Using behavioral economics to promote health

Just read this interesting article in Harvard Business Review on promoting health. It provides empirical evidence that barrier to health care especially in developing countries is not availability or cost but… human nature.

It gives examples of how people can be encouraged to make optimal health choices by applying principles of behavioral economics. It provides a framework to create effective health programs in 3 stages: Diagnose, Design and Deliver. It advocates the use of controlled trials in global developmental research.

Author cites several programs in India, Bangladesh, Kenya and Philippines which became successful through Commitment devices, Material incentives, Defaults and Pro-social motivations — part of the above framework.

Go read it (needs subscription).
Here’s a PDF version available from author Nava Ashraf’s page. Happy Reading!!

All that you need to know about Apple 2013 Jan-Mar quarter earnings

Apple is not doomed like the ‘so-called-pundits/journalists’ keep predicting every morning. Is it just the caffeine-high that makes them forecast silly things?.

Compared to year-ago quarter:

  • Revenue increased from $39.2 billion to $43.6 billion.
  • Net Profit decreased from $11.6 billion to $9.5 billion.
  • Gross Margin decreased from 47.4% to 37.5%.

Other highlights:

  • 66% of the revenue was from non-US sales.
  • $12.5 billion cash flow from operations.
  • Cash balance of $145 billion at the end of the quarter
  • Will pay a dividend of $3.05 per share for the quarter.

Apple says:

  • Margins were down because of high number of iPad Minis (with lower margins) sold.
  • Out of the 5.6 million iPods sold, more than 50% were iPod Touches.
  • Don’t expect the next iPhone version to have a bigger screen size.

Finally, Apple will buy back shares – worth $60 billion – in line with Warren Buffett’s suggestion to Steve Jobs.

What do I think about it?  I think all that matters is that Apple is still making great products that customers love to own and use.  And that’s all there is to know.

Life… under control.

“… We spend a lot of time trying to organize the world.  We build clocks and calendars and we try and predict the weather.  But what part of our life, truly, is under our control? “

From the movie “The Next Three Days” (2010).

Those lengthy podcasts!

You have a blog with a lot of readers who respect you for what you write, find it insightful and probably even return to your blog multiple times a day just to check what the next greatest thing you are alerting them to or want them to ponder over.  Great!

Now, when you go and create a podcast, please please don’t make it an hour long or in most cases I see, even 90 mins long!  You might want to make it shorter.  Take the time to edit it, polish it… give it the same treatment that you give your articles.  And your readers will respect you for that… for respecting their time.

Purposeful Vs ToDo tasks

Over at, Rachel has an insightful post on how living life completely on ToDo lists can boggle you down.

Why do we get so caught up in the busyness of life that we don’t allow ourselves to enjoy it? Honestly, I have no idea. If anyone knows, please tell me so I can stop doing it.

I am really going to look at doing purposeful things than just ToDo stuff.

Has it been a while since you’ve done something really fun? Something that felt really purposeful and satisfying? Something you’ve been wanting to do for a long time? Don’t just wait for it to happen, because it won’t. There’s a three-day weekend here. Spend some time doing something that you really love.

Complete post over at Rachel’s blog: Tossing your To-do list