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Monday, January 27, 2014

AAP launches broom yatra in Gujarat to expose Narendra Modi

The Gujarat unit of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) launched a "broom march" as part of its campaign for the Lok Sabha elections and to expose corruption of the state government.

"The march began from Indulal Yagnik's statue in Lal Darwaja area of the city and it will cover all Lok Sabha constituencies of the state," AAP media coordinator Harshil Nayak said.

File: AAP workers on a broom yatra.
Television journalist-turned-politician Ashutosh was in city to launch the march.

"The broom march will cover all constituencies going to polls in the Lok Sabha elections. It will end on January 30 at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar," Nayak said.

"Gandhiji was shot on that very day (January 30), but today, AAP will expose how Gandhiji is killed in Gujarat everyday," he said.

Meanwhile, Ashutosh also questioned the Gujarat model of development today.

"Unless corruption is weeded out from Gujarat, the real progress of the state will not be known. The Gujarat model of development is just propaganda by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi," Ashutosh said.

"This march is aimed at leveraging the membership of AAP. We are trying to connect to as many people as possible," AAP state convener Sukhdev Patel said.

AAP has attracted 2.5 lakh people in the state so far as members and it has decided to contest all 26 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
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4G services: How Vodafone plan to take on Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio

Vodafone Logo
Vodafone Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Vodafone India is drawing up strategies to take on Mukesh Ambani headed Reliance Jio Infocomm and current market leader Bharti Airtel, hoping to use spectrum garnered from the upcoming sale to deepen network coverage as well as deploy future technologies.

UK-based Vodafone Group Plc's India unit expects intense competition for spectrum in the 900 Mhz band in the important Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata circles where its licences are ending later this year, Vishant Vora, company's technology director, told ET.

While the more efficient 900MHz bandwidth is particularly suited for indoor coverage - increasing its attractiveness for operators - India's No. 2 operator will also be interested in the 1800 MHz bandwidth which can later be used to offer fourth generation (4G) telecom services. Both Jio and Bharti have bandwidth in the 2300 Mhz to offer 4G services, but Vodafone doesn't. So far, Jio hasn't started its 4G services - which allows downloads almost 10 times faster than 3G, while Bharti Airtel offers it in a few cities.

Hefty earnest money deposits for auctions starting February 3 by Vodafone India, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Idea Cellular indicate that all four could be part of a major slugfest in Delhi and Mumbai circles in the 900 Mhz band, say analysts. Some key circles in 1800 Mhz band could also see keen fights for airwaves.

Vodafone holds 900 Mhz airwaves in the lucrative circles of Mumbai and Delhi, apart from Kolkata. Bharti Airtel holds this bandwidth in Delhi and Kolkata. Licences in all three circles are expiring in November this year, making the upcoming auctions critical for both Vodafone and Bharti Airtel to continue uninterrupted services.

Meanwhile, Vodafone's interest in airwaves in the 1800 MHz, unsuitable for 3G data, also stems from the fact that there is ample growth in 2G data and voice networks need decongestion, said Vora.

Still, unlike some other operators, Vodafone does not believe its bidding in the auction is contingent to getting continuous spectrum, though it would like for it to be in consecutive frequencies.

Around half of the spectrum being put up to sale in February is non-contiguous, and the department does not expect operators to withdraw bids or rejig airwave blocks to award continuous spectrum. As such, it depends on the operators' luck.

"Frequency planning for a network with fragmented airwaves is much harder. There is also wastage and higher chance of interference," Vora said. Inter-operator interference reduces calling experience significantly.

Moreover, Vora said having more airwaves will only partially offset the recent urban trend of banning telecom towers in areas. More bandwidth even in the 900 MHz band will not compensate for a missing site, where coverage will most likely be lost.

The company is in the process of converting its entire network to carry all voice calls on an internet platform. The project that will last at least two-three years brings Vodafone close to offering all services over internet, similar to what was proposed by Reliance Jio.

The conversion to internet protocol for even the voice network is economical, because in it rather than dedicating a line to a conversation, the network can eliminate time spent on call without conversation.

"People do not talk all the time. Typically, one person talks a third of the time, the other person a third, and there is silence for the remaining third," Vora said.

Over 30% of the Vodafone India's capital expenditure is being spent on the transport network, much of which is on converting to internet protocol, he said. While the company does not disclose capital expenditure in India, industry estimates suggest Vodafone spends Rs 5,500-6,000 crore each year.

"It will simplify running, improve our cost, improve operations and maintenance and add flexibility to the network. Of course costs are prohibitive, but over a period of time we expect most operators in India will follow this," Vora said. "Everyone's network is struggling to cope with data... Everybody will do that down that road."

Vodafone India is also working on convergence between its technology platforms and the network management itself. The move will enable Vodafone to offer an application through which customers will be able to customize plans on the fly.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Why So Many Tech Founders Who Are Jerks Become Insanely Rich And Successful

Why So Many Tech Founders Who Are Jerks Become Insanely Rich And Successful 

Steve Jobs
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
"Startup DNA" is the idea that the world's best entrepreneurs, like Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, have some inherent talent they were born with that made them successful.
The DNA is comprised of characteristics like "resilience" and "ability to accept risk."
Another characteristic many top entrepreneurs share is arrogance. Or worse, just being a huge jerk. 
Recently, I met with a lot of people to discuss rising Silicon Valley star, Travis Kalanick. He's the CEO of Uber, and his car-sharing service was recently valued at $3.4 billion. Friends have compared him to great entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison.
But Kalanick is a polarizing figure. He's frequently described as both "awesome" and a jerk.
"Sometimes," one acquaintance said of Kalanick, "assholes create great businesses."
Another person noted how strange that concept was. How can people both both marvel at and dislike Kalanick? 
"If Travis Kalanick is the Michael Jordan poster that young entrepreneurs have hanging on their walls, that's sad," this person said. "Being a jerk isn't 'awesome' or 'badass.' "
Kalanick did not respond to a request for comment.
Outside of Silicon Valley, most people would agree. But inside, arrogance runs rampant and investors seem to reward ruthless behavior with piles of cash.
There are numerous examples of founders who have had moments of terrible behavior that later became infamous. The founders might not be jerks all the time, of course. Everyone has moments when they behave boorishly. But sometimes the stories are so unbelievable, it can leave a lasting negative impressive of the person — that whether criticism is deserved or not.
For instance, Mark Zuckerberg, who is now worth about $20 billion, famously ousted his friend Eduardo Saverin from Facebook. He also stole his business idea from the Winklevoss twins. "Yah, I'm going to fuck them," he told a friend over IM about the pair. "Probably in the ear."
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel is in the middle of a lawsuit with his former Stanford friend, Reggie Brown. Spiegel lost his temper with Brown and locked him out of the app shortly after it launched. Once, Spiegel was so angry with his parents, he reportedly cut himself out of family photos.  
Twitter's co-founders back-stabbed each other repeatedly: Founder Noah Glass was booted out of the company. Ev Williams and Jack Dorsey were both given, and then stripped of, the CEO title. And Jeff Bezos, who runs Amazon, wreaks havoc in his organization by sending a single-character email: "?"
Even Steve Jobs, one of the world's most-praised entrepreneurs, was said to have two sides. Jobs' biographer, Walter Isaacson, portrayed the late Apple CEO as "Good Steve" and "Bad Steve." An example: Jobs once stormed into a meeting and called everyone "fucking dickless assholes."
Robert Sutton spent a lot of time conducting research for his book, "No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One that Isn't," What he found was disappointing.
"Even people who worked with Jobs told me that they'd seen him make people cry many times, but that 80 percent of the time he was right, " Sutton said. "It is troubling that there's this notion in our culture that if you're a winner, it's okay to be an asshole."
It is troubling that there's this notion in our culture that if you're a winner, it's okay to be an asshole. 
The Atlantic's Tom McNichol agrees. He wrote an article titled: "Be a Jerk: The Worst Business Lesson from the Steve Jobs biography."
Here's an excerpt:
The ease with which people can possess astonishingly contradictory qualities is one of the mysteries of human nature; indeed, it's one of the things that separates humans from, say, an Apple computer. Every one of the components that makes up an iPad is essential to the work it produces. Remove one part and the machine no longer performs its job, and not even the Genius Bar can fix it.But humans are full of qualities that are in no way integral to their functioning in the world. Some aspects of personality have little or no bearing on whether a person performs well, and not a few people succeed in spite of their darker qualities.
So, is it possible to be nice and to be wildly successful in business? And in Silicon Valley, where people praise Steve Jobs' bad habits and founders rag on the homeless , can you be financially rewarded if you're nice? 
One venture capitalist whose firm implemented a "no assholes policy" passed on an investment in Uber. This person said Kalanick didn't click with any of the partners and that he acted like he was "God's gift."
Other investors struggle with the decision to invest in personalities over returns.
"I want not to invest in jerks," says former Silicon Valley investor, Eileen Burbidge. Burbidge is now a VC at London's Passion Capital, which has invested in startups like Lulu and Go Cardless.  "Personally I believe life is too short. [But] I have wondered if this is actually a bad philosophy as an investor. I'd like to think not but I'm supposed to back founders for the best ROI, not personality."
I want not to invest in jerks ...But I have wondered if this is actually a bad philosophy as an investor. I'm supposed to back founders for the best ROI.
Mark Suster, a Los Angeles-based investor, also isn't sure what to make of jerks in business. He lists "integrity" as a bonus characteristic when it comes to top entrepreneurs' DNA.
"I believe that integrity and honesty are very important to most venture capital investors," he wrote on his blog, Both Sides of the Table . " Unfortunately, I don’t believe that they are required to make a lot of money."
Many agree that being an overly-aggressive entrepreneur tends to pan out.
"As much as [Travis] is inspirational, he is controversial," a former colleague of Kalanick's said. "If he were less brash, I don't think he would get half as far as he did.
Adds another Kalanick acquaintance: "There is absolutely no way [Uber] would have gotten where it is without Travis and his arrogance. Not without him being like, 'I'm going to take over the world.' He has the Steve Jobs mentality that 'It's my way or the highway.'"
One person who firmly believes you can be nice and succeed is Paul Graham. He runs top startup accelerator Y Combinator and he's made Sutton's "no asshole" rule popular in tech. He has backed billion-dollar startups such as Dropbox and Airbnb.
Graham says well-known founders like Jobs and Bezos can't be judged by their terror tales. "Famous founders who seem to be assholes might not be," Graham told Business Insider via email. "I'm not saying they are or they aren't, just that it is extremely hard to tell what a famous person is really like. You can't judge them based on anecdotal evidence, which is all you ever have."
Graham chooses not to invest in jerks because he doesn't want to be around them. Investors and founders end up spending a lot of time together. Getting rid of one or the other can be more difficult than getting a divorce from a spouse. 
"The reason we tried not to invest in jerks initially was sheer self-indulgence," says Graham. "We were going to have to spend a lot of time with whoever we funded, and we didn't want to have to spend time with people we couldn't stand. Later we realized it had been a clever move to filter out jerks, because it made the alumni network really tight. We've funded over 630 startups now, and when founders of different startups meet there is an automatic level of trust and willingness to help one another. Much more than alumni of the same college for example."
His take: Be nice and you can find success.
"It's certainly possible to build a multi-billion dollar startup without being a jerk," Graham says. "We've funded several, and the founders are all good people. In fact, based on what I've seen so far, the good people have the advantage over the jerks. Probably because to get really big, a company has to have a sense of mission, and the good people are more likely to have an authentic one, rather than just being motivated by money or power."
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Looking for Relief From a Flood of Email

Email costs nothing more than the device we hold in our hand. As a result, we are deluged by messages.
Email costs nothing more than the device we hold in our hand. As a result, we are deluged by messages.
On Dec. 31, I had 46,315 unread emails in my inbox. On my first day back to work in the new year, I had zero.
No, I didn’t spend two weeks replying to all those messages. I deleted them — without reading a single one — and declared what is known as email bankruptcy.
Am I a bad guy for ignoring those emails? Or are the senders somehow at fault? Probably a bit of both.
For the first time in history, long-distance communication is essentially free.Sure, old-fashioned letters are nice. But few of us need paper and postage stamps for correspondence. We no longer count the minutes on long-distance telephone calls, worrying about the bill. And we certainly don’t have to travel — next door or around the world — to communicate with someone.
Email, messaging on social networks and even text messages on services like iMessages cost nothing more than the device we hold in our hand. As a result, we are deluged by messages. There is no escape: Email is probably most invasive form of communication yet devised.
According to a recent study by the Radicati Group, a technology and market research firm in Palo Alto, Calif, people send 182 billion emails each day around the world. That adds up to more than 67 trillion messages a year. That’s up from 144 billion messages a day in 2012, or 52 trillion messages. The number of active email accounts swelled to 3.9 billion last year from 3.3 billion in 2012.New accounts are expected to grow by 6 percent in each of the next four years.
Billions, trillions — it won’t be long before we’re referring to emails in terms of quadrillions.
“It’s behavioral economics 101,” said Clive Thompson, author of a new book , “Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better” and an occasional contributor to The New York Times Magazine. “You make it easy for people to do something, they will do more of it.
Studies have shown that all this email leads to an unproductive and anxiety-ridden workplace, said Gloria Mark, an informatics professor at the University of California, Irvine, who has been studying the effects of email in the workplace since 2004. Ms. Mark’s research has found that people who stopped using email at work felt less stress and were more focused and productive.
Mr. Thompson said that in the workplace, email had become a major barrier of efficiency. “People feel the need to include 10 other people on an email just to let them know they are being productive at work,” he said. “But as a result, it ends up making those other 10 people unproductive because they have to manage that email.
A number of start-ups are trying to solve the problems that come with the mountains of messages. But those that offer the slightest respite are often bought before they become mainstream products.
Last year, Mailbox, which made a “smart inbox,” was sold to Dropbox for an estimated $100 million. Yahoo bought the smart email start-up Xobni — the name is “inbox” spelled backward — for $48 million last year. And in 2012, Google acquired Sparrow, an intelligent mailbox app, for an estimated $25 million.
Branko Cerny, founder of SquareOne, which bills itself as a stress-free email client, said that technology could help solve the problems of email on the receiving end, which SquareOne does by presorting and flagging important messages, but that only human awareness could stop senders from inundating us.
In the past, with physical letters, people put thought into what they were going to write before they sent it, Mr. Cerny said. With digital, it’s send first, think later.
Google sent shudders down many people’s spines last week when it said it would soon let people send anyone an email , even if they did not have the person’s email address, as long as both people had a Gmail and Google Plus account.
Some people have come up with their own solutions to the problems email presents. Luis Suarez, lead social business enabler for IBM, decided to take on his inbox several years ago, and by all accounts seems to have won.
He said he had moved most of his communication to public and social platforms. When people contact Mr. Suarez by email, unaware that he is not a fan of that route, he scans their email signature for a social network they use and then responds in a public forum, whether on Twitter, Google Plus or LinkedIn. This way, he says, he can deal with several messages at once.
Over the last few years, he has managed to get his inbox down by 98 percent. He rarely uses email anymore.
“If email was invented today, it probably would not have survived as a technology,” Mr. Suarez said. “Social and public sites are much more efficient.”
For those who can’t seem to handle the onslaught of email, there is always the extreme option. When messages pile up, select all, hit delete, and declare email bankruptcy.
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