Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Buffett or Jobs?

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

It took me more than 6-months each to read The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life few years ago, followed by Steve Jobs biography last year. Though, I reached the end of Steve Jobs’s bio, 50% of the book is still unread.

Then last week, I read two great articles, one in Wired magazine critiquing Steve Jobs’s ‘social-etiquettes-are-for-the-weak‘ style, titled, The Story of Steve Jobs: An Inspiration or a Cautionary Tale? followed by Fortune magazine’s feature on See’s candies (the iPad version has audio/video of Buffett) which alluded to Warren Buffett’s ‘always-looking-for-a-situation-to-crack-a-joke‘ management style.

Here are two great leaders whose works are impregnated into the minds of the entrepreneurs and are tested during trying times, and then with opposing styles.

I personally get conflicted of which approach is better. Some of the thoughts I keep pondering:

  • Do you hire a missionary or mercenary?
  • Empathy with people or metric-driven connectedness?
  • Products over dead bodies?
  • Micro-management vs. trusting your team?
  • Honest with your opinion or diplomatic?
  • Arrogance vs humility when dealing with employees vs customers?

Over the years, I have learnt that no single approach wins, and more than that it’s a matter of personal style, your own temperament, etc. However, we always look for case-studies in testing times. We learn from others and their mistakes. The challenge is which one to adopt and how do I know a specific behaviour is suited for a personal style.

Time will tell, but the torrent of conflict continues and the quest for wisdom is hungrier than never before.

Off-topic: I seriously feel that Walter Isaacson should do a bio on Buffett.

Laptop to Loadbalancer: Is your LAMP hardware infrastructure growing like this?

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010
Lamp Growth Plan

Lamp Growth Plan

The visual image conveys the thoughts. The data legends represent a hypothetical configuration using Webservers, Database Master and/or slave or DRBD, Memcached nodes, etc. The size of the circle represents the relative amount of money spent on monthly hardware lease.

How did your web presence grow?

Disclaimer: The above does not include security, disaster recovery, backup and other attachments which are a must.

2010 Predictions for Indian technology ecosystem

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Orion NebulaAs the year 2009 comes to close, it’s time to reflect on what has been done and also the time to dream what the world is going to achieve. Personally, I came back to India after a gap of almost a decade and have been playing catchup; trying to understand the changing business here with a perspective. Dreaming of things what could be achieved here,  I thought I would throw some predictions for 2010 in the desi kitchen bag. Here is my list:

  1. A traditional media company or a telco acquires a 3-year young technology start up in the INR 100 crore range
  2. A mobile telco launches a domestic anywhere to anywhere unlimited talk time plan (long shot: for INR 3999/month)
  3. Indian internet users climbs up to be in the Top 5 spot in their share of online piracy. Positive is the surge in Internet usage.
  4. Infosys/TCS/Wipro launch initiatives to align their interest with the startup ecosystem in India (the offering may be on the lines of Microsoft Bizspark, Sun ‘Startup Essentials‘)
  5. Amazon CloudFront Content delivery network (CDN) launches an Edge location in India
  6. Government of India passes the legislation to legalize Voice Over IP (VOIP) traffic originating within the country and terminating to a local telephone
  7. The Indian Advertising community tries to block sales of Tata Sky Plus (DTH Recorder/Indian Tivo) as they realize that people are skipping ads
  8. 2 kids from an engineering college launch a brand new search engine and get international investments/coverage
  9. starts their online commerce operations, whereas Techcrunch kick-starts their Indian operations with a post on how they acquired their squatted domain
  10. Reserve Bank of India launches a parallel payment network for credit and debit transactions; takes Visa & Mastercard head-on

The thumbnail is of Orion Nebula, favorite amongst amateur astronomers and casual sky watchers. It is one of the closest star formation regions from Earth at a distance of 1,500 light years.

4 Traits of a successful Web2.0 Development Team

Friday, December 29th, 2006

* Treat Programing languages like soda-water, adds new ingredient (as required) to flavor it up
* People who cannot focus on one thing, when they are alone and not writing code (both criteria inclusive)
* People who can produce at least half-a-dozen new ideas in a 60 minute conversation
* People who live on the edge, who can think ahead at least 2 years from today (but no more than 4-5 years, otherwise they are plain dreamers and not pragmatics)

Following The Pirates, er, pirates follow the market

Monday, July 17th, 2006

In 1996 from the footpaths of New Delhi near Red Fort I bought my copy of Bob Cringley’s Accidental Empires: How Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions.. for INR 10 (around 25 cents in USD). That’s how free markets work. It looked like a local reprint (I still remember it was a Penguin publishing reprint).
John Batelle is excited about the popularity of his book, “The Search”, reaching the streets of Mumbai. In India the legal edition of John’s book is priced at INR 728, which is close to the Amazon’s price in US. If the cost is prohibitive, people will figure out a way to get access to it. That’s where pirates fill the gap.
And yeah, I also bought albums of Mariah Carey, Europe, Scorpions, Metallica, Madonna, AC DC, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Bruce Springsteen, U2, etc when none of the record companies were legally selling them in India in late 80s/early 90s 🙂 Markets figure them out.

Browser Marketshare

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

Fred Wilson is reporting about the growing market share of FireFox.
Good to know that best of the breed browsers are controlling around 95% of the market. These are the browsers which support XMLHttpRequest, L1 DOM, CSS2 (in parts) and XHTML. The developer community should blindly remove any code which shows courtesy to the remaining 5% browsers and let the nasty javascript errors be visible so that the users actually upgrade.
Sigh of relief! Come IE 7, it wil probably take away the remaining 1.7% marketshare which Netscape still commands.

Timestamp Right Now: Going down into the annals of history as 1,2,3,4,5,6

Wednesday, April 5th, 2006

This post is timed for 1,2,3,4,5,6 which is the combination of time and date right now.
Simply read in the following order of date format hh:mm:ss MM/DD/YY, the time right now is 01:02:03 04/05/06
Update:Just saw other people talking about it (Scoble and Boing Boing)

How big companies can innovate

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

After seeing all sorts of grand ideas, I came out thinking after ETech 2006; small startups and going-to-be-next-big ideas executing on the forefront of technology. Mostly missing were large companies (except, Microsoft, Yahoo and Google) who are going to buy these startups in 2-3 years for at least 5X/10X their current valuations.
Big corporations always miss the opportunity initially but then they spend millions of dollars on acquisitions. Most of these young companies are backed by venture capital and are funded to the north of just $1m on an average. A recent report cites that median price of these acquisitions are somewhere between $50m. That’s whopping.
How can the big companies execute on the new ideas? Simple — play by the same book as VCs play. How?
1. Pick at least one fresh idea every month and invest a total of half-a-million dollars for the next 12 months on each one, nurturing the idea to a private beta. You can even code name these project as Project Jan06, Project Feb06, etc. 🙂
2. I’m 100% sure; at least one of them would either be bankrolled into a full product or rolled into a feature in the existing product line.
3. Analyze after 12 months and start at #1 again
Here is the worksheet:
12 ideas, $0.5m each = $6m + $1m for an oversight team and a board consisting of a few people = $7m/year.
Median price of an acquisition = Cost of a missed opportunity = $50m (2005 avg.)
One single idea bankrolled into a successful product = Guaranteed funding for the next 50 new product ideas.

How I unlocked my Samsung x426 Cellphone and saved $10

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

I had an old Samsung X426 flip phone lying around which a friend needed as a “Pay As you Go” spare phone for his someone. The Cingular store gave us an option and told us, “… if you have an unlocked phone all you need is to buy refill minutes…”.
Nice, the challenge was to get it unlocked. A quick search on Craigslist gave me a “will come to the nearest Walmart parking lot and unlock in 5 minutes for $10” option — The guy said, he would do a Samsung x426 without using any software or a device. That rang a bell.
Here are the steps I followed (collated from multiple sources, courtesy Google):
1. Ripped the battery and Inserted a SIM card from another network provider than the one who locked the phone
2. On power up the phone reported “Wrong Card”. Keyed *#9998*3323# and then selected “Exit”
3. Selected Menu #7 (“Jump to Fail”) which caused a reboot of the phone.
4. On reboot entered *0141# and selected the call button. “Personalization” appears on the screen.
5. The splash screen of the new SIM provider shows up.
6. Anyway, power cycled the phone and called my landline. The phone was now unlocked.
Enough money saved to cover a week’s supply of small cappuccino from the corner coffee shop. Total time spent 20 minutes!
Good use of technology = $10 = free coffee for a week 🙂

13 Good Reasons to Switch to FireFox

Sunday, November 20th, 2005

This Web site is on a crusade to destroy the prowess of Internet Explorer. This guy needs to “beta” IE7 to make a fair assumption — The upcoming release of new IE browser has the necessary ingredients to challenge FireFox, viz. Tabbed Browsing, Security enhancements, RSS reader, built-in pop-up blocker, etc. etc. I like Firefox ‘coz of Greasemonkey, Javascript Shell, DOM Inspector, Platypus and plethora of other handy development tools. Top most is Firefox’s DOM Level 2 & CSS compatibility matrix, on which IE has mostly sucked so far. The worse is IE’s event handling model, which probably is getting a facelift with IE7. The IE7 development team has also promised to ease the pain of managing browser compatibility with IE7 (What about IE 5.5/6.0!?!)
It’s truly amazing that the IE7 team has been listening to all the feedback the blogging community is feeding them. They are even working on a Firefox plugin for Windows Vista! Microsoft has realized that there is a much better way to win.
… But, then there is Flock to challenge both IE 7 and Firefox.
This entry composed on Firefox/1.0.4