Bringing YouTube one step closer to replacing traditional TV - Announcing

I had subscribed to Indian programming on Dish Network, mainly to get the latest updates on bollywood movies and music. YouTube always had all the content, but never had a good way to discover it in a easy way. This is fixed now. I am super-excited to announce Video Mirchi. You can access it at
Video Mirchi looks up the top charts every day and creates a continuously playing video channel powered by youtube. There is no login or signup - its just like a TV channel playing the latest bollywood videos.  It works on both computer and mobile. Connect it with your TV directly or via Airplay. Enjoy!

A personal review of Lytro Camera

I just received my Lytro camera on Friday.  I played with it for 2 days, carrying it almost everywhere I went. There were a lotof 'pro' reviewson the camera, but very few consumer ones, so I thought I will write down my thoughts on it.

Quick summary on Lytro as a camera:

What I liked:
It is a very well built camera. It feels great in the hands, and its construction is high quality.Its fast. There is no shutter lag. The touch interface works great and is easy to use.It charges via USB when connected to the computer.Software is minimal but decent. Lytro uses its own image format, so you need the software to view the photos. There are tons of other things I wished it did, but it does the job for now.Image quality (besides the resolution) is pretty decent. What I didn't like: The screen is horrible. I can't believe they put such a poor quality screen on this camera.The demos that they have on their site are definitely not with a real camera.. the screen in their demos is cryst…

Smart TV FAIL. Let's go back to the Idiot Box.

Having observed the whole 'connected tv' phenomenon first hand since my early days at YouTube, contributing to XBMC since its inception and being really interested in this space personally, I am very upset with the direction where Smart TV is going.

I think that the future should not include 'Apps on TV', 'Browser on TV', and its also not 'Read Facebook or Check Email on the TV'.  They are terrible to use and there are some fundamental reasons why they will never be good: TV is a consumption device for media (photos, videos and music).An average TV is a few feet away from the user. This makes it difficult to read any text that is not blown up to the size of subtitles.It is also a shared device, so anything that is relatively personal (like email) is not practical to use on the TV.The interface on TV is simple: Big menu items and Big boxes. Anything beyond this gets cluttered up because of its size restrictions.It is really awesome at what it does: Play …

Smarter Email

I love Email.

It just works. It works because it is flexible, open, and anyone can use it. It works very well in heterogeneous environments as the email standard is well documented, accepted and implemented.

I have looked at a ton of 'solutions' that try to replace emails, but nothing really works as seamlessly as good-old email.

The goal of email is to enable communication and think that it can be improved. It will be stupid to completely replace this amazing means of communication, when it fundamentally works well. What needs to be done is to make it 'smarter'.

What's broken is not the ability of emails to enable communication, but that the forms of communication have now become more complicated whereas email is still at its original design built for person-to-person messaging. Because email worked for everything, everything piled onto it making it complicated.

What needs to happen is that a standard should be created on top of email, that can handle 'special…

The Native-App economy and its future

Since the launch of iPhone, everyone has been trying to replicate the App Store model that Apple created. Every operator, OEM and even independent companies are trying to create their own app stores and native app platforms.

The app store/native app model is inherently a walled garden model. This is analogous to AOL in the early days of the internet. AOL was the first one to truly bring internet to the 'masses'. Internet was very young at the time, and was difficult to use. AOL, by controlling the ecosystem and adding restrictions so that everything works well within it, was able to drive adoption for the internet.

In 1999, DoCoMo launched iMode in Japan and did what AOL did - but to mobile devices. All of a sudden, people could open emails, look up stock prices, check the weather and even read magazines all from their phone. iMode was extremely popular and put Japan way ahead of the world in mobile use. Following DoCoMo, other Japanese operators also created their own 'p…

Want to know your users better? Run your own analytics!

(Originally posted on theicebreak blog.)

Theicebreak is all about understanding relationships. It makes sense then that we would want to ensure that we have a strong understanding of who we are in a relationship with - our user base.

To do so, we really focus on tracking every feature and functionality through cohort analysis, as championed by Fred Wilson, Dave McClure,  Eric Ries's lean startup movement and others.

There are now a couple of services that provide easy tools to do so for startups, including everyone's favorites...Mixpanel and KISSMetrics. We tried them all, but immediately hit some crucial limitations of these online platforms:
We have multiple interfaces (web, mobile, api) and we would have to individually integrate with analytics on each one. A way to solve this is to integrate on the server side.We wanted to combine this data with other attributes, for example, break down a certain feature by male vs female users, or married vs engaged couples.We needed to be…

Spotify, MOG, Rdio, Rhapsody for Bollywood Music

I now have at-least 6 different devices that are used to play music, so I think its high time to look seriously at streaming music services.

I tried Spotify, Rdio, MOG and Rhapsody. All of them seem to have good audio quality, and a pretty solid music catalog for western music. 
My requirements are simple:

Must have:
Good Bollywood music catalogShare accounts, so that both me and my wife can listen to music at workAndroid, iPhone, PC supportNice to have: Offline playbackUpload songs already owned by me
SpotifyMOGRdioRhapsodyBollywood CatalogYesYesLackingLackingShared AccountNoYesDidn't CheckDidn't CheckAndroid, iPhone, PCYesYesDidn't CheckDidn't Check
To test the bollywood catalog, I used following combination of  music:
SpotifyMOGRdioRhapsodyZindagi Na Milegi Dubara (2011)YesYesNoNoDelhi Belly (2011)NoNoNoNoSangam (1964)YesYesYesYesPurani jeans (Song)YesYesYesYesPatiala house (2010)YesYesYesYesDouble Dhamaal (2011)YesYesNoNo
Based on my requirements, MOG is a clear winner. I…