Windows into the Future

I have been wanting to write this article since I watched the Windows Keynote earlier this year!

I never imagined saying this but I believe that new the Microsoft Windows will be in the driving seat to shape the future of what operating systems look like. Engadget titled an article on it’s website When did Apple become the boring one? I tend to agree with that question. Apple has started to get  boring. In fact I am seriously considering moving back to Windows after being in love with MacOSX for the past 6 years. So why am I so excited about Windows ? One word…well.. two.. Windows 10!

Apple has Mac OSX which powers desktops and laptops and IOS which powers their smart phones and tablets. Google has Chrome OS which runs on laptops and desktops and Android which runs on phones and tablets. Microsoft has Windows for desktop, Windows for mobile and an operating system for Xbox. Most of these companies try to make their operating systems on different types of devices work together, but they are still all separate operating systems.

“10” to Rule them All

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 18.13.20For the first time, we will get to experience one operating system that will work on all (windows) devices. Windows 10 will work on laptops, desktops, phones and Xbox. Windows 10 will be the new Universal Windows Platform which will give a unified experience on all devices. ( One confusion I would like to clear out is that although Windows 10 will be working on all your(Windows) devices, it won’t be exactly the same. There will be 7 different version of Windows 10. I still think this is ridiculous as people often end up in choice paralysis. In this respect, Apple gets it right – one operating system for mobile, one for desktop/laptop and one for server. )

Microsoft is aiming to run Windows 10 on 1 billion devices in the next 2 to 3 years and to accomplish this Microsoft will be providing free upgrades to anyone who owns a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 device.

Windows 10 will be a free upgrade.

Windows 10 Platform – A Developer’s Oasis

In order to make an operating system successful, it of course needs to be user friendly and robust to handle all kinds of situations, however, no one is going to use the operating system if there is a weak collection of 3rd party apps available to be used in conjunctions with the operating system. Microsoft knows this very well and that is the reason it has made sure that Windows 10 is an operating system for developers!

Web

Developers will be apple to publish web apps to the windows store. As the owner of a web development company  I cannot express enough how excited I am about this news. (Check out our services at Okinara.com or visit our Okinara’s Facebook Page. We provide end to end E-Commerce Solutions from development to marketing and hosting.)

Developers will be able to use APIs  to provide locally install app kind of experience for their web services. This can be used in very creative ways and is a win-win for developers and consumers.

.NET& Win32

An easy way to import  all existing apps to windows store and there will be an easy install and uninstall feature similar. This again is a win-win for developers and consumers. Consumers will not have to wait long for their favourite programs to be compatible with Windows 10.

Android – Java/C++

Android_robot.svgDevelopers will be able to reuse java and C++ code used to develop Android apps and for Windows. Windows phones will have an Android subsystem which will use android code and these apps will also have access to Windows-specific extras.

IOS – Objective C 

125px-Apple_iOS_new.svgDevelopers will be able to use their Objective C code for IOS and bring it to Windows. This is bold – Microsoft is trying to take a bite out of Apple.

 

This is great for developers and consumers. Developers will quickly be able to import their existing Android and IOS apps to windows, cutting cost, effort and time. Consumers will no longer be face with dreaded feeling of realizing that the app that they really want is available “only on Android and IOS” and would not have to wait for long.

In addition to that, there will be a single code that will run across all devices – this is huge! Apple developers need to code for Mac OSX and IOS, Google developers have to code for Chrome OS and Android.

There are bound to be some performance issues for ‘imported’ apps, but the ability to quickly import apps at least gives  boost to Windows development which will help developers quickly push their apps and updates to all platforms and can then later tweak performance after launch.

Store

There will be a more unified experience when it comes to shopping for apps across all your devices and as I mentioned above, even web apps will be available for installation. In addition, carrier billing will make shopping experience easier.

The Edge.

Edge is the name for the new Microsoft Internet browser. Microsoft ended Internet Explorer’s run and rightfully so. It was the stupid weirdo that no one liked. Most of you will try and run away from this new browser too, but I have a good feeling about this one, so please give it a try before you pass judgement. Check out my review of Microsoft’s new Inter Browser.

Cortana and Continuum

As a consumer I am most existed about Cortana and Continuem. Cortana is the Siri of the Microsoft world, but Cortana does a lot more than Siri. Microsoft is moving towards developing a true AI personal Assistant much like the Cortana from the Xbox Halo series. By studying they way you use Windows, the kinds of apps that you search for and use and your internet browsing habits, it will make suggestions for new apps and settings, news and more. You will be able to talk to Cortana and give it(…um.. her?) commands like “Cortana message Tim on Whatsapp that I will be late for today’s meeting” Cortana will then open up Whatsapp, search for Tim and send the message.

All this is great, but everyone owns more than one device and this is where Continuum comes in. You will be able to start and stop your work on any device and still get a seamless experience. All this looks good an ‘paper’, but will it actually work? I think there is a good chance that it will. Since there will be one operating system installed on all (windows) devices, and the code base for apps will be the same, the chance of this working is very good. We’ll just have to wait and see if it actually works in reality.

Microsoft is really getting in the driver seat when it comes to software technology with Windows 10. All this is really great, but is this cool or creepy?(especially Cortana and Continuum). Windows 10’s timing is perfect for me since, I am due for a laptop upgrade and I am leaning heavily towards Windows and Surface Pro.

Microsoft is also taking a leap forward with holograms and their HoloLens. I’m not going to talk about this, you can read more here.

This is my take on the upcoming Windows 10, if you like what I have presented for you, please like and share. If you notice errors, please do let me know as I am juggling between writing, developing and running and expanding my business.

If you have tips, or if you would like me to write about something specific that you like, please feel free to get in touch with my on Twitter, Facebook,  Linkedin, or contact me via my contact page.

You can follow Okinara on Twitter and Facebook to get web and software and general tech related updates.

 

We NEED Clean Renewable Energy!

Today while on my daily walk I thought about what my life is worth, what my contribution to society is and will be. Then all these questions got me thinking: where is the world headed? What are we as a human species doing and what will be the implication to the future generation.

There are 5 areas which I believe we humans should be moving towards. Today I will be focussing on

Renewable Energy

The fact that we as a species are still using non-renewable energy which will eventually run out and before it does run out will cause irreversible damage to our environment is both sad and appalling. While on my walk it suddenly dawned on me that the power of the sun is magnificent. Every single day we are getting heat from our sun and all of that is going to waste because we are not capturing it. Just imagine the kind of things that we can do if we can harness the power of solar energy.

It boggles my mind that in one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world the USA, coal power accounts for 39% of the country’s electricity production. That is insane! Coal power plants produce acid rain, mercury pollution, increased carbon footprint. This is just one example! There are hundreds of examples around the world that are causing our planet so much destruction.

Solar Power

 http://www.ecoworld.com/  estimate that we get 12.2 trillion watt-hours per square mile per year from our sun! Of course the calculation may or may not be 100% accurate, but the point is the earth receive a ridiculous amount of energy from the sun and it is more than enough to meet all our current and possible future needs. There should be no reason why we are not harnessing the power of the sun, or moving rapidly in that direction.

Electric Cars, next Solar Powered Cars

Thankfully we are moving towards a future where all cars will be electric thanks to the vision of Elon Musk and Tesla Motors. To take it a step further, the cars should not even need to be plugged into a charging station. The roof of cars will be exposed to the sun which can be used to capture solar energy. Up until now the only solar powered cars I have seem are the ones made by enthusiast in their garages. This needs to change now!

Homes

Picture01The roof of homes are exposed to the sun 365 days a year – or the number of sunny days in a year. Just imagine all that surface area used to harness the power of the sun. Yes, there has been progress here too. People have been installing solar panels on their roofs, but still it is not enough! More research needs to be done to make these cheaply available, and more people need to invest into this not only for the sake of saving a few extra bucks in the long run, but also because of the added benefit to the environment.

The natural question will be, what am I doing about it? Nothing really.. nothing at the moment. But I am committing myself to changing this in the near future.

Wind

Windmills_D1-D4_(Thornton_Bank)
Source: Wikipedia

Wind is another freely available resource. Wind turbines are already being using in great numbers throughout the world. However, it is still under-utilized and has lots of ground to cover. According to http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/ Wind energy is the fastest growing mode of electricity production across the planet. In 2012, $25 billion was spent on wind energy investment

Fun Fact: Did you know that Windmills have been in use since 2000 B.C. and were first developed in Persia and China.

Biomass

Source: http://wiredcosmos.com/
Source: http://wiredcosmos.com/

Biomass is biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms. It most often refers to plants or plant-derived materials.As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly via combustion to produce heat, or indirectly after converting it to various forms of biofuel. [Source: Wikipedia] The food you eat, plants that die, woodchips and seaweed are all sources of biomass energy. The future of biomass is or should be a mandatory biomass unit for houses with a backyard where all their waste can be used to produce energy and fertilizer for the soil in their gardens.

One way in which we can shape a future for renewable energy is buy using your power to shape the future. [here I talk about how we can use our purchasing power to dictate what products and services businesses  focus on].

I believe there is not only greater good of the environment involved in these three areas but also a possible lucrative business opportunity.  If anyone is interested in taking what I have said seriously, please contact me via the contact page.

 

The Car-free Life

A little over 6 months ago I was forced to let go of my car because I was involved in an accident and the car was a write off. Instead of getting a new car, I decided that I would not get a new car until I was certain I actually needed one. The car free life might not work for everyone, but it does work for a surprising number of people if they are willing to make some adjustments in their life.

In my case, it was a very easy decision to make and one that I do not regret at all. In fact my life probably has gotten better because of not having a car. But that can also be because my life is as such. I have deliberately designed my life in such a way that I do not have to commute to work, I choose my work hours, I choose whom to work with, what to work on and how much to work on it. Of course all that freedom can be the ultimate boon, but if not handled with care, it can also be a curse. After all with great power comes great responsibility, and in this case the power is total freedom. But what does all that have to do with living a car-free life?

Not having a car meant there were some constraints in my life. I could not travel when I wanted to, I could not be spontaneous with my travel plans, even grabbing a cup of coffee or breakfast became something that needed some planning. Of course there is also the status symbol to battle with, but thankfully I was not victimized by my mind in this respect because I almost always live by the saying

Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.

Challenging The Status Symbol

source: www.cartoonstock.com
source: www.cartoonstock.com

If nothing at all, it has been a great social experiment. For example,  I was with a group of friends when the topic of cars came up and a particular car brand was mentioned(I can’t remember which car it was) but I casually said, “Nah, I don’t like that car”, to which my friend mockingly replied,

“That’s coz you can’t afford one” letting out a laugh and an insulting look on his face before realizing that his remarks may have come off as being insensitive, yet not enough to warrant a genuine apology. As I write this, I wonder how they would react if I drove my new Tesla S to their driveway. If there is any car that I actually want to own in the near future despite of my car free philosophy that I’m experimenting with, it as to be the Tesla S – you know because it’s an electric car and it’s good for the environment and all. ;-).

There are numerous other situations like these that tested my commitment to go car free for as long as I could. It has been 6 months now and things just keep getting better.

Increased Savings

Hand and money staircaseNot owning a car saves quite a bit of money and yes you might know this logically or mathematically but when you actually see how much you’re saving, it may just surprise you a little bit. You don’t have to pay for auto insurance and if you live in my city, you know that that can be a big deal! Cost of fuel and maintenance is another thing that is out of the list of bills. There will of course be times when you do need a car because public transportation might not cut it. In those situations you can take a taxi or rent a car, and even then, at least for me the savings are very visible. For that to work, I had to develop another skill.

More Organized, Better Time Management

TimeYou cannot keep hiring a taxi or renting a car every time you need to go somewhere. I scheduled my meetings in such a way that I could get away with renting one car for the day and getting all my work done on the same day. Out of necessity I had to get efficient at my work and get better at scheduling meetings. I was always accustomed to steering clients towards having phone or Skype meetings when possible, but with the added constraint of not owning a car, I became better at managing my time. Scheduling back to back meetings means you have to learn to squeeze your preparation time and doing it enough number of times means you can get very good at it.

Health Benefits

2014-04-25-Walking_JR_604When I owned a car, I would sometimes drive in the middle of the night around 3AM to Denny’s or McDonalds to have a big meal while working on some project. Things like these of course causes your health to deteriorate slowly over time if you do it frequently. But if you remove the flexibility of having a car, the temptation of driving to a fast food place is removed(at least partially).

I started walking as part of my exercise routine, I then increased my frequency of walking and the distance I travelled every time I went out of a walk. I can now confidently walk for an hour and  I use walking to get things done. Things like going to the bank, getting stationary or getting groceries are now tasks that I feel are quite easy  even without a car. Not only am I staying active, I’m also noticing a lot more of my surroundings than I would if I were to travel the same route by car. It’s an amazing experience every time.

241617539_1399307542Recently I took out my old bicycle from my garage. It had collected some dust and rust because of all the neglect of so many years. I cleaned it and applied some needed fixes and started cycling. Now sometimes instead of walking to my destination I cycle to it and it takes me half the time. Not only is cycling healthy, it is also a lot of fun. I was an avid cyclist when I was in high school but as time went by, I went from an avid cyclist to the guy who says “I had a bicycle once”. Cycling has brought back so much joy and fun that I had all forgotten about.

I also bought a Misfit Flash fitness tracker so that I can hit my daily activity goals. Please be sure to check out my thought on the Misfit Flash.

originalAll these are benefits to me, but living a car free life is not all a selfish act. I am helping the environment by doing my part in reducing greenhouse gas emission. Living a car-free life also means you’re doing your part in easing traffic congestion.

As you can see living a car free life is a win-win for all. This is my take on living a car free life.

If you liked this article and want to read more like these in the future, please leave a comment below and please share!

 

The Stylus is Making a Comeback

‘If you see a stylus, they BLEW it’

-Steve Jobs

7986400732_4d90b1c2d1_zIf anyone had asked me a week ago, “When was the last time you wrote something with your hand?”, it would have taken me a long time to think of a time when I was actually writing with my hands. I recently got into handwriting for a few minutes a day and I also started sketching designs on my whiteboard which I had not used in many years instead of doing it directly in Photoshop.  I have heard many times that the act of writing something with your hand connects different portions of your brain and in doing so you retain more information and are more likely to follow through on what you write about.

However, now I am beginning to fall in love with handwriting again. So much that I am actually contemplating on cancelling my order for the Galaxy S6 and getting myself a Note 4.

samsung-galaxy-note-4-9024As you may already know the Note 4 uses a stylus with many interesting and productivity boosting features. You can easily write a note with S memo. You can do cool things like smart select to select text freely with the Stylus. Write on a screenshot or existing picture and do some doodling. A stylus mostly is thinner and more precise than your fingers and that gives finer control over what kind of strokes are applied to the image or document that you are working on. It acts as a cursor on the screen so you can do things more accurately. Taking out the S pen from its docked state fire up the Air Command to allow you to quickly start doing some work with your pen.

surface-pro3-pen-2Microsoft Surface, the tablet/laptop hybrid also uses a stylus.

The Surface Stylus takes things up a notch with the ways in which you can use it. You can click the top button to open OneNote. Double-click to capture a screenshot. The right click button acts like the right-click button on a mouse. Click it once in apps like OneNote to open a menu, to choose pen color, thickness, and other options. Microsoft on Friday confirmed it bought the stylus and display interface technology for the Surface Pro 3 from the company that made it. This signifies a big win for the stylus.

Other tablets that use a stylus are the Lenovo ThinkPad 10, Asus VivoTab Note 8, Toshiba Encore 2 Write, Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1Samsung Galaxy Note 12.2HP Slate 7 Extreme.

Not only that, it is rumoured that Apple’s new iPad will also use a stylus. Steve Jobs was strongly against the use of a stylus and even said

“if you see a stylus they blew it.”

“Who wants a stylus? You have to get ’em, put ’em away, you lose ’em. Yuch! Nobody wants a stylus. So let’s not use a stylus.” – Jobs said while introducing the iPhone

“God gave us 10 styluses. Let’s not invent another”  Jobs said about the stylus, according to Walter Isaacson’s biography.

So if the rumours of the iPad getting a stylus is true, it is definitely a big deal! The stylus is really making a come back!

 

 

 

 

 

Power to Shape the Future

Believe it or not you and I and everyone else has the power to shape the future. Not everyone is an inventor, a creator, the CEO of a leading tech firm, or the designer of the next big thing, but collectively we have the strength in numbers. We are consumers and with our purchasing power we can shape the future the way we want it to be. One person alone cannot shape the future, but collectively we can, by choosing what we buy, by voicing our opinions, by making sure our voices are heard.

Every time you purchase a product or service you are telling business what you want and what you do not want. Ultimately businesses will only create and maintain products and services that lead to a profit and to be fair that is the purpose of a business – to make profit. You might not have direct influence on how a business operates but you do have power to make businesses succumb to your will. Businesses need to make profit, profit comes from sales, sales come from consumers, you are a consumer, therefore businesses need you.

I’m not going to tell you what you should purchase and from whom, neither will I suggest how we should shape the future. That is not my job, at least that is not my job in this post. All I want to do is give you a chance to examine what you are purchasing, where the product or service is coming from, whether you agree or disagree with the product making process, whether or not the company’s operations, where the product is being made and by whom the product is being made and the product itself is in alignment with your own values and beliefs.

Every time you pay for a product or service, you are creating a demand for it. An increase in demand will inevitably lead to either an increase in price or an increase in supply. Ask yourself whether you would want the increase of this product in the market. Is the increase in supply good for the economy, the general public, your government and yourself.

There is certain class of consumers known as fanboys/fangirls who would purchase anything that a company makes just because they are loyal to that particular brand name without considering the possibility of other products or services at their disposal. I’m not telling or asking you to change this behaviour. All I am suggesting is to ask yourself this question:”Would it not be better to stay loyal to yourself, to your values, to your beliefs, to your vision of the future then to stay loyal to an identity that you have formed as the user of product X or the user of services Y”.

Does it really server anyone if you remain loyal to a brand and not the technology, the quality or the essence of that product or service? And if so who does it really serve?

Are there industries that you are part of simply by being a consumer creating demand by purchasing a product or services, but those industries do not conform with your own values? Are there products that you consume on a regular basis that cause more harm than good to you and others around you.

I urge you to examine the consequence of the act of purchasing.

Remember you have the power,…we have the power to shape our future. This idea is not a break through idea, it is a simple idea that we are all a part of on daily basis, but more often than not we tend to forget about it because we are living inside of it instead of looking into it.

 

Top 3 Alternatives to Microsoft Office

microsoft-office-365-logoMicrosoft Office is the industry standard when it comes to office suites. Most people think that when it comes to office suites Microsoft Office is the only option they have. Either that or they think that any other alternative is not worth experimenting with. I’m here to tell you that that is not the case. I have 3 multi-platform alternatives that work on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux. If you are a student or a small business owner with a tight budget or have very little use for an office suite to pay $8 to $10 a month for or for whatever reason just don’t want to use Microsoft Office then the following 3 are definitely worth trying out.

Apache OpenOffice

AOO High Res Logo PSD FINALApache OpenOffice is one of the oldest open source alternative and one of the most well know. It has switched hands multiple times throughout its history developed by Star Office, which was later acquired by Sun Microsystems which was acquired by Oracle Corporation, the lack of commitment from Oracle and other issues led to a split in the development team and LibreOffice was born. Oracle then laid of its paid developers who were working on the OpenOffice project and donated the code and trademark to the Apache Software Foundation. For some time after that the office suite was weaker compared to its fork LibreOffice, however since mid-2014 Open Office is back in the competition. OpenOffice.org claims that OpenOffice is being used in Governments, Education, Businesses, Not for profits, IT Businesses.

Apache OpenOffice lets you save documents in the  OpenDocument format, read Microsoft documents and save your work in Microsoft document formats too. It offers 6 programs in its suite:

  • Writer –  the word processor alternative to Microsoft Word that you can use for anything from writing a quick letter to producing an entire book.
  • Calc  – the spreadsheet alternative to Microsoft Excel with all the tools you need to calculate, analyze, and present your data in numerical reports or sizzling graphics.
  • Impress  – the multimedia presentation alternative to Microsoft Powerpoint.
  • Draw  – this Visio alternative lets you produce everything from simple diagrams to dynamic 3D illustrations.
  • Base – is the alternative to Microsoft Access that lets you manipulate databases seamlessly, create and modify tables, forms, queries, and reports.li
  • Math lets you create mathematical equations with a graphic user interface or by directly typing your formulas into the equation editor.

LibreOffice

LibO_Logo_Highres_ColorLibreOffice is very similar to OpenOffice because it is a fork of OpenOffice and is developed by The Document Foundation. At the time of this writing LibreOffice was slightly ahead of OpenOffice mainly because it had a head start while OpenOffice was looking for a stable home to settle down for some serious development. I was a big fan of OpenOffice until LibreOffice came into existence. I still use LibreOffice and Google’s Office suits on a regular Basis.

To someone who is new to LibreOffice it can be a confusing process to download the right version of LibreOffice. LibreOffice Fresh is the most recent stable version with cutting edge development. If you want the latest features and are okay with using software that has not gone through the test of time then the Fresh version is for you. If you want something that is stable and has gone through a good amount of testing then LibreOffice Still is for you. I use the “Still” version and that is what I would recommend you to use.

LibreOffice boasts the same set of programs that OpenOffice does. It generally has newer and advanced features than OpenOffice and has a more active development team and support community. This may change in the future since OpenOffice has improved quite a lot and it is also supported by a strong organization, Apache which at one point powered 70% of web servers.

Google’s Office Suite

google-drive-logo_11Google’s Office Suite was named Google docs before but now it does not seem to have a name that encapsulates all its apps. Docs is now the name of Google’s word processing app and all the other components are now standalone apps on the web and on the IOS and Android platform.

The biggest difference between Google’s Office apps and the the previous two is that LibreOffice and OpenOffice are both desktop applications where as Google’s is everything on the web.  If you are someone who is on-the-go a lot or use multiple devices to do your work, or are heavily invested in the Google ecosystem then Google office apps is the way to you.  They are not as full featured and robust as the  desktop applications mentioned above, but they get the job done. Since we at Okinara Consulting Services all work remotely from different locations around the globe we depend on Google for our emails and to share and collaborate on documents. There are various apps that work together to form Google’s office suite.

  • Docs – is the Microsoft Word alternative app that lets you Open, edit, and create documents. 
  • Slides – is the Microsoft PowerPoint alternative that lets you open, edit, and create presentations
  • Drawing – is the Microsoft Visio alternative that lets you create diagrams and flow charts
  • Sheets – is the Excel alternative that lets you open, edit, and create spreadsheets

That’s my take on alternatives to Microsoft Office. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below.

What Should you write about?

Recently I was asked for some advice. This person said that they were always interested in writing, but never could really figure out what to write about. After following some of my blog posts, they asked me for some insight into how to decide what to write about, how to plan their writing, how often write, how to determine who the target audience is? etc…

First and foremost, I was flattered that someone asked me for advice on writing. I also felt some pressure to give appropriate answers to their questions. However, when it finally dawned upon, I realized that the real answer was very simple.

The question as to what you should write about is like the question “How Should I live my life?” The answer really isn’t that complicated. You just do. You just live. That is as simple as it gets and as complicated an answer as it gets, there is nothing more to it. Likewise, if you want to write, you should just write, there is nothing more to it.

You may ask, but don’t I need to know what to write about? Don’t I need to plan? Don’t I need to learn the different styles of writing? Don’t I need to be interesting? Don’t I need to know who I am writing for? Who is my target audience? What is my purpose for writing whatever it is that I am writing?

No… Don’t think about all that – Just write. In due time, you will discover the things that you are passionate about, in due time you will realize what your style of writing is, who your target audience is, who you want to write for, what message you want to send across the screen, or the glossy pages of a magazine, or whatever medium you choose.

The best way to learn anything is to start doing it.

How do you learn to ride a bike? How to you learn to swim. How do you learn to play a guitar? How do you learn to drive a car? Never mind that, how do you think you learnt to walk? Too often we ponder upon the result of our actions for too long and never actually see any result because we never really try to do that thing.

The biggest price that you pay for an action is the price of not taking it.

The Failed Salesman

Two weeks ago I was at a mall rushing to the store that I wanted to go to in the last 7 minutes before the mall shuts down. While zooming past those stalls that are laid like little lego bricks between the two parallel rows of stores that usually sell smaller priced accessories like cell phone cases, purses, no name brand sun glasses etc…I heard a call from one of those vendors. I don’t remember what the man said, but it caught my attention.

He begun his above average, metering towards impressive sales act which I am sure he had rehearsed many times before, but one that hardly seemed like a script. It seemed more like a natural or a well crafted script that seemed to be a pretty good recipe of passion for the product and an understanding of a fairly good enough technique of persuasion.

He was selling a portable wireless speaker small enough to fit in one’s pocket and one that used bluetooth to pair with a device like a phone or an IPod to stream live music.

wireless speaker

He demonstrated the features and sound quality in the next 2 to 3 minutes. He then said, “since it’s closing time, I’m going to give you a great deal. This usually sells for $80, but I’m going to make this a final sale for tonight and because I really want you to have this great product, I’m going to make it $40 just for you!”

big-sale

That’s fine, right? We have all heard something like this at some point in our lives. In my mind I started searching for ways in which I could use this product. I told him “Okay, I’ll buy it”

He started to pack the speaker that he was holding in his hand. I stopped and asked him if there were any other colors. I could see a yellow one and a black one behind the glass of his merchandise cart. He said “Yes” and then moved on to show me different colors, but I happened to like the color of the one that he used to do the little demonstration for me. He started packing it again. I asked him to give me a new pack, I then asked him about the “store’s” return policy, which turned out to be “No Refunds – Exchange only”, which is still fair, right?

But I thought, if that is the case, I want to make sure the speaker is working properly. That is when things started going downhill. He’s attitude changed from a person who was passionate about the product(or passionate about selling that product) to an attitude of someone who was being overly defensive.

He said, “Oh I cannot open the box for you. It is company policy”. My obvious argument was, “What if the speaker is defective”, to which he replied “But I can’t open it for you”.

When he saw that I had started to put my wallet back into my pocket, he said, “Okay, I’ll open it on for you”. But being a reasonably smart shopper I persuaded him to turn it on.

He hesitantly hooked up the speaker to the power source and a red light appeared on the speaker.

“See, it’s working”, he said with an expression on his face which I could only describe as “relieved”.

At this point, I had already gone from “hmmm…Interesting ..” to “hmm… something’s fishy”.

fishy

I then asked him to play some music on that speaker. He refused!

“It is working! You see this red light. It means it is working”

“It’s a speaker, not a lamp. How can I tell if the speaker is working properly without listening to the sound it produces”

He did not budge, and insisted that I buy the product, and started to scan the item. I stopped him, and said, “In that case, I don’t want to buy this” and I started walking away while thinking I probably need to check this brand online to see what kind of reviews it has and if there were any other alternatives.

From behind me, I heard the man say, “Wow… what a waste of time!”

What did you say?
What did you say?

I turned around and said, “What did you say?”

What happened next can only be described as a knock-out combo move of words in angry ninja style.

Ninja_fighting_poses_by_lordeeas

I told him what he did was wrong. I tried to explain to him, this what he did there was not good salesmanship. I could have easily gone home and come back the next day and bought that very product from him. But do you think I did that? No!

That person seemed like this guy:

Business Handshake

And when the sale didn’t go through, turned into this guy:

polls_angry_man_3315_176592_answer_1_xlarge

Which just led me to conclude that he was this guy all along:

used-car-salesman

 

A truly remarkable salesman is not necessarily one who closes the most deals – that viewpoint can only get you to a B+, or maybe an A if they’re lucky, but never A+. I suggest you try this: If you are planning on buying a product or service that requires you to have a long term relationship with the person selling that product or service, test them. Ask the hard questions, get close to a deal, then back off, and tell them you need some time to think about it. Watch their reaction, because there is nothing worse for a salesperson then when the customer walks away just before closing the deal. Doing this will test their patience and their commitment towards you.

I'm back

I have had clients get so close to a deal and then walk away only to return after weeks or even months to start the project with a bang! The most memorable case was one in which the hiring manager of a company phoned me asking for another meeting to finally start a project that they were planning for a very long time. The strange thing was, I had forgotten all about this project. The client had come back to me after a year and a half! They were just not ready to take on the project when we had our first discussion. That client is still with my company and has even brought in numerous others!

 

The Power of Intro-Extro-verts

Just a few weeks ago someone commented that I was a bit shy. That came as a bit of a surprise to me as I do not consider myself as even a remotely shy person. After a bit of reflection I realized that at some point in my life that in fact may have been true from one perspective and even today to some this may hold true. I do not usually tend to speak unnecessarily. If I do not bother speaking up, it is mainly because the situation or topic at hand does not interest me or I do not have anything worthwhile to add to the conversation because it does not add any additional positive value.

Although I have a blog which may seem like an open expression of my personal thoughts, a twitter page which paints a picture of what goes in my mind and a Facebook account where it may seem that I share my intimate thoughts amongst my Facebook friends, it is only what one sees on the surface. I have learnt from experience that things are not always what they seem. I like to express myself freely when the time calls for it, but my biggest breakthroughs in thinking and understanding have come from seeking solace in solitude.

I like to deal with certain things like figuring personal and business solutions to problems I face on my own,. The bigger the problem the more silence it requires. But the fact is, this is not just true for me – this is true for everyone. Even the most extreme cases of extroverts need to at times find their inner voice in seclusion.

The key here is not to categorize oneself as either an introvert or an extrovert. There are different times that requires one to taken on introvert or an extrovert traits.

When making business deals, giving speeches in public, working in teams I have to take on an extrovert persona and during planning, projecting, writing or doing any kind of creative work I have to take on an introvert persona. The key is to realize one's natural state and then balancing it according to the situation that one is in.

 

The 80/20 Rule

Today, I revisited the 80/20 rule. The first time I came across the concept of 80/20 was around 2 to 3 years ago. I was exiting a library when I noticed amongst a pile of other books, a blue book with 80/20 written on its cover with big white fonts. For some very odd reason it really caught my attention. I had not heard about the concept before. I could not take the book because it was still in the process of getting checked in, so I took a picture of it on my phone. Some days later I went and got the book. I skimmed through and it I was amazed at the simplicity of this rule. I don't know why it's there but it's there and I like simple things that work, even if it is an approximation.

At the time when I was first introduced to this principle I did notice things in my own business and in my life in general and I thought, "Oh this is pretty cool". I even remember talking about it with a few friends and business associates. After some time I forgot about it.

Today I downloaded The Philosopher's Notes Volume 1, which by the way is amazing I think. It is basically Cliff Notes or Coles Notes for the top 100 personal growth books. This in itself is 80/20 at it's best. I skimmed through a few books and all the big ideas are condensed into 6 pages, which is amazing! The first book or note I read was on The 80/20 principle.

The principle states, quite simply, that 20% of efforts lead to 80% of results. This is everywhere. Let me give you a few examples. According to the 80/20 principle, 80% of your income in business comes from 20% of your clients, 80% of your time gets spent on 20% of your tasks or the 20% of the people that you know. 20% of your products or services yields 80% of the profit. At the same time 80% of your cost also come from 20% of the total number of expenses, 80% of your time spent on debugging is spent on 20% of bugs, 80% of crimes are committed by 20% of the criminals, 20% of roads get 80% of the traffic and I could basically go on and on about this.

So what does this all imply? Assuming the 80/20 principle holds, to make more profit, be more effective and efficient and to be generally more happy in life, you should focus your energy on the top 20% of everything that yields 80% of the good stuff. Focus on the top 20% of your products, 20% of your clients, do the top 20% of the things that make you happy, spend more time with the top 20% of the people that give you more joy and happiness. Also you may want to fire the 20% of your clients that give you the 80% of the headaches, reduce or stop production on the 20% of the products and services that results in 80% of the waste, and etc…

Of course I'm not suggesting a mechanical trimming of the 20% of things and people that give you 80% of the trouble and solely focusing on the 20% that gives you the good stuff. I wish life was really that simple. You do need to study and make decisions on a case by case basis, but this 80/20 is a fast way to have a short cut analysis of business and life in general.

Take out your notebook(I mean the one with a screen and keyboard) and jot down 80/20s in your personal, business or work life.