Friday, 24 October 2014

Ease up tax planing and facilitate savings

A detailed document showing the available avenues to save for future and/or gain tax benefits - along with the maximum possible limits for each income category - is required to be created. And, then reasonably substantial awareness needs to be spread about such a facility.

This seems to have not been done by the predecessors as well. Let us endeavour to make it a practice of releasing this document on Ministry of Finance as well as eFileIT website, as soon as the Union budget is officially out.

As of now, a majority of our income tax payers conduct either of these three:
1. Take a deep-dive in the oceans of the Internet and search for such information, or engage a CA
2. Scramble to invest haphazardly beginning January in the last quarter, when the finance team at their office asks for investment documents, and at tines make an un-informed decision
3. Simply pay up the higher tax due to lack of information, while not adding to their future savings as well

Creating this document would generate dual benefits:
- Improve financial inclusion 
- Optimise saving reserves

After releasing this document, although users will still make their own decision or may engage a CA as necessary. However, at least a defined starting point will be available.

On the lighter side, if as considered earlier when tax break is given for some time, this document will temporarily not be required at all.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

WhatsApp enabling voice calls, what could that mean?

WhatsApp's entry in the voice calls business could spread like wildfire, break an existing industry, and create entirely new businesses,

Did Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook investors get a good bargain by spending only 19 Billion? Maybe
Could Jan Koum have made more? Potentially yes. However, 19 Billion is so much money, why would he and the small team need any more
Will it have an impact tomorrow? No
Will it have a major impact in say 5 or 10 years? Huge
What could that impact be? A revenue stream of telcos, voice business, may almost cease to exist. Entirely new unimagined revenue streams will be created.

Very few might make voice calls over GSM/CDMA. All calls could be VOIP. With its deep reach and pockets, Facebook may bring a majority of global customer interaction business under its banner. Web chat based customer care is already a burgeoning business, this move by Facebook could help them reach the inflection point sooner than they might have imagined. Which means, in the next decade, a refined blend of services like WhatsApp / Facebook may well be your MC - the global centre point of Mass Communications and Mass Customer Care

That sounds like great news for consumers. Instead of paying for minutes, and texts/sms, they could only pay for the monthly data packs. Data packs would become a commodity, most wouldn't care about which operator to choose, multiple plans etc. Plain and simple, vanilla business: It may be a world where you use up data packs, and buy more, then even more. More like electricity of today. A distantly related current world concept, Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite 3G which provides free 3G, buy as much as you want and pay for the product only once.

Many have an iPad, iPhone, so do their friends. That breed of humans already has Facetime audio and video along with iMessage. Their universe is different, hardly do they make the traditional phone calls. Why do they even need WhatsApp, only to communicate with those who don't use iPhones?

A sizeable number of those are also Business users. Skype is amongst the best deal available in the market. Unlike WhatsApp, it allows creating multiple identities, which draws the boundary between private and work life, inside our hyper connected universe. Besides Skype allows for screen sharing as well- a useful business need.

Which leads to the conclusion, iUsers won't care about the outcome of the 19 Billion deal, their walled garden is the best deal they own, and are happily satisfied. Business users are already used to Skype etc, they anyways don't buy telecom minutes for business use.

However, there is the other major user base called the consumers (the previous two are also a subset here) , who want the maximum discount and best deal on most monetary interactions they have. No surprise, apparels sell the most during Sale period, and sell highest during the last few days when maximum discount is available. Black Friday, Cyber Monday etc. etc.That is where WhatsApp gives a sucker punch to the telecom industry, and blows the wind out of them.

Feature phones are almost dead. Companies like Lennovo, Micromax are already providing features found in the expensive Samsung devices in their far more cost effective Android variants. Clearly every other person will soon only buy a smartphone, trend has been already very strong.

Traditional voice calls over mobile, could soon become the Pagers of yesteryear. How soon, only time and those invested in it could shape. The idea of iPhone created the app economy of which WhatsApp is a great product. Now, a blend of WhatsApp / Facebook could well be the lynchpin for another strong money making machine.

Meanwhile, i will enjoy using the iDevice with Skype and WhatsApp! :)

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Focus is the key

Haha..Stray dogs are really funny. Earlier today after seeing me one of them barked, the other two sitting around him immediately got in action and started barking. Here is the funny part, the second one ran past me vigorously shaking his head and still barking. Actually pity him, i guess the poor thing did not even know why he was doing whatever he was doing, his brain is hardwired to follow the clan.

It is worth thinking and then taking some action on, as to why in our civilization of four limbed but erect animals so many end just following the crowd. But it is those few who choose not to, are the ones who make such a difference to the society.

Probably the answer here is: Focus is the key.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Getting things done, quick Time Management Tip

Recently, someone on LinkedIn posted a question on ideas concerning to-do lists. Gave a quick reply but got inspired enough to write a blog post on getting things done. These are tried and tested insights based on my numerous years of Project Management experience and inputs received during a Master’s degree in Project Management and Operational Development, you should find them helpful.

From the beginning of time, we humans have had a constant urge to organise and manage things, and hence this great civilisation of ours which began its journey in the jungle on four limbs has travelled all the way to outer space, jumped from the edge of space, and yes dived deep enough where even light can’t reach. Up until some decades ago, things were far less complex, an average human Woke up-Farmed-Slept. Nowadays, living an integrated life in a globalised environment with ICT innovations all around, there is always so much more to do than the available time and brain-resource, so a lot of us started using to-do lists on Paper, on Personal Computer, on SmartPhones.

Those who stepped-foot in that direction enabled themselves to manage better, relatively. However, doing it effectively is more important, that's where our modern day gadgets and my 3StepProcess come in with great help. Everybody who has access to a mobile phone does have a calendar as well.

Below is my suggestion to you of a 3StepProcess for getting things done effectively:
1. Understand the goal you want to accomplish / task you want to get done
2. Break it down into actionable sub-tasks
3. This is the important step. See when you are going to be free and schedule time slots in your calendar - Date as well as Time interval. Do not engage in anything else during this period. If you happen to be occupied with another high priority task when the reminder pops-up on your phone, schedule it for another moment in time, Do-Not-Simply-Dismiss-It, most of the times you will forget if not rescheduled immediately.

You will find this mechanism much more helpful than just a set of To-do list, instead of making you feel better they may make you feel more stressed out, since your mind comprehends: a lot of things need to be done but has no idea of turnaround time so is in a constant state of activity trying to solve the puzzles. ICT technologies evolved much faster than human brain did, so most probably its better we provide some external help and let it do the thinking bit. Spare a thought!

1844: First telegraph sent
1876: First phone call
1946: First mobile phone
1969: World Wide Web a.k.a. Internet launched
1971: First e-mail
1985: First SMS
1996: First Hotmail
2004: First Gmail
2007: iPhone launched

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A Re-imagined and exciting web, coming soon!

It’s interesting how technology developments happen in spikes across periods of time. World Wide Web & Google indexing became popular in the 90s and everyone wanted to create their most amazing websites for presenting to their stakeholders – ones who grew up in Mumbai in that era might recollect “Dreamweaver,” anybody and everybody wanted to go to Aptech, NIIT or other private institutes to learn website designing and animation. Those were the days of basic websites, next came Adobe Flash and now its HTML5.

Across the last two decades, users graduated from basic CRT based, low powered, immovable desktops to the smart, slim, agile, computing powerhouses which we proudly flaunt around in our palms, bags and pockets - a form-factor whose capabilities we are just beginning to unearth, but let’s keep that for another blog post.

Now, the important observation and business opportunity here lies in the fact that, owners would desire to provide and users would appreciate to enjoy, the same experience across the four devices which they end up using on an almost daily basis. Two non-touch i.e. keyboard and mouse based: (1) Office computer (2) Home computer & Two touch based: (3) Handheld smartphone (4) iPad and the rival tablets. Anybody who has tried accessing an old enough website on their iPad would understand the plight I am trying to emphasise here.

Until the last week of October 2012, I wouldn't have cared to think deep about this when dictating terms and not accepting initial proposals, of the 20 something website coding entrepreneurs I employed to develop a corporate website. In my opinion that moment in time was game changing, Steve Balmer decided to catch-up and join the bandwagon unveiling the competitively priced TOUCH BASED re-imagined Windows 8 devices with all his might and voice. Certainly, iDevices brainchild of the late Steve Jobs, were the genesis of this new innovation. However, with its majority market share in the corporate and consumer segments, potential easy scalability due to a substantial number of legacy OEM partnerships, probable reduced prices in future due to economies of scale, and eventual hardware upgrades in some years as old devices begin to wear out, in my opinion the next five years a substantial number will access a touch based Microsoft device. Having said that, Android, the very first real competitor in this space has already acquired a sizeable share of the market, and their Ok-quality-Low-priced devices are quickly spreading throughout the emerging markets, where product price has an upper hand over relative quality in influencing the right parietal cortex to make the decision.

These create a unique challenge as well as creative opportunity, for proponents of Design Thinking who desire to impart the same experience on either of the four type of devices mentioned above, to push their coders to the next level. To say the least, amazing technologies like LEAP motion are possibly going commercial very soon!

To counter the aforementioned school of thought, one might argue: nowadays everybody uses apps so much then why would websites be relevant. To answer that simply: World Wide Web was based on websites, they exist from the beginning of time, and lastly if they were destined to wane out anytime soon pioneering devices like the iPad would never have kept a web browser on their home screen as a default option.

Happy Surfing!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Product Based Economy

Today, we thrive in the Web 2.0+ ecosystem comprising of the Internet of things, where everything that can be connected is being planned to be connected - if not already connected. For sure, these are exciting times, which are pushing us further towards a product based economy. One might question: is it really so important to have ‘a presence’ on the World Wide Web? Of course, it depends on aspirations and the reach which one seeks; competitors may choose the former and potentially leverage better advantages. Anyways, in our inter-connected universe, it is no big deal to tweet from the International Space Station.

Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs, Pinterest, YouTube, QR codes, social advertisements, Instantaneous flash mobs, interactive advertisements, SmartTV, consumer driven outcomes, mobile banking, plastic money, solar powered mobile towers, easy availability of high-speed internet on almost every corner of the planet- be it an explorer summiting the Everest or a researcher practicing cutting edge science in Antarctica. Connected smart devices coupled with bandwidth guzzling computers, and the viral exponentially multiplying online social media interaction - rich engagements between known/unknown/alike/like individuals, and the soon to be commercially launched marvel Google Goggles - head mounted terminator styled android based wearable computing device. These working together as one cohesive unit or even standalone have the capability to define the value of any entity living on this World Wide Web. One correct move here, and you have window side seat in the Spaceship, or any other metaphor one may wish to imagine.

In such interesting times, full-fledged products give a definite edge over standalone-trying-to-catch-up solutions. A concrete product with defined and measurable deliverables, creating enormous value for involved stakeholders, has the maximum possibility to leverage the potential.

Also, compared to an out-of-the-world idea, it is so much easier for the sales team to sell, Investor to invest, end user to appreciate and make the decision to buy, a PRODUCT .