What was some of the best advice you got when starting your own business?

Answer by Baptiste Greve:

Work hard : I once read a great interview of Steve Jobs in which he was trying to explain the common hallucination that "great ideas" are the only thing you need to produce great products and services. Here is his answer to the question : What's important to you in the development of a product?

One of the things that really hurt Apple was after I left, John Scully got a very serious disease.

And that disease – I've seen other people get it too – it's the disease of thinking that really great idea is 90% of the work.

And that if you just tell all these other people, you know, "Here's this great idea,' then of course they can go off and make it happen.

And the problem with that is that there is just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product.

And as you evolve that great idea, it changes and grows.

It never comes out like it starts, because you learn a lot more as you get into the subtleties of it and you also find there is tremendous trade-offs that you have to make.

I mean, there are just certain things you can't make electrons do. There are certain things you can't make plastics do or glass do or factories do or robots do.

And as you get into all these things, designing a product is keeping 5000 things in your brain – these concepts – and fitting them all together and kind of continuing to push to fit them together in new and different ways to get what you want.

And evert day you discover something new that is a new problem or a new opportunity to fit these things together a little differently.

And it's that process that is the magic.

I found his answer trully inspiring and I am pretty sure it can be useful for some of us.

What was some of the best advice you got when starting your own business?

Airtel Zero can mark the beginning of new innovation pattern?

I have been reading about Airtel Zero from couple of days. For readers, don’t know about Airtel Zero?  It will be a platform powered Airtel, which will enable users’ free access to mobile apps (no data charges) whose presence are purchased by the companies. In simple words, companies will pay for its users to access the mobile apps.

Merits and Demerits

Airtel Zero will benefit marketers of big players like a Microsoft, Flipkart, Google, facebook, leading to weakening presence of small players/startups.

Thus, the internet space is flooded by the discussions on:

  1. #NetNeutrality – free access of internet to every user
  2. Airtel Zero will ruin the internet and budding app entrepreneurs

There is also a petition on change.org for #NetNeutrality.

However, I present a different view on this.  Everytime, when disruption has happened in past, it has led to different ways of innovation. For instance- iPhone created big market for mobile accessories; Facebook connected more than billion people while making advertising patterns more mobile friendly. Mobile was one of the biggest disruptions of this century followed by tablets.

Internet is the most evolving specie of our time, its trend changes every 5 years. Why not open ourselves for the next big change: new set of thinking, new user trends?

No policy or player can stop innovative thinking; I see lot of opportunities like: a new app search algorithm, an app to switch between service providers, healthy competition between big brands, in-depth mobile analytics, more advertising streams, and change is user behavior.

Although, I support free internet for all yet I don’t deny that internet needs to evolve and is ready to accept the change.

As far as effect on small players is concerned, I personally don’t think it will have that major impact on VC backed startups only the marketing strategy will change.

What are some lesser known Indian conspiracy theories?

Answer by Vinayak Manoji:

Here is a list of some Top Indian Conspiracy Theories.
1. Is India Still a Colony of the Queen of England?
The theory goes something like this. By the Transfer of Power Agreement  of 1947, India was declared an independent nation, but it implied that  India would continue to serve as a Commonwealth Nation. So all  Commonwealth nations, India included, are still a colony of the Queen.  It is said that the Queen does not need a visa to visit her colonies,  and thus, this theory gained popularity and created quite a furor when  the Queen visited India in 1997 without a visa. Furthermore, the theory  also says that our national anthem “Jana Gana Mana” was originally  written in honor of the Queen as the song only features territories  that were under the British India.

2. Lal Bahadur Shastri’s Death?
A prominent Indian freedom fighter and the second Prime Minister of  India, Shastri died in Tashkent, Russia, a day after signing the  Tashkent Declaration, allegedly due to a heart attack. His untimely  death led to conspiracy theories that he was poisoned. This theory  gained momentum by the fact that no post-mortem took place to identify  exact reason behind his death, either in Russia or by the Government of  India. Furthermore, all his belongings came back to India except for his  thermos flask from which he was said to have had his last drink of  water. In 2009, an RTI was filed to declassify the documents related to  Shastri’s death, but these were (rightly) dismissed because they would  harm foreign relations and might also cause disruption of the country’s  peace.

3. Homi Bhabha’s Death?
Famously regarded as the father of Indian Nuclear Programmer, Dr. Homi  Bhabha was India’s foremost Nuclear physicist who was killed in an air  plane crash in 1966 near Mount Blanc, France. The conspiracy theory here  suggests that the CIA was involved with the crash possibly to cripple  India’s nuclear programmer, which suffered a massive blow and came to a  temporary halt following his death.

4. Subhash Chandra Bose’s Death?
The case of Subhash Chandra Bose is possibly one that has been widely  discussed at least once by the average Indian person. The thing is,  there are so many theories about him, that we actually had to narrow it  down to the best three. So, let’s look at the official facts: Netaji  Bose was flying to Tokyo when his plane crashed and he was badly burnt,  eventually succumbing to his injuries. His body was cremated and laid to  rest in a Buddhist temple in Taiwan. Now, the three theories, one  progressively crazier than the next suggest that:
1) He didn’t really die, but was alive in Taiwan and lived his life in the Temple itself.
2) He was alive, but in Russia as a war criminal because of his close  ties with Japan, where he died in a Russian jail some years later.
3) That he lived incognito in India itself as Gumnami Baba. Gumnami  Baba was said to have an eerie resemblance to Netaji Bose, and lived a  long, full life before he passed away in late 1985.

5. The Tsunami Bomb?

The tests were carried out in waters around New Caledonia and Auckland during    the Second World War and showed that the weapon was feasible and a series of    10 large offshore blasts could potentially create a 33-foot tsunami capable    of inundating a small city.
The top secret operation, code-named "Project Seal", tested the    doomsday device as a possible rival to the nuclear bomb. About 3,700 bombs    were exploded during the tests, first in New Caledonia and later at    Whangaparaoa Peninsula, near Auckland.
The plans came to light during research by a New    Zealand author and film-maker, Ray Waru, who examined military files    buried in the national archives.
"Presumably if the atomic bomb had not worked as well as it did, we might    have been tsunami-ing people," said Mr Waru.
"It was absolutely astonishing. First that anyone would come up with the    idea of developing a weapon of mass destruction based on a tsunami … and    also that New Zealand seems to have successfully developed it to the degree    that it might have worked." The project was launched in June 1944 after    a US naval officer, E A Gibson, noticed that blasting operations to clear    coral reefs around Pacific islands sometimes produced a large wave, raising    the possibility of creating a "tsunami bomb".

Edit: Regarding point# 5.
Many people asked what exactly does it have to do with India? here i will give you damage data.
Tsunami 2004 caused by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake—
India  Death-18,045 missing-5,640, Displaced- 647,599…don't you think so many people died during tsunami 2004. does India concern about root cause of it.??
Q: What caused the undersea earthquake?           A: Compression between the Indian and Burmese tectonic     plates. Scientists believe that one plate that comprised the landmass from     India to Australia has broken up into two. The initial 8.9 eruption happened     near the location of the meeting point of the Australian, Indian and Burmese     plates    
Ref for point #5.
1. Earthquakes, Tsunamis And Nuclear Testing.
2. 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami
3. Nine Years Ago, December 26, 2004: Indian Ocean Tsunami. Why did the Information Not Get Out?

Source: Did They Really Happen?: 12 Interesting Indian Conspiracy Theories You Need To Know.

What are some lesser known Indian conspiracy theories?

What is the wisest piece of advice a teacher has ever given you?

Answer by Prateek Keshari:

I have had the chance to work with some amazing people in my college years. One such person – who I also consider to be my mentor – offered a very simple advice that has stayed with me for long.

He said:

Never give up on people. When you are assembling a team, make sure the process to enter is hard to ensure you quality. But once they are on your team, it is your responsibility to trust them to do good work.

People are always at their best. Nobody wants to wake up in the morning and do shitty work or work that has no meaning in their lives. If something's wrong with a person, if he/she is not performing, be empathetic and understand them. Understand what's the driving force behind why they do what they do. It will help you discover yourself and your tribe in the process. 🙂

Golden stuff. 🙂

What is the wisest piece of advice a teacher has ever given you?

What is the most valuable skill a person can have for their entire life?

Answer by Sonia Chauhan:

Letting go.
 
Truly, truly understanding that something is not meant for me. And I will not obtain it. And I need to improvise now,  I need to figure out something else. I need to change my plans. Deep breath. Another one. Another one. Okay, I am going to change my plan now = This attitude.
 
Letting go.
 
Of all the material greeds and the clothes that you're never going to wear.
Of the shallow attitude of being impressed by somebody's fancy watch than by their wit.
Of waiting for them to like and awww your FB page.
Of the hot wax drops on your heart when your friends choose someone else over you.
Of the guy for whom you're not enough but you can't get enough of.
Of judging everyone by the same scale. Actually, judging everyone.
Of all the little hurts and angers that you still keep close to your heart.
Of the walls you build up because someone hurt you in the past
Of being unkind to your colleagues because the office sucks.
Of generally being unkind because you got it bad. As if they've got it good.
Of giving too much of a shit to idiots around you.
Of getting bothered by things that really don't matter in the long run.
Of the small little grudges that are stacking up.
Of keeping score.
Of not being able to forgive the girl who cheated on you.
Of not letting go of the people who moved on.
Of blaming yourself that you never did enough for your parents.
Of repenting over all the lost opportunities.
Of trying to make someone love you.
 
Letting Go.
 
The. Most. Valuable. Skill. Ever.
 
Edit: Thank you for the overwhelming response. I appreciate you all.

What is the most valuable skill a person can have for their entire life?

#PeakHoursChallenge to Mr Hooda, a request by the citizen of Gurgaon

Dear Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Mr KP Singh,

We are well informed that you guys own a glorious city called ‘Gurgaon’. Keeping aside #icebucketchallenge which was to contribute to the fund of ALS, I want to challenge you both for #peakthourschallenge.  This challenge will give insight on what we go through every day. All you need to do is to drive from Udyog Vihar via Cybercity till DLF phase 5 on any day (+ points if it is a rainy day) in morning between 9am to 10am and evening between 530pm to 630pm. Some exception to this challenge will be:

  1. You can’t take highway
  2. You have to drive without traffic police making way for you.

I and my friends are regularly going through the pain of driving within the city for 2 hours, time taken to reach to Gurgaon from Noida. Since, you own this city so it is your responsibility to take this challenge up and understand the pain that we go through.

I, also want to genuinely thank authorities making Metro, underpass for the city, for their umpteen knowledge of dissecting the complete city in one go. Ofcourse, I firmly believe processes and strategies are time consuming and planning is a pain in itself. Best way is to break the city from every corner and then build everything in one go.

I have a revenue suggestion, why don’t you tie-up with all the car-makers. Most of the cars are either digging the hole while making their way or are getting broke in the Watergate that opens on the rainy day, hence adding on the maintenance cost.

A special mention for DLF for building this millennium city on the highway.  You have some brilliant minds working for you with no backup option. Take a bow!!

I am challenging on behalf of all the citizens of Gurgaon !!!

Open letter to Arvind Kejriwal by an AAP Supporter

Dear Mr. Kejriwal

I heard that you have apologized for your resignation and the party is planning public meetings to understand whether or not people of Delhi want you back.
Now I might not be available in any of these public meetings given my work but here’s what I have to say (From my limited understanding of Indian political system and AAP)

Just 6-7 months back, I was an avid supporter of AAP.Well supporter might be a understatement to highlight the dedication because I remember how I used to talk about better future of Delhi and our country given AAP comes into power. No you will not find my name in the volunteer’s list. Neither my work allowed nor I wanted to get in it full time (and you may choose to ignore my mail given that I haven’t worked for AAP and have only supported it in my discussions with my limited universe,off course in voting and donation) but here is why I believe that I CAN’T TRUST YOU AGAIN WITH MY VOTE :

1. You are too idealistic to be operating in my country’s political system. I don’t want a CM who can’t take a decision of living in a particular house without people’s support.Pls be clear whether you want to be a popular or an effective leader. Do you think I/people care a bit about size of your house if you would have implemented even one thing that you spoke about in your manifesto.

2. I enjoy drama and have my share through movies/soaps regularly. I can’t see the drama of you and your party each day whenever I switch on any news channel.

3. Though you have some years of experience in Indian Revenue services, yet its irrelevant to the position in question at this point so for us you are a fresher. Get your hands dirty before moving to a higher order role.

4. Learn to get work done even with people who don’t directly align to you. Dharna is no solution.

5. For me you were a wrong hire who resigned before probation completion (thinking that we will want to retain you) but guess what Mr Kejriwal REHIRING is not that easy.

Since I am into HR (and my mind is inseparable from my profession) here are the development areas that you /AAP needs :

1. Prioritizing work
2. Multitasking and operating in multistakeholder environment
3. Accountability for work
4. Working in cross functional teams effectively
5. Have realistic goals and ways to achieve them

Some of them can be covered by dedicated training programs. For others on the job training would be required.Sitting in opposition for 5 years is a wonderful idea to begin with.Pls leverage the maximum benefits of experience of 4 MPs from Punjab via Mentorship/Coaching Programs.

And last but not the least hire a dedicated HR.

Regards

Balpreet Kaur

https://www.facebook.com/balpreet.kaur

(This is a guest post on this blog)

My Tax E-filing experience!!

Like a responsible, educated citizen of India. I thought to fill my tax on my own last year (AY-2013-14) and there, I was in the most complicated trap. 😦 Though the government claims that e-file is the easiest thing and we should practice our right and fill the tax on time.  Believe you me it is not that easy. I filed my tax last year using https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in. My case was that I had switched my job in the month of July wherein there was a gap of a week from my last working day in previous organization to joining date of new organization. Yes, I went for a vacation for a week!! The tax accumulated for the gap period was 9500 approx, which was auto calculated.  To this, without further consulting my CA (how! fool of me) I paid it online. The challan was issued and my tax was paid. I received my IT acknowledgement number in next month and IT-return was filed. It looks easy, right? Yes, even I had the same feeling.  And was flaunting this to my friends, I told them it is too quick and try doing it on your own. But I was WRONG! So the problem started in the month of Oct, when I received a notice from Income Tax department under section 139, defect in tax payment. WHAT!!! HOW! I LOST IT COMPLETELY. But still to confront everyone, I thought to clean the mess on my own and again, diligently, went to INCOME TAX office located in UDYOG VIHAR, Gurgaon for clarification. So, the environment inside Income tax office is like a typical government office, one has seen in movies, where most of the employees are killing time and passing queries to one another. Out of the lot, one gentleman looked into my query and answered me, that you have wrongly filled a column, you have challan receipt? Kindly call our e-file customer care department and they will guide. Ok. Customer care number (TOLL FREE), the number that is never free. They should check their call bounce. But then it is the “AAM AADMI” of India, who is used to such treatments and never gives up trying. So after trying for few days, one lucky day I got through. A lady in sweet South Indian tone responds, Ma’am that notice is from Income tax department not the INCOME TAX E-File department. (What a confusion, we have two Income tax department and aren’t they run on computer or software and the information is updated on it?).  The lady continuing with her polite tone, unless you receive any notice from E-File department , you can ignore this notice. Phew!  Feeling of proud bounce back again.  Worst was yet to come. I receive E-FILE notice on 3rd of April stating that please rectify your error under section 139 (9), under e-file tab on https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in   My struggle starts again, now I am dealing with this for few hours, bloody what the hell is schema error. Why can’t they have tutorials to guide? Why the site is not completely updated? Google always misguide in such situation. Image We work in private organization where we are not allowed to make error in entertainment web portal then how these people who work for a government body (assuming them to be more qualified than an AAM AADMI, can make such error. On homepage they mention, for advance users and software developers, you can download SCHEMA.  Can anyone tell who will mention things about average people who are not software developer or even engineers or by default the IT department has considered that only engineers pay taxes? Image GOD save me from this now I don’t how to file this rectification and customer care (bloody hell, they should be called CUSTOMER SCARE) is not picking phone.

After much struggle, I have nailed it finally.

To resolve the deficit error for section 139(9). Follow below steps:

– Download ITR Form from https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/
– Download ITR 1 for individual income from salary
– Fill in your information as per your PAN or Previous ITR
– Validate every sheet using the button (VALIDATE), appear on the top right side cell
– Complete your tax details in subsequent sheets
– Once done, validate the sheet once again
– Convert it into XML using the create XML button that appears on the Top right side of the excel sheet
– Upload this converted XML in your RECTIFICATION menu appearing under E-File
– You will receive success notification if your sheet is complete and validated.

 

Hope it works for you as well… Feel free to leave the comment, if you have any query.

 

Don’t you think that there should be an Online Consumer Forum?

Online shopping has become a rage in India these days. Spending Power with risk taking ability; of buying stuff especially clothes online have increased manifold.  I am not different.  Having friends who work in various domains of online sphere my level of trust in online portals are comparatively high.  From buying movie tickets to grocery I prefer online mechanism; as it is fast, quick, saves time and energy.  But conservative side in me has never allowed me to shop women apparel online and I never did it too.  Until the day, when I was tied-up with work and stress of attending my best friend marriage convinced me to shop online. I thought let me try it and made a decision to buy stuff online.

Buying clothes online is much more tedious than buying stuff from the market.  Every site I visited had some of the best collection, displayed in a manner that every shopaholic would love to buy all. Smart models wearing, a smart suit is what tricks you.  Anyways I finally selected a product from a site called www.yourdesignerwear.com , considering that it is a start-up and it will be good.  That is where I made a BLUNDER!

I received the product after 25 days of time, lot of time but still forgivable since I had planned accordingly.  With complete excitement when I opened it, I realized that the product was not up to the mark, bas jugaad kar rakha tha. Before a second could pass, I wrote an email with the pictures to www.yourdesignerwear.com  and requested them to replace it immediately, for which they replied, get it fixed from your tailor and we will pay for the alteration charges.  I was furious to the core but had less time so accepted, went to the tailor and asked him to fix it. Tailor responded that it can’t be done, since the stitching is faulty.  I was zapped, since I was left with no time, I wrote them again, asking to replace or refund and sent the product back.

I got a reply from www.yourdesignerwear.com after 2 days, in which they have stated that, they  will replace the suit in a day or two.  When I realized it was almost 3 weeks and I have not heard from them, I wrote an email again. To which they said it is in process. Process?? Which process takes 3 weeks?  I ask them to refund my money and will all mail trails they finally agreed to refund it.

Today April 11, 2012 it is again been more than 2 weeks that I have heard from them.  No mails are reverted and no calls are answered.

After so many follow ups, I have lost all the hope to get my money back. I tried contacting their CEO but he doesn’t respond as well.  With this incident one thing that I realized is, “Things that appear most beautiful are doctored”.

This has also given me a thought that this is just one case; there would be many more similar experiences; which can lead to loss of faith in online shopping.

So, How to tackle these?

Don’t you think that the time has come to create an Online Consumer Forum?  After all we are also “Grahak”

Government should propose a mechanism or a body where all complaints related to quality, misleading, misguiding and charging extra amount should be lodged.  And if the number of complaints against “A” increasing the number “X” which is definite number, license of the site should become forged.  This will also bring discipline into the online system.