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Monthly Archives: December 2015

Sustain Weekly Newsletter-28Dec2015

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A weekly sustainable tech newsletter from a standing desk. – Dec 28, 2015

We’re finishing a very eventful year and are heading into a new one with a lot of possibilities and opportunities. I take this opportunity to highlight few things from 2015 and what I expect in 2016.

My pick for the top 5 areas from 2015 for a sustainable future.

•    3D Printing: Body parts, auto parts, complicated metals. everything is getting 3D printed. More customization. More objects are now quick to market and applications. More power to printing.
•    Farming and Agtech: The agriculture revolution is a big data problem that is being solved with the application of tech – farm drones, sensors etc. Interconnected machines, connected farms, farming automation, precision drones, and resource-saving sensors provide the ecosystem a technology boost like never before
•    Synthetic Replacements: Artificial spider silk, In vitro meat, are some of the replacements that have increased traction over traditional meat/livestock based products. The next five years is game changing for this industry.
•    Robotics: Industrial automation improves more productivity. Energy use reduction, energy savings. Lesses waste production. Japan continues to be the forerunner in 2016.
•    Autonomous Vehicles: The force is with this one. Alvin Toffler’s ‘future shock’ is applicable. Will shock both western and asian societies. There are brilliant commercial applications beyond what is popular. Imagine the glass in a self driving car. Corning is a silent winner. Electric cars are both the evolutionary and tangential to autonomous driving.

2016 – What’s in store  – Some predictions!

•    Space: People are thinking – ‘Really?, people can move to Mars?” How much? is it discounted round trip rate? Meanwhile, SpaceX is doing trips for NASA. Guys at Google are thinking – Should we also do rockets at Alphabet?
•    Industry: Telco battle on data; Defense budgets increase for US, China, India, Russia; More energy supply and demand.
•    Food: Artificial meat is a topic. More health food awareness. VCs are allergic to food delivery.
•    Health: Health tech gaining popularity. Drug discovery Improvements. Better medical imaging.
•    Automotive: Electric, Autonomous. Tesla, Google, Tesla, NextEV, Tesla, Apple, Tesla…
•    Education: Pre-K12 students are studying the same thing. Teacher-Parent-Student app interfaces are happening. Graduates are thinking jobs. Loans are mounting.
•    Business: Some giants buy, Some unicorns die, Some VCs dry, Some founders cry.
•    Marketplaces: are getting corrected. Some of them IPO. A lot of talk on how unsustainable it is to lease customers through offers. Brick and Mortar is becoming Brick and Mortar online.

2016 – What people are thinking – Some predictions!

•    College students: are thinking ‘Should I startup? Few are thinking ‘what do customers want?’
•    PHDs: are thinking ‘Is anyone someone reading my publication?’ Should I teach?’
•    Doctors: are thinking ‘What is a health tech startup? Is that a career progression?
•    Parents: are thinking ‘Is my kid smart?’ Very few are thinking ‘Is my kid happy?’
•    Marketers: are thinking “Why aren’t users buying?’ Few are thinking ‘Are these sought after?’
•    Consumers: are thinking “When I will get all three of ‘Cheap, Fast, Good’?”
•    Hipsters: are thinking ‘why are so many in beards?’ Few are thinking ‘Am I not a nonconformist?’

Cards and Companies – A comparison.

If Poker –> Business, Then Players –> Competitors | Tournament –> Industry | Table –> Market | Chair –> Customer base | Bank Roll –> Capital | Stack –> Teams | Chips –> Effort | Ante –> Investments | Hole Cards –> Technology | Flop –> GTM | Turn –> Differentiation | River –> Sales

•    You win some hands and lose some hands and shouldn’t play a lot of hands.
•    You play more number of winning hands than losing hands to be successful
•    Muck bad hands quickly, esp. when you’re chasing, unless you have strong odds.
•    Winnings should back into the stack. If you’re a solid player, you keep playing.
•    Always try and win the tournament. Chip and a chair and you’re still in the game.
If you get the hang of this, it’s time to shuffle up and deal. Pick a card. any card. Hold’em. Play’em.

News @Arcluster
Arcluster had a very interesting year. We learnt a lot about the market by listening to it. We built a few products and processes and are ready for a fresh year where we implement our work for clients. Like us on Facebook.

2015 is almost over. Thank you for subscribing to the newsletter. I hope it is at least a bit interesting. Monday’s are exciting for me because of this.  Also, I love feedback. Please tell me your suggestions, likes and dislikes and how this can be improved for you.

Towards better fitness : A Start and A Story

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Towards better fitness : A Start and A Story

I’ve had a dysfunctional relationship with fat in the last 10 years. I’m kind of tired of it. My standard weight used to be 75 Kgs (165 lbs.) for many years. This put in a very ideal BMI for my height (186 cms). In fact, I hadn’t gained much weight till my early 20s. Between 2003 and 2005, I had gained about 20 Kgs (44 lbs.) when I was on an indulgent spree on food overseas.

In 2010, I realized I have to get back to shape. I went on a diet with healthy food and moderate physical activity and was able to lose about 15 Kgs (33 lbs.). I was back in better health. However, then, I was a smoker. Heavy at that. A habit, I wanted to quit.

Two years later, on a sunny morning in August 2012, I took the hard step and quit. The first 7 days were painful. To cope up with the withdrawal, I started to substitute sugary stuff for any chemical craving. But from week 2, I started to feel better. Being smoke free gave a big high. But the dependency on food was showing. I gained more than 23 kgs (50 lbs.) in less than 8–9 months. This weight stayed on more than I wanted it to. I started to feel like I dropped one vice to pick another. During the last 2 years, I have felt a constant painful need to get fit and lose the fat. This is my first conscious effort to fix this problem.

The first step towards this is acceptance. I’m 33, weigh 97 Kgs (213 lbs.) and have a sedentary lifestyle. My target is to get to a decent level of fitness by 35 that I can maintain and continue that will help me face the second half of life if I am blessed with one.

I’ve put down a few tenets to follow in this journey.

My goal is to get to an ideal weight range: 77–82 Kgs (170–180 lbs.) based on an ideal BMI for my height and age. My primary goal is to improve my overall fitness, and basically have more energy every day. I plan to get there adopting three things: diet, exercise and being positive.

I’m not going to

 Count Calories: I have a fair bit of idea on calorie count for most foods. I have done it before and it really helps.

 Run any marathons: I don’t think we’re meant to do any long distance running. If you’re a runner and are still maintaining good muscle mass, then I think you’re doing something else right.

 Build any packs: 4–6–8 packs aren’t sustainable. You have to really restrict water intake for them to show.

I’m going to

Eat healthy

Where I’ll increase intake of water, lean meat, eggs, vegetables etc. and remove soda, beer, ice creams and, breads, cakes, pizzas and burgers etc.

Quantitative Rules

— Carb. Meals to be separated by 5–6 hours

— A 40–40–20 split for Carb, Protein and Fat intake. The ideal zone is 25–50–25, but that’s just infeasible to maintain with an Indian cuisine.

— No aerobic activity for more than 45 mins at a stretch

— No carb meal for 2 hours post workout

— Target 90% efficiency on the diet.

Qualitative Rules

— No meal that combines fat + carb ( eg: Pizza =bread (carb) + cheese (fat))

— The morning workouts will be on empty stomach

Do physical activity

— Sleep: Get a 6–8 hour sleep

— Basic stretches — 20 mins x 1 a day

— Cycling — 4–6 hours a week

— Weight training

Be positive

— Meditate 10 mins x 2 times a day.

— Find new music

— Read books

— Have a solid work schedule

Lessons I already know

— You need to lose weight and keep that weight and then lose more weight and keep that weight. This should be iterated till you get to a goal weight.

— Weight is just a number. You should cut down the weight from fat and increase muscle mass.

— Weighing everyday will cause more harm than good. The stress releases cortisol that slows down metabolism and increases fat storage. It is also not a correct indicator for health.

How I plan to cheat

I plan to keep one cheat food every month. Being a South Indian, It was a pretty easy choice: coffee

I plan to chronicle this journey as weekly articles on Medium. They will include 4 sections: Food, Exercise, Positivity and Lessons. I believe that jotting down the progress for a social audience will help me in this effort. I’ll also include a small section in the newsletter I do. You can subscribe it to that here.

Sustain Weekly Newsletter-21Dec2015

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A weekly sustainable tech newsletter from a standing desk. – Dec 21, 2015

Here are the top sus-tech news I found interesting this week

The Turners

Tech News

Start you up (Week’s start-up stories and insights)

Did you know 

  • China is buying bottled air from Canada. From a company called Vitality Air. Filled with air from the Rockies. Not a joke.
  • Ants use their flattened heads as doors to lock their nests. Definitely not knuckleheads.
  • Saline water is better to heal wounds than soap and water. Power to salt and less to chemicals.
  • World’s richest shipwreck includes golds and emeralds worth up to $17 billion! Its stuff like this that keeps fantasies and legends alive.
  • Rising global heating might put crocodiles at risk. They’re increasingly not able to handle the heat. Animals, whose body temperatures get strongly influenced by environmental temperatures are called ectothermic animals.
  • Australia opens the world’s first hangover clinic. In Sydney. The $145 treatment is called ‘resurrection remedy’. Fancy name for a first world problem.
  • A Full Cold Moon after 40 years might be visible to some earthlings on Christmas. Its peak at6:11am (EST) or 4:41PM IST. People in Singapore, Hong Kong have a better chance at watching this after sunset. Indian Standard Time is like Jack Sparrow’s compass. Not sure when and where it will take us.

Did you see

Open Thought

I’m recalibrating myself to get on a journey towards better fitness. I have a long way to go but I have a start. I’ll post a short weekly update here. I’m also documenting this with some lessons on medium if you want to follow. This week’s update is here. Good luck and god bless.

News @Arcluster 
The future of healthcare is data driven. 80% of healthcare data is unstructured. But, they are also proprietary to healthcare institutions and agencies. Arcluster is developing its proprietary healthcare research tool to provide tailor made solutions for big data intelligence for institutions and providers. Follow us on twitter – @arcluster for the latest news from the company.

Sustain Weekly Newsletter-14Dec2015

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A weekly sustainable tech newsletter from a standing desk. – Dec 14, 2015

Here are the top sus-tech news I found interesting this week

The Turners

  • 5 thoughts on the news about FB founder Zuckerberg ‘donating’ 99% of its $45B worth (in shares) on the day he became a dad.  (1)- It’s set up as a business entity (LLC.). (2) – It can be run for profit; (3)- It is an investment vehicle run with great ‘charity’ PR. (4) – What an incredibly tax efficient way to move shares. (5) – I’m not saying he isn’t a genius. But, like a good googly, the buck seems to come right back in.

Tech News

Start you up (Week’s start-up stories and insights)

  • Basecamp’s onion-like article on selling .000000001% for $1 at a valuation of $100B.
  • OYO might acquire Zo rooms soon. A case of VC funds getting together to try monopolizing a market. The hotel booking market is definitely more interesting than food delivery. At least, there are revenues.
  • I stumbled on this personal assistant app called ‘Joe Hukkum’. What a cool and catchy name. Maybe, once we have enough personal assistant robots working for humans, there should be a social productivity app called ‘Mere Aaka’.

Did you know 

 News @Arcluster 
Arcluster is actively studying and evaluating technologies that can be employed to maintain security across critical infrastructure, facilities and people-intensive environments. Both proactive and reactive technologies will become part of our developing portfolio of research for city planning and development. Follow us on twitter – @arcluster for the latest news from the company.

Sustain Weekly Newsletter-7Dec2015

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A weekly sustainable tech newsletter from a standing desk. – Dec 7, 2015

Last week, we were hit with one of the heaviest rains our city (Chennai) has seen in over 100+ years. Here is a timeline of events that unfolded from my perspective

  • Day 0 (Mon): Nov 30, I landed in Chennai around 10: 30 PM with the city seeing some rains. Flights were delayed by 1.5 hours. Wait time for cabs were 1 hour. I reached home aroundmidnight. The rain intensified through the night and got heavier.
  • Day 1 (Tue): Chennai received 272 mm rainfall in 12 hours. The city’s normal rainfall for December is 191 mm. The previous record for heaviest rainfall was 261.6 mm. This happened in 1901 and it took 24 hours to do that. In 24 hours, Chennai received 374 mm. The magnitude of rainfall was unprecedented. Roads caved in. People are stranded in offices. Suburbs along the Grand Southern Trunk (GST) Road and National Highway 45 are under water.
  • Day 2 (Wed): Heavy rainfall; 20,000 people are rescued. Rain continues through the day and night. Twitter is active with #chennairainshelp. ATMs close down. 4000+ people stranded in the airports. Airports shut down. Interstate highways closed. Trains stopped. Flood Rapids
  • Day 3 (Thu): Flooding in various parts of the city. The Army, Navy and IAF offers support. Light to intermediate rain. Loss of communication networks. No connectivity through Airtel, Vodafone, BSNL. All landlines are down. No Milk, Bread, Eggs, Bottled Water, Cash.
  • Day 4 (Fri): Intermittent Rains. Shortage of essentials. Some people get connected. Power in some parts restored. No ATMs yet. Some grocery chains opened without dairy supplies. Roads open. Efforts pouring into the city.
  • Day 5 (Sat): Intermittent Rains. People and camps are distributing food, water, medicines, and blankets everywhere. Relief is in full swing. Trucks filled with supplies enter and leave city.
  • Day 6 (Sun): No Diary. Rationalized bread at some bakeries. Cloudy skies. 1-2 moderate rains. Relief efforts shift from food to shelter and safety: clothes, blankets and healthcare camps. City gearing up to get back to work.
  • Day 7 (Mon): Sun.

The Turners

  • The biggest turner was the government’s need to stick photos of the Chief Minister on the relief packets. News on this here.
  • Telecom operators and their loss of connectivity during a disaster. An Airtel advert is meaningless if they can’t do basic disaster. Aircel, Vodafone, BSNL landlines recovered faster in that order before Airtel.

Here are some observations

  • People got together and fought problems together. They risked their lives to save people who were stranded. They were generous and distributed free food and relief packets everywhere.
  • The youth showed unbelievable resilience. They were the first ones to enter dangerous zones and the last to leave.
  • Tremendous people driven relief efforts were tremendous. 24/7 support by people connected across the world.
  • Mosques opened to Hindus and Temples opened to Muslims. Humanity trumped religion.
  • Cash was scarce. People without cash struggled to buy anything.


  • Keep an emergency preparedness bag at your home.
  • Pack and store an emergency medical kit. Replace every 6 months.
  • Back up all documents (digital and paper) and store them away before leaving.
  • Keep enough safety cash at home.
  • Get high powered emergency lights and backup candles.
  • Move electricity boxes above the ground level.
  • Keep 10-20 bricks to quickly increase the height of furniture.
  • Keep long ropes to tie your vehicles to strong posts inside the house
  • Do not buy houses, apartments in complexes built along old lakes.
  • Stock soy protein mix.1 scoop with 70-80 ml of water provides ~150 calories and can be given to kids. The mix lasts for 1.5 years and doesn’t have to be refrigerated.

Except for the candles and bricks, we had everything else and were able to manage this crisis. I could collect provisions and assess the situation doing water walks for the first four days. We definitely were fine when you compare what others endured.


  • How to fix your rain affected vehicles.
  • The great souls that really got on the ground and coordinated large scale efforts
  • Where to donate towards TN flood relief.
    • A fund created by Aishwarya Rao. 
    • Bhoomika Trust that handles disaster relief and rehabilitation.
    • Alternatively, you can email me or reply to this email with how you would like to help. I’ll put you in touch with a couple of my friends who were very active during the relief efforts. They have informed me that its better if the funds come in later so that it can be targeted to the right parties and trusts and not sit in a bank account.

Open Thought

Very often we test the limits of nature by overcrowding, overbuilding and overusing. Every once in a while, nature tests our limits with floods, earthquakes, fires, cyclones, storms, hurricanes. While what we do is predictable, nature’s response is not. We should start watching our steps.

 News @Arcluster 
Arcluster is keen to evaluate technologies that are important to alleviate issues during disasters. These include permeable concrete, sustainable buildings, early warning systems, and emergency medical services among others. We will begin to participate in showcasing and analyzing such technologies towards city planning efforts in the next decade. Follow us on twitter – @arcluster for the latest news from the company.
I also kept thinking about the coincidence of covering only water in the last newsletter with the titled ‘water, water everywhere’.

Have a sunny week ahead!