Saturday, March 14, 2009

Obama & Citizen centered government - Part 1

Citizen centered government in simple terms:
Allows citizens to actively participate in government policy making and reduces the gap between what they want and what the government delivers them.

How is citizen centered government different from democracy?
Democracy = People vote to a candidate - whom they think has the right ideas/vision to run to government

Citizen centered government = People participate in formulating the right ideas/vision for the country with the right candidate/leader

Can this happen in a government setting?
Yes. I see it as a new culture than just a method. Like we have jury system in courts in US.

How did Obama used citizen centered design for his successful presidential campaign in 2009?
I have been following Obama's presidential campaign from its initial days(CNN+Youtube questions) and liked the way he engaged different segments of citizens in his campaign.

1. Communities
He created a website which has a My Account section to enable people create/join communities in their area.

2. New Avenues for Participation
He created new avenues for people to participate in formulating the blueprint for his election campaign through his online profiles at Linkedin, Facebook, Flickr, Youtube to name a few.

3. Turning citizens into advocates
He created groups & engaging interactions with business community, students, factory workers, industry leaders to name a few.

Part II will continue.....

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Not every big problem require big solution!

Here is an real life example: I was working on re-engineering a customer portal and one of the key issues reported was - the customer support team got about x number of calls(in thousands) last year just to reset the password for the online account.

This problem was spoken in two different discussions and got to be fixed to reduce the number of calls to customer support officers....and I was wondering why it was a such a big issue. I was thinking there should be a way out to fix this problem - either by allowing the customer to reset the password online with a security question or email them a new password.

So - just before recommending the solution - I did a quick walk through of the reset password pages to find out the problem and guess what I found in the first step of the reset password page? A message which says - contact customer support number to reset the password the top of the page :-)

And the solution to fix thousands of customer support calls is to simply remove the support phone number from the first step of the reset password flow and display only the customer fails to retrieve it online...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

In Brief: VC Business Model

VC firms:

Generally comprise a group of partners who do the following:
  • raise investment funds
  • source deals
  • perform due diligence
  • make investments
  • provide support to growing companies
  • realize the appreciation in investments

  • Earn high returns by investing in early stage companies

Sources of Investment capital:
  • Pension funds, corporations, banks, endowments (especially in the US) and wealthy individuals.

Fund structure:
  • Investment capital is held in a legally established fund:structured as a closed-ended fund, so no capital can be added at a later date with a defined life time, usually 10 years, after which the capital plus appreciation must be returned to investors managed and invested by the VC firm professionals providing investors with limited control and limited liability.

VC Fee structure:
2 levels of fees are paid to VCs by the fund:
  • Management fees:usually 2% - 2.5% of the total fund amount annually, which the VCs are allowed to take out of the fund to cover operating costs.
  • Share of the upside: 20% or more of the gain of the fund, after the capital is returned to the investors.
Investor expectations:
Expect an overall return of at least 25% or more, net of all fees, over the life of the fund. This roughly translates to a 50%+ rate of return (IRR) on any given investment.

Reference: National Entrepreneurship Network -

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Johnny bit my finger again!!!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Did you know?

The first Apple computer was born in Steve Jobs' parents' garage? College students Jobs and his partner Steve Wozniak worked furiously in that garage assembling computers for fellow students and were totally unprepared for their first commercial order for 50 computers.

To raise the needed $1300 for parts, Jobs sold his old VW bus and Wozniak sold his Hewlett Packard calculator. The next year - 1977 - Apple sales hit $800,000 and went on to become a Fortune 500 company in a record five years!