Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Litmus Test for Starting a New Business

While planning the strategy for a new business, before starting to execute, ask the following questions. They are sort of a Litmus Test for if we should enter the market or not.

1. Are you disrupting your market?
2. Do you have resources to deliver?
3. Can you sell enough to grow?
4. Filled out the Business-Model-Canvas?

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Daily Machine Learning

This is a post to list a few daily AI applications.

An alarm clock that knows you are awake and won't ring.

Easy one, a web browser which can find "similar pages" to the webpage currently being read.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Yet Another New World Order

Zeitgeist was eye-opening enough, and along with the Venus Project, inspiring. But while both concepts did a great job of painting a picture of a utopian future, neither helped to connect in my mind the present world-order, with that Utopia.

That being such, here're a few things that could improve living conditions, at least in the industrialized world.

Nationalize following industries:

1. Food production, processing and distribution.

2. Research, production and distribution of medicine.

There are a few necessities for life - air, water, food, shelter, medicine, education, security and some would argue information (facilitated by Internet). A society aspiring for a "high standard of life", could aspire to guarantee these basics to itself.

Essentially, these industries should remain outside the domain of profit-making.

While the above sounds utopian at it's own level, it leaves the key question of innovation open. Can the public-sector in these "necessary industries" produce innovation (like NASA and the BBC), comparable and better useful than the private-sector?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

We Forgot the Family

I haven't presented my argument yet.. :)

I find the views above, Bhagat's included, being based on a single snapshot in time and socioeconomic cross-section. The conditions have of course evolved over a larger time-span, differently for many types of women, and must be addressed as such. Say what you say, do what you do, you won't be able to change the present social conditions for the "modern" woman. It's too late - these circumstances were programed over 50-100 years ago for you. Here's what happened:

Long long ago, physical work provided food and shelter. Men have more physical energy hence controlled those emenities. Some 49,900 years passed like that. Same pattern in all cultures: men work/till/hunt, women care for home & family. Time to time, people had amusing debates and  serious fights alike, about which activity was more important. But men dominated for sure (hence such terms like "partiarchical societies" got introduced into common language).

Plus-minus 100 years ago, whatever reason triggered that, women started to ask questions like: Who are these SOB men to dominate us? Can't we do more, outside the home? Equal rights sounds only fair - why can't we have em? Thus began an unprecedented evolutionary event that unleashed the energies and talents of the woman - that's half the human resource, about whichever social cross-section we debate!

It turns out, an unlikely social component took maximum advantage of that event, and actually controls it till date: Industries. Industries realised, we can use all this (wo)manpower (and in recent years brainpower).  Women got themselves educated, became independent, and felt more empowered. Industries benefited due to expansion of the workforce. They encouraged the education system to train more.  This was all btw. thanks to western societies. Left to themselves, oriental societies _may have evolved differently.

I guess this was what got called Emancipation. So far so good - mission accomplished. But there was one problem. Mothers were starting to see their kids less than they would like every waking day. And the other way around is true too - kids spend more time with strangers like teachers, classmates etc than mom.

This puts the whole concept under the microscope again. The modern woman asks, "am I better off at home, or in an office?" Do I have 2 legs in 2 boats? Oh wait, I have to work, coz we need the money, and also, I'd like to preserve my independence (read $€Rs.)  Besides I didn't put myself through 16+ years of education to "stay home".

This is where the "industry controls it" point comes. Here in the western world, and increasingly in India, double-incomes are quasi-mandatory, if you wanna live a "normal" life. By the time you have paid off insurances, the home-loans-till-retirement, kids education, a few niceties to sweeten life, set a tiny little aside for the rainy day, you are waiting for another check from the industrialist.
You all know, that in our parents' generation, all these things were possible in a single income, and they never carried debt.

So Mr. Bhagat may expand his bullet-points into a few books, to cover the under-the-surface complex matter.

I don't think Emancipation or Women's Liberation is a inherently negative. But I ask myself, if it ever took off in the right direction.

In the meantime, believe it or not, the hunting and gathering apes called "modern men" have evolved too. But that's a story for another day!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Some Illustrations of Systematic Defects in Industrialized Societies


Zeitgeist 1- 2 -3
Götz Werner's need based compensation

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Paris Killing of Journalists

Last month it was Peshawar. Now it's Paris. What the hell is going on?
And what a hole just got dug in the logic of those Germans that came out against #Pegida only days ago.

I felt sad to read that piece of news at bbc.co.uk. I usually feel sad when I loose something. It wasn't obvious at that moment what I had just lost, since I knew none of the victims, or even anybody in Paris.

Of course the loss was of faith. Faith in the vision, that somehow slowly, the terrible divide between Islam and the rest of the world will narrow. It just seems to have widened today. How can peace come of this? For the only true victory is that of peace.

Here is a collection of responses from the mainstream press of the day.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Speed, Cost and Quality

In the old days, they used to say: Speed, Cost and Quality - you can have any two. Agile methodology promises all 3.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Riding a Bus vs. Riding a Boat

Recently I was having a conversation with one of my senior team members who has helped build our company for 5 years now, having joined as an intern and moving up the chain over Junior Developer, Senior Developer to today being a Research Associate. In that chat, he drew a parable of wanting to ride a moving bus at speed, when I inquired about how he wants to spend his next 5 years. In other words he expressed wanting to have a comfortable job in a going company where he could jump in and enjoy the ride.

It got me thinking, because that's exactly what we can't offer as a semi-startup that gets torn down every couple of years and rebuilt. Yeah, we are permanently rebuilding at this company.

A couple of days later I went back to my man and told him that working at our company is more like riding a row-boat, where everyone has to row. If anyone isn't rowing, he's riding at the expense of others' energy. Those rowing would probably want him thrown off at the earliest possible.

Startups are boat-rides.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Postbox 3 for Mac - Rants & Review

About a year ago, scared by Gmail's/Google-NSA-Unintentional-Axis and the sheer ferocity that cloud-software companies have been pursuing my confidential data - "Data is the new gold" - we've re-sworn our commitment to OpenSource software. This lead me to test Thunderbird as an alternative mail-client in our company. Alas, the usability, and one might argue even the stability of the software, at least on the Mac are deeply deficient. Gmail's webmail-client, on day of this writing, is far superior to Thunderbird, period.

Having given up on TB, my next try has been Postbox, at the time touting itself as "Awesome Email". I was pleasantly surprised to note that Postbox is a fork of Thunderbird, where they indeed cleaned up a number of features, and apparently focused on exactly the usability problems TB was failing. It makes the impression that the software is a work in progress. I want to use this blog-post to document some of the minor and major problems I experienced as a user.


Lightning Calendar

Thunderbird's Lightning Add-On, along with the Provider for Google Calendar Add-On provide connectivity with Google Cal. While Lightning provides the basics of a calendaring app, it also misses some which the trained Google Calendar user took for granted. One such feature is the Agenda view, listing all the calendar-items for the day.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Apple Served the Sentence, but Google Delivered the Blow - on Flash

This could be a longer post and I need to fill in the research.  It seems to me that if Steve Job's Thoughts on Flash from April 2010 spoke the word in the public, that Adobe Flash is going to be rejected by the Internet, it seems to me, 3 years later, that Google is the one that really delivered the "death blow" to the technology. A few things Google did to this end were:

  • Ranked flash-driven sites lower, because Google's keyword based search algorithms couldn't decipher the .swf binaries
  • Championed HTML5 as an Internet standard that could deliver audio-visuals on the browser.
  • Much before Jobs' public claim to ban Flash from the iPhone/iPad, Google almost never utilized Flash technologies for their apps, even in the classics since the beginning- Gmail, Google Apps, Blogger etc.
So over the last 2-3 years, "web-makers" like me and my team at euroblaze, have had almost no incentive to build sites in Flash, and offer them to site-owners and site-users.