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Friday, September 29, 2006

LinkedIn down but checkout the message

When i went to access LinkedIn today, I realized that it was down. However, instead of the "Page not found", "Server Maintenance going on", "Sorry for the inconvenience" etc type of messages greeting me, I found a page which was telling me the same thing but in a more pleasant way:


Lesson to be learnt - you can be sorry for what you have done BUT if you want to express that to your customer without making them feel bad about you, you just need to express it in a pleasant way - the bitter taste kind of goes off. Neat marketing trick which expresses the message but still keeps your customers loyal. Now, how many businesses do that? - I know of a handful.

How about you?

-- Thyaga

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The cleaner (does not) ring twice ...

I don't know about you guys but in my and wife's life, one person plays a very important role - the house cleaner. He is probably the busiest person I have ever met - he carries around a hand written diary and his appointment dates are completely full. You cannot request your own date - he gives you one and then you have to work your way around it. Also, the day he comes to the house, we usually get the morning slot (probably, he is generous ?) and so, we have to get up early, take a bath early, have breakfast early so that he gets the complete house for his team to clean :).

Now, take a cue from this and apply this to any business - what kind of business or product that can you develop that will have customers adjust according to what you do and what you make - not the other way around. I cannot think of many but surely, the branded ones have this luxury to start with. But my cleaner Jose is not even a brand name. What is it that he is doing that is making us behave as complete morons and we seem to be wanting to do it again and again? - the answer lies in the fact that he is performing a task for us that is very basic but very important BUT we don't have time/resources to do it ourselves.

So, the clue then is to develop a product/business that satisfies a very important need of people that they cannot do it for themselves.

Any takers?

-- Thyaga

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nifty Salary Search tool

Indeed today launched a nifty salary search tool - check it out. What i like about this tool is the ability to compare searches (and hence salaries) and then make a decision.

For example, check these out:

(1). Difference in salary for a Web Designer and a Web Designer with Ajax skills

(2). Difference in salary for job postings in Iraq and Afghanistan

(3). Difference in salary for a Product Manager in Mountain View and Fremont

....

Really innovative stuff.

Cheers,
Thyaga

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Chappel or Dravid - who is the boss

Recently, Ravi Shastri criticized the Indian team and said that India's captain Rahul Dravid should start calling the shots and not Greg Chappell. This has fuelled a huge debate in India as to who is really the boss of the Indian team- Chappell or Dravid. I think, this could be an 1-off statement that Shastri might have made because he might have been frustrated with the Indian team's loss. On the other hand, knowing Shastri, I think he might have some genuine reason for believing that something might be wrong.

Anyway, it is disappointing to know the see the way India played. Barring the bowlers
and probably batsmen such as Tendulkar, no one really appeared to be in any sort of form. I really feel that guys like Viru should be given a break for sometime. He should firstly be made to lose weight and get back the inspiration to play as he normally does.

So, what do u guys think about this? - is it Chappell or Dravid who is calling the shots?

-- Thyaga

Monday, September 25, 2006

Power of LinkedIn

Today, i linked up with a fellow student at SCU MBA school. After linking with each other, we realized that we have more things in common - he also started his career at SPCNL in Bangalore and he happened to have an ex Vitalect employee as his former manager.

Small world - made smaller by networking sites such as LinkedIn

Cheers,
Thyaga

Munnbhai Lage Raho - Fantastic !

We saw Munnabhai Lage Raho, the second in the Munnabhai series and boy! - it is an amazing movie. It is better than the first one and both Sanjay Dutt as Munnabhai and Arshad Warsi as Circuit really come into their own in this movie. The movie preaches the values of truth and non-violence or in short "Gandhigiri" but it is conveyed in the subtlest of manners. It aims to tell you to be good without being preachy. How it manages to do that is basically what the movie is all about. I don't want to reveal the plot but it is one heck of a movie - you will love it from the beginning to the end.

All the characters are very well etched - all the actors perform superlatively. Apart from Dutt and Warsi, Vidya Balan excels as Munna's love interest Jhanvi, Boman Irani is good as the wicked and cunning builder and of course, Dilip Prabhavalkar is great as Mahatma Gandhi. As a closing note, I must mention the performance of Arshad Warsi as Circuit. Seeing him play this role, you know that this man is so immensely talented - he is a natural on the screen and it clearly shows. He was born to do this role and he does it to perfection.

Go watch Munnabhai - in the meantime, Munnabhai ... Lage Raho!

-- Thyaga

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Camera to slim you down

You thought that going to the gym was the only way to slim down? - how about technology to do that for you, eh? - check out this HP camera, which will slim you down whenever u want to.

Interesting, eh? - does anyone know how to do it with a Cannon? :)

-- Thyaga

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

India put it across West Indies

Boy! - what a match indeed. When i was watching the Indian batting capitulate to Dwayne Smith, I knew that this match was slowly slipping away. Of course, Tendulkar was there but then he just had Bhajji and the rest of the tail for support. Bhajji played a very crucial innings of 37 that helped bring some kind of solidarity to the team total. Tendulkar was unfortunate to be run out when the ball richocheted of the bowler's hands into the non-striker's stumps. By then, he had scored a classy and crucial 65 runs. This should silence some of the critics who keep questioning his form and whether he is a critical part of the team or not. This also showed what India was missing in the Caribbean.

Of course, the Indian bowlers bowled with all their heart - Munaf, Ajit and Sreesanth all took 2 wickets each. Bhajji proved his class by taking 3 wickets and RP chipped in with the crucial wicked of Gayle. All in all it was a great team effort. India needs to win against Australia to make it to the finals - with this victory, they must definitely have their tails up.

I would like to end this post by a comment that Brian Lara made about Tendulkar after the match:

===

"Sachin is a very good friend of mine," he said when asked whether he was disappointed to be at the receiving end once again. "If he scores runs, it is attractive, a sight to behold. I want my players to learn from a guy like that, he's an exceptional talent.

"Seeing him bat, there's not much you can do sometimes. He is such a perfect batsman that on occasions, you see guys struggle and he does not. I'm happy that he has come back and is scoring runs because such a great player needs to come to the fore. I don't know if he has any doubters in India, but there's definitely not a doubt here. It's nice to see him come back and show his class. I want to see him do that on Friday as well."

===

Go India !

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Broadband connection in India

We are so used to having broadband around us that if the connection goes down for a few hours, we get ravaging mad - no connectivity means - cannot check office email, cannot check personal email, cannot check the latest cricket scores, cannot check the current news, cannot find the directions to a place, cannot find the nearest grocery store - it is as if our whole life is now controlled by the single piece of wire (less) device that is (not) connected to the computer. This is the age of the "connected" consumer and soon there will be wireless connectivity wherever you go.
So, it came as a rude leveller when I read this article about Broadband connection in India. It is a little hilarious but it also gives us a good reality check. I am not surprised by such issues - these are pretty common in India. What is admirable is that in spite of these problems, India has managed to emerge as a technology super power.
-- Thyaga
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Monday, September 18, 2006

Sania to set up a tennis academy

Sania Mirza is going to set up a tennis academy. She has applied for land and resources from the Andhra Government. That just begs the question - has she done anything significant to warrant such a demand? - your guess is as good as mine.
-- Thyaga

Osama's whereabouts?

Its more than 5 years since 9/11 and Osama is yet to be caught. Rediff is running a poll to figure where people think he is. Go and vote now!
-- Thyaga

Friday, September 15, 2006

Durga Puja in the Bay Area, 2006


Durga Puja is just around the corner. Here is an update on the list of Durga Pujas that are going to be celebrated in the Bay Area this year.

  1. Sanskriti - September 23rd and 24th at Foothill College, Los Altos.

  2. Prabasi - September 30th and October 1st at Chabot College, Hayward.

  3. Pashchimi - September 28th to October 2nd at Sunnyvale, Temple.

  4. Livermore Hindu Temple - September 28th to October 2nd
See u at one of the Pujas :) !

Cheers,
Thyaga

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Europe Trip - Paris

My wife and I visited Europe for a short vacation. In the span of 9 days, we visited London, Rome and Paris. The "Europe Trip" series of Blogs will talk about our travel experiences and any useful tips that I might have to share.

In this post, i shall talk about the Paris leg of our tour.

(1). The first thing that strikes you in Paris is the fact that most people are pretty stylishly dressed - no wonder then that this place is considered the Fashion capital of this world. An average Joe "understands" fashion on average more than the other average Joes of the world.

(2). We visited a LOT of places in Paris - shown below through some photographs:

Seine Cruise

Concorde Point

Arch of Truimph

Champs Elysses

Louvre Museum

Eiffel Tower

Gallery Lafeyette

(3). Fashion industry is HUGE out here - all fashion designers have huge outlets here. Of course, you cannot shop in them if you are a layman :). These outlets are just for "window-shopping" - it is a way to just improve the brand - for example, if you see a shoe at 400 Euros, you will wonder why is it so expensive, but then you will see the brand and say, probably it is worth it - then the next time, you get your salary, your mind will itch to go and buy that 400 Euros shoe. No, thats not how i think - but thats how most Parisians generally think. This was best illustrated by the receptionist in our hotel - most of her eating and shopping recommendations were always in "chic" areas - we got a good idea of where her salary goes :).

(4). People tend not to speak in English - even if they do, it is difficult to understand. Needless to say, you are better off if you know French.

(5). French cuisine is so different than the food that we are used to - we didn't enjoy it too much - so, we just stuck with Italian and Indian food :).

(6). I was surprised at the amount of time people spend in restaurants during lunch time. Most of them had a 3 course lunch and would just take it easy and not hurry back to work. Try doing that out here - in fact, the restaurant waiter will hurry you up here so that he can give your table to another person :). The answer to this actually lies in the EU's work culture - they have 35 hour weeks (US and UK have 40 hours weeks) - really, why are we working so hard here ;-).

(7). The most iconic thing in Paris is the Eiffel Tower and for a good reason. You can see the tower from almost any place within Paris - it is tall, majestic and simply beautiful. It is something that has to be seen to be believed. We were lucky to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower - Gustafo Eiffel was indeed a remarkable man.

(8). Common words that will help you in Paris - Bon Jour (hello), Missuer (Mr), Merci (Thanks)

(9). From what i could understand, most of all famous building in Paris has something to do with Napolean - either he built it or it was built in his honor or he did something on it.

Cheers,
Thyaga

Sachin is back !

God is back!

Sachin is back and with a bang. He creamed 141* against West Indies in the DLF cup in Malaysia. It is unfortunate that India lost that match due to D/L method but it was Sachin's innings that people will talk about. 141* from 148 balls - 13 4's and 5 6's - you make your own conclusion.

Suddenly, the game of cricket doesn't seem so mundane and ordinary, after all. The God has resurfaced !

-- Thyaga

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Europe Trip - Rome

My wife and I visited Europe for a short vacation. In the span of 9 days, we visited London, Rome and Paris. The "Europe Trip" series of Blogs will talk about our travel experiences and any useful tips that I might have to share.

In this post, i shall talk about the Rome leg of our tour.

(1). The first thing that strikes you in Rome is the number of tourists in that place - i felt that the tourists outnumbered the local residents - it is definitely a tourist haven !

(2). We visited a LOT of places in Rome - shown below through some photographs:

Rome Colosseum

Rome Forum & Palatino

Santa Maria Magguire

Pantheon

Spanish Steps

Trevi Fountain

St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican

Vatican Museum

(3). The food there was just wonderful - totally different from the Italian fare that they dish out here at any restaurant. The pizzas, for example, were soft and so delicious - it almost melted in my mouth :) - yummy !

(4). BEWARE of Pickpockets - they keep telling you that wherever you go. We didn't have to experience this (thankfully) but it is something that is very prevalent there.

(5). Every second shop is a Bistro or a restaurant or a cafe. They just love to eat man !

(6). During the afternoon, most shops and businesses are closed - it is SIESTA time! They open in the evening and then close late night. No wonder, they always seem happy and always ready for a joke ;-)

(7). With these few words, you can conquer a lot of people :) - Senor (Mister), Senorita (female of Mister - NOT MISTRESS ;-)), Gratzie (Thank You), Si (Yes).

(8). The best places to eat in Rome are the cafes but make sure you get an outside table. The weather is great, you can order your food, sip a glass of wine, look at the fun going around and then look at the beautiful person on the other side of your table - amazing stuff !

Next up - our Paris trip - stay tuned !

-- Thyaga

WYSIWYG

WYSIWYG - what you SAY is what you GET ;-)

[Photo Source: http://www.emergencemarketing.com]

-- Thyaga

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Europe Trip - London

My wife and I visited Europe for a short vacation. In the span of 9 days, we visited London, Rome and Paris. The "Europe Trip" series of Blogs will talk about our travel experiences and any useful tips that I might have to share.

In this post, i shall talk about the London leg of our tour.

(1). We stayed at our friend Anand's place in Central London. Going by the real estate prices in London, I must say that London is terribly expensive. Nevertheless, i thank Anand for putting us up in a swank apartment in Central London.

(2). We visited a LOT of places during our 2 days there - shown here through some photos:

Tower of London

Tower Bridge

Westminister, Big Ben, Westminister Abbey

St. Paul's Cathedral

Buckhingham Palace

Soho, Trafalgar Square, Piccadaly Circus, Leicester Square

(3). The Tube is a very efficient means of transport IF you don't have to carry around any luggage :). This is one thing that we realized in the whole of Europe - they are not very "handicap-friendly". For example, to go from 1 train to another, you would have to go up some stairs and then some down and then finally catch the train. It is doable without luggage but it takes a while to get used to it :).

(4). Chicken Tikka Masala is by-far the most common Indian dish. In fact, this is a menu item even in bars and side-joints.

(5). I was amazed by the amount of alcohol that people consume here. Anand was telling me that in his office, no one works after 5 - they head straight to the bars for a mug of beer and a game of football (soccer).

(6). I realized that soccer was far more popular in England than cricket. I saw 4 pages of coverage for football but only a tiny section for cricket in the Times.

(7). London definitely has a great night life. We stayed up late one night at Trafalgar square, Piccadaly Circus and the adjoining areas - boy! - the mood was just festive throughout the time. Loud music, lots of people, lots of eating places - it reminded you of Times Square to a certain extent. SFO on the other hand sleeps at 11:00 :(.

(8). A quick point regarding the airports - London has a lot of airports - Luton, Gatwick, Stansed and of course Heathrow. If you plan to take any cheap flights out of London, then it will most probably be out of one of these smaller airports - we flew out of Luton to Rome, for instance. Make sure that you arrange for appropriate transportation if your flight is at weird times - there are a lot of private buses/coaches that leave from Central London that go to these airports. We used the Green Line coach to catch the early flight from Luton.

Next up - Our Roma Trip ! - stay tuned.

-- Thyaga

Monday, September 11, 2006

Home DSL Connection is down

My home DSL connection is down and well, i feel pretty handicapped by it. What i find interesting is a message when you call up SBC Yahoo! Tech Support - "......If you are having connection problems, then ...., you can also check our website for additional details ...."

Thats a double whammy indeed! - some thing that Seth Godin could use in his Marketing lectures :)

-- Thyaga

Europe Trip - 1 : Airlines, Security, Airports etc

My wife and I visited Europe for a short vacation. In the span of 9 days, we visited London, Rome and Paris. The "Europe Trip" series of Blogs will talk about our travel experiences and any useful tips that I might have to share.

In this post, i shall talk about the various airlines that we travelled in, the type of security in airports today etc.

(1). We travelled by Icelandair from SFO > London (Heathrow) > SFO. This was one of the cheaper airlines and i was actually quite impressed with the airlines. The service was good and the staff was friendly. Basically, Iceland serves as a bouncing hop between Europe and America and thats how they market themselves. Food is actually quite bad (there are NO vegetarian choices by default). I also found that the leg space was larger than found in normal airlines.

@ the Reykjavik International Airport, Iceland

(2). From London Luton to Rome, we travelled by Ryan Air. They advertise cheap prices but take it with a pinch of salt. You need to pay extra for any luggage that you check in. Also, the size of the hand carry on baggage is extremely small - in fact, we had to check in our hand carry on baggage. Flight was good and on time.

(3). Rome to Paris and Paris to Luton - We travelled by Easyjet - this has one of the biggest presence in Europe. This is completely modelled on the Southwest airlines. The planes are clean and well maintained. However, the flight was delayed after a random security check at Paris airport. Again, since this is a cheap airline, you can't do or say much :).

(4). Security in airports have gone up in a big way - no liquids, no gels, no cosmetics etc can be carried in the carry-on luggage. However, i didn't find consistency in the security checks in different airports. Luton airport had a serpentine queue for security checks. But we almost breezed through at the Rome airport. I guess, we still are far from being perfect.

(5). We booked all our flights through Kayak and all our hotels through Venere (both of these are highly recommended).

-- Thyaga