A Typical Day of an Expat

I arise in the morning to the sound of a mobile phone alarm as none of the apartment rooms have alarm clocks. Slowly I stir from my single mattress bed with only a sheet needed to be comfortable with the a/c going all night. My ears now more awake than the other senses begin to notice the loud calls of the food merchants wandering the neighborhood trying to find buyers for their fruits and vegetables. The bathroom I have attached to my bedroom does not have hot water, so I use the third, unoccupied room?s bathroom, which requires me to flip a switch each morning to turn on the small hot water heater hanging from the wall. As I snoozed too many times this morning, it was lucky I had left it on from yesterday, which I was told was dangerous because they have a habit of exploding. I shaved, washed up, brushed my teeth with the tap water and made myself a peanut butter sandwich (no jelly by preference) for breakfast. At this point I was already fifteen minutes later than we originally told the driver the night before, but he was patiently waiting outside. My ?flat mate? and I grabbed our bags and descended the three flights of marble stairs. As we land the entry security guard quickly stands, salutes me and wishes me good morning, as he has been doing ever since I begin saying good evening to him on our return. On the outside in this world of service, I feel very important, but internally I still remain to feel like the young man exploring life.
Walking up to the car, the driver quickly takes our bags and opens the door for us, the paper is ready to read on the seat. (On some days it is badly folded showing that the driver has read it that morning. I?m still not sure if he buys it for us, or for himself and then gives it to us as he?s done. I leave it in the car after I?ve read the front section just in case he isn?t finished.) We?re whisked away in a fury of honking and swerving as Yusuf (pronounced Yo! suf) offensively navigates the traffic yelling at pedestrians and other drivers with the touch of his horn. Traffic here is wild with small families riding on a single motorcycle, everyone swerving around each other disagreeing with the painted lines, and busses the size of trains pushing their way through the crowd. We always make good time though even in our tiny Geo Metro size car, as Yusuf seems to have some power over other drivers similar to how small dogs can sometimes intimidate larger ones simply with their bark and courage.
When we arrive at the office, a very large building resembling the shuttle hanger in the movie Armageddon, we are dropped off at the front door and are greeted again by the next set of security. Almost every establishment I have been to has had security. It doesn?t feel like an unsafe place, and to be quite honest I imagine it?s just to show wealth, establishment and to employ people. As we ascend the elevator we arrive to our floor and begin our day of coffee and setup our computers. At this point, I can?t really tell I?m not in an office in the US.

working a lot!

My intention was to journal an entry each day to remember this experience in India and share my adventure with friends and family. What was I thinking?! It?s for work. I come in at 8am and leave after 9pm. So, hopefully, I?ll have time this weekend to share some of my stories about crazy traffic, an elevator system that resembles a psychology experiment, Yusuf the driver, and much more.

The Night Before

This entry is mostly just to test out my BLOG configuration. I’m very new at this program, and have found it to be almost too powerful for the time I am currently willing to invest in learning it. However, I think it’s going to be a wonderful way for me to share my journey to India. I’ll document some of my thoughts and discoveries along the way. Hopefully, I’ll also figure out how to add pictures right into the entries. Tomorrow at 2PM PST I leave San Francisco for Hyderabad, India!

Wireless Trends I’d like to see

There are trends driving both the wireless technology and adoption depending on the market (e.g., Japan, UK, US). However, instead of looking at the trends, I think the wireless carriers need to step back and figure out how to increase their definition of service. Today, wireless carriers focus on subscriber growth and gross revenue per user. Yet with an increasingly saturated market and an almost unwillingness to pay for extra services in the US given the expectation created by the Internet (i.e., most service is free – news, entertainment) I think they need to move to new models. For example, why is it that I pay a bus fare in cash, struggle to get my credit card transation to process in the taxi and usually come up short at the vending machine? Wireless carriers have 2 key assets, there transport ability and their billing ability. This should be used in new ways to develop more revenue. So, below are my thoughts on what trends I’d like to see.
1.) Increase data speeds to allow more functionality to be delivered to the end user such as web access and video phone (essential in US market getting use to broadband)
2.) Clearinghouse function created to rival Visa/Mastercard (e.g., to be used for vending machines, mom/pop stores, government, movie tickets)
3.) Business to Consumer/Business Applications (e.g., point of sale systems, kiosks, supply chain management). Leverage the network in new ways. Provide transactional processing charges vs. all you can drink.
4.) Increased reliability (reach the 5 9s of wireline) ha!
5.) Social networking services (e.g., friendster in realtime and based on your location; find out the person sitting next to you in Starbucks is friends with your friend Joe; receive a “flirt” via SMS from a girl in the club that hasn’t yet met you, but your profile popped up as a match on her phone when you walked in the place)
…oh, and I still want to have my phone tell me where the nearest gas station is when I need one.

RFID and meter maids

Finally finding a parking spot after driving around endlessly can be life saving depending on how elevated your blood pressure got. Finding out you have no change for the meter can almost push you back over the edge. Think about how many times you’ve dived into a local store to buy something in order to get some change, or worse decided to just take the chance and return to a $35 ticket (I live in San Francisco). I’ve seen that there is an effort to put in these giant, most likely costly, electronic meters that have a keypad for account entry. I’ve only seen them around the motorcycle spots in the city. I imagine it’s a pilot to determine the benefits and cost associated with this new kind of metering. Well, I think there is a better answer. I drive through toll booths skipping lines with a little unit in my car that debits an account. I believe all it contains is a small Radio Frequency Identification Tag (RFID), which is becoming increasingly more popular in supply chain management. I think the government should put a tag on each license plate so that I don’t have to worry about having change for the meter. I would just pull up and it would debit my account. Of course this would most likely also mean I would be immediately debited for the parking ticket when I park somewhere illegally. Now, I am as big of a privacy concerned citizen as any. Most of my friends know I go so far as to make up names for things such as grocery club cards, but I do think there is more promise to these RFID tags then just letting Wal-Mart know it’s out of Gillette razors.

Embedded Video Ads Online

Today I saw my first embedded video advertisement on a web page. Now, I’ve seen the fancy flash ads that run across the screen, pop up or are just placed as a banner, but those are like animation not full motion video. The online version of the Wall Street Journal today has a full motion video advertisement, with sound, for FedEx regarding international shipping. It’s new, so it stopped me dead in my tracks. I saw the screen moving much more than an animated GIF would and I was intrigued. So, naturally I clicked on the sound button and low and behold I was watching TV on a website. I have a DSL connection so this worked fantastic. However, I figure the novelty will last only months and then it will just be another ad. Given I pay for my online subscription to the WSJ, I will be upset if they put in a larger ad or insert it between pages, but I think that is the future for free content online. It’s as easy as putting a page in the click process that makes you watch a full motion advertisement before letting you on to the next page of information. It?s very annoying if you ask me, but it could incent people to subscribe to a pay service without ads. Either way, keep your eyes on the look out for full motion advertising online. It’s here!