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Showing posts from July, 2018

Vanity, Greed, Trivia, and Platforms

Recently I started playing a trivia game called IQ Trivia on Twitter. This game is structurally very similar to the wildly popular HQ Trivia in that it has 12 questions and if you answer all 12 correctly, you split a cash prize with all the other winners. Now, I used to play HQ trivia religiously but gradually lost the drive to tune in every day, despite an upward momentum in their cash prize. I also played Cash Show and several other similar quiz formats to satiate my desire for competition.

However, recently when I restarted playing IQ Trivia, I spent some time thinking deeply about consumer behavior around these trivia games.


First, why do we play these games? There are three forces at play here - the allure of winning cash prizes, the self-imposed sense of smartness, intelligence, or accomplishment, and an elevation of social status due to money/intelligence.

Cash is king. No matter how much money you have in your bank account, you always want to compete hard when there is money …

Stick Figures

Recently, I started reading 'The Back of the Napkin' by Dan Roam. First of all, it looks like a children's book (my uncle thought it was my 8-year-old cousin's book until he saw me reading it). But most importantly it gave me the joys of being a child again - while making real progress with my projects.

The book is about how to use pictures to solve simple and complex problems. I was intrigued, but daunted since I am a terrible artist. But once I was elbows deep in the book, I realized that drawing skills didn't matter at all. What mattered was clarity of thought and simplicity.

I spent the rest of day drawing stick figures for my projects. I drew customer experience workflows, target audience caricatures, industry analysis diagrams, and Venn diagrams.

Doing this not only gave me a break from staring at my computer all day but also gave me meaningful insight into my ideas and projects. It felt like I was peeling back a layer to gain a deeper understanding of the in…

A Calculator in Every Pocket

Yesterday, I was chatting with someone about the evolution of calculators and the importance of mental math. Growing up in India, no calculators were allowed K-12. Even undergrad colleges in India did not allow the use of calculators in classrooms. In comparison, when I came to college here in the US, calculators were common (outside of math classes).

Come to think of it, people have been using calculators for decades. The first portable calculator was launched in the 1970s. Before that, we used pebbles, bones, and an abacus at various points in history. 
While basic calculators were widely used by businesses and academics, their adoption wasn't as widespread as the use of math in daily lives (which would require the use of mental math/calculator). 
When the first mobile phones appeared on the market a lot of them came with a built-in basic calculator - addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division (and ability to handle decimals). Now, this gave calculators a new distributi…