Archive for the ‘Entrepreneur’ Category

A few days back, Rajesh Jain, MD, Netcore Solutions Pvt. Ltd. based in Mumbai, started a discussion on Facebook on “Mass Market Internet” talking about on the options we have for getting the millions of potential users on Internet who today either don’t have a medium to access Internet or a promising application to attract their loyalty. I wrote to him about my thoughts and below is the portion of email that I wrote to him:-

Internet Users:
Talking about Internet users, from my perspective there can be two broad category of Internet users.
 
The first ones are those people who make a consicous effort to connect themselves to the Internet and use applications delivered via the web. These are the users who are the only types of Internet users existing in India today. However the second category, which form the majority, will be those users who will be consumers of applications delivered via the web, but they may or may not realize about their connectivity to the web. From my perspective they are still Internet users as they still consume applications via the web. For them its like a service through cellphone, if you have the network you can make a call, if you have the connection you can access the application. The second category of users are the users who are illiterate or lack computer knowledge. But from this vast majority a sizeable number of them do use cellphones. For these users educating them of computers is a lengthy and expensive process, probably more expensive than setting up the Internet access infrastructure in place. For these users, a computer keyboard is more complicated to use rather than the keyboard of a cellphone or the remote control of a TV.
To get the numbers of Internet users in India to a higher point, it is important that the second category of users come online and start consuming applications regardless they know about it or not.

Medium of access:
Internet penetration not only in remote places or villages, but in small and medium towns in India is still a bottle neck. In these places, the dial-up is still the primary medium of access. Also in some of the places, the telephone exchanges have very limited capacity and the lines are prone to noise and interference. In such places, better Internet experience can be achieved through satellite Internet. At least better than dial up.

Access Device:
Television and the cellphones are the devices which have the most penetration in our country and these two are the devices, which are capable of delivering applications via Internet.
 
 
Type of Application:
From my perspective, interactive and entertainment applications will be the primary driving factor for Internet usage. Today, social networking sites are the most visited websites as they let you interact with other users in a variety of way. Even though video hosting is expensive, there are many sites which provide access to entertainment videos as there is a tremendous demand for it.
 
So what would be the type of applications.

Example 1. Consider a house or community which has a satellite television and Internet delivered via satellite (the connection can be a DTH connection). Apart from the standard channels, the user can tune into Netflix Internet TV by just click of a remote.
 
Example 2. Emails has been used via Internet since a long time now, consider a service which lets users send small emails as text messages to cellphone. So I can send an email to <mydadnumber>@provider.com which actually goes to an application on the email server which in turn splits the email (if needed) and sends it as an SMS to the end user, when the end user replies (keeping the subject intact) his reply is converted back in to an email and delivered in to the inbox of the original sender.

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After a really long break from blogging, I am back with a good news for all the mobile gurus in India. India, the global IT center and the hub of innovative ideas has a reason to be proud of. We have a first Indian company to be recognized in GSMA mobile innovation awards and its none other than my previous company Netcore Solutions Pvt. Ltd. where I had a fabulous 3 and half years of my career. All credit goes to the mentor, founder and MD of Netcore Mr. Rajesh Jain, who always trusted his vision and never gave up in spite of number of challenges and problems.

A complete coverage on this story is available here.

This achievement for Netcore was not at all a cake walk for Netcore. Given the numerous unpredictable problems, especially the one created by mobile operators trying to block mytoday.mobi and forced Netcore’s service provider to shutdown the 676787 short code through which Netcore used to provide SMS services. The operators were threatened the rate at which Netcore’s services were becoming popular and tried to impose an unfair business act. They couldn’t tolerate some one offering information to users at very low rates and wanted to keep the whole pie for themselves. Still today the operators charge you as much as 6 Rs. for a piece of information, which is your right to have it. This monopolistic strategy of the operators didn’t work, Netcore came back online pretty soon and after that there was no way any one could stop it. The result … its in front of you.

Even today, my operators block http://www.mytoday.mobi on their GPRS services. If you didn’t knew about mytoday.mobi till now, then try it on your GPRS enabled handset and if its blocked, then ask your operator to unblock it. Trust me there are loads of content and services which you always wanted to keep handy.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely my views and are not that of Netcore. I don’t represent the company. Any news or information about the company are available through company press release. 

I just came across a post that talks about the launch of a new version of Gmail in U.S. Well this version almost has some of the features that I had envisioned in my mind when I made a mobile mail service for my previous company. However the version that I wrote was a browser based service that works with any POP3 or IMAP4 server available on Internet. The interface is XHTML based interface and shows inline preview of mail body in the Inbox listing, shows compressed previews of image attachment with option to download it on your cellphone and converts PDF attachments to XHTML for online reading.

However this mobile mail was far from being my ideal mobile mail application. It was more of prototype in my venture  to the mobile world. In my perspective an ideal mobile mail will have

1) Mobile server.
2) Mobile application.

The Mobile server would be heart of this mobile application and would be the one that can integrate to multiple mail servers (even to the free email service providers) and would run a service that integrates multi-network chat protocols including support of the enterprise chat server. It would be running a SyncML service to keep your addressbook and calendar in sync between your desktop, mail server and mobile device. If this kind of server is being deployed in a corporate environment, then it can also have a page adapter for mobile devices so that the users can browse the intranet applications easily on their mobile device.

The mobile application would be like one of the free mobile apps like Movamail or Whoosh but with SyncML support and multiple reply options. The SyncML support in the application would help the users with devices without SyncML support to be in sync. The multiple reply options to a mail can be

  1. Reply via mail.
  2. Reply via Chat.
  3. Reply via Call.
  4. Reply via SMS.

On selection of Call or SMS option the application would pickup the number from the mobile addressbook and invoke the corresponding handler APIs.  On selection of Chat option the application would initiate a chat session via the mobile server if the user is online or will leave an offline message or mail in case the user is not available.

An application like this powered by an intelligent server would give  complete control of communication to the user while he is on move. Today we have alternatives from different vendors that lets you chat, make VoIP phone calls, check email, Sync address and calendars, but what lacks is a single application that integrates all the multi-protocol chat and email network.

It’s official now and matter of pride for all Indians. Mukesh Ambani has been declared as the World’s Richest man, surpassing American software czar Bill Gates, Mexican business tycoon Carlos Slim Helu and famous investment guru Warren Buffett. The credit of this achievement goes to the bull run in the stock market.

Following a strong share price rally on in his three group companies, India’s most valued firm Reliance Industries, Reliance Petroleum and Reliance Industrial Infrastructure, the net worth of Mukesh Ambani rose to $63.2 billion (Rs 2,49,108 crore).

In comparison, the net worth of both Gates and Slim is estimated to be slightly lower at around $62.29 billion each, with Slim leading among the two by a narrow margin.

The five richest people in the world with their net worth

1. Mukesh Ambani ($63.2 billion)

2. Carlos Slim Helu ($62.2993 billion)

3. William (Bill) Gates ($62.29 billion)

4. Warren Buffett ($55.9 billion)

5. Lakshmi Mittal ($50.9 billion)

Warren Buffett, earlier the third richest in the world, also dropped one position with a net worth of about $56 billion.

Ambani’s wealth of about Rs 2,49,000 crore includes about Rs 2,10,000 crore from RIL (50.98% stake), Rs 37,500 crore from RPL (37.5%) and Rs 2,100 crore from RIIL (46.23%).

Slim’s wealth has been calculated on the basis of his stake in companies like America Movil (30%), Carso Global (82%), Grupo Carso (75%), Inbursa (67%), IDEAL (30%) and Saks Inc (10%).

According to information available with the US and Mexican stock exchanges where these companies are listed, Slim currently holds shares worth a total of $62.2993 billion, with more than half coming from Latin American mobile major America Movil. Slim is closely followed by Gates with a net worth of $62.29 billion currently.

Earlier last month, US business magazine Forbes had named Gates as the richest American with a net worth of $59 billion, calculated as on August 30. The magazine had said that a movement of $2 in the share price for Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, could “add or subtract $1 billion” from his wealth.

Since August-end, Microsoft’s share price has risen by $6.58 (based on yesterday’s closing on Nasdaq at $35.03), which results into a gain of $3.29 billion in Gates’ wealth based on Forbes assumption.

Besides a stake in Microsoft, Gates’ wealth also includes the commission and license fees earned by him and gains through his shares in an investment holding company that invests across the market.

Gates is followed by Buffett at the fourth place in the league of the world’s richest with a net worth of $55.9 billion through his holding in his investment vehicle Berkshire Hathaway and in other companies. At the end of August, Buffett’s wealth stood at $52 billion, as per the Forbes magazine. Berkshire Hathaway’s share price has gained by about 7.5% since then.

Earlier on September 26, Ambani had overtaken steel czar Lakshmi Mittal to become the richest Indian in the world.

Mittal currently ranks as the fifth richest in the world with a net worth of $50.9 billion through his 44.79% stake in world’s biggest steel maker ArcelorMittal.

While most of Mittal’s wealth comes from his steel empire, though he has also spread his wings into businesses like oil and real estate, those of Ambani and Gates are mostly through petrochemicals and software respectively. However, Buffett and Slim are making money from investments across a host of sectors.

source: Business Standard

Following is an extract on the topic from his AGM speech delivered on 12th Oct 2007 as posted by IndiaInfoline.com:

 

Recently, there have been several reports in the media on my personal wealth.

Frankly, I am amused by these reports.

Because I have never thought of myself in these terms. Nor have I worked in any way for these epithets.

The money you accumulate merely gives you an opportunity to make a difference.

But only if we make use of it to create wealth for the nation and to look for a social return.

I measure my success by the value that I create for my shareholders and the assets that we, as a company, create for the nation as a whole.

My wealth and your wealth are inevitably linked to our growth.

If Reliance grows and India prospers, it matters little to me whether my personal fortunes are measured in billions or millions.

True wealth lies in what you give to society and to the country, the real assets that you build, the institutions you nurture and the contribution you make to all-round prosperity.

And how you empower young people.

I am proud of the human capital I have helped build.

Those thousands of young people who have made Reliance what it is today.

And who are raring to take India and Reliance to greater heights.

Finally, I believe true wealth consists of what we create for you, dear Shareowners.

This is what I would continue to strive for, through Reliance.

This is what I have learnt from Dhirubhai Ambani.