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Showing posts from 2014

Gift yourself awesome coffee this New Year!

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People invite their friends over for a home cooked meal, or for a drink. I invite friends over for a cup of coffee.
Anyone who has visited my house will vouch for it that my coffee is special. It has very little to do with me. It has a lot to do with the inputs (and investments) that make a good cup, and these are things I have acquired through the years. 
Visit a coffee site like coffeegeek and they will tell you that the freshness and the quality of the grind are the two most important factors that elevate a cup of coffee from average to sublime. Most people assume that you need an expensive espresso machine to make good coffee. Actually, you need to make two decisions 1) How much you want to spend 2) How you want to brew your coffee. The two are inter-related issues! 
And irrespective of how much you want to spend, the grinder will constitute at least 60% of your budget, going upto 90%. The more proportion of your budget you spend on the grinder, the better your coffee will be.
If you …

Top 5 Android Phones in the Rs.30,000 range

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I have done a lot of posts in the past on the best budget Android handsets. With a growing number of first-time smartphone users, budget smartphones (which I define as sub Rs.15000) will always enjoy a huge demand in India. So do mid-range Androids, which I define as being in the Rs.15,000-25,000 range. The Samsung Galaxy Grand is one of the best examples of a mid-range phone which does fantastic business.
But there are a growing number who, without spending on top end flagships, still want to push their budget to get a better phone. Sometimes they are looking at a specific aspect, like a better camera or a better display. Sometimes a specific phone in this price band catches their fancy, like the Nexus 5 or the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. Flagships start at Rs.40,000 and upwards and not everyone is ready to push their budget so far. But many people rightly believe that you can get a good phone if you spend a little extra.
Here are the top 5 phones that you cannot afford to ignore in this c…

HTC One M8 vs. HTC Eye vs. HTC E8 - digging for the real differences

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If you are like me, you might have gotten fairly confused between the HTC One (M8), the HTC One M8 Eye and the HTC One (E8). Of course, it's easy to figure out the obvious differences. This post is intended to bring out the more subtle differences in processor speed, features which are omitted or modified and believe me, you will have to hunt to find all this information in one place. That's why I am creating this post.
The obvious facts:
The HTC One (M8) is the oldest of the trio, it is still the flagship phone and it sports the highest price tag (approximately Rs. 42,000 INR).  The HTC One M8 Eye is the most recently launched. At Rs. 38,000, it replaces the M8's low-pixel (sic. Ultrapixel) camera with a regular 13 MP shooter. The HTC E8 is the cheapest of the three at Rs.34,000. It has literally all the features of the M8, with a 13 MP camera, and has a plastic body vs. the metal body of the other two phones. As such, it is  the value offering in the HTC One stable.
Here is t…

A tale of a broken HTC handset and Customer Service

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This story starts nearly three months ago, when I had the misfortune to drop my HTC One handset on the tarmac at a wrong angle. Even as it fell, I had a premonition that this was not going to be good. Somewhat like I had  when I twisted my ankle a few years ago and knew, as I was falling that it was a fracture.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, the screen cracked in one corner. I was too traumatised to take a photo (and anyway I had no phone camera) so here's a picture off the net which shows approximately what happened to my phone. 




It was still working but it was a little sluggish and responsive. As there was no update on the HTC website, and no one answered the call centre number, I had to call Ask 8 to get the nearest customer service centre. And I trudged to Thakker Mall, Borivali (West) with my shattered handset and a low end Sony smartphone replacement that I already disliked. 

The service centre accepted my handset, telling me the repair estimate was Rs.10,000 at maximum. I …

How to run your own Facebook Page - an entrepreneur's perspective : Part 3

This is the last post in my three-part series on How to run your own Facebook Page. In Part 1, I discussed the basic thinking and objective-setting that you need to do before you start. In Part 2, I discussed the nuts and bolts of execution and daily posts. The current post will discuss how to manage your page, monitor, and course correct.

1. Keep a reasonable response time and stick to it

It's obvious that you need to respond to all comments or questions within a reasonable time frame and I am sure that you will.  But take a call, depending on the nature of your business. what that time frame is. As a consultant, I do not want to give the impression I am on Facebook all the time. I do respond to business queries on LinkedIn instantly. However, if you are selling products or services then it does make sense to address queries immediately because customers have a deadline to buy or order, and may go elsewhere if you do not meet it. Whatever it is, figure out a time frame and stick to…

How to run your own Facebook Page : An entrepreneur's perspective - Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I listed out the spadework that should be done before you launch your Facebook page - basic things like defining your objective, your target audience and your brand. Once this is done, the strategic foundation is laid for your FB page. It's not cast in stone and you can always go back and review it. The next step is to put the strategy into practice. This is where there can be many a slip between the cup and the lip. There is only one solution. Plan. Plan. And plan :) Every successful long term strategy, be it for weight loss or a Facebook page, requires long-range planning. So let me tell you, based on my own multiple slip ups, what exactly you need to plan.
1) Make a content strategy
This is the first step to translate your social media objective towards execution. Content strategy is a buzz word these days but it's not some black box. Practically, it can be as simple as a google doc where you expand on each objective you set initially - adding conten…

How to run your own Facebook page - an entrepreneur's perspective : Part 1

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As I posted on tumblr some time ago, entrepreneurship brings its own benefits. One of them is learning to do new things everyday. And one of my favorite new things is assuming the role of a page admin. I have been doing this job for our own Facebook company page and my blog page, and recently for a few others as well. In this series of posts,  I will share how to create, streamline and run a self administered Facebook page efficiently. And I have learnt from my mistakes, as well as from projects where I have been fortunate enough to work shoulder to shoulder with seasoned professionals. I will keep updating this series, as I learn more. 
Part 1 deals with the thinking that you need to do before you start a Facebook page.
1) Define your objective
This is an obvious one - but whether you run a blog page, company page or brand page, it's important to define why you are there and what you want to accomplish. The more specific you can be, the better.
My Facebook blog page exists not to dri…

Do Facebook Likes still mean anything?

Everyone is human and everyone loves to be liked. Even in social media, whether we admit it or not, we enjoy it when people like our posts. At the highest level, we equate it with being liked or popular in real life. At the most basic level it seems to show that people appreciate what we write or share. Some of us keep a count, some of us seem to be naturally more likeable and we classify some people as being all out to get likes. 
Since the early days of social media, the number of likes has also been the Holy Grail for brands and companies looking to build a fan following on Facebook. A power brand has to have millions of fans, and if it sees fit, it even spends to woo or buy them.
But is it really a big deal whether you have a ton of likes? Has the meaning of a Facebook like gotten devalued over time? I have been pondering these questions from my personal experience as a Facebook user and a Page Manager for five very diverse pages. And I think that perhaps likes mean less than we lik…

The Internet of the here and now

There is a new trend that's growing in the digital world. I like to call it 'the internet of the here and now'. It's not a new concept. The philosophy of 'carpe diem' (Seize the day) dates back to pre-Christian times in the Western world, and is equally well accepted in the Eastern philosophical systems. To cast off the past and stop worrying about the future, because only the present minute is given to us. Different ways to say the same thing. Live in the here and the now
Yet, as the internet grows, it has become a repository of things from our past. We are constantly adding our personal scrapbooks of memories, ideas and opinions to blogs, social networks and forums, stuff from the past is getting digitized, and the sheer amount of data we generate is growing at an unimaginable pace. Coming from a legacy of PCs and hard drives, we are concerned about how much we can store, in the cloud, in our accounts, in digital lockers like Dropbox and Google Drive. We still…

Re-writing the rules of the game - making low cost handsets exclusive

The paradigm of 'low cost' smartphones is quietly being re-written, with the recent online launches of the Moto E and Xiaomi M3 exclusively through Indian e-tailer Flipkart. Low cost handsets with decent specs have been around for sometime but have never enjoyed a great brand image or buzz. This is even truer of the many Chinese brands that have flooded the Indian market in the last two years. Many people on a low budget play safe and buy established brands like Samsung and Nokia. Micromax broke the paradigm of cheap Indian phones when they launched the Canvas range in India - decently powered phones with a flagship that has always delivered specs equivalent to Rs.30,000+ handsets at sub Rs.20,000 prices. Combined with their foray into international markets, and their use of Hugh Jackman as brand ambassador, Micromax spiffed up their brand image and garnered serious interest from mid-range smartphone buyers. Earlier known for offering entry level handsets for the masses, it w…