03 October 2008

Scenes from India

Great pictures of diverse India from Boston Globe's Big Picture

Includes pictures of vast Monsoon flooding, conflicts in still-disputed Kashmir, and religious clashes between Hindus and Christians - and celebrations conducted by Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh and more

Scenes from India

Nuclear power in India

A lot of details about Nuclear power in India and recent developments with USA. Via World Nuclear Association

    India has a flourishing and largely indigenous nuclear power program and expects to have 20,000 MWe nuclear capacity on line by 2020. It aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050.

    Because India is outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, due to its weapons program, it has been for 34 years largely excluded from trade in nuclear plant or materials, which has hampered its development of civil nuclear energy.

    Due to these trade bans and lack of indigenous uranium, India has uniquely been developing a nuclear fuel cycle to exploit its reserves of thorium.

5 Reasons India's Largest Bank is Thriving

Today ICICI Bank boasts $19 billion in market cap and its assets are worth above $100 billion.

  1. Internal innovation networking is as critical as external partnering
  2. Pick promising ideas based on their business impact, not technical feasibility
  3. Speed innovation projects' time-to-value, rather than obsessing with costs
  4. Train your staff to think and act in terms of $$$$ -- not 0 and 1
  5. Want to build an R&D function? Forget about it!

via SepiaMutiny and Navi Radjou

01 October 2008

why this financial alchemy?

Excellent videos via BigPicture by Professor Stiglitz


18 August 2008

Tryst with destiny

61 years! 61 years ago, India won independence on August 15th, 1947. Towards the midnight of August 14th, 1947 Nehru made his "Tryst with Destiny" speech.

It is a fateful moment for us in India, A new star rises, the star of freedom in the East, a new hope comes into being, a vision long cherished materializes. May the star never set and that hope never be betrayed! We rejoice in that freedom,

The future beckons to us. Whither do we go and what shall be our endeavour? To bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of India; to fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman.

We have hard work ahead. There is no resting for any one of us till we redeem our pledge in full, till we make all the people of India what destiny intended them to be. We are citizens of a great country on the verge of bold advance, and we have to live up to that high standard. All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action.

Did we bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of India?

No. No one, including the government and citizens, cares about common man. Agriculture is dying and so are farmers. The government is killing farmers to grab their land and build SEZs.

Did we fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease? Big NO!

Did we
build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation?
prosperous - a little; democratic - technically, yes; progressive - what is that?

Did we create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman?
In our dreams, may be.

Did we
encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action?
100%, yeah!

Yes, we have made a lot of progress: economy is opened up, middle class is raising. India Inc has made a lot of millionaires and billionaires. But, what about the tasks we set ourselves on August 15th, 1947? We have failed, miserably.

some poet wrote (in Tamil)

"Iravil vaanginom Innum vidiya villai"
"we got (independence) at night; we haven't seen the sunrise yet"

Amit Varma sums up all my feelings.

The British empire was naturally the focus of that struggle, and when we were rid of them in 1947, the relief must have been enormous. The tragedy is that for most Indians, political independence was freedom enough.

As a nation, we stopped caring for freedom once we gained independence.

The oppressive empire from a continent away was gradually replaced by an oppressive, omnipresent state, and we did not protest. The lack of economic freedom kept India poor for decades, and we did not protest. Personal freedoms were routinely denied to us, and we did not protest. In parts of our country people are treated worse than the British treated us, and we do not protest.

We let our guard down 61 years ago. Perhaps it’s time to fight back?

09 May 2008

Bush chuutiya Hai

GW Bush:

there are 350 million people in India who are classified as middle class. That's bigger than America. Their middle class is larger than our entire population. And when you start getting wealth, you start demanding better nutrition and better food. And so demand is high, and that causes the price to go up.

How about the facts for food price increase? From SAJAForum;

  1. Falling USD rates reduces profit margins for India's or Global food exporters (many of whom are US companies)
  2. Prosperity of others is good only because they can afford American goods
  3. Food distribution pattern is changing and US is on the other side of the equation which it subjected others to because of strong USD

16 April 2008

All Indian consulates outsource operation to US Firm

The government of India had decided to outsource visa services because of the sheer volume of applications received in the consulates. "Travisa Outsourcing was given just 38 days to develop a new and entirely outsourced visa application process throughout the United States, and in doing so we created new technology that is revolutionising the visa application process," Jan Dvorak, CEO of Travisa Outsourcing told India Abroad.


Currently, Travisa Outsourcing is the only US firm that handles visa outsourcing for an entire country. India is now one of only two countries that issues same day visas; China is the other, Dvorak said. Travisa has taken care to ensure that most staffers speak at least one Indian language.

It is interesting to see how factors like consumer satisfaction, economy, globalization play out. Globalization is definitely a two way street.

15 April 2008

The Best gift from USA to India - Cheerleading

God Bless America!

The dream of millions of cricket fans in India has come true.

The Washington Redskins Cheerleaders, deemed the 'First Ladies of Football,' will be traveling to India on April 10th to create the first ever cheerleading squad in that country for cricket's Royal Challengers Bangalore, part of the new Indian Premier League (IPL), in their inaugural game on April 18th.


NyTimes - India's game, US Spice

When I saw cheerleaders for the first time, the first thing on my mind was "This is great. Now, why can't we do this in cricket?". Thank you, Redskins! You will be etched in Indian history forever.

Indian cricket was inspired by the draft format of athletes in US. They call it "auctioning". Very original! I guess one of the IPL guys saw all the cute babes shaking their thing and immediately realized its potential.

If they can get some famous actresses to do this, I'm sure the tickets would sell twice as much.
I'm visualizing Bipasha Basu - now that is worth paying twice the money! ;)

Now, IPL will decide how much cleavage should be shown, how short the skirts or sarees should be, etc. Of course, the conservative groups will do everything possible to get some PR with this juicy opportunity - stage protests, burn effigies. They will cry that women are insulted while secretly admiring when they shake. Ahh..let the drama begin. I'm waiting, India is waiting.

14 April 2008

Online Indian Men 2.0

This post by KrishAshok is hilarious on so many levels.

Startup Sundaramoorthy and Venture Venkatakrishnan meet up at Barista, Besant Nagar over some coffee. Actually make that Latte with carcinogenic artifical sweeteners. And they discuss some very disturbing Internet stats. The Indian Blogosphere is also overwhelmingly dominated by women. A look at any comment thread in the Indian Web will convince you of that.

Alarmed by statistics like 60% of Facebook and 55% of MySpace users being women, they wonder how they can reinvent / invest in Web 2.0 for Indian men. They break down the usage pattern of Indian men online.

After looking at stats, they decide to launch these Web 2.0 companies:


An exclusively male social platform where men can share, discuss and vote up ideas on how to restore male hegemony on the Indian blogosphere.

Mattr - beta

Flickr for Indian Men - I used to be a Flickr user, but now there are too many women there. They and their enhanced visual sensitivities, passing judgement on my weak reds, insubstantial beiges, poor shadows and anaemic contrast. Bah. I have always wanted an all-male Photosharing app where real men can post photos without all this critical commentary from women, where we can also privately share images of item girls we secretly love.


An exclusive social video site dedicated to videos/songs we cannot watch with the family.


A social platform, where rural machismo is on central display. I’m talking Kaavadi, extreme piercing, Jalli kattu and of course, walking on coals.


Online Indian Men 2.0

Great post Krish...as always!

Sadly, there is a lot of reality in KrishAshok's post. A very important lesson for Web 2.0 aspirants in India is:

  1. The Web 2.0 in India is way different than the Web 2.0 community elsewhere
  2. Indian users just want to hang out; they are not interested to express themselves or create content

There is not even a single online forum or digg-like blog. I think some Indian company even tried and failed. Even if it was successful, I highly doubt there will be any useful information sharing. If you look at the Rediff forum discussions, you will never go back to that site. I'm also positive that most guys stalk gals on Orkut and leave "can I be your friend?" messages.

Writes one frustrated blogger about the Orkut testimonials

She is a good girl. Absolutely fantastic. If you haven't met her you don't know what you are missing" insists one testimonial writer on a orkut profile. As a reader - I am not sure how to react to these testimonials. They make me feel like a customer. I like what I am seeing.

But what confuses me more is that these Shailaja's of the world have allowed these testimonials to do a fantastic marketing pitch for her but she wont let boys have 'fraanship' with her. In the 'about me' column she writes 'please dont request friendship from me if you dont know me' (this is really really common in most girl's profiles).

And the boys in orkut. Boys in general. I mean God had a wicked sense of humor when he created such a sex starved species such as the male homosapien. I guess most men in orkut are walking hard-on's. Most men enter orkut , browsing through profiles, internet, skype directory thinking " i need to get laid. will she work".

Plugdd.in writes on why Indians flock to social networks and do nothing

The 53% who want to make friends are obviously part of the desperate-for-dating gang members, but the rest of the stat is important for one reason:

To understand What is it that Indians do not use a social network for?
The answer, as I understand is “Hanging out”..

Unlike the US kids who spend a good amount of time on myspace hanging around and “expressing themselves”, Indians aren’t the usual hangout (or ‘cool’?) kind, and instead use socionet for a defined purpose.

Now, this obviously goes against several socionet startups’ mantra (who want Indians to express themselves by uploading cool pics/videos and more..) and a clear reason why few of them have folded (like jhoom.in) and others are almost on the verge of dying.

I don't want to imply that building an online community is impossible. I don't see enough websites that facilitate fun and content generating ideas. Almost all of them seem to be ripping off crappy MySpace. I haven't seen a original, content generating site...yet.

That's the state of India Web 2.0. If anyone is dreaming to build an online community, build content, get a lot of traffic, monetize it and be a successful company, it's really hard. Good Luck with that.

07 April 2008

The Best Music Video Game - ever!

Sitar Hero

For the musically illiterate, Sitar is a guitar-like (?!) Indian musical instrument. By looking at the sheer abundance of Sitar Hero parodies and wannabes in the "internets", I'm sure this will be a hit. I'm not just sure; I'm HIV positive.

Youtube Parody video by nerds - check

"Make your enemies eat Saag paneer" :D

80's Style Nintendo Flashback video - check

Let's rock out some sample tunes in Sitar Hero

Guns and Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine remix

Green Day Remix

Approved by Appu - check

Can someone design this game for me, please? Hello, Activision! May be I can outsource it :) and get some endorsement+ celeb juice from Pandit Ravi Shankar and Anoushka Shankar. May be I can make a Collision Course CD with Anoushka, Jay Z and Linkin Park. wow! That will be awesome.

03 April 2008

Animation Industry

The Indian animation industry is moving away from being just a back office for Hollywood studios and other international production houses. It is now creating original content for the local market.

With the success of animated movies like Hanuman and Bal Ganesha, production houses and studios are realizing the potential of the domestic market. Apart from animated movies, animation series on television with original content have also been garnering huge TRP ratings such as J Bole To Jadu on Nickelodeon, MAD on Pogo among others.

Adventures of Hanuman (narration by the deep voice guy, heh!)

Bal Ganesha - the cute little elephant god

Bala Pandavas - epic Indian story of Mahabharata

Over the next four years the growth in domestic demand for TV/Broadcast animated content is projected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49.5 per cent. It is forecast the domestic market will be worth Rs 150 crores ($1.5 billion) in 2008 and will touch Rs 300 crores ($3 billion) by 2010.

Animation studios:

Green Gold


Crest Animation

Ojas tech

There is so much content that can be produced for children and adults. I watched the drama version of Mahabharata for almost 8 years and still don't remember everything. It is exciting to see a lot of original content from in-house studios.



Number portability atlast

I'm sure people are tired of changing mobile numbers everytime they change service providers and get calls from unknown contacts.

A lot of people have been crying foul about the delay in TRAI’s recommendation. Reliance has been waiting to get a GSM license, and it was alleged, primarily by the GSM operators, that the number portability was being worked upon, primarily to help Reliance. Once the scheme is in place, it was alleged, Reliance can offer lucrative schemes to allure customers from the Reliance CDMA service to its new, GSM service.



Norwest Venture Partners Plans To Launch $1 Billion Fund

Norwest has just opened its second India office by roping in former Motorola veep Mohan Kumar as India-based executive director to be based out of Bangalore. It had recently brought in Niren Shah as the country head for India which also marked Norwest setting up its Indian office in Mumbai.
Pramod Haque told the media in Bangalore that the focus would increasingly be on harnessing and leveraging the reservoir of product and process innovation — much of it internet driven — that is available in India.
The venture fund has direct investments in tech driven India-based entities such as Sulekha.com, Yatra, Persistent Systems and Adventity.

Norwest Venture Partners Plans To Launch $1 Billion Fund

Having trouble intrepreting Financial videos?

If you have trouble what those guys from Wall Street are talking about, this video will give a good chuckle.


Videocon is trying to buy Motorola mobile

Namaste, Moto! Indian TV Guy Wants Your Handset Business - GigaOM

Happy Thursday

I love this site: Savage Chickens: Drink Beer Cartoon

02 April 2008

Saving Indian Techies

I got this email from my friend which is lately making rounds in IT-enabled inboxes (is that a word?). I think it paints a fair picture of "the situation on the ground". I'm talking about what is going on in that Indian IT guy's/gal's mind when they are not working. Let's walk-through.


"Real Estate price hike is known open robbery from IT guys by brokers / whoever it is and it's not only Flats / Real Estate, IT guys undergo open robbery from all rich shop owners / a person who wanted to become rich as fast as possible...

The salary whatever we get, it's our hard-earned money, most of the times sitting in the night, away from family functions, friends, etc...but all our money or most of the money are going to someone who just takes advantage of our stressful life (both mentally and physically) and our new western life style. "

Very true. There is no doubt that selfish non-IT individuals systematically swindle money from the highly paid IT workers. There is no ground for any increase in expenses and over-charges. The mail points to some instances where there is a price increase for no apparent reason.

"Chicken Biriyani (3 weeks back) - Rs. 65
Today (same Chicken Biriyani) - Rs. 78

Pop Corn (Sathyam Complex) (month and half back) - Rs. 20
Today (almost the same quantity) - Rs. 30

Corn in Garuda Mall (month back) - Rs 20 Small, Rs 30 Medium and Rs 40 High
Now, "real" small has become Rs 35 now and Rs 45 for high...

The moment you say that you are from Software company, the price automatically increases..."

Real Estate

The real estate market is filled with greedy people. With almost no government regulated prices, the sellers and builders quote any price they wish. If a house is quoted at $60,000 and some retard starts a rumor - "there is a new software park coming up next week" - the quote changes to $100,000 immediately. No questions asked.

Almost all the techies get housing loans of $30,000 to $100,000 at alarming rate of 10% or more for 20+ years. By any stretch, $30,000 is a LOT of money if the salary is earned in Indian Rupees. Even with significant increase in salaries, after paying off the mortgage, monthly expenses, groceries, etc, etc they will end up with nothing or fall short. This is of course assuming both the husband and wife work. If the wife is a home-maker, sorry.

I have no idea who sets the real estate prices. Is there any regulatory body? It's just people making up their own estimates. Where is the f*ing government?

Now, what about the average, below average and poor population which is the majority?

That is the most disturbing impact. Families with average and below-average salaries are caught in this spike. Top earning techies are struggling to cope up with increased day-to-day spending. I can't imagine what the average income families are going through.