Sunday, July 11, 2010

Startup Saturday - Hyderabad July 10

I spent an interesting Saturday with the Hyderabad Startup Group. The theme was Mobile. Apart from Farhan Azhar and Shiva the guest speakers, there were a couple of lightning speeches as well. It was good to hear Farhan speak. Farhan is a successful serial entrepreneur from Hyderabad. It will be good if someone can update Farhan's entrepreneurship ventures.

Farhan's talk was interesting and insightful. He highlighted the key points about building products especially those that are self-funded. The key takeaways:
a. Simplicity: The product should be simple
b. Small team: Usually have a team size of less than 4 people. An ideal composition should be an usability expert, a programmer (and not a geek) who understands business and human need, a marketing person who can communicate in English and someone to have a tight control over the finances.

He rightly pointed out the 3 things that really work for mobile-based technology:
1. Voice
2. SMS
3. Mobile web
Out of these 1 & 2 are the most universal. Therefore, content should be delivered in either of these modes.

In response to queries and discussions around mobile phone apps, Farhan shared the research findings about what drives mobile phone apps. They should be:
- Bursty (like an sms or an alert that draws your attention)
- Obsessive (addictive - so that people have sufficient motivation to adopt the apps - eg twitter)
- Leisure (when people are relatively free to engage with their phones)

Shiva from shared his experience in growing Apalya and the future plans. Apalya are the pioneers of video technology on mobile phone and are now the leading providers of mobile television.

The lightening pitches by Abhishek Sinha and Chakri prompted interesting discussions among the group. Abhishek spoke about a topic that is close to my heart - education. He rightly pointed out some of the big concerns that parents today have about the 'right' kind of education for children. Abhishek is a consultant working is the area of improving the processes in schools as well as educating the parents about demanding quality education. He presented his ideas about how technological interventions in the educational processes of a school/institute can address concerns such as quality of teachers, feedback to teachers, quality of education, school environment and so on.

Chakri presented an interesting idea of how to use social networking for business. He has developed a site called It is a social networking site connecting like people with similarities. The unique feature of the site is a compatibility calculator!

While the organizers certainly have an unenviable task of organizing and promoting these meets. The quality of these meets could be certainly improved so as to inspire more participation. Compared to the startup meets in Bangalore and Mumbai, the meet in Hyd lacked structure, rigor, and seemed ad hoc. Certainly, participants have a big role to play in energizing these meets. My thoughts on how to make the meet more meaningful:

1) Invite participation at least 2 weeks in advance - give presenters time to plan and prepare well
2) Maintain strict time lines - lightening pitches or elevator pitches must be lightening - done in 2 mins
3) Many meets share some guidelines that work well - I can share a format with the group
4) Participants should register in advance, share their introductory details with the group online
5) If there are more participants/presenters, make it an unconference. Time is precious, esp a Saturday morning! Let people choose to attend any presentation they like, we all have laptops and datacards, should not be a big deal to present in small groups! Welcome your thoughts.

1 comment:

RR said...

Thank you for taking initiative and blogging in such a detail. Generally Startup Saturdays in Hyderabad are generally much better organized.

Communication is done much earlier, registrations are done online and then reminders are too sent several times resulting in much a bigger audience. For a city of this size I think we need to have around 200 participants.

This time the schedule got little haywire with the speakers reaching late of delayed flights. That is the reason why the session was started off with the lightning pitches and lightning pitches did not remain lightning.

Anyways I enjoyed the sessions especially the one of Farhan's. This is the third time I am listening to him. But I found him still interesting.

And for next Startup Saturday session I hope we can act on each of your suggestions to make these even more productive.