Weekly Roundup August 2020

Dinakaran Sankaranarayanan


Weekly Roundup August 2020

Interesting reads for the week of 30th Aug , 2020

1. 3 practices by Bill Gates that make you change the way you read books

Reading Books is a habit every one wants to pick up and start enthusiastically but sooner or later, they slack on the habit. These 3 practices by Bill Gates can help us deal with reading books better


2. India’s Top 10 Most Innovative SaaS Startups

We all know the usual suspects: Zoho and Freshworks, but who are the other 8 SAAS startups that are promising? This is one such list. Though am not sure of the methodology, there is an interesting mix of diverse startups targetting different business domain.


3. The Commercial side of Open Source.

RedHat, Elastic , Mongo . Many open-source companies are also trying to sell their services commercially. How the whole model has evolved over the last few decades and what the future holds for these companies especially when the public cloud vendors are raking all the moolah by hosting open source products as managed services. Interesting podcast conversation


4. How 7 Lines of Code Turned Into a $36 Billion Empire

“Instead of chasing 1000-hour programming contracts to build clunky payments solutions for each individual client, the Collison brothers built 7 lines of code that developers could simply plug into their websites.The result is Stripe — a company that has more cash than it knows what to do with.”


5. 9 Micro-Habits That Will Completely Change Your Life in a Year

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”


Interesting reads for the week of 23rd Aug , 2020

1. Dope Tech Again. Cool multi-purpose Projector that can double as a smartphone screen

This cool multi-purpose projector feels super awesome. It acts as a projector, but doubles up as a display screen whenever want it and can detect touches and react accordingly. This is absolutely closing the fiction movies from yesteryear. Feels like dope tech for sure.

Projector segment features in the second or third place on this video


2. Citibank’s $900 Million Blunder

What happens when you accidentally transfer ~$900 million to somebody you didn’t mean to? Well, that is what Citibank did and the clerical error has now cascading legal complications. What a story.


3. New Record for Fastest Internet - 178 terabits a second, or 178,000 Gbps

Well, all it takes is just 1 second to download the entire catalogue of Netflix theoretically.


And the previous record was not even long ago.


4. Apple App Store vs Rest of The World?

There is some news about the troubles with the Apple App Store World I guess every week. I think the recurring problems for Apple is not going to gel well for its cult status.

“Fortnite has been kicked off both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store, after a growing dispute between Epic Games and Apple and Google. But the roots of the dispute go back to Steve Jobs and the origin of the App Store model – a model Epic is now trying to overturn.”


Pretty busy few months for employees in the Apple App Store.

“On Friday, the internet erupted in a small way to learn that Apple had successfully forced WordPress to monetize its free app — forcing it to sell premium plans and custom domain names seemingly just so that Apple could get its traditional 30 percent cut. But one afternoon and evening of surprise and outrage later, Apple is backing off. The company is issuing a rare on-the-record apology, and it says that WordPress will no longer have to add in-app purchases now that all is said and done.”


5. Spotify trying to be the destination for Podcasts. Will it work?

Interesting read about the current state of podcasting market and whether Spotify’s big bet on podcasting with acquisitions and original content can help it to become the most desired destination for podcasts.


That’s all for this week

Interesting reads for the week of 16th Aug , 2020

1. Dope Tech - Robot Dog

Boston Dynamic’s much raved and frightening Robot Dog is actually called Spot. This video by MKBHD is insightful about the Robot Dog - how it is built, the technology behind it and the real-world use cases. It’s incredible to see how much we have travelled. To put it short, Spot is the range rover for our planet Earth. The possibilities in the next decade are endless, but there is this overarching concern around robots taking over the humans and it is hard to ignore this


2. How to take better breaks

Not all breaks are the same. Some breaks drain your energy while some of them recharge us. Are you taking the right kind of breaks?


3. Mozilla’s Uncertain future

Mozilla and Firefox were the pretty good alternatives a decade back when Internet Explorer had an absolute monopoly. Whenever I browse, the first thing I would do is install Firefox, setup of add-ons etc. But then Chrome came and took the market completely. Looking back, in 2020 Chrome feels like Internet Explorer and Edge feels like Chrome. And Firefox? It is probably all over the place. I have tried using Firefox as an alternative to Chrome and Edge, but there are still rough edges and unreliable that I had to move back to Chrome. And with this new direction of Mozilla and layoffs, there is now less hope for Firefox to thrive?


4. Mastering the art of persuasion

A 30-minute interesting podcast about the art of persuasion

“Pushing people to behave how you’d like them to or believe the same things you do just doesn’t work, no matter how much data you give or how many emotional appeals you make. Studying both psychology and business, he’s found better tactics for bringing people over to your side. One of the keys? Asking questions so people feel like they’re making the decision to change”


5. How to learn anything with the Feynman Technique

This technique is on the similar lines of trying to explain complex topics to a child.

“There are only three steps to the Feynman Technique, and it’s easy to apply them straight away. Once you have picked a topic that you’ve recently been studying, test your knowledge by trying to transmit it.”


Interesting reads for the week of 9th August 2020.

1. Bjyu’s have acquired White Hat Junior for a whopping 200 million


White Hat Junior is using the NIIT playbook of the 90’s by taking the idea of learning to code for kids starting from the age of 7. An 18-month start-up selling for this high of a valuation is a reflection of the growing relevance of tech industry and parents too have started jumping into the bandwagon of getting kids to learn coding at a young age. My daughter too enrolled onto one introductory session and after she performing exceedingly well, the scholarship offer stood at 90K for a period of 3 or 6 months. LOL. One reason for the high cost is that all the sessions are 1-1 and it is claimed to be more effective.

Personalized learning is the next big frontier in education. Looking back, teachers trying to teach for a class of 30 always mean some kids can never understand concepts well, but can never get it clarified due to some reasons. Personalized learning either through video content with unlimited playback or 1-1 could make for a more engaging experience. It is also one of the main reason Zuckerberg invested in Byju’s.

But the cringy advts by White Hat Junior featuring Sundar Pichai unofficially certainly feels hilariously stupid at so many levels.


2. Memories of Amazon employees working with Jeff Bezos building Kindle

This walkthrough down the memory lane of employees working with Jeff Bezos to build the first version of Kindle has amazing insights into the kind of person Jeff Bezos is. Hindsight is 20-20, but to have conviction and follow it up ruthlessly is no small deal. Especially when there are challenges directed at them from multiple fronts. 3.5 years to roll out the first version of Kindle with 10000 titles is amazing at so many levels.


3. Do not steal the code, you may get jailed for real.

This saga of a Google Engineer stealing self-driving car secrets and then joining Uber to build the same for the company has finally come to a close with 18-month prison. Do not steal the code, respect IP.


4. Covid, Mulan and Disney++

Disney has done an excellent catch-up on their Transformation to Digital with their streaming services on fire. I have subscribed to it and my daughter loves it big time. Now Disney is trying to push the button further. The much-awaited big-budget kid’s movie, Mulan is set to be going to the Disney stream. The only catch, it is going to cost 29$ to watch the movie even if you have Disney+. Well, that is quite some business model out there that Disney is testing the waters.


5. Are the smartphone and smart speakers mic always ON? Well, no one can confirm at the moment.

I work in technology and I can confirm with absolute honesty that I do not understand the limits the big techs are pushing here day-in, day-out.

“Last week, Reddit user Brazedowl received a curious notification on his phone: Google was telling him that a smoke detector in his home had gone off. Brazedowl, a teacher from North Carolina who goes by Drew in real life, knew about the smoke alarm — he was at home himself and had just fried some sausages in his kitchen. But up until that moment, he had no idea that his smart speaker was able to detect such events. “Google just made my dumb smoke detectors smart,” he wrote on Reddit. “Pretty rad.”


6. A mis-configured AWS S3 bucket can set you back by 90 million dollars.Ask Capital One.

Importance of Cloud Security cannot be stressed enough. The idea of Shared Responsibility Model , Principle of Least Privilege are not just empty words. If not understood properly, the ramifications are at a scale unprecedented.


Incase any one wants to get a technical understanding on what might have happened.


That’s all for this week