Shawn Lippert writes: “I see Local Search for wireless and mobile devices taking of 10 fold this year. With hotspots and wireless service providers offering devices that are broadband capable as well as Phone Service with number portability, hey what can be better? I see Local Search services skyrocketing with companies that offer Location Based Information. Social Networks will most likely see the biggest increase of revenue for the reason that information provided by their members can be categorically targeted for their interests, so no matter where their members may be traveling they can easily receive information based on what they are searching for.”
Ted Schadler writes:
I’ve seen the future, and its name is sync. The company that can synchronize everything in my little digital universe — photos, songs, contacts, bookmarks, blog posts — on my PC, phone, and any other device I happen to throw at you, will win my heart forever. After all, it frustrates me to tears that my Outlook contacts don’t immediately show up on my phone or in my Gmail account. And that my high-alert emails don’t come as text messages to my phone. And that my high-res phone photos remain trapped on my sweet RAZR V3c’s tiny screen. I know that I’m not the only one — Forrester’s research shows that 53% of online consumers share photos via email and 15% of mobile phone owners send or receive emails on their phone.
Maybe that’s about to change. Today, two sync startups demoed at DEMO: Vizrea and Sharpcast. Both firms offer a photo synchronization service that let me get pictures from my PC to my Phone to a Web Site and back again (oh, and a whole lot more, too — check out their Web sites to get the details). To do this seemingly simple thing, both companies have invested heavily in synchronization servers and software. And therein lies both the problem and the opportunity.
Business Week has an interview with Mike Volpi of Cisco who feels that IPTV happening is only a matter of time. He added: “There will be a lot more user-created video, especially as consumer video recorders and editing technology get better. Just as we reached a tipping point with digital cameras, we’ll soon reach a tipping point with digital video recorders. And there will be a lot more ad hoc video content, which is slightly dumbed down but still feels like it was professionally produced. It will be easy and cheap to make, like reality TV. And there will be professional content, but it will allow much more room for user preferences. People will be able to select camera angles or different endings for a show.”
Rich Skrenta writes about the architecture and ambition of Craigslist:
Craigslist is brilliant because his main activity is something that posters are inherently promiscuous with — personal spamming. In any other context, the bulk of the material on Craigslist would be considered spam. In my email box, on another message forum, heck even on one of google’s spam-ridden Blogger sites. The posts are the equivalent of those indiscriminately posted flyers on corkboards at universities.
Buy my mattress..need a ride to Chicago…come see my band. People put these flyers up fully expecting only a handful to see or care about them enough to rip off a tab with the phone number at the bottom. The expectation of response is low but it’s cheap to try.
Now Craig’s lead-into-gold trick is that he gets his posters to accurately classify their spam. Into 160 categories. Holy Toledo Jacob Nielsen. You can’t have a pulldown with 160 things in it. Half of your users wouldn’t get a pulldown with 3 things in it right. Ah, but it’s not a pull-down. Half of the entire homepage is a giant selector devoted to classifying posts.
Dion Hinchcliffe writes:
Enterprises are often struggling just to maintain the massive IT infrastructures they have now, never mind that user needs and expectations are evolving at a faster pace than ever. Something has to give. Fortunately, the greater Web has had to deal with these exact same forces and the huge public stage has forced the invention of a new generation of techniques and ideas to not only take advantage of all this interconnectedness but provide nimble, lightweight ways to build and evolve systems that can actually keep up with the pace of social, business, and technological change. Call this Web 2.0 or something else, but it should be very worrisome for anyone with a traditional IT infrastructure. You cannot throw away what you have and you need to somehow embrace this new world and deliver value to your users. There badly needs to be a bridge built between these two realities.
Part of what Microsoft and many others are doing is realizing that simplicity is back in vogue, and so is the user experience. Managing attention, or lack thereof, has become critical. Finding ways to navigate our way through the onslaught of content we’re now subjected to has become a growth industry on the Web. And inside the firewall for that matter. And forget trying to keep your old-world software updated, patched, and your data and media precariously synchronized between your home, work, and family IT systems. We actually have solutions for these now, but they’re coming from the new models of software on the Web: Robust, online software and social systems that use mass intelligence and trust to filter informatio. And there are frictionless tools to glue together and bind the together information we need, just when we need it. Solutions abound but adoption and transition will be hard for some.
Venture capitalists should also think of building up an ecosystem of companies along a value chain in the selected areas, rather than making an independent string of investments. This is because most of the elements of the value chain that are required to make a new venture succeed do not exist fully in India. This lack of legacy can be turned into an opportunity rather than a drawback through smart thinking and investing. It is a bit like the keiretsu approach of Japanese companies. Such an approach will require thinking at an early stage of what tomorrows world is going to be and then working to put in place all the companies that are required to make that world a reality.
This approach to venture capital in India is somewhat different from what the VC firms have done in the US. This is also not going to be accomplished by what I think of as the fly-in, fly-out approach. It will require a significant time investment on the ground in India to understand the realities and build the networks of people that can bring to life the ecosystem and the ventures.
Over time, I do believe that this approach will yield far greater dividends than just making a few investments in companies. The reality in India currently is that there are only a handful of investible companies in the Internet and mobile space. At present, there is a lot of money chasing these companies, which leads to a bubble-like effect with respect to valuations. At the same time, the first mover advantage is not that critical because we are at the very early stages of the development of the space in India. Operational excellence will count more over the long-haul (the next five years or so).
So, if I were a venture-capitalist, I would look at identifying three or four segments, then build the teams in each of these areas, and back them with about $20-25 million each. I would give them a horizon of three to four years to build a $100 revenue business. The companies should need no further capital to take them to this mark, and to profitability along the way. The liquidity event should be in the form of an IPO and not being acquired. The focus should be on building companies which become tomorrows giants across the Internet and mobile space in emerging markets, building on the experience in India.
In summary: India is at an exciting time in its history. For the first time, there is a confidence in people that tomorrow will be better than today. People have a belief that what they make of their life is more dependent on them than the government. Half of India is under the age of 25. The lack of legacy must be seen as an opportunity to do things right built on the learnings of other markets. The Internet and mobile businesses can become the foundation for tomorrows giants. This is a time that is made for entrepreneurs and venture capital.
Tomorrow: What Others Say