Vijay Anand | The Startup Guy.

Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

Disclaimer: This is just a theory. Not the fact.

The war between the giants, Microsoft and Yahoo continues. But none of the threats, nor the position that Yahoo is in, seems to be putting a brake on the companies they are going around acquiring, nor the services they are releasing. Life is as normal, infact on a fresh new lease – one that is quite agressive for Yahoo!.

So here’s a theory that I have, and time will tell how much of this is true.

The following things seem to be happening:

1. Yahoo is very pissed off at Microsoft.

2. Yahoo has been for the longest time wanting to get into what Facebook is doing. And now it does. – the open platform shabang.

3. Yahoo is working on a whole new ad delivery platform.

4. Yahoo has an amazing advantage of close to 5 million new email signups every month in India alone – which is actually ahead of what Google has, followed by I believe either Indiatimes or Rediff.

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I admit that I have a pretty old phone. I’m looking for a new phone and most probably will go for an Iphone or the Sony Ericcson Xperia, but am more leaning towards the latter.

I do keep in touch with people over IM and lately, its much easier to catch up with people over IM, than to write a mail to them.

I tried out this service called Nimbuzz, which is essentially an all-client messenger for mobiles. The best part is that its free, and the software is quite elegant and user friendly. The even better part is that contrary to what fring told me, they actually have the app for most phones that roam the face of the planet – which essentially means that even if you arent cutting edge, you have a chance of enjoying the same features, benefits and luxuries of the elite.

I guess now we have three contenders in the ring. There is Mundu IM, Fring, and Nimbuzz playing this game. There are a few others, such as IM+ and so on, but i doubt that they are even going to get close to measuring up. Time will tell how these boys measure up against one another.

PS; Fring supports VoIP calls as well, because its also a SIP dialer. Nimbuzz says “Coming soon”.

Update: Apparently, there is also ebuddy which is in this game. *sigh*. I have a feeling that this space is already overcrowded.

Whenever I came across the option of making a “new” document, I have seen the option to make a new blog post, but systematically ignored it fearing what it might throw on me in the name of a blog editor. On a whim, I clicked on it to see that it actually even allows for integration of wordpress blogs. I must say that’s an impressive first step. I was actually expecting a long and tedious registration process that would only work with some new blog platform that they might have thought of.

Let me hit “Publish” and see how it reacts.

Update: Holy Molly! It works!

“Build the traction and let’s think about the revenue stream later”, they say. Another variant of the same thought is the often heard “Get as many eyeballs as possible and then you can figure out the business model”.

How, I ask?

Most of the folks who do know me personally will tell you that I shudder everytime I hear “Web 2.0”. It might as well be pronounced as the “thing that sinks in money and gives back nothing” as far as I am concerned. I am not totally going against everything in that category. Some are just great businesses which are cursed under that category, but the usual trend seems to be that, if you can whip up some snazzy thing, you can float it up as a venture. Not too sure about that one.

So why am I writing this post, when I’ve said this countless times before? I got an email which goes something like this in the part where it describes the company and what it does:

“The xyz software and the xyz IM and Text Message Service are completely free. PC calls from xyz are also free. Mobile calls from xyz, however, are charged at local fixed line calling rates (or deducted as part of your monthly local minutes package). This will change soon, when we release our Mobile VOIP solution – and all calls will also be free.”

I read a Free, another Free, another one and yet another Free. There was this minute little scope for revenue which was also washed out by the following Free. So, if I were an investor, when would I see my money back?

PS: I’m going to categorize this under “humor” 🙂

With 14 companies taking the stage, around 20+ Venture Capital Firms, and three Angel Investment Funds present, with quite a few of the corporate world present, the January edition went quite well than I ever anticipated. It goes without saying that we’ve stepped up a notch higher and the pressure is only going to mount further as we go further – that’s one aspect that is getting quite clear.

I am hearing lots of positive reviews from the startups who presented (especially with the traction they are getting) and if I may quote one of the participants who wrote to say “We have already received dozens of emails from investors asking our Business Plans or Executive Summary.” that’s quite encouraging – since they are especially focused on getting funding and thats the reason they came to Proto.in.

The next edition is planned to be on Delhi on the dates of 18th and 19th July ’08. The venues are being discussed and will be finalized soon and you can catch up with all the notifications and updates on the blog. Do sign up for the mailing list to stay abreast of all new developments and progress updates.

Now that that is taken care of, this blog shall hopefully resume its activity 🙂

Blog Link:
Sid’s post-event blogpost.

I am starting to see quite a bit of devices and platforms that are starting to provide more and more, of-the-box support for Flashlite. Flashlite, Adobe’s Runtime library for Flash Animation for devices on low resources is a very good alternative for devices that have a need for interative interfaces. It’s seen quite a steady adoption in the Mobile Platform as well, as more and more interactive applications are starting to surface.

I wonder if this is a new trend in the making…

‘Brand Equity’ seems to be a much spoken word these days. As per a recent report by the Economic times, India is the third largest economy when it comes to the advertisement industry, pushing China to become the fourth in time of scale and the cash-flow that is pouring in into that segment of the industry.

While at one end that is going on, people are looking at new ways of monetizing and revolutionizing this market. Whenever there is more cash than there is space to move, this always happens.

There are a couple of very interesting things happening:

1. Television is moving to the Internet.
This is a no-brainer. I guess with the success of Youtube and Homevideos and how even the common man seems to understand the concept of “The Long tail“, this is the most talked about subject.

What is to be noted is the difference between internet videos and internet television (or IPTV). It is simply not the same. While one is a web level aggregation of different videos, the other is using the internet as a medium to deliver high quality content, in a way that the web can afford to – multi-casting, at the same time unicasting. That’s when terms like microchunking, RSS Video feeds, personalization and Video on the go (with technologies such as slingbox) comes into play.

We’ve barely scratched the surface here.

2. Ads are taking on a new momentum.

Firebrand. Indibiz.tv
Two web based commercial channels. I mean, channels which show nothing more than commercials, but of course you get the pick of what advertisement you want to watch and when. Welcome to the world of asynchronous broadcasting. With the recent trend in advertisement directors outwitting the regular programming directors in terms of quality and content, this is said to be a new trend that is setting the stage.

Infact, Firebrand is being pulled together by the same guy who came up with the concept of MTV, back in the days when playing music videos were meant to be “nothing more than commercials for the bands who played the music”. Perhaps they aren’t that different.

3. Place-shifting technologies will flatten the media space.
Imagine being able to cross the boundaries of those that are defined by the broadcasting companies and being able to watch anything from across the world, when you want to see it. That’s simply amazing. This will be the driver in terms of pushing media to the web and in making IPTV a reality.

4. Watch only what you want.
Pure Youtube style. Different channels, which know your personalized settings and will only show you what you want to see. Even if I tune into BBC, If i am only interested in sports related news, I would be able to watch just that, and not need to listen to the quibber of anything else which might not be of my fancy.

5. Alternate Revenue models
I am not too sure if the Youtube model is going to sustain itself. Google is converting that as a aggregation point for bigger broadcasters to push their own content in the internet medium. But if the home videos that made Youtube what it is, is to continue, then the content aggregators need to come up with ways to monetize the content on behalf of the publishers and share the profits. Companies such as Nautanki and also Indiainteracts are looking into that. They are going about doing that by means of advertisement and also by placing relevant advertisements before or after the video. Perhaps this is where contextual video ads will find its way… in its best form.


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