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

Apr 20, 2014
Nothing really changes until the culture changes

A year ago, India seemed to be looking upon itself in horror. A horrific gang-rape had occurred on a Delhi that seemed to shock the nation. Moral outrage filled the airwaves; punitive sentences were promised. This could never be allowed to happen again… And then…what? Nothing much. In fact, the reverse seems to have occurred: […]

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Apr 13, 2014
No, I don’t know that many Mr Singhs…

When I make a new acquaintance in Kenya, particularly those of a certain age, there is a question I will very likely be asked during that first conversation: “You must know Mr So-and-So Singh?” My new friend will then proceed to roll off the names of a few Sikhs of his acquaintance, typically building contractors […]

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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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Mar 09, 2014
Why money is everything in Kenya

Money is everything in Kenya. If you have money, you have everything you need. If you don’t have it, you have nothing and are nothing. To see the truth of this, consider what money gives you in this country. First, money gives you financial freedom. It gives you the ability to cut the chains that […]

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Feb 16, 2014
Let Kenya finally focus on the causes, not the symptoms, of hunger

I was flicking TV channels a while back and came upon the spectacle of assorted GoK bigwigs flagging off something. They weren’t launching a race or opening a road; they were flagging off a convoy of relief food. For the long-starving people of Turkana. I tweeted at the time: you don’t flag off relief food […]

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Feb 09, 2014
Watch all these jobs disappear

This column often highlights the various technological disruptions that will change all our lives – for better and for worse. As I have written before, this is a time of phenomenal economic and technological change, and the ramifications will be felt far and wide. One of the issues we will have to deal with in […]

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Jan 12, 2014
Doing more with less

In my first year at university, I was like most students around me: finding my way in the world; straining to understand my own identity and place; yearning for experiences, the more the merrier. My budget was tight, though. Like most of my fellows, I spread my money as far as possible, seeking the cheapest […]

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Dec 29, 2013
3 words to use (and mean) this year

As another year draws to a close, many of us will be sitting down to reflect on the months that passed, and those to come. Kenya is fifty years old now, and we should use this milestone to engage in deep introspection, not just frenzied celebration. It is not the number of years that matter, […]

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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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Dec 08, 2013
In honouring Mandela, please don’t do these two things

Nelson Mandela is no more. You have read gushing tributes, noble quotations, effusive obituaries. Bear with me here; I come to bury the great man, not to praise him. Great he undoubtedly was. For one man to have demonstrated the resolve, patience, dignity, forgiveness and unselfishness that he did is a most unusual occurrence, one […]

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Nov 24, 2013
The elite are not spared the effects of a society in decay

There is a piece of writing that has been on the wall in front of my computer for a decade. It is a succinct poetic depiction of the inter-connectedness of things. Every bit of life depends on every other bit. The piece of paper (or device screen) on which you’re reading these lines contains everything […]

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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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Nov 03, 2013
Why can’t we tell the truth any more?

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Ancient wisdom from the Bible, and a phrase we are fond of repeating in Kenya. Why, I don’t know, as we have steadfastly avoided the truth for decades. Most belief systems around the world revere the truth. The wise have always told […]

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Oct 06, 2013
It’s time for this nation to press the ‘Pause’ button

There comes a time when an entire nation needs to pause. Two weeks after the Westgate atrocity, this is such a time. That savage terrorists could plan such a complex attack with such ease, and execute it with such disdain, should give us pause as a nation. For that cannot be done without willing internal […]

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Sep 29, 2013
Forgive me for the Westgate atrocity

For once, I don’t know what to write in this column. I’m not normally at a loss for words, but last week’s Westgate atrocity confounds analysis. That we can come to this leaves me wondering what more needs to be written or said. So heavily armed people can walk into a shopping mall and start […]

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Sep 22, 2013
We need a better approach to employment

Last week we agreed: most employment is mostly awful. It requires you to park your humanity at the door and walk in as a human ‘resource,’ and exchange unwilling labour in return for monetary compensation. Why is it like this? Because our attitudes towards management and work are rooted in a long-dead past: a past […]

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Jul 14, 2013
Where else would you rather live?

I get this all the time. People will ask me: how are we supposed to live in this country? It’s a complete mess. It is corrupt to the bone, and corrupts anyone trying to earn an honest living. Easily solved problems like traffic and power supply and cleanliness are left to fester. Leaders are self-interested […]

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Jul 07, 2013
Why do we only want to look good for others?

When I was a boy, my mother had a particular dinner set of crockery and cutlery that was “for guests only.” This expensive set would only be brought out when special guests were invited home for dinner. Our regular set was a much more ordinary affair. And every other household I knew had exactly this […]

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Jun 24, 2013
Kenya has great runners, so why not footballers? An economist explains…

“At the London Olympics, Kenyans won eleven medals, two of them gold. Although more were expected, Kenya remains the global powerhouse in running…Many other countries can only dream of achieving Kenya’s Olympic performance. At the same time, Kenya is underperforming in many other sports, especially in the nation’s other favourite: football. Why such a difference?” […]

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Jun 09, 2013
A poorly managed government is an oppressive government

Imagine you are convicted of a crime, one which you remain adamant you did not commit. Imagine that the court system eventually allows you to post bail on appeal. The bail is set at the equivalent of modest US$ 180. But you are poor, and such a sum is beyond your reach. What would happen […]

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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 26, 2013
The Germans play for the long term

Last night, the 2013 UEFA Champions League final was played. I have no idea who won, as this column’s copy deadline is long before Saturday. But I can safely predict that a German team took home Europe’s premier club football trophy. This, of course, is not because I have particularly strong powers of prophecy; it […]

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May 19, 2013
Let us not be seduced by false consensus

The mood was upbeat. Speaker after speaker had highlighted the fact that Kenya is on the move, that the direction is right, that the economic fundamentals are now very attractive. Then the final speaker stood up, and struck what felt like a false note. He asked us to be careful. He wondered what Kenyans being […]

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May 06, 2013
If you’re a good-looking woman: don’t send a photo…

“Bradley Ruffle at Ben-Gurion University and Ze’ev Shtudiner at Ariel University Centre looked at what happens when job hunters include photos with their curricula vitae, as is the norm in much of Europe and Asia. The pair sent fictional applications to over 2,500 real-life vacancies. For each job, they sent two very similar résumés, one […]

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Apr 28, 2013
We must put the shine back on Kenya’s police

I had an interesting encounter with a policeman last week. I was flagged down for allegedly committing the heinous offence of obstructing traffic. I pointed out that what I had done was arguably not wrong at all – at best, misguided, at worst, an honest mistake. To no avail. The policeman entered my vehicle to […]

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Apr 21, 2013
How important is it to be popular?

I once sat down on one of London’s landmark big bridges. Right on the road, I mean. During rush hour. I was sitting with my fellow students from university to protest the stand of the government of the United Kingdom, and in particular that of its leader at the time, one Margaret Thatcher, on the […]

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Apr 07, 2013
Social media exposes what ails our societies

Recently, Kenya’s Harambee Stars went to play a game of football in Nigeria. The host country was less than gracious. Kenya’s national soccer team was not received at the Lagos airport; missed the last connecting flight; was accommodated at a 2-star hotel; and forced to train on a school pitch. This was of course unacceptable […]

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Apr 01, 2013
Why the high and mighty keep tumbling

“In “The End of Power” Mr (Moses) Naím, a former Venezuelan cabinet minister now ensconced at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a think-tank, argues forcefully that rigid pyramids of power are collapsing. Micropowers are learning how to frustrate macropowers. Bigwigs are finding it harder to wield power and harder to hold on to it. […]

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