Monthly Archives: September 2010

Culture Bridges

There was much excitement when I saw that much talked about presentation that somehow seemed connected to Google Me and Google’s approach to social. But the sounds made recently by Darth Scmidt don’t really give cause for delight.

While it doesn’t make sense to talk ill of something even before launch, the ‘social layer’ does sound underwhelming. It doesn’t help that Mark Zuck recently hinted that ‘social is not a layer you can add’. ( What is interesting though is he also said in the interview “We’re trying to build a social layer for everything”) He should know about what works in ‘social’, because whether you love or hate Facebook, it is definitely a creation (and creator) that demands respect, on various parameters.

Somewhere towards the end of his post titled ‘The Forever Recession‘, Seth Godin, while talking of the ‘recession of an industrial age with its imperfect market communication’ paraphrases Clay Shirky and states that ‘every revolution destroys the last thing before it turns a profit on a new thing’.

I thought about this statement in the context of Google and Facebook, and also remembered an earlier post at GigaOm which showed the difference  between the way Facebook and Google work. And that prompted me to wonder whether every age has a unique organisational and workforce culture that best fits it, and the entity that grasps it, succeeds.

This is not just a Google-Facebook question, but one that I’d consider across domains and categories. The leader in an earlier era would try to capture that culture mojo and would most likely fail because it tries to add to what it has been doing so far, where a start from scratch is what is warranted. The interesting part is also that the time between ‘revolutions’ seems to be consistently decreasing, so how do brands and organisations carry their success across?

until next time, a revulsion for revolutions?

Mirror Images

I came across this passage while reading Kiran Desai’s “The Inheritance of Loss”. The context is of a young girl, who, because of a new found romance suddenly becomes conscious of herself.

“But how did she appear? She searched in the stainless-steel pots, in the polished gompa butter lamps, in the merchants’ vessels in the bazaar, in the images proffered by the spoons and knives on the dining table, in the green surface of the pond. Round and fat she was in the spoons, long and thin in the knives, pocked by insects and tiddlers in the pond; golden in one light, ashen in another; back then to the mirror; but the mirror, fickle as ever, showed one thing, then another and left her, as usual, without an answer.”

I found that I could also identify with it in the context of our encounters with the social platforms around – Orkut, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.. and how slowly the ‘Like’ and RTs seem to be defining the interactions and affecting even perceptions and understanding of the self. Its not as though people and comments never existed before, but the sheer mass of people we come into contact with, thanks to the social platforms is unprecedented. Through the conversations and responses, we see a bit of ourselves, a self colored by the other person’s perceptions. As the voices around us continue to increase, at some point, is there a danger of losing touch with what we really are? Yes, you could ignore or be selective, but then we’d just get back to an objectivity argument.

“The biggest danger, that of losing oneself, can pass off as quietly as if it were nothing; every other loss, an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. is bound to be noticed.”

I read that, thanks to @aanteadda‘s share on Twitter – an excellent take on the Ramayana,(do read it) and in a completely different context – that of dharma, it happened to arrive around the same place. Rama, having lived his entire life by what he considered his dharma, is distressed by what he must do with Sita after the end of the war with Ravana, irrespective of what he personally wants. The author thinks that this is Rama’s tragedy, and that of every person who lives by ‘impartial and abstract principles’, which don’t take into account ‘individuals as persons,’ and can’t see the difference between a situation and a personal situation’, and it can only lead to the destruction of the self.

And so I wondered, whether its people, or a moral code that one follows, whatever dictates what we do, is there really a difference – between the reflections from others and ourselves? Is there one right answer for what should define us and the way we live. I think not.

We must prioritise, I guess, based on what we think will give us happiness, and just like this neat article on addiction (the internet in particular) ends, “we will increasingly be defined by what we say no to”, all thanks to an abundance of choices, from within and without.

until next time, you always have a choice, but do you always want a choice?

Under the Mango Tree

This review was first published in Bangalore Mirror (yes, yes, we got our name in the papers n’ all) ;) Have reworked it to suit the blog’s regular format. :)

Remember Cornucopia in Richmond Town. (map) Its now got a new owner and a new name – Under the Mango Tree. The set up has been modified ever so slightly, the mango tree remains, and the erstwhile elaborate menu changed completely, though it still serves Continental and Italian. Here’s the new menu. Meanwhile, this time, my company consisted of Gautam, Radha, Karthik and Prmod.

(click to enlarge)

I started with a Cream of Mushroom and Leek soup, which turned out to be the best among its kind. Karthik’s Cold Melon soup was a bit of a disaster, and Gautam had still not come to terms with the existence of a vegetarian French Onion soup. The Goan sausages made a pretty decent starter.  The Pita and Hummus were only just ok.

The ‘King Size sausages’ was what I chose for the main course, and again got lucky, because it was quite a good dish, with its caramelised onion sauce. Prmod’s Veg Lasagna also turned out to be tasty enough. The Sea Bass was quite a disappointment  – Karthik was sure it was mackerel, and both the Pepperoni as well as the Mozzarella – Hot Pepper pizzas one were only average.

On to desserts. The Chocolate Mousse is not something a chocoholic ever complains about, but this one could’ve been better. The Mango mousse cake tried to be the saviour and just about managed to succeed despite some essence extravagance. The chocolate mousse with caramelised banana could’ve been a winner if the mousse had been allowed to be strong enough, it would have worked well with the banana, I thought.

In essence, some hard work needs to go into the place. The aambiance is pleasant enough, and the owner, Nirmala, helps with the order as well as some amount of customisation. Cost for two people would be about Rs.1000, which would get you a couple of soups, a starter, main course dishes and a dessert. So, drop in, if you’re in the neighbourhood, and give it a shot.

Under the Mango Tree, # 3, Laurel Lane, Richmond town, Bangalore. Tel: 9686601021

PS: If you’re in Bangalore, and would like to be featured in a review, drop me a line with your favourite cuisine or new restaurant you’ve noticed – manuscryptsATgmailDOTcom, and we’ll figure something out :)

Group Pwn

I’ve never gotten around to trying group buying/deal sites until once recently, though I always thought that they were fulfilling a need for businesses and consumers. But when I read this ‘peculiar’ story titled Groupon’s Success Disaster, I found myself identifying with it (from a consumer perspective, we’ll get to that in a bit) and since the number of group buying sites in India is only a few numbers lesser than the number of social media consultants, I thought it made sense to spare a few thoughts on it.

The (linked above) story is of a small business owner, who, after 3 months of using Groupon, discovered that the deals were hurting the business financially and then had to take $8000 out of savings to cover payroll. Considering that, I thought the Groupon reply has quite a cruel title – ‘Too much of a good thing‘, but it is well drafted.

The win-win for business-consumer in this is because it gives the former a chance to spread the word on the service and probably get some feedback on it and the latter mostly gets a good deal. Like I mentioned, I used a site recently for what seemed like a good deal. Though the deal process was painless, I ended up spending more money than what I normally would, thanks to a mis-communication (and some carelessness on my part). It means that I won’t be a repeat customer. It ends up as a lose-lose. Now this is probably the exception to how it usually happens, but…

It did make me think whether the business owners get into deals with a strategy in place. Not just in terms of finance, but also in terms of their expectations of buzz, their delivery capability as well as how they’d manage to make the customer return. When it is kept in mind that social platforms and deal sites are mostly interwoven, I think it’d make sense for the business to use their service delivery (assumed good) and connect it to their social presence. A “We hope you liked it. Here’s an x% discount for your next visit and we would really appreciate it if you could leave your comments on FB/Twitter” approach. Facebook would especially help the business to spread the word beyond the usual early adopter set. While on retail, its difficult not to mention Foursquare. Though I’d love it if Foursquare aggregated the deals themselves, the businesses definitely can get active on Foursquare and push their deals to users nearby.

With the (limited) examples I’ve seen, I doubt whether this is being done. So it reminds me of a lot of advertising,  and most social media efforts. The former because the message and the product/service are rarely (generalising) in sync, and the latter because of the lack of strategy and the herd mentality.

until next time, regroup!

Recycling Gods

Sometime back, I’d written a post about super powered individuals who later came to be known as Gods, and how technology is perhaps taking us closer and closer to these versions of gods. And sometime back, Vimoh too wrote a very thought provoking post on the evolution of Hindu gods, and how, over a period of time, important Vedic gods like Indra, Varuna, Agni etc have lost their importance to a newer set who rose to prominence according to the stage of our civilisation – Ganesha, Saraswati, whose ‘hidden’ characteristics were brought to light. An evolution from gods “that govern the elements of nature to gods that govern abstract concepts of the mind”. He also hypothesises that  in the future, the list will be further transformed when man realises that the universe is more of a network than a hierarchy and when he finds himself at par with the highest of gods and the lowest of forms, he will realise his divinity.

I’ve always wondered whether the original set of gods was a small number and as needs arose, historical characters were pushed into divinity, their stories exaggerated, and for later generations they served as gods. The original triumvirate – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva have remained more or less a constant in their importance, though Brahma lost out in terms of places of worship.  But the evolution of gods is something I completely agree with.  As our needs changed and the things we could control changed, it was perhaps inevitable that the things we attributed to them would change. More importantly, they also changed with out interpretations of good and evil. Since our gods have always been close to us, their character and behaviour also reflected this change in ethos.  Huffington Post says they’re now pop culture, through Bollywood movies, for example. But yes, they were always more human, and ‘approachable’ anyway.

It does bring up a point though. I wonder how our current depiction of Hindu Gods would affect how later generations perceive them. The modern retelling, which sometimes adds layers hitherto absent. Imagine a future generation treating Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana the way we treat the vedas now simply because earlier sources may not stand the test of time. If they saw Sippy’s Mahabharat and also saw Jha’s Rajneeti, would they be able to grasp the parallel? Or would they miss it because they haven’t ‘lived’ with the gods like we have? ‘Sita’ in the television series was ‘Deepika’, the actress, who has also played other roles in serials and movies. So, without a context, it might be just another role she did. There is a reason I’m thinking this way. Any of the gods could be just a role play – incarnations/manifestations – different roles in different contexts at different times. We rely on certain images and certain texts which are possibly incomplete in their current form. And thus rises the question that invariably gets asked in such discussions – who created who?

Each age fills up the void of its unknown with its own versions of God or his opposite number. Like Vimoh states at the end of his post, the future explorer will be an amalgamation – with knowledge from many disciplines. For now, we pursue the mystery from among the tools we choose based on our interest, bias, and faith – science, religion, philosophy, and so on. The question is, will we ever reach a point when everything is known, and the God shaped hole would be finally filled with our knowledge. Maybe that’s the point when the current Brahma gets irritated and presses the ‘Delete All’ button, and the Brahman starts with the next Brahma. :)

until next time, divine grapevines :)

Lankan Reams – Day 6 – Colombo

The terrace restaurant at Mt.Lavinia hotel can’t be praised enough for the view. So we went click crazy for a while, after finishing breakfast in a hurry.

Since neither the ones above or the others that we took do full justice to the view, let’s try a video too.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sczy0RaBD5c

We then moved on to Colombo, and quickly managed to get the latest news updates (left). Colombo is apparently divided into 15 zones, and we managed to pass through half a dozen of them while we were there. The colonial impact is very evident thanks to architecture and road names. But thanks to global brands, it almost feels like any major Indian city. The westerner who hasn’t been to India will find the tuk-tuk (our auto) quite an experience. We tried to soak in the uniqueness of the city from among the familiar faces. As with every other nook of Lanka, Percy Mahendra Rajapaksa smiles at you at every corner, the  knowing, confident and sometimes arrogant smile of a man who has seemingly eliminated Lanka’s biggest threat since Ravana.

We did some minor shopping at ‘Lakmedura’. Judging by the name and the time D spent there, I thought it was a beauty salon. Actually, they sold handicrafts. D got a few cheaper Batik items, though there seemed to be some minor difference in quality.The next stop was ODEL, which, though essentially a kind of Shoppers Stop, has oodles of Lankan character. Attractive fridge magnets, which had me gaping for a long time. I wish I’d bought more! I also ended up buying a tee! And luckily un-hypnotised myself from the LEGO section! Wonder if there’s a LEGO Buddha set. My sinus was acting up, and distracted me. I actually said no to a cool sounding ‘Madrasi Burger’ (not Bugger, so no racism here) in the food court, and missed out on ogling at what seemed to be Lankan P3 types! Damn!

And it was time to go back. On the way to the airport, D finally got her King Coconut (no, she doesn’t refer to me that way! hmmph!) which was actually the same as their Mallu cousins. So much for the king tag. The guide left us at the airport and hurriedly left. And that’s when Sri Lanka decided to extend their hospitality by another day!!! The damn flight was almost 12 hours late! My head now had another reason to explode! They took us to a hotel nearby called Goodwood Plaza, which looked like those Bollywood thriller type ones, where people are killed off one by one!

By dinner time, I had almost gotten rid of that silly sinus. The ‘buffet’ (loosely used) had a chicken curry which managed to unclog the remaining blocks. D seemed to love it though, she had tears in her eyes.

2.30 AM! I woke up and hunted for my pen. But this wasn’t GIM and there was no test happening in 5 minutes. At least there was beer in Goa! Sigh! So there we were, bundled into a flight at 5.40 AM on 9/11. I was tempted to tell the hostess that SriLankan Airlines should drop the traditional Lankan greeting Ayubowan, and start using Ayyobuwan!!

And thus we were back. We would miss the buffets, but hey, the rent is cheaper here.

Costs : The customised package cost from Sri Holidays was $392 per head for 6N/7D. It could get cheaper depending on the hotels you choose. Replacing Mt.Lavinia, for instance will itself save you about $32/head. You can have a great lunch for two at $20. On the higher side, $200-250 would be quite enough for shopping.We were reasonably happy with their services. They were prompt and except for a few snafus (read below) were quite reliable.

Tips: Use wiki, but don’t believe everything you read. Remember that damn mango juice?! Trip Advisor is almost fully reliable for hotels and restaurants. Ensure that the tour operator and guide knows every place you intend to visit. We missed Dambulla and some Ramayana sites because they didn’t do enough research. We lost out on Diya Sisila because of a seeming lack of interest. Do your own research, down to the finest details in terms of distances, time taken, costs etc, so that you don’t get fooled. The other thing you need to check on are the rains, each coast has separate rainy seasons, so ensure you time it right.

Lanka has quite a few things that you’d enjoy – beaches, heritage sites, mountains, trekking opportunities, wildlife parks. So you have places to go and things to do as per your interest. For instance, we’d like to do one more better-researched Ramayana sites trip as well as beachbum our way from Trincomalee to Colombo along the coast, maybe even detour to Adam’s Peak and Nuwara Eliya. The people are nice, and the big hotels make you feel at home, especially when they turn on the familiar big hotel snobbery ;) While most people prefer the Malaysia/Singapore/Thailand to baby step their way into international tourism, I think this is a good option too, and it helps that our currency is twice as valuable.

until next time, armchair traveling, and if you’d twist Dilmah’s words a bit

For more pics from the trip, click.

Lankan Reams – Day 5 – Mt.Lavinia

The previous night, we had asked the guide if he could get us a reservation at Diya Sisila, which was known to be a good restaurant. With only half a dozen tables, and customised food, this was something we were looking forward to. Unfortunately, neither the guide,  who was more interested in managing a trip to his home (Negombo is close enough) nor the Bentota Beach Hotel receptionist who apparently stayed near the place, got the job done.

We sulked out of the hotel and went to our second preference – Golden Grill. Chilled EGB with the chef’s special rice – with saffron rice and pork, squid, beef, chicken on the side (and prawn too, if you like). D didn’t like it much, but she was floored by the EGB. All ginger, zilch beer, and sweet. You really must try it. The late breakfast meant that I couldn’t do full justice to it.

The drive to Colombo was pretty uneventful and was done in just over an hour and a half. Along the roadside, we could see the railway tracks, and beyond that the coast. The room at Mount Lavinia (we’d specifically asked for this hotel, and a room in the Sea & Garden wing) was a few square feet less than our house, but made up for this with a bath tub and a spectacular view. We caught a road-rail-sea picture and a few others.

We wandered out to the beach in the evening, and stepped into some swayamwar set, I think. At least half a dozen separate couples were having their respective photoshoots in their spectacular wedding finery. A little walk and the beach was less crowded, but the sea remained rough.

The Mt.Lavinia Hotel is another colonial piece, and the Governor’s room had a dress code for dinner – no shorts and sandals allowed. So we were forced to wear 3/4ths and slip-ons. The food was decent, but was relatively ignored in favour of the spectacular view. Watalappan showed up again, and this time reminded me of the Kerala style Halwa!

And thus we settled down to our last night in Lanka… or so we thought.

Day 6 tomorrow. And click here for the story so far -Days 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Lankan Reams – Day 4 – Bentota

Beachbumming. Remember? But first, the leisurely breakfast at the Hotel Suisse. A brown version of ‘pittu’ as well as ‘milk rice’, this time with fish curry! The restaurant is a ballroom and you still have the gallery upstairs. I could sense a huge colonial hangover, not because most of the guests seemed Euro and the breakfast had ham and eggs and bacon, (slurp) but because the music, architecture, room decor – everything looked as though the British were expected back at any moment. Later, I realised I could say this of the city as a whole, and even Colombo, but that’s for later.

We passed a highway museum and a bridge that dated back to 1826, and on the way, also saw what looked like a dummy of Sigiriya. This one was apparently called Bible rock, because it looked like a closed book too. Thank God they didn’t have toasters then. But hey, this is one beautiful country, and since its way smaller than India, it scores much higher on the beauty/sq km. :D

The next stop was the Spice Grove, which grew and sold spices and herbs. We were given a tour by an enthusiastic guide who showed us the source of vanilla, cocoa, cinnamon, pepper, aloe vera, nutmeg and so on. The complimentary herbal tea was amazing. We responded to all the enthusiasm in kind,  and cash, since they sold the stuff there too. But it was a very interesting visit indeed.

Vanilla Cocoa Pepper Cinnamon

Further along the way, the guide also told us about a fruit called Duriyan, which when soaked in water overnight turned into gel. The Chinese consider it an aphrodisiac. The Chinese just need an excuse, I think.

We stopped at an outlet called Juiceez on the highway. Now is a good time to say that in lanka highways, except when construction is going on, are amazing, though cops play spoilsport by not allowing to go over 60 kmph.The mango juice craving was laid to rest. We also spotted a poster girl for Farmville. Actually Juiceez is doing a good job by having farms across Sri Lanka, encouraging people to cultivate whatever they can, and serving a neat variety of juices, though the pricing is a tad high.

We finally reached Bentota late in the afternoon. The Bentota Beach Resort is owned by the same group as Chaaya Village, but the latter is a few cuts above. The hotel opened into the public beach, and in the evening, we walked along the beach. The sea on this coast (side) is quite rough at these times, but we had a good time, attempting sand castles shacks and chasing crabs. When we returned, the part of the beach in front of our hotel was getting ready for some ceremony.

At dinner, I finally managed to have that elusive dessert – Watalappan, whose prices had risen from Rs.250 to Rs.350 to Rs.400 as we traveled from Chaaya Village to Suisse to the Bentota Beach Resort. This is why buffets are loved. Pork and desserts competed for our attention, but Watalappan disappointed. For some reason, I had assumed there was chocolate in it, there wasn’t!! Choco Watalappan is being conceptualised as we speak! Hmmph.

After dinner, D went off to see a dance show, while I lazed around watching Jonathan trying to win an immunity in the Celebrity Chef challenge. He didn’t, and D reported that the dance troupe had danced to ‘Kal Ho Na ho’. Bollywood stars are very popular here, and I wondered about the pop culture influence. Not the token premiere in the US type, but ads, music, seeping in and becoming accepted part of daily lives. Our guide’s favourite stars were SRK and the Artist Formerly Known as Kajol, (sorry, can’t recollect the link to that awesome post) and he was quite up to date on Bollywood gossip!! We are finally exporting culture! And we fell asleep with pride.

Coming Up Day 5. Click here for Days 0, 1, 2 ,3.

Lankan reams – Day 3 – Kandy

After two days of early starts, this one was more relaxed, since the only agenda for the day was the Tooth Relic Temple. Okay, and some hazy culinary plans. Breakfast was a pleasant affair, largely because I got to have Milk Rice and chicken curry with some amazing onion based chutneys! Breakfast, imagine! Sigh.

The Tooth relic Temple is probably why Kandy is known as the heart of Buddhism in Lanka. There seemed to be three prayers that were open to the public – Dawn, Morning and Dusk. Security was quite high. The LTTE had done of their suicide bomb acts here too.

The word ‘temple’ is used rightly, because considering the rush, it was like say Guruvayoor or Sabarimala, in India. To me, this place nailed Buddhism clearly as a religion. I somehow doubt that was what the Buddha had in mind. So, like most religions, interpretations rule, and when you disagree, you form a new sect. ‘Ahimsa’ is interpreted enough to allow non-vegetarianism, just another way of life. I like to believe in one’s own notion of faith,  but it was difficult to miss the fact that a tooth was being worshiped. It also struck me that Buddhism in Lanka was a sort of passed on faith. The Buddha never went to Lanka and Buddhism came to Lanka long after the Buddha died. Perhaps it is because I am an Indian Hindu and used to ‘owning’ my gods that this thought came to me. Anyway, thanks to my high expectations of Buddhism, its Lanka version and the ochre / bright orange clad monks didn’t command the respect their counterparts in Leh did. Cameraman was on auto-mode.

Though we didn’t take the Kandy Express, we managed to climb up the hill and visit two tourist shopping destinations the guide recommended. The first was a Batik store, where they showed us the entire process after which D went into a shopping frenzy. She was revived much later, after we’d also finished the wood workshop and gallery. If you’re willing to suffer a little on the ‘authenticity’ retail  setting, you’d actually find the Odel ( a retail chain) store in Colombo a better place to buy knickknacks.

Arthur Seat offered a splendid view of Kandy city. We had lunch at a place called Oak Ray – strictly ok, and then moved on to a jewelry store to learn about gems. My eyes were opened wide, not from amazement, but to prevent them from closing. To be fair, the gemstone mining process was interesting. Siesta mode is auto activated whenever I’m on vacation!

In the evening, we decided to walk a bit. Kandy reminded me a little of Trichur, where almost everything of note is located near that massive round. In this case its the Kandy lake. The mango juice at Bakehouse, touted on travel wiki as phenomenal was a few notches south of ordinary!! We also roamed inside the open market, but it was just like any other. The Kandy lake is really a pretty picture at night, and we sat on a non-bird-toilet bench and watched life pass by, passing comments, noticing the co-existence of Lankan and Indian sari wearing styles and scoffing at people sporting umbrellas in the twilight.

When it was time for dinner, we were in a quandary. The Lyon’s cafe was highly recommended in travel wiki, as was Devon. We didn’t like the setting of the former much and the Captain’s Table restaurant in the latter semmed to serve only Indian and Chinese. We finally climbed up to ‘The Pub’ above Bakehouse, and watched Kandy life pass by as Bakehouse redeemed itself with a fabulous dinner. We also tasted Lankan Arrack (made from coconut) via a cocktail called Elephant’s Kiss. It was quite bad, and D wasn’t thrilled when I wondered whether there had been a typo – after all K and P are pretty close on the keyboard! Everyone – Kandy people, D, crows – had their revenge when a large splotch of fresh crow shit was discovered on the back of my tee.

Star World and Masterchef were sorely missed, and we went to sleep early, since the next day required a transformation from city and zen to beachbumming.

Next up Day 4. Click for Days 0, 1 and 2.

PS: Thia also happens to be Post # 800 on this blog. Thanks for reading. :)

Internet and People States

The Economist has an excellent read titled ‘The Future of the Internet‘, where it details the possibility of a Balkanisation of the internet, by forces such as Network Operators, countries, and closed platforms. Quite an irony, as they point out, since the internet was supposed to be a great unifier.

I realised that so far we had been dealing with entities that had a geographical constraint – all forms of media, languages, culture etc. When brands entered alien markets, they adapted to suit the needs of the local population – sometimes in terms of communication, sometimes in terms of the product/service itself.  So I guess, it would be futile to expect that we would solve a challenge of this magnitude soon, considering that the internet has been around for only a relatively short amount of time. (cool infographic)

But what struck me was that though the factors mentioned above are indeed distinct and relevant ones, what about users? Thanks to the long tail of content, people are able to get content tailor-made to their requirement, more often that not. They are also able to create content and share it with specific people. When I see e-groups, closed blogs, newsletters, and increasing privacy options on existing networks, I wonder how much of Balkanisation already exists thanks to users, who control a lot of the where, what and to whom content is shared. I connect with different people on different networks and share different relationships with them basis different contexts and interests, and except for minor overlaps b/w Facebook – Twitter and Twitter – Foursquare, they are all almost separate worlds. And its not just the where and the what, its also the when – I have Orkut friends discovering Facebook, Facebook and LinkedIn friends/connections discovering Twitter, Twitter followers discovering Foursquare, GReader friends discovering Quora, when my usage and behaviour on these networks would be completely different from theirs thanks to relatively early adoption.

The other question is how would brands be affected by a Balkanised internet. Would all their users exist in the same place and time? How does it affect communication? Product, or service, how many brands can be like Apple, who are the nearest to being a ‘state’ in themselves? How many can actually build and sustain that? How much of it depends on the nature of the product and how much of it on the people connections (or social gestures)? Would integration and consistency of communication matter then?

But then I realise that despite the user Balkanisation, we have our means of communication and transportation open. When push comes to shove, perhaps it will be too unprofitable for any entity to remain Balkanised, irrespective of their own vested interests? We live in hope. :)

until next time, 800th post at the other blog :)