9 stories to read this weekend

10 stories to read this weekend

Technology against crime

Are your scared?

How about a wearable computer (maybe a wrist band) that tracks your location and not only send out SOS notifications to pre-defined end points (relatives, patrolling police, nearest police stations etc) but also sends out alerts to nearby sister/affiliated devices?

In layman terms: a smart wrist band that tracks your location & on one panic button press, it notifies the whole neighborhood of wrist band warriors + your relatives + police.

After the unfortunate Delhi gang rape incident, me and my partner discussed similar concepts. We weren’t sure of a mobile app. Cowards generally strike from behind and you don’t really have the time to grab your phone, open the lockscreen, open the app & press the panic button. Specially not when someone’s after your life. So we discussed something that’s wearable, maybe a chain (but it can be snatched),  maybe a bangle/wrist band (but it should be designed to avert accidental activation of panic mode), maybe a smart contact lens. But it has to be wearable & tamper resistant.
It can also have video/audio recording facility when in panic mode. The data can be saved locally (when out of mobile range) and automatically uploaded to a cloud storage once network is available. (something like Memoto but only when triggered).

So in addition to the typical pepper spray, this will be a strong armor for crimes against women, for the old and young, for just about anyone who feels threatened.

My fried asked, “If this device gets popular, wouldn’t criminals try to get rid of the device first”
“That can be a good deterrent too. In some cases, maybe the victim can scare her assaulter by showing off her device”.

Maybe, I don’t know. Maybe I’m getting too paranoid. Maybe we just need to teach our men to respect women. Maybe we just need to infuse ethics and principles into a generation of men and women.

But till then, we need someone to make this wrist band. I’ll pay for it.

Update

You can read the next part of this blog HERE.

11 stories to read this weekend

9 articles to read this weekend

The pigeon that wouldn’t fly

Recently one of my friends shifted to a new apartment. It’s a nice windy place on the 7th floor of a tall building with a spacious balcony. There was only one problem: two pigeons.

On the other side of the frosted window slides of the bathroom were two pigeons. When we tried to scare them away, one flew to a safe distance while the other would just ‘coo’ and shiver. On closer inspection, we realized that the ‘coo’-ing one was hurt on its head. But the wound was not fresh and there were no visible signs that it was hurt in its wings. My friend noticed that the unhurt pigeon would fetch food for the other bird.

Two days passed and my friend was pissed off with the litter the pigeons were making. But the ‘hurt’  bird wouldn’t just fly away.

Pissed with the litter, my friend asked their maid to throw water and scare them away. The maid replied, “I guess the hurt one will fall and die”
To that my friend replied, “I’m sure it can fly. It’s just that it hasn’t yet got the push to make the leap of faith yet. And the other pigeon is not helping it. So throw water at them.”
The maid obliged and guess what: the pigeon flapped its wings and flew away.

Have you ever wondered at the fragility of some young adults in your family? I had.

In all the cases the young kids are spoilt by their over-protective (or may I say obsessive, possessive or worried) guardians. The young ones are so overtly protected from the natural environment that the kid never grow out of their shadows. Over the time, they become very fragile. Have you seen 19 year olds sleeping with their parents? Have you seen 13 year olds who has never ever been to the nearby market alone? Have you seen 16 year olds who’s always escorted by someone from the school bus to home (a distance of 300m)? I’ve seen them all. And it’s sad that we can’t go up to their parents and ask them to stop.

The opposite of fragile is not tough or robust. It’s anti-fragile (a word coined by Taleb). In his own words,

“Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better”.

Like the pigeon who made a transition from fragility to anti-fragility, we should push our loved ones to open their wings and fly. Just give them a push. Let them fly alone.

Don’t worry, they might return with a little bruise, but that’s how they’ll get better.

10 stories to read this weekend

Ten news/articles worth reading this week.

13 Critically Important Lessons from Over 50 Growth Hackers http://t.co/4IqONRZjPi

The Future Of Technology Isn’t Mobile, It’s Contextual http://t.co/tMZHTRTA2j

What Steve Jobs And Bill Gates Really Thought About Each Other http://t.co/oKZGJqPV3K

[List] India’s most prolific angel investors http://t.co/5sROJT6L4q

Principles of Flat Design http://t.co/AqoCkyLBmx

Opera launches Next, the Chromium-based browser for Windows & Mac http://t.co/NY0El6PKcb

Anatomy of a hack: even your ‘complicated’ password is easy to crack http://t.co/n3lpbrWtoU

Accelerator Tandem will start funding mobile startups in India http://t.co/1EQdHkQ72G

60+ Investors Band Together To Form BitAngels, The First Multi-City Angel Network & Incubator For Bitcoin Startups http://t.co/Wke5SbOuyS

KPCB Internet Trends 2013 http://t.co/HOKnj1v8GA

9 stories to read this weekend

I consume a lot of news on a daily basis. Most of them revolve around technology, startups, the Internet and entrepreneurship. I make it a point to share the best reads on Twitter. Why keep the knowledge to yourself, right?
To take this motive (of spreading insightful news) a step forward, I did a little tinkering and now I can easily curate a daily archive of my selected articles on Evernote. (hint: It’s as simple as attaching a hash to my tweets & ‘favoriting’ others)
I’ve decided to make it a habit of sparing a few minutes every Sunday and blog a short consumable list of the best reads of the week. Here’s the first ‘Sunday Must Reads’. Enjoy and if you like my selection, do follow me on Twitter.

You can buy a BMW, but can never buy class

I was on my bike riding back home, the summer heat of Pune burning my fingers, as the hot breeze pass through the narrow opening of the helmet. Although it was hot, I had my jacket on; home is not far.

Green….Orange…..RED.

Just missed the green traffic signal at the East Avenue – North Main Road junction. What do you do when you’re on a bike and you’ve 40 seconds to spare: I stare and observe people: people on bikes, on cars, pedestrians, beggars. Time seem to quickly pass by.

Bikes and cars started lining up next to me, some behind too. Mostly behind. There was not a single traffic police at the junction, probably due to the heat. I had always wondered the reason(or the lack of it) behind having both traffic signal and traffic police at the same time. A beggar was limping around. I looked at him.
The countdown of the signal was at about 15 seconds. I can sense the urgency on the faces of the people around me. Someone kick started his bike. Some raced their accelerator. Some even shifted gears but held on to their clutches. I was still on neutral: both by gear and urgency.

10..9..8

The guy who has been holding onto his urinary bladder couldn’t wait any longer. He vroomed past everyone at high speed. The herd followed. It was still 7. I held on. There was a huge honk behind by back. I turned and my image reflected on the shiny bonnet of a BMW X1. I didn’t look at the driver. He kept honking continuously.

I was still on neutral. I sighed, wondering if the people at the opposite end were enjoying the moment. I looked at them & then at the signal.

4..3

The car tried to turn around my right but kept honking. By the time he managed to, it was 2..1..GREEN.
Gears shift & I start riding. The X1 driver zoomed past me at close proximity and a guy sitting on the front seat, next to the driver, probably, yelled something about his mother.

There’s something I learnt in Germany, where the costliest of cars are driven by classiest of men/women who wait for pedestrian to cross, who respect traffic signals and obey road rules.

You can buy a BMW, but you can never buy class.

Start a business, not a startup

“Start a business, not a startup”

“Ah, the startup. It’s a special breed of company that gets a lot of attention (especially in the tech world).
The startup is a magical place. It’s a place where expenses are someone else’s problem. It’s a place where that pesky thing called revenue s never is issue. It’s a place where you can spend other people’s money until you figure out a way to make your own. It’s a place where the laws of business physics don’t apply.

The problem with this magical place is it’s a fairy tale.”
– from the book “Rework”, from the founders of the trailblazing software company 37signals.

Gaurav started off his interaction by reading off this awesome book which he also recommends for every entrepreneur. I was attending the event Art of pitching to angel investors organized by Indian Angel Network(IAN) in association with Pune Open Coffee Club (POCC) and by Gaurav I mean Gaurav Mehra, co-founder of Saba Software Inc.(NASDAQ: SABA) who is currently the Managing Director of Saba’s Indian operations

Key takeaways from the event:

  • Build a business, not a startup.
  • Don’t raise money too quickly. Do you actually need external money? Read the book “Rework”.
  • There are two types of business viz. the ones that can be invested in and the ones that can’t be. It’s perfectly okay for a business to be self sustainable yet provide no exciting opportunity of an exit to an investor. Usually, investors won’t put their money on those type of businesses. Do your math first.
  • Prepare an elevator pitch – it should be as crisp as possible yet should provide an insight into the problem you’re trying to solve, your product, its USP and achievements, if any. 5 minutes max.
  • If you’re allocated 40 minutes to pitch to an investor, you actually have 5. Utilize the first 5 minutes to pitch your product. If the investor is interested, she’ll ask questions that will eventually cover your whole pitch deck. But don’t waste everyone’s time by pitching to an investor who isn’t ‘wow’ed in the first 5 minutes.
  • If she’s not interested in the first 5 minutes, odds are that she’ll hate you after a 40 minute long presentation.
  • Read the book “Rework” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.
The first thing I did was to grab a copy of “Rework” from the nearest bookstore on my way back home. It’s a breezy read and can be completed within a couple of hours. It’s by the rockstars from 37signals and after reading the book, I can now understand why Gaurav laid stress on everyone reading it. It’s one of the best, most practical and crisp business books I’ve ever read.

Thanks for reading. Why don’t you subscribe to my blog by email. Links at the footer. 🙂