Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bulldozing API is the new Marketing

I read though this headline on a news blog today morning:

"Zomato's new foodie index allows you to search for a home in neighborhoods with restaurants" .

I browsed though the CF and Housing for home. Looked into the embedded map; the foodie-index shows 4.5 , pretty sure that more than half of the users don't know if this 4.5 is out of 5 or 4.5 out of 10. The Zomato foodie-index looked just "fancy" and don't think it renders any value to the user like me looking for a home. Well, may be if i am looking for shop or commercial area, then, may be. Still, this index logo only seems like 'a nice thing to have'. nothing more.

Thoughts & Ideas : 

There are typically two use cases for APIs. The first is building a developer community to extend the ability of  platform—these are usually free to use. The second is building a service that other people can use and pay for; sometimes APIs as a service are free and monetized by other means. Both use cases make it much easier for a company (like : for example, real estate) to get functionality they need and/or partner with another company without the heavy lifting of custom integration for each partnership.

Got An API? 

What  if an online real estate firm does opposite i.e. rather than using foodieindex, real estate firm must 'evangelize' APIs. Think about 20,000 webs or apps are using real estate API. What if BIG Commerce, Shopify, Magento, Wordpress, tumblr,  joomla, drupal, prestashop, blogspot, mini real estate websites or mobile apps etc are using real estate pluggins ? There will be million of data points DAILY, that can send back valuable decision making hooks to users.

The marketing via media, PPC etc are dead and pretty boring stuff. Bulldozing API is the key to reach millions of users to make way for the unpainted barren land  i.e. "out-bounding to diff web/mobile apps". It helps with on-boarding of owners and real estate agents as well.

API’s Rocket Fuel: Hackathons

API provider can invite local developers to a hackathon, meetup or workshop, and ask them for candid feedback on using this real estate API. They fix the holes in documentation and other hurdles discovered for smooth on-boarding; fast and reliable performance. That developers can use instantly and see results as prime-time in "sandbox". Devs can use Cloud API Hub  that allows to distribute, consume, and monetize private and public APIs. The real estate API provider must post samples on GitHub and to start answering questions on That will create an ecosystem. The real estate API provider should plan on attending and sponsoring developer events and meetups. Companies like Angel-hack specialize in going city to city and promotes APIs of their sponsors.

I have seen mini web sites using Flipkart price API with Google Apps Script. I am surprised that they haven't opening up their APIs, i think sooner or later, they will.

Alternatively, Mashery can be used for public and private API monitor, manage and promote API. It also helps with on-boarding. Availability of app APIs is more of a western trend, and any real estate company's move (in India) to make Location and Real Estate Index API open-source, will be an indication of its ambitions to be recognized as an upcoming global brand.


My idea is to participate at the lowest sponsorship level and offer a slick prize for people to use API. This usually has the best results in terms of engagement with developers. On top of that, hackathons are a great opportunity to talk to developers about your offering and get honest feedback to make it better. A lot of companies use hackathons to release early versions of their API or features in their API so they can get this key developer input.

There is much that can be done in this way out to reach millions of users via API, an alternative to increase traffic and much much more. Work with one or two partners initially to launch killer integrations, plan for your API’s next horizon

The final thing to consider when opening up an API to the outside world is how well those endpoints will serve business as it grows. Many companies only open up API access to functionality or data that is not core to the platform, and which doesn’t dilute the brand. Thing, that are being done by rare product companies in India.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

One fine evening ....

It was a usual day, a friend in tech team asked to go out for dinner in evening after office.  

The guy I 'admire' working on a project in office. We shared past experiences and had casual talks over lunches we had.  Now there was something especial about this friend of mine that made me invest time to write here. 

During a lunch discussion, I mentioned how a vendor pitched us a software that might touch a nerve of industry and is a big pain killer in image processing domain. He asked a little more, being from same organization and team i shared in brief what the software does actually. He listened and was in deep thinking. We discussed about how the vendor may have built it the logics inside. 

Next day in office the guy comes and showed me the snippet in java and asked me to give few images to test. I was surprised. The code that he wrote in 2 hours last night was more or less a basic MVP of the solution (i.e. of the vendor's solution). Looking at the raw version on black console and results in numbers, it was clear that the solution need a more fine tuning. We tested it 3-4 times quickly  on different set of images. The logic he used to moderate images was just one night work (the logic in code was simple). And, it was efficiently working. 

We went for the beer again next day.

Me : What propelled you to write that code in night ? 

He : was bored up since last couple of days to work on same thing, so thought to do something different. Is it working ?

Me : Yes. Results are fucking good. But why "bored" in project  in office?

He : Because it is too simple. No fun. 

Me : Why don't you fine tune what you have created ?

He : Don't have much time from boring office work. 

He was passive, logical, and spock-like. We smiled and we were silent. We finished another pint. 

Me : Why did you leave previous firm ? I asked

He : Boring work. 

I could see and feel a sense of little dissatisfaction in his eyes. This super confident guy wanted to do things that matter, the things that will make a difference, (Ohh! not a photo sharing app or another e-commerce firm that sells one thing to another or a chat app) – but hauntingly brief time was killing that perhaps. 

The guy wasn't interested in tweeting, blogging, or startups much. He cares about building and shipping code. I was experiencing the guy who was a part of a nomadic band of software tradesmen, who quietly, steadily have the capability to build the infrastructure behind the world’s most successful companies.  When this breed leaves – in search for a constant change for the better, they leave firms behind wither and die (and the gradual death goes unnoticed).

If some one wants to build a tech company, he’ll need to hire this breed, but will rarely find through a recruiter or websites.  They are being cold-called, cold-emailed, and cold-LinkedIn-messaged on a daily basis by recruiters, but their response are similarly cold. Outwardly successful companies that fail to draw engineers like him will struggle with the performance and stability of their technology and will constantly struggle to exist and won't be at top of their domain for long. (YAHOO! is one as i finished a book recently about it) 

I explained him what new feature in existing office project will benefit and bring value to users and how our efforts will not be in vain. He listened and was curious to know more as we walked to the metro station. The most powerfully attractive force for him I felt that time in my short conversation was the promise of building a product that will get into the happy hands of hundreds, thousands, or millions as I envisioned. 

I was talking to a type of guy whom i experienced is obsessed with constant change for the better and something complex that can change the world through his software skills. Many of him are largely invisible, but their affiliations have determined the rise and fall of technology giants in long run.  The start-ups who recognize the unsung talents today will be tomorrow’s success stories.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

They think they are Gods

In an era of government slothful dysfunction, the Uber example shows how  US based Uber has pioneered not just a new sort of taxi service but also a new way to change long-standing local ordinances.

What I personally like about Uber before and after this rape incident is : Uber’s approach is brash and, so far, highly effective: It launches in local markets in different countries regardless of existing laws or regulations, even though city/state law prohibits such services. It aims to build a large customer base as quickly as possible. Their services are good, App design is brilliant, provide above average earning and livelihood to thousands of drivers, they don't find it difficult to gain mass customers. 

When challenged, Uber rallies its users to pressure government officials, while unleashing its well-connected lobbyists to influence lawmakers.

Apparently, they believe they’re gods. 

They, actually, are. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

My Dream of Stallion

Super secret but one of my dream has always been that I can see the Stallion from where I work. I would, then, not trade my home/farm office for the world. 

It's been said that the Stallion Draumur (below pic) :

1) If he trusts you and approves you, he will give you the stars. And you can survive, volcanoes, glaciers, & Iceland's endless winter nights.

2) No matter how dirty he is, Draumur glows in the dark. But he still believes he is a ninja. And his gallops sounds are enough to make army afraid of it's rider.

3) Shakespeare says that "he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it..."

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Impulsive, Irrational Pricing!

Do you see what I see??

No?? Got an eye problem?? 
Go back to the image again. Stare at it, PLEASE!!!
Do you see it now??
Well, this is what I see:

What I see is a brilliant, amazing implementation of irrational pricing

Look at the top of the menu where a 7" Margherita costs Rs. 75.

If you go for the 10" Margherita, it costs Rs. 170!!


Technically, a 10 inch pizza in size is 43 % more than the 7 inch pizza.

But cost-wise, Rs. 170 is 126% more than Rs. 75 !!!!

In fact, if I buy 2 Domino's pizzas of 7 inches each, I get 14 inches of pizza and pay Rs. 150; but I need to pay Rs. 170 to get only 10 inches!!

Look further - If I buy 3 pizzas of 7 inches each, I get 21 inches to enjoy and pay Rs. 225; whereas 13 inches as a single pizza costs me Rs. 315!!!


This proves that:

- Consumers are completely irrational when it comes to making pricing decisions when they see choices.

- They choose the size they want, not the price.

- Then, they just 'accept' the price presented to them!


- Create a 'need based' pricing matrix - not a volume or input based pricing structure. Notice how the Inches (") printed, is the smallest font on the menu!

- By presenting lots of variations and choices, the human mind migrates to what it wants. It does not look at alternative options when one choice seems logical:

To elaborate - if the 2 of us are eating a pizza, we may call for a medium pizza and share it.

Instead, we should call for 2 separate pizzas and also give away a few extra inches to some friends!

We would've saved money and made someone happy too!

- Don't get too scientific about pricing. Get fuzzy, irrational and emotional. It works!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

To mock or not to mock

Last to last week I went to meet my cousin studying in local engineering college, I had great time to be back into kind of college-hostel environment, I stayed there for weekend. Talked to many of his classmates, listen to what their thoughts and expectation and dreams about job / after job, life.  

These are my observations/ views :

1. Other than for 1 or 2 exceptions, all of them did BCA as their grad and joined for MCA - "just to do a PG"!  When ask why - they just don't know why, no one ever asked them!

2. Someone felt that going for MCA will help then learn C++ better, because they learn on C for BCA. Lucky we don't have a C+++, otherwise these colleges will start DCA also

3. Most of the girls think that they will have a better positioning in marriage market.

4. Most of the boys think that they will have a better positioning in marriage market.

5. Most of them seems to have read in a leading local daily that doing MCA will fetch them a better job.

6. All of them don't have any idea of the job they are going to do when they join a company - even after spending 4.5 years of their peak youth.

7. They don't know anything about the industry they are entering into - companies, jobs, market, future, education options, academics etc...

8. They just don't consider companies other than Wipro, TCS, Infosys etc as their prospective employers - the reason here is also primarily the marriage market, not their career growth or not even money!.

9. Majority of them don't know how to communicate. I'm not commenting on their English - they don't know how to communicate in any of the languages.

10. All of them have C/C++ in their CVs as their only language and just don't know who is K&R and don't know how to write a program, compile and make it unless then have Turbo C in front.  They don't know whats #include is all about. Most of them have never seen an executable made by their C/C++ programs.

11. They don't have any programming skills (and all relevant skills), basic knowledge about data structure, algorithms etc.

12. Most of their decision are influenced by ignorant teachers, parents, friends and media - event if they think otherwise. They don't have an opinion of their own - even after becoming adults!

My Advice was mostly around (though I didn't preach and was more like a listener there):

1. You wasted the most precious 4.5 years of your life

2. You have 3 more semesters to correct what all you are missing

3. Its your life, you are in charge - you make decisions - not your parents, uncle/aunts, teachers, friends, relatives etc...

4. Work on your skills. Skills are different from knowledge - you need to develop it - whereas you can acquire knowledge in various ways.

5. Read/Listen/Speak/Watch Movies etc., so that you gain exposure and attain the right mind-set/attitude

6. Support your peers - collectively you can work on your shortcoming in the coming 3 semesters.

I really felt pity seeing most of them (happens during taking interviews as well) - victims of 'excel to get a degree - not knowledge' mentality, most of them are going to become slaves with some IT companies. Some of them will endup in teaching - circle of life!

But found few originals among them with a sense of direction, entrepreneurship and purpose for life!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Want "Cake" for the budget of "Egg" ?

Communication works in sync with our "relationship" and "Interest" of the client into the project apart from various factors.

There are client who spends money, a big organization, has budget and is willing to spend money, every web designer's dream. Then, there is another breed of client, a primer of sorts. Its worth it and interesting to go an extra mile and standard formal communication of superlative degree even when I am not sure if he has budget, but will do best efforts of sales and professionalism.

How ever, nothing like this works with the client who has very tight budget, i repeat ..NOTHING. and I refer to them as the "Shoe String Budget" client. This breed of client wants a super high speed, with all fixings, changes they ask but is not willing to pay the price. The shit gets whipped with cream when they also want wire frame in HTML and jquery at very initial stage with in this "egg budget"

In other words , they want to low -ball you. They want CAKE for their shoe string budget, but only have a budget for EGG. You do any thing like standard communication, 24 hours instant reply, chat/phone feedback, FSD/Site Map, Standard proposal or anything...nothing guarantees.

Shoe string budget clients ( aka cheapskates), will constantly try to talk you down from your price. They make feel like walking into shopping mall and tell what they are willing to pay, expecting us to accept their offer.

Yes, the project still needs to be done in a professional way since it ultimately has my name/brand on it but then, universally, there is a tendency of disinterest, so perfectly legitimate communications gets tedious when :

....they will either :

    * Constantly try to talk you down from your rate
    * Offer you less than you charge
    * Offer you cute anecdotes or sob stories in hopes of you lowering your rates

PS: Keep yourself away from these clients.