Monday, November 21, 2011

Intelligence Gathering

Wikileaks-iin il gargasan Mongol dahi Amerikiin elchingiin diplomat cable-uudiig unshih zuuraa Amerikchuud medeelliig yamar mundag tsugluuldagiig uzeed bishrev. Yalanguya manai elchin saiduud yamar holion bantangaar tomilogddog talaarh cable-iig uzeed nud alt boloh shahlaa. Lav l uun shig tovch buguud todorhoigoor Mongoliin uls turiin hushignii ar dahi naimaa herhen yavagddagiig haruulsan analysis urid umnu unshij baisanguy. Tuunii deer bichgiin nairuulga ni gaihamshigtay. Ene olon uguulberuud dundaas iluu gechihmeer neg ch ug olj harsanguy.

The handling of [ambassadorship] appointments provides significant insight into political maneuvering in Mongolia. Financial, ethnic, religious, social, and political considerations are all in play.


Former MPRP bureaucrat B. Enkhmandakh is now the ambassador to Sweden. Enkhmandakh is an Enkhbayar loyalist whom many Enkhbayar opponents accuse of taking exclusive blame for an incident several years ago involving alleged bribes from Macanese casinos, thereby keeping Enkhbayar out of trouble. Regardless of the accuracy of these accusations, Enkhbayar likely assisted Enkhmandakh after the latter's release from prison, eventually helping Enkhmandakh to become a political attache at the embassy in London and, in a dramatic career jump immediately thereafter, Vice Foreign Minister in 2007.
Ambassadorship and Politics in Mongolia

Also worth reading: Mongolia's Top Media Outlets and Their Affiliations + Mongolia' New Cabinet: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly + Selection of New Mongolian Foreign Minister:
At an NDI event on November 10, former FM Erdenechuluun (MPRP) asked MFAT Americas Department Director Odonjil who the FM would be, to which Odonjil replied it would be Zandanshatar. Erdenechuluun was surprised. On the same day, Presidential Foreign Policy Advisor Purevsuren called the Charge's office and poloff's cell to indicate Zandanshatar was the one.
How the hell do they know about this seemingly private conversation?

Mongolia from the US Perspective

[Mongolia] still falls short in many areas: lack of a well-articulated national development strategy; a pervasive lack of transparency in government transactions; corruption, including widespread disregard for conflict of interest among elected and appointed officials; a combination of populism and lingering attachment to the state's role in the economy which are detrimental to the development of a friendly environment for foreign and domestic investment; police abuse of suspects and jail inmates; and an abysmal percentage of women among elected and civil servant decision makers.

[...] As we proceed, we should keep in mind that Mongolia currently lacks the capacity to design and implement the policies and programs necessary to achieve sustainable economic growth. Specifically, Mongolia lacks western-educated, apolitical, well-paid, private and public sector professionals who are able to grasp the principles of and implement private sector-led growth and rule of law, the two determinants of sustainable economic growth. This lack of capable manpower is probably the single, largest obstacle to Mongolia's ability to move forward. The bulk of the current political leaders and senior bureaucrats are of a generation that was educated in the former Soviet Union and steeped in socialist doctrine, government by fiat, and central planning. On top of this, the social fabric of a small, inter-related populace abhors competition with its winners and losers and encourages a lowest-common denominator consensus approach to decision-making.
Former US Ambassador Pamela J. Slutz's concluding remarks on her three-year tour as chief of mission in Mongolia (hat tip to Munkhnaran)

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Work of Bach in the Age of Digital Reproduction

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Reason Why I Love Cycling

The stage was going along pretty easily but I wanted to suffer as much as possible to get the body into racing shape. So I went to the back of the field and slid next to a Rabobank rider named Dennis and told him, ‘you and me, let’s go’. Without hesitation he says, ‘OK’
Dave Zabriskie's note from March 6th, 2011
No other sport demands the same time, pain, and work ethic. You cannot race a Grand Tour without being in supreme physical shape, so fit that you are actually eating yourself, and must consume the same amount of food and liquid as nearly three grown men — which amounts to about 6,000 calories a day — to stay alive. During a warm weather race, a cyclist will lose three kilograms, and must chug five litres of restorative liquid, or it’s game over. (Try that twenty-one days in a row.) Cycling doesn’t have a bench. It doesn’t have time outs. 
The Pain Principle
Winning a Classic means minimizing the amount of time spent in the wind. In the first hours of the race, a winner will rely on his team’s protection to save every watt for the key attacks during the finale. In a race where over 6,000 calories will be burned, every rider is on the limit and every watt counts. Cyclists save.
On the Wheel by Michael Barry

There's nothing better in the cycling world than watching Jens Voigt "turn himself inside out" with the commentary from Phil Liggett

Saturday, November 05, 2011

A Note for Myself

A name becomes a brand when consumers associate it with a set of tangible or intangible benefits that they obtain from the product or service. As this association grows stronger, consumers’ loyalty and willingness to pay a price premium increase. Hence, there is equity in the brand name. A brand without equity is not a brand.

To build brand equity, a company needs to do two things: first, distinguish its product from others in the market; second, align what it says about its brand in advertising and marketing with what it actually delivers. A relationship then develops between brand and customer—a relationship arising from the customer’s entire experience of the brand. As the alignment grows stronger, so does the brand.

"If Nike can 'just do it,' why can’t we?" from 1997 McKinsey Quarterly