Where you whiz past the Irritating Voice Response (IVR)

August 17, 2008 § 5 Comments


Sigh, if only my brain came up with such brilliant product ideas.  Can you imagine a company who deal with removing frustrations caused by phone calls from our lives?  Yes, I would pay to get rid of that.  Shai Berger has successfully identified a niche where no competition exists, not because others didn’t find it sensible, but because others just didn’t think of it.

Fonolo dials you deep into your call, skipping all the annoying IVR messages and taking you right to where you want to be.  This makes you think how thoughtful a company Fonolo is because they care to tend to our impatience.  On a positive note, they care for our time.

This product can only get slowly relevant in developing countries like India where a large number of people are just learning to use such systems.  But soon, the system is sure to pluck their brains out and then we can see Fonolo-India.


Cassette tapes – Do people even use them?

July 28, 2008 § Leave a comment

Yes.  In prison.

No, seriously.  Even today.

I used to have a pretty neat collection of tapes, about a decade ago.  Some stolen (borrowed and never returned), some gifts, some of which I actually saved up money for.  And a few months back, I was in S’s house and we suddenly went down memory lane and dug up her cupboard to find some really old tapes.  I associate tapes to a certain phase of my formative years.  I really enjoy punching in that tape into the deck, pushing the rewind button and stopping right before your favourite song starts.  The timing really mattered when doing so.

Ah, what bliss 🙂  And yes, I was mighty bugged to know that she was the one who stole my Roxette tape!

A restaurant without food?

July 28, 2008 § 1 Comment

And you create a whole new business model on that?

There is one founding concept that this whole model thrives on. Trust.  The patrons here are expected to bring/cook their own food and are given the spatial expanse of a old boathouse converted into a rustic harbourside restaurant.  And they leave behind any amount of money that they please in a little box.  The experience is built on trust and social interactions and not just on the food.  And the boathouse provides the ambiance that one cannot get elsewhere. Because then I’d rather cook at home and eat. The only reason I would not go to this place is because they do not have a toilet.  That is the only part I find quite lame.

I understand that some may argue if this is even a restaurant.  I would probably relate it more to a picnic spot in that case.  But then again, you are what you position yourself to be.  Actually, you are what your consumers perceive you to be.

So what would you think of this no-food restaurant?

I love the way how human emotions are a huge motivator for innovation in business, however cynical that sounds.  Trust, romance, community living, insecurity (insurance!), greed, honour etc have been made into numerous successful business opportunities in the past.  I wonder if one can make a business opportunity by harnessing the anger capital in any given place.  Do kick boxing classes qualify for this one?

Madras sans Hoardings – Eyes wide shut

July 25, 2008 § 2 Comments

Before April 2008, I could see blue.  I could see yellow.  Pink.  Red.  Orange.  Purple.  I could see various other colours whose names menfolk reading this cannot comprehend. (Men cannot understand words like teal :P) All of this on the colourful hoardings that adorned Madras’s skyline.

But there was one colour that I rarely saw.  Green. the natural, leaf green.  The greenery of the city has climbed to a higher strata through the removal of hoardings all across the city.  It was quite pleasant to see the leafy greenery which have been in hiding behind those multi-hued boards screaming out to the public.  But what does this open up?  As I whizzed past T.Nagar, I saw rusted roof tops, ugly buildings, broken and dilapidated skyscrapers(?) et al.  The removal of all these hoardings have opened our eyes to more than just the greenery.  Or has it?

As a community, we need to understand and be aware of the constituents that Stagnate, Contribute or Derail the city and its environment.  The hoarding ban has caused various repurcussions and realizations.  Advertising has taken a huge hit, event management companies have lost a way to announce to larger audiences and people now actually are more surprised seeing the free space and greenery rather than being awestruck looking at a Vodafone ad.

But my focus is more on the questions that have been thrown up.  What is the corporation doing about how dirty the buildings are and how dilapidated the surroundings are, now that they are more visible?  Why are the long posts that hold the hoardings still sticking out into the sky?  What sort of mass advertising is taking the place for hoardings (Internet?!)?  What are the electrical wires spoiling picturesque photographs?  How will the roads make-do for the loss of lighting from the hoardings?  Is there adequate city lighting through street lamps?

Also, this showed me that Madras will be Madras because of its people’s pure love for it.


So now that the doors are open to more questions, shall we start looking for some answers?  I will update when I do figure something out 🙂

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