Here is a guy who sells dosas and rice items in his push cart every evening.

The Food Cart Guy

I didn’t realize that he was my entrepreneurial benchmark until my friend explained it to me:

  • He has at least 100 customers everyday because he is there for 4-5 hours every evening, and we’ve never seen him without customers.
  • 100 customers * 40 rupees per customer = 4000 rupees per day
  • 4000 rupees per day * 30 days = 1,20,000 rupees per month
  • ⇒ A roadside push cart wallah makes more than a lakh a month!

And he doesn’t intend to go to VCs any time soon ;-)

It’s only when you get into this entrepreneurship thing that you realize how hard it is to make money.

I hope every wannabe will plan to have at least as good as this guy’s cash flow ASAP for their startup.

Last weekend, I participated in the BSA Hercules Duathlon organized by RFL.

Bangalore Duathlon 2009

I did the 10 km running + 20 km cycling thing.

I was the last-but-one guy to finish and I did take twice the amount of time as the first guy to finish.

But I didn’t care about that. I expected to finish in 3 hours and I completed before that. And I finished strongly, not crawling to the end as I used to. I enjoyed the run, I enjoyed the cycling and I was satisfied.

Photos by Vikram:

It reminded me of the book “What I talk about when I talk about running” by Haruki Murakami that I read recently (borrowed from Varun).

I really liked the book, because Murakami puts into words the things I have felt as a runner but is almost impossible to truly explain it to somebody else.

Just to put things into perspective – Murakami started running in 1982 at the age of 30, running everyday since then for nearly 23 years. He has run at least one marathon every year, i.e., 23 marathons till date [when the book was published], and many more long-distance runs.

Some of my favorite passages from the book are below.

About the rhythm:

As long as I can run a certain distance, that’s all I care about. Sometimes I run fast when I feel like it, but if I increase the pace I shorten the amount of time I run, the point being to let the exhilaration I feel at the end of each run carry over to the next day. This is the same sort of tack I find necessary when writing a novel. I stop every day right at the ponit where I feel I can write more. Do that, and the next day’s work goes surprisingly smoothly. I think Ernest Hemingway did something like that. To keep on going, you have to keep up the rhythm. This is the important thing for long-term projects. Once you set the pace, the rest will follow. The problem is getting the flywheel to spin at a set speed – and to get to that point takes as much concentration and effort as you can manage.

About why we run:

Most ordinary runners are motivated by an individual goal, more than anything: namely, a time they want to beat. As long as he can beat that time, a runner will feel he’s accomplished what he set out to do, and if he can’t, then he’ll feel he hasn’t. Even if he doesn’t break the time he’d hoped for, as long as he has the sense of satisfaction at having done his very best – and, possibly, having made some significant discovery about himself in the process – then that in itself is an accomplishment, a positive feeling he can carry over to the next race.

… Marathon runners will understand what I mean. We don’t really care whether we beat any other particular runner. World-class runners, of course, want to outdo their closest rivals, but for your average, everyday runner, individual rivalry isn’t a major issue. I’m sure there are garden-variety runners whose desire to beat a particular rival spurs them on to train harder. But what happens if their rival, for whatever reason, drops out of the competition? Their motivation for running would disappear or at least diminish, and it’d be hard for them to remain runners for long.

For me, running is both exercise and a metaphor. Running day after day, piling up the races, bit by bit I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. At least that’s why I’ve put in the effort day after day: to raise my own level. I’m no great runner, by any means. I’m at an ordinary – or perhaps more like mediocre – level. But that’s not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.

(more…)

From President’s speech in 2007:

  • “Today, the average age of India’s population is below 25 years. Approximately, 77 crore of our people, or about 70 percent of the population, fall below the age of 35.”

From Tracking The Growth of India’s Middle Class:

  • “Over the next 20 years, India will likely grow to become the world’s fifth-largest consumer economy.”
  • “If India can achieve 7.3 percent annual growth—a reasonable assumption if economic reforms continue—consumer spending will quadruple, from about 17 trillion Indian rupees ($372 billion) in 2005 to 70 trillion rupees in 2025. The dramatic growth in India’s middle class, from 50 million to 583 million people, will power this surge.”

From “Tainted money” by Devinder Sharma:

  • “In India, 77% of the population is able to spend only Rs 20 a day.”

From Atanu Dey :

  • “Today one of out every two children below five is malnourished”

From Shashi Tharoor :

  • “Anything that you say about India, the opposite is also true. But India is more than the sum of its contradictions.”
  • “600 million people don’t have electricity”
  • “260 million are below poverty line, i.e., < 30 rupees per day”
  • “400 million illiterates”
  • “540 million people < 25 years”
  • “60 million child labourers”
  • “72% of children in govt. schools drop out before 8th standard”
  • “IT employs a total of 5 million people, but 10 million people enter workforce each year”

Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

Question: Will the future consist of people carrying a single device or multiple gadgets?

Arguments for one device

  1. Students use it for everything. After reading this New York Times article on how mobile phones are used in South Korea, I’m astounded about the possibilities. Students are using their mobile phones for buying food tickets in the cafeteria, for paying the subway fare, sending virtual coupons for physical gifts, as the university ID card for swiping into the library, and so on. And all this is beyond the existing functionality of camera, internet, sms, location, etc.

  2. Centre of innovation. Companies are extending mobile phones in innumerable ways in an effort to add more features and make new models. For example, Samsung has launched “Solar Guru E1107”, a mobile phone that will get recharged via the solar panels on its back when you’re outside. And it costs just Rs. 2799.

  3. Alpha geeks extending Android. Brad Fitzpatrick got his Android-based phone to open his garage door automatically when he starts coming close to his house, Sony is making future walkmans based on Android, Canonical is making Android apps work on Ubuntu, and Android can even be inside your future washing machine. Alpha geeks are extending Android to do cool stuff (of course with hardware providing relevant functionality), and Android is becoming all-pervasive, which means the code could be reused across devices, which means there is a greater chance that all that functionality can be on one device.

  4. TWIT says so. In TWIT Episode 193, Harry of Technologizer.com conjectured that “In 10 years, the devices of the day will be descendants of the iPhone and not descendents of the Mac.”

Arguments for multiple devices

The problem with a single device is that they become a jack-of-all-master-of-none and quickly become difficult to use for non-teenagers.

There are many one-functionality devices that have come up in the past few years and people seem to love it:

Bottom-line

This seems to be a tussle of hardware vs. software, for example, one-functionality devices vs. app stores.

In the end, I think whoever wins the usability battle will win the customers.

I’ve had a Skribit suggestion for my blog, with seven votes on it, that asks:

Can you write a Byte Of Emacs?

First of all, I’m flattered that 7 people out there like A Byte of Vim so much that they are asking about a similar book for Emacs.

Second, it just won’t happen. Almost never.

Why? Because:

  • Writing a book is hard. It just sucks the life out of you. Really. Don’t believe me? Try writing one. Really.
  • Writing a book means I have to be at least reasonably proficient on that topic or at least have good experience with it.
  • I have used Emacs quite often in the past, especially for its SGML mode. But once I became proficient at Vim, I never went back.
  • There’s no incentive for me to learn about Emacs in depth and then write a book on it. There’s no point in trying to master two different but great editors!

That being said, does anyone have a good resource list for Emacs for these 7 people? :)