UC Davis GSM – Incoming class 2012 – Student Panel

Today I was at UC Davis Graduate School of Management San Ramon campus as a part of the Student Panel for the incoming class. I was part of the student panel addressing their questions and advising them on the 3 year journey.

Below is summary of my advise to new students.

=> Priotize, Focus and Act – Beginning of the MBA program we all want to do our best and get all A grades. Soon you realize that it is important to balance life and not go crazy about your grades. Make sure that you choose the important tasks in your life and prioritize them. Focus on the tasks and make sure your act on them.
=>Your MBA grades does not matter. No one is going to ask for your overall grade for a job. As long as you are learning and applying the concepts at work, you will do wonderful.
=> Make sure that you are doing MBA in a good eco-system. You boss or your super boss should not see you as a threat. If they do, thats going to be end of your career. Be careful in the way you message based on your boss.
=> Work for an organization that values your MBA. If your present organization does not value your MBA, then move on. Life is too shot. You dont wnat to convince them.
=> Before convincing your family and peers at work, convince your self about MBA. It must have a strong reason for doing MBA. Dont do it just to get a raise or a promotion.
=> Make sure that you let your family and friends know about the expectations. Your readings, assignments and group discussions take time and your people should know about it. Make use of technology – use google calander and share it with your spouse.
=> Relax – You are going to go through this journey for the next 3 years. Dont stress. Make it fun for yourself and family.
=> Keep in mind the end goal. You are going to get the MBA degree at the end of these 3 years. Hopefully you learn a lot and meet wonderful people.
=> If you have too many things happening in life, make use of the short break between each quarter. Go for a 2-3 day break away from your daily routing and just focus on your family. It helps a lot to bring back sanity to your life.

5 simple questions for a better Feature Prioritization.

A major part of #productmanager ‘s daily life involves a lot of communication, decision making and feature #prioritization among many. With multiple product lines and time pressure, the feature prioritization decisions could become very subjective.

Here are the 5 questions every #productmanager should ask before making a decision.

– Is there a lost revenue if this feature is NOT made ?
– Is there any other opportunity that is more worthwhile than doing this ?
– Did customers ask for this ?
– Does this capability bring you #differentiation in the market ?
– Is the benefit of developing this capability > the cost ?

As +Prod Mgmt group, do you have any other suggestions ? Any other best practices ?

Honeymoon with iPhone 4S is over!

From iPhone 3GS it was a natural upgrade for me to 4S. I was so happy to be getting the 4S mainly because of the camera and #Siri. But not anymore.

  1. Battery drains too quick. I keep it charging the whole night and when i take it to office the next day morning, it lasts only till 3.00pm to 5.00pm. Yeah.. yeah.. i did remove the location based services and all.
  2. iOS 5 hangs frequently. Unfortunately this is the least I would expect from #Apple’s software.
  3. When you are on a call and then you open Camera, my phone almost always goes into “dead” mode. The only way it comes back is when all the batter is drained. Till that time I can not even force restart. None of the buttons work.
  4. At times I see funny scroll of numbers on the event notifications. I attached my company outlook to my 4S and during certain situations, the time on the event notification message just rolls randomly.
  5. I was very exited about Siri initially but not anymore. Especially, for my Indian-English accent, Siri is not the best voice recognition software that i would rely on. Instead, when i use my wife’s #Samsung #Galaxy S 2, I thought #GoogleVoice has a better capability than Siri.

May be i should have got the Samsung’s Galaxy S 2 ? I am still confused.

My take on Android phone (Samsung Infuse) vs. iOS (iPhone 3gs)

I have been using iPhone since 2007 and thought of moving to Android. Unfortunately, this did not happen. After 2 days of playing with the Samsung Infuse with  Android, I returned this device in favor of iPhone 4.

Background : In the past 4 years many called me Google and Apple fan boy. In general, I am passionate about how technology changes our lives and Google and Apple definitely had their share in this world. With Google, I am a daily user of the GMail, Calendar, Docs, Chrome, Google TV, Sites, Picasa, Blogs, Youtube, Reader and especially in the past few days the Google+. As a user, i get much more out of Google for “free” (?). Yes, people might argue on this “free” stuff from Google, but that’s a separate discussion. The first time I bought an Apple product is in 2007 ( I know, i was introduced to Apple pretty late) with iPhone (EDGE). Then I moved from EDGE -> 3G -> 3GS, in spite of expensive upgrades from AT&T and Apple.

All these years, I used products from Apple and Google enough to form some opinions and evangelize my thoughts. The fact that Google was my “window” to Internet world and Apple was the inventor of “cool” gadgets, I never had them as competitors. Until the introduction of the Android mobile platform from Google. With Apple’s iPhone – “Software and Hardware engineered to work together” and with Google’s Android – “Mobile OS became a commodity”. With Android, technically any mobile phone manufacturer can come forward and start using the Android OS with their hardware.

I hated iPhone : Yes, right from 2007, so many people around me have this iPhone thingy that i slowly started getting “sick” of iPhone. Every year, there is a new release and if you don’t upgrade, you look like an old 70’s guy these days. As a user, I would like to have unique phone (at least in thoughts) or at least a phone that’s popular and not many people have.  With iPhone, this sense of “premium” is lost. I live in Bay Area and when you walk in the streets of San Francisco/San Jose, you will know what i am talking about. However, in the mean while, i never realized how i got used to the iPhone UX. Its not just the user interface, but the elements of hardware in iPhone is what i think is the novelty.

I loved Android : For many doing businesses, it is a intuitive part to think about “giving choices” to users. Yes, Android did that. You could choose from LG, Samsung, HTC and others as mobile vendors and any mobile carrier at least in US. The Android applications are raising in numbers fast enough to touch or surpass the iOS applications and of course many are *free*. Many phones that had Android OS had better features “on paper” compared to a iPhone 3GS or 4G. e.g. Camera resolution quality, front/back camera, video quality, integration with Google Apps and others. And then, I love technology and I am a java programmer. So, i thought that going to Android would give me the “virtual” power of choice, software upgrades, and play with the applications as and when i want.

Something Changed : Last week (06/30/2011), i got my Samsung Infuse and played with it for few days. Its a great phone with 4.5″ Super AMOLED Plus screen looked great with emails, pictures and in general the screen looks very bright and lovable. Its very light and thin that i can carry it in my jeans. Believe me, for the screen size of the phone, I expected a lot of weight. The 8MP still camera and 720p HD video camera are very usable as if i don’t need any camcorder or digital camera (which i love that idea). But it was not the same when i used it for the most what i do – email and phone calls. The biggest WIN for the iPhone is that i got used to it unconsciously to the “simplistic” approach of the UX.

Rest is a history and please see the below video to see why i say “UX of iPhone is a lot better than Samsung Infuse phone”. Again, these are my views. Not many people may use the phone as i use and not many may see UX differences. When i used Samsung Infuse, i realized what i love about iPhone and what i got used to with Apple’s UX design. Its not just the software but the hardware too (a single button interaction for all the 4 generations of phone).

I love both the companies Apple and Google for their novel products and the ability to bring in a lot of innovation. I love Android technology and iPhone for my personal use.

Samsung Infuse vs. iPhone 3gs


Google TV – Logitech Revue Review

I am a huge believer that the way we consume the video is going to change. And its not far off. Google TV made a bold step to bring the online video content to the TV. The Google TV platform went into the Logitech Revue and Sony Internet TV. Below is a short review of the Revue that i have been using from past 3 months.

Google TV Logitech Revue Review – Part 1

Google TV Logitech Revue Review – Part 2

Can Skype change your life?

Well.. not exactly. Till now, video calling has been a luxury and expensive act that remained with in the corporate walls or riches. What Skype did is to bring this luxury to common man and small businesses. Yeah… you may say, this is not a big deal. Yes, i agree! But the recent Skype move to provide Video calling on iPhone 3G and Wifi is phenomenal.  Combined with the iPhone 4 face time feature it is just a great feature for the “globalized” families and businesses.

I have a iPhone 3GS model and this feature works as you expect with the back facing camera. You can just innovate the usage scenarios…

  • When i am on the move, or at restaurants or at grocery stores, i could just Video call from iPhone+Skype and ask my wife which specific flower bouquet she wants?
  • If i see a wonderful scenery, i could just call my daughter and show it to her.
  • It works great with Skype users in India too. I called my family in India to show them the nice misty and cloudy scenic I-680 route to Pleasanton.
  • You are walking along the Golden Gate Bridge and at a perfect sunset, call your parents in India (or anywhere in the world as long as they are a Skype user) and share the joy.

Thanks to 3G data speeds, Internet and Apple (iPhone) for making this possible. Thank you Skype. This is an amazing job!

Thanks for those invisible researchers/scientists who made this video compression techniques possible to travel across world.

Note : My AT&T signal sucks on iPhone (even on freeways). Good luck Verizon users.

Google TV – Customer’s Dilemma [Updated]

I am planning to do the below Market Research for my Marketing class. Any takers ?

Topic : “Google TV – Customer’s Dilemma
Abstract : Every year $70 billion is spent on the ads alone in US and 4 billion users world wide. Google TV integrates the traditional TV and Internet for a seamless user experience. With ever increasing user generated video content on the internet, Google TV would like to capture the ad $ by marrying the TV an Internet. In October 2010 Google inters the market via hardware vendors Logitech and Sony. Soon enough, customers are thrilled about the capabilities and at the same time they are confused thinking where does the Google TV fit into their current home entertainment.
In this market research and presentation, we will focus on the various aspects where Google, Logitech and Sony would have done better to segment and position the Google TV.

I will post the research results by the end of March 2011 for sure.

Below is the update on March 4th 2011. This presentation is done at the UC Davis marketing class by my group.

Integrity in everyday life

Integrity is adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. Integrity is a very important value that you need to hold in the modern society. Integrity makes us build trust on people around us and helps you worry less about the negative effects of lack of integrity. I would like to emphasis what i said about Integrity with following example.

Ex. Five friends A, B, C, D and E got together to work on a wonderful idea. They are supposed to start the work in the next few days. A took all the details from B, C, D and E, so that all the communication can be done and they also exchanged ideas and plans. Two days later, X came and convinced C, D and E to join him. Now C, D, E and X are one group. Unfortunately X or C or D or E does not tell A or B about this split and pretend that nothing happened.

Even though these are very small things in life, they characterize people and their integrity of decisions. Lack of communication makes it more difficult to trust people from them on. If you want to be a good friend, neighbor or leader, remember the following in your life.

  • Once you take a decision, stick to it. No matter what happens.
  • If you need to break the contract, then communicate. Every one understands that contracts are not written in stone.
  • If you don’t intend to stand to your decision, then don’t make a decision.
  • Trust is earned very hard. Don’t loose it in the first place.
  • People are smart! Don’t fool around.

Why Google TV?

Bringing the Web and TV content together is attempted by many in the past and it’s Google TV now. Initially i was all skeptical why Google has it as a big project spending huge $ on marketing. Apart from many other obvious reason, i got convinced last night. After a long time i got some time to play with my TV and Wii.

Watching a Movie : My DVD player broke and thought that i will watch some movies online. I knew Wii has a Netflix channel that you can install for free. Finding the Netflix channel and installing it was an easy task. Connecting my Netflix userid was also easy. Wii created a verification code and i need to key it in the Netflix account. Now the fun stuff… I started the Netflix channel and decided to watch the “Iron Man” movie. It started buffering the movie for 24 seconds. It played for about 3 minutes and started buffering again. Woah… that sucks. I just cant have the device buffer all the time i see the movie. The picture quality was very bad and flaky. I have the AT&T Uverse with 18MB speed and i consider this a decent internet connection. I am not sure what the reason was for my slow streaming and searched web but did not find anything.

Thumbs Down Picture Quality, Viewing Experience

Browsing the Web : Next, i tried browsing the web with the Internet Channel on Wii. I have no idea why on earth they use Opera as browser? Pages are quick enough to load and mostly renders properly. However, its a pain (lot of pain) to search and browse. I quit browsing in almost 5 minutes. Its a horrible experience to move the Wii remote and click on single letters on the UI.

Thumbs DownSearch, Browsing Experience, Rendering, Page fit, Page Quality

Why Google TV : Yeah yeah… i hear that we have Apple TV, XBox, Roku, Wii among the popular ones and many TVs come with the Internet Widgets. But all these technologies have feature limitations. If you want to Browse, Search, watch movie content from Netflix and Youtube,  browse pictures from Picasa, Flicker and others then you need a device that’s optimized for the Browsing, Search, Page Rendering and does a good job on 1080p HDTVs.

You must not see any difference when you watch the same Netflix movie or Youtube video on similar PC vs. HDTV. And more over, you need a input device that’s elegant and yet convenient enough to give you the QWERTY keyboard (or may be voice commands). I guess this is the are Google ventured to come into. Google did a pretty good job (creating the platform) of integrating the TRUE Internet experience and the cable channels on HDTV.

Sure that there is a lot of work for Google to do before the main stream viewers accept Google TV. But, right now, its definitely a geek’s gadget.

Does your Bank make you happy ?

Do these Banks and Financial Institutions make you happy ? They are such a suckers… aren’t they ?

I got a PayPal credit line for $500 in June 2010 and they raised my credit line to almost 5X and here is the message i got in the statement.

They talk about the PURCHASE POWER delivered to YOU. It is assumed that YOU also understand the PAYBACK PERILS.

Which means, i can buy more and increase my debt… if i miss a payment – they charge more and a lot more…

Wow… thats the defunct fundamental of Economics that says…

Consumers want to be Happy;

Business wants to make Money.