Survival Strategies

I shifted back to Port Blair in May’13 & have been living and looking after my family owned restaurant since. Andamans is beautiful. It’s amazing. Paradise for many, but, the Internet here (and I hate to say this) SUCKS!!

For a person like me, who lives on the net, this place seemed impossible to live in. It took me a while but I came up with a few survival strategies. These are a few tools that helped make my life easier:

  • Evernote (note taking app) – This is installed on all my devices (mac, iPhone and iPad) plus my work windows PC. Anything remotely interesting on the web is instantaneously sent to Evernote by either copy-paste’ing or using web clipper. The newly released iOS apps are so compelling to use that you just want to capture your notes right there and thats where this tool helps me do. I have been using Evernote for a long time now & highly recommend it to everyone. This can be your digital scrapbook in the truest sense.
  • Dropbox (file storage) – There are a few basic steps that one must follow when they use Dropbox: –
    1. Put a file in dropbox
    2. Forget about it
    3. Trust it’s safe

    This tool has become my data hub. I put all the files I remotely find important in the Dropbox folder & leave the computer open to sync over night. Its Slow, but it syncs (Thankfully) & works for me.

  • Things (to-do app) & Wunderlist (group to-do list) – Again, installed on all my devices. Handling a restaurant means multitasking. I have a lot of things to remember at any point of time. Thanks to Things, I don’t have to remember them, It remembers them for me. I just punch anything that needs my attention on any device(laptop, phone or tablet) closest to me & it’s synced everywhere else. Same with Wunderlist. I have created accounts for all my managers so they can share relevant lists .They can see the work they need to get done and they can punch in things I need to get done. Every task can be assigned to a certain person and one knows who is responsible for what. Best part about Wunderlist is that it is available for all platforms (windows, mac, iPhone, android, web). Since both these tools require very little data transfer to quickly sync across devices, they work like a charm for me.
  • 1Password (password keeper) – I haven’t come across a better tool than this to store all my passwords. The app is available for all platforms – Windows, Mac & iOS. I have my secure passwords stored on all devices syncing through dropbox. I believe, there are obviously more important things to remember than a ‘strong password’.

Apart from these I have tried a few other hacks as well –

  • I Got myself multiple broadband connections and a load balancer (yet to fix it). I know it’s expensive but just to make sure that I have some amount of connectivity all the time, I have got myself 3 connections. Having 3 connections is still a lot cheaper than getting myself a VSAT connection.
  • Using many apps on my mobile & tablet, instead of the actual websites where ever possible. Incredible, how much bandwidth & time this saves me.
  • Storing as much information possible offline. I hate to do this, but I have to! Bought myself a NAS recently.

To all my friends out there who are facing what I am, I hope this helps!

 

It’s that process that is magic

You know, one of the things that really hurt Apple was after I left John Sculley got a very serious disease. It’s the disease of thinking that a really great idea is 90% of the work. And if you just tell all these other people “here’s this great idea,” then of course they can go off and make it happen.

And the problem with that is that there’s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product. And as you evolve that great idea, it changes and grows. It never comes out like it starts because you learn a lot more as you get into the subtleties of it. And you also find there are tremendous tradeoffs that you have to make. There are just certain things you can’t make electrons do. There are certain things you can’t make plastic do. Or glass do. Or factories do. Or robots do.

Designing a product is keeping five thousand things in your brain and fitting them all together in new and different ways to get what you want. And every day you discover something new that is a new problem or a new opportunity to fit these things together a little differently.

And it’s that process that is the magic.

– Steve Jobs

The truth will set your fee

IMG_20130218_195229_244Source – Guy Kawasaki

#LIVESTRONG is trying to get rid of all stocks after it’s founder Lance Armstong’s has undergone the doping shame and his cycling records have been stripped down.

What it fails to understand, is that fans who have lost trust in Armstrong (since he’s been persistently lying to the world) will never ever think of wearing a #LIVESTRONG merchandise again, even if they get one for free, forget buying it for money! They do not believe in the brand anymore and will not want to be affiliated with it.

As for the ones who still do believe in Armstrong, they will see this as ‘make a fast buck‘ position of the brand.

I believe #LIVESTRONG merchandise would have had sold better if there would have been no attempts to impulsify the buying behavior.

Incredible India and its Incredible Indians!

Traveling in sleeper class ain’t easy, specially when its a journey from West Bengal (Kolkata) to Bihar, two of the poorest and states in India. But it is far more interesting than difficult – people trying their best to accommodate more people than the number of reservations, authentic village lingo, and the aroma of that ‘freshly’ made ‘ghar ka khana’. But then again a pretty normal scenario. So what was different in this journey?

LEG SPACE.

Yes, leg space. That beautiful blue floor of the train compartment meant for urgent visits to the not so very well kept toilets, were occupied with plastic chairs, drums of 20 lts of paint, plastic water tankers etc.

Now think about it. Why would someone lug such things for over 500 km’s, when they can easily procure it within a  5-50km radius from their homes?

Me whose Kindle Reader & iPhone both were out of charge, and having no other source of entertainment decided to find the cause. So here goes-

The problem lies with the psychology of the mob. They have this notion that, whatever they get far away from home would be,

1) Cheaper 2) Of a better standard

I can’t argue much on (1), though I personally believe that the price difference on these things is never too much. However as far as (2) goes, well, its the bloody same product! “Asian Paints” emulsion being sold in Bihar has to be same as the ones being sold in Kolkata & “Supreme” chairs have to be of the same quality everywhere!

Now why do they carry things like on their way back home?

I get a little insight on this from the staff at my father’s restaurant. Many of our workers in the Andaman Islands are from Bihar. When they return home after earning a considerable amount of money, they make it a point to take home something for their family and friends! It is a kind of a ‘moral obligation’ on them. The Same happens when you go out on a vacation, a gift for every loved one becomes compulsory. Since they belong to the lower income group, their spending power is naturally very less. They cannot really think of fulfilling their wants, so they just match their needs (think of those economic lessons taught in college).

Now when returning home (harboring a moral obligation of taking home something) they just take the things they need and ignore their wants and truthfully I respect their psyche!

Thank you, Snehal Kanodia for editing the post!

My Smartphone app list

I’m a smartphone productivity evangelist and I do everything to get the best of my smartphone (currently an iPhone4). I recently shed some dollars on getting the best apps on the phone and all I can say is – it’s simply worth it.

What I do on my phone?

  • I respond to most of my emails on phone – Apple Mail App
  • Take beautiful pictures and edit them using awesome apps. – Instagram, Camera+, Hipstamatic
  • Personal Social Networking – Facebook for iPhone & Tweetbot
  • Take Notes – Evernote
  • Write blogs – iA Writer
  • Read blog feeds – Reeder
  • Reading articles bookmarked on web – Readability
  • Since I own a startup, I use Hootsuite on mobile sometimes to manage twitter feed and listen to “saved search”
  • Track Google Analytics – iSPY Analytics
  • Track MailChimp subscriptions using the app

The idea of the post is not to show off an awesome phone, but to throw some light on things you could do with a normal smartphone. You have a smartphone, use it smartly rather!