Ever thought that you have missed BlogCamp, BarCamp, Proto, MobileMonday and other such unconferences than you shouldn’t miss this one of its kind of unconference: Wiki Camp.

WiKiCamp in Chennai on 25th February,2007

Heard about WiKi’s(yup its used everywhere!!!), than know more about WiKi’s right from the horse’s mouth Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia and President of Wikimedia Foundation.

The “Knowledge Foundation”,the pillar behind such kind of unconferences are back in action with WikiCamp.The event would be held in Tidel Park,Chennai on 25th February 2007.The agenda of WikiCamp can be found here and if you wish,you can add your topic as well(oops,missed that it is an unconference).Seen below is a small snapshot from Vijay Anand’s Blog which gives the rising importance of WiKi’s.

Growing Importance of WiKi's from Vijay Anand's Blog

Hats off to Vijay Anand, Kiruba and the Knowledge foundation for organizing such kind of unconferences.

So the take away from WiKiCamp at a mere 200 bucks is immense….My effort would be to blog the event live like I did in BarCamp Bangalore….I would be there at the event and hope to see your there as well !!!

Ever thought where does “Steve Jobs” and “Hillary Clinton” blog?Is it on Blogger, WordPress, Typepad etc.

Type “Steve Jobs Blog” in Google and you would come across “Fake Steve Jobs Blog”.

Steve Jobs's Blog?Yup,as you might have guessed,it is not a blog owned by Steve Jobs and it was asked to shut down for legal reasons(given in the snapshot below).

SiliconValleyWatcher has covered this complete story here.It is not only Steve Jobs or Robert Scoble who have come under the line of fire.There is a blog dedicated to White House lady “Hillary Clinton” as well.

Hillary Clinton's Blog?
Just keeps me wondering by the title of the blog “Secret diary of Steve Jobs” and “Secret Diary of Hillary Clinton”, is it that these two blogs belong to the does the same person??

Since,I have spoken so much about Steve Jobs in my post,do check out the “Apple Student Blog” ,which is the official blog of Apple(and yup the templates are powered by WordPress and not Blogger!!!).

The Hotmail Guy Sabeer Bhatia is one of the most respected Entrepreneurs in India as well as abroad.I was just searching for him on my favourite search engine and my love “Google” and came to know about his latest venture.

After the dot com bust,he seemed to have vanished from the industry.After Hotmail,he came up with Arzoo[well,I dont remember what content was there in Arzoo :-)] , but the venture did not work out for him.And than Arzoo was shut down and there was no whereabouts of our hotmail guy.

But now he has bounced back with his two ventures,which I came across while reading about him:

a. Arzoo(Relaunched):

Arzoo Relaunched

In this growing Web2.0 age and booming airline business,there has been lot of travel portals in the recent times like TravelGuru,Zoomtra,Ghumo,Cleartrip and many more(very hard to list all of them).While in Proto.in , there was a new launch which looked pretty nice called Ixigo.Well,Sabeer Bhatia has not revealed(and marketed) his new Arzoo but yes as you guessed it right,Arzoo was relaunched as a travel portal.But,the biggest minus point of Arzoo is it has only the biggies(like Jet Airways,Indian,Kingfisher Airlines etc) in the list , there is no place for low cost carriers like Air Deccan,Indigo etc.Hence,Arzoo is targetted to a niche set of audience travelling by non-low cost airlines….Wonder how can low cost airlines be left behind?Any answer…..

b. BlogEverywhere:

BlogEverywhere is a simple way for you to log your thoughts and comments on any web page as you surf the web.

This is what BlogEverywhere has to say about itself:

Blogeverywhere enables a virtual water cooler discussion on every web page. The users can build an online journal and create pages of interest to them. Everyone visiting that page can view your comments giving you a potentially large audience. Other viewers can reply to the comments thereby creating a two way conversation.

More details about Blogeverywhere can be checked here

The sad part is that “Blog Everywhere Toolbar” currently only supports “Microsoft Internet Explorer” and not the other browsers hence,cannot use my favourite Firefox 🙂

Lets wait and watch on the performance of his new ventures!!!

Just came across Paul Graham when I was reading something on startups.He has an interesting coverage of startup fundas and there was an article titled “18 ideas that kill startups” which caught my eye and I found it very practical as well as very interesting.

I have just listed below some of the important points from that article.It is a bit lengthy(but very informative), but I am sure at the end of it , you would say “It is a nice learning” and this is what I felt about it!!!

NOTE:
“I” in the article refers to Paul Graham

1. Single Founder:
What’s wrong with having one founder? To start with, it’s a vote of no confidence. It probably means the founder couldn’t talk any of his friends into starting the company with him. That’s pretty alarming, because his friends are the ones who know him best.Starting a startup is too hard for one person. Even if you could do all the work yourself, you need colleagues to brainstorm with, to talk you out of stupid decisions, and to cheer you up when things go wrong.
2. Bad location:
Startups prosper in some places and not others. As per Paul Graham, Silicon Valley dominates, then Boston, then Seattle, Austin, Denver, and New York.The kind of people you want to hire want to live there; supporting industries are there; the people you run into in chance meetings are in the same business.
3. Marginal Niche:
Most of the groups that apply to Y Combinator suffer from a common problem: choosing a small, obscure niche in the hope of avoiding competition.It’s not that people think of grand ideas but decide to pursue smaller ones because they seem safer. Your unconscious won’t even let you think of grand ideas.
4. Derivative idea:
Many of the applications we get are imitations of some existing company.Instead of copying an existing idea,take the problems which were not solved by the other startup.It seems like the best problems to solve are ones that affect you personally. Apple happened because Steve Wozniak wanted a computer, Google because Larry and Sergey couldn’t find stuff online, Hotmail because Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith couldn’t exchange email at work.

5. Obstinacy:
Don’t get too attached to your original plan, because it’s probably wrong. Most successful startups end up doing something different than they originally intended—often so different that it doesn’t even seem like the same company.There’s someone you can ask for advice: your users. If you’re thinking about turning in some new direction and your users seem excited about it, it’s probably a good bet.
6. Hiring Bad Programmers:
What killed most of the startups in the e-commerce business back in the 90s, it was bad programmers. A lot of those companies were started by business guys who thought the way startups worked was that you had some clever idea and then hired programmers to implement it.I was about to say you’d have to find a good programmer to help you hire people.
7. Picking up the wrong platform:
Platform is a vague word. Platform could mean an operating system, or a programming language, or a “framework” built on top of a programming language.How do you pick the right platforms? The usual way is to hire good programmers and let them choose. But there is a trick you could use if you’re not a programmer: visit a top computer science department and see what they use in research projects.
8. Slowness in Launching:
Several distinct problems manifest themselves as delays in launching: working too slowly; not truly understanding the problem; fear of having to deal with users; fear of being judged; working on too many different things; excessive perfectionism. Fortunately you can combat all of them by the simple expedient of forcing yourself to launch something fairly quickly.

9. Having no specific user in mind:

You can’t build things users like without understanding them. I mentioned earlier that the most successful startups seem to have begun by trying to solve a problem their founders had. Perhaps there’s a rule here: perhaps you create wealth in proportion to how well you understand the problem you’re solving, and the problems you understand best are your own.When designing for other people you have to be empirical. You can no longer guess what will work; you have to find users and measure their responses. So if you’re going to make something for teenagers or “business” users or some other group that doesn’t include you, you have to be able to talk some specific ones into using what you’re making. If you can’t, you’re on the wrong track.
10. Raising too little money:
If you take money from investors, you have to take enough to get to the next step, whatever that is. Fortunately you have some control over both how much you spend and what the next step is.
11. Sacrificing Users to (Supposed) Profit:
The companies that win are the ones that put users first. Google, for example,they made search work, then worried about how to make money from it. And yet some startup founders still think it’s irresponsible not to focus on the business model from the beginning.It’s just ten times more irresponsible not to think about the product.
12. Not Wanting to Get Your Hands Dirty:
If you want to start a startup, you have to face the fact that you can’t just hack. At least one hacker will have to spend some of the time doing business stuff.
13. Fights Between Founders:
Fights between founders are surprisingly common.Fortunately it’s usually the least committed founder who leaves. If there are three founders and one who was lukewarm leaves, big deal. If you have two and one leaves, or a guy with critical technical skills leaves, that’s more of a problem. But even that is survivable.Don’t start a company with someone you dislike because they have some skill you need and you worry you won’t find anyone else. The people are the most important ingredient in a startup, so don’t compromise there.
14. A Half hearted effort:
Statistically, if you want to avoid failure, it would seem like the most important thing is to quit your day job. Most founders of failed startups don’t quit their day jobs, and most founders of successful ones do. Many of these would-be founders may not have the kind of determination it takes to start a company, and that in the back of their minds, they know it. The reason they don’t invest more time in their startup is that they know it’s a bad investment.The biggest mistake you can make is not to try hard enough.
15. Launching Too Early
16. Poor Investor Management
17. Spending Too Much
18. Raising Too Much Money

Do not miss the complete article

Wanna go Inside OrkutTo start with, I should confess that I am not an avid user of the social networking site Orkut. I was chatting with my friend Alok and he happened to tell me about a blog which is solely dedicated to Orkut.Yup,you read it correct!!!The blog is “Inside Orkut”

From the Blog,I came to know that Orkut has just turned 3 years old.There is some more cool stuff and news related to orkut , to look out from “Inside Orkut”.And yup,I just downloaded the Orkut Toolbar for Firefox[ooops, Microsoft’s IE is not there in their list :-)] and it looks really cool.

The Orkut ToolbarLast but not the least,people who love Orkut or for that matter Google(like me) should definitely have a look at “Inside Orkut”

Happy Orkutting!!!

After listesning to Guy Kawaski,it seems “Everything is possible(or should I say “Nothing is impossible”).

Accidently,I just found a podcast by Guy Kawasaki at “Marketing Voices” section on Podtech

The great Guy Kawasaki speaking on Marketing media,blogs changing life …..

Click on the image to go to the interesting conversation
Ooops,there is no plugin to post it to the Blogger template.

Guess what,after “Art of the start”, Guy Kawasaki is working on his next book “How to change the world” 🙂

Do not miss the interesting conversation on Podtech

It always happens that some companies are ahead of their competitors(who are in the same field) but how many times they think “What would I be doing if my competitor wasn’t there”.This means that competitors give more scope of improvement to the other guys.
Read this interesting article on Business Week
Listed below are the four reasons(some important points from the article), why we should thank COMPETITION & what can we do to overcome them:

Why you should thank competition:
1. Competitors help you define who you are to your customers:
Example: Pepsi and Coke.
Pepsi a much older player from in that market and uses coarser language. So when potential clients ask me(sales guy) for a point of reference when considering me for a speaking gig, I say “I’m the kinder, gentler, female version of Mr. X who doesn’t curse.” That usually produces a smile of understanding—and often, a deal.
2. Rivalry can bring out your best:
Example : Japanese automakers in American market
When the Japanese automakers entered the US market,US manufacturers had to do lots of improvement to the existing products.Thus the end benefit was “When your competitors improve, you had better improve too—or risk getting fired by your customers. Even though it’s painful and expensive, over time you can provide better products and services”.
3. Competition adds energy to your selling efforts:
Example :Nike and Reebok
At one time, Nike’s mission statement was “crush Reebok.” Those were words the sales forces of both shoe manufacturers could rally around but Nike won.Your customers also get to join in on the fun of choosing sides and participating in the duel with their dollars.
4. Competitors educate your customers through their advertising and marketing:
While their(competitor’s) campaigns push customers on their specific new products and services, they’re simultaneously marketing potentials on new features available industrywide. This means “Your competitor is doing some pre-selling for you, legitimizing the latest widget”.
Strategies to strengthen the competitive position:
1. Information is power:
Learn everything there is to know about your primary competitors. Make a scorecard of the key points you want to evaluate, and measure them on a regular basis. If they have a store, go there and shop, and pay attention to everything from the cleanliness of the parking lot to the type of customers to the store’s layout and signage.
2.Track their trends:
If you fill out a scorecard on your major competitors on a monthly basis, after only a couple of months you will begin to see trends and you can try to improve on those lines.
3.Once you understand your competitors, you start to see how they think and act:
Strategize how you can excel where they’re weak and match them where they’re strong. Once you’ve done this work, don’t keep it a secret. Let your customers and potential buyers know how you outshine your competitors.