I'm a Social Media Entrepreneur, Professor of Digital Marketing, Author of 5 books, Podcaster and an Organic Farmer.


Kiruba Shankar

The 7C Fine Dine Experience

I wrote a critical post yesterday about my sub-par experience at a Kashmiri restaurant. Emaad Muzaffar, the Director of Centre for Youth Progress and the Chief organizer of the Digital Conference where I spoke at, wanted to make sure I had a better impression of Kashmir.

He took me to 7C’s Cafe Fine Dine restaurant which is considered to be one of the best restaurants in Srinagar. 

We got to meet the owner who was kind enough to reserve a table with a good view. 

Having traveled the World (it helps to run one of India’s largest Pilgrimage travel agencies), he wanted to bring sophisticated dining experience to Srinagar.

We took advantage of the Biriyani and Kebab festival going on and ordered a Lahori lamb biriyani and chicken kebab. Succulent and juicy meat. Delicious taste.

Time and Time again I’ve experienced that the personal interaction with the owner always results in a better over all experience. It applies to all service industry, especially hospitality. 

At the end of the dining experience, I was asked for feedback on how the customer experience can be improved. Here’s two I have for them. This applies to any restaurant, btw. 

Don’t give a printed feedback form. This is old-school. Why waste a precious review? It’s better to have it on Zomato or Facebook rather than have it stuck in a paper.  In an Increasingly connected World, reviews can make a big difference to attract new customers. This realization comes from my experience of consulting for hospitality biggies such as Club Mahindra and Sterling Holidays. 

Second, please give free WiFi. Especially when you are collecting the customer’s contact details. The 10 minute limit is measly. It got worse when it said I had to wait 652 minutes to use Wifi again. At a time when Internet connectivity is getting cheap, don’t skimp on it. 

Overall, it was a wonderful experience. The staff were very friendly and efficient. The best part of the restaurant was the food and got a chance  to pass my appreciation  to the head chef. 

Come here for the ambience and food. And when you are here, you must try out their Lahori biriyani. 

My Review of the Reliance CDMA Android Tablet.

I picked up a Reliance CDMA Tablet on the day of its launch recently.  I wanted to write a review then but wanted to make sure that I put in at least a week’s time using the tab before I talk about it.

I want to set the expectation right. I’m an Apple fanboy. I own two iPads (the first generation and iPad2). The reason why I picked up another Tab is because I wanted one that runs on Android to test out the apps.

In this review, I’m reviewing the Reliance Tab on its own merit and will not be comparing it with the iPad.  The Reliance Tab is available at Rs.12,999 while the closest equivalent of iPad would cost around Rs.30K.  The target segment is clearly distinct and is unfair to compare.

OK, with that out of the way, let’s dive in.

The Reliance Tab is the first CDMA tablet in the country. Coincidentally, I was among the first buyers of the CDMA phone that Reliance launched over a decade ago.

So why CDMA when Reliance already has 3G Tablets in the market? That’s because in some circles like Tamilnadu, Reliance does not have 3G licenses.

The Reliance Tablet is a 7 inch one and has a capacitive multi-touch screen with a 480X800 screen resolution.  The 512 MB is sufficient for browsing but would have gladly appreciated more power.  The MicroSD slot can hold an impressive 32GB and with the prices of MicroSDs falling drastically, makes sense to ramp it up.  Reliance throws in a 4MB 4GB card for free. (Thanks Saurabh for pointing out the mistake)

The Reliance Tab can be used as a full feature mobile phone and comes with its own wired ear phone. The voice clarity and sound is very impressive. For someone who wants to use both the phone and the Tab regularly, it would make sense to just carry the Tab but please for heaven’s sake, use the ear phone provided.  I always find people who place a tab to their ears look like a dork!

The Tab is 397 grams light and is quite handy. Its all black look with a nice silver lining on the side makes it look professional.

Reliance has integrated it own services.  It comes bundled with Internet Data plans and you get to save up-to 40% on yearly plans. The company has thrown in 2 months free subscription to BigFlix for movie viewing. It has tied up with McAfee to give one year free Mobility Antivirus.

Here’s my closing thought.  If your usage is just browsing, emails and games (which I find most Tab users predominantly use) and you are looking for a tab within budget, then I’d give the Reliance Tab a thumbs up.

Video Review of the Sandisk 8GB Card

Sometimes you don’t realize some of the good tools you have with you and you always aspire to get stuff that you almost never usually get. Take for example video blogging. I’ve been planning to get one of those Flip video recorders ever since I read good reviews about them and been scouting around for it in Chennai with no luck. And all this time, I’ve been sitting around with my N82 which has pretty decent video feature.

So, instead of waiting for the perfect solution, decided to play around with what I’ve got. And the right opportunity came by. I received the SanDisk 8GB SDHC card and decided to do a video review of it. If I had a little bit more presence of mind (and more patience), I could have done an unboxing video which would’ve been kinda cool.
Anyways, I took the product out for a walk around my apartment and here’s what I felt about the card.

For smooth viewing, hit play and then hit pause. Give the video a minute and then play again.

For you bums too lazy to see the video :), here’s my impression of the product.

1) Wow! This tiny thing can hold 8GB?? I still remember the computer exhibition that I went to where I bought a 4GB hard drive. We’ve come a long way.

2) Love the fact that there’s a tiny card reader that comes with the card. Plug it in and it turns into a thumb drive. The thing that I didn’t like is that the card doesn’t fit into the reader smoothly. You’ll have to kinda shove it in and parts of it juts out. Many who don’t take the effort to read the manual, would force it in deeper damaging the card.

3) Apparently, the card is quite strong I’m told, though I didn’t get around to testing it. It would survive a 10 foot fall. I’ll just take their word for it, thank you.

3) In addition to photos and videos, you can store word files, pdf and just about any file.

4) 2000 songs, 20,000 photos, Hours of video. There sure is a lot of space. Again, it just blows me how they could have so much space in such a tiny thing!

5) The card can be used in mobile phones from Motorola, Sony Ericcson, Nokia. Just make sure they are SDHC compatible. You could even use it in video games, GPS devices and DSLR cameras. Didn’t know that bit.

6) The transfer rate from the card reader to PC is 4MB per second. That’s one song a second. Not bad.

7) Add to the fact that there’s no additional software required to install, and this one get a thumbs up from me.

8) Now, the only grouse is that it’s so bloody tiny and for a guy like me who has the ability to lose a laptop, I don’t see this thing last with me too long! 🙂

Now for my experience and lessons from doing the video.

1) I put on a very strange accent, especially at the beginning of the video. That’s not how I usually talk. And I hate it.

2) I wrote down the key points I wanted to talk, on a Post-it note and stuck it to the side of the phone. That greatly helped me in the flow.

3) I shot this video at noon when the sunlight was directly over me. That created dark shadow and hence had to find a shadowy place. Even then, the buildings around were very bright from the sunshine and that caused the object in front (my mug) to darken. Early mornings or evenings would be a better time.

4) I had to hold the camera horizontally to get the video and that’s not a comfortable position to hold the camera. We are so used to handling the phone in a vertical position. Besides, holding the camera in an outreached position for a whole 4 minutes can get a bit painful. I overdid on my pushups exercise and that made it even worse!

5) The surroundings were fairly noisy, yet, quite happy with the sound clarity.

6) Realized that I should never move between a bright sun-lit area and the shadow area. The camera takes a little time to adjust and by that time, all you see is a black silhouette.

7) Realized that video is a powerful tool that helps you communicate certain things that you would never be able to do so in words. Like how the card fits into the tiny card reader to become a thumbdrive.

8) I hate the fact that the video sounded pitchy. Must remember to get more critical! 🙂

9) I should remember to hold the phone a bit higher. The view up my nose usually isn’t quite flattering.

9) And yeah, I should stop that f***ing accent and just be myself.