Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Is this closure? The technology equivalent?

I've been having this feeling for a while now. Maybe the last 4-5 months. But, this is going to be the first time I will admit it aloud.

Yahoogroups & Googlegroups are outdated. Blogs, websites are almost there too. Email is fast getting there!

People just don't check emails & groups as often any more!
What do they do instead? They check their SMS, Facebook messages, etc much more often than email! Hotmail and yahoo.. I can probably find 10 regular users (combined) on my mailing list. Gmail.. maybe a lot more.. but even then I'm willing to bet that the people below 20 who use it regularly are VERY few. 8-9 months ago, I was sort of taken aback to find out that a lot of teenagers / less than 21 year olds creating hotmail / yahoo ids. When I asked them why they aren't using Gmail, their response was.. "It doesn't matter which one.. I just need that to get to my Facebook. I hardly check it anyway! If people want something important, they just message me on FB chat, or SMS me if they can't find me online!"

I think it is the new reality. The future is about text messaging, instant messaging, Facebook messaging, and maybe facebook private messaging.

The best observations of the changing times I can probably give are all from my Ultimate Frisbee experience. The first few clubs in India (Chennai Ultimate, Bangalore Ultimate, etc.) use yahoo groups to communicate. The clubs that formed a little later use googlegroups. And the clubs that formed most recently (Pune Ultimate, etc.) use Facebook groups! Thats probably an accurate description of the changing trends & times. All this in a span of 4-5 years!

The older teams (Chakraa, LiveWires, L2F, etc.) use yahoogroups and email to communicate. The newer teams (Stall 7, FlyWild, etc) use purely Facebook groups, instant messages and SMS to communicate.

Chennai Ultimate Frisbee's communications are also moving slowly with the times. 3.5 years ago, we used to be completely Yahoo Groups based. But these days, we use both Yahoo Groups, and the Facebook fan page to communicate news / events. I suspect that even the regulars are increasingly getting their updates from Facebook rather than from our Yahoo Groups. You don't even have to guess about the rest of the people.

I'm waiting to test out the Facebook Messages email service that Facebook will be rolling out. If we find that's stable enough, and offers most of the features that we used to be able to do on yahoogroups and traditional email, Chennai Ultimate will take a bold step towards completely migrating to a Facebook based communication. I believe that going forward, this will help us reach out more effectively to new fans who're looking to be in touch with us, new talent who're looking to start playing, and also provide news about us more effectively to our existing fan base.

I guess in relationship terms.. we call this "closure". We stop hanging on to the past, and accept the inevitable. Now, I'm excited! :-). The future looks bright!

p.s. Don't get me wrong. Email will probably always exist. So will blogs and websites. And maybe even Yahoo Groups and Google Groups. But, I'm talking about the primary mode of communication. Make no mistake. It will be Facebook & SMS.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Irish Debt Story

This was circulated on the ISB Alumni list, and I thought it was a pretty cool way to explain the much talked about bailout packages!

“It is a slow day in a damp little Irish town. The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit. “On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the town, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night. “The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer. “The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel. The guy at the Farmers' Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the pub. The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him ‘services’ on credit. “The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note. The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything. “At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town. “No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism. “And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how the bailout package works."

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