Sunday, November 26, 2006

Web 2.0 @ work!!

Well i have been looking up Web 2.0 for some time now and i thought its about time i posted something about it. We all know the now very famous and popular sites like Wiki,del.ici.ous, etc but id like to talk about a couple of other relatively lesser known cousins. Cause this is where the future of the real e-commerce lies according to me.

For all of the late nineties talk abt e-commerce becoming the new face of business we didn't actually see a more than a mere speck of the it. I believe it was the way businesses were designed that led to the initial failure of e-commerce. Websites merely aped the offline method of doing business instead of creating new business models. This became all the more obvious in the dot com bust.

But now with people realsing that there needs to be a completely different way of doing business on the net, the Web 2.0 model has come into being and more and more businesses are trying to take advantage of it.

The first business id like to talk about is the way clothes are being sold today. They are a few prominent businesses like
Spreadshirt and Cafepress which are doing really well for themselves and giving the so called branded clothing a run for their money. Basically on these 2 sites everyone can be a designer of their own clothing and whats more set up a free shop online without having to worry about the usual hassles of maintaining inventories, distribution channels or advertising expenses. From a top designer to a kid wanting his name on his t-shirt everyone is accomodated and thus taking care of the Long tail of designing. You can set up shop and get paid for every shirt you sell. Spread shirts made it to the no: 5 Spot on BusinessWeek's Europe's Hot Growth Companies list and has sales of about $ 10.3 million at last count.

An even mo
re interesting site i found was Kiva. It seems to be the future in investment banking. Rather than entrepreneurs having to get angel investors or venture capitalists for seed funding they can approach potentially every single person on the planet for funding.

Kiva offers funding to entreprenuers in the backward economies of Africa for starting their own small businesses. Its like microfinance but instead of a bank giving them the money its people like you
and me. If you believe in some business then you can lend some money and earn interest on it. The repayment period is generally short and so is the seed money with the minimum amount coming out to be only $ 25.

This idea can be extrapolated to funding entrepreneurs all across the globe on a much larger scale. Convincing a few seed funders for a couple of millions is much tougher than convincing a million for a few dollars if your idea is sound. I think someone would already have begun thinking about such a business model or is already having one. It seems the next natural step.
Anyways my point is ,on the face of it these business models seems so damn simple that we might be forgiven to feel like kicking our butts for not coming up with the idea ourselves. Thats the beauty of Web 2.0. Im sure this revolution of e-commerce is here to stay...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Brand Bangalore to Bengaluru??

If there is one Indian city that is today etched in the mind of any well read person across the globe it is Bangalore,i'm sorry Bengaluru....Bangalore has fallen the way of Bombay,Calcutta and Madras.
Mr Anandamurthy and Co have achieved what they had set out to do by the official name change from yesterday Nov 1st onwards. They say its an apt start to the Suvarna Karnataka year(Golden Jubilee year).I say its the worst possible start. What does such name change achieve except an awful amount of waste??
I would love to hear the costs to exchequer for the name changes for the previous cities. I can imagine it will be a one huge bill. Just imagine all the government documents that are kept in Karnataka,Central Govt or Foreign embassies across the world will have to be trashed to incorporate the name change.All the sign boards on roads,shops etc will have to be changed. I'm sure here are a million other things that i haven't thought of.
So all these money is wasted when it could have been used for much useful purposes like decongesting the choking roads of the Garden City.
I don't understand how in a democratic system like ours a few personalities for their 15 seconds of fame decide to change the names of our cities. Mr Shashi Tharoor once mentioned in his article when Madras was changed to Chennai- "The weather will be just as sultry in Chennai as it used to be in Madras. But are we Indians so insecure in our independence that we still need to prove to ourselves that we are free?"
The self declared champions of culture can claim the fact that Bangalore's name change highlights the city's origins - Bendakalooru means `boiled beans' in Kannada. I don't think even Scott Adams could have come up with such a joke. IT silicon valley city to City of Boiled beans. When everyone moves forward we Indian's love to go back centuries. After all we have a rich heritage. Prove that in action not in useless resource wasting name changes. Is name changing the miracle solution to solving a city's problem. If yes ,then by all means go ahead Change every damn city,town and village name in the country.

I have a new strip to contribute to Dilbert. A caricature of Mr Anandamurthy beating the hell out of Dilbert,Dogbert, Wally and the Pointy Haired Boss for using the word Bangalored - "Its Bengaluru-ed you dumbwits !!!"