The Imminent “Smartphone” Plateau

Star Trek PADDI believe that the concept of the primadonna “smartphone” has started to plateau.

Despite protests from the gadget crowd (who usually are the last to know anyway because they are too enamoured with their latest purchase), I see the “smartphone” having run its race. It will now give way to what the original Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) had promised to be since the days of Star Trek – a window into the endless streams of data that we depend on for our daily lives.

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On Online Privacy

Recently, I was interviewed by a publication on the subject of online privacy, who then chose to use only part of the answers they asked of me. As it is my policy in such cases, here is the entire set of answers I gave.

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Tablets Are Not Mobile Devices!

Tablet and SmartphoneThe biggest buzzword in town these days is, of course, “mobile”. Everyone is talking about it, everyone wants in on the game, and of course everyone predicts that it will be the next cash cow.

The problem is that just about everything smaller than a PC is now being tagged as a “mobile platform”, including (but not limited to) notebooks, netbooks, Tablets, smartphones, featurephones, etc. And that is where the problem lies.

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Are you really a supporter of your cause?

When you say that you are a supporter of something, have you ever considered whether you are in fact a supporter (someone who actively contributes to the cause) or just a casual fan – someone who simply follows the crowd when there is fun to be had, but does nothing actively to further the cause?

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Marketing is a River

It A riveris interesting how misunderstood the concept of “marketing” is.

Way too many people equate marketing with selling, creating awareness about a product, a campaign, etc. Something that you do at a specific time, when you are trying to achieve an objective. And usually something negative.

Let me try and explain how I see the concept of marketing.

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The Wind of Change, 2012 Edition

Don't Panic :)Recently, I was quoted in an article about early retirement, which resulted in a hilarious number of people reacting with “What? You retired???” :)

Most of the people who reacted this way are people who have known me for a long time, and were surprised that I was even talking about retirement. They probably missed my key-quote (which was in fact the main blurb of the article): “One shouldn’t expect to ‘retire’ – just expect to be doing something different. If you are the kind of person who can even afford to ‘retire early’, then you are almost certainly the kind of person who can’t sit still”.

That’s me – I certainly wouldn’t be able to sit still, and I am not. :)

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One More Thing…

Two years ago, in 2010, we announced that FOSS.IN/2010 would be the last one. There were a lot of reasons for this, which have been documented here.

Since then, I have been searching all over India for an annual event that I could attend every year just like FOSS.IN, but with a bigger focus on technology.

And I came up with nothing.

The closest that I could come were HasGeek’s excellent workshops (and I can highly recommend them), but they were focused on single topics. Nothing wrong with that, but what I was looking for was a much wider spread – different technologies talking to each other, and of course people from all walks of life, willing to come together and share their knowledge and experiences. And after a while, it struck me:

I was looking for FOSS.IN.

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Announcing PRODUCTISE.IN/2012

Last year, we announced a brand new event – PRODUCTISE.IN. This event was meant to take on the hard topic of product development – not the funding, not the VCs, not the exits, but the actually core of a startup – the product.

Unfortunately, we ran into several hitches. First, the notice was way too short for most people. So we shifted the event by a month – and then couldn’t get a venue. In the meanwhile, we also realised that this event had to be addressed in an entirely different manner – unlike FOSS.IN, the mindset and requirements of the audiences who would be attending PRODUCTISE.IN would cover a huge range of things, including usability, user interface design, market research, marketing the product, and much more.

We have spent the past few months brainstorming about this, and are glad to announce that we have now pinned down both the scope and the dates for the event.

PRODUCTISE.IN (which, in the words of one of our friends, is the “worst event name – ever!” :) ) will be held this year on December 3rd and 4th in Bangalore. Venue and other details will be announced soon, but with this much lead-time, we will have no problems getting things in place.

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This is a talk with a difference :) My talk at TEDxMSRIT, about designing products for users. This is a fun talk, with a serious message. And the organisers made sure that they made me look like Mephistopheles on stage – a totally new look for me :) Enjoy!