Wednesday, May 28, 2014

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 production
  • Premier Motors Padmini manfactured under license from Fiat
  • Standard Herald based on the British Standard-Triumph
India'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?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

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 ample windows. On the ground floor you have an office and living space and the next floor has a kitchen. Having 9 ft ceilings all through the house is definitely a nice feature.

Adjoining the kitchen is a deck that I think comes with all the homes.

The top floor has the bedrooms

It was a nice thing to see that the home had fully built lofts and a rooftop terrace. I wish I had these in  the home I live in currently.

Bruce Fogel who manages the Shipley's Grant Sales office tells me that this season they have a special for people looking for a new home in Ellicott City/Columbia during Memorial Day where Shipley’s Grant is offering their 4th Level Lofts & Rooftop Terrace Free for a Limited Time*  Call Bruce for more details at 410-461-8066.

Here is a panoramic view from the rooftop terrace

I know a lot of friends who work in the Columbia/Ellicott City/Howard County region and I am sure for people looking to buy a home in the Maryland region of Columbia/Ellicott City/Howard County, they will find the new homs for sale at Shipley's Grant a grerat bargain. I loved this visit. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

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.

Monday, May 12, 2014

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

  1. Shoes from Puma
  2. A 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 California, San Francisco and Seattle. Amazon also has a stake in Living Social.
  • Google Shopping Express dangles the same day delivery to make us buy online, currently available in San Francisco only.
Now as the Groupon Goods business expands and recently Groupon introduced Groupon Basics. According to Motley Fool   "a service that will offer discounts on bulk purchases of 110 home goods in select categories, including personal-care items, consumer products, and vitamins"

We all love Costco, you get a bargain but you have to usually buy in bulk. What if you get the basics delivered to you for free without you going to the store? The Dollar Shaving Club does it. Sends you what you need for a few dollars a month.

A combination of Groupon and Costco would not make me stop going to Costco. I love going on the weekends to taste the foods that they display but when it becomes a chore to drive there on a weekday after work to buy something , I would prefer the alternative.

Groupon has a great base of customers who signed up for their service, Costco has the network and deals and the goods. Costco has a online shopping ability but not as cool and friendly as Groupon. When you get the E-mail every day that offered  you shirts, sauces and snacks, I bet we would be buying and ordering more. Do you think this is a good idea? A win win for both companies?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

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.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

[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 the rails and enjoying the breeze just like in the video. It's a movie so they show almost all forms of transportation - cab, subway, flights, autorickshaws, trains, boats and cycle richshaws I strongly susupect most of us going back to India for vacations or visiting parents use maybe half of these modes of transposrtation The scenes and the emotions touched my heart as they will yours.

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