Showing posts from 2014

Fight the Good Fight Startups!

2014 is coming to a close.

It has been a very interesting time for Startups. A Government change, with it expectations, a rising economy - which in turn will benefit startups.

Billions of VC money flowing into the ecosystem. Traditional investors become Angels.

Here is my wishlist for Startups - new and old for 2015 - to Fight the Good Fight.

Gain Customers, not Facebook Likes

No Short Cuts please. Gaining traction, gaining customers is not easy. This is the most important metric for any Startup. Not the Facebook likes, Alexa ranking, Twitter Followers - these will come automatically once customers start signing up.

To gain customers - you need to have a kickass product. Not a 80% almost there product, but a 200% going beyond the wildest customer expectation product.

To reach there, it takes lot of hard work, lot of iterations - there is no short cut. 

Do not start a clone 

There are so many problems waiting to be solved. If you have 2 ideas - one which is never tried before ( like a Music L…

Switched from Nike Free Run 3 to Puma Mobium

After the Vibram law suit, I got disillusioned with Bare foot running. Also running on Mumbai Roads, bare foot is not practical - it is dangerous.

I ran barefoot for about 6 months ( on Sports Authority of India's track in Kandivali), then switched to Bata shoe... which got worn out pretty quickly.

Then I switched to Nike Free Run 3, and for the last 2 years this has been my running shoe. I have clocked close to 930Kms on this and the soles have worn off pretty well.

I enquired about Nike Run 5, and it was close to 9k. I literally stopped on my tracks - this is crazy.

Couple of weeks back, San pointed to a Sale in the Puma shop next to our office. I looked around, and found this interesting shoe - the Puma Mobium.

The sales guy knew about running and said this is not a heels strikers shoe, but more of a front to mid foot runner's. This is the ideal way to run from what I have researched.

This was also 9k, but they had 40% off. Did a few trial runs in the store and liked it.

I …

Sudarshan Kriya Effects

It has been 4 months since I started practising Sudarshan Kriya - I learnt in Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Guruji's Art of Living course.

I do some deep, slow, fast, medium paced breathing.. as per the instructions - for some half an hour - almost on a daily basis. And have got some wonderful effects.


It is a goner. I don't outrage anymore - like I used to. I do feel I am a little slow when I am confronted.  But it gives me time to think and react - instead of just shooting from the hip and later feeling bad for having reacted the wrong way.

I can think back how I was 4 months back - where I was stressed and frustrated most of the time - and how I am today - a world of difference. I don't know if people around me can see it, but internally I feel I am more in control, patient and at peace.

Clarity in Thought

If you are a full time wearer of corrective glasses, and once in a while when you wipe it clean the whole world looks sharper. It is a similar feeling. The world looks cle…

Art of Silence

I attended a 4 day Art of Silence course - conducted by Art of Living foundation.

It was mind blowing.

Day 1 

I was one of the very few newbies. 95% of the participants were repeating the course - some even for the 14th time. This course happens every week in Bangalore Ashram. In Mumbai it is conducted twice a year - it is like a special program for the busy bodies we Mumbaikars are.

We do some mini games, some gyan, getting to chat up with the fellow participants ( 58 were there in total ) - bank executives, marketing specialists, students, young professionals, retired gentlemen, elderly ladies - what a mix! Then slowly gradually Sangeeta Didi ( she is one of the earliest disciples / teachers with Guruji Sri Sri Ravishankar ) introduced us to the concept of silence and gave a practical suggestion to call home and inform before hand - that when I come home I will not communicate - not even a nod of the head, or SMS, or email or chit of paper. Also was not supposed to read a book, liste…

Oh Chennai!

I was reading Madras Day celebrations everywhere and was feeling nostalgic on Chennai. There are so many memories in that hottest city on the planet.

I remember bike rides - on those long beautiful stretches between Guindy and Mount Road via Kotturpuram bridge. And the nice shady stretches at TTK Road. And the curvy road at Beasant Nagar  ( last I visited they had bumpers on the curve - bummer ). And the last few years before I left in 2000 - the Velachery to Shollinganallur stretch via Medavakkam and the god awesome crash I had on Mahabalipuram road trying to see how far the needle goes in a Splendour. ( It did not go beyond 85kmph )

And food. The Ponnuswamy's and Anjappar's - alas - I might not be able to indulge there anymore having turned a meeto-taller ( like teeto-taller - you will see it in oxford dictionary next year :D ). The   bread omlette at High Look bar - next to IIT - at night 2am. The kotthu porrotta at Mangudi mess. The Fried rice at the Road side Chinese shop…

Hacking Spirituality

Here is my journey so far - how I have been hacking spirituality - still not knowing fully what I want or what I am doing.

1995 - I learn TM

Good grades the flyer said. I did not know the word hack that time - but now when I think about it - that was what I tried to do. Hack my way to good grades to earn a BE in EEE - while studying less and having a good time  at CEG.

I learnt the techqniue - from a ThermoDynamics prof. But I did not practise after that. Perhaps my grades would have been better.  Later - even today - whenever my stress level shoots up - I would get into my TM mode to soothe my nerves. It works pretty well.

2000 to 2006  

I would rate this stay in USA as a spiritual void. Was living the materalistic life. Was I happy in this period? When I look back - nope. Perhaps I never fitted in with that world. Perhaps it was because I was made to feel like an alien with a number and a ticking clock - this is how long you can stay here. Perhaps I did not get my dose of spiritual qu…

Bangalore to Mumbai on a Thunderbird 500cc - Part 3

This is the concluding and final part of this road trip. If you haven't you should read and Part 1 [ ] and Part 2 [ ]
I woke up to a cloudy sky. There was a shower in the night. I dont enjoy riding in rains and I still had another 500 Kms to cover and the last stretch will be quite tough - had to pass through Pune and  Mumbai evening / night traffic.
While having breakfast was reading about the death of new Minister in Modi's cabinet - Mr. Gopinath Munde in a car accident. We checked out and hit the road around 9am - peak hour traffic in Belgaum - there were a few vehicles on the road - what a blessing to live in a small town. 
The nice Belgaum stretch continued for sometime and suddenly the road started becoming little bumpy and potholish. The temperature was increasing. When I was riding the bike I did not feel the heat. But whe…

Bangalore to Mumbai on a Thunderbird 500cc - Part 2

Continuing from where I left off - [ Bangalore to Mumbai on a Thunderbird 500cc - Part 1 ]

I was exhausted and sleep deprived - and the moment the head hit the pillow I dozed off. It felt as if just a minute had passed when I woke up the next day morning. I got excited thinking about the ride ahead. A journey of 1000+ Kms awaited me. Bangalore was Bangalore that morning - the night rain had cooled it considerably and it was just perfect.

We packed stuff and hit the road around 9AM. This time we were heading to Nice road away from the peak hour madness and the traffic was light. I stopped at a Puncture shop to check the tyre pressure. The mechanic asked me to put center stand since he could not reach the back wheel's inlet. I just couldn't do it. I tried the standing on the stand technique but the bike wouldn't budge. He helped me put the center stand.  Even though the bike weights 200Kgs, I did not feel the heaviness - till this instance.

We then entered the Nice road. Pai…

Bangalore to Mumbai on a Thunderbird 500cc - Part 1

Yep - Did a crazy ride from Bangalore to Mumbai.

Here is the full story.

On May 23rd ( the night before we released the new UI - product plug 1 - ), I was doing QA on the site.

I stumbled upon this Classified on Buzzar ( product plug 2 : an open post-it area for buy / sell related stuff for ApartmentADDA Users ) about a Bangalore dude trying to sell his MH Thunderbird. As part of testing on the new UI I clicked I am interested and sent him a message. Immediately I got a call from him - and we started chatting.

If you know me - I am not a biker. A biker is one who grows a thick moustache, has a beer belly, has a tattoo on his biceps, can explain to you what the C in CC is in layman terms, and can fix his own motorcycle. I am none of the above.

I love the idea of riding a cruiser - like a Thunderbird, or a Harley or a Triumph. I drool on all the pictures in Top Gear, or Team BHP. I would read the sto…

Fad #1 - Juicing

I am starting on my Fad Series.

Well now and then I hear a crazy idea and try it out - sometimes it sticks to me ( like running, buddhism, meditation, vegetarianism ), sometimes it remains a fad.. like my standing desk.. which is yet to become a full time habit.

Whenever I try something weird - I get challenged - oh is this your newest Fad. I say yes - and now onwards will blog about it - so when I look back I can see how many Fads became habits.
Before I begin - I checked what "Fad" really means.. 
"an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived; a craze."
So the Fad of the moment - Juicing 
South Indian Vegetarian Fare is actually not that healthy. We boil everything, use a tank of oil, and use lot of salt and masala. There are so many of my Uncles and Aunts - who are vegetarians - and yet suffer from Diabetes, High Blood Pressure etc. 
Have been reading about Juicing - how the vitamins and minerals are not murdered by bo…

Continuing as a Vegetarian

For an ex-meat eater the temptations are there all around me. However I have not relapsed - it has been more than 10 months now since I shunned meat.

Heard of buyers remorse? It is a similar thing - once I stopped eating meat I started reading more on Vegetarianism. And the more I read, listened to podcasts - the more I was convinced and did not fall back to eating meat.

Here is some of the stuff I gathered.

1. Eating fear.

This one I picked up from the movie - August Osage County - 2 of my favourite Hollywood Actress - Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep have acted in this. A teenage kid who shuns meat, while eating in the dinner table has this to say. When animals are killed, at the moment of their death, cortisol gets released in their blood. This is the same hormone that gets released when we are stressed. Its bad for our health. The meat when we eat, we are eating some of the stress hormone in it. The poor kid is laughed at and they make fun of her - "I am eating fear", someo…

I love Arvind Kejriwal

Yes, this is a fan boy post. You can skip - or continue reading to take pot shots at it.

Scroll back in time. To a really long long time.

Perhaps to the age where there were a few crazy nuts named Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Subhash Chandra Bose were getting started.

You and I are in a cushy job working for the British. And this Gandhi and Bhagat Singh are creating a ruckus. We both read and laugh at Tweets and FB posts about these people who do not want to join the system but want to trash it. They are questioning the status quo - and are trying to destroy the comfortable life we now have living under the grace of the queen.

I don't see much of a difference to today. We have grown used to gross in-efficiencies in the system. Corruption has become part of life. We pay high utility bills, taxes without questioning. We slow down for every pot hole on the road, and let it injure the spine.. and not complain. This is India - this is how roads are done. Poor contractor, he has to also make a…

2013 Books Roundup

I do this yearly roundup of books I have read. [ Here is the 2012 list2011 list and 2010 list ]

I let myself be influenced by books. And for this reason I choose books carefully!

Books made me a runner. Books made me a honest salesman. Books made me a Vegetarian. Yes - books are dangerous :)

Black Swan - The Impact of Highly Improbable
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

I did not get to the end of the book. Dropped out somewhere in the middle. However it was an eye opener. It made rubbish of the expert analysts - in every field - especially economists. This book resonated with Tim Ferris's philosophy ( 4 Hour Work Week ), that it is futile to read news daily - and to read magazines instead - as the news gets consolidated and refined. When World War 2 was being fought - no one called it World War 2 when they were in the middle of the war - the historians later christened that phase as World War. 

I doubt if there is any useful takeaway from this book other than the fact that it is foolish to tru…