Monthly Archives: April 2009

Will there be many Twitters?

I was just reading this article Why there will be many Twitters (Scripting News) by Dave Winer, where the author makes his case for why he thinks there are going to be many Twitter (clones) out there, and that ultimately one of them is going to be THE Twitter – one platform to rule them all.

But isn’t Twitter already a de facto for micro-blogging? Yes, surely, clones are going to pop up left, right and center, but how can one make something better than Twitter? Twitter’s success lies in its utmost simplicity. More features is just going to make it more complex. Imagine if someone comes up with a Twitter clone, that can have text in bold, italics, or underlined. (That doesn’t sound that bad, hmm.)

How about a clone that is funded by some major media network – Time Warner, Fox, NBC – and they get celebrities to ‘tweet’ on their Twitter? That surely is going to draw away the hordes of followers who only live to idolize these celebrities and follow them on wherever they are. For example, if Ashton Kutcher – the first twillionaire – shifts to a Twitter-clone, he is surely going to walk away with his million followers on Twitter. Oprah will take her followers if she decides to build her own social platform. Yes, Twitter might lose so many followers. But that’s all a big IF!

Celebrity endorsements are definitely good for any social website out there, but a social website needs much more than celebrities. In the case of micro-blogging, it needs simplicity; it needs ease of use; it needs ubiquity; it needs active user base; it needs to evoke an industry around it. Twitter has been able to do all that without much effort, especially the last part, and it continues to grow at astounding rates.

Twitter is not a success because of celebrities tweeting on it. It’s because Twitter is a success that celebrities are tweeting on it.

Follow me on Twitter @sawant

Fast Food: Ads vs. Reality

Have a look at what fast food joints advertise and what do they deliver in these comparison pictures from: Fast Food: Ads vs. Reality.

Each item was purchased, taken home, and photographed immediately. Nothing 
was tampered with, run over by a car, or anything of the sort. It is an accurate 
representation in every case. Shiny, neon-orange, liquefied pump-cheese, and all.

Here are three of my favorite ones:

Wendy's Chicken club - Fast food: ads vs reality 

Wendy’s Chicken Club

KFC Famous Bowl - Fast food: ads vs reality

KFC Famous Bowl

McDonald's Sausage Breakfast Burrito - Fast food: ads vs reality

McDonald’s Sausage Breakfast Burrito

Check out the rest: Fast Food: Ads vs. Reality

My experience with a local web startup yellO


It’s been some time since I blogged. I am running so short of time nowadays. Friends feel ignored; my projects are pending; almost no time for socializing. The main reason of my busyness is a project called yellO that I have been part of since March ‘08 (full-time since August ‘08). This unique and one-of-its-kind portal (and magazine) of local services in Pakistan is finally ready for show time!

It’s something big!

We have been working on yellO for almost an year now. It’s been an exhilarating experience for me to be part of the development, design and strategy formation processes of one of the most authentic and superb piece of web application/portal to surface from this part of the world.

We had tough days. We had boring days. We had frustrating days. We had days on which we almost thought to give up on it since we were too bored working on the same thing everyday for so many months! But now that yellO’s development is complete (for launch) and it’s all ready to go live, I am really satisfied with the outcome. And quite excited too!

The Visionary

I remember that I was a bit reluctant when Samir – the visionary behind yellO – had asked me to join team yellO. I had other offers too at that time and they were offering better package than what I was being offered for yellO. But in the end, it was Samir’s passion and fervor, and his desire to bring positive change in the world – the same ideals that I myself follow – that sealed my decision in favor of yellO.

The Team

The most important component in realizing a vision is the team that is responsible for turning an idea into reality. And the team assembled for yellO had all the characteristics of a winning team!

Adeel, the lead developer, and Saad, the lead designer, have both remained an indispensable asset for yellO. Zulfiqar has been an amazing artist and (print) designer. Aamir has been great at handling graphics and publishing stuff. Mudassir is new but he’s learning to walk the tight rope of the Linux administration world well. Young Shahrukh is intelligent and full of curiosity, and he is a great asset for the community building part of yellO. In the past, Ali Raza, Asim, Waleed and Faraz have worked for some time on yellO before parting in search of other opportunities.

As for me myself, I have been responsible for handling all the stakeholders, mentioned above; making sure that we followed the timelines and that everyone was working in congruency. Also, I tend to the strategic aspect of yellO as, officially, I am the Strategy Director for yellO.

All in all it has been a great fun and an exciting experience building a major venture like yellO.

Join yellO today and start adding and reviewing interesting places on the map.