The 1-10-50 Rule

Over the past few months a very important side of startup life has been discovered by me. For me and a number of folks around me the journey gets a boost from an Inspirational talk, either in person or YouTube. Yes, the billionaires speaking (or say any large entrepreneur) does give us a push, but the rule I want to put forward for a startup is: 1-10-50 (One Ten Fifty…)

If you are a 1 person company, the best advice and help you will get is from a person running a 10 person company. If you are a 10 person company, your best advice would come from a 50 people company. Go talk to them.

Welcome Junglee, You Got Work To Do

Junglee - Amazon India

This morning I wake up with yet another ecommerce launch and this is the much hyped entry of Amazon in India. People may like, hate or justify the current model that Junglee (Amazon) has adopted and we can all speculate on what would the future be. But as a consumer, a retailer and a user of these same ecommerce sites since over 10 years, I am saddened to see that Amazon makes a mistake that the Indian ecommerce scene has long forgotten.

The very first mobile listed on, a Samsung Galaxy SII is priced at Rs 28,400 on the homepage. A quote lower than what Pricebaba shows for Mumbai and given that most reputed sites are listing the SII for over Rs 30,000, this is a fantastic offer. But wait, click on the thumbnail, and then click again on the seller information page of the lowest bidder and you shall see this

Junglee Transaction

… and if you clicked Visit Seller Store instead, you will notice this only on the checkout page of a site that is at best, Web 1.0.

Charging shipping extra is fine. Charging extra for credit card transaction is ok. But after several clicks quoting me Rs 1998 as Tax is not. Lucrative advertising with hidden charges is a practice most e-retail players gave up sometime back. Amazon has work in hand to curate the experience I get on Junglee. The ‘we are a platform’ wordings hasn’t worked for eBay as an excuse to compete with the ones who are really delivering a good experience, there is no reason Junglee would be an exception!

Welcome Junglee, You Have Work To Do! 

Disclaimer: Pricebaba is my venture.

Why This Halla #iFeelUp

A few weeks back I received an email from TheViewsPaper inviting me to be a panelist for a Tweet-a-thon (hashtagged #IFeelup). The formatting of the email and less than 5 secs of reading was enough to tell me that this isn’t for me. It was at best a mass emailer sent to hundreds of people and I was clear that I wouldn’t get involved.

For me, there might be plenty of fundamental reasons for not getting involved, but probably my friends on twitter put it right – a name that I haven’t heard about invites me, I am wary by default (honestly I have probably heard the name Theviewspaper once before). But fast forward a few days after the tweet-a-thon is over, I see hate is in the air. The same folks probably who went about trending #ifeelup are offended. The Tweet-a-thon was a 7up promotion.

The best part: the first email inviting to be a participant didn’t mention 7UP, the second one which was unread till date mentioned 7UP. But people actually fell for this? Trended the hashtag and now crying foul? Are the ones who suffered the overdose of 6600 tweets really bothered? For the real consumers, this is probably just another disturbance in their timeline. Markeeters fighting Markeeters!

Ifeelup Tweet-a-thon by Theviewspaper

That Reality Distortion Field

The Reality Distortion Field

What does it take for an entrepreneur to succeed? That’s a tough question to answer and there sure isn’t any one factor. But off late I am introduced to the reality distortion field and I believe it is an important bit for any ambitious person (say an entrepreneur or a leader).

Walter Issacson in his Steve Jobs biography talked about the reality distortion field of one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our era and that has left me thinking often about this factor living inside every leader / entrepreneur and perhaps every individual. Walter quotes Andy Hertzfeld from the original Macintosh team (1981):

“The reality distortion field was a confounding melange of a charismatic rhetorical style, indomitable will, and eagerness to bend any fact to fit the purpose at hand”

Steve Jobs had unrealistic expectations (his reality distortion field making him believe that it can happen) and he failed many a times. But in retrospect his reality distortion field worked. We cannot take away from him the successes he has had. But is that reality distortion field only restricted to Mr Jobs? Over the past few days, two separate incidents have shaped my belief that a reality distortion field works within every ambitious person.

In one email a friend (& co-worker) emails me “your admiration for xyz over-weighs so much that you are blinded…” He points that I am not seeing the reality, while I kept arguing that I am devoted to the end goal we are here to achieve, it is working. Somewhere in between both our versions, the distortion field breathed its last… we found a common ground, of course that took a few months to happen.

My learning’s from this incident is that the distortion field gives a pace to things, acts as a shot in the arm for actions. Many continued to be blinded with me and still continue, but in this case my friend managed to bring me closer to reality and I spent a few hours fixing a people issue at hand that I otherwise wouldn’t have done.

The second incident is again a Read More

How Do You Find The Work You Love?

When Steve Jobs passed away earlier this month, something inside me broke. I am the same person who finds it difficult adjusting to a serious environment during conferences or funerals. Yet I was affected by SJ’s departure. Yes, I had a bet that I would some day sit across the table and do business with him, Arpit motivated me to shoot for it and the man himself inspires the entrepreneur in me. That day won’t come in this lifetime and that bet didn’t even cross my mind, it was a distant dream. More like an illusion to keep me hungry.

I am not even a longtime Apple user, I bought my Mac last year and never used an iPod other than the clip shaped shuffle in recent times. Unlike many, my connection to Jobs wasn’t because of the products he sold. During the end of my retail days, I made lots of cash on iPhones and iPods as they picked pace in India. I made a iPhone site (just as a hobby) for a friend and that became serious and somehow made money as well, but my attachment to SJ isn’t for the money I made trading products or news about his inventions.

The one time when Jobs made a real impact to me (and he still continues to) was when I first came across his Stanford commencement speech. It shook me, it touched that 15 yr old kid hungry for business on the streets of Crawford market. It gave me the courage to do so much more, break out of the shell and see the world. I have a long long way to go, but the journey is so much more powerful. Every time I listen to his words, it comes out even stronger. Be it not being burdened by others thinking or doing what you love to do. In a short speech he left behind a world of wisdom. Read More

The Day I Took An Auto Driver To Police Station

Auto Drivers In Mumbai

A few weeks back, on a fine Sunday afternoon I was seen tweeting about help required around Goregaon / Malad (Mumbai) to take a fraudulent Auto-rickshaw driver to a nearby Police Station. I had promised to share more details on my blog and here we go!

Yesterday Mumbai saw a flash strike by auto rickshaw drivers which apparently wasn’t called by their union. Newspapers are reporting hundreds of rigged auto meters lying at workshops as auto-walas panic to get them ‘un-tampered’ given the recent RTO drive against them. As my friend Sandeep RTs above … Only in India you can dare to go on a strike, justifying an act of cheating.

What happened that Sunday was a simple story. I took an auto from Andheri highway to Goregaon Oberoi Mall. The auto driver wasn’t in uniform and while that was least of my concern, as we reached the destination (Oberoi Mall, Goregaon) I realised he was trying to overcharge me. The meter reading was 4.80 and the auto-driver asked me for Rs 64.

I happened to knew the formula for calculating the auto-fare after the recent change in tariffs (Thanks M4Mum/Raxit). So when the auto rickshaw driver asked mr for Rs 64, I got a little suspicious and casually hit the calculator on my mobile. For the ones who want to note, the formula is x132 (multiply the meter reading by 13 and subract 2 from the total.)

The calculation in my case came to 60.4 and not 64. A small difference. I confronted the auto wala and he showed me a fare card. It was certainly a fake one, for fares above Rs 80 his tariff card showed amounts higher by Rs 10 or more. I told him that he is cheating & he suggested me to forget the 4 rupee difference as a loan and asked me to go. Yes, WTF.

I took the fare card and told him to take me towards the mall on the opposite side, where there were quite a few police vans given it was near about independence day. The auto-wala realized that I am not going to relent and Read More

Tower Of London, History, Guns, Knights, Canons and Kohinoor Diamond

You already know that I didn’t have much to do during my London stay, but hey, I did go around the museums in town including the Tower Of London. TOL is a historic castle that houses a good number of ancient artifacts, war time stuff and some weird stuff like the ‘accounts book’ pictured below.

I also went hands-on (well almost, just a glass separating us) with the Kohinoor Diamond. Given the hype that diamond is, I spent a few mins trying to get a good view of it, walking wrong way on the moving belt that gives you a glimpse and moves you out of sight. But looking back at the Tower of London visit, the Kohinoor Diamond is not the thing that runs on my mind, it is the Lance pictured below. May be I am not a jewelry person…

Its been a few months and I am almost losing track of what is what, so here is the Tower of London in pictures:

Tower OF London - Annkur UK 1

Remember seeing these in Age of empires series, only here in real life 🙂

Guard at Tower Of London

Real and Serious Guard At The Tower Of London

 One of the buildings at Tower of London

I don’t even remember which building this is, but there are many there. The hot chocolate coffee at the cafeteria inside the Tower Of London is Yummy! Read More

Dear Technoholik, Where Is The Link?


Today morning while I was searching for some news on the Samsung Nexus Prime, I came across over a dozen sites who have covered the news of Nexus Primes UAprof being leaked on Samsungmobile’s website. One of the results on the first page was from an Indian site and I clicked through. As I read through this article on Technoholik, I notice something weird. They haven’t given any credit to either PocketNow or elsewhere for this story. PocketNow being the one who broke the story originally.

And that’s not all. One may argue (would be stupid though) that the link on Samsung Mobile was publicly accessible and thus demands no source credit, but what acts as a final nail on the coffin if the fact that the image used for the story  on Technoholik is stolen from AndroidOS. As I tweeted about Technoholik failing to cite a source for a story they broke, Gaurav of noted that the image in use belongs to him. See it for yourself – AndroidOS vs TechnoholikRead More

Startup Weekend: Cambridge To Hyderabad, The Experience

Startup Weekend Cambridge

Back in March (2011) I disappeared for a month to UK and while I spent a month there, there are only two significant things I did. The First being a visit to Stone Henge (picture below) and the other being ‘Startup Weekend Cambridge.’

Startup Weekend is this 54 hours madness that brings together business folks, developers, designers and jack of all trades like me to build a startup over a weekend. Ones with an idea pitch it, voting follows and teams are formed organically. These teams have to come back with a product / prototype / demo / whatever by Sunday evening and present to the judging panel. In march, Startup Weekend, which has as of today done over 100 cities and 250 action packed weekends, came to India.

My friend Pankaj Jain was (he still is) passionately spearheading the India leg of SW and I decided to jump in and help organize Delhi and Bangalore. Events were planned, dates final, lots of pre-event work done and then UK happened at the same time as SW Bangalore and Delhi. And right then, Pjain pointed me to Startup Weekend Cambridge and I signed up for it immediately. So as the folks in India were organizing Bangalore, I participated in Cambridge. Left home with a view of seeing startup action in UK, getting a feel of the event, floating around multiple teams and chilling over the weekend.

What happened was crazy. Read More

Lessons In Customer Service

HDFC Twitter

On a day when I find myself defending two companies who have me as a client since years, I find it so obvious to share this simple lesson on customer service. In any industry it isn’t possible to give 100% satisfaction, something ought to go wrong sometime, somewhere. Specially if you are a bank or a hosting service dealing with large no of users. So I find these two gentlemen one after the other, complaining about their experience with HDFC and Hostgator respectively.

Both HDFC and Hostgator are service providers whom I have been very satisfied with (In fact this site is hosted on Hostgator since inception).  When I saw the first tweet from Ashutosh about HDFC asking for a photo identity for a simple work, I replied and defended HDFC. My defense was partly from my experience and largely in good faith. HDFC has been good to me, not perfect, but generally very good. And I jumped to defend them. Pause.

Take 2. Read More