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Keynote at the ITStrategy Hamburg Summit

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Had a fascinating experience at the IT Strategy Days Summit that was held on the 12-14 February at the Grand Elysse in Hamburg. Some of the most influential IT and business CEOs, CIOs, and other experts and policy makers from Germany came together to tackle key formidable challenges in their business. You had CEOs/CIOs from Lufthansa, SAP, BMW, Adobe, Siemens and more out there discussing these issues. The buzz terms for the summit was "agility, resilience and innovation" framed as drivers of digital business. 
This year there was much targeted interest in Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and the digital and global logistics of operations that could help design the most optimal platforms through which innovations can quickly reach the entire organization and ultimately customers. There were 3 main strands of focus: 1) Digital Frameworks - Which architectures make IT resilient and agile 2) Innovation on fire - How companies successfully reinvent themselves 3) Art…

Kick off for 2020 with the India book tour

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What a way to begin 2020 - full of spice and color and drama! Basically it felt like a year of celebration was starting. I embarked on my book tour in Pune for the India Science Fest which drew a crowd of about 15,000 people! And what a demographic - from kids with their parents to engineering and philosophy students to elderly folks curious about these topics, they managed to truly create a spirit of democratizing science for the public. This was the brainchild and product of Varun Aggarwal of Aspiring Minds . I spoke about designing for the next billion and also was on a panel on the future of science with AI. I headed to Bangalore right after to speak at the IIIT-Bangalore Centre for Information Technology and Public Policy lecture series  and gave a Keynote at the IIM-B for the Software Product Management Summit on re-centering the human in design. Was a fascinating conversation as we delved into how product management as a field is changing dramatically and in recent years is put…

The co—matter podcast out on sex, trust, and the next billion

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At the Techfestival in Copenhagen, I got to chat with Severin Matusek of the Co-Matter Podcast on why Pornhub continues to be a powerful hook for people in the global south to adopt the internet and get hooked on it, when does culture actually matter in the scaling of tech and more. 

Keynote for the Privacy and Identity Conference

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I was invited to give a keynote for the members of the Privacy and Identity Lab, an interesting group of privacy scholars at the Kings Ballroom in the Hague. 
What was particularly fascinating about this group was their cross disciplinary backgrounds as they delved into a spectrum of issues from accountability issues in smart city planning to healthcare data security and regulation to the legal challenges of applying the General Data Protection Laws and the spectrum of interpretations these laws seem to evoke, which brings to question the extent of the efficacy of these laws to reign in poor and unethical market behaviors in the tech arena.
I spoke about the implications of these laws universalizing and its globalizing potential and challenges.  The fact is that as technology companies expand their reach worldwide, the notion of privacy continues to be viewed through a market-based and ethnocentric lens, disproportionately drawing from empirical evidence of perceptions and behaviors of …

Keynote at the DesignUp conference on 'Irrational Design'

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DesignUp, a Design-in-Tech conference in Bangalore, brought together an amazing and forward thinking group of designers, UX researchers, data scientists, policy makers, business leaders and entrepreneurs together over the course of 4 days on Nov 12-16. This year, the theme was about plurality in design. DesignUp is the largest Design & Tech event in Asia (excluding China), labelled by YourStory as the Definitive Design-in-Tech conference and listed by Quartz.com among the World's 20 most Exciting Design Events. 
I gave the keynote on the ‘Next Billion Users and Irrational Design’ that offered a new template to understanding the user behaviors and preferences of the next billion. 
After all, the failures of tech –the graveyard of apps - FB Zero, Secret and such, rests on the premise of negating the role of the cultures from below. Those at the margins of our imagination who have now become the norm – the next billion -  are pushing ahead with novel demands on interfacing, desig…

Keynote and panel discussion at Deutsche Welle in Bonn

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Brilliant experience in the last two days at Deutsche Welle (DW) at the FOME Symposium organized in Bonn on Rethinking media development - New actors, new technologies and new strategies. I gave my keynote on how the rise of the Next Billion users , low-income users in the global south coming online for the first time, is transforming the media sphere and how we need to center them in our imagination as we proceed to tackle the challenges on how to build a sustainable information ecosystem. Couple of take aways here for the field of journalism and media development when going global with these strategies:
1.  Let us not discount SMS and WhatsApp as the prime and often the sole media distribution outlet. WhatsApp and Facebook is the internet to the NBU market. We need to keep that in mind while we write content for the NBU market and how they will experience it on these devices
2. The internet is the poor person's leisure economy - thereby, for getting them interested in the media …

Re-imagining Spotify for the Next Billion Users

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It was fantastic to give a talk at Spotify in Stockholm on my book 'The Next Billion Users' 
Am a fan of this company as they really personally transformed my ways of listening and experiencing music.

It was so gratifying to be able to speak with their team on how to re-conceptualize their platform for a new market to best service them - their listening tastes, behaviors, sharing patterns, curated genres, and more.

The fact is that their business model as it stands needs some significant rethinking as they move into these new terrains and markets. Am glad to be part of this journey.