Friday, May 29

Blog Moved!!

The blog is finally moved to Wordpress!! You can find it here!!

Sunday, May 24

What does he do for a living?

Since the day I got into an engineering college, my mother has been proudly saying “Majha mulga computer engineer ahe!” . I used to get amused by her pride, and it still makes me smile that she is happy for me (love you Aai :-) ). As days went by and I graduated to become a software developer, the “Computer engineer ahe” line was still there. Even when I got admission into one of the better known b-schools in the country, Aai would still tag me with Computer engineer.

The point is that sometimes you feel stereo-typed with the tag. People still ask me to troubleshoot their Windows. I dont mind doing that, but to expect me to visit their place at Borivali just because something is wrong with their Internet Explorer?? Sometimes I think I need a tag which defines my work and competency space better than “Computer Engineer”.

When I started working in a start-up, explaining to my family what I do became slightly more difficult. I was in charge of handling and building the technology on an entire organization. A lot of work which required a considerable bandwidth of know-how across the tech domain – a CTO in a nutshell. Whenever someone would ask, prompt would come the reply “Majha mulga computer engineer ahe!” . I kind of prefer IIM grad, but I dont think many people know about them – with people I mean the old aunty types, who ask your mother (in a nasal twang) “Kaay karto tumcha mulga?” The ones that sometimes do know about then quip “Oohh! Ahemadabad hoy?”, mother then simply says “To computer engineer ahe!!"” . Then I would butt in to say - “I sell shirts” rather than the oft repeated computer engineer tag.

These days I am working in a knowledge lab. We work on designing knowledge interventions and designing models which can change communities to become more productive and human oriented. I hope I got it right in this one line. My specific job entails a mini-CTO who is in charge of taking care of all technology details. Now what?!? I think “Majha mulga computer engineer ahe!”  is there to stay :-)

Friday, May 22

Changing Communities through Vector Algebra

This is a follow-up post of my previous post on Perspectives and Co-ordinate geometry. Each individual's perspectives form the different axes on which the individual perceives the world - and judges the world, so you have (happiness-sorrow axis, good-bad axis, moral-immoral axis, ethical-unethical axis, and so on). Each of these axes define who you are, your values, your beliefs, et al. If I were to map each of these axes against the society's axes, then we can plot an individual on the society space (its an n-dimensional space, mind you).

Now, get this. The origin of the society (the norms dictated by the society) represented by (0,0,..,0) would be at a certain distance from your own origin say (1,2,1,-4,...,3). The vector (going outwards from the origin) which connects your origin to the society's origin is your vector of existence. Every individual has his vector of existence. The people who are afraid of society and peer pressure have their origins closest to the society's origins. Carefree people tend to be away from that origin. The more deviant you are to the society, the further you would be from the origin.

What makes a society? You, me and everybody. Thus, the society is a summation of these vector misalignments. And that my friend defines the origin of the society. Over a period of time, the origin naturally shifts - it shifts because many people change their origins (values, beliefs, etc), thus ensuring that the society also goes through that same shift (although much more gradually). A fact that would have been a taboo for the society would be a norm today. Take mini-skirts for instance or gay rights. Society changes its norms, because the collective changes their norms. The origin has shifted!!

Wednesday, May 20

Co-ordinate Geometry and Perspective

This is going to be a philosophical post, don’t say that I did not warn you at the beginning. But, I have came across an a-ha! for myself at work. This just does not apply simply to Good v/s Evil, but it can be applied to life itself.

Good and Evil are two sides of the same coin, that means, if I were to have an axis (similar to say X-axis), then Evil will be on the left hand side of the Y-axis and Good will be on the right hand side. Thus, Good and Evil are opposites. Now, my friend, what do you do to eliminate Evil? Think. Don’t move ahead and read the answer, please think. Think Co-ordinate Geometry.

You delete the origin (0,0), you take out the Y-axis. You take out the definition point at which Good starts being Evil. You take out that Evil-defining-perspective (Y-axis). I am defining each axes as a perspective on life, and thus, a way of defining (aka constraining) your perspective. Take out the Y-axis and now you have only a degree of Goodness left.

Now, ask yourself – what happens when you take away the X-axis? That translates into a change in your perspective. A shift which fundamentally changes the way you look at things, look at the world. How much more of the co-ordinate geometry concepts can I apply on this? Does this make sense to you? Would appreciate some feedback on this.

Wednesday, May 13

Social Search: The new frontier

One of my colleagues in a presentation remarked – that the problem these days is not about lack of information, it is about visibility of that information! These days the sheer volumes of information has reached such an extent that one cannot make out the differences between relevant and irrelevant. How many times have you clicked “I’m Feeling Lucky” button on Google in the past month? The answer is zero for me.

The way Google has chosen to solve that problem is idiotic at best – they let you indicate the relevance of the search result for that particular term (you have to be logged in to your Google Account and search for checking this feature out). The problem with this solution is that I still have to search for the solution which is most relevant to me. Visibility of the most relevant solution is an issue. What would have been great, if Google could have taken the relevance out of my social circle (read Google Contacts) and shown my contact’s relevance to me as well!! So my social circle is defining the context of the search and they are doing the search for me; not Google.

Social search, is what I am talking about. The new paradigm now is not to show all the possible searches – nobody has time to go through 567,198 results, show me what is relevant to me. Know thy customer. Take an application like Twitter and Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck lets me set search through the Twitter community, that way, the relevance and context comes out through the users. That is the way of the future – we used to talk about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but now it should be Social Media Visibility (SMV).

Monday, May 11

We need more of these

We need the more enlightened spirits among us to come forth and guide the masses

Thursday, May 7


imageIf you already know about this, don’t bother to read any further, but if you don’t then hey, have I got a nifty utility for you!!

Do you remember GDrive? It had come up some time back, where users could use their GMail accounts like a virtual storage drive. I am not sure as to why it disappeared, possibly due to Google Docs and copyright issues, but it was great to have a online storage for your crucial documents. If I am going home and I want to take some files with me, why bother carrying them in a pen-drive when you can always have it online and access them anytime you want as long as you have internet.

Well, Dropbox does exactly that! You get a 2GB free account, from which you can version and collaborate documents. A good collaborative tool as any. There are a lot of such tools, but I really like the ease with which a newbie can start using this tool. Will try it as a tool within the office and post on this further.


This is my application of the Dropbox idea. I have backed up my entire workspace (documents, mail, setups I need, etc) in one dropbox. And wherever I go I have my workspace online! No need for machines, laptops, pen drives whatever. Give me a new machine and all I have to do is install this nifty little application and voila! All my workspace documents will be synced with me in no time.