The Curious Eye

Personal opinions on a variety of things

Concerns regarding the Internet of Things wave

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Internet of Things is poised to be the next big wave that is going to hit us all. Everyone is preparing for it. Network companies installing/establishing M2M communications standards, electronics manufacturing firms designing chips and kits for techies to build their ideas upon, tech giants building operating systems to standardize the software part of integrating so many things and 3d printing devices scaling up capabilities to design and test out prototypes.

There is no doubt, the internet of things will change our surroundings in a big way. But I have some concerns about the business side of things.

A. High Costs:
The cost of an internet of things product or service will include four main components:
1. Hardware costs:
This includes the electronics circuitry/hardware, as well as the encasings/chasis. There will be also increased costs of designing, testing, manufacturing, assembling, actual shipping, warehousing and distribution.
2. Software costs:
Assuming that IoT software platforms will probably go the standard SaaS way of monetization. Which means some form of freemium revenue model. As you scale up, you pay up. Moreover, the costs won’t be restricted to merely platform deployment costs. But also the costs of server/cloud platforms given that data generated is going to be huge and more SaaS based tools will be used to leverage the analytics from that data.
3. Network costs:
Sensors, devices and things have to use networks to communicate with each other. This means, there will be subscription costs similar to our mobile connection. Worst case, there could be a network subscription cost for each and every sensor, that means not only each "device" comes with a fixed cost of manufacturing but also a variable cost of subscription, which increases as you increase the number of sensors. That’s not ideal
4. Operations costs:
Apart fom manufacturing and shipping costs, there will be costs of installation, after sales customer support (hardware, software and general) and maybe even servicing costs.

B. Comparatively difficult to achieve product market fit and robustness:
The lean-startup methodology suggest iteratively testing out user response to various feature to achieve the best product market fit. Achieving product market fit will be much difficult with IoT products mainly because of its real world considerations which entail slower pace of designing, development and shipping and also the significantly higher number of boundary conditions (false positive/false negatives) that will need testing. Moreover, there are sophisticated tools in digital world like A/B testing, behavior testing, which help you to quantify progress through metrics. Such tools are not present for IoT which will pose challenges in understanding the right product market fit.

C. Much slower growth:
Compared to websites, web-apps or mobile apps the scaling up is going to be naturally slow. While successful mobile apps can register millions of users in a single month upon hitting the bulls eye of product-market fit and word-of-mouth, an IoT based product will find it difficult to scale up at that pace given that it is a real world product not just a digital one. In many cases, the scaling up will require installation and integration of various sensors, ensuring they work properly and are in line with the targeted user workflow.

D. Will need stronger value proposition, higher revenue streams and better business models:
IoT will be significantly costlier than developing a mobile app based business thanks to network costs, hardware cost, software costs, and operations cost. To make sure, that these costs are offset significantly, the revenue model will have to be much more solid. That also means, the value proposition has to be equally solid and should generate high demand among end-users.
One argument is that just because a technology has evolved doesn’t mean we all need it. Steve Jobs also says in his videos is that taking technology first and then trying to fit it in with end user experience is not the right approach. The correct way is to find out what the end user needs and then work backwards toward technology. In that case of IoT, I have not been fully convinced on many applications yet. There are many flaws and in many cases the benefit is marginal. Chances are high that people don’t need so many devices and so much automation in so many parts of thei lives. Even if they do need it, IoT may not be affordable because of the high price or marginal value creation compared to existing solutions.
Unless IoT reduces significant time or cost in existing operations or workflows, chances are high that there may not be so many applications which add value. In my opinion, B2B setups like manufacturing plants and operations intensive industries might find quick applications of the IoT technology. However, each setup will have its own environment and IoT offerings will end up becoming services or solutions rather than standard products. Which kind of goes against the principle of rapid scaling up. In fact, similar lack of standardization could be the case with B2C applications as well. In such a case, either IoT business models have to tap into the holy grail or mass customization or provide small-pointed solutions that address a small need rather than covering a complete experience. And the problem with small-pointed solutions is that they get commoditized easily and lose margins.

I personally believe IoT will go through the hype cycle and will lose a lot of momentum until finally the right business, value prop and revenue models are established, startups will not be as highly valued as their pure web based counterparts. I hope I am proved wrong on many points and IoT lives up to the trillions of dollars of global value it promises.

Written by pghode

September 12, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

That was my moment, my time!

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I had recenty visited my native place with my family. This place called Taleran is in Junnar in Pune. It is a sleepy village where my family owns a small piece of land and a farmhouse. This place is laden with natural beauty and it is quite untouched thanks to it being landlocked by mountains from almost all sides. These mountains are pretty tall and among the top peaks in the state of Maharashtra, India.

On the last day of my visit and after spending a peaceful time with family, it was time to return the next morning. Throughout the entire trip there was one dormant wish in my heart that I wanted to visit a particular point in the mountains high up out there from where we can see the other side of the valley.

The beauty of this point is that, it lies between two huge peaks and it is surrounded by clouds most of the time. Its extremely windy and the view is amazing. As a kid I had been to this point along with my elder brothers and uncles. We took our own sweet time and helped each other out to reach there. The road to that point is not a steep climb but it weaves through deep jungle and dense bush. The wildlife in this jungle has reduced drastically due to various reasons, but nevertheless it is still prone to predators. So going alone is not really advised.

Now, since it was the last day and it was 4pm already, I planned to spend the last few hours of the day without doing much. But a thought just ran through me. What if I dont get time later to do this? I have been thinking of visiting that point for long but all life-reasons come in my way. The reasons are valid, they always make sense. But no matter what they have come in my way and the desire has remain alive, suppressed at the back of my mind and remained unfulfilled. And the only consolation I give myself is that I will come and visit soon. And it was then that epiphany struck me, that this is the time and the moment. There is never going to be a next time. Even if there might be a next time, it will be after many years. And who knows what reasons I will have then to visit or not visit that point.

Now this thought changed everything. It changed the whole game. There was a sudden urge within me to visit that point. I realized that this moment is ephemeral and logic is forever. Which one should I choose now? Logic or Moment? The odds were completely against me. The sun was setting and darkness was going to creep through forest soon. The tall mountains were determined to drown the sun behind them rapidly. I only had a blur memory that the point lies somewhere North but the path was unknown. I was alone. The jungle was dense. It probably had wild animals lurking in the evening searching for water and prey. Both my ankles were recovering from a sports injury and were prone to another recurrence if I expose myself to physical activity. There was no network or electronic device with me nor was there any safety gear or emergency supplies with me. No water or anything to eat either. There was nobody in the forest and the window to complete this expedition and return home safely was small. Time was running out. If at all there was anything it was this tremenduous urge to fulfil that desire. This urge was much more than merely climbing that mountain and returning back. It packed in itself the energy of all desires unfulfilled, obstructed by logic, reason and conditions all the time. It was a rebellious outburst straight from my heart. And I knew that if I suppress it now, it will be logically sound but deep down I will regret that I did not grab the moment when it was meant to be and for not taking my chances.

With all these thoughts my heart started racing wild. I knew I was going to plunge. I knew I’d hate myself later for ignoring such a moment. And so I plunged. Into the madness of my urge.

What kicked instantly within me was an instinct that I’d never experienced before. It was wild, determined, willing to go at any length to survive. Of course I was scared of the risk, the possibilities and all dangerous outcomes, and that’s what made it exciting. My brain was on super alert mode and making quick decisions. It was all happening on its own. The only thing I was very sure of was that I had to survive, no matter what happens. The jungle had many paths but all unknown to me. Every moment I was making sure my calculations were correct, my choices were right on all fronts. From the tiniest of the movements avoiding thorns, and shaky grounds to making sure the road I am taking doesnt meet a dead end into a dense insurmountable bush, I had activated some sort of super brain that I never knew I had. I was on an alert mode like never before. I was ensuring that I do not get bitten by a snake or a wild animal or my ankle doesn’t get injured by one wrong step or I do not fall into a ditch. I kept with myself a stone and a stick to repeal any wild animal attack. My instinct was automatcially running simulations of possible dangerous outcomes and guided me through them and made sure I am ready for anything that happens. Absolutely anything!
Not just precise and perfect movement through the jungle was necessary but also speed on an uphill climb had to be perfect.

I quickly learnt that how I chose my path made all the difference. I did not want to land in some other spot altogther. And given the tall trees, the visibility was low. It was difficult to figure out where a particular path was leading. Also, it wasn’t easy to switch paths as they were surrounded by dense thorny bush. So, if I had missed the right path I had to either go a long way back and take a u-turn or hope that the path will eventually merge into the correct one. So, the choices were difficult. To overcome it I had to use nearby tall peaks as my reference points. Without a reference point I would get lost, so I chose only those points from where I was able to find my directional references on a regular basis. And it worked wonders. However, I did commit some mistakes. The sheer visibility of a reference point tempted me to take up a path which was longer than required. Deep down I felt something was wrong the way I chose that path. It took me longer to reach the point. I later discovered that the other path which had lesser visibility had a shorter route to reach the point. Nevertheless having discovered that I have taken a wrong path, I had to speed up so I can get back on track and intersect the old path. There was no chance I could have taken a U-turn. I was deep into the woods already.

But speeding up meant even faster dodging of branches, rocks, slippery surfaces, not stepping on layers of leaves because they could be concealing small ditches, rocks or uneven surfaces that can injure me. Every step I planted on the ground also had to be right, else I would have severaly injured my ankle. And if I’d have screwed up my ankle that would have been a big mess. A huge mess infact! Because that means I would have had to limp all my way back to the village at a snails pace through the woods in darkness with no one around accompanied by nothing by sharp pain. So there was no fucking way I could have afforded to get injured.

Finally I knew I was inching closer, but heck I landed on the wrong mountain. And although I wasn’t very far off the point where I had to reach the connecting part between the two mountains was dangerous. The cliff was steep and if I’d missed a step, I would fall down. For a moment, I thought I have gone nuts completely. Let’s get back home. This is it. Enough of all of this. But I had already put all reason behind me and decided to moved on. I wouldn’t have taken the chances but deep in my gut I knew that I can make it. That I can cross it. So, I dropped fear out of my mind. Decided to remain cool about it, not look down and took one step at a time to cross the steep cliff. What makes it crazy is that I wasn’t on top of the mountain standing on some surface, I was standing on a slant slope of the cliff and without gear. Right now it is fantasy, back then it was survival. One step at a time I crossed it and wooohooooo, I fucking made it. I landed on the spot. It was the most joyous moment. There was no one. It was me and the beauty of that the spot. The wonderful view and cool breeze but most importantly, the realization that I had made it. It felt powerful. It was a ridiculously powerful feeling. I let myself experience that power that I had unlocked. I opened my arms wide and allowed myself to get drenched in the feeling of awesomeness of conquering fear, following my wild instinct and doing what my heart said. I felt emancipated. It is a moment I will always cherish in my heart. I immersed myself deep in that liberation and self-knowledge and power. The whole experience was almost religious. I am not a complete atheist, but it was that moment when I felt there could be a god and that god is this human desire to fly without wings. It drenched my soul.

I spent my evening out there. And then logic kicked in again as usual. I had to return. And this time I knew I cant go down using the same spot. One reason was because that path was crazy, esp the cliff part and another reason was that now I knew it and it wasn’t worth the experience to go back the same route. So yet again I took my chances and then walked on a completely different path. What I saw was one of the most beautiful scenes of my life. The sun rays were golden and horizontally slipping through the clouds and through the mountain crevices. The wind was cool and and the evening stars had started decorating the purply sky. There were large grass fields on top of the mountain and the they were dancing in the golden aura of sun and the breeze that was flowing through them was like a paradise river. If I have ever experienced a zen moment, this was it. I was alone and nobody in the world who knew me had an inkling of what I was experiencing. It was just me, my spirit and this beautiful nature. I decided to experience this moment as long as possible and walk the entire length of the fields. They were enchanting, mesmerizing and very beautiful. It was paradise on earth. I wanted to immerse myself in it as much as possible, as long as possible.

But like all good things, this too was finite. And by this time the sun was completely down on the village and the fields. The light was dimming fast now. And I could see my village far away from the point, but that particular route was going in the wrong direction. Now, I was on top of the mountains and the only way I could hope to make it in time was by taking a shorter route. Shorter route clearly meant – climbing down a cliff! How can I climb down a cliff without gear? I stood there for a while until it struck to me that I can by descend off a dry waterfall bed. And I knew that was it. So, I first stood on top of it. There were boulders embedded in the bed, protruding coz of soil eroded by water. The presence of those boulders assured that there is a good chance I can use them as support. But this time I did a thorough analysis of how I can climb down rather than just taking a wild plunge. However, once I started descending I had a realization – I thought that the rocks and boulders in the waterfall bed will be strong enough to support me while descending. But that wasn’t the case and instantly I knew this is going to be the toughest part of the entire expedition. But again there was no way out.

I began the descent. There were huge chances of getting injured. I had to carefully plan how much pressure I am putting on my ankle. One wrong step and I am going to fall onto ground directly, tumbling through the waterfall bed. Moreover, the bed was devoid of trees. So there was no support except for some creepers. But these creepers too were flimsy and using them as support ropes meant disaster. The smalled boulders embedded inside the vertical face of the bed had exfoliated due to heat, so they were breaking into pieces even if I crush them with my fingers. Moreover, most part of the slant surfaces where I could step was covered with dust, pebbles and dry summer leaves, making it extremely dangerous and slippery. It was becoming adventurous. At every step I made sure I find my proper support and only then descend. That’s common sense right? Yeah it is but the surface was scary and I spent a lot of time groping around sensing the strength and stability of each supporting rock, creeper or crevice. And time was running out! It was getting darker. I had to improvise support using whatever I could find and descend safely. At one point there was no support and I was completely stuck. The only choice I had was to leave the support completely, leap towards a nearby branch of a tree and hope that I catch it and hope that it supports my 85kg weight without breaking. Even if it does break I had to make sure I fall correctly on a slant surface, without plumetting downwards rapidly. There was absolutely no other alternative than this crazy stunt. I would not say that the jump was long and that I was airborne like an arboreal jumping off trees. But it was quite a scary jump. As I leapt, I clung tightly to the tree with all my limbs. Pheww!!!

After the high drama, the remaining part was more of improvisation. The slant had already reduced but the slipperyness had increased. I was able to descend gradually using a long solid stick as an extra leg. Finally, the descent became easier and I was able to wade through the rocks and bolders of the water bed towards the village farms.

When I reached the farms after all of this, some villagers who were busy wrapping their farm-work approached me and asked me about my whereabouts and what was I doing in the jungle alone. I told them about my short trip to the point. And they were shocked to know that I went so fast, all by myself and came back in time. Some of them had seen me run uphill when I was at the base of the mountain so they were pretty curious of how I managed to do all of this quickly. Ofcourse that’s when you get to play the role of an action-hero who walks away from fire without looking at it whenever he achieves something great, right? This was my moment, my climax. I was not going to be modest. I said “bleh, that was easy buddy” and smirked and walked away in style. But inside me my heart was still pounding. Although I was feeling like an action hero (Tom Cruise from MI – Though I did not have his exploding glares), I was more or less like this joyous child feeling proud to have done what was meant to be done. Yes, I made it against all odds. I followed my heart and made it happen. It was great. It was stupid, but great!!

This was my moment, which I grabbed from the universe. For myself. The feeling was ecstastic and it will remain forever with me. ūüôā

Thank you and hope you enjoyed reading my experience!

Written by pghode

April 7, 2015 at 4:48 am

My first assignment: An interesting case on Enterprise Mobility

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Back in 2010, I had delivered a very interesting consulting project . This project was also, my first business assignment ever and it still reminds me of the immense impact a new technology had on the entire ecosystem it was thriving in. So without wasting more time let me begin the story of my first assignment, a very interesting one!

Here is the case:

Company A was providing a technology to company B. The company B was a logistics firm (it delivered couriers, letters and parcels to people in Mumbai, India) and company A was offering some of its cutting edge enterprise mobility technology to company B (basically handheld devices). This was apparently leading to a great amount of impact in the overall business of company B. However, the company was suffering the typical case of choosing between “financial impact vs business impact”. The Chief Financial Officer of company B was against the technology as it was very expensive and he was unsure of what impact the technology was having on their business, and even if it was highly impacting how could he financially justify the same? The Chief Operating Officer on the other hand was strongly supporting the technology given the enormous impact it was having on the overall operations and resulting profits. The Chief Executive Officer was in a state of indecisiveness given that the two sides were equally outweighing each other. Also, company A was waiting for the deal to be closed once and for all (as it was stuck in the deal pipeline for quite some time).

So, we (A colleague and I – the deadly duo that were poised to save humanity ūüôā )¬†were given the task to look at the situation and make recommendations that could help to move things faster.

Accordingly, we tried to solve this problem by formulating an objective statement as follows: “to correctly measure the impact of the technology on various aspects of the business”. To start with we looked at the old financial model which was being referred to by both the companies in order to valuate the impact of technology. It was a hardcore financial, tight numbered, direct impact, non-subjective model and spoke of things like present values, cash-flows, investments required and impact on P&L statement, etc. The COO was relatively oblivious to the P&L impact and was insisting on clear operational value, strategic value, brand value and substantial productivity the technology was bringing to the business compared to the old ways they were following.¬†So given all this we ¬†decided to roll our sleeves up and take a shot at all this and try our level best to make sense out of what is really going on out here. We decided that based on the objectives, we will measure every bit of value added by the technology, both financially and non financially.

So we started off in the morning and mapped the entire operations from one end to another end by the evening. We did this at every center that we were assigned for the study. The CEO had done something very useful; he had implemented the technology in a few select centers, about 5 of them for experimental basis. These centers had different area profiles (commercially heavy regions, residential areas, mixed areas, unorganized and market areas). So we created some operational metrics like overall time per person in delivering one unit,  number of units per person, number of persons per delivery center, area assigned per center, area per person, units per area, travel time between two points, number of papers saved, hours of time saved, expense details across entire length of delivery, amount of space saved at the centers due to the operational rationalization etc.

We got a great load of information on the amount of time and money saved and number of resources required to deliver a vast number of units within a time span and the average errors while doing so etc. And the centers loaded with technology were a clear winner in these metrics (as compared to those centers where the technology was not implemented) . But we decided to take a further deep dive and figure out what more is happening. So we spoke to employees and the customers involved in the process. We found out some really interesting points:

Wherever the technology was implemented the employees saved crucial time, and they spent this extra time in taking a break, relaxing and chilling out with each other, sharing their problems, finding solutions for each other, helping each other, cracking jokes etc. We immediately noted that they had increased levels of collaboration as a result of this. Their planning went well and they could handle tight situations in a more composed manner as they were in good mood compared to other centers where there was no technology. This led to lower errors, optimization of routes due to collaborative efforts by way of task re-assignment among themselves and other innovative ideas which they kept bouncing off each other to reduce their pain points. Also, their efficiency led to more capacity per center in terms of handling units per person and their center was a clear winner when it came to resource attrition/turnover (They did not lose a single employee ever since the technology came in). These delivery resources also did something truly great, which went unnoticed – They were much more cool-headed now and happier than other field employees which brought about a tremendous impact on their end-customers. The end customers found them more “human” than mere delivery folks and had started knowing them by their nick-names. The end customers and these field employees became much closer than rest of the centers. Also, the technology enabled employees offered some community help in their free time in residential areas; for example, whenever they could find some extra time¬†they helped to move other things around for old and retired folks in the area for free (things like fruits, electricity bills, etc). This was unofficial, and out of their own desire to help the older folks. This was a massive massive goodwill generator. And this made the field employees even more happier, customer-centric, matured, cool headed and satisfied at their work. This kind of¬†behavior¬†from the field employees was a clear competitive differentiation factor. I called it as “trust”. And this was definitely not the case, where the technology was absent and timelines + pressure was tough. In fact, the rate of error of the employees was high, they were indifferent to the customers and their own internal collaboration was low. In such areas the repeat sales were not so great, ¬†and were incurring a lot of costs owing to erroneous deliveries and subsequent reactions from customers. So, from what I could see the technology was creating a culture among the customers and employees. But the story does not stop here, there is more, to tell you.

When I interviewed the customers not only were very happy with the service due to timely operations but also they recognized the field employees as “those-with-the-jazzy-devices”. So naturally customers were attracted to the devices, interacted more with the customers which lead to further ice-breaking and fostered the customer relationships. They significantly scored higher on customer feedback.

Lastly, the most crucial impact the company B was facing and how the technology helped to solve that problem is something worth to be mentioned, and that was the real game changer. The company B, was facing high real estate costs in Mumbai (especially the commercial areas). They were also growing in business but the cost of real estate was so high that it was offsetting the profits being made in the long run. Moreover, the time and effort taken to find the right location per new center was a great financial concern.

However, what we had realized that centers where the technology was implemented, had led to greater capacity of delivery per person. This capacity was in terms of the extra time added per resource, the extra units that could be delivered in same amount of time, that too without errors. So a center with the technology had more capacity per resource. Given that there was space constraint more resources could not be added per center, but the added capacity per resource was really helping the centers to defer their real estate expansion plans by a year or two at their current rate of growth. And this impact was tremendous. It was of a mammoth size and it was something out of the box which no one had previously noticed (neither the CFO, nor the COO, nor the COO).

So we revised our model. We added all these above factors on top of their existing financial model. The new factors were successfully measured through a lot of review and brainstorming and it was led to a whopping 5x business impact than previously measured. It was so unbelievable, that this model was revised and reviewed for multiple times until its final validation from the CFO, COO and ultimately even the CEO. It formed as their base for taking future decision, this also helped them to shape their marketing strategy and they merged the technology initiatives with their CSR and branding initiatives and helped to expand their business at an even faster rate. Even today, their growth is clocked at a tremendous rate. Also, the company A who was provider of technology bagged one of its critical deals of the past few years helping it to sustain a service line that had received much criticism for bringing great operational impact but no financially unworthiness. This case, helped them to win more clients and grow their new service line in a more optimistic way. It led to multi-million profits for both the companies and achieved great strategic edge in their respective fields.

And since this was my first assignment, I knew it I had scored a phenomenal goal on my debut itself. Every time I look back at the quality, sincerity and effort involved by both of us (me and my colleague), we feel amazing about what we could achieved as young inexperienced professionals for well established industry leaders.

Also, our fresh outlook helped us to look at what most of folks were not able to gauge. I guess this is what out-of-the-box thinking in business is and I was quite glad to be able to deliver that.

This experience motivates me to deliver good quality with confidence in whichever field I step whether I have the experience or not because I have realized that sometimes even by not having an experience (but by simply having an open mind) you could be a great asset to the team you are working for.

This experience will be cherished for years to come. Cheerio!

Government 2.0

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Topic Outline:

Democracy – A paradox

Fundamental flaw in the concept of government

Technology enabled government – a new paradigm

*Please note that these are personal views and bear no reference

Off late, I was wondering if the statement about democracy “government by the people, of the people for the people” truly valid and possible in a social scenario. Humans always put together their different experiences and¬†learning¬†into a ‘culture’ basket. But obviously given that everyone has different experiences, senses, logic and ideas. These cultures are not uniform. They are more like diffused clusters spread across a continuum of thoughts and actions. Over a period of time, some clusters get accepted widely while some don’t. As time passes by more thoughts and experiences are infused into existing culture paradigm. This is what is culture evolution. The number of people subscribing themselves to various cultures keeps varying and the popular ones start dominating. They struggle hard to keep their culture intact sometimes even by consistently changing one’s own culture. Nevertheless, all these cultures are dynamic activities that grow in varying possibilities. In such a diffuse discreet continuum, the possibility of having a uniform law/code of conduct/rules ¬†is sounds fundamentally unnatural to the evolutionary process. ¬†At any given moment We should be having all types of thoughts, all sorts of people, all sorts of ideologies. The moment this is not there, and the moment everyone believes there should be one single solution we have reached the ultimate point. If we all accept democracy is the ultimate form of government

But practically do we all believe we should have democracy? What if you don’t? What if you were just born into one. What if you had no choice. I did not make any choice. But that is still Ok. What about those millions of people who had a choice. They did not even get to exercise it. The reason? They had not even studied other forms of governments. The deciders of the fate of this country decided that it should be democracy. How do they even know, whether it was the best thing for everyone. Who were the people to decide whether it should be a democracy or not? Did the leaders conduct a survey or took votes to decide whether they wanted democracy? And even if they did what if only 51% of the people wanted democracy, the rest did not. 49% is a¬†sizable¬†population. How many such series of votes they conducted? At every vote the number could have fluctuated. And even if it was in¬†favor¬†of democracy say 70% wanted democracy the rest did not. Even then, the rest 30% had to accept the fate. They were dominated by the choice of the larger group. Even if it is not 30% and it is just 1% but still they get dominated. Let me tell you, the popular notion, may not always be the right notion. 90% of the 70% of the people who had unassumingly made a choice in this example would not even know what libertarianism is or what anarchism is. The decision makers were few and they took the decision on their behalf. Probably they knew all that, but they could have been wrong. Or may be they did not represent the masses well. What I am driving here is that the choice was made by a few for a large set of people. Which means it was non-democratic at its inception itself. Its rather autocratic. The large were put into believing that this is the best choice. They stop questioning it. They stop questioning its effectiveness or they are forced to. We shut ourselves to other options. Democracy here was not by the people. It is also not for the people as 30% do not want it. Or maybe even 1% do not want it. But even then they are forced into accepting it. And it is also not of the people. By of the people I am assuming it is representative of the entire culture spectrum. How is that possible? There is no consistent uniformity in cultures as I explained previously. There cannot be a single representation of diversity. Such an idea itself is against diversity. Democracy is itself un-democratic. It is a paradox. Even within a culture cluster there cannot be sufficient representation. Cultures being dynamic, the representation will have to be changed dynamically. This is not possible. So we know that there is no representation possible. Definitely not a significant representation. Then how can an insignificant representation be accurate. How do you know 51% who voted made the right choice even for themselves. There could be a 5% scope of error. How do we know that even if we conduct another voting, the percentage will remain 51%. It will surely change. In that case, do you think the 51%, a number being just marginally higher than its secondary group, should be the basis of decision for putting in place a democracy? Should the rest 49%, or 30% or 1% people leave and run-away? where and why should they? why should they accept such a government which they never wanted. The branding of democracy is wrong. The phrase “by the people, for the people, of the people” is completely wrong in my opinion. It is impossible. ¬†It is a paradox in itself. It will mean enforced decisions on others who don’t wish to subscribe to the popular thought. Not democracy. I don’t have another answer, probably¬†libertarianism¬† I don’t know. And I never will and all decisions will be taken on behalf of me by hopefully someone smarter than me. But since he does not represent me adequately, I will not be happy.

Moreover, the very existence of a government entails the presence of an agent to coordinate stuff for you. This agent as per the popular agent-principal theory and like any other agent will default. So, does it entail that governments are imperfect in the first place. If that is the case, should we accept this imperfection and move on? Or work around to create a system to deal with this imperfection? In my opinion, imperfections should be minimized. But how? Should we use better logic? better analysis? probably algorithms? If yes, does it mean we need a self-correcting system to check that governments do not fall short of their ultimate objectives of creating maximum value for the world. This means we need people who are strong in analysis and logic and probably create algorithms for benefit of society which can deal with such imperfect systems. Imagine that an enterprise has a central Enterprise Resource Planning system at its very heart. ERP systems will evolve into future to become very smart and intelligent at allocating resources within an organization. Can we use, such a system for running the affairs of a country. Can we create systems based on advanced analytics, predictive modeling, intelligent decision making and algorithmic architectures to overcome the bounded rationality of human beings and work out the best decisions for everyone? Technology, could also become an unbiased agent meaning the chances of it defaulting could be minimized. It could usher in a new sense of resource distribution, capital allocation, regulation and monitoring to achieve the vast targets of humanity and society. If this succeeds could this be a utopian solution to the perennial problem of power accumulation and its subsequent abuse? Or is there any other alternative, or should we just learn to live with our imperfections and continue to get abused by corrupt governments?

In my opinion, we need to look at Government 2.0, a new paradigm of technology enabled governance which is focused on achieving the objectives of the society it serves. ¬†We should look ahead to leverage existing event driven architectures, complex event processing technologies and invest in advanced algorithms that will incorporate social behavior patterns and economics to evolve into tomorrow’s systems which will converge the existence of humanity for the sake of achieving its objectives. Hopefully it will lead to a Society 2.0, which converges our cultures, sciences, social setups into one¬†trans-formative system for all.

Written by pghode

March 8, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Potential products and perennial thinking!

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Long time no see!…Well life is been a little hectic off late. Its mostly the perenially occupied mindspace that eats away my time. So I am sitting at home doing nothing but thinking and processing thoughts, jumping from one idea to another. It does sometimes makes me feel weary but it has its own pleasure. So the past few days have been into more of idea-gestation and less of real work. And let me tell you who the culprit is!

It is this small concept which¬†I learnt in my marketing courses at my B-School.¬†I don’t know how¬†I remembered it because¬†I must¬†honestly admit that its been a year after graduation and I have already forgotten quite a lot of stuff I learnt during B-school, except ofcourse some of the powerful concepts. So one such concept is about product development. (Oh btw, a short digression from the topic – For those who would like to short-cut their way into increasing their knowledge about “marketing” without going to a B-school or running through pages and pages of Kotler’s bible¬†then¬†I suggest this website¬†for you— knowthis.com. Its¬†simple sweet, exhaustive but not tiring and very useful.)

So as a tribute to this website for saving me from endless cramming up, I would like to throw before you the concept I was talking about. So go and check out¬†–www.knowthis.com/principles-of-marketing-tutorials/product-decisions/components-of-a-product/

Okay, okay…now let’s focus on on what¬†I had begun without any de tour in the way…

So the concept basically (as per my understanding) is that any product is a package of offerings. So you gotta have some core offerings which are like the most raw abstract form of offerings you wish to make to your customer. Around these offerings, you have to meet some basic requirement. For example:¬†allowing conveyance is the core offering of a car. But ensuring that you have a seating is like a basic offering, Unless you¬†¬†are saying its not a car, but a segway or something. Next comes a level called “augmentation” where you augment your offerings. So you provide a service garage to your car customers along with a car. And so on and so forth

But I have kind of tweaked this whole “Total Product” theory in my own way. So here it goes:

Core Product: I want to have a car

Basic Product: I want to have a racing car

Augmented Product: I want to have a racing car that can also fly

Potential Product: I want to have an aerial, amphibian, acquatic, all-terrain car that can also teleport across time.

Well, greedy, ain’t I? Somewhat yes,¬†but more¬†on the imaginitive side. So a lot of things around us are products of one form of other. And¬†they fall into either of the buckets¬†mentioned above.¬†Can you experiment this concept with those products? Lets say, you have a pen. Just think of it what would be an augmented or a potential version of a pen. (Well you can¬†share it with me as a comment and then we can challenge ¬†each others imagination…..Ok. That would be quite-nerdy! but nevermind…who cares!)

Anyway, can you¬†¬†categorize the products around you as per my¬†slightly tweaked Total Product theory? I see that so many things are only core and in some cases only basic. Leave alone potential or augmented they haven’t even taken the form they should have by now or maybe no one bothered to up it one level ever since they have been created; So it is my firm opinion that extending the offerings of a product through your imagination can lead to completely new innovative insights. And this kind of thinking is almost addictive for me. Coz I can imagine everything from my bed to my room to my fan to TV to the road I walk on, in a completely new manner, in its potentialized form. And then I realize there is so much the world hasn’t achieved yet. We are so far behind in terms of being close to the future we dream of. By the time I reach such a realization I am already overwhelmingly tired of thinking but still agape at the vision of the future. And hence, equipped with eternal hope of contributing in whatever way I can to bring home that “potential” future. Cheerio!

Written by pghode

March 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm