Posts Tagged India

Going to Startup Sat @Bangalore

This year  I have decided to attend  as many startup events and meet as many people as possible.  May be this will help me to find fresh ideas for my startup and  give me opportunity to  meet some really smart hackers and geeks  to work with.  I will starting with Startup Saturday which is happening tomorrow.

So what is a Startup Saturday?

Let me quote what organizers have to say  about it :

Startup Saturday is an initiative by Headstart to provide entrepreneurs in each city with a monthly community driven forum that is structured in agenda but open in discussions. A Startup Saturday provides a forum for entrepreneurs to discuss, present, network and learn from peers, prospective customers, adopters, partners and investors.

The fundamental idea is to have all parts of the innovation ecosystem interact with each other with high frequency and through rich conversation. We strongly believe that this would lead to faster evolution of the entire ecosystem.

Very interesting indeed.  So what should one expect at Startup Saturday?

Expect a Startup Saturday once a month on the second Saturday. Spend approx three hours spread across at least two interactive sessions and networking.

The first session is usually a demo. If you are an entrepreneur giving the demo, expect this session to be very interactive. Expect a lot of “whys” and “why nots” – a great way to refine the product and to figure out the areas which need more work and also the areas that are well covered. If you’re a participant, expect a window into another business that can give you ideas about your own business or insights into how to design your product. Expect a lot of debate where your question to the speaker may actually get answered/countered by another participant! In short, look out for a brain tickling discussion.

The second session is usually a talk. This is usually on a skill that is needed by an entrepreneur – sales, marketing, product management, VC pitch, VC management, PR, hiring people etc. It can even be a talk about a product/services that cannot be demoed. This is usually done by someone who has hands on experience and insights. Again expect this to be highly interactive.

Lastly, you’ve an opportunity to meet everyone else over snacks and tea/coffee and network.

Absolutely awesome. Right? So basic ideas is if your are a

a. Startup enthusiast looking for a platform  to meet similar minds

b. Early stage startup  interested in giving demo of your geeky new product

c.  A angel investor looking for new innovative business to fund

d.  Single founder of a startup  hunting for co-founder and team

e.  Successful entrepreneur/VC/Angel interested in  sharing  your experience

Startup Saturday is just the right platform for you.

I attended one meeting of Startup Saturday last year. It was a good experienced overall. Believe me, if you are into startups,  event like this make huge differences to your motivation. When you meet and talk passionate  peoples ready to change the world,  it give a huge  adrenaline rush.  Its like being part of mini revolution.

So whats agenda for tomorrows meeting

From event description it seems they are conducting a panel discussion on product vs services dilemma faced by every India startup.  I had the opportunity to listen one of the panelist, Mr. Sujai Karampuri , founder of Sloka telecom, in my last meeting. He was not only a candid speaker but also a thought leader . He is big evangelist of of product development. you can find his thoughts on this subject here. I don’t know much about other panel members. I think  this is the most beautiful part of  much meet ups. You get to know and meet so many unsung heroes  of the industry.

I think organizers  should have created a FB/Linked  group so we that we could make out who else are coming and their  motivation behind attending  meet up.  Planning for car ppoling could have been a big plus. Small session like  meet the co-founder or startup date post meetup could help startups finding talents. Surprising there is no ‘like’ button on event page . It would help in spread the words about event. Will discuss these points with team there.

In case you are planning to attend and  like to meet and discuss just give me a ping @889236683four

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Internet trends in India 2010

Wonderful presentation by Vikram. I am assuming  he collected data from multiple sources and cleaned  it well. Compiling reliable data in India is a pain due to lack of a reliable central agency and closed nature of indian businesses. Anyway, I am not expecting anyone to extrapolate stats from single source. Loved the presentation  style and format.

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Raising consumerism in India

First, consumer luxuries have got democratised during this decade. Products that were considered for a few started to reach larger and larger masses of consumers — from colas to shampoos to readywear to mobile to airlines. Categories that started in the 90s began to expand their footprint and became a part of mass life. Consumption and consumerism reached more people than it did in the 90s. Social inequity continues to be part of India’s economic, but the capitalistic principle that “open up from the top to a few, and the benefits will flow down to many” has come true. Consumerism is truly mass!

Along with this, has come a culture of upgrade and step movement rather than lifetime ownership and gradual movement. I think technology, mobile handsets in particular, made consumers get used to constant change — buying a new product even when the old one was “functional”, thus breaking the barrier of the “replace when it’s broke” mindset. And then this extended to other categories in life — from clothes to televisions to homes. Every Indian market presents an opportunity to marketers to get consumers to move up. As technology improves and consumers’ disposable income increases, the willingness and propensity of consumers to make leaps from unbranded to branded and pay significant premia is also increasing. There is no longer “lifetime ownership”, but “lifetime consumer value’!

Third, there has been a shift from product to services and experiences. And this is taking place across categories. Coffee has become Cafes, beauty products are transiting into Parlours — and this is going into small towns too with local “aunties” sensing business opportunities opening parlours and beauty counselling centres at home — and home videos have become multiplexes. And in every case, it provides marketers an opportunity to extract more value.

Source: A Decade of Evolution

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Making of yet another shantaram?

I sail past paddy fields and palm trees and my heart soars as I think fondly of this land of boundless plenty, abundant in smiles, moustaches and sari’s in shades the rainbow couldn’t even begin to imagine:
– where cows are avoided by cars at the expense of people but if you do hit a person, the mob will kill you before a policeman has chance to arrest you; where you don’t give up your seat on the bus for a mother with her baby, but instead take the baby and sit them on your lap;
– where governments sign multi-million dollar arms deals with the UK and US, where the price of one fighter jet with provide 1.5million people with safe drinking water for life; where the shake of a head means more just no – you’re welcome, it was very nice to meet you, my pleasure, after you and of course, no thank you;
– where you board a train with your luggage and disembark with new friends; where the towers of temples litter the horizon and rubbish litter the floor until sacred cows munch their way through it; where bad luck is put down to karma and the world we live in is just an illusion (yes the matrix is based on hindu culture);
– where everything you do is everybody else’s business; where men try and brush themselves against you and old women practically sit on you for your white skin to transfer to them; where the majority of mobile phones have been installed with the Titantic theme tune and cars play cheerful dittys when reversing;
– where homosexuality is illegal but men wear skirts and walk down the street holding hands; if you’re tired, you just lie down in the street and have a sleep; where you don’t use the flyover to cross to another platform but you jump down and cross the tracks;
– where you can fill yourself up on an amazing thali for 25p but 400m people go hungry; where you get by only on human kindness, but where beggars are left to rot in the streets; where the swastika is a symbol of peace, of evolution;
– Brahmin priests get fat on the devotion of 400m people living on less than 25p a day; where in a society where Ahimsa, non-violence, is the pervading rule a societal structure can exist that treats 20% of it’s population as no better than dogs.

I sail past paddy fields and palm trees and my heart soars as I think fondly of this land of boundless plenty, abundant in smiles, moustaches and sari’s in shades the rainbow couldn’t even begin to imagine:

– where cows are avoided by cars at the expense of people but if you do hit a person, the mob will kill you before a policeman has chance to arrest you; where you don’t give up your seat on the bus for a mother with her baby, but instead take the baby and sit them on your lap;

– where governments sign multi-million dollar arms deals with the UK and US, where the price of one fighter jet with provide 1.5million people with safe drinking water for life; where the shake of a head means more just no – you’re welcome, it was very nice to meet you, my pleasure, after you and of course, no thank you;

– where you board a train with your luggage and disembark with new friends; where the towers of temples litter the horizon and rubbish litter the floor until sacred cows munch their way through it; where bad luck is put down to karma and the world we live in is just an illusion (yes the matrix is based on hindu culture);

– where everything you do is everybody else’s business; where men try and brush themselves against you and old women practically sit on you for your white skin to transfer to them; where the majority of mobile phones have been installed with the Titantic theme tune and cars play cheerful dittys when reversing;

– where homosexuality is illegal but men wear skirts and walk down the street holding hands; if you’re tired, you just lie down in the street and have a sleep; where you don’t use the flyover to cross to another platform but you jump down and cross the tracks;

– where you can fill yourself up on an amazing thali for 25p but 400m people go hungry; where you get by only on human kindness, but where beggars are left to rot in the streets; where the swastika is a symbol of peace, of evolution;

– Brahmin priests get fat on the devotion of 400m people living on less than 25p a day; where in a society where Ahimsa, non-violence, is the pervading rule a societal structure can exist that treats 20% of it’s population as no better than dogs.

Source:   It’s not over until India decides its so

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Ramachandra Guha on why India cannot become a superpower

“There was a young man who sold solar-powered lamps in Chitradurga that solved the lighting problems of small market places. An entrepreneur had developed a mobile phone that provided information to farmers about mandi prices of commodities. There was an IT professional from Silicon Valley who had returned home to computerise land records in Karnataka. They were all people who were doing unusual, challenging work, but were exasperated. And the source of their exasperation was the same — the government of India.”

Source: India cannot become a superpower

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Sridhar Vembu on ‘Placebo Effect’ in education

Beyond the physical infrastructure (mostly decent, at least in the popular colleges) and faculty (mostly pitiful, even in the popular colleges), the most valuable function a college provides is to bring bright, energetic young people together. The more popular a college, the more ambitious a crowd it attracts, resulting in the well-understood power law phenomenon. It is this social function that is the most valuable service provided by a college. The peer pressure can be intense: if the popular students in a cluster are aiming to go abroad to get an MS or take the entrace exams towards a coveted IIM MBA, most students emulate them. Colleges also do effective marketing using their placement records and the percentage of students who go on to MS or MBA programs, so the already present peer pressure gets further amplified. Often the MS aspirants aim to publish research papers in conferences and journals, which would help land them at a good university abroad for graduate study. Such students team up, and the result is often surprisingly good work. But the key thing to note is that most such work is self-initiatied and self-directed on the part of the students, and not the result of guidance provided by the faculty. As usual, exceptions may exist, but the vast majority of interesting student projects are self-directed, with the college at best providing encouragement and moral support, and at worst, actively putting up roadblocks in front of bright students – yes, that is known to happen often too.

So what is the placebo in this placebo effect? It is the social function of bringing bright young people together, and letting positive peer pressure do its magic. Bill Gates mentioned this when he donated the Gates Computer Science Building at Stanford University a few years ago. He said during the dedication ceremony something to the effect that a university like Stanford brings great young minds together, and if we he had not met great collaborators in his youth, Microsoft may never have been born.

Source: Collge education and The Placebo effect

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Sridhar Vembu on building a software product company in India

product companies have another dimension that is usually not a big concern for services companies: marketing. In fact, marketing can be as important in the success of many products as the quality of R&D. The reason is that even the largest services companies do business with a fairly small number of global corporations (typically a few hundred) so that their sales teams can reach them easily. Product companies have to reach a much broader audience, so marketing is crucial. Yet, this is easy to overlook, particularly for people with an engineering background. I certainly have made my share of mistakes in this area, so I can speak from personal experience here.

One of the hardest things about marketing is that it is so hard to measure its effectiveness. Internet traffic is easy enough to measure, but how do you measure brand perception or market credibility, which can be very important in understanding whether a product is successful or not? This lack of measurability trips up a person coming from a typical services project management background, where precise measurability is the gospel.

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