Friday, July 27, 2007

Startup: Focus on the problem

Peter Rip at Crosslink has posted a great article about how Teqlo failed and now they are fixing it. I am reproducing a few excerpts, and my comments:
First, let me admit we went down a mashup rat hole. We have a general technology for snapping together web services. "Because they can" is an insufficient answer to "why do people want to create mashups?" We failed to commit to solve a specific problem for a specific market, preferring instead the broad appeal of generality. This has changed.
I have seen so many people having great ideas, looking for problems to solve. So basically, you have a solution, and you are looking for a problem. This almost never works this way, even though it seems (obvious enough) that it should work.
The first thing we did was toss out any pretense of solving everyone’s problem. There is an old proverb that I just invented for this situation -- “The boiling of the ocean begins with a single puddle.” We had to define our puddle. So we did.
Peter has hit the nail on the head. Trying to solve all problems at once is one of the biggest problems you can face. You need to have laser sharp focus on one specific problem area that you want to solve. It is very possible that 80% of your friends will tell you “why don’t you also do this, this is in adjacent space (technologically)”, “if you don’t do this, you will miss out on all the opportunities in that (other space)”. My advice is to tell your friends is “we will get to that”.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Excel tip: Instant in-cell graphs

Lifehacker has posted a Really cool hack:

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ad Networks: Why it’s better than ever to be a targeted content site

Jeremy Liew has written a very interesting article on Venturebeat:

A recent report by Collective Media found that:
  • 66% of advertisers plan to increase their usage of ad networks in 2007
  • 88% of respondents planning to use online ad networks in 2007 (up from 77% in 2006).
  • 57% of respondents believed how an ad network targets audiences was the #1 differentiating factor between networks


The WSJ recently had an excellent article on behavioral targeting that detailed Pepsi’s launch of Aquafina Alive,their new low cal vitamin enhanced water. The campaign was backed by an online campaign through Tacoda and targeted to people who had previously visited “healthy lifestyles” websites.

The result? Pepsi recorded a threefold increase in the number of people clicking on its Aquafina Alive ads compared with previous campaigns. “We’ve never been able to get to this level of granularity,” says John Vail, director of the interactive marketing group at Pepsi-Cola North America.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Mobile Bliss

I was reading a post by Fred Wilson on AVC.

From today's front page story in the New York Times about Google's $4.6bn wireless bid.

In the Internet giant’s view of the future, consumers would buy a wireless phone at a store, but instead of being forced to use a specific carrier, they would be free to pick any carrier they wanted. Instead of wireless carriers choosing what software goes on their phones, users would be free to put any software they want on them.

Hell yeah! This is the way it must be. Open devices, open services, open spectrum.

What would be really cool is if Google paid $4.6bn for the spectrum and then opened it up for the world to use as we see fit, just like Facebook opened up their platform.

The good part is that we already have this in India. It's strange that we don't realize the importance of things that come free to us - I can go any buy a phone, choose whatever carrier I want, and put whatever software on that, TODAY!

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Friday, July 20, 2007

CodeEazy - solving problems, Simply! - Launching my other blog

Anand and I have been talking about this blog for a while, there was just no time to write about some of our inner feelings about - coding. So today we launched our other blog - CodeEazy.

We have been working on, what many people would call “the most bleeding edge” technology at Komli. To give a little bit of background, we are the founding engineers at Komli. Komli is an early stage startup. Since last November we have been learning some very cool techniques of solving problems. When it comes to building a product, a typical engineering mindset, lots of times gets stuck in technical jargons, technical-coolness and sometimes religious-warfare between different technical solutions, languages etc. While, the most important thing when you are building a product is – to solve a problem. That’s it. You have to solve a problem, apply any technology, apply any language, apply any tool, use two languages or 3 languages – you gotta solve the problem. While, I obviously, am against making code unreadable or un-maintainable, and therefore mixing technologies or languages may be a no-no in some cases, however engineers mostly overdo that, by applying that rule too strictly, therefore loosing focus on – solving the problem; you gotta solve the problem, that’s the most important thing.

We have been solving numerous problems, in a number of areas, and sometimes in very cool ways.

We would use this blog to tell you about some of the cool ways of solving complex problems in simple ways. Some of what we have learnt. Some hard-learnt-lessons. I hope that you will like it.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Venturing into venture capital? Be ready.

Amar Goel posted a great writeup on venture capital. It is a must read for anybody who wants to raise money for their business:

The 3 lines I liked the most are:

Raise VC money only … If you would like to build at least a $20M business over 3-5 years and ideally a $100M+ business over 5-7 years you are a prime candidate for venture capital. If you want to build a $3M business over the next 5 years do not raise venture capital.”

“It takes a lot of time to raise venture capital. [At] Turning that interest into funding took 4 months of almost full-time work. I basically spent 15 hours a day on phone, email and in meetings selling the heck out of my company and our team. ”

“Most VCs will be loathe to invest in some “idea” you have that will change the world that nobody has ever done before.”

I have met many entrepreneur-aspirants who want to raise VC money, but have very little idea of how soon they can get paying customers, and how much those customer are going to pay them and why. I believe it is very very very important to have a clear idea of the business - who is the customer, why will he use your software (or hardware), why would he pay you for the product, how much will he pay you for the product, how would you approach this customer, how often will the customer pay you, how sticky is the product (I mean will they pay once and that's it), etc.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Internet Ad Spends In India To Double In 2007

Reported on ContentSutra by Anupama Chandrasekaran:
Media agency ZenithOptimedia expects Internet ad spend in India to more than double in 2007 and to be 10 times its current size in 2009. [via agencyfaqs] Ad spends on the Internet could jump to Rs. 450 crore this year from Rs. 210 crore in 2006 and could skyrocket to Rs 2,250 crore mark by 2009, the study said. This would mean that in two years, ad spends on the Internet will surpass those on radio, cinema and outdoor, individually.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

xtimeline is neat

xtimeline is neat. It lets you draw timeliness for anything. See following example. The best thing I like about it is it's flawless rendering of the time-lines by purely using XHTML and CSS. I love the mouseover and the right columnThe mouseWay to go guys!

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