Vijay Anand | The Startup Guy.

Posts Tagged ‘Mobile

I grew up with a poster in my room saying “The size of your world is as big as your dreams”. It was always there when you woke up to remind you to think beyond the box. It still hangs there in my room at my parents place. It’s the thought that came into my mind when I was browsing through the net, listening to some of the folk’s interpretation of Entrepreneurship.

It seems  to me as if there are a couple of theories floating around these past few weeks.

a) Entrepreneurship is overrated. Entrepreneurship is romanticized, and the often tweeted and retweeted phrase seems to be “My son is without a job, ah! he is an entrepreneur”. Well, That’s probably pushing it far, and yep, perhaps we are breaking the elitism that was once associated with being an “entrepreneur”, but isn’t this what we wanted with all the publicizing that we did and urging one another to chase their dreams? I do see that this could dampen the ones that pride in elitism, but as far as things go, there will always be a gulf between those who can dream, ideate and implement, and those who just wear the badge and do nothing. And really, the more the merrier in this party.

b) There is also this other camp, that seems to think that, Entrepreneurship is too Web 2.0-ised. I can emphatize with this camp.  I dont think entrepreneurship in India is equated with a venture in the web 2.0 world, but most of us derive our first impression from the media that we consume and web 2.0 is essentially Media and new age consumption of those content. You get hit by it in the face over and over again, till you find something interesting. That doesn’t mean that there arent other sort of ventures going on out there. Manufacturing is still one of our strongest sectors and there are plenty of neat things cooking up in that camp. So for those of you freaking out with the thought of drowning in Web 2.0 Gyaan, take heeed, there is a bigger world out there – you just need to step out more.

c) There is a third theory out there that there are a lot of NRIs returning home. And Rajiv Gandhi is rightly quoted that whatever happened a few decades ago was not brain drain, but brain banking. Along with those returning is returning a renewed sense of nationalism, pride, and a whole lot of global interaction practices, that really help us get our quality of work a notch higher to match global capabilities. The complaint is that, along with them comes the baggage to convert the cities of India, into New York and Boston, or London. They do have a point. But sooner or later as these fresh entrepreneurs hit the Registrar of Companies to get their incorporation work done, they will know that things work slightly in a different order in this country.

So, really gentlemen (and ladies), there is not much to fret. You can relax and enjoy the process as our landscape changes before our eyes.

We Really Don’t Dream Big Enough.

What I want to talk about really is not the concerns, but my own concern as to how we aren’t dreaming big Read the rest of this entry »

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There is nothing new under the sun. Nothing Whatsoever. Ideas are just evolved from one form to another to adapt and wear a new dress.

I often used to quote the phrase that “Ideas are worth nothing. Implementation is all that matters”. Its true, but it also frustrates a lot of people who think they have fabulous ideas in their hands. I don’t spell it out as much anymore, but I have figured out much easier ways to get that same point across.

A couple of months ago, I was introduced to a guy named Sian, the brains behind an event named Alpha Summit that used to happen in Europe. It was almost like Proto.in, except that their focus was slightly different. They focused on Tombstone companies. Companies which would have died, if not for that boost that an event brings together. They succeeded a bit in what they did, but turning around a company is no one day matter, it takes months and years to turn some companies around, and hence the Alpha Summit is no more. But the thought has stayed in my mind, that some companies simply are hatching ideas that are way ahead of its time. If the timing is right, and if it is repositioned, there is a chance for a miracle. Heck, if we have already categorized them as a tombstone, why not give it that shot? That’s been a thought in my head, as we are also looking at ways to evolve where Proto.in stands right now. But this thought goes beyond that.

When I first heard from Arun Katiyar, the concept of an Event Web, I was quite amused. It’s true, our life is a sequence of events, and an “event-web” as he put it, makes a lot of sense. SERaja was a company for which the visions came from Rajesh Jain and Ramesh Jain. Ramesh has published a paper on the same concept. They were one of the companies that presented at the first edition of Proto.in. Unfortunately, it seems that they didnt manage to build traction as they hoped to, but then just recently I heard a very similar pitch. It came from Dandelife and Lifeblob. Timelines, events, blogs, friends and how everything is interconnected.

While SEraja had complicated the implementation a bit my mixing multimedia content and such, and also adding the complexity of mobile phones and such, Lifeblog is taking the incremental step of taking blogs, appealing from a point where everyone is comfortable and taking it from there. To be quite honest, I signed up, found a fair bit of friends there and am still trying to figure out how well it works. I haven’t made too many posts there, given that I can barely keep my facebook, blog and twitter updated – let alone a lifeblob. But if you haven’t already succumbed to so many social networks, it does make sense to stick to that.

One of the oldest ideas that makes me remember of the phrase that Ideas are immortal is how Location-based services are coming up. LBS had the imaginations of people lighted up and quite a bit of rave imaginations I must say, were running behind what it could possibly do. Five years ago when I was bootstrapping a venture, we explored around that, lobbied with the canadian govt to give us location data and were shooed away. Fun times. But today companies such as bangalore-based Yulop are digging that old grave up and bringing that dream to life – atleast the hope of such dreams back to life.

Most often timing, and the wrong timing is what kills an idea. VoIP still hasn’t taken off, because people really don’t know what to do with it beyond making phone calls, and the infrastructure cost that goes into it is so darn expensive that it doesn’t justify the phone calls as a function or feature. VoIP will die its death in this timeline, but will come back again. Perhaps when 3G becomes prevalent and demand pushes need and applications and services are born, a revival might come in place.

Quite a lot of folks ask me whats a good idea worth exploring. It is quite interesting to note that the “ideas to toss” section of this blog is one of the most popular ones, apart from the controversial ones that come up from time to time. People are looking for ideas, and thats a statement. Sometimes, in order to look into the future, you just have to look at the past and see what has died before its time, and perhaps give those tombstones a new leash on life.

If you want a hint and a springboard, go right ahead to the deadpool section of Techcrunch and see, what you can dig up, and where you can play the part of a necromancer (Oh the Diablo playing days!)

More Links to Click:
Startup North
Startups that came back from the Dead
Michael Arrington Seeds Dead Startups.
Y Combinator List, with Lots of Dead Startups

I mean someone who develops for the Mobile Platform, not a developer who is always on the move 🙂

Well, there are a few platforms that you might be interested to play around with, if you have an interest for embedded systems, and especially the mobile platform. Here it goes:

MobiSy: Rich Applications for your Mobile.

OpenMoko: An open development kit – Imagine having a phone with everything unlocked, and nothing beyond the realm of control by code. That’s what OpenMoko grants you. It’s a fabulous kit for folks who want to go beyond developing apps for Java or Symbian, or Windows Mobile.

Android: Well known. Enough said.


Bug Labs
: Custom-build your pieces. I found this a few days ago, and am absolutely floored. The beauty about this kit is that its not restricted to mobile handsets. Its almost the lego of the electronics world.

Mango Technologies: Mobile Application Framework. A Bangalore based company. Related note: Check out Mophun, a mobile gaming application Framework.

Flashlite: When this thing gets mainstream from adobe, we better watch out for some deadly applications.

QTopia from Trolltech, an application platform and User Interface Layer for Linux powered devices – handhelds, and the likes.

So why am I mentioning all this? If a Luxury handset manufacturer in Bangalore has gotten funded $2Million, what are the next set of pieces which will have to fall in place?

So, I need a new phone. That’s a given. Which one, is the issue.

As Always I’ve tried going through the list of things I’d like on the phone, and here they are:
1. I do check mail on the go, and do very much need it.
2. Ability to hop to a wireless lan when available would be great.
3. Should be type friendly.

Now My options are to go with an Apple Iphone, a Blackberry Curve, or a Sony Xperia.

I love the Apple Iphone, because its an Iphone – does anyone need any other reason than that? It obviously has a slick interface, and gmail on an Iphone is a dream come true. It is not quite push email, but I guess do whatever I am doing currently, and logon whenever I do find the time and catch up with emails. And the fact that it can hop to a wireless lan, and has an awesome screen space, is tempting enough.

The Cons:
1. Given as to how many text messages I shoot out – its much simpler to co-ordinate, remind and respond – the iphone’s interface seems very hard to do that. I have been practicing on the interface of the Ipod Touch, but its still very irky. Do things get better? Is there a way to calibrate the touch? Would like to know.
Read the rest of this entry »

Attending Proto.in Delhi
From an event planning perspective, the first and foremost major milestones are the dates and the venue. We’ve just about finalized them. We had played a bit of a gamble announcing the dates first and then looking for the venue, but as luck should have it, we’ve managed within the same timelines and have tentatively finalized on it.

Dates: July 18th and 19th 2008.
Venue: IIT Delhi, Delhi.

Do keep an eye on the blog and sign up for the mailing list to stay up-to-date on whats being planned for this edition of Proto.in. We made a promise that for every edition of Proto.in, rather than coming together and group whining about what all is wrong for the startups in India, we’d make an attempt to solve them. The Startup Lunch initiative was one such effort to solve the hiring problem that Startups were facing – and its been extremely well received. We have a slew of such initiatives under wraps which we will be launching in every consecutive editions, and obviously the Proto.in companies will be given priority for each of these services – as much as they are open to all, as of now. If you wanted to know, that’s one more reason to head to the nomination page and to submit your company profile, if you are a technology product based Indian startup.

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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.

I was thinking of this while I was sitting through a brainstorming meeting and there were heated debates on the monetization capabilities of local business search services such as what Google Local is doing.

Well, there are arguments for and against it and for one, I dont believe that vertical silos of the same information is going to help. Justdial has done a fabulous job (atleast more than most) in aggregating critical info and I came to know that they just shut down their shop in Chennai because they weren’t getting many calls they are apparently still going strong. I hear they are much bigger in Bangalore and Mumbai, but I do suspect that the percentage of floating population also contributes much towards the success and breaking point of these “local” services.

This idea is and probably will form a crucial element for the Mobile Caller ID service that I have been talking about. The basic concept is this: If you take all these mobile operators, all of them (vodafone, Airtel, Aircel, BSNL) all have their individual customer bases. What would it take to come up with a unified telephone directory that bridges all these networks so that people can look up numbers easily.

If such a directory is available, then it will also make sense and will make life a little easier when the Mobile Caller ID part kicks in, since it will only have to query a single database and find the identify of the caller and his name.


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