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Business Culture Preparation
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75% of success is staying calm. The rest you figure out.”
– Sam Kass (fTim Ferrissriss blog)

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Has anyone tried Google Helpouts yet? It's a really cool platform for getting help with whatever you need over video chat. 

Here's a code that will get you a $25 credit towards your first paid helpout. Lots of them are free, but if you find a paid one that you like, you can use this code (enter it at the end of the helpout). You will need a google wallet account along with a G+ account. 

LYNN14H


I'm a helpout provider for Indian Culture Preparation- so if you're headed to India or just want to know more about the culture then check this out:

https://helpouts.google.com/115556628233147197244/ls/a6e8eb31e4e769b2 

Happy Easter weekend! 

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One of the largest companies in India has discontinued their "Non-veg" offerings after 6 years on the market, stating that it's disrupting sales of their vegetarian items. Though meat consumption is low in India- it does exist and this shows the diversity of surrounding the food in India.  

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India successfully launched a mission to Mars today. It was praised for its cost efficiency ($73 million vs the $2.5 billion the US spent in 2011), but criticized as superfluous compared to many of India's pressing needs- Sanitation for one.  It certainly was a remarkable feat that hopefully created processes and technologies that can help everyone. 

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Helpouts are live! 

Google has created a fantastic way to get help with whatever you need. If that need includes some information about Indian culture, then join us at:
https://helpouts.google.com/115556628233147197244/ls/a6e8eb31e4e769b2

See you soon! 

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An interesting bit of innovation and "Jugaad" (a creative workaround for a business problem) from Reliance communications. Contracts for cell phones are rare in India because, as the article mentions, there is not a master database of individuals (like SSN in America) that allows the verification of credit worthiness. Reliance is able to offer the iphone on contract at a discount, because they are working with credit card companies that will bill the customer directly. 

A clever and resourceful way to make the contract system work where it otherwise would not. 

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Is doing business in India really more difficult than one year ago? The numbers say yes- showing that India slipped 2 spots from 132 last year, to 134 this year. 

Is the rank change due to the progress of other countries (moving up the list), or is India indeed becoming more difficult to navigate? 

Probably both.

Much needed reforms aren't happening, and some very high profile projects are being cancelled. Some well-intentioned changes did take place this year regarding foreign ownership of companies- but they came along with a lot caveats that still don't allow for the momentum that India is seeking.

Other nations, including some of India's neighbors are making changes to increase their competitiveness and attract the investment that helps those economies to continue their fast growth. 

Still, we're optimistic that when reforms are established and infrastructure is strengthened, India's somewhat wavering growth will stabilize and increase accordingly. 

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Late last week, there was a gold rush in India. A holy man had a vision about gold under a local temple. People flocked to the temple from all over to stake their claim on any findings. 

The devout faith of the the holy man's followers (as well as many others), means there's no hesitation or doubt about the vision. It shows the deep faith and trust of religious leaders and the importance of religion.

There has been some damage to ancient structures, and local authorities arrived to control the situation and hopefully stem any further damage.  

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Day 30- Interview

To conclude our 30 days of Prep, we posed some questions to Patrick, a first time traveler to India, who will be leaving within in the month. Though it's Patrick's first time traveling to India- he does have experience traveling through South Africa, East Africa and Egypt. 

Here are Patrick's thoughts on his upcoming trip: 

What research have you done about India? 

"I've spent a little time reading up on India's history, cultures, religions, and foods (i.e. the first 80 pages of my travel guide). Even though 80 or so pages in a travel guide is very superficial, I've found from previous travels that just the basic knowledge about a place can really help give a context for the whole experience. In addition to reading up on India's basics, I also took the tentative itinerary for our trip and then read in a bit more detail about all the areas we'd be visiting."

What are your biggest concerns? 

"If I get to/have to travel alone for a day or two, I want to make sure I've got the all the details for transportation, banks, what I should/shouldn't eat, and places to avoid. If I were travelling the entire trip without (my friend), I would be especially worried about getting tricked and taken advantage of by touts, which was a constant concern in other places I've visited."

What do you think you'll be eating while you're there? 

"From (my friend's) descriptions, I expect we'll be eating a lot of rice+sauce+naan. It also sounds like some of the food can be very spicy, so I've been working on my tolerance the last month or so, adding extra heat to my dishes wherever I can."

What is your main purpose in going?

"Tourism! I couldn't pass up an opportunity to visit India with someone who had actually lived there."

What do you hope to get out of the trip? 

"I'm excited to learn about India's history and visit as many historic sites as I can, to experience the culture up close, and to taste all the foods. India is so out of scope from the education we grew up with, but is home to over 1 billion people! I think I'd be missing something great if I didn't make an effort to see how this huge segment of the world lives." 

WIMFY

Thanks to Patrick for giving us some insight into his upcoming maiden trip to India. He left us with the following advice that we wanted to share: 

"From my (previous travel) time (as a volunteer), I just figure folks are better off being prepared to be offended by elements of other cultures. The (other) volunteers who couldn't just accept that there were pieces of the host culture they'd have to disagree with and roll on--those volunteers had the hardest time and many ended up quitting."

Some elements of cultural friction aren't sustainable and need to be addressed, but there are plenty of others elements that, as Patrick said, just need to be accepted. 

Have a great trip Patrick! 

Hopefully the 30 days of prep have helped your understanding of Indian culture and will help to improve your experience with India. As always, let us know if you have any questions, or if you would like a deeper understanding of the concepts that we've touched on briefly over the past 30 days. We're wrapping up the 30 days of prep, but stay tuned for tips and insights. 

-Lynn 
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