Emergic: Rajesh Jain's Blog

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MyToday Start

September 26th, 2008 · 20 Comments

In the coming days, I will share our experience in building MyToday and the decisions we made at some of the challenging moments in the business. We haven’t got everything right, but when I look back at the past two years, we definitely made more right decisions than wrong ones. And in a growing business, that can make all the difference.

It is amazing to see how quickly business plans evolve. Making one is important only so that one knows one pathway to the future. There are many more roads – and they may lead to different futures. As a business, it is important to make decisions which constantly create better situations than one finds oneself in.

We found ourselves in one situation two years ago. We had launched a mobile portal hoping that it will become central to the lives of millions of people in India quickly. A few months after launch, we quickly realised that reaching out to the small percentage of people who had GPRS activated mobiles was going to be very difficult. This, combined with the fact with 3G still seemed a distant future, meant that either we could wait for a long time, or try something else.

It was then that I asked my team – what would we do if there were no constraints of any kind, financial or otherwise. What could we do to create a service that would grow and become central to the lives of millions. One of the ideas that emerged from the brainstorming session: free SMS subscriptions. At that time, it seemed like an extremely dangerous path to tread on given that each outgoing SMS cost 45 paise (about 1 US cent). If we became successful, we could die under our own weight!

That is when I made a call – let’s do it. There were a couple factors which weighed in my mind when I made that decision almost exactly two years ago. One, SMS pricing was a function of volume and the cost to carry an SMS on the mobile network was extremely low (in fact, close to zero).  So, there was potential to bring down the cost of an SMS substantially if we became successful in building a user base. Second, we didn’t really have ay other alternative if we wanted to be a player in the mobile data space — we couldn’t possibly wait for an indeterminate period waiting for GPRS usage to grow or 3G to happen. Both of these were beyond our control.

So it was that we quickly turned around our publish-subscribe platform (made for RSS feeds to be consumed on the mobile web)  to support SMS. I was still somewhat skeptical but at least we were going to do something where we had much greater control on our own destiny. Our team had done some work on SMS — despite my opposition — over the past few months, so it was easy to get a solution going quickly. (Till then, I could not imagine what one could with just 160 characters of text.)

The first day that I actually experienced the service (receiving cricket updates when I was outside the office) I was a complete convert. And, that was how MyToday Dailies was born. Today, MyToday has over 3.7 million subscribers and 11+ million subscriptions, all via word-of-mouth. It is India’s only media on mobile. It has started us on an amazing pathway of things that we can do in the mobile space. And it emerged because something we had originally planned for didn’t work — and we were smart enough to realise that we needed to change direction quickly.

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20 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Information Shared » Blog Archive » MyToday Start // Sep 26, 2008 at 5:16 am

    […] one is important only so that one knows one pathway to the future. There are many more roads -http://emergic.org/2008/09/26/mytoday-star… Share and […]

  • 2 MyToday SMS and Mobile Web // Sep 27, 2008 at 5:00 am

    […] MyToday Start […]

  • 3 sms | BG Mahesh | mahesh.com // Oct 4, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    […] Google is not the first one to provide such a feature in India, check out who are the other players. MyToday was the first one to enter this space and I believe it is one of the best examples of how the user base can grow without spending on marketing (Disclaimer: I know their management pretty well but it has nothing to do with my opinion). You must read what Rajesh Jain thinks about the competition and his experience in building MyToday. […]

  • 4 vijaychandra // Oct 9, 2008 at 11:59 am

    google gonna bid for mytoday shortly.. make the most from the deal

  • 5 chethan // Nov 3, 2008 at 9:58 am

    it is very helpful to learn english

  • 6 nitin // Nov 14, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    hi i want this page in my web will u give me thanks bye

  • 7 mantesh // Nov 17, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    hi i am mantesh from, mysore(kar). i reallylove all about news, sunsign,jokes,health tip,& cri score. i subscribe of all what i wrote in this.

  • 8 mantesh // Nov 17, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    can u send me all news, joke, health tip and movie news to my e-mail.

  • 9 prasanna // Dec 5, 2008 at 11:13 am

    can you send me news,jokes,cricket,health tips to my e_mail

  • 10 om sutar // Dec 6, 2008 at 8:31 am

    more

  • 11 NITTU J ALAPPATT // Dec 7, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    It is good

  • 12 moideenshan // Jan 24, 2009 at 10:56 am

    ilike this service

  • 13 sachin // Jan 24, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    hi…
    hw 2 active this…

  • 14 saravanan // Feb 15, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    hi

  • 15 Naveen kumar.S // Mar 12, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Hi this is naveen im also need a mobile sms alert everyday..thank u bye.

  • 16 shivaji gadadhe // May 7, 2009 at 11:05 am

    i want to start my today sms service please guide me for that.

  • 17 Raveen // Jul 20, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    the BIBLE verses are not coming to me every day even though i sent a mess

  • 18 Google joins SMS race in India | Local Test Blog // Mar 12, 2010 at 10:14 am

    […] Google is not the first one to provide such a feature in India, check out who are the other players. MyToday was the first one to enter this space and I believe it is one of the best examples of how the user base can grow without spending on marketing (Disclaimer: I know their management pretty well but it has nothing to do with my opinion). You must read what Rajesh Jain thinks about the competition and his experience in building MyToday. […]

  • 19 Balaji // Mar 12, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Cricket

  • 20 hitesh // Jun 16, 2010 at 9:14 am

    i want to unsubscribe from mytoday please help me i have send sms like ‘leave name’ to 575758
    but it is not working please halp me

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