First rule of first principle thinking, do not use first principle thinking when a mental model is available

Category: Personal

Broadband Delight

After days and weeks of agonizingly sipping bits from a dialup and my mounting frustration force fedback by an unbelievably bizarre customer care center  at BSNL I had really reached my patience threshold. Now after a month had passed by and I placed almost 100+ calls I had stopped counting the delay. Yesterdaly I finally placed that call to Airtel to apply for their UL600 broadband connection.

To my wee delight I recieved my BSNL broadband connection today evening 🙂 (No it is not coincidence). I quickly ran through my account settings and did a speed test  and though the UL 900 plan is  supposed to be 256 kpbs the test at speedtest showed a download speed of 385 Kpbs and upload speed of 58 Kbps. All of this looks so delusional but if this for real then for me the business is back to usual 🙂

I dream of

of a day when I wake up and get to read a news article written by a reporter who has taken a news article like this and run a few command like the following on it to publish the article 😀
:%s/silicon valley/cyberabad/g

I maybe thought as dumb, stupid, idiot or insane but I don’t care because this is what I dream of 🙂

Hyderabad vs Bangalore

This seems to be the hot topic for discussion everywhere these days – TV, print media, board rooms of MNCs, lunch tables in IT companies, blogs – just about everywhere. Semi-conductor fab plant setup and the visit of President Bush’s happening in hyderabad instead of bangalore this chatter has accentuated to a whole new level.
Few days ago Rajat & myself took an auto from Forum to go to Sankey Road and while we were in the auto one of us uttered hyderabad the auto-rickshaw driver got excited to hear that. Apparently he was from hyderabad and had come to bangalore about 2 months ago, he started telling us about the vast differences between hyderabad and bangalore – how the roads are congested, air is polluted etc. Earlier while we were inside Forum riding down the stair elevator two lads (Hyderbadi’s probably working in bangalore in some IT company) behind us were chatting “yaar hyderabad hi mast hai, yahan itna dam nahi hai” (translated to English it means “Hyderabad is better , here it is not so good”)

With so much chatter around this I thought I would write my perspectives (technology & startups) on this as both these places are most interest to me. I am in Bangalore after an effort of few years. I was’nt be going to be in silicon valley to experience the technology culture which I always wanted to, I thought I could be in bangalore instead.So now my home is in bangalore.    After having come here there is no ounce of doubt in my mind that this is place with startup culture. Among all the IT cities in India Bangalore ranks number #1 as a technology hub. I can’t (don’t have the data) and won’t include the IT services/export that these IT cities make which might yield a different result but my focus here is pure technology companies – software products, semi-conductors, hardware etc, not just support and maintaineance.

Having said that I am in hyderabad for work as bangalore has become way too expensive for young companies to grow up. Interestingly I’ve heard of many others move from bangalore to hyderabad because of its cost & its infrastructure problems. I must say though hyderabad which once used to a very cheap city has become costly, rents have doubled but I guess overall even after the increase it is still probably cheaper than bangalore.

One most admirable thing about hyderabad now is that it’s infrastructure has improved by order of magnitudes. Except for some pockets driving in hyderabad is an absolute pleasure especially in the IT concentrated areas( viz Hitech City etc).
Startups mushroom around great universities just like civilization originate around shores of a river. Thus key reason for the higher number of startups in bangalore is because it has a world class technical institution ( IISc & now emerging IIIT-B) and a truly excellent IIM-B. Relatively recently hyderabad has made place for ISB & IIIT-H ( they relatively new but they steadily making mark for themselves). With key drivers being replicated in hyderabad now the other parameters becomes important to draw comparsion. For ex infrastructure (government support etc) and bangalore has not been able to show a good report card on it while Hyderabad has been a lot better.

Acquiring talent has become a very expensive affair in bangalore, I heard some calculations from friend who said that given the current salary increases happening in bangalore in a few years there will be no price arbitrage between a US and a bangalore engineer.  Hyderabad is relatively not as expensive as bangalore for talent.
Social capital: Bangalore has the highest number of succesful entreprenuer with quite some of them playing active role in creating an entreprenuerial eco-system. An indicator of that is extremely active TiE bangalore chapter. Delhi, hyderabad or any other chapter come nowhere close to what TiE bangalore has been doing. Hyderabad is very weak in these aspects ( atleast TiE Hyd chapter is/appears dormant) and I am hoping that some of this will change in the coming few months.

Another important criteria is the weather and on this aspect bangalore is an undoubted winner ( this is the best reason I love bangalore than any other city), it is a breeze to live in this city all around the year. There is no hot summer niether a cold winter, there is rain which is fun unless ofcourse the rain god is angry and takes  his/er fury out against people. Hyderabad  has a very bad summer and I get my skin burnt quite a lot over there.

There are both merits & demerits of both the places and one can go on to make a vast list for comparsion. Instead of arguing between them endlessly I choose to leverage best of both of them. As of last two months I work in hyderabad but my home is still in bangalore. Thus I leverage the benefits of upcoming hyderabad and also benefit from the capital (advisory, social etc) built over time in bangalore 😀

To All My Geek friends and other Geeks in the World

I had been thinking to write this post for very long and I could pen it finally today.
There was a chapter in the book of my life when I was a geek (an undoubted one at that, I can produce proof of it if you want me to 😀 ). It was chapter 4 mainly and a few pages of chapter 5  to be more precise 🙂 But slowly I stepped out of it knowingly or unknowingly initially but deliberately later. Maybe though unlikely that it was due to because I have that little bit of that vision thingie. I should tell you though that I strongly strongly(even more strongly) suspect that my vision thingie is just my wishful thinking but anyways. Btw please don’t get it the wrong way it is not to say that geeks are not visionary, I have seen, met and interacted with great geek visionaries and I love them for dreams they set forth and some of them who made it a reality.   Infact you know what I love all the geeks, all of them and I still do !!!. What I mean here is looking slightly out of the geek box/world.
Coming back to what I was saying that I moved slightly out of the geekery and moved away from being a full time geek.  Geeks live in their world , speak  their own language  – l337speak ofcourse, always help each other (unlike in the real world ) and help others too, have a strong sense of community and the most important of all they create huge amount of value. But the one thing which is my biggest complaint is that they wont ever do is to talk or mingle with others (anyone who is not a geek), infact it is really really degrading for them to talk to other lower forms of organization and in particular they have an enemity with the droids/suits. Because of this nature of geeks, i.e they surround themselves in a castle which limit the terrific value that they tend to generate does not get spread well and sadly it is the droids/suits how capture that value (my observation is that this happens not only in a business scenarios but also in a generic case.

So I tried to peep beyond the iron gated castle of the geeks and peep around, explore and bridge with other spaces. This I could say made me step a little out of the geek world and see if could propogate/spread the value created by geeks.

But as any geek knows a person is a either a true geek or no geek at all. So when I tried explore outside their castle and said I want to keep one step here and one elsewhere they literally threw me out :D. What I mean by that  is  that of late when I meet my geek friends, colleagues and other geeks they treat me an outcaste and they totall dismiss me 😦

So here is an appeal to all my geek friends and other geeks in the world.
Yeah I am not a geek, not in your truest sense but I love what you do and geekery, so please don’t disown me :). I can geek it out but don’t do it to make a balance in both the geek and other world. For instance please don’t seperate me when I say think econ/strategy when we discuss about AJAX, Web 2.0. Please don’t think that I am nuts like a driod when you say GPL, open source and I say property rights, transaction costs and use value discounted at exchange value (aka Marxian economics). I really want you guys to leverage for yourself a lot of value that you create and also spread the value generated to many others around which normally does not happen.

I know that you hate the droids/suits but since I have’nt baptized myself in to the Membership of Beancounters Association, atleast not yet so I clearly think you should have no reason to hate me :). All in all I am asking you treat me the same way that you would treat another geek even if I am not a geek ( in your truest sense 🙂 )


To MBA or not

To MBA or not is a something which hogs the mind space of the 90% of people that I meet with. Here is an interesting ebook that I came across which discussess the pros and cons of an MBA, I am not sure if it will help make any decisions for anybody but nonetheless have fun reading because I surely did 🙂 (Hat tip: Mahashunyam)
I have blogged my opinion on this many times earlier but to reiterate what I said in a single sentence  “the oppurtunity cost of doing an MBA for me is quite very high”

Comeback you will

Was recently talking to Professor at IIIT when he quipped “Comeback you will” and went on to detail it, this phrase really left me pondering over it for quite a while.

“For so many years you see the same faces around you and you literally get bored and want to break free out of it. Then you go elsewhere (into the Industry) you enjoy the change for a while, you see new places(India and Abroad), new people, new customs, new way of life.But this enjoyment lasts for a very short period and you realize that this new place and surrounding sucks(even more than ever) and you long to go back to where you where, where things that you were doing were lot more interesting than what you are doing now”.
Truer words !   I am going back to my college today not as a student but as an alumnus to get associated with the incubation centre(sorry no url yet) there and my partner in crime here in this is my close friend Rajat.

Anther friend warned me to consider our decision telling we may find it wierd(previoulsy we were students now we are alumni etc etc) to go  back and live in the same old place but we have decided to go ahead with it and face any wierdness as it comes along 🙂

One of the reason

One among many other reason I  moved to Hyderabad from Bangalore even though I still have my residence there(and I miss home) and to move to where it took me ~2 years of effort.

Rajesh Jain

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