Chautauquas

Blabberings on technology, the web, mobile world, India, books, events, communities and everything else (Chautauqua: An old-time series of popular talks intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the participants)

Name:
Location: United States

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

LinknSurf, the launch and what it's about...

I probably should have written this at 3:00 AM on the 19th of January from a hotel room in Alabama because that is where I was when LinknSurf really hit the world. Now, between you and me, and no offence to the south, a hotel room in a remote corner in Alabama is not where you want to be when that happens - from unreliable wi-fi access in the room, to poor phone signals - oh yesss, you get the whole treatment!! Wait, there's more drama to it - two of us were in California, one in Alabama and five in India as we released LinknSurf while talking on the phone!!

So, what is LinknSurf? And more importantly why do YOU need LinknSurf?

In simple terms, LinknSurf is a mobile application that has been created to keep YOU in touch with stuff that matters to you. What does that mean? It means that the information that exists between you and your peers (your social network) that is relevant to you is now delivered to you. And this information was never captured before. For example, if someone in your group of friends adds a new person to his contact list, you will get an update and the ability to add that person to your list in one click. The same applies:
  • If someone creates a blog
  • subscribes to an RSS feed
  • Joins a community etc

...all of which you can do on LinknSurf.

Note: The image may not be reproduced without permission. I would like to thank a team-member for it.

So, what you take away from this is that, you will no longer have to make an effort to stay stay connected with others. Information will be delivered to you instead of you having to go look for it. And, no matter what the information is for (personal or professional reasosns), it will be information you choose to recieve, from whom you choose to recieve!

Well, we are all excited to see this baby come out! Now, let's see how the world percieves it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

successful products and economic/social wealth

For a long time now, I've believed that a successful product/service creates new wealth in an economy/society. And by new I mean, that wealth did not exist earlier. Now, I'm no economist, to be able to defend this hypothesis in economic terms, but I can throw out some examples and explain what I'm trying to say.

If one looks at any web-based success story today, you'll see how eventually the service/product created new wealth. For example, E-bay, it might be known as the world's largest auction site and might be only about buying and selling, it has provided economic value to junk that used to rot away in people's basements and garages. Thus, it has gone about created new wealth in the economy by suddenly being able to pair supply with demand across physical boundaries. And E-bay isn't the only one - take Google as the next example. They might be the world's best search engine and it may be their page-rank system that got them going. However, what made them succesful is the fact that people suddenly had easy access to relevant information. Not only did it save people time and energy, but it provided advertisers with a targeted market, thus increasing the probability of finding a customer with limited spending on advertising. And if that isn't creating wealth that did not already exist, what is it? One could make a similar argument about myspace, or yahoo or microsoft.

The moral of my story then is that the ideas that revolutionize the market, or products/services that really make it big, are those that have the potential to create something in the economy. They add something to the social and economic fabric of a society and change the very way people function. That to me, is the touchstone of a succesful product/service. So, now each time I look at a startup, the first question in my mind is 'Is this going to create some new wealth in the economy'? And it doesn't matter whether it is tangible or not.

Of course, making money out of a venture is, I believe, a by-product of the larger outcome of creation of new wealth. So, even though social-networking sites (except linked-in) might not have figured out how to monetize their service, they have managed to create economic/social wealth by bringing people together.

Friday, January 06, 2006

mobile vision for the new year - II

I just finished watching Will Ferell's Anchorman. Somehow everything in the movie reminded me of cellular phone carriers - the silly wars, the stupid tactics and most of all depriving consumers of quality services.

This may sound too trite and oft-quoted an outlook into the future, but sometime or the other, these mobile goliaths will have to yield. Depriving consumers of full the power of mobility is not really going to work. Already dozens of little enterprenneurial ventures are beginning to challenge the restrictive boundaries. The fact that biggies from the web like google and yahoo are pushing into the mobile world, is also going to put a lot of pressure on wireless providers to finally upgrade their data networks and start providing superior service.

There was a DHL commercial out a couple of months back - "Whatever happened to customer service?". Someone needs to pull the wireless carriers in front of the TV and have them watch it. Instead of advertising about its network, it'll be a welcome move to see it advertise it's customer service - when it becomes worth advertising. I'm pretty certain that wireless carriers see the future as well, all I'm waiting to see is how they're going to deal with it. Embracing change is their only option as I see it or they will be forced to accept change when they're not in a position to leverage it for advantage.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Mobile vision for the new year

A very happy new year to everyone. For the first post in 2006, this is probably a little late. However, better late than never.

Looking ahead into 2006, I see an exciting year. Link 'n' Surf is ready for a beta version launch and we're all holding our breath, waiting to see where it takes us. We all know that the past is about the only thing in life that is certain. Yet, every now and then, future stares at us long and hard enough for us to unmistakably see its countenance. For people in the mobile technology and web 2.0 sectors, this is one such time.

In a nebulous space, slowly being defined by many-an-enterprenneur, we might not know who will take the trophy, but we do know that the mobile device will take the world into a connected knowledge environment like never before. Everyone will be connected like never before, everyone will have access to knowledge and everyone will be mobile.

This is what I see in the coming year and hopefully Link 'n' Surf will be able to play a part in that. With this I would like to wish everyone a very happy new year and thank everyone in the Wirkle team for all their hard work in 2005.