Yo ....

What I state here are my views / opinions / whatever you like to call them ... it has nothing to do with my employer or the ferocious man-eating bow-bow's that chased me one morning when I attempted to jog trying to stay fit in Chennai.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Live and Let Live Ola

Took an Ola Micro to get home yesterday and as usual started a conversation with the driver. Found out that the driver was completely frustrated with Ola. The statement he made was that at this rate he would soon need to either kill himself or strip the car into parts and sell it in Chor Bazar. When I asked him further about his problems here is what I found out.

He took a new Ritz from Ola by making some down payment for an EMI of 11k a month.

In all he makes a maximum of Rs 2500 on a great day (MBG) or Rs 1500 on a dull day if he works for 10-11 hours. He said he works at least 25 days a month which makes him about Rs 50,000/month.

He spends a good 30% or more on fuel which is around Rs 17500 and gives 15% to Ola which is Rs 7500. When we add these with his emi he pays a total of Rs 36000 a month which leaves Rs 14000 in his hands.

Above this he says Ola is squeezing him through making offers like ride share and micros which makes a regular trip that earlier costed Rs 300 as Rs 180 now.

He felt that he was trapped by projections that were nothing like what he is seeing. On the contrary I have heard quiet opposite reviews from other drivers with whom I had traveled earlier. Either way, I think Ola ought to watch out for both parties (Drivers and Passengers) if they want to continue successfully as a business in the long term.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How some educational institutions kill innovation in India

Recently, I have had the pleasure (or should I say nightmare) of meeting some young minds who are going through the grind of studying Engineering across India. On speaking to these people, I realized that there was one thing common between them that swept me off my feet.

They all came to me for a common purpose, "assistance for college project". They all walked up to be and told me boldly to my face that they had bought off projects from other people or other institutions. While telling me this, they had no shame or regret and told me as though they were taking a walk in a park with a straight face.

This left me wondering if it was me who did not understand what they were telling or it was a common and acceptable felony (like littering in public places).  I then went and spoke to some of my friends who more senior and had the pleasure (or pressure) of having to study Engineering / MCA (Masters in computer applications) courses. They explained to me that it was a very normal thing for students to outsource project work and several colleges encourage students to outsource work rather than experiment on their own.

I also found out that some of the most common projects that are done are in the field of HRM, Security, Healthcare. Obviously when you ask questions about these projects, they have no clue about it and are happy to admin that they plagiarized the work (it is highly unlikely they know the word  Plagiarism though).

It also dawned on me that when students go to their lecturers and tell them about an original idea, they are strongly discouraged (probably because of the fear that the guide is incapable of understanding the work that will be done). I also had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing several people who are struggling to get into IT companies who work as lecturers in colleges right after finishing their studies.

Putting all of the above together, I can reasonably conclude that many and probably most (not ALL) engineering colleges across India are run as businesses (without morals) and not as educational institutions. This also probably answers to some extent the question "Why India does not produce as many innovations as the west in-spite of having one of the largest number of educational institutions?".

Monday, October 3, 2011

Some tips for doing good graphic / web designer CV's
  • Give a link to your website, if you don't have one, at least create a free blog to highlight some of your design skills (wordpress / tumblr / blogger etc).
  • Never give links that do not work - last thing you want to do is provide a URL that gives a 404 error.
  • Presentation of your CV is a direct reflection of your presentation skills. Try using creative tools like Prezi / tag clouds etc.
  • DO NOT say you know things that you have never worked on or have half baked knowledge of.
  • Try to blow the readers mind, if not at least don't get them annoyed.
  • Ensure that the CV is written using proper English.
All other common CV techniques apply in addition to the above.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Good infrastructure is a basis for good output

Businesses expect high levels of productivity from its resources. One of the most essential things that affects the productivity of developers that many businesses ignore is the base infrastructure.

Most developers in India are given 1 or 2 GB RAM machines with a slow preprocessor, low network bandwidth and are expected to turn around things in a matter of seconds. While this is unfair, the reason why this happens often is because of abuse of infrastructure when it is provided.

The solution is a fine balance between giving the freedom in the form of bandwidth and infrastructure and keeping a tab on how it is used. Getting this balance right is important and good CIO's often figure it out.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Google and Me

I was recently checking out my Google settings dashboard and suddenly the penny dropped. I realised how much Google has influenced my life, here is a summary that nicely quantifies it.

AdSense - 1 product Account

Alerts - 2 active alerts

Analytics - 2 Analytics accounts 2 website profiles

Blogger - 4 blogs

Buzz - Followers 36, Following 48, Posts 67 public 11 private

Contacts - 900 entries

Docs - 26 documents

FeedBurner - 1 feed

Friend Connect - Sites I've joined 5, Sites I administer 4

Gmail - 3000 conversations

Groups - 9 memberships

Health - 2 profiles

iGoogle - Gadgets installed 77 gadgets, 6 tabs, 5 themes

Maps - Starred 1 item

Orkut - Scrapbook contains 729 items

Picasa Web Albums - Albums 95 total, Photos 5352, Fans 11 people, 132 comments

Reader - Subscriptions 56 total

Sites - Owned by me: 2 sites

Social Circle and Content - 2533 connections

Talk - 225 contacts

Webmaster Tools - Sites 3 

Desktop tools - Google Chrome / Picassa / Google Desktop / 

It also shows the tools that I use more vs the tools I use less. Anyway, that's how dependent I am on Google, check out how dependent you are by clicking here and entering your Google credentials.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

There is no such role called "Developer"

Today is a busy day for me, but this thought came and I did not want to let it pass, so I snapped a few mins and am writing this piece very quickly, let me make my views very short and clear,

In India  (probably in other places around the world as well), there is no such person who can just be called a developer, you could, but then I would not.

They deserve to be clearly categorised and I cannot emphasise more on the importance of this branching.

There are in my view
  1. Designers - These guys are creative and are good at graceful curves, colour sense, aesthetics, sense of spacing etc.
  2. Web Designers - These guys are good at HTML and CSS ... Period, ask them to do Java Script and they will look at you as though you have asked a Rooster to lay eggs.
  3. Front end developers - These guys are passionate about good user interface but know relatively less of HTML or CSS, they are more inclined towards JavaScript and delivering good looking/working UI but fear that that people may call them web designers (that could be seen as a bad word by most of the so called developers unfortunately), also this breed is rare to find.
  4. Back end developers AKA Server side developers- available in 1000's, throw a stone and it will land on one most likely.
Its very rare that you see people overlapping these categories (Probability of finding = firefox crashing or IE showing rounded corners properly) and even rare to find someone overlapping all the categories (Probability = Microsoft becoming a fully open source company).

Its important for businesses to be sensitive to this fact and respect the skills that people have to offer. One should not pot all people into one group and expect them to deliver quality in all fronts, its sometimes almost like expecting a gardener to do a haircut just because he is familiar using a pair of scissors, he can cut your hair, but there is no guarantee for your head :D (wah wah wah).