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Biztro
outlookindia.com
2016-05-27T21:38:47+0530
The Science Of Surge Pricing

The economics—and ethics—of surge pricing continue to be in the news, thanks to Uday Kotak’s attack on policies that act against free markets. In this context, a recent interview with Uber’s head of economic research shows how efficiently the taxi service works the system. For instance, Uber knows when a user’s smartphone battery is about to die—thanks to power-saving mode being automatically enabled. Even better, it knows that consumers are more likely to pay a higher surge price for cars as a result. It has also discovered that an arbitrary number with a decimal point works much better in convincing users to accept surge as compared to a round figure. Scientific stuff, eh?

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The Return Of Roomy

Roomy Khan—the stock-trader-turned-informer-turned-convict—is back in the news, and boy is she singing. Khan (whose testimony helped nail Galleon Group hedge fund’s Raj Rajaratnam as well as Anil Kumar and Rajat Gupta) recently spoke with Bill Whitaker of 60 Minutes. In a rare look at insider trading, she explains her modus operandi: “The most money you make is when your analysis is totally in an opposite direction to what your hedge is telling you. “ Her motivation was access to the biggest hedge fund on Wall Street.“I was very fortunate and then I threw it all away,” she told Whitaker, her voice cracking.

Navigating The PR Blitz

Not everyone is taken in by the BJP’s publicity blitz to mark its two years in power. In a signed piece titled ‘A Mixed Bag’, MoneyLife editor Sucheta Dalal is scathing about the hype around Modi sarkar. She recounts attending a panel discussion on the government’s performance and writes that she found most people happy to lap up the claims. Dalal also contests the perception that there is less corruption. While there is no big scandal, she writes, corruption while dealing with junior ­officials continues unabated.

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Mojo

The metal everyone wants to buy

Niobium is used to produce stronger, lighter steel for industrial pipes and aircraft parts. It is mined in only three places on the earth and the price of every kilo is seven times higher than that of copper.

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This week we learnt about beer crisis

We all know that Venezuela is in a financial mess. But its citizens are now suffering a strange emergency of epic proportions. The country’s largest brewer Empresas Polar supplies 80 per cent of the beer drunk in Venezuela, including the leading brand Polar Pilsen. It has stopped production, citing the absence of malted barley. President Nicolas Maduro has now threatened to take over the closed breweries, saying that the business owners risk being “put in handcuffs”. It doesn’t help that Venezuelans really like their beer. The tropical country has the highest per ­capita consumption rates among the nations in South America. Some things are worth fighting for!

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