Thursday, January 28, 2010


The name is so obvious, I am surprised I and others did not think it up soon enough. There were many other names floating. iTablet, iSlate, iBook. I was kind of thinking the name might be iSlate. But iPod, iPhone, iPad, the name just makes sense. P, P, P.

It is a new category. This is not a netbook. There is the PC - invented by Apple - there is the digital music player and the smartphone - both reinvented by Apple - there is the netbook - ignored by Apple - and now the tablet - reinvented by Apple. Microsoft toyed with the tablet idea a long time, but I guess they are not a hardware company.

Apple today is primarily a mobile company. The PC is more of a backdrop to them. Steve Jobs cracked Graphical Use Interface (GUI) before Bill Gates did. Now it is all about touch. I don't know if touch is the next big thing, but it is definitely a big, important addition to the computing experience ecosystem.
Steve Jobs for Fortune magazineImage by tsevis via Flickr

I keep thinking of the physically challenged. Some of these advances are good for them. But we need to do more. What would be an audio-only computing experience? You consume only audio, and you only give out voice commands. And you don't miss out on any website, not on any of the key applications like email. That would be great not just for the visually impaired, but also for those whole and on the move, like when you are driving. We already got touch for those who can't hear well.

What I have noticed most is the enormous amount of buzz around the official CEO of the Decade. Google is the company of the decade, and Jobs is the CEO of the Decade. There is a lot of sizzle.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

NY Tech MeetUp: Europe Edition

Image representing Meetup as depicted in Crunc...
The NY Tech MeetUp continues to be my favorite MeetUp in town, and the go-to event every month. When I first showed up in town years ago, I was signing up for MeetUps left and right, then I whittled it all down to one MeetUp, the NY Tech MeetUp. By now I have signed up for a few more. But I am not a regular at the few that I have signed up for. The NY Tech MeetUp is it.

And tonight they got something called The European Edition. I am looking forward to it.

Special NY Tech Meetup: The European Edition
1. From London, UK, Advertag - Tag-based search technology for classifieds and image search
2. From Bucharest, Romania & London, UK, Brainient - Helping video publishers monetize video content by adding interactive elements and affiliate marketing
3. From Warsaw, Poland & London, UK, Codility - Automated testing of programmers via the Web, saving employers and recruiters both time and money
4. From Tallin, Estonia, Erply - Comprehensive CRM, accounting, billing and inventory management for SMEs
5. From London, UK, Kukunu - A social travel planning platform to build and organize your holiday, because travel is better when you plan it yourself
6. From Paris, France, Kwaga - Makes your inbox easier to manage by intelligently screening and organising your emails
7. From Cambridge, UK, Patients Know Best - Patient-controlled medical records. First customers include the UK's largest private health care provider, and the UK's largest children's hospital
8. From Vienna, Austria, Platago - Helping game developers to publish their games on social networks
9. From Amman, Jordan, Talasim - The Comedy Channel of the Middle East, providing a space for self-expression and sharing humour
10. From Belgium, Wondergraphs - Social business analysis that saves organizations time and money with easy to use exploration, sharing and context aware search
11. From Israel, YubiTech - Enabling mobilization of Desktop application to cross-mobile platform, in a fraction of cost and time, bringing best user experience to the mobile users
12. From Zagreb, Croatia, Shoutem - Enables you to create your own microblogging community for your business or brand
The lineup for the January 4 event was along these lines.
SpeakerText - Living the NYC startup dream!
BlazeTrak - Are you star material? Find out!
UDorse - This NY Tech Meetup is brought to you by...
Artlog - This is NYC, and 2010 brings us our first art/tech startup?
1 min/NY Tech Minute pitches from:
Taxi Hack
The after party was at the Black Door on 26th between 6th & 7th Aves. Bumped into the Hootsuite guy @quikness at the after party. And got to meet the LaunchCloud (a Crunchies finalist) @mikomercer. I just found out she is now Mayor some place as of recent. And to think I did my very first FourSquare check in last night at the Blue Note Jazz. (Jazz) It was a sold out event. I showed up early to get the bar option. Alex showed up for the 8 PM show. Tommaso showed up for the 10:30 PM show with two of his Italian friends. We ended up being five people. Around midnight we crossed the street and went to the bar there, "to wake up a little," as Tommaso put it: I thoroughly enjoyed the jazz. There was some noisy music in the basement. Alex and I stayed. The others left soon.

Alex is going to be at the MeetUp headquarters this evening for the European edition.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Presenting At The Dot Com Hatchery

Sun MicrosystemsImage via Wikipedia
Image via Wikipedia
JyotiConnect: Executive Summary

So last night I presented at the Dot Com Hatchery for five minutes, took questions for five, and then listened to comments from the panelists for a few more minutes. Overall it was a wonderful, wonderful experience.

Sun Microsystems
101 Park Avenue
4th floor, Gramercy Park Room
New York, NY 10017

I was hoping to put out a series of posts at this blog leading to the day of the presentation, but I did not do. That was a mistake.
  1. How many people are online today? What has been the history? What are the projections?
  2. A survey of the global mobile market. 
  3. A long, definitive post about Wimax. Where is it coming from? Where is it going?
  4. A history of the ISP business. AOL, Juno etc.

    Image representing AOL as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase

  5. ISPs today, in the US, in the world. 
  6. A definitive post about Netbooks. 
  7. A definitive post about the Chrome OS.
  8. A definitive post about PC market share. Which are the top companies? What have been their trajectories?
  9. One Laptop Per Child: what happened?
  10. A survey of the ad industry in India, China, South Africa, Brazil.
I did not rehearse once before. How did Yao find out? She said as much during one of her comments. I did not rehearse once before my social media talk at the Science House MeetUp, and that went really well. (My Talk On Social Media At The Science House MeetUp) I guess there I had no time limit. Here it was five minutes by the clock. You needed to have rehearsed every single word, every single phrase. Not doing so was a big mistake. You have to deliver your lines like you are in a movie. There are not that many words you can pack into five minutes, especially if you want to deliver well.

What would my 30 second pitch be?
My tech startup wants to figure out ways to bring hundreds of millions of new people online. You do that by bringing the costs down for internet access. You do that by serving ads. Down the line we might also go into hardware if necessary for what I call the IC, the Internet Computer. For our core business we want to polish up the business model through a pilot project and grow it globally through the franchise concept.
What would be the five minute version?
Hi. My name is Paramendra. That is my name on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail and you can google my name up.

The idea that I am trying to present can be caputured in two letters: IC, as in Internet Computer. Back in the 70s we were in the era of the mainframes, those big, ugly computers only big universities and companies could afford. For the past 30 years and more we have been in the era of PCs. I feel we are at the cusp of a new era, the IC era.

I also have to introduce the Web 3.0 concept as I define it. Web 1.0 was when websites were pretty posters. Web 2.0 has been when the websites have been populated.  The semantic web is not Web 3.0, that would be Web 2.1. Getting a ton of new people online would be Web 3.0.

A little about me. There is a concrete mathematical theory called the butterfly effect. A butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon could be the reason a cyclone hit Bangladesh. During April 2006 over a period of 19 days, over 8 million out of Nepal's 27 million people thronged the streets to shut the country down completely to oust a king dictator. I was the butterfly flapping my wings in New York City. I am extremely good with vision and group dynamics.

How many of you have been to the first KFC restaurant in Kentucky? I have. I will tie that KFC mention later in the presentation.

This is my startup's relaunch. I am trying to raise 100K for my round one right now. I was done doing that, and then in February 09, reacting to the worst economy in 70 years most of my investors walked away. I took time off, focused on social media, accumulated almost as many followers on Twitter as Donald Trump, experimented with pro blogging, and now I am back in the game.

My former business partner Adam Carson was a Morgan Stanley banker, now at Tuck Business School. My primary engineer was Khushboo Vaish, still in Mumbai, an IIT, IIM graduate, one of the finest Indian engineers of her generation. I still have all the contacts to reassemble my engineering team. Khushboo went to the same business school as the Pepsi CEO.

My round one goal is to raise 100K. My round two goal would be to raise between one to five million. During round three I hope to splash out the franchise concept to grow fast. The first person who put in 100K into Google, that money is now north of a billion. I don't expect to do that well. But even if I can do one third as good in twice as much time, that will still be very good. If you have 5K, 10K or 20K that you are in a position to invest, and you have absolutely no chances of ever becoming a millionaire, I am very interested in your money.

Of the 100K, 20-30K will go towards the pilot project, 20-30K towards a global team, and 50K towards one full timer in NYC.

We in the New York tech community envy Boston and Silicon Valley. If the center of gravity in tech is going to shift from California to New York it will not be because we came up with the next big dot com. Like Steve Jobs said a few years back, the PC wars are over, Microsoft won, let's move on. And he gave us the iPod and the iPhone. Web 3.0 is what will put New York City on the technology map, this capital city of the world where people not from just every country, but every town in every country live. My company would like to take the lead.

Steve Ballmer said in a speech recently that by 2035 we will have four billion people online. That will be too little too late. We have to get there much faster.

These were the four panelists.

Scott Gingold - Director, Strategy at Hatchery
James Jorasch - Founder, Science House
Ken Kharbanda - Director, Strategy at Hatchery
Tereza Nemessanyi - Director, Strategy at Hatchery

James started by throwing me an easy question. After you raise the 100K, what are you going to do? I guess I did not emphasize the pilot project part enough. I said you can set up a pilot project for about 15-20K in my hometown in Nepal. You can start by charging people $25 a month, which is the going rate now, but you also end up with a small pool of users. The idea would be to bring the cost down by serving ads, to move from 25 to 15 to 5 to end up with a much larger pool of users.

That gave Ken an opening. He asked me why I did not mention those figures in any of my slides. I said I agree with you. The slides would have been better if those figures had been mentioned.

Scott said he knew a few people for whom my startup might be a good fit. I made a point to get his card later. Then he said, what's in it for me? I said you are already online, this is more for people who are not online yet. But this would be a great investment opportunity for someone like you. On the other hand there are a lot of people in the outer boroughs who go to the public library to check their email.

The Hatchery folks are religious about their 11 points.

1. Your team
2. What your product/service does
3. What issue/pain is it looking to solve/address
4. What is the solution
5. What is the addressable market
6. What is the competitive landscape
7. Any current customer/client/pilot pipeline
8. What is the revenue stream/source
9. What are your financial projections
10. How much are you looking for in investment
11. What will you do with the money, how will it be spent

Yao was very frank on the topic. She said my presentation did not cover "any" of the 11 points. Holy Moses.

It was curious to me that a guy who presented the idea of a print magazine - many say a dying art form - scored the highest, whereas I was not even scored and here I am saying I want to help shift the center of gravity in tech from California to New York. But I truly appreciated the frank feedback. And I do value the 11 points. I would do much better the next time I have a chance to present for five minutes.

My friends Ed, Alex and I went for drinks later. Ed kept saying I was Rocky, I will keep coming back.

The Sun guy, the all Indian Angelo Rajadurai, approached me on the floor later. Some of the feedback was "harsh," he said. "You might have done well if you had said there are 1.2 billion Indians, only 10 million of them are online today." I grabbed his card as well.

Everybody but everybody goes to the movie theater on the Indian subcontinent. That was true when I was a kid growing up. And they serve a ton of ads on those big screens. Of course the ad market exists and is vibrant out there. The ad market - local and global - will have to be tapped. Imagine Google charging us two cents per search. You can't.

 The best part of the evening was the four panelists talked for about 15 minutes each towards the end about four broad topics in business. James talked about the idea, the product, the business. Ken talked about finance. Scott talked about market research. Tereza focused on business to business.

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