their Language

Earlier this week I ready Nataly Kelly’s post “Speak to Global

Customers in Their Own Language” in the Harvard Business Review Blog

Ms. Kelly points out that customers are more likely to purchase something from a site written in their own language than one than one that rquires translation.  Further research reveals that even in the EU Countries where English usage is common, people still prefer to browse sites in their mother tongue.  Good information to have.


Her post is a reminder that before we travel, or welcome associates and clients, it is essential to learn some words in their language.  How do they say hello, my name is?  Please, Thank you, You’re welcome?The simple words and phrases of daily life and business.


Words let us share our ideas and opinions; to build connections and friendships.   By the language of others we communicate more than the message we struggle to pronounce.  Even if our accent or pronunciation isn’t correct our effort shows our honor and respect for the people to whom we’re speaking.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

South Sudan One Year Old

One year and almost one month ago  (July 9, 2011) South Sudan officially became an independent nation.  The day was filled with hope and a sense of possibility for positive changes.  A year later there’s little good news.  According to a BBC  report ( ) there was an official parade marking anniversary with suitable ceremonies but the news behind the celebration was less joyful.  Tensions still exist with Sudan, their neighbor with whom they share a border and turbulent history.   Inflation is rising, oil revenues held up in a dispute with Sudan, and corruption still inhibits trade. 

Even the hopes for Olympic participation and success weren’t realized.  According to the South Malaysia Star, South Sudan’s Olympic athletes were ruled  ineligible to participate. -   A sober beginning to year two of this new nation. 

What we wonder lies ahead? Will July 9, 2013 be marked by true celebration of that new beginning envisioned a year ago or will we see another day with little reason to rejoice?  Let's hope for good news.