Being Mobile Indian and Standing up to the World

Being mobile possibly has different connotations now.  Getting away from the cacophony of the 24×7 media is nothing more than a mirage when you realize that the most powerful device ever created by the mankind is always within your reach – your ‘smart’ phone.

 Mobile fills the crucial gap in the society’s hierarchy of communication  needs & its manifestations.

Starting from the bottom in early 1990’s, it has witnessed massive growth by the year 2013 to become a truly revolutionary addition to our lives. By 2015 – it had toppled governments, stirred rebellions, boosted the porn consumption like never before (60% of PornHub traffic comes from Mobile and a lot of it has to do with India who likes to keep a pace with the USA), made media conglomerates run for their money (for e.g. Newsweek and UK based The Independent opting for digital only versions and shutting down their print publications) and brought video and image based content in our lives, thanks to a whole generation of cats – grumpy or otherwise.

I believe, something truly remarkable is happening when Sunil Kalra, a cloth merchant in Jalandhar’s Rianak Bazaar gets bulk orders from walk-in customers after showing them Whatsapp images of the shipment from their Lucknow supplier.

It’s a known fact that technology’s rate of adoption varies through the generations and mobile has aided this in the Indian context, unlike any other factor in the recent history.

The generation of Sunil Karla born in the 1960’s took quite a bit of learning curve to become mobile savvy. However, this generation of baby boomers (1945-1960) has given way to Gen Y (1981-1999), who are more of creators and collaborators in their online mobile persona, becoming the most expressive humankind ever. Though Facebook mobile still rules in overall numbers globally and with life-saving acquisitions like Whatsapp and Instagram – mobile apps have become second home screen to their owners who are likely to use messengers and social media to communicate rather than a phone call. According to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report 2016, mobile savvy Gen Y would prefer contact over internet & web-chat (24%), social media (24%), a drastic shift from previous five decades where telephone was the most popular medium.

A lot of it has also to do with the economics and sociability that owning a mobile offers.

The average price of a smartphone in India is just under Rs. 10,000 and cheaper options keep getting added with influx of Chinese players. This means that there is more need to consume content that is contextual and resonates with the local issues. That is where the real battle of capturing the Indian users’ mobile screen space (read mind space) will be fought through 2020 and beyond for 1 billion Indian mobile users.

Though total number of Internet users for India stood far behind at 277 million users (that’s 22% penetration rate) – 40% jump from 2008 and YoY growth of 33% (source: IAMAI), it will get even more exciting when the entire billion plus mobile owners make a shift to a smartphone! Need for Internet connectivity and mobile ownership are fuelling each other’s growth.

For the ones who have already crossed over, there is a constant struggle and search for the right content – be it entertainment or educational in nature as a packaged product of storytelling ready to grab eyeballs, and most of them are / will be delivered through native mobile apps. Globally, according to a SimilarWeb report, on an average, there are 33 apps installed per device. Though, just 3 of these account for 80%+ usage with 4 hours/day being dedicated to it. Any guesses which are the most popular ones? Well, it’s Facebook, Whatsapp and world’s favorite browser – Chrome.

Accordingly to Think With Google (Google’s initiative to offer insights, trends and research on digital marketing) – “Mobile has forever changed what we expect of brands. It has fractured the consumer journey into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments. Each is a critical opportunity for brands to shape our decisions and preferences.”

How do you think the rise of mobile Indians has changed your life?

Share your views  with me on Twitter- @Wvishal

Courtesy: Image by Javi_indy –

The Rise of MillenoSapiens and why Brands are Redefining Marketing for them

Millennials. They are different

The current generation of teens and those before them may not realize how much they are redefining the ways in which brands have increasingly started to engage with them. Simply because we, as they categorize us, are the generation of millennials and we are different.Different than the baby boomers and the generation X before them, different in ways we carry ourselves, consume our data and content and the places we choose (for the lucky few) to work and express ourselves through our mobile social networks and photo sharing apps.To set the record straight, those born between 1980 and 2000 are officially the millennials and brands are out there to get your attention. Your hand held devices and your media consumption habits give it away way just too easily to them.

Tech sets Millennials apart, tech brings them together

Tech sets Millennials apart, tech brings them together. Credits: The Tribune

But why are they so important?

Research shows that they have more money to spend and engage with the brands. But here’s the catch. They spend more on experiences and less on things and this is what redefines the entire marketing approach of brands toppling it upside down.The problem has been that marketing initiatives focus on selling more and more by showcasing [mostly online] the need for something and building aspirations around it. Tactics have been used again and again to build sales volumes and there has come a time when the message couldn’t get camouflaged successfully enough. There are more than enough ‘me too’ campaigns like the skin fairness creams that tell you subtly on how you have a choice not to feel ‘ugly’ with your natural skin tone or the cola drink that promises Bollywood mega star type superpowers. What more can brands offer? The previous generation has expectations from the government and the current one expects brands to engage with them in a meaningful reciprocity.So, it’s about dialogue and engaging experiences rather than ‘I sell, you buy’.

What sets them apart?

  • Ambitious and ready to move on

Reports show time and again that for millennials the purpose and growth at workplace is more important even more than the financial reimbursements. Deloitte’s Milleninal Survey Report 2016 say, an increasing number of people (60 per cent) across developed and developing markets are ready to move on if the company doesn’t offer them a clear career growth chart and if they feel their skills aren’t growing. Workplace is just a means to achieve their ambitions and they don’t intent to be loyal forever. On an average, two years is the max you can retain these souls.

  • Connected and confident

They are the first generation that has seen the movement from landlines to mobiles and the omnipresent World Wide Web. They are the most connected generation and consume content voraciously. Having grown up as the most sheltered generation since economic expansion in the 1990s, social media is their battleground to correct all that is wrong and evil in the world.

  • Access, not ownership

They are optimistic, street smart and believe in realism. However, lack focus with long-term goals. They are more into the moment and this reflects in their spending habits. Owning a house and a car is not a priority until they get into their mid-forties. The sharing economy and plethora of apps out there for music streaming, car sharing, video content, travel keeps them off the burden of owning things.

  • Family and marriage can wait

Most of them have delayed marriages, in their thirties, and even the parenthood decision takes the backseat. In what is seen as the dominant trend in the US, more millennials choose to stay with their parents.

  • ‘We’ and the world

The work-life balance for them is prime and their existence is not individualistic as initially thought, but it is shared experiences that excite them. They care about the world and expect brands to play larger role in societal development with focus on micro issues that impact them.

What is at stake for brands?

With the millennial population touching prime earning and spending years, the impact on the economy and the brands is expected to be unprecedented. According to MSLGROUP’s global research on the Future of Business Citizenship, this generation has grown with unique experiences shielded by their economic migrant parents and the technological disprution setting them apart. The digital natives, who believe in the sharing economy and want a different approach to all things life and shopping with meaningful experiences rather than things, expect marketers to do more to get their attention.To put things into perspective, currently more than half of the world’s population is under 30 and by 2025, millennials will represent 75 per cent of the global workforce. In the next two years, baby boomers will be outpaced by this generation in the total spending power. Can the brands and marketers still choose to ignore these powerful, connected digital natives.

Well, welcome to the rise of ‘Milleno-sapiens’!

Originally published in The Tribune.


The Ultimate Augmented Reality Hell is Near!

Here’s an amazing short film by Keiichi Matsuda which looks at what the future with hyper augmented reality might have in store for us.

Is it really going to be fun once we take the next level of evolution? Or is it just the fear of the unknown on the road to becoming  true Techno-Sapiens, where technology leaps more every week than the last 100 years combined.

Let’s just watch this for now!


Share your views  with me on Twitter- @Wvishal


What makes #tech #startups so hot?

If you too are thinking of taking the plunge, measured steps will be key to a good start
For tech startups, innovation is a non-stop process

For tech startups, innovation is a non-stop process. Image Courtesy: The Tribune

Tech startups are thought to be the hottest money minting assets of the modern business world. From homegrowns like Flipkart and Snapdeal to the globally popular ones like Uber, Instagram and Snapchat, startups have disrupted businesses and brought conglomerates to their knees.

For tech startups, innovation is a non-stop process and those who look the other way fail and get decimated. Kodak is one of the most famous examples of a company that couldn’t innovate fast enough despite having all the resources.

Disruption and tech startups go hand in hand. These startups are the dinosaurs of the world that can scale heights as they are powered by the world wide web and easy reach of billions surfing the social networks and sites every day.

Let’s look at these startups to understand how ‘hot’ or disruptive they can be.

Taxi: Uber has become synonymous with disruption with a lean team of handful of people providing mobile-based cab service in 68 countries and powering more than 1 million rides every day. Uber allows the transparency to track cab rides and make payments from mobile wallets.

Travel: AirBnB is present across 190 countries in 34,000 cities with 15,00,000 listings allowing people to find, let and rent properties. The company allows people to lease out their properties to travellers for short duration and charge them for it.

TV: Netflix is the global provider for streaming movies and original TV series. The service has 42.5mn users in the US alone who clock 10bn hours every month, binge-watching several shows.

Music: Spotify, the music streaming company, provides digital rights management protected content from media companies and record labels with 30mn songs and 2,000 songs added each day. More than 2bn playlists are on Spotify and users clock 1.75bn hours on an average listening to them.

Where does one begin on the tech startup journey?

I wish the answer could be a simpler one. Here are some suggestions, which can come in handy.

Step 1: Join a startup: Don’t know where your passion is? Better to start somewhere small. Explore, make your mistakes and learn before you start your own venture.

Step 2: Go online and search for what you need to learn to know. There are a bunch of self-tutorials and case studies to learn as much as possible. Join conversations on Quora and startup forums like OnStartups. Network like crazy and know the ecosystem inside out.

Step 3: Think hard about your idea. It works better if the idea is ‘organic’ i.e. coming from your personal experience of solving a problem you have faced. Not every time you will succeed making an Indian clone of Amazon. Go deep.

Step 4: Get yourself a team, which shares your passion. Learn a bit or two about coding. You don’t have to know how to code to launch a tech startup. Start learning as much as you can from free resources like, Coursera, Codeacademy to get yourself up to speed.

Step 4: Sell as much as you can. Sell your ideas to your friends and family. Gauge their feedback and see if there is a market for your product. Pivot when necessary till you are able to launch and get your first customer. Be relentless.

Watch before you leap

It’s not all smiles in the startup world. According to a survey by a famous business magazine, 90 per cent of the startups fail and it has nothing to do with the disruptive product idea. There are more factors at play here like the team dynamics, funding and the saleability of the product. What good is the product that no one wants to use?

For those bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, there is always hope and salvation in these words from the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” So, go build and show it to them. Make it work!

(First published in The Tribune  on  April 30, 2016)

Share your views  with me on Twitter- @Wvishal

Disruption through Internet of Things ( #IoT ) is yet to come

Though at one point of time it seemed like straight out of a sci-fi movie, the concept of internet of things, popularly known by its acronym IoT has been with us for the last few years.
Image Courtesy: The Tribune

Image Courtesy: The Tribune

Those of you who have been following Consumer Electronics Show (CES) or the tech evangelists cum geek meets at South by SouthWest (SXSW) would quite naturally be excited by the promise and the scale that IoT can deliver.

Well, that’s the good news. The not so great news is when was the last time you used an IoT connected device and more so for how long? Wearables like FitBit, iWatch, Gear S2 is the closest an Indian consumer can get to experiencing the phenomenon of IoT. However, the wearable tech market hasn’t been able to capture the mindspace of consumers (both at home and globally) due to the high penetration of mobile devices, where an additional device seems more of a luxury. As per industry reports, more than 1.2 billion smartphones are expected to be sold by early 2016 and that just puts into perspective the difference between the consumers fascination (with IoT) and the actual need for another me-too devices with IoT promise.

IoT continues to evolve with quick adoption in some sections of the world led by smart homes, smart cars and smart kitchens market. These are the new toys of the millennials, who will be willing to spend a buck for the sheer experience. The demand though is largely coming from the Europe and the USA where disposable income is relatively higher and the awareness is more due to wider internet penetration. Niche segments in the emerging markets like India may not be too far behind but are sure to witness a surge.

So, are the brands to be blamed for the lack of public interest? The answer is both yes and no. Many brands are competing with their products. Though innovation has been seen from sensors to smartphone-enabled connectivity for home, there isn’t a wow factor anywhere. Even though a refrigerator may be able to track the contents and expiry date, technology remains largely unaffordable. The consumer on the other hand is unaware and mostly confused when it comes to making an informed decision about the smart technologies they should buy. It’s the convenience that drives the audience in this segment with Android and iOS being the front-runners. However, the biggest drawback is that appliances of different brands can hardly communicate to each other.

IoT is the technology of the informed consumer and is only going to get better in future. And all the cues point to this as the disruptor of consumer and enterprise technology in years to come. Just to put into perspective, there are more devices connected to the internet than humans and by 2020, 26 billion devices or ‘things’ will be connected to the internet. For the time being, consumers just have to wait for their ‘eureka’ moment till a brand comes with a single highly desired product which can create mainstream demand. We need another ‘iPod’ moment in this space to transform this vision into reality.

(First published in The Tribune  on  April 9, 2016)

Share your thoughts about #IoT with me on Twitter- @Wvishal


Capitalism and War by Banksy

Banksy’s Top 20 Street Art Marvels That You Can’t Afford To Miss

Street art, according  to Wikipedia  is visual art created in public locations, usually unsanctioned artwork executed outside of the context of traditional art venues.

The term has gained popularity during the graffiti art boom of the early 1980s. Lately, Banksy the most popular name of this art form has been at the fore front of the street art revolution bringing attention to the political, social and modern lifestyle issues with his unique take. No one knows who he really is but his work has been getting amazing recognition for years, a lot of it stencil based. Usually most of his work is anonymous with little attribution.  However, there is a broad  consensus on his popular work which has appeared from Britain to Palestine and New York from time to time.  Here’s a curated pack of his work  put together from several sources.


1. Stop Asking For Permissions

Stop Asking for Permissions by Banksy








2.  Make Music Not War

Make Music Not War by Banksy








3.  Butterfly Suicide

Butterfly Suicide By Banksy








4. Gas Mask Boy

Gas Mask Boy by Banksy








5. Black Flag and Revolution

Black Flag by Banksy









6. Capitalism And War

Capitalism and War by Banksy






7. Banksy Rat

Banksy Rat








8. 0% Interest

0% Interest by Banksy








9. Lifestyle out of stock

Lifestyle by Banksy








10. Mobile Phone Lovers

Mobile Phone Lovers by Banksy








11. Protect me, please

Protect Me by Banksy








12. Kissing Bobbies

Kissing Coppers by Banksy





13. Modern Prison

Modern Man By Banksy









14. The Fighting Panda

Panda By Banksy








15. Freedom at West Bank

Freedom at West Bank By Banksy








16. Keep Your COins!

I Want Change by Banksy








17. Banksy Mouse in NYC

I Love NY by Banksy








18. What Are you Looking at?







19. Angel of despair

Angel by Banksy









20. SMile… 🙂

SMILE by Banksy










For more

  1. Check out my Pin board dedicated to Street Art.
  2. Must follow Hooked Upon blog and Street Art with Google  to follow  artists closely.
  3. Really want to learn more about Banksy? Don’t forget to watch Exit Through the Gift Shop
  4. Of course you wouldn’t want to miss his  Dismaland, bemusement Park and be scarred for life.



Technology and the Future Generation

When we talk about social media, technology that drives it can’t be missed out in the mentions. And when we talk about technology, the impact and influence on the younger generation can’t be missed out on.

Call them Gen X or Gen Y, our children are the ones who will inherit what we invent today. The social channels, the technology, the infrastructure, everything will be at their disposal to use. What we have to make sure as the inventors that it is not misused.

Children today are smart, perhaps smarter than us when we were that age. We were used to playing outdoors, getting our clothes dirty and knees bruised. They may not be doing exactly the same today, but they sure are much more adept at using a smart phone, perhaps more than us who invented it. So how do we make sure that when they do interface with these devices, children learn something instead of being adversely affected by the devices that have become an inseparable part of our lives?

With this question at the heart of the discussion, Intel and Educomp organized the Tech For Toddlers event this past weekend. I’ll be honest, I had to look up on the internet to learn a bit more about Dr. Bindu Rana and her work in education research. So when she started speaking at the event, one tends to listen. “Technology is an enabler for the child. Parents should not restrict its use, just the misuse. The first sense that a child uses to learn is the sense of touch and devices are only helping. The action used to zoom into a picture on the screen is the same with which to hold a pencil in hand,” she said.

I had never thought on these lines before, but now that the idea has found its way to my thoughts, the more I think about it, the more I realize its validity. Not only is the modern technology an enabler for learning, it is the one point which can enhance learning by experiencing rather than learning by rote which we all did in school. But how does one control the flow of information so that the child has access to all the right information and is shielded from the imminent ill effects of the information age?

Give them access to the devices, but make sure the access is supervised. Make sure, instead of games and music, the devices have more educational material for the children as their usage of the device will have a greater impact on them compared to an adult. Make sure access to the devices is not allowed in the bedroom or at the dining table. These are some of the easiest to ignore pointers but leave a lasting impact on how the modern computing devices can make or break the future generation. And as parents and guardians, we are the ones who have a lot to learn before we call it a day.