November 27, 2013 at 4:26 am (Uncategorized)
Tags: checking emails, cloud computing, Gayathri devi, Gayathri Japam, gmail, inspiration, invoke, Login, logout, revoke, rishis, Sandhyavandanam, SV
It is astounding even to contemplate the genius of our Rishis and their foresightedness.
Let’s say you want to check your emails on gmail. you would visit the site and login with your credentials and once you are done with the job, you would log out to ensure security. For those who might argue that they are using gtalk or having push mail delivered into their mailbox or mobile box and those who keep the gmail account open all 24 hours, please go back to the first time you checked your emails!!
What does this got to do with SV?
Before we chant the Gayathri Japam, we invoke the Gayathri Devathai by reciting “gayathri aavahane viniyogaha” which is logging into that space. Once we have completed the chanting, we recite “Gathri utvasane viniyogaha” as a means of telling that we are logging out.
Do not take this literally but as a metaphor.
Imo, the people who designed the concept of logging in and out of an application or service were perhaps inspired by the invoking and releasing the Devathais in our Tradition. It is not my intention to stir the hornet’s nest but that is a distinct possibility.
What do you think?
Just in case you want to read my other posts on Sandhyavandanam, here they are
November 3, 2013 at 2:21 am (Nasscom Product Conclave, Uncategorized)
Tags: BharatMatrimony, boot strap, CTS, day 2, entrepreneurs, exit, inMobi, Just Dial, Krishnan Ganesh, Manav Garg, Mukund, Murugavel Janakiraman, Nasscom, Nasscom Product Conclave 2013, naukri.com, NPC, opportunities in India, Orna Berry, Rahul Sood, Rajan Anandan, Sanjeev Bikchandani, TCS, Tutor Vista, VC funding, VS Sharma, Wipro
In my earlier post, I wrote about the 3 things i loved about day 1 of NPC 2013. Now I shall write about my experiences of day 2 / 29th October 2013.
Well, since i had registered the previous day itself, I went straight to the Plenary sessions.
The Planery Sessions
1. NPC 2013 had a novel way of introducing the speakers in the form of building blocks that come from all over the screen and forming captions. That way we were spared the tedium of listening to “thank him for making time for NPC despite his busy schedule”. The novelty soon wore off and perhaps NPC 2014 will have a softer less blaring music to accompany the speaker introductions.
2. Rahul Sood from Microsoft Ventures asked the audience “What motivates you as an entrepreneur?” and implored them to solve big problems in India.
3. Sanjeev Bikchandani of Naukri listed out a few reasons why it is glamorous to be an entrepreneur now in India given the respectability, social acceptance, a large domestic market and availability of funds in the form of ventures. Somehow his speech lacked the punch and the fire.
3. Rajan Anandan from Google, as usual threw a lot of figures and stats on the chances of Indian Billion Dollar (by market cap) enterprises. I heard him recently at the CII Connect at Chennai and was wondering whether he would repeat the same line but fortunately he did not. He talked about the opportunities available for the Enterprise products sector in terms of a large qualified sales force available with the established services players. He said “If you have already gained customers in the Indian enterprise sectors, selling to the US CIOs would be a cake walk”. He talked about the huge markets in Advertising Technologies and SaaS.
4. Orna Berry of EMC talked about the Israeli start up culture and the tech ecosystem. If only she spoke louder and used far less slides, we would have got a lot of value and insights into the Israeli success.
After their individual speeches and few Q&A, these 4 were invited for a panel discussion on the stage with Rangaswami of Sand Hill being the moderator.
To my question on whether we can afford to ignore the huge non-English market in India, Rajan responded by saying that the growth is in vernacular but that is stunted because of lack of online content in other languages as well as the availability of language-specific keyboards.
To another question on ”what is the right time to go in for external funding”, Sanjeev shared his early days when naukri.com was at Rs.18 lakhs turnover but he was approached by an NRI representing a VC offering him $2 Million and the promise of more rounds to eventually list in Nasdaq in a year or so. He turned it down because he could not fathom the logic behind it but raised money soon to counter a well-funded competitor.
Watch the Plenary panel discussion
Made for India Panel Discussion
Imo, this was a valuable session with entrepreneurs who have “Been there, done that” sharing their learnings with the participants. This session was well moderated by Mukund Mohan. The panelists were Vijay Sekhar Sharma, Manav Garg, Muthuvel Janakiraman of Bharat Matrimony and Krishnan Ganesh of Tutor Vista. If you are keen to know some diverse opinions of boot-strapping vs VCs, exiting a business vs a life -style and understand disruption of market places, you must watch this.
While you go through these 2 videos, I will come back with a few more posts!!
October 31, 2013 at 3:00 am (Uncategorized)
Tags: (NPC2013), Bengaluru, CAC, check-in, ebay, LTV, Nasscom, Nasscom Product Conclave 2013, paypal, Registration, SaaS, Saas pricing, Software products, theory
Just returned from Nasscom Product Conclave 2013 (#NPC2013) at Bengaluru. This is a quick post to share some top of the mind experiences. Detailed post(s) will follow, if i get around to writing them!!
Although the logo says 29-30th Oct, NPC actually started on 28th with an almost full day of workshops.
What did I love?
a. Seamless registration & check in: All i did was to mention my company’s name NRich Software at the counter that said ‘N’ and the person manning it, checked his list, spotted the name, took out my badge and handed it to me with the bag. It was almost real-time. Great show guys who designed and executed the registration.
(btw, these are my experiences. I saw a few friends looking quite hassled because there was some missing link in their reg process)
b. Subscription Pricing Framework session: The first half of the session was great because of extensive audience participation thanks to a vibrant moderation by Mukund.
(The latter half was more theory and gyan about CAC, LTV that we could have picked up from any SaaS website)
c. The ebay-paypal session onn payment experiences Session: Also interactive with a lot of t-shirts being handed over for interesting questions and answers (I got one too for asking about non-irctc travel purchases online and how come that did not spill over for other brands and products- In fact, I asked for it and got!!). The moderation by Ramkumar and the responses from Satish and Vivek was bang on. Very interactive.
Will be back about snapshots of days 2 and 3 soon!! Would love to hear what your experiences were!!
October 1, 2013 at 1:39 pm (linkedin)
Tags: endorsements, Facebook, likes, LinkedIn, management event, personal interaction, profile, random, skills
I attended a management event recently and exchanged cards with a person seated next to me. He later wrote to me recalling our meeting at the event and then sent me a request to connect with him on LinkedIn which I accepted.
Today, just after 2 days of getting connected and just on the basis of our brief interaction at the event, this gentleman has endorsed me for 4 skills “Business Development, Management, Marketing and Strategic Partnerships’!!!!!!
Should I feel great that I am oozing out all these skills that others can easily and quickly recognize?
I always thought (and still do) that endorsing someone requires personal interaction and thoughtful consideration.
Every time when I am asked by LinkedIn prompt if I think X is good at ‘something’, I reflect on whether I have enough interaction with X to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and unless it is a strong ‘yes’, I do not click on ‘endorse’.
This is worse than ‘likes’ in Facebook. I only hope that LinkedIn will not look at the number of endorsements of a profile to determine the ranking or listing!! If it does, then emails will fly between contacts asking each other to endorse on a quid pro quo basis. Perhaps this is even happening as I write!!
Or possibly, LinkedIn will come out with an ad program that will add to the ‘endorsements’ which will in turn upgrade my profile, if it has not done so already!!
September 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm (VC)
Tags: Angels, BPO, contract, Dev Khare, early stage, investees, investments profile, investors, ITES, lightspeed ventures, networking, Private equity, recruiting, SaaS, seed funding, series A, Term Sheet, TiE, TiE Chennai, TiE Delhi, trust, VC
When I got an invite from TiE Chennai for a small-group interaction with a Charter Member of TiE Delhi, Dev Khare, I did some research. I found an article that he had written about the obstacles being faced by start-ups in India. Impressed by the clarity of thought and a crisp language that was evident in the article, I immediately registered for the event and was in fact looking forward to it.
This evening, as I walked into the TiE office, I had a feeling that I would find this session valuable and interactive. The next hour and half totally vindicated that feeling.
There were about 15 of us who made space for each other in the tidy conference room but once Dev started talking and interacting with us, we really did not mind the lack of physical space in the room. Dev first introduced himself and talked about the setup of LightSpeed Ventures (a Private Equity Venture of which he is a Principal) both in the United States and in India. He waxed eloquently about the kind of investments they have made in the past and the sectors in which their investment portfolio is pre-dominant.
Dev then took the audience through the VC business in a very absorbing manner where he covered the source of VC funds being largely Pension funds, university endowments, sovereign funds, family offices in the US, the manner in which the funds are utilized and the format in which the profits are distributed.
I drew his attention to his remark in the article mentioned above about ‘lack of trust’ being an impediment for start-ups in India and asked him to elaborate and he really took off. He talked about the way entrepreneurs were trying “to cross every t and dot every i” (my phrase) in a contract with VCs, hypothetically considering every possible consequence and building it in the contract, executives negotiating hard to get a great deal but not showing up just to name a few. He was also critical about the way in which VCs were not coming clean during the early interaction with potential investees and he believed that all of these consumed a lot of energy that could have been better utilized in building great businesses.
Responding to a question of how VCs evaluate a business, Dev took us on a guided tour and although there were a few interruptions and distractions, he managed to retain the thread and address the issue squarely. He explained the parameters that VCs look for in the investees in various stages being the early stage and Series A, the first meeting, the subsequent meetings to see if the VC’s concerns are being addressed adequately by the entrepreneur, the internal discussions, the offer of a Term Sheet with clauses that protect both the investors and the investees, the due diligence on legal and financial aspects to uncover any potential liabilities and the final contract.
He then asked each one of us the nature of our businesses and nicely summarized the plethora of industries that we represented.
To a question of ‘Valuations’, he honestly admitted that it was largely based on gut feel than any rule of thumb and would vary depending on the nature of industry and the geography.
When he mentioned that his company looks at about 400 proposals before investing in 1, I asked him for the grounds on which they eliminate the 399. He shared with us that the quality of the founder team, the size of the market, the nature of the product being FNAC (Feature Not A Company) and the investment that would be required to get the business to the level of exit as being some key factors they consider before investing.
There were other questions on the rationale of the sectors of investments, whether they invest in ideas, whether they would insist on the promoter being available full time, whether VCs fund for working capital requirements just to name a few. I was amazed by Dev’s ability to provide a detailed yet focused response to each question.
I can go on and on but suffice to say that it was an interaction that I would remember for a long time to come. I only wish that TiE Chennai had made it possible for a larger audience as a regular event and I am sure they would do so at the next available opportunity. Thank you TiE Chennai (special thanks to Sonia who sent reminders about the event and even called me) and Dev Khare.
September 6, 2013 at 5:11 pm (conversations)
Tags: expanded thinking, good-to-have, must have, open ended questions, pain killer, single answers, tests, vitamin, yourstory.in
Just now, I was going through my old posts and chanced on this one which talked about whether your product is ‘good to have’ or ‘must have’. It had been quite a while since I wrote this post (almost 22 months) and so it was great to refresh by an another read.
This post is not about my reading an earlier post but the synchronicity that I suddenly realized.
Just last week, I wrote an article titled “Is your product a ‘pain-killer’ or a ‘vitamin’ and that was carried by yourstory.in here.
I was stunned that an almost similar question had elicited 2 entirely different but highly consistent answers with almost 2 years between the responses. In that moment, I saw the futility of insisting on only one answer in our examinations and tests. Wish we had more open-ended questions that would give more scope to the students to expand their thinking horizons!!
September 4, 2013 at 5:58 am (Uncategorized)
Tags: Availability, Bangalore, booking, cancellation, Chennai, costs, Healthcare, Healthex, Indian Railway, IT, postpone, procrastinate, Shatabdi Express, Speaker, tatkal, waitlisted
When I was invited to speak in a Seminar on ‘IT for Healthcare’ at Bangalore, I accepted and then looked at the availability of train tickets. I planned to leave by the early morning Shatabdi from Chennai to Bangalore and there were about 149 tickets available for the date I was looking for. Although I could have and should have made the booking immediately, I chose to do it later. That proved to be quite an expensive decision.
And the next time I looked at the ticket availability, it had gone to Wait List @ 43. Panic set in. I looked at other trains the previous night and all of them were showing quite similar wait-listed status. Left with little choice, I made a booking in Shatabdi and hoped for a quick confirmation. I was quite happy to see a rapid improvement to 23 within a few hours but then it was a slow descent. The day before the journey, the status was still WL 11. What if I don’t get a confirmation?
Then I did a quick check on the Tatkal availability and made a confirmed booking. And then i cancelled the previous ticket.
In this process, I lost Rs.35 + Rs.22 (ICRTC Charges on booking) on cancellation and paid Rs.150 more for Tatkal. In money terms, it amounted to Rs.207 but in terms of the time I wasted hours doing 2 bookings and 1 cancellation besides the unnecessary stress and tension.
Moral of the lesson: If you can do something, do it NOW.
July 25, 2013 at 5:27 pm (ISO, PSBB, Uncategorized)
Tags: Abhinaya 2013, Andal Kalyanam, Beauty and the Beast, Bhutan, Cambodian, celebrations, Chennai, chinese, Cindrella, costumes, dance, Dr Mrs YGP, eskimos, Indonesian, ISO Certification, jewish, Kalyana Maalai Mohan, Kamaraj Arangam, mexican, Music, Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan, PSBB, Ramayana, Rukmini Kalyanam, School Anniversary, Sita kalyanam, Subadra Kalyanam, Swyamvaram, Tamil, Taming of the Shrew, Tamizh, Vaaranam Aayiram, Valli thirumanam, weddings, William Shakespeare, zulu
I attended a gala series of global weddings yesterday at Kamaraj Arangam.
You might be wondering “Why would international weddings happen in Chennai and even then Kamaraj Arangam is not a wedding hall!!”
I am referring to Abhinaya 2013, the Thematic Anniversary Program of the PSBB Group of Schools titled Wedding.com, that I had the privilege of watching yesterday evening (25th July 2013).
And it was a global wedlock extravaganza what with the first item featuring weddings of the Zulus, the Eskimos, the Chinese, the Jewish, the Hawaiian, the Mexican, Cambodian Buddhist and the Bhutan Royal. you should see it to believe the attention to detail be it the costumes, the music, the subtle nuances in the wedding ceremonies and the ambiance. The audience was literally transported into each of those wedding events!! And most of the cast was the tiny tots of the primary school!! Amazing would be an understatement.
(I had taken the snaps from a smart phone sitting on the fourth row and apologize for the lack of clarity)
This was followed by Beauty and the Beast based on the classic fairy tale and the key takeaway was “look for innate beauty and not for the superficial looks and appearances that are transient”.
The one next was yet another fairy tale, the one of Cinderella. The expressions of the Cinderella girls (the one at home and the other at the party) were really wonderful!! So were the ‘special effects’ where the fairy mother transforms a pumpkin into a chariot and the mice into the horses!!
The Indian story of Valli Kalyanam was the next one on the stage and it was divine to listen to Tamizh after the western plays (பல தேசம் முழுதும் தோன்றும் மொழிகள் தமிழ் போல் இனித்திடுமா?).
It was really funny to see Valli asking the old man (Lord Muruga in disguise) to save her from the wild elephant (Lord Ganesha) and agreeing to marry him only to go back on her word when the elephant disappeared!! That the elephant came again to frighten her out of her wits and beg the old man to marry her was a real movie-like climax!!
If you were to watch the S(h)inta Sayembara on TV or on You Tube, you would be forgiven to think that it was a live show from Indonesia or a troupe from Indonesia came to India to perform!! This particular item was a class in itself in all aspects. Even the choice of the students to play the roles was remarkable because they looked and played Indonesian in all their movements. This was the version of Sita Swyamvaram from Ramayana and it was truly a professional presentation. The costumes including the க்ரீடம் for each and every person in the play were very apt and well designed. The movements of the artists, especially Rama, Lakshmana and Sita were fluid, graceful and truly Indonesian. Hats off to the teachers and the students!!
Subhadra Kalyanam was a modern adaptation of the traditional marriage between Arjuna and Subadhra and this spoof was penned by the one and only Mrs YGP, the Dean and Director of the PSBB group of Schools. The bhangra dance was a dynamite!!
Rukmini Kalyanam was a poem in action that was vividly depicted by the students. Special mention must be made of the dance in different styles like Manipuri, Kathak and Rajasthani.
Matrimorphosis was an adaptation of the Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare with a moral at the end about great marriages are not those between perfect couples but between imperfect ones who learn to accept and enjoy the differences.
The concluding program was Andal Thirukalyanam which featured a fusion of music and dance based on the famous Varanam aayiram from Aandal.
That the School was going for ISO Certification for this Anniversary program was yet another remarkable news!! I am doubly proud because I am an Alumnus of this great institution and also because I am the son of the Management Representative (MR) for this mammoth initiative Mrs. K S Vijayalakshmi, the Academic Administrator and Coordinator of the PSBB Group of Schools.
I am indeed very happy that I attended!!
July 18, 2013 at 6:15 pm (TiE)
Tags: Ambulance, AMI, Arvind Kumar, Attune, Cloud, Dr Ajit Mullasari, Government insurance, Harish Sivaraman, Health Insurance, Healthcare, Heart Attack, Hipaa, Hospital Information Systems, Indus Age, IT, Krea, Lab Information Systems, Medall, MMM, NABH, Pravin, quality standards, scalability, Sudhir Rao, TiE, TiE Chennai
I attended an event this evening (18th July 2013) organized by TiE Chennai as a part of its Healthcare Special Interest Group (SIG). It was a panel discussion on Adoption of Technologies in healthcare business.
Although the title said Technologies, it was more about adoption of Information Technology (IT) in Healthcare, given the profile of the speakers.
First the moderator Sudhir Rao of Indus Age spoke about the relevance of IT in Healthcare on a broader level.
He then invited Dr Ajit Mullasari, the Director of Cardiology at MMM (The Madras Medical Mission) to speak.
Dr Ajit took us through the criticality and need for timely treatment of Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) popularly known as ‘heart attack’ but bemoaned the several hurdles in the way of a patient getting it.
He then shared the pilot project wherein a patient suffering from signs of AMI in a remote place would proceed to a spoke hospital to be administered the first level of treatment. He would then be taken by an equipped ambulance to a hub hospital where he can receive the angioplasty within time. Dr Ajit talked about the technological issues faced by his team in terms of equipment compatibility and connectivity.
It was the turn of Arvind of Attune, a software development company that has built a platform for deploying cloud-based Hospital Information systems and Lab Information systems.
Arvind talked about his base of customers ranging from a single practice of a GP to a 800 bed hospital in Bali.
Harish Sivaraman, CTO of Medall then talked about the need for building scalable systems to meet the growing needs of organizations like his. Although they built some applications in-house, the bigger challenge was getting them used across the board by the staff. He used the analogy of games that are played by young and old alike to drive home his point of making the IT systems engaging to the people who were using it.
After Sudhir Rao’s comments, the floor was open for questions from the audience.
To a question on how do hospital owners react to systems when there is interconnected deals between the lab, the hospital and the pharmacy (raised by yours truly), Arvind replied that it was certainly an issue amongst small hospital owners. He is therefore trying to address the other segments such as corporate hospitals, NABH certification and those that have the insurance as the main source of revenue because they would need transparent systems. To another question (again from me) on whether there are any standards for data security on the lines of HIPAA in the US, Arvind responded that there were absolutely no standards in the Asian markets.
To the question from Rama Venugopal of Value Added on the very few instances IT on the clinical operations as against the predominant business applications, Dr Ajit responded that technology providers are more keen to sell what they have rather than develop something that the users want. Arvind was of the opinion that Indian IT companies are good in the how to develop solutions but were clueless on ‘what to develop’ meaning the lack of domain expertise. Sudhir supplemented this by saying that it is not only in Healthcare but almost in every industry.
Then Dr Ram from the audience talked about his own initiative in supporting ICUs in the US remotely from India using IT.
Pravin Sekhar, Secretary TiE, then proposed the vote of thanks in his usual witty fashion.
I have a request for the TiE Team to allot more time for Q & A and make it more interactive.