We have written a lot on what(s) and why(s) of blogging, why should companies blog, why should company employees blog and so on…… Just came across an interesting article on HP’s Blog titled “Seven habits of ambitious companies” with Blogging being ranked # 5 in the list biggrin….. Ambitious companies should :

1. Have big ideas
Set big, ambitious goals. They thrive on change but stay true to their purpose.

2. Stay focused
Whether companies diversify or specialise, they make smart business decisions and back winners.

3. Build momentum
They don’t let the impossible interfere with the possible.

4. Put people first
Ambitious companies hire ambitious people. They give people the tools and information they need to do the job. They are unapologetic about going after the best talent available.

5. Encourage communication
They start by listening: to customers, employees and critics alike. They encourage blogging. They sound like people, not like lawyers.

6. Manage innovation
They don’t punish failure to succeed, only failure to try.

7. Listen to their conscience
They have an environmental and social conscience and listen to it. Not because they have to, but because it makes good business sense.

Read the complete article here

All of us know that with the advent of community driven websites like Wikipedia,Facebook, Orkut etc ; Web 2.0 has become an integral part of any initiative.

But the question is “Can we try to implement the same COMMUNITY DRIVEN model in typical organizations”.It would always be very difficult since it is always difficult to break the jinx such organizations .

And a single word that can define a community is “Web 2.0” But many times, startups especially not dealing in the web space forget to use the potential of Web2.0. Let us on how such startups can use the potential of web 2.0 to increase their business and Brand image !!!

RSS Readers [Time Saved is money saved] :
In a startup,along with the day to day activities, it is also very important to read a lot of stuff about things happening in the market so that we are aware about the competition.I have encountered many people who are not comfortable with RSS Readers or not aware about the same [since they concentrate more on technology they have been working with] and spend time on Websites/Blogs searching for content, which can be easily searched using RSS Reader smile You can also check out an article where Robert Scoble shows his way of reading 622 feeds every morning

Twitter [A NICHE recruitment platform ???] :
Though I am not a big Twitter freak but one day, this thought crossed my mind that just like guys use Twitter to increase the traffic on their blogs, can’t it not be used as a source of recruitment? For example , I am connected to X people on twitter and those X people are connected to Y people , which are connected to N people …… and so on the chain keeps on growing.In a startup, where you cannot afford to spend time searching for candidates on job-sites nor can you afford to spend money to hire guys through consultants, Twitter can be used as one of the mediums to at least spread the word about an opening in your company[just like social networking sites like Orkut] and may be one day you may find one guy saying “I got a job through Twittersmile

Slideshare [Slides can make a difference !!!!] :
Startups have to be innovative in recruiting people and what best can you do if you could “convince a person to join your startup in just 5-10 slidessmile For more information on the same, you can refer my article here.Piyush Gupta,Cofounder of RouteGuru also has an interesting slideshow covering his startup here

Youtube [Viral Marketing and Recruitment platform] :
Youtube is not new to any one of us and all of us know, organizations especially startups use YouTube as a tool for Viral Marketing.To show the innovative culture in your startup, you can just upload a video[showcasing your startup] on YouTube and link it on your blog & definitely, you would get better job candidates using Youtube than the most prominent jobs-sites !!!

Check out this interesting video on Gmail !!!

Blogging & Podcasting [Effective marketing platform] :
As a startup, you should have always have an active blog!!! Even the employees should be allowed to contribute to the blog so that “They can also feel that they also own a PIE of the company and get a sense of ownership of the startupsmile Not to forget , this would also demonstrate “The openness in your culture” !!! And yes, if you are not comfortable with text, than audio/video Podcasting can also be a tool to watch out for !!!

Linkedin , Xing and other Business Networking sites [Networking and Business Development]:
Linkedin is a website about which I have written a lot on my blog. But if you want to expand in other geographic locations where Linkedin is not so popular, than use the local networking site of the region. e.g. Europe’s Xing is more popular in UK. So depending on the region where your startup is likely/expected to get business from ; start making contacts with the people from that region using such websites.This not only helps in understanding the local consumer needs but would also help in expanding your business in different regions !!! Linkedin blog has an interesting article on “How can you use Linkedin to strengthen your professional brandhere

These are some of my thoughts on how you can use Web 2.0 to effectively research [on your business];market, scale your business and recruiting talented lot for your startup smile

Edited , Dated : 19/03/2008
Have a look at this interesting presentation titled “How can organizations harness the power of Web 2.0

Slide Courtesy : Amit Ranjan

Note:
If there are some interesting techniques that I might have missed out, do leave them in the comments section and I would add them here in my article !!!

Last few months, there has been virtual no activity happening on my blog. There were a couple of mails from a few of my readers, some of which are below:

Thanks for each one of them for treating me very special smile Jokes apart, I thought I have done a lot of talking on my blog and this was best to implement AT LEAST few of the things that I have been writing on my blog !!!

As you might have guessed, I have quit my job and am now a part of an Entrepreneurial venture in the product space. It has just been one week since, I began my life as an Entrepreneur and am already noticing quite a bit of change in my personal life since, I think a lot before spending money and now would not be receiving a big Pay Cheque at the End of Month cry

Now along with the normal writings on my blog, I would also write an occasional article where I would write about my journey [though it has just started and I hope that it would continue till the rest of my life!!!]

Since networking is an integral part of being Independent , I would like to connect with more people who are interested in Entrepreneurship.

You can view my View Himanshu Sheth(himanshu.sheth@gmail.com)'s profile on LinkedIn profile and I would like to network with more and more people smile Finally, thanks each & everyone for your continuous co-operation and would love to see you more in future !!!

Definitely, now the Blogging cycle won’t dip and you would see more & more article from my side !!! smile

During the initial session of HeadStart, I just remembered about what Guy Kawasaki conveyed in one of his presentations that “When you are pitching someone, you should ensure that you have a backup copy of the presentation in either a USB or some other device“.This is what was missing during some of the presentations in Headstart where presenters had to spend some time in making things work smile

While reading “Entrepreneur’s Toolkit from Harvard Business Press“, just came across an interesting article on Making effective presentations , which are listed below:

1. Don’t hand out anything until the presentation is over-your audience will look through the materials and not listen to you.

2. Explain the deal right from the start. For example: “We are raising $X by selling common shares at $Y per share-that represents a Z percent stake in the company.”
With this, the prospective financiers will want to know how you came up with the Z percent figure and why you priced it at $Y per share.

3. How is the company valued and how did you figure it out?

4. Who currently owns what share or percentage , and what did they put into the company in return for those shares? What options or warrants have been issued or proposed?

5. Explain the idea and competitive niche as if your prospective investors were customers to whom you were selling the product or service.Don’t give a technical explanation.

6. A chronological marketing plan is critical.Explain in detail [not in generalities], how you are going to produce the sales.

7. Describe in detail how the investor’s money would be used.

8. Explain why the current management team is successful and if, they have a long stint of successes.Why do you need Angels or VC’s.

9. Don’t tell them that the exit strategy is going to be an IPO or a private sale to another company or merger unless, someone on your management team has done that before, or unless you have the details as to how the goal would be accomplished.

10. Have your current financials available for examination, no matter how ugly they are.

Lastly, if anyone is planning to startup on your own or join an early stage startup, than this book is a must read since, it would take you through the complete process in a startup right from starting up to raising money to Equity distribution and so on…..

Had a very busy and Entrepreneurial Friday as well as weekend !!!.There was an interesting Entrepreneurship event at ‘Indian Institute Of Science,Bangalore‘ namely HeadStart.

Though the dates of HeadStart and Proto overlapped with each other, there was quite a decent crowd and a great Panel [which included Entrepreneurs as well as VCs].Hats of to the organizers of the event !!!

Though, I could not blog the event live, there were certain very interesting topics , some of which I have recorded on my PMP smile and are given below:

Ram Shriram , Founder of Sherpalo Ventures:
Ram Shriram expressed his views on Internet and the changing scene of Internet. He also touched upon Mobile v/s internet and why the mobile market is so hot in India smile

He was on a webcast from his Menlo Park office and it was a great privilege to listen to this initial investor in Google…

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Srini Vudayagiri , MD of LightSpeed Ventures:
Srini Vudayagiri gave a very interesting presentation on Identifying and validating business opportunities. His presentation covered on all aspects of Opportunity, right from Ideation to Delivery. It also gave a lot of insight into how VC’s fund, how they are smile and some of the other aspects of VC funding !!!

The most interesting question that he asked the audience was “Which is the largest VC firm in the world”…..and guess what, the answer is Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE)

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Ganapathy Subramanium, Ex VC & founder of MyDuniya:
Ganapathy Subramanium, founder of startup MyDuniya and an ex VC with ICICI ventures and JumpStartup, gave an interesting session on Startup Funding.The most interesting statement which he made during his entire session was : “There are 3 kinds of people who would fund your business at a very early stage namely 3F’s [Friends , Family, Fools]” …. So, is he referring Angel Investors/Seed Investors as Fools wink Enjoy the complete session below…

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Note:
a. There might be some disturbance in certain , part of the audio so please bear for the same.But definitely these sessions are worth listening !!!
b. Harinath Pudipeddi has blogged the event live and is an excellent reference of the entire event.You can refer to Day 2 sessions here & here and Day 3 sessions here & here.

First of all , to start on a personal note : Had been away from my life(or should I say My blog for close to a month) with lot of things happening on the other side of my life. This would be my very first article in the New Year and by no means is ThoughtsPrevail dead smile and the article , which would mark the start of my New Year [of blogging] would be the People’s Car : Nano

Just as Prof CK Prahalad says “There is fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid [BOP]” and with close to 300 to 400 million people lying in the Middle Class arena, there is always a market of a product/service , which is targeted to this class of population.First it was Reliance which brought us the so called People’s phone; ask any engaged person and the only way “They” would be communicating with each other is Reliance[cheap , convenient and great plans].Things changed and suddenly we have seen every person be it Paanwala, Saabziwala [vegetable seller] in India carrying a mobile phone !!!

Would the same revolution come with the so called People’s car Nano. This is definitely a proud moment for India and IMHO, there is also a Social Entrepreneurship attached to the Nano.Social in the sense that it would make CAR accessible to the common man but at the same time, we need to ask ourselves “Is our Infrastructure ready for the Nano?“. There are number of blogs and newspapers that have already mentioned about Nano, but one article in Economic Times was very interesting:

Small excerpt from the article :

Clearly, populism and massive state subsidy can’t match a well thought out business strategy that has profit as the motive. And as CK Prahalad, the management guru who’s inspired many of the Tata Group’s low cost, affordability-based products and services, would readily point out that looking for fortune at the bottom of the pyramid is not an altruistic mission but a way to sustainable profitability.

As the article suggests , there is a lot of fortune at the BOP since, you get the Social Entrepreneurship angle working in your favor. There are already other automobile makers who have decided to join this bandwagon but for the time being Nano can enjoy the first Mover advantage smile .

First it was Reliance , Air Deccan and now it is Tata’s Nano who have hit the BOP , so now only time and middle class would decide the fate of the Nano…till that time, let us keep our fingers crossed and hope that this Nano at least fares well than the rotten part of Apple [ the Nano ] wink