October 7, 2010

Who's got the longest ??

And the winner is : Jet Airways !!!

Guys guys, I was taking about the roll-down menu ;)

See it to believe it (Firefox, 1024x768, no toolbar)

It's a nice clean site but the menu options for Product and Services (I wonder how will they differentiate between them) crosses the screen length and you have to adjust the screen to look at the entire menu.

and if you scroll down, it goes beyond the footer :)

If you have it, you should flaunt it....Cool no ?

August 10, 2010

Awesome definations

Definition of frequency of use of applications by Microsoft:

- Rarely means "rarely"

- Occasionally means "sometimes"

- Frequently means "often"


 I feel enlightened :)

August 2, 2010

Interesting Feature for Agents

This seems like an interesting feature for ticketing agents, not sure if end consumers will like it :)

July 14, 2010

Who is the next big search engine?

Nope it doesn’t look like BING,

As per the latest comScore release of Search Engine Rankings in US, a whopping 16.4 billion 'core' searches were conducted on various websites, of which 62.6% were on Google. But there is nothing new in this.

If you would have noticed is the number of searches being conducted on Facebook has reached to 621 million a month. Although it is a small number if you compare it with the search giant but look at BING and  Facebook is almost one third of that. The number of searches in FB is equal to that of eBay and is ready to cross Craigslist.

The reason these number look exciting to me is unlike the other sites mentioned in the list here, ‘Search’ is not a primary function in Facebook.

It is obvious that the major portion of these searches will be ‘people search’ but it will be enthralling to know the split and the changes in trend.

Let’s see how the numbers grow and I look forward to see Twitter in the list soon.

July 7, 2010

Firefox 4 (beta) : Whats New??

Firefox just got Awesomer.

Here are the new things you will notice in the latest version of the coolest browser.   

New Tab Location  
Tabs are given top visual priority and have been place above the ‘awesome bar’. This has been done for more efficient and intuitive browsing. Seems cool too.

Switch to Tab 

The new option to switch open tabs from the “Awesome Bar’ itself.

Firefox Button  

All your menu items are in a single button for easy access and reduced clutter. Just switch off your ‘Menu Bar’ and save few pixels of vertical space on your browser.

New Add-Ons Manager  

An easier way to manage your add-ons and discover new options for personalizing your browsing.

WebM and HD Video  
As pioneers of HTML5 video standards, Firefox also supports the WebM format so you can watch open HD quality video.

Protecting Your Privacy  

Firefox has also fixed some flaws in some web standards that allow hackers to snoop around and expose your browser history.

Some under the Hood features


Developers will be able to build real-time online interactions like gaming and chatting.

Stylin’ Pages with CSS  

With support for new CSS3 features, web designers can make their pages both look prettier and display faster.

HTML5 Support 

A new HTML5 parser and full support for web video, audio, drag & drop, and file handling means Firefox 4 is ready to run the best web apps of both today and tomorrow.

Web Console 

With this experimental analysis tool for modern sites, Firefox allows you to peek under the hood of dynamic web pages.

JetPack SDK (Making Add-On Development Easier) 

Add-Ons can be installed without restarting the browser, and can be developed more easily using the new JetPack SDK and js-ctypes.

Indexed DB 

Developers will be able to store application data locally, making cloud applications like Gmail or GDocs work more quickly and reliably, even when not connected to a network.

Crash Protection 

Firefox provides uninterrupted browsing for Windows, Linux, and now Mac when there is a crash in the Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime or Microsoft Silverlight plugins. If one of these commonly-used plugins crashes or freezes, it won’t affect the rest of Firefox. Instead, you can simply reload the page to restart the plugin and try again.

Source: Mozilla.com

July 2, 2010

The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

Professor Leonard Mlodinow visits Google's Mountain View, CA headquarters to discuss his book, "The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives". This event took place on May 22, 2008, as part of the Authors@Google series. For more information about Prof. Mlodinow, please visit http://www.its.caltech.edu/~len/

In The Drunkard's Walk, acclaimed writer and scientist Leonard Mlodinow shows us how randomness, change, and probability reveal a tremendous amount about our daily lives, and how we misunderstand the significance of everything from a casual conversation to a major financial setback. As a result, successes and failures in life are often attributed to clear and obvious cases, when in actuality they are more profoundly influenced by chance.

Leonard Mlodinow received his doctorate in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, was an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the Max Planck Institute, and now teaches about randomness to future scientists at Caltech. Along the way he also wrote for the television series MacGyver and Star Trek: The Next Generation. His previous books include Euclid's Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace, Feynman's Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life, and, with Stephen Hawking, A Briefer History of Time. He lives in South Pasadena, California.

June 23, 2010

Roundtable on Online Travel: Details

So finally here are some important learning from the discussion.
It’s been a while and I was not able to understand half of my notes written in shorthand, so I would request to use your discretion before reaching to any conclusion after reading this.
Date:  11th June, 2010
Venue: The Leela Kempinski, Gurgaon.

Here are some of the points that were highlighted during the discussion:

- Credibility is one of the major issues this is being faced by the online players. Thus some of them are evaluating a brick and mortar support as well.

- The complex and high engagement non air products are difficult to sell online whereas most of the ticketing as moved online (thanks to IRCTC)

- Cost of acquisition is still too high being Google being the major source. Thus companies to find other routes for acquiring leads in order to avoid ‘Google Tax’.

- Payment infrastructure is also a major concern. With 50-65% success rates of payment gateways, there is a huge scope for improving here

-  More focus on consumer is required for providing him a greater value online

Details of the discussion
Subhash Goel (Chairman, STIC Group)
  • Airlines saved multi-million when they started posting their inventory online
  • STIC also tied up with successful portals and achieved enormous targets.
  • Portals enhanced the  business of distributors and they started “riding the wave”
  • STIC still has 40 offices because they want a ‘seamless’ execution. Only around 10 office were shutdown since they started posting inventory online
    His suggestions
  • Portals should have their own clearing house
  • They should focus more of Holidays and less on Tickets
  • Man is a social animal, they someone to talk to for clarifying his doubts and promise done on the internet. e.g. most of the common treatments are available on internet, but people still prefer going to the doctor.
  • There is a lack of experience related to travel in the call center executives’ e.g.  An international connecting flight was sold with a gap of 90 mins however there was minimum 3hrs required to change the flight as the terminals were different.

Harish Bahl (Founder & CEO, Smile Interactive Technologies Group)
  • His biggest concern was that most of the online travel companies are making money for Google. They pay so much money for lead generation, but the user doesn’t end up buying. Thus companies have to think of alternative sources of generating cheaper leads
  • They should focus less on Bought Media (SEM, Ads) and more of Earned Media (Tie ups, FB communities)
  • Travel is a big boy’s game and needs serious investment and expertise
  • Credibility of the portals is one of the biggest challenge. People end up paying more to offline agencies but are not comfortable buying high engagement products online
  • Users do their entire research online and use the online prices to negotiate with travel agencies
  • It’s a shame that user spends 30 min on site and portals are still not able to sell him. If we compare it with the offline market, a good sales guy would hardy need 5-10 min to convince the client and close the sale.
  • Instead of cleaning up the internal differences (coordination between different stakeholders in the value chain) focus should move to the consumer.

Dhruv Shrinigi (Founder & CEO, Yatra.com)
  • Online travel industry in India is new and does not have a legacy to learn from
  • Everything in India works on Jugaad, so we need to be aware of it. e.g.  credit card fraud detection logic failed (Name of the card should be same as that of user) since some of the customers were genuinely borrowing from friends and family to book tickets online
  • If the value proposition is great users will find a way to transact with you 
  • 55% of the air tickets are booked online in US and 30% in India
   Some of the challenges:
  • Hotel’s online inventory  need to increase and they should update of availability status
  • “Online transactions are unsafe” is a myth  and users need to be made aware of this
  • Online payment infrastructure needs to be improved, current success ratio is merely 50-60%
  • Mobile access, since for many users the first interaction with internet will be on mobile.
  • Customers are booking tickets online but holidays offline.
  • Social Media can play a “joker” here

Kamal Hingorani (VP Sales & Distribution, Spicejet)
  • Spicejet has only online presence and that has helped them immensely in keeping the cost low
  • 25% of the entire ticket booking is direct 
  • 60% of the total tickets are booked online

Devdutta Banerjee (Regional Director of Revenue & Distribution, Starwood Hotels) 
  • They too have seen a surge in business after posting the inventory online
  • More information is required while booking a hotel online 
  • Complexity of taxation for international holidays need to be reduced
  • Aggregation is important since there are now so many small and big players in the online travel booking space

June 20, 2010

Internet Entrepreneurship Workshop (19th June, 2010)

Another weekend, and another interesting gathering to discuss a new topic on the Internet.  I am not sure if “workshop” was the right word for it but organizers made sure that the sessions were very interactive.

It was called "Internet Entrepreneurship Workshop” and was organized by “Peer Power” in association with “Wirefoot”.

Again, I knew that am not planning to turn into an entrepreneur in a near future but I always wanted to know what it takes to be one.  And imagine I paid to attend to this one. But thanks to Akhil who offered me some discount :)
As per the organizers “The workshop was aimed at giving a crash course on how to build a successful internet system for your organizational/business needs.”

And the Panel of speakers included:
R. Sundar, CEO, Times Business Solutions Ltd.
Topic: Key Note

Ankur Dinesh Garg, CMD, Wirefoot India Technology Ltd.
Topic: Billion Dollar Idea

Alok Mittal, Managing Director, Canaan India
Topic: Fundas of Funding

Manish Vij, Co-founder, Quasar, Tyroo and Zoomtra
Topic: Startup Marketing 

Pawan Gadia, Vice President, Ferns 'N' Petals
Topic: Building Brick by Brick
Manish Pathak,  Co-Founder, Papam
Topic: Brand Building

Sumit Goyal, Promoter, PlanForMe
Topic: Real Life Startup Story

Jatin Mahindra, Founder, InternetMafia
Topic: You are the Man! How the power of you can make it all happen

I must acknowledge that the organizers made sure that the participants get an exposure to almost all the elements required for being an internet entrepreneur. Here are a few things they can probably add in the next workshops:
-    Legal Considerations for starting a new business
-    What financial documents need to be prepared
-    How can open source  technology help

Overall an enriched experience, just one thing I would like to add/suggest. One of the most important qualities of an entrepreneur is not only to learn from mistakes but to accept them as well.
If they wouldn’t have mentioned that the spelling mistake on the backdrop was deliberate, some of us wouldn’t have even noticed. Because if it was done intentionally then it should have been done on all the branding material. I think it was only after Satrajit tweeted it, that they noticed :)

Anyways, such things always happen, and we were not there to gaze at the backdrop.
Great work done guys.

The event was also live tweeted by Readit India, and can be followed by #peerpower.

I will add my details on what speakers said soon :)

June 17, 2010

Note for MakeMyTrip.com

Dear MMT,

As we know that the term CAPTCHA (for Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart) was coined in 2000 by Luis von Ahn, Manuel Blum, Nicholas Hopper and John Langford of Carnegie Mellon University.

It is a program that protects websites against bots by asking a user to complete a simple test which humans can pass but most of the current computer programs cannot. Most common type of CAPTCHA requires that the user type letters or digits from a distorted image that appears on the screen.  Like the one seen below.

So, as we can understand that CAPTHCHA is used for preventing bots and not for testing eyesight of the user. Hence a 4 digit number written in extremely small fonts with (style="font-style:oblique; font-family:Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif) does not help. The keyword here is IMAGE.

Also, disabling right click is not a very smart move and will be of no use if the CAPTCHA is in plain text format. 

The current system may not you help in ensuring that your registration service is not being misused. Image will not appears, unless it is coded hence allowing images in browser will also not be of much help here :)

For more information and free CAPTCHA please click here.

June 13, 2010

Roundtable on Online Travel (11th June, 2010)

This weekend, I finally managed to attend a good discussion on Online Travel. Special thanks to Kalyan.

Now you will think that what’s my interest in attending a discussion on Online Travel but can anything related to Internet be uninteresting. If I can attend Firefox’s developer camp, I was sure I’ll find some good points to take away from this one.

It was the first Round Table discussion on Online Travel organized my IAMAI and my friend Kalyan was kind enough to accommodate me for the same.

Panel comprised of
- Devdutta Banerjee (Regional Director of Revenue & Distribution Starwood Hotels)
- Dhruv Shringi (Founder & CEO of Yatra.com)
- Harish Bahl (Founder & CEO Smile Interactive Technologies Group)
- Kamal Hingorani (VP Sales & Distribution of Spicejet)
- Subhash Goel (Chairman STIC Group)

- Himanshu Singh (Managing Director Travelocity India)

It was really a stirring and enlightening discussion as most of the points discussed were not only applicable to Online Travel but to the entire eCommerce.

Here are some of the points that were highlighted during the discussion:

- Credibility is one of the major issues this is being faced by the online players. Thus some of them are evaluating a brick and mortar support as well.

- The complex and high engagement non air products are difficult to sell online whereas most of the ticketing as moved online (thanks to IRCTC)

- Cost of acquisition is still too high being Google being the major source. Thus companies to find other routes for acquiring leads in order to avoid ‘Google Tax’.

- Payment infrastructure is also a major concern. With 50-65% success rates of payment gateways, there is a huge scope for improving here.

Will add individual speaker’s comments soon

To the Product Manager @ Blogspot

Here is what I wrote on 2nd June.

"it was disheartening to see that nothing much has changed here. I tried changing the template to rejuvenate the dead posts but there was noting much to choose from. I know its dieing a slow death but it seems that Product Managers @ Blogspot are in a hurry :P "

And here is what I saw today.

Great work guys, long live blogger :)

June 6, 2010

Microsoft Exchange On...line

“Get the Best in CLASS Technologies at SMALL Business Price” is the tagline for the Microsoft Exchange Online Services.

Have you noticed that there is so much emphasis on CLASS and not on technologies ;) Maybe because of this

Anyways, there are mainly four services that are promoted here, Email, Chat, Conference (Live Meeting) and Collaborate (SharePoint) along with a shady Cost Calculator.

Not sure about the class of the Technologies but the Micro-site is third class (no offense) :P

Just a suggestion, maybe they should have tied up with an ISP and promoted it here, so that small business can get a comprehensive solution :)

Good luck MS.

Check out the site:

June 3, 2010

KYC: A must for every Product Manager

"Engineers from IIT for a robust website, few lacs; Designer from NID for intuitive UI, few more lacs; Sales team from IIM for efficient practices, some more lacs; Realising your Customers does not have an access to Internet, PRICELESS. There are very few things that B'school teaches you, for everything else Meet Your Customer"

Wrote this a while back as my FB status message. Some of my client meetings have left an everlasting impact on me and this was one of it. Imagine meeting your client, or I should say 'paid client' who doesn't even have access to the internet. Thanks to our offline solutions and excellent sales team, we are able to cater to so many such clients.

Sometimes when we design products (though I like calling it solution) we misjudge the 'average user'. We assume them at par or sometimes slightly below us or the people we meet daily. But it is only when you actually meet the end user, you will be able to bridge the gap between your understanding of their net behavior and their actual net behavior.

Another one that is on top of my mind is one of our user complaining of not being able to access our recruitment solutions.

Our support team was telling him to:
-> Go to our website -> click on the employer login link -> enter your account details

What actually he was doing:
-> Go to Google -> Search for our website name -> click on the SEM link -> Land on the registration page - > Click on the Candidate's login link available on the page -> enter account details

Imagine :)

June 2, 2010

I am back !

It's been almost an year since I have updated by blog. Will try to be regular now.

But it was disheartening to see that nothing much has changed here. I tried changing the template to rejuvenate the dead posts but there was noting much to choose from. I know its dieing a slow death but it seems that Product Managers @ Blogspot are in a hurry :P