Category Archives: Web 2.0

Some iphone 5 Accessories for you :)

iPhone 5 is one of the most stunning phones in the market right now and a desire for many. While it boasts of cools specs and features, there’re some issues like low battery-life etc. Here are some iPhone accessories that help me to get more from this device.

Battery Love: Mophie Juice Pack

If you own an iPhone 5, you must be suffering from low battery woes. The battery really dies fast and if you’re on a 3G connection then it is even worse. I had read about juice packs that power your phone in in-flight magazines. However, I found out those juice-packs to be bulky and nothing less than a hassle for frequent usage. I thought someone somewhere would have made a juice pack which matches up with the iPhone 5 itself.

Thankfully there’s one in the form of Mophie juice pack. Unfortunately, these guys don’t ship to India so be prepared to shell-out some good money on shipping if you plan to own this one. As for me, a kind buddy Sandeep Oruganti was generous to ship it all the way to India and gift this pack to me :)

It does make the phone tall and bulky :)

It does make the phone tall and bulky :)

Mophie Juice Pack

Rear view of Mophie Juice Back: Those little dots are the LED indicators.

Camera Love: Lenses + Tripod from Photojojo

If you’re one of those amateur photography nerds and spend your time taking a lot of random pictures from food to coffee then there’re a couple of accessories that you might want to add to your iPhone kit.

Photojojo Lens for iPhone

They’ve got a bunch of iPhone 5 lenses in the form of Macros, Fisheye, Wide angle and Telephoto etc. I’m in love with #photojojomacro lens which enables you to take those super-close macro shots with an iPhone 5.

Off-course you can never compare its quality with a DSLR but it is still very good. The macro lens comes for 20$ but again be ready to pay for the shipping duty as these guys aren’t in India yet :) I also have the telephoto lens from Photojojo but haven’t used it much as it just offers you a 2X zoom.

Some early morning shots taken in the neighbourhood park.

Some early morning shots taken in the neighbourhood park.

Photojojo flower shot

Photojojo flower shot

:) stunning no?

:) stunning no?

Test pictures with Photojojo Macro Lens

Test pictures with Photojojo Macro Lens

Gorillopod GripTight Tripod Stand

While taking those awesome pictures with buddies/family you feel that you could have been a part of them? Check this Gorillapod Stand then :) It’s perfect for self portraits and group shots. Available at photojojo for 35$ and some more for the shipping cost.

Gorillapod Clamp Stand for iPhone 5

Gorillapod Clamp Stand for iPhone 5

Handy for your group shots and self portraits :)

Handy for your group shots and self portraits :)

Music Love: Fake Beats by Dr. Dre Bluetooth Speaker

Warning: Ignore this if you’re a brand loyalist at heart :) I picked this ‘mini bluetooth speaker’ from the street market in Thailand. At the first sight, you’d be fooled by its looks since  it comes with the branding of the original Beats by Dr. Dre. The audio quality is quite good and for a speaker of this size the bass packs a considerable punch.

Give this speaker a shot before you put in big bucks to buy the real ones :)

Fake music!

Fake Beats Bluetooth speaker!

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10 Lessons of Entrepreneurship

I was recently invited by University School of Management Studies in Delhi to deliver a talk in their ongoing Entrepreneurship development program. It is always motivating to see young students pursue entrepreneurial dreams. Things have changed quite a bit compared to what they were about 5-6 years ago.

Here is the slide-deck from the day’s talk.

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Customer Service: The Cultural & Geographical Differences b/w India & Western World

This post isn’t meant to criticize our culture or our organizations. Neither is it meant to be a rant which is the outcome of frustration while dealing with a service provider! It is a reflection of an observation which explains the behavioral patterns of organizations in India when coordinating with their customers!

Perhaps this isn’t for the first time that we’re talking about the soft issue of “Customer Service”. The bottom line is that bulk of Indian companies continue to struggle on the sticky support wicket despite a tremendous opportunity due to the growth of Social Media channels.

Our recent experience with a leading provider of web-hosting is a classic case-study of the wide gap that still exists b/w India & parts of the Western World when compared on the “Customer Support” front.

In my opinion, our key learning from this experience is the existence of mind-set difference. While we consider consider customer support just like any other job and a department in the organization, for companies in States it is something that ties in with overall experience.

Our organization had recently switched over to a VPS hosting package with the idea of improving response time of hosted apps & web-pages as well as cutting down typical problems which arise with shared hosting packages! The underlying goal was to serve our customers better than ever before. During the selection process, we did our bit by researching for preferred vendors in this space across India & United States.

While the services being provided by all vendors were quite similar, we were particularly looking at someone who was strong with Services Support & was carrying a trusted name in the industry. The other problem was limited options that we had in India. Being customers of companies like BigRock and ZNet India we have had mixed experiences with them and weren’t quite keen to experiment with an unknown hosting company as it would have put the reputation of our customers’ at stake.

It was then that we learnt about a popular American hosting company that had recently started its operations in India. Since we were well aware of their unit which is among the most popular companies up in the U.S. we thought it might be a safe bet to go with their Indian arm. We freezed the option, went ahead with our order and the next step was migration of our current online assests to the new server.

That’s where it all began:

  1. To begin with, we faced severe migration problems and our company website www.iffort.com was down for ’2′ days being in no man’s land.
  2. We faced long delays with email delivery and major down-time resulting in switch to our personal emails for the interim period.
  3. Lastly, a couple of our customer portals went down.

Amidst all these, we were using all possible means to connect with their India team to understand the crux of the problem. Be it Online Chat, Email, Twitter, Facebook or Phone, we used all of them. Honestly, we had strong doubts whether the team actually understood our problem.

Perhaps they were new, perhaps they were taking time to setup in an structured manner but whatever the reason was, we knew that our organization was suffering due to all this. After constant cross-talk, Sunny did manage to hook-up with the team’s India Director. Alas we had to threaten them of dire consequences and send numerous emails. Finally, we received a reply from their India director that he was in-charge of key issues and was himself traveling out of India.

But I think one of our emails served as a trigger in their mind and what followed then was a rescue operation led by their India Director & everything was restored to normal overnight.

What caused this action?

Like I mentioned, it was one of those emails. That one email where we had marked the group’s global CEO who was based out of United States.

So finally the problem was solved, things were restored but that didn’t stop us from exploring our options because all the love had already been lost. Damage had been in the form of what we’d experienced over the course of “2″ weeks.

All in all we had lost faith to do business with the company! We wanted to switch to a different provider and deal with a new set people all-together. After a lot of introspection, we moved to a new company!

But here was the catch: We were will sticking with the same brand & were just moving over to their team in United States which was legally a different company! It was ironical that our experience with their US team was absolutely contrasting and diametrically opposite to the local team.

Here is what the group’s CEO had to say in an email:

I agree, they’re very new and with it being staffed just by Indian support there is going to be a learning curve. Eventually we’ll need to figure out a better system so that US support has access and can help when they are messing up. I’m very sorry for this.

What’s your take on this? Do you think India still has a long way to go when it comes to actually understanding the whole meaning and implications of Customer Service! What is your experience like!

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Filed under Customer, customer service, Web 2.0

Entrepreneurship Knows No Age Boundaries

The Restaurant - Tea & You

Exhausted with the day’s work routine, we wanted to sign off the night on a good note by having a nice & quite dinner. Since we were too tired and had an early morning flight to Delhi, we were really not in a mood to travel the distance in Bangalore.

With all that in our mind, we started hunting for the nearby restaurants in HSR Layout, Bangalore on zomato.com. It was then that I l stumbled on a uniquely named restaurant called “Tea & You”. At the first instance, it seemed that it was a tea joint.

But then I still thought of exploring them further and called up the listed number. I asked the gentleman on other side about the menu and he politely told me that they did have north Indian food on their menu.

That was it and we were there at the place in about 10 mts. time. The parking was empty and while the restaurant was on the 2nd floor, a quick look at the dark ground floor could make one feel that the restaurant was completely deserted.

To my surprise, I found that the place was buzzing with loads of energy and reminded me of our college canteen days. The crowd was dominanted by youth from NIFT and perhaps we were the odd ones out atleast at that time.

After some puzzling moments which included some waiting time at the lounge area and a small photoshoot experiment, we were able to get a table which fitted our size [i.e. the number of members]. While we were still contemplating our decision and waiting to place the order, we were gently greeted by an elderly couple who introduced themselves as the owners of the restaurant.

That was followed by a conversation which threw some interesting insights and learnings from two entreprenuer. It was quite ironic that they were very young in terms of their experience and perhaps a shade old with their age.

The restaurant had started barely a couple of months ago, but ever since its launch it’s popularity has picked up immensly. Certainly one can attribute all the common factors like the quality of food, its central location and the fact that is very close to NIFT. But, beyond these I think the initial success has been laid down by the humble and “social” attidude of its founders.

One can hardly find a restaurant where the owners are standing alongside each table for minutes, treating customers as their friends and taking their opinion in real time about the quality of the food. You would rarely come across a restaurant owner who has himself prepared the food for all customers during the initial period. You won’t find a restaurant where the owner is spending more time in the kitchen than on the cash counter.

The epic story translates into a dream when the owner tells you that he has started this business after getting retirement from his government job. It is very inspiring as the husband-wife duo is fully supported by their sons who are seasoned IT professionals with India’s top software companies.

Overall wehad a great time at Tea & You and thoroughly enjoyed the food & the conversations  and the amazing HOSPITALITY. Lastly, we requested Mr. & Mrs. Sharma for a couple of pics as I told them that I would be talking about them on my blog and social stream :)

Mr. K.R. Sharma - T&Y Owner

The Proud Entrepreneur Couple

If you are in Bangalore or are going to be there in the near future, I would strongly suggest that you should check out this place :)

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Filed under Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Web 2.0

Our Sweet Little Baby Turns One!!

Flashback to Shopprix Mall, Noida Sector-61 during the early months of 2010. We were sitting in a coffee shop with a single point agenda: Hire our first ever employee or more appropriately the third guy in the team. It was an interview that was supposed to be conducted by us, instead the tables turned as we’re bamboozled with all sorts of queries: “But You Don’t Even Have an Office”, “Oh, so you are just starting, but I want to join a big company”. Only god knows, how did we handle situations like those and rose up to the expectations of our potential team-members. Perhaps we never did, but somewhere they found some confidence in us and expressed their desire to work with us.

Fast forward to February 15th 2011, an emotional moment for all of us as it reminds that we have turned one :) We definitely agree if you think that these are just 365 days and there is a lot that needs to be done. Yes, we have made our mistakes and we are still learning from them.

However we are happy with where we are, the path that we have taken and the pace at which we are going. The happiness reflects in our attitude and the flat culture that we follow at our workplace. We would like to use this moment to thank everyone who has supported in us our journey. Be it our emotional team members who stand united in every situation, our family, friends and all our well-wishers who have had a big role to play in where we are today.

Talking about organizational identities, yes there are two separate institutions in the form of iffort and itemperance respectively. However, in reality the differentiation is on paper because when it comes to practice it is about the team that is doing work. If you ask, why there are two separate organizations? Our answer is simple that when we started we never knew that we are going to hands together.

In terms of work, there is a lot of that we have done for our clients & stakeholders, there are some internal initiatives and some bit of has just been done with a single goal of contributing back to the Social ecosystem. We believe that the outcome in each case has been good, no matter how small or big the work has been.

Here goes a very crisp summary of our achievements:

  1. Development: Social Applications, E-commerce portals and Intranet apps
  2. Research: Open Research reports for Business Applications of Facebook/Twitter
  3. Media Mentions: Regular coverage/citations in Media (Newspapers, Magazines and Publications)
  4. Powering new Community initiatives: Bachaparty, Social media Chat Noida

To mark the first year celebrations, we have prepared a small image based video. Hope you guys would like it :)

Goals are in place for 2011 and we are taking it one step at a time. Our sincere thanks once again to everyone, please keep the motivation and feedback coming, we do need it :)  Here’s starting the 2nd year of journey with your support!!

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Filed under Iffort, Itemperance, Web 2.0

Facebook Upgrades Fan Pages

Today’s morning brings a new surprise to all of us as Facebook has upgraded some of the features in Fan Pages. The changes as Facebook says are aimed to managing communication, improving expression and increasing engagement.

The changes are in terms of visual and navigation appearance for fans as well page administrators. In addition, there are set of new features which add on to page functionality.

While, Facebook has released an official note about the announcement, here is what I understand from the upgrade:

Tabs make way for Pictures

Like profiles, Facebook pages would now display your most recent uploads or tagged pictures right at the top.

Tabs Shift to Left Navigation

Don’t worry the tabs haven’t gone anywhere :)  Like your profile, they have just shifted to the left navigation area. What’s more there is also a special view for page administrators called as the “Admin View”.

Profile Pictures of Page Administrators

Now page administrators don’t need to go to the page settings, to figure out who the other page administrators are. I tested this feature and from what it appears, this is only meant for the admins. Fans, won’t able to see the profile pictures of page administrators.

Set Page as Your Profile

If you use this feature, you would be able to receive notifications for all the interactions made on your page. That’s not all you can also comment on other pages on behalf of the page. Example, I can comment on the itemperance fan page in the name of Iffort and not Daksh Sharma.

Off-course, whenever you want you can switch to your normal Facebook profile.

Comment on Your Fan Page from Your Facebook Profile

A feature that’s perhaps everybody was craving for. Earlier, whenever you made comments on your fan-page they were not linked to your profile. Now you have an option of choosing how you want your comments to be displayed i.e. from Your FB Profile or as Page.

Add Featured Pages and Page Admin Profile Pics

You could say, this is Facebook’s method of Backlinking/Creating a blogroll. On your fan page, you can display other pages that you like. Moreover, you can also display profile pictures of page administrators who manage those fan-pages.

For details about the announcement please read the Facebook note and read Inside Facebook.com’s version.

What do you think about the latest updates to Fan pages? How would this impact your fan-page? Is there any feature that we have missed. Please feel free to add through comments !!

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Filed under Facebook, Facebook Pages, Web 2.0