March 29, 2005

Yahoo 360

Yahoo 360 is a combination of blogs, photo sharing, networking and mutiple other services. Just received an invitation from Jeremy Zawodny, whose job title incidentally is "Yahoo Troublemaker". Have set up a test blog. Looks Cool!

If anyone is looking for an invite, please mail me at sumit.dhar at


March 28, 2005

Yahoo's Resurgence

This article by Om Malik clearly conveys some of the thoughts I have been having about Yahoo's resurgence. They came out with a Video Search, a Creative Commons search, a Tech Buzz Game and recently acquired Flickr.

In comparison, most of Google's recent releases have not given me that "Aha" moment. Orkut sucks! Google Maps, Google Local and Keyhole are not so useful to a non-American. Only Google Desktop search was something that I really enjoyed.

Lets see what the future holds!


March 26, 2005

Friends at ISB

Jedi Knight Joe Francis

Always ready with a quick repartee, Joe was a super salesman for BT and is known to have sold Windsor Castle and other prominent British landmarks to starstruck oil kings from Texas. A sample of his quick thinking and British humor:

Professor (Finance): Joe have you read the chapter for today?
Joe: Yeah, about half of it
Professor: Then you can tell us about convexity in the yield curve
Joe: (pause) Actually I read the other half.


March 25, 2005

Response to Legal Threats

Sites like PirateBay which host BitTorrent trackers have started receiving legal threats from MPAA, RIAA and others. While LokiTorrent and others have shut down, response of PirateBay to these legal threats is hilarious. Reproduced below is a part of the response of PirateBay to EA's legal threats:
Hello and thank you for contacting us. We have shut down the website in question. Oh wait, just kidding. We haven't, since the site in question is fully legal. Unlike certain other countries, such as the one you're in, we have sane copyright laws here. But we also have polar bears roaming the streets and attacking people :-(.

Their letter continues in the same spirit. On being informed that EA enforces its intellectual property rights very aggressively by using every legal option available, here is PirateBay's response:
Please don't sue us right now, our lawyer is passed out in an alley from too much moonshine, so please atleast wait until he's found and doesn't have a huge hangover...

On being demanded that PirateBay disable access to BitTorrent seeds of The Sims, here is what they had to say:
You're free to demand anything you want. So are we. We demand that you cease and desist sending letters like this, since they're frivolous and meaningless. Where should I send the bill for the consumed diskspace and bandwidth

Read the full response here and other hilarious responses from PirateBay here.


Illusion: Transparent Laptop Screen

Was playing around with my camera and this was the pic I took. It gives the impression of a transparent laptop screen. Nice illusion, eh?

- Take an image of the wall behind your laptop.
- Transfer image to laptop, crop and set as your desktop background.
- Arrange your laptop in line with things behind, take another photo.

Credits: Wookie's Flickr Page


March 23, 2005

ISB Architecture

Click on the thumbnail to view a larger image..

Continuing with my photo-posts, here are some pics of the Indian School of Business building. Most of them have been shot in the early morning light and hence have that orangish glow. Any photography experts who can give fundaes on how to prevent that from happening?







March 22, 2005

ISB Photos

Click on the thumbnail to view a larger image.

I recently purchased a Fuji FinePix S5500 digital camera and have been experimenting with it. Here are some photos of people from ISB, batch of 2005.

The Mallu Meatballs

Saji 'Buccaneer' Sam

Recreating a more famous original photo... Brain Massage

Comrade Vikram Kamath

Alipt with his Pink Bag (And yes, this is what he normally carries around ISB)


Link to my pages on Flickr:Page 1, Page 2


March 21, 2005

Sunset at ISB

A nice shot of the sunset at ISB, as seen from my balcony. Click on the thumbnail to check a larger image.

In the meanwhile, please check out another photo from my stay at ISB: Ninja Master Kurup practicing his Karate Skills!

While you are whiling away your time, why now check out the Yahoo Buzz Game too.

Yahoo acquires Flickr. I wonder why Google didn't do so.


The Long Tail

I have been hearing and reading about "The Long Tail" for quite some time now. Not sure about what exactly it meant, I set about trying to understand the concept. To help me understand better, let me rephrase what I have understood about "The Long Tail" and its business impact here. Your comments/clarification are welcome.

The concept of "The Long Tail" comes from statistics where certain distributions have shape shown in the figure below. Imagine a graph of movies vs. the number of copies of these movies sold. Certain movies which are purchased often will be on the LHS of the graph while others which are not sold so often will be on the RHS. This set of movies which individually dont sell too well but together represent a huge opportunity are often referred to as "The Long Tail".

The products that make the long tail can together make a market share that exceeds that of the current best sellers. They can dramatically increase the market size. But till recently this market was untappable.

Imagine a neighbourhood video store with limited display space and limited inventory carrying system. Which DVDs do you think such a store will carry? Obviously the latest chart busters!

Now imagine a Net based retailer for whom display space is not a problem and inventory carrying system is not a bottleneck. For such a retailer, the long tail suddenly makes a lot of sense. In the long run, it is possible that such retailers will make more money stocking these rare titles than from popular chart busters.

Implications for businesses:
- Make everything available. The additional cost of making an MP3 or an e-Book available is ZERO.
- Lower prices as far as possible. If you are selling e-books, the marginal cost for you is close to ZERO. Maximize your revenues by selling more.
- Provide search that helps users find what they want. With out good search, it will be hard for you to capitalize on the long tail.


March 20, 2005

Friends at ISB

Over the next few days, I will be uploading photos of some incredible people I have met at ISB. In no particular order, let me start with Ranjit Babu.
Shutter Speed: 1/4 sec | F-Number: F/3.1 | ISO-Speed: ISO-400 | Flash Mode: Off
Mugshot: Ranjit Babu

According to reports from reliable sources, during his undergrad years, Ranjit was proposed to by all the 37 girls of his class. Rumor has it, a couple of boys too decided to take advantage of this situation and proposed along with the girls.

A firm believer in the fact that "come prepared with case facts" actually means "read the case in the class", Ranjit is often seen devouring cases at 600 wpm. He manages to stay marginally ahead of the professor while looking for that elusive nugget of insight for Class Participation. Once he finds that nugget, he promptly uses it for CP and thereby earning the nickname Ranjit 'JIT' Babu.

With this patented method of dealing with cases, Ranjit has time to do just about everything. He has played an instrumental role in the success of Poseidon, ILS and Merchandising Club here at ISB. He also plays the flute like a pro. He is all set to rock the marketing world with his stint at Nokia.


March 18, 2005

Asia Moot Corp B-Plan Competition

Ganesh, Srini and I represented ISB at the recently concluded Asia Moot Corp Business Plan Competition. Here are some pictures from our visit:

The Grand Palace

The Grand Palace Again

Traditional Thai Drum Dance

Temple of Emerald Buddha

Boat on the river Chao Phraya

Temple of Emerald Buddha Again

The Warrior

After winning the Mini-Moot B-Plan Competition


March 06, 2005

Serious Lack of Creativity

Today was one of those rare days when I actually plonked in front of the TV to watch a BBC documentary on Yash Chopra. That is when I saw a blatantly plagiarized advertisement of Speed. Featuring Narain Karthikeyen, it is almost an exact copy of "Star"; an Ad made by Guy Ritchie for BMW Films.

Do the ad-makers feel that Indian audiences would not have seen the Internet Ads of BMW Films? Do they suffer from such a lack of creativity that they have to stoop to so low a level? Is it that hard to come up with a creative spot? If yes, they should consider alternative professions; maybe as a reporter for Slimes of India.