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Showing posts from 2014

Flying from Washington DC to India on Etihad Airways

Washington Dulles Airport DC (IAD) is a major hub for for flights to the Middle East and connecting to many asian countries including India. Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Emirates, all fly to Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. United flies to Dubai, Kuwait and Bahrain. Saudia has a flight to Jeddah but I am not sure if that route is used much..

 In the past few years I have traveled to India via the Middle East and reviewed United and Emirates airlines. United 976 to Dubai Getting ready for the longest flight of my life Washington DC to Dubai on UnitedWashington DC to Dubai on Emirates Airlines This was the first time I flew on Etihad even though I have been a member of their Guest program for over a decade. Here is my experience.

Booking the Ticket  This was a somber occasion and we needed to get tickets in a hurry. I used SkyScanner, Hipmunk to check flights and sent the best fare I found online to my travel agent Rommel Patel  whom I have been using for over 10 years and have recommended to…

President George Washington Responds to Ava

What a great idea that had to soothe the tears of the  4 year old toddler Ava who wanted to see George Washington. Ava's original video:

What do you think ?

Where Elvis says - Hazard on the Road Ahead, Baby!

Your drive is never boring if you use the navigation app Waze that is owned by Google ( Both iOS and Android).
Waze has some amazing features, including rerouting you in case of traffic build up ahead and using user generated reports to warn you of hazards on the road. A not so well known feature in Waze is choosing the tone of the GPS voice. A week ago I chose "Boy Band" and it was hilarious and this week I chose Elvis and I smiled every time Elvis said " Hazard on the Road Ahead, Baby! "
Waze also offers celebrity voices, I remember Kevin Hart lending his voice to Waze and as Nerdist reports: "Well, besides being very, very specific in your GPS needs, you’re also in luck: buff Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor Terry Crews has lent his voice to the Waze app, meaning now you too can get directions from Sgt. Terrence Jeffords." I am sticking to Elvis for a few days and then cannot wait to see what Waze offers next as a GPS Voice.

Startup LinkRedirector has a very promising tool for marketing data geeks and the rest of thw world

I am very fascinated by LinkRedirector. It is a startup that lets you redirect a short url to a different destination based on some parameters that you can set.

Use Cases:

 You want returning visitors to go to a different page than a new visitor. Maybe even a page that adds " Welcome Back" . Use it to direct people who come from different operating systeme differently. Maybe iOS users can go directly to a app download page. My test scenario you are using iOS then you go to Other users will come to this website.Comment here and let me know if you came from one of my test uRLS or click nowCampaign ChangesYou could run a campaign and then once that is over change the URL and wont need a lot of web server helpGood AnalyticsI have not used them yet but LinkRedirector has a capability to add Campaign Names, tags Custom URLSRight now you use and then you can customize the subsequent url like I did.They ma…

Co-hosted Biz Talk With Josh Discussing Social, Email and other Small Business Tools

Biz Talk With Josh - Small Business Marketing and Social Media Tools - July 5th 2014
— Magic Pics (@magicpixx) June 28, 2014 I had the honor of co-hosting Biz Talk With Josh for the second week with Joshua Smith - You can listen to the show online at  or on CBS Radio Washington DC 1580 AM on Saturday from  10 a.m to 11 a.m .

This week we discuss :

What is the difference between Social Media applications versus Email and how they can interact with each other?  What digital marketing tools are best for small businesses to spread the word about their business, and how can small business measure their success with the use of Social Media? What is the right marketing mix for your business? Which channels are still relevant to a small business in today's economy? Our guests are :

Mr. Geoff Livingston, Founder - Tenacity5 Media, a marketing consulting company serving companies and nonprofits. Providing Content Marketing …

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Are you cheesie or a Royal Cheesie?

Here is your chance to be Cheesie ! Regal Cinemas and Tostitos® are searching for the cheesiest selfie to crown THE ROYAL CHEESIE and fly them out to Hollywood for a VIP weekend. 

Details here

Listen to Biz Talk with Josh today

Listen to 1580 AM CBS Radio in Washington DC today Saturday June 28th 2014 at 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Biz Talk with Josh am co-hosting the  show and our guests are Geoff Livingston, author and founder of Tenacity Media and Stacey Miller Sr. Social Media Manager of Vocus..Also broadcast every Saturday morning at 8:00 am EST on Central State University radio WCSU-FM 88.9 (, in the Dayton, Ohio area. WAUG 750-AM 750 (, in the Raleigh, North Carolina area  every Wednesday at 4:00 pm EDT.

5 lessons from a MCDonalds wrapper

1) How are we doing ?  For a fast food restaurant, McDonalds pays a lot of attention to feedback. They have placed messages on wrappers, on cash counters and decals in strategic places so you are sure to find it if ever you are not satisfied.
2) Well timed theme It's soccer season. It must be a huge logistical project to get this to all the stores. McD seems to be very good at these campaigns.
3) Use of QR codes to provide nutritional information and also game codes, saves space on the wrappers.
4) smart use of domain names : and mcdonegoal,com. I bet depending on traffic McD can track which art of the wrapper drove higher engagement. 5) mentioning partner brands through the prizes 
What do you think? 

Is it raining yet? SkyMotion Weather App has the answer

I am horrible when it comes to wearing appropriate stuff for the weather. I end up close to work to find that the warm sun has changed to a downpour and I am all wet right down to my suit.

The discovery of the app SkyMotion which tells you exactly when it's going to rain almost to the minute and in the place where your phone is.

Along with a realtime weather every 5 minues , you can also get details of the next two hours.

Not on your mobile phone use the NowCast

Skymotion is available for a lot of devices iOS, Android, Windows Phone. Check the Skymotion Weather App product page for downloads.

The car that India grew up with - Ambassador production to be stopped

This is a photo of India's Hindustan Motors's Ambassador car that was donated to the Smithsonian in 2003. Growing up in India, people had the choice to purchase 3 brands -

Hindustan Motor's Ambassador based on a 1940's version of a British Morris Oxford and virtually the model remained as is till this week's announcement of a halt in productionPremier Motors Padmini manfactured under license from FiatStandard Herald based on the British Standard-TriumphIndia's automotive industry was old, boring and only for the extremely rich till India got the Maruti based on Japan's Suzuki models. Maruti Suzuki as it is now known changed the way car ownership was thought of in India and made owning a 4 wheeler more affordable. 
One day Ambassador had to go and I wonder why it took so long. Have you ever been in an Ambassador?

Living on a Farm with a Starbucks Next Door : American Dream

The American dream culminates in ownership with a picket fence and today I visited a Bozzuto Homes community that makes the American dream come true. - Shipley's Grant. When I first joined Bozzuto, the President of the homes division, Tom Baum  had mentioned Shipley's Grant (a Bozzuto new home community in Ellicott City, MD) and the story behind preserving the historic farm at Shipley's Grant and building a home community that has a farm.
Today I visited Shipley's Grant in Ellicott City. The first stop was "Eggspectaions" a wonderful diner a few blocks  from Shipley's Grant.
After breakfast with Bruce Rosenblatt, VP of Sales at Bozzuto Homes, we went to Shipley's Grant. At the leasing office, the first thing that impressed me was the swimming pool and the club house.  The Shipley's Grant community is located in Ellicott City close to I-95, Route 100, and U.S. 29 and I took a toru of the Frederick model home. The homes are well ventilated with amp…

Captain's Log, Stardate 14052014. ; In Range Captain Sulu - George Takei #SelfiewithGeorge

Watching Star Trek in India in the late 80's was a thrilling experience. One of the few western shows that were shown on Indian TV. " To boldly go, where no man has gone before" " To infinity and beyond"  all memories to cherish. I was thrilled to get an invite from AARP to meet George Takei at the Facebook DC offices. It was a memorable moment. 
AARP produces a YouTube Show called Takei's Take where  George Takei explores the world of technology,trends. Today's event created awareness for this and other programs of AARP in a smart way by inviting people to take a #SelfieWithGeorge
The few minutes with George Takei, he must have made 10 jokes with me. Nice person and a lot of great humor and the Show Takei's Takes is also quite funny. See the teaser below.

Why I think Costco Should Buy Groupon?

The first time I heard about Groupon, was through word-of-mouth. A lot of my friends were excited about the deals that they could get by signing up for Groupon's email deals. Trying new restaurants armed with a Groupon was something that I definitely wanted to try out. Unfortunately my Groupons are still unutilized and I need to find a way to redeem them at face value.

Groupon has been steadily changing in the past few years. They have a Small Business Division called GrouponWorks. Using the power of collective bargaining they are now selling more and more things that you normally do not associate with a bargain.

My recent purchases from Groupon

Shoes from PumaA bluetooth car adapter I am also eyeing the Michelin Wiper Blades for $21.99 or a elliptical and  other useful goods from the Groupon Goods.
There is a war brewing up in the online goods marketplace.  Amazon is trying it's own delivery service and also trying to get consumers to buy from Amazon Fresh in Southern Californ…

StyleSeat Enables you to be Stylish and find appointments nearby and book them online

I love the concept of StyleSeat. A few years ago I really needed this service - see my story on the Carmine's Crown Barber Shop. I have written on lessons learned from Barber Shops and small business thoughts while having a pedicure.

Men I think inherently were not paying attention to grooming and I think this has certainly changed and we have pleasantly Stated paying more attention to grooming and looks. Of course StyleSeat is not just for men. You can find beauty and wellness professionals from hair stylists to massage therapists to personal trainers.

I heard about StyleSeat from Gina Delvac, Executive Producer, This Week in Startups and here is an interview of Melody McCloskey Founder of StyleSeat by Jason Calcanis.

[VIDEO] Mother's Day Video Created Entirely #GoogleGlass [Tissue Alert]

There are several reasons to like this video "shot entirely on Glass, was created by alumni and students from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts as part of the Glass Creative Collective." At the time of writing close to a million people have watched this video. Directed by Aneesh Chaganty, it takes the viewer thorugh the journey a lot of us Indian Americans travel when we visit parents back home in India. The Journey and the scenes: As the journey takes you from I presume the US, there is a stopvoer at another country which is usually what is always the case for us to get to Hyderabad. If we went to our ancestral village it would include a train and a autorickshaw. See my post "Send Bullock Cart" In the train it is so common for the co-passengers to share their food with you. MAny families pack more food just expecting they will meet other people to share the meal with with them. I have stood at the train door holding th…

Will Google+ Become Android Social? What I liked about Google Plus

Last week tech news coverage spoke a lot about the departure of Vic Gundotra, Google's
Senior Vice President, Social and speculation was rife about the future of Google+. I chose Sundar Pichai's photo for this blog post because this is one executive to watch at Google. Currently looking after Android, Chrome and Android Wear plus apps. I am confident that there is a lot of consolidation that will happen in the next few months.

Features of Google Plus that I love  Photo Backup : The best way to keep my photos synced between my phone, computer and camera is this feature. Moments after taking the picture on my phone I can download it on Google+  on  my desktop. This is not necessarily social but a good feature. Of late my Android device has made this a separate app called Photos that allows me to share the photo on any app on my phone- Twitter, Facebook or other. In this way Google+ has been excruciatingly painful for sharing with other networks. I advised friends even on iOS dev…

Washington DC News Media : Washington Business Journal - Business Reading Over the Weekend

I eagerly look forward to the Washington Business Journal every Friday. I have been a long time subscriber of the Washington Business Journal and the print version is my way of disconnecting  and  reconnecting. I usually read the print version over the weekend, starting with the Back Page first, top read Jennifer Nycz-Conner column and see if I know anyone featured in the photo section of the BackPage.
I love the fact that the Washington Business Journal has large photos of the reporters and has divided the paper by topic. I follow Bill Flook through out the week as @TechFlashWBJ and also the newsletter that I get every day, and it is always nice to see if I missed anything in Bill Flook's print column.
Since I joined Bozzuto, I am paying a lot of attention to the coverage of Real Estate by Michael Neibauer and Daniel J. Sernovitz who seem to know everything real estate and your life in the Washington DC Metro.
Rebecca Cooper covers my favorite topi…

Get Google Search Trends into Your Inbox

If you were wondering about what people were searching on Google, a service called Google Trends is very useful. It gives you fodder for blog posts, reports and sometimes just curiosity.
Google has added a new feature to Google Trends, you can now subscribe to receive a trend email alert for any topic of your choice. Since I work at Bozzuto, I am signed up for a Google Trend alert for "apartments", this could help me understand search behavior and determine if people are searching for "rental apartments" or " Apartments for rent"

This service is new and to sign up for an alert you have the choice of :

TopicCountryHow often ( Weekly or monthly) You can also determine a timeline of the trend and which terms related to your topic are rising. A useful tool for sure. Of course, just like how Thomas Claburn says in Information Week , we wish Google Trends had an API.

Forget Wearables, I need a clock

It's been a few months since I stopped wearing a watch. The places where I miss a watch the most:1. Conference rooms- it's awkward to take your phone out and see the time. I have tried putting the  phone on the table as a clock but the screen shuts off2. Speaking - it's difficult to time yourself when you are speaking without a watch.3. Social gatherings: Even if you are  having the best time, you still want to pace yourself or time yourself to get home. It's awkward to keep pulling out your phone to see the time.All these can be resolved, if there was wall clock close by that you can see. What do your think? Do you miss wearing a watch?

Watches that tell you the future - Android Wear

In a blog post today Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps of Google announced the Android Wear, a project that extends Android to wearables. If you are a fan of Android, you know one of the best things is "Google Now" - getting your info that is most useful to you when you need it.

I am looking forward to the launch of the Android Wear, even though right now I am weighing replacing the battery on my Timex watch $5 or buying a Android wear which could be $299 onwards. I am going to wait and see

SXSW2014 :5 Observations from half the first day

Start-ups are out in full forceBusiness Cards are backYear of the lounges
Airport Taxi lines are still longRestaurants signs replaced by brands Will expand this post later

Washington Business Journal Minority Business Leaders Award 2014

In its 7th year, the Washington Business Journal recognizes the Washington region's top 25 minority business owners and leaders in the Minority Business Leader Awards. I was honored to be list for 2012 and here is my story.

2014 Minority Business Leader Awards When:Thursday, March 20, 2014, 6:30pm-9:30pm Add to my calendar Register here Here are this years 2014 Minority Business Leaders Honorees Mario Acosta-Velez Verizon Brian E. Argrett  City First Bank of D.C. Andre Banks Forest City Washingto Alex Barron Walmart U.S. Kenneth J. Brewer Sr. H Street Community Development Corp Timothy Chi WeddingWire Inc. Kris Collo MicroPact Inc. Valarie  Dock Bolana Enterprises Inc Al Espinoza Innotion Enterprises Inc.

Who is the Microsoft CEO following on Twitter?

Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella promises to be more social. Soon after he took over as the CEO of Microsoft this week, his Twitter bio was immediately changed and he posted this updatre on Twitter" first commitment as CEO
first commitment as CEO...i won't wait 4 years between tweets!— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) February 5, 2014
According to the Twitter Counter blog Satya Nadella whose Twitter id is @SatyaNadellawent from 1,500 to 80,000 in less than 48 hours!. He has 119k followers at the time of writing this post.
Who is Satya Nadella following? What interests can we ascertain from the people Satya Nadella follows. We used a tool called Wordle ( pasting the profiles of the 29 people he is following and got this word cloud. Business, Technology, CEo, helping learn were the words that were top of mind for us on seeing this word cloud I created on Wordle.
As a business person who do you follow on social media. What do you think your world cloud shows.

America should be proud of Satya Nadella becoming the CEO of Microsoft

Today (Feb 5th 2014) Satya Nadella started as the CEO of Microsoft. 46 years old,  Nadella was born in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. We share the same roots, I was born in the same state and have lived all over the world. 
This is a triumph for America.  Satya Nadella made it by his inspiration and hard work. As long as he delivered no one cared about where he came from. I look at my own journey moving careers and then Soedning.almost 11 years in Network Solutions. I progressed  from Customer Service to Head of Social Media at Network Solutions and am now VP of Digital Marketing at Bozzuto . Every day I meet many entrepreneurs, many of them migrants  and watch them succeed through hard work, innovation and the will to succeed. That is what it takes to succeed in the US, not how you look or where you came from.
Congratulations! Satya Nadella.