Thursday, January 03, 2013


When the whole world is going androidy, I - an early adopter and still a fan of Android - switched to the iOS world.

If you have already made up your mind to get a Samsung Galaxy S3 ( kickass phone ) or an iPhone5 read no further - go ahead and buy it. Don't break your head trying to decide which one is best - both are great choices - its a win win situation!

If you are trying to make up your mind - here is what made me switch from Android to iOS. And actually it has got something to do with the Business Philosophy of Samsung.

First - my disappointment with Samsung Galaxy S : my first Android phone I got in 2010.

In the initial days there was a noticeable lag. Some problem with the file system. I put a Voodoo Lag Fix which solved the problem. The phone came with Eclairs.

Then I waited and waited to upgrade to Froyo - the next version of Android. Kies - the amazing piece of software ever written - never showed me the magic upgrade button. So I was sitting with Eclair while the world was Froyoing.

Then came Gingerbread - and Samsung refused to release Gingerbread for SGS - as they were peddling Galaxy S2 ( which I recommended my Brother in Law and now I am not so sure )

Then I read about Cyanogenmod and these hackers had released a Gingerbread version for SGS - I started the whole effort of "jailbreaking" the phone - and after one disastrous attempt ( ) I finally managed to upgrade the phone to Gingerbread ( CyanogenMod on Samsung Galaxy S and 3 Button fix ).

Then later I could upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich. Life was good but not ok.

The phone will hang intermittently. It would at times just die randomly. At times I will call some number by mistake and will try to cancel - but the phone will not respond - the call will go through. It was never consistent. And no good music player. Sigh.

Samsung is to be blamed - SGS is a nice handset - but Samsung is interested in profits and they refuse to give the latest Android OS - so we will throw their handsets in a landfill and go purchase their latest phone. I will not blame the nice hackers at Cyanogenmod - they are God Sent to us - reverse engineering and trying to make old handsets work so they don't go to landfills unnecessarily.

iPhone envy

In April 2012, the wife - a long time Blackberry user - decided to join the touch revolution and we went to Croma in Bangalore. She played with the Galaxy Note, Samsung Galaxy S3 - and decided on the Note - she has a bigger screen to browse and also it came with a Stylus - good choice we thought.

And if I remember correctly she even asked the Croma sales store person to bill the Note.

Then I said lets try out these Windows phone and iPhone - and she tried Windows phone. It was mediocre. Then she took the iPhone in hand - said it snuggly fit in her hand - and started typing.  That was the decision point for her - typing was perfect. It was 10k more than Note, she wanted the iPhone but did not want to put in that much money as we were shifting to Mumbai that month and had no clue how the financial situation was going to be.

After almost an hour of deliberation during which she even called a friend of hers who was a long time iPhone user - and finally we got the iPhone.

The more I started playing with the iPhone - the more I liked it. It had the right amount of things - and it all worked well. No fancy widgets, no fancy lock screens - simple straight and consistent. It just did the job and let you get on with your life / work. The phone upgraded itself wirelessly. Apple makes stuff which simply works.


Then I read about iPhone5 being released. Lot of expectations and everyone was disappointed. I was actually quite happy as the phone was not a revolution but just another iteration of the previous iPhone.

First few versions of Apple products tend to be buggy - either poor hardware specs or faults ( eg. antennagate ) - but as the products mature it becomes really refined and almost perfect.

MacBook Pros ( the ones prior to the Retinas ) - are at that stage. The keyboard, battery life, screen adjustment, touchpad, the fit and finish - everything is inch perfect. You just need to reinstall the OS once a year to have the same experience.

I knew iPhone5 is going to be like the MacBook Pro - as Apple Engineers would have ironed out all the chinks - and also this phone will live with me for the next 3 to 4 years - as Apple always supports their old hardware. At home we have an iMac purchased in 2005 - still chugging along fine.

I was eagerly waiting to feel the iPhone5. The day it got released went to Croma and played with it. Liked the feel and responsiveness. Placed the order and got it on my Birthday!

Life with iPhone5

Initially Maps was missing and was a major handicap. Since I am still discovering Mumbai I rely on Maps a lot and Apple Maps is useless.

Google released Maps and that completed the migration. I don't miss anything from the Android world anymore.

iOS is fast responsive and consistent. It never hangs or hesitates. Here is a list of things that I got out of the box without any hacking around.

iTunes Wireless Sync
iTunes Remote App
Photo Stream Sync to iPhoto
Contacts Sync
iTunes U
Do not Disturb ( love this one as I am a light sleeper and ICICI typically sends NEFT SMS notifications at 2 AM )
Nice keyboard that autocorrects ( I have horrible butter fingers - and have tried swype, swiftkey but nothing comes close to the iOS keyboard in its guesses and letter touch accuracy).

And icing on the cake - Apple released iTunes Store to India. Purchased AR Rahman's "Kadal" the day it was released - it wirelessly synced to my iPhone and was able to play immediately - it was magical.

All of the above can be done in an Android phone - but needs some tinkering and searching for the correct App.

Will I recommend an iPhone to non geeks - Absolutely.

Will I recommend an iPhone to a geek - not so sure.

I am in this cross roads of my life. Nowadays I find less time to hack things - perhaps my next phone might be an Android Phone or an Ubuntu Phone.

TiE Summit @ Mumbai

Sharing a few thoughts / observations on the TiE Summit held on Dec 20,21 at Goregoan, Mumbai.

Also these are not exactly their words - I am looking at my notes and I only have a few phrases. This is a venkatised version of it - essence is the same.

Kunal Shah of Freecharge : We are all engineers. We are good at solving problems. But where we suck at is defining the problem. Brilliant!

Kunal/Vijayanand of Proto and another Gentleman - didnt note his name : They discussed on traction and finally someone gave a nice sound byte : Traction is when you get customers without spending. That was a superb definition!

Ronnie Screwala, Founder UTV Group : First step to start something is big. But don't sit there basking on it. So many first steps have to be still taken  - getting funded, forming a bigger team.. it never ends. [ Perhaps thats why we call them as a Startup!  ]

He gave more tips

  • Invest in Teams
  • Get a good vision / mission - this gives clarity more than anything else.
  • Timing is important at every step - including Exits
  •  Scale > Control 
  •  1 good trait of an entrepreneur - he is a good listener
  •  Attract good talent - spend time on hiring the right team - even if it takes 6 months and multiple coffee shop visits. [ So true - keep reading about this courting process in Silicon valley ]

Ajay Piramal - has a pharmaceutical company and others - and is one of the top 50 Richest people in India [ ]

  •  Stressed on the importance of Values. He gave a great definition of Integrity - Integrity is the alignment of thought, speech and action. [ Simple and straight. ]
  •  1 good trait of an entrepreneur - courage to take a decision. 
  •   Convert challenges to opportunities
  •   Be passionate but also be dispassionate from results. Focus on action and leave results out. He gave a supporting story on how they dealt with their acquisition.
  •  Associate with people of high value
  • Avoid "slippery slope" - I will do a bit of this small short cut or concession - and this will begin small but will become big in the end.
Ganesh Natarajan, CEO Zansar technologies

  • Innovation is destroying paradigms
  • Dont assume that you have a great solution for today. It will change and your solution will become invalid ( explained how Aptech was no longer relevant when colleges started having IT in their curriculum )
  • Scale quickly - that is what entrepreneurship is all about [ huh.. hate that word scale ]

Alque Padamsee [ ]

He gave the best talk of the entire event.

Leadership through Innovation
  • Innovate
  • Enthuse not enforce
  • Vision Statement

There were 2 more sessions I attended.

One was Mahesh Murthy, Poonam Pandey and Ramesh Srivats - all Twitter superstars.

They brought Poonam Pandey just for the crowd? Boo - the time could have been well spent with another twitter celebrity.
  • Poonam Pandey earns 80,000 per sponsored tweet. She does one such tweet per day - and a 17 member team manages her account - so what did the bunch of hard working entrepreneurs learn from it?
  • All 3 have everything to gain from their twitter presence - so if the other two tried to make you believe that twitter is a good addiction etc.. - don't listen to them.
 There was one more session where Alok Kejriwal, Vishal Gondal, PK Gulati and an IAN member came on stage. It was good - nice sound bytes but I got distracted in an email/sms chat with a customer.

Overall the event was good. Met lot of unsung entrepreneurs - fighting their own battles. I am sure 10 years from now most of these unsung heroes will be on stage - inspiring the next batch of entrepreneurs.