Local-search-on-smartphone-research
Business, Marketing, Strategy, Web

Smartphone usage data for India and inferences

We believe this is indeed a Gold mine of data for marketers and marketing strategists. Google recently launched a nice initiative – Our Mobile Planet (link) which has research, data and analysis about what users do with their smartphones. I checked some data for India and here are some interesting facts –

1. What do users do after their Local search

A lot of users call the business – which was a surprise. Visit the website and visit the business were the obvious choices. Clearly, on local searches the trick is to be present with a contact number. Check chart below

Local-search-on-smartphone-research-india

2. Advertisements on Smartphones – In India, ad awareness seems to be improving but a lot of users don’t really visit the website and do the intended action when it comes to the sponsor wanting returns from the ad. Clearly, there is still spillage and the simpler the ad, the better the returns it would seem for the smartphone user.

india-smartphone-ads-interaction

3. Smartphone Payment options – Frankly speaking I doubt if the base case for this will be significant enough. At max it would be the Indian iPhone users with not many of the Android users regularly transacting using Mobile phones ( not that I know of at least) Unsurprisingly, not many have used the payment options , and to the delight of a lot of ecomm firms , the preferred mode of payment is the Credit card! So clearly, all the ecomm firms, will look to create apps for its users sooner rather than later!

Payment-methods-with-smartphone-india

4. Smartphone penetration in India – The number stands at a dismal 23% only. (Dismal in my books at least ) . But that also underlines the huge opportunity with smartphones and the app makers have in future. No wonder all cell phone manufacturers want to enter the smartphone market.

smartphone-penetration-levels-india

5. Smartphone usage patterns in India

Clearly, the smartphone usage patterns in India show how smartphones are indeed frequently used by users. That in itself is an encouraging sign for all the startups working in the technology domain (including mine of course – A new age real estate portal 🙂 ) Notice how the future trends are – clearly the future is extremely encouraging!

usage patterns for smartphones in india

What do you think of these findings, let us know!

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Strategy, Technology, Web

What if 7 billion people write their autobiographies?

(Editor’s note: This article is written by Kalpesh Muchhal – a student at IIM Bangalore, Batch of 2011. He takes a new, radical view at the concept of blogs, lifestories and social networking in general. You can write to Strat.in at contribute@strat.in , if you have views to share with the Strat.in community as well)

A new concept in social networking

The first question you will probably ask is why? After all, isn’t it one of the major undertakings in life to write one’s autobiography? Don’t we need enough interesting experiences before we start writing one? And who will read it? What if I don’t want to reveal my details to someone else?

Well, let us take this up one by one. If you actually think about your life, at least in some ways, it is different from that of everyone else. It can be the movies we like, the people we adore, the particular flavor of coffee that we just need to have after getting in the morning. But more importantly, it is the ideas that we individually possess, and the ways in which we express them. Fingerprints can match sometimes, even DNAs can. But no two people, not even twins, think exactly the same.

And so each one of us has a unique life story to tell. Now if someone starts telling you about his or her experiences, at first it will appear to be random, unrelated information. After all, why would I care that someone started going to school at the age of 5, or that someone has a Doberman called Tommy? But as a story goes on, several important themes emerge. The state of the society one lives in, the beautiful and depressing things that one saw in life, the struggles one has had to make and the things learned from them, the unique ideas one possesses, and so many other concepts. All this is knowledge, which can help others, inspire others, bring about greater understanding, give rise to new ideas. Now combine 7 billion such stories, and you have got an ocean of such knowledge, which is probably the most valuable infrastructure in the world.

Is it a difficult task to write one’s story? It sure is. Firstly, it requires one to sit down for a good amount of time, go over one’s life, and think what are the things that have happened. Secondly, many of these things may be unpleasant, embarrassing, or not in line with one’s self-image. And when one gets over this, there is the whole task of putting it down into words. But, if you really think about it, its not necessary to write everything at one stretch. Nor is it necessary to talk about those experiences which you had rather not share, experiences which are very private. You write a paragraph, then you modify it a little, then after some time, you write another one, then maybe you see a pattern in both of them, and you modify both paragraphs and so on. Isn’t that how a story always gets written, bit by bit, and always emerging into something new?

Does a life story need to have a traditional conclusion, like victory at the end of pain, or rain after a long period of drought? Aren’t the most interesting stories those where the interpretation is left open? Think No Country for Old Men. Or Clarke’s novel Childhood’s End. And aren’t the most addictive stories those which do not end? Think Batman and Joker. A real life story has all these elements. The plot often changes, an experience may not have any goal, sometimes things are done just for fun. In fact, it is precisely this randomness and absence of conclusion that makes real life stories interesting.

Some people say they don’t have enough experiences to talk about. Firstly it is not the experiences in and of themselves that matter when you say your story to someone else, but what it meant to you that is more important. Secondly, I have never believed that people have nothing to write. That is only possible if a person has been in a dark room like Sanjay Dutt in Zinda for many long years (and even then there will be sufficient content). Another example. If you tell a 8 year old to describe what happened during the day, he/she will describe at great length all the things they did, the children they talked to, the games they played, what they thought of the stranger guy going around the corner, etc. So everyone of us have enough experiences. It just requires one to say that they are important.

Who will read it? One never knows. Say you are an ardent football fan, and your expertise of all things football comes out in your story. Next thing you know, many co-fans may want to hear more from you so that you start a nice football blog. Or maybe you were once stranded and lost in a forest, and you came up with a brilliant plan to get out and avoid becoming a meal of some carnivore. Someone in a similar situation may find your story useful. Say you are someone who battled a long-time disease but didn’t give up your spirit and enjoy good health now. Someone going through such distress may find your story inspiring. There are probably a countless ways in which sharing your knowledge through your life story will contribute to others and back to yourself. And while you are at it, you of course don’t have to reveal the names of your friends. You can easily take care of their and your privacy by not revealing personal details, without taking away anything from the story.

Wikipedia has been a phenomenal success in bringing people together to write on different topics. What comes out is often useful factual information and conventional wisdom. A lot of structured information. But is that enough? The vast majority of the knowledge lying within our heads is unstructured, individualistic, not belonging to any pre-specified topic. We somehow need this unstructured knowledge to come out, for it is as useful as its structured counterpart.

So I felt a site was in order and have started a project called Bionama.com. Its free and will never have a business model (maybe a donation button in the future is the way to go). After all, its supposed to be a common pool of stories and ideas, just like a water pond. The stories are in Creative Commons. Well, the site is up and working, but it still needs a lot of help from everyone who can help. Probably the biggest task is making it accessible to everyone in the world, for not everyone has internet access, atleast regularly. But there are other things too, like how to make it searchable enough to be useful, what features should go in, should it be minimalistic or completely embrace social networking features (I have thought the former is better in this case). Need your help in figuring this out. You can start writing your story. But also suggest how to improve upon the idea further. Thanks.

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Quora
Marketing, Technology, Web

Quora, the Valley and the buzz its getting

Quora is a QnA site that is getting a lot of buzz at the moment. My profile on the site is can be accessed here. I would say that Quora is a Web 2.0 version (of sorts) of Wikipedia, with a lot of users trying to continuously evolve the site to make it better for users. The site describes itself as

‘A continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.’

This isn’t much different from Wikipedia – which describes itself as

Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project. ts 17 million articles (over 3.5 million in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site.’

The tech blogs and early adopters of the Valley are pretty influential characters which evangelize such budding products extremely aggressively. Look at the coverage this site is getting on Tech blogs – Its absolutely amazing how the Silicon valley ecosystem picks up a product that has some muscle and propels it in such a way that it would seem incredulous that a person mildly interested in something new and cool hasn’t yet created an account on this site yet! While I am not aware of the market dynamics in China, I am pretty certain that this ecosystem created in the valley can’t be found anywhere else in the world – not even in India. Infact in India, there are a lot of good products coming up, but are simply not getting traction from early adopters / influencers.

Coming back to Quora, The one thing I like about the whole website is the ability to follow topics . Going ahead, such topics can become excellent one-stop destinations for a student to learn whats happening in a specific subject. For example, I am following more than 30 topics there already and those include Product Management, Sequoia etc.

The real question though is how will Quora tackle spam? Already, I am seeing a lot of answer-gaming on that site. People putting generic answers and then getting upvoted by their colleagues in order to get traffic to their profile has started. A lot of QnA sites face these problems – tackling spammers/trolls etc isn’t a trivial task at all. Having seen Yahoo Answers, Rediff QnA etc for many years now, I can vouch for this – correctly spotting stuff that someone is looking for becomes tougher with every passing day on the site. In that sense, what Wikipedia has achieved is remarkable, they have managed to keep their system sane (more or less) even after 10 years. I think that is going to be a critical success factor for Quora going ahead.

To conclude, I admire the site right now and how the ecosystem in the Valley is promoting it heavily ( like it did previously for foursquare, twitter, facebook, amazon etc) . This surely is one site to watch for in 2011.

PS: Firstly, A belated Happy new year to all our readers on Strat.in . Hope that we would write a LOT more on Strat this year – I on my part, shall try my best! Check out how I am promoting Strat.in on the back of my car and have a nice chuckle!

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social-media-waste-of-time_large
Public Issues, Web

Controversies and social media – how to react?

The year 2010 will be remembered for its controversies that has put the ruling government in particular and the nation in general under considerable distress. It started with the Commonwealth Games scam, then the Adarsh scam that has forced a Chief Minister of Maharashtra to resign and now has reached newer heights with the 2G spectrum allocation scam. So much so that the INC president had to comment about the same in a function –

We are right to celebrate our high rate of economic growth. We must do all that we can to sustain it. However, let us not forget that growth is not an end in itself. Much more important to my mind is what kind of society we aspire to be, and the values on which it should be built. Our economy may increasingly be dynamic, but our moral universe seems to be shrinking. Prosperity has increased but so has social conflict. Intolerance of various kinds is growing. Graft and greed are on the rise. The principles on which independent India was founded, for which a generation of great leaders fought and sacrificed their all, are in danger of being negated.

Whats been most interesting is the way these scandals have reverberated in the new tool in the hands of (mostly) affluent Indians – social media . A recent Rediff article about 10 ways to fight corruption had a discussion board that has readers commenting about issues right from the Government’s moral right to rule the country to how nothing concrete will happen out of these scandals. On Twitter, #BarkhaGate has been a trending topic for more than 48 hours now. Barkha Dutt is a popular person on twitter and she has been constantly trying to answer(?) pretty acidic tweets directed at her over the weekend.

BarkhaGate on Twitter

Trending topic on Twitter - BarkhaGate

While social media is viral, realtime and often the quickest mode of communication, there are some issues with controversies arising in the social media. What if the anti-social elements of the society try to malign a clean individual using this medium? There is a danger that a reputation built very carefully over the years could be irrevocably damaged due to a social media spat. Besides there is a risk that if the vibes going around social media are rumors, one can lose his/her own reputation in one’s social circle if one has shared something about that issue…

Clearly, while referring and using social media is great, the reputation of the source needs to be taken into consideration as well in this context. Simply retweeting or resharing should be avoided in the context of a controversy, else you run the risk of flowing with the ‘popular’ current which may have a crushing impact on an honest individual/firm in question.

To conclude, social media is revolutionary in some respects, but give some importance to the credibility of the source before sharing something in your social circle.

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Business, Marketing, Strategy, Technology, Web

MakeMyTrip gets a MakeMyDream Listing!

MakeMyTrip.Com can probably be viewed as one of the first travel sites for India (if not the first!). According to their website, MakeMyTrip has been running since 2000, which means it has been in existence since the past 10 years. After 10 years of struggle finally a big moment of success has happened for this company … it listed on NASDAQ with a market cap of $450 million and on the listing day itself the stock zoomed by 89% to reach a market cap of $800 million (according to VCCircle)

Now, one important conclusion from this surge in market cap is clear. India and it technology companies are being considered a great investment across the world.

  • India is the next big market for the world: With a population over a billion, growing middle class, increasing consumption and improving lifestyle … companies worldover are looking at India as its next destination. Being the most popular travel website in such a country means big bucks now and bigger bucks going forward
  • India’s Biggest Travel Site: I am not keen enough right now to visit Alexa and check MakeMyTrip.com’s ranking in India but I am pretty sure it is amongst the top. The only competition can be ClearTrip and Yatra, but I don’t think they beat MakeMyTrip.
  • Internet Boom in India: India has a growing internet population and with that the market keeps growing.
  • Increased Spending: With more air travel, more train bookings online, hotel bookings online … the market just keeps on growing.

Now all these factors point to one direction, Growth! India and its growth potential is driving the market cap of these companies and all companies similar to MakeMyTrip, which have successfully made a hold in India will become successes.

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jobs_pic
Business, Human Resources, IIM, Marketing, Web

MBA Salary Survey 2010 from IIMJobs.Com

We recently received a submission from Mr Tarun Matta, founder of IIMJobs.com. They have conducted a survey from May 16th to May 31st 2010 with over 5600 MBA graduates sharing salary data anonymously. They offered for us to include this survey results on our site and we agreed to do so. So in case you are interested then please download the file here.

IIMJobs.com is an interesting site. It attempts to cater to MBA graduates seeking jobs, which is ofcourse a very big segment! I checked the site first time around an year ago and it was like a blogspot blog with job postings. Now ofcourse the site has changed a lot and has a good listing and page layout. If they are able to source good openings and provide good job referrals then definitely they can fill the segment of job openings website.

India definitely needs a good job website. Ofcourse naukri.com and other sites have come up but are they really able to fill the gap? Are they able to fulfill the needs of job searchers? Are they able to provide executive search capabilities or are they just listings of jobs? I feel they are probably not able to do it, but I might be wrong. Any comments please do share.

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Business, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Strategy, Technology, Web

FlipKart: India’s Amazon

To be honest whatever I write is probably already covered in the video, except that Binny and Sachin Bansal are from IIT Delhi 2005 batch, one year senior to me! Flipkart is an amazing site and its success makes me very proud. Firstly because the founders are my seniors, secondly because it proves that ebusinesses are possible in India, and thirdly because instead of an established player a startup has been able to crack the ecommerce market of books in India. All credit to Sachin and Binny for having the guts to take the risk, leave their jobs, start a website and take it to such a level. Kudos guys and all the best for the way ahead.

Update: Just a day after this post the following came up in VCCircle! “FlipKart raises upto $10mn from Tiger Global”

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Business, Entertainment, Strategy, Web

Facebook Quizzes and Self Discovery

Everyday when you login on facebook, there is one thing hard to miss, Facebook Quizzes. Quizzes like “Which bollywood character are you like?” to “Where will you end up in 20 years?” to “Whats your horoscope?

I think most of these quizzes can be divided into 2 categories –

Firstly – Quizzes which tell you something about the future. Quizzes like “Where will you end up in 20 years?” to “Whats your horoscope?” to “Who will be your perfect match?” …. the list is actually infinite. The excitement of knowing the future has always been an attraction to all of us. Through these quizzes we pass time and hope to know a future possibility. The most important question we do not think is that if we know the future then will we really be able to live it? Will knowing the future not change the future? and ofcourse who makes these quizzes! Do these quizzes even make sense?

Secondly – Quizzes which tell you something about yourself! Quizzes like “Which bollywood character do you look like?” or “Whats your personality type?” or “What kind of a friend are you?” … so many quizzes. Again people give these quizzes as a way to pass their time but are they really finding out anything? To be honest, NO!

So please stop giving these quizzes friends .. and stop crowding the facebook updates page!

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Business, Entertainment, Marketing, Planning, Strategy, Technology, Web

End of an era – Floppy Disk

I saw this news article on BBC News and it got so many memories back. We all are so lucky to be witnessing technology and the world around us changing so much. It seems like yesterday when I got my first computer which had a floppy disk and a CD drive. I played so many games even on MS-DOS which were actually stored on a floppy disk! A floppy disk in which I transferred programs to school from my home PC and made my school project.

floppy

On the left there is an image of a floppy disk. The simple device stored just 1,024 kilobytes of information but was so important to people. Because at that point of time even 1,024 bytes were sufficient for transfer of information but now even gigabytes don’t suffice.The first floppy disk was introduced by IBM in 1971 and it used to be read-only! After 40 years the floppy disk comes to an end and it sure seems like a new era is beginning.

CDusb-flash-driveSome of the devices which have replaced the floppy disk are CDs and USB drives. Two of the main reasons why these devices became so much more popular are storage capacity and resistance to data damage. Of course one of the reasons for their popularity was the ability to transfer movies and music. Next came DVDs and transportable HDDs and now Blu-Ray Discs. With each generation of storage we get more capacity to store information in smaller space.

ipodIt seems ironical that the company which started the slow death of Floppy Drives is the company which probably will take the storage industry to the next level – Apple! Apple was the first company which in 1998 stopped having floppy drives in its computers. Slowly Dell (2003), PC World (2007) and now Sony have also stopped providing it. iPod and iPhone store your music, your movies and a lot of your information. It also works like a hard disk and you can store everything you want on it, making all other forms of storage obsolete! Where will technology take us next? Only time will tell.

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Strategy, Web

1 Year of Strat.In-g

Yesterday I realized that Strat.In is now 1 year old! I came to realize this because of my domain name provider and hosting provider reminded me to pay up or they will shut us down. So as I paid the bills I realized the ride of Strat.In and how it has  managed to done over this year.

The year has been like a roller-coaster with many ups and downs. Well no one wants to remember bad times so here are some of the most viewed posts!

  1. Road ahead for Maruti Suzuki
  2. Disruptive Innovation in the Indian Telecom Industry by Tata DoCoMo
  3. Comparing EPL and IPL
  4. The biggest deal in global steel industry – Arcelor Mittal
  5. Hollywood – One industry to rule them all
  6. Customer retention strategy at Airtel
  7. Telecom – Airtel vs Reliance Communications
  8. Why are the Ramayana and Mahabharata so different (and make good case studies)
  9. Eradication of urban slums in India: A pipe dream?
  10. 3 Idiots – The publicity campaign

We started with a big team, we had lots of additions and then we had a lot of departures and now we have not been writing too much. Our strategy has not been perfect but we will try to make some amends.

But its not all bad! We have had 269 posts over this year, 1802 comments, and 761 tags. We have had a good number of pageviews and a lot of success on our facebook  pages and feedburner stats. Going forward we hope to continue this. Anything you particularly liked / disliked then please do let us know.

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