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 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


Why blogging or original content creation (OCC) is important?

Concert Crowd (Osheaga 2009) - 30000 waiting f...

Blogging/ OCC = Influence

Influence = Followers

Followers = Conversations
Conversations = Stories
Stories = Engagement
Engagement = Sharing
Sharing = Reach
Reach = Message Amplified
Message amplified = Influence

Therefore, Blogging/OCC = Influence. Blog now!! 🙂

Debunking Myths About Facebook. Really?!

Everything that catches attention always comes under the close scrutiny of the critics. Everyone has an opinion be it the tech geeks, social media experts, politicians or the general public. And when it comes to Facebook –  we love to have conversation about it both on and off it. facebook engancha

Cynics have suggested conspiracy theories of world domination in Facebook’s policies. Well, it could seem quite believable when you find the company imitating ever walk of ones social life and wrapping it for display online. It’s not that no one has tried it before- MySpace, Orkut and loads of other have traveled the same road and got lost in tech graveyard. Sometimes the burden of rising user expectations have pulled them down while at other times extreme focus on monetization of user base have got them bleeding.

Though the jury is still out on Facebook’s future – nearly a billion users network can’t be discounted that easily. The social in facebook is still strong and those who think getting the taste of e-com to the network could be the beginning of the end are in for a big surprise. Simply because ‘Money is Social’. That’s where most networks in the pre-Facebook era have lost the plot. They tried to monetize the social by selling it i.e. the numbers to advertisers anyone and everyone. Perhaps it was the only logical model that they saw delivering the moolah following the steps of big brother Google.

But Google didn’t have stakes on social until recently with G+. What these networks didn’t understand was that Google was all about numbers and algorithms – a mechanical code that barely touched upon the psyche of social existence. In fact, only thing it managed to capture was the hype and persona of the glittery banner ads with somewhat segmented traffic base which came in hordes and disappeared even quickly. But Google has evolved and learned it’s lesson about where the real money is.

So where is the real money? Well, its there where it has always been. Any guesses? Yes, its the people. People have the money. But people have a nasty habit – they don’t give you the money when you want it unless that’s what they want and they have to want it badly. And Google or Facebook  would want them to do just that.

So, what’s the great idea – Make Money Social. And Facebook is doing exactly that. It is enticing enough for people to mirror their real life or reel life relationships on the network. And now that everyone I know and you know is on Facebook what’s the next thing we can do.

Well, it’s the same thing you do every Friday after work? PARTY.

Only difference is this party doesn’t need a Friday to start. It lasts the whole week. Your fancy clothes retailer is even offering an ‘Offer’ with exclusive discount. You got shoes available too. Well, why not invite everyone else too! And you know what’s even better let’s show off to the losers who missed out. Blahhh.

Well, that’s facebook. So when next time someone tells you Social is money! They are almost right but it has always been the other way round. Remember this – whoever said money can’t buy everything didn’t know how to Facebook.

Help him log in. Peace!


Well, this article was actually supposed to be about Myths about Facebook. The serious stuff. Will write that sometime today.

‘Organ Donor’ to be featured as ‘Life Event’ on Facebook

Facebook users will be able to add organ donor preferences to their profiles through ‘life event’, encouraging their friends to become organ donors as well.

Though this won’t be an official registration for donating organs, but a social pledge making everyone in your family and friends aware of your decision. One of the ways this could help the cause is that your family members can make more informed decisions about unregistered donors more confidently.  May be such public status updates will influence others too considering the impressive number of 901mn members in the network.

Cynics are out considering the timing of Facebook’s IPO which is scheduled for mid May 2012. Perhaps, this is a last attempt to infuse some more positive sentiment to the brand before it starts trading on the stock market. However, this is truly a commendable move by Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg who made this announcement during an interview with Good Morning America said that this idea came from an conversation with this girlfriend Priscilla Chan about the ways organ donations can change people’s lives. Priscilla is a medical student. In a statement along with Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, Zuckerberg wrote that,  “And we believe that by simply telling people that you’re an organ donor, the power of sharing and connection can play an important role.”

According to a press release by Facebook, “Today, more than 114,000 people in the United States, and millions more around the globe, are waiting for the heart, kidney or liver transplant that will save their lives. Many of those people – an average of 18 people per day – will die waiting, because there simply aren’t enough organ donors to meet the need. Medical experts believe that broader awareness about organ donation could go a long way toward solving this crisis. And we believe that by simply telling people that you’re an organ donor, the power of sharing and connection can play an important role.”

Some are raising questions about the effectiveness of this feature in driving awareness about organ donation. Though, according to one survey by Mashable nearly 60% of respondents think that ‘Organ Donor’ life event will help those in needs. It will be a while before you see this feature functional on your page.

Do you plan to donate your organs anytime soon?

Some part of this post by me was first published on ODigMa