India’s Rise as R&D Hub

Knowledge@Wharton has a series of articles on India’s growth for R&D:

While it’s still relatively early in the movement of R&D to India, experts predict gains ahead. The upshot: The next big technological innovations could emerge from India, China or Russia, far away from Silicon Valley. Rafiq Dossani, a senior research scholar for the Stanford University Institute for International Studies, says R&D is simply following the movement of information technology work to India. “You can see it happening as the U.S. information technology giants come to India,” says Dossani. “Big consulting firms such as Accenture and IBM seem to be building every other building.”

DIY Superservices

[via Gaurav] Jim Moore writes:

In information and communication technology, DIY do-it-yourself revolution is expressing itself, and enabling itself, through do-it-yourself open superservices made available on the web–and a massive, parallel expansion in the number of individuals who are using these superservices to create new applications, many of which are in turn made available as new superservices. These are “DIY services” or better, “DIY Superservices.”

These services are super in many ways, including:

Web superservices are capable in theory–and sometimes in practice–of scaling to serve large numbers of users and transactions.

Web superservices can be created by anyone with access to the web.

Web superservices are open to all users across the planet. Superservices are user scriptable in most instances. Users can combine services into networks of intwined inputs and outputs, creating service clusters that are far more valuable than the sum of their parts. User-created hacks and mash-ups are becoming commonplace.

Web superservices reflect the imaginations of their developers, and are not forced into any typology, registray, or typing system.

Exploding Advertising

Jerff Jarvis writes: “For newspapers, its already clear that the classified marketplace is being replaced. But this also has big mplications for Google. Last drumbeat: Ive been arguing that specialized search engines organizing and taking advantage of the distributed world via tagging structure will do a better job than Google in their areas (perhaps even riding on top of a Google API).”

Organising User-Generated Content

Narasimha Chari writes:

I believe we are in the early stages of the “user-driven” phenomenon that is going to change media forever. It is fun to speculate how this space will evolve and here is my take:

a. I think the current “blog aggregation” model perpetuated by folks like Bloglines/Yahoo/Newsgator is not going to scale. I already have over 200 blogs in my “read” list and that number is only going to increase and currently Bloglines does not give me a good way to manage them

b. Aggregators aggregate blogs but what I really want is postings not blogs.

c. I also want these aggregators to “filter” these postings because I am interested in a few topics and I would rather “see” those postings than all the postings from a certain blog

d. This “filter” can be automated (think rss feeds of Delicious tags) or be done by a human e.g. Nivi’s VC’s channel

e. There will also need to come up with a better way of filing and storing the posts so that they can be retrieved easily

Web 2.0

Rashmi Sinha writes: “Flickr is the quintessential Web 2.0 application. Its data and metadata is contributed by its users; while the interface is its own. Its API’s are used by developers who tend to use its data, but not the interface (such as Mappr, Color Pickr).”

There is a nice slide which captures the shift from Web 1.0 ot Web 2.0.

TECH TALK: India Needs More Entrepreneurs: A Personal View

About five years ago (and a year after my company had been acquired), I was considering what to do next. Should I become a venture capitalist? Should I continue on the path of entrepreneurship? I came very close to becoming a VC and raising a fund until a friend offered advice I have not forgotten to this day. He told me, Rajesh, dont! It will be very easy for you to raise the money given your recent success. But that money will come with very high expectations which you will not be able to live down. Also, in case things go wrong, you would definitely not want people to say they lost money because of you.

That frank opinion made me reconsider. I thought about what I wanted to do. Did I see myself as a VC or an entrepreneur? What would excite me every morning? The answer was clear. I was, at heart, an entrepreneur. Give me any days the ups and downs of the start-up to the steady beat of the other options.

Life as an entrepreneur hasnt been easy. But then thats the choice Ive made. I have had my share of downs in the past few years. As I wrote recently, there have many things which have gone wrong. Since then, I have worked hard to try and turn things around. And I hope the next year will see positive results. But in all of this, the ambition has not been reduced and neither has the optimism diminished. I still believe that we can build the next Black Swan out of India. The fire in the belly still burns bright!

I have, however, added an interesting dimension to the game. The past few years of reading, thinking and writing (blogging) have given me some interesting insights to what I think will be tomorrows world. And out of that has emerged a vision of the future. As I like to say, The future is an instantiation of someones vision. Ideally, Id like that vision to be mine. The ideas for this world of tomorrow are more than what I can do in my existing company. And as such, I have, over the past year, co-founded and invested in a number of companies. I think of them as the Emergic Ecosystem. The common theme revolves around a world of mobile phones and broadband networks in emerging markets. What are the opportunities that this opens up?

I do now know how the investments will shape up. For me, success and failure, profit and loss are two sides of the same coin. More important is the opportunity to influence the creation of tomorrows world. This is where I am trying to have my cake and eat it too build my existing company with the help of a strong management team, and also invest in external companies to build out elements of the ecosystem. I think of this as entrepreneurship blended with hands-on, thesis-based investing.

It is during this journey that I have come to the conclusion that India needs many more entrepreneurs. The ones considering the path to entrepreneurship need to exorcise the fear of failure and focus on the journey. I was, for many years, a struggling (and failing) entrepreneur. But the passion and optimism never died. And today, it is perhaps stronger than ever before. We live only once. Entrepreneurship is perhaps the most exhilarating rides one can embark on. So, why not?

Tomorrow: My Dreams

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