Posts Tagged ‘bangalore’

Why a Java meetup in Bangalore?

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

In Silicon valley, pick a day of the week and a topic and you’ll find an event for the evening along with 20-odd like-minded folks to hangout with.

This is missing in India (esp. Bangalore). There is a lot of top level chatter about startups, entrepreneurship, innovation. There is a huge momentum around events related to entrepreneurship. Just last 2 weeks saw 2 of them. But, the events around fundamentals of building a business are hard to find. To the surprise, there are events around social media marketing but few are talking about ‘building a sales pipeline’ or ‘ABCs of channel marketing’ or even deeper into core technical areas like ‘Building a distributed memcache’! Is it given that we know it all?

Java Meetup

Beyond entrepreneurship, Bangalore sees maybe a handful of events which covers other areas of sales, marketing, technology, intellectual property, cloud computing and such. Even if there is once such event, it is meant to price out a general crowd.

When I moved to Bangalore around 18 months ago — I could not find a place to hang out with fellow geeks but then met a lot of them at a startup event! This was nagging in the back of mind for a long time. Barcamp happens maybe once every 9-12 months. Slowly, things have started coming together.

I was happy to see that PHP Meetup found a place at Microsoft and they have been meeting regularly. Repeated the same thing with Java Meetup earlier this weekend with a similar footing at Google where they have agreed to host the monthly melee.

The whole idea is to get people bumping into each other and hopefully something new comes out of it. Maybe a new startup, a next job, or a solution for a problem or simple plain learning.

Need more of such events, happening at a regular frequency. If you have ideas, drop a line, I can at least get you connected.

And yeah, most of the silicon valley events come with a free pizza, soda and beer at times. Feed them well.

Four days of Naach-Gyaan: Morpheus’s 1st startup gurukul

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

In the summer of 2007, the moment Sameer & Nandini’s last startup Madhouse got acquired, another one started brewing in their heads. This time the plan was bigger and the idea was beyond running a startup, but kick-starting several of them. One year later after the acquisition, Morpheus was born with Instablogs as the first company in the portfolio, with other kick-ass companies being added to the “gang” in the subsequent 18 months.

The Morpheus

Aptly, Morpheus was named after the greek god of dreams; to a more real (fictional to some) world captain of Nebuchadnezzar who brings the dreams back to the residents of the last human city.

Then in the 2009 summer, I joined. This summer we are adding another 7-8 startups (names to be announced on 10th June) which brings further variety in our portfolio from automotive, eco-textile, health-care to touch computing.

This weekend from 10th – 13th we are doing our 1st ever startup gurukul on the outskirts of Bangalore, where we are bringing the founders of our portfolio companies under one roof and kicking it off with “Apuroop” — a demo day. At Apuroop, Morpheus companies will be doing 5 minutes show & tell to investors & media.

We are also delighted to partner with Sequoia Capital who are supporting us in our initiative and sponsoring the gurukul.

We have come a long way since our nimble start where we were doing just mentorship to now where we are also investing a small amount of INR 5 Lakhs in each of the startups. There are more exciting things coming out of our bag, controlling my excitement, we would unravel them as time passes.

Thanks for participating with us!

Your sales 101 begins with an email

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Downy WoodpeckerAs a Founder, CEO, whatever of the startup — one thing you would be doing in your journey would be Selling. Selling to customers, employees, partners, investors, family members, competitors. And selling 24×7. Pestering. Following up. Closing. The code you write, the product you build, the team you hire is given. People worry about the actual tangible later, but you need to sell it first. Sell the concept. Sell the features. Sell your vision.

The Sales 1:1 101 begins with an email you send to someone — be it the pitch about the company, a proposal for partnership, or looking for some help.

So you send an email and then … days pass and the email silently gets buried down under. As an entrepreneur what do you do? You have two choices (a) Assume the recipient is not interested and never follow up and move on (b) Do a soft reminder and follow up.

People are distracted. Your customers are distracted. Your potential investors are distracted. There is an overdose. Marketing messages. Sales pitches. Attention is short. It is okay to remind. It is okay to do 2-3 follow ups before getting an answer or giving it up (for 6 months!). You double the interval between each follow up. 1st contact –> 7 days –> 14 days –> 28 days.

Which option you choose makes the kind of entrepreneur you will become! (a) The entrepreneur who follows up; who tries to get his attention and makes an attempt to close the deal OR (b) someone who makes an assumption that customer is not interested in “buying”.

Update: Updated the title…dunno why I wrote 101 as 1:1. Ha.

Like everybody else, I also get a fair share of daily dose in our inbox; some get labelled, others get instant attention, some are read/unread. I wish if emails followed the sentence strategy. This is the reality of information overload and the reason for change in our normal behavior of answering the phone on few rings.

The bird is the Downy woodpecker. Pic courtesy

Laptop to Loadbalancer: Is your LAMP hardware infrastructure growing like this?

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010
Lamp Growth Plan

Lamp Growth Plan

The visual image conveys the thoughts. The data legends represent a hypothetical configuration using Webservers, Database Master and/or slave or DRBD, Memcached nodes, etc. The size of the circle represents the relative amount of money spent on monthly hardware lease.

How did your web presence grow?

Disclaimer: The above does not include security, disaster recovery, backup and other attachments which are a must.

Flipkart & Infibeam make the same data entry error!

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Recently, I was price-shopping to refill my cache of Tintin comics on two of my favorite online book shopping destinations in India, Infibeam & Flipkart.

To my chagrin I found that both the online retailers made the same mistake in the data entry of the title (or was it something else!) The first screen grab is from the second one is from Tintin Explores on the Moon Tintin Explores on the Moon Tintin Explores the Moon Tintin Explores on the Moon

Morpheus Venture Partners, the new batch of 10 & my official onboarding

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Visitation rights is a term used when a mom/dad gets the right to see his/her child on a fixed interval basis. Most of the times, visitation rights & monetary support are also intermingled.

This is what is my observation of funded startups in general in India. They raise money — the investors come & “visit” them time to time — Best, you send weekly reports and harness few contacts in their rolodex. Question to ask; are they helping you in building your business?

Entrepreneurial ecosystem is in it’s infancy in India — resources are not available, event platforms are sparse, celebarations of success barely exist, peer support is meagre, etc. What we need is hand holding, support, building of business and not just money & remote supervision. Of course, money helps to reduce the friction of starting up — but it’s not the only lubricant required.

Comes Morpheus Venture Partners, a Business Accelarator out of India which I joined as a Partner few months ago. Our vision is to reduce the friction of starting up & provide end-to-end support ranging from building your pricing model to finding the right technology stack for a startup. Of course, we want to provide money too, which we are working on.

Less than 24 hours ago we announced our latest batch of 10 startups — each one of them is envisioning to bring a change using their model for people of India. Being a deep technologist, I always thought that the next big thing can only come out of technology and maybe the next Google is going to be from India. That’s very much a possibility but it’s hard to sustain a viable business when less than 40 million users are online (a large % of which use the net only once a week!).  

So who are these guys? What’s the new batch of 10 upto? I totally resonate the way Nandini Hirianniah (Founding Partner at MVP) summarized these 10 heavy-hitters:

Adscoot’s Suyash, stands for hours in the major junctions at mumbai to learn traffic patterns and measure footfalls!

EasySquareFeet’s Ashu & Snehesh are the most positive people i’ve seen! I can see their smiles through the phone when i talk to them (serious!)

Viv & Hari of InterviewStreet are two rockstar techies who are consciously & fast learning other skills to take their product to market. They have the passion & drive to make things work!

Shashank & Abhinav started on Naabo right out of college – the freshness in approach & the passion they bring with them is infectious.

Arjun of Picsean is an engineer, but his passion towards photography is amazing! He’s a good friend & i’ve seen his focus and smart work in his past ventures. His attitude to learn is commendable!

Robin of ReachTax is a star CA, but i love his humility and the motivational skill he has to make his entire team perform month after month!

Pankaj & Gaurav quit their fancy paying jobs to work on Retail Vector. Focus, quick work and frugality of life is what they are committed towards as they scale this venture!

The first thing that stood out when i met Abheek first was such an young guy and such maturity & humility. (Often age and humility dont go too well). This guy was 7 years old when he started putting Lego pieces into perfect ensemble & several years later, he’s using them at RobotsAlive!

I loved their designs and the quality of tees – Rahul & Mohit of Scopial have their focus completely on “Quality” “Design” “Niche”! They sell tees one could die for! Check a sample out here

I read about these guys in a print article & the next time we were in Mumbai, we met Jayesh & Karthik of VeriCAR. Two guys crazily passionate about automobiles!

Thanks to the startups for choosing us their ‘limited co-founders’, I’m sure this association is going to go a long way. Now, for the next 4 months, we spend dozens of hours every week with the founders poring over the details of their business and helping iron out every possible kink.

Agreed, we can’t change how users would percieve their offerings and how big they could possibly get — Yes, we can influence the positive outcome to a great extent.

Update: Added VeriCAR’s sound bytes from Nandini’s post

Big Bazaar’s ‘your money is gone in 15-day’ return policy

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

I was looking for a multi-region DVD player and hopped into Big Bazaar, a multi-brand chain store which sells everything from vegetables to LCD TV. The sales guy pitched me to a buy a Philips DVD Player stating that, “it will play everything!”. To my surprise there was no region code mentioned on the box packaging of the DVD player (Philip’s own deceptive packaging). As a skeptic, I asked that guy whether the item is returnable. Yes, he said.

Once unpackaged, the DVD player only played region 5 (India/Asia) DVDs; and not the ‘Region 1’ (US/Canada), a cache of which lugged from US.

Went back to Big Bazaar after 10 days, was able to return the item with a little play of words but to my surprise was a credit-note instead of the cash Rs. 3500, I paid. The credit note was okay as that may be a way to dissuade fraud. The fine line was that the credit note expires in 15 days from issue date. The money will evaporate if I don’t go back to the same store and spend it all. This is unfair. I’m planning to file a complaint with the ministry of consumer affairs on this practice. It may not be illegal from Biz Bazaar’s point of view as in India returning an item itself is a new concept!

There are a few things Big Bazaar should fix to avoid consumer complaints:
1. Issue a non-expiring credit note or make it 6 months/12 months to the least
2. Allow that credit-note to be encashed at all Big Bazaars and not just the specific store where the note was issued.

Dr. Arvind Shenoy’s clinic just gets you in!

Friday, October 31st, 2008

In Bangalore since last 20 days and lots of ranting to do. Starting somewhere.

I had to take my young one to a pediatrician urgently on a Thursday evening. Someone mentioned Dr. Arvind Shenoy; he is the Head of Deptt. at Bangalore’s Manipal Hospital. I called up his private clinic (yeah, more on ‘private practice’ of docs in a later post), got an appointment. The lady, “Just come over, it is an hour wait for last-minute appointments.”

Once we checked in we were told that our turn would be after 2 and half hours, “The consultation is moving slow, sir”, quipped the reception.