Over the past two years, I’ve had many key ideas as I seek out to build out my new venture. The first was that of an eBusiness software suite for SMEs. Then, I expanded this to an SME Tech Utility, which comprised of a whole solution for SMEs. Later, came the concept of Emergic – solutions for emerging enterprises in emerging markets, using emerging technologies.
As we began work in 2002 seeking to build out various components of Emergic — a thin-client thick-server software solution, a digital dashboard and an eBusiness suite, an interesting thing happened along the way as I started talking to people outside about our ideas. The one thing which stuck as the notion of the “Rs 5,000 PC” – I would say it in the context of hardware for Rs 5,000 and software for Rs 250 per user per month. But what people had captivated about was with the Rs 5,000 computer.
This reached a bit of crescendo (for us) when the media started wanting to talk about it – we have had coverage in the past 3 weeks in various newspapers and magazines [EcoTimes, BusinessStandard, DQWeek]. The concept that has attracted them more than anything else I talked about was the “cheap PC”.
When I started thinking more about it, I realised that even though we were focusing on developing the software, what excited others was the fact that we could run the software on cheaper hardware – in effect, we were bringing down the cost of hardware and not software (which was being pirated anyways). That’s where the notion that one could get a computer for Rs 5,000 (USD 100) as opposed to the Rs 20,000 or more was an instant winner in terms of their understanding of what we did.
I have been realising that perhaps, to sell the software, we need the hardware, too. We cannot think of the software in isolation – it has to be part of the solution. This may mean us looking at selling the Rs 5,000 computers to get the software out there! That has set me on a train of thought about this Rs 5,000 PC (5KPC). This is the background to both my latest thinking about Emergic and the eloboration of these ideas in the latest series of Tech Talks.