Saturday, June 30, 2007

Should India levy import duty on Google?

Today Hillary Clinton made a statement that outsourcing is a problem and that some tax adjustments needs to be made to keep jobs in America.

As far as I am concerned Silicon Valley is stealing 1000s of jobs from India. SV is producing products like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, this very Blogger, etc which are freely being imported over the Internet into India. These products are then being "sold" in India, with their owner companies either charging end users for using these applications or by way of Indian companies advertising on them and passing on costs to Indian consumers.

India too should then tax software imported over the Internet. If these products were being made in India, then these jobs would be India. It can easily devise a whole new method of measuring all foreign currency payments for software and media. Infact with all software & media slowly and surely being delivered over the Internet, it is inevitable that a new definition of Imports will soon come about.

Why can't politicians stay out of a domain they don't understand, instead of forcing a global trade war?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Web 2.0 - Now in India

VCs all over the world are proclaiming that web 2.0 is over, so what's this all about a Web 2.0 conf that you are inviting me to speak at I ask? Well it's in India my inviter explains, as if to mean "everything in India happens a few years later".

Jokes apart it was a good conf. I was really glad to hear how even giants like Citibank had woken up to the web and are consciously listening to bloggers; and they realize the pitfalls of starting hoax blogs and blogs promoting products.

Also very encouraging to hear that many publishers stated that advertising revenues in India have climbed quite a bit. Still bit too low for me, but good for the others.

Here is the webcast

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The best kebabs of the Veda

I'm in Delhi for Band of Angels' monthly investor presentation. After my work is done, my aunt takes me out for dinner to Veda, which is apparently a trendy restaurant opened by a celebrity (she didn't know who; but knowing Delhi its probably a fashion designer or a criminal, as Delhi doesn't have any other kind of celebrities). Whats the food? Indian she says. I protest! Its supposed to be very good she says defensively and almost remembers the name of the celebrity.

So we are there for our table at 9pm sharp because she was threatened on the phone that if we are even 15 minutes late our table will be given away. The decor is, well, Moulin Rouge, red and black with lots of mirrors, kitsch, Indian lamp motifs, candle lit feel. Lacking imagination, but not a bad feel, quite calming, relaxing and even trendy.

However the reason I am writing this in my blog, and why an entire post has been dedicated to it is because of the kebabs at this place. The best I have ever had, and trust me I've had 1000s of very high standard kebabs in my life. Order the Lamb Chops and the Mixed Platter and then await a divine experience. The flavour and melt in the mouth is simply the best.

Warning: While you're enjoying the kebabs, beware the Delhi "family" crowds which turn even the most upmarket places into noisy Indian bus terminals with their numerous children, crass manners and non stop arguing with waiters.

Gap opens in India, almost

GAP is here, um, not quite...its being made in India, but officially not sold in India. So what does one enterprising guy do, he opens his own GAP store with the Indian made clothes, which are naturally cheaper than those else where and appropriately calls it GAPL or Gap for Less. Well done. Its right opposite my office if you want to do some shopping.

Monday, June 18, 2007

LinkedIn profile makeover

Happened to stumble upon Guy Kawasaki's post about how its important to have a great LinkedIn Profile these days and how he gave his a makeover.

Done the same to mine.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The art of hype

A colleague in our office recently underwent Human Factors' usability imporovement ceterification. She proudly published the link to her certificate on MSN Messenger.

A software company in Bangalore that I was dealing with was very excited about their Human Factors certification.

A colleague in the US who was part of the Flora2000 usability redesign team in 2004 also went thru Human Factors training and told me how her market rate has increased.

And recently the no. 1 newspaper in India, The Times of India, proudly advertised their newly redesigned website in their print ed
ition boasting how good it was and that Human Factors had redone it.

Want to rush in for Human Factors' training?

Hold on.

Now the fact, the sad fact, is that Human Factors' own website is extremely poorly designed, something that both my colleagues who underwent the course agreed. The Times of India is also a very poorly de
signed site, cluttered and with space wastage. Ditto with the company in Bangalore whose own website at that time was poorly designed.

Look at the New York Times site and compare it to Times of India; NYT is a clean, readable site, with attention paid to details such as spacing between letters to improve readability; TOI is extremely cluttered with everything shouting: click me 1st.

Who are these Human Factor people? Well they are experts at hype. They have published reams of papers and given seminars on their usability improvement techniques, they proudly label their technique the Schaffer- Weinschenk Method after their founders and pitch it as the leading usability improvement technique in the world. Unfortunately, whatever that technique is, it does not produce stylish, uncluttered, easy on the eyes websites. Their websites all have the look from sites we used to see in 1999 - 2000 with only a focus on information rather than the readability of the information.

This is what happens when you fall for hype instead of using your common sense.On one side is Human Factor's own poorly designed website and their poorly designed flagship projects:;, etc, on the other side is their own hype about how good they are. And you go fall for the hype.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Look at what we have done

You wanted it, you got it: prosperity. You evolved as a species and developed your mind, thru this mind you developed yourself, you developed your race, you upgraded your living standard. Now you don't have to be insecure anymore, now you don't have to worry about the wind outside, or diseases affecting you. Your future as a banker, lawyer, manager, entrepreneur, scientist, professor, model, actor, singer musician et al is secure.

But look at what you have done.

You have destroyed the poor innocent speechless creatures around you, you have orphaned the trees and the beasts. You have ruthlessly exploited them and thoughtlessly used them as entertainment and to serve you.

Here is the story of a small baby elephant called Laxmi, in this so called great world of ours, in this so called great country, where 100 million IT engineers bloom and everybody speaks in high fly intelligent speech using words like processes, disruptive, model, evolved, etc. This baby elephant has been a slave captive from the day it was born, it was taken away from its mother and its siblings and kept in chains.

But a baby is a baby, so at 4am while all of Mumbai (Bombay) slept, this baby bound in chains, got the urge to play, she slowly made her way to a nearby tree and frolicked with a few branches lying by. Can you imagine it: born a slave in captivity, with no mother, living in chains, and yet having the urge to play. Though we tried, we could not kill this in her, some small part of her was still alive.

No but we must not allow this to live, we must not allow this baby to have any joy. So soon enough her mahout got up and severely reprimanded her, for playing.

This my friends is the world we have built, which we are so proud off. So carry on with your ambition and your fighting and your drive and your high standard of living. Carry on with your designer car, designer house, designer clothes, your branded girlfriends and boyfriends, your high society life, your spa holidays, your Turkish carpets and your French wines...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

2.0, 3.0 and all that

Here is Orielly on Web 2.0 and how its all about "user data", quite a good listen

This got me thinking, are we still in Web 2.0 or are we moving even beyond? What are, Pageflakes and They are channels, for which anyone can create content (Widgets) and these are then made available to the users of these channels.

Is this beyond 2.0? This is now no longer just about user data and sharing user data. This is about providing a channel and allowing anyone to broadcast to the audience.

This has been happening in a chaotic fashion the last 3 years with widgets on MySpace and the like, but now when it happens in an organised fashion, deeply integrated with the channel, then we move onto a whole new era....

all hail 3.0

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The $22,000 Leopard Cat

A breeder in California (where else) has bred a cat by crossing African leopards and with a cat. The result: a domestic cat with the print of a leopard/cheetah. Click on the image below to visit their webiste and order one for yourself.