Sep 9, 2014

Review - OnePlus One

And a few days have passed since I started using the OnePlus One. Quite a few people asked me to tell them how is the phone before perhaps they buy a lesser known Chinese brand phone, so here I pen down my views.

I'll start with positives and will start with the design. Its beautiful. The "Sandstone" back and the metallic bezel around the screen make it look awesome. And its not because I am biased, its indeed a very good design.

Hardware - Super fast, snappy. There are of course no problems usually in a new device with monstrous specs. This one is no exception. Its super fast. 

User Experience - This one comes with a custom ROM - CyanogenMod which is essentially Stock Android modified a bit to add some useful tweaks that make life simpler. For those who do not know about Custom ROM, it is Android, so no worries. 

CM (CyanogenMod) has provided 3 profiles to manage battery - Power Save, Balanced and Performance. I've definitely observed minor lags in "Power Save" mode and that's quite expected.

There is also a "known issue" with multi touch while typing, which effectively annoys the hell out of someone who is pretty used to typing on a phone with two hands and with decent enough speed. So what actually happens is that if I type with my usual typing speed, it tends to miss a few characters every few characters. There are workarounds, but at the moment they are just workarounds. Good thing is that its a "known issue" and a fix has been promised (because its been identified as a glitch which can be fixed via a software update).

Screen - Beautiful, wonderful, its a treat to watch videos on this.

Size - Its a big phone. I have big hands. Its not that easy to use. So keep that in mind. It took me time to get used to the size but still its not as convenient to use as was my Nexus 4. This is something I already knew, hence not complaining. One good thing that they've done with the design, however, is the placement of the power and volume buttons. Both are on each side of the device and placed in the lower half of the upper half of the phone. That makes it slightly better because it doesn't require you to stretch your hands all the way to click a button.

Battery Life - The next revolution in smartphones should ideally be the one which can promise a week's battery life (or at least 2-3 days). That, however, seems like a dream. OnePlus One does phenomenally well on this front. Attached are the pictures of my phone with yesterday's usage. With my Nexus 4 it would have meant charging it more than 2 times for the same usage. Bottomline - I don't carry my charger with me. And I don't remember where I kept my power bank. B-)

Its hard to buy One - All of you who are interested in buying this must be aware that it's not available over the shelf. They are following an invite-only system which honestly was irritating. Even after buying this phone, I haven't received any invites which I can use to share with others (which was ideally supposed to happen as mentioned on various forums). I have read that they would be moving to a "pre-order" mode of sale starting next month. No confirmation on dates, however, we can wait and watch.

Summary - Its an A+ or rather One+. Worth buying if you can. Alternatively, you could wait for the iAnnouncement tonight and pay double/triple the price for specs am pretty confident would fall short of beating the OnePlus One. The other big announcement is likely next month and that's the Nexus 6 (if at all). That I do think would have similar or better specs but getting your hands on that would at least take 4-5 months from now.

And without making any comparisons to any other device, just remember, its a big phone. If you are fine with it, get it else look for other options. As far as the multi-touch glitch is concerned, I am confident it'll be fixed before you could buy one. 

Nov 2, 2013

Best Butter Chicken in Delhi

I never knew that quite a few number of people are waiting for me to publish this. Though I have spent most of my life in Delhi (born and brought up here) but had been out of Delhi for for a good long period of 9 years with brief, frequent visits until I finally moved back to Delhi for considerably long period of time earlier this year.

Though this could be treated as a follow up of my last post on writing about my travel, places and foods, this is not quite that because as I said I have been in Delhi for most of life.

Nevertheless, coming here again after 9 years, one thing I was super excited about was the food. Right from the chaat to faluda to cholle bhatoore (paneer paa ke) to the world famous Butter Chicken. And for some reason, I decided to go on a quest to find the Best Butter Chicken in Delhi. I had earlier done something similar in Hyderabad last year when I wanted to find out the best Biryani (will write about it soon).

Getting back to Butter Chicken, I had in some conversations mentioned to a few people about this quest and I was surprised to see "follow ups" on the same and that is why I decided to pen it down.

Though the quest isn't complete, you'll know why, I write here about the results so far.

To make it sound rather 'cool', I'll rank the best places on "Butter Chicken Awesomeness" or BCA

So, here we start with BCA #1

BCA #1

Unfortunately, I haven't yet found a contender for this spot and that is the reason that the quest is incomplete.

BCA #2

This currently has to be Invitation, Ashok Vihar. They really have good tasting, appropriately sweet, aptly tangy Butter Chicken and if you were to ask me where should you go and try good Butter Chicken, as of now, this is what tops my list and would indeed recommend it. Mind you, this is not just based on one visit but has been ranked this high as a result of multiple visits to check on consistency in taste and quality.

Since its about Butter Chicken, this post is limited to reviewing that only, for other aspects of the restaurant, you can read my review here.

BCA #3

Number 3 right now has to be Galena, Connaught Place. As of now, yes this stands as the third best choice for Butter Chicken.

That's it. As of now that's how the top three stands. The quest is still on.

Will want to mention the other know names which I took as contenders in the quest:

- Minar, Connaught Place
- Moti Mahal, Daryaganj
- Kake Da Hotel, Connaught Place
- Kwality, Connaught Place 

The Butter Chicken that you get at any of the above three places is anything but Butter Chicken. They wouldn't be a part of my list, irrespective of how long the list is.

Another few popular names are
- Kwality, Connaught Place (tried)
- Mughal Mahal, Rajender Nagar

which I will be trying out, but given the reviews on Zomato, it doesn't seem like they would make a cut. Nevertheless, I will surely give them a try.

If you have any other recommendations, do leave a comment, will look forward to try them out too.

Oct 7, 2013

How is it like to be in Sales?

No matter howsoever little time I have spent in Sales, but nevertheless, every now and then I have been asked this question - "How is it like to be in Sales"? If not the exact verbatim, then perhaps a variant of the same. I was guzzling with thoughts on this and thought of penning it down right now itself (0118 hrs IST).

Frankly, I don't really have a well framed, certified by all answer to that question. All that I can tell you is what comes with it and then you make your choice on whether it is good or bad, suits you or not.

A sales person I think is very much like the Striker in a Football Game. Backed by mid-field (mainly Marketing), his/her job is to convert and Score.

Yes, Sales to me is like a sport. For that matter everything to me is like a sport, so let's chuck that for a moment. (that's a side effect of me loving and being into lot of sports). But somewhere at the end of this post you will perhaps agree that it is like a sport.

Sales is indeed about numbers and people and behaviour. Lets start with numbers first. Achieving them gives you a sense of joy, immense joy especially at the start of your sales career or when it had come after a close finish.

There are times when you end up feeling like a Dhoni, turning a nail-biting finish in your favour and then there are also times when you end up with the feeling of the Duckworth Lewis Method being applied to you and that you obviously feel its illogical and utter nonsense. (Apologies for the extreme cricket analogy but I just couldn't help it).

You can just imagine what wonders the above two extremes of feelings do when in a team. They bond you like anything. Forget your own team, it also acts as a bond between two otherwise strangers, sales persons.

Its like people who smoke, no matter if they are meeting for the first time, they just bond over it! They bond over hundreds and thousands of stories and experiences about, well yes, sales (sales calls, customer reactions, numbers achieved, targets missed and so on).

One other advantage, at least it is in my case, is that a sales guy has a network of people (other sales guys) throughout the country! A true blessing in disguise. You have a known face, in every part of a huge country i.e. India! If not directly, then through another sales fellow. How cool is that?

Moving on to the next bit of people and behaviour. One integral part of sales is meeting and interacting with people. New ones, old ones, every day, many times a day. Couple it with the fact that these people belong to different parts of the country (more on it later in the post). I have realised and truly appreciate the kind of dimensions it adds to one's perspective. I have certainly benefited from the same. I have met all kinds of people, road side mechanics to business tycoons with networths in crores! And that, across different parts of the country. Trust me when I say it totally modifies the way you think with more and more number of new people you keep on meeting and more and more number of interactions you have.

Not many would be wondering, but worth while explaining how and what of "different parts of the country". As a sales guy, you do not stick to one particular role or geography for a long long period (again its not something etched in stone, but sort of a generalised observation). This also means that you are most likely to have at least one stint in a non-hometown geography. Now just imagine, traveling to a new place becomes a PART of your JOB! I have traveled to so many different cities across the country as a part of my job. Travel might not excite you, like it didn't really 'excite' me so to speak few years back but now I love exploring. New places, different kinds of food, new people, different languages and what not! And of course, you've guessed it right, its all paid for by someone else :)

Belgaum to Pune to Goa to Chennai to Hyderabad to Vizag to Jaipur to Jodhpur to Lucknow to Varanasi. I have travelled this ON WORK! The Hyderbadi Biryani to munching on squids and crabs to gorging on Tundey Kebabs to feasting on Dal Baati, it has all been a part of this journey!

Of course, its awesome but yes its tiring too. Travel and lot of travel do take a toll on your body, both physically and mentally but then again you have to balance. I have met quite a few people who "envy" my "sponsored" travel to so many different places and then there are ones who would straightaway say, "pata nai yaar tu kaise kar leta hai, mere bas ki to nai hai" (I don't know how you do it, I just can't). 

But then, that is why they say - To each his own

Since I am anyway writing about it, I'll also touch upon 2 other questions that I have been asked at some point in time. 

First - What do you NOT like about sales?
A few people I know would say, "Pressure to perform", could be, but for me its something different. For me it is those periods where you have to stay in a geography where you don't have friends/family. For me, those periods have been slightly tough. You will point at what I wrote above about meeting new people and exploring new places. Surely that's what you can do, but somethings just do not have replacements. I still remember some of those periods when I would be eyeing for that one long break (even 3 day off meant 'long') when I would visit friends in Bombay or be back home in Delhi. I always tried to race against time in that period. I tried to live a full week in every single day. And boy was the "vacation" withdrawal syndrome difficult to handle? You bet!

The other question I distinctly remember was when I was interacting with a bunch of students at SPJIMR and someone asked "Do they fire you if you don't meet the targets?" This, that student told me was one fear that stopped her from even thinking about pursuing a career in sales. Frankly, I do not have a full proof well researched, yes or no answer to that. All I know is, meeting targets is just one aspect and there are hell lot of other things that a sales guy does and is expected to do (the approach, thought process, execution, etc) that determine his/her performance. This again is from what I have seen and realised as a result of discussions with fellow sales guys across organisations.

Well, that's it on "how is it like to be in sales?" I'll say again, that am no Sales Expert or Legend or something. Just shared few snippets of my observations and assimilation from whatever little experience I have had.

One thing writing this post has made me realise is that perhaps meeting different people, traveling to different places, trying out different kind of food is perhaps something that I can or rather should share here. Will think about it again and try doing it.

Until then, cya! Do let me know what you thought of this post.