Friday, September 13, 2013

stuffido - the todo app

Stuffido, is a todo app for Android. Why on earth do I need a new todo app?

Long long time ago, people started forgetting to do important stuff in life. It was a world without apps and phones. And then someone invented, what we now know as a todo list. It was pretty simple. Just write down what you want to do and cross it once you are done. That worked for a while, but it had few problems.
  • It becomes too long, painful to look at.
  • It is hard to add further notes to these todos. 
  • If it is not crossed, it is not done. It didn't track progress.
  • After a while, you need to copy and create a new one.
Then someone invented calendar. The whole thing was now organised by time. Instead of making a list, people need to specify when are they going to do it and also how much time it is going to take. This worked extremely well for meetings and time bound stuff. But how do you track stuff that takes longer time? And stuff that doesn't takes much time.

So what is stuffido?
It is still a todo list, but takes cares of all the problems of todo lists.
  • Divide. You don't need to pick a time, just a time slot for a task. 
  • Focus. It will only show you tasks for the given time slot, based on current time.
  • Do. Each time slot can maximum have 7 tasks. Have more? Add it for later. It takes time to decide what to do next. It is NOW or LATER, but you don't need to do it every time.
  • Measure. Each task has a progress bar. Big things require small steps. Made some progress? Track it. Add a note, whatz next? 
  • Done. Know what you have been doing, each day.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Survival of the fittest

Adam Smith's Capitalism and Darwin's theory of evolution have some parallels. What seems more interesting to me is their differences.

When Darwin talks about survival of the fittest, he is talking about species not individuals. The strongest dinosaurs didn't survive. Species is nothing but a unit of organization of similar individuals. Bees survive by being together in a monarchy. Ants too work together. We have two extremes to work with. Individual as in a single person for Capitalism and "all members of a species" at the other end for Darwin. And then we have Bees and Ants somewhere in between.

The point I am trying to make is that "individual"  is not just something biological. It could be anything that cannot be divided - indivisible.   It is not a person that needs to be fittest, it is the organization of that set of persons, which acts as indivisible is what decides the fate of that "collective individual".  In the worst case, it is just a single biological unit - a person. In the best case, it could be everyone in the species. Or even a subset of species, including the subset all species.

Parasites won't survive without the host. Deer's won't survive without tigers, because too many deers will probably eat all the grass and die of hunger. To me, it feels like what survives is the system. Individuals are too fragile. It is systems with fault tolerance, systems with self balancing, self regulating  mechanisms, that tend to survive.  Strong kings survived. Their next generations survived longer. But what survived longest was the idea of Kingdom.

We should probably look back and figure out - What is survival? What is the time frame in which we look at survival?  And who is fighting? And with whom?  Before we use the term "survival of the fittest".  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

hi4hi - The Wednesday Story

Swati joined hi4hi at 11:18 AM on 17th July. 
She uploaded a picture of herself and wrote few lines of introduction.
She was ready to see if she likes any of the hi4hi users.
She invited Virat at 11:26 AM, 8 minutes after she had created her account. 
14 minutes later, they had a conversation which lasted 25 minutes. 

We don't know what they talked about or how did it go.
It was the 1000th time, we had connected people to discover each other.

Download from Google Play 
Visit our Website

Friday, July 12, 2013

hi4hi? Why?

I have talked about what is hi4hi multiple times. Today lets just focus on the why part? If you don't know about hi4hi, just watch this small video. Using Hi4hi Matrimony App.

First and foremost matrimony happens between people. Every matrimony site claims to have lakhs if not million of members. How you do we know if they are genuine or fake profiles? The minimum criteria  for being a person on most matrimony sites is email. How many email addresses can a person have? As many as they like. The question we are trying to answer here is the question of identity. At hi4hi, minimum criteria of being a person is a phone number. People do have dual SIM phones, so technically users can still create multiple profiles, but at max may be 2. No one can have 1000 phones numbers all for himself. It is simply too expensive to have. We are small, we don't have too many members, but each and every one of them is a person.

We don't ask users for bio data. We don't ask 100 questions. We don't even ask for their real name or email or their religion or caste or their salary. All we ask or rather provide users is 256 characters to write about themselves. It is not much. But it isn't less either. What we are looking for is a glimpse of the person. Typically all that matters is their education, their profession, caste/religion and location. It isn't too hard to put it in 256 characters. But what makes us different is that now you can actually talk to the person who has written than profile and see for yourself who they are. And that too without sharing your mobile number. What we take away with 256 characters, we return in multiple times by giving you the person himself. 5 emails, 10 chat sessions, 5 page profile or a 2 minutes call. We don't stop people from putting up their email address in profile. If you think that is better, go ahead. Your call.

We don't match profiles. We connect people. And not only we connect people, we connect them at their own terms. Users choose WHO they want to talk to and also WHEN they want to talk. Every time someone wants to talk to you, they need to invite you and unless you accept that invite, the user cannot call you. Once you accept the invite, it only gives the user permission for one call. This is the crux of hi4hi. When you give other your phone number, they can call you anytime and as many times as they want. Not with hi4hi. We make the calls possible without requiring you to share your phone numbers. Have real conversation with real people without any fear. Your number is safe with us and it is our business to keep it safe and still let you talk to people. Talk once, talk twice, talk as many as time as you both want, until you think it is time to take it forward.  Talk in office, talk in restaurant, talk in trail or talk in auto, wherever you want and whenever you want. Ask your friends to talk or ask your parents to talk, it is as simple as that.

It is fresh. It is better. hi4hi.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Is your Android app in need of an advertisement campaign?

Here is a mail that I got couple of days ago..
This is a nice business. Hire few guys to put negative reviews for your app. This obviously kills your installs. Then charge app developers to remove these comments. I guess this would be the general business model for all customer "review" sites.  
Dear Android developer,

We would like to introduce our new marketing approach for your Android app in two easy steps:

1. Make your Google Play page look very attractive

- Adding 100 5-star ratings and 10 positive reviews to the app
- Removing negative comments from your front page
- Adding 250 Google Plus 1’s
- Creating a professional YouTube video
- Adding 2.000 views and 150 Likes to your YouTube video
- Adding 250 Likes to your Facebook page
2. Driving traffic to the Google Play page

- Creating new threads on 15 most visited Android forums
- Submitting the app to 50 most popular Android review writing websites
- Posting reviews on different Twitter pages with a total of 3 million followers
- Posting on the most popular Facebook groups with a total of 300.000 members
- Posting the app in adds on various sites through the web which generates 100+ views per day for 1 month
Price Standard Package: $299
Additional upgrades:

- Add 25.000 views and 1.000 Likes to your YouTube video for $100
- Add 1.000 Facebook Likes for $100
- Add 1.000 app ratings and comments for an additional $800
- Add 1.500 Google +1’s for an additional $100
- Remove negative comments for $10 per comment
A list of all the forums, review sites, Facebook pages and Twitter pages will be provided after the promotion is completed.

Not convinced yet? Want to order? Got a question? Just reply to this email.

You can get it touch with them at

Friday, June 07, 2013

Nano Problem

It doesn't sells.

Car is all about prestige in India. Expensive motorcycle generates more prestige than buying cheapest car. May be they should just add more features and bring its price at par with Maruti. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

hi4hi - Accepting payments via Google Play

It is two weeks since Google pulled out our app from play store. We have complied with their concerns and released new version which accepts payments via Google Play. You can find it here 

Google Play supports direct carrier billing and credit card payments. 

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Making Pizza at home - Ultimate trick

Cook the base for about one minute in the microwave using microwave not convection.

Take it out, apply the sauce, add toppings, add cheese, a bit of olive oil. Do this as fast as you can, not more than 2 minutes. And bake (convection - no more microwave) it for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is done. Goes with saying that you should have pre-heated the microwave before starting.

One minute of microwave is worth 5-7 minutes of baking without loosing the moisture. You can't do it after making the pizza because then you will loose all the crispness and it will become soggy.  Give it another 30 seconds if you like large air bubble in your pizza. Keep it at 1 minute if you like soft bread like texture. Extend it to 2 minutes if you want it to puff up like a balloon. 

Thursday, May 02, 2013

hi4hi Matrimony: Google surprise

Yesterday we registered our 1000th customer. And today I got this from Google:

"This is a notification that your application, hi4hi Matrimony, with package ID, has been removed from the Google Play Store.

REASON FOR REMOVAL: Violation of the paid and free provision of the Content Policy and section 3.3 of the Developer Distribution Agreement.

All violations are tracked. Serious or repeated violations of any nature will result in the termination of your developer account, and investigation and possible termination of related Google accounts. If your account is terminated, payments will cease and Google may recover the proceeds of any past sales and/or the cost of any associated fees (such as chargebacks and transaction fees) from you.

If your developer account is still in good standing, you may revise and upload a policy compliant version of your application as a new package name. Before uploading any new applications, please review the Developer Distribution Agreement and Content Policy.

If you feel we have made this determination in error, you can visit the Google Play Help Center article for additional information regarding this removal.

The Google Play Team"

With and apps still in the app store, and charging money for membership, I find it completely uncalled for. 

Anyways, we will be putting up the APK on the website so that users can directly download and install the app. We are also working on browser only version of the app so that we don't have to go through app store.  As as bonus, we will be available on all mobile phones that have browser. 

Hang on for a week. 

Rohit Karlupia, 
Founder Hi4Hi Matrimony Services 

Monday, April 29, 2013

hi4hi Matrimony: Introducing Circles

Problem:  hi4hi is not expensive to use. We only charge Rs 2 per invite and Rs 2 per minute for calls. Some of the users take advantage of this and send random invites to users. This wastes time of our users who check the profile and may even talk to these users only to find out that they are not serious at all.

Solution:  We are launching a new feature called circles. You get to choose your own circle. We will have different circles at different prices. User at lower circles will NOT be able to view or invite users at higher circles. Users at higher circles will have the option of viewing/inviting users in lower circles.

Circle approximates your social status and seriousness. It is designed to save you time by avoiding spam and finding people who value your time. You can only upgrade your circle. It is a one way street, so upgrade your circle only when you need to. There are two reasons why you should upgrade your circle. One if you are getting too many invites and it is impractical to even check out so many profiles or talk to so many people. The second reason you would want to upgrade your circle is if your invites are being declined or ignored. You will still be able to send invites to all the people you are currently sending invites to but coming from a higher circle, your invites are less likely to be declined or ignored. It goes without saying that profiles with photos and relevant about me are much more likely to be invited and accepted. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

hi4hi Matrimony - v2 and v3

The number one problem we faced with v1 was that users where not swiping to checkout new profiles. Some of them felt that we show one recommended profile which they could invite or leave. So we added the next and back buttons in addition to swipe so that users at least know that they can browse profiles.

Auto login and notifications had some bugs which were also fixed as part of v2.

v3 has only one change. Explicit user consent to verify their mobile number. Even though we have written all about the app in the google play listing and also in our FAQ's, many of the users were not aware of this fact. Some of them created opposite sex profiles just to check, some used login names which they didn't liked afterwards and some got scared when they saw call going to a number and some surprised when they saw call coming from a number. Hopefully this would ensure that only genuine users install and register with the app which is good for everyone.

I want to take this opportunity to say thanks to the users who trusted us with their phone numbers and are actively using the app and also want to apologize to those who got scared because we didn't communicated how we work clearly and early enough to these users. It is our mistake. We are sorry.  We have rectified it. We would love to see you again.

Rohit Karlupia
Founder Hi4Hi Matrimony Services
Download hi4hi Matrimony App from Google Play

Monday, March 18, 2013

hi4hi Matrimony

hi4hi Matrimony  is an android application for matrimony which allows users to talk to each other without sharing their phone numbers. Profile has just one photograph and maximum 256 characters of description, so that users can get started immediately. Application doesn't asks for Real Name or email address or facebook account. We believe that our best bet to privacy is to work with as little information as possible.

The core activity of the application is looking at user profiles and INVITING them. These invites can be ACCEPTED or DECLINED. No calls can be made, unless the other users accepts the invite. If an invite is accepted, two users have a DATE. This is a floating DATE over the phone which can be done anytime both users are available. Each DATE allows users to call each other ONCE. For talking again, users have to INVITE again.

Users can set their status to Busy or Available. Users with Busy status cannot be called. This is useful in case users want to talk only after office hours or say over weekend.

This video does a better job at explaining the concept.

Have a look and give us your feedback.

Download from Google Play

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Concept Rounding Off

Number are nice. They round off nicely. But concepts are a different ball game all together. When concepts are rounded off, the results are spread all over the spectrum. The idea is that we understand new things in terms of things we already understand.  So no matter how accurately we define a new thing, the listener is going to do a concept rounding off to the nearest thing they understand. The implication is that being accurate might land you much far off in the listeners mind and being inaccurate  might help you reach close enough to the desired conceptual position. When I say being inaccurate, I mean choosing those concepts to describe your new concepts which are likely to be present in listeners mind and not some ideal abstract picture.

 Marketing people understood this all the time. Big data now universally means a Hardoop Cluster. Cloud is client server, though SaaS also meant the same. SOA, ESB and now finally people understand it as web apis. So Apigee became API Gateway. I had hard time explaining people why we wrote HTTP proxy at Apigee because everyone thought apache acts as a good reverse proxy.  It is even hard to explain that I work on high performance systems but I never do thread pool size tuning. LVS is a proxy but you don't see it opening any ports with netstat. Saving cream, shampoo, handwash and soap are all soaps.
I am tempted to call it Uncertainty Principle. The more accurately you describe something, less likely it is to be understood.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Snapshot and History

I was searching for parking in Forum Mall. I found one, but it was hard to park because someone had not parked the car properly in the slot. Almost half of the car was in the slot I was thinking of parking.

The first obvious reaction was WTF, but later it occurred to me that all I was looking at is a snapshot. May be someone else had parked some other car in the wrong slot, leaving no choice for the driver of this car. And now since that other car is gone, it looks like the driver of the current car is at fault. The point is one persons wrong parking could lead to multiple people parking wrong all day long, long after that first person in gone.

Sometimes we look at a snapshot and decide something, but it could be far from truth.