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  1. <feed xmlns=""><title>Joseph Jude</title><id></id><updated>2019-11-18T11:40:13Z</updated><link href=""></link><author><email>[email protected]</email></author><entry><title>Book Notes - Smartcuts</title><updated>2019-11-12T05:30:00Z</updated><id></id><link href="" rel="alternate"></link><summary type="html">&lt;p&gt;&amp;ldquo;Average pace is for chumps,&amp;rdquo; said Kimo Williams to Derek Sivers.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Kimo&lt;/a&gt; explained, &amp;ldquo;the system is designed so anyone can keep up. If you&#39;re &lt;strong&gt;more driven than most people, you can do way more than anyone expects&lt;/strong&gt;. And this principle applies to all of life.&amp;rdquo;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Sivers took this principle to heart, completed his Berklee music college in half the time, started CD Baby, and sold it for millions. That&#39;s the power of a smartcut. They are the ways you &lt;strong&gt;bypass unnecessary cycles&lt;/strong&gt; in achieving your goals. They are not shortcuts. There is nothing unethical or illegal about it.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Shane catalogs nine such smartcuts in this &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;book&lt;/a&gt; under three categories: shorten, leverage, and soar. The following are my notes of the book, not a summary. If you enjoy reading, would you mind subscribing to this blog using the form at the end?&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;img src=&#34;; alt=&#34;Smartcuts&#34; title=&#34;Smartcuts&#34;&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;shorten&#34;&gt;Shorten&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;h3 id=&#34;hack-the-ladder&#34;&gt;Hack the ladder&lt;/h3&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&amp;ldquo;If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere,&amp;rdquo; so sang Frank Sinatra about New York. Why? There is an aura around those who returned from NY, even if they didn&#39;t succeed there. This occurrence is so prevalent in India. There is always a premium on &amp;ldquo;foreign return.&amp;rdquo; That &amp;ldquo;foreign return&amp;rdquo; might have studied only in a low graded university with just average marks. Yet he will be respected higher than someone smarter but studied and worked only in India.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;The idea is to gain experience in a credible place (city, university, institution) and then use it to jump to a more significant role somewhere else. That is a way to hack the ladder towards any worthy goal.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Another way to jump the ladder is to &lt;strong&gt;parlay&lt;/strong&gt;: accrue wins from series of bets and use the victory as a stake for a further bet. While parlaying, understand that the strength of cheetah is not its speed but agility.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h3 id=&#34;train-with-masters&#34;&gt;Train with masters&lt;/h3&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Seek out a master, who &amp;ldquo;has been there, and done that,&amp;rdquo; in whatever you are trying to accomplish. You will still have to undergo long and deliberate hours of practice, but a master, like Kimo for Sivers, can cut unnecessary cycles.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;When you are working with a master, &lt;strong&gt;mimic them first before transforming&lt;/strong&gt;. I have the first-hand experience in this. I was lucky enough to find a fantastic mentor, &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Sastry Tumuluri&lt;/a&gt;, early in my career. He opened up the world of management to me. In those days, whenever I struggled to make a decision, I would ask, &amp;ldquo;What would Sastry do?&amp;rdquo; And the answer would be obvious.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;When you are working with a mentor, try to gain experience in shaping the journey rather than just the task at hand. That is when you learn how the masters think about a particular problem and why they think that way. You need to learn the mindset, not just a set of tactics.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h3 id=&#34;rapid-feedback&#34;&gt;Rapid feedback&lt;/h3&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Feedback improves us. But if the feedback cycle is too long, we can&#39;t reliably correlate feedback with the actions we took. So design systems to give you rapid feedback, especially leading indicators.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;When you are attempting a new venture, lower the stakes so you can take risks. If you are the person giving feedback, depersonalize the input, so the other person receives the essence of the feedback.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;We have heard that we learn from the mistakes. It is only partially true. When we observe others making mistakes, we learn; we don&#39;t learn so much from observing our own mistakes.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;leverage&#34;&gt;Leverage&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;h3 id=&#34;platforms&#34;&gt;Platforms&lt;/h3&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Platforms are those existing abstractions that amplify your effort and teach new skills as you use them. These platforms could be tools like Trello or environments like racing leagues.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;When you first get into management, probably it is easier to learn it by using a tool rather than first attempting to understand all the theory that goes behind it. Initially, you need to get a grip on making things work; then it is easier to understand why they work that way.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Similarly, if you get an opportunity to speak in front of entrepreneurs about lean canvas, that will shape your speaking skills as well as your understanding of the lean canvas.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Learn the ability to seek out and use platforms for your success.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h3 id=&#34;waves&#34;&gt;Waves&lt;/h3&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Those who compete in surfing arrive early and stare at the ocean to identify the wave patterns. Then they pick the conditions to compete. They follow-fast the first-movers, learning from the other&#39;s mistakes.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Every path has well-established patterns. Study the winners, recognize the patterns, and change direction if the environment shifts. This is why I am curious about &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;frameworks&lt;/a&gt;. These are codified knowledge of successful people. Use them.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h3 id=&#34;superconnectors&#34;&gt;Super-connectors&lt;/h3&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Building your network will be difficult. Connect with those who have their network. Invest in those networks to create enough value before you can draw from them. Once you have access to other&#39;s networks and invested in them enough, build your fan base.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;soar&#34;&gt;Soar&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;h3 id=&#34;momentum&#34;&gt;Momentum&lt;/h3&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Momentum is not only an ingredient but also a predictor of success. When you approach a mentor to guide you if there is already a momentum, they would know that they are helping someone who is in the path to success.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Everyone gets their luck-events. Only those who have a reservoir of the backlog can leverage such luck-events to propel themselves even further. Spotlight furthers momentum only if substance exists. Seek spotlight, but on the way, create enough substance on your own.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h3 id=&#34;simplicity&#34;&gt;Simplicity&lt;/h3&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;If you want to get ahead of others, you need to strip meaningless choices. How can you do it? One way is to avoid adding trivial options by saying no. Learning to say no is the path to awesomeness.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h3 id=&#34;10x-thinking&#34;&gt;10x Thinking&lt;/h3&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Incremental progress depends on working harder. 10x goals force you to look for smartcuts. Such 10x thinking demands bravery and creativity to succeed.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;To achieve goals thought through 10x thinking, you need the support of others. So you have to become better at storytelling. Only by telling stories, you can build a tribe that supports you to achieve such 10x goals.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;read-the-book-for-sure&#34;&gt;Read the book for sure&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I read the book in early 2019. Initially, I was skeptical as the book is based on observations, and most observational studies lead to delusional conclusions. I read widely to find out if there are other cases of smartcuts. That&#39;s when I happened to read Derek Siver&#39;s evidence, which proves the essential point of the book. As I looked back into my own life, I saw traces of these smartcuts, which made me get hooked to this idea. I have started applying these smartcuts. It is too early to tell, but I&#39;m sure these are going to be useful.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Buy the book&lt;/a&gt;. Read it. Make your own smartcuts. Live happily.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Before you leave, don&#39;t forget to subscribe so you can get excellent content every week.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;em&gt;Disclaimer: The book-link is an Amazon affiliate link.&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;</summary><author><email>[email protected]</email></author></entry><entry><title>Workshop on Lean Canvas for TiE Young Entrepreneurs, Chandigarh</title><updated>2019-11-04T12:30:00Z</updated><id></id><link href="" rel="alternate"></link><summary type="html">&lt;p&gt;Only 20% of startups succeed. Do you know why the rest of the 80 percent fail? The reason might surprise you. They fail to solve a problem for a big enough market. Write down two phrases in your note in big, bold letters &amp;ndash; PROBLEM and BIG ENOUGH MARKET. These are so important that you will hear these phrases again and again.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;How can you avoid making this cardinal mistake? By thinking clearly and deeply.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;As a founder, you are going to repeat two activities all the time &amp;ndash; thinking and communicating. I rely on frameworks for these two activities. Frameworks provide you contours, and then you can play within that broad place.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;First, I&#39;m going to give you a framework for thinking, and then we will dive into another framework that will help you communicate the results of that thinking.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Ready?&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;PASTOR&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;That&#39;s the framework for thinking. It is an acronym. Let us see what it stands for.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;p-is-for-persons&#34;&gt;P is for persons&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;You need to identify a large enough section of people who have a problem. It could be South Indian students, working mothers, or artists, and so on.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;a-is-for-ache-or-pain&#34;&gt;A is for ache or pain&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;The cohort that you identified should experience pain. The impact of pain is so much that they are ready to pay. In a large and diverse country like India, there is no shortage of such pain. You have to go out, talk to people, and observe them and find this pain. You can&#39;t google this. It could be that South Indian students can&#39;t find tasty restaurants serving their favorite food, or parents are looking for reliable tutors for their kids.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;s-is-for-scenarios&#34;&gt;S is for scenarios&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;You have to understand the scenarios under which they experience the pain. Is it multiple times a day, is it when they get ready to go to the office, is it when they want to purchase a product, and so on. Such an exercise should tell you the frequency and the severity of the pain. These two factors &amp;ndash; frequency and severity, will guide you to decide how much you can charge them for your solution.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;t-is-for-transformation&#34;&gt;T is for transformation&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Your solution should not just improve their life but transform them. Your customers should shout aloud, saying, &amp;ldquo;I wasn&#39;t able to follow my passion for jogging because of wheezing, but now after using this inhaler, I can jog daily. I am so happy.&amp;rdquo;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;o-is-for-offer&#34;&gt;O is for offer&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Offer is your answer to the pain your potential customers suffer. Traditionally it was either a product or a service. But when you launch your startups, you will have to add &amp;ldquo;experience&amp;rdquo; to the type of offerings. You can offer an instant coffee powder, or a filter coffee or an exquisite dining ambiance created especially for coffee serving. If you add experience to your offering, you can charge a higher premium. When I think of experience, I admire &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Auto Anna of Chennai&lt;/a&gt;. He has transformed a banal, daily auto rides in Chennai into a memorable experience.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;r-is-for-reward&#34;&gt;R is for reward&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;All the above points are about creating value for the set of customers you identified. This step is about capturing part of that value. What is your reward for doing all that for your customers? What kind of revenue are you going to have?&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;need-for-lean-canvas&#34;&gt;Need for Lean Canvas&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Once you have thought deeply about each factor and found answers, you need a mechanism to communicate your ideas to others in the team — your team members, investors, prospects, and so on. That is where &amp;ldquo;Lean Canvas&amp;rdquo; comes into play.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Lean Canvas captures all points essential to a startup on a single page. The canvas has nine blocks and arranges them in such a way that the left side describes the product, and the right side depicts the market.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;img src=&#34;; alt=&#34;Lean Canvas&#34;&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Let us now look at the summary of these blocks.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;customer-segments&#34;&gt;Customer Segments&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;It is the set of people, cohorts, who are facing the problems that you want to solve. Identifying your customer segments is a crucial step. Without identifying the customer segment, you can&#39;t talk about their problems.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;It is perfectly okay to have multiple customer segments and also sub-segments within a particular segment.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;problem&#34;&gt;Problem&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;The customer segments and their problems are interconnected. You need to think of them together. You will iterate over these two sections many many times to finally say you have a good grasp of the target customer and their problems. Don&#39;t limit to just one problem; look for at least 4 to 5 associated problems.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;When you are scouting for problems, look for the ones that require pain-killers rather than vitamins. What do I mean, and why? Say you have certain non-threatening vitamin deficiencies, like most of us have. Doctors might advise you to take multi-vitamin tablets. You&#39;ll take the medicines for a few days and then forget about them. On the contrary, when you have an ache—headache or stomach ache, you will take the prescribed medicines faithfully. If you solve the aching problems, you can be rest assured your potential customers will use your offer without any additional followup from you.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;solution&#34;&gt;Solution&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;How are you solving the identified problem for the cohort? You have to understand that you are not going to stumble on the solution in a single sitting. It is going to be an iterative process. The best way to test if your solution resonates with your potential customers is to go out, meet them, and talk to them. Don&#39;t commit the mistake of conceiving a solution looking at a screen. That never works.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Your solution could be a combination of a product and a service. That is okay. But keep the solution as simple as possible so the customers can understand it quickly. You should also ensure that there is as little friction as possible in getting started with your solution.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;unique-value-proposition&#34;&gt;Unique Value Proposition&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;What makes your solution different from competitors? If you can&#39;t differentiate your solution, then you will be forced to compete on price, which is not a suitable pricing strategy for a startup.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;There is Starbucks, The coffee beans and tea leaf, and Chayyos in Elante Mall. What sets each of them apart? If they can&#39;t articulate it, they are not going to attract business. The same is the case with you.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;channels&#34;&gt;Channels&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;This block is about how you will reach your potential customers. You could use email, SMS, WhatsApp message, Facebook ads, and so on to spread the news about your startup. If it is suitable, you could also use physical channels like schools and studios. The decision on channels becomes easier if you have a precise customer segment.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;revenue-streams&#34;&gt;Revenue Streams&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;How are you going to make money? Will customers pay a one-time fee or a monthly fee? Is it a $10 product or a $100 product? Can you offer any other service, like training, in addition to your product so you can build additional revenue streams?&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Whatever is your solution, try to build recurring monthly revenue. If you build a product that is purchased only once, then you are constraining yourself to chase after new customers always. Instead, build a service or modify the product in such a way there is recurring monthly revenue.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;cost-structure&#34;&gt;Cost Structure&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;What are the expenses you will incur in creating and running your business? The common ones are employee cost, product development cost, and operational costs. But there are going to be additional costs depending on your business model, like R &amp;amp; D, marketing and advertising, and administration.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;There will always be a surprising cost popping up here and there. If you can budget your expenses well, that will help you to plan your funds better, so you stay in business longer.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;key-metrics&#34;&gt;Key Metrics&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;As a founder, you have to commit yourself to make decisions based on data. Otherwise, you will end up driven by hubris.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Few metrics apply to all types of startups: number of orders, the value of each order, frequency of repeat orders, and so on. But there is one key metric for a startup, especially at an early stage, and it is cash in the bank. That&#39;s the fuel in your car. You could have a fancy car, a great destination in mind, and fantastic members in the car. But if you don&#39;t have fuel in the tank, you are tanked.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Another common mistake that new founders commit is that they look at existing data rather than the data that they needed. Make your own set of the necessary data to assess the health of the company and seek this data.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Ensure the definition of data is the same across the people dealing with it — the team collecting data and the team providing these data to you. As an example, if you are running Zomato, you might want to look at &amp;ldquo;orders placed.&amp;rdquo; You might think of it as total orders placed even unpaid ones so as to understand the capability of the system. In contrast, those who provide the data might define it as orders successfully placed, meaning total orders that were paid. Such confusions are common, and people will not unearth this difference quickly. So before you make large bets based on data, make sure everyone understands the terms correctly.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;unfair-advantage&#34;&gt;Unfair Advantage&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;In the investment circles, this is called moat—the ditch surrounding a castle. Without a moat, anyone can attack the castle. Likewise, to starve-off competition, you need to build an unfair advantage.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Say if someone steals your code and establishes a competitive product, will your startup thrive or shutdown? This is the hardest block to fill. You may not have an unfair advantage in the beginning, but you need to keep this in mind and build moats as you build your startup.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Good luck with your startups.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;hr&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;After the session, we debated on the ideas the students had and tried filling the lean canvas. I enjoyed engaging with the students because they came prepared with fantastic ideas. One of them wanted to take vertical farming to houses to provide fresh vegetables. Another wished to remove intermediaries in comic book authoring. Each of these ideas was fun to discuss. It was a fun event.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;The event was recorded. You can watch it on &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;YouTube&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;read-these-too&#34;&gt;Read these too&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;ul&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Insights From Startup Expo @ ISB, Mohali&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Three stages of startups and how to chose tech-stack for each of them&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Guest lecture on entrepreneurship at Christ College, Bangalore&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;/ul&gt;&#xA;</summary><author><email>[email protected]</email></author></entry><entry><title>I used Android for ten months, and I don&#39;t like it.</title><updated>2019-10-28T03:00:00Z</updated><id></id><link href="" rel="alternate"></link><summary type="html">&lt;p&gt;I used the iPhone for six years. Then this year (2019), I switched to Samsung S9. Not as an additional phone, but as the only phone. Because, as a technologist, I wanted to have the first-hand experience of the Android platform. It is hypocritical to diss a platform without using it.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Now that I have used it for ten months, here are my notes:&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;ul&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;The best thing is the &amp;ldquo;work profile&amp;rdquo; feature. I can isolate the apps I use at work. No worry about emailing a client or colleague from a personal email id.&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;Next best thing is the camera. S9 camera produces terrific pictures.&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;/ul&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Other than these two positives, I have not had any &amp;lsquo;aha&amp;rsquo; moments with Android. It is the opposite. I have had many frustrating moments using Android. Here are the things I don&#39;t like in Android / S9.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;ol&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;There are not many well-crafted apps in Android.  Take example the banal stuff like Twitter. I was even ready to pay money. But there is no decent app like Tweetbot for Android. Or take a simple note-taking app that integrates with dropbox. None. Even iAWriter fails. Technically it integrates with Dropbox, but the user experience is not as smooth as iOS.&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;I tried removing stock apps. I am not even talking about Google services. I am talking about third-party apps like Facebook. I can disable it, but can&#39;t uninstall. If it is sitting there, who knows if it is leaking some info about my usage?&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;There is always an uncomfortable feeling that every app is stealing some data from you. I have installed the Bouncer app to control permissions given to applications. Still not sure if during the usage of the app, they do something nasty.&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;Maybe it has to do with the underlying Android OS permission system. I can&#39;t figure out why a banking app needs permissions to access &amp;lsquo;contacts.&amp;rsquo;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;I have disabled &amp;ldquo;Auto Update&amp;rdquo; in the settings. Still, I see certain apps automatically updated. Some not. Don&#39;t know why.&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;There is a tap to top action in iOS. Such a feature is not available in Android. It&#39;s a pain when you are reading a long article in pocket or reading streams of tweets.&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;Even when internet connectivity is present (like I can browse websites), some apps like (journaling app, journey) will complain there is no internet connectivity.&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;Accessing local servers on the iPhone is easy. Connect to wifi, and you are done. You can access the local dev server on your iPhone. It is not so easy in Android. Refer: &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;Sometimes location gets turned on automatically. I read that if I connect to wifi, it turns on. It looks as if Google wants to track location, so it turns it on, so it can track unsuspecting victims.&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;/ol&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;The biggest downer with iPhones is the price. It&#39;s outrageous, a daylight robbery. But when it comes to privacy and usability, Apple still reigns.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Have you used both platforms? Why do you choose one for the other?&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;also-read&#34;&gt;Also Read&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;ul&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;What Is A Tool?&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;An User&#39;s Perspective on OSes: Horrible, Bearable and Adorable&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;How I Came To Own An iPad?&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;/ul&gt;&#xA;</summary><author><email>[email protected]</email></author></entry><entry><title>Why Indian developers struggle to write quality code and what can be done about it?</title><updated>2019-10-20T00:30:00Z</updated><id></id><link href="" rel="alternate"></link><summary type="html">&lt;p&gt;&lt;em&gt;People differ about quality, not because the quality is different, but because people are different in terms of experience. - Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;It has long been argued in the west, that Indian developers are &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;incompetent to write quality code&lt;/a&gt;. Now it is becoming a fashionable concern among Indian executives too. The other day, I was in a gathering of top executives of the IT companies in the city, and they started debating a similar question. The answers were entirely predictable — schools don&#39;t teach relevant skills; developers are not enthusiastic about upgrading themselves; everybody is looking for shortcuts, and so on. I was guilty of thinking similar lazy, and easy cop-out answers.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;blockquote&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn&#39;t thinking. - George S. Patton&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/blockquote&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;As a coder for more than two decades, I worried only about improving my craft. As an introvert coder, I shunned from poking my nose into anyone else&#39;s code unless specifically asked to assist. After I became a CTO, mediocre code produced by others became my burden. Initially, I subscribed to the same reasons that everyone quoted. The more I discussed with developers and peers, and I saw the problem differently. The easy answers are just the symptoms. The trouble runs deeper.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;is-there-quality-anywhere-in-india&#34;&gt;Is there quality anywhere in India?&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;img src=&#34;; alt=&#34;&#34;&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Indian roads are the epitome of Indian coders. Millions of rupees are spent on Indian roads. Yet, even a slight monsoon rain causes potholes resembling moon-craters. This is the case even in the so-called silicon valley of India, Bangalore. When Nanjundaswamy, an artist, &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;moon-walked&lt;/a&gt; a damaged road in Bangalore to highlight the plight of that road, &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;twitter users&lt;/a&gt; in other parts of India requested him to moon-walk their streets. Such are the conditions of roads across the length and breadth of India.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;It is not just the roads that are abysmal. Take airports. &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Leaky airport-roofs&lt;/a&gt; are common occurrences. They don&#39;t shock us anymore. We just get on with life by placing plastic trays to harvest rain-water within airports. Every year when floods disrupt normal life in Mumbai and Chennai, politicians and bureaucrats will invoke the &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;spirit of the city&lt;/a&gt; and hide their failures. Residents, which include coders, will suffer but go on. You would think the swanky malls and office buildings are a paragon of quality. Even the best of them are islands of quality, but most of them are just lipstick-on-a-pig. I can go on, but you get the drift.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Experiences shape our notion of quality. It is impossible for someone who spends his everyday life in this shiny-looking-but-broken-underneath environment to develop a higher sense of quality.&lt;/strong&gt; He can wobble his head vigorously for the quality pep-talk, but as experience has proven, that wobble doesn&#39;t translate into action.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Skilling and even re-skilling is not an issue. Developers can register on Udemy or other sites to learn newer technology and skills. But unless developers can soak in quality, the quality of code developed by them isn&#39;t going to improve.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;This is why I recommend young developers to take up onsite assignments, so they can experience the quality of infrastructure first-hand and develop their sense of quality.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;hiring-100-chickens-to-plow-fields&#34;&gt;Hiring 100 chickens to plow fields&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;In the early days of IT in India, IT companies were headed by executives who came from traditional industries like manufacturing. They did not understand that IT is a knowledge industry, where the number of bodies in the project and the number of hours on the seat doesn&#39;t correlate with productivity.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Unfortunately, even the recent executives perpetuate the same old flawed thinking borrowed from the industrial age. I bet none of them read &amp;lsquo;Mythical Man-Month,&amp;rsquo; or even after reading it, they still &lt;strong&gt;believe in the myth of interchangeability of men and months&lt;/strong&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;When the focus is on increased billing, and not quality, the concomitant effect is to focus on adding headcounts, not building competence. The industry still operates on &amp;ldquo;rate-cards,&amp;rdquo; which implies we are not dealing with a team of developers, but a bag of potatoes.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;When greed kicks in on billing&lt;/strong&gt;, the experienced developers are replaced with more number of freshers. When you replace oxen with chickens, the executive is awarded with bonus for increased headcount and reducing cost, but guess what? The field is now full of chicken-shit. What&#39;s the point then of lamenting, &amp;ldquo;oh, the developers are incompetent.&amp;rdquo;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;There is nothing wrong with adding freshers into projects. But is it done to develop competent developers by shadowing experienced developers? Or recent graduates are placed only to replace expensive but skilled developers. Sadly, the reason is mostly later.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;no-celebration-of-freedom-of-thought&#34;&gt;No celebration of freedom of thought&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;One of the consistent complaint of the western clients is that &amp;ldquo;Indian developers are just extended hands.&amp;rdquo; What is the reason behind this behavior?&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Hinduism, the native theology of the land, celebrates variety. Asceticism, as well as eroticism, are part of the religious text. Vegetarianism, as well as animal sacrifice, are part of the practice. Hinduism is the only religion that accommodates theist, agnostic, and even atheist.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Yet, the society that practices Hindusim, &lt;strong&gt;chokes freedom of thought and forces uniformity&lt;/strong&gt; in eating, reading, and watching habits. A child growing in such a home learn to obey rather than expressing their thoughts out loud. When getting into the workforce, this child is not going to morph into an independent thinker suddenly. Even within organizations, developers are controlled to stay within bounds.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;When the mind is conditioned, at home, society, and office, to stay within bounds, how is it possible to freely discuss ideas only with clients?&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;there-is-hope&#34;&gt;There is hope&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Are there ways to solve this problem?&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;For a starter, let developers experience quality. Let quality exhibit in the office, in the seats they sit, and in the office infrastructure. Work with the city administration and improve the quality of the area near the offices.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Understand this is the knowledge industry, and managing people in such an industry is not the same as in legacy industries. Read &amp;ldquo;Mythical Man-Month,&amp;rdquo; twice. Treat developers as people rather than as billable bodies. Call them engineers rather than resources.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Design workplaces so new ideas are discussed and tested. Let the developers surprise you with their ideas, even the crazy ones.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;The more developers develop a sense of quality, they will be able to produce quality code.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2 id=&#34;you-may-also-like&#34;&gt;You may also like&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;ul&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;How to think structurally? A framework for developers&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Mastering sales as a new CTO&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;I have seen the future of jobs and it is Hollywood model&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;/ul&gt;&#xA;</summary><author><email>[email protected]</email></author></entry><entry><title>Teaching storytelling to kids</title><updated>2019-10-06T00:30:00Z</updated><id></id><link href="" rel="alternate"></link><summary type="html">&lt;p&gt;&lt;img src=&#34;; alt=&#34;&amp;ldquo;Teaching storytelling to kids&amp;rdquo;&#34;&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Sir Ken Robinson, in his famous &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;TED talk&lt;/a&gt;, made this comment:&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;blockquote&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Children starting school this year will be retiring in 2065. Nobody has a clue, what the world will look like in five years&amp;rsquo; time. And yet, we&#39;re meant to be educating them for it.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/blockquote&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;As a father of two sons aged seven and ten, I think about this comment often. The Indian school curriculum is &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;inadequate&lt;/a&gt; to meet the demands of the industry. So the burden of preparing them falls on the parents.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;How can I deduce skills that will be useful in fifteen, twenty years from now?&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;As I struggled to find an answer, I stumbled on a question that Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon asked. A reporter &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;asked&lt;/a&gt; Jeff Bezos, &amp;ldquo;Jeff, what do you think is going to change most in the next ten years?&amp;rdquo; Jeff inverted the question and replied, &amp;ldquo;That&#39;s a good question. But a better question is: &lt;strong&gt;What&#39;s not going to change in the next 10-20 years?&lt;/strong&gt;&amp;rdquo; He went on to say that from Amazon&#39;s perspective, what won&#39;t change is people&#39;s desire for lower prices and faster delivery.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;So what will not change in fifteen years? The basic human needs. They are not going to change. &lt;strong&gt;Even in two decades, every one of us will still long to connect with others to be part of a community&lt;/strong&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;History tells us that the communities are formed around stories. The sacred scriptures and epics of major religions are nothing but stories recited over and over again in communities. When these communities moved, they took the stories with them. In a new place, these stories formed new communities.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Storytelling is one skill that is going to be in demand&lt;/strong&gt;, even in twenty, thirty years. Mediums might morph, but the craft will still be in need.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;With that epiphany, I started at the dinner table. We always have dinner together as a family. So dinner time seemed to be the right time to play and teach a skill.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;At first, I told them stories. Mostly the funny ones, so as not to bore them. Often, they would want me to retell a funny story they loved. I have told a few stories ten, fifteen times in the last two years.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Once they got hold of the structure of storytelling, I asked them to narrate their days in school. &lt;strong&gt;They mimicked me&lt;/strong&gt; to narrate funnily. I listened and laughed even when they were boring. Soon they started surprising me with their storytelling skills.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I upped the game when they got better. I created a storytelling game modeled along the lines of &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Whose line is it anyway&lt;/a&gt;. I will start a story with a sentence. They have to construct the next sentence to keep the story going. And it goes on until we hit, &amp;ldquo;then they lived happily ever after.&amp;rdquo; Some sessions will go like this:&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;blockquote&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&amp;ldquo;There was a little boy in a village.&amp;ldquo;&lt;!-- raw HTML omitted --&gt;&#xA;&amp;ldquo;He always wanted to play on the beach.&amp;ldquo;&lt;!-- raw HTML omitted --&gt;&#xA;&amp;ldquo;One day his father took him to the beach to play.&amp;ldquo;&lt;!-- raw HTML omitted --&gt;&#xA;&amp;ldquo;The boy was so happy because he built many sand houses on the beach.&amp;ldquo;&lt;!-- raw HTML omitted --&gt;&#xA;&amp;ldquo;When they were coming back, the boy lost his father in a crowd.&amp;ldquo;&lt;!-- raw HTML omitted --&gt;&#xA;&amp;ldquo;The boy cried so loudly, &amp;lsquo;appa, appa&amp;rsquo;.&amp;ldquo;&lt;!-- raw HTML omitted --&gt;&#xA;&amp;ldquo;The father found the boy because the boy cried loudly.&amp;ldquo;&lt;!-- raw HTML omitted --&gt;&#xA;&amp;ldquo;They went home and lived happily ever after.&amp;ldquo;&lt;!-- raw HTML omitted --&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/blockquote&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;To tell good stories, they need to know good stories.&lt;/strong&gt; I enrolled in the British Library so that they could read amazing stories. The elder one, Josh, is readily drawn to reading. He devoured every &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Geronimo Stilton&lt;/a&gt; book he could find in the library. The younger one, Jerry, is not so much into reading. I tried many different ways to instill a habit of reading in him, yet, he slipped away at the first possible occasion. Since he was interested in cars, I tested him by giving a &amp;lsquo;Top Gear&amp;rsquo; magazine. I wasn&#39;t hopeful as I thought he would find it difficult to understand. How often, kids prove you are stupid. He got hooked to car magazines. He couldn&#39;t stop reading and talking about his favorite cars. His current favorite car is Bugatti Chiron. Once he told me that a single oil change costs twenty-one thousand dollars. I drive a humble Hyundai i20, which costs half of that. He has promised to take me for a ride in his Chiron when he buys one. I will let you know if he keeps his words.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;When they got good at telling stories, &lt;strong&gt;I nudged them to write&lt;/strong&gt;. Whenever we came back from a trip, even if it is to a local mall, I asked them to write their experience. I created a &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;blog&lt;/a&gt; to post their writings. Josh wrote about his &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;favorite teacher&lt;/a&gt;:&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;blockquote&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;She even convinced my father to let me go on a school trip without my parents. This was my first trip to go without my parents. We went to Hail Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh. There we did lots of fun activities: commando net, zip line, and trekking. There was a reward for the cleanest tent. Our tent got first place. These things made me improve my confidence.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/blockquote&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;In July of this year, I took them to my college reunion. Jerry carried a note with him and noted every small detail. When he came back, he wrote a detailed &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;post about the trip&lt;/a&gt;. I learned he has &lt;strong&gt;a keen observing eye&lt;/strong&gt; when I read this:&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;blockquote&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;After sometime we landed in Delhi. It was a windy and rainy day. We went to the taxi point. We took pre-paid taxi but there was a problem. The driver told to my father, for two suitcases it is more than 400 rupees. But my father asked in the counter and confirmed it is only 400 rupees.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/blockquote&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;At around this time, they got interested in creating &lt;strong&gt;stop motion movies with legos&lt;/strong&gt;. They mostly made fight scenes, revealing the sibling rivalry. In the college reunion, one of my college-mate composed a reunion theme song. When kids returned home, Josh created a &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;stop-motion video for the theme song&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;I invested more in the video medium.&lt;/strong&gt; I bought a tripod, light-box, and loaned my iPhone. They created mini-movies using mobile iMovie. Jerry astonished me with a &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;mini-movie&lt;/a&gt; which he scripted, shot, and edited. I want to take credit for it, but truthfully it is all his own making. When you watch it, you will know why I&#39;m brimming with pride.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;This is just a beginning–a seed sown in their formative hearts. I’m committed to nurse this seed so it becomes a giant fruitful tree from which they benefit for years to come.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;P.S: Visit their &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Youtube channel&lt;/a&gt;. Comment or like a video. Better yet, subscribe to their channel.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;</summary><author><email>[email protected]</email></author></entry></feed>
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