Posts filed under ‘Business’

Mossack-Fonseca Getaway Spaceship – ET Contest

Here is my entry to ‘Give ET Your Panama-Picture’ contest –

When out of the blue, Economic-Times via Times-of-India ran the Panama-Picture contest ad in which, ‘What do the words “Mossack-Fonseca” mean to you?’ question was asked, I was stumped to be brutally frank with you folks. Mossack… wha? was my first reaction and that is the arc in the cartoon of this evil firm in Panama being so alien and yet, a facilitator and getaway vehicle for the ill-gotten loot of capitalistic pigs and fat cats (drawn quite literally) to be lost entirely to the world (again, drawn quite literally by way of a black-hole) while the abused Earth increasingly becomes a shell of its former self.
For the Feminist brigade, yes, there is 50:50 representation of men and women for the cunning thieves. Am fair that way. Anyhoo, the cartoon works on so many levels even if I have to say so to myself. Fingers crossed. Watch this space…

1 May, 2016 at 16:11 Leave a comment

Time Flies – Work, Stretch, Moths

23 April, 2014 at 11:50 Leave a comment

Ashok Inner-AAM: Rise Against Corrupt Lawyers

While discussing corruption by government, police, lawyers and courts, Neha Shah of I-Am-Aam came across an Android App for Code-for-Civil-Practice and thought it is an empowering tool when being mistreated by a government official i.e. a cool new-age Inner-AAM solution. I was not sold on it for I tend to buy the story, not the product and wondered about the people behind the app. Call it gut or instinct, but I had a feeling that whoever was behind the apps (there are a bunch by the same development team on IPC (Indian Penal Code), RTI (Right To Information), MVA (Motor Vehicle Act), JJA (Juvenile Justice Act) et al. here) must have an interesting story to tell. Being the resourceful lass that she is, Neha pursued the suggestion, accepted the challenge and dug out the app developer, Ashok Kumar Goli AKA Ashok Felix, a self-confessed patriotic Hyderabadi who is all of 25 years old and is currently the Director of Karlo Transport Private Limited and a member of EcoCabs among other things. Lets get on with the story, shall we, in his own words.

Soon after graduating in 2009, I went to Mysore for participating in the Flight Officer selections at the Air Force Selection Board (AFSB). I met candidates from all over the nation who were entirely different from me but at the same time shared the same passion that I had in our country. I got selected but didn’t join (a whole different story). Noticed that several of the potential Flight Officers were unaware of basic things that a citizen of India is supposed to know such as the Preamble to the Constitution of India, our National Pledge, etc. After returning from my medicals, I started asking my friends, relatives and colleagues if they knew these things and researching on why most of them didn’t even have a nominal idea about such important stuff regarding India. Found out it’s the lack of easily available information. Realized that change always begins from a single step and decided to take it.

Sorry to interrupt but the message here is that Ashok brought out his Inner-AAM and in the classic tradition of the Nataraja thandava, is giving abhayam to seekers of justice and trampling corrupt lawyers. A salute by this nacheez i.e. yours truly –

I immediately started working on an Android App (Note: I had no prior programming experience or knowledge of Law) and launched the very first basic "Constitution of India" android app on the Android Market (Android Play Store now). People really liked it, found it useful and started interacting with me on a daily basis through the feedback system built within the app. Most of the users were either law students, professional lawyers or judges in courts. I started getting suggestions, improvement ideas and the app eventually turned into the final version that is available in the market now. The morphing process was gradual. I started getting more and more requests for law applications as the data for the bare acts is really hard to find and harder still to categorize and understand. Based on the framework that I built for Constitution of India, I started gathering data from various government websites and through RTI. Each act took about a month to develop and publish. Began publishing apps act-wise as it’s easier for people to download, view and search through the apps. Each of these apps has the facility to search the central act library via web. Published about 20 apps and a lot more in queue.
Laws affect us all. And increasingly, bare acts are being searched for, read and used by a broad range of people. Bare acts are no longer confined to professional libraries but are considered intricate and intimidating. The apps empower people to directly access, search for and discuss the law of the land in the most simple way possible – using the smart phone. Given that my apps realize their full potential in the hands of people studying and practicing law, their aim is to provide the common man, the power and resources to look into the rules that define and build India. The main purpose of the law apps is to uncomplicate law, open it up for everyday discussion via the social features in the apps and make the information easily available offline.
Imagine a lawyer in a court being able to present his case without carrying any books and without wasting time to pin point the chapter number and section number. Imagine a judge being able to verify the arguments almost instantaneously by searching for specific content in all the laws of India, saving valuable time and speeding up the decision process. Imagine a client going to the lawyer and being able to discuss his specific issues by completely understanding the sections his issues are related to. Imagine a law student going to college/court with just his smartphone and work on it entirely. Imagine a teenage kid being able to read/watch a civil dispute in the news and cross reference the discussion. Imagine a normal person caught speeding on the road and finding out the exact fine amount when a corrupt police official demands a hefty fine. My apps give Aam-Aadmi the power to access all the information or laws that are related to him and that affect him.

Words to live by, or rather, draw by in this case. Please head over to CWorks for a visual depiction of how Ashok Inner-AAM is helping people rise against the reign of corrupt lawyers. As the old adage goes, information/knowledge is power. Indeed.

3 April, 2014 at 18:31 Leave a comment

India Independence Day 2011 – Cuffed and Shackled

It is and probably always has been very fashionable to say, nay quip that India is a land of contradictions. For once, I tend to agree with this today of all days because it is so-called “Independence Day” of the nation. I know very well that ‘independence’ does not mean nor ‘imply’ freedom by no sense nor definition of the words but for all the patriotism and jingoism to mark 64 years of independence from a cruel, racist, iron-fisted rule of the British, it seems to me that the common man of this country is still in bondage – clutches, suffering, cuffs, shackles and the works…

Ah yes, the contradictions. The police who are supposed to protect, torture. The politicians who are supposed to serve, rule. The doctors who are supposed to treat, harm. The corporations who are supposed to utilize, exploit. Finally, the people who are supposed to live, merely exist to drag yet another day without any hope towards a bleak future that is losing purpose with a unstable economy et al. I digress.

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    15 August, 2011 at 23:53 Leave a comment

    NDM Superbug Vindicates India Superpower Status

    This might be old news but still it is news that WHO endorsed Lancet report on India giving rise to NDM superbug that can potentially threaten the whole world but hey, why see this as such a bad thing? Why should 3rd world douchedirt scumbags, read, Indians be scared of germs, take it as a national insult, see it as a Western political conspiracy to undermine medical tourism, feel that it will affect development growth and try to fight and refute it? Just pay heed to the politician…

    Any person who has been taught history knows that any country holding a world-threatening thingy – be it a weapon or disease – is a bonafide superpower. In fact, America was won by fleeing Europeans because of germs mostly. Maybe, it is indeed India’s decade as some magazine put it naively and jingoistically.

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      10 February, 2011 at 18:26 Leave a comment

      80:20 Communications Golden Ratio – EMail Proof

      In the 2-weeks since I have been back from my 2-year exile and got into corporate work mode, I have attended 2 seminars/conferences which irrespective of the context and intent, eventually become back-scratching sales expos of one kind or another. I digress but if it is all about fresh change and change is constant then by association, everything is constant, no? What will be has always been and such quacks with some weird Murphy law pertaining to conservation of change or constancy or something. Don’t believe it? Let us put it to the test shall we? An example is needed and email is as good an example as any given that it is still the primary means of corporate communication. I said it and meet me offline to debate.
      Now it may be the case that I have been away from email research for a while with my finger-in-pie projects of Soylent, MIT Media Labs’ Social Network Fragments and IBM Remail gotten archived serving as footnotes in information sciences research but we made a starkling discovery half a decade back that email is the most sticky social network of all and 80:20 (or Pareto Law or Rich-get-Richer or Power Log or Long Tail Graph etc.) is the golden ratio for communication patterns in any circumstance. Ergo, as a quick thought experiment, if you take all your contacts and conversations in your inbox and chart them by age and activity, it will be a classic long tail. Not only do you communicate with 20% people for 80% of the time but the 80% of the activity will happen in the first 20% timeline of the relationship. A corollary was that if you broadcast something, 80% of it gets lost in the ether and this is what I will put to the test today for your greymatter exercise pleasure.
      I am not a people person but having missed the chance to experiment in Amazon Web Services Cloud Computing Event in Bangalore, I thought I’d gather data in the NASSCOM Product Conclave and Expo 2010. Oh, the things I do in the name of research. I managed to gather 31 visiting cards (this has to be outmoded BTW for green and convenience reasons – where are vCards, BlueTooth, semacodes, Bump, digital IDs, card scanners in smartphones et al.) and the next day while memory is still fresh, broadcasted an LoL-inducing cute long mail saying hello and spouting philosophy. Note that the sample was quite diverse with some whom I interacted with deeply to some whom I had lunch/coffee and some from whom I got a visiting card without making any verbal contact whatsoever. All bases covered.
      Results and Conclusion:
      Enough talk. Let us look at a snapshot of a spreadsheet with a pie-chart –

      I guess the data speaks for itself. (Silence + Bounce = 25) is 80% and any scientist would be happy to be proven right and plug ‘I told you so’ but am not really religious err… I mean as a real scientist (who is often seen as a heretic in the circles), I take great thrill in being proven wrong in the best interests of progress. Alas, life has been dull! I salute thee who replied back, pursued the line of inquiry, called up, glued on LinkedIn etc. who make up the 20% because without them, there would be no 80% split now, would it? Yin and Yang. As a parting trivia, funny/serious thing is that those who responded did it 80% by email as mode of communication. No wonder Facebook seems to be getting into email as per chirps on the interwebs.
      Le Why?
      The quick answer to this, I don’t know nor do I have the skills/education to pursue this other than half-baked observational theories which are dime a dozen. Maybe, someone will pick this up and explore but for that to happen, more data is needed and more people should report back broadcast/response ratios in their email.

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        13 November, 2010 at 19:00 2 comments

        UnPluggd – India Copy Startups – Coaching Rush

        Heard on the Trak grapevine that UnPluggd Startup Oktoberfest is going to be held in Bengaluru, well duh, in October. Here’s my quick take on what is going to happen in this so-called “school for startups” and what I think has been happening per my naive observations/experiences, in so-called India startup ecosystem scene –

        You know in the movie “Adaptation”, Charlie vents anger and loathes at his twin brother Donald for going to a writing workshop? I kinda feel that way about these schooling sessions for entrepreneurs. If folks have to go to seminars – not that I see UnPluggd as one but there will be such sessions am sure – and read books and such on how to innovate, they are not true entrepreneurs now, are they? You know, streaking their own paths and all that. Come to think of it, UnPluggd itself is not original as a concept. Heck, the tagline has ‘Oktoberfest’ for crying out loud with scant regard as to the origins of the word and careless disregard on how Germany would see the misuse. Am sorry, am not impressed with such harakiri. Ditto with startup ecosystem in India. Am just not a big fan of mediocre unoriginal startups just copying and getting by with desi versions of ideas from other places. Peace.

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          27 September, 2010 at 18:57 2 comments

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