How to jump-rope like a pro to lose the flab

Want to get into shape and lose the unwanted flab? Grab the jump rope. Skipping is being called the ultimate high-intensity exercise regimen. A full-body workout that starts with the wrists, it uses the legs, hands, shoulders and abs to leave you healthy and toned. Skipping also increases bone density and builds alertness. Folks are increasingly taking to this workout that you can do just about anywhere. Short bursts of high intensity exercise are said to wake up the body and it’s no wonder that celebrities such as Padma Lakshmi, Kate Hudson, Megan Fox and Justin Bieber are all said to be fans of skipping.
Here are a few rules to follow when using the jump rope…

1) Choose the right rope:
Size matters here, because if the rope is too short you may hit your shins. To know what works, step on the rope and extend the handles upwards. If they touch the armpits , it’s a comfortable size.
2) The turf: Jumping on the wrong surface can impact the knees adversely. Avoid cement as that is too hard. Instead, jump on grass or another soft flooring.
3) Your clothes: Remember, when skipping, the rope might hit your outfit, so avoid hoodies with long ropes. Stick to a T-shirt and fitted tracks.

4) Warm up: This is a strenuous activity, so work out before you jump rope.
5) Start gradually: New to this? Begin with a one-foot bounce and then go to a two-foot one. In a single bounce, you should be jumping only ½ an inch off the ground.
6) Your form: Never jump flat-footed, but land on the balls of your feet. Also, while jumping do not let your feet touch the ground.

Jumping rope for 10 minutes = Running one mile

From desert dinners to palace stays, you can now explore India like a true maharaja

From a royal procession astride elephants, to dinner in the desert and stays at some of the most opulent palaces across India, a new travel itinerary has been created for travellers looking to explore India like a true maharaja.

For the princely sum of $81,400, travellers can sign up for The Royal India Tour, a 17-day itinerary that includes royal receptions at palaces across India, where they will be hosted by members of Indian royalty.

The Royal India Tour

Evenings will involve home-cooked meals and entertainment such as live music and dance performances.

Curated by online luxury boutique VeryFirstTo and Epic India Travel, the trip isn’t for the modest or spotlight-averse.

Guests receive royal receptions from their hosts, with drums and trumpets signalling their arrival.

During the procession, they will be given the royal treatment, ferried in horse-drawn carriages or atop elephants, with horses, camels, dancers and musicians trailing behind.

Guided tours of Old and New Delhi take guests through the colourful bazaars and narrow streets as only a local can.

The trip will also appeal to those seeking spiritual renewal, with a sail down the mystical River Ganga and a visit to Sarnath, one of Buddhism’s four holiest sites, associated with the Buddha himself.

Travellers will also be blessed with good luck and good health by welcome prayers and chants by priests.

Naturally the trip would not be complete without a trip to the iconic Taj Mahal, where guests will partake in high tea. Other trip highlights include spa treatments, a dinner on the desert dunes near Jodhpur, Rajasthan, and a private dinner on a historic 150-year-old boat once used by maharajas.

Palaces on the itinerary include the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur and Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur.

On the rise of unproductive entrepreneurs like Travis Kalanick

Entrepreneurs are universally celebrated, but what if modern day entrepreneurship is creating ventures that do more harm than good?

A piece this week in Harvard Business Review by Robert E. Litan and Ian Hathaway reminds us of this point by citing the work of William Baumol, who passed away last month.

Baumol’s overarching theory is fantastically compelling. It suggests the number of entrepreneurs in an economy is essentially fixed and what influences a nation’s entrepreneurial output is how those entrepreneurs are incentivised.

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As per our own longstanding argument that innovation should not be treated as a universally positive phenomenon — since innovation comes in both good and bad forms — the view here is that the underlying incentive structure of the economy in which an entrepreneur operates dictates whether ventures are productive or unproductive.

As the Baumol paper noted:

…entrepreneurs are always with us and always play some substantial role. But there are a variety of roles among which the entrepreneur’s efforts can be reallocated, and some of those roles do not follow the constructive and innovative script that is conventionally attributed to that person. Indeed, at times the entrepreneur may even lead a parasitical existence that is actually damaging to the economy. How the entrepreneur acts at a given time and place depends heavily on the rules of the game—the reward structure in the economy—that happen to prevail.

Baumol’s paper references Rome as a historic example of these poor incentives structures in play.

…the Roman reward system, although it offered wealth to those who engaged in commerce and industry, offset this gain through the attendant loss in prestige. Economic effort “was neither the way to wealth nor its purpose. Cato’s gods showed him a number of ways to get more; but they were all political and parasitical, the ways of conquest and booty and usury; labour was not one of them, not even the labour of the entrepreneur.”

As a result technologies which were fully available in Roman times languished even though they would spread like wildfire during the high middle ages.

What this implies is that innovation and output doesn’t necessarily languish because of a lack of entrepreneurs willing to take risk. It languishes because entrepreneurs are incentivised to direct their efforts to parasitical ventures based on rent-seeking, monopoly formation or unproductive vanities — that potentially includes everything from fintech and the digital app industry to the re-emergence of luxury artisanal or service-oriented craft ventures.

In short, entrepreneurs stop focusing on growing the pie and start focusing on stealing other people’s bit of the pie for themselves, or launching ICOs in get rich quick schemes.

Alternatively, they dedicate themselves towards developing sectors that would never be cost effective were it not for state subsidy sponsorship. Think of it as another incarnation of Gosplan 2.0.

As HBR’s Litan concludes:

If the U.S. is going to tackle its many problems, we are going to have to find ways to encourage would-be entrepreneurs to start innovative, productive businesses, rather than dedicating their efforts to co-opting government in order to secure economic advantage.

It should be noted that no company exemplifies this unproductive practice more than Uber.

Hence it’s worrying that amidst all the focus on Uber’s horrible corporate culture, very little attention is still being paid to the underlying non-viability of the business model, which is mostly based on undercutting the competition via free giveaways, exploiting drivers and/or adjusting the rules of the regulatory framework to suit the company’s own monopolistic agenda.

Thank goodness then for Hubert Horan, who’s bucking the trend with another scathing analysis of what’s really the issue with Uber.

As he notes in Naked Capitalism on Thursday:

Uber’s strategy was always to skip the hard “create real economic value” parts of this process, and focus strictly on the pursuit of artificial market power that global dominance would provide. As noted, Uber’s $13 billion investment base was used to fund the predatory competition needed to drive more efficient competitors out of business. This was 1600 times the investment funding Amazon needed prior to its IPO because Amazon could fund its growth out of positive cash flow. By contrast, Uber’s carefully crafted “narrative” allowed it to pursue predatory competition for seven years without serious scrutiny of its financial results or whether its anticipated dominance would improve industry efficiency or consumer welfare.

And if that doesn’t persuade you perhaps the following will (our emphasis):

Kalanick’s management culture, while repulsive on many levels, was actually brilliantly aligned with its business strategy and its investors’ objectives. Companies that can make money in competitive markets by creating real economic value do not have to create ruthless, hyper-competitive cultures where there are no constraints on management behavior as long as they are totally loyal to the CEO’s vision and can rapidly capture share from more efficient competitors. None of Uber’s bad behavior was aberrant—it was a completely integral part of its business strategy. Without this culture, Uber would have never grown as rapidly as it has, and would have never had any hope of industry dominance.

Hopefully, that makes the point.