Simply Living Hardly Thinking

Not Always
March 13th, 2015 by bkbirla

10 steps to get Whatsapp calling feature on your mobile phone












Here are the steps


  1. Check your Whatsapp version. It can be checked from Settings->Help->About. It should be 2.11.561 or above.
  2. Find out a friend who already has calling feature enabled. If you don’t have any then leave your number in comments and I can call you.
  3. Ask your friend to call you via WhatsApp.
  4. Talk to your friend for a minimum of 30 secs. If you talk less than that the feature will not get enabled.
  5. Close and start Whatsapp on your mobile
  6. You should have call feature enabled by now.
  7. And you would have also realized I don’t know how to count.
December 24th, 2014 by bkbirla

Poem : ज़िंदगी के धागे

ज़िंदगी के धागे
बहुत कमज़ोर हो चले हैं
टूटते तो हैं
पर जुड़ते नहीं
उलझ जाते हैं
एक दूसरे से
कभी लगते हैं
मिलते हुए
कभी लगते हैं
एक विरोधाभास
खुद से ही खुद का
कभी कोई सोच
और कभी कोई और
मन का अंतर्द्वंद
और वो भी अंतहीन
कटुता के प्रतिबिंब कभी
तो कभी लाचारी का प्रवाह
कितना विशाल कितना अथाह
एककीपन के गहरे घाव
अग्नि से जलते हुए भाव
शीतल तट की आस में
अपने ही अस्तित्व को
अनगिनत टुकड़ों में तोड़ते
ना उद्देश्य कोई है शेष
ना शेष है कोई लौ यहाँ
बस है बचा है कुछ
तो अवशेष हैं
स्मृतियों की दीवार हैं
और एक कोने में हैं बचे
कुछ बुने हुए
और कुछ अध्बुने
ज़िंदगी के धागे
बहुत कमज़ोर हो चले हैं
December 16th, 2014 by bkbirla

Poem: जाने क्या

जाने क्या लिखा है किताबों में
जाने क्या ये सब बोलते हैं
बचपन को बंदूक की नोक पे
धर्म के तराज़ू में तोलते हैं

काटते हैं मासूमियत को
हैवानियत की तलवार से
ज़हर ये किस रंग का
इंसानियत में घोलते हैं

ना आँसू ही रुकते हैं
ना लहू ही रुकता है
धर्म की अंधी भगदड़ में
हम सब लाशों पे दौड़ते हैं

जाएँगे कौन सी ज़न्नत में
ये धर्म के सौदागर
लाश जो मासूम बच्चों की
कमज़ोर कंधों पे छोड़ते हैं

November 26th, 2014 by bkbirla

Poem : एक आह


एक आह की ज़िंदगी भी
आख़िर ज़िंदगी क्या होती है
एक ज़ख़्म से उभरती है
एक ज़ख़्म में फ़ना होती है

क्या कहें किस से कहें
ये ज़ुबान गद्दार है
दर्द की इंतेहा तो बस
आँखों से बयान होती है

गुम हो जाएँगे हम भी
आख़िर दस्तूर-ए-खुदाई है
अभी तो रूह मेरी हर दिन
टुकड़ों टुकड़ों में रवाँ होती है

November 9th, 2014 by bkbirla

Now you get it right Amazon – Kindle White Joy of Reading ad

I wrote about Amazon Echo ad which was horribly wrong but now I see another ad from Amazon which I think they get totally right. Almost full marks to them. First of all let us understand the product and the context in which they are trying to market it. It is very similar. They are trying to crate a new market in both geographies. In USA people are not used to a talking Alexa in their households and in India we are not used to reading on electronic devices.


When you are trying to create a category, marketing becomes a little bit tricky. You have to educate the audience but then you need to make sure that it is not just a communication about product features. It has to ignite an emotion.


Now coming to this ad, the first part shows journey to his roots and how Kindle is a companion in that. I can closely relate to that as that is my usecase also. I use my kindle mostly when I am in flights. And then ad takes a U turn in the end where it transforms from a reading device to a device which can be used to tell stories. Now that is an emotion we can all relate to in India. Most of us have been at both ends of story telling. Look how cleverly all features like, change brightness and long battery life have been conveyed without any fuss, unlike Amazon Echo ad. Then a song pops up towards the end which has a rustic feel to it. Overall well executed.

Few things which could have been done better.

1. How about starting the ad with an invitation to inaugurate a school in his home village.

2. The song could have been extended and started much earlier in the ad. It has a nice line. Let me add few more

Maati teri, kahani teri, mitti se hai judi, zindagani teri

Mitti ke phool, khushboo aur dhool, wo bhi tere

Tere hi hain, sapne aur dhoop

Maati teri, kahani teri, mitti se hai judi, zindagani teri




November 7th, 2014 by bkbirla

Why Amazon Echo ad sucks


Let me state the executive summary first. Advertisement is not a user manual.


Look at this ad. Doesn’t it look like a user manual. Does it inspire any emotions in you. Does it talk about an inspirational product or just various use cases in which it can be effective. Unfortunately users are not as rational as what sometimes brands assume and what sometimes even users assume. That is precisely the reason why marketers need to focus on inciting the right passions. Here is a suggested story line to this ad which would have changed the communication dynamics. I am just trying to derive from the same ad, not suggest another one. Amazon will have to pay me for a different ad idea.


First of all, they should have identified only few use cases. This ad has become too long. How about just focusing on few use cases and specially the ones which bring out human emotions which people could relate to. Even making different for every ad would have been useful.


I would suggest the following.

1. Brother and sister fighting

2. Wife turning down approach by husband in bed room.

3. A romantic moment created by the product


So in all these cases we create Alexa as a hypothetical character. The device does not come first but situation comes first. The situations have highlighted emotions and then the product is unveiled towards the end with a punch like – Add echo to your family.


Makes sense?


November 7th, 2014 by bkbirla

Logistics, reverse logistics, circle of life and a girl called Priya

Priya - AdalBdal donor
Flashback: <make it black and white>
1st Nov, 2012 – A usual day in the life on eCommerce entrepreneur. Just one thing he forgot to account for. It is Kannada Rajyotsava day and the staff has vanished without a warning. And on top of that customers keep ordering more and more sitting at home. Chaos was inevitable and calling it chaos is a gross understatement. The day started early and ended very late. There was no time for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All that went inside was a veg puff bought from a bakery in Sarjapura road when the delivery boy with me went inside an apartment for delivery. The same was true with delivery boy also. Must have driven my Scorpio over 200 kms all over the town delivering probably over 100 orders. Who says running logistics is easy.
Now: <Switch on the colors>
7th Nov, 2014 – A young lady Priya had posted on AdalBdal that she wanted to give away her Samsung TV. She followed it up  with a message to our Facebook page and we did have a call. She wanted to make sure that her TV brings smiles to kids of Adrane Charitable Trust. And as I picked up the TV from her home today morning, she also offered her gas stove if it could bring smiles to kids. And I happily picked up that also. Who says running reverse logistics is tough.
So this is the circle of life. From running logistics for a margin of 15% on order size to running reverse logistics for a margin of lots of smiles, things couldn’t get better. Hope there will be many more Priyas in this world, hope lot of people will be able to give away their fetish for sticking to stuff they don’t use, hope people will understand life beyond money and ownership.


November 6th, 2014 by bkbirla

The blue ticks of WhatsApp

_20141106_184046So you have seen this feature already or not. A Blue tick indicates that the other side has read your message or not. Not sure what was their motivation, but this is going to create some interesting circumstances for sure.
Whatsapp enables asynchronous communication and in asynchronous communication it is important that you can respond when you want to instead of real time. Now this indication of that other party has read changes the dynamics of this communication. It is almost as important as let us say if made all the profiles public. This kills the essence of asynchronous communication. And since there are no options to control this at a user level, it makes this feature a privacy killer. How many of us love to use read receipts in email anyways.
 And then how about people who are color blind?
Hope Whatsapp guys will figure this out and evolve this feature correctly. What do you say guys?


October 7th, 2014 by bkbirla

How to make the damn thing scale

Steel_ruler_closeupSo all of us have been thinking how some of the websites are not able to take on the traffic they get exposed to. We have reached a critical mass in the industry and it is important for large internet companies to take this more seriously and also understand that scaling goes beyond adding hardware. Here are few aspects I would like to point out based on my experience.


This is one big issue. Even Flipkart has pointed this out in their apology. The dynamics of marketing have changed. The various mediums have evolved and how the marketing is measured has not made much progress. Traffic estimation has to become more scientific and we also need to measure both online as well as offline mediums.


Another ignored area by lots of companies. A strong testing organization is need of the hour. Software has become much more complex and distributed. Testing is not just about overall functionality. In most of the scenarios the actual user scenario leads to invocation of multiple components and interactions between those components need to be carefully modeled to handle edge case scenarios. Always remember, you are as strong as your weakest link. Testing strategy needs to take into account for the weakest component also.

Hardware is not magic bullet

We can not solve everything by adding hardware. Sometimes business owners do make an assumption that just adding hardware can help but it can also make your deployments more complex and sometimes that can cause more harm.

Horizontal or Vertical

Old technical debate about the right way to scale things. But at the internet scale of things, you will probably need both.

Chose your open source wisely

Gone are the days when people wrote code from scratch. Nowadays it is common to use components from all over the place. It is important that you test all of them properly for scale before using them. Just because they worked well in some other scenario does not mean that they will work well for you. The way you use them might be different.


Performance is still relevant and important. In the days of quick development cycles, this is often ignored and pushed to be last priority. But bad performance of a single component can have a cascading effect in the entire cycle so individual components need to be designed and tested to perform under stress.

Do add other things if you think they are important.


September 16th, 2014 by bkbirla

Poem : बुलबुला


बुलबुला हूँ कुछ ही क्षण में
क्षत विक्षत हो जाऊंगा
पर अपने जीवन की अल्पता से
मैं नहीं घबराऊंगा

चाहे सतह पर ही हो मेरे
सात रंगों की चमक
चाहे अंतरमन में उपस्थित
हो एकाकी शून्य तक
एक बच्चे की ख़ुशी बन के मैं
स्वयं ही बिखर जाऊंगा

अपने जीवन की अल्पता से
मैं नहीं घबराऊंगा

किसने समझी है यहाँ पर
नटखट समय की हठाखेलियाँ
एक क्षण में प्राप्त सब है
दूजे में सब खोये यहाँ
कब तलक इन आंकड़ों में
फँस के मैं रह पाऊँगा

अपने जीवन की अल्पता से
मैं नहीं घबराऊंगा

ना तिमिर का भेदी हूँ मैं
ना कोई घर का दिया
एक पल में जी लिया
एक पल में मर लिया
लुप्त होते होते भी
बस यही दोहराऊंगा

अपने जीवन की अल्पता से
मैं नहीं घबराऊंगा