Thursday, March 03, 2011

Don't buy Virtual Gifts: Gift a book to a poor kid instead

Zynga, the company behind popular time and money wasting social games like Cityville and Farmville, has launched Game Cards in India, using which you can waste your money buying virtual items so that you can advance further in the game. The company made $80 million from selling virtual goods alone(total revenue $250 million, profit $80-150 million).

Why waste all that money making someone rich for nothing? Give money instead for books for our poor kids.

Gratitude from others is a much better payoff than advancing in FarmVille, FishVille, Cafe World, Mafia Wars and Zynga Poker or any other useless shit of that sort.

Also read:

What does India need most: $100 Computer or Rs. 1 lac car?


The Full Price of our Gadget culture: Foxconn Suicide Nets

Pictured above are nets put up in Foxconn's plants in Shenzhen (China), to prevent workers from committing suicide. So far, 11 workers have jumped from factory buildings, seeking release from 'repetitive, exhausting, and alienating' work.

Foxconn’s output accounts for nearly 40 percent of $150 billion consumer-electronics industry - creating and assembling your iPhone, iPad, Digital cameras and everything else that is part of our gadget-loving culture.

How long before this happens in the Indian Outsourcing Industry, as rising competition and cutthroat work culture take their toll on the faceless workers (coders, phone operators, article re-writers, spammers)?


Faulkner's advice for writers: Reading is the best training for writers

From an interview with the great William Faulkner:

Q: How do you find time to write?
WF: You can always find time to write. Anybody who says he can't is living under false pretenses. To that extent depend on inspiration. Don't wait. When you have an inspiration put it down. Don't wait until later and when you have more time and then try to recapture the mood and add flourishes. You can never recapture the mood with the vividness of its first impression.

Q: What is the best training for writing? Courses in writing? Or what?
WF: Read, read, read! Read everything - trash, classics, good and bad; see how they do it. When a carpenter learns his trade, he does so by observing. Read! You'll absorb it. Write. If it is good you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out the window.

There is an anecdote about a famous writer giving a class in creative writing, where he says, "Just go home and start writing."

Labels: ,

How to disrupt any industry, Version 2.0

This post could be titled "How to disrupt list-type articles and really help the user". Jason Baptiste writes "9 Ways To Disrupt And "Hipmunk" An Industry". It is a good article. Jason always writes well. But it is in danger of being just another generic list article. So, I went ahead, rearranged the list, put in some categories, and now I can understand what I have to do with my next startup. The modified list in summary:

A. The Industry: 
1. Find Something Tied To A Process That Consistently Sucks
2. Make Unsexy Businesses Sexy
3. Look For An Industry That Rarely Changes

B. The Service:
4. Simple And Clean Interfaces Come First
5. Deliver Great Support

C. The Users:
6. Focus On Power Users
7. Work Towards Building Fanatics

D. The Competition:
8. Call Out Your Competitor (and wage war)
9. Be Disruptive, But Respectful

Labels: , ,

Blogging lessons from Heather Armstrong: I am glad Facebook wasn't around when I started

Heather Armstrong, who runs the famous (and highly profitable) Dooce blog, discusses about blogging and the impact of social sites such as Facebook on blogging, in this New York Times article :

...a lot of people don't blog even, they use Facebook. Facebook wasn't around when I launched my site. I'm kind of glad it wasn't or else I wouldn't be where I am today.

On whether Twitter and Facebook will replace blogging:
...people use Facebook to keep in touch and people use blogs to tell stories. There are times on Twitter when I find someone and I want to find what else they write, I'm looking around to see if they have a Tumblr or a blog.

On reasons for her huge success at blogging:
I think my success has been a combination of several factors: one of the big ones is that I've been around for a long time, I've stuck with it, I've had a lot of life events that made the trajectory interesting...My suggestion has always been that you should find an existing community who you would like to have reading your site and hang out with them

On the challenges of blogging:
I'm not sure that what I've been doing is easily replicable...It's a lot of work. I think anybody who has started [blogging] and stopped in the last 10 years knows that; many people stopped because it was too much work. Curating and posting 140 characters is a lot easier. 

Labels: ,