Monthly Archives: April 2006

Ninja Branding

Who knew ninjas would come back as big as they are today.  Ask a Ninja, a favorite around our office, is the subject of Pete Cashmore’s post titled, “Branding 2.0 – Ask a Ninja.”  He has some interesting insights into “how smart individuals are building global brands with zero marketing dollars, simply by leveraging existing social networks like MySpace, YouTube and the blogosphere itself. You can also refer back to feeding the MySpace beast, but think of this as a way to build brands in a more general sense.“  Check out the post here.

Elevator Pitch Podcast is Now Easy!

You may have seen the Elevator Pitch Podcast we created several weeks ago.  We created it so that anyone with an elevator pitch could upload an mp3 into the stream and immediately reach our listeners.  The exciting news is that more than 13,000 users have subscribed to the podcast.  The sad news is that there only eight pitches in the podcast.  You would think that with an audience of 13,000+ more people would want to add their pitch.  Why so few?

The most common answer, “it is a pain in the butt to find a microphone, a recorder, cut it up and figure out how to upload it.”  I happen to agree.  The Big in Japan programmers have added a new feature called Podcall to make recording podcasts much easier.  You can visit the podcast here and click on the ‘request a podcall’ link, enter your phone number, title and describe your pitch and PodServe will call you.  After PodServe calls you just press one and when you are done press the pound sign.  Your pitch will be added to the feed within a few minutes.  That is it.  Easy as recording a voice mail message.

So there are no more excuses.  Get your pitch into the stream.  Remember, you don’t have to be seeking funding, rather you can be looking for users, subscribers or feedback.  Start pitching!

Friedman, Dickerson and Hunt are right: The World is Flat!

Tara Hunt’s post titled ‘The World is Mega Uber Bloody Flat‘ was a riff on Chad’s upcoming article with a working title of ‘The world is really really realy really f*cking flat’ that in turn is a play on Thomas Friedman’s book, ‘The World is Flat.’  I had read the book before our trip to India, but I only started to understand Friedman’s point when I met a few members of the ‘geek’ community in Bangalore.  The internet (and other factors) are flattening the planet allowing everyone to participate.  Tara asks, “So what do we do?”  My answer is simple: we need to get to know these people, make friends with them and work with them to build cool stuff.  Don’t know any of them?  Here are a few I met last week:

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The spirit of Barcamp: India Rocks!

Lots of conversations are going on about Barcamp Bangalore. It is clear to me that my new Indian friends really got the ‘spirit of barcamp’ as explained by Nichant Shah:

So the barcamp bangalore came to a resounding end. It actually made a larger bang than the big bang, at least in the techie geekworld of Bangalore and the rest of the world, and we saw about 150 people coming together to unconference about things that they like, things that they think they like, and things they don’t like but pretend to like anyway. About 35 speakers divided across a day and four different rooms at the new Yahoo! India office, the bar camp was an experience worth the having – if you have an inclination for things like experiences. For me, in particular, it was a certain revival of faith of sorts.

Dipanjan Ghosh said:

…By then I was so high on all these stuff, I took some time out…. sat back on those beanbags with Ankur talked about our. Proj and that’s it!!! It was a life time experience for me and I got reassured ….GEEK RULES!!

Abhishek said:

…To say the least, It was really amazing. Had around 25 sessions in total during the day of which I attented some 10 sessions…

Sainath K.M said:

Barcamp Bangalore Rocked!!

More from: Muthu, Manish Jethani, Abdul Qabiz, Anita Bora, Rajan, Jace, Rajiv, Nilesh Trivedi, Jessica, Vikrant Aivalli, Mohammed Ali Vakil, Karthik, Sathish K, Gitu, Deepak, Sushil Kumar, Abhishek Bagchi, Chetan Kunte, akash, Vijay Anand, sainathkm, Times of Truman, Jayanth Bagare, Dhempe on LJ, Abhishek Kapoor, Shoonya, Pooran, Arun Vijayan, Balaji Narayanan, *Dipanjan Ghosh*, and Nishant Shah.

BarCamp as a Movement

What is BarCamp? Technology communities who previously depended on companies like O’Reilly to organize events on their behalf now self-organizing their own events. The typical O’Reilly conference can cost each participant $2000 plus travel. The typical BarCamp can be organized for less than $2000 for the entire event! The first BarCamp in Palo Alto was held less than a year ago and since then there have been BarCamps in more than 40 cities around the world.

The BarCamp phenomenon, or perhaps more precisely the BarCamp Movement has been made possible by the social nature of the Internet. In the past many of us who didn’t live in San Francisco were jealous of the vibrant technology community in the Bay Area. We oganized BarCampDallas in an effort to ‘organize’ the less than vibrant technology community in the North Texas area. Our BarCamp was held in January and has helped foster closer ties between North Texas technologists as we had hoped. Unexpectedly, the movement in general has helped us join a newly self-organized global technology community.

I spent the past week in Bangalore, India and attended BarCampBangalore on Saturday. Why travel from Dallas to attend a free, self-organized event? Why not? BarCamp has allowed me to join a global network of technologists and now I feel comfortable getting on a plane to hang out with entrepreneurs, developers and designers anywhere in the world. I don’t need O’Reilly to schedule an event in Bangalore – I can just attend one organized by people from Bangalore.

There have been (or are planned) BarCamps in Las Vegas, Amsterdam, Seattle, Toronto, Paris, NYC, Dallas, Washington DC, Portland, Vancouver, Santa Cruz, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Delhi, Los Angeles, Austin, San Diego, Chennai, Hyderbad, Bangalore, Ottawa, Minnesota, Brussels, Boston, Houston, and CapeTown. People are trying to organize events in Atlanta, Chicago, London, Manchester, Phoenix, Seoul, and Berkley. Get on the wiki and start your own – let us know about it and we might be able to come…

Bangalore Travel Series: No. 6 – Warnings and Tips

  • DSC_0064.JPGThe water (don’t drink it, don’t brush your teeth with it, don’t eat veggies washed in it and so on).
  • The airport is tiny (get there early, three hours is best two is the minimum).
  • Get a prescription for Ambien to help with the time change.
  • Getting a Visa in one day from Travisa.
  • Hire a driver each day ($20-30 per day).  Don’t use taxis!  S. Vel is  great driver from Avis his cell number is 98 86342 816.
  • Don’t connect inside India (fly direct to Bangalore).
  • Bring a 5 day pack of Cipro (antibiotic) and ImodiumAD (diarrhea).
  • Tip 10% at restaurants.
  • Strangely toilet paper is not common in public places (use the toilet at your hotel if at all possible).
  • Bring a heavy duty transformer to step down the 220v to 110v for your electronics (if you have a Mac all you need is a plug converter – Apple sells an international travel plug set – you won’t need it at the Oberoi as their outlets will accept standard US straight blades).

Check out my six part Bangalore travel series: No. 1 How to get there, No. 2 Where to stay, No. 3 Where to eat, No. 4 What to do, No. 5 Where to shop, and No. 6 Warnings and Tips.

Bangalore Travel Series: No. 5 – Where to shop

Michele's SarisI learned long ago that it is smart to buy something for your wife while on a crazy international trips without her. I would suggest buying traditional Indian items such as a silk sari for your wife or daughter and a kurta for your son. If you are buying something for your husband I would suggest getting him a Khandjar for his desk (a traditional 18th century dagger to open letters). Kemp Kids is a well known department store in Bangalore where you can find everything (go to the big one with the HUGE statue of Shiva and Ganesha in the back). If you are staying at the Leela you will soon learn that the hotel is connected to a three story mall. I bought my father a Khandjar for fathers day in a shop on the B level. There are no real ‘deals’ to be had in Bangalore so don’t bother looking for them, just get an item or two for your loved ones and get out of there fast. Be firm, don’t worry about seeming rude when you insist that you are done shopping.

Check out my six part Bangalore travel series: No. 1 How to get there, No. 2 Where to stay, No. 3 Where to eat, No. 4 What to do, No. 5 Where to shop, and No. 6 Warnings and Tips.

Bangalore Travel Series: No. 4 – What to do

DSC_0020.JPGSince you are in Bangalore to work you might not have much free time, but if you find yourself with a few free hours grab your driver and get him to take you around the city to see the sights. Stick to the car (don’t get out much as it is not really worth the trouble) and you will get a good idea of what Bangalore is all about. Watch for cows, tuktuks and potholes. Mention to your driver that you want to drive by the Vidhana Soudha (Legislature building), Cubbon Park, Palace (like Windsor Palace – don’t do the tour 200 rupees plus 300 rupees if you want to take photos), the Bull Temple (get out and go inside this Hindu temple – you will have to take off your shoes). If you are like me you will be impressed by energy on the streets, the stark contrast and general madness (madness in a good way). Don’t be lured into the stores (unless you want to shop) as the driver will get paid if he can convince you to stop and shop.

Check out my six part Bangalore travel series: No. 1 How to get there, No. 2 Where to stay, No. 3 Where to eat, No. 4 What to do, No. 5 Where to shop, and No. 6 Warnings and Tips.

Bangalore Travel Series: No. 3 – Where to eat

dinnerI have no idea really, but if you insist read on. If you want western style food stick to the hotels (Oberoi and Leela). Our Indian hosts took us to a few restaurants that specialized in Southern Indian fare – I cannot recall their names or their locations. We took our Indian hosts to dinner one night at a fairly pricey restaurant called the Dakshin at the ITC. Expect to pay around $100 per person (outrageously expensive in Bangalore – our hosts thought we were crazy, but were happy to indulge since we were paying). If you are not staying at the Leela make sure you take time for brunch at least one day – the dining room is beautiful and the French toast is great.

Check out my six part Bangalore travel series: No. 1 How to get there, No. 2 Where to stay, No. 3 Where to eat, No. 4 What to do, No. 5 Where to shop, and No. 6 Warnings and Tips.

Bangalore Travel Series: No. 2 – Where to stay

DSC_0003.JPGIf your company is not putting you up in corporate housing you will need to stay at a hotel and as you will soon learn, hotels in Bangalore are VERY expensive. In fact, according to a study by PKF, Bangalore is the third most expensive city to stay in the world (London, Paris and New York are cheaper). So once you get over that fact you need to pick a hotel. There are really only two choices for picky Americans (like me anyway): The Oberoi is located in the heart of the city on M.G. Road just a couple of doors down from Yahoo’s corporate offices. The rooms are nice by American standards and you will be impressed by the service. If you stay at the Oberoi make sure you schedule a massage in their spa and at around $50 it is quite a good deal. The hotel has wifi everywhere, but they limit file uploads (i.e. nothing over a meg). Harry George is the Concierge, you can reach him at 91-80-2558 5858. Expect to pay around $400 per night.

The other option is the Leela Palace. The Leela is quite a bit grander than the Oberoi and it has the advantage of being connected to a nice mall with shopping and a neat bookstore/coffee shop. I suggest staying at the Oberoi and making a trip to the Leela for brunch and shopping. The Leela is across the street from Reuters and Intel. You will pay a little more, generally more than $500 per night. (I understand this is the default hotel for Texas Instruments executives and managers)

Check out my six part Bangalore travel series: No. 1 How to get there, No. 2 Where to stay, No. 3 Where to eat, No. 4 What to do, No. 5 Where to shop, and No. 6 Warnings and Tips.