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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?

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.

 

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.

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.

 

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.

• 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.

Problems 18 and 67 of Project Euler were the most interesting ones to me, as I almost brute forced them and yet without taking twenty billion years as claimed.
Here’s the problem
By starting at the top of the triangle below and moving to adjacent numbers on the row below, the maximum total from top to bottom is 23.

3
7 4
2 4 6
8 5 9 3

That is, 3 + 7 + 4 + 9 = 23.

Find the maximum total from top to bottom of the triangle below:

75
95 64
17 47 82
18 35 87 10
20 04 82 47 65
19 01 23 75 03 34
88 02 77 73 07 63 67
99 65 04 28 06 16 70 92
41 41 26 56 83 40 80 70 33
41 48 72 33 47 32 37 16 94 29
53 71 44 65 25 43 91 52 97 51 14
70 11 33 28 77 73 17 78 39 68 17 57
91 71 52 38 17 14 91 43 58 50 27 29 48
63 66 04 68 89 53 67 30 73 16 69 87 40 31
04 62 98 27 23 09 70 98 73 93 38 53 60 04 23

NOTE: As there are only 16384 routes, it is possible to solve this problem by trying every route. However, Problem 67, is the same challenge with a triangle containing one-hundred rows; it cannot be solved by brute force, and requires a clever method! ;o)

Here is my analogy to solve this problem,


And here’s my solution in Python

	n = []
	for i in range(15):
		n.append(map(int,raw_input().split()))
	newresult = n.pop(0)
	for i in range(14):
		x = n.pop(0)
		result = list(newresult)
	#	print len(result)
		newresult =[]
		t = len(x)
		for j in range(t):
			if(j==0):
				newresult.append(result[0]+x.pop(0))
			elif(j==t-1):
				newresult.append(result[0]+x.pop(0))
			else:
				newresult.append(max((result.pop(0)+x[0]),result[0]+x.pop(0)))
		print newresult
	print max(newresult)

I essentially keep a list of all possible values by limiting to the max at each step, isn’t that amazing 😉

Really “don’t discount your education”

Rachel Lim's Blog

There was a great question on Programmers about graduating with a programming degree, but not knowing how to program. I see this kind of question a lot, and I felt the same way when I first got my degree, so I thought I’d write about my experiences and what I learned when first started programming.

This was originally an article I wrote for the Programmers.SE blog, however the blog doesn’t appear to be happening at this time so I am posting it on my own blog instead.


Start with baby steps

First off, don’t expect to be able to code enterprise-level applications or the next Facebook right away. You really can’t become a good programmer without a lot of practice, so practice any way you can. This can include hobby projects, reading books or source code, or even answering questions on Stack Overflow.

The book Outliers: The Story of…

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Most engineering students in India are from a non-coding background. They get into a CS degree course by knowledge of Maths, Physics and Chemistry and learn their first programming language (C mostly) only in their first year at college; by this time they are already 17 or so.

After the first loss i.e. loss of years (by when an average US coder writes excellent code) the second loss comes from the unrevealed truth that coding is learnt by practice. Many students don’t like to code much, others that do learn the lesson very late. By this time (when the students know the need to do actual programming) they get to their final years when another horrible phenomena comes into picture; yes, you guessed it right the PLACEMENTS. This stuff takes into account your CGPA and knowledge of computers but they usually don’t check your code made by you in the past. Some challenging companies do test coding skills but on the basic of problem solving skills.

Only a few of the engineers get into good companies. As a result there are a lot of students who have their dream of a high salary crushed down. They take this as an epic fall and don’t realize the immense possibilities that lay ahead.

We need to change this mentality. Placements shouldn’t be given such a higher place in society. There are many other resources to make a good life. Open Source is one such example

Now I have finally realized that JavaScript is not for me, I am neither interested in it nor I need it for any projects right now.So, for now C,PHP,Java,Python will be my working areas.

However if time requires I might actually work on some JS or jQuery related stuff