SLP has one of the many things that has been keeping me busy over the past year. The Startup Leadership Program (SLP) is an initiative to groom the next-generation of startup CEOs. SLP fellows are in their mid-20s to 30s and have demonstrated outstanding potential and achievement in the life sciences, tech, cleantech, and social sectors. Graduates form an international alumni network to support each other’s entrepreneurial endeavors.

SLP initially started out in Boston under TiE Boston and has now grown to six cities including Silicon Valley, New York, Beijing, New Delhi, San Diego.

Me along with a BITS Alumni, Sudip Dutta, CEO of Aporv.in help run the Bangalore chapter of SLP. We are looking for leaders who can lead new chapters as well as take up existing ones. More details follow

Advertisements

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.

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.

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 Twitter obsession (and addiction) continues, we are all hooked on to it, aren’t we.

If you aren’t already, do follow me on Twitter.
So for all the Twitteratti / Tweeple / Tweeps out there, here’s my list of top 10 tools / plugins (in no particular order) for Twitter to enhance your Tweeting experience.

Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck takes all the information from Twitter and helps you manage the information overload by grouping them into managable pieces or based on your interests.

Twitturly

Tracks Top URLs which are talked about on Twitter. Extremely useful service and helps you find the most interestsing and latest information on the web.

Twitter Patterns

Helps you give your twitter page some style! They have some really cool designs, check it out.

Twitterfeed

Very useful app, which automatically tweets whenever you publish a post on your blog. Helps you get some link love!

Easy Tweets

A handy tool for online and digital marketers who wish to leverage the advantages of social media and microblogging. Easy Tweets enables you to switch between multiple Twitter accounts, track follower, replies etc all from one dashboard.

Hashtags

Hashtags enable you to track and follow conversations on Twitter. Follow @hashtags on Twitter and the service will index your tweets. Then add a #tagname to your tweet and this can be instantly looked up or searched.

Quotably

This service lets you follow a user’s conversations in a threaded manner, showing you all the various people the given user has had a conversation with. Interesting tool, especially when you trying to find out what others are saying about your brand/service.

Plodt

Plodt enables charts your tweets based on a tag and rank you provide. For example you could tweet
Vinodh’s blog . *interesting 10* and as you keep adding such tweets, Plodt gives you a timeline graph such as below

Power Twitter

Power Twitter Features
This Firefox plugin greatly enhances twitter to include: photo sharing with embedded flickr photos, video sharing with embedded youtube videos, shared tinyurls are unwound and lots of other power user features.

Twitter Keys

Twitter keys is a fun tool for Twitter which enables you to use UTF8 symbols in your tweets.  Once downloaded, this appears as a floating window, so all you need to do is to choose your symbol, copy n paste. So come on, get creative in your tweets using these symbols.

One special feature

Vakow

Vakow is an India focussed service which lets you post to Twitter as an SMS. Very useful and probably the cheapest way to pot to Twitter via mobile in India.

Let me know what you like and what tool you use.

Security vs. Usability

September 23, 2008

I have been using my ICICI bank credit card for over thryears now. I encountered this weird error this morning while paying my bills on visabillpay. (Click image for a larger view)

ICICI credit card error

Alright let me set context.

This is a page which ICICI bank brought up while doing a credit card transaction on Visabillpay. This page asks me to register my credit card online with ICICI bank using a Internet banking pin number.

So I have seen this page multiple times on this site but always opted out as I don’t have my interent banking pin number. So today I did the same thing and opted out of registration by clicking on the “No, thanks Don’t activate my card now” link, but this is the message I got.

“You have exceeded the number of opt-outs for this card. If you decide to opt-out even now then bank will decline your transaction.”

I was astounded. I had no clue of what was happening. The bank never told me that I had a fixed number of opt-outs from registration. Now I can’t pay my electricity and water bills.

Here’s how this scenario could have been handled using better product design

  • ICICI bank should have told users the number of opt-outs they have. This could have been in the form of a counter which is very prominent on every registration request screen.
  • Educating the user about the advantages of registering their credit card. In fact ICICI bank is mandating this for higher security and to prevent online credit card fraud. Educate your users by telling them the benefits of doing a particular action and then lead them to this action.
  • Forgive your users which they don’t do something that’s needed, after all they are users!
  • Send users warning alerts as their opt-outs are nearing to zero. ICICI bank has my email address and my mobile number.
  • Get customer care to call users.

Forgive, educate and lead to action – simple but powerful.

What do you think ? What you faced this issue ?

The slide deck below has some really great information on Internet and Web 2.0 trends in China, a market that most of us are not really clued into. Thanks to Trendspotting for putting together this data packed slideshow.

Here what I find most interesting and insightful from the information

  • China has the largest internet user base in the world to the tune of 253m users. They also have the largest mobile subscriber base of 574m.
  • China has a very health internet user sex ratio comprising of 47% women
  • IM, Online music and Online Video/movies are the top three online channels for Chinese youth
  • Out of the top 5 sites in China based on traffic, Yahoo China (No.5) is the only international player out them, others are all local players.
  • Chinese participation in Social media sites is higher than the global daily average.
  • Bulletin Board Sites (BBS) are extremely popular
  • The Total online ad spend per internet user in China is only at $8, however the ad market has heated up and is growing at 50% with increased ad spends due to the Olympics
  • Internet censorship and moral policing are very common in China, in fact 85% of Chinese approve government internet censorship.

So what’s your take on the Chinese internet market ? Do you have more insights ? What do you think are future trends in China ?