500 Wi-fi Hotspots : Is Google really being generous?

Over the last 2 weeks newspapers in India had a lot of stories about the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Silicon Valley in the United States. As Modi wrapped up his visit,there were a lot of achievements highlighted,no doubt,to accentuate the success of his visit.

One of the initiatives that was lauded was Google’s future plans of introducing free Wi-Fi at 500 Indian railway stations;this move was appreciated by everyone as  it would connect India and would provide a whole lot of benefits to people. Say,you are one of those people who use apps to book taxis and make payments while travelling between places,having Wi-Fi would turn out to be a huge blessing.

But does India need Google to provide free Wi-Fi? How is this a big initiative from a company of Google’s stature?

Let’s hope that for logging into the “Google Wi-Fi” users are not required to enter their Google account credentials as an additional authentication step which would enable Google to collate and compile the users’ online behavior (A perfect win-win situation).

Delhi’s (one of the Indian states)  Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal promised to introduce free Wi-Fi to entire state of Delhi if elected and Google’s gesture pales in comparison! Is the Indian Government right in hyping up Google’s gesture? There seems to be more to the move than meets the eye.



More often than not when you are caught in the whirl of your professional life and find it tough to keep up with the pace of your personal life,you need to take a step back. Yes,that’s the simple solution.

Take. A. Step. Back.

Sometimes plans go awry and bad habits creep in and taking a break to tinker your life back into shape is a beneficial move.

Intermittent evaluation of goals to track progress is essential to determine the relevance of your goals.Sometimes you may have started something that may have lost relevance due to the changing times. Introspection would help you pinpoint the necessity of continuing/ discontinuing activities not aligned to your goals.

For example,recently I got involved in a lot of different activities which seemingly drained my energy and motivation to execute my most important goals. I decided to use the Urgency-Important Matrix to help me organize myself better. I realized that I was spending a lot of time on reading too many books. I have decided to divide time between reading the different books and to not exceed the stipulated times/limit.

Example :not reading more than 20 pages per day per book would not reduce the time I need to spend on critical activities.

Remember this: Introspection sometimes requires a sane outside voice you can trust. One should never hesitate to reach out to the expert to get an additional point of view that can add a new angle to your outlook.

If things go out of control,you’ve just got to follow the advice you might have learnt in school to put out fire (if your body is aflame):


The clarity and calmness you get will help you declutter.

3D Printed Meat: Is it good as it sounds?

Recently I was forwarded an article by my boss at work and came across someone who was exhorting the benefits of 3D Printed meat;specifically  in relation to prevention of animal slaughter by manufacturing artificial meat.

I was mildly amused and reached out to the person (Vivek Wadhwa) who had posted the article,on Twitter . The person immediately pointed me towards the reference link (which does not look like a definitive or reliable study because it points out that 88% of people prefer grain fed meat when in real life,most people are clueless or don’t give a damn about what their “meat ate”) that discusses the future of 3D printed meat.

First of all, just because something is possible does not necessarily make it suitable for public consumption. I respect vegetarianism as a personal choice but eating 3 D printed of meat does not help achieve a middle ground. How would you describe yourself if you were only eating 3D Printed meat apart from being a vegetarian? Would you say ” I am not strictly a meat eater, I just eat 3D printed meat”? Ok,Maybe a new definition will have to be coined somewhere down the line if 3D printed meat consumption takes off big time.

Also,when more and more people are increasingly drawn towards organic food to avoid the harmful effects of processed food; it seems highly unlikely that there will be a formidable number of 3D printed meat eaters. Artificial meat will never stop animal slaughter;in fact  theoretically stoppage of animal slaughter will cause a huge imbalances in world animal populations and food chain..the ingredients of 3D meat have to come from somewhere,right?

Conclusion : I don’t know if I would ever eat 3D printed.Maybe,just to boast to my friends I would take a nibble but I can never envision it becoming a regular part of my diet simply because there would not be any personal connection or identification with what I am about to eat(No, I don’t kill my own meat like Mark Zuckerberg). I am not sure about 3D printing of vegetables though..well,that’s another topic and I really don’t care about the feeling of vegetables 🙂

Are your Investments in alignment with your values?

If you are one of those people who don’t like to invest directly in shares and gravitated towards mutual funds (as it does not include the hassle of monitoring your investment frequently),you need to re-evaluate your priorities immediately.

Sometime ago, I started investing in mutual funds as part of my evolving relationship with my money. Every year I decide to learn and implement something that puts me in a better place financially. I’ve always believed in the ” Never put all your eggs in one basket” concept and actively seek out ways to find additional (and most importantly ,legal) ways of earning more money– as a result, I taught myself about investing in mutual funds.

I learnt about SIPs,investing in mid-cap and multi-cap funds but the most important fact that missed my attention is something I am about to share with you — something that will resonate with you and make you think twice before choosing a mutual fund that simply gives you better returns.

You don’t get to choose the companies the fund manager selects to create a portfolio.

I know this is not an earth-shattering fact and this feature is actually considered to be the USP of mutual funds as it translates into risk distribution,but consider this– if you are someone who does not believe in,say, alcohol ,you might not want to be involved in promoting (directly or indirectly) alcohol consumption of any kind.

In my case I had invested in SBI FMCG  fund that had a certain percentage invested in United Breweries (which I found out much later). I did not want anything to do with United Breweries group after the Kingfisher Airlines debacle and so exited the fund.

There is no crime in a fund manager investing in profit-making companies but when given the choice to decide the direction of your investment, one would always opt for companies that are in sync with one’s values. Also, if you do want to invest in certain companies you can buy shares in them directly.

At the end of the day, people should educate themselves about investing while remaining thoughtful about how their money can make the wrong impact.

Being an Ideapreneur — Is that enough?

Recently I came across a YouTube video of one of India’s biggest software IT companies that glorified the concept of “Ideapreneurs”. I found it particularly intriguing because the ideation is usually the preliminary step of any creative activity.

Let’s take a close look at what the word “ideapreneur” means :-

An ideapreneur is a person that is continuously initiating innovative ideas which are centered around the core goal of solving problems and acting upon them.

Now contrary to popular belief,ideas are easy to come by,it is the discipline required to follow through with an idea resulting in a viable product/action plan that is commendable.

The word ideapreneur is generally used in corporate circles to encourage ideation amongst their employees and to make employees feel valued about their participation in brainstorming sessions.

An ideapreneur can never assume satisfaction and should strive towards becoming an intrapreneur or an entrepreneur to enjoy wholesome satisfaction in the realization of one’s capabilities.

So,if you are someone who is basking in the glory of your ideas, don’t fall into the trap of complacency… there is a long way to go to achieve your full creative potential

Can Virtual Reality be used in Indian Matrimonial Space?

I have been watching the evolution of Virtual reality with keen interest since Google and Facebook acquired Magic Leap and Oculus Rift respectively. Since then there have been a lot of articles speculating on the scope of Virtual reality in several domains like education,real estate and travel.The recent release of Cardboard piqued my interest and led me to wonder about whether Virtual Reality can make a difference in the matrimonial space in India.

Consider this: Most Indians who use matrimonial sites look at several factors besides the person they are getting married. Sometimes having an obnoxious sibling can be a deal-breaker :-).Also, the photos used in profiles are unreliable and may not give a complete picture. Traditionally,people call the families of the prospective bride/groom to gather check on additional details. More often than not, a visit to the house is what helps finalize the decision.

When someone declines after looking at a “candidate”, a lot of unwanted friction or heartburn is created.Also sometimes a photo or a video can be downloaded causing privacy concerns. Therefore,a “VR matrimonial experience” would not only be a huge time saver and energy saver (think of all the food cooked,the kilometers traveled, the mental strain…)

Let’s see what the future holds : who knows there might be lawsuits for misrepresentation of facts as always but the upside seems far more promising.

Is Ohm really a magic word?

A few years ago, when I visited the barber for a haircut (obviously)– he was playing some kind of religious CD and one word was repeated over and over again.
That word was “OHM”.

Listening to it had a soothing effect on me and I decided to delve deeper. Since I am in India, it was fairly easy to get in touch with Hindu friends who informed me that the word had some theraupetic effect but could not pinpoint the exact reason behind its effectiveness. I dismissed the whole reasoning as hogwash and forgot all about it.

Last week I was reading an article on Forbes about how breathing can help you control your emotions at workplace and some facts in the article enabled me to piece together the missing pieces of the ” OHM puzzle”.

Apparently exhaling lowers your heart rate while inhaling increases it.

Increased heart rate also results in the release of free radicals into your blood. Generally antioxidant intake is recommended to fight the negative effects of  free radicals. So,saying OHM in a very slow and deliberate manner actually helps lower heart rate.Controlling your breathing to avoid sudden increases in heart rate helps control amount of free radicals generated.Also, if you strategically increase your antioxidant intake ,you will experience a noticeable improvement in your overall health. If I were to use a formula to illustrate my point it would be like this :

Lower heart rate + Anti-oxidants = Good Health due to lesser free radicals

Conclusion : OHM is not a magic word that transports you into a cosmic universe and makes you a demi-god but can certainly improve your health if used as a mantra chant.

How much of “Movie Time” can you really afford?

Very often people wrongly attribute movie-watching to a loss in productivity. They can’t be more wrong. Movie- watching gives your mind a temporary break from everyday stress and can be used effectively to recharge your batteries (figuratively speaking) and change your perspective.

But how much of “movie time” is really beneficial?

When you watch movies in theaters,you have lesser distractions and your movie experience is completed soon. However,if you watch movies at home,the commercials that appear at regular intervals and the fact that you have a remote handy to switch to another channel, can force you into a bad-habit of multi-tasking with your movie experience.

It is now proven that multi-tasking makes you dumb.

The number of film award functions,success bashes and film review programs ensure that you spend a lot of time idolizing your star while you lose precious time; time that you could have spent building skills.

If you have been doing this (like a million other people),I recommend that you take a pen and paper (or use your computer if you are touchy about unwanted paper usage) and log your TV activities for a week and you will be surprised at the amount of time spent on aimless TV browsing.

So, the next time that you catch yourself flipping TV channels remember that you are just progressing towards a dumber version of yourself and that it is better to watch films in theaters or DVDs for lesser distraction.

Myntra’s “app only” move : Boon or Bane?

A few days ago Myntra announced their shift to an “app-only” mode. Will this affect Myntra? Should Amazon.in or Snapdeal follow suit? Let’s find out:

Myntra has 10 million plus users as of now. Since Flipkart acquired Myntra,this “app only” move might be an experiment by Flipkart to determine if they can move to “app only” mode too in the future (Bansal indicated that as per reports) .What does this mean for the end user?

Apps provide an edge as offers are sent to users’ mobile via push notifications and user location data is also accurate. This enables companies to fine tune their positioning strategies. At first,Myntra might send out outrageous offers which might prompt current users to recommended to their friends (who can only avail of the offer if they have Myntra installed). Myntra will then track the app install numbers to look for a healthy spike which will pave the way for a Flipkart “app only”  mode. Flipkart (or Myntra) gets a lot of “face time” as you will be spending a lot more time on push notifications.Advertising budget on other mediums could be trimmed.

Other e-commerce competitors might not follow suit simply to differentiate themselves or the user adoption rates might convince them to go the “app-only” route.

On the downside,you will be spending more for your mobile  internet pack (Wondering what “net neutrality” fans have to say about this!!).So ,if you are going to use your mobile phone/tablet to shop make sure you use your home (or office!!) Wi-fi to avoid spending a lot on your mobile internet recharges.