Showing posts from 2009

Digitalization: Effect of it on the eco-system

The recently concluded Copenhagen summit on climate change and non-conclusion of the countries on any accord made me wonder what could be the thing that can bring about a change in the eco-system… The answer was staring on my face. Digital.

The growth of Internet and Mobile has been so phenomenal; I guess today most of us cannot imagine a life without this two. Most of the stuff we do in our professional or personal life is eased due to the use of these technologies. Some of the areas that will have direct impact of digital would be:

- Travel & Transport
- Automotive
- Entertainment
- Shopping & Banking
- Media

Trends rising out digitalization of our world:

- We will travel less for work or personal reasons. In fact most of my work can be done Out of Office. Similarly, as we shift more and more into services economy from manufacturing economy…. Digital would help in fulfillment thus reducing the need of physical presence. Video Conferencing especially in the personal space – From Home…

What makes social networking sites ‘click’

As we approach the end of another year, there would be multitudes of new people who would have joined some social networking site or other.

Well, there are dime and dozen reasons for the success of Social Networking Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Orkut, etc…. but is there any common thread or insight that binds the success of these SNS sites?

We humans spend most of our waking hours in building and maintaining ‘relationship’. This behavior is embedded in our genes. The activity of ‘grooming’ in primates, a human child crying for attention, the activities we, as adults, do in our day to day life – like the friendly greeting to colleagues, the discussion over cup of coffee, meeting the client deadlines too :) - All these actions is related to building and maintaining relationships.

One of the core objective of building and maintaining relationships is to create an opinion about oneself in others mind. The way we talk, what we speak, the way we dress, the way we walk, all communicat…

is the Yahoo! advertising campaign working in India?

The Yahoo! ad campaign in India is on for about 4 months... (Its You campaign)... I was wondering how successful this campaign has been in terms of increase in users of Yahoo! India, and also in terms of visitors to the site...

While I have no authentic data on the above, a quick glance into Google Trends for Yahoo India website gives a very sorry picture..

The chart shows a steady decline in the Unique visitors to the Yahoo website since starting of 2009... While one thing to note is that Google Trends do not consider sub-domain, and will only be tracking the TLD (Top Level Domain).. it still is not a good sign for Yahoo!

This resonates with my thoughts that Internet Time is a limited resource for the users in India... The growth in usage of social networking sites is cannibalizing into the usage of other Internet websites.. A Google trend chart (given below) on Facebook & Twitter would confirm its rising popularity.

While I wait for authentic source of information - I would go with …

Google Zeitgeist for India – 2009

Google has released the latest Zeitgeist for 2009. While the overall results shown are predictable (basis the different headers)… there are some things which were interesting.

Let’s have a quick recap of important happenings in India over the past one year –
- General Elections (by far the biggest event)
- Indians win at Oscar
- The Budget presentation (during the time of recession)
- Interest in the Economy (the ripple effect of the global economic scenario)
- And of course: the staple diet of most Indians – movies, cricket, celebrities

Google search queries correlate to the above happenings with Budget 2009, Election Results, Slumdog Millionaire etc., all being the top search queries of the year. However, some interesting search queries too were to be seen. ‘Bhuvan’ too was seen to be the fastest growing search query. Launched in Mid-August, Bhuvan, the ISRO’s Geo-satellite, which can zoom to 10 square meter (similar to Google, or Wikimaps), would have been of interest to many. I have not …

The (Media) Empire to strike back

Are we at a cusp of media upheaval? Are we soon going to see a war betting the old (traditional) media vs. new (Online) media??

Rupert Murdoch, speaking at the World Media Summit in Beijing, was mentioning that Search Engines and other content aggregators need to pay for any news reports or articles they currently take for free

He said “The aggregators and plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content”. A Media Mogul whose company owns newspapers, other publications and TV channels across the globe, his view comes as ominous. He was particularly harsh on Search Engine like Google, Yahoo! And other websites like Wikipedia, YouTube and Facebook

While Mr. Murdoch and other media companies are right that there is a price for the content they create. As content owners they need to be compensated for exploitation of the original content for commercial purpose.

Having started my career with a media company, I have been taught and now know that there is nothing c…

Truth about blogging and bloggers in India

A curiosity to know how many ‘active’ bloggers are there in India and a quick Google search gave me stats that are pretty old and seemingly unauthentic.

A WATBlog article has a report dated 2007 mentioning that 14% of Netizens from India are into ‘active’ blogging. Here I’m assuming that by ‘active’ they would mean someone who updates his/her blog at-least once a month. On a safe assumption that we have now about 60 Million Internet users in India and the blogger universe average dropping to 10% - still it talks about 6 Million bloggers in India.

In the same article reference to another and a much more older (2006) Government of India report says that there are about 40K active bloggers and with another 400K ‘not regular’ bloggers. A safe assumption that the number of bloggers being directly proportional to the increase in the net users would mean we would be having a universe of close to 1 Million active bloggers from India.

The most interesting part of this article was the survey condu…

Social Networking & Dunbar's Number

My Facebook friends list has reached close to 140 (give or take 3 pending requests). One of persistent thought I have been having for past few days is the fact that the number of people in my social network is close to Dunbar’s number (148 appx) – my neocortex limit for maintaining stable relationship

Dunbar's number (also known as the Dunbar number or the Monkeysphere) is a value significant in sociology and anthropology. Proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, it measures the "cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable relationships". Dunbar theorizes that "this limit is a direct function of relative neocortex size, and that this in turn limits group size ... the limit imposed by neocortical processing capacity is simply on the number of individuals with whom a stable inter-personal relationship can be maintained." You could read more about Dunbar’s number at ('s_nu…

Will the real ‘early adopter’ of technology, please stand up?

The best thing about my generation is the fact - we have seen much more technological advances and innovations than any generations before.

The introduction of Video Cassette Recorder, Colour Televisions, Personal Computers, Internet, WWWs, Pagers, Mobile Phones, DVRs, Ipods, MP3s, etc, etc, etc…

One thing I notice, in my job, is that most of the companies (especially into technology – software/hardware) believes that their primary audience as ‘early adopters’ are the youth… and most of the marketing managers definition of youth happens to be people between the age group of 18- 24… well is this true that the youth will drive the technological product innovation??

By market definition – Early Adopters are those who closely follow the footsteps of Innovators… Early Adopters are usually identified as the one’s that are curious, open to new ideas, integrated into local social system, etc

But, we all know that humans are most inquisitive when they are kids. A child of 5 year is most curious a…

Random thoughts on Digital Marketing

Couple of weeks back, I was in Malaysia, attending a 5 day workshop on Advertising during these times (read tough times). Everyone was of the unanimous opinion that times are indeed tough, especially for the advertising industry. With lower profits, bleak economic forecast, companies are cutting down their budgets – especially their marketing budgets.
While the overall mood was somber, everyone were gung-ho about digital medium. Internet / Mobile they say are the way to go. Advertising can be measured, sales quantified, and at end of the day – the client gets to see the ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment)
What makes digital such a favorite amongst marketers and advertisers is the fact that controllable, measurable, and all on real-time basis. Until the advent of Internet, most marketing campaigns were like a bullet released – you could only aim and shoot; once the trigger is pressed, you had no control on it… however, now it is like a guided missile – you can target, shoot, change dir…

Will there be another dotcom bust?

Many people believe that the markets follow a 10 year (8 to 11 years to be exact (sic)) cycle… Internet as a business had seen the bust in the late 90’s – 2K. This means, it is about time that the bust reoccurs.
The last few years have seen a rapid expansion of the Internet, especially what we call the web 2.0 explosion with Social Media riding the wave. Most of the new age Internet businesses have come to life with Venture Capital funding, and low on strong revenue model. I am not sure of the numbers – but almost all of them are not making any profits… so how long will the good times last?
As the business cycle model goes after every expansion comes crisis. In today’s world all the publisher (especially the online social media companies) are vying for the limited time a person has on hand… It is today more about share of clock, than share of wallet they are after. For every MySpace – you have Orkut, FaceBook, Hi5, and many more…
What is happening is that the time spent by the user onli…

Classic Blogging & Micro Blogging

Hmmm.. how do I start..

Let us consider the fact that every day is a battle. We battle the morning rush hours to reach office, battle with colleagues, and clients to seek victory either in form of pushing through your ideas/thoughts or selling to a client…. Along with in this battle is a battle of communication… how do we get our views and thoughts effectively and efficiently to others…

Consider Internet as the battlefield, then micro-blogging is small arms; while classic blogging would be all about artillery.

Small arms is all about ease to carry, close quarters, and limited ammunition. Very similar to your micro blogging… ease to carry – can be accessed from mobile and computers; close quarters – reaching to your friends in the network, fast and effectively; and limited ammunition – 140 characters? 

Artillery is all about heavy equipment, ability of reaching further, planning, targeting, etc… Most of blog dashboards are heavy and best accessed through computers… blogs have a tendency …

Airtel Launches cloud based Net PC

For all those (including myself), who have been complaining about the low penetration of Internet, and the great digital divide in India... here is what Airtel has to offer..

Targeting close to 200,000 subscribers by this year end, this would soon become an important platform for people in the fringes of the digital divide to adapt to technology... I feel this would be lapped up eagerly by both the businesses and individuals..

Gist of article:

Low-cost computing and broadband penetration in the country is set to get a boost with Bharti Airtel, India's largest telecom operator, launching a low-cost online computer powered by Microsoft and Nivio.

Priced at Rs7,999, the Airtel Net PC is a plug-and-play online computer with a 15-inch LCD monitor, mouse, and Nivio companion (which enables the PC to connect to a backend Linux-run server for storage and applications).

To read more click here

What ails Internet advertising in India?

Some random thoughts on what ails Internet advertising in India -

1) Internet advertising always comes as an after thought in client's campaign
2) few publishers control most of the traffic and ad revenue
3) Always have been sold on 'performance' parameter... branding was never considered as an option
4) In India Internet has been synonymous with 'Free' - even the marketers demand it
5) Penetration has been a perennial problem
6) cost per reach is still higher compared to other mediums
7) Tracking and optimizing the campaign is expensive... and client's mostly are not willing to invest or pay for the same
8) No standards - in rates, measurements - varies from publisher to publisher
9) success stories of internet advertising are by and far few & rare
10) Most restaurants (digital ad agencies) believes in the presentation (creative) not the cooking (science/strategy) of what they serve
10.a) Most of the online campaigns are half cooked dishes served to the client... and…

The real winner of India Election

Who do you think is the real winner of the India General Elections? Is it the UPA, the Congress Party, the 500+ MPs, or us, the citizens of this country?

Well, I think the real winner happens to be the Media. The television channels and the newspapers that have been covering the elections for the past 3 months

They started with the election coverage… on the spot coverage, studio interviews, expert talks, the voter feedback, election bus, you name it, they have done it… it gives the media huge amount of content, and many prime ad spots in FCT, including the political parties

Then come a week of great debate (or shall I say the tall tale)… Reams of newsprint and thousands of minutes of airtime was dedicated to what the election analysis experts were calling the Exit Poll… and the possible political permutations and combinations…. The tall tales were of the various numbers the parties would get… the possible look of first, second, third, fourth, and other fronts… who they would support, wh…

Twitter: Do you tweet?; Yes, No, Maybe

It is taking on the social media space by storm. eMarketer reports that by 2010 18 Million people would be tweeting in US alone. That is quite a bit of chirping in the online space. India however has a different story to say. Comscore says that there were close to 120K unique visits to twitter during Feb 2009. This figure is minuscule and no marketer would consider tweeter as a medium of engagement at this point of time.

However, looking at the exponential growth of people who are joining the tweet-wagon, it would soon become an ideal brand communication tool. And NOW is the time for a brand to experience, learn, and improve using this tool

Ok. Some brands are already using twitter. Obama had used this successfully during the US Presidential elections. Media keeps reporting about how everyone is participating, networking, tweeting, and befriending…. So what can brands do to leverage this growing phenomenon?

Why Twitter?

Twitter as a social media tool is all about real time status update. …

Microsoft debuts Vine in Seattle: Twitter+Facebook on steroids

By Brier Dudley

It's been awhile since Microsoft introduced a game-changing social Web application, but Vine -- a service that's debuting today with a beta test in Seattle -- could be a contender.

Vine is a hyperlocal, personalized message and alert system. It's intended to be a dashboard that people can use to keep tabs of their family, friends, activities and major events in their community.

The dashboard -- which appears as a widget on a PC screen -- displays a map of the user's community and the status of their contacts. It also has buttons to send alerts or reports, which can be sent and received on the PC or as text messages on a cellphone.

For more click here

Will Facebook and Twitters of the web2.0 world kill classic blogging?

It has been quite a while since I have blogged here. Well the reason is not that I was so busy that I did not find that couple of hours every week to write.. it was not that I was exiled into the Gautamano bay, and had no access to internet… it is not even the fact that I was not active on Internet… in fact, I was never so active on the Net, ever since I first started browsing around 15 years back, as I was last 2 months.. then what stopped me from blogging??
Blame it on the new sexy babes in the online space – Facebook and Twitter. Since the time I got active on Facebook and Twitter, I hardly find time for any other thing online, especially writing at one go and blogging about 500 words of my thoughts. I am all over drooling over these babes and I have access to them from my mobile phone too.
Though the core feature offering of Facebook or Twitter is ‘Status Update’ it has transcended the update feature. People update their status, remark on others update, follow, write on walls, poke,…

'Jai Ho' Congress Party

Following a tight pitch against local agency Crayons, Mindshare Delhi snapped the Indian National Congress (INC) media account estimated to be worth US$15 million.

The agency will be handling the political party’s electronic media campaign in the run up to the general elections to be held from 16th April onwards in stages.

Mindshare will focus primarily on TV and radio – reaching out to the ‘common man’ – which constitutes the majority of the voting population in the country.

The account is led by client leadership and will draw heavily on resources from the exchange teams at Mindshare.

“To be associated with a campaign that will help form the government to run the country for the next 5 years is a great privilege and honour. The entire country is talking about this campaign.” said Chirantan Chandran, partner of client leadership at Mindshare.

Also Congress Party has bought the royalty rights for the AR Rahman song - Jai Ho... This song would be used by the party during this polls. Will…

Google takes Internet to villages

I have read this news article - wherein Google takes Internet to the villages in India. They have an Internet enabled bus that will camp in villages and experience the villagers to get a flavor of the Internet...

Once a villager is convinced, and finds the immense potential of the Net, they might just adopt the medium in one form or another...

Hmmm...a nice way to bridge the great Indian 'Digital Divide'... but, reminds me of an old Hindi saying "Rahne ko ghar nahin, sara jahan hamara"

Will these people who struggle with the lack of basic amenities and infrastructure.. find Internet of any use that will change their day to day struggle. What value add would Google search engine give to these people??

Interesting though, I will need to follow this project of Google and see its effectiveness..

For the news article - read here



I-Cube report 2008

I-Cube is one of the most exhaustive reports available on the Indian Internet Market, which covers information areas like Internet usage amongst the households, Internet usage amongst businesses, Broadband status of the Indian market, content preferences, cross media consumption, public access, and online entertainment

A Snapshot of the report

I-Cube 2008: Internet usage in Indian households report offers interesting insights on the emerging pattern of Internet usage among Indian families. The report reflects on the Internet penetration rates as well as the characteristics of these families in terms of disparate profiles and affluence levels.

Signaling a gradual growth, the total Internet population of India for the year 2008 stands strongly at 55.5 million users.

India's urban Internet population has grown by 19% to reach 50 million (all India estimate) compared to 42 million in 2007. Of these 50 million Internet users (urban), 36.5 million are 'active users' who log on to th…

Blackberry Storm, and Vodafone customer service

There was this big hoarding screaming about the launch of Blackberry Storm by Vodafone. "SMS STORM to 111"..

This was a phone I was waiting for, and did not buy into the iphone hype that was there a few months back.

SMS i did. and I got a nice auto response saying someone would be in touch with me in 48 hrs.. The hours have extended to 240, and the promised call has not yet come..

This is what i call the great Indian Digital Divide. Wherein the technology is making huge strides forward... but the personnel service still belongs to the pre-independence years

As long as this last mile connectivity is not fixed... digital mechanisms will not be effective :(

Vodafone, I am happy to help you in this regard :)



Sign of things to come

techTribe Says Referral Job Site Not Working Out, Looking For A Buyer

techTribe, backed by Canaan Partners, is now exploring options like finding a strategic partner or a buyer.

The business model for online recruitment based on referrals is not “working out”, techTribe CEO and Founder Rohit Agarwal admitted in an interview to VCCircle. The company is now exploring options like a strategic partner or a buyer.

San Francisco and New Delhi-based techTribe was founded by serial entrepreneur Rohit Agarwal, in 2006. Before starting techTribes, Agarwal was co-founder and VP of marketing and business development at Webify Solutions, which got acquired by IBM in July 2006.

The company hoped to make money by becoming a referral job portal. It had received an undisclosed amount of funding from Canaan Partners, US-based Miven Venture Partners and The Entrepreneur Funds in 2007.

“The model for referral recruitment as we had planned is not working out,” said Agarwal.

Read more

Will we be looking at the se…

3G & BWA: The Next Frontier, A report FICCI and BDA released a joint report on 3G & BWA yesterday at FICCI, New Delhi.

The objective of this Report is to provide an operational, on-the-ground perspective of the future of 3G and BWA services in India, and is based on extensive industry inputs from carriers, handset OEMs, network OEMs,VAS providers and policy makers.
The Highlights of the report include:
* 89.9mn 3G Subscribers (including 67.5mn handsets and 22.4 modem subscribers) by 2013
* 3G subscriber base will represent 12% of the overall wireless subscriber base contributing USD 15.8bn in service revenues in 2013.
* Annual 3G device sales are estimated to reach 81.3mn in 2013, with replacement market contributing to 52% of device sales in that year.
* 3G ARPU is projected to reach USD 18.3 by 2013 with revenues totaling USD 12.8bn in the same year. Data is expected to contribute 29% to 3G ARPU from handet users.
* The overall broadband subscriber base (including wireline,3G modem and BWA) is projected to grow to 46.1mn users by 2013 with an overall PC installed base of 75mn. Total 3G modem subscribers …

3G to be launched in Delhi in 10 days

State-run Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) has said that it plans to launch 3G telecom services in national capital New Delhi in next 10
days. MTNL plans to launch 3G services in the commercial capital Mumbai by first week of February, reports PTI (via Business Standard). MTNL has not tied up with any content providers and has said that its Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) providers would give it the content.
Department of Telecom issued Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and MTNL spectrum to roll out all-India 3G services last year. The spectrum
auction for private telecom companies has been continually delayed, and many foreign companies may stay away due to global economic slowdown.

Click here to view this article



'Satyam' beats 'Orkut'

According to Google Zeitgeist 2008, ‘Orkut’ was the most popular searched keyword. For obvious reasons, the last two days “Satyam” beats Orkut more than 2:1.

Another interesting thing that comes to notice from Google trends is that though ‘Orkut’ is the most popular searched keywords in the top 10 cities… the volume index shows that Satyam is more popular… Safely we can assume that most of the searches for SATYAM are coming in from non-metros and other regions of India.

Considering what is happening in SATYAM, not a great start for the new year… Just imagine a $2 Billion fraud, in a country where the Finance Minister calls a $4 Billion package as economic booster…