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Surprise

Surprise

A Surprised Cat — Photo by Paul on Unsplash

It was a Friday night party. Our host sprung a surprise by asking us to solve a crossword puzzle that he had created himself that afternoon. The dynamics of the party instantly changed.

Two teams got hyper focused on decoding the cryptic clues. Everyone was around the table collaborating and high-fiving when an answer was found.

When we recollect memories and remember the good old days, I’m sure it will be such experiences that will pop out first.

So, go ahead and create your own surprise. Your friends will remember you for that.

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Friday Letter

Friday Letter

Photo by Stijn Swinnen on Unsplash

I could ramble on about how the latest crop of on demand home services have been a dismal failure.

I was involved in this industry for about one year. We couldn’t convince investors that we could go up against the likes of Amazon Home Services, Porch, Pro.com, Thumbtack etc. Our model was a flat fee for specific type of installs. It’s another matter that our CEO kind of split and left after our key partnership with a online home retailer blew up. The online retailer suddenly realized their liability of not having a license of providing services in every state. Hard lesson learnt.

Every time I use any of these services, it’s not a pleasant experience. I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say that an app driven, friction free, on demand home improvement experience is quite ways away, if at all.

There are lots of things to complain about.

However, let me stop for a moment to think about people who serve their country in war and help keep the peace voluntarily. I respect you. I respect the people and businesses that embrace you and help you find a post combat career. I wish you the very best during combat and after you come home.

I’m ashamed that despite living in this planet for awhile, I don’t have a friend or acquaintance who is a veteran. Hopefully, in the near future, I will come bearing good news.

Happy Veterans Day.

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TV

TV

It’s a jungle out there

The ways we consume video has undergone a rapid shift in the last 20 years.

Until some 10 years ago, we watched TV either by using a terrestrial antenna or hooking up a cable set top box to our Televisions.

Companies like Microsoft tried various initiatives to get their software into the set top boxes and drive the User Experience. I recall WebTV, MSN TV, Microsoft TV, Windows Media Center as various flavors that were attempted. It was exciting times back then. I was involved in a few of those efforts

Now we have Xbox, Roku, AppleTV, Xfinity, DirectTV, Dish, Android TV, FireTV, Sling TV, various Smart TVs among others engaged in capturing our leisure time and money. On top of that we have the media content providers such as Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon fighting for attention. The choices are great for the consumer.

Increasing bandwidth to the home, the mobile phone, maturity of streaming protocols have come together to create this large ecosystem.

The net neutrality debates have thrown more attention into this area as internet providers want to play up the entertainment stack.

Subscription and advertising are the two revenue models in vogue for the providers.

We have personally switched from using a cable set top box to Roku.

This is fascinating to observe. It would be an interesting exercise to crystal ball this space. All I can say for now is that the market is bound to remain fragmented.

What do you think? Any prognostications?

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Getting Angry in a Snap

Getting Angry in a Snap

Yesterday, we participated in the worst Yoga class in our experience.

In hindsight, we realized we could have been injured.

Usually, I cut some slack for instructors as some bad days happen.

This was inexcusable. We intend to send our strong feedback to the owner.

Life got better after a good pizza was consumed and good news came out of Virgina / NJ

It was also hard to witness the massacre in SNAP stock. Didn’t own any before the crash.

To come out and declare that you are going to rewrite your software for a leading platform shows a crisis of confidence from it’s leaders. To say you are going to share revenue with your partners means you have lost some swagger. The usability challenge was seen as a quirk, until they couldn’t fool everyone. The massive write down due to spectacles inventory illustrates that even well funded public companies suffer from not paying attention to product market fit. SNAP should make an effort to go international and stop with it’s snobby assertion that users in developed countries don’t get it. I have liked SNAP as a product but its monumental weakness in discovering friends meant I was going to use it only in passing.

FB’s copy and paste domination is complete. I’m rooting for SNAP to come out of its funk and put up a good fight. Maybe a change in leadership is needed.

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Hope

Hope

My friend is suffering from Cancer. It’s real sad to hear him describe his physical pain. I wish we could wave a magic wand and have the pain disappear.

I hope it’s ok to write this and still protect his privacy.

We had a video call with him. It was great to see him smiling and engaging in our reminiscent conversations. I haven’t had a laugh like that in a while.

I know he is a fighter. When you attend college a real long distance from your home town, you start to build resilience. He is the epitome of that resilience.

His family is in our daily thoughts. Our collective thoughts and prayers will send him the energy to succeed everyday.

So, my friend keep fighting the good fight. We are cheering for you.