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

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Apple Watch and self-surveillance

Apple Watch and self-surveillance
Apple’s foray into the wearables industry was being rumoured for 2-3 years, and ever since the rumour mill started, many companies (Google, Samsung, etc..) started coming out with their mostly unfinished and unimpressive wearable products. And as it usually turns out, Apple came along with their Watch, and has stirred up the wearables industry, including the multi-billion dollar non-tech Luxury Watch industry.
But there has also been a lot of debate on the privacy aspects of wearable devices, and Google Glass had a a lot of negative attention due to this aspect. Apple Watch has also been talked about for the same issue. But the balance between privacy and convenience has always been tough to maintain, and looking at the recent trend of social media and technology use by consumers, it is obvious that users prefer the latter over privacy.
I think Apple Watch is also going to experience the same preference – the convenience and utility value that the Watch provides, will be found to be more valuable to consumer than the loss of privacy.
Paul Krugman has an interesting taking on this perspective, and has put down his thoughts on NY Times
His reference to the Varian Rule, which basically says one can forecast the future by looking at what the rich have today, is specifically interesting.
…rich people don’t wait in line. They have minions who ensure that there’s a car waiting at the curb, that the maitre-d escorts them straight to their table, that there’s a staff member to hand them their keys and their bags are already in the room.
 
If you have seen the recent Apple Event where Kevin Lynch demoed some of the use cases of the Apple Watch, wouldn’t you agree that the Varian Rule can actually be true?
Image courtesy: http://www.myasd.com

Flipkart and flipside

Flipkart and flipside

I congratulated Sachin Bansal on Twitter when it was announced that they have backed out of the deal. But here are some observations/questions I have, which others have also raised in the social media, about this whole turn of events surrounding this issue:

  • Were the founders really unaware of the implications of initiatives like Airtel Zero?
  • Was their primary motive behind this move, only to increase their reach to people who don’t/can’t afford an internet connection on their mobile phones (their prospective customers)?
  • Has their size, perceived dominance in the e-commerce market in India, and pursuit for growth, made them ignorant to the concept of #NetNeutrality?

Here is K. T. Jagannathan reflecting on similar thoughts for The Hindu Daily.

http://www.thehindu.com/business/flipkarts-stand-on-net-neutrality/article7106072.ece

Picture Courtesy: firstpost.com

IBM to work with Apple Watches Team to integrate health data with Medical devices

IBM to work with Apple Watches Team to integrate health data with Medical devices

Its ironic to note the way the relationship between IBM and Apple has evolved in the last 3 decades. Keeping the historic 1984 Ad (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwT6mgXsZvU) on one side, and this announcement on another, shows that time can change even the bitterest of relationships, isn’t it?

As Jack Purcher notes for Patently Apple:

“…IBM has struck partnerships with Apple and the world’s biggest makers of medical devices, to put health data from Apple Watches into the hands of doctors and insurers, and to create personalized treatments for hip replacement patients and diabetics.

IBM’s push into digital healthcare will allow users monitoring their heart rate, calories burnt and cholesterol levels using Apple’s HealthKit platform to upload the information from an IBM app to a storage cloud, where it will be accessible to their doctors and insurance companies. Those who opt in to Apple’s ResearchKit will also be able to share their data with medical researchers.”

Do checkout the full report here:http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2015/04/ibm-to-put-health-data-from-apple-watches-into-the-hands-of-doctors-and-insurers-to-create-personalized-treatments.html

Book Review: The Intel Trinity

Book Review: The Intel Trinity

A concise review by Brad Feld about the book The Intel Trinity,The: How Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove Built the World’s Most Important Company.

I work with many first time and young entrepreneurs who know the phrase “Moore’s Law” but know nothing about the origin story of Intel or the history of how Moore’s Law built the base of an industry that we continue to build on. I also know many experienced entrepreneurs who seem to have forgotten that the phenomenon we experience around innovation, disruption, innovators vs. incumbents, and radical shifts in the underlying dynamics of markets is nothing new. If you fall into this category, as hard as it may be to acknowledge, get a copy of The Intel Trinity and read it from cover to cover.”

Do checkout the full review here: http://www.feld.com/archives/2015/03/book-intel-trinity.html

Its a must read for all technology enthusiasts.