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Is VC industry decaying ? May 31, 2006

Posted by rajAT in entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, startup, vc, venture capital.
4 comments

We normally hear VC's saying with lots of pride that we only write big cheques. And the bigger cheque in VC parlance normally means not less than couple of million dollars. If we look at today scenario, then we will notice that startups don’t need big money. Thanks to LAMP and open source software, burn rate of startups have gone down by an order of magnitude. To top it all, because of the stellar success of technology startups the whole ecosystem has matured quite a lot. At any tech hub you can find couple of technology entrepreneurs who have tasted success and are more than willing to advice young entrepreneurs. The presence of organizations like TiE can help you to connect to right kind of people.

So the two major roles, apart from funding, that VC's used to perform are being done by other agencies. Shouldn't that sound alarm bells to VC's. If you look a little more deeply into the VC industry then you will notice that the VC's are the one who understands the change the best as they invest in it. They are the ones who walk at the bleeding edge of change in any industry (technology, pharma etc.) But while chasing things elsewhere they forgot to take a stock of the situation at their own home.

In today’s changing scenario, when the capital requirements of startups have gone down considerably and other roles of advisory and networking are being performed by other agencies, VC's should take a fresh look at their position.

I think for some of the reasons stated above we are seeing such kind of events happening quite regularly.

In coming years it would be very interesting to see the changes that will take place in VC business. Change is constant. Amen.

Hyderbad Metroblogging May 30, 2006

Posted by rajAT in andhra pradesh, city blog, hyderabad, india, metblog, metblogs, metroblogging.
3 comments

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Great news. Hyderabad Metro blog is live now.

Metroblogging is the largest and fastest growing network of city-specific blogs on the Web, with almost 50 active sites. From San Francisco to Bangkok, from Karachi to Toronto, Metblogs are a hyper-local look at what's going on in the city. Our hand-picked core of regional bloggers give each site a new perspective on daily life; less calendar listings, more friendly advice. With Metblogs, you can read about life and times in your neighborhood, your favorite places to visit, places where you've never been, or get a feel for them all with the daily "best of" blog on the hub at metroblogging.com.

Sean has reported that with the launch of Hyderabad, there are 4 metblogs in India, making it the most metbloged country outside of the US, followed by Pakistan and Canada both with 3 cities. Other metblogs in India are Banglore, Chennai, Mumbai. Kolkata and Delhi are missing. I think kolkata is on a strike and delhi is busy shopping ;).

Btw, all you hyderabadis out there if you want to contribute you can apply here.

SpiceJet: The spiciest one May 30, 2006

Posted by rajAT in indian aviation, jet airwarys, low cost airlines, spicejet, spicy.
28 comments

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I was the last passenger to get on to the SpiceJet flight from Delhi to Hyderabad. As soon as I boarded the flight the lovely air hostess told the captain, “All on board”. The door behind me began to close. I stood there and was looking at the closing door. It was a different feeling and for a moment I thought I am in my charted plane all for myself and they are waiting for me to get on the flight. I stood there thinking when this dream will come true but suddenly the air hostess interrupted, “Sir, please take your seat”. While I was going towards my seat the plane began to move and I felt as if I have boarded a bus and not a plane. Talk about mood swings ;). Can’t they wait for me to be seated? I know the flight is late but still. Don’t know whom to blame for the delay: AAI for the poor infrastructure or SpiceJet ground staff who could have been a bit more enterprising in crowd control. The flight was full half an hour late.

It all began when I entered the airport. As usual I forgot to get my luggage screened and went straight to the ticketing counter for my boarding pass. This time I realized myself that I have to get my luggage screened before I can proceed any further. So I went back to get my luggage screened. When I have entered the airport there was no rush at the x-ray machine but now the line was as very long. I cursed myself.

After getting my luggage screened, I collected my boarding pass and more troubles started. There were close to 10 flights scheduled in the space of 1 hour i.e from 9 pm to 10 pm. And the rush at security check was unbelievable. I told to the fellow who was standing next to me that this looks like a railway station. He smiled and said that railway station is better but this seems to be a bus stand. And everybody around us laughed. The joke was not all that great but I guess everybody was looking for a small relief from the chaos around. The AC’s were not working and the kids were yelling on top of their voices. I know it is not the kids fault but these are instances which make me hate the Kids. I sincerely pray to god that he should make kids a bit more understanding.

The time is 9:10 pm and the flight is supposed to depart at 9:30 pm and I am still standing in the security check line. And there is no chance that I will make through it soon. I was cursing Praful Patel and everybody involved in airport modernization process for delaying it so much. Now I am going to miss my flight and who is going to pay for it. Mr. praful patel I am not going to vote for your govt. in the next election. Things got worse when I reached some 5 feet close to security check entrance – the police officer announced that the line in which I am standing is not legal and all the passengers should go back and come in line. I was like what the hell. Till now nobody said that this line iwaslegal or not legal and now he was saying that this was illegal. The gentleman standing in front of me and behind me couldn’t take it anymore and blasted the officer. A major confrontation began between the police officer and the public which resulted in the victory of us, the passengers.

Near the security gate I saw a big family who were flying Air Deccan to Mumbai. There were 3 adults and 5 kids in that group. One kid with them was carrying couple of bats. Police officer told him that he can not take it onboard and the little boy gave him a look that was so cute. (Some of the instances when I love kids). The kid’s dad was also not supporting the poor chap and was scolding him. Now the kid has hugged his bats very tight and won’t let anybody near him. I reasoned with the police officer what is wrong with the bats, he is not going to hijack the aeroplane with them. But he was very strict and refused to listen. In the end kid’s mother turned out to be the most enterprising of the lot and she got the bats checked in. The same family was carrying large bags as cabin luggage and again the security guy created a ruckus. Lots of other passengers were also carrying big bags as cabin luggage. All of them have to get their big luggage checked in which amounted to the flight delay. I think this could easily be avoided if the airline staff, while issuing the boarding pass, can check the cabin luggage of the passengers. This also showed that middle class passengers who are flying for first time do not much about the baggage regulations and airlines should do something to educate the customer who is flying for the first time. It is in their benefit as that will save time. Most importantly, the customer will also not feel harassed. The Indian aviation industry has a long way to go before they will be on par with their counterparts in the developed countries.

Well finally I made through the security check and reached the departure lounge. It was a complete mess there was a sea of people standing there and I was not able to see the gate of the spice jet for Hyderabad. They were flying couple of flights to other destinations and I don’t want to end up in the wrong flight. 🙂

Now I am seated in the flight and strong conditioning of cabin was very relaxing. The warm and the big smile from the spicy air hostess was the best part. Between did I tell you that Spice Jet got the spiciest air-hostesses. I have never seen such beautiful air hostess on any other India airliners – Jet Airways gals are beautiful but very formal. Their smile is kind of robotic like the one I give to my boss. Air Deccan air hostess don’t smile much and even if they smile it is like a smile that I gave to my aunt who is bent on getting me married. Air Sahara, Indian airlines girls smile like the one you give to any acquaintance. But the Spicejet girls smile is big and friendly. I don’t know but I have become full fida :). So all you people out there if you want the most spicy experience at 37,000 feet above see level you know what to do 🙂 :).

PS: The post was written at 37,000 feet when I was enjoying all the spices ;).  

 

If I was in L.A. May 27, 2006

Posted by rajAT in california dreaming, forrest gump, music, song.
1 comment so far

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I am humming this song California Dreaming from the soundtrack of Forrest Gump from quite a few days.

It is like a breeze man, Try it out.

All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey
I've been for a walk
On a winter's day
I'd be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.

California dreaming
On such a winter's day

Stopped into a church
I passed along the way
Well, I got down on my knees
And I pretend to pray
You know the preacher likes the cold
He knows I'm gonna stay

All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey
I've been for a walk
On a winter's day
If I didn't tell her
I could leave today

 

All credit to The Mamas & the Papas.

 

India and Citizen Journalism May 27, 2006

Posted by rajAT in blog, citizen journalism, digg, india, media2.0, mom2.0, web2.0.
18 comments

Last evening, I gave an overview of Web 2.0 to my mother. I told her that now people can have their own digital diaries on internet. They can express their opinion on any topic and can share it with other people. This whole phenomenon is called Blogging. She said, "It is little weird my dear, Diaries are supposed to be personal". I told her that people write their views on politics, technology, sports etc. Some of them are personal also people write about their break offs with their girl friends and boy friends but then privacy was a 20th century problem. She couldn’t really come on terms with the privacy part.

After that I started showing her some blogs. Ajit Jaokar's OpenGardens was open on my laptop. She read open gardens and exclaimed, "Rajat show me this one". The word gardens have attracted her. My mom loves gardening and her Bonsai are very famous. I chuckled and said this is not about gardening but a mobile blog. She was not happy on listening this.

After that I started telling her that Media is no longer one way. It has become a lot more participative. She was quietly thinking and I was looking at her. She then said this means that now anybody can become a reporter. I was like YESSSS!!! I have not uttered a word about citizen journalism and she got there on her own. I got very excited and told her about that the best source of information on IRAQ is not CNN or BBC but a blog. People all over the world go to that website for unbiased information on IRAQ. Next thing on my radar was Ohmynews.com. I told her that all the news items published here are submitted by common people and not journalists. This gives so much power to common people like us as now we have a big forum to express our views. I told her that now we don't need a team of senior editors to decide which is bigger news and which new item should not be printed. Thanks to Digg.com where people decide which news goes on the top and which goes on the bottom. This is WE in WEB.

She was very impressed on listening to all this. And I ended my little lecture by saying that these changes are as big as the invention of printing press.

But after that I started thinking about why citizen journalism is so easy for Indians to get. This was 3rd or 4th time when I have given an overview of Web 2.0 to a person who uses internet barely. All of them jumped at citizen journalism. I think people especially Indians have lacked forums where they are heard, a place where they can go and speak about the problems like corruption, bureaucracy that have crippled the society. I can forsee a very bigger change that our society is going to witness in near future.

Can you?

Why TiVo needs Google ? May 26, 2006

Posted by rajAT in dvr, google, TiVo, video.
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Both the search giants Yahoo and Google are getting aggressive on the video front as that was the last frontier left where they have not made any significant in roads till now. So TiVo can lead them to the bedroom of consumers where they don’t have any place right now.

A major reason given for what TiVo is going to gain out of this deal is that – A consumer will search for a video on the web through a PC and then watch them on their television sets. Doesn't it seemed a bit far fetched at the moment. The kind of video content people search on internet is better consumable only on the PC. For a moment let us forget the horrible viewing experience a consumer will have to bear while viewing the content on TV because of different resolutions. How will one decode the content available in so many different formats?

TiVo is going to do decoding on hardware. If they are going to do it in software then why you need a set top box in first place. Just select the content on web, download it through internet and then transfer the display on any big screen.

If a user is going to get a message when he is seeing a transferred content from internet on his TiVo that the "Decoder for this video is getting downloaded" then from next time a user is going to see stuff on his PC only.

It has been said that if TiVo wants to become "Google of TV" TiVo needs Google. It will help the 3 million subscribers to search for and watch any broadcast or broadband media.

One very important question that needs to be answered here is that to become "Google of TV", does TiVo needs Google? Now that is a billion dollar question, isn't it? Google is Google today because of the page rank algorithm. Does this page rank algorithm needed for video search? I really don't think so.

Video content that is mostly available is in directory format. Plus the tagging provides a better search experience then the keyword based.

Last but not the least I really don’t know how a add sense is going to work on this platform. I have used interactive TV interface in Boston. They will provide with a summary of the programme in couple of lines and it was really difficult to read them from distance. And we are talking about reading discreet Google ads. If we talk about any other model then it is not Google ad sense and need to be perfected then why Google.

I think TiVo is much better off without Google. TiVo has done all the hard work and market seems good for it now. It should not now let Google to exploit it.

CNeT report on it is here.

Optical Illusions May 25, 2006

Posted by rajAT in fun, magzine interactive, optical illusion.
15 comments

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Transparent magzines allow people to interact with their advertisements in cool ways. The magzines were printed in a way, that when you place them in front of yourself correctly, they appear transparent and show a part of your figure perfectly.

For more of these pictures click here.

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Bloggers Anonymous May 25, 2006

Posted by rajAT in Bloggers Anonymous, crisis.
1 comment so far

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I coudnt control my wits when I saw this Bloggers Anonymous.

The first step towards bloggers anonymous is admitting that you have a problem.

 

 

Congratulations!

You've made it this far. By coming to terms with your condition—your chances of recovery have increased significantly. Bloggers Anonymous will help see you through this difficult time. Just remember—you are not alone.

Tell us a little about yourself here and let the recovery process begin!

The twelve step recovery process includes.

There is no cure for Blog Addiction. But there is recovery. We call this proecss Blog Recovery Basics (BRB) fueled by our unique 12 step program:

1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our blogs had become unmanageable
2. Came to believe that a Sys Admin greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
3. Made a decision to turn our blogs, logins and passwords over to a trusted third party
4. Made a searching and fearless content inventory of our blogs
5. Admitted to Bloglines, to Feedburner and Technorati being the exact nature of our overposting
6. Were entirely ready to have the RSS and Atom feeds removed from our sites
7. Humbly asked our blogroll to remove links to us
8. Made a list of all blogs we had linked, and became willing to delete them all
9. Made chmods to our directories wherever possible
10. Continued to take content inventory and when we were tempted to blog, promptly admitted it
11. Sought through coffee and Tivo to improve our time offline and resolved to not check our Technorati rankings more than once a day
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

I have vowed that I will not become a victim of blogging :).

Have you ?

TiVo Guru Guides May 24, 2006

Posted by rajAT in aggregator, TiVo.
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TIVO has announced something really cool called TiVo Guru Guides.

TiVo Guru Guides are lists of the best television programs, hand selected by experts in categories you care about. We've partnered with cultural leaders like Sports Illustrated, Billboard, CNET, and Entertainment Weekly who know what's worth watching. You can browse TiVo Guru Guides and choose individual show recommendations to record onto your DVR via TiVo Online Scheduling or even better, sign up to automatically record a Guide directly on your DVR.

With this feature it once again proves that future of media lies not in distribution but in aggregation of content.

I myself have been a believer from long time that the TV viewing experience should be made better. And by that I don’t mean bigger TV screens, flat screens, dolby surround system etc. The TV hardware that people have is good enough. But what they need is help to search through 100 of channels and 1000 of programmes that get beamed in their TV daily.

Guru Guides help a lost couch potato like me to know the best of the content that is getting beamed. Guru's in that area e.g. sport illustrated will recommend that content to me and that will get downloaded to my DVR. Now how cool is that. So next time when I switch on my TV I will not miss any of the best programming on sports illustrated. My legs are already getting weak here :).

The concept of time-shifting of the TV content is already disruptive now by putting this feature TiVo has made their offering all the more compelling.

All the best guys and carry on the good work.

 

 

 

Barcamp @ Second Life May 21, 2006

Posted by rajAT in barcamp, MMORPG.
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Barcamp Virtual

Recently, Barcamp was organized in virtual world. Now that is unconference in truest sense. The venue for this first of its kind of conference was Waterfall Salons @ the Hipcast Expo. The accomodations coudln't have been more geeky. The arrangements for accomodations included audio streams and video streams. The conference was scheduled at 6-8 PM SLT. Yeah you got it right, SLT is Second Life Time. They had a information center too. For more information one could have pinged Spin Martin or HL9 in Second Life. More FLICKR pics of this amazing barcamp are here.

Now the virtual worlds have been touted as the next big thing. Social, cultural and economic possibilities they present will just blow your mind.

Lets take an example. We all got blowed by the movie called Matrix. One of the most outlandish thing that was shown in Matrix was that on demand a software program of a skill like kung-fu, flying a helicopter can be loaded into a human and he becomes an expert on it. Now acquiring and expertising most of these skills is not a joke in real world. But in a virtual world everything is possible. So if you want that your Avtaar (your alter-ego) should dance like Michael Jackson or play guitar like Eric Clapton, its possible. Use your Linden Dollars.

This just show one possibility. There are tonnes of things that can be done in Virtual World. In virtual life you can do anything and are not restrained by your physical and mental capacities. One of the Second Life veterans who goes by the name of SageBrushed always wanted to pursue an architectural career but couldnt not make it. In Second Life he is considered to be one of the top architects. For the naysayers, people in second life owns virtual houses and virtual lands.

So go and create your alter egos :).