Enterprise Tech Startups

InfoWorld writes about 15 companies to watch.

ActiveGrid speeds Web application development
Akimbi virtualizes the application test bench
ConSentry locks down the network
Determina pre-hacks applications against intruders
Fabric7 promises high-end servers at low cost
Fortify scours code for security vulnerabilities
Gigamon offers one view of many monitoring systems
Jitterbit shakes up application integration
JotSpot delivers enterprise wikis and mashups
Splunk combs log files for hidden problems
Sxip simplifies identity management across domains
TrueDemand keeps retailers from running out of stock
XenSource rolls out cross-platform virtualization
Zenprise spots Microsoft Exchange failures
Zimbra’s Web-based platform takes aim at conventional e-mail

Why Web Apps Fail

Bokardo has 14 reasons why Web apps fail. Among them:

They dont have an underlying business strategy of improving peoples lives.

Most business strategy is about making money. However, this is a short term goal. If you focus only on ways to make money, then youll make decisions that in the short term seem good for the balance sheet but in the long term actually work against it. Take the case of LLBean. Where everyone else is trying to get away from call centers and move all of their customer interaction to a web site, LLBean actually allows you to talk to a human being almost instantaneously. Their phone number is easily found on their web site/app. This probably does cost them a lot more than if they had some contact forms or an instant chat room, but it sure does make it quick and easy to give them money. My sister worked at LLBean for a time, and I was always impressed by the way that they empowered her to handle customers. It probably cost them money in the short term, but people remember when you make their lives easier, not harder. Many companies, unfortunately, see the Web as a way to reduce direct communication with customers, when in reality it should cause an increase in communication if youre successful.

Wavion

News.com writes:

A new Wi-Fi start-up called Wavion Networks came out of stealth mode Monday and said it has developed technology to solve many of the problems big cities like Philadelphia and San Francisco face when deploying citywide Wi-Fi.

San Jose, Calif.-based Wavion, which is backed by venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, says it has developed software and silicon that not only increase the transmission distance of a Wi-Fi signal, but also alleviate much of the signal loss so that fewer people need to deploy signal boosters.

India: Back to the Past?

WSJ raises doubts about India’s reforms process given Sonia Gandhi’s influence on the government:

To her supporters, Ms. Gandhi is a voice for the dispossessed, stoking a long-overdue discussion about the inequities that come with economic liberalization. But detractors see her as a throwback to the days when her family’s socialist nostrums and quirky populism doomed India to fall behind another Asian giant, China, in economic growth.

In reviving her own moribund Congress Party, the 59-year-old Ms. Gandhi has emerged in the mold of her late mother-in-law, Indira Gandhi, a socialist icon passionate about the poor and deeply suspicious about the benefits of global trade.

“We have changed the manner in which economic reforms were perceived,” she told a conclave for senior Congress Party leaders in January, according to a transcript of the speech, “from an excessive preoccupation with [foreign direct investment] and privatization to an overriding emphasis on employment, education, agriculture and health.”

Mobile Media

The New York Times writes:

From Hollywood to the Bristol, Conn., campus of ESPN, companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to adapt their current brands in television, movies, games and news and information to the tiny screens of mobile phones, and creating new programming.

Ultimately, whoever guesses correctly the kind of bite-sized, time-wasting distractions people want to snack on over their phones could be showered with a bonanza of profits, at a time when technology is squeezing the traditional businesses of media and entertainment companies.

TECH TALK: Of Blue Oceans and Black Swans: Convincing Others

The hard part about building ventures with a view to the future is convincing others around that it can work. I face the challenge at work and when I talk to potential partners and customers. The red ocean of competition is very visible. The blue ocean isnt. I have to spend time making others see the world as I see it. I have to outline a vision that may seem outlandish to the one listening. But I have learnt to persevere. It requires great belief in what one is doing.

It is something I think about a lot. For the past year or so, I have spent a large part of my time thinking about the mobile internet and network computing. For me, there are two screens through which one will access the services in the future the small cellphone which we always carry, and the big, mostly stationary computer (or in some cases, the television). In a way, both are computers. (Nokia calls its range of mid- to high-end mobiles as multimedia computers.)

The key point here is that services will mostly be server-based. This is a shift from the world of desktop computers. Also, in countries like India, where broadband has languished due to poorly conceived policies, the mobile is likely to be the primary device for access to these services. The existing Internet leaders come from the world of cheap and plentiful bandwidth, with near ubiquitous presence of computers. That is not the case in India. It may be hard to believe but we do have something that is world-class on the infrastructure side in India the mobile data networks.

But the reality of today is that in both mobile data and network computing, there is a lot that needs to happen and change. Operators control access to mobile data networks, and network computing lacks broadband. These and other challenges are what we need to solve in the ventures I am involved with.

Besides, I need to convince team members that tomorrows world will be very different from today. I tend to live mostly in the future you see that reflected in many of the posts that I do on my blog. I read widely but spend only a limited time with newspapers on what happened yesterday. The future fascinates, but I also need to make sure that it is something that we can make reality. If we dont, we fail.

I prefer to look ahead rather than backwards at who is chasing us. I dont spend too much time thinking about what our competitors are doing. Some of them, of course, have the advantage of having a large user-base and great deal of capital. But if we think innovatively, we can beat them and win big. Sure, the odds are stacked against us, but then that part of the fun of being in the business of entrepreneurship.

Tomorrow: Handling Failure

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