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

success online
Feb 19, 2017
What young service providers must learn

Even though I advise people on digital disruption, I am not immune to the phenomenon myself. A writer and business advisor must keep up with changing times; I cannot count on the old ways of consuming business content staying relevant. And so over the past few years I have been on a personal journey of […]

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CIA SABOTAGE MANUAL
Feb 12, 2017
How to destroy an organization from within

There’s more than one way to defeat an enemy. As the best spies know, you don’t just mount external attacks; you also work to weaken your enemy’s organization from within. In 1944, the precursor of America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), created something called the Simple Sabotage Field Manual. This […]

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suicide
Feb 05, 2017
Why your business will probably commit suicide one day

One of my favourite Nairobi restaurants just closed down. Given the paucity of people willing to make and serve food to a consistently excellent standard in these parts, I don’t have many favourites. In fact, I don’t need more than the fingers of one hand to count them. So losing even one of them is […]

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Teamwork
Jan 29, 2017
Is it you or is it the team?

You’re a star, you know you are, and so does everyone else. You have deep talent, and it’s all personal. At school, you clocked the top grades, or excelled in sports, or were the best artistic performer of your era. In your career, you’ve always been the big cheese. Success seems to surround you; you’re […]

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Obama leaves
Jan 22, 2017
So farewell, Barack Obama

Photo credit: The White House (adjusted) When Barack Obama entered the world’s most powerful office for his first term, I expressed my delight on these pages that such a rank outsider could make it to the very top. I had high hopes that he would do a stellar job of changing America for the better. […]

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mobile digital
Jan 15, 2017
What’s your ‘DQ’?

I’m pretty sure you’ve taken (or were forced to take) an IQ (intelligence quotient) test at some time in your life. You may even have have done some sort of EQ (emotional quotient) test. But have you ever taken a ‘DQ’ test? Try this quick quiz: 1. Can you accurately describe what Snapchat is? 2. […]

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Consequences
Jan 08, 2017
Things improve if the consequences are real and personal

A lifetime of observing people and societies has taught me one thing: people only behave if the consequences of their actions are visited upon them, personally. Why do Nairobi nightclub owners continue to bombard their neighbours in residential areas with music played at insane decibel levels? Because their own children are not studying for their […]

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Best Books 2016
Jan 05, 2017
My top 12 books of 2016

You keep asking, so here they are: the best books I read in 2016. If I were reading just 12 books in the year, these would be the dozen I’d wish I’d read. Reading, please note, is a very personal endeavour. I am reluctant to offer “Best Of” lists as recommendations, simply because the value […]

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reading books
Jan 01, 2017
How many books will you read in 2017?

A year ago I wrote here that it is possible to read 50 books in a year. Provided you love and value books, that is. I put it down as a challenge to bibliophiles, ardent or lapsed, to raise their game. Having thrown down the gauntlet, I found myself accelerating. At the year-end, I clocked […]

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exploding cake
Dec 25, 2016
To succeed next year, look away from yourself

The human being is fixated on itself. Since we perceive life only through our own consciousness, we place ourselves at the centre of our existence. And we spend our lives fretting about our own selves: what we have and don’t have; what we need and want; what we feel entitled to; what we should and […]

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Angry slum child
Dec 18, 2016
Societal failure looks like this

It’s an interesting photograph. In the middle there is a sparkling new Rolls Royce parked in a city street; clearly, the owner is doing very well. But wait, to the left there seems to be an open drain running alongside the glittering car. And to the right of the limousine a very young child is […]

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work, job
Dec 11, 2016
The pleasure of just doing your job well

The other day, and much to my surprise, I came across a public servant who seemed to take enormous pride in just doing his job well. In Kenya. If you’ve picked yourself up from the floor, let me continue. I encountered a thorny issue, and contacted the relevant government department to try and sort it […]

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Masks
Dec 04, 2016
You can’t force employees to be happy

An employee of Trader Joe’s recently filed an unfair labour practices charge against the company in the US. Thomas Nagle was reportedly fired by Trader Joe’s in September; his offences apparently included an “overly negative attitude” and not smiling warmly enough. In his performance reviews Nagle had been criticized for not greeting a manager with […]

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Cape Town
Nov 27, 2016
What lies behind consistently good customer service?

I love visiting Cape Town. During a recent business trip, I paid more attention to exactly what I like about that city. Certainly, it has a beautiful setting, where a raucous ocean meets the majestic Table Mountain. Certainly, it is a culinary capital and has great food choices. Certainly, it is one of the best-run […]

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Trump
Nov 20, 2016
What did the Trump ascendancy reveal?

Donald Trump is now the world’s most powerful man, put there willingly by the world’s most successful nation. There were people who saw this coming, but I wasn’t one of them. I did not believe that a majority of voters would install this man as their leader. Consider what has just happened. Americans have voted […]

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Insurance umbrellas
Nov 13, 2016
Here comes insurance disruption

I was asked to speak at a conference for insurers recently, and I decide to rattle their cage. Their old business model, I told them, is already over. It’s just that they may not know it yet, because the many changes that will upend their business are invisible right now. To understand why insurance must […]

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Universal basic income
Nov 06, 2016
Universal basic income – could it actually work?

Predictably, my column last week brought on a storm of responses. I wrote then that we might soon all be considering universal basic income (UBI) a possible response to a changing world. We might think it appropriate to give every person in the country an income to cover essential needs – without linking that income […]

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Giving money
Oct 30, 2016
Will we be paying people to do nothing?

What would you say if I told you we might soon be giving every adult a basic income – whether they work or not? You would think I’ve finally flipped and lost my marbles after coming close to doing so many times in the past, yes? Well, allow me to explain a little further before […]

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Jacaranda
Oct 23, 2016
Nature is our mother, and we must honour her

Nairobi in October is a sight to behold. It is as though a giant hand descends from the heavens wielding an artist’s brush, and paints vast swathes of the city a beautifully subtle shade of purple. I am referring, of course, to the fact that we have so many Jacaranda trees in our city. They […]

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Rocket
Oct 16, 2016
Hey leader, where’s your rocket?

In the early 1990s, IBM was a company in deep trouble. From being a globally dominant vendor of information technology, it was floundering. It was trapped in the thinking of its past, and failing to move with fast-changing trends in technology. An outsider, Lou Gerstner, was brought in to revive the giant corporation. In his […]

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Uber autonomous
Oct 09, 2016
You can’t resist an idea when its time comes

Two years ago I wrote on this page about Uber, the taxi-hailing app that has taken the world by storm. At the time, Uber had not entered these shores. It did so shortly after, and as predicted, overran the local taxi industry. One year ago I wrote that it was time to start thinking about […]

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rollercoaster
Oct 02, 2016
To understand human endeavour, understand Hubris and Nemesis

In her book Signals, author Pippa Malmgren asks us to understand how the world economy works by going back to the ancient Greek concepts of Hubris and Nemesis. Hubris is what happens to people when they overdo it. They succeed, and therefore they become overconfident. They think they have unusual powers. They imagine they are […]

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Banks, cityscape
Sep 25, 2016
Banks, don’t waste a good crisis

A few weeks ago I warned on this page that Kenya’s banks faced a ‘new normal’ – an era in which they would have to respond to tighter regulation, as well as innovate furiously just to survive. Well, that was before rate-capping knee-capped the industry. The recent Banking Amendment Act has ensured that banks in […]

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Brown shoes
Sep 18, 2016
Actually, I’ll wear brown shoes whenever I feel like it

“There are no circumstances in which you should be seen here in brown shoes.” Those were the words uttered by one of the old warhorse bosses in my first-ever job. He was talking to a group of us who had started out straight from university, in a global consulting firm located in the City of […]

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Facebook eye
Sep 11, 2016
Mark Zuckerberg passed through. So what?

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, was in Nairobi the other day. I thought we would note that and get on with our lives, but quite a sensation was created. I am really reluctant to add to the commotion, but I feel a couple of observations are necessary. Facebook is undoubtedly one of the most important […]

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Blah blah
Sep 04, 2016
Why do we respond to customers like this?

Image: Tenz1225 / Flickr I was using the mobile app of a top-notch global newspaper I subscribe to, and noted a prominent new feedback button. It asked for any thoughts, insights or ideas about the user experience on the app. I clicked it and shot off a quick point: that their app (unlike their cutting-edge […]

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Flag of Kenya Fist
Aug 28, 2016
What our Marathon Man taught us

At the start, it looked like a fearsomely crowded field. There seemed to be a dozen or so highly talented fellows who could win this thing. I knew we had an outstanding man in the race, but I was afraid. There were many others there who looked equally well prepared and in prime physical condition. […]

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Wallet
Aug 21, 2016
Are we heading towards a cashless society?

Many years ago I visited a European capital after a travel hiatus, and tried to rent a car from the airport. To my surprise, none of the car-hire companies would accept my money. Cash, in their own currency. Legal tender. No deal. When I asked why, I was told it simply wasn’t worth their while […]

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