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

Sep 06, 2009
Give the young hope in Kenya

Last week this column looked at the issue of nationality and patriotism as seen in world sports championships. I suggested we would lose many more of our athletes to richer countries, simply because we are not making this an attractive country for young people to be in. Do we ever stop to ask ourselves: why […]

Read More
Aug 30, 2009
When Linet Masai and I became siblings

When the athletes came round the final bend, our girl looked a distant third, her energy seemingly spent. The expected winner, from Ethiopia, began sprinting away and building a supposedly insurmountable lead. But somehow the Kenyan runner, against all the odds, found a final reserve tank and moved into higher gear. She began a frantic […]

Read More
Jul 26, 2009
Dependency culture is crippling many

We don’t have a welfare state in Kenya. Or do we? Look at it this way. Of our 35-plus million people, only around 2 million are in any form of ‘formal’ or ‘modern’ employment. Kenya as a country offers proper employment to fewer people than Wal-Mart does. It is these few people who form most […]

Read More
Jul 20, 2009
Your brand may be way less effective than you think

“Every marketer is up against this new reality: The world is overflowing with brands, and consumers are having a hard time assessing the differences among them. In 2006, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued 196,400 trademarks, almost 100,000 more than it had in 1990. The average supermarket today holds 30,000 different brands, up threefold […]

Read More
Jul 19, 2009
Obama only saying what we know to be true

“No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or police can be bought off by drug traffickers. No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the port authority is corrupt. No person wants to […]

Read More
Jul 05, 2009
The final legacy of Michael Jackson

I wanted to write an article about Michael Jackson this week. But as I sat down to do it, I found myself at a complete loss. There are at least four different articles I could write about the man, some of them contradictory. But perhaps contradiction is what defined the ‘King of Pop’ who died […]

Read More
Jun 28, 2009
Crime waves: the apathy continues

I am writing this column because I am still alive. Sounds obvious, but many are no longer alive to read these words. The insane crime wave that has gripped the country over the past few weeks has taken many casualties. We, the survivors, are able to talk about insecurity and feel outraged by it. Those […]

Read More
Jun 21, 2009
Let’s pamper our MPs even more…

There seems to be a bit of noise in the country about the proposal to build a walkway connecting Parliament Building, Continental House and County Hall at a proposed cost of Sh 61 million. This is to allow our members of parliament to cross the road with ease as they walk between their primary workplaces. […]

Read More
Jun 14, 2009
Development lessons from tiny Rwanda

Consider this country. Civil servants are required to report on duty at seven o’clock every morning. Cabinet ministers are given a modest amount by the government with which to purchase official vehicles, and an appropriate maintenance allowance; if they choose to use a large gas-guzzler, they do so with their own money. This country’s capital […]

Read More
Jun 01, 2009
How sincere is your company’s CSR programme?

“As firms grapple with a brutal economic downturn, they are taking a long, hard look at the resources they devote to everything from supporting charities to making their activities carbon-neutral. That is hardly surprising: cutting back on CSR, or “sustainability” as it is sometimes known, would seem to be a quick and relatively painless way […]

Read More
May 31, 2009
Learn from this failing football club

Newcastle United got relegated from the English Premier League last week. “Say what”? I hear some (but not all) of you shout in unison. Don’t we get enough mania about foreign football in this country, without ‘A Sunny Day’ adding to the madness? Is it not enough that a deranged young Kenyan recently killed himself, […]

Read More
May 25, 2009
Manager bullies may be killing your organisation

“As we burrow deeper into the recession, companies around the world are cutting costs in all the usual ways—by reducing headcount, slashing capital budgets, and trimming overheads. All these measures are vital. But in their quest to root out inefficiencies, companies should also be focusing on the hidden but substantial costs of supercilious and overbearing […]

Read More
May 24, 2009
A jolly good British scandal

I don’t know about you, but I find it immensely entertaining when the British are caught in a moral quandary. This is a nation that often preaches moral probity and higher-order values and ethics to the rest of the world; it is great sport when they get their own knickers in a twist, as they […]

Read More
May 17, 2009
A most peculiar nation we are…

Be in no doubt: we are a most peculiar nation. We are peculiar in our homes, peculiar in our places of work and worship, and peculiar when we meet socially. We are peculiar in how we talk, work and behave. Indeed, the extent of our peculiarity is in itself peculiar. Here are just six peculiarities, […]

Read More
May 10, 2009
Time to focus on Nairobi’s present, not its future

There may not be many freshwater springs left in Nairobi, but hope certainly springs eternal here. We keep hoping for the ‘Nairobi we want’, or even the ‘Nairobi we had.’ Anything but the ‘Nairobi we have.’ Is there reason to be hopeful again? Well, the regular game of musical chairs at the top has completed […]

Read More
May 04, 2009
Your job-grading system may be the problem

“Most companies grade their employees’ jobs using some kind of ranking or rating system based on job evaluation. The grades assigned are intended to assess fair pay for people doing the same work, and are usually public, like the letter grades of schools. In theory, these systems are supposed to help people manage their careers, […]

Read More
Apr 27, 2009
Watch out for a Ponzi scheme hatching near you…

“In financial history, Ponzi schemes – the fraudulent enterprise of paying off old investors with money collected from new ones – are the most peculiar of crimes. Before they are detected, they seem exquisitely pleasing to perpetrators and victims alike. The fraud appears to be a bountiful gift that the confidence trickster, a generous soul […]

Read More
Apr 26, 2009
Reclaiming good values in Kenya: what’s your personal agenda?

I went on the attack against the ‘followers’ in this country last week, and asked that we all examine our everyday behaviour rather than wait for ‘leaders’ to sort us out. The attack continues this week. We heard recently that a magistrate had been killed and his body dumped on the roadside. Newspaper reports now […]

Read More
Apr 19, 2009
What’s our real problem – leaders or followers?

There is a prominent new sign on Nairobi’s Uhuru Highway, just after the University Way roundabout. It says: “No stopping for buses and matatus”. Rightly so: it is very dangerous for vehicles to stop on a busy fast-moving highway – the chances of a pile-up are big. And guess what? That is exactly where buses […]

Read More
Apr 12, 2009
Future success is not guaranteed – for anyone

Icarus flew too close to the sun, and came crashing down into the sea. He became giddy with excitement at his ability to fly, and was punished for his over-confidence. That is a Greek fable, but all societies have their tales about the phenomenon of hubris – the excessive pride or arrogance that so many […]

Read More
Apr 06, 2009
To prosper in life, expect the unexpected

“It is easy to see that life is the cumulative effect of a handful of significant shocks. It is not so hard to identify the role of Black Swans, from your armchair (or bar stool). Go through the following exercise. Look into your own existence. Count the significant events, the technological changes, and the inventions […]

Read More
Mar 29, 2009
Kenya’s reverse economics: squander everything that’s scarce

Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta tells us that we are going on a national belt-tightening exercise. Government is going to cut out unnecessary foreign trips, workshops, and conferences by its leaders and functionaries; we are going to cut out all unnecessary hiring of cousins and sycophants; and we are going to suspend all spending on luxuries. […]

Read More
Mar 22, 2009
Why the future lies with women

“Behind every successful man is a woman” is the well-known saying. Noted wit Groucho Marx added some words to this: “Behind every successful man is a woman; behind her is his wife.” That certainly rings true in Kenya… But I would like to disagree with the original statement. I think it should say: “In front […]

Read More
Mar 15, 2009
Sad reflections on the week’s violence

This week we were treated to one of those depressing spectacles that make many of us wonder about the kind of society we have become. Two NGO leaders were shot dead in the city in open view, by assailants unknown. University students then clashed with police, trying to prevent the dead bodies from being removed […]

Read More
Mar 08, 2009
The phrases Kenyans misuse every day

One thing we seem to sorely lack in this country is linguistic intelligence. We are acutely unaware of the power of words, and how to harness and use that power. As a result, we use the same old cliched phrases every day. These phrases are so overused that they actually cease to have meaning. We […]

Read More
Mar 01, 2009
Jams everywhere: gridlock is already here

Jam today, jam tomorrow. Jam in the morning, jam in the evening. Jam at midday, jam at midnight. Jam in the city, jam in the suburbs. Strawberry jam on your toast, traffic jam on your road. I got out of my house in the morning to go to work earlier this week, and found a […]

Read More
Feb 22, 2009
Exam scams can’t be taken lightly

News that our public examination papers may be getting leaked to candidates on a systematic basis probably came as no surprise to many. Exam leakage is becoming a chronic problem, and we are now realising that it may be a well-organised activity. What is alarming, however, is how unalarmed we are by this. This one […]

Read More
Feb 15, 2009
Kenyans are masters of the blame game

We are in the middle of an oil crisis, in which Kenyans periodically look for petrol like scavengers. This is unprecedented in this country, but we still can’t explain why it is happening. It’s corruption at the Kenya Pipeline Company that has caused the crisis, say some: officials conspired with racketeers to make oil stocks […]

Read More