Free SMS Updates for Emergic

Mobile users in India can now get free updates via SMS on the blog posts that are done on Emergic. All you have to do is to send START EMERGIC to 676787. You will receive one SMS every morning after I update my blog with the titles of the posts. You can stop updates anytime by sending STOP EMERGIC to 676787. Hope you find this service useful!

Note: The only applicable charges are for the START and STOP messages – they are charged by the operator at premium SMS rates, which are typically Rs 2 or Rs 3. There is no charge for receiving the daily Emergic SMSes.

Here is a sample (today’s SMS):

[EMERGIC]
1. Mobile Conf. Manifesto
2. Entrep. Learnings
3. Adobe’s Apollo
4. User-Gen Content
5. Forbes: Games
6. Blue Oceans + Black Swans
http://emergic.org

Mobile Conference Manifesto

Among the points from the MEX Conference Manifesto:

Understanding users and delivering exceptional customer service is just as important a part of the mobile experience as the latest technology and the size of the marketing budget. It can be the key differentiator for a business. We think too much time and money is invested in getting products to market quickly rather than getting products to market effectively.

Mobile advertising can enhance the user experience if it is relevant and contextual. It can become a tool which benefits rather than distracts the customer. We think it will fail if it interrupts the flow of action on mobile devices and tries to replicate traditional advertising models.

Entrepreneurial Learnings

Knowledge@Wharton writes about a Wharton conference:

Raffi Amit, academic director of Wharton’s Goergen Entrepreneurial Management Programs, set the tone for the discussion by noting that academic research has debunked much of the conventional wisdom about entrepreneurs.

“There’s a myth that entrepreneurs have special traits that distinguish them from other people,” he said. “But research shows no unique characteristics. There’s a myth that entrepreneurs are risk takers. But research has shown that they try to manage risk. They outsource it where they can. And there’s a myth that entrepreneurs have some sort of secret method that they can apply to venture after venture. But many second-time entrepreneurs fail.”

Adobe’s Apollo

Techcrunch writes:

2007 will bring the launch of the much anticipated Adobe Apollo platform, a cross platform run time that will allow developers to take rich internet applications, whether they be built on Flash, HTML, JavaScript and/or Ajax, and turn them into desktop applications.

Apollo will be useful for running desktop versions of critical web applications like email and calendaring, where offline access and application speed is sometimes important.

User-Generated Content

Bambi Francisco writes:

About 30% of the pageviews on the fast-growing new-media newspaper company Topix.net come from community comments.

The figure tells you something about what the Internet generation wants to consume online.

It’s not so much the aggregated or licensed content, or even the original content that’s king anymore. User-generated content is king.

In the Internet era, it’s not about getting millions to read articles from a few paid experts. It’s about making millions of people volunteer experts. It’s not about getting millions to watch one program with a few stars. It’s about getting a few people to watch millions of programs with millions of stars.

Moreover, it’s not just about getting users to express themselves, but providing the means to let users connect with each other.

Forbes on Games

Forbes has a special report on Games. From the article on Chess:

As a fan, I could “see,” for example, that chess pieces are not static entities but rather their power is constantly evolving based upon where they are positioned on the board and how effectively they are functioning relative to other pieces and chunks of empty space. A pawn can be a powerhouse and a knight or bishop a weakling.

There are many such paradoxes in chess, much as there are in good writing or in life itself. As I watched more and more games I began to recognize that the little armies of pieces operate like fields of force, and top level games are abstract, deeply nuanced and emotional works of art.

TECH TALK: Best of Tech Talk 2006: Blue Oceans and Black Swans

Blue Oceans (think uncontested marketspaces) are an important theme for the ventures that I am involved in. A Tech Talk series in May discussed Blue Ocean Strategy and my take:

There are many other blue oceans when one looks around in India. Given this new digital infrastructure that will get created, how can one rethink different verticals like retail, healthcare, education. How does one look at marketing when everyone in the world has access to a two-way interactive device which they carry with them? This is where the big opportunities of the future lie.

As an entrepreneur, I have always favoured blue oceans over red oceans. It may be the riskier strategy when one begins because one is going where others arent. I tend to like creating new things. There are times when one may be too early, in which case one fails. But if one can think through the future and have the ability to stick it out, blue oceans are the place to be.

In a May Tech Talk series, I linked the blue oceans theme with another idea that of black swans. Taken together, they provide a window to the way how I look at ventures. I wrote: Just like Nassim Taleb, who bets on extreme events as part of his investment strategy, I am betting on extreme ventures. These ventures are not about incremental change, they are about disruptive innovation. And as we were told again and again, most new ventures and products fail. But a few do succeed. Just because many new initiatives may have failed in the past, it does not mean that the next initiative will also meet the same fate. This is similar to seeing white swans. Just because one has not seen a black swan, one cannot conclude that it does not exist.

In the last column in that series, I discussed failure something which I have seen plenty of in my life as an entrepreneur.

We were not really taught to handle failure as part of our formal education. Even our professional lives, it is mostly about incremental successes. We work in groups, and the buck does not necessarily stop with us. There are always external factors and other people one can partially be held responsible if things go wrong. But as an entrepreneur, there is no passing the buck. The entrepreneur is completely responsible for the things that go wrong. That increases the pressure. Every day is a challenge. Many daily decisions have ramifications beyond just the immediate future. One cannot keep looking in the rear view mirror and play the what-if game.

Many times, we are quite content with the status quo and we let time pass. We do not want to do things differently because we are afraid of failure. We are hesitant to make big bold bets because we worry about what could happen if things go wrong. Failure is par for the course if we want to play for success. The bigger the bets we want to make, the greater the failures we will experience.

So, think blue oceans and black swans. Imagine the world of tomorrow and build it. In the context of India today, this is even more important we have to make up for many decades of lost time. Technology can provide leapfrog opportunities. They are there in every area. We have do it is to be willing to think different.

Tomorrow: Video and Social Networks

Continue reading