Friday, August 17, 2012

The next level of Entrepreneurship

At many of the start-up get-togethers, I keep hearing of other "entrepreneurs" talking about their ventures along the lines "We are making the xyz of India" where xyz is a popular/successful venture in the US/Europe, and their business model is to simply imitate the business locally.

The hottest among many "entrepreneurs" is e-commerce. Even for a person watching TV once in a bluemoon, I'm amazed at the new online retailing ads.,,, the list is endless. The speed with which these dot coms are mushroming is scarily reminding me of the late 90s when there was a similar dot com hype followed by a bust. I am not sure if the founders an investors have applied their minds in finding out how they can be really profitable selling stuff at discounts without passing on investor money to customers as discounts. True, not having to spend on retail space will help to an extent, but the moment it becomes hugely popular, one needs to invest in large warehouses - the cost of operations will go high.

In my opinion imitating a business model tried elsewhere is just at the lower level of Entrepreneurship. What we need is the next level where we solve real problems, by using solutions invented here. I think every aspiring entrepreneur should read this article by Mukund Mohan, where he hits the nails by saying:

My humble request to Indian entrepreneurs is ‘Please dont build any more “I’m bored” apps’.
I am not trivializing the need for “fun” apps.
All I am requesting is that the highest IQ folks should be working on the highest impact problem areas to aid most humankind.

We need to look beyond the metropolitan cities and find ways to solve real issues that affect India.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Google Plus as a content reader

I've been trying out for the last few days - using Google+ as a content reader tool. With its new magazine layout on android devices, and lots of great circles to choose from, it brings content to me from people who are otherwise not available on other aggregators like Google Currents or Zite or Pulse.

I wonder how many others may have tried this. And if Google is able to get good no-nonsense content to Google+, it may attract no-nonsense users. It may not be able to compete with Facebook in terms of quantity of users, but can carve a good niche market for itself.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Apple and the invention debate

Probably the best analogy I have heard - Apple is a great recipe company - they use ingredients already existing to make an awesome dish. The most objective and neutral view that I've come across. Good to see, instead of fanboyism from either side.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Will only cheap products succeed in Indian markets?

In most of our interactions involving marketing products for India, one hears the generalized view that "In India, unless the product is cheap it will not succeed".

From my experience in marketing technology devices, the price of any tech device depends on the cost incurred by the customer due to the problem the device is trying to solve, and also the other alternatives available in the market. That the tech device is able to solve the problem is of utmost importance, and not the price.

The best example is the Akash tablet. At 2500-3500 rupees you have a really clumsy device which does not solve anyone's problems. Instead, at 6500- 9000 rupees you have various tablets, including the micromax funbook, which address the customer's need to have a handy device with which to browse the internet. One would rather pay a little more and have something which works, rather than save a little and end up with something which is useless.

Innovation need not be focused on making 'cheap' products, rather the innovation could be in a business model where a moderately priced product is made affordable in a pay per use or some other revenue model. My belief is that in the same way rural India warmed up to the sachet SKUs for urbane products like shampoos, Indian customers may pay premium on smaller affordable units that work.