Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The down day hack–Reminiscing your last day e-mail from an earlier job

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

The startup experience is a collection of up and down moments–whether you are a founder or not. The moment you commit yourself to a cause, it’s no longer a compartment of your brain which can be turned off. A few days ago, I had a down day which lasted 24-ish hours, but luckily I chanced upon something which brought me back from gloom.

While looking for a random message, I found an e-mail which I sent while leaving Oracle, earlier this year in March. Reading that thread and re-collecting the love people gave after I sent that note warmed my heart. Thanks to the lovely messages, I was back to drinking virgin Pina Colada!

I never thought I’d ever publish this e-mail outside, but here it is, slightly redacted.

oracle_last_day_email

Messaging Apps And Revenge Of The Computer Science Nerd

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

Guest post on TechCrunch.

Let’s talk about Shadow IT

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

I just posted some thoughts on Shadow IT on BitzerMobile blog.

Ten years ago, running a shadow IT organization required a certain level of tech wisdom to deal with webservers, databases, programming languages and such. Now all you need is a credit-card to sign up with an online service doing one of many file-syncs, contact/lead management, content workflow, etc.

Read more.

The Introverted self and how to harness it

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

The motivation to write this post came out few days ago when I was chit-chatting with Bitzermobile’s India team at a CCD in Marathahalli. Thought it’d be great idea to share it further.

Bad_hair_day_meI’m an introvert. A classic one. Ready to lose the debate rather than speak. I hate talking to people. I hate breaking the ice. I also think, if I talk to them, they’ll assume that I have an agenda. I also think, if I talk to them, I won’t have any topic of interest and would be a reject.

However, in the last 5-6 years, I’ve learnt to cover up my introverted-ness with a false facade of extroversion. The realization came to me after many years of feedback from some of the amazing bosses and mentors, I’ve had in life.

As an introvert, you can survive and do really well in businesses where you either do not deal with people or have an army of people who deal it for you. In today’s hyper-competitive environment, having a facade of extroversion is key to survival. You can’t keep quiet when pitching to customers, you can’t twiddle your thumb when you are asked to present to a room full of partners in a VC meeting and more importantly you can’t let your people down in your startup by keeping quiet. Instead, you stand, raise your hand and speak-up on every opportunity.

Here are some of the weird qualities of an introvert (from my personal experience):

  • Don’t like to talk, if don’t have a point
  • Don’t interact with people, if there ain’t a reason. Random guy in front would never be greeted
  • Don’t “hang-out” in public
  • Lonely is good. Leave me to my thoughts
  • Share thoughts once and assume that people got it
  • No ice-breakers, no small talk

Though, I have been fixing my introverted self for many years by doing things which my psyche did not allow, I still get called out in meetings with comments like, “Why are you so quiet? Do you have anything else to say?” (Whereas, I thought that I already spoke volumes!)

Some of the things I did to “fix” the introversion:

  • The first thing is to realize the psychological condition and accept that it’s perfectly normal. 50% of the world is introvert! Some of the best CEOs are. The current POTUS is one.
  • Practice a measured set of small talk with small groups and previously unknown people. There are many opportunities. Attempt massive amounts of networking. Use the 3-second / 6-second techniques.
  • Get public speaking engagements. Now, this is a normal quality of introverts that if people talk to them then they get going. How do you get more and more people talking to you in first place? Get speaking engagements. For the last 3 years in Bangalore, I was a foolish and a hungry speaker. Given an opportunity, I would walk into an auditorium or a classroom even when there were less than a handful people. Though, the larger motive was to share and show what we were doing at Morpheus, but the big hidden agenda was to fix the condition and get talking to more people.
  • Practice confrontation. This is very very important. I was shit scared of confronting people even when wrong was being committed. I use to convince myself that it was okay to let-it-go. Pick small debates and lose it. Keep losing small debates here and there. It’s ok. Your psyche will soon not send that signal to your heart to pump blood feverishly. I still avoid confrontation, but when I do, I no longer shake / shiver (but my voice does get modulated!)
  • Reach early at meetings, discussions, meetups. This is a very cool trick which helped a lot. Early means few people around and by the time it gets to mass, you already know a few faces and most importantly the surroundings.
  • The most important one is to not convert. Introversion is a prize, don’t throw it away.

I think introversion is a good psyche to have, it makes you think, it makes you give others an opportunity, it makes you creative and reflective of your actions, however, the quality has to be harnessed to become successful. If you still don’t believe into the power of You as an introvert, then this TED talk by Susan Cain is a must watch.

I should have written this post 25 years ago and sent it to girls who wanted a date and thought I should make the move. Alas, I was an introvert.

I’m done with feeds (and probably gonna be done with flipboard in 12 months)

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Call it problem of plenty, but I was never able to manage the volume of RSS Feeds. Life was easy when it was just few feeds but aggregators put the nail in the coffin. It was more of a user behaviour problem than a technology or an aggregator problem. You went to a blog, liked a post and bam you subscribed to the feed with a simple bookmarklet. Until 12-14 months ago, I had close to 1000 feeds in Google Reader, which I pared to 100.

Then around a year ago, I switched to flipboard. I stopped going to the feeds altogether and flipboard became the daily window to the fragmented world of news, views and commentary. I love flipboard.

Newsstand

My current newsstand with Wired, Fortune, Popular Science, National Geographic and NYT

Then came magazines on iPad. In last 3 months, I subscribed to a few of my favorite magazines viz. Wired, National Geographic, Popular Science and Fortune (in that order). Now that these magazines are part of my newsstand, my flipboard visits have reduced. I spend time reading detailed, researched articles with supporting facts and data rather than single shot commentary from everybody else who is pretty much adding 2-cents on an already existing news.

There are two trends:

1. Desire for curated news. We are swimming in low quality content. Moreover, a lot of content is either a regurgitation of existing source and is a 2-center done by amateurs. A lot of time is wasted finding new-ness and uniqueness in a piece.

2. Magazine-like flipping experience. iPad (and now others) is giving this cool flpping experience which makes it look like a real magazine. This is a non-point and click user experience akin to reading on a print medium.

A bonus trend, which was predicted long time ago in flicks and popular science fiction, is that digital magazines and newspapers only now have started to become e-newspapers and e-magazines. Earlier they were HTML versions of print and sometimes even more horribly as PDF. WSJ still does PDF style of it’s daily delivery. If you haven’t seen this new experience which has emerged and can’t gauge what I’m talking about then go and download Wired Magazine’s iPad app and try a sample monthly issue. It totally blows the mind with embedded videos, interactive advertising and content which is “fluid”. Wired even converted it’s inaugural magazine issue into digital which is equally amazing. This is the future of reading on iPad and other tablets.

These magazines were close to dead, in-fact print was touted dead many times and even recently. However, what may be dead is print but not the producers of print. Magazines and newspapers gonna be reborn as digital and the vision of e-paper may truly be near. If you remember the subway scene from Minority Report where a man overlooking Tom Cruise is seen reading a self-updating USA Today newspaper, that future is already with us, the only difference is the form factor. We do not have a flexible broadsheet but an iPad.

The abundance of news & why I like the idea of ‘The Daily’ on the tablet

Monday, February 7th, 2011

The newspaper is the best curated medium for news. My current weekly dose of news consists of over 10 online sources and 3 print newspapers in Bangalore. The problem with online is duplicate stories; essentially everybody adding their 2 cents worth on the base story and repeating the main content. That’s why I like the newspaper, delayed but comprehensive. And definitely, not personalized. It also contains a lot of junk which I don’t wanna read but does an okay job of giving me what I should read.

Delayed? Don’t think there is a problem with delayed as most of us don’t consume from the real-time fire-hose, but catchup the feeds slowly over the week.

When Rupert Murdoch announced ‘The Daily’, a daily digital newspaper for the iPad, it was derided by many, who said, “Who wants delayed news these days?” Though, the current version of app is buggy and only available on iPad, but, this is a good start in reducing the information overload.

Here’s the super bowl commercial announcing it’s nationwide launch.

Why I like it?

  • Delayed relaxed reading of news on the tablet, rather than chasing of ever scrolling feeds
  • Like a newspaper, but digital. Opportunity to personalize. Food, Wine, Travel, Delete. Comics, Technology, Politics? Double-it. Ditto for other categories
  • This is the best digital version of a newspaper, rather than the slow loading, ill-fitting e-Papers
  • Better curation than everybody linking to the same story in real-time

I do not have iPad, and eagerly waiting for the Android version. Until then, reading it via this.

Skilling 150mn Indians by 2022

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

At the recently concluded NASSCOM Product Conclave, I moderated two panel discussions related to (a) seed/early stage funding and (b) exploring options from various agencies (and funds) affiliated with the government. In the latter panel, I had Yuvaraj Galada representing the newly formed National Skills Development Corportation (NSDC). NSDC’s charter is simple–train the Indians who are now beyond a stage to get a primary/secondary education.

A large part of Indian society has been left out of the economic development of last 20 years. Imagine the situation when informed but uneducated 300 million Indians take up cudgels and come out on the street. For the lack of education and lack of skills they would fight for the same unskilled jobs in the urban areas. This creates imbalance in the cities, leads to migration and disrupts the economics of smaller towns.

Moreover, as India tries to regain it’s position in manufacturing & development after an upward IT led growth, there is going to be a huge requirement for skilled and semi-skilled manpower to move and operate the machines. Skilling the uneducated becomes necessary. Trained manpower increases customer satisfaction at even the smallest touchpoint with service / product consumers.

NSDC’s effort is rightly timed, considering the recent UNDP Human Development Index report points out that the mean years of schooling for Indians is a paltry 4.4 years. Illiteracy and corruption are India’s Achilles’ heel. NSDC’s vision is ambitious and they have access to large corpus. They need ideas and executioners to take it forward. Let me know, if you have something going and I can connect.

4-years on Amazon Cloud!

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

I was introduced to Amazon EC2 by a friend who gave me early access to Amazon cloud infrastructure before it was launched publicly. Then Amazon announced a limited public beta on Aug 25 2006 (We used to read DDJ, then) and I got my personal account and have been hooked since then. While doing Tejit, I ran a crawler farm with an early implementation of Map-Reduce along with an NLP engine on EC2. At it’s peak, I had around a dozen instances wired via the Simple Queuing Service for job propagation. I discovered SQS by chance, while struggling with a Java-RMI based implementation for crawler job assignments.

If I remember it correctly, there was only one instance during launch which was m1.small:

the equivalent of a 1.7 GHz Xeon processor, 1.75 GB of RAM, 160 GB of local disk and 250 Mb/second of network bandwidth. You pay just 10 cents per clock hour

During it’s peak and several months before and after I have paid a lot of money to Amazon’s Cloud infrastructure specially to EC2 and sucked in a lot of bandwidth. Happy that today, I complete 4 years as a paid-user of Amazon! Here’s a snapshot of my Access Key which was created on Sep 27, 2006! Viva Amazon.

4 years as a paid user at Amazon Cloud

Indian judiciary needs to allow the class action lawsuit

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

In the last 12 months after moving back from the Bay Area — I got cheated several times, small firms, doctors, big companies, public sector enterprises. Services not delivered, money not refunded, products not living upto warranties, the list is endless.

I followed up with some, called up some, emailed up some. A failed piece of furniture from Home Town (a unit of Kishore Biyani’s Future Group) gets dead_tree_arizonafixed after 15 phone calls only to be broken again. A non-delivery of 1Mbps Internet connection from Tata Indicom leads to only 75% of the subscription amount after several phone calls and 8 months of delays. God knows how much the cellular operators are cheating in billing for short minutes and dropped calls. Every month I get charged for roaming even when I haven’t left the home cellular network. The biggest grief is against some of the large public sector companies operating as corporations who do not even have a ‘tangible’ customer service line. The so called mega retail stores have the shoddiest of services without any accountability from the local Food & Drug or health departments/administration.

Where does the hapless customer go? As usual, there is no recourse except knock the local forums and show frustration at the process. The government of India has left it’s consumers to figure everything out on their own. It burns at least an effort of at least 100 man hours to get things resolved at the local consumer forum. If the amount is few hundred rupees, it is too much a chase.

There is corruption on one side where the government does not provide the service for which the officials are paid for and then there are systemic issues in corporations who dupe the customers.

At the minimum, the government should allow class action lawsuits and give an opportunity to service-deprived individuals to take action against companies and get compensated. The judiciary already has public interest litigation against the inaction of government. Now is the time to litigate against large corporations who do the business on their own terms.

I’m not alone when I get frustrated on inactions from the companies. If you troll through the forums, there are plenty with similar problems — They are fighting for the cause individually, to get their own money back. This needs to be fixed at a much bigger level.

The thumbnail is pic of a tree taken in 1972, wilting due to water and air pollution in Utah.

5 Things investors are looking for in seed/idea stage ventures

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Presented the embedded slides to the students of IFIM, Bangalore at their final business plan presentation on 28th 29th Sept, 2009.