The other day, Niara and myself were discussing about patentable ideas
to improve mobile phones, she had come up with a pretty impressive
list. So, I started thinking about things that I would like to see and
here’s what I came up with:

  1. Camera-phones should have an option to ‘start an album’ and ‘end an
    album’ so that we can make albums instead of having one huge mess
    of photos. Equally important is that bluetooth transfers should
    work for albums as a whole. This makes it easy to transfer photos
    instead of pressing yes for each and every photo that gets
    received.

    • Stretching the idea is to use tags – you have a running set of
      tags that gets applied to each new photo that you click.
  2. Contact details should have an auto-filled field that displays when
    you last talked to this person, this helps keep track of whether
    you’re in touch with your friends.

    • Optionally, you can set an alarm to warn you if you haven’t
      spoken to your best buddy in a week.
  3. Browsing the address book should be sorted by how frequently you
    call these contacts rather than just alphabetical order.
  4. A default way of exporting the address book via bluetooth into
    a zip file or something that can be again imported (whenever the
    user wants to retrieve from backup).

    • Preferably a standard format that works across different
      manufacturers.
  5. Character-voice-enabled. Instead of voice recognition for words, it
    should work for just one character at a time – such as alphabets,
    numbers, etc. It saves the trouble of typing… Of course, this
    idea could use some refinement.
  6. One touch voice recording. Quickly jot down your thoughts or todo
    items you don’t want to forget. This would be very handy for me.

    • Maybe even podcast it. Could be achieved by an accompanying
      decent PC software.
  7. Self-organizing start menu. If you use the calendar option a lot,
    then it bubbles up and becomes one of the important menu items so
    that you can quickly access it.

But, alas, as she rightly pointed out, these are not
revenue-generating ideas, just usability ideas…

P.S. The irony is that I hate mobile phones. Maybe that’s why most of
the above ideas are PIM-centric.

Ever since I got into
running
a couple of years back, I have become fascinated with sports,
especially because it is so character-building. For example, one of
the things I’ve learnt (the hard way) is team spirit, both in trekking
as a group and in running (which, in my opinion, was one of the
reasons that lead to ion).

I think every child should be compulsorily part of a sports team,
whether it is cricket, badminton, track team or chess.

I never imagined that Bollywood can produce a good sports movie, but
I’m happy to be proven wrong.

“Chak De! India” is a very good movie. Go watch it.

chakde9


“Run and become. Become and run. Run to succeed in the outer world.
Become to proceed in the inner world.”

— Sri Chinmoy A.C.

Note: I no longer work with IonLab since Nov 12 of 2009.

Yesterday morning, I dropped in on the
OpenCoffeeClub Bangalore, 2nd
edition
. It’s supposed to be
a place where people interested in entrepreneurship show up, have
coffee together and discuss.

The theme of the meet was marketing. There were some interesting
discussions, and the one that interested me was when Pratik (and
friend) from Muziboo explained some of their
experiences followed by the subsequent discussions and free advice and
suggestions thrown in. One good advice was to actively market Muziboo
to the teachers and students of the various music schools, “there are
around 10 of them in just the Koramangala area”, and so on.

OpenCoffeeClub Bangalore, 2nd edition
OpenCoffeeClub Bangalore, 2nd edition

I was pleasantly surprised to see people have actually heard about
ion and I was asked to tell the story of how
we chose our poster
design
,
people found it amusing and relevant (“market research”) at the same
time. I gave some inputs that offline marketing, but targeted offline
marketing really does help.

Although I didn’t mention it at the meet, we did stand outside the
Aerosmith concert and marketed ion to people. That was such a humbling
experience. Sales is hard.

Coming back to OpenCoffeeClub, the mix of people was not surprising –
mostly “software engineers” who are ashamed of the term. The
interesting people were a lawyer, a chartered accountant, a director
of the entrepreneurship wing of an IT college, a non-IT businessman,
etc.

The lawyer made an interesting point that she couldn’t get one of her
contacts to come visit OpenCoffeeClub because 2 hours every 2 weeks
sounded like too much time for him. That’s interesting because if
someone was really passionate about their startup/business/passion,
they would be out there working hard at it, instead of talking about
it. Not to take away anything from the meet, but people need to be out
there “doing their thing”
.

I guess where the meet plays a role is it gives a support network to
those people who are about to start off on their venture and need the
confidence and advice in interactions with others, and the feeling
that other people are into it too. Maybe that explains why there were
more wannabes than been-there-done-that kind of people. However, the
intensity of people that they wanted to do something was quite
palpable. It reminded me of the title of Gusteau’s cookbook in
Ratatouille
: “Anyone can cook”. If you need to be in such an atmosphere, you
should think of attending the next meet (it happens on alternate
Sundays).

It also reminded me of a chance meeting I had with the founder and CEO
of Pepper Square at the Flex Users’
Group meet last Friday. It was refreshing to meet someone whose
mission was to make people understand the value of “design”. Even
though he’s 42 years old (although he appeared half that age), he
still has the “we’ll change the world” attitude in him. Inspiring
stuff.