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Hello there!

Hello. I am a marketerwriterdata nerdvegetarian by fate

I’m delighted that you’ve found your way to this website and want to find out a little bit more about me!

I’m a London-based B2B SaaS marketer, and currently the marketing guy at Unmetric. I lived in India for ten years and fell in love with the country and it’s people. I loved living there so much I wrote a book about it.

The internet has always been my main interest (except for a few years when I thought I was going to be a fighter pilot having received a flying scholarship from the RAF). I built my first website (and earned my first online dollar) in the late nineties and never looked back.

Today, I apply the logic and problem solving skills I learned while completing my aerospace engineering to handle the marketing for Unmetric. I have a fascination for numbers, analytics and am happiest when there are big spreadsheets of data to get my teeth into to draw out insights.

Goodbye, I’m Going Home…

Good bye India, I’m leaving you for a smaller, richer country 🙂 It’s certainly been fun while it lasted, and we’ve had some good times and we’ve had some bad times.

Remember the time I ate the dodgy food at the street seller and couldn’t leave the bathroom for three days? Stomach cramps, hot and cold sweats, unable to move. Yeah.

And let’s not deny, there’s been some bad times too…

So hello England, roll out the red carpet, break out the fine china and chill some bubbly, Peter is homeward bound!

Looking forward to all the Western vices, beer, football, more beer, pizza, burgers, more beer.

Gonna miss the healthy food of India, having food cooked, clothes washed and ironed, and maybe a few people too 🙂

Just kidding! I’m going to miss everyone I’ve met in India. It’s a really great country, the people are really friendly and welcoming and you can feel it’s (the country) about to explode and if there is ever a moment to be in the right place at the right time, then the time is now and the place is definitely India!

Damn, I hope the airline knows I changed my departure date…

Christmas Shopping!

So here I am in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim country and Christmas is coming (and the geese are apparently getting fat), so I thought it would be pretty cool to go around the local market and do my Christmas shopping.

I think the traders got forwarning that a naive white Englishman was coming to spend rupees and hiked their prices 200% 🙂

9000 Rupees (about £100 – yeah, I know, last of the big spenders!) and some extremely happy traders later and I was about done with the Christmas shopping.

In the car on the way home, the radio station was playing Christmas songs like Drummer Boy, Stop the Cavalry and All I Want For Christmas (Is You).

Feeling kinda Christmasy now…which is unusual!

Bored of the Rings? Not me!

Just read an article where the author fiendishly attacks the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Star Wars and various Steven Spielburg films.

You can read the article here

While the article is quite humourous, the part I like the most is this bit…

“What Jackson is essentially pandering to…is his audience’s adolescent reluctance to engage with the real world. A grand quest to save Middle-earth from the forces of evil is an ideal escape from the more prosaic realities of finding a job and paying the rent, while forming a cosy boy’s club with your hairy-toed mates can’t help but appeal compared to the thorny practicalities of flesh-and-blood relationships”

Man! I love LOTR and other escapist stuff like Star Wars, Back to the Future and the cool Discworld novels. There’s nothing like escaping the real world for a few hours and become immersed in a battle between good and evil.

I’m not sure how I’m going to pay the rent this month though…oh, and I don’t have a ‘proper’ job. Looks like the author hit the nail on the head 😀

Speaking & Learning Tamil

I know it’s everyone’s life mission to learn to speak Tamil, a language spoken in the south eastern part of India, Sri Lanka and parts of Singapore and Malaysia.

Since everyone I know is wanting to learn this language (particularly Aravind!), I’ve created a quick cheat sheet on some of the most common words and phrases that I’ve picked up and are useful.

vanakkam – welcome

nandri – thanks

ama – yes

po – go

sikiram vanga – come soon

ponga – go (formal version)

toppie – tummy

pasi – hunger

pasikidu- i am hungry

naan sapida pooren ayya – I am going to eat, sir

thanni – water

aravind yendhiri – Aravind, Get Up!!!

vanga – Come

siri – smile,laugh

sapadu – Meals

kaalai(morining) vanakkam

Thappu – wrong

edhu thappu – this is wrong

kollathe – don’t kill me!

naan alugirean – Iam crying!

The words in bold are my most used phrases as I have to tell the freshers what’s going wrong and wake Aravind up in the morning.

Hope this helps you on your way to becoming fluent in Tamil like me 😀

Nothing Much Going On

I hate posts about not much. But this is what this post is about…nothing much.

At the moment I’ve got my Freshers writing a new content management script which could lay the framework for a script that I’ve been wanting for a while now.

I was also looking at developing a ‘paid to read’ script but after doing some market research I found that the ‘PTR’ industry is a dying industry so that plan got shelved.

Instead, on the advice of my good friend, Aravind I’ve decided to develop a Yahoo Answers clone script. For those of you that don’t know, Yahoo Answers allows you to ask any question you want on virtually any subject you want and loads of people will attempt to provide the best answers for you.

Loads of people are looking for a script to put on their site – it’s particularly useful for building niche communities rather than aiming it at the mass market.

Since it’s a relatively simple script, I hope to have it developed within three weeks or so. Should be pretty good and I can add a new product to my catalogue.

Back to School

This week feels like I’ve gone back to school and am in a Business Studies class.

My Indian cold has finally cleared up, and fingers crossed it won’t come back, so it’s been back to business.

So how is it that I’m back in a business studies class?

Well a few weeks ago I alluded to a new online/offline business that I was working on with Aravind and Anand.

It turns out that we had massively underestimated the cost of gathering a certain type of data. An underestimate that was ‘out’ by about £60,000! The only alternative is to look for outside investors who are willing to inject the cash into the business upfront so that we can really begin.

Unfortunately, investors need graphs, forecasts, profit & loss accounts, SWOT analysis, expenditure break downs, marketing strategies and a whole host of other things before they’ll even give you the time of day.

So my job for the week has been to create a substantial business proposal with all the above information collated into one report.

I’ve been using all the old skills learnt during my business studies courses when I was 18, but had to go back and research it and brush up my skills (and remember what the difference is between a profit and loss sheet and a balance sheet).

I’m pretty sure it’s going to be worth it though because this type of business exists in the UK and the leading company makes £100m+ per year, but the business model doesn’t exist anywhere, in any form, in India. Crazy!

Feeling Really Ucky

And for any purists out there…yes, on, ucky is a real word!

After reporting having a cold a few days ago, I thought I had gone into remission and by Wednesday was feeling not too bad. But on Thursday I felt worse than ever and was confined to bed for two days. I think India colds are bigger and better than UK colds. It’s a proper head cold causing my eyes, ears, nose and throat to really hurt along with a really painful headache. Infact, after some consideration, I established that the only part of me that didn’t hurt or ache was my back.

So now it’s Sunday evening and I’ve finally been able to eat something after a few days. The cold is showing signs of abating, but it’s had the side affect of whenever I cough, sneeze or breath (which is approximately once every 30 seconds at the moment), it brings up lots of yucky phlegm.

Since I’m always one to find out more about stuff (and probably highlighted by the fact that I’m bored stupid as I’m unable to concentrate on work for more than 5 minutes), I decided to find out more about the stuff being coughed and sneezed out of my body.

Yes, I know it’s a pretty disgusting subject, but let’s face it, everyone suffers from colds at least once or twice a year and everyone has experienced the discomfort it brings. So here are some trivial facts that you can use to amaze your friends when they are next suffering from a cold…

  • Phlegm is a type of mucus which is basically a water-based gel consisting in glycoproteins, immunoglobulins, lipids, etc
  • In medieval times, phlegm was said to be responsible for apathetic and sluggish behavior. Hence the word phlegmatic to describe a lazy and apathetic person
  • Healthy phlegm is normally clear or white
  • Yellow phlegm is normally a sign of an infection, or a case of the common cold. The initial state of the common flu when the phlegm is yet clear, is the most infectious period. When the phlegm turns into yellow, the body is already taking care of the infection.

See, reading this blog is an education. Now you can analyze your friends phlegm and accurately determine if they are in the middle of the infection or at the end. Just another public service announcement brought to you by me.

It’s strange how when things are going really well the last thing on your mind is going home, but lying in bed, feeling like crap, the urge to pack your bags and catch the next flight back to the UK is very powerful! Hopefully I’ll continue to get better over the week and this feeling will receed 🙂

Bangalore Trip Part 2

Oh man, I hate tying myself down to posting on a particular day like I did yesterday. I have no inspiration to write. But I said I would, so here goes…deep breath…

So after Anand’s humiliating put down by the beggar girl (literally a case of “drink up, Trigger, we’re leaving”) we went off to the Agriya Bangalore office (Photos – opens in a new page).

After disturbing the workers we headed on out to find a hotel where this birthday party was taking place.

Originally we meant to stay only until about 8pm, but they hadn’t served the food by this time, and there was no way Aravind was leaving without some free food! (just kidding mate!).

For any of you Western Infidels out there reading this blog, I thought I’d mention that birthday parties are celebrated just the same way as back home in the UK. Even the Happy Birthday song is sung in English.

After eating far too much good food we eventually left just after nine to start the long journey back.

Eventually got back to Chennai around 3.30, Aravind had a little run in with the curb while doing a u-turn in the SUV. He says that the curb lept out of nowhere and no one saw him do in and infact the curb hit him. That’s his story. And he’s sticking to it.

Since I’m totally hardcore and just like the duracell bunny, I decided to take the Wednesday off work due to fatigue :~)

OK, so in other cool news and totally unrelated to Bangalore: I’ve been invited to my first wedding! One of my freshers, her brother (whom I’ve never met) is getting married next week and I got an invitation! I felt so…hmm, I don’t know what I felt, but it was one of those emotion things.

So yeah, I think that’s all I have to report for today. Another week is over. Tomorrow I should have been flying up to Orissa, but torrential monsoon rain has pretty much flooded Eastern India, so that’s been called off until a later date. Instead I will be in the office doing some interviews for data collectors as part of my new joint venture with Agriya Infoway.

Goodbye 🙂

Bangalore Trip Part 1

On the 23rd October, myself, Aravind and Anand took a little road trip to Bangalore – India’s tech capital.

If you’ve ever phoned up customer support for a company and someone with an Indian accent answered, then chances are the person on the other end of the line was sitting in a call centre in Bangalore.

Bangalore is also home to some of India’s biggest home grown corporations, including Infosys and Wipro. It is also the Indian headquarters for many international corporations such as Oracle, IBM and HSBC.

The trip to Bangalore takes about 6 hours by car, so we arranged to leave by about 4pm on the Monday, but since Indian’s seem to be even more laid back than American’s, it was more like 6.30pm by the time we left.

The journey was pretty uneventful, except maybe the ‘hotel’ where we stopped to eat. Not your typical 5 star hotel!

When we got to Bangalore, it was about 1am and we were dropping off Aparnaa’s father when a police patrol decided to come and see why 2 Indians and an Englishman were hanging around a street corner at 1 o clock in the morning. They didn’t seem to want to leave us alone – but eventually they got bored and left us.

On the Tuesday we went into Bangalore and to a shopping centre called The Forum. It was absolutely heaving: think Bluewater the weekend before Christmas. At the shopping centre it was all Western chain shops and designer stores. There was even a Lush store!

So after a traditional Indian lunch of a McChicken with fries (they don’t eat beef, so I had to be a little bit crazy and not have my usual quarter pounder but try something new), we spent the afternoon wondering through the designer stores and electrical stores.

In the afternoon, one of the funniest things happened, although as with everything that is hilarious, you probably had to be there to find it funny.

Basically, Aravind, Anand and I were walking down a brand infested street in Bangalore when a begger girl (probably around 20) came up to me and started pestering me.

I couldn’t shake her off, Anand came to try and rescue me but she wouldn’t stop following, bending down infront of me grabbing my trousers. Eventually Anand took out his wallet and held out his hand with some money. She looked him up and down before completely blanking him and coming back to me!

Apparently Englishman’s rupees are better than India man’s rupees.

Naturally we came up with all the ladish jokes about Anand’s way with the women, but I couldn’t possibly print them here (my mother reads this blog you know!).

I guess I’ll finish the next part of the Bangalore trip tomorrow. Too tired to keep on writing.

Good night 😀

Happy Diwali Boys and Girls!

And in other news. Welcome to World War III. Or at least that’s what it feels like with fire crackers and bangers going off all over the city – 24/7

You may have thought that by 3am they’d be getting bored of a few bangs, but oh no. They can, and will, keep going all night.

They line up row upon row of crackers, set a fuse and one end and the whole line of crackers goes off one after another. Sometimes it’s like a minute of continuous cracking.

Diwali, incase you didn’t know, is the Hindu equivalent to the Christian’s Christmas. Diwali means Festival of Light and the fire crackers are set off in celebration of this.

The family tried to get me into a traditional Indian dress (no, not the saree!), but I cited religious grounds for not going ahead with it 🙂

Last night, Aravind was entertaining two other clients from France at the family home – a father and son. The father originally came from the Chennai area, but left when he was about 10, and now he’s looking to come back and get his son Indian Citizen status.

People seem to be returning to India more and more nowadays, where once you had the “brain drain” where the brightest people went off to Europe and America, the younger generation is going off to these countries to get the education and returning to India to work for the Indian corporations or set up their own businesses. Given the cheaper cost of everything here, you can certainly enjoy a better standard of living that you could do on an equivalent income in Europe or America – and that’s probably the attraction for most people to return to India.

Getting back to Diwali, it’s a day of family and celebration, and what better way than to go to the cinema and sit in silence with your family for 2 hours. It avoids all the customary family arguements that go hand in hand with family gatherings 🙂

What Do I NOT Miss About The UK?

OK, so the other day I listed some of the things that I missed about the UK, today, I thought I’d list some of the things I’m not missing about the UK (just so that we can have a balanced discussion, you know?).

Right, then…

  • My House Mates!
    After the shocking and slanderous and above all, utterly baseless accusations that were levied at myself by my lovely housemates, they have earned themselves my number one spot of things (or people) I don’t miss about the UK!
  • The Crappy English Weather
    Is it going to be hot? Is it going to be cold? Is it going to rain? Who knows?! In India you have one option: Frickin’ hot. It makes life so much simpler.
  • Food
    Indian food is wonderful. I now say most of the dishes in Tamil. I can’t speak a word of anything else in Tamil, but at least I’ll never go hungry. I can ask for Idly (kinda like a rice cake), Dosai (like a fried pancake thing), Chappati (err, like a flat bread), Sambar (a yellow sauce), Puri (no idea. It’s fried), Saadam (rice) and my favourite, Chai (tea!).
  • How bloody expensive London is
    I love how cheap it is to live out here compared to London. You can go to a really nice 5 star hotel restaurant and get a great meal for about a fiver. That includes starter, main, dessert and tea. Clothes are comparable in price, so I bought a pair of Levi jeans for about £30. Is that cheap? I don’t know I’ve never bought Levi jeans before. Answers on a postcard please. The only exception is land and property prices which in the city is comparable to European cities
  • The solitude of working at home alone
    Ok, all together now, “awwww….”. Yeah, whatever. Seriously, I’m a sociable guy, and I love working and interacting with other people. Working in an office with loads of other people is great for me.
  • A Couch!
    How cool is this? The day after I post that I really missed having a couch to lounge upon, Aravind’s parents take delivery of a brand new 3 piece suite! Check it out…

Today I booked my ticket home (so sad). After being absolutely specifc to the travel agent that I wanted a ticket I could change, British Airways told me that there was absolutely no way I could change it. BA blamed travel agents. Travel agents blamed BA. I got the good old fashioned British runaround where companies blame each other.

Fortunately the nice girl at the travel agents was really really helpful and got it sorted for me. BA were just being really anal for some reason. So I’m booked to come home. When will it be? I’ll keep you guessing.

Oh, I also need to tell my most avid reader (my mother) all about my new War on Mosquito’s (you should see Aravind’s feet, eww! He doesn’t make fun of me taking my malaria tablets any more!) and the new love in my life. Stay tuned!