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Showing posts from 2013

In Defence of the Developers

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I have seen myself and other Developers I have worked with miss on obvious silly things - may be an obvious typo - or a mis programmed checkbox etc. Really obviously silly things which will make me kick myself  ( or my pair ).


Well here is psychology to the rescue.

Invisible Gorilla

A study was commissioned by a psychologist long back.

He played a video of  a basketball game between a team wearing white shirts and team wearing black shirts. The participants where asked to count the number of passes made by the white team.



Most of the participants got the total number of passes correct.

Here is the twist. In the middle of the game, a girl dressed in a gorilla suite, walks across the floor. And most of the participants who were busy counting the passes - totally missed it. When the video was played back to them they were shocked at how they could have missed the gorilla.

The logic behind is that our brain operates in 2 modes - the Analytic mode and the Intuitive mode. When the Analytic m…

Buddhism.

I picked up Deepak Chopra's Buddha.

It was more of a fiction - of how Siddharta became Gautama and then Buddha. The story dwelt more on the love and war during Siddharta,Gautama period and dwelt little time on the really interesting part - how Buddha attained enlightenment and the aftermath.

I was more curious and upset that what I wanted to know was covered little - perhaps the book wouldn't have sold if it was all sermons - the enlightenment part would have been boring.

This man attained enlightenment at the age of 40 or so - and lived till 80 years. Daily he gave a sermon to his disciples. He answered any question thrown at him - and these have been captured and compiled as the Buddhist Philosophy.

Taking a step back - my quest on what is God has been running for more than 4 years. Ever since I started reading Paulo Coelho's books I had this nagging feeling - something more is there to this life of ours. Then I picked up Conversations with God - and after some inner tur…

Mumbai Barcamp 12 Roundup

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Attended my first Mumbai Barcamp ( http://www.barcampmumbai.org/index.php/BCM12 ) yesterday. Reached there at 10:00 am on the dot and the orientation session was going on.  Do not take off your shirt - one of the rule items had. Moving on..



Picked up a sticky and put my session ( 3 Running Myths busted ) on the wiki. I had to move it around so I could attend another Running talk.

Went to the first session - it was on Meditation by Kiran. He showed a simple technique and asked the audience to try it out. Folks had mixed experience. Interestingly half already knew some kind of technique or the other.

Each session was 20 minutes with a 10 min break in between for any discussions and change over time. The volunteers cut off precisely after 20 minutes and did a great job in keeping the sessions contained.

I moved on to the next session - How an average runner can run the toughest foot race in the world and you can too! - this was a paisa wasool session for me.



I have read so much on Ultra …

Today I complete 5 Years on ApartmentADDA

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Sep 18th, 2008.

You might have forgotten - this is the day Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. The world came to know about Sub Prime Derivatives and economies around the world started collapsing one after the other.

And this is the day I started my journey as an Entrepreneur.

And just like that I have travelled 5 years of my life.

If I look back - was it easy, was it fun, what did I learn? - let me take one at a time.

Was it easy?

Hell No. I am totally out of my comfort zone. I hate talking to strangers, hate small talk, I am an introvert to the core. But I was pushed to deal with prospects, vendors, investors, partners - day in and day out.

I have to sell - and have to speak a lot - to strangers. I have tricked myself into enjoying this but inwardly I prefer the comfort of a keyboard and a good Editor.

I have to speak in Hindi ( thank you for nothing Tamil politicians ).

I have to say No ( mostly fancy requirements or things which I know will set them up for a failure ) and have to…

Mindfully eating a Masala Dosa

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I tried mindfully eating the other day.

Ordered a Masala Dosa in the canteen in a hospital last week.

Was alone. By habit I pulled out my phone to read or browse something while eating.

Then I stopped and put the phone back - had been reading Awakening the Buddha within - thought let me try mindful eating - a practice as suggested in the book.

Tore off a small part of the dosa - dipped it in sambhar and chutney and ate it. Chewed it trying to discern the contents - the dal, rice, coconut, onion - thought from where all the ingredients would have travelled. Relished the taste of different ingredients - it was just like listening to a symphony and trying to identify the music instruments.

Then my mind drifted away - don't remember what it started analysing - and after sometime realised I should be mindfully eating - and again started focusing on the food and the moment.

Man it is tough. The mind keeps drifting.

After that day, have tried a lot of times when I eat alone to remind my…

Rest Easy Chickens

Rest Easy Chickens.

I am not going to eat you.

And also you - the Baby Goat, Goat, Fish, Prawn.

And this time I think its for real.

Here is the path to reducing consumption and finally zeroing it out - if you are a carnivore who is in doubt you can continue reading this post. If you are a carnivore who doesn't care - you need not read any further - but if you want to amuse yourself - go ahead and read it :)

2000

Went to LSU to do my masters. I figured out that chicken was cheaper than Veggies. Also cooking chicken was much much easier - drop in some masala and within 30 minutes a tasty preparation would be ready. No brainer.  Also in US everyone ate meat - 3 times a day. The poor Veggie FOBs all suffered - some converted. I did not have any 2nd thoughts ( not that I had ) that eating Meat had any issues in it and it was totally fine.

2006

Got back to India - and had to visit Chicken shops - as there was no pre packaged meat like in US. I would say 1/2 a kg - if the vendor doesnt hav…

What is Born Lucky

This week, after working for almost a month without a break ( except for a sunday when we went to Lonavalla but the drive to and fro was more stressful than a work day) - my body just slammed on the brake - by picking up a nasty cold. I had to stop and slow down.

This led me to think - what is Born Lucky.

At one point while growing up - I wanted my Dad to own a motor bike like other Dads instead of the bi-cycle - a vehicle that was also showing its age. After some time I saw my class mates who rode around in a car. Some wore fancy "jerkins" with multiple pockets and zips. I wore a sweater - served the purpose though - for the Coimbatorean chill. I thought they were born lucky - to be born in a rich family.

Then went to College. Saw folks who were gifted. They had amazing memory and analytical skills. They could solve complex mathematical problems and seemingly knew the answer to any problem in any subject. They could easily ace the exams while I had to work hard to understan…

The Draw String Bag!

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The above is a Draw String Bag and what you are going to read is its story! 
In 2007, Sangeeta got involved in a Green Initiative called "Show We Care" in SAP GD. They got allotted a budget, volunteers were called and Sangeeta joined the team and brainstormed multiple ideas. 
One of the ideas Sangeeta conceptualised was this nice solid cloth bag with the following written on it ( by a creative guy from their marketing team ).
Plastic is Harmful! - Look what it did to Michael Jackson.
Every employee was handed one and were asked to use this instead of plastic packets ( Bangalore had not banned plastic bags yet - ban came in 2011 I guess ). Sangeeta brought one home and I took a liking to it. 
While I loved the bag ( perfect for going shopping on a bike ), I hated the Michael Jackson reference - because I respected him a lot and also after a few months he died.  I always wore the bag in such a way that words are not facing the world. 
Also in 2007, "Show We Care" arr…

MBP is now on SSD

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Once gizmos run out of warranty I get excited. Time to try out a few things it was not originally designed for ( definition of hacking )

My Early 2011, Mac Book Pro (MBP) 13" is soon turning 2 years.  And it was getting slow. Painfully slow. [ Tried Taming Lion but was not enough ]

Meanwhile I was slowly burning in envy ( envy is good. jealousy is bad :) ) - looking at @sanban's  Mac Book Air (MBA) - which was so light and ran amazingly fast. All thanks to the SSD - Solid State Drive in it vs the HDD - Hard Disk Drive on my MBP.

Twitterverse advised me to upgrade to SSD. Spoke to @b_hari who advised me - its a no brainer.  And you won't regret it - the difference is humungous.

I did a search on the local flipkart and ebay.in but could not find any SSDs.  This was some 6 months back I guess.

A few days back I was planning to do a re-install - things had gone painfully slow. This time I went to ebay.in and searched for SSDs and got a few hits.

There were lot of options and I zer…

Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation

Earlier I used to think Meditation is 'Focus'. Focus on light, or some sound or an image of a God. I learnt Transcendental Meditation from a Thermodynamics professor in CEG during my 2nd year. Don't remember his name, but remember his teaching still. His focus was on a Mantra.

I thought I have to focus on the Mantra during meditation. But later realised the Mantra is just a vehicle to go into "Thoughtlessness".

Actually once I realised the goal of Meditation is to get into Thoughtlessness it became easy as I did not have to fight to focus or control the mind. I just let it loose. When I sit for Meditation a ton of thoughts come to my mind - much like a jelly lorry emptying its load on a road side - the mind is very excited now - finally it is getting a piece of time to analyze everything. I let the mind analyze everything and once in a while remind the mind ( by recalling the Mantra ) that I am here to meditate and not for a psychiatric session.

But so…

Now a Mumbaikar

Life is much like a train that takes you through many Cities.

It has taken me from Coimbatore to Madurai to Chennai to Baton Rouge to Madison to Chicago to Bangalore and now in Mumbai.

Coimbatore is very special to me. The monsoon drizzle in June/July, then the Puja and Diwali rains, the chill in December,  Pongal time visit to a village temple from where my father came from and the summer holidays - visiting the Annual Exhibition - the highlight of the city once. Lot of sweet simple memories - all intertwined among school friends, street friends, relatives and festivals.

Madurai was hot. Super hot. Got Jaundice and Chicken pox. This city lives and breathes Tamil. I still remember one Sugarcane vendor's rhyming statement when he had to go attend nature's call after handing over the juice ( thankfully ) "Aatharathai adaku mudiyum aana mootharathai adaku mudiyuma" [ You can control Anger - aatharam, but you cannot control nature's call - mootharam ]. All the streets,…

Choice : Easy or Hard

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I am noticing this dichotomy everywhere. From life to love to design to coding.

It is easy to eat junk food. But hard to eat healthy stuff.

It is easy to watch TV. But hard to read a book.

It is easy to veg out in the couch. But hard to get out and run.

It is easy to hate someone we despise. But hard to love the same person.

It is easy to create something with lot of code. But hard to create the same functionality with minimal code.

It is easy to get stressed out and feel down. But hard to keep cool and spirits high.

Guess what? - in all cases - the hard part is the most rewarding.

Yet - we all choose the easy part. Again and Again and Again. Even though we know that taking the hard part will be more rewarding and beautiful.

I think this is a test being conducted - and if we have to pass in this we have to keep taking the hard path at every fork.

Eat Healthy.
Read Books.
Run.
Love everyone.
Write beautiful code.
Stay cool & Keep Spirits high.

& Drink coffee / red wine :)

ps :…

Spiritual but not Religious

You never know when something deep inside you gets triggered.

Could be a near miss with death, losing a close friend/family - or a chance meeting with a stranger.

4 years back - I had a chance meeting with a retired Bank Manager in Bangalore. He suggested I read Conversations with God.

I then read all of Paulo Coelho's works - my favourite Brazilian author. Then Steve Jobs died - and read all about him and the spiritual side of him.


I have been trying to figure out Who I am and Why I am here - and I am nowhere close to the truth.

I am confused and clearer at the same time - just like light - which is both a wave and a particle at the same time.

I am not an Atheist

I am clear on one thing. I do believe in God as some mysterious supreme power or light or energy. Earth and Humans are not here by chance. I did briefly stray into being an atheist when my father passed away. Did shake me up and for sometime went around not being bothered about God or Religion or any customs.

I dont practi…

Bong Secrets Revealed!

Alright here it goes - the best kept bong secrets are all revealed.

All these from the observation I made during a Bong wedding I attended in February.


Fish is a vegetarian dish

This is an open secret - but I will not get full marks if I do not list it here. I am yet to figure out this mystery.

Wedding doesn't get over on the same day

On the night of the wedding day, the boy and girl are kept awake by the 2 sides. There is a mythology where Lakhinder of the Behula Lakhinder legend has to stay awake on their wedding night or he dies. This turned out to be lot of fun - and we all became deep and spiritual ( after 3 am ).


Groom's Mom should not attend wedding

If this comes up in any of the Tamil TV Serials - all the heads watching the TVs will just explode in unison. I don't know the reason behind this tradition.

Bongs hate Rosogolla

I am not kidding. Try giving Rosogolloas to them and they will all go - ohh.. eeh.. and if they are pushed to eat and they realise there is no way o…

Case for an Indian SaaS App Store

In 2008 when we started ApartmentADDA we were faced with a myriad of questions / objections.

You have all the data with you. What if you close down.
I can build my own.
I want to buy your software and put it on my computer. 
Why can't I pay onetime and use it lifelong?
I want a backup of all my data, emailed to me every day.

The questions haven't stopped, and new ones keep getting added.

I look around and see so many Indian SaaS Startups fighting similar battles. Educating the populace on SaaS and its benefits.

We also market our product through SEO, Videos, Posters and a few lucky days when media bothers to write about these interesting SaaS products.

Imagine. If there was a single site which does all the marketing and brings people to its site. It educates the visitors on the advantages of SaaS, lists all the SaaS apps that are available and also lists prices and user reviews. How cool will that be?

Advantages of a SaaS App Store

1. Startups like mine and others need not repeat the sa…

The New India.

On 16th December, 2012 Nirbhaya / Jyoti Singh Pandey was tortured and murdered by 6 humans ( sorry cannot use the word animals as animals are much too nobler ). The country woke up to a cold hard truth - this country is going down fast - and without any control.

The establishment has thrown its hands up - we have laws but they are of no use to prevent such atrocities or we cannot enforce it effectively anymore.

Recently saw a video where someone from the audience asked a question to Rahul Gandhi - when kids cannot even read what is the use getting internet in schools?

Rahul Gandhi just asked back - what do you think the answer to the question is.

This video is being circulated and being laughed at - but actually - I am not laughing. Rahul Gandhi has a point - the establishment has given up. They cannot solve the myriad problems facing this country.

Acute Water shortage. Electricity disruptions. Economy in a mess. Movies being banned. India earning just 4 medals from Olympics. Women an…

2012 Books Roundup

I do this yearly look back of books I have read. [ Here is the 2011 list and 2010 list ]

Following is my 2012 list of books I read or came in touch with

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson 

Love this man or hate him - do read this book. The phone, tablet or laptop you are reading this post right now has Steve Job's hand in it somehow. [ Oh Steve Jobs! ]

Nurtureshock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

If you are responsible for a toddler, at times does it send a chill down your spine - gosh I am responsible for this kid now and how am I ever going to bring up to be a good citizen of the world - wish there was a manual! - Well there is - highly recommend this! [ Nurtureshock ]

4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

I am a productivity hacker. I keep looking for new ways of doing more with the limited time I have. 2012 has been very demanding. I tried pomodoro, 3 focus areas a week, even GTD - but will drift off to my bad habits.

However this book made me rethink how I look at the chores I am doing - …

iPhoned.

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…

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 TeamsGet a good vision / mission - this gives clarity more than anything else.Timing is impo…