Sunday, January 18, 2009

Vonage Visual Voicemail

Vonage Visual Voicemail is a cool thing - it translates the voice message to text, and emails it to you, along with a .wav file of the original voicemail. I was so surprised that I got this voicemail this morning:

"Kathy, It's Alice. And I'm just looking at this snow, I'm wondering if you're gonna be coming. So, give me the word. It looks bad to seeing. Just like give me the word anyway. I'll be happy to see you no matter what. But, just take your time. Thank you. Bye-bye."

I called back, and got a retirement home. I had the message passed back to Alice - but the operator did not know which Alice. She said that she was going to try to find the right one. I would never know if she did. The woman who left the voicemail sounded frail and weak. I really hope she gets the message, and gets to see Kathy.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ideas for Startups

Anupendra recently forward me the link to Paul Graham's article on generating ideas for startups. Amongst the best I have read for generating ideas.

Also check out this book - it gives some basic principles for generating ideas. They include:

1. The single biggest determining factor in whether you would generate a good idea, is a belief in your ability to generate ideas. You do not need to be a pony tailed artist to generate ideas.

2. Initiate idea generation with an idea; any idea for that matter. That will get your creative juices flowing and get ideas out

3. Not acting on a good idea is equivalent to never having generated that idea at all

4. To get ideas about a topic, you need to have insider knowledge on it. Expand your knowledge. Expand your horizons

5. Forget rules. Be illogical. Be silly. Ask Ask Ask.

6. When you have problems generating ideas on a topic, switch and start working on something else

7. Have Fun

P.S. If you are now inspired to generate ideas, and end up launching a startup with that idea, a 1% share in the startup would be adequate compensation for my contribution :)

CNN: Birds Destroy Planes!

Televising the recent plane crash, CNN warned of the growing danger of birds hitting planes. Really?? How often do birds hit planes? And if they do, what are we going to do? Kill all birds? Line planes with birdi-cides to make sure birds stay away? Let's wait and watch!

Meanwhile, excellent job Mr. PiloT Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger! That was some amazing maneuvering, and the people on board, and their friends and relatives would be thankful to you forever!

Some interesting details about the plane's trajectory here

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Of Conversations in Cabs

One of the interesting aspects of a lot of work related travel is the people you meet. The most interesting ones happen to be cab drivers.

One cab driver I met shortly after the Mumbai Bomb blasts. The guy saw that I was from India, and expressed his sympathy. He was an interesting fellow for sure - he had actually recovered from 2 cancers, and said that doctors had spent millions of dollars in saving him. He really understood the value of life, and could not imagine why anyone would want to take lives. I was touched, to say the least.

Another guy was upset at his girlfriend. He was in mid -50s, and his wife had passed away 2 years ago. He had been dating this woman for 8 months, and he was really frustrated that his girlfriend was not taking him to a family function despite 8 months of their relationship! He was gonna get drunk that night for sure.

Ah the joys of meeting these people is what keeps us travelers going on the road.