[LinkBlog] Weasley Clock

If this goes on Kickstarter…
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Takeaways from the #health2india 2014 conference

Attended the Health 2.0 conference in Bangalore over 7 & 8 February that had some very thought provoking sessions on the way technology is shaping the way forward for the healthcare industry.  Also did a live coverage of the event on twitter (ab_aditya) in form of public notes. Here’s a summary:

  • The industry is focusing on preventive care driven by advances in technology, particularly cloud, mobile devices, sensors & genomics
  • A lot of useful technology already exists and the industry needs to integrate these to create meaningful solutions through collaboration among the various stakeholders
  • Challenges include reaching out to the masses untouched by healthcare, providing leave scale quality service with empathy & improving the efficiency of the ecosystem
  • Regulators & governments have a very important role to play at the current inflection point in removing obstacles to innovation
  • Startups in the West are focusing primarily on consumers, while most in India are targeting healthcare professionals

Apple the Black Swan

Simply explained:

Apple’s string of success is effectively impossible. Yet it happened. They are a black swan.

Look at Taleb’s criteria:

  • It is an outlier — check
  • It carries an extreme impact — check
  • It is explained after the fact — in the case of Apple, the explanation is Steve Jobs. He was a genius, and now he is gone

And so, AAPL continues its downward descent; it was great to ride it on the upside, but now that Apple is a normal company, the probability of another hit are so remote, it’s best to assume it simply won’t happen.

This is the disconnect many of us in the blogosphere have with Wall Street. We actually believe that design matters, that taste is objective, and that culture can be developed. And, by definition, none of these can be measured or quantified — or modeled.

via stratēchery | Apple the Black Swan.

Elad Blog: Who Cares If It’s Been Tried Before?

There is a difference between knowing the path and walking it:

Every large market, and every good idea, will have half a dozen others who are digging around the edges of it. Many of these companies will be doing something similar to your own idea, or will provide a service that at a high level sounds similar. In some cases these companies will win if they have a superior product or an unfair advantage in distribution think Microsoft bundling browsers with their OS. In a lot of other cases, the market is still wide open even if at a high level it seems crowded or busy.

via Elad Blog: Who Cares If It’s Been Tried Before?.

University 2.0 ideas

In the last few weeks, I’ve come across quite a few presentations regarding University 2.0 (links: 1 2). They seek to make use of several Web 2.0 technologies, that have become popular in the last 2-3 years, for educational institutions. This idea seems quite interesting to me, especially because I was trying to get some of those technologies like wikis and blogs implemented for our b-school. I have another year and a half of my course remaining, and I hope to implement as many of them as I can with help of my classmates and others from the school.

So, here’s a a basic outline of the ideas:

LinkedIn profiles

LinkedIn has become a standard in professional social networks, and it is quite important for professionals to have an up to date LinkedIn profile. My idea is to get everyone to set up their profiles and put the links on our school student profile pages.

Student & Faculty introduction videos

This will make the profiles richer, and should definitely look better than having just static photographs. There are several online video sharing sites, and any of them could be used for this purpose. It could be done initially for the students who are part of different committees, and later expanded for the others depending on the response.

Social network groups

There are several social networks out there like orkut, facebook etc, and our school has a group on each of them. They need to be streamlined a bit and kept up to date. The links to the groups could also be placed on the official school site to gain better visibility.

Online magazine

We have a school magazine L!VE that is published both physically and electronically. However, the electronic version is in a pdf form with only a few of the articles being published in html form. My intention is to make use of  a blogging platform to publish our magazine online. This will not only increase the visibility of the magazine, but also facilitate interaction on the articles and get the content indexed on search engines. WordPress seems to be an ideal platform for this purpose, and there are quite a lot of magazine themes for this purpose.

School blog

Currently we do not have a blog for our school. However, we do make use of blogs during our annual b-school fest like we did for AVENUES 08 this time. The idea here is to make blogging a continuous phenomenon. This should again facilitate interaction, increase visibility, and keeps notifications up to date.

Wiki

I had already started a wiki some time back, and did manage to put up some content on it. Over time, it can become a very important knowledge repository with different kinds of information on our school.

Once set up, these avenues should definitely help the school from different aspects. Moreover, most of these services can be setup or for free. There are of course several other services that can be used in addition to the ones mentioned here like photo sharing, social bookmarking etc. So, the main investment required will be time, which is quite an important commodity in management courses :-).

However, there are several challenges and constraints to be overcome before these become a reality, the biggest of which is going to be getting participation and garnering critical mass from the various stakeholders so that this initiative can be sustained in the long run.

The real story behind the space pen

The story of NASA spending millions of dollars to create a pen that worked in space for their astronauts, while the Russians just opted to use pencils, is often cited as a KISS example. However, it turns out that it’s just that – a story, and not the reality.

I first came across the actual story behind the space pen in the Geek Trivia article of TechRepublic. Apparently, both the Americans and Russians opted to use pencils initially, but turned out to have several problems due to the tips breaking off, and their flammable nature (in the high oxygen environment). NASA did opt to use mechanical pencils initially, but they were pretty expensive (almost $130).

In the end both parties started using the space pen developed by the Fisher Pen company which was a lot cheaper ($2.39 after a bulk discount). The research behind development of the pen did require around a million dollars, and patented in 1965. But, this was done by the pen company and not NASA. Also, if you are interested in buying one, it costs around $50.

There is also a detailed Scientific American article on the space pen which appeared last December.