Conversations with Alex!

Here’s the second MRUniversity video from India. It’s a little different than what we have done before and a bit of an experiment; an interview with Shannon D’Souza one of the proprietors of my favorite coffee shop in Mumbai, Koinoina Coffee. We talk about what it’s like doing business in India.

Enjoy! And if you are in Mumbai do stop by Koinoina Coffee Roasters in Chuim village and tell them Alex sent you.


Shouldn't that address be 3 words?

Is this a product of Indian culture or British (colonial) culture? Why have Indians become America's innkeepers? Why are so many convenience stores in America owned by Pakistanis?

"Why have Indians become America’s innkeepers? Why are so many convenience stores in America owned by Pakistanis?"

A mixture of path dependence and the investor visa program explain a fair amount of it.

Yup, see also doughnut shops in southern California (run by Cambodian immigrants), and nail salons (run by Vietnamese immigrants, allegedly Tippi Hedren was that start of that). There are certain industries and occupations that are natural fits for immigrants who may lack language skills and perhaps occupational skills but are willing to work long hours. Restaurants, convenience stores, gardening and agriculture, etc.

But within that set, what is the actual industry that an immigrant group will concentrate in? I think path dependence is often a big part of it.

Very nice video -- thanks. A partial explanation, I guess, for why there are so many Indian ex-pats here. the U.S. we seem to be moving in India's direction:

(Though, fortunately, the Trump administration has recently suspended the new requirements).

Nice video.

The smoke thing isn't completely unfounded though. Even with US standards, if a small roaster goes in across the street, you better like smelling coffee smoke, all the time.

The roast to second crack includes carbonization.

Doesn't sound that much more onerous than opening a coffee shop in say, San Francisco. Perhaps the bribery path isn't so open in the US. Warren over at Coyoteblog had a post about setting up in TN with everyday revealing yet another permit, license or number that was required. There was no single source of what was required to open a business.

One of the reasons government hates small business owners so much. They have intimate knowledge of the regulatory system and take it personally since it is their money being chewed up by fees and delays. Corporate operators have someone who is paid to hire former agency bureaucrat "consultants" to get the permits and licenses sorted out. Most importantly, it is not the employee's, or often, even the CEO's money that is being chewed up by the regulatory process.

Here are the national rankings. Are there city by city ones?

Thanks for that Anonymous. In middle-income Philippines, we're building a house and it's true that getting permits is rife with bribes: to get faster service, you have to grease palms. If you don't, you get pushed to the back of the queue and it takes X times longer. Right now we're trying to get a simple electrical connection and the power company has delayed connecting us for well over six months. We're borrowing power from a friendly neighbor in the meantime.

I will also point out I have personally bribed Greek phone officials to connect me faster, out of queue, than the ordinary slow schedule. As I recall it was not that much, maybe $150. But if you have a business the going rate for all permits, including licensing permits, is 5% or so of the price of the business. I'm paying some bribes now (through my lawyer, that's what Greek lawyers are for actually) for certain necessary paperwork shortcuts in a business I run there. In Africa it's 10%. In the USA, it's factored into the taxes (high tax locales have the best public infrastructure; low tax locales are incompetent).

The claim is that after Silicon Valley, it's Canada. For politics.

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