FactorDaily reports from the future

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07-Jan-2017

 

“It travels in time,” said the note stuck to the strange-looking machine. It had a yellow seat and a red button. There was no choice of a date, like the ones in movies.

Predictably, it caused a flutter at FactorDaily. “Wonder what’s new at Netflix in the future?” mused Shrabonti. “We could get ahead of the news!” gushed JPK. “We should report from the future!” declared Pankaj Mishra, the boss. Then he looked at me.

I was transported to 2020. The good news is that Starbucks sells a very decent south Indian filter coffee in the future. Everything else was a bit dodgy, to say the least  

So, that’s what I did. I will not bore you with the mundanity of time travel. All you need to know is that I was transported to 2020. The good news is that Starbucks sells a very decent south Indian filter coffee in the future. Everything else was a bit dodgy, to say the least.

2020: Glimpses of life in the Year of the Rat

FinMin launches surgical strike on savings

Finance minister Vijay Shekhar Sharma today announced a 5% holding charge on all savings above Rs 100,000. This applies to savings being held digitally in wallets, bank accounts or even as bitcoins. This new surgical strike is expected to drive spending and consumption in the economy and is part of government’s decade-long masterplan to make India the leading economy in the world.

“Countries should be like startups. They need to be disrupted regularly” — FinMin  

For the past few years, the government has kept citizens on their feet with constant new rules and surgical strikes on various aspects. “Countries should be like startups. They need to be disrupted regularly,” said Vijay Shekar Sharma, who was the founder and CEO of PayTM in his prior avatar.

Uber’s self-driving cars have a ‘Bangalore’ problem: Jump signals, honk repeatedly and brake-test drivers

Just months after fixing the issue of being stuck at intersections for a really long time, Uber’s self-driving cars seem to have hit a bigger snag: dangerous driving. Multiple reports have emerged of the ‘increasingly aggressive’ cars that are jumping signals, cutting across other vehicles and honking incessantly. Even as the Karnataka government is considering asking the company to suspend operations, Uber claims that it is being singled out.

“Our self-driving cars now give passengers an authentic Bangalore riding experience” — Uber  

“We are being penalised for having built an extremely sophisticated learning system. Our self-driving cars now give passengers an authentic Bangalore riding experience,” said Amit Jain, Uber’s India head.

The company, which is looking to push its self-driving cars aggressively in India, has faced a series of snags in its testbed — Bangalore. Earlier this year, we reported on the issue of traffic cops stopping self-driving Ubers on the grounds that they were “driverless”. Then, there was the issue of active sabotage by Uber drivers’ union.

Post Seqouia exit, Rahul Yadav to start fund to invest in hyper early-stage founders — Babies

Ex-investment advisor at Sequoia Rahul Yadav’s new fund has been in the news recently with at least four of his ex-colleagues set to join him. New information indicates that the fund will likely have a radical investment theme.

Rahul Yadav’s recent tweets have hinted that his fund will focus on ‘hyper early-stage’ founders even without a business plan. “I mean babies,” he clarified in a follow-up tweet. He then went on to claim that he was working on advanced AI and genetic profiling to identify great potential company founders as soon as they are able to walk.

Rahul Yadav’s love-hate relationship with Sequoia seems to have hit a low again as he signed off his tweet storm with: “Eat that @sequoia”.

Facebook launches Fakebook

In its largest initiative so far to serve the growing need and popularity of fake news and information, Facebook yesterday launched Fakebook — a version of the site focussed only on fake news sites and content creators. While launching the new site, Mark Zuckerberg said, “Facebook was a pioneer in providing a platform for fake information. Even when people were calling it a bug, I contented that it was a feature. Today, I’ve been proven right.”

“Facebook was a pioneer in providing a platform for fake information. Even when people were calling it a bug, I contented that it was a feature. Today, I’ve been proven right” — Zuckerberg  

Fakebook will offer countrywise streams of fake information and will allow users to subscribe based on their ideology. In India, all political parties run legitimate fake news sites that provide fascinating coverage for their supporters. The powerful political impact was experienced in the 2019 election when after his victory Modi announced that all his poll promises were generated by the fake news arm.

Sachin Bansal: Protect companies run by ‘genetically’ Indian founders and CEOs

Following a spate of foreign-born founders getting Indian citizenships to take advantage of the Indian government’s scheme to give tax holidays and other incentives, Flipkart co-founder, Sachin Bansal has demanded that the founders must be genetically tested for ‘Indianess’ in order to be eligible for these sops.

Sachin’s comments come on the heels of Jeff Bezos and Travis Kalanick recently acquiring Indian citizenships in order to avail Indian government incentives. Flipkart, which was bought by Alibaba and merged with PayTM a few years back, is locked in an intense battle with Amazon in India.

Snapdeal pivots to focus on fake products

Snapdeal proved once again that there is no better company when it comes to pivoting away from an impending funding cliff-edge when it announced that it would now solely focus on fake products.

“The taboo around fake products is fast disappearing. People want value for money. Who is to say what’s real anyway?” — Snapdeal  

Talking on the sidelines of YetAnother technology conference, Kunal Bahl said that the growing popularity of fake products on the site is phenomenal. “The taboo around fake products is fast disappearing. People want value for money. Who is to say what’s real anyway?” he remarked in an oddly philosophical note. This shift also provides Snapdeal great synergies with its investing company, Alibaba, to make available their vast selection of fakes to Indian consumers.

Unicon Baba appointed as startup advisor to PM

Unicon Baba, one of India’s most influential voices in the startup ecosystem, has been appointed as an advisor to the PMO on how to build India’s startup space. Following the announcement, Unicon Baba tweeted, “Time for the startup system to wake up. No more crony investors or copy-cat businesses. Baba is here.”

“Time for the startup system to wake up. No more crony investors or copy-cat businesses. Baba is here” — Unicon Baba  

It however remains to be seen how the government plans to engage with Unicon Baba given his anonymity. Critics are panning the government for placing its trust in the Baba without even knowing who the person is. Sharad Sharma of iSpirit asked, “Who is this guy? What are his credentials? The startup ecosystem needs mature thought leaders, not twitter celebrities.”

Unicon Baba’s celebrity status has been growing the last few years. Following his feature in ‘40 Who Matter’ in Livemint, he has gone on to publish several books under the ‘Twitter Troll to Thought Leader’ series. His latest book Pivoting From Scoops is a bestseller that has gone on to beat Chetan Bhagat’s latest — 3.14 Mangoes.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction and does not represent facts or fact-based opinions in any way. This may be obvious, but we live in a time when real news sounds like satire and fake news drive elections. One can never be too obvious with the disclaimers.

Lead visual: Nikhil Raj


Disclosure: FactorDaily is owned by SourceCode Media, which counts Accel Partners, Blume Ventures and Vijay Shekhar Sharma among its investors. Accel Partners is an early investor in Flipkart. Vijay Shekhar Sharma is the founder of Paytm. None of FactorDaily’s investors have any influence on its reporting about India’s technology and startup ecosystem.


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