Until I read this book, I haven’t watched a single Marvel Studio movie(I was more of a RomCom person). Even though the book emphasis Robert Iger’s lessons learned during his term as CEO of Disney, and he did a great job of explaining how integrity and optimism matter in true leadership. Surprisingly, I have a different key takeaway from this book. The one thing that caught my attention was his embracement of technology into the system to be more creative that has the potential to beat the competition. I was really curious if technology did make such a huge difference and I immediately subscribed to Disney Hotstar. The content left me in awe and that’s when I decided this book will be the first of many leadership books I am going to review from my perspective. 

“Innovate or Die” a trendy saying used by most CEOs, but executing it takes great talent and getting the company out of its comfort zone.  The Walt Disney Company has embraced innovation by imbibing technology into its creative field and it is seen in its wide range of content including Marvel, Pixar, and even Fox news for that matter. Robert Iger quotes “We lead from a place of fear rather than courage, stubbornly trying to build a bulwark to protect old models that can’t possibly survive the sea change that is underway.” “Black Panther” is one of the instances where Disney came up with an innovative movie under Iger. Marvel executive was against making this movie because they thought movie led by black actors did not perform well internationally. But under Iger’s leadership, this movie received a chance to break into theaters and it grossed $1 billion worldwide. Obviously, it is a combined effort of creative artists but leaders being open to innovative ideas is a vital part of the growth of the company. Iger was successful in resolving disputes between Disney and Pixar and acquire it later to leverage Pixar’s computer-animated character into its innovation.

The Walt Disney Company is a leading and largest media company in the world. It has the capability to influence how we are entertained and influenced. Robert Iger’s decisions can influence us to great extent. This book is not a biography but rather it is a Robert Iger’s lesson that shaped his professional life. Iger compares creativity to art, not science. This statement holds a lot of weightage as he deals with one of the most creative people on this planet. Overall, this book had a great impact on me in terms of how tough decisions are taken and technology is a vital tool to impact on a large scale. 

How Social Media Makes Money from Attention?

Instagram describes itself as “A free photo and video sharing app available on iPhone and Android”. Google’s mission is “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”.  Why is Instagram developing amazing app for free? How is Google managing financially to organize the world’s information giving access to us for free? These are the same companies which are listed in the top 15 in the largest technology company by revenue according to Fortune Global 500 in 2019. Google’s new public holding company, Alphabet Inc. holds the 4th place, and Facebook, holding 14th position gets 31.8% of its revenue from Instagram. The previous 4 sentences contradict themselves, I know! The business model of these companies developed over the years is so unique for the entire humankind.

Andrew Lewis explains it very well, he states “ If you’re not paying for the product then you’re the product”. Yes, you have guessed it right! platforms like Google, Instagram, and others make money from you. They do not have any physical products like traditional giant companies like Toyota, Microsoft, Apple, Intel. So how are they using us as a product? These companies create a platform where we can avail their free services like search, interacting with friends, raising opinions, forming community with like-minded people, etc based on our need. They put in the best coders in the world to develop algorithms that result in interactive, fun and creative features that enhance user experience. With all these features, it has completely revolutionized how we as a community communicate. For example, memes are embedded in our lives on daily basis, we prefer texts over call, our conversations involve more emojis than ever, people’s opinions can reach in a creative way. All this is giving birth to a new culture and with all technological advancements, it feels like it’s a great time to be alive. All this still does not answer our question about how these companies get their revenue.

In the background, these platforms keep a record of our behavior based on our interests, dislikes, sharing, search, etc. With best coders at work, they make sure that users spend as much time on their platform. They create a person’s model based on one’s behavior and predict what one might find interesting. This data will be later used to advertise products to us based on our likings and interest. This is called personalized targeting. Let us understand from the company’s perspective who want to advertise their product: Running ads digitally turned out to be economical because investing in banners, agents is tiresome, and on top that targeting is done effectively on these platforms. Google, Instagram come into the picture here, where they act as agents who get potential buyers into the doorstep of companies who want to sell their product. This ecosystem creates a win-win situation for both users who do not want to see unwanted ads and advertising companies who want to effectively target their customers. Social platforms provide an affordable option which allows even small scale companies to advertise. Platforms earn merely by the huge volume of companies who want to advertise their product even if it is well a well established firm like McDonalds or a tiny restaurant in a remote corner of India.

This a great working model but lately with years of usage negative effects are observed with companies getting greedy and programming users at a deeper level. Violation of privacy is observed with these companies spying each and every thumb movement on the phone. More communal clashes are seen after the introduction of social media because it suggests people with similar interests and creating a biased society. Recently, I conducted a poll on my personal Instagram with small sample space and 83 people found ads creepy and annoying, only 26 think it helps them to get customized ads. Being an active user on Instagram myself, retargeting is one major problem that is annoying people.

I want to focus on one reason for annoyance is retargeting where users are made to see ads even after buying a product. “It’s like an annoying ex who keeps texting you. I’m more aware of you, but it makes me want to ignore you even more.” I get to see ads of the laptop even after buying it and I do not wish to see ads for laptops for a year or two. Platforms need to categorize ads based on whether the product is a long-time investment or short ones. Retargeting makes sense for short term ones because I will be needing a hair product frequently. Personalized ads are a great concept unlike generalized ads seen on TVs. But companies running ads still needs to categorize ads based on product usages. Social media has become part and parcel of our life and tiny changes like this can make a huge difference in how it is perceived.

Stages of Start-up Funding: Fuel to convert an Idea into Reality

The most popular and acceptable definition of a startup is “An Institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty”. I know too many fancy words put up there. In simple words, it is a young company that has just begun its operations and in the early stages of development. The startup need not to have an innovative idea, it can just implement an existing idea with a better strategy. The “Start-up” term originated with the trade press reference to companies established in the late 1990s during the dotcom bubble when Internet-related technology started growing quickly. With a common vision, two or more people agree to come together for a long, difficult, and demoralizing process, that’s where a company takes its birth.

Raising funds for start-ups is not that “fun”. Despite the rocky and risky journey, some of them emerge as giant companies. This article will focus on that rocky journey which most start-ups go through. I will be putting you in the position of the Founder so that it will be better for you to understand by relating to that role. It all starts with a fun idea with a friend or colleague and things sometimes take a serious turn. So your friend and you decide to co-found a company. First, you will be needing a legal structure and pay registration fees which costs somewhere between Rs.2,500 to Rs.10,000 in India. With a humble beginning, funds will be either raised by you or your partner or sometimes you look for support from the inner circle. Let’s just say your uncle is interested in buying a few shares from your company because he was impressed by your idea. The investment from your uncle is called Seed Investment. It usually involves high risk.

A year has passed after establishing your company beta trial on the customer has passed. You will be requiring more people to work for you and office space. You will be needing the next round of investment called Series A investment. Angel investors and Venture capitalists(VCs) are the people to look for Series A investment. Venture Capitalists are people who have investing firm and take money from the people and invest strategically. Angel investors are professionals who invest their own money in risky businesses like yours. If VCs and angels think your team is competent, impressed by your idea and past achievements then few in many will be interested to invest in your young company. You will be choosing one out of a few considering smart money. Smart money is nothing but investors’ connections and brand value which will increase your company’s brand value. With new investments coming, the shares of your friend, uncle, and you in the company will be diluted. Diluted shares do not mean no of your shares in the company will be reduced rather it is done by issuing new shares just like the central bank issues new currencies out of nowhere. The process of issuing new shares to receive cash is called Capital Raise.

Series A will not be the last investment your company will be receiving. There will be Series B, C, and sometimes D. In this journey from B to D investment, there might be an increase in no of your shares. It has been 6 years since your company started growing and successfully completed 4 rounds of investment. When customers start loving your product and your company gets noticed it is time for the early investors’ exit who have been dreaming about profitsThe exit can be through Initial Public Offering(IPOs) where the company will issue new shares and it will be owned by the public from the stock market. From there on people can sell and buy among themselves. 

Your share price will be decided based on the market price and it feels yesterday when you and your friend had vision about this company.New people will be hired working for your vision and you will be one in million as your company valuation will increase


How are countries all around the world trying to survive the Economic crisis and Recession?

The locked down due to the COVID-19 pandemic has created huge economic chaos and the worst hit since the Great Depression in the 1930s. This is a crisis like no other, and there is substantial uncertainty about its impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. An economic recession is unavoidable! But what is an economic recession? It is a period in where a given country is witnessing a negative growth for consecutive two quarters. It usually starts with a loss of business or consumer confidence. When the majority of people or businesses in a country suddenly stop spending as much money as they usually do, a downward spiral momentum kicks in.

We are witnessing a pandemic driven economy and Government intervention in financial matters is mandatory! Governments all around the world are looking to restart the damaged economy, all eyes are on the polices and support packages. This calls for the government to take up the responsibility to protect their business and people from economic disruption. Policies are being proposed and implemented to protect in response to the crisis. Governments are announcing financial packages and pumping a significant portion of the GDP into the system. Worst hit sectors include tourism, air travel, hospitality, retail and wholesale trade creating economic uncertainties.

Before jumping into the different policies undertaken by the government, let us understand what economic stimulus is and why it is required. As we all know, stimulus means to increase the activity, economic stimulus is a package to boost the economy. In simple words, this package does the role of pushing the car whose battery is drained. The package is supposed to kick start the economy by creating demand and providing financial support to both consumers and producers. This can be achieved by lowering interest rates, increasing government spending, and reducing taxes.

With the objective of restoring stability, governments announced fiscal stimulus and emergency measures to help the most affected people and businesses. There are a series of possible stimuli available from long to short term. The Indian government announced a 20 lakh crore package almost equal to India’s 10% GDP. This made the package substantial in the world after the financial packages announced by the United States which is 13% of it’s GDP and by Japan which is more than 21% of its GDP.

With a huge amount of stimulus, the government will be able to provide aid to state governments, small businesses, and money for critical supplies. Direct money transfer has also been observed in a few countries which will fix the spending problem during a pandemic. With stimulus being effectively targeted then the prices will be under control. Economic stimulus packages work if they are well designed considering all the loopholes. Recovery is possible only through coordinated action.

Indian Educational Policy 2020: The reform we all need

India is seeing a change in educational policy after 1986! Yes, I know it’s a long gap for education reform. HRD ministry named by Rajeev Gandhi’s government will be renamed as an Education ministry. To judge the new policy effectively, let us understand a few concerns Indian citizens had about the old policy. Listing few complaints, which Indians had across all the age groups include education we receive don’t yield jobs, studying subjects which are irrelevant to one’s life, exam centric, commercialization of education, corruption in the system. I am not complaining but growing up in a middle-class Indian family, I was not given many options for my higher education. The popular choice is being an engineer or doctor. The education system needs to be blamed as it has been designed to favor growing certain courses and not given enough options for students.  Our system needs to be designed in such a way that every student needs to be given equal exposure and equal opportunity for growth.

Finally, an attempt has been made to make board exams easy and school curriculum to be reduced to core concepts. Under the new policy, education is considered to holistically level which means extra curricular activities will also be considered to evaluate a student. The standard 10+2 is now being revamped to 5+3+3+4 model with 3 years of pre-primary. Focus is being shifted on higher-order skills like analysis, critical thinking, and conceptual clarity. Interestingly, with new policy emphasis on extra things like coding and vocational things like carpentry will be introduced from class 6. I am quite jealous! The shift to the vocational skill with which they can start a venture of their own. The hard barrier between arts, science, and commerce will be broken with the option of major and minor. Multiple exit and entry will be provided which means you can stop and start whenever one wishes to. Education standards are set to meet international standards. Foreign universities will be allowed to set up campuses in India which raises the bar for the competition which forces Indian universities to improve education quality.

Indian government promised to spend 6% of its GDP on education. As of now, India is spending only around 3% of its GDP on education compared to its counterparts China, South Korea. India spends far less on R&D compared to even private companies, China, Korea. In 2008, India invested 0.84% of GDP on Research and Innovation but now it has dropped to 0.6% of GDP. Carefully reading the policy one will realize that attempts are being made to centralize education. This is a good way of judging students based on common ground. But, many argue that India is a vast nation and it will ineffective if a central body controls as needs differ from region to region.

One of the controversial points with new policy is medium of instruction meaning what language to be used to teach students. Stating the policy word to word “Wherever possible the medium of teaching will be in mother tongue or the local, regional language”.  Learning in local language or mother tongue is a great way of knowing one’s culture but this does not provide equal exposure. If this policy wishes equal growth then the Indian government needs to design all higher education including post-graduation studies in regional language. Then there is a possibility of a student being born in a village will be able to reach the level where a student from urban has reached with English as a medium.

Except for a few points, this policy looks great on paper but implementation will be hard with current India’s educational infrastructure. We need to wait and watch.

Quantum Computing: Future computing technology to replace Classical computers

In October 2019, Google made a big announcement that it had achieved quantum supremacy. What is this Quantum computer? Why are big tech giants like IBM, Rigette investing to attain supremacy in this technology? Let’s find out. Quantum computers have the ability to beat the most powerful supercomputer for certain tasks. Google demonstrated that quantum computers can perform certain tasks in seconds which current supercomputers would take thousands of years to calculate. 

Venture capitalists are pouring money into start-ups which are in the early stage of developing quantum computers which do not even have proven real-time application. What potential did they see? This technology can be used to create private keys to hack into financial systems. This is possible because quantum computers can use its computational power to break the existing encrypted data. Quantum computing can transform health care and medicine. For drug development, a molecule needs to be designed which is a challenging problem. That is because exactly describing and calculating all the possibilities is computationally costly with supercomputers. Replacing supercomputers with quantum computers in this application might lead to treatments for diseases like Alzheimer. It can also be used in stock markets as they generate a huge amount of data, which is essential for risk analysis and economic forecasting.

Few technical details one needs to know about the working of a quantum computer by comparing it with simple coin tossing. Classical computers work on only two bits which can be either 0 or 1 like head or tail on a coin. But the quantum computer is unique in having a third state apart from 0 or 1. How is that possible? Let’s take the same case of coin flip but recording it now, with possible outcomes of head and tail.  While the coin is in the air and you pause the recording, it could be either head or tail irrespective of the outcome. Similarly, qubits in quantum computing with the extra state are helpful in faster calculations for certain applications. These two are completely different technologies as they work on different physics principles.

Google used a 53 qubit processor named Sycamore to complete a mathematical problem in 200 sec which they claimed would have taken the world’s fastest computer 10,000 years. IBM challenged that statement by proving it would take only 2.5days by the world’s fastest computer. Anyways, we cannot ignore the fact that Google’s success was a milestone for quantum computing.

Scientists knew from the beginning that building a quantum computer would be challenging due to its quirky nature. The scientist in the 90s believed that this technology would never work. Quantum computing opened a door for teleportation of information from one location to another without physically transmitting the information. But there are a lot of education gaps that need to be filled if this technology wishes to impact on a larger scale!  

Why negative crude oil price is not reflected on fuel prices in India?

For the first time in history on 20th April 2020, the crude oil price fell below zero dollars reaching negative numbers. What do negative numbers mean? It implies that producers need to pay to rid of oil. The obvious reason for this drop is that the world has come to halt due to the COVID-19 outbreak and that means fewer people on road. This created imbalance by increasing supply more than demand. Countries that produce crude oil are running out of reservoirs to store produced crude oil and they need to find a way to sell the oil.

To analyze the situation better lets us understand how oil price is controlled. It is controlled by the US, OPEC (the Eastern cartel), and Russia. Their job is to make sure that prices all over the world remain stable. The future sellers estimate demand and sell to contracted buyers at the contracted prices. When the oil price dropped in April due to unpredicted pandemic, countries which import oil needed to buy to contracted price even though crude oil dropped to negative.

What does all this mean to India? India imports more than 80% of its crude oil and to avoid losses one can obviously guess is to reduce imports. This situation is advantageous to India mainly because India has the capacity to hold up to 39 billion barrels of oil to fill up at a low price. It seems like the situation is favoring the drop in petrol and diesel prices for consumers, but chaos has been observed in the country with a rise in price. Why is this happening?

Currency Exchange Impact

We all know international trading happens in dollars and rupee is not doing well as it dropped by 3.6% this year. This mismatch implies more rupee needs to be spent for the same amount of crude oil than you did a year ago. This reduces those extra brownie points we got from the decrease of crude oil.  

Refinement cost

Petrol and diesel are needs to be extracted from crude oil with a refinement process. There are refinement costs involved based on the complexity of the process. Diesel is easier to refine so it is usually cheaper compared to petrol


Indian government has chosen not to pass this benefit to consumers as it is already running out of funds with the economy slowing down. Instead, it has decided to raise taxes to get some funds to tackle the COVID-19 situation.

Damage control by Oil Marketing Companies(OMC)

In the past, when fuel prices increased the government asked OMCs to take losses so that fuel prices are stabilized. The current situation is an opportunity for OMCs to store up the margins by keeping some margins to themselves.

Diesel is being sold at a higher price than petrol and yeah it is happening for quite some time now. I know I am contradicting my statement which I made a few sentences earlier by telling petrol involves complex refining process. This variation is due to the tax structure that is reducing the price difference between petrol and diesel.

One thing that needs to strike when you see that there is a drop in oil prices means the past 15 days the price has been low as calculations are being made based on 15 days data!

How did Amazon manage to pay zero Federal income tax?

Amazon is one of the top five companies to reach a trillion-dollar valuation and that makes the founder Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world. A few weeks ago, I had published an article about how income equality is essential to move towards a more sustainable society, this article is an extension of it. Amazon today has one million prime subscribers, who when put together will make it the 14th largest country in the world! Amazon has built an ecosystem around you such that it attracts you to subscribe to its services and making you hooked on to it.

The company which is the second biggest employer in the world after Walmart is expected to pay a huge amount income tax. There is a common norm of paying higher Federal income taxes for companies who make huge income so that higher-earning organizations contribute more to the nation. Amazon provided employment opportunities to over 9 lakh people is expected to pay high-income taxes.

In 2018, Amazon made a profit of more than 11.3 billion dollars but this massive company legally paid no Federal income tax and on top of that they got a $129 million tax rebate. There are several reasons for escaping the tax payment by deductions and it is not as complicated as you thought let me explain it to you:

  • Research and Development

This works in a simple manner if a company is investing in research and innovation which adds to the country’s growth so the government deducts expenditure to promote research. Amazon claimed around 7% out of tens and thousands of revenue it spent on R&D giving the reason that country will move forward in innovation. In 2018, Amazon almost saved 1.4 billion dollars in R&D credits due to a huge investment in AI-assisted logistics.

  • Reinvesting Revenues

Amazon’s business model is designed in such a way that it reinvests a major part of its revenue back into its business to promote business expansion keeping long term in mind. For several years now Amazon has been self-funding as the company generates significant cash flow. It has reinvested in itself such a way that it made no profits for several years and this helped Amazon to carry forward losses to the coming years to get tax deductions. In 2018, $627 million was carry forwarded.

  • Stock-Based Compensation

Often cooperate company pays its senior employees with its own company stocks rather than hard cash. Amazon has been doing that for several years not merely because they are concerned of employee ownership but that saves them from paying a huge amount of tax. Usually, companies buy their own stocks and pay it to the employee but that’s not the case for Amazon. Instead, Amazon creates stocks and that strategy works for them because stock price of amazon keeps increasing the market.

There is no doubt that Amazon has been technologically advancing the human race and optimizing the process, as they say along with the power to influence the millions of lives comes huge responsibility. Amazon needs to take social responsibility and give back to society so the entire human race progresses. To progress organically manner, income equality is essential and that needs huge cooperates like Amazon to pay taxes!

Are you still connected to WiFi?

We live in a time where Wi-Fi free zones and restaurants are places to be paid for. With internet access becoming more crucial than ever due to social distancing, it seems clear that COVID-19 has deepened the digital togetherness. You can’t deny the fact that Wi-Fi has become part and parcel of everyone’s life who want to have an online presence.

What is Wi-Fi? This basic question needs to be addressed because it is often mistaken as a source of the internet. To give you an analogy, let me take an example of ordering a TV from the Amazon website. Wi-Fi router is a delivery packet one receives from Amazon and broadband connection is packed item Amazon receives from the manufacturer. Even though Amazon receives a well-packed item from the manufacturer it repacks it for faster and safer delivery of the TV. Similarly, Wi-Fi upon receiving data from the internet changes the packet structure to help to connect more devices. Wi-Fi is the technology designed to extend the capabilities of an internet connection wirelessly.

WiFi, a technology originated in Hawaii in 1979, has evolved itself into one of the most sophisticated technologies human race could come across. Router, when bought to the home you always end up hearing 2.4 GigaHertz and 5 GigaHertz tuning, which one to use? A simple explanation will help you understand which frequency is suitable for you. If you care about the speed, then 5GHz is the best choice as it is faster than common 2.4GHz. If you rather prefer range over speed then pick 2.4GHz. If you have a lot of internet-capable devices at home and constantly experiencing connectivity problems or other issues, the 5GHz is the better option. In short, 5GHz is faster at sending & receiving data at shorter distances only compared to 2.4GHz.
Did you know that you are one of the best blockers for the WiFi signal is the human body? Humans are made up of 75% of water and water being the blocker for WiFi, you block your WiFi signal if you are sitting between the router and your computer.

5G replacing WiFi router
5G, a future internet technology that is designed to provide a more reliable high-speed service compared to traditional broadband is expected to replace WiFi. But these technologies will work better when worked together than as competitors. For example, if you want a better connection for all devices and sensors at home and these devices don’t require high-speed internet. So WiFi is a smart investment to make as it is cost-effective and will connect all sensors at home. So you take a router that takes the high-speed link and breaks up into a bunch of smaller bandwidth parts.

Google Nest WiFi
Google Nest Wifi is a whole-home Wi-Fi system and a trending Wi-fi technology. It replaces your traditional router to provide reliable Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home. Nest Wifi points also have a speaker with the Google Assistant, so you can play music, control supported connected devices, and more.

With the Internet of Things penetrating each individual’s life over recent years and WiFi is connecting those devices. The WiFi ecosystem is very strong with very low-cost chipsets available. This technology has proved itself a boon to the human race during difficult times like these!

It’s high time for wisdom Bluetooth to erupt

My grandmother wondering asked me how is that I am able to listen to music without a cable, I took it upon myself explaining it to her and you all what Bluetooth technology is. “ Blue “  tooth designed to communicate wirelessly is a complex technology, but I am presenting  in a simple form to improve the efficiency of the usage and provide fun facts. From household app appliances and fitness trackers to health sensors and medical innovations, Bluetooth technology connects billions of everyday devices. Over the years, it has proven to be the most efficient wireless and user-friendly technology. It has successfully stripped away the cords for headsets, speakers, and entertainment devices.

Surprisingly, Bluetooth got its name from the nickname of King Harald as he had a dead tooth which was dark blue in color. In 1996, five industry leaders, Intel, Ericsson, IBM, Toshiba, and Nokia came together to standardize the short-range technology. For many millennials, Bluetooth was the only affordable option to send videos, photographs, or mp3 audio. A globally accepted technology, today almost all smartphones, PCs, and tablets have this feature. It is estimated that 4 billion devices will be shipped this year embedded with Bluetooth feature in them.

Bluetooth has forever changed how we consume media and listen to music. Let us jump into some interesting facts, the Bluetooth logo found on your device is composed of Harold(H) Bluetooth’s(B) initials in Nodic runes.

The battery life of a Bluetooth device has been critical to its success along with the affordability of various products. Being a modern-day user, one need not worry about the consumption of power when Bluetooth is on, enough though you are not connected to any device. Bluetooth takes care of your battery life and it consumes less than 1% in the entire 24 hours. You need not worry about the power consumption if a device is connected and you forgot to turn off as Bluetooth is smart to take care of that for you. So, a common misconception of switching off your Bluetooth when not in use has to be clarified. To your surprise, you can connect to 7 Bluetooth devices simultaneously and to an unlimited number of low power consumption devices.

A widely accepted opinion that Bluetooth is good for short-range applications. This misconception is mainly due to well-known use cases such as audio and wearables. Bluetooth technology has even designed to serve its users for up to 100 meters now. Extensive keypad user on phone can use wireless bluetooth keyboards for convenience on phones and tablets.  To promote hands free payment amid COVID-19, PayPal designing an app so that customers get receipt all hands free with Bluetooth. Bluetooth enabled hands-free calling and audio streaming to reduce distracted driving and provide a safer way to commute.

 In a nutshell, Bluetooth technology has made life much easier and convenient. With the latest Bluetooth versions, you won’t face any kind of problem. Myths arise due to a lack of knowledge about technology. Despite the fact that Bluetooth is a major player in traditional consumer devices it continues to meet the demands of development. All I can say is the future is blue!