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Open Source – Here to Stay March 9, 2007

Posted by Vijay in Brands, Business, Innovation, Internet, Open Source, Software, Trends, Wordpress.

Some time ago, I attended a TiE meeting where some of Silicon Valley’s top VCs participated in a panel discussion. One thing that stands out from that meeting was a comment that said “All companies trying to develop and sell software products in the traditional manner will be wiped out and replaced by Open Source”.

This got me thinking. Six months later, I am convinced that what they are saying is true.

Over the last few months, I have been installing more and more Open Source packages to help us in our business. This includes HR Systems, Resume Management, Knowledge Base. All of them I have found on Open Source. Here are my observations:

1. The very nature of Open Source ensures a better thought out product. People comment on features, beat down on useless software. So if you look properly, you’ll find very good products.

2. I have found installs are much easier and documentation is very good (at least in the ones that I have installed)

3. Extending functionality is easier.

4. You can ask for features that you want and if it makes sense they’ll add it for you.

How do they make money? Typically through support, customization, and consulting.

One of my favorites is WordPress. Really love their famous “Three Minute Install”. Especially like the message that comes up after their installation that says something like “Installation complete. Sorry to disappoint you but thats all there is to it..”

In addition to blogging on WordPress, I use it a lot internally on our Intranet for collaboration, Knowledge sharing, and Knowledge Management.


Google takes a swipe at Microsoft March 4, 2007

Posted by Vijay in Business, Google, Internet, Microsoft, Trends.

Google has announced Google Apps for your domain that will include Mail, IM, Calendar AND office productivity tools. The service costs $50 per year.

I have always been a big fan of hosted application services especially for productivity tools like email. Beats installing it on your in-house servers and hiring people to manage them.

Microsoft has started changing its licensing policy as well. Whether its in anticipation of competition from companies like Google and Zoho or whether they realize that market dynamics are changing, it augurs well for the end user.

China vs India February 16, 2007

Posted by Vijay in Business, China, India, Trends.

Was reading the newspaper on the flight back last night. Couple of stories caught my eye. One news item talked about India’s ForEx reserves at $180 Billion. That is impressive.

Two pages later there was a news story on China setting up a global investment fund using its ForEx reserves. The numbers stunned me. China’s ForEx reserves are in excess of $1000 Billion (yes a thousand !!) and the global fund they are setting up is in the region of $200 Billion. Looks like they can buy entire countries with that kind of money.

Numbers seem to be in China’s favor for now. I had a previous post on China as well.

Web 2.0 explained in minutes February 14, 2007

Posted by Vijay in Innovation, Trends, Web 2.0, YouTube.

Ever wondered what Web 2.0 is? Ever been confused about jargon like XML, RSS etc?

Heres a great video posted on YouTube that explains Web 2.0 in under 5 minutes.

The Relevance of NASSCOMM February 9, 2007

Posted by Vijay in Brands, Business, Entrepreneurs, Issues, NASSCOMM, Trends.

Years ago when the IT industry was still nascent and needed a voice,NASSCOMM provided a much needed boost by influencing Government policies, and building brand India.

Today, NASSCOMM mostly states industry facts that are already known, conducts award ceremonies, and summits. At least thats the way it appears to us.

Somehow the face of NASSCOMM has gone from the maverick organization that Dewang Mehta built to an organization that provides no value to the small companies. We can’t blame NASSCOMM for this. The world has changed.

In today’s Internet world we dont need NASSCOMM to point small businesses in the direction of opportunities. Most of us know our markets. The world is indeed flat.

So what is the value of NASSCOMM in today’s business world? Are organizations like TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) more useful? Do they need to re-brand and re-orient?

Goodbye to Floppy Disks February 5, 2007

Posted by Vijay in Happenings, Issues, Trends.

The Guardian reports on its Blog that retailers in the UK have decided that they will not sell floppy disks anymore. I guess with new media devices, floppies are in the process of becoming extinct. To qoute from the article:

PC World, Europe’s Walmart of computing, has decided that it’s not worth selling floppies any more and will just let stocks run out.

According to a statement from Bryan Magrath, the company’s commercial director, the technology has just been left behind:

“It is now increasingly standard for computer users to transfer data via the internet or use USB memory sticks, some of which will store the equivalent of 1,000 times the capacity of floppy disk. With that amount of memory available in such a small and convenient device, the floppy disk looks increasingly quaint and simply isn’t able to compete.”

I still remember the 8 inch Floppy Disk. Seemed so state of the art.. then the 5.25″ and 3.5″ floppies…

Keep your old floppies, maybe they’ll be valuable antiques in time to come.

HighDesign – Global Brand February 2, 2007

Posted by Vijay in Brands, Business, HiDesign, India, Trends.

If you have walked through any of the duty free areas of some of the major airports of the world, you would have seen a store called HiDesign. They sell up-market leather goods and are stocked at some of the leading stores worldwide.

Their branding, marketing is truly global. They are a nich high-value player AND they are based out of Pondicherry. Here is another writeup about them.

As one of my friends who is a leading brand consultant put it, HiDesign has built more “value per employee” than any IT company.

New Search Engines January 29, 2007

Posted by Vijay in Business, India, Innovation, Internet, Search, Trends.

Check out Guruji. Its a India specific search engine that launched a few months ago. Its still evolving but has come a long way from when it started. However it still hasn’t replaced Google as my search engine of choice.

Microsoft has launched Ms. Dewey based on Live Spaces. Its an interesting interface but totally worthless as a serious search engine. Check it out if you have some time to spare.

For all you developers and coders looking for sample code, the coolest search engine is Krugle. Check it out.

Anyone wan’t to fund an airline? January 22, 2007

Posted by Vijay in Airlines, Business, India, Plans, Trends.

Please enlighten me with the logic here.

Ok so the Indian skies have opened up to private players. As is with any new business in India everyone made a beeline for it. While Jet and Sahara were comparitively older, there was a slew of new players who donned the “low cost” disguise. You have Deccan, Kingfisher, Spicejet, GoAir to name a few. In fact last year Indian companies placed the largest number of orders at the Paris Air Show.

So India is a great market, but can it handle so many players? Can these players really sustain or are we going to have a repeat of what happened in the USA where airlines started going into bankruptcy and had to cut back on everything?

Several Airline CEO’s have estimated this years losses to be between Rs. 2500-3000 Crores (courtesy Businessworld). Duh??? So when are they going to be making the money?

Talking about businesses and business plans, heres a cool cartoon strip. Courtesy of Wulffmorgenthaler. Its about how one would pitch the idea of a circus to the VCs.

Wikipedia – The New Search Engine? January 17, 2007

Posted by Vijay in Google, Internet, Search, Tools, Trends, Wikipedia, Wikis.

Several industry analysts feel that Wikipedia is well positioned to become the preferred search engine to Google and others. Heres an interesting article from Jack Schofield of the guardian.

I do agree that Wikipedia has lots of good information and not mere links. It is after all an online encyclopedia. While a search engine gives you links, the Wikipedia actually gives you the information (or story) you need in addition to links. In addition a Wiki page is actually based on inputs and corrections from multiple people making it more complete. Its collaborative structure makes the information more relevant.

Wikis are also being increasingly used in the corporate world as Knowledge Base repositories.

UPDATE: As if on cue, Wikipedia search engine WikiSeek is launching.