Friday, October 30, 2009

"Carrying the bag" from Marc Benioff

Here is an interview with Marc Benioff -- the CEO of Very early on my career, I realized starting at the bottom of any organization and/or learning about the real users how they do their work, gives the best picture of what an user wants and how you can sell to them.

Almost two decades ago, indeed I did start at the bottom -- as a lowly performance improvement analyst at $23,000 per annum salary, which subsequently led me to "learn to see" and understand how one of the most complex (process-wise) organization on planet aka "hospital" works. A learning that I could not have replicated or learned in any other way.

Our PAKRA products simulate how users do their work and learn .. i.e. customer-driven, hence Marc Benioff's comments resonates with me and are reinforced every day in our PAKRA culture.

Read more ...’s Marc Benioff: ‘Many CEOs are afraid to get too personal’

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Teachers are Getting Creative.

This is from earlier in the year, but the message is still very interesting. I have noticed more and more video games targeted at teaching basic skills and, according to this article from, many schools are picking up on the trend. Come to think of it, weren't many of us playing The Oregon Trail in school 12-15 years ago? Just goes to show how much you can learn when having fun!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Girls can play and have fun. Games with intrigue and strategy component remains important.

Watch this fairly old TED Talks:
Brenda Laurel on games for girls

Fellas! We can all don our Ma Kali avatars. Watch out!

My kids are not geniuses. Please refund $29.95 for the product I bought.

Today, I read this New York Times article about Disney's recent policy to offer refunds to all parents who purchased Baby Einstein educational videos and supposedly their child DID NOT become a genius.

I think this is a great example of a business standing behind their customer guarantee -- "we will refund when your expectation is not met, provided you acknowledge your incredulous beliefs were not met."

From Disney's standpoint, how many mothers will really acknowledge that their precious child did not turn out to be a genius?

I say the score for frivolous class action attorneys: 0, business smarts: 1
No Einstein in Your Crib? Get a Refund

Mr. Steve Levitt: Here is another case study for you!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Is this our time? Is this our moment?

Web 2.0 conference is underway. As usual, cheerful and interesting ideas are being presented. One of those this year is from Mark Pincus.

A hunch and gut again is all good "shaping excitement" vision. Can someone kick it up a notch? That's the question that I want an answer.

Read ...
Web 2.0: Zynga’s Mark Pincus predicts an economy built around social apps

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"When I grow up I want to be middle management?"

Many years ago during Superbowl -- launched its first nationwide ads. One of the ads had a young teen in B&W backdrop saying, "When I grow up I want to be a middle management?" There were many others -- such as "When I grow up I want to file all day." Loved them all.

Remember y'all. It is hard to be a middle manager -- because one has to truly manage up, bottom and peer -- in all 360 degrees. It is one of the hardest scenario for any manager. Burn-out can be high and scope of influence spreads as far as the petty bureaucrat's 4X6 wooden desk.

I find myself thinking about it. I found an article about Middle management excellence.

I have no beef with those who want structured existence and want to forget about their work-lives, once they leave the parking lot of their work-place. They can earn a fair living and and do things in remaining hours in the day that's not "like" work. It is a great choice. Additionally every company needs them, so there is risk-free with some guaranteed certitude to always have a job.

However, if one is a little bit ambitious, a little bit wanting to do more at one's job, then one has to make a choice and work towards transcending their current predicament. They must make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ask oneself, "What should I do to lead, than being led?" "What do I enjoy doing?" "What are my priorities?

There are easy ways to transcend it. I have seen "individual contributors" and "consultants" make this transition and leap beyond the middle management woes quickly.

Others -- they have to start thinking where they want to be be. It is all in one's mind.

Rest -- enjoy your life outside work. That too can be pleasant.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Speculation Abounds - Price of Xbox 360 Gold Membership to Double?

If you are a gamer and the Xbox 360 is your console of choice, then it is likely that you are paying $50 per year for a Gold Membership. This membership allows you to download content, accumulate friends lists, play others on-line, and even stream NetFlix content. At $50 per year, or $4 per month, most users hardly mind the fee.

What if this fee were to DOUBLE? Many industry experts (including a blogger at feel that it is only a matter of time before this happens. Will the gamer community be tolerant of a 100% price increase when they are already paying $60 per new game and $1.99 or more for downloadable content? You've paid at least $300 for your console, $50 for each extra wireless remote that you've bought, and $50 for a wireless router that allows you to tap in to your internet service. Have I mentioned that each rechargeable battery for your controllers runs you $20 and the charger for that battery is another $20? While $8 per month does not sound that excessive, it certainly isn't easy to stomach in light of the built in expenses of gaming on an Xbox 360.

For more speculation on a Gold Membership price increase, take a look at Matt Peckham's blog on

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ron Arad: A view

As many of you: I spend my spare time pouring over chairs. Ron Arad -- a designer to salivate on. Design -- whether it is a chair, or whether it is a room, or a glass or software. User experience is what matters.

Go to NYC --- to see the exhibit.. Or else via online. Ron Arad at MoMA

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What did you just say? "You can pack your data and go!"

Recently I read the following article about you -the user- packing your data and leaving. This is the best idea that I have come across in recent times.

For those of us involved with customer-driven competition, this makes perfect business sense. If you -the provider- (a) cannot figure out cheaper ways to acquire consumers and (b) cannot keep your consumers by remaining fresh in your consumers eyes, then why should your products and services be a marketplace success?

Unfortunately VCs and Financing communities do not typically want easy ways for consumers to leave your company. However, at the end of the day the product and service must stand on its own merit.

Let our incredible interface and the experience you have and the "ease-of-use" keep you -Our User- with us and not the contract terms and conditions (T&Cs.) Excellent barriers to exit can only be created when one has a great product and gives the user a great experience. It cannot be done with great terms and conditions (T&C). Exercising T&C related business practices to keep you only makes it a further aggravating experience for you.

Some examples of T&C based exits:
1. I remember few years ago how AOL would keep users: If you called them to cancel your subscription, they would harass you for hours and hours and make it impossible to delete your userid. Finally, few State Attorney Generals (includes Elliot Spitzer) had to enforce a new rule -- "If I -- the user -- wants to leave AOL -- I really get to leave." .. without my data of course.

2. Today, the first thing that comes to my mind is Linkedin. They impose a 30 day to get out of their Premium subscription. After you realize that their Premium subscription is still expensive and there are no good applications, making you decide to cancel the subscription -- Guess what? Yes! you cannot leave for 30 days. No way for you to take your data and leave - ever. Even, the payment takes 30 days. Linkedin is waiting to be defeated by the next "connections" imitator coming into play. So! be it.

Read this ... Pack Up Your Data and Leave Whenever You Want, It’s the New Rule of the Cloud

Friday, October 16, 2009

I'm Going to Disneyland!

What will Disney think of next? This article on explains the newest attraction at your very own roller coaster! Step aside kids, I'm going to Disneyland!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Better Than the Arcade!

I have now lost hours of sleep playing the arcade games on There are so many to choose from, but baseball is my favorite. Check it out:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What's Your Social Network?

According to this CNN article, those in my "social class" are not likely to be on MySpace...and here I thought it was just out of fashion.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Women do buy video games

When we first started our company, many asked us do women/girls play video games? All our research indicated that women/girls made up more than 50% and more the community of those playing online games.

The article Videogame Firms Make a Play for Women discusses the new products that are about to flood the market and cater to the taste of girls and women gamers.

However, unlike the toy industry, the companies will be in for a big surprise of minimal takers, if they make the games too stereotypical femme pink. The gamers have gender-agnostic need of intrigue, strategy and fun.

I am just glad that the video game industry is no longer missing out on the gamergirl power.

Brickbreaker - An Addiction for All to Enjoy

This NY Times article made me feel a little less crazy for my BrickBreaker habit and even inspired me to join the facebook group called "You Think I’m Doing Something Important, but I’m Really Playing BrickBreaker".

Monday, October 12, 2009

We Would Like to Know More About How Your Workplace Hires and Trains Associates

Hi all. PAKRA would like to know more about how your workplace manages the associate hiring and training process. Please take our survey linked below. It will only take 3 minutes of your time.

Thank you in advance!

Click here to take the PAKRA Associate Hiring, Training, and Management Survey

WSJ announces the end of the reign of email

WSJ announces the end of email empire. But I still think it is worth emailing -- because Twitter and Facebook are sometimes too little, too self absorbed and one can barely attach a file .. Read on ...

Why Email No Longer Rules… And what that means for the way we communicate

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Words Rule or Should have?

Scribblenauts -- interesting but little bit of a flop, according to the critics.
Read more ... Lay Down the Guns and Swords; Your Best Weapon Is the Dictionary

Another instance of: Good concept, poor execution.