Archive for January, 2006

Healthcare Automation

Hi! Sorry I have been out of scene for a while with my posts. For the past couple of months what is really caught my attention is a concept called Unbound Healthcare, this basically means remote monitoring of patients who have small gadgets attached to their bodies which collect medical related informtion like Temperature Fluctuations, Blood Pressure, etc. and send them over to the required monitoring personnel for consistant diagnosis. This also acts as a cost saving operation as there are no costs involved in setting up appointments and conducting tests (Which are pretty expensive in the western countries). The information can be transmitted over either wireless networks or can also be sent over the internet by a USB enabled pluggy. This concept is expected to hit a $34 Billion scale by 2015. Although most of the players in this field are currently worried about regulatory go aheads (Which are currently in process) but some action is happening in this domain nevertheless. A company called HomMed (Which has been acquired by Honeywell in 2005) has already reached the $42 million mark by end 2005. I believe a concept like this can also be implemented in the Asian countries as healthcare costs are consistantly rising.

I will be posting more on this topic as I get the required interest level from fellow Wooders!

Till then…cheers!

Upcoming Venture

I am in the process of formalizing an entity. Looking for some “techno-business-savvy” minds in this process.
Guys, don’t send too many queries at this stage, but do respond if you have some interest in participating.
Constraint of being in Delhi-NCR region.

Venturewoods bloggers wake up!

Saw a couple of posts that the level of activity on venturewoods is decreasing — I am convinced that everything that has to be said hasn’t been said, so wake up!

And yes, have seen some interesting comments from some people who are not registered authors — if any of them want to write their own posts, please let me know and I will setup an account.

Who is an entrepreneur?

Was seeing a TV show yesterday, and one of the people (now, an entrepreneur) mentioned that in his past jobs, he had always taken a goal and then given the resources at hand, had tried to make the best of it — and in that sense those jobs themselves were very entrepreneurial… Got me to think who is an entrepreneur? Especially, now that one keeps hearing about intrapreneurship, social entrepreneurship, etc.

I am a pretty black and white guy on this — you have either put yourselves on the block to realise a dream, or you haven’t. What do you think? and what are the strangest interpretations of entrepreneurship you have heard?

Thoughts from Bay area

Have been out here in bay area for past few days, and visibly out of action on venturewoods. Everytime I come here a couple of things hit me:

1. The infrastructure for startups to get going is great — right from office space onwards. There are literally hundreds of easy to move in/low lockin options ideal for startups

2. The ecosystem in terms of involving experienced executives still working at other firms is there — this is more a matter of mental openness than anything else, but the “pre startup” phase seems to be doing well.

Why do Indian outsourcing majors not pursue open source ?

This question baffles me.

After all, selling services around open source seems to be the future for a lot of the software world. Oracle made 70% of their revenues last year based on services. There are clear arguments to be made in capturing a large mindshare by introducing quality open source products and monetizing it with services, customization and support.

And services, customization and support are areas that the Indian outsourcing industry has already mastered!

They clearly have the manpower, they must be having an insight into industry trends and needs, and they definitely have a strong story on the services side. So why not do it ?

Why didn’t Wipro, TCS or Infosys think of JBoss, Pentaho, Zimbra or zmanda ?

I have talked to many, many people on this, and I don’t buy most of the reasons I have heard – such as “their leadership is not innovative”, or “theres not enough money for them to be bothered”, or “they are too comfortable with their current business model”. Those sort of simplistic reasons dont hold much water, in my opinion.

The only plausible explanation that I have been offered by a friend of mine is this – fear.

Indian outsourcing majors do not want to antagonize any of their potential customers by releasing software that can potentially cannibalise their customers markets.

Is that what this is all about ? Do nothing that could jeopardize any relationship with any future customer ? That seems to tie up Indian companies in a strait jacket with little wiggle room, since one could argue that any product launch competes with a potential customer.

Guy Kawasaki on VCs

Some food for thought, for You keep saying is money but the lady has a deposit without a loan. VCs and entrepreneurs alike.

Is it already ending?

Just read this article in Businessweek.I believe media always picks up a trend a little late, and whenever they write about a boom or a bust both phenomenon are already over, i.e. the best plays are gone- both on the upcycle or the downcycle.
What do you folks think? is Web 2.0 picking up or has the window already started closing?
I remember the last time, the VC fund window was open for just about 9 months, what’s your predictions for this time?

Writing for the attention starved world

From the Financial Express comes this interesting data point:

The average time spent on the internet is on a rise. From 58 minutes on weekdays in the Indian Readership Survey (which tracks media consumption) July-December 2003, it increased to 63 in IRS July-December 2005.

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While 63 minutes sounds like a lot, email and instant messaging probably take up the lions share of the time.

What is left is very little time and attention, possibly as low as 10 minutes. All content creators (including blogs) are essentially competing for this small slice of time before the Internet user “switches off” and returns to her real life.

This leads to the following rules for creating web content:

1. Be pithy! – No one has time to read/watch/listen to long anything any more.

2. Keep it simple – Busy pages are a turn off for Internet users, as surely as a long queue is a turn off for a traveller or a shopper.

3. Dont make the user register for free content – “Free registration” is not really free because it makes the user give up his most precious asset – time!

4. Be easy on the eye – Use easy to read fonts and pleasing color schemes – make sure your ads comply to the same guidelines.

5. Summarize, organize and itemize – Make your content easy to skim through, because thats all you are going to get anyhow.

I am sure many of these rules are fairly obvious – but I am continually amazed by the number of websites that dont get it.

Critical Mass

In India what would be some good ways to get lets say 1 million members signed up. What you are becoming a member for is important but lets assume that the value proposition makes sense.

Initially if say for the first 10000 members sign up is free. Then membership costs Rs 99/-. A member gets Rs. 50 for every member that they refer. Thus early members could make significant amounts of referral income.

This kindof program would require around 5 lacs or Rs 500,000 of capital. After that Rs 49 per member would be available so you could acquire a million members for a relatively low cost. There may be other costs related to processing of member acquisition etc. To cover those the Rs 49 would provide approx 4.9 crores. If the other costs were say 10 crores then the net cost of acquiring a million members would be Rs 50 per member which could be worth it if network effects under Metcalfe’s law kick in.

What do people think. Is 10000 free memberships the right number. Do Rs 50 as referral fee and Rs. 99 as membership fee seem like good numbers.

Do others have any other suggestions on building critical mass. Are there are any examples of successful member get member schemes in India which are just referral based and not MLM ( multi level marketing) like Amway or Oriflame ?