What shapes a business model?

Time and again have discussions been done on what shapes a good business idea.

Today’s era is the era of start-ups, of young minds breaking the conventional barriers and bringing about a change in the society. People have started to choose independence of work over futile jobs pouring fixed income into their pockets. People have started to realise the potential of technology in bringing a massive level change to all lives. The day is not far when each person will be connected to every other person over a network and be able to communicate in a seamless fashion.

So its important that we understand the difference between a good business idea and a bad business idea, or simply, what makes a business idea good or bad.

In my understanding, the very prediction of a business idea being a success or a failure cannot boil down to a mere consideration of three or four factors like income yield, level of public interest, potential of resources, etc.

Lets look at the below three business scenarios.

Case 1

There is a village named Kolgaon. Around 55-65% population there is youth in the age group of 20-25. 60% of the youth have not had the opportunity to enroll in a graduate program. Kolgaon lacks in providing basic education amenities. The rise in unemployment rate can be foreseen in the village of Kolgaon. What kind of business model would sustain in a place like Kolgaon?

Case 2

There is a town named Shagampur, where primary industrial activities revolve around thermal electricity generation (coal-based), and which is the main income source of major proportion of the residents. There is no IT hub in the area, not there is proper network infrastructure. There are educational institutions but almost none that offers graduation level courses. What kind of business model suits a place like Shagampur?

Case 3

Arankot is a bustling city which has drawn IT crowd in the last 5 years. The city is growing at an unprecedented pace. Real Estate is booming. Many villagers have become rich, owing to the influx of money from multinationals. However, money influx is not uniform over the geographic area of Arankot. 40% of Arankot suffers from water scarcity during summer. Rich are becoming richer. Living cost is increasing at some portions of the city while it is nominal at others. What kind of business model can bring about a balance in a city like Arankot?

Defining a business model requires brainstorming, and a lot of it! One cannot simply create a product/service and roll out in the market. Market study is crucial. Getting to know the wants/needs of customer. Identifying the gaps in the society. These are some of the aspects which need to be considered.

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Wake-up Call.

Every day, I wake up. I can hardly imagine anything more futile than this. Waking Up.

I wake up. I get fresh. I bathe. Get dressed for my office. Have breakfast. Every day, I lock my almirah and walk to the same spot to catch a bus/autorickshaw. The same script is running since last three months. And I wonder why! People discover what they want from their life. And I can only wonder about the randomness life has to offer. I board the same train everyday and don’t know where it drops me.

What do I want from Life? Well, I know what I don’t want from life. I wake up not to earn MORE money. And I certainly don’t think I wake up to please anyone. I am a person who prefers walking down a silent lane with solitude as my only companion. I prefer picking up a good book on weekend. And what are my wishes? I could only wish life was a long long weekend.

10 reasons why people remain unhappy.

1. Because they think happiness is measurable by possessions.
2. Because death scares them.
3. Because they keep fulfilling someone else’s dreams.
4. Because they have forgotten their childhood dreams.
5. Because they have buried their passion.
6. Because they take life as mere competition.
7. Because they are purposelessly racing for money.
8. Because they think ego can be satisfied.
9. Because they think happiness costs money.
10. Because they think only miracles bring happiness.

Individuality and Society.

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I come from India. And it doesn’t make a difference. I could have been from any country or continent altogether. India is a land of pilgrims, as like many other countries. India’s history is replete with plundering, and it has embraced plunderers and pilgrims alike. After spending two decades on earth, I have begun into thinking whether knowing, rather cramming too much is any good for an individual’s growth.

It was in the year 1996 when I had put on my school uniform for the first time. I wonder how easily children are lured into securing a job since the day they are born, irrespective of the financial status of their family. What I feel is that this kind of intellect isn’t creating a conducive environment for a child’s mental growth. There is no logical stance on it. The its-better-because-its-there-since-ages theory would collapse the moment a child starts to question Why. Since decades we are creating chaos in the name of education.

It broke my heart when I had come to realise, in my graduation years, that the history, geography and economy of my country are as important as the physics and chemistry of quantum particles. The schooling system is like a giant mixer, churning out a child’s cognitive faculty! The simple act of letting a child figure out what is good and what is bad will be more helpful. Parent should be like a guide and not a martinet.

I will take here the liberty to pen down certain observations I have made. Moreover, I would like to make it clear that I find my observations least governed by the nature of place where I had them.

1. The existing system of education is killing a person’s individuality. Someone is a good singer, maybe a dancer or an orator. And each is equally great as the boy/girl with spects. But the prevailing pedagogical system considers otherwise, making it mandatory to learn physics, chemistry and mathematics while sidekicking subjects of arts and humanities.

2. The modus operandi of a school has direct and overwhelming influence on the way of thinking of parents. Let’s take a skeletal analogy. If A gives B and B gives C where C is the desirable outcome, then B’s dependency on A becomes a crucial aspect. The faultiness in A may not ensure C. ‘A’ is our education system right now.

As Sugata Mitra once quoted and I paraphrase him here:

Our education system has become a giant Bureaucratic Machine, that produces identical persons for the purpose of performing identical tasks.

The individuality of a person has no place where such a system exists.

5 Ways to Enliven your Life!

Ever felt like your life is losing its pace? Or experiencing the moments of happiness seems a distant thing??

To paraphrase Carl Jung, man’s life is a constant fight with impending boredom. And this boredom is a universal fluid, trying to lure every bit of the living. It is like a parasite feasting on us. But it isn’t unconquerable.

Here are 5 ways as to how one can revitalise himself:-

1. Recollect memories from the childhood or adulthood days. Talk to your parents about them. Ask your parents or the elderly about how there lives were. This is a way in which you’ll feel more connected to this world.

2. Pen down your life’s incidents, quaint experiences, witty sayings you’ve heard. Life isn’t only about filling one’s vault. Life is deceptive. It forces you into thinking that you are a dull creature. Penning down your life will make you more concrete and open doors to a higher level of consciousness.

3. Read a fantasy book. It is an escapist strategy but a necessary one. We over think on our problems that we seldom throw a glance over the intangible, i.e. the ideas having the potency to liberate us. Wise words of Gandalf the Grey are more helpful than the rantings of a crooked politician on television.

4. Start doing something artistic, like learning a musical instrument, painting, drawing. It acts like a vent for your suppressed thoughts. You won’t turn a virtuoso overnight, and in fact this isn’t the motive. Artistry has great healing power. Become your own healer.

5. Talk to an old friend, a distant relative. Or if time and indolence permits, plan an excursion to some place serene. Feeling a connectedness to the nature itself will calm your senses and lessen anxiety.

Life in itself is not a 5-step recipe. Life is to dare and reach beyond your own limits.

Have a good day! 🙂

The Best Camera.

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It was two days back. An afternoon engulfed in humidity. I lifted my digicam off the shelf and headed out straight to the small garden in the terrace of my house. I do it often these days. Visiting the garden. What makes me curious is to think of various angles in which I can take a shot that would portray beauty in the purest way. By the way, I love macro photography and have recently started on it, accidentally though.

The tiny things compliment the colossal fragments of nature’s beauty. And it is only the limitations of a camera that can forestall one from capturing it! Well, what I usually do in the terrace is search for tiny flowers, uncurling leaves, withering stems. That day was giving me a disappointing feeling. The things I was accustomed with, as far as taking a photograph goes, weren’t there. No budding flowers. No nascent leaves. I looked above, towards the left sky. All barren. As I turned my head towards right, what I saw left me open-mouthed.

Bunch of thick clouds. Bright white. Floating in the sky. And giving the beauty a finishing touch was the clear bluish sky all around. Just that, in all exactness. Blue complementing the white. It was like patches of white on a blue canvas to mend something, maybe our sorrows. A smile came instantly on my face. I adjusted my camera, picked an angle, adjusted brightness, and finally clicked. When I saw the photo, I got a little disappointed. What my eyes were seeing, my camera wasn’t capturing.

As a matter of fact, my camera isn’t that great. A simple 12 MP camera with basic utilities and settings. I started wishing if I had a better camera, more professional one. Interestingly, my mind switches to ‘contemplation mode’ whenever I feel sad or disappointed. I then try figuring out what is actually causing this gloominess; whether it is not getting something that I am feeling sad about or it is my own thoughts making me feel so.

I started to think, standing in the middle of terrace, my eyes scanning the blue above. The cool breeze was slowly refreshing my rotten mood. I thought, what could be the best camera to capture such beauty other than our soul itself. I can, at some point of time in the future, buy a good camera; maybe even a DSLR. Surely, I will then be capturing better shots. But I now start seeing the real point here.

It is not about a better camera; or the best camera. It is about savoring the fragment of wonder before our eyes. It is about enjoying the present moment and not burdening oneself with  futile thoughts, because the good moments need to be captured for bad times.

Life just Happens! 🙂

5 Things Facebook didn’t Teach Anyone

Of all the social networking sites, I remain most active on facebook, instagram and wordpress. I have been active for the longest time on facebook. It has been 5 years now and I still cannot think about the psychology of majority of facebookers. What do they exactly want from facebook? Why are they on facebook? It makes me wonder why sanity takes a U-turn everytime I step out on a quest. People amaze me!

1. Facebook never taught anyone to post his/her selfie and then tagging along 50 of his/her friends. Is some kind of race going on here? The race to get maximum likes?

2. Facebook never taught anyone to flaunt about his/her belongings and then again tagging along everyone, so that everyone notices it. Grow up, pal! Take some pills. You have attention seeking disorder.

3. Facebook never taught anyone to go on posting Good Morning, Good Evening messages which again comes with an improvised version bearing hefty tagging. Take a chill pill, mate. Do some work. Read something. Go on a walk. It will benefit more compared to these greetings.

4. This one is a lamer version of the previous one. So hold your breath.

Facebook never taught anyone to post statuses like, ‘Hi! How are you?’, ‘How am I looking?’ along with a photo, et cetera et cetera. I mean, seriously, has this world done something terribly wrong with you?! Please don’t take revenge. I surrender _/\_

5. Facebook never taught anyone to post his/her photo in full swag with a very philosophical quotation on it. It looks like cherry on top of a chapati! Do something original, buddy!

The list can further be added with a number of points. But it is not the point here. The point is why people do this. Is man becoming narcissistic? Going on praising oneself in whatever ways he/she finds?

Praise is that which comes from outside. People surely need more wisdom compared to likes!

Stuck in ‘9-to-5’ Jobs.

I read an article just now, and it is so good that I cannot resist myself from sharing it here. CLICK HERE to go to the article.

The article cites the anguish of  terrific writer Charles Bukowski over the mundane and menial jobs, which as he says, are a trap of life!

To quote him,

“Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors.”

Beware. His wise words can be an eye-opener. 🙂

Courtesy: OPEN CULTURE website.

It is Good to Reconnect the Vanishing Dots.

Turn around once...and you'll see hands waving at you.
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I finished my schooling four years back. Thereafter when I went for my graduation studies, my links to my school life had started straining. I started receiving fewer calls from friends, sometimes only messages. Even talks via social networking sites had started decreasing. The calls and messages, then, at one point, ceased to come. Back then, I sometimes used to think whether I would ever meet my school friends again. School times were golden times. I would indulge into monologues on several occasions on how we would be meeting 10 years from then. I used to think whether things would change although change is inevitable and comes in the most surprising of ways. By the time I was 1 year into my graduation course, I could barely think of the school days. The school days were gone. The friends were gone!

Each one of us, after our schooling, had the big question in front, ‘What next?’ I remember, from the good old incidents of school days, whenever any friend would ask, ‘What will we do after school? Will we be together?’ And came, every time, the unanimous reply, ‘YES, we will!’ We would think of joining the same college. Staying together. Merrying together. For all the days to come.

Surprisingly, and somewhat sadly, our this dream had been far from the reality as it turned out. Our dream was structured on feelings, and life has a special way of listening to such dreams. The bitter way, like offering a necessary medicine which no one likes to consume. Each one of us went on separate ways. In separate colleges. Pursuing unknown goals.

I still remember how in the early days of my graduation studies, I remained aloof. Aloof of people. Aloof of life. I remained in myself, or rather in the good old days I had left behind. It felt like a game of tug-o-war, with the only difference of the game being pre-fixed, that I had to lose. And I lost. I lost contact to a major fraction of my school friends. Those were the bad days, or rather not the good old days of my life.

When I woke up today, I didn’t knew what life had in closet for me today. I did the usual chores. Did a bit of reading. Slept for long hours in the afternoon. And when I woke up again, I didn’t realize that life had opened its closet and I was in for a pleasant surprise.

Within an hour’s time post my waking up, an official from a nearby bank knocked at the door asking me to accompany him to the bank for the purpose of verification of some kind. I hurriedly changed my clothes, took necessary documents and left with the man for the bank.

I sat down on a chair, waiting to get called,  the bank head to feet in their routine work. And as I was gazing from one corner of the room to the other, my eyes tracked a familiar face coming out from among two or three people standing at a distance to five feet from me. And mind it, ‘five feet’ is an approximation. I am not a guy who carries inch tapes to banks. Or to any place.

So coming back. The familiar face. How could I forget him! I was seeing a school friend after 3 long years! Without any invitation. Without any kind of premonitions. A smile covered his thinly face as he saw me. YES. This is the big part. The smile. He recognized me. He didn’t ignore me. He approached me with a smiling face. And I slowly raised from the chair, an expression of surprise, a pleasant one, on my face. I didn’t even realize when I too had started smiling.

We exchanged talks, asked about each other’s life. And in those talks came rolling another surprise towards me. That he was the assistant manager of that branch! I greeted him wishes. I felt happy.

Although our meet turned out a short one, as he had to see his errand and I had to return, I am happy that it happened. Such is life. Ever unpredictable. I feel it is a good thing, life being unpredictable. It offers sudden bursts of happiness which have the power of revitalizing one’s dormant soul!

Embrace without questioning. Live without regretting.

That annoying thing for a reader!

Two minutes silence for all the characters who have ever died in books.

Only a reader can feel the loss of a fictional character. It is as if a part of himself/herself has died with the character. Books offer its readers new places to dwell…or to dwell forever. It is, for him/her, the only permanent home because he/she knows that books shall forever be with him no matter what. And he can anytime recline in the comforting pages of the book.

And so imagine the nightmare when one discovers his favorite book missing! Like this, several things can annoy any reader…

 1. When you discover that your bookmark is missing from the book in your hand and you find your world turned upside down.

2. When you receive a call from your friend informing that he has lost your book, and you have to say, ‘Ohh…it’s not a problem’ when inside you feel like killing him.

3. When you are just about to start reading a great book, and at the same time someone asks you for borrowing that same book, and you are in a dilemma whether to reply with a blunt NO or give in with a heavy heart.

4. When you are going through a serious moment in a book, and your parents call on you for doing some household chore.

5. When a much awaited book is out and you are unable to buy it immediately because of lack of funds.

6. When you want to discuss about a book you have just finished with someone and you discover that everyone else is ignorant of the nail-biting journey you have been through.

And the worst of all…When you turn the last page of an immensely great book which you never had wished to get finished. 😦