Few days back there was a post on my blog which had raised some questions on the Web 2.0 phenomenon.May be post the dotcom-bust,Web 2.0 has been a savior for many of the companies.Was reading this week’s Business Today and found an interesting article titled “VC’s still love Dotcoms”(Page-72) , which gives an insight into dotcoms from the VC’s point of view.It has interviews by Ashish Gupta of Helion Ventures,Promod Haque of Norwest Ventures and Alok Mittal of Canaan Partners.Let me try to list down some of the important points mentioned in the article:

Last year, VCs invested $166 million in 27 internet companies,compared to $17 million and 2 dotcoms,the year before.So,VCs are quite optimistic about dotcoms

What sort of dotcoms are VCs interested in(by Ashish Gupta):

  1. It must be one that addresses a customer pain point or fills a market gap
  2. It must be differentiated and unique , and most importantly scalable
  3. As per VCs , startups in education,financial services and healthcare are some of the most attractive areas
  4. You’d better have a top-notch team that has worked together for some years,if you want to make raising money a cinch.
  5. There’s so much more to do with the internet , since the old backbone that most companies relied on will soon be redundant

Other emerging areas around internet?
Ashish Gupta says “There are lots of interesting opportunities in the hybrid areas that combine the internet with BPO or the mobile phone”.Helion Venture’s investment in JiGrahak,a Bangalore based mobile startup is an example of this trend.

As per Rajesh Jain,Managing director of Netcore solutions, there are two obvious problems:

  1. Indian entrepreneurs want to imitate the success stories in the west and VCs also feel most comfortable investing in them.
  2. However,there are not many success stories in a given vertical.There is only one YouTube,MySpace or Orkut.

Below is the statistics of the VC investments in dotcoms(from January,2005 till date):

Click here to enlarge the image

But there are other areas like Embedded market, Organized retail(though there are VCs already investing in this one), where we have lot of startups waiting for funding.It is obvious that the risk in such companies would be much higher , than in a dotcom biggrin This post on my blog focussed on two such startups in that field.May be,it is time when VCs should look beyond dotcoms since, the real innovation comes from such companies !!!

Amit Agarwal,the geek blogger from India has compiled a list “India Blogs 1.0 – The Most Widely Read Indian Bloggers” and was elated to see my name featured in the list as well biggrin

However,there is no section for “Entrepreneurship & Startups” , which is where I would have preferred my blog to be featured.Anyways,those days are not far enough!!!
I could also notice my fellow bloggers – Ashish,Vibhash, Abhishek, Mayank,Rishi, Ramanathan, Madhur , Gautam Ghosh , Ranjan in the list….Keep doing the great work guys.

You can find the list of the blogs here

Thanks Amit for noticing my blog.Also,watch that space for some pretty informative blogs in the list.

The Times Of India,19/07/2007 had an article on “Blogging safe” where they have mentioned some of the points,which bloggers can take care of while blogging.Some of the things are worth taking note of,while I would disagree on some of the tips given by them.However,this could be a useful resource to the guys new to the field of blogging.

Below is the complete article(had to copy-paste the complete article since,you need a IndiaTimes ID to access the page)

Blogs are like personal telephone calls crossed with newspapers. If you’ve blogged about something controversial, say a bad co-worker, chances are you’d want to keep things as anonymous as possible. Here then are some techniques that will help you be the Artful Dodger by which can endlessly rant against a faulty set up and not end up with an egg on your face.

Blog Carefully (Agree 50-50)
Use a pseudonym and don’t give away any identifying details. When you write about your workplace (a popular choice), be sure not to give away telling details. These include things like where you are located, how many employees there are, and the specific sort of business you do. Even general details can give away a lot. If, for example, you write, ‘I work at an unnamed TV news channel in Mumbai’ it’s probably now clear that you work in one of a few places. So be smart. Instead, you might say that you work in media. Keep it vague. Don’t post pictures of yourself. And don’t use pseudonyms that sound like the real names they are based on. And remember that almost any kind of personal information can give your identity away — you may be the only one at your workplace with a particular birthday, or with a certain pet. Also, if you are concerned about your colleagues finding out about your blog, do not blog while you are at work. Period. You could get in trouble for using company resources like an internet connection to maintain your blog, and it will be very hard for you to argue that the blog is a work related activity.

Use Anonymising Technologies(Agree 50-50)
There are a number of technical solutions for the blogger who wishes to remain anonymous. Invisiblog is a service that offers anonymous blog hosting for free. You may create a blog there with no real names attached. Even the people who run the service will not have access to your name. If you are worried that your blog hosting service may be logging your unique IP address and thus tracking what computer you’re blogging from, you can route your internet traffic through what’s called an ‘overlay network’ that hides your IP address. More importantly, this makes it difficult for snoops on the internet to follow the path your data takes and trace it back to you. Anonymizer offers a free downloaded ‘Anonymous Surfing,’ which routes your internet traffic through an anonymizing server and can hide your IP address from the services hosting your blog.

Use Ping Servers(Completely agree)
If you want to protect your privacy while getting news out quickly, try using ping servers to broadcast your blog entry for you. Pingomatic is a tool that allows you to do this. The program will send out notice (a ‘ping’) about your blog entry to several blog search engines. Once those sites list your entry, which is usually within a few min utes,you can take the entry down. Thus the news gets out rapidly and its source can evaporate within half an hour. This protects the speaker while also helping the blog entry reach people fast.

Limit Your Audience(Strongly disagree)
Many blogging services, allow you to designate individual posts or your entire blog as available only to those who have the password, or to people whom you’ve designated as friends.

Register Your Domain Name Anonymously (Agree 50-50)
Even if you don’t give your real name or personal information in your blog, people can look up the records for your domain name and find out who you are. If you don’t want anyone to do this, consider registering your domain name anonymously. The Online Policy Group (OPG) offers privacy protective domain name registration which could be used for the same.

Blog Without Getting Fired (Completely agree)
A handful of bloggers have recently discovered that their labours of love may lead to unemployment. By some estimates, dozens of people have been fired for blogging, and the numbers are growing every day. The bad news is that in many cases, there is no legal means of redress if you have been fired for blogging. While you have freedom of speech, it does not regulate what private parties (such as most employers) do.

Blog away!!! (Agree)
Blogs are getting a lot of attention these days. You can no longer safely assume that people in your offline life won’t find out about your blog, if you ever could. New RSS tools and services mean that it’s even easier than ever search and aggregate blog entries. As long as you blog anonymously and in a work-safe way, what you say online is far less likely to come back to hurt you.

Happy and SAFE Blogging !!!

Few days back, there was a post on my blog , where I had mentioned about the book “Dabawalas”,which has entered into the list of “My Must Read” books.There were some of the business learnings which could be taken from this book which are mentioned here.Now, some of the learnings from the author Mr Shrinivas Pandit himself.Below is the copy of the email written by me(to the author) which has the feedback on the book,along with the key learnings which I got from the book.The other email is the reply from Mr Pandit,where he touches on some more aspects of business(a must read)

Mail to Mr Pandit

Reply from Mr Pandit


With this mail,Mr Pandit has sent out one more message “How to keep customers happy

biggrin

From Technical–>Management–>Business–>Entrepreneurship,books have become an integral part of my daily life.I have my own share of favorites but there are other wanna-be entrepreneurs(like me) who have already compiled their list to make life simple for others wink Below is the list of top 18 recommendations for wanna be Entrepreneurs compiled by Mahesh Pidshetti(another Entrepreneur in the making).
  1. The Strategy Paradox by Michael E. Raynor
  2. Why Smart Executives Failed in 2003 [ Motorola Irridium Story ] by Sydney
  3. Make the Move by Ishan Gupta and Rajat Khare
  4. Founders at work by Jessica Livingston
  5. Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators. [ Recommended ] by Vijay Govindarajan
  6. Art of Start. By Guy Kawasaki
  7. Purple Cow by Seth Godin
  8. Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin
  9. The Art of Deal by Donald Trump
  10. The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Laura Ries
  11. The 33 Strategy of Wars by Robert Greene
  12. Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch
  13. All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin
  14. Know How by Ram Charan
  15. The Chasm Companion by Paul Wiefels
  16. The Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
  17. Microsoft Rebooted. by Robert Slater [ MUST READ ]
  18. Business @ Speed of Thought. By Bill Gates

Thanks Mahesh, now I can definitely see many books are missing in my library biggrin

Many times,I get this question from many people(be it colleagues, friends, family and many more) as to why I blog?Yes,I do have Google Ads on my blog,but I hardly get few $(or should I say Cents) out of it neutral, than why should I spend so much energy and time on my blog.My answer is pretty simple and straightforward:

Blog is a means to express your thoughts.Different people blog for different reasons eg. some people use it as a marketing tool, some use it as a personal diary, some use it as a means of sharing knowledge and experience, some use to get their bread and butter and so on.I blog to send the message across to the audience out there about the ideas that I have in mind which helps me in connecting with like minded people.I have made many friends through my blog with whom I constantly interact and it is nice talking and mailing each one of them neutral

I was curious to know about why many others blog? While looking out for other’s opinions,I came across this post on the Taragana Blog , which clearly explains the motive behind blogging.

Not to forget, Blogging improves your communication skills and give you more confidence to address people in an audience.Also, blogging helps you in improving your attitude that you have towards your career as well as your personal life.But there is something more than that , what blogging can bring in you…Yes,it bring the Entrepreneurial instincts in you and hones your leadership skills.In fact,Liz Manifesto in her post, mentions that “Every Blogger is an Entrepreneur” and the reason is quite simple : “The more you blog,the more you need to read and the more you read,more you get knowledge which helps in widening your horizon

Out of her 10 points,following points grabbed my attention(and my take on why those points are so important for the blogger community)

Great entrepreneurs know that a strong business stands on authentic relationships. Great bloggers are great at those.
-This is where like mindedness comes into picture and there cannot be any other tool available apart from blog which can help you doing this!!!

Great entrepreneurs realize that their business is only about choosing for their customers in what they say, what they do, how they smile, and every detail of what they offer and what they choose. Great bloggers configure their blogs to meet their customers, not the other way around.
-Comments are an integral part of blogs.Bloggers love getting comments and also getting criticized sometimes.How many times,you chat with someone who reads your blog and ask the feedback on the quality since many times,after blogging for some time,your idea tank gets exchausted and this is where our blog customers(blog readers) come for our rescue.

Great entrepreneurs know that the best marketing is paying attention to the folks who already know who you are and want to help you be the best you can be — listening to your evangelists. Great bloggers are great listeners. It’s inspiring to watch them.
-This makes me remind of this post on MetroBlogging Bangalore,where I just questioned the business aspect of the hotel but I got comments which were against me.I could have easily replied to each and every comment,but the best solution was to be mum and observe how readers react.The sad part was none of them agreed that the business tactics was not correct!!!In the same place, if a reader of my blog would have read this post,he/she would have easily noticed the noticed that I was questioning business policy,rather than Bangalore neutral So,bloggers need to know when to react and when not to react!!!

In a nutshell , every blogger is an Entrepreneur!!!
Read the complete list of 10 points
here

Question to every blogger:
Why do you blog and how has it changed your life or personality?

After BlogCamp, BarCamp, WikiCamp,Proto now comes another season of Unconference.This time there is an workshop style unconference on Podcasting named PodWorks ,which would touch upon topics from “basics of podcasting” to “podcasting in Business”.

What is PodWorks?
PodWorks is a 2-day workshop styled unconference dedicated to the sharing of knowledge around new / social media (audio and video podcasting, blogging, more. It’s a successor to the extremely successful BlogCamp that was held in September 9 & 10,2006.The event is scheduled on June 9th and 10th,2007.The venue is as usual “Tidel Park in Chennai”

Team behind Podworks?
Needless to mention this since,”The Knowledge Foundation(TKF)” has taken the complete responsibility of bringing this complete Unconference atmosphere to India.Kiruba,Syed,Sunil… you guys rock !!!

Topics at PodWorks:
This time around , there would be a fixed set of topics that would be covered unlike other unconferences where topics were decided on the venue.One of the likely reasons for this change could be the knowledge of podcasting among the participants(at least I am new to podcasting cry )You can find the list of topics here

Where to register?
Registration for Podworks here.
Also, join the mailing list of Podworks to get the latest updates on Podworks and other Unconferences happening in India.

Take Aways from Podworks:
Social and Business networking, knowledge on Blogging and Podcasting and not to forget enjoyment of the free WiFi internet in Tidel Park,Chennai smile

Happy Unconferencing and Podcasting!!!

With the growing no of startups coming out of India,India has been under a scanner by VCs.The VC arm of IBM is positive about India and below is an excerpt from the article in Economic Times

Innovation in India is growing at a rapid pace, in fact faster than how it was in China when we went there a couple of years ago. So we are looking to tie up with a few VC firms including a couple of local VC players to help us identify innovative companies and technology,’’ IBM Venture Capital Group MD Claudia Fan Munce told Economc Times.

Read the complete article here

Related Article:
60,000 IT workers return home from Silicon Valley