MoMo Chennai

Posted by

Mobile Monday Logo
Mobile Monday is a tradition that started long time back and has made it waves to India, and is finally making its landing on the shores of Chennai – atlast!

Mobile Monday is another initiative of the Knowledge Foundation, of which I am a founding member of, and the one that has been behind events such as Proto.in, Blogcamp, Barcamp, Wikicamp, etc.

The first session is to be kicked off on May the 6th (Yep, that’s this Sunday, and Yes, it is a SUNDAY! and hence shall be named MMS) and will be held at the ADI-TeNeT Seminar Hall, in Electrical Sciences Block, IIT Madras. Thanks to TeNeT for accommodating this effort.

For more information, do check out: www.momochennai.com

It starts at 10am sharp. Be there!

 
0 Kudos
Don't
move!

India Innovation Forum

Posted by

IBM Venture Group is organizing a Forum for Venture Capitalists, Technologists and Entrepreneurs in Bangalore for two days on the dates of May 8th and 9th of this month.

I was sent an invite – rather was nominated – and will be attending it, as the topic of discussion is quite relevant and interesting to say the least: “How do you foster Innovation in India”. I did go through the Agenda, and there is a fair bit of campers from IBM who are going to be talking, but there are also a fair bit of round-table discussions which should have a neutral bias and should have some very interesting thoughts to share – atleast that is my hope.

If you are going to be there, or are in bangalore and would like to meet, just ping me and let’s catch up. I should be relatively free on the 8th.

 
0 Kudos
Don't
move!

Indian Entrepreneurs. Western Ideologies.

Posted by

I had quite a long conversation with Josh of Footprint ventures yesterday. It is a conversation I much enjoyed, partly cause we, for some reason, started asking all the big questions as to what was lacking in the Indian startup ecosystem. Right from, “force fitted ideas”, to “lack of seasoned entrepreneurs” to “lack of funds for really early stage companies”, it was all laid out and discussed upon.

In some way it was quite surprising and comforting, cause Proto.in is actually trying to address all these issues. Most of these issues can be solved when the involved parties come together and atleast speak their heart out. Proto.in certainly makes way for that.

Here’s one train of discussion that went on:

What is the biggest problem with Indian startups today?

You have gotten it right, if your answer is “The ability to scale”. It is certainly just one of the problems, but it is also a big one.

In most cases the basic issue comes down to this: Someone takes a radical idea from the west or somewhere far off, makes the tweak and makes it work here in India. When it comes to the matter of scaling, we do come to realize that everything that this model is based upon, is on a lot of concrete numbers that are from the west and shaking them might collapse the entire business itself. It has happened and unfortunately will go on for sometime – unless we realize the error in our ways.

There are two factors which are contributing to this issue: Most of the VC firms that are based here in India are from the west. They are much more familiar with business models that work there and arent quite familiar with the mass numbers that india presents, or working with low margin profits. What seems attractive to most firms, is the same – or familiar model of the west, twisted to fit the indian ecosystem. The other issue is the return of the entrepreneurs from the west. Most of them also are so drenched in the lifestyle of the west, that they sometimes forget that inorder to build a durable business model, it takes a fresh ground up approach.

But all in all, I dont think this is a bad thing. We all live to learn and learn to live. There is much that we can learn from the proven business models of the west. We don’t have to rewrite investment principles, and the basics that go with running any business – but we also need to realize and acknowledge that we need to define our own elements, principles and business models.

Much of this is going to require an indepth analysis of our own market segment. It is very hard – almost impossible – to get any statistics about the market segment that we are targetting – if you are building a product for India. To cite an example, I can hardly get any statistics about bloggers in India, and we still keep quoting the global figures that everybody is running with. We need initiatives like that to be kicked off.

We do have our setbacks, but I am positive that when we get back on our feet, we are definitely a force to be reckoned with. Numbers definitely don’t lie.

 
0 Kudos
Don't
move!

I Mean a Service, Not a Website Silly!

Posted by

lately there is a confusion that is running rampant and not helping anyone, I see. Everyone who has ever anything to do with a web server, or some Javascript code seems to claim to be a web 2.0 company – Even worse is that those who are doing nothing more than a information portal, are claiming to run “services”. Perhaps its time to clarify something.

So what is MY definition between a Web Service and a [Information] Portal? Well, a service is essentially a tool. It is on the web, anyone can use it and in most cases it is free – but at the end of the day whats crucial is to know that it is a tool. It is built with a specific purpose in mind and a pain-point that it addresses. Just as a hammer is meant for driving nails, and a shovel for digging, a web ‘service’ clearly is built for a purpose with all the elements to make that functionality a pleasing experience.

Portals, and information portals on the other hand are like Encyclopedias. They dont require an action nor a problem to solve. It’s pretty much like one reading the enclyclopedia, where they can choose to do something about the information, but thats pretty much upto them. Contrast that to a person standing with a hammer in his hand doing nothing and you’ll see that there is a stark difference between the two.

The problem with perception is that, both of these two are valued on eye-balls and they both use usage statistics to measure the impact that they’ve created – which translates to value, and there is no clear differentiation. Which is where the problem begins.

All that said, when someone says that they are building a web 2.0 service, I really do hope that those I interact with hitherto, really mean what they say.

 
0 Kudos
Don't
move!