cognoise

What Tatasky teaches about information relations?

Last week Tata sky, my cable provider decided to change channel numbers for no discernable reason. Here is what happened
1. All my favorites switched to new channels that were clearly not my favorites
2. Kids suddenly got full access to all their favorite channels without restrictions and in effect rest of us adults losing control on the remote
3. There was this marquee text about this very stupid channel number change, on all channels with a black background that pretty much made all subtitles on the bottom half screen unreadable, on news, on scores etc in a season of Wimbledon, F1, Euro, Brexit.
4. Now on the hard button remote I am  forced to enter 4 digits against 3.

All in all Tata sky did not bother to retain the preferences of users, it also made wrong updates to them without a reason making the experience rough.

It is time someone took a course or at least a page from human-computer interaction to Tata sky.

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cognoise

Where is all the govt startup funding commitments going?

Any founder / wannabe founder nominally reading the news on what is happening in the India technology startup ecosystem will know there is more money to take than ever or at least we have some major commitments.

BJP government always has the style and PR prowess to make a big deal of these announcements of making funding commitments. Only startup founders do not have a clear way to tap into these commitments, but still feel good about it.  There are of course states backing up well. Here is the data first,

  1. INR 2500 crore from Kerala government from its IT Mission ‘for youth entrepreneurship activities’
  1. INR 100 crore from Andra Pradesh government to set up a ‘fund of fund’ without directly investing in startups
  1. Of course there are those central government/bank funding commits like the INR 10000 crore startup fund announced in the budget, and the INR 5000 crore from RBI, INR 100 crore for village startups, some crores for Accelerator / Incubators.

With benefit of doubt to bureaucracy, I will still give another 6 months to get more clarity on

  1. Who is eligible with type of registration, domicile, etc?
  1. How much funding, under what terms? How will government retain rights to deploy, sell, control?
  2. What is the selection criteria and process?
  3. Which department will answer RTI (Right To Information) queries on any application, right now it is split across Agriculture, Youth affairs, Skill Development, DST, Finance and rural development. RBI has already come out with some procedure clarity on disbursal of funds and identified SIDBI + ICICI Banks to lead.
  4. Who all are now considered accelerator, incubators, we already have academia, TBI, STEPs in the mix, with enough foundations, associations, and corporate in the mix?
  5. Which portions of reporting, filing, compliance are relaxed or added just because it is a startup?

Without above, all such startup funding frenzy will only be vacant announcements. I see many parallels between the 1996–2000 IT frenzy and this one, which starts with locals hating IT guys, and later accepting the new reality with much irritation and actually getting their daughters married to them, so there is hope to startup founders ;).

Second, there is media frenzy with money, which I think stems from confusing and comparing personal savings/rich with resource needed to run a growing business. Seeing the next round of $1 B funding in flipkart, means founders are already multi billionaires, and this warped notion / headline means more views into an otherwise dead news.

Third government funding for startups does not mean ecosystem is thriving, especially when I constantly meet startups that are on the brink of collapse/wind down due to debts, talent, inability to achieve product-market fit and attract lead customers.

Wait before you jump to get your DIN and start a private limited getting biased by all this positive news, but keep experimenting with ideas/products that you think will stand on its own without any crutches from the government.

To me RTI app to 3 departments due in 6 months.

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f.art

For every

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For every initiative, discipline (action, research etc), normal, or even some cases truth, technology trends above are played with in some form.

E.g.
If I try multi disciplinary, you can counter with anti disciplinary or trans disciplinary.
If I act normal you are free to choose paranormal even during appraisals.

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Personal

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Yesterday today and tomorrow fades so quickly in my mind, I am not clear on what drives Facebook to store everything about me.

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cognoise

Vinod Khosla fireside chat my notes

Short but well managed event, Ravi Gururaj did a great job in keeping away recent controversies and popular queries, leaving Vinod Khosla be his usual candid spontaneous self.

Vinod took pulse on the audience and their role with technology to begin with.

On entrepreneurship…
After food, shelter and kids education, having everything else as optional for every entrepreneur.
Have a clear goal for the company, and having an obstinate vision but flexible tactics. Vinod noted this being a common mistake across ventures.

Responding to how to find first users he suggested Eric Ries
The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses

Even while he did not agree on everything there, like going into the wild and starting experiments.

Talking about failure even while Ravi pressed on most disappointing, dramatic, Vinod really took his time to recall the Tablet experiment back in 1990 that failed with company being technology focused rather than user focused. ‘Point is the the pen’ whereas it should have been mobility or an email machine.
Went on to note how Blackberry 5 years later and subsequently Steve Jobs fixed the right interface.

Being so open about failure and the emotional response to failure and considering hard problems as opportunities and being personally indulgent in those and of course working for 80 hrs a week for 30 years surely will be a record and his achievements show.

He noted Noam Wasserman
The Founder’s Dilemmas – Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup (The Kauffman Foundation Series on Innovation and Entrepreneurship)

On IOT…
IoT is not even a market yet, and while stating this he took a jibe on consultants who needs to just write our talk and made sure the McKinsey and Bain folks were not in the room as their core role is just promulgate and not really ‘do’ anything.
On the same vein he set aside any bubble predictions esp in financial market.
His point was while in 2000,when bubble burst, internet traffic was and still is only growing.

On impact…
While responding to many questions on impact investments. Noting the world having 500 to 700 million energy rich, while 10 times more people need the same with the same limited resources. Evaluate scale of innovation or size of opportunity before deciding tech or the paths. Also quoted the famous
20% doctor included for the next part as well.

Tech Zen…
The almost Zen level part came late in the session when he noted,
Technology as a belief system, and went on a personal reflection about him not having any other religion.
And in response to the strong AI aka full machine learning + intelligence he made the following statement “I don’t yet know whether to believe or not.”
From his perspective even a belief is a discovery or knowing process rather than blind or without reason.

On my question…
Finally outside I did ask him the question that I couldn’t ask during the session
What’s the litmus test to identify entrepreneur, adviser, investor to bet on?
He said he does not have one but he will check if the entrepreneur was ‘self aware’. And for investors he said it is easy to find and nothing of note on ‘advisers’, obvious I guess.

PS: It was great to see erstwhile MindTree UID team and Derick, Krishnan from Flutura (see pic below)
IMG_20141212_175117

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cognoise

After this old post from Freshdesk on

How to incorporate a US Corporation from outside the USA?

Here is a live experience feed coming from

Redwood Labs on tumblr

One thing is common and long standing, lawyers acting as the intermediary between business and government is edging towards unsustainable costs for startups.

Link