Author: Sriram Karra

Why don’t companies care about job applicants?

Every CEO worth her salt gushes over how her employees are the company’s biggest assets. Every HR department swears by how talent makes all the difference to a company’s fortunes. Yet the most enduring mystery in Recruitment has been how indifferent almost all large companies are to Candidate Experience at the ‘top of the funnel’.

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The web app that made information free

[ This article was written for a general audience, and originally appeared in the OpEd pages of The Hindu, dated 03 April 2015 ]

In 1990, Encyclopaedia Britannica recorded its largest annual sales. A mere 2 decades later, the brand had decided to stop printing copies of its eponymous product. Its audience had not only moved online, but moved to other sources altogether. It was an astonishingly rapid decline for a brand that held pride of place in intellectual traditions of the English-speaking world for nearly 250 years. Behind this change in consumer preference were the usual suspects: affordable PCs and broadband Internet access in homes. There was also an additional, if much less celebrated, technology that did Britannica in — the humble Wiki, which is the technology that powers Wikipedia, the open encyclopedia that anyone with an Internet connection can edit and improve.

Read the full article on The Hindu’s site


Learn from Bezos how to acquire customers while you announce a price hike

There are many things to be said about the recently announced price hike for Amazon Prime . Not least of them is the brilliant messaging on their homepage. Jeff Bezos, take a bow.

Announcing the hike in Amazon Prime membership fee.

Announcing the hike in Amazon Prime membership fee.

RIP Schemer

Schemer LogoLast Saturday Google announced it is shuttering Schemer. Schemer was launched with the aim to “inspire people to do more awesome stuff” – a noble endeavour. So I signed up early with the help of an invite from a friend who works at Google. Even back then it felt weirdly incomplete for a Google product launch . “Prove the continuum hypothesis”, I entered into my Schemes. No surprise I got little help from my friends or Google on that one. But less ambitious schemes like ‘Learn Ruby’ languished similarly.

It felt absurd to keep telling Google what I wanted to do, only to find nothing happened in response! Here was a product that had near zero user gratification.  I only hoped they would do something in time. They eventually added some Google+ integration and text search, but clearly nothing that would rock my world and had already lost me by that time. If only they had taken the next step – actually help users to do those some of the things they expressed a desire for, that would have made this a meaningful webapp. For e.g., it would have been awesome if I were recommended a Ruby beginner’s resource, or was notified of some upcoming free Ruby courses on Coursera, or anything remotely along those lines. But no, nothing of the sort was done.

I am not surprised Schemer went nowhere with that feature set. But I am disappointed they did not try to take it anywhere and threw in the towel.

Cost of English to the Indian Product Industry

The IT and IT Enabled Services boom in India over the past two decades was possible, in large part, because of the general proficiency of our engineers with the English language. In this time India’s IT exports grew from  $130 Mn in 1990 to $70 Bn in 2012, giving hope and opportunity to the educated middle classes and partly fuelling a dramatic turnaround in our country’s fortunes in that time period.

But English – that wonderful gift of our colonial masters – also has an interesting negative influence on the domestic IT product ecosystem. Humour me here for a bit. 

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CareZone – Stay organized while caring for your loved ones

EDIT Jan 20, 2014: I sent Jonathon Schwartz a link to this blog post and received a prompt response over email. I have edited the text of this post in a few places to point out some the issues he raised. He was kind enough to offer a fuller demo, which I have accepted. I will update this post after that as well. For now go to the end of the post for a fuller discussion of his comments.

Care Zone LogoCareZone is a company run by Jonathon Schwartz – the former CEO of Sun. At first glance it appears like yet another crack at solving the Personal Health Records (PHR) problem. The PHR space has been a tough domain for companies to get a grip on, with even well funded attempts like Google Health being forced to shut shop, while still leaving other behemoths with deep pockets like Microsoft HealthVault to contend with. So what is this upstart all about, and is it worth your time? Let’s take a look.

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