"CEOs can't wait to read Sunny Bindra's articles every week."

Sep 21, 2014
My 600th column: Kenya’s true economic engine

This is my 600th column on this page, and to record the milestone let us take another look at this country of ours – through a different lens. Recently, feeling depressed by the state of the nation – the self-centred, money grabbing politicos and their relentless noise, the unending terrorist attacks, the spiralling epidemic of […]

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Sep 14, 2014
When companies are built on being the best in a rat race, only rats will win

John Lanchester writes very useful books demystifying the world of finance, explaining its arcane intricacies to those who weren’t schooled in it. Sitting on a plane recently, I came across a piece by him in the New Yorker. It contained this gem: ““My father once told me about the first colleague he ever knew to […]

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Jul 27, 2014
It’s time for shareholders to change their perspective

There’s a problem in business, and it’s a serious one. No, it’s not about the difficult customers, or the disillusioned employees. It’s about the shareholders. Shareholders, we know, are the supreme entity in business. They put their money at risk, and stand to lose it all if things go wrong. They are therefore entitled to […]

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Jun 15, 2014
Two crucial questions for your business

Last week I laid into the never-ending culture of businesses playing only for the cameras, rather than playing for the real prize. So what is that prize, and how can you tell if you’re on the way to achieving it? The prize of business is no different from the prize of life itself. It is […]

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Jun 08, 2014
Why must so many businesses look good just for the cameras?

Tomorrow morning in Kenyan newspapers, you will see photos of the following: People holding a dummy cheque together, and smiling at the camera. People pretending to read their company’s annual report together, for the camera. People wearing ill-fitting helmets while touring a construction site, and pointing upwards for the camera. People sitting in a donated […]

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May 04, 2014
Who makes your mind up for you?

Who makes your mind up for you? That would be you, right? Of course we all want to believe we are independent spirits and free-minded souls; that we think for ourselves and come to our own conclusions. Sadly, for most of us that is just a delusion. Our minds are being made up for us, […]

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Mar 30, 2014
Which customer would you give a refund to?

If you run a business, or are employed in one, allow me to put three scenarios to you this Sunday. Think about your answers carefully. Scenario One: an unhappy customer comes to you. She is dissatisfied with the product she bought, because it doesn’t work. You study the situation, and conclude she is right. Should […]

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Mar 23, 2014
What’s the Lupita phenomenon all about?

Lupita Nyong’o. A name hardly anyone knew a short while back; one that pretty much everyone knows now. Why is Lupita such a phenomenon? Why is she suddenly in every fashion magazine, TV chat show, dinner-party discussion, social media debate? The clues lie in what is being discussed. Last time I checked, Lupita was an […]

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Feb 23, 2014
How Kenyan farmers quailed at quail farming

Quail eggs were hailed as the answer to all ailments; prices began rising fast; enterprising Kenyans rushed in to make money; supply surged and prices fell back sharply; many were left nursing wounds and cursing their luck. In that sequence of events lies many a lesson for peculiar Kenyans. Let’s unpick a few this Sunday. […]

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Feb 02, 2014
Your apathetic employees can bring your business to its knees

During the recent holiday season, I took a taxi from the hotel where I was staying, to go and visit a nearby shopping mall. The driver was courteous and polite. He maintained a very clean and pleasing vehicle. He was solicitous and considerate, and did everything possible for his customer’s convenience, such as driving carefully, […]

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Jan 19, 2014
These distasteful selling strategies are for losers

I hate spam. I always have. If you send me spam, it will have the reverse effect to what you intended: after receiving your unsolicited communication, I will never even consider buying whatever you’re selling. I tweeted this sentiment recently, and got an odd reply: “But Mr B, what’s really wrong with this practice? Isn’t […]

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Jan 05, 2014
Success is no longer a train you board with a ticket

To succeed in the world to come, you won’t be boarding trains with tickets; you’ll be jumping off planes with parachutes. These are fast-changing, enormously disruptive times. Success is no longer about playing safe, being predictable, or following schedules. That’s how it was when I was growing up. Children were told to pick safe subjects; […]

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Dec 15, 2013
My love for the printed book – rekindled

Three years ago it seemed a no-brainer: the e-book would kill the printed book. I joined the revolution early, buying dozens of books both on an e-reader and for mobile apps. My conversion looked complete. Early this year, though, I pulled the brake and did a u-turn. I am back to print with a bang, […]

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Nov 17, 2013
Which new technology will disrupt your life next?

Early in 2010, I wrote here that the future of your business might well lie in the palm of your hand. I was referring, of course, to the unstoppable rise of mobile computing. Since then, the smart, mobile, connected device is in more than a billion hands globally – and is expected to be in […]

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Oct 27, 2013
Whatever business you’re in, a surprise is coming

I’ve always liked taking photographs, so I’ve always had a camera. My wife prefers moving images, so she’s always in the market for a video camera. We both hate talking on the phone, so we carried mobile phones more out of necessity than choice. Here’s the thing. Those three consumer items – camera, videocam, phone […]

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Oct 20, 2013
Your success comes from solving the problems of others

I like Alain de Botton. Ostensibly, he’s a philosopher. But unlike most people who tag themselves with that description, he is a very interesting man. The focus of his work is not abstruse concepts, but the practical realities of life. He also keeps up a barrage of erudite tweets. One of those is the reason […]

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Sep 02, 2013
My final ‘Thought Leadership’ column: the business of doing business

This will be my final column in the Thought Leadership series in this newspaper. The column began life in August 2007 and tried to bring you the best business insights from leading books and publications – and elaborate on those insights in a Kenyan and African context. In this valedictory piece, I would like to […]

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Aug 25, 2013
Who cares enough to make things better?

I’ve just come back from another bout of travel (hence the brief holiday from this page). Regular readers will know that I’m a most peculiar traveller. The highlights of my holidays tend not to be great tourist sites or memorable meals. Instead, interesting processes, interesting individuals or interesting technologies are more likely to linger in […]

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Aug 04, 2013
Please don’t start a business. Unless…

I want to be my own boss. I want to work for myself, not for others. I should be enriching myself, not a bunch of strangers. A common echo, seductive in its simplicity. Who wouldn’t want to be self-directing, not answerable to others, keeping all the fruits of one’s labour? The answer is this: YOU […]

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Jul 21, 2013
Are you laughing your way to the bank or the graveyard?

Which of the following things have happened to you of late? You want to buy a product for your home. You have spoken to a vendor and agreed a house visit so that installation can be done. You take time off from work to do this. The vendor, however, does not show up. At all. […]

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Jul 15, 2013
My 300th BD column: is your business becoming a ‘bad biryani?’

“When asked what the learnings from Kingfisher Airlines experience were, Tony Fernandes said: “Focus. I have said it to Vijay many times. This is damn bloody tough business. People saw me running around in a T-shirt and a cap and said well if that Indian guy can do it then I can. Vijay was one […]

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Jul 08, 2013
Where is your business’s greatest enemy?

“Companies are rarely brought low by external forces. The majority of corporate crises, sometimes called “stall points”, when revenue growth slackens dramatically or even reverses, are self-inflicted. The two root causes of stall points are myopia and complacency. Myopia is the failure to recognize market discontinuities until it is too late to respond effectively. Complacency […]

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Jun 17, 2013
Is traditional marketing dead?

“Traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.” BILL LEE HBR Blog Network (9 August, 2012) Is marketing, as we’ve known it, dead? Bill Lee, […]

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Jun 16, 2013
Know what you are: entrepreneur or employee?

I see it all the time: employees complaining about their jobs. The spiel goes something like this…”what’s the point of working so hard, when we don’t see any of the gains? Poor old me just gets her miserable salary, minus deductions, while the owners of the enterprise pocket the real money.” It’s a common whine, […]

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Jun 10, 2013
Why so many failed to see the market for tablets

“The tablet market should top all laptop shipments this year and the entire PC market by 2015, according to a report released Tuesday. Market researcher IDC estimated that tablet shipments will grow 59 percent this year to 229.3 million units. That’s higher than IDC’s estimate for notebook shipments this year. Topping that, IDC predicts tablet […]

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Jun 02, 2013
Entrepreneurs are heroes. So why do we treat them like villains?

Kenya’s economic salvation will not come from its government, no matter how big it becomes. It will not come from its huge corporations, no matter how many bumper profits they declare. It will not come from its mineral resources, no matter how vast their quantities. Kenya’s economic heroes are not politicians, bureaucrats, technocrats or executives. […]

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May 27, 2013
Could you run your supermarket more like a hotel?

“Waitrose is to introduce hotel-style welcome desks into its stores in the latest stage of plans to expand its online business. The upmarket retailer, led by managing director Mark Price, plans to install the “concierge” service desks in order to allow customers to make online orders, collect products bought over the internet, and have their […]

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May 20, 2013
Apps ate your lunch, right out of your hand

“Nobody knows which was the first app to be downloaded from Apple’s iPhone App Store on 11 July 2008 – but the total is expected to pass 50bn on Wednesday, marking a huge new business created by the explosive spread of smartphones over the past five years.” Charles Arthur, The Guardian (15 May, 2013) As […]

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