iTasveer is in news as they recently announced a deal with Microsoft. If you have Vista, you can order photos right from Windows explorer, without needing to visit any website at all. Pretty neat. They also announced Doodlepad, a new feature with which you can custom design your own tshirts/mugs and order them online. Good to see some innovation in this space. Clearly, these features make them stand apart from others in this crowded space. However, digital camera + decent Internet access + Windows Vista is not a combination that is prevalent at least today in India, so it will be a little while before they start reaping real benefits from this. (esp. with all the steps Microsoft is taking to prevent piracy in Vista).
Obviously (its hard to not imagine mobile while speculating the next disruptive innovation in the Indian context), the next question is – will we see someone striking a similar partnership with Airtel, Reliance or some other mobile network? So that people can just click with their high res mobile phone cameras (or click with their standalone camera and transfer to mobile) and order prints from mobile directly. We are starting to see such services coming on mobile. For e.g. recently Reliance announced a deal with Naukri.com, stating that you can search for job listings with Naukri.com login from your Reliance mobile phone. Interestingly, the news also mentions in the end that they are looking for “other such content providers”. I do understand that ordering prints type service is more difficult than information fetch (news, email, search) type of applications because of transaction processing and large data transfers involved, but it will surely happen some time. The question is when?
Thoughts? Am I too much ahead of times to think of it at this point? Maybe our friends from iTasveer, MeraSnap, Picsquare can shed some light here. Are they thinking of any mobile angle at all?
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Rediff has this detailed interview with the CEO of Info Edge Sajeev Bikhchandani, where he talks about about the eventful journey of Naukri.com. Its a typical story how legends are made – clear vision, immaculate execution, unperturbed perseverance and a bit of luck – leading his way from rags to riches, garage to IPO (the first for an Indian Internet company in Indian markets)
Key takeaways from the interview:
- Idea: Saw a real opportunity from his own experience. Notice at first his idea was just to aggregate all the job listings – computer and later the Internet just happened to be the medium to realize the idea.
- Funding at the right time: Like he says, this may be just his luck, but he raised money right before the bust happened, as a result of which, he used the money much more frugally compared to what a lot of other companies were doing at the time.
- Early mover: Was one of the first Internet companies that targeted Indians in India, more importantly for something that people cared about, not just to copy one of the ideas straight from the West and hope to get lucky.
- Persistence: Waited for 10+ years before he drew any salary from the company. That requires quite a bit of determination. But like he says, doing what you really want to (with some alternate source of money to make ends meet) really keeps you going.
- Risk: It’s interesting – he makes conflicting statements at two different places (unless I am misunderstanding something) in the interview. At one place he says real risk is often times less than that perceived risk and then the converse of it at another place. But the bottom line is that you have to evaluate your risks before making the jump and over time you will manage to find your cushions and buffers.
I will say though that Naukri.com being the poster child of Indian Internet success, could do with some makeover in the UI. The overall impression the sites gives on the first look is as if its 5 years behind the times. If nothing else, stop those annoying popups and remove those flashing gifs from bulletin board on either side of the page.
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