Recommend a Camera

I am planning to buy a camera. Can someone recommend one before 28th Dec 2007 .. ?

Thanks

ICICI Bank Credit Cards advertising on Facebook


Just saw this 5 minutes ago.

ICICI Bank Credit Cards is now advertsing on Facebook.

Orkut vs Facebook seems to be a popular topic amongst people in India. This advertisement by ICICI Bank Credi Cards might just be the beginning of Facebook's acceptance as a social networking platform frequented by Indians.

This brings me to another discussion. Effectiveness of text ads delivered by Google Adsense vs ads delivered by Facebook as a notification.

For an online ad to be effective, it should have following ...

1. Visibility - With those slick blocks, FB ads are far more visible than cluttered text ads delivered by Google.

2. Hook - Why would someone click on an ad knowing that it is an ad? Because of a hook. Hook like "Rs. 250 on your first purchase", no points for guessing which platform has better hooks.

3. Reach - Obvisouly Google Adsense leads by a long way. FB can display ads only in its network and Google can reach the dense rainforests of the world wide web.

In the long run, its hard to tell which one would win. FB looks better but they have a huge problem. The ads can only be served within the social network and hence is limited in scale.

Any other opinions?

Your HDFC Bank Account Need Authentication To Keep Your Account Activate Otherwise it Will Get Blocked


Phishing... !


Mail titled "Your HDFC Bank Account Need Authentication To Keep Your Account Activate Otherwise it Will Get Blocked"

HDFC Bank users need to be aware ...

Past-Present-Future of e-commerce in India

Mitul asked this question on LinkedIn. I am posting my answer.

Past-Present-Future of e-commerce in India.
E-commerce in India is at a very nascent stage compared to western world. However, if compared to last year, transactions have grown by over 1000% (or more) and my assumption is that the future is going to be even more exciting.

Railways & Airlines have played a major role in this. What is the next big thing that will take e-commerce to the next level?


My Answer
Hi Mitul,

I think the next wave is going to be commodity products. Something like Books. Things that you don't mind buying from any store, you would buy them online if the website gave you a discount. Other things that would fall under this category are computers (Dell), Stationary (OfficeTiger, Office 1 superstore) etc.

Fashion as mentioned by Heber might not work in India as we still want to touch and feel these products. In fact even when we go to a store, we spend hours deciding on the right fit and look. Its something innate to Indians. (am not sure about other cultures).

If I come across more, will update this.

-
SG


I further updated the answer ...

Hi Mitul,

I dont know what would build the future. It's just that I put myself in customers shoes and figure out what would I want to buy online.

Talking about mobile phones, one reason why I dont think it would work is that we as Indians want to touch and feel a product a before we buy. With an online model am not sure if I can touch and feel a product.

Second we buy things from a trusted service provider rather than any random person. Websites are still not trusted parties for most Indians. I would pay a premium to buy something from a trusted shop and might leave the 5% discount that online sales get me.

Third a mobile phone is still 5000 bucks and this is above average amount for an average Indian. Spending this much means that stakes involved are high (might not be able to buy it some time soon in case it is faulty). Thus we go the extra step in making sure that decision is correct in the first place.

Hope this helps.
Warm Regards,

SG
Anyone wants to share their opinions .. ?

Jonathan Ive - Steve Jobs in making?

I posted about Jonathan Ive in March 2006 here.

Times Online has this interesting piece that speculates that Jonathan Ive is being groomed to take over Steve Jobs.

Sad News ... Asok is dead :(

Asok died on Friday December 07, 2007. Deepest condolences to his family and friends.

May his soul rest in peace.

P.S.: Further details here.

Free CSS Tutorial

If anyone is planning to learn CSS, easy and fast, please refer to Hands on CSS Tutorial. This is best CSS tutorial I have come across in a long long time. The tutorials has many examples, is written in a very lucid language and is very comprehensive. Ideal for a beginner.

Reassured.

I was walking slowly outside my office. It dawned on me that last time I walked this slowly, with this much reassurance was when I was at MDI.

There was too much uncertainly floating around. I had no clue where I was headed and I couldn’t have cared less but there was an assurance. A sense of security. A certainty. I belonged to that place and that place belonged to me.

Today when I was walking down the road, I realized that suddenly I am back where it all started. I am confident about the future. I am certain that good things would happen. The only uncertainty is how and when. And how and when are mere words. Inconsequential words.

Is it that I use only fancy words and do nothing about it? Is it that I would be yet another blips on the radar with a half life of 5 seconds?

Batti Band - Mumbai Unplugged

Mumbai has seen flurry of citizen initiatives. Car Free Bandra managed to see participation of a large chunk of Bandra residents, coverage from press and 15 minutes of fame for people who thought about it.

The other one currently in vogue is Batti Bandh, Mumbai Unplug. The idea is simple. Global warming is affecting the way we live. We will all shut off all electric devices for one hour on December 15.

First time I read this, I had two thoughts.
1. Are electric devices causing global warming in the first place?
2. If unplugged electric devices are being used to spread a message, isn't there a better way than a bandh?

For the record I am absolutely against any kind of Bandh. Be it YFE or any other youth forum against reservations, Doctors against mandatory year of rural service or even shutting down electric appliances to raise awareness about global warming.

A Bandh by its very definition is against the basis premise on which the world has eveolved. The premise of growth, development and a continuous state of flux. A Bandh tries to stop the movement from one stage to another. And this is very reason Bandhs are mostly inaffective and end up as damp squibs.

A Bandh thus might have a few positive effects but the list of negatives is endless. No one can be held responsible for patients who died because doctors were on a strike or for students who couldnt sit for their annual exams because there was a rally being organized on the roads. Some people say we need to lead by example. Do we want to set example by shutting down work? By dis-obedience?

Agreed civil disobedience played a key role in our struggle for freedom but it was a different. We were not preached to stop working and go on a Bandh. Instead we adviced to work. We decided to march till Dandi and make our own salt.

Coming back to Batti Bandh, I am wondering people supporting Batti Bandh actually know the REAL reason behind Global Warming, Kyoto Protocol or carbon credits?

To end, I think Global Warming is a real issue and its about time we did something about it. I am not questioning the intent of people behind (and supporting) Batti Bandh, I am instead raising finger at the way they are going about it.

In my opinion a better way could have been to create activities that made people come out of houses (and eventually turn off lights). Something productive would have came out of it and awareness would have been much better.

Gujarat Assembly Elections - 2007

Gujarat is currently witnessing the greatest drama that can be staged in a democracy – elections. Gujarat goes to elections in two phases – 87 seats on Dec 11 and 95 seats on Dec 16.

Ideally elections should be fought over governance, judiciary and development. Tough questions should be asked. Honest answers should be expected. From the time I can remember, I have never seen this happening.

Gujarat elections are about Mr. Narendra Modi and Ms. Sonia Gandhi. Questions and answers have been replaced by creative competitions of coming up with better attacks, allegations and mud-shots. Instead of talking about economic development, politicians are banking on religion and riots. Instead of challenging governance, politicians are talking about sting operations conducted by media houses with dubious credentials.

Few of the issues raised by these political parties have een "Hindutva", "terrorism" and "revenge". One of the parties is talking about "maut ke saudagar". The other one is prophesying "Eent ka jawab paththar se". Sounds like a perfect way to get attention. Aren't elections only about getting attention?

I am very disappointed with the way elections are being fought (they should be contested not fought) in Gujarat. When I cast my vote for the first time about 7 years ago, I was ecstatic. I had voiced my opinion in choosing who I thought would run the show best. Not for the guy who could shower my religion with flowery language or promise to drive all the "terrorists" out.

Do Not Disturb ... Vodafone

45 days. Talk of service levels and process time.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Assist
Date: Dec 6, 2007 7:34 PM
Subject: Do Not Disturb
To:

Dear Mr. ****,

This is with reference to your feedback regarding the "Do Not Disturb" (DND) service.

We confirm the request for the DND service has been updated on your account. However, it will take 45 days to stop all promotional calls and SMS.

Warm regards,

Nisha Alvares Lobo
Vodafone Care

Contact numbers Vodafone Care : 111 or +91-9820098200
(Toll free from Vodafone mobile phones within the home network)
Fax number : +91-22-66661200
E-mail : assist@vodafone.com
Website : www.vodafone.in

Cleartrip.com earning report

According to Sandeep Murthy, CEO, Cleartrip.com, "We are expecting to close this March 2008 with a Rs 700-crore turnover". Link

700 crore is a huge number for an online ticketing website. Lets see how much of this 700 crores is actually earnings for Cleartrip.

I will make following assumptions.

1. Average ticket price is Rs. 2,500 (The actual would be higher)
2. Cleartrip.com makes Rs. 100 on each ticket (I know for a fact that ticketing agents make all of Rs. 50 on each ticket. I am assuming that Cleartrip.com has the muscles to get better margins).

Time for some simple maths.

Turnover: Rs. 700 Crores aka Rs. 700 00 00 000
Number of tickets: 700 00 00 000 / 2 500 = 28 00 000
Margin per ticket: 28 00 000 * 100 = 28 00 00 000
Net Earning: 28 Crores

28 crores in first few years of operation is actually not bad for an online ticketing company. After they recover their investment costs (which should not be more than 20 odd crores if they are prudent), all revenues are theirs to keep.

There is zero or negligible operating cost for a business like theirs. No raw material costs, no managing the back end, no overheads. All they need to do is pay the licensing guy and put money in marketing. Further once they reach a traction point, even the marketing costs would start reducing.

Actually no. Theirs is a business with zero competitive advantage. Any website offering better deals will get the chunk of the business. How can they build moats around their castles? If they cant build those moats, they will have to somehow figure out a balance point between marketing spends and revenues.

Recently Yatra.com paid 10 crores to Mahesh Murthy's Pinstorm for online marketing. Keeping in context Cleartrip's earning at 28 crores , I wonder how much is Yatra making and is Yatra breaking even with this kind of marketing spend?

The business looks really lucrative. No wonder everyone wants to get into online ticketing. The long term winner will be the one who can leverage marketing effectively.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams ... continued

I updated my status message to Boulevard of Broken Dreams about 2
hours ago and I have already received compliments from three people for having that status message.

Green Day seems to be a "cool" band.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Yet another song I recently heard and immediately fell in love with ...

Artist: Green Day
Lyrics: Billie Joe Armstrong, Lead Singer, Green Day

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
and I'm the only one and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk a...

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone

Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Aaah-ah,
Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah

I'm walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line
Of the edge and where I walk alone

Read between the lines
What's fucked up and everything's alright
Check my vital signs
To know I'm still alive and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk a...

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone

Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Aaah-ah
Ah-ah, Ah-ah

I walk alone
I walk a...

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I'm the only one and I walk a...

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone...

Help ... On Demand

This blog gets 20 unique visitors everyday. Most of these visitors come from search engines. I am sure this blog cant really serve whatever request the visitor has in mind.
 
Lets say I have loads of free time on my hands and I shall take up requests from people to help them find information. eMail me with your search query and I shall help you locate information. Upto 5 requests per day.
 
Lets see if this gimmick goes down well with people.
 
P.S.: If you want "human powered" search engine, I have heard that "Mahalo.com" is very neat.

Silk Route - Boondein

This is what I posted on my blog about 18 months ago.

I still love the song and it still brings back lots of memories.

Artist: Silk Route
Track: Boondein

Koi Ho, Yaadon Mein,
Palko Pe Boondein Liye,
Aaeina Bani, Yeh Aankhen Teri

Dheemi Se, Khusbu Hai,
Haawao Ke Jhokon Ne Jo,
Chuke Tujhe, Churaaayeee

Saanson Ki, Raahon Mein,
Kya Mile Sakenge Kabhi,
Dhoonde Tujhe, Nigahe Meri,

Saathi They, Janmo Se,
Rahon Mein Kyu Kho Gaye,
Manzil Humne, Bulane Lagi,

Nagma Ho, Bhiga Sa,
Ya Tum Ho Koi Gazal,
Har Pal Jise, Gungunata Rahu,

Hoton Se, Hole Se,
Sargam Jo Bahne Lagi,
Aane Lagi, Chahe Meri

Yet another meaningful song with absolutely great lyrics and music. Performed by Silk Route with soothing voice of Mohit Chauhan.

The Future of War of Words

I have been blogging on War of Words for quite some time now. I have talked about everything under the sun. From personal things to rants against people to photography to investments to lyrics to even one-liners.

War of Words has changed form ever these last four years. It has evolved form a personal journal to a pot pourri of thoughts, opinions and news. A brief history would be
When I started a blog, I did not know what am I supposed to do with an online journal. I posted everything I could think of.

Somewhere down the line, I thought you could make money out of a blog with Adsense. I started working towards it. Obviously with 1000 things on my mind, it failed.

Then I thought I would contribute to the wave of open journalism and citizen reporters. I did not have quality or the depth to make a dent and become the next Ragahv Behl.

Next was becoming an evangelist (probably the single most overused, abused and misquoted word after "strategy"). I did not become one.

And this is where I stand today.

I get about 20 unique visitors a day. Mostly land here from search engines. Not a single friend, colleague or a neighbour is a regular visitor. Only person to have bookmarked War of Words with a RSS Reader is myself. People have landed here searching for Pictures (India Unity Pictures), Advertisements (Keep Walking), Guitar Tabs (Saawariya), Famous People (Sachin Tendulkar) etc.

I have not made a zilch of difference to anything or anyone with this four years old online presence. I sure have developed a super-inflated ego, opinion on things and a biased view of world.

A decision needs to be taken on future of War of Words.

Social Networks - The Future

I posted an answer on Social Networks on LinkedIn.

Hi,

Looks like no one can have enough of Social Networks.

In my opinion, the entire wave of networks would keep on flooding the Internet. Pertinent question would be which network would survive in the long term.

Lets not even go into reasons why these networks are created in the first place.

Things that would keep one social network ahead of another are

1. Network Effect: The network with most number of people would eventually win. People would have to join the network with most people and most people would join a network because the network has most people on it. Saw this in action with Orkut in India.

2. Repeat Visitors: Once a social network grows beyond its novelty factor, a lot of people simply stop coming back. Network should have something that attracts people back. LinkedIn: Professionals. Facebook: Applications.

If I need to talk to my friends and other random people about something, I can create a blog, I can comment on other blogs. I can send SMS, emails, call for real. The utility of a social network for daily chores is simply absent. Networks would have to offer more than just dating, friendship, music etc.

3. Offering: A network should give me something that is hard to find (or do) in real life. For example LinkedIn. This is something (access to people with IQ :D) that I cant get in real life. No popular network apart from LinkedIn offers this to me.


Apart from these three, if few networks have to emerge as winners, they need to take care of following

1. Regional networks: Even though Internet does not have any boundaries as such, currently we have different networks dominating different geographies. Friendster - Asia, mySpace - US, Orkut - India and Brazil.

Obviously the reason for this spatial distribution is real connections (you invite, join and interact with social networks where your real-life friends are and most of your real-life friends live close to you)

2. Interest Areas: End of the day you join a network and stay there because you are interested in something and you want to connect to people with similar interests and want their opinions.

Myspace could connect all musicians, Linkedin could connect all professionals etc. The social network that can do this first would end up as a winner in my opinion.

If I was to compare professional interests, FaceBook with its applications is a move in that direction but it still lacks seriousness for a QnA network and more importantly it does not have the kind of people LinkedIn has. Similarly if I was to compare music interests, Myspace and FaceBook are still not there.


In my opinion, social networks are like any other commodity. In the long run, we would have one or two major players with chunk of the market share. And the networks that can aggregate interest areas and geographic spread would emerge as winners in long term.

Regards,
SG

Ever Elusive Users

Definition: User is a person at the core of the business. User should ideally bring revenue to the company. In some cases, if he is not bringing in the money, he should participate.



A lot of new start-ups and websites boast about million users in few months of operation (and in some cases, existence). They say, they have "almost reached" the critical user mass from where they can take-off to the next paradigm of web enabled services that will enable them to harness the collective intelligence that will empower businesses and solve intricate business problems in a cost effective manner. Sounds like Dilbert Mission Statement Generator at work.

Every successful and not so successful business (especially of the online variety) talks about number of users they have and the percentage of market they command. Ironically, they never talk about number of users actually bringing in cash to the business. Everyone seems to be pushing it under the carpet.

The numbers although are very important, they are more likely to be abused and misused. Every time someone says that they have 20 million of the 40 million Indian Internet Users (or half the universe), there should be questions like

  • How many use the service on a regular basis?
  • What is the percentage of repeats?
  • How often do repeat users come-back?
  • How many actually contributed to the revenues in last one month?


  • Obvisouly most of the times, answers are as elusive as the users themselves. It is very very easy to get someone to a website but the hard part is to get the user come back again and again and again. The hardest part, is to get the user to interact with the business. And this interaction actually makes the money for the website. The hook, the stickiness factor, the tipping point is very important.

    E-commerce Websites
    This is especially pertinent for rapidly springing ecommerce websites. mylatestonlineshop.com might have 100,000 users but

  • What is the actual number of people who place orders?
  • How many of these orders are being fulfilled?
  • Do these users come back with more orders?


  • Collaborative or User Generated Content
    Collaborative websites are growing at the speed of mushrooms in India. With ease of implementation of Web 2.0, increasing bandwidths, and lots of time to spare, quite a few user generated websites (obviously operating in their beta modes) have come up. USP for most of these websites is user reviews, user written articles, user made videos, user stories, user this and user that. The biggest question here is

  • What percentage of users is actually creating the content?
  • And how many actually come back on a regular basis (with a frequency of at least once every two days)?


  • Finally, next time someone comes up with a fancy number for their user base, ask them about their revenue per user. If at all they have a revenue stream (apart from monetizing with Google Adsense), answers would be really surprising.

    Someone once said, "With fools and tools anything can be proved". Next time someone pitches a beta version web 2.0 website with 2 million users, please be skeptic before pumping in the money behind the idea and ever elusive users.

    Comments? Thoughts? Views?

    Related Links
    eBay admits they over-paid for Skype (Business Week, Oct 1, 2007)

    GharExpert is now following you on Twitter!

    Yet another example of a business following me on Twitter.
     
    Earlier one was Saawariya the Movie by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Twitter < noreply@twitter.com>
    Date: Nov 12, 2007 3:59 PM
    Subject: GharExpert is now following you on Twitter!
    To: ****@gmail.com

    Hi, s4ur4bh.

    GharExpert (GharExpert) is now following your updates on Twitter.

    Check out GharExpert's profile here:

    http://twitter.com/GharExpert

    You may follow GharExpert as well by clicking on the "follow" button.

    Best,
    Twitter

    --
    Turn off these emails at: http://twitter.com/account/notifications
     

    Happy Birthday Shahrukh Khan

    SRK turns 42 today. Happy Birthday.

    He is one of the few celebs that I want meet and talk and understand. Other ones being Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet.

    I dedicate the following Apple Computers advert to him ...
    Here’s to the crazy ones.
    The misfits.
    The rebels.
    The troublemakers.
    The round pegs in the square holes.
    The ones who see things differently.
    They’re not fond of rules.
    And they have no respect for the status quo.
    You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
    About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
    Because they change things.
    They push the human race forward.
    And while some see them as the crazy ones,
    We see genius.
    Because the people who are crazy enough to think
    they can change the world,
    Are the ones who do.

    This is not the complete text. There is more.

    And here is the complete text of the advert
    Here’s to the crazy ones.
    The misfits.
    The rebels.
    The troublemakers.
    The round pegs in the square holes.
    The ones who see things differently.
    They’re not fond of rules.
    And they have no respect for the status quo.
    You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
    About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
    Because they change things.
    They invent.
    They imagine.
    They heal.
    They explore.
    They create.
    They inspire.
    They push the human race forward.
    Maybe they have to be crazy.
    How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
    Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
    Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

    We make tools for these kinds of people.
    While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

    Because the people who are crazy enough to think
    they can change the world, are the ones who do.
    Source: Archive.org

    Blogadda.com spamming blogs

    Just got this comment on one of my posts and obviously this is a spam comment from Blogadda.com

    This is second attempt in last few days (after MapmyIndia) when someone has tried using comments advertising.Get your act together guys. Think of a better way of advertising your service aka product.

    These guys should learn from Saawariya. Saawariya took permission before they posted advertisements. They entered blogs through a subtle route rather than praising posts that have no merit.

    Looks like lots of Web 2.0 companies out there need lessons in Web 2.0

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Kiran < noreply-comment@blogger.com>
    Date: Oct 31, 2007 5:02 PM
    Subject: [The War Of Words] New comment on iPhone iTouched.

    Kiran has left a new comment on your post "iPhone iTouched":

    I really liked ur post, thanks for sharing. Keep writing. I discovered a good site for bloggers check out this www.blogadda.com , you can submit your blog there, you can get more auidence.



    Posted by Kiran to The War Of Words at Wednesday, October 31, 2007 4:08:00 PM

    iPhone iTouched

    I just touched a real iPhone. And needless to say .. its worth the hype.

    Its the number one of my list of must haves. Can someone gift me one... ?

    Mukesh Ambani is richest in world


    Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries Limited is officially the richest person in the world as of 29th October. He is worth $63.2 billion.

    With Indian stock index reaching 20,000, his personal wealth has peaked $63billion. He leads Carlos Slim Helu ($62 billion), Bill Gates ($62 billion), Warren Buffet ($56 billion) and LN Mittal ($50 billion). Telecom, Software, Investments and Steel have been left behind by Petrochem.

    This brings me back to the question ... How much is enough .. ?

    Yet Another Day

    This is what I wrote in the afternoon
    yet another day
    going past me
    and here I am
    thinking and pondering
    watching it go
    yet another day!

    Advertisement for an Exhibition

    Awesome artwork.

    Food for Thought - Social Networks

    And finally my another theory about social networks.

    I cant reinforce that human beings in the end are social animals. If a marketer can give humans some food for thought, something to talk about, a context that helps people diffuse time in social gatherings, something people can become master of (by virtue of thought and/or use of words) and the master can attract followers, the marketer would have done his job.

    Most of the time people hang around with same set of people and after a time you know everything there is to know about a person. What do you talk about then? You have to find something to talk about. This is where the Food for Thought would come in. Let people use the food supplied by marketer to kill their time. And spread the world.

    Originally posted here.

    I am still trying to develop this theory. Suggestions are welcome.

    The Ripple Effect for Viral Marketing

    Virals are like ripples. Someone needs to drop that pebble that starts the ripple. These pebbles have to be dropped at the right places. Where water is deep enough to create a large ripple. And where a ripple would not die down after some time.

    Originally posted here.

    I am trying to develop this theory. Suggestions are welcome.

    Saawariya is now following you on Twitter!

    I just got this email

    From: Twitter ;
    Date: Oct 26, 2007 12:59 PM
    Subject: Saawariya is now following you on Twitter!
    To: ******

    Hi, s4ur4bh.

    Saawariya (Saawariya) is now following your updates on Twitter.

    Check out Saawariya's profile here:http://twitter.com/Saawariya

    You may follow Saawariya as well by clicking on the "follow" button.

    Best,
    Twitter
    --
    Turn off these emails at: http://twitter.com/account/notifications

    This is for the first time when an Indian movie has used twitter as advertising tool. The very fact that I am blogging about it means that they have been able to get my attention. And more than that I would spread the word.

    I might watch and might not watch the movie but I will sure talk about it to my friends. I will brag that one I twitter and two Saawariya is cool enough to follow me.

    The Ripple Effect
    Virals are like ripples. Someone needs to drop that pebble that starts the ripple. People at Saawariya are sure throwing a lot of pebbles. These pebbles have to be dropped at the right places. Where water is deep enough to create a large ripple. And where a ripple would not die down after some time.

    Food for thought
    And finally my another theory about social networks. I cant reinforce that human beings in the end are social animals. If a marketer can give humans some food for thought, something to talk about, a context that helps people diffuse time in social gatherings, something people can become master of (by virtue of thought and/or use of words) and the master can attract followers, the marketer would have done his job.

    Most of the time people hang around with same set of people and after a time you know everything there is to know about a person. What do you talk about then? You have to find something to talk about. This is where the Food for Thought would come in. Let people use the food supplied by marketer to kill their time. And spread the world.

    Any thoughts? Comments?

    Comments on Microsoft and Facebook

    I sent this email to a friend in response to his views on Microsoft and Facebook. I have repalced names and email addresses with *****
    Hi *****,

    I also have my two cents on Facebook deal and why I think MS paid that kind of money.

    To start with, it is not about the advertisement at all. It is also not about buying a stake in the company. 1% is too less a stake to have any meaningful say in the company. Ok, it is meaningful but if I was serious about partnering someone, I would rather take 10% odd stake and make meaningful suggestions to the overall vision of the company.

    With 1% MS is saying that they are confident about FB and they like the business and want to be partners.

    The reason could be psychological too. May be after Steve Balmer's announcement last month about getting 25% of MS revenues from advertising, they had to show something to the world. May be they wanted to prove something to Google .. ? Who knows. Men do funny things to prove themselves are superiors. Envy and Jealousy are two of the most potent forces in the universe.

    As far as exclusive advertising rights, MS already had exclusive rights on FB. This deal just extends those rights to international markets. One might argue that 60% of FB traffic is now international and deal makes more sense, I would say that in web environment, national and international segregation dont really make a sense. If I am in Antarctica and want to advertise about the latest Igloo design, I dont have to advertise from Antarctica, I can advertise from US also.

    Now if I was Bill (I hope I was), I would have thought that the entire Social Networking thingy has gone past me without me making any serious inroads (ok, Windows Live was for sometime making people happy but all it has got is measly 10 mn users), how about getting a piece of the pie?

    There are more things that aren't really in public domain as yet. Like they have said they would have other partners. They also said that they would not disclose the exact terms of technology exchange that they would have. May be it includes access to user preferences? May be it includes MS and FB's entry in to Software as a Service space? With this they can take Google head on. May be FB will now truly become a platform rather than just a website where you upload pics and poke at firrends?

    And did you notice that share price of MS jumped after FB deal was announced .. ?

    Regards,
    ******

    P.S.: You have said that it makes "FB, a 100 million OTS website" .. what is an OTS.. ?
    P.P.S.: Please share this with your friends also. I want to see if this makes any sense to them. Thanks :)
    He had sent his comments on Microsoft's recent stake in Facebook

    Evolution of The Future

    This link talks about Evolution. No, not the things that have already happened but things that might happen in future.

    The new report shows that after they reach their peak around the year 3000 humans will begin to regress

    These humans will be between 6ft and 7ft tall and they will live up to 120 years.

    Men will have symmetrical facial features, deeper voices and bigger penises.

    Women will all have glossy hair, smooth hairless skin, large eyes and pert breasts, according to Curry in a report for men's satellite TV channel Bravo.

    Racial differences will be a thing of the past as interbreeding produces a single coffee-coloured skin tone.


    Personally I agree to what Oliver Curry has to say. I am actually seeing the trend in that direction. Most people want good looking brides and grooms. Most people look for socially desirable characteristics - good looking, slim, convent educated, homely in brides and MBA, good looking, working in MNC, 7 figure salary in grooms. What about the people who are not from convents and working with start-ups? They would have to get married to girls who are not slim and fair and homely and they would end up having comparatively inferior kids.

    No wonder kids of most doctor couples end up becoming doctor as kids. I am not saying that doctors pass on intelligence in the genes but the kid would be more inclined towards medicine since he has some traits of parents (nature) and he would grow up in a house (nurture) full of medicines and medical books and medical equipment. Most of his parents friends would also be doctors and their kids would also be doctors and hence all the more surrounded by doctors.

    Things look scary.

    Any comments .. ?

    The Romantics - Pankaj Mishra


    Just finished The Romantics by Pankaj Mishra.

    This was yet another thought provoking Indian piece of fiction. English, August is another one that allows you to read a lot between the lines.

    The Romantics is about a twenty year old who has a very narrow view of the world. Born and brought up in a small town, educated in a grade two city, he is now in Benaras to live closer to an university and eventually achieve the IAS dream.

    He comes in contact with few expats, realizes that the world extends beyond Benaras and Allahabad and people could have lives that are beyond schooling, jobs and kids. He starts questioning his thoughts. His belief system, his upbringing and finally meaning of his life.

    Apart from expats, he meets a student leader, tries to understand lief from his perspective and gets even more confused.

    Through all this he falls in love with a French girl who in turn is planning to marry another Indian guy. A typical love story.

    The writer has a beautiful style of narrative. The way he talks about things, objects, people, you almost start visualizing those things. He has also been able to capture the Indian thought very vividly in his book. A lot of subtle emotions, actions, behaviors have been captured very well. A lot of Indian authors falter at this. They forget all these minute details that make living what it is - living. Pankaj Mishra has been able to do justice to it.

    The book is fun to read and very thought provoking. There is a huge part of the book that I did not understand (because of references to a lot of old not-so-famous authors). A part of me wanted to stop everything and read those books and understand their philosophy and the other part said I need to move on. I need to drift on. No points for guessing who won.

    I would rate the book at 3 on 5.

    More
    Amazon page for The Romantics

    Opposites



    For reasons, I had decided that I would not post anything irrelevant here, but could not resist the temptation to share this with the world.

    Simply brilliant and too 1337 :)

    Credits
    Source: Unknown, received in email
    Hosting: Flickr

    BarCamp Mumbai 2

    October 13 is now booked. Just signed up for Mumbai BarCamp2. Sign up at http://barcamp.org/BarCampMumbai2. Its being hosted at IIT Mumbai.

    I am the 25th person to confirm my attendance for second version of BarCamp in Mumbai. My first ever. Lets see what comes out of it. I have heard from quite a few people that it can be real fun and in fact quite a few businesses have actually come out of it.

    They also invite people to give talks. I would love to talk about a lot of things - especially not being able to start a company. Maybe someone can tell me how to start one. Beware Google. I am on the prowl.

    Keep watching !

    Keywords: BarCampMumbai2, BarCamp

    UPDATE: As on 19th September, 41 people have agreed to attend and 2 people have agreed to speak at the BarCampMumbai2. Great going.

    Update 2: As on 20th September, Barcamp Mumbai 2 has 56 attendees and 3 speakers.

    UPDATE 3: Dates for the barcamp changed. Its now on 14th October rather than 13th. 10 speakers and 83 attendees. Looks like we will have a blast !

    Final Update: Back from the bacCamp. I think something is really really wrong about all the people trying to launch their companies. Most of the people are launching companies with no visible revenue streams. I dont understand how will these companies sustain themselves.

    In short, I am dissappointed.

    Angelo d'Arrigo


    Angelo d'Arrigo lived a dream life. He travelled the world, he crossed the Sahara, he rose higher than the Everest. All this while flying.

    Sadly he died in an air-crash but he lived his life king size. Salute to the great man.

    Please visit his website for more.

    An Essay by Einstein - The World As I See It


    This site has an essay by Einstein.

    Here is a great quote
    Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed


    I did not know he hated military system. Full text available here.

    The image above is Albert Einstein's signature.

    Another one from WEB

    This is what WEB replied to a shareholder, when she pointed that WEB has made a mistake in the annual letter.

    Dear Nancy:
    I enjoyed your letter. What we tell people is that we put one mistake in each annual report to encourage annual reading. But if you believe that ...

    Sincerely,
    Warren E. Buffett


    Her blog has a quick analysis on WEB's annual letters and why they appeal to financial and non-financial world.

    Think Different: Apple Computers

    Very old (1984) but still pertinent.



    Here’s to the crazy ones.
    The misfits.
    The rebels.
    The troublemakers.
    The round pegs in the square holes.
    The ones who see things differently.
    They’re not fond of rules.
    And they have no respect for the status quo.
    You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
    About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
    Because they change things.
    They push the human race forward.
    And while some see them as the crazy ones,
    We see genius.
    Because the people who are crazy enough to think
    they can change the world,
    Are the ones who do.


    And here is the complete text of the advert
    Here’s to the crazy ones.
    The misfits.
    The rebels.
    The troublemakers.
    The round pegs in the square holes.
    The ones who see things differently.
    They’re not fond of rules.
    And they have no respect for the status quo.
    You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
    About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
    Because they change things.
    They invent.
    They imagine.
    They heal.
    They explore.
    They create.
    They inspire.
    They push the human race forward.
    Maybe they have to be crazy.
    How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
    Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
    Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

    We make tools for these kinds of people.
    While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

    Because the people who are crazy enough to think
    they can change the world, are the ones who do.
    Source: Archive.org

    I especially like "The Round Pegs in Square Holes".

    AXE: 1337 4d !

    Bureau of Workplace Interruptions

    Bureau of Workplace Interruptions is yet another way to waste your time and day at office. Creatively.



    They claim to "interrupt" your day by sending an interruption on phone, email or even on-site visits. I am not sure if they would visit people in India but what goes in trying.

    They say

    When you submit a request for interruption, our agents go to work finding the right interruption for you. We consider your occupation, work hours, and the means by which we can contact you. Once a feasible interruption has been decide on, we work to slip it into your day via mail, email, telephone, or a workplace visit. We strive throughout this process to keep our actions invisible to your employer.

    The Economist: Advertisement


    Another one from The Economist!

    Long Time No See

    Been a long time since I posted something. Quite a few things are happening.


    Sensex touched 19000.

    Realized that photograpy is INDEED very difficult.

    Saw a raod accident for the first time.

    A very good friend made me realize that blogging is not only about connecting with people.

    A very good friend (philosopher and guide) is getting married. Yes I am talking about you ;)

    Realized that snapfish is one of the rare Internet services that I like and will extensively use in future.

    Pseudo Demand and Pseudo Supply

    Got this in an email. Interesting read.
    Once upon a time in a village, a man appeared and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for Rs10. The villagers seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them. The man bought thousands at Rs10 and as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort. He further announced that he would now buy at Rs20. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again. Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms. The offer rate increased to Rs25 and the supply of monkeys became so little that it was an effort to even see a monkey let alone catch it.

    The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at Rs50! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would now buy on behalf of him. In the absence of the man, the assistant told the villagers. Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has collected. I will sell them to you at Rs35 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell it to him for Rs50." The villagers squeezed up with all their savings to buy the monkeys. Then they never saw the man nor his assistant, only monkeys everywhere!!

    Source Unknown.

    Me

    This is what I posted on a Google Group
    Ok,

    Since the community sounds very active and focussed, time for a detailed introduction.

    I am Saurabh, M, 25, EMPLOYED (hopefully not for long).

    Complete BIT (Technology course) from Delhi University in 2003. Went on to complete PGPM in 2006 from MDI, Gurgaon. Was piked from campus by GE Money and was in their one year long Young Leader Development Programme. Post that I was ASM for Credit Cards in Mumbai.

    Frankly dint see myself reaching anywhere in a typical sales structure in a MNC. Yeah, I would have become a VP or something in 15 years if I was average performer. I had to move on. As luck would have it, I bumped into this guy, he proposed I work for his advertising firm and do whatever I want to there. Accepted his offer. Ran away from GE. Now with him and I officially work on Market Research and Consumer Insight for advertisements.

    Answer to why entrepreneurship is I don't really want to work for someone else. Initially I had this idea that I would make the world a better place to live in but then I realized I need to be realistic. You might say I gave upon it even before I started but thats the way it is.

    My reason for OCC and BC is to network and learn. I strongly believe that any organization is as good as the quality of people they have. Hopefully I would bump into some great people at OCC and BC and who knows, I might be part of a team starting up. After looking at all the threads here and on BC, my hopes are real high.

    Personally, I am opinionated, talk a lot, try to read as many things as possible and love trekking and traveling.

    And a few things that I dont think I should have but have are too much opinion, hopping from one thing to other very soon, procrastination, leaving ends loose ... the list is endless... Hopefully I get to fix a few of these things ...!

    Few ideas I pursued and left are education online (24x7guru.com is doing it now), selling medicines online (could not get a team for it), creating a content aggregating website for Indian population (on lines of boing boing etc) but could not get funding for it - there was no revenue source for first few years and no one likes that. I have tried both tradition businesses and modern formats using new media and content but nothing has materialized. Interesting thing is that everything I ever did was always on paper. I never got my hands dirty. That has to change. Soon.

    Yes, I blog. Mostly personal and things I like at War of Words
    Yes, I click pictures and few of them are uploaded at 04p050
    And Yes, I invest in stock markets and have an opinion at PseudoSocial
    And NO, this is not a spam mail trying to advertise blogs.

    Hoping to catch up with a few like minded people at BC on 14th and subsequently at OCC meets whenever they happen.

    Warm Regards,
    SG

    P.S.: Can we also have some kind of arrangement where people interested in OCC can recognize each other @ the BC? We can at least break the ice. May be someone can create a list of people @ OCC and everyone walking in to BC can strike their names off that list? Any volunteers? More ideas?

    P.S.S: I have this tendency to get verbose and long but I hope you guys wont mind!

    pwned


    Please read this on Wired and you might just begin to understand the MML culture.
    A present-tense equivalent to the hacker insult, pwned, this geek-slang declaration of victory means, "Guess what? I'm humiliating you and you don't even know it." Legend has it that the phrase was coined in 2004, when one networked gamer sent another the message, "im in ur base killin ur d00dz." (In reality, he used different syntax.) The sentiment lends itself to a variety of circumstances, leading to variations (often featuring cats) such as "Im in ur fridge eatin your f00dz" and "Im in ur quantum box... maybe."


    _Regards,
    Team MML

    Happy Birthday Amitabh Bachchan


    Amitabh Bachchan turns 65 today. Many many happy returns of the day.

    Amitabh Bachchan is one of those few who I admire. For his acting and for what he is. I am not a great movie follower but I started reading about him when he made comeback after the ABCL fiasco. He had an option to turn himself delinquent and he did not. Came back in the bollywood and rest as they say ... is history.

    Happy Birthday Amitabh Bachchan.

    Homer's Odyssey



    This is a course that I would love to take. Can someone please recommend this to MDI ;)

    Homer's odyssey

    Berkeley course uses 'The Simpsons' to discuss philosophy

    They shrug off their knapsacks, tuck skateboards under chairs and put cell phones on vibrate as they enter UC Berkeley's Kroeber Hall at the dimming of the day. Pens and paper poised, students prepare to think deep thoughts and study the great minds of civilization for 90 intellectually taxing minutes.

    Aristotle and Socrates.

    Kant and Descartes.

    Nietzsche and Sartre.

    Homer and . . . Marge, Bart, Lisa and baby Maggie.

    "The Simpsons," believe it or not, now grace the syllabus of at least one course at Cal, one of the country's most prestigious public universities, home to Nobel Prize winners, renowned scientists and more famous authors than there are hemp clothing sellers on Telegraph Avenue.

    This two-unit course, called "Simpsons and Philosophy," is part of the university's De-Cal program, student-sponsored initiatives in cooperation with UC Berkeley faculty meant to "broaden the education, and the university experience, of all Cal students."

    A word of advice to all of those doubting academic highbrows out there. To quote that animated miscreant Bart Simpson, "Don't have a cow, man!" This actually is an academically rigorous class, not a dumbing down of either philosophy or "The Simpsons."

    What "The Simpsons," which recently aired its 300th episode on Fox, represents is nothing less than a glimpse at the complex human condition, how we live now and make our way morally in an often confusing world. At least that's the line you get from Tyler Shores, the English major and student instructor who developed the course after 14 years of avid "Simpsons" watching.

    To Shores, the high jinks of this animated dysfunctional family and its friends and neighbors in fictional Springfield can serve as a lesson in relationships for us all. Even if you don't hang out in coffeehouses, arguing the finer points of Hume and Barthes, Shores believes that students and -- heck, even the common folk -- can glean life lessons from a simple cartoon.

    "We're trying to make it serious," Shores said. "Students are able to develop their own De-Cal courses for real class credit, and I figured Berkeley students are smart and want something to pique their interest. But they also want something fun because they work so damn hard. So I put the two together. It's a fun but challenging class."

    The germ of Shores' brainstorm came in 2001, after he thumbed through a thick paperback at the bookstore called "The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh of Homer," edited by William Irwin (Open Court, $17.95). It serves as the text for the class, and it answers all the burning questions, such as "Can Nietzsche's rejection of traditional morality justify Bart's bad behavior?" (Short answer: no.)

    Shores, who by his own count has watched "Simpsons" episodes 3,000 times, figured that this class might be popular, and his faculty sponsor, Chris Nealon, agreed. But he had no idea just how popular. When Shores stepped into class on the first night, 400 students crammed the lecture hall to vie for 100 spots.

    Lest anyone think this is a course that academically challenged jocks seek for easy credits to stay eligible for football, Shores quizzed the students on (a) their knowledge of philosophic principles; and (b) "The Simpsons." The majority of those accepted were upperclassmen with majors ranging from philosophy to economics to English literature.

    "Honestly, I definitely needed the two units -- and it counts toward my major," said Bryan Derballa, a third-year English major. "It's interesting the connections they're making between the Socratic method and, like, Ned Flanders.

    I don't think it's going to spoil the show for me. As an English major, I like to tear apart works I like and see what's beneath them."

    "The Simpsons," added classmate Jill Sederholm, has a message for us all. "It's not just some dumb cartoon," she said.

    At the start of a recent class, the lights dimmed, and you could hear the students fidget to get comfortable in wooden chairs bolted to the floor. The screen flickered and there, in its brilliant bouffant blueness, was Marge Simpson's vertically hegemonic hairdo.

    This was Episode 175, titled "In Marge We Trust." Marge, upset that her family grumbled about having to go to church (Snoozing Homer: "I got a lot of work to do around the bed today"), volunteers to become the "Listen Lady" at church. Soon she has displaced the Rev. Lovejoy and is dispensing sage advice, saving marriages and solving family squabbles.

    Then Marge gets a call from Ned Flanders, the Simpsons' hyper-devout neighbor.

    Ned: "I'm in some hot soup here, Marge. Some teenagers are hanging out in front of the store. I think they could start slacking at any moment."

    Marge: "Ned, you don't have to stand for that. You just march right up to those youngsters and tell them to vamoose."

    Ned: "Well, if you're sure it'll help. . . ."

    It does not help. In fact, the slacker teens chase Flanders out of town. They strand him in the zoo with rabid baboons. Lovejoy, eventually, rescues him. When the lights come back up, Shores has struck a contemplative pose in front of the lectern. He sips from his Jamba Juice smoothie, then begins.

    "So, what is moral goodness?" Shores said. "That's a pretty big question. Is it doing what's right? But right to whom? What's right? You think, what's the greatest good for the greatest number of people? What are the guiding principles that determine how we act? Let's take a moment and ponder this."

    He bowed his head, slightly. Dead air filled the room.

    "OK," Shores resumed, "duty as (Immanuel) Kant described it is a question of what you want to do versus what you ought to do to make yourself a good person. They can conflict. What you should do usually means subordinating personal desires. Good intentions is another thing Kant talks about. Must a good deed be intended for good to be perceived as such, and can something intended as evil have good results and be judged morally good?

    "I'm thinking of the episode where Homer is at an auction place, right? He places a bid under Flanders' name for 20 bucks, and the bid actually turns out to be for a hundred-dollar bill. Homer intended to screw Flanders over, but it had good results."

    Some students in front anxiously scribbled down the anecdote.

    "With the 'Listen Lady' episode," Shores continued, "we see what happens when Marge's good intentions turn bad. Kant talks about a duty directed toward oneself and acting to help others. Marge acts out of this duality. How should something be judged if the intentions were good and the results bad?"

    Hands popped up throughout the lecture hall. A student in the front row, wearing a black Clash T-shirt, was called on.

    "I think it still can be considered a good deed," he said. "Marge didn't think the consequences would be bad, though she might have known these were not good kids. But she couldn't have possibly known Flanders would be chased out of town."

    Another hand goes up.

    "Remember that episode," a young man added, "where Lisa cheats on the standardized test and gets an A+++ and it makes tons of money for the school so they could buy new equipment? Was that morally bad or good?"

    He was interrupted by a woman from the back.

    "You know, a democracy is theoretically the greatest good for the greatest number of people," she said. "But there's always going to be an underrepresented group hurt by any decision."

    Shores: "Yes, that brings in the Aristotelean question. . . ."

    On it goes; 7 p.m. rolls around, and it's time for the students to grab their knapsacks and skateboards and go home to study or watch TV -- or, in the case of students in English 198, "Philosophy and the Simpson," both.

    "I asked one of Cal's philosophy professors what he thought of our course," Shores said, "and he said, 'I don't know anything about "The Simpsons" and I don't own a TV.' I'm, like, thinking, fine if you think you're too good for 'The Simpsons.' But don't spoil it for us."



    "Men, though they look, fail to see what is well-being, what is the good in life."

    Aristotle

    "I can't live a button-down life like you. I want it all! The terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles!"

    -- Homer Simpson .

    "There are no facts, only interpretations."

    -- Friedrich Nietzsche

    "I didn't do it. No one saw me do it. There's no way you can prove anything! "

    -- Bart Simpson

    "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means."

    -- Immanuel Kant

    "If you raise three children who can knock out and hog-tie a perfect stranger, you must be doing something right."

    -- Marge Simpson

    The Economist Advertisement

    [02497.jpg]

    The Economist!

    She Will Be Loved - Maroon 5

    This is a very beautiful song from Maroon 5.

    Beauty queen of only eighteen
    She had some trouble with herself
    He was always there to help her
    She always belonged to someone else

    I drove for miles and miles
    And wound up at your door
    I've had you so many times but somehow
    I want more

    I don't mind spending everyday
    Out on your corner in the pouring rain
    Look for the girl with the broken smile
    Ask her if she wants to stay awhile
    And she will be loved
    And she will be loved

    Tap on my window, knock on my door
    I want to make you feel beautiful
    I know I tend to get so insecure
    It doesn't matter anymore

    It's not always rainbows and butterflies
    It's compromise that moves us along
    My heart is full and my door's always open
    You can come anytime you want

    I don't mind spending everyday
    Out on your corner in the pouring rain
    Look for the girl with the broken smile
    Ask her if she wants to stay awhile
    And she will be loved
    And she will be loved
    And she will be loved
    And she will be loved

    I know where you hide
    Alone in your car
    Know all of the things that make you who you are
    I know that goodbye means nothing at all
    Comes back and begs me to catch her every time she falls

    Tap on my window, knock on my door
    I want to make you feel beautiful

    I don't mind spending every day
    Out on your corner in the pouring rain, oh
    Look for the girl with the broken smile
    Ask her if she wants to stay awhile
    And she will be loved
    And she will be loved
    And she will be loved
    And she will be loved

    Please don't try so hard to say goodbye
    Please don't try so hard to say goodbye

    I don't mind spending everyday
    Out on your corner in the pouring rain

    Please don't try so hard to say goodbye


    Links
    Maroon 5 homepage
    She Will be Loved on FoxyTunes

    Innumeracy - John Allen Paulos

    Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos is a very interesting book. I heard it first from Prof. Bakshi.

    From his website, INNUMERACY is an examination of some of the consequences in everyday life of mathematical illiteracy.

    The book is a collection of anecdotes, examples, real life case studies on innumeracy. It talks how people fool themselves by coming up with incorrect judgements because of mathematical illiteracy.

    Next on the list is Once upon a number, another book by John Allen Paulos and yet again recommended by Prof. Bakshi.

    John Allen Paulos Official Website
    Books by John Allen Paulos
    Innumeracy on Amazon

    P.S.: I am not doing justice by posting this much about the book. The book deserves lot more attention.

    The New New Thing - Michael Lewis

    James H. Clark or better known as Jim Clark or still better known as founder of SGI, Netscape, Healtheon (later merged with webMD), myCFO and a few others that did not make it to the popularity list.

    Jim Clark is one of the few truly gifted people. His constant pursuit of innovation and better way to do things makes him different. Jim Clark can always find flaws in even the best systems and would strive hard to make it better. This means that once he has conceptualized something, then he would let someone else work on it and he will move on to something new. The next new new thing.

    The key to crete great products and companies is people. A company is only as good as the best employee. Jim has this chicken and ham theory about people. He said
    The difference between these two kinds of people is the difference between the pig and the chicken in the ham-and-eggs breakfast. The chicken is interested, the pig is committed. If you are going to do anything worth doing, you need a lot of pigs.
    If you are to do something, pick as many committed people as you can. Basically you need to take the risk and back it up with all you have got.

    The new new thing by Michael Lewis (author of Liar’s Poker) is a narrative of the revolution started by Jim Clark – the dotcom revolution where companies with zero revenues were being valued at billions of dollars. Michael Lewis has taken the Jim Clark story to talk about the new new thing and innovation and how certain people change the rules of the game.

    There was a time when the industrialists ruled the world. One with the biggest assembly line could capture most of the markets. Then came the capitalists. One who could manage the capital most efficiently took disproportionate share of wealth. With Jim Clark and with Netscape, came the era where ideas and thoughts prevailed over everyone else.

    The markets were moved not by hunger or greed but by fear. No one wanted to loose a pie in Jim Clark’s newest idea. Even if there was little evidence of it ever bringing in the money, just because everyone else was onto it and those missing out would look bad, venture capitalists wanted a piece.

    In Jim Clark’s case, it was not only the venture capitalists; it was media, knowledge workers, employees at traditional organizations who wanted a share. Failure was not even a question. Jim Clark was considered the Midas of the era. Everything he touched would turn gold. Everyone believed that. Everyone knew that.

    The book is very well written. The narrative has its share of humour, satire, irony, suspense in it (this can be said about any book anyways). Must read. 4 on 5.

    Links
    Wiki on Jim Clark
    Wiki on Michael Lewis
    The New New Thing on Amazon

    Delhi and Mumbai

    Delhi and Mumbai.
    Two cities, poles apart. Two worlds, million differences.
    Political Capital, Business Capital. City of Djinns, City of Dreams.
    Trying to bridge gaps and understand - people, culture and souls.

    After spending about 24 years in Delhi, I have moved to Mumbai for foreseeable future. Mumbai is teaching me new things everyday and I am always comparing Mumbai to Delhi and how good or bad things are at Mumbai vs Delhi.

    I have also come across loads of people fighting out if Delhi was better or if Mumbai was good. Thought why can't we have people from both the cities give out their opinions? It would be even better if a Dilli Walla talks about Mumbai and a passionate Mumbaikar talks about Delhi.

    Lets say we talk about street food. I am from Delhi and I know that Delhi has this thing called Chole Kulche and Gol Gappe. People just love it. I know about Mumbai. Vada Pao and those grilled sandwiches .. you can find them anywhere and its awesome.

    Some other day we talk about people. People in Delhi are very very inquisitive. They would even want to know what did your maid eat when she was working at your house. In Mumbai, no one would give a second glance if you were dying ... !


    There are so many fascinating things about both the places and I thought may be its time its all put down in black and white .. ?

    I want to capture small things that people often overlook and things that are taken for granted. Safety of women is, safety of men isn't. "Metered" autorickshaws is and time taken to reach a place is not.

    Me, a pucca dilliwala now in Mumbai want to look at things in Mumbai and compare them with Delhi and I want someone to do the same for Delhi.

    Looking for someone, a pucca Mumbaikar, now in Delhi loving/hating things at Delhi and willing to talk about it.

    Wondering if anyone is game ... ?

    If you guys know any friends, relatives, random people interested in exploring and understanding Delhi and Mumbai, please shoot a mail to me at septemberthe22nd@gmail.com.

    English, August

    I am currently reading English, August by Upamanyu Chatterjee.

    English, August is a story of one Agastya, 24, who has just enrolled in the prestigious IAS programme and is now posted in an obscure place in the middle of no where called Madna.

    He is what a typical 24 year old is – restless, sceptical, flippant, whimsical, confused, disillusioned with life, and disconnected with reality.

    Agastya has an interesting life. Son of a Bengali father and a Goanese mother, he has grown up in boarding school in Darjeeling. If all this did not provide him with enough novelty and variety, after his IAS, he is sent to a fictitious small town called Madna where the world is diametrically opposite to what he has ever seen. Some cope well with change and some don’t. Agastya falls into the later category. Most of the times, he is just irritated at how things are going around him. But at times he has those light-bulb-flashing-in-head moments when he discovers strange rituals and practises.

    Although he was driven by his father to take up civil services, his father just wants to see him happy. He has a friend who is too critical about everything. He has an uncle who has an opinion on everything.

    And then above everyone else, he has his personality where he has no magnanimous ambitions. He thinks he can stay content without owning the biggest business empire. He thinks he will be happy with record player and records from Tagore and Pink Floyd.

    The first few pages tend to be boring but somewhere during this boredom, the life of Agastya starts looking interesting. All of a sudden, you want to know whats going to happen next. You want to know what would Agastya do next. More, you start predicting.

    The book actually gets funny at times. I am not sure how many readers would appreciate the dry humor in the book but I certainly loved it.

    Here is a thought provoking statement
    Decide for yourself, it’s your nightmare. Or just live with the indecision, everyone does it all the time, you’ll get used to it soon enough. Then, when you ever take any snap decisions, you’ll feel odd, like withdrawal symptoms or something
    Bottomline: Upamanyu chatterjee has done a good job with the book. I would rate the book as 4 on 5. Must Read!

    Content Management System

    I am planning to start a new website. This would work as information gathering and dissipation platform. I am wondering which content management system would work best. Blogger is one. Wordpress, Typepad, Drupal, Joomla, phpBB, phpNuke are few more. Wiki has got a list of quite a few content management systems.
     
    Any advisers?

    New comment on Calvin and Hobbes with Post-It Notes.

    I got this comment from MapmyIndia.com and I must say this is a CHEAP way of advertising the business.
     
    Sorry guys. You need to think of another way to market your product aka service.

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Tarun Gupta < noreply-comment@blogger.com>
    Date: Sep 29, 2007 1:22 PM
    Subject: [The War Of Words] New comment on Calvin and Hobbes with Post-It Notes.

    Tarun Gupta has left a new comment on your post " Calvin and Hobbes with Post-It Notes":

    I read your blog and thought I could tell you about something else which would be useful for seeing maps and directions in India.

    I am writing to tell you about MapmyIndia.com, a free interactive maps and directions portal for all India. See the map of connaught place, new delhi, get directions in mumbai from nariman point to juhu airport, and find nearby ATMs in kormangala, bangalore.

    As a company and individual enthusiasts, we dream only of solving the problem of reliable directions and navigation for India. For your blog specifically, you can map enable it by using our youtube-style embeddable maps, and links to specific searches (of maps, directions, local and eLocation) on MapmyIndia.

    Do give us feedback, suggestions, or get involved yourself by mailing me back at tarun@mapmyindia.com or marketing@mapmyindia.com.

    And if you find the different services useful, we would be grateful to you for writing and telling your readers about us.

    Warm Regards,
    Tarun Gupta
    The MapmyIndia Team
    For directions in India, just search print and go with MapmyIndia.com

    Publish this comment.

    Reject this comment.

    Moderate comments for this blog.

    Posted by Tarun Gupta to The War Of Words at Saturday, September 29, 2007 1:22:00 PM

    In Pursuit Of Happyness

    There are some things that can change your life. It could be movies, music, people, places, sights, dreams, and in a few cases – a Rubik’s cube. I am currently watching and live blogging a movie called "In pursuit of Happyness". With a Y in happiness instead of an I.

    So our Mr. Chris gets a call. A very important call – a matter of life and death. He is asked if he had a pen and he is given a 10 digit phone number and a 4 digit extension number. He did not have a pen. No other choice, he has to try and remember the number. I try to remember the number and I could not. And guess what – Chris does.

    Then there is this interesting conversation between Mr. Gardner and his son:
    "Don’t ever let somebody tell you, you cant do something"
    "You gotta dream you protect it."
    "You want something, go get it. Period."

    Then Chris gets enrolled with the internship programme and he is handed over Graham and Dodds Security Analysis. He is told that Graham and Dodd is bible. He should sleep with it, eat with it, and die with it.

    And this is yet another movie that made me cry. Twice.

    Minute Maid Pulpy Orange

    I shopped at Big Bazaar and guess what I found in my bag once I was home. A Minute Maid Pulpy Orange. I distinctly remember seeing it at a special display and not picking it. I checked my bill twice to see if they had billed me. No they hadn’t billed me. I hadn’t picked it. What was it doing in my bag?

    Anyways who doesn’t like free goodies? I certainly do. While I was opening it, I thought may be I will check out the price. Eureka. It said "FREE SAMPLE NOT FOR SALE".

    There was another article on Minute Maid somewhere. Coke was apparently planning to use Dabbawalas to push free samples to all offices in Mumbai. Imagine a free Orange drink with lunch. Innovative I must say.

    Coming to the most important part – do I like it? I would say I don’t like it and I don’t dislike it. I am not an Orange person. I would not refuse it someone bought and offered a sip but I would not go out and buy it. Only drink I can buy and drink is water or may be a Frooti, Mazza or a Slice. I do not differentiate between a Mango drink.

    The claims of being a pulpy Orange drink are accurate. It is pulpy. It is refreshing. It is different and yes it is recommended.

    Coke has done a wonderful job of marketing Minute Maid Pulpy Orange. Worth a try.

    Vance Packard - The Hidden Persuaders

    I recently heard about this book called The Hidden Persuaders (Amazon.com) by Vance Packard (wiki). Its the Bible for anyone interested in advertising and social influence.

    This book has been widely spoken about on the Internet and there have been a few negative comments too. I would read the book first and then comment on it.

    Some chapters are available online here. I cant find this book anywhere on Indian websites and ordering from Amazon is prohibitively expensive. Can anyone point to some resources?

    Another book that comes to mind is Prof. Cialdini's (wiki) Influence (website, Amazon.com).

    Johnnie Walker - Keep Walking

    Johnnie Walker has done it again.

    Link: Cherryflava: Just keep walking

    :) is 25 years old

    http://www.cs.cmu.edu/smiley/ has a small history of my favorite thing on the internet - :)
     
    :)

    Hindi Joke !

    एक दिन राजू के पापा एक रोबोट ले कर आये.
     

    वह रोबोट झूठ पकड़ सकता था और झूठ बोलने वाले को गाल पर खीँच कर चांटा मार देता था.

    आज राजू स्कूल से घर देर से आया था... पापा ने पूछा "घर लौटने में देर क्यो हो गयी?"

    "आज हमारी एक्स्ट्रा क्लासेस थी" राजू ने जवाब दिया...

    रोबोट अचानक अपनी जगह से उछला और जमकर राजू के गाल पर चांटा मार दिया.

    पापा हंसकर बोले, "ये रोबोट हर झूठ को पकड़ सकता है और झूठ बोलने वाले को चांटा भी मारता है. अब सच क्या है यह बताओ... कहाँ गए थे?"

    "में फिल्म देखने गया था" राजू बोला

    "कौन सी फिल्म?" पापा ने कड़ककर पूछा

    "हनुमान"
    चटाक... अभी राजू की बात पूरी भी नहीं हुई थी की उसके गाल पर रोबोट ने एक जोर का चांटा मारा.

    "कौन सी फिल्म?" पापा ने फिर पूछा

    "कातिल जवानी."

    पापा ग़ुस्से में बोले "शर्म आनी चाहिए तुम्हे. जब में तुम्हारे जितना था तब ऐसी हरकत नहीं किया करता था."

    चटाक... रोबोट ने एक चांटा मारा... इस बार पापा के गाल पर.

    यह सुनते ही मम्मी किचन में से आते हुए बोली "आख़िर तुम्हारा बेटा है ना... झूठ तो बोलेगा ही"

    अब मम्मी की बारी थी...
     
    चटाक...

    Post-It Notes: Social Proof !


    http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1072/1367575648_9af1be39d2_o.jpg

    Found On: Dark Roasted Blend

    Related Link:
    Post-It Notes - 3M

    The Nidhi Kapoor Story

    Did you like this post? May be you want to read my first book - The Nidhi Kapoor Story.

    Check it out on Amazon or Flipkart?