Rebooting my blog

TimReboote flies! As if in a blink of an eye, 18 months have gone by since I wrote a blog post. So much has happened in this time, that I may have enough to write on for a while. In a nutshell, the following were important (in chronological order).

  1. 2009 – My plans to restart my higher education did not quite work out. In the process I realized an education like MBA would not particularly benefit me and would end up adding a financial burden that would hinder my entrepreneurial spirits.
  2. Early 2010 – I started formalizing my ideas towards building a product that would simplify group communication and collaboration. Discussions with friends and seniors were fruitful and early market research indicated a need for this.
  3. March, 2010 – I quit my job at Gridstone, to concentrate on building Samuday and its business model. Continue reading

Travelling in India

I am on a 2 day trip to Jhansi for personal reasons. I was supposed to go to Delhi by train and then fly back to Mumbai. The train (No. 2651, TN Sampark Kranti Express) was supposed to leave Jhansi at 12:10 and reach Delhi at 5:30. I had my flight reservations at 9:25 – a safe 4 hours overhead to catch up with train delays and Delhi evening traffic. Destiny (courtesy our good old Indian Railways) had however planned otherwise. My train is delayed by 4 hours and there is no other train for a long time! My travel plans went for a complete toss. I finally managed to reach the airlines call center and the lady at the other end was kind enough to book me into tomorrow morning’s flight.

Travelling in India is an interesting mix of Air, Rail and Road journeys and it takes quite an effort to keep all of them in tandem. It will be great if the mushrooming travel industry in this country starts innovating. We need solutions beyond “cheap air-tickets” and “low priced luxury holidays”.

Oh yes, I found a cyber cafe at the Railway station and thought of doing some live reporting on this apathy from the scorching heat of Jhansi.

Tata Nano features in the Top 10 Tech Cars

The IEEE Spectrum in its April 2008 issue featured the ‘Top 10 Tech Cars’. This included the recent eye candy of India’s common man – Tata Nano. With Tata Motors planning to go full production in later 2008, this small car revolution is obviously creating excitement.

There are concerns about environmental hazards because of easy affordability of the vehicle due to its low cost. I wonder how much of that is a concern because the low cost would also mean easy replacement of the over-polluting Auto-rickshaw in the country and a much better comfort for local city travel. It is interesting to note that a petrol-driven three wheeler costs around Rs. 90,000, which is Rs.10-15K less than the Nano. With double the top-speed than an auto-rickshaw the Nano would also mean faster travel and lesser traffic congestion. The better speed probably over-compensating for the more space it would take on roads.

As an optimist, I look forward to see Nano hit the roads and replacing the more polluting vehicles on the Indian roads. In the process this also creates a better life for the common man.

The case of the "Bonsai Manager"

The case of the bonsai manager – sometime later in 2007 I got a chance to read this wonderful book by R. Gopalakrishnan. In this interesting book, Gopalakrishnan derives inspiration from nature to motivate managerial thoughts and growth stories.

I have never been a ‘manager’ myself – except from being a lead on some projects and choreographing some dances – enjoying most of both the challenges. An interesting note for me is a strong correlation between dance troupes and product development teams; or any team for that matter.

There always is a delicate balance between discipline, passion and co-operation. An inspiring choreographer/manager can identify personality-role mappings; resolve conflicts; respects group and individual priorities and discourages negative energies. McKinsey Quarterly (4, 2007) discusses radical change in organisations and mentions the need to remove negative energies. Negative energies often creep into leadership personalities creating a gang of cynics. This is the birth of the bonsai manager – the growth has just been stunted! Continue reading