iPhone 3.0 as a replacement for Mindstorm NXT Robot brain

Last week I upgraded my iPhone to Version 3.0 and also priced a robotic kit for an inquisitive 10 year old.

And it seems clear to me that there is no better robotic brain on the market than an iphone or iPod touch!

The most popular robotic kit is the Lego Mindstorm NXT and iPhone should replace the brick used in the Mindstorm kit.

The iPhone/iPod 3.0 has everything a robotic brain should have and then some! It has WiFi, blue tooth, peer to peer connection, a robust gps, and the ability to control other peripherals. In fact, one can even use the audio to transmit data and decode it on the receiving end using applications like iData.



I can totally see an application that recreates and improves the capability of the Mindstorm NXT on iPhone and makes possible a community that develops very functional and notable robots.


I’ll be the first one to buy it!

The iPhone developer kit has been downloaded 800,000 times; I am sure one of them is listning!

When life gives you lemons - the business version

When life gives me lemons, I make lemonade, lemon meringue pie, lemon rosemary chicken while I am sipping tequila with lemon.

But what if life gave me lemons as the main resource for my business? I need to come up with a business plan using the lemons!


Here are a few ideas:

  • Start a lemonade stand! Call it Citrus-elixir and see if PinkBerry or Starbucks would acquire you.
  • make lemon confectionary (lemon drops, lemon pie, lemon bars…)
  • get the juice out, paint the skins gold and sell it on eBay
    (Bonus if you can make the peels look like virgin Mary)
  • Shave the lemon zest and sell it as potpourri
  • Plant the seeds and wait - in 30 years you will have a lemon orchard
  • Sell the lemons as a spare battery for a digital clock; work with big three auto makers to see if lemon batteries can be used to power electric cars.

lemon clock

  • Sell lemons as a miracle product to clean metalllic surfaces
  • Sell it as a all purpose cleaning product for kitchen - clean your cutting board, counter tops, microwave, garbage disposal.. it really works.
  • Sell it as a natural highlighter for hair
  • Sell it as miracle anti-aging product
  • package the juice and sell it as “invisible ink”
  • Make invisible ink printer and sell overpriced ink cartridge


  • Sell it to all the banks as a replacement for little moist-pads that they have to help the teller count money
  • Create a recipe for lemonade and sell the recipe as a digital download
  • write a book on 200 uses of lemons and sell it on Amazon
  • figure out a way to use lemons as bio fuel; ask congress for reaserch money or bailout money
  • Use it as a collateral and get a loan to start another business (OK, this would have worked in 2007, but not so much in 2009)
  • Buy forward contracts for lemon delivery in 2010 and manipulate price of the lemons to strike it rich

But my favorite business idea for using lemons is: put ads on the lemon skins to monetize it. If you can’t find sponsors, just put google adsense on it.


Have a wonderful holiday season and a very strategic New Year


We wish you a wonderful holiday season and a very strategic new year!


The Google Adwords : the reality


Yes, this is the reality of the online marketing; been there, done that!

Even now, it is so common to find big holes in the calculations people do in their business models - grossly underestimating the cost of marketing, especially online adwords marketing.

Just a few weeks ago, I saw a presentation where the company was selling a widget for $99 and they had allocated $12/unit as adwords cost. In the first month, their actual cost was $44/unit and in the second month it was $34/unit (and I am not convinced that the reduction in the second month was because of better targeting or better conversion primarily attributable to adwords program).

Another misconception that I have seen way too often, is the belief that somehow the cost of adwords marketing is related to the cost of what you are selling.

The argument goes like this “I see people are selling widgets for $10 on adwords; I know it costs $5 to make it, so they couldn’t possibly be spending more than $5.00 to acquire a customer!”

Unfortunately, this is not correct. In many cases, the vendor who is selling $10 widget might be spending $12 to $15 for adwords and hoping that a person buying $10 widget will buy something else from them or will become a returning customer and the over all cost of the adword expense will be low.

So unless you have a matching offering and have ways to convince a customer to buy additional things or have the customer return for something else, you can’t win the adwords game.

The only way to correctly gauge the adwords cost is to gather conversion data and look at real time bids for the keywords and base your calculation on 2nd and 3rd highest bids placed. Why 2nd or 3rd bids and not the top one? Because invariably I have found people over spending just so that they can stay on top. Typically this happens when there is a disconnect between the part of the organization selling the product and the part of the organization marking the product.

Adwords and other online marketing can be excellent and very cost effective tools, you just need to understand what is the true “cost” and how you measure “effectiveness”.

Source of the picture.

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