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India Product Management

The Fallacy of Anecdotal Evidence

Heard this?

“The Tarot card reader was able to pin point the exact reason for my suffering”

Or  

“I know homoeopathy does not work, BUT my uncle was cured of chronic headaches when he started taking those medicines”

Or

“I was able to pass the exam after the holy man blessed me”

Are you one of the people who has experienced stuff like the ones stated above?

You are a logical person and believe in scientific approach of double blinded study , but you cannot ignore what happened to you and the people you know  “personally” when they tried  occult and other scientifically disproven hocus pocus.

Anecdotal evidence is SOME evidence,and MUST count for something, correct?

Let’s discuss a popular possible “scam” .

I am really bad at picking stocks(Fact) , but I decide to start a stock TIP service where I tell people which stock to pick. This is how I could do it

Step 1: I buy a list of 1 lakh phone numbers .

For the purpose of this post, I will represent 1000 phone numbers(target users) with 1 sheep.

I know that Infosys is about to announce its quarterly result, and post every result the stock price either goes up or down significantly. I send half of my list[Part A] a message that “Infosys will rise , Buy as many shares as you can” and the other half [Part B] “Infosys will fall, sell sell sell”

Actual result: Infosys went up.

Step 2 : I discard the Part B of the list. I divide the remaining list in 2 parts and repeat the same process with Reliance stocks.

Step 3: I do the same process 3 more times for 3 different stocks, discarding the portion of the list that received a wrong prediction for each subsequent iteration.

ITERATION 3
ITERATION 4
ITERATION 5

At the end of these 5 iterations, I will have: 

  1. 50,000 ppl who know I am just a bogus guy. The first prediction itself was wrong.
  2. 25,000 will think my predictions are as good as flipping a coin, 50, 50
  3. 12,500 will think i have some talent
  4. 6,250 will think I am good.I got 3 in a row correct. Not a mean feat
  5. 3,125 will think i am a genius , i got 4 out of 5 correct. They just had to follow my advice and make a lot of money.
  6. And last 3,125 people will think I AM GOD OF FINANCE. I just predicted the FUTURE with 100% accuracy . There is NO WAY I could have done that with such consistency . I either have a LOT of insider information or I practice occult. They will believe anything I tell them.They will refer me to all their contacts, hold my words as dear as financial gospel.

All I have to do now is send a message to 4,5 and 6 to “Signup” with a low low fees of 1000 rs for getting more updates. Any guesses if people will sign up?

If you are part of group 6, would you NOT sign up? You could have made crores by just following my last 5 free advice, what is 1000 rs in front of that?

I just did some quick projection of how much the scammer can make (lots of assumption).

Now, the question is : Do I really know how to pick stocks?

And that is how ladies and gentlemen I can become anything I want.

I can tell you how to solve your marital problems using cow dung. Given enough solution seekers, I bet I can find at least some couples who will swear by my “cow dung therapy”.

This is one of the MANY “tricks” used for the spread of pseudoscience.

#DontBeSheep

I make a final prediction : Buy shares of a company called Suzlon. They will breach 18 in 2018.

If it works, send me some bitcoins ( ) , if it does not, well I already said I am bad at picking stocks ;). Deal?

//Update: Suzlon is still at 5 Rs…I failed in my prediction

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India

Some “subtle” things many people forget

Few housekeeping things that many people get confused with…But it pays to have some clarity

You have Freedom of speech , NOT the Right to be taken seriously

 

You have Freedom of having an opinion , NOT the Freedom from criticism that comes with holding it, and saying it out loud

 

I may respect your Right to have and practice your Religion, NOT your Religion

 

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India

Who Said demonetisation was not planned ? An alternative viewpoint

Who said demonetisation was not planned?..all the people losing jobs, people dying in queues, elderly and sick waiting in lines for days without money, existential crisis for daily wagerers ,was all planned….
  • They knew how much money could be printed
  • They knew the ATM density
  • They knew how many people do not have access to “digital payments”
  • They knew how many daily wagerers are there
  • They knew that ATMs will need reconfiguration
  • They could easily calculate how long the ATMS queues would be and how many days an average person will have to wait in ATM line
  • They knew even the sick and elderly would need to stand in these lines
  • They knew it would put a lot of people with upcoming marriages at home in extreme stress
  • They knew some people would break
  • They knew some people would not be able to access medical facilities despite having money
  • They knew people would die
  • They knew some industries would collapse
  • They knew farmers would not be able to buy seeds
  • They knew the poorest would suffer the most
Do you think they did not know all this? If you insist that demonetisation was not planned or all these things were pure surprises , then you insist that the government is run by  idiots who do not even do basic homework…I won’t say that.
So stop saying demonetisation was not planned , give the government credit for all this.Give credit where it’s due.
It was all planned, just that we cannot fathom that the government could be this insensitive and this brutal on it’s own people.
Welcome to the new reality


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India

A planned Marathon #Demonetization

Suppose I organize a 10hr marathon for charity and name it ‘demonetization’ , in which everyone in my org has to run irrespective of age, gender , health else they lose their jobs. 
 
  • 1 hour after the start, a few people start fainting and I realize , I did not account for water. I then call for water but I have a special request, all water should be served in special glasses printed for my marathon. I also forgot to order the glasses
  • 2 hours after the start I realize that though water is there , a lot of people are a lot thirsty and I did not order enough,so I ration it-only 1 glass per KM
  • 3hrs: Well, some people really need more water than others ,they are still fainting.I implement a rule:you can have 1 more glass if you already have a doctor’s note.if not , your problem ,not mine
  • 4hrs: Well while I was looking at the fast runners who were drinking more water, I forgot that there were heart patients who were running very slow,they never got any water because it finished before they reached any stop point. I make everyone else to freeze in their spot for 30 minutes so that heart patients can cover up a little and maybe have 1 glass of water, once.
  • 5hrs. Some people die of dehydration and I realize, I never really accounted for a doctor or a nurse or even basic first aid,so I do the next best thing-i let people have as much water as they want
  • 6hrs: I realize that people are drinking way more water than I accounted for,so I ration it back – only 0.5 glass per km. I shout at the water supplier who claims he has a limit to his supply, he cannot supply infinite amounts instantaneously.My request for specially printed glasses also adds to the delay
  • 7hrs: people are still dying and I am not sure so I call it “Sacrifice for the greater good”. I also realize, people are hungry and I never ordered food
  • 8hrs: I figure, the water supply is not that great so I ration..you can drink 0.5 glass only ONCE in the entire race. After you drink, I would mark your forehead with the company symbol so that you cannot drink again
..
.
.
.
.
  • 10th hour: In a press Conference I declare: “It could not have been planned better” .I was nimble and agile , I took feedback and quickly rose to the occasion and made changes with authority.Demonetization was a success
  • The deaths I  blame on the water supplier for not being able to supply instantaneously at the speed of thought

/*********Update*************/

  • Now I claim that the real motive of Demonetization was to boost water sales  and help the struggling packaged water industry , which it did…hence Demonetization was a resounding success

/******End Update************/

/******Another Update******/

  • I saw employees helping each other get on their feet when they fell down, I saw a manager give a CPR to the peon who had a heart attack while running and a coder offering a tester some water after he just recovered from an asthma attack.
  • I put some glycerine in my eye and claim that the real reason for demonetization was to promote team spirit and the team(which survived) has never been closer. Hence Demonetisation was a success

/*******End Another Update****/


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India

Aamir Khan Controversy #AamirKhan

My feed facebook is filled with comments like

If Aamir Khan does not like India , he should go to pakistan rather than expressing his concern.

Sure

By That logic

  • If you do not like AAP, get the hell out of delhi but don’t criticize it.
  • You are concerned about corruption by Lalu…NEVER visit Bihar
  • Hate congress: Got help you, you should have left the country by now
  • And BJP: Well what are you doing here anyways?

LEAVE but do not express concern, do not raise your voice even when asked

But that is what we will not do . Why?
Because when you say ” Aamir Owes India so much” hidden in it somewhere your sentiment that
Aamir possibly is less Indian than you. He Owes you one…and you Owe..Nothing? Because you are an Indian.

Another logic: You made him rich by watching his movies. Ok but did you not realise that he is an entertainer and you exchanged entertainment with money. If I really had to stretch the argument, he gave you happiness in someway …you gave him money

He owes you nothing.

And he being alarmist?: Oh please , this is the least alarming statement made by a public figure, by this logic most of the hindu right wing people should be thrown out of india already…

The Aamir Khan’s detractors argument in a nutshell : If you are not happy with the state of the country you should leave,

Well that includes all politicians and all their supporters too no?

The surprising part is that he was specifically asked to answer a question ..what was he supposed to do? Lie to suite your comfort?

PS: Modi on an international stage said: Indians used to feel “Kahaan paida ho gaye” while congress was in power…No one asked, why did he not leave?

Congress somewhere:
So when people said corruption is rising in our country, we could have simply asked them to leave the country and labelled them as anti national…awesome, why did we not think of this. We would still be in power now

At Least watch the interview before criticizing


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India

“Respecting the Mandate”

BJP won general elections..when people criticized their leaders and track record, many people went on rant of “respect the mandate” ..stop criticizing them

The same people now criticizing Bihar for not choosing Modi.Whatever happened to “respecting the mandate”?

Nevertheless: Your views on someone should not depend on what public mandate they have received . Modi does not become Good because he was voted as PM,same is the case with Lalu. Lalu is still Lalu and that is not going to change…

Holding back criticism for “respecting the mandate” is a BS concept


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India

Clean Chit argument and #AwardWapsi

Glad to see many Indians Talking about anti-sikh riots that happened in 1984. It was a tragic time and a history lesson on what happens when the people with power abuse it…it happened before many of us were born ..but still many know about it…read about it on how senseless the killings were, how houses of sikhs were systematically marked, how the rioters knew exactly who lived where, how the police looked the other way…
Many people are calling out Rajiv Gandhi as a killer and how he did not deserve to be the PM after that…many believe that he ordered the killings–Possibly he did

But I have two words for you that you that should be etched in your memory already : “Clean Chit”

See the great irony?

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India Reflections

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

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India

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.

 

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Section 66A : What is the hoopla all about

Many of you might have woken up today with the news that the SC has deemed Section 66A of Indian IT Act as unconstitutional and struck it down. So what is this section 66A all about?

What is Section 66A

Legally the section 66A is worded as

Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device,—

(a) any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or

(b) any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will, persistently by making use of such computer resource or a communication device,

(c) any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages,

shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.

Basically in it’s purest form section 66A seems to have been formulated to protect against spreading of messages that can incite violence, promote hatred or online bullying by spreading false rumors.

So why the hoopla?

So why were people so pissed with the law and why was there so much hoopla over it. Well the issue is that law operates in words , it is not what the law intends to do but what the interpretation of the wording of the law can be.

Concentrate on the words “grossly offensive or has menacing character” , “annoyance “, “inconvenience” , “danger“, “persistently ” .

Who decides what is offensive? Who decides if it has menacing character? what is the measure of danger?

In it’s practical form the entire law is basically a tool to bully and intimidate the junta by the people in power . Eg: What if you want to criticize a Politician and he/she deems it as offensive ? You get arrested and go to jail. What about a satire/cartoon site  ? Are they allowed to make political satire at all? What about you talking about flaws in a religion?

The problem is that these cases have happened in the past . Aseem Trivedi‘s cartoons against corruption site was banned, a Jadavpur university professor was arrested for forwarding a caricature of Mamta Banerjee , three people spent 40 days in jail just because they were tagged in a video that was possibly blasphemous to a certain religion.

Should I be happy?

By all means yes , yes and yes. Congress introduced this and BJP actually tried to strengthen this and even defended it in court. They even want the online world to be regulated.

Internet is one of the last places to be free from government control and it is in our best interests to keep it that way. No Good democracy can survive until there is a free flow of information, unbiased sharing of opinions and a freedom from fear of prosecution for voicing your views(unpopular ) .

If internet is also compromised , we may become like china and from what all people say , that is not a nice thing to be.

My Older post : when I flipped out when CartoonsAgaisntCorruption was banned . I am happy today that this idiotic law is now gone

 

 

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