Connecting the dots

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2nd, 2012 by Abhishek Balaria – Comments Off

In his 2005 Stanford commencement speech Steve Jobs talked about connecting the dots looking backwards. Here is exactly what he said, “Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

Reading the story, Apple’s inevitable path to a post-PC era (http://gigaom.com/apple/apples-inevitable-path-to-a-post-pc-era/), at GigaOM got me thinking whether Apple is as smart as we make them out to be. Do they have a grand plan whereby they first got us used to using click-wheel on the iPod, then multi-touch gestures on MacBook trackpads, eventually leading to iPhones and iPads? Can someone, even Steve Jobs, or other brains at Apple plan the evolution of human computer interface 10 years in advance? Are we reading too much into the path to post-PC era?

Apple had the foresight to build a great user interaction with touch interface on the iPod and from then on it was evolution or logical progression, even baby steps towards the iPad. I seriously doubt that back in 2001, while designing the first iPod, Steve Jobs (or other designers at Apple) had formed the ideas for the iPad in it’s present form.

This also leads to interesting thought experiments. Where are we going in human computer interaction? Will it be once again Apple that will help us get there? What will the combination of Siri, Google Glasses like display, Kinect like gestures, Near Field Communication and ubiquitous LTE connectivity take us? There are many possible combinations and usage of these technologies. The great thing is all of this is here and now. Amazing times.


ČNB app covered by Reuters

Posted in Uncategorized on April 9th, 2012 by Abhishek Balaria – 1 Comment

In the modern world of mobile money and all kinds of electronic forms of money there would seem no room for innovation in good old paper and metal coins. However, human imagination is a remarkable thing and when we set out to create the Czech Money app for the Czech National Bank the flow of brain-storms was nonstop. We zeroed in on creating a universal app that will cover all the secure elements, use accelerometer and have pixel perfect graphics. The result is one gorgeous app. The app was recently covered by Reuters.

The app is available for download at: http://itunes.apple.com/cz/app/ceske-penize/id491710906

Steve Jobs’ best creation – revisited

Posted in Uncategorized on October 8th, 2011 by Abhishek Balaria – Comments Off

Back in May, when Steve Jobs was still the CEO of Apple, I opined that the best thing Steve Jobs created was not the Macintosh, iPod, iPhone or the iPad, but Apple itself, the insanely great technology company.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

There have been many great tributes to SJ, but I particularly liked with one by Jeff Bezos. He said something to the effect of: “Steve created three companies in his lifetime, the first Apple before he was ousted, Pixar and the Apple he resurrected when he came back to an almost bankrupt company”. When you think deep about it, you find how profound an impact SJ in fact had. He helped launch the PC industry, helped create one of the most profitable film genre of recent years (computer generated animated films), changed the music industry, changed the telecommunications industry and was leading us into the post-PC industry. If this is not super-human, I don’t know what is. All the while he made it look easy. Which is a true mark of a magician.

The remarkable thing here is that it takes a different kind of persons to create a startup, then turn it into a well-oiled functioning profitable machine and eventually run a public company. SJ did this 3x over and ended up creating the most successful technology company the world has ever seen.

Think of it this way, the impact SJ had in his 35 years career almost equals the impact Alexander Graham Bell, Walt Disney and Jack Welch (also created the biggest publicly traded company during his tenure) have had spanning multiple lifetimes and careers.

Can’t wait for Walter Isaacson’s official Steve Jobs biography.

HP folds. What’s next?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 19th, 2011 by Abhishek Balaria – Comments Off
The great Smartphone high-stakes poker continues.
HP folds with WebOS devices killed.
Google goes all in with Moto purchase.
Nokia’s bluff is called. Symbian is no-more.
HTC bluffs with an all-out patent challenge.
Apple still seem to be holding a royal flush.
How did we get here?
It all started with the iPhone launch in 2007. I doubt even Apple or Steve Jobs could have imagined the forces they were unleashing on the mobile device segment. Back in 2007, when Android needed a reference architecture they copied Blackberry (see the first SDK releases) but by 2009 most Android devices looked like an iPhone.
As they say: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
This quote is mostly used by the underdogs and Apple by no means is an underdog, but we actually have Steve Ballmer on the record making fun of the iPhone. Here is what he said: “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item.”

There is no denying that mobility is the biggest trend of our times. It may even be bigger than the transition to web in the late nineties. I still remember the day in 1997 when I saw the first web address on a billboard in Bombay and said to myself, this internet thing is for real. And then AOL bought Time Warner. Rationale of the transaction aside, it was a watershed moment, signaling the transition to the new. Google’s Moto deal has the same vibe.
The transition to mobility could not have come sooner. I have been hearing every single year since 2000 that the next year will be the year of mobile. It was just like Linux on desktop, every single year was supposed to be the year of Linux on desktop. But Y2007 release of the iPhone, proliferation of 3G networks and innovative post Web 2.0 cloud services have finally delivered.
Where do we go from here?
Predictions is a difficult game. But since we live in Smartphone times, which seem be even faster than the Internet time, all bets are off and let’s have some fun:
- MSFT outright acquires Nokia
- All the patent fights lead to some sort of patent reforms
- Apple accumulates a 100 billion dollars in bank (ok, this needs no prediction)
- May be Apple, Google or Microsoft will acquire a US carrier
The funny thing is that Apple, in fact, announced this transition to the world four years ago the day they dropped “computer” from their name. All we had to do was pay attention.

Steve Jobs’ best creation

Posted in Uncategorized on May 11th, 2011 by Abhishek Balaria – Comments Off

Apple is one of the companies about which there are not many internal case studies. From the outside, of course, we can see the ways in which they build and market products, but there is very little known in terms of how they can operate like a 50000 employee strong startup. The Kindle Single, Inside Apple — From Steve Jobs down to the janitor: How America’s most successful – and most secretive – big company really works, tries to provide some insight.

Steve Jobs’ best creation is not the iPod, iPhone or even the iPad, but it’s in fact, an organization that can repeat the same process over and over again. As Steve himself likes to point out, “I wasn’t alive then, but from everything I’ve heard, Babe Ruth only had one home run. He just kept hitting it over and over again.” And that’s what it’s about, find your home run and hitting it over and over again.

Apple Org Chart

Two top apps in a week – Novinky.cz and DSL.CZ

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29th, 2011 by Abhishek Balaria – Comments Off

This was a very happening week at ZENTITY. First DSL.CZ launched end of last week and become the top app within two days in the Czech App Store, and then today Novinky.cz, which we built for the largest Czech portal and search engine Seznam.cz, launched and become a runaway hit reaching top position within a couple of hours. The team has shown once again that in terms of application quality and innovation they are unmatched in this region.

Download Novinky.cz FREE at: http://itunes.apple.com/cz/app/novinky-cz/id430326937?mt=8

Download DSL.CZ FREE at: http://itunes.apple.com/cz/app/novinky-cz/id430326937?mt=8

iPrší – Prší for iPhone and iPod Touch

Posted in Uncategorized on August 16th, 2010 by Abhishek Balaria – Comments Off

It’s been hard to keep up with blogging. There is so much going on at ZENTITY, that we can hardly breath. It’s been a little over a week since iPrší was launched. Our primary markets for this game are Czech Republic and Slovak Republic. The App has some tough competition from other great game launches like DOOM, Dark Nebula and Crazy Machines, but iPrší did made it to #1 App in Top Charts of the iTunes for both the Czech and the Slovak markets. The team has shown once again that they can pretty much win at will at this point :-)

Obviously we are not done yet, the game needs improvement and we hope to launch an update with a complete graphics overhaul very soon. STAY TUNED!

iPrší #1 in CZ and SK markets

Prifacy – the Facebook privacy app launches

Posted in Uncategorized on July 7th, 2010 by Abhishek Balaria – Comments Off

Apple just approved Prifacy, an iPhone app that helps users make complete sense of their Facebook privacy settings.

While testing the app with real users we discovered how poorly understood the Facebook privacy settings are. Users were extremely surprised to find out everything they had been sharing without having any clue if they actually agreed to any of it.

Prifacy swings the pendulum back to users, who in our view should have a complete control over their privacy online.

Prifacy uses simple and easy to understand color codes to denote the level of potential threat depending on the current privacy settings. Users can drill down and on the most detailed level, the user can decide to change the settings by pressing lockdown button.

Prifacy is a first step toward giving users the tools to understand and fill the gaps in all things privacy online.

Grab it from the app store at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/prifacy/id377970403?mt=8.

Here is a sneak peek -
Prifacy - Facebook privacy fixed

ZENTITY coverage in LiveMint

Posted in Uncategorized on February 20th, 2010 by Abhishek Balaria – Comments Off

Touch Carrom and ZENTITY covered in LiveMint a Hindustan Times and Wall Street Journal publication in India. Here is the article as it appears in print:

Touch Carrom in LiveMint

Touch Carrom goes Bollywood

Posted in Uncategorized on February 1st, 2010 by Abhishek Balaria – Comments Off

Touch Carrom became the first ever official iPhone game of a Bollywood film (Striker).

This is an exciting partnership, which helps us to bring a world class gaming experience to traditional Indian games. This is the first integrated movie and gaming experience and we believe that it will be an important trend. Studio 18 are truly an innovative partner to work with.

Thank you all who helped us get Touch Carrom this far and you know there is a lot more to come.

Touch Carrom: Striker Edition is available at: http://itunes.apple.com/app/touchcarrom/id337993724?mt=8