Thursday, May 31, 2007

Komli Mixer roundup

The Komli Pune Mixer event was attended by close to 50 people from various startup companies in Pune. It was a get together where folks from the founder and CEO/CTO community met engineers and hackers from a number of startups. Check out the attendance demographics.

We had people coming from very different technology and business areas – from Avaya to Zmanda. We had participation from 42 companies in Pune. Some of the notable company representations were from, EverGrid,,, PANTA Systems, Persistent Systems, Sakaal Papers, SunGard, Symantec, Symphony Services, Xite etc.

Some people are doing really interesting stuff. Like Xite etc who are developing some very cool technology for video restoration, and think that their technology can reduce the costs of video-restoration by up to 90%., that does trip-plan aggregation. that makes CRM software. Etc.

This is probably for the first time that we had such a get together in Pune, where we had people from Pune startup community meet; I feel we had a very unique combination of CEOs, founders and engineers in this event. See chart to see the attendance demographics.

Most people that I met were young, energetic, “entrepreneur type” people, it was very cool to meet such people. We had good beer and tikka served from Sarjaa. A good number of people that I met thought that this was a very useful event, and we should organize more such events.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Credit card payments on slow links

I have been making some credit card payments of a few sites hosted in India. Most worked well; however I have seen that most of the times the process is slow. And it is pretty scary to get a “Connection timed out message” after I fill my credit card details and press the “Submit” button, since I don’t know if the transaction went through and succeeded; did my credit card get charged, did the money actually go to the target vendor? This problem will be particularly aggravated on slow links.

I wonder if there is a solution to this problem. To restate the problem – “how can a vendor ensure that there is a delay of maximum 1-2 seconds after pressing the submit button on a credit-card-payment page and before the next page saying ‘Thanks for making the payment’ comes?” I usually see a delay of almost 1 minute, which sucks.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Event Alert: Komli Pune Mixer

Komli Pune Mixer

When Wednesday, 30 May, 6:30 – 9:30 pm
Where Komli Media Pvt. Ltd.,
A-4, 2nd Floor,
Nav Vrishali,
(Above Cosmos Bank),
ITI Road, Aundh,
Pune 411007.


Komli's Mixer is ground-zero for meeting people in the Pune startup community. Based on the philosophy that good ideas become better when discussed with great people, Komli's Mixer is a platform to network with people who are interested in and/or doing startups.

Entrepreneurs, working professionals, hackers and VCs -- all are welcome. Budding entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to talk to some of our distinguished guests.

Snacks and soft drinks will be provided.

Attendees are strongly encouraged to confirm attendance since the venue might not be able to hold more than 40 people.

Please signup at For suggestions and feedback, please email .

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Microsoft's moving business model ...

Om Malik wrote on GigaOM:

Microsoft’s willingness to pay big dollars and bid aggressively for aQuantive ($66 a share versus mid-$30s trading price) shows that the Barons of Redmond truly believe that advertising will play a big role in its future. How that eventually plays out - remains to be seen.

As an aside, as Microsoft moves away from its more predictable software (OS and productivity suite) based business models into new categories - games, subscriptions and now advertising - do you think some of the predictability in their business model is going to be … to put mildly… be replaced by volatility?

Greg Sterling has more thoughts about the deal after his chat with Joe Doran, General Manager, Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Our New Office: Komli Engineering has moved

WE MOVED TO OUR NEW OFFICE TODAY. This office has great location, with many tall trees around, some of which bear fruits; it is primly located with lots of restaurants and chai-taparis around the place, well suited for young and energetic engineers. It is situated right above Cosmos Bank on ITI road in Aundh. [see some photographs here]

We have a 2000 SQUARE FEET TERRACE, which is neatly done with lamps put on the side-walls giving it very plush looks, well suited for Friday evening barbeques and beer bashes [ friends and family invited :-) ].

THE KOMLI TEAM is like a family, where we live, work and have fun together. We don’t have walls between our offices; we believe walls inhibit team work.

SETTING UP KOMLI’S NEW OFFICE has been fun and sometimes frustrating. I started with a 19-tasks long action-item list on 1st May just as I returned from my vacation from Manali and Delhi. I picked up the 2 most difficult and most important tasks first – setting up Broadband and AC. Broadband setup what I thought was one single task bifurcated and trifurcated into a 6-task activity. One guy would put the cable from the office to the terrace and another guy would pull the cable from the terrace to another terrace. The height was when one guy came and told me his only job is to connect the left cable with the right cable; yeah right, I said. But he was right, that’s all he did; he left after that [and I canceled a project-discussion to meet this guy]. All these uncoordinated tasks made a 2 days task stretch into an 8 days task [and then they told me that the broadband access is bound to a single MAC address therefore my switch must fake a MAC address]. AC setup was more complex than I thought. The installation required a hole 5-inch in diameter to be dug in a concrete wall. They started digging the hole, until they realized that the wall is made up of only concrete and steel-mesh. So, now they have to guess the exact square inside which they can dig a round hole without disrupting the steel-mesh. I was solving this round-hole-in-a-square-mesh problem for the next one hour or so.

THE FIRST DAY was fun; we took off almost without any problems. Getting the network and the AC running at the same time, never felt so good!

I had to order new speakers to listen to our rock collection.

TOMORROW is going to be a long day, window-blinds need to be ordered and installed, one of the toilets is not functioning, gotta push the new application online, interview a few candidates …

WELCOME TO KOMLI! Please keep your hands and feet inside and fasten your seat belts …

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Startup joining Dilemma

It’s an interesting dilemma about when you should join a startup company, when you are young or when you are old. Lately, I have talked to people who are young and people who are old (I mean my age). When I talked to old people, they tell me that it is too late to do a startup or get into a startup. They look at me with a stare similar to – “are you out of your mind”. They tell me about the home loan, the kids that go to school and their lavish lifestyle. Some of them tell me about their health problems. Some of them tell me that they are “much higher than startups”, and startups is for people like me. While, deep inside, I know what really keeps them away from getting out of their comfort zones. When I talked to young people, I hear – is this the right time for me, I think I should work for a large company and “gain some experience”. What’s wrong with working in a large organization? Can I really take risk at this point in my career, I am just beginning to work, and won’t it cause problems?

I find this very interesting. I like to lecture people about this dilemma; it almost seems like my favorite topic.

While it is obvious that the best time to take a risk is at the beginning of your career. When you are young and energetic. When you can work 24 hours without a break. When the fire to know more, to solve problems in half the time your nearest competitor can. This is the time when you don’t have house loans, when you can go home late, and come back to office early (or you can sleep at the office). Remember that the next time you will have no-house-loan will be 15 years hence.

I think the young in India should take more risk. Join a startup, make something happen, work hard, build something.

Disclaimer: I co-founded Komli, and currently run the engineering at Pune, India.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sun's introduction of JavaFX

Slashdot reports, posted by kdawson on Tuesday May 08, @05:24PM:
"Internetnews is reporting on Sun's introduction of JavaFX at JavaOne today. Looks like a combination Applet, Flash, Javascript, and AJAX with a friendly programming interface. Does this really spell the end of AJAX? I sincerely hope so. Nothing built on Javascript will ever achieve the security, cross-platform reliability, and programmatic friendliness that Web 2.0 needs. Proprietary solutions and vendor lock-in are also dead ends. JavaFX has the potential to satisfy this opportunity even better than did Java over a decade ago. Along with AJAX, let's hope JavaFX also puts paid to Microsoft's viral Active-X and JScript, and, more importantly, that it really is a web scripting language that developers can grok."
Well, I don't think so. SUN has a lot of catch up to do. There are thousands of programmers who are coding new AJAX frameworks or enhancing existing AJAX frameworks as we talk.

This only means we will have more fragmentation in this space. If SUN comes up with a really good SDK for JavaFX, that will be cool.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Ubuntu Mobile Announced

Posted on Slashdot, posted by Zonk on Tuesday May 08, @09:58AM

"The BBC has up an article detailing the 'Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded' project which was announced by Matt Zimmerman, Ubuntu's CTO, on the Ubuntu developers mailing list. Zimmerman stated that 'These devices place new demands on open-source software and require innovative graphical interfaces, improved power management and better responsiveness.' According to the article, Intel will have their finger in the pie too, as they've recently announced a prototype device running Ubuntu. Part of the project's goal is to maximise the power saving abilities of a planned low-energy chip codenamed Silverthorn. The chip will be just one-seventh the size of normal chips, and consume only 10% of the power of existing processor. What does this mean for projects such as OpenMoko? Healthy competition, or the beginning of the end?"

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Power of community: Digg bows to community

From TechCrunch:

To say what happened today on Digg was a “user revolt” is an understatement. The Digg team deleted a story that linked to the decryption key for HD DVDs after receiving a take down demand and all hell broke loose. More stories appeared and were deleted, and users posting the stories were suspended.

That just got the Digg community fired up, and soon the entire Digg home page was filled with stories containing the decryption key. The users had taken control of the site, and unless Digg went into wholesale deletion mode and suspended a large portion of their users, there was absolutely nothing they could do to stop it.

Digg CEO Jay Adelson responded on the Digg blog earlier this afternoon but it was clear he did not yet understand the chaos that was coming. The post only added fuel to the fire. Just now, co-founder Kevin Rose posted yet again on the Digg blog, effectively capitulating to the mob’s demands: He says

But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.

If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.

Until today, it seems, even Digg didn’t fully understand the power of its community to determine what is “news.” I think the community made their point crystal clear.

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Fred Wilson on Online Advertising

Fred Wilson writes, following Yahoo's purchase of RightMedia:
Clearly the online ad market is hot, particularly the "display" side of the business. Both Right Media and Doubleclick are in the "infrastructure" part of the business. Doubleclick leads the market in ad serving, the most basic online ad function. And Right Media leads the market in the exchange side of the business, bring buyers and sellers together and providing transparency to everyone involved.

I think there is a lot more that can and will be done around exchanges. To date, Right Media has operated at the low end (remnant inventory) of the market. That's because the low end of the market benefits most from the efficiencies that come from an exchange. But over time I believe the entire online ad market will become exchange driven and everyone will benefit from that.

So I don't think these transactions mark the mature/consolidation phase at all. I think there's tremendous opportunity ahead in online advertising. But entrepreneurs and investors should learn the lessons of Doubleclick and Right Media. Build a dominant position in a valuable sector of the business and you'll be rewarded handsomely.

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