Monday, May 28, 2007

Programming is beautiful

So, I am coding again. Trying to learn all the things which I somehow unlearned in recent past.
That's one of the things you get to do as a part of working for a start-up even better when you have co-founded it. You get to do everything in fact you 'have to' do everything. In last few months, I got to clean my office ..:-), Got to talk to some investment bankers, Some VCs, Got to participate in the long term and mid term strategy of our company and products, did a demo to a customer, and most importantly for a good part of last few months I spent in designing ,coding and debugging software.
Software is my passion especially when I am doing it for mobile phones. Debugging is something I like to do even more. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I still get the 'kick' out of fixing difficult issues or designing something cool as I used to get when I was a young engineer. It is an amazing experience.
It was really a breath of fresh air for me after 2-3 years while I was away from actual implementation details.
Coding is where my roots lie. As much as I love managing teams, evangelising our products and ideas, trying to get feedback from other people about our direction, etc, I do not get the complete feeling till I have actually implemented something on my own , however small it is.
For me it is like poetry or music, a way of expressing myself. No amount of processes will make it mundane for me. I am not sure how many people are left in the industry like me. But I think there are plenty otherwise the open source communities would not be thriving so much. I am also very lucky to have found my co-founders who share similar passions about work.
I loved this industry from the first month of me joining Wipro as a young programmer. Till then I was not really aware that this is something I am so much passionate about. Going back to the days where I am part of building something from scratch, I cannot describe the pleasure in words.
May you all find a way to experience similar pleasure.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Mobile Market

A must read for everyone dealing with Mobile industry.
It just gives a perspective on Mobile Phone industry and can break some popular myths ..:-)
Especially the one I like is Mobile Internet is "Not the dumb little brother of the Internet". Something we all know in Mobile industry but especially people coming from PC Internet background find hard to digest.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Start-ups and Open source

In December last year, when we started with the idea of Mobisy, we had little knowledge about open source revolution that is happening. In our Mobile Handset Embedded software world, everything is proprietary and there is little or no talk about open source. Chhavi having worked on LwIP, was our only source of information. Personally, my information was limited to Linux kernel. But then, it all changed when I downloaded Open Office in Feb 2007. I was amazed by the amount of functionality offered by an open source product , it was running smooth on my Windows XP and for converting docs to pdfs I now did not have to buy Adobe acrobat writer. For converting images to SVG I did not have to pay huge money to Adobe. To convert documents, I did not need to use slow and crappy Microsoft office. What more for our new laptop, we decided to not even install Microsoft office. And then we came across this whole wave of Open utilities. One of our first projects is based on an Open source browser for mobile phones, S60Webkit by Nokia. There is even one more open source browser available from Mozilla called as Minimo. Imagine if this was not available we had to start from writing/porting our own browser setting us back by at least 6 months and god knows how much money. Now even a key component like J2ME which provides most deployed applications execution environment to Mobile Developers all over the world is getting open sourced.
Purely from technical perspective, it has never been easier to run a successful start up. Open source community is a huge boost to the entrepreneurial spirit.
If you look carefully around your product, you will find multitude of open source projects which you can simply re use. And this also encourages the start ups to open source their own code to get more and more developers contributing to your platform to make it richer.
We are really entering an era where not only the internet is maturing with Web 2.0, software is really becoming a service as the open source community once envisaged.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Forget Eyeballs, it's all about Eardrums !!

When we talk about Mobile technologies, monetising data platforms and lowering the walled gardens, we all conveniently forget that killer application of Mobile Phone is "call". This thought is also supported by Steve Jobs in iPhone launch who arguably came up with coolest phone on the planet. I also heard it from Dr. Aditya Dev Sood of CKS consulting recently.

So what are the call based applications we can come up with for Indian market which is hugely multilingual, multicultural but ready to pay?
I think following should be some basic characteristics of such applications

1. It should be easy and intuitive to use.
2. Literacy should not be a barrier to entry.
3. It should be localised to the audiences tastes ,wishes and languages?

So I am more and more becoming of the opinion that, in Indian Mobile world, it is not about how many eyeballs you can attract, it is about how many eardrums are listening to what you have to say/ provide.
How you can achieve easy to use voice based applications which can network those for whom reading and writing is not at all convenient / desirable?
How can you bring Mobile 2.0 with innovative applications of Voice/ Call?

Now that's a thought which will keep me awake for a few nights !