Monday, July 28, 2014

Digital Dinosaurs

After years of vehemently denying that age is catching up, I have finally realized I have become old. I am no longer a digital native. I am a dinosaur. The kinds who live and die by the mechanical keyboards.

Mobile can never be my “first” device of choice. I do carry a smartphone and I do surf and fiddle with it all the time. But each time I have to do some “serious stuff” or write or email, I run to a secure corner, open my good old laptop with the giant keyboard and start typing. I have realized that from e-commerce, to surfing to just about doing anything else other than calling people up, I am just more comfortable with the desktop/ laptop.

While I was just about warming up to the idea of responsive websites (yeah the kinds that figure out whether you are logging in from mobile and change their layout accordingly!) I see all these mobilized millennials around me who pretend like there is nothing beyond mobiles. The kinds whose only device is a portable handheld. Who do everything from coding, shopping, flirting to eating and sleeping on their phones. I can never be like them.

I feel like the cynical grandpa who keeps telling kids about the “good old days”. The new generation of kids that are now growing up are not aware of things like – internet was not always available (you had to dial-up to it!) and that not every screen could be touched and interacted with.

Tch tch, reminds me of this famous quote by Douglas Adams. I have picked it up verbatim from his article published way back in 1999:

1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;

2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;

3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Confused pricing

I am sure everyone of you has come across those “souvenir photos”. The kinds that are taken before you go into a world famous attraction or the ones that are taken on top of a roller coaster just when you make your most horrible scared faces. These photos are definitely memorabilia taken at strategic places many a times by semi-professionals. Most photos are nice enough to be “considered” to be bought.

However, they are priced at ridiculously high-prices. The logic is – if you like them enough, money shouldn’t be a problem. And then, you are also covering the cost of all the other people who made a conscious decision not to buy the photo. So in a way, every photo that is purchased ends up covering the cost of 10-15 other photos that are not bought and a partial amount of profit. This might be a good business model when it was invented.

These days however, with everyone having cameras and with the proliferation of digital imaging technology, the cost of actually taking a photograph is minimal. Consequently the “value” associated by consumers with a single photograph is ridiculously low. However human beings are still souvenir hunters.

I believe that if the prices of those photos are cut down by 80 odd percentage, many more people will buy them. The cost of production of each photo anyway is ridiculously low. The current high pricing is to cover the cost of the wasted photographs. With a drastic price cut, the increase in volume should more than cover the drop in per unit revenue.

So says the wise Girish. May be a case of sour grapes. But well, definitely worth a try!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Born to sleep

A small little secret – Sometime end of last year, I read this very inspiring book – “Born to run”. The basic premise of the book is – human beings are naturally (genetically and physiologically) designed to run long distances. Our bodies can endure long distance running without any physical injuries and we can outlast most animals in endurance.

Christopher McDougall–Are we born to run?

The book inspired me quite a lot and I resolved to take up running. Besides endurance and long distance running (ultra-marathons) the book introduced me to the following concepts:

  1. The Tarahumara tribe still runs extremely long distances
  2. They eat chia seeds
  3. They run barefoot

Like the wanna-be sportsman that I am. After reading the book (besides “resolving” to run), I went to the local grocery store and picked up a bag of extremely expensive organic chia seeds. Then I spent countless hours on the internet researching about barefoot running, zero drop shoes, Vibram FiveFingers etc. etc. The FiveFingers looked a bit too sophisticated for a guy who hardly runs a KM, so I settled for the New balance Minimus. That’s the closest I could get to barefoot without looking like a pro.

Barefoot running–Correct running technique

Anyway, come new year, I put on some ceremonial paint on my face (pretending to be a Asian – Tarahumara), got me a new set of running clothes and set my alarm to 6:00 AM in the morning to start my epic running. The only slight problem I faced was that – some lazy bum human beings (me) are also born to sleep. I snoozed myself away to glory.

It’s been 6 months since that glorious day. I have managed to not get up, not sign-up and not train myself for any of the marathons that happened in this part of the world this year. And at my current fitness level, I am sure I ain’t gonna do anything till the end of 2014 (or for eternity). Did I tell you, the shoes are still in their box and the only thing barefoot I do is walk around the house?

As for the chia seeds, I have been religiously having them everyday hoping that I might get inspired and run. Too bad I didn’t realize that though I am born to run, I am also born to sleep and born to procrastinate.