[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

Explorer Iam

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

One of the things I enjoy is to do is to wander. I was telling Harini today is that I am an “explorer” at my core.

I enjoy the time I spend at the local library or the bookstore. I love to scan through aisles of books, looking for that one title or author to inspire me.
I enjoy the time I wander around new cities we visit. I can’t wait to get up and get out looking for that one scenery or spot that would inspire me. e.g new mexico, puerto rico, paris, maui…
I enjoy the time I wander on the cable networks channel surfing, looking for that something that interests me at that moment.
I enjoy the time I wrestle through the random magazines on the side table at the wait room at the OBGYN’s office, inspired by the reader’s digest article.
Best of all, I enjoy the time I wander online looking for new things that internet (and google) helps me find!

I was reading NYtimes this morning and happened to get attracted to “Hot Ticket in B-School: Bringing Life Values to Corporate Ethics”. There I was reading about the inspiring Stewart D. Friedman and his leadership development course at Wharton Business School. I stumbled upon Brett Hurt, the founder and CEO of startup BazaarVoice.com at Austin, Texas. His company and the blog sounds interesting. If for the first time in the history of mankind we can see word-of-mouth, why not monetize it? Sounds good to me. Apparently, he was so impressed by Prof. Friedman that he is inspiring his employees with Friedman’s teachings and his book.

Austin reminded me of one of my former colleague, Tony Castro. I spent a unforgettable 3 day, action-packed, fun-filled weekend at Austin 7 years ago with Tony and his roommates and that experience left a yearning in me that some day I will move to Austin to live that life everyday. Brett, does BazaarVoice need my service?

I don’t want to look at Billboards!

Friday, May 30th, 2008

“New technology has made it possible, using tiny cameras, to gather details about people looking at billboard ads, such as their age or gender” – NYTimes article, May 31, 2008 – titled “Billboards That Look Back”

This is getting ridiculous. The privacy issues are going out of control in the name of business!

I understand the need for make advertising effective. I also understand that without knowing who is “consuming” the advertising, it can’t be made much effective. But please not camera’s watching me!

As such, I am not a big fan of cable TV settop boxes collecting data about what ads we are watching. Although I have a satellite dish providing us service, they enfore we connect their settop box to the telephone line to enable them to send data back when I watch the superbowl Ad or if I was channel surfing!

Sooner or later, the data collected about us will be so intelligent that we don’t have to make any decisions ever in our life for ourselves. The data analytical systems will be so intelligent and likely accurate that we better let them say what we should do, than to think and decide for ourselves. I wonder what will be do with all the time we will then….? Watch more TV!!!

Odyssey Of the Mind – my calling?

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

One of my core desires is around doing something to foster creativity among children in developing nations, especially among those children, who lack awareness and resources to experience the “creative process”.

Given that desire, my soul always looks out for anything related to it.

I stumbled upon today’s Courier News paper at the desk of one of my colleagues at work. I was browsing through it really quickly, until I stopped at an article in the local section that said “Students prepare for World Finals of problem-solving competition” . The heading was enough for me take a minute to read through it.

I had never heard of “Odyssey of the Mind” of before. But it sure hit a chord in me. Obviously, I returned to my desk and googled it. Odyssey of the Mind is apparently a popular competition among school-going children and its purpose is to “foster the development of children’s creative-thinking and problem-solving skills”. Founded almost 25+ years ago, seems a movement of a sort to foster creativity among children. One day, I would love to do something like this for children in India, who I am sure, given right environment, resources, time and encouragement, will beat anyone else in creativity!

I was just fascinated to visit their website : http://www.odysseyofthemind.com. Looks like their next world finals is next week in MaryLand and a few teams from central jersey has made it to the world finals. I was telling Harini that we could go there if not for the safe arrival of our little master! Children from 20 different countries participate besides children from 50 states in the US. Indeed, India is not one of them.

Perhaps, my “calling” came through the Courier News today!

You got ADD!

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

pseudo-attention deficit disorder : Its sufferers do not have actual A.D.D., but, influenced by technology and the pace of modern life, have developed shorter attention spans. They become frustrated with long-term projects, thrive on the stress of constant fixes of information, and physically crave the bursts of stimulation from checking e-mail or voice mail or answering the phone. from NYTimes.

Am I reading about myself? I have to admit that the last sentence is gem. It absolutely reflects my own situation. To be doing nothing or to be silent and peaceful, scares me these days, as much as I know I should love it!

The new New Media is Social Media

Monday, May 26th, 2008

User generated video content has exploded in last 2-3 years beyond one’s imagination. Beyond YouTube, Metacafe and Blip.tv (the three that I regularly browse through) there are hundreds of others who scout the world looking for amateur video. All of this in the hope of becoming the next niche media distribution channel within the Internet.

This growth in web of websites for uploading and sharing video now has spawned a few “consolidators”. I recently tried my hands with Magnify Networks at magnify.net. I think they have done a splendid job of providing an integrated discovery and aggregation portal for user generated video. Just as most web 2.0 startups, they are in Beta and are constantly improvising. The registration, as expected was quick and easy. And I was up and running setting up my (dream) project in a no time : http://villagekewl.magnify.net/

I like this search and consolidate model because now I can search across my favorite video portals from one place. I presume the maginify.net guys constantly look to integrate with new video providers and so I don’t have to necessarily “know” who is the new or next YouTube. All I need to think about is what do I want Maginify to search for and how to aggregate and present it on my portal at http://villagekewl.magnify.net. There are other neat set of features such as playlists, user ratings, and auto search etc. to play around with. Check it out for yourself.

Now, the key question boils down to how effective is the video search. Obviously, its basic text search with the title and description of the video and perhaps, few other attributes defined by the host video provider. Beyond that, we got to wonder who has the best tagged video content on the web.

While on the topic, I got to mention CoolIris, which I stumbled as I was trying to get in touch with Sashi Seth. CoolIris has a catch product, essentially a browser plugin that would transform it into 3D browsing experience. So from reading/view a sort of a page from top to bottom or right to left, with text, audio and video what if you were let into street fair or planetarium and find text, audio, video all around you and you can zip through search and view in all directions, as fast as you can? Welcome to PicLens from CoolIris. you can download and try for yourself. So who is Sashi Seth anyway? As good as it looks, He will figure out if CoolIris can make any money out of it!

I am back!

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

The long hiatus is over and I now have an MBA from NYU Stern. No more excuses to not blog! At least, I can’t sleep at night peacefully with any other excuse!

I have been thinking about the emotional reaction to having a business school degree now and the 2.5 years of ordeal going to Manhattan twice a week, the hours and hours of reading and case writing, working with hundreds of great students and world-class professors and finally, a spectacular commencement at RadioCity hall. It does feel unreal at times, that it is done and over!

My father sent a note of appreciation : “[you are] really fortunate to get this higher education in New York University. Nenachukooda pakkallai. GOD IS GREAT”. Nenachukooda pakkallai means, never even thought such a thing was possible.

I agree, from where we were as a family 12 years to where we are…I am happy for what we got and for what I had even 3 years ago. I have not thought about doing an mba, let alone in the US and let alone in the No.1 part-time program in the country. yet here I am writing this. This only proves to me what I already strongly believe : “If you put your mind & heart, anything is possible!!!” Credit goes to two individuals : Mohan Tavaroth, who really pushed me off the cliff when I was questioning my abilities to do it three years ago. The larger credit goes to Harini. She has been trooper all along and has gone through much pains due to lack of my attention and help at family front. The delayed price of which is coming in 3 weeks from now! our little boy! Timing of it couldn’t have been better thanks to Almighty!

It may sound like a big deal? is it?

It sure is. To paraphrase what I have learnt from my readings : “Pain and Joy aren’t comparative; A person’s pain or joy is just as big as anyone else’s pain or joy, regardless of the reasons or context”.

With that, I am starting to blog again! I am honored & thankful for your continued readership support for my blog.