We all know about the barter system when producers and consumers used to transact directly. As we civilized and innovated better ways of production were developed. This was only accessible to few- the innovators or the rich guys, thus giving them an upper hand. By reducing cost and at the same time investing in advertising these producers were able to sell more and this lead for the need to scale their business and to reach out to more audience, crossing geographic boundaries.

This might be the way how the concept of middlemen or resellers or distributors and dealers was born. By being able to make uniquely products companies were being born with branches or franchises required to scale to multiple countries, cities and even small localities.

Rise of e-commerce and its future

With the advent of the internet and rising competition among these producers the need to to find ways to reduce costs came up, real estate being one of the biggest contributors. Not only people could sell with better product descriptions online through sites like eBay, etc there was no need to have any infrastructure as well. Few visionairies saw the opportunity to eliminate the mom-pop shops and be the online middlemen. However, if you know a little on how “people” work this is not so easy to achieve. All major brands and companies have been relying on their trusted network of distributors and dealers to sell their products and this didn’t always worked in their favour, they couldn’t bypass them. Thus you couldn’t come up with an online site and ask the company to directly sell through you, they wouldn’t agree. You would need to procure from a distributor/dealer to be able to sell.

Here comes the clever thought- if you already established a major customer base online, the brands would start to depend on you instead of their dealers. They could possibly start selling to you (read through you) directly, after all now you too are a distributor now – only with more advanced technologies and a much wider reach. Maybe that’s what Amazon and Flipkart did? They used heavy cash burn to discount and get a good customer base, developed technologies to scale and worked on their biggest hurdle yet – logistics and now clearly the brand are relying on them to sell. Take for example smartphone launches like Moto G or Redmi or OnePlus that are now happening exclusively on these online sites. Or newer companies that are establishing without having any distribution hassles and directly selling online or even well established brands like Sony directing customers from their sites to these e-commerce portals for purchases. (Remember when brands used to warn you of purchasing from these same sites saying your warranty would be void, that’s clearly in the past now). With the ongoing research taking place in robotics and machine learning the cost of logistics is also set to reduce drastically.

 

What’s next?

Will the ecommerce sites be the last middlemen we see? Or will the brands be able to sell us directly too?

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It takes quite some time to realize that for a startup a negative feedback with various mistakes pointed out is much more valuable than a testimonial.

Mail your initial customers asking for testimonial feedback

Also, a customer who has the highest expectations from you will give you the best feedback and teach you best as they complain over various things that went wrong.

 

Are you preparing for a Google/Facebook interview? Give your head some rest and think.

This post is about engineers passing out from top or not “called” top technical institutes of India who all go through the dilemma of how to get that job at Google or Facebook (or any similar company). And soon they learn that they need to be really really strong in their algorithms, problem/puzzle solving and coding practices. We tend to get familiar algorithm books – they don’t take a long time to complete and then with codechef, topcoder, hackerrank and many similar websites that provide endless unrealistic problems to work on and compete with the world. While we are solving them, we do get better and some of us then crack the interviews at these reputed companies to get that dream job. But some don’t, they either keep trying or regret and start loving the job they could get. My question is aren’t the jobs at these companies overrated?

Well, of course these are high paying reputed jobs with companies that are aligned to solve big pain points in the best way but is the effort of proving them that we are worth it for which we tend to waste months solving problems nobody cares about really worth it? I say NO. There are more than a dozen, wait a hundred? thousand? other problems waiting to be solved and I bet they are much easier than this coding interview. All one needs is the guts to go ahead and tackle real problems. No, not guts really, a simple understanding that your life is limited, don’t live it trying to prove it to someone when you can prove it to everyone and alongside solve a bigger problem. This post must by now look like an inspirational story for an entrepreneur journey, it really isn’t just that. For example, while in college I spent a lot of time contributing to open source projects (a lot of it was paid). I learned and at the same time not only proved myself but also contributed to solve somebody’s problem and yes made cash too. When I fixed a small bug in Wikipedia I actually fixed a small problem for the world and that felt fantastic. I bet you won’t have such a feeling after solving a very hard problem on Topcoder.

So my message from this blog is simple, spend your time wisely and if you can contribute to the society. Don’t run after a job that is just shiny on the outside. You might think that Google is going to give you really hard problems to solve? I think there are a lot of harder problems laying low around you, fix that. Nobody is stopping you from it, you don’t have to interview for it. Besides I also bet that Google might not give you any hard problem that you anticipate it would based on the interview prep you must be doing.

*This has been a quick write, so forgive me for my grammar. I do brag a lot sometimes.

The big problem with us urban people is that we only believe in the things we see, not minding that there’s only little that we see. Whenever there’s a nicely presented video for a social cause we would all go, click like or even post a comment to show our support for it, similarly when buying a refrigerator we would try to buy one with the highest eco-friendly ratings – we all try to do good but there’s only so little we can do. That’s wrong, there’s a lot to do but only if we start seeing more.

I had been to Chennai for an event on September with the plan to come back to Bangalore on Sunday. I was staying at my friend Ankit’s place in Guduwanchery, a small place near Tambaram. It was 10 am when the redbus app indicated that I had a bus to catch soon, startled by this I started investigating – I had booked a bus for 12:50 at midnight. Then I realized that the process of booking was so fast that I did a mistake between AM and PM. Damn, the bus stop I had asked for was T.Nagar which is somewhat far away. I tried calling the bus service (SRS Travels) and redbus as well but unfortunately nobody had enough time to respond so I decided to save my 500 bucks and take that bus. I hurried to the Tambaram railway station.

I had been to the railway stations in Chennai many times but I thought of double checking myself (given my bus timing mistake :P) so while I was in the queue I asked the guy standing ahead of me in broken English if it was the right queue for Mambalam tickets. He replied yes and also started explaining in Hindi+english. I was happy that the guy knew hindi so I started talking in Hindi and he said he was going in similar direction and would tell me when Mambalam came, I was delighted. Soon we took the train and we both sat opposite each other, he also had his wife (I suppose) with him. As we talked further, I asked him where he was from. “Assam”, “Oh my! even I am from Assam, this is cool” so I talked further with him asking him what he did, how long he has been in Chennai and if he visited Assam. Apparently the guy is a construction worker, I became more conscious given the company we were trying to form. I told him about http://www.honestcollars.com and how we are trying to help the city dwellers and the workers connect to each other without any middleman, even he was excited about the stuff (no matter he didn’t get much of it but he trusted me given I was from the same place as him – that always happens right.). I continued talking to him and asked him how his work was and he replied. Let me try to rephrase that in English:

Worker: “Its okay.”
Me: “So how do you find work?”
Worker: “The thekedar (or whatever term he used, I don’t have good memory) assigns us work, and for a year or two we do that.”
Me: “So who pays you then? The thekedar himself? or does he take a cut from you?”
Worker: “Yes, he pays us.”
Me: “So how has it been?”
Worker: “Not that good really, sometimes they turn out to be frauds. I have been working here for 8 years, sometimes they assign us some work for a month or so and when we ask for money he says he will give it next month. Next month or so, he disappears when he owes a few lakhs to everybody.”
Me: “Really such things happen :(, Anyways, can I have your number so that I may call you sometime I am here in Chennai for business for my startup.”
Worker: “Sure, please give your number as well.”

And that was all, the man looked pretty decent and honest and yet he had been cheated with nowhere to ask for help. His stop came and he got down, reminding me that the next stop was Mambalam.

It’s 1:47 and I am yet not able to sleep. Why?

Let’s try to understand this problem, called as insomnia by literate folks using some background from mathematics. If you can recall a chapter from your maths textbook of 11th or 12th grade called Mathematical Induction you were probably great at maths. If you want to try to solve it yourselves go ahead before you read the spoiler below.

Getting back to the original question of why can’t we sleep? To answer that let me ask you when did you last sleep? If your answer to this is “very late” continue reading.

Sleeping late for the first night is usually a result of sleeping through the day. However this habit usually (unless it’s Monday and you gotta work) develops further and further… It’s like the tiles falling one by one as shown in the picture

image

Sleeping late causes late wake up followed by dizziness and which is further followed by more daytime sleep. Thus leading to an endless number of sleepless nights.

Unless stopped by some external force such as your boss this process will keep going on and on..

Hence proved.

Since a lot of time, I have developed this idea of “inner geeks“. These are geeks who hide themselves so well in their extra-geeky activities that Yash Chopra wouldn’t know s/he obtained a degree in CS, with no fault of his. People of this genre could be found reading an OS lecture book at 8 on a Sunday morning or coding or sleeping after a full night of exhaustive coding but by the evening they will most likely be found in a pub, on a retreat, malls, or anywhere else. This is their disguise. Besides, they would also talk about a lot of HIMYM, BBT, BB, etc  But why?

 

Well all geeks are inner geeks but inner geeks aren’t always geeks. In a more mathematical way, or should I call it geeky way 

inner geek  is a subset of geekism

Now you might have started to realize that this blog is getting a bit geekish, well you would call me an inner geek too if you have already gotten the idea, have you?

I normally tend to write bigger blog posts, but I am too buy today. Hope to continue this from here.

 

Most of my philosophical thoughts come from the Bathroom, like this one. And finally I decided to pen it down here so I could laugh about it someday in the future. Here it is:

I don’t know if I believe in God, I definitely don’t believe in religion but the habit of constantly asking God to give me things, grant my wishes hasn’t left me.. I would blame my parents for cultivating that in me.

Strange thing I realized though is how our demands keep changing. For instance, when 2 years back I prayed to God I was being the least selfish guy on earth and I prayed for other’s happiness even though I know it would hurt me. Now when that happened (God knows if it was He who listened or just the order of random events) all I have is pain. I realized that somewhere deep deep down I am not happy and silently praying God to return my happiness.

I am sure God must be in a dilemma if he has been listening to me but I guess same is the story of every other guy?

Religion is not the belief of people who are rational, who cogitate before they believe 
However, those who have a penchant for their God try to harangue these atheists to
believe in. Many times, they form a coterie to deal with situations; kept esoteric for 
the public. The propensity of such people is usually to use boorish means, whereby 
they commit heinous crimes.
 
These kind of incongruous activities and aberrant behavior usually go unnoticed as
they carry the name of God until they lead to deplorable losses of human lives that 
engender new radical groups. Such groups of rebels make even the most inept and
diffident person proactive leading to outcries which have a zing for victory.

This post is about my experience at NITK, what I expected it to be, what I think it should have been and what I learnt from it (too much confusion in here). If you think the title seems to be taken from somewhere, yes it has been partly stolen 😉

Life in any Indian Engineering college consists of 4 parts (the for short years), but you never know how many more you end up making from it. So lets start to explore each year a bit.

First year
Life normally flows in this year, everything’s new and exciting. Any small event in college is like a “Mela” for the first years. Lots of advises come from drunk seniors, who learnt a lot and want you to know things beforehand; but you always get to ride the bike once. This year for me went mostly in raging and JEE preparation (please don’t do this). The raging part was awesome (no I am not lying). Raging is not good in general but to smaller extents it is a great way to know your seniors and classmates; I am still not sure if I totally oppose of it being illegal. From a programming point of view, I learned C this year (never knowing this will be kinda destiny).

Second year
This part of life- taken too carelessly, actually moulds your life. I am still confused what one should do in this phase, is it study? or aiwai-gupshup? or Hollywood? or seasons (strictly from the west)? or some kinda complex relationship ? Well I think I have had a little of all of these and I am still not content. This year is definitely a must year to do lots of stuff; be it making valuable,trustworthy friends or spend hours/days/months on your new *shiny* laptop or building your taste of music or whatever. Its never less stuff you can do. I preferred to keep study at a low priority this year and ended up screwing my GPA, I do blame that as an effect of my personal life stuff (not gonna discuss that over here). A lesson was learnt here -> never screw up your GPA, whether you learn anything or not.
Besides many find a guy/gal to keep them busy in this year, that is something I would say is worth a try too 😛

Third year
Hmm, now comes the time when you see your future head-on. Stupid stuff like placement tension, CAT/GRE preparation would come to life. Plus the problem of not getting a cool internship because of your screwed up GPA would constantly scream in your head (Little secret recipe here- try GSoC). This year I had ended up stuff that had backed me from my career path and started to focus on what to *really* learn. My GSoC came across this year’s end and was one of the most yielding experience till now. This year one should totally get into the gist of his/her subject and catch up on all that you lost enjoying for two years. Remember, a harder third year only leads to an awesome final year.

Final year
This year for me has just started and I am already writing this post too early. Not much to say, but this year is mostly about getting a “job” which I think is better the early you get. Recommendations for this year come in two ways, Enjoy! and Work Hard!. A little difficult choice to make here but I am still trying to keep my foot in both boats here.

• Integer is signed.so for n bits it stores 2^n-1 -1 to -2^n-1
• Unsigned can be used so that we can store from 0 to 2^n – 1.
• Thus for 16bits we have -32768 to 32767
• Typedef is like giving new names for int etc.
• Enum makes new types which can have fixed values given in braces eg. Enum day {mon,tue…..}
Here day can store any mon tue etc

• In storage normal use is auto
• Register makes variable local and saves in a register (you cannot lookup address of a register variable)
• Static makes it available even after control is transferred to the calling function
• Extern makes it available to all the functions of the file

• In making constants use define
• No use of ; ,all constants must be capital, no symbols except _
• And no =………eg #define MAX 20

• Declaring a value as const makes it unchangeable
• Volatile makes it changeable by external sources
• Using both it can be only changed externally

• Sizeof() is a operator and not a function

• In printing numbers %wd is used where w specifies field width. And numbers are filled from left and if %-wd then from right.

• In using float %w.pf is used where w is same and p denotes the no. of no.s after decimal

• In strings %w.ps is used where p denotes that only first p characters are to be printed.

• In a multi-dimensional array the elements are stored in a line in memory and can be accessed using pointers . a[i][j]=*(&a[0][0]+i*m+j)

• A structure is used to make use of something similar to objects

• In a structure a pointer can be used to refer to individual elements using ptr->elem.
• In union though declaration is similar to structure but memory is assigned of the size of the largest unit declared. And a union can have the value of only one type at a time.