Back from a blog vacation

December 7, 2009

It’s been long, real long – a blog vacation for close to an year is not good, but there wasn’t much I could do. I was however pretty active over on Twitter – my handle is @vinodhn and reasonably active on Facebook.

So what was I upto this year ? Well I was on a learning overdrive, I helped a great team bootstrap a product, complete web based product built from scratch, and took it all the way from the PRD to SEO , Marketing and PR.

So yes, the past year has been interesting, did some awesome work and met many a smart people. Learnt insights into the Indian product startup space and learnt and tackled challenges that startups face to get a product market ready.

I hope to share more detailed insights on this journey over the past year with all of you on this blog.

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All about Proto.in

January 15, 2009

As we get closer to the Bangalore edition of Proto and the excitement builds up for India’s premier startup event,  here’s an awesome conceptualization about Proto.in by the folks from Pictualize.

Date : Jan 23-24, 2009

Venue: Nimhans Convention Center

Btw, if you haven’t already registered, now’s a good time to do so, go ahead and register now.

Makes me wonder as I look at Yahoo! Buzz – year in review 2008.  These are the top 10 search terms in Yahoo search.

yahoo-top10-searches

  1. Britney spears (Music /Entertainment)
  2. WWE (Sports Entertainment)
  3. Barack Obama (Politics)
  4. Miley Cyrus ( Entertainment)
  5. RuneScape (Online gaming entertainment)
  6. Jessica Alba (Movie star / entertainment)
  7. Naruto (Entertainment)
  8. Lindsay Lohan (Movie star / entertainment)
  9. Angelina Jolie (Movie star / entertainment)
  10. American Idol (TV / entertainment)

Note that 9 out of the 10 terms are entertainment oriented, a trend which is similar to 2007.

Wonder if this is a reflection of Yahoo users or whether the entertainment industry is recession proof ? What do you think ? (Note: Britney spears is worth $110 million)

There are two beasts in entertainment which I feel when legalized in India, could change the face of entertainment and prove to be a great opportunity for startups.

  1. Gambling on TV / in casinos.
  2. Pornography on TV.

What do you think ? Any ideas for killer startups in this space 🙂 ? (or should we say hot startups 🙂 )

It gives me great pleasure to announce that I will now be guest blogging for the Product Management View – a blog focussed on product management and strategy , run by world class product managers from various backgrounds and vast experience in this field.I am pleased to be associated with them and look forward to some great discussions over there. Thanks to Stewart Rogers from PM view for making this happen.

My first post for the Product management view is about maximizing product value through effective feature prioritization. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this topic and having some great conversations.

The PM view also tracks major webinars on product management, you can sign up for a webinar remider service and here’s the handle to the RSS feed.

I just finished going through the Consumer experience report, from Razorfish a survey which has documented the online behavior and characteristics of more than 1,000 “connected” consumers on the internet. This was refreshing to read in the midst of all grim news and presentations from VC firms and the layoffs in internet firms.

The Consumer experience report looks at:

  • People’s life online and their exchanges and networks that they build on the web
  • Changing consumer behavior heralded by Web 2.0, UGC and the voice of the consumer
  • what is the real impact of the “social web”;
  • Key drives for transactions and purchases on the web
  • and who is really using the mobile web and what are they doing.

The survey report is nicely documented and gives several key insights into online consumer behavior. If you are building a consumer internet product, it would suggest you go through this report.

Here are some thoughts I found encouraging, with potential for building opportunities on

  • Search as the start of most online experiences
  • Increasing importance of user experience design and designing for the “Facebook generation”
  • Emergence of online video as a rising star and increased adoption across demographics
  • Accelerated adoption of social media technologies at a breakneck speed – Increasing popularity of Twitter, Facebook and other social technologies which connect people and enable conversations
  • Peer driven search and search from social recommendation sites driving digital commerce
  • Market for smartphone is growing and adoption of online mobile services nascent
  • Growth of mico conversations and social media tools like twitter -“I don’t remember how I kept in touch before!”
  • Increased use of widgets which mashup data from various sources and can be accessed on the web and mobile
  • Increased demand for data visualization and enabling users to track their activities over the social web.

So what are your thoughts on the report ? If you run an Internet startup, what are you doing to leverage this ?

razorfish consumer experience report

You can download the entire report in PDF from here.

Understanding spatial search

November 4, 2008

So what is spatial search ?

In today’s context, where the Internet is the starting point for finding any information you need about anything in the world, and of course most of us use Google. The problem with traditional search is that it does not support or have information about the geographical dimension.

Why is spatial search important ?

This becomes extremely important when searching for something like “Guest houses in Bangalore”. Although the geographical location, in this case ‘Bangalore’ can be used as a part of search query term, the search engine does not interpret it as a geographical location.

So results for the search query – “Guest houses in Bangalore” will turn up documents with “Guest houses” and “Bangalore” and might not show up results with guest houses koramangala or indiranagar which are localities in Bangalore and also hence very apt results. This is because, the search engine does not have a relationship between these terms.

The other issue with traditional search in entities like homes is that the geographical information of these locations are not known, and hence they cannot be visualized on a map – which would be the most intuitive way to visualize these results.

While planning and architecting my100floors, we understood the need for Spatial search and helping users visualize home searches on maps. Moreover we felt that that searching for properties on maps was the intuitive way to find properties. In fact, we are the first to provide a map based search in India, cracking the problem of non-availability of geo-coded data.

The next post will talk about our implementation of Spatial search in, challenges we faced and a walk through of the user experience.

property_mapsearchmy100floors.com is currently in closed beta, leave your email address on the site and drop me a line here or on twitter and I will make sure that you get the invite.

The slide deck below from Sequoia Capital is some solid advice about dealing with the entire economic crisis and recession from a startup standpoint. If you are an entrepreneur in any part of the world, I am sure there’s something useful for you in this deck.

In fact, the slides below give a good synopsis of the entire problem in the US and global markets and the effects which they have had on the global economy and how startups need to deal with new challenges and realities. I especially like slides 46-55, which are strategies which startups can adopt to get past the tough times.



What do you think ? If you run your own startup, what’s your strategy in dealing with the tough times ?