SEraja and EventWeb

Ramesh Jain spent a week with the SEraja team in Bangalore. [Note: I am an investor in SEraja.] We are working to bring the EventWeb to life in the company. Ramesh writes:

It is clear that events play important role in many aspects of computer science. But Seraja is developing its service to bring events of interest to consumers. Commonly when people talk about events, they think about the calendar of events. Calendars capture events of interest and importance, but that is only one type. Many events are not planned they just happen. Most News is concerned with such events. All aspects of unscheduled events may become of great interest and may give rise to many more unscheduled events. Last weeks blasts in Mumbai are a good example of that. This event has shaken up the whole country and has been the main topic of attention in printed as well as TV News. While considering events, one can not ignore such events.

Another very important aspect is that events in isolation are of value, but their value increases exponentially if one could create a web of events. The networking effect is more powerful in events than in pages of documents. The WWW is the result of creating explicit links to lead to the Web of pages. These links were explicit links. Lately many techniques are being explored to find and use implicit links among pages. Utilization of such implicit links will increase further the power and utility of the Web.

Consumerism and Producerism

Jeff Jarvis writes:

Forget consumerism. We’re not just consumers anymore, as Doc Searls has taught me well. We are customers with our money in our fists, spending it wisely and joining together to spend it more wisely. And we are producers who can compete with the companies that thought of us as mere consumers.

So nevermind caveat emptor. This is the age of caveat venditor — let the vendor beware — and caveat creator.

VCs in India

Vishesh Kumar writes:

Remember the last bubble and the India funds that didnt go anywhere? No doubt, many tourist VCs will get burnt in India- much as they will in China. Still, the bold India strategies of some top US VC firms should be noted. And each one of the top tier firms is using their own different twist in discovering opportunities in India.

Norwests Pramod Haque has been the venture communitys most ardent drum beater about the importance of startups having an India game plan from day one. Thats a message he has been hammering home going on some four years now. But while the monomaniacal focus on capital efficiency may have been the call to arms back in the lean days of 2002, Norwest is now well positioned to take advantage of a different upside. They are even planning to open an office in India now.


Carlo Longino writes:

What YouTube and its flock of imitators have done for embedding video on MySpace sites and other blogs, Mojungle hopes to do with mobile content. Sure, users could put video on their sites before, but YouTube made it easy same concept here. Mobile users email in videos or pictures from their handset, then paste in a link to their Mojungle flash player on their site (as Ive done here), and the content is displayed in a slideshow format. Users can also insert links to individual pictures and videos, should they wish.

What I like about this approach is that Mojungles focus is simple: make this product, which does one thing, do that thing as well as it can. Theyre not trying to take over the social-networking space, theyre not offering an exclusionary, closed-down service that only works for certain people. If youve got a capable phone and a web page somewhere, on any service, youre good to go. Actually, it appears users dont even need a phone, as items can be submitted by email as well.

Education and Pratham

The Economist writes:

Pratham’s response to widespread illiteracy and innumeracy was to experiment. It tried various remedies in half the schools in a district or city, picking which half at random. The remaining schools provided a control group with which to compare the results of its efforts*. One of its more successful ventures was to hire unqualified high-school graduates to provide remedial education for students falling behind. These balsakhis (which means children’s friends) were cheap, paid about $10-15 a month, and quick to train, receiving only two weeks of prior instruction. Because they did their work in hallways or even under trees, there was nothing for governments or donors to build.

Nonetheless, the instruction they offered was surprisingly effective. In Mumbai it raised the chances of fourth-year pupils grasping first-year maths by 11.9 percentage points. It improved their chances of mastering second-year literacy by 9.9 percentage points. The gains in Vadadora (formerly known as Baroda) were smaller, but still worthwhile.

TECH TALK: Video on the Internet: Business Models

So, how do broadband video companies make money? This is what Mark Cuban has to say:

On the net, the value is in the network aggregator. On tv the value is in the show. The broadcasting network is not really a big deal. has tons of value because thats where people go to find the new stuff. No one goes to NBC to find the new stuff. They channel surf their channels or check out the EPG to see if there is anyhing of interest.

On standard definition networks, people go purely for the live events, movies and shows ( Because of the limited number of channels, investment in a new tv and differention of presentation , research shows its far different for HD nets. Thats for another post).

Which is a very long way of saying, that 99pct of the sites that are creating broadband TV on the Internet channels are making a huge mistake.

How does YouTube, the poster child for Internet video, intend to make money? In an interview to Fortune, the founders discussed their future business model:

Hurley: We’re going to sell sponsorships and direct advertisements. But we are building a community, and we don’t want to bombard people with advertising.

Chen: If we wanted to, we could instantly turn this into $10 million in revenue per month by running pre-rolls [short video ads] on the videos. But at the same time, we’re going to make sure that whatever revenue model we’ve built is going to be something that’s accepted by the users.

Hurley: We’re building relationships with studios, networks, and labels because they’re looking for ways to reach new audiences, and we have a great platform and a great stage to make that happen.

David Beisel believes that well see an emergence of a wide variety of pricing schemes emerge (paid and non-paid) that match consumers desires to the content.

I agree that the ad-supported video model is currently underrepresented and carries huge potential. However, in the medium- and long-term, I believe that well see an array of sustainable digital video pricing models emerge. In the same vein as analog television today, we have ad-supported pricing (broadcast), ad-supported plus subscription (basic cable), subscription (premium cable), pay-per-use (pay-per-view and DVD). The same models break out for other media as well, like print (which has free pubs, periodicals, exclusive newsletters, books, respectively) and music (radio, music magazines, CDs, etc.). Whats interesting to note is that the digital video, unlike modern media radio of and analog television, started with pay-per-use, as opposed to an ad-supported model.

As the field matures, well see a mix of pricing which will discriminate among customers tastes for immediacy, location, viewing screen size, and whole number of factors. Ad-supported will likely emerge as the predominant driver of revenue, but the mix among the pricing models will change over time as technology and tastes change evolve.

Tomorrow: PCCW

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