On Tim Cook’s visit to India

On Tim Cook’s visit to India

This is the first time an Apple CEO has come to India. Steve Jobs had been here before, but that’s when he was soul searching and the India visit did play an important role in life thereon. 

Tim’s visit this week has been the most eventful and widely publicised, of all the large tech company CEO’s, in the recent past. I am sure this is going to have a huge positive impact on Apple’s market in India and a great benefit for Apple product lovers and customers here. 

Here is an interesting interview by The Hindu with Tim. I especially liked his reponse to a common and obvious question

Interviewer: Most of the billion people in India may not have heard about Apple. A few million would have heard and seen Apple products and only the minority few, who can afford it, would have actually used an Apple device. How would you as the CEO, explain what Apple is to this Indian audience?

Tim: Apple is about making the best products, we only create products that enrich peoples’ lives and in doing that we change the world in a positive way. That, in a simple way, is what Apple is about. Think of our products as tools to learn, teach; they empower people to do things they could not do otherwise. That’s our reason for being and that’s what drives us.

Development Centers in Bangalore and Hyderabad, and three Apple Stores supposedly in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai have been some of the interesting announcements. 

Interesting times ahead for Apple, consumers and entrepreneurs in India. 
Picture courtesy: dnaindia

On Mark Zuckerberg’s thoughts on Net Neutrality

On Mark Zuckerberg’s thoughts on Net Neutrality

It is very reassuring to see the power of social media and internet, taking over this whole debate on Net Neutrality in India. The last few weeks have been amazing, and to see so many people raising their voices on various platforms on the web, makes you feel that these are probably the best times in the history of social communities, where every individual has an equal right to share their views for or against a particular cause. The power of Internet, hasn’t been more evident than in the last decade. The uprising in Egypt in the year 2011, is one of such important even which has changed the lives of the people there, forever.

I believe that this whole uprising in India for Net Neutrality, has already won half the battle, because many of the “partners” who signed up for these “Zero Rating” services (Airtel Zero and Internet.org), have backed out. This list includes big names like Flipkart, ClearTrip, NDTV and Time Of India group.

Recently, this whole debate got a new voice, when Mark Zuckerberg took to a famous Indian Daily called Hindustan Times, where he tried to defend Facebook’s Internet.org initiative, as some sort of world changing CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activity.

What Mark is basically saying is the purpose of setting up internet.org is to provide “free internet” to the poor, so that they can leverage the benefits that “Internet” (through internet.org) has to offer. It sounds pretty good and noble, but the fact is that internet.org is not the whole Internet. It is primarily Facebook and a few hand-picked sites, which are identified by Facebook and its partners.

I see this whole definition of purpose as – “Internet.org provides free access to Facebook to the poor and under privileged so that they can leverage the benefits that Facebook has to offer.” Now does that sound noble to you?

Indian journalist Nikhil Pahwa responded to Mark’s post on Hindustan Times, and he elaborates on this whole misconception that these Telcos and companies like Facebook are trying to portray . It’s a definite read.

Image Courtsey: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com

Pappu and Feku – the Best We Can Do?

Pappu and Feku – the Best We Can Do?

This is an offbeat topic, from my usual blogging category, but I found this article by Writer and IIT Delhi professor Rukmini Bhaya Nair quite interesting and I want to take a perspective on this.

The Indian Political environment has changed dramatically, in the last 5 decades. The free and open (yeah I know the “openness” can be debated) access to information that we have today, thanks to the global growth of internet in the last 2 decades, the Politicians and the Politics in India has been exposed to tight scrutiny by media, by citizens and fellow politicians, have come under a lot of focus and constant attention. And as professor Rukmini says, maybe it is that politics today is all screen-spectacle.

This wasn’t the case 5 decades ago, and the politicians and national leaders during our Independence movement weren’t exposed to so much of attention and constant criticism and audit. But I think there were a lot of other types of sources which contributed to similar attention, focus and criticism. For ex., during the period 1920-47, there were a lot of independent journals, news papers, books, articles, poems, essays, speeches, street acts and stand-up shows, providing enough sources of such attention to national leaders in those days.

But as professor Rukmini states in her post, the leaders during that time had a great deal of mutual respect and trust between them, and so there was always a sense of dignity and respect when they conversed and referred to each other. This sense of dignity and mutual respect is something that we don’t see much, in today’s political space, and that’s unfortunate.

This must change, and I am hopeful that it will. I completely agree with her following lines:

My view is that India is a dynamic country with a very young population which deserves truthful as well as entertaining accounts of the challenges facing us. We may have come a long way from the times of the freedom movement, but India still needs freedom from dire poverty, illiteracy, gender abuse, caste factionalism, regional prejudice. In these times of social ‘churn’, I therefore think our politicians still have a crucial lesson to learn from our past: they must respect each other – and us, the aam janta – just a wee bit more.
At the moment, our politicians are outdoing themselves trying to disgrace their peers. What’s needed from them is the exact opposite – grace and generosity. If a more coherent vision of the future of India fifty years down the line emerges from this exercise, that would be great. But if not, our political leaders should at least do us the honour of telling us the truth.

Do checkout professor Rukmini’s post on NTDV’s Opinion section, here: http://www.ndtv.com/opinion/pappu-and-feku-the-best-we-can-do-756650?pfrom=home-lateststories

Image Courtesy: http://i.dailymail.co.uk