Hit Refresh Review: A refreshing story on the new new Microsoft

I just finished reading Satya Nadella’s Hit Refresh and if you want a short review of the book, let me just tell you this: go grab a copy.

The book is Satya Nadella’s perspective on the old Microsoft, the in-between changes (and the big deals like Nokia acquisition) to the new face of Microsoft (winning the cloud battle).

But before that, you should take a look at this picture (which Satya does mention about the org culture at Microsoft).

If you have worked for big corporates / interacted with them, you will appreciate the beauty of this pic and this was a true representation of culture @Microsoft (ps: Ditto for my last employer, Yahoo).

Satya Nadella, in his book ‘Hit Refresh’ goes a bit candid about the cultural issues that existed in Microsoft to his personal life (importantly, the importance of ’empathy’ in a nerd’s life) to many decisions that went wrong as well as right at Microsoft.

Been an active observer, I definitely think that the book does a great job of story telling – especially by a man who is still in the trenches (and not leading a retired life). Plus, he is the new breed of non-founding CEOs who are achieving new successes and is always a great idea to get perspective in this context.

This isn’t really an autobiography, nor a book about tech advancements and neither a book on business strategy. Hit Refresh is a mix of all of the above and is a good read, if you want to read about the inner workings of Microsoft and how the company bounced back after losing the search and mobile war.

Hit Refresh: Book Review
Hit Refresh: Book Review

My only grudge is that the book is superficial at places where it shouldn’t have been – especially Nokia acquisition. It’s easy to ‘sound right’ (“the world doesn’t need new OS”) in hindsight, but Satya Nadella somehow ducks many of these bouncers.

Totally recommended, if you are a cricket fan and wanna experience how Satya Nadella brings the cricket metaphor in the story telling.

There has been a debate whether it is ‘too early’ for Satya Nadella to publish his journey – well, my take is it’s never too late and as long as he has the audience, it is all cool.

To his credit, he has brought back a LOT of love for Microsoft over the last few years – not just with Windows 10, but the open love which MS has shown towards open source tech and for other platforms (esp Apple) is quite commendable.

» Buy Hit Refresh from Amazon.

Coming soon: Amazon Prime Music in India; Free for Prime members !

Amazon Prime is very soon launching in India. You get to enjoy ad-free music in English and multiple Indian languages.

Amazon Prime Music India Launch
Amazon Prime Music India Launch

Price of Amazon Prime Music in India?

Free if you have a Prime account.

Google too launched its music service in India ; though with Prime being the entry point for ‘so many freebies’, standalone subscription services like Apple faces a stiff competition.

Paytm launches messaging product, Inbox. Will you use?

Patym has launched Inbox, chat messaging feature on the Paytm app (currently on Android only).

The service will allow users to chat with friends and family, send and request money at the same time.

The platform is encrypted end-to-end, and users can initiate private conversations and create group chats. They can also send photos and videos instantly, share live location, capture and share moments with the built-in camera,”. The platform also allows users to recall their messages (a feature WhatsApp launched 2 days back) using ‘Delete for All’.

Given that WhatsApp is testing WhatsApp Business feature and will soon roll out UPI based payment, will Paytm Inbox cut the deal?

Is there a use-case?

Will you chat with friends on Paytm? Why?

Is this a game changer?

Ashish Sinha adds: The biggest use-case that Paytm can bring is communicating with sellers and enabling the negotiation feature – but then, that involves rethinking the marketplace model.

Plus, what Paytm can bring to table is online ordering – for e.g. I always pay the sabziwala using Paytm. Why don’t I just message him what I need / pay via chat…and voila! We are done.

I hope Paytm is playing a deeper game and not just adding this feature for the heck of positioning itself as WeChat of India.

In its current form, it looks like a wannabe product and WhatsApp has already taken away the thunder of ‘message recall’ feature, which I believe was supposed to be one big launch differentiator.

By the way, is Neeraj Arora of WhatsApp still on Paytm board? This is a very serious competitive thing going between Paytm and WhatsApp.

Uber launches uberACCESS and uberASSIST in India #Wheelchairs

Uber has launched two new products – uberACCESS and uberASSIST in Bengaluru, supported by Mphasis, as a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.

  • uberACCESS an Asia-first launch for Uber in Bangalore, is a forward-facing wheelchair accessible product. This option offers 50 retrofitted vehicles, with heightened roof and hydraulic wheelchair lift on-demand.
  • uberASSIST is an option for those who require additional assistance – such as senior citizens and people with accessibility needs, including those who may just feel more comfortable with extra assistance when getting from door-to-door. A fleet of 500 uberASSIST vehicles accommodate most foldable wheelchairs.

With an aim to address day-to-day transportation requirements of senior citizens and those with accessibility needs, riders can request uberASSIST rides starting today and will soon be able to book uberACCESS rides, the forward-facing wheelchair accessible product, on-demand. Trained and certified by Diversity and Equal Opportunity Centre (DEOC), all driver-partners are equipped with required skills to assist passengers with accessibility needs as well as those who need additional assistance during their ride.

To access uberASSIST/uberACCESS in Bengaluru:

  1. Open the Uber app
  2. Enter destination
  3. Slide to the right and select uberASSIST/uberACCESS
  4. Confirm pick-up location and request ride

@Uber team: This is from NextBigWhat team.

E-tailing industry generated $3.2 bn in sales during festive season

The festive month 2017 includes three mega sale events, along with the rest of the business as usual days. In total, it is estimated that the E-tailing industry generated $3.2Bn in sales. Below is  the break for each festive period

  • Mega-event 1 (20th-24th Sep 2017) – USD 1.5 Bn generated by industry
  • Mega-event 2 (4th-8th Oct 2017) – USD 500-600 Mn generated by industry
  • Mega-event 3 (14th Oct 2017-onwards week) – USD ~600 Mn generated by industry driven by strong sales of electronic devices and appliances
  • Business as usual (non-sale days) from Sep 20-Oct 19 – USD ~500 Mn generated by industry

Adding up all the above, e-tailers generated a total of ~USD 3.2 Bn of sales (INR 19,000 Cr) for the whole 30-day festive month. For comparison, this would be 45% higher than the 2016 festive month (1st -31st Oct 2016) which generated USD 2.2 Bn of sales for the industry, as per Redseer consulting.

What do you think was the cumulative loss (given that none of the players were profitable)?

“Achha, “Jugaad”, “Tikka Masala” “Funda” : These Indian words are now part of Oxford English dictionary

Oxford English dictionary is really trying to keep up with desi lingo and some of the new words added to Oxford English dictionary are

Achha          namkeen          gulab jamun   timepass

Jugaad        chakka jam     keema    natak

dadagiri     chamcha           anna    chup

And the most important word that has been added?


Why are these words so unique?

The words were added to the dictionary as Indians have “a highly specific vocabulary with no direct equivalents in English”.

You see. We are like this only !


The Joke is on us [And not the KBC girl who didn’t know 404 error]

So a M.Tech computer science student was asked a question on 404 error on KBC and she couldn’t answer it.

A computer science student does not know ‘404 error’?

Sad. Really sad.

She is being mocked by everyone.

People are making fun of her. And in all possible ways, insulting her to the core.

But then, the joke is on us.

The joke is on us. The joke is on our educational system.

The problem lies with our education system which emphasizes on quantity rather than quality, theories rather than practical applications, traditional and obsolete courses rather than updated and revised curriculum.

As a result, where there is a dearth of professionals in IT and other industries, there is a dearth of jobs for engineering graduates who have spent four years waiting for something to happen as they walk out with their degrees in hand (from an earlier piece on: How to Make Engineers in India Employable?).

Importantly, there is a dearth of ‘curious’ souls – what we eventually get is bored students who are doing it, because there is a hope at the end of the tunnel which reads as ‘software job’.

Will MOOCs solve this? No. It’s not about the intent of learning (the intent is clear – get a degree and get a job). It is about the interest in learning.

It is largely about passion / about going deeper in what’er the student wants to. But first, they need to discover their passion.

And until we match the next generation’s interest with the right courses / skillsets, we will continue to be a 404 society.

The Indian education system has become a GIGO model – we teach them Garbage and we get Garbage. Note that students/individuals are not garbage, but then this quote sums up it best.

Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid.

Do Read: The Indian Educational System And The Death Of Learning. A Story Of Heart Break