Is ownership dying, or already dead?

Traveling constantly has given me a better insight into what’s coming and I am not really the first to notice or say this.

Ownership is passe.

Growing up in the 80s and the 90s I was taught ownership was good and the mark of success.

Own a home, own a car, own an office, own… own… own… That’s how life goals were set, but I see the idea is already archaic.

Ownership meant sense when accessibility could only be guaranteed by it, and that’s how it was in those years. You needed ownership to make use of any asset with any sort of reliability.

Now, not.

You don’t need a car because a car of exactly the sort you want can be rented online and delivered to your home for your use during your trip to anywhere you want.

Or, you can simply load up a ride app and get a chauffeur driven car wherever you are.

Ratings and specifications will guarantee you get exactly what you want, with very little chances of cheating and shortchanging.

You don’t need a house because you can rent very easily, and in most countries, cheaper than what you’d spend in building an house and maintaining it through the years.

It’s the same for everything other fancy possession. It’s cheaper to get it as a service whenever you want it, and leave the maintenance, storage etc. to the service providers.

People of my generation are just waking up to the idea, but the kids are growing up on it. The change can only accelerate.

There’s a big challenge to ownership on the horizon, and in extension to consumption too. If people don’t own stuff, efficiency increases. A rented cab will be put to work each day, all the day, making the best use of the resource. An owned car, not so much.

We are building a really interesting future. I think many behemoths of today who rely on ownership to drive volumes are going to feel the pinch real soon.

What do you think?

Nothing is granted, and everything is a gift.. @ Saigon

I am in Saigon now. It exceeded my expectations honestly. I’ve been getting mixed reviews about Vietnam. Some people told me it’s good, but not as good as Thailand, while others said it’s just not a great place.

I knew what to do at the airport thanks to all the helpful reviews everywhere, and I got out of the airport, into the taxi and to my hotel real smooth, maybe with a loss of few hundred thousand dongs at best ­čÖé (I am still getting used to counting the money).

But Saigon is wonderful. There is a lot of traffic on the roads, but the roads are wide and things move.

A random Saigon road.

I am in District 1, and it’s got a very beautiful vibe. Lots of good eateries and coffee shops around.

I spent a big part of the day putting up my updated design for at a small coffee shop called Flat White where I met this gentleman.

We shared the Cheesecakes I was eating and became friends.

In the evening a friend invited me to try out Blanc Restaurant. I didn’t get many details then, but I googled and it had great reviews so I went there. It turned out to be an experience.

Did this picture give you an idea of what to expect?

Most of the staff at the Blanc restaurant is impaired in some manner. They have a waiting and orientation area where you’re welcomed with a nice drink with a metal straw in it, and most of the servers there can’t speak or hear.

Blac welcome area.

They made me try a game. All I had to do was fit wooden pieces on a blockboard, while being blindfolded. I did very badly the first time around, but the second time I got a little hang of it and did better.

 This set the stage for the main event.

The dinner would be in a room which was 100% dark. No one can see anything and the server would be a blind person. A bit extreme?

My server was Mr. Tan. A great natured gentleman who led me into the totally dark room with my hands on his shoulders. I was in his world, and at his mercy.

Luckily, he was a great guy and he made me absolutely comfortable with the fact that I was going to about to eat a complete meal without getting to see any of it.

The dinner was a regular 3-course meal with

  • 2 Soups + 2 Salads.
  • 4 dishes for the main course.
  • 3 kinds of desserts
  • A great smoothie.

They did have a vegetarian option which I selected. The food was absolutely delicious, maybe more so because we couldn’t see it so my sense of smell and taste were heightened.

Observation : People instinctively know where their mouth is, and you can feed yourself perfectly well in the dark.

I walked out with a very unique and refreshing experience and a slightly more personal understanding of what it could mean to live without eyesight.

The evening wasn’t over yet though and I headed over to the Acoustic Bar which had great reviews for live music on Google.

What a place!

This is how people listen to performances at the Acoustic Bar.

Live music for me has usually meant enjoying a good drink while a band sang somewhere in the background, but this place was different.

It’s not a bar, it’s an event! And the ticket of entry is your drink. The audience was gathered closely around the stage where singer after singer came in to deliver electrifying performances. I am talking about America’s Got Talent good!

Definitely the best live music performances that I’ve seen.

Saigon isn’t a damp squib. It’s not boring, it’s not unsafe. It’s vibey, young and electrifying.

I was on the streets for hours and I didn’t notice a single thing which could make a person feel unsafe. It was just normal people having a great time.

Now I am sorry I didn’t come to Saigon earlier, but I am here now :).

If not the best… Then the best fit

If you’re a traveler then compromise might become a second habit.

You’re going to pay the price of witnessing the world’s awesomeness by making do with what you get, not what you want.

You’ll need to fill in the best fit replacement for the things you took for granted.

Did you know for instance, that you cannot buy razor blades for the Gilette Fusion razor in Phuket? Yep. They are not sold in Thailand, and if your razor goes blunt, you’ll have to use a one that you’re not accustomed to, and will have to be very careful or end up scraping your skin.

A good, properly equipped gym.

Paradise beach, Phuket.

If you’re a┬á wanderer, a traveler through, these might be hard to come by, and you’ll have to use the best fit.

Traveling teaches compromise and tenacity. Compromise, for you’ll not always get what you want, and tenacity because to stay true to who you are, you’ll find your own ways and still get things done.

If you can’t lift, then swim. Walk everywhere. You still need that exercise.

You’re a vegetarian? Learn to eat the only vegetarian option in the restaurant every day and like it.

If you weren’t ready to pay that price you wouldn’t have set foot out of your city, would you?

I am in Phuket again. This time it was a longer stay, and I lived more like backpacker and a native. Walking everywhere, behaving less like a tourist and more like someone who has been around for a while.

It’s a great town, but a 100% tourist destination. Great for traveling but not so great if you are gonna stay a while.

Happily, I won’t be staying long. Gonna head to Saigon for a week, or more if I like it. My first trip to Vietnam. If I feel good there, will go back again later.


Is beautiful better than easier? UI Battles

This is what my view looks like this week (This is Patong beach in Phuket).

Beautiful, right? Extremely uncomplicated too. That’s what a beach is – a long stretch of sand and water, and yet it’s so compelling to experience.

Earlier this week Google said that their search engine rankings will not be about mobile compatibility anymore. In fact, things have now turned on their head. Everything has to be made ‘mobile first’. Yep, the best experience of the site has to be on mobile and it should be acceptable┬áon other platforms too.

I’ve known for a while now that most of my visitors are on the mobile. More than 80% right now on my most popular website, yet the word in my head all this while has been ‘responsive’. A user experience that is primarily designed for the PC but looks fine on mobile phones.

For some reason ‘mobile first’ stuck in my head (as it should have stuck quite a while ago) and in between admiring this wonderful view I ran a quick audit of how usable my website is on mobile phones vs my competition.

Now, this site just looks beautiful on the computer. Beautifully designed interface, nice graphics and a beautiful color scheme. Got everything, but as soon as I degraded it to the mobile phones it showed me a row of big buttons laid one below the other.


Technically I could use every single feature but it wasn’t beautiful at all to look at anymore and it wasn’t as it convenient as it used to be on the PC.

I am glad I checked the competition too. They looked absolutely ugly on the PC and not so usable, but on the mobile phone they were still looking ugly but the viewer had to do a lot less scrolling on their site than mine.

Rude shock!

Suddenly, it was clear that what I saw in front of my eyes was a mistake and that was costing me repeat visitors. People would come to this site, not even know they were irritated with the interface and simply decide to select something else the next time.

So I have my new specs up and will be working with a good UI expert very soon to redo the interface of my very expensive site design.

Good lesson, and it’s not expensive because of what I’ve already spent on the design or what I am going to spend now, but because of the growth opportunity that was lost just like that.

One thing is clear — any growth that has to happen is always in the future, so even while you try to cope with the demands of today, you have to prepare for the future.

Mobile first

Is your content site mobile first? Audit it today and share your discovery. I found something I need to change fast, tell me, were you better off?