My first 5-5-5 format presentation at Silicon India Startup Event in Chennai – Mar/2010. While many are still relevant, some of them needs modification as my understanding has changed over the course of last 3 years! 

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23-and-me = Small amounts of Facts + Smart marketing

The trigger for this post came out of the 1 day drive trip to 17 Mile Drive, Pacific Grove via the scenic Hwy 1 with the CCC friends (Chennai CEOs in California) Asif Ali, Senthil Nayagam and myself . (BTW, if you are in California or visiting California HWY 1 should be on your TODO list). As you can imagine what would have happened; the trip was dominated by intellectual masturbation starting from Software to Genetics. As you can guess by now, why 23andme figured in that discussion.

Listening to all the interesting stuff on 23andme from my friends, I put a reminder to sign up for 23andme. And today being Sunday, I started the process. As usual, I wanted to do a quick check before I hit the “Sign Up” button and I found some interesting reviews that I thought worth sharing.

If I were to make a recommendation, it would be this: think of these tests as exercises in scientific curiosity. If you want a serious medical analysis, spend more time with your doctor and health professional. If however, you are interested in looking at pieces of DNA just to see what you can learn, then this kind of personal genomics may be exactly what you want. There’s really no better time to satisfy that intellectual itch, so shell up the $108 and order from 23andMe today.

And, then I found this super detailed post from Aaron Saenz:

My suggestion is that unless you have a specific reason behind your motivation, don’t bother with genetic testing services, especially if you’re not of European ancestry and you’re under the age of 30. I can see how it may be useful as a preemptive measure for people with a family history of a debilitating disease, or for people who are seeking out long-lost relatives. But for the rest of us, the money is probably better spent towards a gym membership, more fruits and vegetables and health/life insurance. And not having to worry for the rest of your life about something that may or may not happen to you? That’s priceless.

So, I decided to put the signup on hold and write this post! I have to force shutdown the curiosity daemon in me. BTW, on a side note, my dear friend Senthil thought I am pro-Google. So, by his definition I should have signed up for this service, as the 23-and-me funding story  is painted “Google” all over the place. Senthil should be happy now. 🙂 !

23-and-me has employed smart marketing around small amount of facts from the genetic analysis to signup all the early adopters.  It has a long way to go before it becomes really useful. Just like in “web search” unless you are able to index “the whole web” there is little usefulness  And, indexing “the-whole-human-race” is a project “Google-to-the-order-of-10”. And, no wonder Google is involved!

It is a great project – will have to keep a tab on it!

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Have you heard about Moringa?

Moringa Front and Back

It has been a while since I wrote something on my personal blog – thanks to my day & night job at OrangeScape. When I saw this item in a supermarket in the US, I had a strong feeling of familiarity. Thanks to smart phones, an instant Google search pointed me to a Wikipedia page that not only confirmed by guess, it forced me to write this post. And what I read in Wikipedia was amazing

Yes, this is Murungai Elai Podi (முருங்கை இலை பொடி). It takes western world to package and market the greatness of  something most of us in Tamil Nadu (India) grew eating at least once a week from childhood days. In the name of urban living we are missing out on our core food and all its goodness.

There is so much in our heritage that is so valuable, that is dying by the day! A great opportunity to package it in a form that is discover-able and accessible for modern day life.

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Explaining Marketing through Fitness Advertisement

I saw this new advt crop up over night in the gates of my house. While it did trigger anger in me, the advt got my marketing mind working. 



The above advt is a classic example of trying to reach to the entire fitness market and appealing to no one.




I played with image a bit to come up with an advt for “Mass Market”. Obviously in “mass market” differentiation is key and surely this lacks differentiation.




Normal people (excluding body builders and other pros) looking to “Gain Weight” is a niche market.



In my view there is “very little” to “no market” for “Maintaining” weight. In classic marketing critic, this is called as “Solution searching Problem”. 

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Search for best Online Account Accounting Software – ends here!

I have been chasing my finance team to move to an online system for quite sometime – at least 2 years. Finally, I had to take the task in my hand of evaluating the best one that works for us and tell them just go use this. Now it is an order. 🙂 ! In the process of evaluation I found some interesting facts that would be useful for many companies. Here you go.

  • Background
    • We are a mid-sized company with 2 product lines
    • We are HQ in India
    • We have operations in US and potentially starting new offices in UK/Europe
  • I evaluated / Looked at the following products
    1. Zoho Books   – Evaluated
    2. NetSuite – Evaluated
    3. Financial Force – Looked at
    4. Kashoo – Evaluated
    5. Wave Accounting – Evaluated
    6. Intuit Quick Books Online Plus (
  • I ruled out “Financial Force” as it involves quite a bit of customization to make it work. It costs lot of money, time and effort. Big No for us. Might be worth it for a bigger company – no comments on that!
  • NetSuite falls somewhere in between the complexity of “Financial force” and simplicty of the other products listed here.
  • Every accounting software has the basics right. And, there is no point in talking about it. Zoho Books, Wave Accounting, Kashoo were quite simple (or should I say too simple) to use but they lacked the depth we required. When I say depth I was looking for
    1. Categories Based recording of Income and Expenses. You need this if you have to track multiple LoB / Product Lines, etc
    2. Some validation while recording transaction for GAAP Principles
    3. Ability to create locations like India / US etc to record transactions against those entities
    4. Ability to create Parent and Sister companies. And, record transactions against them and also consolidate them
    5. Extensive “out of the box” reports
    6. Local Support in India as my team is present in India
    7. Product should be created for Indian Companies understand Indian taxation, etc.

Finally, I choose Quick Books Online Plus, because it satisfied 6 out of the 7 in my above list. It doesn’t have the capability to do (4). While the other products I evaluated were simple to use, Quick Books depth in accounting domain showed up in their product. That also made me believe that they will add item 4 soon. I hope the quick books team is listening. 

P.S. We use TALLY today and if they had an online version like the way Quick Books has moved from client server to online, our 1st preference would be – Let’s use Tally! Absolutely! Tally’s online version – which they call as “remote access” sounds like a work-around! I am sure they have good reason for doing that way – I am giving them the benefit of doubt as they are market leaders in India!

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Bombay Stock Exchange Launching Separate Exchange for SMEs

The prestigious Bombay Stock exchange is launching a special exchange for Small and Medium Business to raise capital. The idea of this exchange is the enable capital access from public market leading to a number of benefits that include visibility, liquidity and more.

Lakshman Gugulothu is the CEO of this new SME Exchange and become a good friend. We were on a panel together at 2011 and we hosted him at the Fridays 2.0 at Nasscom Emerge Forum to meet up with 40+ SME IT CEOs. Lakshman is very bullish about the SME exchange and it is all set to launch – waiting for the final go ahead.

If you want to connect with Lakshman please write to me. He is very approachable and wanting to help genuine companies that need capital.

Please find attached the brochure of BSE – SME Exchange.
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Silicon Valley in 10 years – Economic Times Feature Story

The economic times features a cover story on ‘Silicon Valley in 10 years featuring heavy weights Vivek Wadhwa, Vinod Dham, Vinod Khosala, Padmasree Warrior (Cisco CTO) and few other accomplished Indian origins in the Valley. And, interestingly 4 of out those 10 featured are speaking in Nasscom Product Conclave. Hmm, I am proud to be part of the NPC program team!

The happen to download the PDF version of the story and posting it here as is difficult to locate this in ET website. The PDF link below is Economic Times copyright.

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