Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Entrepreneur mindset

Just read this very insightful quote by Oliver Emberton, Founder of Silktide - Most people spend their money to get the most utility - fun, food, whatever. Entrepreneurs spend their money to make the most money.
This picture is worth a million words. As a consumer we spend money on things for personal gratification - things that give us pleasure, satisfaction, meeting a need, motivation, enlightenment, satiate our ego or whatever else that makes us feel better. They do not help us make more money unless the money is spent on buying an asset of value. An an entrepreneur one needs to spend money on creating assets that will help create more money. This goes back to an earlier post that I wrote on Building your brands and assets. It is these brands and assets that you can monetize and generate more money. 
As an entrepreneur it is very important to think this way. Its important to take stock of the assets you have and evaluate if these assets are being monetized properly and at the same time figure out what new assets can be created that can be monetized even more.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Whats a good idea to startup with?

How do you select a good idea that can make money and the picture above illustrates very nicely what such an idea can be. Ideas are plenty and if you put your mind to it you will come up with so many ideas that it becomes overwhelming after a bit. But which of these ideas can be converted into a company that can make money?

We all end up doing what we do well and what we can be paid to do - because that is the easiest thing to do. We know how to do the work and we get paid for it so the rewards are instantaneous. But can we do this day in and day out for the rest of our lives - the answer is no because its not what we want to do. The passion will be lacking. When there is no passion there is no yearning to be the best or to give quality or to go to all lengths to ensure that the customer is delighted. When this does not happen you will start to lose customers and the business will not sustain.

It is important to focus on ideas that you want to work on and are excited to work on and then hope that it all comes together by becoming an idea that you are very good at doing and a customer is willing to pay you for doing it. Hitting this sweet spot happens over time and significant effort.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Hotel Review : The Claridges, Surajkund

Back in July, I got to spend a couple of nights in The Claridges, Surajkund. The hotel itself is very nice and spacious and is located about 25 km from the airport. As you enter the hotel the lobby and the reception is very spacious and inviting.

The room
The room is very spacious and airy. All the amenities that one expects in a 5 star hotel are present. We did not get much time to spend in the room as it was quite a hectic 2 days filled with meetings and discussions.

The swimming pool
The swimming pool is really nice. We spent a lot of time in the pool - might explain the lack of time spent in the room :). The swimming pool is next to the spa and it is an elevated pool with nice privacy. The water was warm and just lovely to lounge in for hours together. They do not sell swimming gear at the hotel so make sure you carry it and also they are quite strict with the clothing in the pool.

Restaurants and Bars
Dhaba - is a north Indian restaurant that has a rustic feel to it. The food is good and very tasty but also very very expensive. The bar Azure is a great place to just relax and have a drink. The Coffee Shop serves up a very good breakfast in the morning and there was not a single dish that I did not like - they were all tasty.


Other facilities
We used the conference room facilities and they were quite impressive and well equipped. The only issue we faced was with the internet connection. They also do have a gym that is well equipped and a spa. Although I did not visit the spa those who did go for a treatment came back very happy and contented.

The hotel is very nice to spend a day or two in away from the hustle and bustle of Delhi to just relax and unwind. There is not much to do in the immediate vicinity of the hotel unless you have a vehicle of your own. Call cabs do come to the hotel if you call them well in advance. Spur of the moment activities to do outside the hotel without transport is non existent unless you are willing to pay the heavy price of hiring a cab from the hotel.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Windows 8 : Hibernate Vs Sleep

By default the Windows 8 operating system does not come with the hibernate option. When you close the lid the computer sleeps by default. This is how I left my system for the first couple of days but what I quickly realized that even though I was doing nothing - my computer was just sleeping and so was I, my battery would be drained by morning. There would be absolutely no charge left by the time I put on the laptop in the morning. 

Thankfully Microsoft has not removed the hibernate option in Windows 8 - you just have to search for it under the many menus and you will find it or just follow the steps in this article and you will be there in a minute - http://www.addictivetips.com/windows-tips/how-to-enable-windows-8-hibernate-option/

The option to find the menu to hibernate is quite hidden and a pain to do each time so what I have done is configured the sleep button to hibernate. Now I have no issues with my battery and my laptop does not feel like a heater each time I put it on. The hibernate option is much improved in Windows 8 and my laptop is able to hibernate in less than 10 seconds.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Windows and XBox 360

Being a person who watches a lot of downloaded content I was trying to figure out a way to stream content directly from my laptop to the TV. Since I have an XBox 360 I wanted to do it through that. In the past I have used Boxee but that meant having another computer connected to the TV.

Windows 7 + Windows Media Center + XBox 360

When I had Windows 7 on my laptop I installed Windows Media Center and then connected that to the XBox 360 and streamed movies. The connection was a bit convoluted and painful. And I suffered from the following problems
  1. It would not reliably connect every time. Sometimes it connected with no issues sometimes it would just not behave. Its not a router issue as both the XBox and the laptop had wired connections into the same router. 
  2. Not all kinds of downloads played. The WMC software would play it on the laptop if the codecs were installed but the same would not play on the TV. 

Windows 8 + XBox 360

I then went on to install Windows 8 on my laptop. This had some very nice options once you install the latest update of the XBox. The XBox gets instantly recognized in case you are on the same network and you can right click on the movie and say play to XBox. Or you can go into the Videos App on Windows 8 and then play the movie directly onto the XBox. Well this was not the perfect solution either.
  1. You cannot fast forward, rewind or start the move from a particular position. Each time you start the movie it starts right from the beginning. 
  2. Not all kinds of movies play. For the last movie that I had the XBox had to be signed into my XBox online account for it to be able to use some plugin to play the movie. When ever for what ever reason the online account got disconnected the movie stopped playing and you have to start from the beginning all over again.

Windows 8 + PS3 Media Server + XBox 360

To overcome the above 2 issues the answer was to install the PS3 Media Server and to stream movies through that onto the XBox. Since the movies were streaming through the Media Server they can be watched from anywhere and also it had all the encoding software to play any kind of movie. All seemed very good in theory and looked like just the hack I needed to get my movies playing. But it was not to be. Neither does my media server show up in the XBox nor does my server show the XBox as a renderer.  Tried all sorts of things including turning off the firewall but did not have any success.

Well I am not sure if Microsoft plans to upgrade the software in the mean time I will try and figure out a way to get this done and if I succeed will give me content for another blog post :).

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Review : Novotel Hyderabad International Airport

A couple of weeks ago I got to spend a night at the Novotel International Airport Hotel. The hotel is located in shamshabad about 3 km from the International Airport. The hotel is 5 star and there are a lot of facilities available at the hotel to keep one engaged for a day. In this article I will review some of the facilities I did get to use in the airport.

The room
The room is very ordinary. There are a lot of other 5 star hotels that have rooms that are much more spacious and luxurious. There are two views, the swimming pool view and the airport view but there is not much to view either way so it does not make much of a difference. The room has all the standard accessories and fittings one expects in a 5 star hotel.   We did not get any night service where the bed is prepared to sleep in. Newspapers are only given on request. The television has a few foreign language channels other than the usual cable channels that one gets in India.
The Square
I had all my meals at the square. That is lunch and dinner on the first day and breakfast the next morning. The lunch was regular 5 star restaurant quality food with some live counters one for Chinese, one for pizza and pasta and so on. The food was nothing to be overly excited about. In the night they had a more international spread with dishes from different countries including a sushi counter. The food again was average - didn't really go for seconds. The breakfast was very average - the Indian food was actually bad. Would I spend money to have food here again - not with the current quality. There are a lot of better places to eat in Hyderabad. Although around the hotel there are no places, one would have to go to the airport for fast food kind of fare. There is a free shuttle that one can take to the airport from the hotel.

Swimming Pool
The swimming pool is within the confines of the hotel so it is surrounded on two sides by rooms and on one side by The Square.  The depth of the entire pool is only 4 feet and there is a smaller kids pool of 2.5 feet. There is not much sunshine that hits the pool other than in the afternoon when the sun is overhead and being December the water was really cold even at noon. We saw the person adding a lot of chlorine powder into the pool in the morning. Only towels are available at the pool and there is no lifeguard. They were not strict on the dress code while getting into the water.The problem is also that the pool is in a very public place so there are a lot of watchful eyes all the time. So anyone who is public shy will not be comfortable swimming in this pool.

Gymnasium 
The Gym is quite big and has a lot of equipment. There was no trainer available and also there were very few people using the gym. They have a nice table tennis table with quite a bit of space around the table to have a good game, the bats and balls are present with the spa front desk next to the table. They also have a sauna separate for men and women.

The other facilities at the hotel include another restaurant called Haldi that serves indian food and The Bar that you will see as soon as you enter the hotel. The 02 spa is quite extensive and have quite a few pricey treatments on offer. For sport, they also have a basketball court and a beach volleyball court.

Generally the staff is a bit cold and they don't make you feel at home and comfortable. On the whole it was just an okay stay with okay food and some okay entertainment options. No real wow factor here.