Posts Tagged With: Technology

I read: The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google

‘The Four’ considers the enormous power accrued by the big four technology giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. Whilst it isn’t a fiction, it really gives you an insight into how these huge corporation came up from a ‘germ’ of an idea to becoming what they are today; the exception being Apple, however, that organisation really did undertake a metamorphosis to come back from the brink of collapse and introduced levels of innovation never before seen in the consumer world.

Remember when Tom Hanks puts the smaller competitor out of business in the movie ‘You’ve Got Mail’, he puts it simply – “It’s not personal, it’s business”. Well, Scott Galloway has been, a number of times that smaller competitor which has been swallowed, strangled and snuffed out. But even saying that his appraisal of the business acumen within The Four is straight and follows the same line throughout; which could lead you to wholly believe the slight bent towards how “smart” the four are. I then have to lead myself back to “it’s not personal, it’s business”. 😉

The book points the trail of how socially involved the big four and their operations are in our everyday lives. It does an excellent job in putting a context to how dependent yet oblivious we are to the encroachment of the big four into our lives. The featured companies have managed to get ‘inside our minds’ to create an emotional, perhaps addictive, relationship with us, even if we do not necessarily know it or accept it. Don’t agree with me? Try to delete various social media apps to recover from so called “Facebook depression” only to discover it is virtually impossible to share photographs you have taken with your smartphones on the same social media. Difficult, isn’t it?

This observation takes place at a very interesting time for the only competition the Four face are from each other, and the race is between them to become the premier operating system. The author most definitely knows what he’s talking about. He has written not only with great insight but also with considerable humour, not least about the origins of our consumerist cravings.

The first half of the book looks at the history of retail and the business strategies of each of the Four, whilst the second half chiefly considers the Four’s relations with governments and competitors and suggests future trends.

It is an insightful read, even though there is no shortage of information on these companies available online and in-print. It is an engaging and accessible read. Myths are abound about these companies of course, possibly with a degree of truth at heart, yet how did these companies manage to establish such a firm position? The journey was not necessarily smooth and without pain and neither can the future be guaranteed, but for the time being these giants show no sign of being dislodged from their pedestals.

The author also shows how some of these corporate secrets can be deployed within our own business and private lives – yet naturally can no guarantee be given. As a reader, I learnt some of the strategies deployed by these companies, how they play with industry rivals, customers, regulators and even the governments. While they bring tremendous benefits, they also pose risks, especially to jobs in which the biggest changes are to be anticipated.

I liked the contents, index, references and style and pace of writing, however the author has never worked for any of the four companies he’s discussing, thus it misses out what could have been an industry insider classic; and so you are left wanting more from the text, more explanation, more exposition.

Given the head-start of the Four, Galloway goes on to ask whether there is room for a fifth Horseman? He considers Alibaba, Uber, Tesla, Microsoft, and Verizon. Will any of these make it?

Whatever your own views about these companies – and views can vary on different elements of corporate behaviour and more besides – you surely cannot fail to enjoy this book, even if it does seem to end so quickly as you just churn through its pages, devouring its content along the way. The future can be very interesting, since these giants fight against each other for even-more domination. One or more giant may fall, possibly to be replaced by a yet-unknown. Interesting times are ahead, that is for sure.

I particularly enjoyed the great mix of information, commentary, humour and cynicism presented throughout this book. It is a recommended read even if you don’t think you are interested in just these four companies. BUT if reading a book seems like a tedious task to you, watch Scott Halloway’s TED talk and you will get the jist.

Have you read this book? Do share your thoughts in the comments…

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Categories: Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Snooping or Overwhelming curiosity??

Her heart says, “I want this to work,” her gut says, “something’s off”. She’s trying to reconcile the two, to have a foot in both camps, but she can’t. Maybe her insecurities have nothing to do with him, but the long hard slog to regain that trust (and maybe make up for others who created those insecurities in the first place) might just be a mountain too high.

Until she understand the impetus for her actions & inactions, she will be pinballing though this blindfolded. Never a stable foundation for a marriage.

Snooping in an adult relationship, where someone suspects a major breach and in fact confirms it…should be the end of it. If one is snooping just to snoop that is wrong and the snooper has issues.

One’s not abusing it now does not excuse the creation of a loophole that can be exploited for abuse. Declaring that people — I should say, believing that people – are all worse than they used to be, or all anything, without any grounds to say so, does create an opening to justify whatever you feel like justifying at the moment. That makes it dangerous. A loaded weapon, let’s say, that you simply haven’t yet chosen to pick up.

There’s a huge difference between naturally coming to an “open book” policy with one’s spouse because of mutual trust developed over time, and a forced policy of “let me see or else”. Regardless of the past, anything that comes about via a demand is indicative of a problem. And with children, the relationships, rights, and responsibilities are different. As a partner, sharing needs to be natural & mutual, or it’s not sharing, it’s just acquiescing.

Now we’re all more like celebrities, with much larger personal networks, thanks to technology. Many “crimes” are crimes of opportunity, and most of us have a lot more opportunity than people did 50 years ago when there was one phone in the house and anyone could answer it. I think people have more opportunities to cheat and have fun on the side for many reasons. Have people changed? Maybe not, but opportunities certainly have.

Plus, cheating and sexual adventurousness is more in film, TV and theatre, opposed to 50 years ago, let’s say. So some, not all, people are thinking about the possibilities more than before.

It’s a combination of things.

I know quite a few people who have had their heads buried in the sand and one day decided to seek the truth…hence the snoop…not right…but understandable. The older we get the more we listen to our gut but sometimes the head, heart and gut are confused. Again I try to walk in others shoes and not judge their actions…right or wrong.

In all seriousness, though, I think that snooping is sometimes the vehicle for broken people to accuse their partner of not loving them enough. There will *never* be enough love to satisfy them because they were broken long before the current partner entered the picture. These are the times when snooping turns into abuse. I think that checking up on one’s partner without cause undermines the trust that should be a given.

Trust is essential, but it may also look differently in different relationships – some couples simply do not want or feel the need to share every possible thing, and that works for them because they too trust one another. Snooping is never necessary. If you can’t find a better way to have a trusting relationship with good communication, seek counselling to learn to do better.

As far as what makes snooping wrong, I’m not sure the snooper’s reason for snooping matters as much as the reasonable expectation of privacy of the snoopee (if a word like so exists).

Categories: Relationship | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disconnect to Reconnect

Today’s blog title is inspired by the punch line Disconnect to Reconnect of Digital Detox. Not only is the title, but my post is inspired by them too. I stumbled upon their website when I was frustratingly searching ways of how to be digitally disconnected in this wired world…guilt-free. Technology has given us the freedom to be connected anytime and anywhere, thus leading us suffering with Nomophobia or Internet addiction disorder (IAD). Did you know about this? I didn’t until I read it in a newspaper article. I bet half of us are suffering with IAD without realizing that we do. One of the symptom is when we disconnect from people around us to virtually connect with people.

Wow, the impact technology has on our everyday life is so amazing that it interferes with daily life without letting us know. It always seems to be in such a NY_Familyconstant state of flux that we run to keep up! Some of these changes require very little of us. For example, when our computer notifies us of a software update, most of us just agree to it, and the machine does all of the work. However, it is not always that easy. Sometimes the learning curve for even the simplest things can overwhelm us to the point we wonder if it’s actually worth it! Look at all the latest cell phones in the market. If you or any one in your family have shopped for a new phone recently, you maybe aware that new phones have many more features than most of us will ever need or use. My point is that although this sophisticated technology makes many things in life easier and faster, but if we are not mindful, it can become more complicated than we need and can even isolate us from one another.

I was struck by something the other day while sitting in a coffee shop with my girlfriends. I noticed a couple nearby who seemed to be deep in conversation, but oddly they weren’t making eye contact with one another. I could see them talking back and forth, but instead of looking at one another, they were each staring at their phones and tapping their fingers on the screen. This incident stayed with me because the couple seemed to lack human contact. Probably they were breaking up and didn’t want to make eye contact, is how I am reasoning the incident. I couldn’t help but wonder if technology is interfering with our lives and intruding on our ability to be fully present with those sitting with us.
My girlfriends and I discussed about this incident and before concluding the incident to be a direct reflection of technology interference, we thought of trying an experiment. We decided to make an effort to maintain eye contact with one another and to be fully present with everyone we met for the remaining day. We thought it would be an easy challenge, but interestingly, that wasn’t the case. Yes, it turned out to be a good exercise and a reminder to strive to be in the moment and to try not to get lost in a virtual world.
Next day, we met and shared our experiences to discover that once we become aware of our habits, we realize how much time we spend lost in our thoughts or digitally connected, even while interacting with others. I am glad I did this because it really reminded me how easy it is to isolate ourselves from our surroundings and from people around us in an attempt to be digitally present in a virtual world!
Friends, are you up for a challenge? Pre-define a certain time during a day, say few hours in the evening when you are likely to be digitally active and surrounded by family or friends, and be mindful of your actions and the people around you or you meet. When you are greeting someone, try to connect with them through your eyes or with a heartfelt sincere smile. These are interactions that can never be replaced by technology. And who knows – You may be the person who brought a smile on their face that day! And on the other side, you may also find yourself feeling more content and fulfilled having really connected with them!
If you did try this exercise, I would love to hear from your experience 🙂
Categories: Muddled Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My dad read my blog…

Trust me, I was apprehensive about unveiling my blog to my dad. My family knew that I write a blog but understood that I am not ready to share it with them. I started blogging for different reasons and since I write how I feel for many things which might be socially correct but not morally right. Nonetheless,  past week I look past my fear-mongering and sent him my blog link on Whatsapp. Next day, when I returned home from work, I saw my dad’s email waiting for me in my inbox. Here is a snippet:

My sweetheart,

Well I do not know from where to start or how to express my feelings for you. I have shortage of words but can say “EXCELLENT”. I read some of your posts specially the one written for your mummy on her birthday. I could not believe how true facts you have mentioned about your relationship with her. I would say that you are really a “Genius”. I also read comments on your blog from persons who liked your posts. It shows that you have reached a stage where you are being admired by people of all ages. I feel proud of you.

Lots of love to you,

Papa

How cool is that?? Especially coming from my dad who doesn’t express until coaxed..:)blog 5 pic

There are few relationships more treasured than that of a father and his daughter. Women all over the world grow up but always remain “daddy’s little girl.” Daughter’s need more than just their father’s financial support. They need their love, their time, their guidance and their presence in their every day life. Fatherhood is underestimated and nobody seems to talk about how important it is. Few father’s truly understand the magnitude of influence they have in what type of young adult emerges in their daughters. They wonder why their daughters make bad choices in careers, lifestyle, dates, etc.

My father and I – yes, we agree to disagree on certain issues but that does not mean that his opinions aren’t worth listening to because the facts conflict with my current state of moral relativism. We might not reach a middle ground however these differences make our relationship healthy as there is no pretense.

He always believed that one should teach their child how to navigate this road of life by reading the road signs. He gave my brother and I enough of a moral compass to be able to negotiate the world through good decisions, and not by strong-arming us into a stunted adulthood. During our growing years, he provided participative structure and open communication with dialogue of boundaries and borders. And still do…we have honest and upfront communications with each other which make ours a special bond. His advices are succinct and practical and yet sensitive and sage.

Instead of “because I say so” he leads by example of being a person who consciously work towards the absence of hypocrisy. Genuine, honest, human warmth and love before dogma and one-dimensional authority figures. He did not know any better yet he profoundly shaped every part of my life.

A daughter is often tied up in what she thinks her father thinks about her. Well, I turned out all right!!

Categories: General | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

*Note to my future generations*

I stumbled upon a very sweet incredible but also very emotional piece in the NY Times where a mother,  Jacqueline Mooreis finding solace in sharing the memories of her son, Jordan, who passed away in 2010, through his Facebook page – It’s a presence unique in its way!!

In a strange way, with all due respect, I didn’t find this comforting. I don’t want my loved ones to die, but I don’t think I would be comfortable getting too terribly close to virtual representations of them. I might be unable to accept their absence but can’t bear their virtual presence. Of course, there is nothing wrong with looking through old photos of the loved one every once in a while, but surely it can’t be healthy to live 24-7 with a virtual representation of someone, instead of mourning them then letting them go. But it would not be comforting to have a virtual copy of a deceased loved one.

Technology is advancing so much that very soon people will communicate with their virtual persona even when they can no longer talk to their actual self. They can leave messages and post pictures and videos to their wall, almost as if they were still there. I think especially for friends and family members having this possibility brings up a cathartic effect. I find this an interesting but spooky.

We keep forgetting who we are as a person and who we are with respect to the internet – they are often entirely different personas. That’s certainly an issue with the Internet as we know it today. When you live your life online and have connections with lots of friends around the world you will only notice that a person doesn’t come online anymore. But it is very hard to know why.

**Note to future generations: After I’m gone, please let me rest in peace. I might find the concept of a social networking site active in my name quite disturbing. You can grieve for me, but after a while please recover and live life. I don’t want a piece of software forever reminding you of what you have lost or (even worse) growing and evolving over time into something very different from the original me.**

The other side of the coin is also fascinating – parents who create a social media presence for their children, I always wonder what will children think of their social network profiles when they get older. Will they be amazed or embarrassed or appreciate your effort of introducing you to the world when they were struggling to crawl? I am glad that internet was still being invented in remote areas when I was born. I would hide under the bed and never come out if my parents would have updated my facebook wall like a news feed, tweeted about my stupid innocent questions, instagram-ed every move and cute-bum, and snap-chatted every cry and smile.

BTW, That Can Be My Next Tweet is a cool time-waster app which tells your next tweet based on the DNA of your twitter stream – can we be so predictable? Unfortunately, I think we can….;) What about you?

Categories: Muddled Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I didn’t hear ya…

For New Year, WordPress presented us with the annual report of our blog. As much as I was happy to see the fireworks I created in year 2013, I was intrigued with the fact that number of likes on my posts is not even remotely proportional to the comments I received. While the Likes increased, the comments decreased to the extent of being extinct.

How should I interpret that? You read it. But you didn’t say what it was exactly that you read. Or if you liked it. Or hated it. Or if it made sense. Or if you connected with it at all. Probably you just nodded and ran away, thinking that whatever it was that you read was ridiculous and/or boring.

WordPress Stats feature allows us to see how many people read our posts (Visits v/s Views), but we can’t tell who, unless there are Likes or Comments. It caused me to pause and seriously think about why I do or don’t post comments. I truly enjoy skimming various blogs each day and gleaning bits of info and perspective. Dawns on me that it is a disservice to follow a blog and never let the author know that I enjoy their posts except simply Liking it to let them know I stopped by and partaken of their offering.comment-vs-like

I do realize that it just isn’t everyone’s “thing” to comment on blog posts. Yes, I am guilty of this too. If it’s well-written, well-expressed, thought-provoking, that’s reason enough for me to show appreciation even without a comment. Sometimes I don’t feel like I have anything of value to say or am unable to break out of reader mode. Sometimes when I have all the intention of commenting, someone’s already posted a similar comment I intended to make. I just don’t want to repeat an idea that’s been presented…other than the occasional “I agree”. I have given thumbs-ups and likes to several really tricky blog topics over the years even if I didn’t necessarily agree with the subject itself as they spoke of other side of the coin. I do enjoy commenting as much as I enjoy reading comments of posts which I enjoyed reading and sometimes, I skim it through, if they are pretty long and straight to the comments for a summary. Guilty as charged!!!

Please-CommentWe invest so much time and effort in sharing our views to a virtual world and are often left wondering if we are really connecting. We don’t realize the value of engaging in this “online conversation” as it were. This is Internet. Its mean for open exchange of information and ideas.

Sure, there are the naysayers, and those whose only pleasure in life is to harass others just for the sake of harassment. They derail conversations with raving accusations of bias, attacking other people for not knowing as much as they do, criticizing the content for not being good enough, overly critical, offensive and sometimes very personal but for the most part they disappear into the background of the good stuff. It’s getting to the stage where people may become afraid of expressing a personal opinion just in case they upset others or are branded a troll. There are polite ways for someone to comment or voicing his/her bit of view on anything published. Comments are equally beneficial and equally destructive. Of course it’s very hard not to take some of it personally. But, lets respect the fact that it’s an opinion after all.

Comments give a different perspective to the post, shows another side of the coin because of the diverse audience from all around the world. I have stumbled across other interesting blogs because of either the comments left by another blogger, or by me “bumping” into a commenter on one blog after another. The same way I occasionally trek through my friends Facebook posts or pictures just because I saw one post and then I just keep on looking.

I am just hard-pressed to think it could be just plain laziness at my end. I would try to shrug this laziness and will be better at letting others know that I read. It goes back to one of my favorite sayings: “What goes around comes around!”

So much for free speech. If you don’t have time to comment, just click the Like button down there and to the left. I just want know you were here sometimes. LOL!

Categories: Muddled Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Modern Life

thismodernlife

Categories: Fun, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

…in the time of Internet!!

It’s undisputed that technology has shaped the world today. From the simplex variety that secretly runs the world, to the one that decides which of our friends’ status updates we see, movies to watch, and products to buy, algorithms increasingly govern our behaviors and choices. Nowhere is this truer than the world of match-making. The widespread acceptance of online services developed over many years thanks largely to the widespread adoption of the internet in all areas of life.

031The indian traditional way was (or rather still is prevalent) that a community, vis-à-vis, through religion, the neighborhood, or friends, single individuals were selected for introduction. From personal ads in newspapers to online dating, there has been a stigma in using these ‘services’ still in Modern India. This stigma on people feeling that they can not meet someone in a traditional sense but the use of technology is seen inferior or less prestigious. While internet enabled smart people to launch business that relied on technology to match people for matrimonial or dates, they have been incapable of creating cultural change that would remove the stigma from this form of services.

In other countries, single adults participate in web-based dating sites, however, dating sites in India is still in a nascent stage. On the other hand, matrimonial sites/services are in abundant who claim to have helped people find their soulmate. Besides eligible bachelors, one will find their parents, friends or other relatives are actively doing match-making, as it is a convenient and accessible option.

In the world of singles, the traditional model of finding your partner is to meet a quality person with an open mind. This will result in meeting like-minded individuals that may be potential partners. However, technology has replaced the way that courtships occur today. The rise of technology while creating more interconnectedness has resulted in less of a traditional way of meeting.

Despite being part of tech-savy generation, how this fascinating, bizarre, totally unexplained, exploding technology fits into this traditional methods of match-making, is beyond me. These matrimonial websites might use more of a sorting mechanism, but like in real life, there is no real way of knowing if a match will work. The successful results are difficult to replicate. However, once a person decides to use these services, they are more open to making the potential encounter work. It seems that technology will not replace the “gut” feeling that occurs when two people meet.

Just like the real world, online dating is a place to find people. It works maybe because so many people are not able to meet people in their immediate spheres of day by day life. It CAN be a useful tool along with face-to-face meetings. I know several people who have meet their spouse on the internet and a couple more who are in long(ish) term relations with internet dating sites to thank for.

While technology has changed the method of making the first encounter, the `making it work’ aspect still depends on the individuals. It is the relationship that counts and that chemistry happens only through complex human interaction!!

186-Google-matrimonial-comic

Categories: General | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

iTypeWriter, is it? :)

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Made in China

Do you know where the vast majority of the stuff in your house and life is made? Start looking a bit more carefully at that “Made In” tag.

Toys? Nearly all made in China. Lamps? Made in China. Shoes for the kids? China. Electronics? Yop, assembled in China. Birthday candles for cakes? China. Holiday decorations? Count on it being made in China.

China, China, China… You will be amazed at just how much we have come to depend on China for everyday life. Even if you experiment to see if it was possible to live without feeding the growing economic tiger across the Pacific, nah! it is not easy. You will quickly find that there are vast consumer areas that are nearly all Chinese-dominated.

A comedic feature film Made in China was released in 2010. The title of the film is a reference to the Made in China label on many manufactured goods. The film was nominated for and won many independent film festival awards: winner of the SXSW Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature 2009, Winner of SXSW Chicken & Egg Emergent Woman Director 2009, Winner of Oldenburg International Film Festival Audience Award 2009, Winner of the Silver Hugo Award at the Chicago International Film Festival 2009, and Winner of the Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking award at the 2009 Newport Beach Film Festival 2009. (Source: Wikipedia)

Woohoo!!!

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