Confessions of an Ambush Marketer

Dear Internet Surfer, I have sinned.

  • Ever since I have found about HTML forms and Emailing systems, I have been lurking around in web-pages awaiting to spring that form on you
  • When I found about javascript and the onLoad event, I welcome you to my pages and bidded for my time. The time to spring my multi-inputted trap!
  • jQuery added to my arsenal of timed web-pages and put some smarts in my traps. My traps started looking good and how!
  • CSS helped me to create the singing sirens, beckoning you to click on my lovely form elements
  • Smart written form elements and squeeze pages made me more credible to you
  • Auto-responders helped me to have an active dialogue with you … making you think that I actually care to have a conversation
  • After well timed campaigns when you swiped your credit card and transferred your hard(ly) earned money to my account, I can only do but thank you for your efforts

In case, if you can find it in your heart to forgive me, then please forget the money that you paid to me and consider this as a practical lesson learnt!

Why I don’t care about Lok Pal?

With too many blogs, media shows and news announcements on the Lok Pal Bill, I thought I would add my $0.02 on the subject.

I confess that I am no expert on this, but neither do I want to be. I do not want to add to the voice of social passivism.

It’s sad to think that the country would require one support system to keep other support systems in check which were meant to do their job. That’s it in a nut shell.

What guarantee do we have that the Lok Pal committee will not do their jobs?

Here’s my favorite quote which is so apt in this context – Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Nothing special

I wanted to make this a special post. It’s my 400th one on the blog.

However, 2 busy weeks and a sad case of writer’s block later, I decided to let myself go … where I get the inspiration, but cannot put pen to paper.

Nothing is special. It’s a post, there.

On the other hand, it does not have to be something unique or worldly … it does not have to be an insight. The mere number should make me happy … on to # 500 then!

Although if mere number of posts are going to satisfy my ego, then perhaps I should look at integration some sort of an RSS to my RPC. That never was the point, was it.

The Infinite Debate

There is a forum that I visit every once in a while, a place where a lot of youngsters flock for sharing ideas and seeking help on technical topics. As would happen due to my strongly felt statements, I recently got into a flaming match. Fortunately this is being conducted via IMs and not on the public forum directly.

I am finding it noteworthy because a decade back or so, I would have taken the stand that I am currently speaking against. The topic at discussion here is what should one do if one wants to build great websites. As always, I have chosen function over form and gone for learning design patterns, frameworks, understanding how logic is written and how algorithms can make you code better.

The youth (I am assuming that he is one, since his language reflects the brazenness of a college brat), has a simple argument. Since the end point of all websites is HTML, one should learn HTML inside out (HTML, CSS, JS, validations, the works). In all probability, I would have chosen the same answer … but that’s what decades are for – telling us our past answers were wrong :-)

As I was trading IMs, I realized that perhaps there is more to this question than a simple answer –

  1. Form V/s Function: Firstly, there is the age old looks v/s functionality argument.
  2. You have the what makes a website great topic (Purpose, Usability, Functionality, what?)
  3. Then there is the Purpose of a website tangent
  4. And if that’s not all, you have the you cannot teach creativity argument

All the aforementioned approaches can enable one to make websites. They are tools. But first, do you have an idea as to what problem are you solving with your website?

Get an idea.

Life as a Lane

02040_blackroad_1280x800 I have taken naturally to car philosophy. As I sat behind the wheel one fine evening, this thought came into my mind. That life could be interpreted as a long driving lane with a series of traffic signals, twists and turns, short cuts, the entire works.

  • Some people rest at traffic signals, while others seem impatient to move on
  • Some people jump signals while morality in the form of a khaaki policeman blows a shrill whistle
  • Some people just want to get ahead
  • … those that do, do not know what to do when they are ahead, so they keep on cruising
  • Some people do not want to take risks, so they go with the flow
  • Yes, there are beggars!

I think I can go on and on with this analogy … what do you think?

Crashed!

I generally leave for my office at 9am or 8.45am. Today, I got delayed … I left from my home at 9.30am. A matter of thirty minutes and the entire western express highway was swamped with traffic. One huge moving traffic jam from Andheri (my place) to Goregaon (my office). Thank my stars that my office is not any further!

Somewhere in the midst of this huge traffic jam, a street urchin rushed past my car … I had to immediately push the brakes in order to hit her. Stop I did, but the car stalled. In the middle of a traffic … on a slope.

With seconds ticking by … and what seemed like an eternity, try as I may, the car simply would not start (there is some problem with the starter in my car). So I relaxed, turned off the ignition, put the car in neutral … and hey!! I am moving back … (grrr … I had forgotten that I was on a slope!).

Thud!! I had slammed right into the vehicle behind me (an auto rickshaw carrier). The driver is boiling now, and his accomplice has gotten off to check the damage. At that point, the words of Baba dawned upon me –

  1. Relax and take it easy
  2. Let the traffic go and do not care about them
  3. Focus on getting the car started

So I switched on the hand brake, put the car in neutral and turned on the ignition. The car started!

Luckily, the auto was not even scratched (it was just a bumper to bumper bump). Also, the driver was now cooled down and we exchanged a few pleasantries (apologies from my side and advice from his) and I moved off.

The world without Microsoft Office

In a discussion with a friend (and an ex-colleague), we were joking about work life in general (euphemism for mutual bitching). It seems that a lot of us are destined to work on Microsoft Office Powerpoint and Microsoft Office Excel almost all the time; be it a job in the sales team, the financial analyst team, the business analyst team … Microsoft Office never leaves us.

A shared fantasy was, what would happen to the world if Microsoft Office suddenly ceased to exist … the following are some pearls from that discussion … of course I have added some of my own, and welcome all of you to keep on adding to this list through the comments –

  1. MBAs would not have anything to do apart from sitting in meetings
  2. Corporations would realize how overly paid we all are
  3. The consulting industry would come to a virtual stand still
  4. People will actually work instead of creating documents
  5. Colleagues and teams will start talking to each other instead of exchanging documents and Track Change (Ctrl+Shift+E) reviews and Comments (Alt+R+C)
  6. Wikis and other collaborative groupware would be put to use … heck even Google Buzz might be exhumed
  7. B-schools will be forced to change their pedagogy or they will be virtually assignment-free … wheeee!!

… to be continued