What’s really going to happen if India falls for Nawaz Sharif again?

Celebrating the Webby – Lifetime Achievement award to the creators of GIF’s, political gifs, the broken attitude of the law towards censorship of the Indian Web and the systemic lack of clarity in the Indian media.

What’s really going to happen if India falls for Nawaz Sharif again?

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How I felt when I first heard former BCCI chief Jaywant Lele’s argument that we should legalize betting to end the cricketer-bookie nexus.

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Why the Chinese are still laughing (at us).

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Any bloggers first response to being served with a defamation response letter.

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Recently SpicyIP were threatened to be sued by a law firm representing Times of India for an innocuous article commenting on the 19 year old trademark fight between Times of India and Financial Times over trademarks “FT” and Financial Times. We’d expect better from the defenders of “free speech”.

Public response to Sahara groups decision to end it’s Pune Warriors franchise participation in Indian Premier League.

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iGate Board of Directors meeting with sacked CEO, Phaneesh Murthy …

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Thank you to political gifs for putting these hilarious gifs together.

Thinking Outside Steady Income, Savings and Retirement

The current generation above 60 years of age have plenty of reason to feel betrayed and let down. Having brought up their kids into a new India where jobs pay better, opportunities are so much more – the parents are now left to fend off a significant jump in the cost of living, healthcare and isolation. Social structures are constantly changing, change that has brought both difficulty and an opportunity.

Bangalore’s Seniors Head to Work as ‘Traditional Indian Family’ Dissolves – India Ink.

This excellent piece of journalism by India Ink (NY Times in India) points out that the problem is indeed both deep and wide. I don’t know how many seniors out there face this problem, but I don’t have to look too far to understand how this can upset the elderly.

I tweeted that and endorsed an extreme position some time ago. Since then, I’ve had plenty of time and experience to think through both sides of having a steady income. I’ve looked at it from the perspective of growing up, having a steady job and later as an entrepreneur by self-choice. I’ve lived both avatars, the locomotive kid* and the 25-yr old who’s plugging away on his venture from his parent’s basement (they’re my Angel Investors!). A steady income has significant upsides. It will help you save regularly, smoothen out sudden spikes in expenses, qualify you for borrowing from institutions and get you ready for your retirement.

On the other hand, the total absence of the ups and downs that is life encourages complacency, over-reliance and self-indulgence. Who can tell? Perhaps the nest-egg we’ve put away today still won’t make the cut tomorrow. In the words of Nassim Taleb who author of the Black Swan, the total absence, or insulation from even the minor shocks leaves your earning potential vulnerable to the bigger and more infrequent shocks.

In any case those who are unfortunately disenfranchised from mainstream jobs include recent Mothers who chose to stay longer hours at home, and as in this case Senior citizens. They all need better awareness of opportunities for work and encouragement. While retirement planning helps – it helps better to nurture the ability to locate opportunities, deliver and get paid at any age or stage. Not having a steady income begs a more evolved survival mindset. The confidence that comes from going out there and learning to make a dollar is worth so much more. As you can imagine, I never want to have to think that I’ve retired. I’d prefer to be working away and creating happiness throughout my journey. In a nutshell, I want the notion of ikigai – “the reason for which we wake up in the morning” or, “the reason for being” to pervade my entire life.

Tony Hsieh’s childhood mail order business comes to mind. He describes it vividly in his book Delivering Happiness. In fact, Tony handed it down to his younger siblings before he left home for college so that they might continue to run it and reap the benefits. A wonderful gift! The opportunity to drive a business that transforms effort into a cheque can spark confidence in the inner-knowedge that the future is yours to create. Now armed with this confidence, will you need great effort in securing your future?

Of late, I’m working on making it a habit to ask myself – how do I want all of my efforts to take shape? This thinking comes with commitments to absorbing effectual reasoning and an attitude of ‘always produce‘. For instance, this blog has always been a work of passion for as far back as I can remember. If I could keep the essence of it, and yet to be able to realize the value it creates. I think that’d be a step in the right direction. Now when I write, I consciously link via an Amazon affiliate link which pays if someone were to buy. I wish to think up more ideas like this. Simple actions and commitments, even if they don’t yield significant or immediate results can directly address any financial pressure and encourage clear thinking that something can be done.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not railing against a steady income – that’d be truly hypocritical at this point. The comfort that you’ll know from pro-actively creating a better financial future with your single income is a blessing. If you think too seriously about supplementing that income, you risk stress and losing the happiness and freedom that comes with it. On the other hand, if you want to think entrepreneurially – then ask yourself why stop there? The whole point of realization of wealth should be the same as say committing to life-long learning, or instinctively listening to an audio book while you wait in traffic for the light to turn green. Find meaningful investments.

I’d look to learn as much as I can from blogs such as getrichslowly.org and by observing other entrepreneurs with the midas touch about both aspects of wealth – how it is realized, as well as making it work for you. If you want to stop having to think about money, ignoring it is the worst policy. Work at it diligently and it’ll take it’s place at the back of your mind on it’s own.

*Locomotive Kids – First read of it in the New Yorker, “They are the locomotive kids, pulling their whole family behind them” when referring to some of those with Stanford fellowships.

Water Cuts Now Over

Starting this weekend, Kundan Park is now getting clean(er) water almost around the clock from the civic pipes. A huge relief for me as we can now reduce our dependence on the borewell.

Time to refocus and get on with work!

Eagerly Awaiting the Monsoons

Kundan Park continues to get through the summer on water drawn from borewell contaminated with e-coli. I’m not sure how many food poisoning cases were a direct result of this.

Thanks to the shakeup from to the reduced water supply I learned a couple of things. We’re getting less water than we ought to get for a building of our size. As the flats above the 2nd floor in Kundan park are still ‘illegal’ – the PMC has not granted additional water to our building. That additional water could have obviated the need for residents to rely on digging an additional borewell and installing a submerged pump.

The groundwater drawn was clean initially. After a couple of days it turned yellow and stank to high heaven. Lab test results confirmed that the water had higher than normal levels of e-coli.

Of course, we’ve been extremely careful with the water we’re using for our toddler. The residents here are also considering a central UV filtration unit. All this can be frustrating at times and I’m wondering what will fix this.

Monsoons are predicted to arrive in Maharashtra around June 7th while investigative reporters are wondering if the whole idea of water cuts was botched in the first place.

How is your water supply working out?

A Brave Face on Satyamev Jayate

Immense respect for Aamir Khan for taking on core social issues that plague India. I agree with Mausim Ummedi of Burhanpur – by removing societal pressure of having a big Indian wedding off the minds of families across social stratas, things will get incredibly easier for newlyweds to enter into wedlock. Our thinking needs to change to allow them to start their lives without the overarching feeling that they must have a lavish wedding first. This could in turn reduce dowry related abuse and definitely eliminate unnecessary debt – debt that is absolutely inessential in middle-class lives.

It isn’t enough to simply talk about dowry related abuse. Aamir also highlighted ‘fearless’ Nadia’s (Rani Tripathi) sting to expose the parents of a boy who were pressurizing Rani’s father into giving dowry in the form of cash and a car. Rani convinced her brother and father to video tape and display the boys parents’ demands. To me, she demonstrated our inherent but rare human potential to rise up and butt heads with whatever the challenge might be.

Perhaps in the not too distant future, parents in India will realize that weddings are an opportunity to bring together two lives and impart a running start to their kids. Not just to invite everyone and anyone who’s weddings they have attended in the past. A lavish wedding that aligns with their society’s, or community’s requirements should be the last things on their minds.

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Thank you Ajit Pawar for the wake up call

Thank you Ajit Pawar for your strict action on Pune’s water consumption habits. As a direct result of your decisions and recommendations from the Irrigation department, I have noticed these changes.

Since water now flows only between 6am to 7am here in Kundan Park, Shivajinagar – the entire building is now scrambling to get up before that time. With that much more time on their hands, each one of us will find something interesting to apply it to or maybe get in to work earlier than usual. As for our family, we’ve always been ready with buckets for when the taps start to flow as my infant son ensures we’re up by 6.30am. Another bonus, water cuts have sharpened the entire building’s focus on the problems that we face collectively.

By rationing our usage we have now truly begun to understand how we waste when water is abundantly available. For instance, showers are now a luxury for me. Some still refuse to believe that the water cut has helped in this matter. They argue that people waste more when there’s rationing. Sure, if you continue to behave the same way you would when you were receiving 10x today’s supply, then yes you are wasting water – a tenth of the amount you would have otherwise.

There have been numerous other benefits and windfalls for the tanker companies, water tank manufacturers and even for the manufacturers of a hack device that can help increase the pressure of the water in your home. You have single-handedly jumpstarted and amplified at least 3 local economies.

To be dead honest, I am looking forward to the rains and to the end of water cuts. I would love to get back those 60 minutes that I spend every day making sure we’ve got the water we really need to get through the day. If you were to return them, I promise you I will use them wisely. Somewhere in the back of mind is the reality that things will only get worse next summer.

Netbooks at $99 from AT&T

This piece of news is exciting enough to merit a blog post.

This year, at least one wireless phone company in the United States will probably offer netbooks free with paid data plans, copying similar programs in Japan, according to industry experts.

But this revolution is not just about falling prices. Personal computers — and the companies that make their crucial components — are about to go through their biggest upheaval since the rise of the laptop. By the end of the year, consumers are likely to see laptops the size of thin paperback books that can run all day on a single charge and are equipped with touch screens or slide-out keyboards.

How long before we have the intersection of 3G and Netbooks in India? I see this as a positive trend for Web services and the Internet economy.

Happy to see all the action on POCC!

When I started the Pune Open Coffee Club in March 2008 on the suggestion of a friend, Vijay Anand (Founder, Proto.in), little did I know that in a short span of three months, the Club would attract over 200 members.

Anjali and I used to brainstorm ways of marketing POCC, and one of the ideas that really helped was coinciding our first major POCC meeting with the VC Circle conference in Pune in April. Since the conference was filled with investment bankers, the VCs who wanted to meet entrepreneurs came to the POCC event 🙂

It’s exciting for us to see new members joining the Club every week, especially with all the action they’re bringing with them.

Here are some of highlights of June and July in case you’ve missed something.

Continue reading Happy to see all the action on POCC!

Nurturing the Pune Startup Eco-System through Open Communities

I’ve been helping the Pune OpenCoffee Club bootstrap itself here in Pune. The community is designed to help Tech. Startup Enthusiasts, Entrepreneurs, Developers, Advisors, Investors and everyone else.

Continue reading Nurturing the Pune Startup Eco-System through Open Communities