“The Upstarts” is a book by Brad Stone on the start-ups Airbnb and Uber, chronicling their foundation, growth, and travails till October 2016. Both start-ups have disrupted deeply-regulated industries around the world (hotels and taxis, respectively), grown spectacularly since their foundation, seen unprecedented investment and heady valuations, inspired several copycat companies that have not managed to overthrow them yet, and have faced heated opposition from both local governments and the entrenched incumbents wherever they launched. They are thus very similar to each other, even having been founded around the same time, and it therefore makes sense to study them together as is done in this book by a seasoned journalist.
This is the personal web-site of Ranjit Mathew.
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[2018-11-10] “The Upstarts”
[2018-07-24] ICFPC 2018
I took part in ICFPC 2018 this year to continue what has now become a tradition for me, though one that is not observed as regularly as I would like to. The task this year was similar to 3D Printing a set of objects based on models representing the respective objects, while minimizing the overall cost. A solution for the problem of printing such an object would emit instructions for one or more “nanobots” to create the object by creating matter in a three-dimensional matrix of voxels. It was fun to watch these nanobots assemble such objects in my model-viewer, though it would definitely have been more fun to actually come up with a decent solution as well for this problem in the given time.
[2018-01-15] “Tamil Pulp Fiction: Volume 1”
“The Blaft Anthology Of Tamil Pulp Fiction” is the first in what turned out to be a series of anthologies published by Blaft, comprising short stories and excerpts from short novels, originally in Tamil, and considered to be “pulp fiction” by the literati. The first volume has been selected and translated by Pritham K. Chakravarthy (and edited by Rakesh Khanna). Its intent is best summarized by the first sentence of the translator’s note, which claims that it is “an attempt to claim the status of ‘literature’ for a huge body of writing that has rarely if ever made it into an academic library, despite having been produced for nearly a century”.