Sunday, December 25, 2005

The problem of too many and why it cannot continue

Assume I am reading a blog post on my favorite blog through a feed reader like Rojo and I see a link to an article which of interest to me, but I dont have the time to read it now. What all options do I have :
  1. Save it in my Firefox bookmarks folder. Im not going to do this since my laptop is not the only place where I browse the net from. Unless browsers get personalized and show me the same things wherever I browse from, Im not going to use any of these features. I have no clue why none of the current browsers have a login and personalize all the stuff for me. It has its own advantages for other things too.
  2. I can just flag the post in Rojo. I am increasingly using this feature, but I shouldnt be. Such feature s just lock you into using a particular tool and make it very difficult to move to a new tool however cooler or better it is. It just took me 2 minutes to move from Bloglines to Rojo by importing my feed subscriptions. I dont think Rojo is going to make it easy for me to export my flagged posts.
  3. I could use LookLater or ProtoPage. These are definitely very cool Ajax tools. But little more than that. But why would I use them if I have the option discussed next.
  4. I can use Y! Web2.0. It has everything I need. Of course it has the lock-in problem too. But I think there are too many benefits in using Y!, that I dont mind getting locked up. First, I can use this tool from wherever I want. Second, I know Y! is not going to close down any time soon which might not be the case for many of the other tools. Third, most of the people in my community use Y! and I can share the pages with my community. Finally, Y! just offers me many other things, most importantlt better search results, which can be used in unison. The final one is most important and forms the basis of my argument.
So, what I am saying is that all these small players who come up with small 'cool' tools in the Web 2.0 scheme of things, have little chances of surviving because by nature Web 2.0 is more of working together with other stuff seemlessly and the bigger players will always be able to do this better. The smaller players will have to die or sell out to bigger ones to be more useful to people.

Of course, it might also be time for a protocol to seemlessly integrate all these small tools. But such a thing could be a serious threat to the likes of Y! and Google.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Fulfilling India’s promise

on McKinsey Quarterly

This is a study by McKinsey Global Institute. I am attending a Workshop by McKinsey today on this subject.

Ensuring India's Offshoring Future, is a study of particular interest.

The obeservations and conclusions are mostly obvious, but the article gives a good summary of the issues at hand:

The quality of engineers/graduates is not that great after all. Only 25% are employable by MNCs. So concentrate on improving the quality of graduates.

Infra is not great. Unless something is done quickly, MNCs are going to look at other countries.

Develop value chains around hotspots as a strategic move to prevent companies from moving to other countries offering cheaper labor.

Move up the value chain and do stuff like R&D.

McKinsey - Manmohan Singh Interview

on McKinsey Quarterly

Top things in the PM's mind: Infrastructure,Poverty,Education and Health.

Some important policy considerations

  • Manufacturing has to be improved considerably to sustain the services growth. Many people have to be moved from agriculture to value adding agri foods type businesses.
  • Infrastructure improvement is required in such a huge scale that it is not going to be possible without private investment
  • Policy thinking is all in place, but the coalition government and the federal system is just going slow down the implementation. PM hopes he can convince the Left to adopt same policies in the center as in West Bengal.

It looks FDI in retail is not going to be an easy decision. It could easily become this government's 'India Shining' campaign. If you have travelled by a bus in India, you cannot miss the innumerable small shops selling almost the same things in all the small towns and villages you pass by. If a WalMart enters and sweeps out all these shops, it is just a death warrant for any government.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

"Audio" on the Net

I have been hooked on to a lot of "audio" stuff on the web lately. Here is a list of stuff I found interesting and useful:

This has been a very useful find. It has the best collection of audio books on the Net. Try out the 14 day trial and I am sure you would like it.

Too bad if you dont know what a podcast is. It is after all the word of the year.

I have been trying out a lot of different podcasts. I find Twit, Businessweek interesting. Im trying out a lot of random stuff lately. I think it will be very useful for people who travel a lot or have to keep staring at their code to make their manager believe that they are working hard.

There are podcasts for everything under the sky.

Some Podcasting essentials:

iTunes: Has good support for podcasts and audio books.
IPodder, Odeo: Good sites to find podcasts of your interest.
Yahoo Podcast Search: Easy to find and download podcasts from search results

Please do let me know if you find any interesting stuff on podcasts.