Topix for Local News

paidContent writes about the new Topix:

Much like before, the sites focus is on zip code-based local news. The section and zip-code homepages will become a hub of citizen-generated news (more Netscape.com-like in implementation than Digg), with easy-to-use tools for users to blog/vote stories onto the main and section pages. Interestingly, the company will kill its main homepage, and use it only as an entry page to other local pages.
Anyone can now submit local news for any U.S. zip code through the site or through mobiles. Participants can also become editors of the local pages. The community part for it has been growing rapidly since comments/discussion were added last year (it says it gets 30K comments everyday now).
For pages which dont get use-editors, Topix will continue to use it software algorithm to categorize the news.

It will be nice to have a “PIN-News” for India.

Internet as Way of Life for Youth

Dina Mehta writes:

For my generation, the internet has been life-changing. We know what we missed when we didnt have it. We are completely smitten by new avenues to communicate and collaborate in new ways today. We get excited about YouTube and Flickr and Twitter and rush to try them out. We are buoyant and optimistic about the immense possibilities they bring us. We are so grateful that we can now communicate across geographies and time and are a mere fraction of a megabyte away from anywhere else in the world. For many of us, it’s still a tool that’s shown us a different way of life. Assimilating this medium into our lives has given us new options.

For youngsters today, especially teenagers, it isn’t an option really – it is their way of life. I keep looking for aha moments from them during my research studies and I dont seem to hear them. They don’t take it as seriously as we do. They are not as grateful to it as we are. They do not talk about how cool YouTube is – they just use the services to check out the latest Gwen Stefani video – the video is their point of conversation rather than how cool the service is. When I ask them to imagine life without them, they simply cannot – they know nothing less. They’re not delighted by ‘free’ as we are – growing up with this medium has made them expect it. There are few divisions between the techno haves and have-nots among them, as in our case.

Mobile Search

Via Chetan Sharma from an article by Peggy Anne Saltz: “A key problem for the mobile data industry is subscribers trying to find a specific piece of content or a specific application. All of the major operators offer an excellent and expansive range of games, ring tones and many other applications. While choice is great for the consumer, if they can find what they are looking for, the sheer number of options available is bewildering. It is impossible to browse and navigate the labyrinth navigation structures available today. Mobile search helps tie together otherwise silo‟d catalogs and deep navigation trees for ringtones, graphics, games, music, sports, news and other content.”

Non-Startups

Paul Graham writes about the reasons why people do not do a startup.

1. Too young
2. Too inexperienced
3. Not determined enough
4. Not smart enough
5. Know nothing about business
6. No cofounder
7. No idea
8. No room for more startups
9. Family to support
10. Independently wealthy
11. Not ready for commitment
12. Need for structure
13. Fear of uncertainty
14. Don’t realize what you’re avoiding
15. Parents want you to be a doctor
16. A job is the default

TECH TALK: Creating Indias New Cities: Pune DeCi

By Atanu Dey

Pune DeCi is a designer city started in 2010 and completed by 2016. Just 30 kilometers outside the old city of Pune, about 100 square kilometers of land was acquired. The government of Maharashtra, the state where Pune is located, was a partner in the Pune DeCi Development Authority and had a stake of 20 percent in the project for which it supplied all the land which was basically non-prime land. Long term bonds raised the approximately $1 billion initial investment required for the first improvements.

The anchor tenants were Bharat Forge and Tata Motors. Assured that they will be able to draw their workers from the one-million strong new Pune DeCi population, they agreed to build their new modern high-capacity factories at the outskirts of the proposed city. These anchor firms were expanding their output since they anticipated that the economy would grow rapidly as new cities were being built. To build these across India, the demand for trucks and the derived demand for forgings would be high, they estimated. That pattern of increased demand for manufactured goods kept pace with the capacity building of manufacturing facilities around the new designer cities.

With the growth of the cities, demand for labor went up. The labor for construction of Pune DeCi came primarily from the agricultural sector which had become highly productive and therefore released labor in non-agricultural sectors such as services and manufacturing. The building of the city thus provided employment and the wage goods required for the labor came from the high productivity farms around. Thus even though the economy of the region was growing at a very fast rate, there was no inflation.

People started living in the new well-designed apartments in high rises located in well-planned neighborhoods littered with parks and other amenities. Pune DeCi grew rapidly as all sorts of service providers moved in, from schools to shopping arcades to banks to bakeries. Manufacturing kept pace with increased demand and thus provided sufficient incomes to the workers who were able to purchase the products of the manufacturing units. The demand for services went up. Thus demand for education provided employment to teachers, who used their incomes to buy housing and food, which provided employment to the construction industries and farmers, and so on.

It is a long story. The title of the story was Urbanization Demand Led Economic Growth. Another way to look at it is to consider it the equivalent of a Marshall Plan which the US put together at the end of the Second World War for the reconstruction of Western Europe. By aiding in the reconstruction, the US helped build capacity in Europe. But as a side-effect, it provided employment to Americans within America to supply the goods that Europe needed. And when Europe regained its feet, it was a ready market for American goods and services, and became its biggest trading partner.

India needs a Marshall Plan where the urban part helps construct cities for the rural part. In the next bit, I will explore what needs to be done for creating one.

Tomorrow: Flashback

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