25 January, 2010

Mozillian Inspiration

I attended FOSS.IN conference for the first time in year 2003. I remember attending talks by Miguel, Nat, and Naba. I remember being totally inspired by the talks and people I met.

Next 3 years, I was constantly moving from one place to another, therefore could not get chance to attend the conference. So in year 2007, I was working in Mumbai and I was trilled to know that Mitchell Baker of Mozilla will be giving talk at FOSS.IN 2007. I decided to attend this one and did so.

I had listened to her talk audio at Stanford university's entrepreneurship corner and came to know that she worked as volunteer on Mozilla project when there was no funding. She described the difficulties faced by the team working on Mozilla project, when AOL lost interest in the project (because of IE's market share dominance). She described vision of Internet that provided the motivation through all these years and kept the team going. Talk is still available on the Standford entrepreneurship corner website.

So when I actually attended her talk at FOSS.IN 2007, it was awesome experience. Later I actually met her and told her how her commitment to Mozilla project for so many past so many years inspires me.

I took her autograph and so now every time I look at the autograph it reminds of people who had a vision for open Internet, their struggle through difficult years.

FOSS.IN 2007 had lots of talks on Mozilla Firefox. I enjoyed talk by Chris Hoffman and talk by Myk Melez on how to develop Firefox extensions.

23 January, 2010

मला मराठीत लिहायला आवडते

मला मराठीत लिहायला आवडते. गुगलचे तंत्रज्ञान वापरून मराठीमध्ये लिहणे सोपे झाले आहे. पण अजून blogger.com मध्ये मराठीत टाईप करण्याची चांगली सोय नाही. हिंदी आणी इतर काही भाषा आहेत.

मग मी कसा लिहतोय? गुगलचीच एक सोय वापतोय. आशा करतोय की, मराठीमध्ये लिहणे आणखी सोपे होईल. शेवटी काही गोष्टींवर लिहायला आणी वाचायला मराठीतच मजा येते. समजा मला आईच्या (किंवा तुमची बायको असेल तर)  हातची पुरण पोळी किती छान होती हे सांगाचय? किवा मराठी चित्रपट गीत, संगीत आणि कवितांविषयी लिहाचय? मराठीत लिहायला आवडेल ना !

15 January, 2010

Innovations 2010 : Talk by Sanjay Nayak

Following are my notes at Innovation 2010 keynote speech by Mr. Nayak (CEO, Tejas Networks). Although I do not agree with everything he said, speech was great.

Tejas : A Product Company

Business models of Indian IT services companies (like Infosys, Wipro) are :
Provide IT services to western market. Services that can be done at less cost in India compared to western market. Internet and communication infrastructure makes it possible to provide reasonable quality services from India.

Because of this cost difference between western countries and India, IT services companies have majority of its clients in western countries.

Tejas Networks is a products (combination of hardware + firmware + software) company. Products are developed for telecommunication market, India and outside. Tejas does not actually manufacture hardware, it outsources manufacturing to Electronics Manufacturing Services providers. Tejas designs the hardware and get it manufactured from suitable EMS provider in India or outside India.

India : Emerging Market

In the past, innovative products (New cars for example) are first launched in western markets for high price. Once a product becomes commodity, it is re-launched in third world countries for less price.

However India in 2010 is different and changing fast:
1. New products are being launched first in India.
2. The growth is stalled in western world and happening is in India. Third world countries are now emerging markets.
3. Coming years lot of money to be spend (huge market for telecom equipment) in India and for many other products.
4. Mobile service provider earn profit even for low ARPV in India. Therefore lot of innovation, not on technology front, but business model front, to reduce cost, must have happened.

Following are observation about India for developing products and as a market.

1. Cost of innovation in India is low. So it is possible to develop new products with relatively less investment in R & D. Blended cost (mix of experienced and fresh engineers).
2. Indian customers are demanding. They want world class quality at low cost. This drives you crazy and forces you to provide best at least cost.
3. Consider India as sandbox for your products, before launching in global market.
4. Indian customers comfortable spending on hardware but reluctant to pay for software.
5. There are infrastructure problems in India (24 X 7 electricity supply etc.)

Advice For Start Ups

For start up companies interesting in developing innovative products, following is the advice :

1. Funding : Early stage VC funding is one option. In case Tejas, it was not possible to boot strap. Because of nature of the product they had start with big team of engineers.

2. Focus : Focus on one product area and clear direction.

3. Execute one step at a time :
  • get product working.
  • get 1 customer/user.
  • get 10 customer.
  • think about & beat competition.

4. Team : Strong team with variety of background needed. Complementary skills (Finance, Marketing & Sales) needed.

5. Customer : Anticipate technology trends, understand customer needs before defining the product.

6. Global market : Big companies looking at India for product development. In some cases, Indian companies develop product and is branded by big companies in western market using existing marketing and sales network.

7. Tejas Advantage : Investment in R & D, convert hardware functionality into software. Less time to develop the product.

8. Funding : Take money whenever available. You will need it. Investors in Tejas include Desh Deshpande, Mayfield, Battery, Intel, Goldman Sachs.

9. CSIR : Look at Govt. of India initiatives like CSIR for funding. Be patient.

It was really inspirational keynote.

06 January, 2010

Travel By Bus and Chocolate Mousse

Travel By Road

Yesterday, I was thinking about long distance (200 KMs to 2000 KMs) travel within India by road using bus service.

In most parts of south India, one can travel long distance journeys using buses operated by privates agencies or government agencies (known as State Road Transportation Corporations).

Booking Tickets

There are various ways to book your tickets. 

Visit Travel Agent
Find out nearest travel agent shop. They typically sell tickets for various travel agencies. They make use of phone to call a central place or sometimes computer to reserve your ticket.

Visit Travel Agency Office
You can also visit travel agency's office.

Online booking (Using PC & Internet)

For air travel, online booking facility has been a basic minimal requirement before airlines starts its operations.

Ever since year 2002, Indian railways launched online booking service IRCTC, more and more ordinary people in India are booking tickets online. Nowadays, expectations about ticket booking procedure and quality of service are really high.

Unfortunately, not all transportation agencies have yet realized this trend and taken steps towards providing online booking facility. Perhaps because there are many small players (agencies) operating in the market.

Following are few transportation agencies that seems to have online booking facility :
I have not yet tried any of these websites so quality of online booking application is not known to me.

Is there any website where you could search over services/routes offered by many transportation agencies, compare prices and choose one that suits you best. There is, it is called http://www.redbus.in/. Check it out.

This covers online bus ticket booking options, now there is one last option.

Telephonic Booking 
You could call travel agent or services like redBus and book ticket on telephone and have it delivered at your home

Quality of Service

So how good is services offered by these travel agencies. After all you are likely to spend 5 hrs to 20 hrs in the journey and you want it to be comfortable.

Many of the operators use Volvo buses. They offer both AC and non AC options. Seats are comparable to economy class seats in a plane. Be careful about total seats in the bus, some operators use modified buses with two layers of seats. This could be uncomfortable and unsafe.


So what else passengers expect when they are traveling long distance by bus. How about conducted a survey to find out? Kevin Gomes (who is most talented Guitar player I have met) graciously participated in this survey and also won lucky draw. Notice his choices :

I know that chocolate mousse is yummy.


Well this survey does have sufficient sample size, for us to conclude, but still who is going to stop us? So conclusions :
  • Online booking should be simple.
  • Passenger should have choice and allowed to compare various options.
  • Kevin's request is to reduce travel time and still have safe journey. Quality of road and drivers qualifications need to be considered.
  • Travel time may not be a considerable if passengers are comfortable. How about bathroom inside bus?
Kevin, time to think about this, but before that enjoy your chocolate mousse.