Trip to Lepakshi

29 12 2008

Yesterday, after a long time, went on a trip to Lepakshi. It is exactly 117 KM from Hebbal, Bangalore. The road until the Bangalore International Airport is fantastic, however after that, they are still constructing the road and there are many de-tours. We took around 2 and half hours to reach and while going, we missed the turning to the place. Unfortunately, there are no sign-boards which give any directions. We overshot around 20 KM to realize that we missed the turning.

When going from Bangalore, you would need to check out for KR Check-post, which is the Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border. This is around 95-98 KM from Hebbal. After the check post, go past 3 KM and you will find a junction where you need to take a left turn. Keep an eye on your odometer and ensure you ask someone if you want about the check-post and the turning. After you take the left turn, it is around 17 KM drive through few villages before you reach Lepakshi.

This small village is really very small and there are hardly any decent hotels to eat. If you are like me who does not mind eating even on the roadside, then don’t worry, you can definitely survive ­čÖé Else, please load sufficient food.

The temple architecture is marvelous and it is definitely worth a visit. You can take pictures inside and spend some good peaceful time. If you are very much interested in the history, hire a guide, else you can take a tour of the temple yourself.

You may check out few pictures here.

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First Post from Nokia E71

22 12 2008

I wrote a very big post earlier and it failed. The trial version of Wavelog does not allow me to save and hence had to exit the editor and come back to write.
Well, to begin with, I got a new Nokia E71. Yesterday, tried to search for blogging clients for Symbian and i found two – Scribe and Wavelog from Telewaving. After unsuccessful attempts to install Scribe (certificate error), I now installed Wavelog. This tool is really cool. It is very easy to install and use, but costs $16.50. Well, i don’t mind as long as its working. I found two hitches, there is no Support/Contact us information and the license is only for one phone. Now that i am going to use my E71 for long time, am planning to buy. But before that I have a month to try out.

I feel all features of the application should have been given and the duration of the trial could have been reduced. You cannot save and once you exit the application, you need to create your login credentials again ­čśŽ





Social Entrepreneurs in India – Part 1

21 12 2008

I was searching for a central repository of Social Entrepreneurs in India to understand various social concerns which are being addressed. Unfortunately, when I searched for the above text “Social Entrepreneurs in India”, I could not get the relevent links, except for one link which gives me a simple, small list on Wikipedia.

I decided to make a central repository of all Social Entrepreneurs and Enterprises in the country and highlight their work and dedication. I started with Ashoka list which is available on their site and compiled a list of 247 Ashoka Fellows. I do not want to put up the list here, but want to highlight the area’s in which they are working:

FieldOfWork-AshokaFellows





HeadStart – Compute 2009

14 12 2008

HeadStart has been our annual event for showcasing Startup Talents in the country. We started organizing the annual event since 2008, along with ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Bangalore Chapter.

Why HeadStart and ACM?

HeadStart is a community of Entrepreneurs, Investors, Industry Professionals and Evangelists. We came together to contribute back to the community which has brought us to this level and given us lives.

ACM is a focused group which concentrates on future of technology and how it fits into today’s world.

As an Entrepreneur, it is very important for us to understand the Business Model, writing the Business Plan, speaking to Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors, bringing the product/service to the end user, legalities in building your organization, employee management and last but not the least – the future of your innovation.

You have a cutting edge idea and you are excited about it. You speak to various stakeholders and lo! you idea has hit everyone. What next? You are starting up your baby. That’s great news. One important and key aspect you need to consider is what is the future? Today, we see many Insurance companies advertising –For your retirement solutions and your child educational / child future plans, do contact us. In the same way, you need to understand the future of technology to ensure safety and security to your baby (your enterprise) and yourself. We feel safe when we have life insurance and few plans for our children, but we ignore our tomorrow.

Yesterday, I met an aspiring entrepreneur and he invited me to be his Devil’s advocate (I am not going into details of his idea or our conversation with due respects to him). He shared his idea with me and I honestly did not see a tomorrow in that. I did not see a strong bonding of the idea with the stakeholders. But he is passionate. Passionate about the idea and his tomorrow. I am sure he would succeed in what he is doing, but definitely few of my questions have kept his bells ringing.

During HeadStart – Compute 2008, we had two eminent personalities from GE to speak on the future of Database. The two scientists shared their research information on how the future of Database would change. This is what is needed for an Entrepreneur.

A classic example of not looking into the future is the Y2K. Many organizations realized and started working on this issue a bit late in the 90’s. What if these organizations had the guidance to think about this earlier during their startup stage? Things would have been different. If everyone took the necessary precaution, I am sure there would not have been many people who would have got job’s in the west during late 90’s.

HeadStart and Compute are dedicated to create the perfect ecosystem for Entrepreneurs. If you recollect the Project Triangle, then it is very easy to relate to what we do. We do exactly the same – Ensuring for a healthy startup focusing on the key parameters – Technology, Capital and Eco-System.

HS Model

Be there on the January 09-10, 2009 and participate to help create the ecosystem for Startup’s.





Innovation Series #7: Innovation Gap – Part 2

8 12 2008

I wrote about how the “Auto-Rickshaw” saw stagnant innovation in the last two decades of playing active role in commuting across the country. In this post, I will be short and sweet on my observations in mobile space.┬á

I am fortunate to be part of HeadStart, a not-for-profit organization working towards building entrepreneurial eco-system in India. We have been active more close to one-and-half years and during 2008, I interacted with many entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs. 

Quite a few of the entrepreneurs and wanna-be entrepreneurs I met are into mobile space and working on one feature or the other. Many are quite optimistic of the solutions they provide and how the end-user can benefit by their innovation. Even the potential investors are very active in mobile space. 

Well, being an active GPRS user, I am happy to try various applications and how friendly they are to me. I love the BTIS map on my mobile and the Google search tool bar which really helps to me quickly search for what I want. There are a whole range of mobile products which come in handy too. Fring is one application which is useful for people who which to be connected to friends all the time and Twitter has made its mark. 

There are other useful applications being developed too. Take a look at Numo, a mobile platform for BulkSMS and SMS Reminders for key aspects of life (Health, Pet Health etc). 

I do not have a list off my finger-tips to share with you the other innovative ideas, but would like to focus on a simple case study and Destructive Innovation coming from a major player in search – Google.

Population of Bangalore is around 62 Lakhs (6.2 Million). For benefit of this illustration, let us consider that 100% of the population carries a mobile. In the 100%, let us assume that 50% (3.1 Million)use GPRS service. In the 50% user base of GPRS users, how many actually take time to search for a particular service / product in the area they are currently located? I am not under-estimating, but let us assume that around 50% of the 50% GPRS users use the service, which brings the number close to 1.5 Million (1,500,000). This is a classic example of the Bottom of the Pyramid concept. We are looking at the top of the pyramid user base and estimating the idea to be changing the way we live. What we need to remember here is the middle and bottom of the pyramid users who are not even knowing about the service. So, the target population for a value added service on mobile (with GPRS account) is very less. 

Google, on the┬ácontrary┬ácame up with an innovative solution – Voice Search. This search is already launched in Hyderabad, India. We have other search companies like – Just-Dial etc, and differentiating the search is up to you, as a user. Now, this is what I call Destructive Innovation. Just look at the outreach for this value added service – it is 100% of the users. Added to the service, the number users have to call is a toll free number too. In simple words, without spending a single penny, any mobile user can use this service. How different!┬á

Innovation is just not about an idea reaching the end user, but how well it dissolves in the DNA of the system is what need to be identified.





Innovation Series #6: Innovation Gap – Part 1

6 12 2008

I am writing this post with an intent of sharing my thoughts on small innovation gap’s which I commonly see (I will definitely not be able to list many gap’s, but if you notice a gap, then please post it as a comment for this post).

Wikipedia has a good introduction to Innovation and hence, will not go in detail.

What inspired me write this post is the amount of attention Innovation is getting these days and the number of aspirants thinking of doing something different from others.

Auto-Rickshaw

Let us look at a common example – For how long have you been seeing an auto-rickshaw, aka ‘auto’? (If you not an Indian, probably its a good idea to search on google for some pictures of auto). Well, let us say for our understanding that it has been close to 20 Years since there have been autos. Search for some pictures of the earlier auto’s and when you compare the look and feel to the current day’s auto’s, you will not find any major changes except for few ‘look’ changes. Every time we get into an auto, we know how dangerous it is and also few times, very uncomfortable. Try speaking to any auto drivers, you will understand how frustrating it is for them too. You sit in the auto for couple of minutes to reach your destination, but just imaging the plight of the driver who drives it all day long – during summers, rains and floods. There are not many options to customize the auto too (even though we have more auto’s in the country than cars, which have quite a number of re-design / re-model shops). Now, I am not speaking of┬áextravagant modification’s, but bare minimum things.

An example I can quote here is the wiper on the windshield. Did you notice that the wiper is not automatic unlike the car? It has to be moved using a small handle inside to clean the glass. First of all the vehicle is a three-wheeler with a handle. Gears on the left side and accelerator on the right side with also the front break. Is there a way the driver can leave the handle on one side and continuously keep cleaning the glass? Its not only a pain, but the most dangerous.

When you look at the drivers seat, you also understand that there is no appropriate care taken to design the same. The distance between the seat and the handle is a bit longer and it poses great health issues to the driver, especially if he/she has a moderate body structure.

Do you think auto’s have suspension? Well, if you think so, check it out next time. There is suspension for all the wheels, but only because they have to be and not to address the actual reason for having them ­čÖé

If I go on, there are even more – the headlight is as small as a moped (miniature version of a bike) and there is no luggage space too.

This is what I call “Innovation Gap”.

There are various factors which govern the Innovation Gap – Competition, acceptance, target audience market saturation are to list a few.

  • If there is no competition and the manufacturer is almost a monopoly, then the chances of Innovation are very low.
  • Naturally, when there is no acceptance in the market, then there is no motivation for Innovation
  • Target audience makes a very huge impact. When you know the customer will adjust, again there is nothing motivating for innovation. Also, there are products/services in the market which get the customer to get accustomed and thereby reducing the thought process for innovating new aspects to the product/service.
  • Market saturation – When you know the market size and very well assured that it would not grow, you tend to do things which are easy for you rather than enhancing the product and trying new things.

Out Auto example above is a classic illustration of how Target audience and Market Saturation┬ádrive Innovation. Also, there are not many companies which manufacture auto’s and hence the existing manufactures have no motivation to enhance the product. I agree that over the last 2 years, there have been 5/6/8 seater auto’s coming into market, but the design is sill the same (well almost, the handle bar is replaced with a steering wheel).

I will conclude this case study here, but assure you that there is more to come..