Steve Jobs comes alive ‘Behind the Mac’

Some things should never change, core values are one of them – as Steve Jobs would say. Behind the Mac campaign by Apple stands that test.

Advertisements

Apple inc stands tall as a 1 Trillion USD worth organization, momentous occasion really. The first one to go there and will be there for quite some time now – can be pretty lonely at the top.

Personally to me, not a miracle at all. They were always destined to be there, just made it there sooner than later. Afterall they not only have one of the largest toplines across the globe but also the fattest bottom line.

Sans last few years, Apple always has been at the leading threshold edge of Design and Technology. They have really redefined the alphabet “I”. Google – the Verb, has already made it to the Oxford dictionary; not long before you see kids babbling ‘I’ for iPhone or an iPad or an iWatch.

What’s quite intriguing is the Apple’s falling out with the MacBook. The product which etched them permanently into the minds of the diehard Apple fanboys. MacBook as a product sets the benchmark for what a professional computing device ought to be – versatile, light, durable, aesthetic. Students love them, guys from creative agencies swear by them – and I don’t disagree. The MacBook deserves all the adulation it basks. Unfortunately, last few years Apple has not chosen to talk about the MacBook at all, there has been no serious upgrades, and I guess it’s not acquiring new users at a comparable rate to the other “i”Devices.

I think the MacBook defocus has been the fall out of transition between Steve Jobs and Tim Cook. Tim Cook has often touted the iPhone as the ‘mother of all the devices’ and the rest of the organization has clamored around.

Steve the businessman always looked for profit pool but Steve the visionary would never let go of something as fundamental as the Mac. A young Mac user of today is Apple acquiree forever. Initiate and acquire through Macbook – he is in for rest of the iDevices. To rationalize just compute the Customer lifetime value for this acquisition.

Now what’s amazing is Apple coming back strongly to talk about the Mac and that too in primetime Steve Jobs way. The ongoing Apple campaign “Behind the Mac” is an ode to Steve himself, the way he felt and thought about Brands. He never believed in the classic definition of the Brand – a logo, a symbol, a quote etc. He thought much more and much beyond about it. He took a lot of inspiration from Nike and the way they talked about their Brand, sometimes I guess more seriously than Phil Knight himself. chuckle!

Posting a youtube link from exactly 21 years back when Steve broke the first Apple Brand campaign, Think Different

(4:50 to 5:20, feel free to watch the entire thing, it’s an education anyway). He says “Nike is not about Air soles, Nike is about honoring great athletes, that’s who they are, that’s what they believe in!”

The Think Different campaign that broke that weekend in 1997 talked about people and paid home to those who thought and did things differently – The list is extremely distinguished Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King. Mohd. Ali. Here it is.

21 yrs later in 2018, Behind the Mac campaign upholds things that Steve Jobs truly believed in, it’s again come back to celebrate the great men and women of today, these are artists who have perfected their craftsmanship to a different league altogether. It’s not about the MacBook at all, it’s about those men and women and the transformation they have brought, though the Mac sits there as a proud prop, as a tool and weapon that propelled them to the heights they are at. Some of these guys are legends, some are at the cusp!

I love it and most people do! it’s upholding the true Apple values of celebrating the different, the misfits, the challengers of status quo. Some things should never change, core values are one of them – as Steve Jobs would say. On the other side, MacBook users would be more proud than happy, they are getting their due, after all.

Watch the Behind the Mac campaign series below.

Running Rules – Literally and Figuratively!

Running with rules!

This was we what Dean had to say when he started his umpteenth 100 miler.

Mind you, the man reflecting here is no less than 2 decade old in some serious kick ass endurance running across the toughest terrains of the World. But have no misgivings, that starting line can give jitters to the very best that’s out there.

But then that’s the beauty of running distances, it’s not repeatable or predictable even if you have done it a dozen or more times earlier. Deep inside you know that if you have done it once you will be able to do it again, but that element of tummy rumbling, that moment of self doubt every time you start off that line like a Greenhorn makes it exciting. The idea is to keep going, come what may.

Most runners have their rules, unwritten tenets to keep propelling them in. There are no wrongs or rights, they are just beliefs.

I am no great athlete, just a runner. But I have my tenets as well and I am pretty religious about those. I have 2 sets – The core ones and the peripheral ones.

Core ones are just 3, pretty simple.

1. A run planned cannot be cancelled at any cost.

2. A run started cannot be terminated, come what may!

3. When running, whatever is visible is achievable.

I am an every day runner, weekdays are moderate, weekends are little more. Having these rules by my side has helped me tremendously in getting imprisoned into the virtuous-addicitive-vortex that running is!

I have my bad days, the feet don’t get into rhythm, arm doesn’t swing right, Sun’s beating down hard (ya .. I am from Delhi).

But these rules, they are mighty rigid, help me take good days, bad days all in stride.

There has not been a single day where I have regretted post a run, it’s always been euphoric. However, feelings haven’t always been upbeat in pre-run phases which is where my rules have partnered and pushed me through thick and thin, through rains and arid Sun, through moist laden, sweat soaked Tees to sub zero temperature dashes.

I bow down to my ‘Holy Trinity’.

Will these rules help you get started, d drop in a note.

Marketing 3 Ps – profession, passion, and pain!

I have met many professionals specifically marketeers, who have basic thumb rules to keep them going, keep them engaged and motivated for the most part of their work.

Some would proclaim ’till the time the number of good days at work is more than the bad days, they are doing well’.

Some others would say, they are bloody good at what they do and that’s why their organisation has entrusted them with a multi-million brand business.

Still others would say they were first benchers in their alma maters, maintained very standards of acads. They have always been sharp, as a result of which they ask super incisive questions and that’s what has helped them stay at the top of their game for so long.

As a marketeer, for quite some time now, here is what I think about it.

  1. Marketing, managing a brand, or managing a product/category is not an entitlement that one can really owe to their sharpness, acads, or incisiveness. It’s merely an opportunity that is a function of ones’ good fortune, willing to start every day like a rookie, being humble, willingness to respect opinions across the table, fight hard and hug harder, and a little noise surrounding all of it. if ever it feels like an entitlement, its not gonna last long.
  2. If you have always asked questions, then in all probability either you are a consultant, or your were born a CEO or you were born with silver spoon of business to inherit the day you started to walk on twos. Asking questions is easy, I have read a lot of management bibles (not that I don’t respect them) where asking 5 Why’s takes you to the root of the problem. Remember 2 things always.
    • When you are asking the why’s; you are pretending to be smart, someone else has to do all the answering
    • In most case it doesn’t take 5 W’s to know the root cause. It just 1st or the 2nd W.

A marketeer inevitably ends up answering all the time. So when you are in it, be kind to the people who ask you those tough 5W questions, forgive them. For they probably will never have it them to stand up and take those 5 Ws in the face of looking extremely silly.

3. ‘Marketing is simple’. Ain’t it? Hell no. What’s easy is throwing ideas left, right, and centre. What’s really complex is executing those ideas. An execution can be nerve wrecking, bone shattering experience.

It’s akin saying – a minute ain’t much. Well pitch this question to someone trying to earn his last minute on a treadmill. That’s the importance of minute, as hard as execution probably harder. So, if someone says marketing is easy ask them when was last that they did something significant which is other than getting awarded for a fabulous idea or writing a paper which either gave no results or never saw the light of the day.

Execution is tough, may be pulling the incredible even and so is marketing.

4. I get awarded almost every quarter for something really amazing that I keep doing. I am so fertile and so agile. Forget it. You are actually not achieving anything substantial. All that you are doing is earning desk fillers to deck up your CV.

Marketeers, if lucky, worth their salt, and diligent will at best have 2 or 3 real big achievements in their entire career. That’s probably true of any other profession. You will probably have 1 or 2 highs in a year which will all be a team effort. If you thought, you pulled it alone, you are day dreaming. Think of the agency who toiled along side you, the finance guy who released the PO in time, the marcom lady who was kind enough to ask one question less and your boss who was brave enough to let you go off from one insignificant meeting.

5. Keeping your chin up when you really sweating down to your pants, looking silly when questioned stripped down to bare bones by a table full of CXOs with an overall intellect and weighted summed experience of probably more than a century. And you really don’t have anything to offer except for a few slides, wide smile, and plans A, B, and C all of which together aren’t adding up to what you have just committed.

In God you trust, in your boss do you confide, and have heart to keep taking Mr. Murphy on day in day out. You will survive today with head held high and smile on your face when you end up home at the end of the day, to see the light tomorrow.

If you can earn respect from just a few post going through all this. You have just experienced some serious marketing sweetheart!

Disclaimer(s):

1. By no means does this denigrate any other profession, they are all amazing. These are mere experiences some true, some made up, some exaggerated.

2. This piece comes immediately post a ‘Runner’s high’. So if you cannot make sense out of a few things, it’s okay. It’s supposed to be that way.

3. Lolz.

But I still love it – Fitbit

It’s not about the fitness band you wear. It’s about what does it throw back at you and how do you use it. Its’ about how you ‘take care’ of yourself!

In last few years, there has been a lot of awareness on health and especially on well being. Not that we as Indians were not aware, being active was a part of our culture. Historically, we have been pretty outgoing and entrepreneurial by nature. As a society, we have always been an agrarian society, it hasn’t changed as of date. Agriculture has started contributing lesser to our GDP, still employs the largest number of people (and that discussion is for some other time)

Our new found awareness on well being chiefly stems out of the new found unavoidable urbane upwardly lifestyle that we have mostly been forced upon. Extended work hours, staying away from ‘Gen – 1’ family, poor sleep quality, cramped little spaces, single-minded focus on proving oneself at business is killing us.

In this mass hysteria, health and fitness bands come as an awesome awareness and preventive tools for lifestyle management.

And hardly surprising is the fact that they are available at a huge spread of price points starting from 1500 to 25000 INR. The idea behind this write is to not compare or benchmark these bands but to specifically talk about Fitbit and the impact it had one me over 1.5 yrs of usage and this after initial scepticism (I have always been a firm believer in know thy body and know thy mind, because no one knows it better than thy).

All the devices offer you a range of stats from step counts, to the heartbeat, your sleep time, and silent alarms. Absolutely no difference except for the number of steps that they count (that typically depends on the algo in use). Where Fitbit scores against all these is deriving personalised, meaningful insights from these pieces of data and generating actionable steps for the user.

The kind of insights it generates is terrific, truly smart! You genuinely get the feeling of someone really caring about your health and wellbeing. The insights range from being psychological to physiological.

I could broadly categorise themselves into 3 broad kinds!

Kind1: Be kind to yourself Find out your moments of peace, relaxation, and grab wink.

Relax for your moments, be kind to yourself!
Relax for your moments, be kind to yourself!

Kind2: Pat on the back, Postive Reinforcements.

You did good buddy, keep doing more of it!
You did good buddy, keep doing more of it!
You are doing very well, stay at it!
You are doing very well, stay at it!

These reinforcements are not only limited to sleep (though I started with sleep because that’s what we are most deprived of these days).

I love the way these reinforcements come through even with steps, all those small daily accruals come together to blow up into a meaningful personal achievement. Trust me, you will actually be very proud of those!

 

Top_Badge.JPG
My top Badges :-), I am proud of these!

 

 

Daily_Badge.JPG
Everyday steps accruing into something big, something personal, sort of milestones.

 

 

Lifetime_Badge.JPG
And your efforts made you hop across countries and continents, ain’t that something

 

Kind3: Gentle Reminder, bordering mild reprimand. mend your ways, trouble around the corner

Enough, take note now
Enough, take note now

Other features that I regularly use are the silent alarms, Cardio fitness score, and guided breathing sessions.

Silent vibrating alarms on your wrists are extremely gentle and powerful. They just cannot be ignored and have multiple advantages – you don’t ever have to wake up to that metallic, non-stop, head wrenching alarm from your phone. You would rather only stay half asleep for the fear of that nasty alarm going off! 🙂

I also love the way it generates your VOx levels (broadly put it is the efficiency of O2 burn during a physical activity ) and hence the cardio fitness score. I have seen mine improving across a period of time with loads of long distance running.

 

Heart.JPG
How fit is your heart today?

 

Guided Breathing sessions are another add-on to make you exercise on the move, or give you moments of calm and peace through the day ‘on demand’. These are 2 -5 minutes of quantized breathing sessions to bring instant calm.

 

Inhale
Breathe to calm down

 

 

Finally, to the naysayers

I have seen a lot of comments with people claiming that Fitbit miscounted steps, gave wrong heartbeats, blah, blah, and, blah.

Is Fitbit accurate – Hell no, by no means. Is it directionally correct – A perfect yes. None debating that.

Can Fitbit be trusted – directionally yes, but it’s not a substitute for any medical consultations or devices.

Is Fitbit perfect – You got to be joking, no way! Perfect, far from it and I agree. Despite being an advocate, I will be blunt and say that it’s not a perfect device at all.  (It’s the earliest cyborg – next generations will be much smarter and nimbler. I see next gen revolution shifting from pockets (smartphones) to wrists (smart wearables)). 

So it’s neither accurate nor perfect, It is an encouraging and positive reinforcements device to keep reminding of your health goals, celebrates your intimate steps achievements moments and makes sure you know on how important you are for yourself – take care!

And they come – Google Home and Mini!

With launch of Google Home and Mini, Indian market will see a fresh face off between Google and Amazon. Here is a neutral look at what do these assistants have to offer the Customer.

With Google making an official announcement through a big bang launch and media bleeding tonnes of CMYK in the reel, digital, and print, the face-off between Google and Amazon is for real now.

And it’s at multiple levels – The intelligence that runs the devices, the partnerships at product and service level, and finally the devices themselves.

Let’s start with the intelligence bit.

Google is smarter and much evolved period. End of argument. The decades of resident data with Google through search, Gmail, map etc. has meant that the engine has got context, patterns, and stuff that customers actually look for.

Google is an interactive device while Alexa beyond a certain level becomes extremely task-centric and transactional.

I have been using Google Home for over a year now and it’s terrific when it comes to being contextual. To quote an example – I ask Google to count from 50 to minus 10 to entertain kids and it does it without breaking a sweat. I step it up ask it count from 100 to 0, well it just refuses to comply saying that it’s gonna take awfully long to do that!

Repeat the same stuff with Echo, Alexa freezes – just doesn’t understand what it’s supposed to do. Offers a meek apology, that’s it!

On being a good assistant Google does a much better job. it does the real job of being a personal assistant, helping you locate stuff. Say, for example, you can tell Google to remember that you have kept your passport in the drawer of the reading table! And later you can just ask Google to tell you where your passport is and it would just replay that information. This is not a ‘reminder’ function but a ‘remember’ function. The remember function also comes with added voice security so that your secrets are only unlocked by you and none else.

Echo doesn’t get this at all! Not only that Google can remember your family tree, relatives, friends everything – Echo just can’t!

In terms of keeping one smart and productive through the day, Google Home does a much better job. And that’s because the one’s user profile is already deeply integrated with one, few or many products from the Google suite, the most common ones being the Gmail, Maps, or the Calendar. The Google assistant can just pick up stuff from there and get going. It can tell you about upcoming meetings, flight schedules, even suggest a time to get started from home in order to be able to get to your flight in time. Echo – NADA! And I don’t see this gap bridging anytime sooner, as a fact I see this a competitive advantage that Google is gonna retain for a very very long time.

Integration with other partners

We must understand that while smart assistants are the centre of the home, in the literal sense. They also have the play the role of an effective enabler to other smart devices around them. Without supporting the ecosystem Google Home is nothing but a search which sits on your tabletop and Echo is a shopping tool, in most simplistic terms. Hence, integration with other partners is extremely important to get this entire show relevant to the end customer.

In terms of service partner (music, entertainment, cab hailing, food ordering) integration I wouldn’t score one over the other – both have got extremely relevant local partner’s on board.

In terms of product partnerships, India isn’t evolved at all. Say for example categories like smart lighting, or smart curtains etc. are still in the closet but then that is where right partnerships will matter. In case the early adopters get right feel for other smart products right at the beginning the adoption is gonna be faster else it’s gonna be a drag all the way along. While Echo has a large width of integration, Google has been extremely selective. But does that mean Echo has got a head start, I don’t think so! While Echo has got many partnerships in lighting most of them offer sub-par experience and that reflects through the customer reviews on their portal. On the other hand, Home has chosen to start with just one proven Global partnership to start with – Philips Hue. I think that is the right way to go about it. This category would require doing things right the first time, else a dissonant customer is not going to come back for a very long time. The commercial outcome of the partnership is yet to come out only time will tell.

Well, how do these devices fare in the home, and that’s what is most important to the end customer.

In terms of look and build, I see Google Mini and Home both a little more refined and demure in home settings. The choice of fabric, especially over the Mini, makes it meld in the home settings effortlessly. That’s where the Echo Dot looks a little mechanical and stands out as a piece of tech device in the home. I like the Mini more because I typically get things which complement home and not stand out, this might just be different for others.

Assistant one on one
See the fabric draped Mini versus the bare bones Echo dot. Home and Echo are more equitable, just in looks!

In terms of Google Home versus Echo, I don’t see a lot of design dissonance. Home is a little curvy, Echo is a straight up cylinder both carry fabric cover. Not much to pick from there.

To talk about music performance, one has the option of playing songs through the cell phone and directly asking the assistants to play it.

To play it through the assistant directly, you need to enable/link your music partner account to smart device account. Most people would do that, but trust me this is not the most preferred method. Asking assistants to play songs but just letting them know the first line is mighty tiring sometimes.

I prefer the smartphone method. Start your music app and play your music through the assistant. That’s a less smart but more effective and pain-free way of enjoying music.

Echo Dot connects through Bluetooth to your phone and that’s very easy. Just switch On the Bluetooth of your smart device, Echo devices either connect immediately on their own most of the times or your just to have to ask ‘Alexa pls connect with my phone’ That’s it! We are done!

This works a little differently with Google Home and Mini. They don’t connect with phones through Bluetooth. You need to ‘Cast’ your content to the assistant. For that to happen, you have to be on the same WiFi network as the smart device is! That can be a little bothersome. The cast sometimes also is a little tricky when the Wifi network is weak in some corners of the home.

Here, it’s a little simpler with Echo.

In terms of voice quality, I find both mini and Home better in fidelity and bass as compared to Dot and Echo respectively. To be honest, the dot is not even supposed to yield high quality sound, it’s recommended that you connect Dot with a high quality speaker that you already have at home through either an Aux cable or Bluetooth. But Mini scores a point here, much better voice quality I must admit – bang for the buck.

Well, how about listening and response quality of the devices. Indian homes will always have some ambient noise either from the fan in the house or through the window or the balcony door.

The Echo voice recognition is ‘Out of the World’. It just picks you up from all the noise and humdrum. Amazon’s far-field voice recognition through an array of microphones on the top of the device is so effective.

Google Home can sometimes make you feel repetitive and irritated at not being able to pick your voice up! Have also experienced that Home doesn’t pick the wake-up word ‘okay Google’ in quick successions, you have to change the phrase to ‘hey Google’ the second time around. Minor niggle, but major customer frustration. For all the hard work that Google has done with Home and Mini, I am sure this little thing will too b sorted! They wouldn’t want to lose the battle for want of the proverbial ‘nail’ 😃

And now not the most essential bit still a hygiene, the App interface: You will occasionally need to access the app of these assistants once in a while, either to set up a new device, change things around, or set a reminder (setting voice reminders can be boring sometimes, trust me!)

I find the Amazon Alexa app neater and easier to use as compared to the Google Home. The options are neatly arranged and are extremely intuitive. The most frequently needed applications are right there at a single tap.

Amazon Alexa App menu options
Oft-used menu options on the Amazon Alexa app, intuitive spread!

Google home is a little cluttered, and not so user-friendly. Even the most needed options are at the second level. Say for example, why would like something as common as reminder insides settings, that should be pretty upfront – inviting and on single tap!

Google Home App menu options
Menu options on the Google Home App, even oft-used options need a second tap!
Level 2 options in the Google Home App
‘Reminders’ inside the ‘Settings’ options. Not most optimal, things need to be moved around a little!

The verdict – which one to pick!

Depends on what are you looking for. If you are looking for a task-centric introvert non-chatty assistant – Echo is what you are looking for.

If you are looking for a free-willed, more intelligent, interactive, sometimes even deaf eared assistant – Google Home is what you are looking for.

In terms of how much you shell out – doesn’t make much of a difference as of date, both these players will come out with one to one matched partner and standalone device deals. Just get the one which appeals you more!

For customers, its’ just getting started – more the merrier!

Magic shifts places – androidone!

androidone is the stock version of Android powering phones across manufacturers. With its lightweight architecture, zero bloatware, and neat interface. Its the best way to get more out of your smartphones. Read on.

androidone is the stock version of Android OS powering phones across manufacturers. and that to me is one of the best things to happen to the Smart Phone milieu.

Here is why?

True magic lies here –  Cell phone industry is undergoing a transformation which in some ways similar to what desktop computing industry underwent in the late 80s.

Remember that day in 1980 when IBM thought that hardware was ‘THE’ thing and operating system or for that matter, any software would just be an enabler. They naively signed a deal where Microsoft could sell MS DOS to well, any other hardware manufacturer.

http://thisdayintechhistory.com/11/06/ibm-signs-a-deal-with-the-devil/

This one single event changed the course of future then, so much so, that hardware became a commodity. Every manufacturer could match spec to spec, essentially all the components, the real differentiation lay in how much could one do on software and services side of the sale.

Well that transition took around 20-25 years for PC/laptop, however, it’s happening at much quicker pace for the smartphone ecosystem (much less than 10 years or so – the first iPhone launched in 2007) also because smartphone development has a base already built up in form of inspiration from computer and rate of hardware development has accelerated (Remember Moore’s law).

Identical to the computing World, Smartphone manufacturers have already started matching spec to spec. Samsung typically led the way till a few years back but no more – mid-level cell phone developers have caught up very fast, not so surprising is the mushrooming of smartphone developers in China – Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo. These guys offer unbelievable specs. Ceteris paribus, the real magic really does lie in the software (operating system or system application in this case!) and apps (user applications).

That’s where andriodone scores over everything and everyone else. You get best of Andriod OS to drive maximum productivity out of your already hardware amped up phone.

A Google guarantee to keep your phone upgraded (with next gen of operating system) and secured for next 2 years.

Latest in usability features, Oreo andriodone version comes with Fingerprint recognition, face recognition, and voice recognition with the latest version of Google assistant. Apple would introduce these features 2 years after and the fanboys would die crazy tom-tomming over the out of the World feature that their phone has and would happily shell out 10X premium to lay their hands on this.

Come on Guys move on! Time for hardware differentiation is gone, they are all the same and anyways our phones have too much of processing power for all usual applications. True magic lies in getting more done out of the phones and that’s a big function of the software engine that drives it, that after you have a bare minimum hardware in place.

Too much value addition results in diminishing returns – ‘Value addition, can boost productivity only to a certain point post which it turns to ‘Value overdoing’ which has got too many variables changing resulting in diminishing returns. Every Android smartphone manufacturer adds value to the original OS but putting their ‘Proprietary skin’ over it. Xiaomi has got MIUI, Samsung has got Touch Wiz and Samsung Experience, Lenovo’s called ADB and so on. Android stock version is beautiful, minimal, and user-friendly, you don’t need anything else on top of it. Adding a layer only makes the phones power guzzlers, and complicated. I have been on an androidone phone for last 4 months – powered by the latest hardware by all stretches of the imagination. This is supported by a 3000 mah battery. I typically charge the phone less than 2 hours (without dash charging) every day in the morning and then it lasts a whole 24 hours with 20-30% of charge remaining. I am of course not an avid gamer but I do typically use the phone for music, navigation, some reading, and other official stuff (like emails, reading through excel and powerpoints etc.). This to me is phenomenal, I have seen phones with 3600 mah batteries struggling in 12hours with similar usage.

The truth is out there, get andriodone – keep going on unless you are one of those ‘power bonkers’ who keep looking for an electrical socket through the day and their biggest worry in life is a juiced out phone!

Bloating is always bad and that holds true for both phones and organic bodies. You see, the analogy is simple – Using apps on your phone is like monthly grocery shopping. You end up buying the same things month over month with a variation of maybe 10-15%. It’s the same with apps, you need only a few of your choice – may be around 50 everything else is junk, a memory and power consuming by birth vestige from your phone’s manufacturer which you cannot uninstall or get rid off because your manufacturer either wants to push that app or got paid to put it on your phone. What an irony – the manufacturer gets paid from you for the phone and then also gets paid from someone else for that piece of junk to be placed on your phone without your permission btw, now that’s called having your cake and eating it too!

Jaago graahak, graahak jaago– the real estate on your phone is as real as it gets. Every commercial entity in this Universe is fighting for it. You want to give it up, just like that. No way!

With Andriod one, you get most basic pieces of apps to run your phone; to be precise you get Google suite of products and then you can keep adding your favourite apps per your desire. All you need to do is go to the play store, it already has a list of the apps from your last phone – just pick the ones you need and get going.

andriodone is bloat free, junk free piece of efficient architecture, if that’s what you want – go for it.

andriodone is like the fresh first batch of mass-produced products is which is an epitome of generosity and a list of niggles. The good part is – Google is very aware of it and keeps releasing regular updates to ensure that your phone is super secured and super efficient.

And now the most critical part, your affinity to brands – ‘I only use a certain series from a certain brand of phone and keep waiting for the yearly releases to upgrade my phone’ and that’s actually not a bad thing at all. Almost all manufacturers have recognised the importance of being on andriodone bandwagon. The legion grows day-on-day, except of course for Apple fanboys.

As of date, Android One portal shows the following phones in the family with the flagship being led by Pixel – Google’s own production.

One1Two2

The magic might be happening out of your consideration set but are you ready to take that leap of very little faith!

Four4

 

Well does this means that, Google holds near monopoly in the market? The truth is, yes it does. Andriod as a platform with more than 80% market share is a heavily tilted duopoly along with iOS but then that’s always been the case. Putting up a skin to cover the neat Andriod stock interface could never be counted as the manufacturer’s own. So till the time, Apple plays the premium game and there is no substitute to Andriod, we will need to trust Google and the ‘Don’t be Evil’ moniker. (They aren’t talking about that these days, worries me sometimes though :-))

Trail Running in the wilds to feed your soul!

There are Marathons and then there are Ultras, nothing beats the joy of a trail run in the Wilds.

Put an objective to an activity and the activity becomes a mission, starts standing for something that’s much bigger, if sustained well, even transforms to some sort of a revolution.

That’s what running is, one starts with a simple notion of engagement and fitness, an activity to look forward to at end of ‘A’ day in life among otherwise not so enterprising ‘N’ days but then slowly it morphs into a purpose far bigger than a physical motion – inner peace, social equality and justice, for love, for war, for peace.

City Marathons are a great way for mega cities to come together, people from all age and geographies come together to carve success stories not just personal but also for communities. Thousands of men and women hit the tar and run aggregate million KMs on watch through the bustling streets and landmark buildings which on a usual day can be quite unforgiving for a pedestrian. The fanfare, confettis, and red carpet from the corporate sponsors does convert it into a media magnet. But then that’s the usual stuff, one sees it happening almost every other day and quite frankly despite all the charm and glamour of it; it’s the tar, and the city, and the buildings – what else! One runs for a change, for dynamicity, for vibrancy that just gets a little diluted.

This is where trail runs come in, perfectly enconced in the bosom of a suburban or rural settings, these are not perfect tarred streets to show one’s timing off but to lose oneself in wilds for sometime, be one with nature, smell the soil and the sun baked dung, the mischievous chipmunk which almost went over your feet, a bunch of starry eyed locals who watch in wonder the one special day when even their village has a ‘bipodal traffic snarl’.

Trail runs have a unique way to soothe one’s soul. A run where there is no energy sap, mother nature feeds back. There is so much dynamicity around, that one eventually loses track of time and distance and for better, for trail runs shouldn’t be run for those parameters. Trail runs are for visual cleansing, a huge relief from the non ending geometrical buildings and never ending street traffic.

There is a unique freshness in the air that feeds the lungs, each step is more invigorating than the last one, lungs seem to expand and offer boundless energy to express, to run, and to cheer the comrades. It’s like running on a ‘reserviced air filter’ – declogged and cleansed.

The inclines, declines, and the bankings of the trail are still so natural, they can be unbalancing but then that’s the real joy of the Wilds, Run in the wild, with the wild, like that kid who would not let go that moment of his in dust and toys for anything else in the Universe.

Mother Nature is supreme, and she as her unique way of humbling her subjects to submission. There is no point in fighting that incline, there is no winning there, the idea is to respect it and gain on it step by step, for no one has and no one will ever gain over nature. So esoteric but so true.

One doesn’t come across a lot of trail runs simply because the routes are tough to curate, attract little corporate sponsorship and above all don’t attract participants in droves. It’s coveted by a very few. But I guess that doesn’t need to change because that’s the soul of it. There is no bigger joy than running to the ‘Kuhu of Koyal’ in isolation for a change.

What works for us as a country is the unique landform that we have – you could create an engaging trail almost anywhere right in the foothills of Uttarakhand to mystique plantations down Tamilnadu. What we really need is a few more ‘runpreneurs’, to discover and curate.