Saturday, December 3, 2016

Book Review - "Devil Does Care" by Pravin Shekar

Why Should I care about ‘Devil Does Care’? 


Laid out in an airy and breezy format, this book defies the stereotype of a typical ‘Mantra to Success in XYZ’ book even though it fundamentally belongs to that category.



For those who have, successfully or not, tried their hand at ‘running’ any intiative - be it a company, organising a ticketed event, or simply launch a simple product/solution of your own – a book, a photography service, call it what you like – they know that inspite of all the gyaan available and discussion around the importance of finding customers, and sales, and marketing, only one thing is relevant about getting sales and increasing your market awareness -

IT IS ALWAYS EASIER SAID THAN DONE

Replete with real life scenarios and examples, the author walks you through a good number of instances of successful zero/low budget marketing initiatives that converted to actual sales numbers, which you can use to wrap your head around what you should be doing for your specific case.

The subtle ideas, key pointers and examples in the book enable you to think about how to get it ‘done’. The biggest plus point here is that in case you are stuck at some point of your sales and marketing strategy, the author is absolutely approachable, and you can approach him for some focused mentoring on the matter at hand. You can easily reach him through his website

I would like to highlight some of the sections that I liked, and connected with, the most –
  1. The growth hacking example of Minance Capital – how they got 130 people signed up as paid clients in one marketing stroke
  2. The story of how carnatic musician Chembai Vaithyanatha Bhagavathar got his singing slot in a reputed music festival after being openly turned down initially

All in all, for its price of Rs 250, the book seriously nudges you to find ways of running your next marketing strategy while spending less money on it. And it does this without being preachy about it even one bit. Definitely worth the money you will spend on buying it.

Here is a photo of me receiving the author signed copy of the book -




Pick it up from online retailers using these links – Amazon , Flipkart 


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

How to help home bound people deposit 500 and 1000 currency notes?

The Government of India, on the 8th of November 2016, decided to cancel the legal tender of high denomination indian currency notes of 500 and 1000 ruppees denomination with immediate effect.

Banks are to be shut for public interactions for a day and ATMs are going to be shut for 2 days till the midnight of 10th of November.

Know someone who cannot reach the bank and deposit cash on their own? Follow the steps given in the image below to do it for them, on their behalf -





Take a letter of authorisation from the person who wants to deposit the money. Take your ID Proof copy. Deposit old 500 and 1000 notes at the bank with the above 2 documents.  Till 18 Nov, withdraw cash 2K via ATM per card per day, or 10K per transaction via bank cashier counter.


Source of these points is the press release issued by the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India


500 And 1000 Notes withdrawn - Next Steps?

The Government of India, on the 8th of November 2016, decided to cancel the legal tender of high denomination indian currency notes of 500 and 1000 ruppees denomination with immediate effect.

Banks are to be shut for public interactions for a day and ATMs are going to be shut for 2 days till the midnight of 10th of November.

Here are two images that easily explain how to manage daily life in the coming 15 days








Thursday, June 9, 2016

Ola Money - Menace Or Delight?

Ola Cabs is currently a very popular cab/taxi aggregator service in India that provides match making services between those looking for taxis and those providing taxis. They have become popular due to the way they have adopted technology to make the taxis available to people, overturning companies like Fasttrack taxi and Wings Radio Cabs. These other companies still continue to exist and operate, but a large chunk of the taxi driver population has shifted loyalties to Ola cabs and Uber as well. Uber does exactly what Ola does, only difference being it is an american company that has started operations in India now.

Now, in their endeavour to keep up with superior competition like Uber, Ola has adopted a technology aided approach to make your taxi ride a smoother process. Going by this approach, and also believing that cash is a messy mode of payment, for the past one and half years, they have been offering a within-app wallet service called Ola Money, where you prepay and store some money in your name in their account, and that is digitally disbursed to the taxi driver you want to pay at the end of your ride. No need to run around for change. The driver gets a settlement on a per-day or per-week basis. In theory, this sounds very rosy. But implementation is a different beast altogether.




In my observation of using the Ola service coupled with the digital wallet feature, and also in my interactions with some of the taxi drivers who ferry me around the city, I have come to realise that in the name of having agility in business decisions, Ola has become a company whose payment policies can be as fickle as the human mind. Taxi drivers regularly mention ever changing payment settlement policies, what with Ola trying to factor in user feebback into payment disbursal and penalizing drivers with lower ratings. While users are getting accustomed to the convenience of not having to worry about exact change, or running short of money to pay the taxi, the taxi drivers are increasingly wary of taking digital payments because they are not clear exactly how much money will come to their hands inspite of running the taxi for the entire day. The average driver's expectation is I get a customer, I ferry them around, I ought to get paid in full for that. And when that fundamental logic in their mind doesnt match up with reality due to constant churn of policy decisions, it puts them in a spot. Result – A good number of drivers regularly ask for cash payments, and some of them go to the extent of turning down taxi bookings where customer may not pay in hard cash. And lacking a practical view of real life scenarios, the Ola app doesnt give the customer an option to choose the mode of payment when you keep money in your Ola wallet.

You can read this thread of tweets by blogger and techie Krish Ashok, and the many responses to his tweet that will give you an idea of how the digital wallet implementation of Ola lacks the angle of practicality to it. - https://twitter.com/krishashok/status/740450772459130881

In August of 2015, There have also been news reports about how the Ola APIs have been built in a less than robust way, and about how some hackers have been able to pilfer out personal information of various users. The company subsequently claims to have plugged these loopholes and fixed potential vulnerabilities.


As they say, it takes a lot of vision, commitment and foresight to build a robust business that creates a lifetime of value for itself and also for people that depend on it. Hoping that Ola does the same, and not get trapped in the cocoon of lopsided technology addiction and compulsive need to sway to the commands of their fund masters.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Kalakriti - A mega photo exhibition in Pune, June 10-12

I would like to share some very exciting news with the august readers of this blog. Two of my photographs have been selected to be displayed at a photography exhibition cum sale organized by a local photography group here in Pune. They had invited submissions from group members and non-members alike. In all, 500 images were submitted, out of which 250 have been selected for the display.  These photos will be reviewed and adjudged further in the next round.  
The exhibition is to be held at Raja Ravi Verma Gallery at Pune from the 10th to 12th of June this year. 

I am totally pumped up to even think that someone might actually end up purchasing a photograph that I clicked, in addition to the fact that these two photos will be reviewed and adjudged further in the next round.

Here are the photos that got selected!

I am excited!! 

I am also attaching a poster image giving the details of the event.

If any of you are in Pune this weekend, please do drop in at the venue!! 

And as I always say, this is #achievementunlocked :D

B(Fl)oating In Water



'Lost' - Each one lost in their own slice of this world
Here are the details of the exhibition

Friday, May 27, 2016

Star Trails - Take 1

Last month, I had got the opportunity to try out Star Trails photography for the first time. As part of PPL(Pune Photography Lovers) group's monthly photowalk, I had travelled to Tikona Fort just on the outskirts of Pune. Our entire photography group had camped atop the Tikona Fort. While the experts went about capturing the star trails, first timers (like me and few others) to this genre setup our equipment, and attempted our photo captures after a good amout of quizzing people about all the steps to be followed.

It was a memorable experience to sleep under the millions of stars in the sky, the last time I did that was at my aunt's place when I was perhaps 12 or 13 years old.  The actual time duration when I was clicking pictures was about 2 hours in the middle of the night, I slept pre and post photoshoot, as I had a long day the following day. We had left from our respective homes by 2.30 PM-3.00PM, and reached the base of Tikona fort by 4.15 PM. After a quick snack break, we started the climb up to the fort. This fort is one of the smaller forts among all the forts of Maharashtra, and is said to be easier to climb than the others. Me being the lazy city dweller, I found even the climb to this fort to be a good enough challenge. Huffing and panting, by the time I reached up the summit, it was nearly 6PM and sunset photography enthusiasts were already clicking away to glory.  As we settled down, I was going about clicking some test shots, and by 7.15 PM dusk was over, and sky started turning dark. The good part about PPL group is the mix of photographers who land up at the photowalks, and you will always find people who are at your level. Using the confounded expressions on some the faces, I found some fellow shutterbugs who were new to this genre. 

As you climb up the small hillock, you would be blind if you did not notice the way the location for the fort has been selected, and the way in which the natural hill formation has been taken advantage of for security purposes. Along with me, my admiration for the Maratha warriors, especially for Shivaji Maharaj, also climbed up a few notches. There is a natural spring atop the fort which has clean potable water. I could observe that this fort as well had been built to provide all basic necessities to its residents, even in case of an enemy attack. 

This fort is a good overnight camping and picnic spot. I saw two other families bring snacks, bedsheets and tents and set up camp in the fort. It is a very small fort, so there is not much to see of the fort. But it is an excellent place to spend a good few hours while you empty your pent up thoughts and confusions to the skies and return back recharged.

On the whole, a new place, a new genre of photography, something new learnt, some good words exchange, some introspection done, some old memories refreshed, soon it was time to return back to realities. 

Here is my star trails picture, processed one month late - 


It is not much, this click doesn't have a circular start trail. But nevertheless, it is a reasonable start considering I am ZERO in post processing(necessity for star trails) and I am stubborn not to pay money or pirate a copy of photoshop.

So that's what I have been pottering around with. What have you been up to?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Honda Navi - Playing Dress Up?


So, I got a chance to check out this new odd looking bike from Honda. The looks of it got me
instantly excited. Upon enquiry, I learnt that it is a regular gear less scooter engine with a bike-y build. So reshape the activa, take away the closed boot space, and add a bike like headlight to it, and leave a gaping hole to accomodate some luggage, and you will get the Navi. They haven't even given it better wheels!! The TVS Wego has better alloy wheels (which makes a difference in the overall ride quality) than the Navi.

In the current version, I am disappointed and not tempted to go for a test ride. The only reason I would think of buying this vehicle would be to save about 5K-7K ruppees, and give myself a false impression of zooming about in a motorcycle.

That's the Honda Navi as of now. But I am hoping Honda has some interesting variations lined up in the pipeline for this platform. I remember seeing a video of a concept bike having a similar shape, somewhere on the social web.