Twitter / Balaji Sowmyanarayan

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Making Text Link Ads Work With Blogger Beta

Idea:Text Link Ads as Feed for seamless integration with Blogger Beta
Execution: Slap Text Link Ads on your Blogger beta blogs. Earn extra ad revenue. Blogspot blogs were not able to host text link ads mainly due to lack of PHP or other language support needed for Text Link Ads to work. Adding a Javascript wrapper around the PHP code does not cut the ice. Javascript is not indexed by search engines so it is not much of use for TLA advertisers. But the Blogger Beta changes everything. In blogger beta there is a Feed widget that accepts any feed. I have converted my Text Link Ad offering(Inventory) into a RSS feed and plugged the RSS URL on to a Blogger Beta Feed widget, viola! Text Link Ads work in BlogSpot! Here is the Text Link Ads as Feed is simple script hack by me. I'd rate it as early beta. Feel free to get your TLA inventory converted into a feed. And start displaying TLA in your Blogger Beta site. Rake in extra cash through Text Link Monetization.

Profit: For a change, here is an idea that has some tangible benefits! So far all my ideas were featuring abstract profits. Here is something, that will put real cash in your pocket(paypal a/c :)) ) immediately.

PS: The feed widget has a limit that display only 5 results. If there is a good response to using the text link ad as feed service I'll come up with ways to fix it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cash in conquering the plenty through likeness search

Idea: Likeness Engine Optimization/Marketing

Search Engine Optimization and Marketing are beaten to death. SEO/SEM is passe! Welcome to Likeness search engine( like , I liiiKkkee it :) ) optimization. It might as well be the cash machine for this Christmas shopping season. The folks at Riya have really figured out a nail for their visual search hammer. It is uber cool and it spells cash, cash and more cash for riya all the way. If riya1.0 lacked stickiness beyond techcrunch, Riya2.0( aka is full of glue for the target audience( it is all about women!). And multiple revenue streams for Riya of course.

Social networks have brought in a sea change in the search landscape( as in, Riya1.0 with face recognition was inherently social network driven. The social network aspect is aparently missing in, but that is just the present day. When women flock a site, men will too and the social potential will finds its own level.

Execution: The likeness search, with all its might indeed conquers the plenty in an interesting way. Yet the 'plenty' is not fully conquered, and there is a lot of scope for recommendations( read social netowrks) to be incorporated in the search. I was suggesting some form of outline based search will be a good idea. Now I guess it will be much much earsier than that. A set of 'meta product images'( similar to the celebrity selection box features in that will serve as a good starting points for product seraches will be welcome by searchers.

Profit: Search is moving beyond text. And visual search for products( like the is the new frontier with demonstrated revenue potential. There is lot of cash to be made in Likeness search engine optimization. Spruce up your photoshop skills. Get to know what is an alpha channel. Plain old ecommerce is becoming very very interesting indeed!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Intent Gratification; Pay attention to your Attention

Idea: Intent as Commodity
Execution: ROOTS Exchange
Profit!: A whole new evolution awaits!

This week something game changing and interesting happened and as expected went unnoticed! I'm talking about Chicago Board of Trade's small investment of $1 million in ROOT exchange a marketplace for 'Internet generated consumer leads'.

What is (Chicago)Commodities Market?

When people need things and they go buy it in the neighbourhood shop. And where did the shop buy it from? A: The shop got it from the distributor who in turn buys form the manufacturers who in turn buys form a series of vendors; Creating a chain of supply and demand in the process. A commodity market injects liquidity( read money; equals gratification) into this chain so that the players in the chain need not wait forever to be gratified. More the scope( geographic, political boundary) of the market, more sophisticated and complicated the market becomes. Chicago Board of Trade is one of the most sophisticated and highly influential commodity market breathing the pulse of the global economy. The world oil prices and prices of key supplies are determined by the sentiments of the Chicago Exchange traders. Thus prices of things in your neighbourhood shop is tightly coupled to action in the Chicago Exchange trading floor. Chicago Board of Trade, founded in 1848 predates the American Civil War and a pioneer in 'Futures' contract(In simple terms it is glorified, regulated, information based speculation bordering scientific gambling.) Such an entity is investing in ROOTS markets( not just money, more importantly CB T's CEO Bernard W. Dan is joining the board of ROOTS, spearheaded by Seth Goldstien. Which brings up the question: What is ROOTS? and Why should I bother?

Intent as Commodity

The most innovative aspect of ROOTS is they are trying to make 'Intent' a commodity. Without going into the merits of it or morality of it, the idea is refreshing and daring. How they are approaching it is interesting and seems very viable.

With our the increased dependence on the Internet, we validate, amplify and gratify our intent online. Several online services facilitate, intermediate our trips through the intent origination to intent gratification process. ROOTS approach is to simply capture the intent gratification 'history' or Karma. Then it is a question of standardization to make it into a commodity. Once characterized as commodity, it can be integrated with the financial(or whatever) markets.

The first Intent commodity is going to be 'online mortgage leads' which is simply brilliant considering the almost zero resistance in the path.
By combining the direct response capabilities of the Internet with the transparency and integrity of a commodities exchange, ROOT Exchange has transformed the lead generation marketplace. Buyers can now create quality filters and receive real-time quotes while Sellers can set ask prices and increase their sales pool instantly.

But why should I care?

Just like currency system facilitated easy exchange of things( that inspired a planet full of awesome man made things) the new Intent currency will create unimaginable ways to interact with each other with our Intents.

It is said that Water is the cohesion that binds this universe. Money, being a reflection of liquid(ity), indeed is a binder that holds 'The Market'. ROOTS intent to increase liquidity of Intent, is more like adding life on to the Water: A whole evolution is hatching!

Parkade Ventures; mashup of Retail, Realestate, Autoclub

Idea: Recently multi-level computerized parking spaces got Infrastructure status. This makes investing in parkades attractive as it is an intersection intersection of organized retail, real estate, and access to automobile owning yuppy populace.

Traditionally Gold and Real-estate were the only investment avenues available for rich to grow their wealth easily. All other avenues required spending some time or effort and needed a lot of smarts and street savvy. Now there is a retail boom in-turn pushing up commercial realestate prices. And the automobile population is increasing exploding day by day. Urban parking facilities is increasingly a concern. Adding an interesting twist to the situation, recently, multi-level parkades became tax shelters due to their status as Infrastructure. Put everything together, then investing in creating a national retail chain of multi-level computurized parkade is an attractive proposition.

Execution: Buy land in by-lanes of congested business and shopping districts of congested urban areas. They will appreciate given the urbanization trend. Constructing multi-level parking facility is simple considering that it hardly needs major interior decoration like a retail space. There is no AC to be installed. And the power requirements are minimal. Thus the 'depreciating asset' capital expenses is attractive.

The running expenses and manpower requirements are even more attractive.

Computerization and customer management is the most interesting aspect of the investment. And the scale lends itself very well to create national retail chain. Here some smarts needs to be applied. This is what will differentiate the boys from the men.

With parking charges by the hour cash flow will be attractive. Smart way to bill the customer: half yearly or annual billing with 'subsidy/underwriting' by retail brands and credit card operators etc.

Profit: Retail space is set for consolidation and M&A action 3-5 years from now on. There is a lot of venture money being pumped in to India. This kind of safe ventures are good ways to create good return on exit. And venture funds investing in such ventures will also support a small innovation( GPS/GIS map, travel integration, etc) ecosystem around it. With so much talk about venture money chasing deals stable investments like these will make venture ecosystem sustainable. This will be the McDonalds of emerging India.

Monday, August 07, 2006

AOL Private Data Release Fiasco: Daffy Duck Did It

Top 10 Reasons why AOL Proudly released search and clickstream data

Overheared near the watercooler:
10) Daffy Duck Did It.

9) This is our cool new way of proving to the world that AOLer are not dumb. They *do* search all kind of intelligent things.

8) We want to reassure our users that you can do idiotic things in the Internet and still get by.

7) We want to try out this opensource thingy. Maybe this is the way to do it.

6) We want to be pro-active with DOJ.

5) There is no such thing called free lunch. We are free service from Aug 2 2006. This is our way of saying there is no free lunch.

4) We want to bring it to the notice of the world what Google, Yahoo, Microsoft can do with your data.

3) We just want to quickly show that our API is better than Amazon AWS A9, or GYM's. And we are anyway sinking, and we would love to take Google( 5% Stake holder) along.

2) We are experimenting with he Wisdom of Crowds Thingy that is so popular these days.

1) We wanted to kill Digg. That is not happening, at least let us be on the Digg's top for a while.
PS: Stay tuned for a statement by Bugs Bunny....

Update: Greg Yardley of RootsExchange a pioneer in the area of Intent Economy is going gaga with the data:
You never had privacy anyway

Get your AOL data on
A funny one at:
AOL user says "just kidding" about searching "How to kill wife" 30+ times

Friday, August 04, 2006

TIE-ISB Connect:Venture Market Warming up in India

I came to know about TIE-ISB Connect Seminar through Interpid's Everyday Entrepreneur. It is a serious effort to connect the entreprenurs with VCs and other support services.

Shishir Bhate's interesting article at Rediff Have a biz plan? Here's how to get VC funding

Who can participate?

"Whoever has a bright idea that can make wealth," Sarma puts it succinctly.

To elaborate, basically three categories of enterprises can participate:

* Growth-stage enterprises seeking capital infusion (may be even second round of funding) to ramp up their businesses;
* Early-stage enterprises that have a great idea, put together a good team and are seeking capital to build their businesses; and
* Idea-stage entrepreneurs, who have a great idea and have proof of concept that a viable business can be built around it.

Even if you are not planning to present a business plan it is a good networking opportunity:
Great networking opportunity

TiE-ISB Connect will be a great networking opportunity for entrepreneurs with over 500 delegates expected to participate in the event.

Some of the keynote speakers at the event include serial entrepreneur Kanwal Rekhi, Air Deccan chairman Capt G R Gopinath, founder and CEO Ajit Balakrishnan, Headstrong Corporation chairman and CEO Arjun Malhotra, CEO Sanjeev Bikhchandani, and Satyam Group chairman Ramalinga Raju.

Among the venture capitalists to be present at the event are Carlyle Group, Sequoia Capital, DFJ, Helion, August Capital, NthOrbit, Comcast, Sherpalo Ventures, TSI Ventures, ICICI Ventures and Actis Partners.

If you are averse to seeking venture money: Convert your 2 cents to $20m with almost zilch

See you at ISB!

Alexa Thumbnails, darn Why I did'nt think it up!

Today I came across the new Amazon Web Services: Alexa Thumbnail Service. For a really small fee, you can get thumbnail image of the site you specify. This will be useful in showing preview of sites say in a search result.
Ad sites like Text Link Ads, show site preview for potential link buyers. A quick preview of the site's look and feel will be useful for making an ad purchase decision. Site thumbnail could be a good way to link sites in blogs.

I see lot of opportunity for creating widget services around this: A S3 based permalink thumbnail that gets updated as the site content changes. This permalink image can be used as a profile image in social networks.

I was kicking myself why I did not think up this service. Looking back, AWS has all the crawl data available. They just have to render the html as a NxM pixel image to generate the thumbnail. It is simple and cool.

As an extension, if sites can be converted into small flash animations it will be cool.

If you want to enhance the search experience with site thumbnails it will burn a hole in the pocket with 20 cents for 1000 thumbnails.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Your Opinion Counts

Tezaa is a quick way to know opinions on serious and trivial matters. You can instantly creat a poll if opinion you are seeking is not already there.

Jul 15, 2006

by Balaji Sowmyanarayanan

Tezaa Opinion Search

I got to know about Tezaa through my BarCamp friend Amit Rajan's Webyantra. I was curious to know that it is a Chennai based Web2.0 startup.

I gave it a try and found it interesting and potentially addictive. With Tezaa you can search for opinion on topics by keyword. If you are not satisfied with the results you can create a opinion poll of your own. The active community picks up the poll and votes.

There are provisions for running the poll through your blog as a widget.

The business model is not obvious from the site. Yet there are multiple ways to make money out of the play. The generated content increases in value with time and community participation. I will not recommend a ad based revenue model for this play. Carigslist like community growth is needed. At that point a profit sharing model will evolve.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Beginner's Guide to Blogshares!

Blogshares is a fantasy sharemarket for blogs. It is an addictive game.
Here is a guide for getting started to the game/Monitoring your/other blog's popularity.
Beginner's Guide to Blogshares!

Text Link Ads

Monday, June 19, 2006

XOXO for Riya Filter Templates?

Riya Filters
, way to search pictures
. Munjal of is involving the community to revamp the home page design. It is in the larger context of making Riya to be a visual search company rather than just face recognition joint. I have outlined an idea for one way of doing it. Here are some more implementation details to add to it.

Use standardized formats to create Riya Filters. This will go a long way in internally generating the templates and also generation of templates by the ever active Riya user community. Without giving much thought, I'm mulling XOXO as a possible candidate. These templates will be named well and will be searchable/discoverable easily. The quality of the search output will be a direct function of the content in the filter. Which is the incentive for the community to create it and possibly self promote themselves. Which will lead to new revenue models too.

We are shifting gear from text, form submission so characteristic of Web1.0 to structured content submission. This will create some chaos in the beginning, but eventually lead to new innovation opportunities. Widespread adoption of microformats, more microformats will be a side effect. (PS: Am I missing the whole MicroFormat concept all together here? )

Followup: I have submitted a more general version of this idea to to Cambrian House: Content Membrane: Mashable Content Search Filters Cambrain uses Wisdom of Crowd and the power of Lisp/ Lisp like language to deliver software projects rapidly. A very interesting site, business model, technical platform etc. Worth watching.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Robots that trade game score and game artifacts

Idea: There is an interesting contest run by Microsoft called MSN® Messenger and Windows Live™ Messenger Invasion of Robots The cool prizes worth $40,000 are to be won. Here is a small idea for contest entry robot:
There are many multi player game sites all over the net. Many of them like BlogShares allow players to gift/transfer game artifacts to other players. The idea is to establish an exchange/trading floor for such game scores/artifacts to be bartered. And make a MSN messenger BOT do automatic trading for the busy user based on user specified criteria!
Execution: ??? There is a lot of prior art in terms of Real Money Trading, but what we are doing here is Barter
Profit: This trading site will attract immense traffic from all kinds of users - an obvious profit is to generate ad revenue. Giving users more time and mobility across many games enhances fun! In due course this will overtake the Chicago commodity exchange!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

MirrorZen, an Innovative question generation search

Idea: Tired of the endless irrelevant search result of Google, Yahoo and MSN? What if a search engine generates relevant questions that matches what you have in mind? MirrorZen is a planned search engine on these lines. Going by the popularity of Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ) MirrorZen might be welcome evolution in the search scene.

Execution: From the website of MirrorZen:

With MirrorZen, when a User puts in Boolean Queries similar to what they would have done with regular search engines, the engine then generates questions perfectly related to the keywords. The Engine generates highly specific questions related to the boolean keywords. The obvious benefit the user has with MirrorZen is that there are questions staring at the user instead of links to over 100,000 pages. The user could derive a meaning out of the Question and if he feels that the question is what he was looking for, he goes ahead and clicks on the question to come across the ANSWER and links to pages describing them.

MirrorZen does perfectly well with Natural Language Questions and provides composite answers to the questions as a normal human being would.

As an aside, in the famous Tamil Movie ThiruVillaiAadal, Nagesh says: I will ask questions, that is what I know best; I don't know the answers!
Here the page ranking is going to be based on not just the link analysis, but on the content also. With questions acting as a pivot/magnet to the right content.
I was wondering what kind of features will be good for a white hat comment based blog traffic enhancement plugin. A question generator that will scan a blog post and create a relevant question that will stimulate a conversation will be a killer plugin. Especially for the longtail Z-listers. Saves people time, and increase the return on effort for bloggers.

Such an algo taken to industrial grade server farms generating multiple questions for the whole web content is what MirrorZen is aiming.
Good luck MirrorZen, I wish you good talent, funding, good initial customer base and lot of fun all the way!

Profit: Democracy is about markets. Or markets are about democracy. Democratically voting out the Google, Yahoo, Microsoft stornghold using them as the base is vibrancy of markets/democracy. It is not about money or jobs or fame, it is about advancement of the human civilization. Amen!

Update: I got a chance to take the Mirror Zen search for a spin. I am convienced that this is a very promising technology. It is a good sugar coating for the plain old text search. And there is lot of scope for adding colour and flavour to the candy. With adoption all that will evolve: In to a fairytale. At this stage they are worth giving all the backing and support.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Buying Realestate Property at Nanganallur, Chennai

Nanganallur at the suburb is emerging as a middle class to upper middle class locality. The real estate prices are increasing steadily. The infrastructure is also keeping up with the growth to some extent. Is Nanganallur, Thilliganga nagar, Madipakkam, Ullugaram, Vanuvampet, Moovarasanpet, Palavanthangal, or Purithivakkam a good destination to setup your new home?

The decison depends on few important factors viz.,
  • Schools
  • Water
  • Transportation
  • Resident mix
  • Access Cultural and other activities
  • Locality Profile Improvement over next few years.

Let us attack them one by one:
Schools: There are a lot of good schools at Nangnallur. Modern Senior Sceondary School is a good School with good record. Other schools with different mix and match are available. There are vans to far off schools like the Ashram at Vellachery.
While at the topic of schools, most engineering colleges operate bus route via Nanganallur so access to such colleges is also not a problem. The middle class aspirations are centered around schools and colleges Nanganallur populace fits this profile and the type of people flock Nanganallur.

Water: Till recently, ground water level and ground water quality were the pride of Nanganallur. Yet with the increase in the number of flats, and appartment complexes, the wate level is going down at an alarming rate. In the summer season, the sigt of water tanker is a very commonn sight. There is metro water supply through 'pipe and pump' system. It is fairly regular yet inadquate. Buying water has become a norm.

Transportation: With its proximity to the suburban train line near Pallavanthangal, train is a popular mode of transport. You ride up to the station, park your 2-wheeler at the bike stand at the station and take a train to the city, etc. Busses are very infrequent. Yet it is imporving day by day. Most popular transport is private transport. Recently, the road infrastructure has undergone a improvement for good. The traffic situation is slowly getting busier.

Resident Mix: Middle class with aspiration is the mix of people at Nanganallur. Particularly, salaried class with their wards at schools and colleges with big hopes of making it big through education, employment is the majority. Now the things are changing, there is a good level of north indian population Thanks to the BPO and IT employment boom. And the cheap rental rates at the well connected areas of Nanganallur. A lot of Brahmin Non Resident Indian family population is also here. This is evidant from the ICICI bank customer profile. Much of the business to the bank is due to the Sons and Daughters and Son-in-law and Daughter-in-law who choose to spread their wings from Big time Sydeny Australia to Small time Ceder Rapids Iowa. A good mix of Conservative middile class values with the willingness to experiment with the trendy consumerism characterizes the Nanganallur resident mix.

Narashimar Temple, Nanganallur

Access to Cultural and Other activities: There is a plenty of activity choices especially if you are religious type. There are a plenty of temples which are very unique. For example the 32-feet Anjeneya Swamy Temple is centre of many cultural activities. So is the Sri Lakshmi Narashima Temple, or the Sri Hayagriva Temple. These are the Vishnava temples. Vishnava is a dominant sect in Nanganallur. The Shiva temples include Ganesh Mandali, The Ardhanariswarar Temple, Dharmalineshwarer, Sri Iyyapa Temple and innumerable other locality temples. Apart from temples there are cultural shabas like the Ranjani. If you are yoga, meditation type, you will see that Isha Yoga, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar classes are thriving at Nanganallur area. Churches, Mosque and other religious activies are also available at Nanganallur.

Locality Profile Improvement in the Future: You can see that most software companies like TCS, Wipro, Infosys, TCS, Cognizant, Patni etc operate buses to Nanganallur. This fits well with the aspirations of Nanganallur populace to land in a plum job that has a chance to go abraod. The BPO employees profile is evident from the number of SUVs that ply in the night. These people are going to spend money/invest in Nanganallur. These people will raise their kids here at Nanganallur. They will need for services and care for their elderly at Nanganallur. Apart from the high disposable income categories, the traditional jobs like Ashok Leyland, The Hindu, Banks, Central and State Govt employees form a majority chunk of the Nanganallur mix. Indeed it is ofsprings of theres traditional job holders who are getting into hi-tech high disposable income IT/BPO jobs. Many ways the profile is set to imporve in the futere. There is rampant construction all over the main roads and the side roads. Branded shops are set to paly a vital role in increasing this profile. The Medavakkam main road becoming a 4-lane road is also going to boost the profile in a major way. The proposed extension of MRTS from Vallechery to St Thomas Mount will increase the transport infrastructure. There is a lot of scope for developing the parks and public places at Nanganallur. If you aspire to buy realestate property at Nanganallur, invest in interior places which are supposedly remote now, yet will be well connected in the near future due to the above connectivity!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

IXP on GapingVoid of Hugh McLeod

Idea: Reject Main stream media and marketing; Set the new marketing trend by inventing one using blog power.
Execution: Hugh did not sell his cartooning creativity to publishers or copywiring agencies. He simply used his creativity to find a new niche - cartoons drawn on back of business cards. He blogged for several years. Then he partnered with English Cut and mad it into a Global Microbrand. He wrote his model as Hughtrain motivated by Cluetrain manifesto. Now he is targetting geeks be it Wine from South Africa or Yatch. Execution in one line is: Be on top of the heap by creating the heap. Central to his method is 'Indirectness'. So he put his creative work under creative commons license. So that there it becomes more widespread. And removes any 'firction' for his fans to relate to it.
Profit: Biggest profit to Hugh is he is happy to explore Freedom at his terms. On the side: He gets a cut in the wines sold by him, yatches, and the SAP killers sold. Technology is empowering individuals in a major way: he a good case and a leading light on how things are going to be in the future. His Global Microbrand is there for anyone interested to emmulate.

Update: Now I see that Hugh's site headline is Make Money Online with gapingvoid blog tips. Did you know that there is a service called PLR Pro that write (adsense) targetted articles and supplies to you for a throwaway fee. The idea is simple: eliminate the middle men! Make SOE tuned content and make it human compatiable too!

Idea, Execution, Profit - Listed at Blog$hares

For exciting stock options on, stock giveaway, leave a coment with BlogShare User page reference.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Getting Started with Angel Funding In India

Sanjay part of Band of Angels an angel funding network, and an avid contributor to Venture Woods is lementing that he is not getting good quality proposals. His complaint is more about the lack of necessary homework by entrepreneurs his suggestions are:

I keep getting approached by entrepreneurs who have not done the basic steps before trying to raise angel funding. I thought it may be useful to put down a basic checklist. My checklist follows.

1. Incorporate the company that is seeking funding
2. Get a good law firm and have basic documentation in place
3. Put some of your own/friends/family money in the company
4. Use that money to build something, get advisors, customers or atleast expressions of interest
5. Build a team. Part of the team may be angel employees
6. Be clear on how much money you want to raise and how will you use it to get to the next level
7. Think and articulate possible exits
8. Put yourselves in the shoes of the angel investor and make a pitch to yourself

I have yet to see a pitch for angel investing that is excellent but I am sure I will see some soon.

I also see that there are a lot of folks very clueless about the bisics of venture funding. They are starry eyed and dont understand the dynamics involved. They are not even aware that cost of capital is highest with VC funding. They ask what is cost of capital!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

BarCampMumbiai:Bindaas Geeks | Hackin' Over Vada Pav

After successful BarCampDelhi, BarCampChennai, BarCampHyderabad, BarCampMumbai now it is time for BarCampMumbai They are going to be hacking and talking about all things geek at the famous Kenwal Reki center at IIT Mumbai. They have landed hep sponsors too.
Atul Chitnis is going to launch a rocket out there - Just kidding He will be tallking about mobile computing. There is going to be interesting talk by Prayas on Art and technology.
And a talk on
Creating Wealth on Blogging+Business Networks - Ajay Sanghani, which says:

IT Events in India

You are not authorised to see IT events, Click here to register

Rock on Mumbai with Vada Pav, And dont forget the hot and spicy chilli that goes with it!


Saturday, May 06, 2006

IXP: Demat Art, craft, antiques make it available in Amazon like platform

Idea: If art and craft can be demat it will be possible to buy and sell it in fraction.
Execution: Just like commodities can be demat and traded electronically, art, craft and antiques can be demat and traded electronically. The inventory holder will have to be part of a certified network - just like certified warehouse exist for commodities. Private museuems and art gallaries are perfect candidates for participation. Onec a piece of art is demat, it will be listed in a Amazon like platform. Infact amazon platform itself can be used to list, trade the demat art forms. Only addition is it must be possible to own, buy, sell fractional ownership of the art and artifacts. The long tail dynamics of artists, critics, art buyers, valuers, inventment portfolio managers and market forces will take care of sustaining the market.
Profit: Better market linking of art. Making it easy for artists to make their art available to their audience. Art as an investment and art for art sake are not in conflict but works in tandem.

Electric Scooter maker survival guide

Recently I saw an ad for electric scooter on TV which said the cost per km is only 10 paise. I was not able to look it up on the web or anything. I was totally at loss. It is going to be tough for these guys to survive with the heavy weights like the Hero Honda, Honda, TVS and Susuki well established in the market. With deep pockets and good dealer and service networks. Remember Reva the electric car, they ended up exporting cars for the enviro geeks overseas.
Way for electric scooters to survive is to get bulk orders and approach consumers indirectly. A model like

Bicycle as Urban transport and Unifier

is best suited for the electric scooter maker to survive.
I suggest they fit their scooters with a GPS tracker and make it trackable. That way it is easy for anyone to rent it. That way it will be easy for insurance co to underwirte the high risk involved in renting out a movable asset to public at large.

They will have to organize urban self help group network to buy and rent the electric scooters to public at large. USP for consumers: Mobility where you want it, When you want it.

IXP Bicycle as Urban transport

Idea:Bicycle as Urban transport and Unifier
Execution: Create a network of urban self help groups. Give them loans to buy and rent the hi-tech bicycles.
Slowly graduate the bicycles to electric scooters. In the urban areas when bicycles are available for rent at every place hassele free, no one will be lacking mobility.
Profit: Sense of belonging ownership to the commons of the road. Cleaner greener roads. Excirce for everyone - healthier urban life. Transprot infrastructure that does not need huge investment and long periods of uncertainity.

IXP on Jawwad's Book Blue Screen of Death

Idea: Blue Screen of Death - by Jawwad; A book on what not to do on road to success in the startup path.
Execution: Leave a good career based on Ivy League MBA. Chase your startup dream. Secure venture funding, and revise your business plan several times. Fail slowly and steadily. Repeat it for couple of more ventures. Burn 3/4 of a million in the process. Return back home. Startup on a shoe string. And succeed on the learings and wisdom. And then write a book and failure. Sprinkle with humour and wit. Promote it over the Interent. Use the windows metaphor so that it becomes easy for people to relate. It will not hurt the SEO efforts too. Price is a whooping $15.77; Wait for the wannabe to pay up. They are saving themself a lot of trouble and other people's money risk.
Profit: Wisdom for the wannabe. At least as a hindsight people will be able to relate and quickly recover from the blue screen of death. Reboot and get rid of blue screen of death all together just like how microsoft did.

Update: Now the book is available for downloand/distribution under creative commons license.
Thanks Jawwad for the quick response!

IXP: Amazon Shorts

Obviously I am impressed by Amazon Shorts.
Idea: Make (short)electronic books available for throwaway price.
Execution: Use the word of mouth power of Amazon Review infrastructure, the payment infrastructure and the amazon shopping experience to make the short and sweet content available. In addition to download, it is availalbe at the digital vault of your amazon account.
Profit: More and more people have less and less time. And they want it online - and want to consume it on the go. Amazon wants to create a iTunes like economy for short digital content.

Now how do you sell your content to be listed in Amazon shorts?
Here the plot becomes thicker. You need to be an author who is already listed and selling at Then you can submit your shorts. It will be reviewed by the Amazon publishing team and will get listed in weeks. It has to be exclusive listing with Amazon at least for 6 months.

The idea execution profit format is taking shape every post. Put up with me till I get my hang of it.

PS: Here is an Idea to get started on the shorts in India. There is enough longtail economy to sustain it.

Failuer Stepping stone of Success?

Update: Tara Hunt, proponent of the BarCamp and a staunch unconference evangelist is proposing a LooserCamp, an unconference on failures and such. Making strong stepping stones heh?
Bonus Update: Seth Godin's new book The Dip is a must read!
Blue Screen of Death is a electronic book on a stupendous failure to note worthy success experience of Jawwad a Pakistani entreprenuer with a Ivy league MBA and a history of 3 failed stattups.
Here is a go at it by the author himslf:

Dear Friends

At the business school orientation for new arrivals, a fellow student asked me why I was at Columbia. My response drew a look of confusion – “I always wanted to write a book, run the New York Marathon and do a play on Broadway, the MBA is just for cheap subsidized housing.”

This of course was January 1999. As of 22 April 2006, I am proud to report that I am too fat to run and that though there were multiple attempts to produce Harvey, a Mary Allen Chase Play about a six foot tall invisible rabbit, all were sabotaged by a six foot tall invisible rabbit.

On the book front there is good and bad news. The good news is that no trees were cut down or killed in the final production run of the ebook “Blue Screen of Death – A desi’s misadventure in the land of opportunity”. Initial reviews are promising (read: not as bad as I expected), encouraging (no multi million dollar advance offers, but there is always hope for that call from Oprah or Ellen) and detailed enough to provide material for my next book “The Blue Screen - Reloaded”

The bad news is that you now have to buy a copy (more on that later) and read it (not at all mandatory if you pick a few hundred e-books online.) The book runs at 250 odd pages and is a schizophrenic mix of an email diary /memoir and a do it yourself guide to failure. For the non desi’s among my friends, the word “Desi” refers to some one from the Indo Pakistan subcontinent – the wedge of land squished between the Himalayas (on top), the Indian ocean (bottom), Oil (left) and the rest of Asia (right). It is home to the Indus Civilization, 1.5 billion souls, balti, chicken tikka, great music, really bad movies and me.

Written during five years of soul searching the book has a simple premise. To succeed as an entrepreneur, you must fail. Avicena the e-education venture I started in New York, while at school, and buried in California two years later, provides context and back drop. The last chapters summarize questions and answers I am asked on a daily basis by other entrepreneurs, friends, peers, students, wannabees and the friendly local neighborhood alien:

a. Was it worth it?

b. Will you do it again?

c. Did you learn anything from the stupid mistakes that cost you US$ 880,000?

d. Were you out of your #$@*(&! Mind?

Unfortunately till this note and the book went to press, I still hadn’t figured out the answer to the really important questions in life (What’s for dinner, What are we watching, Why me, Where did all the money go and Why am I up at this ungodly hour.) So if you are looking for universal truths, don’t buy this book. On the off chance that you do, and in the equally improbable event that you actually like it (you have to read it first,) send me a note. As an unappreciated and till recently unpublished author, it will make my day. Oh and I promise to stop returning your phone calls as soon as I become rich and famous. Till then.


Jawwad Farid

The book website:

Reviews so far:

Buy the book:

Jawwad’s alternate manifestation:

Google Jawwad Farid

Thursday, May 04, 2006

IXP on Unconference

Idea: Unconference
Execution: Make it known in the Blogosphere that there is going to be an event. Use wiki and othere tools to do all the formalities. Organize volenteers. Make it as unstructured as possible. Add fun, geekiness. Add sugar , spice and all good things like power puff girls :) . Get goodies like geektoys and iPods as give away to attendees. Get sponsor(s) to underwirte the minimal expenses.
Profit: A forum to seed viral marketing is alive and kicking.

Repeat the event with improvement at every step of the way, it is a runnaway success.

Case in point:
Pinko Marketing evangalized by Tara Hunt

Many such ideas based on the clutrain momentum are emerging! Watch out and surf on them!


Monday, May 01, 2006

Seed funding in India; Prove your idea with a prototype

One of the biggest myth amids wannabe innovators is the lack of seed funding in India. I was a true follower of this myth untill I got funding from TIFAC for my idea. The (funding)program is running for several years now from mid 1990s. It is successfully reviewed by the (National)planning commision, and the program is now extended/expanded. Now the funding quantum(per innovation) is expanded and the total allocation(whole program) is also enlarged. So there is more funding available. Unlike private seed financing this goes though a government evolved process. It is all done by an expert committee, there is a bit of process and steps involved due to it, yet it is faster.

The particular program I am talking about is for barefoot individual innovators/inventors. It is called Technology Entrepreuner Promotion Program - called TePP for short. It is administred by Department of Scientific and Industrial Research(DSIR) jointly with Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council(TIFAC) of Department of Science and Technology(DST). In the expanded regime, funding up to Rs 10 lakhs is available to seed innovations. For that the idea must be new, innovative and useful. The scope of the funding is limited to proving the concept- possibly through a working prototype.

If you have an idea, and you want to develop a prototype to prove its viablity, here is your chance. Just apply for the funding. And rock on. It might take up to 6-8 months to go thoough the clarification, proposal refinement process. So be ready for that.

The funding program is going through a rapid growth. Proposals are sought from NGO and other frontal organizations involved in the innovation ecosystem to give a helping hand. Watch out for such announcements and make your proposals.

More than the funding, it takes you thoough a process. And in the end it offers a lot of credibility to your innovation.

Rock on.

Bonus Links:
Example of a funded Idea: Devesh's Car Jack on the Go Soon Mahindra & Mahindras vehicles will come with these factory fitted!
Atta boy RajAT GupTA has a post on TePP
DSIR's page on TePP Program.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Perpetuating Microsoft: Scoble's way; What is in it for Indian IT/Software industry

Understandably I am deeply touched by Scoble's nudging of Microsof t to get a quick recap from Tom Raftery's blog

What are his five suggestions?

  • A guaranteed Terabyte of Internet-based storage space for EVERYTHING and for EVERYONE running Windows in the world.
  • buy every [Microsoft] employee a top-of-the-line Dell machine with dual monitors running Windows Vista. And do it now.
  • Change employee behavior through public compensation change logs.
  • Get rid of corporate speed bumps.
  • Force marketers to explain their decisions — in public on their blogs.

It is a fascinating post and certainly one which will generate a lot of discussion within Microsoft - any one of those changes would certainly change perceptions of Microsoft for the better.

Here’s hoping he doesn’t fall foul of the ‘corporate speed bumps’ he referred to when trying to move this agenda forward.

Now how can this perpetuate Microsoft:
Microsoft is famous for spicing up the technology wave to greate a decade long gorund swell for the technology. It re-created the good old 'point-and-click' based graphical user interface and created the windows madness. It fed the fire with Moore's law and Intel's obsession with growth.
Now flat screen TFT monitors are falling in prices. There is a emerging HDTV market that will see more multi-bullion dollar investment into display making. Now Robert Scoble is paving the way for 3-headed Vista as "productivity" and this frenzy will catch on and perpetuate the nexus, like the Intel-Microsoft nexus for another half a decade. In my opinion, at such a short distance 3-headed displays are a major health hazard and delink form the real world.
And Microsoft lost its battle in search to Google. And wants to start the war afresh with an offer of a TB for everyone and everything. More than anything, the challenge value for the Microsoft employees will make this work. To get such a thing working needs a lot of smart talent. And converting it to revenue will also need smarts. Once figured out, there will be market domination - which is the goal indeed. Nice try!

Ok that is immensely thoughtful and smart considering that he is attacking the top management and the mini-microsoft with single stone.

But what is in it for the Indian Software and IT sector.
First, is there anyone or any institution setting the agenda for the IT industry here like this. Challenging and teasing?
Even in the choosen domain of excellence - outsorrced IT services, is the Indian IT good enough to perpetuate itself with grace. Is the Indian IT majors like Infosys, Wipro, TCS happy to recurit hapless freshers our of shady engineering colleges and convet them into farm animals doing the oursourcing Charade.
Poster child success venturist like Sabeer Bhatia are too happy to settle for investing in travel portals.
While the long tail folks like Gaurav and Ashish fo Tekriti or happy to complain about Infosys Vacum cleaning the market for IT engineers.
Is there an agenda, is there a stragegy, is there a plan? Will it start from the top, bottom or from the middle?
Where is the damn discourse happenning?
Anyone any clue?

Update: Robert Scoble has left Microsoft. Bill Gates is leaving Microsoft in 2007. On hindsite, it is clear that this agenda(high/borderening impossible) setting by Robert Scoble is an indication that leaving Microsoft was in his mind while writing this.

Scooble's Idea: What is the proof of the Pudding

There is an interesting post by Rob Scoble on how to shutdown mini-microsoft
Now let me illustrate the concpet of this blog with Rob's idea
Idea: Rejuvinate Microsoft with new challenges. Or actually test the market waters for the new bold direction.
Execution: Rob went on a blogging holiday for a week. For people used to the feeds it would have created withdrawl symptoms. And then bang, come out with a bold initiative for microsoft to rejuvinate. Now you got the attention of the market waiting for something anything.
Profit: The response to the ideas and suggestions from internal and external will be carefully analyzed and new course taken. Everyone is tentatively happy. Conversation has started - as salwarts in Blogosphere will put it - a snowball is rolled downhill.

On the second look. This concept of idea, execution, profit is in a muddle within me. I will contemplate on it and give a clearer picture as we go. Meanwhile get your comments pouring in.


Update: Civilizations controled water flow along the river and thrived. Like that businesses that have an handle over the information flow will be able to thrive in the future. Giving away one Terra byte of free storage is a very good way to control the information flow at its source. Good idea Scoble!

Musings of a solopreuner

There is a divergent view that Idea is everything and execution can be 'arranged' and another school of thought that idea is dime a dozen and execution is everything. Here is my musing on the topic.
I am experimenting on the premise that proof of the pudding is eating it. I want to extend it to the concept of startup and business success.
The analogy goes like this:
Pudding Recipe -> The blast Business Idea you thought up/Dreamin for several days/week/months/years
Pudding making -> Execution of your business idea and making it a reality in the world/market
Eating -> Making a decent/big/small/obsenen profit out of Business

I will probably illustrate it with my own experience of experimenting with my pet extended Edison moment ideas.