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Thursday, July 28, 2005, 4:53 PM

"Band of Angels" Indian angel investor group

A bunch of professionals-turned-entrepreneurs have quietly joined hands to float the Band of Angels, a loose association that is looking to fund new ventures at the earliest stage. These include some of the people I met sometime like, Xansa's and Indian Venture Capital Association's chairman Saurabh Srivastava, Flextronics Software Systems' managing director Arun Kumar, and others like Digital Globalsoft's CEO Som Mittal, Mphsasis BFL's CEO Jerry Rao, BPO evangelist Raman Roy,, Jobsahead's co-founder Alok Mittal, Naukri.com's co-founder Sanjiv Bhikchandani, Escorts Hospitals' head Naresh Trehan, Cyber Media's Pradeep Gupta, Lawyer Rajeev Luthra, India Abroad's founder Gopal Raju, and US-based entrepreneur Sanjay Bhargava.

Good news for budding entrepreneurs.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005, 1:34 PM

Look-and-feel does matter

Many a times I found programmers complaining about the latest assignment they have, "designing a new GUI" or improving the look-and-feel. No fault on their part. Programmers may not necessarily be good product designer who can change the feel. Its in taste. Some programmers may enjoy doing GUI (self taught) and others enjoy only coding.

I blame it to the project manager here, as he is not differentiating the skills needed for the designing the look-and-feel and probably unaware about the need of a better feel. He may have some resource constraints but then its true that product coming out of lab is not going to be #1.

Doing look-and-feel may be un-interesting to some, but one of the most important part of the product. Its the first thing which the end user observe and make their buying decsion. We do change our mind based on the looks of the product like car or bike or TV...whatever. We are ready to pay few bucks more for an appliance which is more elegant even though it has 1-2
features missing than the other one with dull color and crappy design. It applies to software as well.

Ever wondered why iPod is so hot, whats there in iMac, which sells 2 million units in its first year. Look at plaxo, skype which neatly plugs into your exisiting softwares and leave the user with a wonderful feel. Its MUCH to do with how it looks and how consumers feel while they use it.

Meet Jonathan Ive who is one of the finest product designer we have in the globle who knows the important art of making a successful software product.

Friday, July 22, 2005, 6:40 PM

Art of making successful software

Netscape was an open source attempt to kill the IE but Netscape succumbed. Firefox is another such attempt by Mozilla and is going good.

"Simplicity is the key to success everywhere", says Ross, You don't create a better browser for Windows users by developing it on Linux, would be my interpretation.

He shares rules for Creating Easy-to-Use Software:

Rule #1: all patches are not created equal. Second level of review that evaluates not simply whether the code is sound, but is it doing something useful. This is a departure from typical open source projects which gravitate to sound code belonging in the tree.

Rule #2: All users are not created equal. Firefox has a voting mechanism for bugs, but a lot of votes aren't necessarily heavily weighted if the source of the votes is regional or somehow. They also claim to be a meritocracy where peer respect is critical to having a voice in the community.

Rule #3: Make decisions and get a thick skin.

Ross suggests "the first thing we did in Firefox was throw out half the features, the second thing we did was copy the competition". The second issue is to have a brand that appeals to demographics outside of 19-25 males. Most of the Firefox promotion is occuring via word of mouth... blogs.

Some interesting stats about firefox:

Number of employees: 15

Revenues Source: donations, corporate sponsorships, and a $2m grant from AOL

Firefox Shortcuts


I do enjoy working on Firefox and so does feld & rajat. Got some cool responses for my previous posts1, posts2, post3 . Infact one of the posts which Rajat linked with his blog had highiest number of hits in a day ( I use statcounter for it). Thanks Rajat.

Here is another tip shared by Feld.



"If you have multiple tabs, you can go to tab N by hitting Ctrl-N. If you are like me and can’t visually scan horizontally for numbers (e.g. I have to count from left to right to figure out which tab I’m at – minor dyslexia-like thing) there’s an extension that’ll number the tabs for you."

Thursday, July 21, 2005, 9:58 AM

Reliance betting high on media

Imagine all movie theatres connected to highspeed internet channel and the producer distributing his movie via a secured selcted channel, similar to how we see streaming video on broadband connection.

Reliance Infocomm is also in the process of installing a server (read as player) at Dhirubhai Ambani Knowledge City (DAKC), its headquarters in Navi Mumbai. The server will play laser discs (LDs) or DVDs, which ship audio-video (AV) content, for the digital theatres. It plans to distribute digital movies through its 80,000-km long optic fibre cable (OFC) network, which would be simulcast in digital theatres across the country, the newspaper reports.



The project, once kicked off, will radically change the distribution matrix of films and reduce the production cost and scene at projection room would no more be same.

Google goes on moon

We have seen the power of Google MAP and Google Earth, now its time for MOON.

Google has started mapping moon at Google moon and tagged it with the places with various space expeditions.

Google says "Because we couldn't think of a better way to commemorate the first lunar landing, which occurred on July 20, 1969, than to give our users an opportunity to surf around the lunar surface themselves."

Any idea if moonland is on sale and I can mark my choice from google moon ^v^

Tuesday, July 19, 2005, 5:23 PM

Google is hacked !!!


No no dont worry, as of now it is safe, but what if it happens.

"This is a lot of personal information in a single basket," said Chris Hoofnagle, senior counsel with the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "Google is becoming one of the largest privacy risks on the Internet."

Many Internet users like me, eagerly await each new technology from Google Inc., its rapid expansion is also prompting concerns that the company may know too much: what you read, where you surf and travel, whom you write.

Google says it takes privacy seriously. But its also a matter of concern. Anyways an interesting story to be read on CNN.

Monday, July 18, 2005, 4:04 PM

Google MAP can prove to be dangerous


Have a look on the images, these are the satellite images of one of the most sensitive building of India. Its Rashtrapati Bhavan, official residence of President of India. And the source of these satellite images is Google's desktop application Google Earth.

Not only India, this excellent tool allows ANY individual to have satellite imagery of most of the part of the globe upto minute details as to the level of streets (as you can see below).


Nodoubt, Google Earth is one of excellent software we have in web 2.0 bringing in many unforseen business models, but isnt it making world, more susceptible to terrorist attack.

This can prove to be fatal and needs to addressed at global level.

Saturday, July 16, 2005, 11:44 AM

Double vision TV

Ever been part of an argument to view the TV channel of your choice the same time your family is watching a different show.

Sharp has developed the first liquid crystal display that shows two completely different images depending on where you are sitting.

Equipped with DualView, a TV can be showing news to everyone sitting on the right-hand side of the sofa, while those on the left (wearing headphones) could be playing a video game. It all depends on the angle from which the viewer is watching the screen. [times]

Friday, July 15, 2005, 9:38 AM

Selling Revolutionary Product

Just read Tom's yet another great post on selling innovation.

He tells the fact with his own experiences with ITXC that, if you have a revolutionary product and if your sales pitch sounds like '...it will completely change the way...." or "...revolutionize the style..." your potential customer is bound to get scared of 'Revolution'.

All of us tend to resist the change until we find a new perspective and objectives to achieve whatever we are involved. So if you want to sell your product, just tell the customer that how your product is going to benefit his business.

Secondly, while you introduce new products to the customer, help them to realise the full potential of your product by participating in/with their team responsible for using your product. Sell them a product which helps them do their business better and help them use your product effectively.

Thursday, July 14, 2005, 5:38 PM

Idiot box turning Intelligent

We have been using the term 'idiot box' for TV but days are not far when Indian viewers will not call them so. They are turning into intelligent interactive boxes.

While Microsoft is already started pushing its Media center, which allows you to 'pause' and 'replay' the live programs, BSNL, Reliance Infocomm, and Bharti Tele-Ventures are working on pilot projects based on IPTV. Inface Reliance has had some understanding with Microsoft for IPTV projects.How is Microsoft-Media-Center different than Tivo, I am not sure. If someone can brief.

I have never used an IPTV myself, but I am sure its user experience would be enriching and a big step forward.

What Type of Cell Phone User Are You?

Are you a:


Spindle Head, Shouter, Secret Talker, Corporate Cliche Meister, Useless Call Maker,
Crazy Talker, I Don’t CARE Where I Am or Who You Are, Stalker, “My Ringtone is Better Than Your Ringtone” , Generic Cell Phone Ringers, Cell Phone Driver, Right Hand/Left Ear, Considerate Cell Phone User.

See what Telepone Doctor has to say about you

Work permits may get stringent

Changing the job while you are abroad is going to be difficult.

According to the resources, The new global work permit will be issued to the employer, not the employee, and will be related to the work that the workers are expected to do in the host country. Moreover, the employer will guarantee the return of the visa holders back to the country of origin.

So, if you want to leave your current employer while you are abroad, you will have to come back and reapply for the work permit .

Wednesday, July 13, 2005, 9:37 AM

Chat with Steve Ballmer

Scoble at channel 9 has recently made up a short video while he ask some tough questions to Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, like

-Microsoft doesn't innovate, can you give us some examples of where Microsoft is innovating?

And more things about blogging at Microsoft. Check it out here

.mobi stands for mobile websites

After approving .xxx for adult websites, new .mobi suffix was approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) at a Luxemburg meeting on Monday.

Soon we are going to see lots of .mobi sites around.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005, 10:46 AM

Evolution

I am not sure about the source or the designer, but these are pretty cool.

Saturday, July 09, 2005, 1:08 PM

Dont set your goals

Offcourse not if you are not setting them to meet.

Goal-setting is everywhere. A sure part of serious management stories, management discussions, exec power speech...Everyone knows it's the right thing to do. we have got to focus. we have got to have goals and objectives.

Problem is, most goals are never met. Goal setting quickly becomes overhead. It takes time with no rewards. People stop believing that goals are anything more than management requirements that have little effect on day to day behavior.

"Just measure the goals you want to meet."
OR
"Set goals which are measurable"

As Joe points out: The root of the problem is that people make two big mistakes around goals:

* They set soft goals that cannot be measured("Improve customer support" or "Gain market share.")
* If they measure, they measure without reference to competition( It doesnt make sense if you stick to your internal goals even if your competitor is selling X times higher units)

In love with ...

The soaring popularity of SMS has inspired 52 year old musician Remo Fernandes to compose a pop track: 'Love on SMS' in his new album. In the video, Remo plays a Pied Piper kind of character who helps a young boy fumbling to declare his love for a girl. Remo hands him a cellphone and tells him "SMS is the way to do it."


Over a billion text messages are sent every month by India's 56 million mobile phone subscribers. SMS is especially popular with young people for whom the mobile phone is a welcome and private channel of communication with members of the opposite sex. Especially important in a country where 'dating' still does not enjoy widespread parental sanction.


Sudoko coming on mobile

Now a days my regular morning start with solving a sudoko which is now a daily feature of Times-of-India largest english daily in India. Thanks to Abhishek who first introduced to me.
It was a instant hit.

Finally, Sudoku, the Japanese game, is making its way to mobile subscribers in India via Airtel who will be launching this service soon.



Sudoku, a game involving filling in numbers in the grid in a particular way that each column and row has numbers from 1 to 9, has become globally popular.

Friday, July 08, 2005, 4:38 PM

Contactless recharging of mobile phone

Remember!! A buzz about the ability to recharge the battery of mobile phones via sending some SMS on Reliance CDMA network?? This news was on high around for few days last year.

We tried to figure out how that would have been possible..via SMS. One of the ideas was probably by sending a binary SMS, the threshold value for the battery is reduced to some extent enabling the user to use their mobile phones for some more time. Anyways, that news was junk as we never saw any official claim from Reliance nor any demo.

But contactless charging is now feasible. NTT DoCoMo and Panasonic have experimented a contactless recharging system that allows to recharge a FOMA phone by simply placing it o­n a recharging pad.

The system uses electromagnetic induction to send recharging electricity to the battery. Contactless electricity delivery is made through a pad that has a coil for transmission, and a reception coil inside the handset.

DoCoMo have absolutely not idea when the system will become commercialized. [via textually.org]

In search of 500 rupee seat

12:00 midnight, I was gazing laptop screen with my half slept eyes. I wanted to make sure this time that I get a low cost air-ticket to New-Delhi in AirDeccan, first of its kind (no frills) operating in India. As usual there was no new updates/announcements on the airdeccan website and no clue as well. Their online seat booking menu was showing all dates till 2006, though reservations were only available upto Aug 2005. Tired and bedeviled, I left for the bed, as was for past few days, In search of 500/- seat. This midnight exercise usually followed by early morning brisk browsing for same.

6:30 Am, half heartedly doing my morning rituals, I was surpurised to find that I cannot open the booking website for this airline. 5, 10, 15, it took some 15-20 minutes to schedule a booking. Adding up to my frustation, I couldnot find any reservations near to my planned vacation and non near this magical 500 figure. Thought I might have chosen wrong dates to travel, probably overcrowded for festive reasons, I tried some different dates for my round trip journey. But of no use...

Wondering, if common people are getting some of those 1/- , 500/- tickets out of this much advertised scheme. Formal announcement of opening new bookings happens around 7:00 AM (thats the time we usually see morning edition newspaper sliding inside our doors). Too late... none of the 6000+ seats of 500/- rupee value was seamingly available.

Looks like there is big role which is being played by booking agents, who are booking seats in bulk for their customer or their are some insiders ....

Whatsoever be the reason, I am still in search of 500 rupee seat.

update: rediff.com announces "Air Deccan releases 3,300 tickets at Re 1" at July 08, 2005 O4:23 PM, after more than 14 hours of the actual release of seats. There are no 1/- ticket left by this time :))

Thursday, July 07, 2005, 9:29 AM

Personal world map

World is shrinking and so is air travel prices, making it more and more affordable to common man.

Personalworldmap is an online application which helps user find out what international destinations one can visit given the time & money constraints...

If they can link their application to online seat booking along with some comparitive data on rates this can turn out as great travel planner.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005, 12:46 PM

Crorepati Indian CEOs

Just five years back, the number of crorepati CEOs was just 41. It swelled to 96 in 2002-03 and 162 in 2003-04. As many as 40 CEOs joined the list in 2004-05. Now there are over 200 Indian CEO who are crorepatis.

S Ramadorai, CEO & MD, Tata Consultancy Services: Takes away 5Lakhs per months.

S M Trehan, MD,
Crompton Greaves Rs 6Lakhs per month.

Vivek Paul, who left Wipro last week, took home Rs 7.15 crore (Rs 71.5 million) as vice-chairman.

Wockhardt promoter Habil Khorakiwala was paid Rs 7.01 crore (Rs 70.1 million)

Blue Dart managing director Clyde Cooper got Rs 9.94 crore (Rs 99.4 million) with one-time
retention compensation of Rs 6.80 crore (Rs 68 million).


More details on Rediff

Tuesday, July 05, 2005, 10:30 AM

Wana buy new mobile phone 2

If you're a confused cell phone shopper, CNET's buying guide tells you what you need to know.

New York Times lists 10 buying tips:

1. Pick a service provider
2. Carrier basics
3. Choose a plan
4. Points to remember with service plans
5. How to pick a phone
6. 10 key features to consider
7. Phones by personality
8. 5 steps to buying or upgrading your phone
9. Should I get a smart phone?
10. I like my phone, but what else can I do with it?
11. See our expanded carrier chart

Read the details here

Sunday, July 03, 2005, 1:30 PM

Passion

A lot of the recent discussion about Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement address centered around his statement that “You’ve got to find what you love”. This is good career advice but it takes more than love or passion to succeed.

If you’re going to do something you’re passionate about, make sure you’re good at it too and it makes $$$.

As Nivi, articulates, You should do something

  1. You’re Passionate about.

  2. You’re Awesome at.

  3. That makes Money.

It’s not good enough to be passionate. Steve Jobs and The Beatles followed their passion and did well. But a lot of other musicians and entrepreneurs also pursued their passion and got nowhere fast.

Google as a homepage

Google has been home-page for many of the internet users like me. Now its turn for the mobile phones to house google as its homepage.

T-Mobile has announced it will use the Google homepage as the entry page for its mobile Internet service
, in a bid to encourage more of its users to log on to the Web via their mobiles.

The deal is part of the mobile network operator’s new strategy to offer its subscribers full access to the Internet, as opposed to network branded portals that restrict access to selected sites.

Venture capital Feed

Along with other aspects of running a startup, timely raising money can be one of the tough & essential part. Entrepreneur not only needs to prepare himself with presentations/business-plan, he/she needs list of investors which have had interests in the similar domain. Zeroing in correct set of investors could be difficult and time consuming. You need more than one contact as you never know which is going to click.

Lately, I have been bookmarking various Venture Capital firm's websites on del.icio.us, which now has listing of some of the active investment firms.

This can be a good source for entrepreneurs looking to raise revenues. Check it out here.

Its RSS feed is also available here