Archive for August, 2010

Life of a Young Entrepreneur

August 31, 10 by Bharani

This article is reproduced from ISB Alumni Affairs News letter and is written by Vivek pahwa. The article lucidly explains the life on an young entrepreneur. I thought this is worth reproducing.

In this article, Pahwa gives a first hand account about being a young entrepreneur. “A combination of passion, risk taking, and a commitment to build something big and different,” he prescribes.

The Purpose, the Pursuit
Being an entrepreneur is a responsibility – a responsibility to produce superior goods and services for people to consume in an efficient manner, and to put capital, intellect and knowledge to productive use. It means giving up personal interests in the interest of building an enduring company. It means to pursue the journey of building value for your employees, shareholders and customers single mindedly. It often consumes your entire ‘brain space’, and therefore becomes the pursuit of life itself for most entrepreneurs.

The most rewarding aspect of being an entrepreneur is creating a product or service which benefits people. Use feedback on how they have benefited from the use of our product, not only makes us happy but also motivates us to create an even more rewarding experience for the users.
On the other hand, there are many days where effort goes into things with seemingly no benefit. The results take a long time to show and this can get quite frustrating. Being an entrepreneur means a lot of effort in the initial days, without much feedback.

Real Life Learning
When I graduated from business school, I thought I had the necessary skills, tools and experiences required to become a successful entrepreneur. However, I have learned a great deal more outside the classroom. Practical skills of identifying, attracting and motivating talent and people in your organisation, working and building performance oriented teams, learning how to deal with failure or disappointments, and the ability to overcome challenges to achieve success – these are some of the “real life” management skills that are essential for success.

I believe that there are a few essential traits to become a successful entrepreneur. First, the determination to succeed is very important. It helps in overcoming all the obstacles and challenges that come in the way. Second, enthusiasm and energy are essential to building a successful business. Finally, having a business sense – some people naturally have a keen sense of profiting by doing business, and these people tend to be street-smart, fast and hard negotiators, and tend to get the best out of their employees. This is a very important differentiator.

Driving Forces
To be a successful entrepreneur, it is important to be committed to it – be prepared to spend the rest of your life in building the business. Do it because you are passionate about the idea and want to create a change in the world. Have an incessant need to create, build value, and grow the business.
It is beneficial for a young entrepreneur to have a mentor. It can cut down the mistakes you make into half. A mentor can help you choose the right track, make the right ‘big’ decisions and support you when you are discouraged, since he/she probably has been through the same path successfully.

Vivek Pahwa, Class of ‘06 was named Asia’s Best Entrepreneur according to a 2008 poll conducted by Business Week. Post ISB, Pahwa started a social networking site in India called DesiMartini.com., which he later sold. Pahwa then founded the company Accentium Web Pvt. Ltd., which created a niche matrimony site, SecondShaadi.com. The site on date records 150,000 registered users. Accentiums second site, Gaadi.com, an auto research site, is already the number one automobile web site in India. Accentium also runs StudyNation, Taaza.com.com and SitaGita.com.

Byemobile.com – A Stolen, copy-paste website

August 30, 10 by Bharani

I am grappling with a strange issue. Some guy from Spain called Javier Castilla has stolen the site design of our website 91mobiles.com and apparently populating the site with clear-cut site-scraping again from our site (without adding any value whatsoever).

It’s been 9 months since we launched 91mobiles and we took the services of a professional freelance designer to design the site from scratch. Anyone who have checked out 91mobiles.com can vouch for that.

Look at the screenshot of byemobile.com. Though he has done a shabby work of copy-pasting, it will be obvious in the first look that the site is a copy-paste of 91mobiles.com.

The domain has been created on 3rd August 2010! Just 23 days old Whoa! Check out the proof yourself. http://whois.domaintools.com/byemobile.com. No denying there!

Obviously I am not happy that a spanish guy is copying from Indian website. I am pissed off with him. I have written a warning mail to him and asked him to change the design. No response yet. There is only one way left now. Filing a DMCA Complaint with google and the web hosting provider. It’s a long procedure. But filing a DMCA complaint will definitely yield results even it happens little late.

Any other suggestions on how to tackle this issue? Is this worth chasing this guy?

Update: He has changed the design now.

Electronic Voting Machine Security Issue

August 23, 10 by Bharani

A very disturbing security concern over Indian Electronic Voting Machines has emerged recently. VeTA has performed a kind-of sting operation on Indian EVMs and has published a white paper briefing the security flaws in the Voting machines. VeTA is an independant National level citizen’s forum for promoting Verifiability, Transparency and Accountability in Indian Elections. Some of the well known computer experts, political scientists, public activists, legal professionals, academicians have come together to analyze the state of Indian Elections. On Saturday, August 21 2010, Hari Prasad, Chief Technical Coordinator of VeTA was arrested for the possession of Electronic Voting Machine, which apparently was acquired through anonymous insider source! The Anonymity is still not revealed.

VeTA did a very thorough analysis on the EVM Hardware and software and proved in various ways that the EVM can be hacked and the results be easily manipulated. VeTA not just content with the findings went on to publish a white paper based on the findings. Now the whole world knows that Indian EVMs are not tamper-proof and the findings are completely contrary to the claim from Indian Election Commission “totally tamper proof, perfect, fail safe and requiring no improvement”.

I am surprised why Indian government and Election commission would have disallowed any independant security evaluation! This raises a serious integrity concern about ECI. While the cyber-hackers are growing powerful and while the cyber security is always playing a catch up game with cyber attacks, this lack of concern and total underestimation of EVM Hacking from ECI needs to be addressed immediately. I think ‘sting’ operations are the only way to reform the Indian government and remove the inefficiency and corruption from it.

You can watch the video below to understand the technical flaws of the voting machines and how naive the security mechanisms are.

References:

Time Management…


http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/blog/jhalderm/electronic-voting-researcher-arrested-over-anonymous-source

Conferences, Meetings and Training

August 19, 10 by Bharani

Early this month, there was a 3-day SEO Training programme conducted by Bruce Clay (One of the Prominent thought leaders in Search Engine optimization industry) in Gurgaon. I decided to attend the training to crystallize my learnings, to learn new techniques and tips and to meet people with Similar Interest. It was quite useful and comprehensive. I would say the 3-day training gave me a structure and discipline towards how we approach SEO. And Bruce Clay did warn everyone of us about the brutally tough SEO world! As he put it, “every monday it’s (SEO) a new industry” (Google apparently makes 500 changes every month and on good day it might make 20 changes!). It’s like solving a 200 variable non-linear equation, which changes every day! It’s like chasing a moving target! Get the drift? Add to this, the new search result pages which google is experimenting with. The new SERPS (Search engine result pages) apparently show more of google content (google maps, google local, google news, google real-time, youtube, images and what not?) than external content. Alright, I am making myself nervous again 🙂

There is a Open source conference coming up in chennai next month. If you are interested in open source, PHP, Mysql, web development trends, mobile computing, cloud computing etc., you should try and make it to the event! Checkout more details at www.osidays.com. I am sending my developers to attend the event at company’s expense. Needless to say, they are mighty-excited and looking forward to learn some new things! If they learn, its good for company too 🙂

I always wanted to attend a TED Event. But being an super-expensive event and going by the difficulty to get ‘invited’, I was giving up on it. Then came along the concept of TEDX (local TED Clubs). TEDX Chennai is the chennai local chapter for TEDX. I am attending the event and have booked my tickets. Hoping to hear from some great speakers and gather some insight into their minds. Not to forget the opportunity to meet some really interesting attendees!