Monday came and I was ready. At about 11 am, all the fourteen speakers gathered on stage. Christina called them up one by one. As I waited, the heart beat faster. As I heard the others, the importance of the practice done the previous day became all too clear. A two-minute pitch is so much harder to do than just talking for, say, ten or fifteen minutes. You have to grab the audiences attention in those two minutes. I had chosen to do it with the magic of words rather than PowerPoint.
When my turn came, I walked up to the podium, with the Nova netPC and a printout of my speech in hand. I had asked Jezra the previous day if I could have a printed copy with me I did not want to repeat what I did in school as a teenager! She had said, absolutely fine. As it turned out, I did not need it much. With a heart beating faster and faster, the words flowed with passion and confidence. When I was done, I realised I had made the pitch well and Jezra agreed whole-heartedly! It was the practice and hard work of the previous day which had made for a successful pitch.
Later that afternoon, I did the longer presentation. I had also worked hard on getting the flow right. I did not work too much on the delivery, which I realised I should have. But, overall, it went off fine. Talking for tens of minutes is so much easier. I had about 40-odd people in the audience and fielded questions through the presentation. All in all, I think it went well. It was a wonderful personal experience for me one which I will remember for a long time to come.
Here is the two-minute pitch that I did:
This story begins thirty years ago, with four Americans. Bill had a vision of a computer on every desk and in every home. He worked hard with Andy to make that a reality. Today, with 750 million computers, theyve reached 10% of the world. No mean achievement, but what about the rest of the world?
Meanwhile, Scott and Larry had the idea of network computing on the emerging Internet. But they were a decade too early, and focused on the wrong markets.
A couple years ago, a professor from India (Ashok), a dotcom entrepreneur (myself), an auto industry executive (Alok) and a chip maven from the U.S. (Ray) came together to take computing to the other 90% of the world. And thus, Novatium was born.
Our focus would be on the next billion users in the emerging markets. We would provide a desktop-like experience to run all existing Windows and Linux applications. Our business model would be based on the great success story of the past five years, the mobile phone industry. This meant, $100 for the network computer… and the complete computing, connectivity and applications bundle for $10 a month.
We started by building the hundred dollar network computer. What you see in my hand is that computerthe Nova NetPC.
At 2:15 this afternoon, I will demonstrate the Nova NetPC… and tell you how Novatium is taking it to the worlds next billion users.
So, be there!
Here is a copy of the presentation (PDF 385 KB; PPT 562 KB) that I did later that afternoon.
I may not meet Jezra again, considering she lives in New York and I in Mumbai. But the lessons learnt during the few hours she spent coaching me will last a lifetime. All I can say is: Thank You, Jezra. Youve helped me grow. And to Esther and Christina too, Id like to say what a delight it was to be a PC Forum. It has to be one of the highlights of my life. Novatium is off to a good start, but we have a long road ahead. As we start our journey to take computing to the next billion users in the world, I will look back one day knowing that those couple days in Carlsbad and the trio of Esther, Christina and Jezra will have played an important part in making the future happen.