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Showing posts from March, 2003
PR lessons from my barber
I've lost count of the number of times I've seen hi-tech CEOs attempting to get the press excited about their "exclusive" tie-up to distribute some foreign company's software product in India, or their "significant achievement" in landing a SEI-Level 3 certification, etc. etc..

In most cases, after a lot of time, effort and money is spent, the end result is a one-para mention in "the briefs" section of most papers--if at all!

Don't get me wrong. It is natural--and laudable--for entrepreneurs and CEOs to be proud of each and every baby step that their start-ups make. And feel eager to tell the world about it.

However, whenever we are trying to market something (in this case, a message) it makes sense to look at things from the side of the consumers (in this case, journalists).

This is something that the co-owner of the latest "men's hair style" shop in my neighbourhood knows pretty well.

"You k…
Chit funds chip in where banks fail The latest issue of Outlook Money has an article that explains how chit funds work including how, entrepreneurs and small businesses--who are often unable to get banks to lend to them--can use this financing tool.

Click Here to read the full article.

Interesting interview with Phaneesh MurthyIn a wide ranging interview to Business Line, Phaneesh Murthy speaks about some of the sales and marketing techniques he used as marketing head of Infosys Technologies, how he sees the BPO opportunity evolving and other related topics.

Here are extracts from the interview that I found particularly interesting:

On his pitch to global clients:
Today most large companies have their cost structures in developed countries but have the bulk of their growth markets in developing countries. I am saying I am going to try and change the cost structure to a developing country so that you can compete more effectively in the growth markets that you have. If you build that story, if you can educate the board on that story, they are unlikely to go to somebody else just because they are offering at $2 less.

On why software companies can't be into both products and services:
Except for IBM, there is no other company, which has got successfully both product…
Rediff's Ajit Balakrishnan dismisses the competition

Ajit Balakrishnan, Founder & CEO of Indian Internet portal, rediff.com, has made some pretty blunt remarks about the company's competition in his latest interview to Business Standard.

Here's what he has to say about:

indiainfo.com & 123india

"indiainfo.com overspent without having the capital. 123india which did not have enough internal management strengths. Everything for them was bought out. They didn’t have enough internal resources to craft products. Plus they didn’t have any legitimate funding--they were funded by Bombay stock brokers who are not known for far-sighted investments."

IndiaWorld & Sify

"Indiaworld was the original portal but Rajesh Jain sold out. Sify has a killer, but they’ve been schizophrenic about whether they want to be-- in the services business or the consumer business. So they lurched from one end to the other. At this moment they seem to be going after corporate busi…
Are small and medium sized software cos. doomed?

The Indian software industry is set to take shape of "hour glass".

At the top of the hourglass will be heavyweights (like TCS, Infosys, Wipro, etc.), at the bottom there would be focussed specialists (like Sasken, iflex, Polaris and RelQ).

In the middle there will be none.

This is the conclusion of an interesting article in BusinessWorld on the future of small and medium sized (SME) software companies which contributed a third of India's software export revenues (of Rs.24,000 crores) last year. ("Grow up - or get out"; BW issue dated March 3, 2003)

Here, in short, is what the article had to say:

Last year, the top 20 software companies accounted for 63% of the total export pie. Also, the biggies (like TCS, Wipro and Infosys) grew at double the rate as the rest of the industry.

Even though, US companies are taking to offshore software development in a big way, there is also a "flight to scale". Most of the o…
How to sell tech to the US govt.

We keep reading about how, in the current economic climate in the US, the federal government is a better customer for tech companies than the private industry. According to recent reports, the US federal government spent more than $24.3 billion on IT outsourcing last year.

But how does a tech company (American or otherwise) sell to the feds?

A recent article in Business 2.0 provides an excellent starting point. This "cheat sheet" article includes stats, tips and profiles of the CIOs of key federal departments.

Click Here to read the full Business 2.0 article

Common problems of Indian SOHO entrepreneurs

Outlook Money (formerly Intelligent Investor) frequently comes up with articles about entrepreneurs and small as part of its "enterprise" section. The best part about these articles is that they aren't just gyan and opinion from the magazine's journalists or interviews with some "experts". The articles are based on interviews with real entrepreneurs who are "out in the field".

In its latest issue, Outlook Money profiles some of the typical problems faced by SOHO entrepreneurs in India. Click Here to read the article.
A couple of articles I read recently that would be useful/interesting to entrepreneurs anywhere:

Grist: Don't Read the Business Pages

Newspaper business pages are a waste of time for entrepreneurs, says Adam Hanft, president of an advertising and marketing firm in a Inc magazine article. Hanft feels most of the news in the busines pages is either stock-market focused or "a daily knee-jerk reaction to the story of the moment". And as for "news" pertaining to your industry, most of the time, you know all about it long before it hits the papers!

So, is Hanft recommending that entrepreneurs stop reading newspapers altogether? No. In fact, he recommends that they diligently scan all pages other than the business pages! "The rest of the paper is a rich resource, a trend trove that can tell you more about the economy and your business than you might imagine," he says.

Click Here to read the full article and find out why.

An Indecently Hasty Proposal

In this
More on Red Herring's death (and possible re-birth)

Lawrence Aragon, a former Red Herring staffer reports in his Private Equity Week column that Chris Alden, co-founder and onetime CEO of Red Herring and former Editor-in-Chief Tony Perkins are among the bidders for Red Herring's assets.

Also, according to Aragon this is what actually killed Red Herring:

Red Herring has been struggling for several years, after living large during the dot-com boom. At its peak in 2000, it employed more than 300 people and ran three businesses: the print magazine, a Web site with a staff in excess of 30 people, and an events department. To accommodate such a large staff, it leased two offices in San Francisco and one in New York. The pricey leases proved to be its undoing: When the bubble burst, the magazine cut its staff several times, but it still had to make large lease payments. Finally, last October, the company went through a reorganization known as an ABC (assignment for the benefit of cred…
Today, I deleted www.redherring.com from the "favorites" list on my web browser and simultaneously inaugurated this web log (?!)

In case you haven't heard :
Red Herring magazine closes down
The technology business magazine, which placed special focus on start-ups and venture capital, closed it doors after a 10-year run reports Reuters.

"We were looking for a strategic partner to join our existing investors, Broadview Capital, to keep funding the company through the advertising downturn. Unfortunately, in spite of the interest of several parties, no one would commit in the timeframe Broadview required, and our only option was to cease publication to buy time to sort out our options," said Tony Perkins, former Editor-in-Chief of the magazine in his Always On-Network column.