Twitter / Balaji Sowmyanarayan

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.