Recommend a Camera

I am planning to buy a camera. Can someone recommend one before 28th Dec 2007 .. ?


ICICI Bank Credit Cards advertising on Facebook

Just saw this 5 minutes ago.

ICICI Bank Credit Cards is now advertsing on Facebook.

Orkut vs Facebook seems to be a popular topic amongst people in India. This advertisement by ICICI Bank Credi Cards might just be the beginning of Facebook's acceptance as a social networking platform frequented by Indians.

This brings me to another discussion. Effectiveness of text ads delivered by Google Adsense vs ads delivered by Facebook as a notification.

For an online ad to be effective, it should have following ...

1. Visibility - With those slick blocks, FB ads are far more visible than cluttered text ads delivered by Google.

2. Hook - Why would someone click on an ad knowing that it is an ad? Because of a hook. Hook like "Rs. 250 on your first purchase", no points for guessing which platform has better hooks.

3. Reach - Obvisouly Google Adsense leads by a long way. FB can display ads only in its network and Google can reach the dense rainforests of the world wide web.

In the long run, its hard to tell which one would win. FB looks better but they have a huge problem. The ads can only be served within the social network and hence is limited in scale.

Any other opinions?

Your HDFC Bank Account Need Authentication To Keep Your Account Activate Otherwise it Will Get Blocked

Phishing... !

Mail titled "Your HDFC Bank Account Need Authentication To Keep Your Account Activate Otherwise it Will Get Blocked"

HDFC Bank users need to be aware ...

Past-Present-Future of e-commerce in India

Mitul asked this question on LinkedIn. I am posting my answer.

Past-Present-Future of e-commerce in India.
E-commerce in India is at a very nascent stage compared to western world. However, if compared to last year, transactions have grown by over 1000% (or more) and my assumption is that the future is going to be even more exciting.

Railways & Airlines have played a major role in this. What is the next big thing that will take e-commerce to the next level?

My Answer
Hi Mitul,

I think the next wave is going to be commodity products. Something like Books. Things that you don't mind buying from any store, you would buy them online if the website gave you a discount. Other things that would fall under this category are computers (Dell), Stationary (OfficeTiger, Office 1 superstore) etc.

Fashion as mentioned by Heber might not work in India as we still want to touch and feel these products. In fact even when we go to a store, we spend hours deciding on the right fit and look. Its something innate to Indians. (am not sure about other cultures).

If I come across more, will update this.


I further updated the answer ...

Hi Mitul,

I dont know what would build the future. It's just that I put myself in customers shoes and figure out what would I want to buy online.

Talking about mobile phones, one reason why I dont think it would work is that we as Indians want to touch and feel a product a before we buy. With an online model am not sure if I can touch and feel a product.

Second we buy things from a trusted service provider rather than any random person. Websites are still not trusted parties for most Indians. I would pay a premium to buy something from a trusted shop and might leave the 5% discount that online sales get me.

Third a mobile phone is still 5000 bucks and this is above average amount for an average Indian. Spending this much means that stakes involved are high (might not be able to buy it some time soon in case it is faulty). Thus we go the extra step in making sure that decision is correct in the first place.

Hope this helps.
Warm Regards,

Anyone wants to share their opinions .. ?

Jonathan Ive - Steve Jobs in making?

I posted about Jonathan Ive in March 2006 here.

Times Online has this interesting piece that speculates that Jonathan Ive is being groomed to take over Steve Jobs.

Sad News ... Asok is dead :(

Asok died on Friday December 07, 2007. Deepest condolences to his family and friends.

May his soul rest in peace.

P.S.: Further details here.

Free CSS Tutorial

If anyone is planning to learn CSS, easy and fast, please refer to Hands on CSS Tutorial. This is best CSS tutorial I have come across in a long long time. The tutorials has many examples, is written in a very lucid language and is very comprehensive. Ideal for a beginner.


I was walking slowly outside my office. It dawned on me that last time I walked this slowly, with this much reassurance was when I was at MDI.

There was too much uncertainly floating around. I had no clue where I was headed and I couldn’t have cared less but there was an assurance. A sense of security. A certainty. I belonged to that place and that place belonged to me.

Today when I was walking down the road, I realized that suddenly I am back where it all started. I am confident about the future. I am certain that good things would happen. The only uncertainty is how and when. And how and when are mere words. Inconsequential words.

Is it that I use only fancy words and do nothing about it? Is it that I would be yet another blips on the radar with a half life of 5 seconds?

Batti Band - Mumbai Unplugged

Mumbai has seen flurry of citizen initiatives. Car Free Bandra managed to see participation of a large chunk of Bandra residents, coverage from press and 15 minutes of fame for people who thought about it.

The other one currently in vogue is Batti Bandh, Mumbai Unplug. The idea is simple. Global warming is affecting the way we live. We will all shut off all electric devices for one hour on December 15.

First time I read this, I had two thoughts.
1. Are electric devices causing global warming in the first place?
2. If unplugged electric devices are being used to spread a message, isn't there a better way than a bandh?

For the record I am absolutely against any kind of Bandh. Be it YFE or any other youth forum against reservations, Doctors against mandatory year of rural service or even shutting down electric appliances to raise awareness about global warming.

A Bandh by its very definition is against the basis premise on which the world has eveolved. The premise of growth, development and a continuous state of flux. A Bandh tries to stop the movement from one stage to another. And this is very reason Bandhs are mostly inaffective and end up as damp squibs.

A Bandh thus might have a few positive effects but the list of negatives is endless. No one can be held responsible for patients who died because doctors were on a strike or for students who couldnt sit for their annual exams because there was a rally being organized on the roads. Some people say we need to lead by example. Do we want to set example by shutting down work? By dis-obedience?

Agreed civil disobedience played a key role in our struggle for freedom but it was a different. We were not preached to stop working and go on a Bandh. Instead we adviced to work. We decided to march till Dandi and make our own salt.

Coming back to Batti Bandh, I am wondering people supporting Batti Bandh actually know the REAL reason behind Global Warming, Kyoto Protocol or carbon credits?

To end, I think Global Warming is a real issue and its about time we did something about it. I am not questioning the intent of people behind (and supporting) Batti Bandh, I am instead raising finger at the way they are going about it.

In my opinion a better way could have been to create activities that made people come out of houses (and eventually turn off lights). Something productive would have came out of it and awareness would have been much better.

Gujarat Assembly Elections - 2007

Gujarat is currently witnessing the greatest drama that can be staged in a democracy – elections. Gujarat goes to elections in two phases – 87 seats on Dec 11 and 95 seats on Dec 16.

Ideally elections should be fought over governance, judiciary and development. Tough questions should be asked. Honest answers should be expected. From the time I can remember, I have never seen this happening.

Gujarat elections are about Mr. Narendra Modi and Ms. Sonia Gandhi. Questions and answers have been replaced by creative competitions of coming up with better attacks, allegations and mud-shots. Instead of talking about economic development, politicians are banking on religion and riots. Instead of challenging governance, politicians are talking about sting operations conducted by media houses with dubious credentials.

Few of the issues raised by these political parties have een "Hindutva", "terrorism" and "revenge". One of the parties is talking about "maut ke saudagar". The other one is prophesying "Eent ka jawab paththar se". Sounds like a perfect way to get attention. Aren't elections only about getting attention?

I am very disappointed with the way elections are being fought (they should be contested not fought) in Gujarat. When I cast my vote for the first time about 7 years ago, I was ecstatic. I had voiced my opinion in choosing who I thought would run the show best. Not for the guy who could shower my religion with flowery language or promise to drive all the "terrorists" out.

Do Not Disturb ... Vodafone

45 days. Talk of service levels and process time.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Assist
Date: Dec 6, 2007 7:34 PM
Subject: Do Not Disturb

Dear Mr. ****,

This is with reference to your feedback regarding the "Do Not Disturb" (DND) service.

We confirm the request for the DND service has been updated on your account. However, it will take 45 days to stop all promotional calls and SMS.

Warm regards,

Nisha Alvares Lobo
Vodafone Care

Contact numbers Vodafone Care : 111 or +91-9820098200
(Toll free from Vodafone mobile phones within the home network)
Fax number : +91-22-66661200
E-mail :
Website : earning report

According to Sandeep Murthy, CEO,, "We are expecting to close this March 2008 with a Rs 700-crore turnover". Link

700 crore is a huge number for an online ticketing website. Lets see how much of this 700 crores is actually earnings for Cleartrip.

I will make following assumptions.

1. Average ticket price is Rs. 2,500 (The actual would be higher)
2. makes Rs. 100 on each ticket (I know for a fact that ticketing agents make all of Rs. 50 on each ticket. I am assuming that has the muscles to get better margins).

Time for some simple maths.

Turnover: Rs. 700 Crores aka Rs. 700 00 00 000
Number of tickets: 700 00 00 000 / 2 500 = 28 00 000
Margin per ticket: 28 00 000 * 100 = 28 00 00 000
Net Earning: 28 Crores

28 crores in first few years of operation is actually not bad for an online ticketing company. After they recover their investment costs (which should not be more than 20 odd crores if they are prudent), all revenues are theirs to keep.

There is zero or negligible operating cost for a business like theirs. No raw material costs, no managing the back end, no overheads. All they need to do is pay the licensing guy and put money in marketing. Further once they reach a traction point, even the marketing costs would start reducing.

Actually no. Theirs is a business with zero competitive advantage. Any website offering better deals will get the chunk of the business. How can they build moats around their castles? If they cant build those moats, they will have to somehow figure out a balance point between marketing spends and revenues.

Recently paid 10 crores to Mahesh Murthy's Pinstorm for online marketing. Keeping in context Cleartrip's earning at 28 crores , I wonder how much is Yatra making and is Yatra breaking even with this kind of marketing spend?

The business looks really lucrative. No wonder everyone wants to get into online ticketing. The long term winner will be the one who can leverage marketing effectively.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams ... continued

I updated my status message to Boulevard of Broken Dreams about 2
hours ago and I have already received compliments from three people for having that status message.

Green Day seems to be a "cool" band.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Yet another song I recently heard and immediately fell in love with ...

Artist: Green Day
Lyrics: Billie Joe Armstrong, Lead Singer, Green Day

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
and I'm the only one and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk a...

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone

Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Aaah-ah,
Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah

I'm walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line
Of the edge and where I walk alone

Read between the lines
What's fucked up and everything's alright
Check my vital signs
To know I'm still alive and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk a...

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone

Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Aaah-ah
Ah-ah, Ah-ah

I walk alone
I walk a...

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I'm the only one and I walk a...

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone...

The Nidhi Kapoor Story

Did you like this post? May be you want to read my first book - The Nidhi Kapoor Story.

Check it out on Amazon or Flipkart?