Balance

Continuing the convo after a few months… Hi-5 to all!

I attended the In the Lap of the Master at the Isha Yoga Center recently. I’m no poet, but I have to poet, what to do, it was like that!

Image

Rampage Tusker Rodeo Show

A Kindle, an Iphone, And a Youtube…

Showed up for a tweetup at the Lap of Kailash.

The Show tuned into a YoYo Radeo,

As they breathed Shambo Shiva Shambo!

One more go at it:

Beginning, End, and In Between – Do you know?

In the Lap of the Master – The Program!

Master in the Lap – The Poster!

Ye Undertook What Penance Yo Yashodha….?

Breath-In Shambo, Soak in Shambo,

Weep in  Shambo, Sleep in Shambo,

Pun in SomeBoo,

Shambo, Shambo, Shambo….Shiva Shambo!

Penance? All I did is Switch Off the IPhone!Image

And here is one in Tamil.

போடா வெண்ண…
மதயானை தனை சிலுப்பி
என்னை வெண்ணையாக்கிய மலையோனே!

மண் கூளாமாயிருக்கும்  என்நினைவும் என்செயலும்

உன் கனவு வெண்ணைதனில் கலப்பேனோ….?

தனி மண்ணை  கல்லாக்கி , கல்லதனை கற்கண்டாக்கி
ஒரு கனவாய் இசைத்திடுவாய்   ரச லீலா!

உன் மடியில் நான் உறங்க, என் மடியில் நீ உறங்க
உயிர் மலரும் உறக்கம் அருள்வாய் ஷம்போவே!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking OrangeScape Cloud for a spin

[Full Disclosure: I’m at advance stage of negotiation with OrangeScape on consulting arrangement including developer community engagement]
I recently got a OrangeScape private beta access and decided to take it for a spin. I applied for the beta several months back, and I regularly meet the OrangeScape folks at the Chennai Tech scene. Yet the beta access was hard to come by – the reasons for it became evident only after the first brush. It is not your regular web2.0 artificial beta scarcity – the product is, by its very nature, very serious, complex and thus useful only for the sufficiently motivated!

Why Embrace Maximality?


Edge
By Tailer Ransom

The web-scale era has a huge share of one-trick-ponies that does one thing really well. There is indeed a tech religion/school of thought around the minimalistic approach – starting with the always beta culture of delicious/37Signals to Simple Titled Services of AWS – there is minimalism abound. The one-trick-pony-evolutionary-minimalism approach falls flat in the enterprise apps context, especially when there are multiple complex apps to be run(at the Get-Go!). Enterprise applications, even while they share the scaling and agility requirements of web-scale( social) applications, cannot afford the luxury of custom crafted architecture, and optimized coding. Some Generalization and Abstractions could dramatically improve application crafting productivity. This is where OrangeScape strives to finds its sweet spot: By supplying a comprehensive runtime that abstracts multiple cloud platforms and a GUI studio that talks the Business Analyst’s language.

OrangeScape does a good job of abstracting/simplifying the underlying platform complexity, yet the domain of business application is is fairly complex and is reflected in the OrangeScape Studio’s sophistry. The sophistication is similar to professional image manipulation software like Photoshop which is intimidating at best to novices, yet very versatile for the pro to get the job done. In short, OrangeScape is a pro-tool/runtime for developing serious business apps – and the level of complexity necessitates the sophistry.

My first app using OrangeScape

I wanted to try out a simple ‘Tip of the Day‘ like application. I started off with a minimal data model for Tips with just 2 entries( viz., TipNumber and TipText) and promptly ran into trouble with “Rabbits Ears” Reflexive Relationship when I wished to pick a Tip at random. I was baffled, and fortunately, OrangeScape studio has a feature to include other developers into the project for developing an app as a team. This feature makes it possible for one person to do the data modeling and another team member to craft the workflow and yet another to craft the forms/screen interactions.

I added Sivakumar, of OrangeScape Engg team as developer in the project and he quickly created the Reflexive Relationship in the data model with ease and also coded the business rule for selecting a Tip at random. Finally he added a trivial workflow action that updated a text box on pressing the ‘Show Tip’ button.

After designing the simple model, and the form/screen and the trivial workflow, the app was ready for deployment. I clicked the deploy button, after prompting for GAE credentials and app name – Viola! the ‘Tip of the Day’ is deployed on to the Google App Engine!
Without me knowing anything about GQL or BigTable storage API calls, I’m able to store and manipulate data on the GAE. This is absolutely awesome!
Here is screenshot from another App I’m working on:
OrangeScape app screenshot

My Wish List for OrangeScape

The OrangeScape studio in its present form is a work-in-progress template of all planned features. The features required to get an application up and running are working perfectly. The features that allow cools tricks to be done( like calling a REST API etc) requires a lot more polish.
At this point, the lack of complete documentation and illustrative examples is hindering the creativity and flow. It is a matter of few more weeks of OrangeScape team’s attention to get each feature to the level of polish for the limelight. Given the level of polish of the finished features( one-click deployment to GAE for example), I’m sure the feature complete OrangeScape Studio/Cloud will be a formidable tool in the hands of expert business application designers/crafters.
That said, here is my wish list for OrangeScape Cloud/Studio:

  • More built in social features for applications developed with OrangeScape. Everyone is realizing the value of sharing and social software. Making it easy to push/pull data in and out of the application will be an ‘expected’ feature in each application.
  • More collaboration and reuse. The present collaboration features of OrangeScape studio are a good start. If there is realtime collaboration like Google Wave, it will be awesome. Indeed, a Wave based Studio implementation will be very cool and productive.
  • Software artifacts in open formats. Presently, all of your awesome software application design is stored in internal format. And OrangeScape studio is the only interface to access them. If the software artifacts are importable/exportable in open formats, a lot of interesting value additions are possible. This feature is essential for complying with routine software engineering practices in vogue like version control and periodic backup.

Olimpic Osaka, Athens, Greece
By jmhdezhdez

In summary, OrangeScape Cloud Studio is very interesting and has a potential to be a game changer. Jeff Bezos kicked off the cloud revolution by shifting the mucking from hardware to software. OrangeScape strives to complete the cycle by abstracting all the underlying muck such that only data model, business rule, and workflow needs to be defined to get an application up and running on the Cloud. Any Cloud!

Posted in Chennai, cloud computing, orangescape | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Biz-Fiction: Vision India 2020 by Sramana Mitra

Science Fiction as a genre has caught the imagination of the masses and inspired many towards scientific thinking. Indeed Science Fiction has immensely helped advancement of science/technology.
Sramana Mitra is attempting similar advancement in Entrepreneurial thinking and economic growth through her market-rooted Business Fiction. I’m simmer reading Sramana’s book Vision India 2020. [ Too bad the friction to insert the image of the book from Amazon is too high! And no image of the book at Sramanan’s site either]
Sramana [ Image credit aquababe]

Unlike the usual business books that tell strategy of success story post-facto, Vision India 2020 is an imagined retrospective Circa 2020. The book features ideas and strategies that are likely success stories at 2020 – outlined as a source of inspiration to young Indian entrepreneurs. The book attempts to sincerely answer the question: What are the businesses to be started today at 2010 and scaled over the decade for India’s balanced all-round economic and social development by 2020?

This narrative form is perhaps inspired by the complex Indian Epic form, where time and space are stretched, mythology and history are juxtaposed, and street creed and mysticism are liberally intermixed to drive across the multi-layered point in an absorbing and interesting way. The epic form has indeed stood the test of time, so there is some merit right there! Ramayana [ Image credit: neeraj chawla

Real business names and people are liberally intermixed with Sramana’s imaginary businesses that became the runaway successes of 2020. Like in Science fiction, Sramana has paid attention to the plausibility each ‘story’. Each story has nuggets of strategy and positioning wisdom. In fact it is the vision of converting this plausibility into reality that drives her to write the book. And she is not sitting idle to say at 2020 ‘I told so at 2010!’. She is conducting weekly online roundtables to inspire and guide entrepreneurs. Also roping in many Entrepreneurship Development Organization(EDOs) into the roundtable to share the vision and make it into a movement. In short, the book is an expression of a vision in fiction form.

Speaking about plausibility of the biz-fictions, like the science fiction counterparts, it is possible to find wide holes. For example, Camellia : Flower Farms outlines an social biz idea around residential educational institution for slum children that also cultivates flowers. And the produce is retailed through a network of urban slum based entrepreneurs. The trouble with the idea is it is already true sans the social dimension. Many political big-wigs in TamilNadu own vast swathes of land that cultivate cash crops(like flowers). And these guys ‘own’ Engineering Collages and other educational institutions too. And flower is indeed retailed through urban slum dwellers. [As a side note, Florists around my neighborhood are economically well off – they own 2-wheelers, gadgets and gold and send their kids to English medium schools BTW.]
I see a co-relation between plausibility of the business idea and Sramana’s direct familiarity of the segment. For instance, ideas like TrueCFO : SaaS-enabled BPO and Equity Dispatch : Equity Research are very plausible.
Just like science fiction, making people find holes in the story is the best way to invigorate the discussion. If that happens, the book has served its purpose well.

In my opinion, the paper or even the e-book format is too restrictive for this kind of book to reach its potential as a Entrepreneurship stimulation tool. A wiki like format that encourages the evolution of the ideas and discussion around the strategies will be more productive. Perhaps a multi-player Online Role Playing Game(MPORPG) format will balance the monetization, engagement, evolution aspects well.

Ha! Now I’m proposing an Idea! Do I leave it as such or run behind it? If I leave it it is like letting loose a colorful balloon. It is fun. If I run behind it, it is like sculpting a stone. Something solid, lasting and beautiful could emerge. But I have to overcome the resistance of the stone. If I choose the latter, help is around via RoundTable!

Posted in Entrepreneurship, social ventures, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

YoBykes Yo Speed Buying Experience

Disclousre: I got a discount on the product discussed in this post. Read on, you can too.
Couple of weeks back, I bought a electric 2-wheeler YoBykes‘s YO Speed. It was an impulse purchase spanning 2-years. I bought it from the only YoBykes dealer in Chennai, Bue Smart Associates. They are at Chinna Malai( Little Mount), Sidapet on the small traffic-free road that connects the Chinna Malai Junction and the Velacheri Road.

Yo Speed Image from Vicky.in


There were two models available viz., YO Smart and YO Speed at the showroom. The Yo Smart is a 250Watt 25Kmph max speed suitable only for single person ride. Whereas Yo Speed is 750W, 45Kmph max speed with a max payload of 130Kg, suitable of 2 person rides. Choosing between them was easy: You cannot just explain at length, the electirc technology, wattage, and payload limitations when someone needing a urgent ride asks ‘Can you drop me at XYZ’. So my decision to go for the higher watt Yo Speed was straight forward.

There is not much rational to why I did not purchase 2 years back but ended up purchasing the electric bike this week. Here are some of the objections and rationalizations see-saw in the background of the purchase:

Objection: The unsealed lead acid-battery powering the electric bike is not sophisticated or hi-tech. The manufacturer need to put in more innovation/effort in making it light and pack more power.
Rationalization: The lead-acid battery is ubiquitous. I can find a service shop/dealer who knows the in-and-out of the battery very easily. In fact I can find 3 shops within 2-km of my house. Key components, skills being commodity is good thing! It takes a few generations of electric vehicle adopters to make sophisticated battery technologies ubiquitous. Let me do my bit to advance that evolution!

Objection: What if the dealer folds the business close the shop? What if the manufacturer stops production?
Rationalization: I’ve seen the dealer in operation for couple of years. I’ve even seen a few YOs at my neighborhood. If the dealer/manufacturer is in business for couple of years, they might as well be in business for couple of more year! The manufacturer is part of Electrotherm – a stable company with long cycle time business expereince.

Objection: Speed of 45Kmph max is too low.
Rationalization: I think I became older! I cant believe I’m accepting such speed limits.
Well, my usage is limited. And a just a few years back me riding a scooter rather than a Motorcyle was unthinkable. Times change, attitudes change.

Rationalization: I purchase laptop, electronic gadget of equal spend without much consideration, deliberation. Why not extend it for a bike too. After all it is also electirc? [ This was I think the prime reason for my impulse purchase this time around!, LOL ]
Objection: Electronic products pack more featurs by the year and slash prices dramatically. The YoByke product has not changed over the past couple of years.

Discount
When it came for price negotiation, I asked for a blogger discount. I was anyway planning to log the ownership experience for the benefit of the undecided. I was just checking if asking for blogger discount works!. It was promptly met with a ‘Ah, What?’ and a quizzical stare. Yet, the fine young lady(it was the same person – Ms Mebela over the 2-year period – Good to have a stable sales team!) at the showroom connected me up to the area manager, who in turn linked me up to the YoBykes/Electrotherm’s Marketing team.
After some back and forth, I explained(to Electrotherm Marketing team) the importance of social-engagement for products like Electric Bike especially when the incumbent product is deeply entrenched. The marketing team was open to the suggestion, but were very wary of the discount idea. I clarified that offering concrete financial reward is one way to signal seriousness and commitment( towards social media engagement). During the course of the discussion we settled for a small discount( 3% – the Electrotherm team insisted that auto industry margins are low – discounts are big no no!). What is interesting about the discount is it is applicable for all bloggers – social media sharing about your Yo Experience is not compulsory – but encouraged. After all, it is social engagement proposed by me – and I want the initiative to succeed!

Chennai buyers can get a Rs 3% off on their purchase by mentioning LABSJI Blog when they purchase a Yo at

Bue Smart Assoicates( Attn Mr A Robert),
#65 Velachery Road, Little Mount,
Saidapet,
Chennai 600015

Ph: 6450 5355
+91 9790734314

Please, share your electric vehicle ownership experience as comments.

Posted in Chennai, Weblogs | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Skyclad, Universe and Everything: Idea from TED

Can nudity be an Idea Worth Spreading?
Ever wondered how the dress we wear becomes an integral part of ourself? Can this simple experiential reality be used for our spiritual elevation? Why is Dressing-up an important aspect of the Super Hero culture like Super Man, Spider Man, Batman etc?
Questions Questions Questions!

At the awesome TEDxChennai sidelines I encountered Christian Fabre – CEO of Christian Fabre Private Limited a very successful apparel exporter of solid repute.
Christian is a French citizen settled in south India for nearly four decades. One very interesting thing about him: He is a Sannyasi Known as Swami Pranavananda Brahmendra Avadhuta.
You might think: Wait a minute – A renouncer(Sannyasi) who runs a profitable business? Is it not paradoxical? at least I was thinking.
Again Questions!

And ‘Questions!‘ is how he summed up the Big Question and further remarked that the Answer is Simple. Someone in the group( @adropofwisdom? ) remarked its is Simple, Yet it is difficult( for Us to grasp). I did my confused Half-agreeing-half-disagreeing (TED Mysore) style head shake, exchanged pleasantries, chatted about Virtual World and moved on with rest of the TEDxChennai show.

Latter I learned that, even-though Christian is into Apparel business, when he assumes the Swami role, he choose to be Digambara( or skyclad) – a simple, yet difficult form or renunciation.

I was intrigued. I promptly dismissed it with a ‘Oh Yeah!’ and moved on with my usual preoccupations.

Then by chance I came across Adi Shankaracharya‘s Nagendra Haraya – Shiva Panchaksham in which Sri Shankara praises Lord Shiva as Dig-AmbarayaThe one who wears the directions(sky) as raiment!

It was a light-bulb moment for me to realize that in the Indian Yogic tradition, nudity is not just a symbol of renunciation, but also a active state of ‘wearing the entire universe as your dress’ and making the whole existence an integral part of yourself!

Sadguru Jaggi VasudevSadguru Jaggi Vasudev in his TED Mysore talk shared about extending the sensory boundaries and inclusion. The epiphany for me was while viewing( again) Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED video – in which the neurologist shares about her state of Inclusion/Union when the logical part of the brain takes a back seat.

As illustrated by the Dig-ambara(skyclad) Swami –

Nothing = Everything!

Very Simple Indeed!

Now, How do I apply this epiphany in my life? Again Questions, Questions, Questions!

Thanks TED and TEDxChennai for leading me down the Q, Q Q path, someday( hopefully sooner than latter) there will be the Answer. [No it is not 42! or is it? See I told you Q Q Q!]

Bonus Link:

Swami Pranavananda’s feedback email on TEDxChennai

Posted in jaggi vasudev, tedxchennai | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

AWS Billing and Value Added Reseller Opportunities

Close to the remarkable Spot pricing model announcement, AWS silently started offering Consolidated Billing. For typical AWS user, Consolidated Billing is not a big deal except of the convenience and some cost saving. Consolidated billing dramatically reduces friction for enterprise AWS adoption via., centralized payment, sharing of capital intensive reserved instances etc. In short it is centralization of AWS finance(read beanie) aspect at the same time decentralization of technical( read geek) aspects. More interestingly, AWS Consolidated billing opens up value added reseller opportunities.

Consolidated Billing Illustration

Consolidated Billing centralizes the payment, decentralizes the geek!

What makes value added reseller opportunities possible is the flexible attachment and detachment of the AWS account to any Payment account( the Payment a/c will have to authorize the attachment – of course!). Paving the way for the reseller to leverage the volume discounts from the consolidation:

AWS Volume Discount illustration

Usage of multiple buyers can be consolidated by reseller to realize profits

The dynamic nature of the spot pricing also create opportunity for optimizations – the real ‘value added’ part of the reseller story! Going by the current trend spot prices are at least 50% cheaper on an average!

The arbitrage due to cost saving will not be too high to sustain a profitable business. But the nature of AWS itself – being building blocks rather than complete solutions – lends itself very well to value addition and profitability.
Indian software service providers especially the smaller ones will find these opportunities very attractive. Thus they can get a firm foot hold in the cloud/SaaS space.
The very dynamic and emergent nature of AWS, your valuable value added service being obsoleted by a native AWS offering are some of the risks in the opportunity. On the other hand the simplification and cost saving are compelling reasons enough for the customer to stay with the value added reseller and build lasting relationship.

Thanks for the heads up @guyro
Bonus Links:
AWS: the new Chicago Edison by Nicholas Carr

Posted in Amazon Web Service | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Ideas Worth Spreading – TEDxChennai

TED Logo

Like Location, Location, Location for Business, People, People, People is for Events. TED – Technology Entertainment Design: Ideas Worth Spreading over the past quarter century has evolved into a Mind/Brain Spa. An assembly where passionate people from different walks of life come together and immerse themselves in exchange of ideas/ideals and go back to pursue their passion totally transformed and rejuvenated.

While TED conference are massive jamboree in terms of organization, with stringent invitation criteria for attendance, a novel format of Independently Organized TED called TEDX is being experimented. TEDxChennai is one such pioneer event.

TEDxChennai Logo

The element of entertainment sandwiched between two very serious things( Technology, Design) is one aspect that makes TED magic work. I’m looking forward how it is going to actually play out at the TEDxChennai event. Stay tuned for more updates!

Posted in Chennai, technology, tedxchennai | 1 Comment