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Okay, I’ve had another idea for a venture. I’m having different ideas every single day and it’s high time I pick one and just implement it. I’m going ahead with this, because I need funding for all my other ventures to ensure their success. This new venture shall be nicknamed QM and it’s about Affiliate/Internet Marketing. I’ll be posting the link to a preview page soon, and I’m consulting Lucio Ribiero from http://www.marketingeasy.net/ for advice regarding QM. Expect from details soon!

I know that I suck at blogging. I really do, I’ve been trying to blog since I was 12. But it turns out either I’m too busy or too cbf to blog. Anyways, this month, I’ve decided to hack the world of blogging. Truely, I need to know more about it. Not commercial blogging, and making money off it. Just personal blogging and sharing amazing things with the world. So this month, I’m taking a crack at blogging platforms (mammoths like WordPress and MovableType as well as simple ones like Tumblr and Posterous). I’ll also be blogging everyday, like like Fred Wilson or Seth Godin. I’m planning to force myself to blog regularly long enough for the habit to take over. Apart from just testing out these blogging platforms, I’ll look beneath the hood of WordPress, try and figure out how the whole thing works. Plus, I’ll also try and hack the blogosphere, who produces the content, where does it come from, how you get it, how can you get it faster, and dozens of other nitty gritty facts about it. I hope, if nothing else, I’ll be a better blogger for knowing these things.

Okay, this month, the online service that I’m hacking is Twitter. Just so that the Feds out there know, by hacking I mean taking full advantage of. Now, there’s no one way that I can measure my effectiveness gain on Twitter. Getting more followers seems childish, and following more people is a matter of whacking out a 25 line mass follow script. So, the only objective way of measuring my success is to see how many new friends I make on twitter since a recent poll suggested that the majority of people tweet to meet new people. By friends, I mean real good connection, not just “Hey, I’m GVRV” kinda conversation. Plus, for all intensive purposes, I’ll be giving Twirl and TweetDeck a shot. Plus, at the end of the month, I plan to code a simple client written in C to fully understand the Twitter API. Currently, I have 429 followers, I follow 673 people and I’ve tweeted 337 times. Hopefully, this experiment will go as planned. Right now, though I’m following some truely amazing individuals on Twitter, I haven’t made any friends through the service. I’ll keep you updated on how it goes.

I’m a vegetarian by choice. Not because of moral or religious reasons. It’s just that I was brought up a vegetarian and it’s really hard to start eating meat now. The thing is, I’m really picky with my food, and so being a vegetarian limits what I can will eat. It’s more constraitive when I’m trying to plan a balanced, nutritional diet to hack my fitness levels. To be honest, no one ever mentions a healthy, complete vegetarian diet. Of all the Men’s Health issues I’ve read so far, all diet plans included meat. But I was surprised that I didn’t even find an answer on Google till my 5th search which lead to this simple yet effective nutritional diet that I will try to follow from next month. It’s not rigit, it’s just meant to be a guideline of what I want to include in my diet. Plus, I’m free to eat whatever on weekends. And I’ve got one chocolate bar, and one piece of cake a month allowance.

Breakfast: Wholemeal Bread x 2 + Cottage Cheese or Baked beans and Vegemite + Strawberry Yogurt + Melons/Apple + Glass of milk
Lunch: Wholemeal Spaghetti with Tomato paste or Veggie Burger or Chickpeas+Potatoes(with onions/tomatoes) Salad
Dinner: Chickpea curry with 2x chapattis or Beanburger with Yogurt dessert
Snacks: Bio Yogurt + Dried Fruit + Fruit + Popcorn

This diet ensures that my daily quota of 1400 calories is supplied and I get daily quota of protein(legumes), vitamins(vegemite), Iron(lentils), Zinc(nuts) and Calcium(milk), and I might take a protein/nutrients suppliment when I start working out. Plus, Pizza is strictly prohibited on weekdays. So are chips and coke. Beers are only permitted on from Thursday to Sunday, only 2 days a week from that period and maximum of 6 standard drinks. Apart from starting this strict diet next month, I’m also *drumroll* joining a gym. Yes, I’ve never really joined a gym before, but I think it’s time for me to get back in shape. I haven’t settled down on a workout yet, but I’m sure I’ll post it here when I do.

Things always change, and you are meant to adapt to these changes in order to survive. Such has been the case during the past few weeks. First of all, personally, I moved out of the halls of residence on-campus to a house near campus. Though my initial plan was to get into another University to take advantage of a free ride, it did not turn out to be possible. So, my contract at the halls lapsed and I had to move out. Even though it’s been hard to settle into a house with random people and leave really close mates, I think it turned out for the best. Being alone for a majority of the day will give me more time to work on personal projects. Hopefully, I’ll be able to concentrate on entrepreneurship/hacking more, and it’ll turn out to be a free ride in disguise. 

On a more global note, the financial situation still doesn’t seem to be improving. All the more sign that there are huge opportunities lurking in the dark. So, I’ve decided to follow a strict schedule to take advantage of this financial crisis(codenamed project GVRV). Right now, I get a new idea almost everyday, but it’s useless if I cannot manage to execute it. So it’s probably for the best that I try to shell out a prototype of something every month, even if nothing else, it’ll improve my skills. One more thing to note is that the VC community is Australia is almost non-existent. Even though VC money is moving out of the US, I don’t think significant amounts of it are reaching Australia. So, this is the perfect combination for a first time entrepreneur. I have to bootstrap my startup, execute it from start to finish and try to get people to use it. I think this will be one hell of a learning experience. I’m just waiting for the AU$3000 scholarship payment that I’ll get by the end of March after the census date. If I can have a couple of prototypes ready by then, I can make sure the launch will be smooth and easy. Till then, I’ll just have to try and get some seed funding for legal advice and business registration costs. I’m meeting up with Peter Williams in the near future, and I’m sure he’ll have some really helpful advice for a first-time entrepreneur like me. I’m also going to try and get as many connections as I can for PYD. The scope and opportunity behind PYD is huge, and if I can’t manage to exploit it before the start of the second semester, it’ll be an opportunity lost. Anyways, expect a whole load more updates in the future, especially after I get Internet at my new place, around mid-March.

Marketing Genius Seth Godin wrote a post today highlighting some points answering the rather trivial but highly engaging question “What is school for?”. I’ll give my take on the points he makes in his post. First, let me tell you that within a week, I’ll change to my third University in two years. Yes, I hate higher education, at least the way it is modelled right now. I think paying astronomically high fees for little valued education in this economy to get a somewhat decent job, just doesn’t add up. Going back to Godin’s post, here is what I think. 

1. Become an informed citizen 
2. Be able to read for pleasure
4. Do well on standardized tests
5. Homogenize soceity, at least a bit
6. Pasteurize out dangerous ideas
7. Give kids something to do while parents work
8. Teach future citizens how to conform
9. Teach future citizens how to desire
10. Build social fabric
14. Help people interesting or productive
15. Defang the prolefariat
16. Establish a floor below which a typical person is unlikely to fall
18. Make sure kids learn to exercise, eat right and avoid common health problems
19. Teach future citizens to obey authority
21. Increase appreciation for art and culture
22. Teach creativity and problem solving
23. Minimize public spelling mistakes 
24. Increase emotional intelligence
25. Decrease crime by teaching civics and ethics
27. Make sure the sports teams have enough players 

I can say that these points, at least most of them, were covered, partially or in full before I began my tertiary education. But while most developed countries have free schooling till then, I attended a private school in India, and I’m sure my parents spent a shitload for those 16 years of education. 

12. Generate future scientists who will advance medicine and technology
17. Find and celebrate prodigies, geniuses and the gifted

Frankly, these are only reasons to even consider tertiary education. Unless you are really smart, which will likely mean you’ll be doing some research, tertiary education and the cost associated with it is almost useless. 

3. Be trained in the rudimentary skills necessary for employment
11. Create leaders who help us compete on a world stage
13. Learn for the sake of learning
20. Teach future employees to do the same
26. Increase understanding of a well lived life

To be frank, none of these have anything to do with a school. Most employers want experience (source: the 200 firms I sent my resume to over the summer). A prototype software will increase your chances of getting a job more than a graduate degree. I can’t possibly relate how schools and leaders are related. The world has seen some extraordinary leaders who’ve never been to school, the leaders before the modern education system was established. I don’t think anyone should learn for the sake of learning, cause if you’re doing something for 10+ years just for the sake of it and not enjoy it, then you won’t possibly live a well lived life. And I’m sure my grandfather, an uneducated farmer lived a well lived life, and he knew it. 

So if you’re spending a huge amount of money on schooling or trying to get into the highest ranked school, think again. Schools, more often than not try to chain you down. Curb your freedom and creativity. I’d suggest try and get a free ride, or the highest amount of scholarship you can. Try to take an internship while at school and start working on your own side projects. Try to stand out from the crowd and start doing what you want instead of what the University has to offer. What do you think?

I’ve been programming seriously since 4 years, but the first language I ever learnt was HTML about 8 years ago. I learned it over a couple of weeks, and became really good at it. So obviously, people wanted me to create websites for them. At that point I didn’t mind having a few projects on the side, but there was one thing I couldn’t do. I was really good at coding the page in HTML, but an utter failer when it came to designing stuff in PhotoShop or focusing on UX or any sort of aesthetics. 

 

I think that’s a problem a lot of programmers face. They can design the backend of a system effortlessly, but once they start working on the design or the aesthetics, they’re dumbfounded. But I’ve always been fascinated by aesthetics of software. I follow a lot of design blogs and try to learn design. And I think good programmers can learn design, because even if they’re not good with visual aesthetics, they can churn out aesthetic flawless code. So I’d suggest you fire up your favorite image editting software, get some advice/motivation from this Hacker News thread and start designing. I’ll keep you posted on my design adventures, are you starting yours?

I started my college education in India, but soon realised that if I ever wanted to get serious about the startup scene I had to move somewhere else. The ideal place to move would’ve been Berkeley or Palo Alto, but I chose Melbourne. The reason is simple, Melbourne hasn’t yet made it as a startup capital, but still the entrepreneur community in Melbourne is very happening, atleast that’s what I think after staying here for almost a year and visiting some entrepreneur meetups. The thing is, for a 20 year old, it’s hard to start a startup anywhere on Earth. People don’t take you seriously, you’re just starting out and you have no mentors and hence, no contacts in the industry. 

 

I don’t care about people not people not taking me seriously, because at this point all I need for my code to do the talking. I also think that I’m not just starting out anymore, I’m 20 now, and I’ve got enough coding experience to venture out into the startup world. But the only point of concern is that I’ve not got a mentor. So far, everyone who I admire in the field of either programming or entrepreneurship, can’t stress the importance of having a mentor. But I think mentorship is overrated. Seriously, no one wants to waste their time mentoring young kids, and the ones that do, charge money for mentoring. The concept of mentorship is now seen as a business model. There have been instances when entrepreneurs have given me their business cards, and I have tried to contact them, but they’ve not even replied. I think the more time you waste trying to find a mentor, thats time you don’t spend developing your software/brand/company. And hence, I think mentorship is no more required. The only thing you need is contacts. And you can make contacts in your industry easily by just going to networking events. That’s where melbourne rocks. We’ve got Melbourne Twitter Underground Brigade, Silicon Beach Melbourne Drinks, Mobile Mondays, Social Media Breakfast, The Churchill Club, and many many more. So don’t feel low if you have no mentors, I think you can do just fine without them. What do you think?

There have been a lot of comments about Arrington or Scoble recently, about how they’re not good journalists and how they’re misusing their authority. As someone who has been following a lot of mainstream blogs since quite some time, this is my opinion. I love mainstream blogs. They are there so that I can get my news from a single source rather than search through hundreds of thousands of blogs. It’s like a human filter that brings the best news to me. And generally, because they’re an authority in a niche, they are the ones to break news or get insider tips. Some of them even live blog certain tech events and bring real time news to my reader. You cannot beat that. And Arrington and others have worked days and nights to get their blogs up there. They have made sure they attend every event, network with every startup, break every story and spend 20 hours a day blogging whereas there are a million other blogs which just re-publish whatever mainstream bloggers write and thrive on it. So they deserve the authority they have, cause they work hard for the breaking the news. 

 

But thats where it stops. They only provide better news. Raw facts, fast. You may not agree with their opinions. And everyone can have an opinion about any news story. So, opinions are best found elsewhere. Even more analytical articles are better to be found elsewhere. Because there are always smarter people elsewhere with their expert opinions. So even though TechCrunch can tell me about the latest startup launch, I don’t trust them about whether it’s good or bad. I check it out myself, I read the startup’s blog, I see a demo, I read through founder bio’s and their blogs. This gives me the complete picture. I see whether the community is liking the software, what first reviews are like, and then make my own decisions. And that’s why I read TechCrunch before I read Hacker News. Get the news, before forming an opinion. 

 

So, I don’t mix up news with views. I highly regard Mashable, TechCrunch and other blogs as news breakers. But I’ll still read reviews on other hackers’ blogs and then form my opinion. So people should not take mainstream blogs as absolute authorities. Neither should they take it personally if they are not featured. Arrington first wrote about “Twttr” the day it was launched, but didn’t mention “Twitter” till a year later. So take it in your stride. What do you think?

It’s that time of the year and companies have just released their Q4 results. We at TVR have collected all the data and this is our “Earnings Report” for Q4, 2008. 

Introduction
We all know that times are tough and results would be hit by it and in fact, the numbers do not paint a gloomy picture. Even though it’s a little bit better than Wall Street predicted, it’s nothing to celebrate. 

The Big Three
Google: Great at search, not great at investing. 
Net Revenues(%age change): $5.7 billion (+18%)
Net Profit(%age change): $382 (-68%)
Epic Fail: Investments in AOL and Clearwire 
2009 Focus: Android
Recession: Shut down Video, Notebook, Jaiku, relocating engineers, closing office in Austin. 

Apple: Healthier than people think
Net Revenues(%age change): $7.9 billion (+27%)
Net Profits(%age change): $1.14 billion (+26%)
Epic Fail: Steve Jobs Health and Stock Market issue (and still no Cut and Paste)
2009: Simple product line 
Recession: Recession-proof 

Microsoft: Looking out of better Windows
Net Revenues(%age change): $16.6 billion(+2%)
Net Profits(%age change): $4.17 billion(-11%)
Epic Fail: Yahoo takeover bid
2009: Windows 7
Recession: 5000 laid off

Recession Hits Others… 
Digg has decided to cut 10% of their staff as growth is beginning to flatten. EA has laid off hundreds at Black Box bringing their grand total to over a thousand people laid off. Millions others are downsizing, the TechCrunch Layoff Tracker officially stands at about 200,000. 

Sources
TechCrunch 
Apple2.0
Kotaku
Wired

Conclusion:
The Earnings Report is meant to provide you with the summary of all the numbers you need while removing all the confusion. We really hope this helped. We’d love to hear feedback, if we’ve missed something or need to remove something.