November 30, 2006

Be good... Live good

When Boja Maharaj (King) asked the great poet Kalidasa as what is the essense of 1 crore books written about life, he answered...

"Paropakaraha punyaya, papaya parapeedanam".
To do good to others is merit. To hurt and cause suffering to others is sin (In this context, trouble refers both bodily and on the mind level).

Speaking of how your thoughts can affect your behavior, here is a good explanation. Your thoughts reflect your words... Your words reflect your deeds... Your deeds become your habits in course of time... and your habits shape your personality. Ofcourse, your personality can decide your future.

Just as how we all believe that energy can neither be created nor be destroyed, and can only be transformed; all the good you do will not go in vain. The more good you do to others, more good will happen to you.

November 17, 2006

Style your Charity

I have a firm opinion about how charity should be done. The article 'Giving Your All' by Steven Landsburg brings more clarity and strategy on how to plan my charities. When I first thought about Charity, it sounded as simple as giving a portion of my income to my family. What kind of style can be associated with Charity?

The article mentioned two ways of doing charity.

  1. Do your research, short-list your options, and select just 1 organization from your list. Give all your charity to this organization.
  2. Do your research and short-list your options. Then, give a portion of your charity to each of the organizations in your list. In other words, distribute your charity to several organizations.
There has been a debate on which strategy is better... But however, several economists recommend Strategy-1. Here is an excerpt from Tim Harford's reasoning:

Many people are unconvinced by this argument—which I owe to Steven Landsburg—because they are used to diversifying their financial investments (a bit of Google stock and a bit of Exxon, too) and varying their choices (vanilla ice cream AND bananas). But those instincts are selfish: They are not intended to benefit both Google and Exxon, nor both the ice-cream company and the banana growers. With charity, the logic is different, and a truly selfless donor would bite the bullet and put his entire donation behind one cause. That we find that so hard to imagine is just one more indication of how hard it is for us to think ourselves into a truly selfless view of the world.

D Orange N A01 T e

Here is my stand on it... I take the hybrid approach. I would broadly classify the kinds of charity that interest me, and then direct my contributions to just 1 organization in each category. Let me explain why I chose this path. I (hopefully all of you too) put aside a specific portion of the salary every month for charity. Once the money accrues to a substantial size, we donate it for a good cause. There are several forms of charity, each targeting a specific aspect of the society. For a prosperous future, we need to build a society strong in all aspects. By channelizing the contributions to just 1 organization in each category, we can do some good at a noteworthy level.

For example, Giving food (anna-dhaana) to fight starvation is a great form of charity. Another aspect of charity is to provide education, support the spreading of knowledge, and contribute to literacy efforts. In Sanskrit, this form of charity is called vidhyaa-dhaana (knowledge-charity). It is as important as anna-dhaana (food-charity), and both of these target different aspects of our society.

I'd love to know what you guys think...

November 15, 2006

Cool Idea for a Mobile App

During the NFJS symposium in Dallas, one of the speakers mentioned about an excellent application (you may call it web2.0) for a mobile user. It appropriately makes use of today's high-tech cell phone capabilities. For the sake of discussion, lets give the application a name... I am going to call it 'Deal on Demand'

While you are shopping, you come across an expensive article that you wish to purchase... But, you keep your fingers crossed about the best price you could pay for it. This is when 'Deal-on-Demand' comes into your life. Using your camera-phone, you click a photo at the barcode of the article, and send it along with your zip-code to the 'Deal-on-Demand' center via SMS / Email. You get a message back telling you if thats a good price to pay. In addition to that, you may also be informed about the nearest location where you could buy it at a cheaper price.

It sounds so cool... Does'nt it? If I've heard it right, there is a team of developers out there trying to execute the idea already!

Disclaimer: Its not my idea.

November 13, 2006

Expressing Web-2.0 in a word

Hey... How do you define the entire concept of Web 2.0 in a single word. I choose the word 'Synergy'. Here is the meaning of 'Synergy'

The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.

Every user acts as an agent who contributes a little to the system, and the result is a Web2.0 system whose utility value is tremendous. Can you find a better word?

November 12, 2006

Reliance - Farmer's friend

I was delighted when I read the news about Reliance's venture into the Retail industry (Grocery outlets) of India.
For those looking for the numbers, here is some text pulled out from BBC News.

Branded "Reliance Fresh", they are part of a $5bn project planned for more than 780 cities and 6,000 rural towns in India over the next five years. The company aims to open stores in the top 70 cities within the next two years and have sales of $25bn by 2011.

Farmers make the backbone of India, and hence are very crucial for its economic progress. But so far, its a sad story for the farmers with so many suicides every year due to drought/flood conditions. The government has done very little to solve the problem at its roots. The farmers should be given (or) helped with supply-chain management of the crops, regulated water supply, and increased technology to improve productivity.

Its a very good move by the Reliance Inc. to be a farmer's friend, and become 'The Walmart of India'. As Mukesh Ambani has said, its a win-win patnership for Reliance and the farmers. Reliance has now shown the path, which will be soon followed by other Industry leaders too. Here is an excerpt from India-Enews.

Under the project, the company will set up world-class infrastructure for supply chain under a farm-to-fork strategy. 'This idea is to make farmers our partners and ensure fresh fruits and vegetables at affordable prices,' Pillai said.

'It is a small step in our initiative, which will create a virtuous circle of prosperity by bringing the farmers and consumers in a win-win partnership,' said Mukesh Ambani, who was here Thursday night, but not at the official opening.

This has come at a time when India's economic progress is escalating at a rapid pace. It would be good if the Indian government also plans on taking measures to protect farmers against drought and flood. Merging of rivers is a very good solution, but requires extensive planning, funding, and negotiations. Anyways, lets hope for the best in future.

November 10, 2006

Myths for web2.0 ideas

Y'day, I was discussing with my friend about the characteristics of a web2.0 application that can generate AD-revenue with ease. We quickly came up with a list of myths for webapp ideas.

  1. Page Hits
    The webapp should genuinely compel the user to visit the site often. In other words, the user should find the need to interact with the webapp on a daily basis for his benefit. For instance, Bookmarking, Digg, Blog, ...

  2. Applicability
    The webapp should be applicable to serve a large community. Bigger the size of your target audience, greater are the chances of success.

  3. Desperate Audience
    Desperate users will click through your Ads more often than others. So, the webapp should serve user's top priority needs such as finding jobs, dates, free money, deals, etc...

  4. Simplicity
    Keep it short and simple... in terms of both purpose and interface. The purpose of the webapp should be simple, straight-forward, and solve a specific problem in the domain. An overly complicated tool with multi-tasking capability can confuse or frighten the user. Also, keep the navigation interface and GUI as simple (yet elegant) as possible.

  5. Maintenance Cost
    Start-ups should consider the cost of maintaining large databases, security, etc. So, make sure the webapp requires just a minimum set of web resources to start off with.

  6. Creative solution
    The webapp should provide a new solution to an old problem. That means, it should be unique in its capability to serve the user's need. Its not healthy to replicate other webapps, and clone the top-notch apps in the domain.

November 03, 2006

My dashboard - Siddhi Labs

Today, I launched a dashboard for all my experiments with the web. I named it Siddhi-Labs. Here is the meaning of 'Siddhi' picked from Cologne Sanskrit dictionary:

Siddhi: accomplishment , performance , fulfilment , complete attainment (of any object) , success
Check out my latest creations, browse thru my write-ups, and get judgmental about my pics. This will be the central HUB for all my future works too...