Can India really become a cashless society?

BBC:

What is fuelling this optimism (shown by Paytm and other companies) is that India is the second largest market for smartphones behind China. This has coincided with a rapid rise in internet users. The country presently has more than 450 million internet users, a number expected to touch 700 million by 2020.

[…]

But despite this sharp uptick in mobile and online payments, this overall user base is still very small for a country with a population of 1.25 billion people. And India still has a long way to go to before it can become a major cashless economy.

[…]

The country has more than 24 million credit cards and 650 million debit cards. The number of debit cards has been growing steadily but most people only use them to withdraw money from ATMs instead of using them to make payments.

Fun fact:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Bitcoin was supposed to change the world. What happened?

Vox:

Bitcoin was supposed to render financial institutions obsolete

Too ambitious. Agreed.

There’s been little to show for $1 billion in venture capital investment

Though not readily apparent, learning is an important result.

Bitcoin never resolved its constitutional crisis

That’s why everyone is exited about blockchain and not just the Bitcoin community itself.

“The Bitcoin community has become more boring,” Sirer said. “That’s a good thing. We used to see a lot of scams. There are not so many scams anymore.”

True.

He pointed to a couple of areas where Bitcoin experiments might still bear fruit. One is in remittances.

Totally! To see this in the Indian context check out my paper.

Now Is Not The Time To Criticise The Galaxy Note 7

Mcsweeneys:

Now, I’m not going to stand here and pretend like this phone (Note 7) doesn’t have problems. After all, the proof that it gets overheated and explodes for practically no reason at all has been evident for months, but now, we need to focus on its positive aspects and wipe the slate clean. It is our company phone now, and there’s no use complaining about it anymore.

I wish I could’ve quoted the full article. Go, click on the link, enjoy.

Uber Adds Indian Wedding Service as New Rules on Cash Kick In

Bloomberg:

Customers can pre-pay for rides that can be shared with family and friends for wedding-related travel, such as hopping between markets, shopping for the perfect outfit and getting guests to the venue […]

While uberWeddings (under uberEvents) has been available in other countries since April 2015, it has been recently introduced in India.

Sure, demonetisation has been messy, but maybe it could nudge the urban segment towards the (better) cashless economy. Like this feature, such an economy is inherently more organised and easier to account for. Now, that is worth celebrating, isn’t it?

Innoveracy: Misunderstanding Innovation

A gem of a post I’ve come across:

  • Novelty: Something new
  • Creation: Something new and valuable
  • Invention: Something new, having potential value through utility
  • Innovation: Something new and uniquely useful

[…]

To be innovative is very difficult, but because of the difficulty, being innovative is usually well rewarded. Indeed, it might be easier to identify innovations simply by their rewards. It’s almost a certainty that any great business is predicated on an innovation and that the lack of a reward in business means that some aspect of the conditions of innovation were not met.

The causal, if-and-only-if connection with reward is what should be the innovation litmus test. If something fails to change the world (and hence is unrewarded) you can be pretty sure it was not innovative enough.

A lot of us confuse innovation with novelty.

As Apple’s MacBook Lineup Grows, Cheaper Options Die Off – WSJ

A lot of people are surprised by the cost of the new MBP’s and understandably so, but, here is one way to think about it –

[…] Previously, the average base price of a Mac laptop was $1,266. Now it is $1,613.

Does Apple just not care about the less wealthy? Perhaps. But another way to read the shift is Apple wants to push entry-level laptop users to the iPad Pro, which starts at $600. (With a keyboard case, it’s still just $750.) The iPad Pro has actually become my choice for taking on the road because it weighs less than a traditional laptop, and is sufficient for basic web browsing, social media and word processing.