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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Paul Graham Is Not That Innocent


Let me state the obvious first. I am a huge admirer of what Paul Graham has built in Y Combinator. And I have drawn enormous inspiration from many of his essays on tech startups. And it was an honor to once get featured in the same BBC article as Paul Graham and Brad Feld. (Paul Graham, Brad Feld, Me, BBC)

And now let me get to the topic at hand. Yes, Paul Graham was misquoted. But that does not change the fact that Paul Graham is guilty of sexism just like I am. I would not accuse him of extreme sexism. I might save that for a ton of men in India. But guilty he is. Why do I say that?

You were there when girls around you were 13. If you did not see sexism then, then you were willfully blind. You very well participated in it. Sexism starts early. Young girls feeding on sexist media do weird things with what they eat. That is sexism.

I don't think there is something fundamental about men and women that makes men head for STEM. Once girls get hit by the pot of sexism early on, they kind of lose their balance, and they end up making weird choices like not going towards STEM with greater gusto than they do.

Paul Graham wondering as to why 13 year old girls don't code more is not exactly like Newton wondering why the apple fell on his head. But sexism IS social gravity. It is all pervasive and all powerful, and all men participate in it, it is only a matter of degree, some more, some less, but we all do.

Sexism is really cutting edge, as is racism. It is as if not more cutting edge than the Internet itself, only the Internet is technology and communications and commerce, sexism and racism are social. It is like I am at this Internet Society event, Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee on stage. And I was and am a huge admirer of the guys. I literally think of the Internet as a new country, a feeling further enforced by a recent Indian Supreme Court decision that is blatantly homophobic. (Homophobia is sick, okay?) And I ask my question of Tim. If the Internet is a country which of you is George Washington, which is Thomas Jefferson? Tim gets offended and says "different race" in an unpleasant way. And I am like, I don't believe this motherfucker. And I made a "mad scientist" remark. (Tim Berners-Lee: The Internet Is Not A Country)

Paul Graham said recently something about "heavy accents," and there he was not misquoted, and I thought that was a racist thing to be saying.

Fred Wilson: Girls Who Code
Paul Graham: What I Did Not Say
Taylor Rose: Girls Haven’t Been Hacking for the Last 10 Years
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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Snapchat

I did not see Snapchat coming, like I did not see Pinterest coming. They came out of nowhere and took over the world. Snapchat is an app where photos you share self-destruct after they have been viewed. Top names have tried to buy it, a recent offer was over three billion dollars, but the Snapchat founders refused. Obviously they feel like they have something fundamental at hand. Yahoo also tried to buy Facebook for a billion dollars at one point. Look where Facebook is today.

The image is being done and redone by app after app. I guess our sight is our most powerful sense. And we cannot get enough of pictures.

On the face of it the idea is fairly simple. Anybody could have done it. Pictures don’t get stored like on Facebook or Instagram. Pictures that destroy themselves are a guarantee you will have your privacy. You don’t have to worry about embarrassing pictures. You don’t have to be image-conscious while sharing.

Snapchat has caught much momentum among teenagers, many of whom think Facebook might have gone out of fashion.

The app economy has caught on. It was an industry that did not exist when we did not have smartphones. Steve Jobs almost did not allow external apps to populate his iPhone. But then he made a last minute decision to make space. And now you have a whole bunch of very well valued companies, and all they are are apps on the phone. They have no web presence. They seek no web presence.

Mobile is as fundamental a phenomenon as the Internet itself was when it showed up for the masses. And the mobile is just getting started. It will be a really big deal when say six billion people have mobile internet. That is almost 100% penetration. At that point the mobile phone will transform many aspects of modern life, including politics, non-profit work, poverty alleviation, and so on. Apps will become more not less important.

What Snapchat does is an ode to our sense of privacy. We want to share, but we also want to stay private. Facebook would have been a terrible home for Snapchat. Facebook over the years has worked to invade privacy. Snapchat’s starting point is total privacy.

I once said to a client. You can build an app for less money than it might take to launch a paan dokan in Jackson Heights, but if it takes off you can overtake Patel Brothers in terms of how much you end up making. Sometimes apps take off. Many times they don’t. But not every app has to end up worth a billion dollars. I think there is room for a lot of middling apps. If you built an app for 20K, and sold 50,000 of it for a dollar each, that is a good margin. 30K is not a billion dollars but it is something.

When Instagram got bought by Facebook for a billion dollars, it had not made a dime in revenue. But I don’t know anyone serious who thinks the deal was not a clincher. Not bought Instagram might have given Facebook itself some competition.

Like photos mobile based messaging also has seen a lot of activity.

Snapchat is a new paradigm, counterintuitive to a Facebook dominated world. And it has seen rapid adoption. Some estimates show that by now the number of photos shared on Snapchat is comparable to the number of photos shared daily on Facebook.

I have tried Snapchat, but I don’t use it myself. I get the concept but it is not part of my daily usage any more than Instagram itself is. Actually I quite like Google Plus for my photo app. Pictures taken on my phone get uploaded automatically. And sharing is easy to do. I can capture photos and videos. The ease of upload and share clinches the deal for me. I am a quantity photo taker. I am a point and shoot kind of guy.

Ephemeral socializing is quite the hallmark online. It can be argued Snapchat is just another social media platform.

The snapchat concept can be applied across many domains, many ideas and many use cases. Data you destroy will not be stolen, will not be compromised. There is a freshness to that destruction. Like we say in Nepali, hinddai chha paila metdai chha. A boat does not leave footprints in the water. Snapchat does not leave pictures scattered around in cyberspace.

That begs the question, as it always does. What’s next? What’s the next Snapchat? What’s the next Pinterest? There always is a next one. And it likely will not be obvious until it is already here, and feels simple and obvious.

I happen to think Gigabit broadband will bring forth a whole new family of apps, this time around video. But Gigabit mobile broadband, sadly, is not right round the corner.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Internet Of The Planets And Moons

It is always amusing to me when I read about inter-galactic travel. Light has a hard enough time traveling from one end of the universe to the other end. Who are we? We are overweight humans struggling with nutrition issues.

Even if we were to somehow manage to speed up enough to reach the nearest galaxy we would zoom right past it. How would you apply the brakes?

Recent observations have shown there are perhaps 40 billion earth like planets just in the Milky Way, our home galaxy. I think that makes it a statistical certainty that life does exist elsewhere besides on Earth. It is possible even intelligent life exists out there.

But the laws of physics tell us human travel across the stars perhaps will not happen. What instead we can hope for is that we get better and better at reading signals that come to us. We could send more probes to the planets and the moons in our solar system. We might even send out robots.

Instead of inter-galactic human travel, I think the goal ought to be an Internet of the Solar System, one to which we keep adding satellites and probes and robots. The Internet of Things populated with robots might even allow us to mine space to quench our thirst for energy and minerals.

My Mobile Bookmarks

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Selfie

In honor of one of the newest additions to the Oxford English Dictionary - selfie - I have gone ahead and created a photo album by that name. I think you should do it too!


Friday, December 06, 2013

The Social Media Tetris



It can be argued the world of social media is helping us gradually bring down the number on the famed six degrees of separation that separates everyone from everyone else. If people connect and share more, among people they know, among people they don't know yet, as shared interests and activities are discovered, as people interact more, that number goes down. Right? I think so.

One thing I have noticed on Highlight is when you come across a "stranger" the app tells you have so many common friends and shared interests, data it pulls from your Facebook profiles. The shared interests part is intriguing to me. I still wish AirTime had taken off, because people would talk more. A Skype based "AirTime" might be a better idea than the video based attempt. But is Skype giving API issues?

There are downsides. You can end up with flame wars. People can act nasty online. I am so glad the game Ingress a few days back added the capability for you to be able to block users in the COMM, the Google game's public chatroom, if you will, (although I have uninstalled the app from my phone, but there are still close to 150 portals in the city that bear my name.)

Social media taken to new heights could do for world peace what heads of state holding summits could not. Trade and travel are major peace moves. More people interacting more often leads to a general increase in welfare overall. I think that statement is but common sense.

Facebook Groups should add elements of democracy to it. A group should be allowed to elect its leadership, and vote on issues. I am surprised that feature has not showed up yet. A lot of organizations would thus engage in Facebook voting. Heck, that feature would get really interesting for groups with a million members or more. Skype enabled conference calls for Facebook Groups would be another positive addition.

You have Snapchat for friends. What about Snapchat for strangers? Or a public Snapchat? Photos still destroy themselves, but the world saw it first. And a board for the most popular snaps perhaps?
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Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Concept Of Residual Income

Robert T. Kiyosaki
Cover of Robert T. Kiyosaki
Cover of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Ri...
Cover via Amazon
(written for Vishwa Sandesh)

The Concept Of Residual Income
By Paramendra Bhagat (www.paramendra.com)

There is a famous book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Most financially literate people have heard of it. In it he pushes forth the concept of residual income, not his original idea. It is a difference in worldview.

There is the job mentality, and that is perhaps 99% of the people out there. You get a good education to get a good job with a good company. The income might be 20,000 dollars or 200,000 dollars, but that income is still linear. If you don’t show up for work, the money stops coming.

Nothing wrong with jobs. Jobs are how most people pay their bills, put food on the table. Jobs are wonderful things, but there is something beyond jobs. One has to be open to possibilities.

There is business ownership. Upendra Mahato might be flying around the world on NRN activities, but he is still making money at that time, because he is a business owner. Nobody says, but he did not even show up for work, let’s stop paying him. Why? Because he built something and put it into motion.

But then Upendra Mahato might be a bad example with which to highlight the concept. Because pretty much everybody would dismiss that example. How many Laxmi Mittals can the planet produce? Only so many. Even launching a restaurant with an initial investment of 200,000 dollars is beyond the reach of many people.

But then you might have seen small business owners who quite literally are always working. That can also put off some people. Where is the residual income in that, you might question. Also, it is not easy to start a business, it is not easy to sustain and grow a business, it is not easy to keep the lights on. A lot of businesses end up folding. People with the job mentality point that out. But look, they say.

Residual income is money showing up even if you don’t show up, because you built something and put it in motion. Residual income is you making money even when you are fast asleep because you put something in place and put it in motion. Residual income is being able to pass a business to your next generation. You can’t pass on your job to your son or daughter.

With a job you have only 24 hours, and chances are you are working eight, 10 or maybe 12 of those hours, some even manage 16. But it can never be beyond 24. That probably is the biggest limitation of linear income. Also, one person can acquire only so many skills. One person can only become so good with the skills he or she has.

But if you build a business team that has 10 people on it, you have 240 hours in a work day. If your average team member puts in 10 hours, you have a 100 hour work day. Chances are 10 people will make more money than one person. And 10 might not be your ceiling. Maybe you will take your team to 100, to 1,000, perhaps to 10,000. A job owner’s hours in the day are limited. But there is no limitation to how big a business owner’s team can be. And the 10 people on your team might have complimentary skill sets. Person A can do what person B cannot or does not have the time for.

Beyond residual income is a related concept: the concept of financial freedom. You have attained financial freedom when there is no longer a connection between what you do with your time and the money you make. You could be playing golf and still be making money. You go on vacation whenever you want, as often as you want. You spend a ton of time with your family, because that does not hurt your income stream anymore. Business ownership does not guarantee you financial freedom, but it is a vehicle that can take you there if you work hard and smart.

I feel like everyone who makes that conceptual jump and understands the residual income idea will go ahead and get started with network marketing. Robert Kiyosaki is a huge fan of network marketing. It beats job ownership, he says, and it beats small business ownership. But it has been amazing to me to see how easy it is to misunderstand this very simple business. People’s minds fly off on tangents. To many people to go from a job ownership mentality to a business ownership mentality is almost like changing religions. There is this huge inertia. They resist. They fight back. They come up with excuses. They rationalize their choices. You mean all that schooling I did was a waste? No, it was not.

Every time you watch an ad anywhere for products you buy and services you consume, know that you are paying for those. You just don’t see it that way. All network marketing does is it takes all that ad spend and give it to people like you who build a network to generate business volume. That is a hugely empowering concept. Sometimes I wonder if it took 10,000 dollars instead of 500 more people would do it, more people would take it seriously.

Those good at it have bothered to put in the effort to go through tremendous personal growth. I know someone who after a year of work is making 10,000 dollars a week. He has a good year every month.

With Patrick Maser And Rahman
The Appeal Of Network Marketing
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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ingress: The Same Territory Seven Months Later

February 25, 2013


October 22, 2013



Ingress: My Blog Posts

Ingress: My Blog Posts


Ingress: The Same Territory Seven Months Later
Ingress: Hit 8,000,000 AP In Times Square
Ingress: My Stats
Ingress: Four Grant's Tombs In Jackson Heights
Ingress: New York City: Top City
Ingress: The Creators Of The Game Are Unimaginative About Its Use Cases
Ingress: Portal Submissions: The Glitch
Ingress: The Squad: Values
Ingress: Taser Green Agents
Ingress: State Of The Game: New York City (4)
Ingress: And I Am Back
Ingress: Enjoying Not Playing
Ingress: I Will Be Back
Ingress: Many Many Teams But Only Two Global Teams
Ingress: Temporarily Banned
Ingress: Imagining 10,000 Agents In NYC
Ingress: Home Territory: I Need My Green Agents
Ingress: Swatting Houseflies On The COMM
Ingress: Unity Portals: Elmhurst
Ingress: 105 Strong Home Territory, Shooting For 200
Ingress: Jackson Heights Past Midnight
Ingress: How To Build A Home Territory
Ingress: Jackson Heights Stacks Up Pretty Good Citywide
Ingress: More Portals Are Needed
Ingress: Tri-State Resistance Should Attempt Complex Fielding
Ingress: Bus 5
Ingress: 12 Keys To One Portal At Once
Ingress: 7,000,000 AP
Ingress: Happy 4th From A Home Territory 100% Blue
Ingress: Jackson Heights: The Most Happening Place In Queens
Ingress: New Scanner: Version 1.30.2 Update
Ingress: Governor's Island
Ingress: Home Territory
Ingress: Team Momentum: What Gives?
Ingress: The Cross Faction Squad
Ingress: State Of The Game: New York City (3)
Ingress: Could The Squad Be Cross Faction?
Ingress: 5 Times More Players, 10 Times More Portals
Ingress: Reporting tomhuze
Ingress: I Can Retire Now
Ingress: Open Source Organization And Organic Leadership
Ingress: State Of The Game: New York City (2)
Ingress: Linking And Fielding Types
Ingress: Jackson Heights Mysteries
Ingress: The Squad: Racially Coded Language
Ingress: Pendulum Swings In Team Momentum
Ingress: The Squad
Ingress: Portal Submissions Are The Bomb
Ingress: Portal Building, Field Building, Farm Building, Team Building
Ingress: State Of The Game: New York City
Ingress: Legitimate Secrets
Ingress: That Dosa Thang!
Ingress: L8 Farms: Getting 8 People To Show Up
Ingress Suggestion: Portal Enhancements
Ingress: 300K In 2 Hours 15 Minutes
Ingress: L8 Farm Types
Ingress: Team? What Team?
Ingress NYC Resistance "Secrets"
Ingress: The Game Changes
Ingress And Complex Strategies
Ingress: Phase 3
Ingress: Is Victory Possible?
Ingress: High Level Stuff
Ingress: A Great Game For The Knowledge Worker
Ingress: Trending At This Blog
Level 8 In A Month
1,000,000 Action Points
18 Fields
Ingress Tips
Nexus 4: The Top Phone In The Market
How I Just Made Two Purchases
An External Battery As Big As The Phone
Ingress Can Be Modified For Grassroots Organizing
Ingress Tips (2)
Ingress Tips
Would Like An Ingress Invite
The Nexus 4 Is A Beautiful Thing
Happy New Year

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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

1 TB: Yahoo Mail's Reentry With A Bang

August 2000 Issue of Yahoo! Internet Life
August 2000 Issue of Yahoo! Internet Life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Of all things Yahoo Mail could have done, 1 TB in free storage tops the charts. It totally grabbed my attention. Already in recent weeks I have been mass labeling a bunch of mail in my Yahoo inbox as spam so as to declutter.

Getting only relevant mail and 1 TB of free storage surely gets me to give Yahoo Mail a second look. There is no way I am walking away from Gmail. But we all can use a good second email address. I know I need one. Heck, I could use three. Let Hotmail compete.

I could use a Yahoo version of Google Drive for free online storage.
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Monday, October 07, 2013

Larry Page Has Been Underrated


Not Google. Google has been rated just fine. But not Larry Page. When we think of Larry Page, we don't think of him in terms of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Steve Jobs is even more mysterious than Bill Gates. Jobs had the theatrics done right. There was plenty of essence to him, but he was the master of how the media plays itself out. Compared to that Larry Page is boring. He does not have much of a stage presence. But the guy is a tech genius. And Google is the bright star in the sky.

I have felt this a long time. I am on record at this blog saying Larry Page should have been the Google CEO the entire time. If it were not for Larry, Google might have missed the Android boat altogether.

Now there is an article that supports my long held feelings towards Larry Page. Heck, compared to Larry Page even Marissa Mayer has more media wattage.

I think Larry Page will be truly appreciated when the Google Car hits the road in droves, universal internet access becomes a reality, gigabit broadband becomes the norm across the US, and we are all not ageing so fast no more. Give the guy until 2020 to give us a trillion dollar company.

Larry Page's Google Rules the Digital World
When Bill Gates was 40 he had just released Windows 95. When Steve Jobs was 40 he was still in exile at NeXT and Pixar. At age 40, Page is worth about $25 billion, and his days as Google CEO are just beginning.

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