Thursday, December 23, 2010

Spam in GMAIL inbox - almost fell for it 
sender-timeSent at 4:23 AM (GMT-03:00). Current time there: 1:46 AM.
dateThu, Dec 23, 2010 at 4:23 AM
subjectConfirm your account!!
hide details 4:23 AM (5 hours ago)
Dear Gmail User,
This message is from our "Gmail" messaging center to all our subscribers. We wish to inform you all that we are updating our database and e-mail center.
Thus, we are currently deleting of all unused / inactive Gmail accounts to create more space for new accounts.
To ensure you do not lose your E-mail account during this period, you must confirm to us that your account is still active by responding to this notice with your account information below:

1 - Username:
2 - E-mail:
3 - Password:
4 - Telephone:

NOTE: This information will help us upgrade your account to our new F-Secure 2010 version HTK4S anti-virus/anti-spyware and your password will be encrypted with 1024-bit RSA keys for your password security.
Failure to comply with this notification may automatically render your E-mail account de-activated from our database email / server.

Sorry for the inconvenience.
Verification Code: en: 6524
© 2010 Gmail Technical Support

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Every Day Android Apps - House help

Every day so many people touch your life. Folks like your cook, house maid etc., and items like milk that get delivered to your door step. 

Ever wondered if you could simply checkin and checkout the arrival and departure of above services. "House Help" on android just does that. You can also provide feedback and provide rating for the day.

You can also get report on absenteeism in a graphical pie chart for current month as well as for last month. 

The current version is free and is available in android market place under productivity category. You can also search directly for "House help" and check it out.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Plusconf brings together the best

You have crazy people. You have sober people and you have people with with families. They all belong to a tribe which creates and runs startups.

Some common themes

  1. Most startups begin in consulting/services mode wherein you gather cash to burn for your idea.
  2. You pick an idea that solves a specific problem for a specific customer. Its not a ego drive. You want somebody else to pay for your product/service.
  3. Most startups begin at home either at second bedroom ( if you have) otherwise shared.

The event was being stictched together by Benjamin ( Could not get contact details) on

Allan Branch -
Missed of the part due to poor audio quality, dont know at whose end

  1. Do coworking more for exchanging ideas.
  2. Working from home is difficult but you need to learn to balance.
  3. Tell hello to every customer that signs up.

Todd Garland - BuySellAds

  1. Do not leave your fulltime job until cash can sustain you for a while. You can work on your idea in free time and let your employer know about it. Do not start a competeting business. The conflict of interest may do more harm than gain.
  2. Do stuff yourself. Do as much as you can possibly take till the time your business gives enough revenues so that you can hire your first employee. When you give your first employee the salary its half of your income and it all goes into your company.
  3. Better give cash rather than promise of stake. A stake is a promise in future. 
  4. Be careful with equity. Do not distribute it freely but at the same time dont be too obsessed with it.
  5. Obsessively find out why the customer went to competition. Not to pull him back but to genuinely know and improve yourself.
  6. In the early days of your startups you could be your worst enemy. You need to be honest with yourself about the worth of your idea. You need to come across genuine to your customers.
  7. Feel happy when clones come up. Beat them. Allow competition to push your envelope. Do not do clone yourself.

Noah Kagan - Appsumo

  1. Reach out and tell the world what they need rather than pushing your self interest. We went to with three sentences in email telling them that they will have exclusive to a cool product. To some you can send gifts to gain their attention. The world is selfish and you need to fulfill the needs of others. 
  2. Your developer may ditch you royal time. Be prepared for eventualities.
  3. Have focus. The one thing that I learn from Zack from Facebook is to have focus and no distraction.
  4. Focus on customers, see what you are offering them and how you are offering them.

Hiten Shah - KissMetrics

  1. Create a hypothesis for developing your products. Prove it while developing it.
  2. Define metrics for different stages of products and religiously follow them.
  3. We have divided our 10 people startup into a problem team and solution team. The former is closer to market and customer and defines the work, the latter is mostly technical who solve the problems.
  4. Lean and virtual startups are call of day. We too have meetings on M-W-F. Monday to define the problems of the week. Wednesday to catch up on how its going. Friday for lessons learnt and peek into next week.

David Cancel - Perfomable

  1. Seek funds only when its in dream stage or when you have gained enough traction for products. VCs will push you for demos and traction and you will loose focus.
  2. Reach out. But do not attend conferences randomly. They are waste of time.
  3. Listen to your customers. Not to your competitors. Talk to them early and talk to them often. 
The presentation were direct and honest, eye to eye. Nothing to hide but arms wide open. We are here to help if you need any kind.

These links came up during discussion!/nikolasivkov you can use the coupon LEAN for discounts
There were others so please add if you remember them.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Big Bazaar is changing Consumers Buy Choices

The time to redeem wednesday 2 kg sugar coupon was around.

When I reached Big bazaar I was disappointed to find it being offered to anyone whose purchase exceeded Rs. 500.

Nevertheless the place was crowded.

This time compromises had to be made for choices of brand in the given shopping list. The following brands were unavailable.

  1. Parle G biscuits
  2. Sabeena Powder
  3. Harpic Blue Toilet cleaners
  4. Tata Salt 
So the choice was to shop elsewhere and find the above brands or collect the alternatives that Big Bazaar was offering along with free Sugar 2kg.
  1. No 1kg biscuits bought
  2. Alternative brand - dont recall name - spouse said it looks like its filled with sand.
  3. Harpic rose cleaner which spouse claimed had milder effects on commodes.
  4. Saffola salt which was Rs 8 costlier than Tata. 
How was your wednesday at Big Bazaar?

Every Day Android Apps - Send To Computer

Quite a nifty tool. Good for website viewing for sites that are yet to be mobile enabled.

I had been struggling with the web browsing experience when I stumbled upon it.

I was searching for a good barcode scanning android app on android marketplace because "Barcode scanner" was not scanning the 1D code. It could be a limitation of Samsung Galaxy 5 as the camera is not auto-focus.

Have you been able to decode 1D bar codes with Samsung Galaxy 5? Please let me know.

I initially could not understand the concept behind "Send To Computer". After a struggle these were the steps that got me going
  1. Goto on your desktop. Enable popups in your browser for this site.
  2. Scan the 2D code with your phone "Barcode Scanner". The app will obtain a unique id for your session.
  3. Go to Browser in phone, open any site. Click on Menu-->More-->Share Page-->Send To Computer
  4. Lo and behold the page opens in your desktop browser window.
  5. Another nicety is to have the links of all sites shared on the desktop page of

Friday, December 03, 2010

Everyday Android apps - Cardio Trainer

Cardio Trainer - Your personal trainer and route tracer. You are likely to use it twice a day.
  1. How I got it? 
    • I was on Morning walk, saw Vijay Prahallad, shared usual Hi and was almost on Bye when he said "I am sure you would love it" and showed me the accuracy of Cardio Trainer and path traced, calories burned and distance covered. 
    • Searched on Android Market and there it was.
  2. What I like?
    • I am hooked , todays is third day and even though I was slightly sick I went out.
    • The music integration.
    • GPS accuracy. First day was poor as I had set it for good and 1s refresh but now changing it to fair and 10s interval has significantly improved. I jog in a cluster of buildings and its amazing to see the path.
    • No user registeration. You get a code and can use it anytime you want to.
  3. What I dont like?
    • It looks like it interferes with call. Yesterday I was having a conference call and at about  4:45PM the phone rebooted itself. This is also about the time it sends reminder to go for walk at 5PM
    • I had tried endomeda and myfitness pal and could not use them for long before this switch happened.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Ruralzing invites school student

Halenijagal kids dancing
The Sunday, 28th Nov,2010 was different.

The students were divided into four groups. Each group had to present the idea as to "Define a feasible project for village development if you have a budget of 1 Lakh".

There were interesting ideas on
  1. Improve irrigation and extend rainwater harvesting
  2. Cultural center in villlage with a outlet on NH4 highway close to the village.
  3. Scale biogas plant to cater to needs of every household.
  4. Basic Health care center.
The constraint of the project were in line with India@75 vision of Professor Prahalad. The winning entry beat the runner up by mere 3 points.

The participating schools were Shishuvan from Mumbai, The Jain International School from Bilaspur and a school from Kochi.

The students played games like गिल्ली ओर डंडा (Gilli and डंडा), कंचे (marbles), लट्टू () and danced with local children in the school campus.

Highlights of the day
  1. Kochi school kids
    • talking about seasonal unemployment
    • elaborating on 7-8 types of agriculture and irrigation methods
  2. Bilaspur school kids
    • Talked about primary/secordary and tertiary mode of occupation and enquired why locals didnt diversify.
    • Animated presentation 
  3. Mumbai school kids
    • Interviewed household meticulously and found the skills and artifiacts of women and kids of Halenijagal
    • Had three jains students who had brought in their own food.
    • Showcased group dynamics of team building wherein folks infight but ultimately all's well and the dissident is made to present.
Nobody complained that lunch was being served at 3 PM. A few had to run becasue of slight drizzle.

Thank you
  • Vishwa for managing and involving the local village residents.
  • Rahul Mirchandani from Young India(YI) - CII - India@75 for letting us know of next practices. 
    • Best practices have already been customized to a geography and culture, next practices will be India specific and better than best practices.
    • Indian postal system is a great delivery and distribution channel. Commodity exchanges uses it to provide daily update of commodity rates. Rahul uses it to distribute his inert fertilizers through postman/master who also takes farmers feedback and reads out to them the response through e-post.
    • Fully organic requires a staying power of atleast 3 years and acceptance of organic practice by community rather than individual. The pest will relish on your fields because the neighbours would have fertilizers/pesticides on them.  
  • Darshan Mutha from Bangalore YI for inviting Bilaspur TJIS and for being the main act behind scene.
    • I had a normal job and grew to Director level very fast. I used to pass cheques worth lakh of rupees and get the meagre monthly salary.
    • One day I quit and waited for six months for my first assignment. The first assignment I asked a advance of 50%. It was equivalent of a years salary.
    • I started seeing the gap in quality education setup, marketing and delivery. I am a one man show with small team and have worked in almost every major city in India. All in all in 8 years of my life.
  • Pritam Kumar Sinha for inviting me and Abhishek for organizing the day. Both for continuing to run with the vision of Ruralzing through Infosys Young Indians chapters.
    • Organic retailers have challenges for daily supply of vegetables as some days it will be 50 kgs and others it will be 500kgs of delivery. Rahul mentioned ISKON Akshya Patra scheme has multiple centers across states and thus is able to manage constant supply from different states for its mid-day school scheme.

Why Nokia is so paranoid?

Nokia is all over the place with great push for their ovi store. They are in malls, in conferences and in start-up events. They are extending their distribution channel for app developer to connect their customer with their apps.

What is in an mobile phone app that Nokia is losing its sleep over?

It looks like market share. New India based mobile manufactures have gathered significant marketshare in last couple of years. With companies like Spice,Micromax,Lava and Videocon in the fray.

It could be Android too. The adaption of android development environment by developers across Asia and world is one such sign.

Second could be price point of touch based devices. Nokia has lowered one of their best offering to about Rs.7k. Other day @mayanks mentioned that he now he has bought the device where will he find the apps. All the fun apps are either on iphone or android.

Another could be deployment of 3G. 3G will go hand in hand with smart phones. Interestingly the package offering of Android with new Indian phone manufactures at a price point affordable to most Indians will execute law of diminishing returns to players like Nokia.

Thank you Vijay Prahallad for the title of this blog.

Disqus for dsteps blog