NGOs need to start looking out for technologists rather than just influencers

So what is the whole point of an NGO? Do something good? Fill the gaps where the government fails? Raise some issues of importance?

In their zeal for achieving their objectives , most NGOs spend considerable time reaching out to people, people with great social circles, influence and possibly power.

But here is a thought , in an Utopian world NGOs should not exist . They exist only because there are some issues that are not being resolved by the governments , some voices that are not finding ears and some people who get an unfair deal. Simply put “Because there is a problem that needs fixing” . If the main motto is resolving the issue, it makes sense to work more towards reaching out to problem fixers and not just information spreaders.

In the current world, there are hardly any problems where technology cannot help.There is corruption? We can help by building easy to use RTI systems .There is a natural disaster and we don’t think aid is reaching the right places, we need a way to survey the area and maybe pass it on to government agencies .

Not saying anything against NGOs reaching out to pure influencers or the influencers themselves , rather making a case for many NGOs to change focus and reach out to a very different kind of audience . You need Geeks and Nerds on your side. They love solving problems .

Just a thought

Curious Case of Salman Khan Sympathy Wave

Salman Khan was convicted (only 5 year punishment for killing a man and maiming others, driving drunk and running away) and is now out of bail.

I get it , people like Salman Khan :The Actor , what I do not get is the sympathy wave for him BECAUSE he did so much charity. Really?

The Indian judicial system is geared towards reform rather than punish, hence being a good person with good behaviour does help in the court of law,I get that ,and at some level I support that too .

But what really baffles me is the incredible outpouring of grief for his ,in my opinion too lenient ,sentencing . And the sympathy wave seems to be justified based on an NGO called Being Human.

This made me wonder, do people really care about NGOs and the so called Good work done by them?

Let me put things into perspective , the “Great” Reliance Industries has a CSR wing that spent 700 crores for the betterment of society(3.25% of profits ..among highest percentage in indian corporates BTW) .

Even If you doubt their intentions ,you will agree that with that kind of money many people would have been helped. This is being done by Ambani’ Wife Nita Ambani.By owning Shares and being active in the company , their son too is party to this .

So do we have sympathy for their Son who was also accused of ramming his Aston Martin while probably drunk driving? The case has been erased from public memory as almost no News channel ever covers it . Come on Sympathy for that “Poor” Chap? What if he makes an appearance in an orphanage where he donates a crore? Would we have sympathy for him them (assuming he is ever punished). How many crores of money would it take? I am sure monetarily Reliance would have done more than being human.

If we really cared about people doing good work, what about thousands of people selflessly doing great work on the ground? What about 100s of NGOs being targeted by the government ? Did we flinch and ask once , do they really need to be banned? Hey you say “rule of law”  then, what happened to rule of law in Salman’s case? Just because the government said “Foreign Funding” , we just looked the other way? (Not to mention India has relied on foreign aid for many many years) . I am not defending NGOs breaking laws, but again where is the sympathy for them? Many of whom are probably filled with volunteers who might have given up jobs to work there? Where is the sympathy if the NGO work really matters to you?

It took a Nobel Peace prize for Indians to recognise the great work people like Kailash Satyarthi  were doing, where was the love of “Good Work” then?

I am sorry to call out the hypocrisy of many people today. You DO NOT care about Salman Khan’s “Being Human” . You Love Salman Khan the actor and just don’t want him to go to jail and are letting it cloud your judgement.

So yes, You can be sad at him going to jail(if he ever goes, which looks never) , you can say that he has reformed  , you can cry over his delayed films , but please save your sympathies for the victims here. .Being Human is not his repentance.It’s a good thing, I give you that but have a moment for the real victim here(Hint: It’s not Salman Khan).

Let the court decide how much consideration they want to give to his “NGO work” , don’t make a show of it (Someone even tried committing suicide in his support, but failed).

In India Powerful people rarely get punished, if he did gets punished, be happy that poor people can get justice (even though after 13 years it’s meaningless)

Maybe I am wrong, I hope I am wrong but that seems a bit improbable.

 

And the needle did not move : #OneHealthyLife part 3

The needle has not moved, not even an inch ,not even a cm. My weight still remains exactly as it was when I started this. 85.9

Went to get my weight and other vitals such as body fat etc checked,hoping to see some change. I I was hopeful, partly because I have been exercising a bit and controlling diet a bit and partly because I feel slimmer(if that is a thing).

But NO CHANGE. The only progress was reduction in Visceral fat by 0.5% , which is good.Visceral fat is the fat between your organs , basically it wraps around them, snuggling them in it’s warm embrace. Seems pretty nice to me, but apparently it is not good 😛

I blame my injured leg for my non-progress :P. No seriously , possibly I used that as an excuse to not exercise much since past few days and hence gained whatever I might have lost initially. Nevertheless, back to the grind.

The weight loss plan remains same

Now Watch this Hilarious Clip from Southpark

If Not Surge pricing , what else could Uber Do?

I had earlier written an article on why I think Uber’s surge pricing is detrimental to Uber’s growth . My major point was that with surge pricing as insane as 7X times normal fare, I as a customer would never want to be in a position where I do not have a counter leverage to Uber.

By having surge pricing Uber is actually making space for cheaper options as counter-leverage in the market.

Let’s be clear, Uber is not making any money(it is burning cash) and will possibly not make any money unless it is almost the market leader and consumers do not have much counter leverage , enabling uber to move away from it’s current predatory pricing towards a more sustainable pricing model.

But if not dynamic  surge pricing , what could be a possible pricing model assuming you have to have some kind of surge pricing

  1. Time Slab Based Surge Pricing: Prices can be jacked up based on time slabs. Eg: Night rates , office hours . Something that is predictable and transparent.This would become much similar to generic Taxi model (which actually earns) but may not fit in Uber’s current approach.
  2. Surge Protection Model: The initial assumption of dynamic surge pricing was that surge pricing would enable more drivers to come on the road . But a recent Washington Post article suggests that Surge pricing only leads to redistribution of drivers and not necessarily bringing in more drivers. Ie: People in areas with less demand start seeing much longer wait times, something that beats the whole concept of “Everyone’s private driver”.  If the article is correct , we can assume that the primary objective is not  being met

The other way to make this a success would be to have much more users use uber .Having users prefer Uber over any other mode of transportation.And that can be done Via Surge protection Model. this is how it would work

Surge Protection Model

Now this is like differential pricing , where certain section of users would be prevented from surge pricing while others would still bear the burnt. Think of it as surge insurance. For gaining entrance to the elite group you need the first hook/investment this could be 1 Ride on surge prices . Just 1 ride

So anyone who takes 1 ride in Ubers Surged prices , say 5X times normal would be protected from surge pricing for say next 1 month. This user pays normal fares while everyone else pays the dynamic price

How to keep the user hooked

A simple rule where surge protection would continue only if the user avails 1 uber ride a week (numbers can be worked out) . We could potentially extend surge pricing protection for he user indefinitely until the user keeps using Uber at-least once a week.

Implications

  • A user knows that by taking just 1 high priced ride, he/she can potentially be unburdened of thinking of surge pricing for a month(indefinite , based on scheme). The thought of future gains may offset the pain user feels now, improving conversion rate of people taking rides at surge pricing
  • Whenever such a user will have an option between various players, user would tend to use Uber to keep surge protection alive thus increasing the number of returning users
  • Human beings do get a kick out of knowing that they are getting a much better deal than others. When a user sees that they are travelling at say 10$ Km while others are being charged 7X the amount , their ride would feel much more affordable and happier
  • This could even enable Uber to jack up it’s base prices to bring them in-tune with actual costs
  • Higher the surge prices go, more loyal the customers in the surge protection program become . In a weird way , surge pricing may become a marketing tool.

Obviously numbers can be worked out, and the idea can be a little offbeat but no harm in thinking about it.

 

 

The Leg Piece Problem #OneHealthyLife Part 2

Since I have started being a bit more conscious about my health , I have become more and more regular in my physical exercises , I eat healthier and avoid junk food and sugar.

From exercising standpoint , I do not follow any set pattern yet , I have been swimming couple of times , played a bit of football , went for a short jungle walk and Gymming a few time.

To be frank, I am horrible in most of these things at the moment, I can hardly run 200 meters , cannot swim more than 15 meters without a break and get tired playing football way too early . I initially thought it was mainly my stamina, but on closer examination I believe it is more to do with my Leg Piece err Legs .

I stop running because my legs pain and stop swimming because my legs just do not have the stamina and are pretty prone to cramps . Hence my next target is to do something about these weak legs of mine , perhaps some strength exercises exclusively for legs and some more stretching .

Not to mention a lot of water. I recently visited my office physiotherapists after I suffered a small muscle injury/cramp (where else? in my Leg)  , after hearing about how my legs get cramped and finding out that I barely had 2 litres of water each day , he said “You deserve it” .

It’s not a nice feeling when your doctor tells you that you deserve pain :) .

Nevertheless, I am now on a 3 litre per day minimum plan .I start my day with fruits , have almonds when I feel hungry during the day and probably middle of night and eat all my meals . I do not eat till I feel super full and rather stop when I feel I have eaten enough , even though my stomach can accommodate a little more.

Results: Yes I do feel better and some people around me also feel that I look slimmer/weaker :) , but that is just perception. Will know the truth soon

Now Enjoy this motivational Video