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August 29, 2005

Ease of use

John Boddie at HBS talks about Apple's strategy of new product introduction-

Apple smartly surveyed the marketplace and discerned that any competitive software platforms would win or lose based on ease of use.

Ease of use is a big deal. It's all about playing to the user's emotions and empowerment.

August 29, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 24, 2005

It's Google's Turn

It's heartening to see NYT validating (SiliconBeat has some comments as well) what I have been bitching about when it comes to Google's corporate practices.

As I said hat's off to their brilliant execution and having courage to do things their way but they could never convincingly define the bounds of  "Do no evil" and most importantly what exactly is their roadmap of staying away from the temptation to do evil things !

PS: Nothing wrong in bad ass capitalistic pursuits but don't go to the townhall screaming about the holier-than-thou virtues.

August 24, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 20, 2005

MenWay like SafeWay

There are very few chores as boring  as weekend grocery shopping.  I always wondered why there is no strong focus on solving this problem which is very specific to middle age men (if I can start calling myself that).

Retailers spend so much money designing fancy aisles, putting NCR  self-checkout machines and nowadays in creating sensory good-luck-to-your-privacy ambience.  I wonder what it will take to make grocery shopping experience more like a trip to Starbucks or to Fry's. Why can't they pull me in versus me dragging myself !

I am sure there will some crazy and smart entrepreneur who will go out and create a niche retail business model  targeting 30 to 40 year old male demographics and his value proposition will be totally experiential.  I am envisioning aisles loaded with  iPods, Broccoli, USB Flash drives and sharing floor space with DVDPlay, Car wash drive-ins among other things.

August 20, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 16, 2005

OSS Inside

Here is a clue, next time you look at any web2.o company one thing you can be sure of.  That company is completely running on open source components. It's like they have this logo inside their IT department -


Infoworld in its latest issue has a list of open source components to run your company.  Its not a big secret that many start-ups world over are actually using these software.

What you are seeing is actually a Tipping Point phenomena in action ! This will slowly spread from early adopters to mainstream and then to laggards.

Check out InfoWorld list if you want to get your company on the OSS track.

August 16, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 15, 2005

Today's special - make your own movie


This belongs to the cars-will-be-free kind of business model thinking. How about free hotel stay but you just have to pay for the data center and IT services ! Not exactly that but Hotel Tribeca GrandHotel in New York is going close to that vision.

Brilliant move by Tribeca Grandhotel in New York by making a case that you dont have to carry around your little data center with you all the time.  When you check into their hotels you get  fully equipped Apple machines.  iStudio comes fully equipped with all the gadgets you need to make your own tour movie.

I think this idea will eventually get  copied and lot of  hotels will be stuffing their rooms with software and hardware relevant to the conferences happening in their town. It makes sense. (Atleast we can avoid doing bluetoothing sitting in the breakfast lobby just to share that minor tweak in the sales presentation.)

If customers spend more time in their rooms they will be consuming more add-on services.  Cost of software and hardware will payoff in the long run.

Neat idea.

August 15, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wipro Way

Business Week in its latest edition is covering the most obvious  material in the contemporary business journalism - Economic transformations in China and India.  Plenty of interesting tid bits.

This story in particular is impressive and shows  how serious Wipro is in modeling it's business process operations on the lines of Toyota way.

Check this clockwork efficiency:

   During a recent visit by BusinessWeek to an office in Bangalore, we followed the journey of a single invoice through accounts payable. The first stop was the "imaging" room, where C. Venkatesh fed documents into scanners and attached electronic copies to work-flow software, which manages each step of the process. Then H.V. Shivaram typed data from the invoice into the accounting software program, M. Rassal checked the math, Srikanth Vittal Murthy posted the charges in the general ledger, D. S. Varadharajan authorized payment, and B. Ravi Sekhar arranged for a check to be cut. Finally, V. Karunakaran printed and mailed it. If the process had hit a bottleneck, a digital display on the wall would have turned red. That would have prompted managers to swarm the center of the room, confer, and fix the problem on the spot

In this process they will end up inventing new ways of doing things as well. Which will be eventually competitive to software tool makers.

How this Wipro way will translate into new category of software ?

August 15, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 11, 2005

Experience is priceless

New York Times covering phenomena of global interns in India.

"Stipend is low but the experience is priceless"

August 11, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 08, 2005


Understanding Attention related issues requires attention. Lots of it. Explanation of the need to manage attention properly should not require lot of attention.

I would say Andrew Teman is not off-the-mark in asking for more details on the AttentionTrust project (or company).  Rather abrasive comment was this which I think is broadly applicable to lot of things happening on the blogosphere -

I honestly believe that if someone like Seth Goldstein farted in a mic, recorded it as a .fart file, call it fartcasting, within 5 minutes, everyone on the open media 100 would be hailing it as world changing in a semi co-ordinated cyber circle jerk complete with sloppy track-backs.

Main point is about the purpose of AttentionTrust project. I signed up for this and my "site got approved" (I am still wondering what that means!).  I have no idea what this means. Hopefully I will get to know more about it as this project evolves.

       Verified Member of the AttentionTrust

I signed up because I want to understand how Attention is managed in the conversational threads and what sort of protocols, filters, meme etc play into managing that.  One of our customer is a specialty medical consulting firm based out of Boston. They are getting loads of "healthy patients" looking for guidance on managing attention. Though those are mostly ADD situations.

Why is attention a big problem ? On average a women looses $10000 a year due to attention related productivity issues and women executives close to $40k a year (I dont have stats for men but I would say it should be similar).  This doesnt include cost of relationship damages.
As our society evolves and we technology folks attach  RFID, Sensors, Tags, URLs, Wifi and add-your-favorite-jargon etc to every imaginable piece of matter. 

Perception and cognitive abilities will be pushed severely and will be required  to be managed in parallel. Our biological limitations will be exposed and we will be investing more and more of our resources into future Modofinils.

About AttentionTrust, I will be waiting for more details.

ps: I was distracted 4 times while writing this post.  I distracted myself from other task to write this post !

August 8, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 02, 2005

How about user driven commerce !

Fred Wilson has a good post on the big changes happening due to the advent of user generated content.  According to him -

Until you get user generated content, you don’t get the Internet

I have in the past bitched about how Google is not encouraging this phenomena at all and how Yahoo is learning to open up by getting this thing.

This whole space is in a very formative stage from understanding and business opportunity point of view.  Posting, subscribing and posting are critical rules of engagement but the domains are just getting expanded. We havent added a big market in this yet which is about commerce!

Is adding a product to third party catalog a blog post ?
Taking RSS feed of manufacturer's catalog by distributor a subscription ?
What if all customers start tagging the product pricing and discounts ? Do we need specialized pricing engines in that case?
Can I compare products by aggregating RSS feeds of the catalogs ?

I think user driven commerce has lot of potential and it will be an eventual progression of user driven content.

Those who think blogging is just another fancy form of web publishing are missing a big cultural shift taking place right now.

Read the complete  post here.

August 2, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 01, 2005

Call it strategic networking

Atanu points to this commentary by George Friedman on how the US-India relations suddenly looks interesting. Lot is happening at the strategic level.  September 11 did change the world and the efforts to redraw the world's strategic map are still going on.

George comparing India to China  -

  India is in China's position of 1980. It has a mind-boggling bureaucracy, poor infrastructure and a culture antithetical to rapid development. At the same time, it has the basic materials that China built on. As the Sino-U.S. relationship deteriorates, India can be a counterweight to China -- not in a military sense, but in an economic sense. If the United States has an economic alternative to China for investment, Washington develops leverage in its talks with Beijing on a host of issues. China, after all, still courts investment -- even as the Chinese buy anything that isn't Chinese.

To me this economic undercurrent of this strategic change looks more interesting. I am not betting too much on the geopolitical significance of nation-states in the long run.

Big corporates will bring lot of weight  to the discussion table, significant enough to temper any military ambitions. There will be tensions and limited military engagements but not significant enough to cause widespread destabilization ( though I don't know what Karl Rove is planning after second term !)

So this realignment in world's political Lego will only work its magic in the economic terms. That too in the time-frame where you and I can see the changes. Meaning things will happen fast. If India is where China was in 1980 then India will be where China is by 2015.  Accelerating change phenomena will take over.

At the end of the day  I feel the time is right, finally we are correcting the historical mistake. For years we have been carrying the hazaar f#$%ed baggage of JNU-style socialism.

Now its time to build a strong market driven economy by aligning with US. Two biggest democracies working together - This will be a great story of this century. 

(Also this tag of Superpower gives me creeps - not that I am short on hormones but lets focus on solving the basic problems of life - roti, kapda aur makaan )

August 1, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack