Book : The Google Story

Finally got my hands on the book. It costs around Rs600, and is only available in HardCover edition as of now in India. Fortunately, was able to get it in my office library. I think I will be buying the soft copy of it once that is out.

The book answers to me the question as to why some startups are sucessful and some are not. In my life I cannot think of any company that has has such a big impact on the globe as has Google. It has redefined the way people look at the web. In fact it has become the reason people go on the web.

The WWW started as a means to communicate between the geeks - who then passed it on to the masses. With it information was available to anyone who wanted it. However, mostly when someone wanted to find it - it was not available. That's where google came in and that is the first lesson for any startup wannabes :
* To be a startup , you don't have to make something totally radical. You need to fix a problem.

Check out Paul Graham's take on Startups.

The second thing that came out was that you need to be passionate about your work. I think that this is the one big thing about making or breaking any company. Bill Gates was passionate about doing business and putting a "PC on every Desk". Google is passionate about "searching the worlds information". And working is always about putting in a lot of effort. From the book :
"Inspiration still requires plenty of perspiration"

Which brings me to the third point : Dream Big. Unless you dream big, you cannot do big. The Google founders thought they could download the entire web on their computers and started off with that - and they are still doing it. It does not matter if you were wrong somewhere - as long as you think big. If you think small, you hit the ceiling sometime or the other. You finish what you were setting out to do and stop... wondering - "what next ?".

After finishing the book, i was thinking about why as Indians we have not done so well on the innovation front ? Why is it that we are the sweat shops of the world ( I have in my 7+ years mostly worked only on bug fixing projects) while we claim to be the best brains around ? And the answer is that we tend to ignore the 2nd point - Passion about work.

There is no dearth of people trying to strike out on their own. But they go wrong in two areas :
1. They don't work on things that they are passionate about. I guess it has a lot to do with our society pressures. We are always lauded to go and do the 'acceptable' thing - like getting a degree, getting a post degree and getting married . The steps of life are laid out for us. And like any big organization where people religiously follow the rules laid out - an individual stops thinking.
2. We are work shirkers. I guess it has a lot to do with not having passion for work. The world famous 'babudom' is a result of this. 9-5 jobs where you don't do anything. It just kills any thoughts of working hard. In many places hard work is considered only if a person cannot make ends meet.

I don't know about you guys, but I am fed up of doing bug fixing. I am fed up of working on things I don't have any passion about. I need a break.

Some interesting reads :
* Google Corporate Information
* Steve Jobs
* Bill Gates
* Vibhu Rishi

Google on the cover of TIME

Google is on the cover of TIME magazine. These guys are the rockstars of this century !

The mottos :
"Do no Evil"
"Users first"

Read the article on the time's website.

Windows Live Mail - whatever

Warning : Most of the features don't work with anything other than IE. Gmail rocks in this case.

MSN was a nice name. MSN was a name people could associate with . MSN had a cute windows butterfly. All that is gone now. For the new branding that microsoft is bringing out - Windows Live Mail.

I have got a beta version of it - and my hotmail account is now no longer hotmail but Live mail. I don't know who had this idea of changing the naming - but that sucks. Live ?? What the heck for ?

First impressions :
  • Its neat - less cluttered than the original hotmail interface.
  • Its slower than gmail
  • It does not thread messages like gmail - but gives you an Outlook like interface.
  • It finally has a calendar ( Gmail does not have it, but yahoo had it a very long time back).
  • Search is fast enough - but then i have very few emails here.
  • Site says that we get 2GB mail space - but I am yet to find out where it shows how much space I have used.
  • Too big graphics - they intrude upon your space.

Snapshot :
[gmail talks about not deleting any mails - while this has 'delete delete delete' in its first page ! ]

here's the compose in IE: ( I still haven't found how to attach a file here)

here's the compose in Firefox:

Note the following in the above 2 screenshots :
  1. No Calendar and Contacts tab in Firefox
  2. No editing menu.
  3. Totally irrelevant ads.

Cartoon Zen

Picked up from Economic Times

There are moments in life when you
miss someone so much
that you just want to pick them from
your dreams and hug them for real!"
- Nemo [Finding Nemo]

Don't go for looks; they can deceive.
Don't go for wealth; even that fades away.
Go for someone who makes you smile,
because it takes only a smile to
make a dark day seem bright.
Find the one that makes your heart smile.
- Donkey [Shrek]

When the door of happiness closes, another opens;
but often times we look so long at the
closed door that we don't see the one,
which has been opened for us.
- Cyclops [Monsters Inc]

Dream what you want to dream;
go where you want to go;
be what you want to be,
because you have only one life
and one chance to do all the things
you want to do.
- Nemo [Finding Nemo]

May you have enough happiness
to make you sweet,
enough trials to make you strong,
enough sorrow to keep you human and
enough hope to make you happy.
- Mammoth [Ice Age]

The brightest future will always
be based on a forgotten past;
you can't go forward in life until
you let go of your
past failures and heartaches.
- Scrat [Ice Age]
When you were born, you were crying
and everyone around you was smiling.
Live your life so at the end,
you're the one who is smiling and everyone
around you is crying.
- Crush [Finding Nemo]

So - which is your favourite ?

Owning a company at 9 years of age

Sam Kaplan is a 9 year old who owns Sam Kaplan Computing.

I an 29 years old and dont own a company.

What a waste of my life !

Read more on Sam Kaplan:
* Presentation and the Beginner's mind
* Sam and Douglas

Zen and Presentation

This blog is quite great ! It shows how to use Zen in presentations, and takes the presentation styles of Bill Gates[Microsoft] and Steve Jobs[Apple] as a contrasting excercise.

The aesthetic values of Zen :
  • Simplicity
  • Subtlety
  • Elegance
  • Suggestive rather than the descriptive or obvious
  • Naturalness (i.e., nothing artificial or forced),
  • Empty space (or negative space)
  • Stillness, Tranquility
  • Eliminating the non-essential

There was a great quote I read somewhere :
Perfection is reached not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away.

And my personal philosophy , which again I picked up from somewhere :
KISS : Keep It Simple Stupid!

I guess my website is aesthetically zen in nature ;-)

3D desktop interface for Linux

Windows Vista is supposed to come out with a 3D interface named 'aero'. However, it is supposed to be released with the release of Vista - scheduled for this year end.

However, a linux initiative has already come up with a 3D interface called Compiz. I haven't been able to try it out yet as I don't have a PC at home :( . However the screenshots are pretty amazing. The one below is a OpenGL whale swimming across your desktop.

How cool is that !! :-)

Rang De Basanti

Khoon jo ab na khaula wo khoon nahi paani hai.
Jo Desh ke kaam na aaye bekar woh jawani hai.

I don't know if you have seen the movie or not. If you have, please leave a comment here. If you have not - go see it. I am not saying that you will like the movie. You may even seem it is all hogwash. But, I guarantee it will start you thinking. This is not a review of the movie - check the reviews list below for that. This is my feelings as they come unbottled after seeing the movie.

I saw the movie yesterday night ... and ever since I keep thinking about it. I haven't been able to do any work till now - as this movie has gone to my brain. Listening to the CD in a loop since morning. I wish they had included the instrumental from the starting of the movie in the CD also.

Here are a few voices from around the net (sorry for not taking your permission guys, but I guess you won't mind):
How many of you guys have seen Rang de basanti yet? Would surely like to discuss what you felt when you saw the flick. Its very rare that i would post a discussion about a movie on a motorcycle website, but this movie is something else. In my opinion its probably one of the best movies ive seen from bollywood(specially taking in account the recent crap theyve been churning out). This movie made me think for 3 days after i watched it and we all came out of the theater very quiet and everyone lost in their own thoughts. Superb acting and super direction, flawless movie in my opinion, planning to go and watch it again on the big screen(which i have done for maybe just 1 or 2 movie's in my whole life)
- Daman
I saw the movie in a multiplex where they play national anthem at the begining of each show and saw some forigners standing motionless along with everyone for the complete anthem, except for one gentleman who was busy attending a call on his mobile. I still remember as a kid during our morning prayer at school, when national anthem was played, we were told that no one is supposed to move no matter what.

Some ramblings: there is only one enemy of us and thats corruption. People often want more and more, their "need" never end but for what? No one takes what all he/she spend the whole like collecting by fair/unfair means, so what can't these people understand and be honest?
Some people not able to digest the end, thinks that its a bit unrealistic but then there are so many shootouts on the name of killing terrorists, who knows how many of them are for real? But I'm a bit sad to see(in movie) that to what an extent police and army (black cat commandos) are toyed by these corrupt people, no one got any selfrespect left and went ahead killing people. Even media people were standing and sending out news, people one came forward to interfere, well thats how we are right now.
- Navendu
My thoughts:

This movie is not realistic - but nevertheless its cinema at its best. Cinema is about getting a point across - and this movie makes that happen. It also touches the patriotic streak which we indians seem to have conciously buried deep inside ourselves. I don't think that any other movie has affected me so strongly - nor do I think I would have been capeable of being so affected by a movie.

From the cast , to the direction - the movie grabs you. I guess its a rare movie where you feel that Amir has not taken all the limelight. Each person shares the camera with elan and in a way which makes them feel real. Be it the canteenwaala, or the students who come for audition, or the other co-actors. Everyone fits - except probably that Madhavan is a bit too plump to be a pilot in the Air Force.

You may be given to slight snikers as to how absurd some parts are. You will be reminded of your college canteens. You will be reminded of your night mastis with friends. You will be reminded of all your lost loves. You will be remined of looking up at the moon. You will be reminded of the sacrifices given by our ancestos to give us Swaraj. You will find yourself sadly nodding your head at the corruption in the government. You will find yourself silently urging DJ and group to survive the political machinations. You will find yourself smelling the mustard (if you have been to punjab that is). You will find yourself reminded of Bhagat Singh, and yet not feel like you are watching a history lesson.

But what you will do now will depend totally on you.

I don't know about you, but I am now going to conciously try and bring about change. No nation is perfect, but we can improve what we have.

Movie reviews:

Some blogs:
Lose Control

And some links on the tragedy of MIG Crashes :

Google of the Future ?

Google is the big daddy of the tech companies of today. From obscurity to gigantic fame, the small company of a bare bones search engine has come a long way. But, how will Google be in the future ???

CNN Money has an article on this. Read more of it here.

Some scenarios :
Scenario 1 (Circa 2025): Google Is The Media
Scenario 2 (Circa 2015): Google is the Internet
Scenario 3 (Circa 2020): Google is Dead
Scenario 4 (Circa 2105): Google is God