Friday, November 19, 2010

NASSCOM Product conclave - Day 1 - Points

The day began with keynote from Mr. Amitabh Srivastava from Microsoft with a rather long job title. He warned that nobody knew cloud well. Rest of the time was spent on how Microsoft was playing the azure game the way they had done for windows OS. Apparently a OS for the cloud which they called as PaaS which was obviously different from salesforce or Google. Amazon was claimed to be IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) where you have to manage your server and its security updates etc.,

This was followed by the story of On24 by Sharat Sharan, a rather serious note. They had to do away with their initial management team because they did not have the relevant IT credentials. The product which is on web casting was intensely technical. They survived the market crashes and now desire to move on to from being a 50 Million to 200 Million Dollars company. The kind of challenges at every size are different and they have managed to address them organically so far.

Next we had discussion on UID and how it will transform the Indian landscape, bring about more transparency and is a business opportunity for many to innovate custom business models to address it. There is opportunity for bar code scanners, api/app developers and distributors who can register folks for UID. It will only solve the identification issue taking your retina scan, fingerprint and in return will give you a number which will uniquely identify you.
This will apparently help government to cut middleman and help reach its policies to the aam aadmi. Sanjay Swami, volunteer, Mobile and Financial service - UIDAI lead the talk.

Abhishek Sinha from Eko India financial services illustrated their mobile micro-payment model which includes the kirana store and has a tie with State Bank Of India. They transact more than 5 Crores a day. He wanted Reserve Bank Of India to come forward and educate the masses on  the possibilities of using Mobile as a payment platform.

Carol Realini from Obopay Inc highlighted that distribution is the challenge for them and they always tie with local distributors in every geography that they go to. In fact the cost of identification ie., know of customers is 0 in kenya and is about $10 in India. This cost has to come down and UID will help in that.

Next we had discussion on "Traits of a Successful Product Entrepreneur", a panel that was enliven by presence of Laura Parkin from NEN. The first time in the day when you felt fresh in the room. There was lots of energy in the introduction of panelists and the audience were involved in Facts/Fiction game.
Vivek Wadhwa, an entrepreneur turned academician who brought in lots of facts and research numbers in claiming that startups begin in middle stages/ages and is lots of experience before people breakthrough. Most of the time they jerk their bosses.
The research point of view was countered by another electrifying presence on stage of Vishal Gondal from He claimed that success was more due to your willingness to reach out to your customers early and fast. One thing you learn from him is that you need not be too serious in whatever game you play.
The panel was fun and discussion was light.

Next panel was to discuss "Building Products for a billion Indians".
John Howard from Duron Energy has built different sales and distribution model in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. He is from California and has visited more Indian villages than most of us. He is selling Solar powered lighting solutions to rural India. His business model includes selling of accessories that are powered by his lighting solutions.

Vishal Sehgal from Lava mobiles who has garnered 4% of Indian mobile markets in last one and half years. His business model has combined sales and services centers into one and has focused on service delivery post sales. Lava has double the service centers than Nokia.

BG Mahesh of OneIndia portal has injected English into his local content to make his content more search engine friendly. Also he has customized the portal so that people in Tamilnadu has more political content than for example Karnataka, and the content has to be in local language.

The Evening has Polly Summers from who have built the cloud landscape. They are the first SaaS based company to cross a billion dollars in revenue and their marketplace has revenue in excess of 350 Billions Dollars. They use what they built and claim that the reach and visibility that platforms like chatters have done is quite remarkable. Somebody posts a query for her chatter timeline and it is answered befor she even has a look at it, a great way to address the productivity loss due to Email. She does not have to go over every email and respond. 

Do you have a point to make too? Please use the comment section below :)
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