What If The Gulf Oil Spill Never Happened?

04/28/11 2:05 PM

Source: www.fastcompany.com

Did Cisco failed in understanding Consumer Segment Business?

04/18/11 10:59 PM

Two Weeks back when John Chambers, Cisco CEO announced that they are going to shutdown FLIP Camera, industry analysts didn’t get surprised. Infact many analysts predicted this long back when Cisco acquired Pure Digital for whooping $590 million. Cisco’s foray into the Consumer segment started with the acquistion of Scientific Atlanta for its set top boxes ,Linksys for its famous wifi home router and later with Flip.

With the advent of Smart phone the future of Flip was so blink that it made Cisco to shutdown this product within its 4 year of its existence. The Week reported on April 12, came up with 4 theories for shutting down this Flip business,

It says:

1. Improved smartphones made the Flip obsolete
The cameras on iPhones and similar devices have gotten much better over the last couple of years, so standalone cameras are on the way out. “Who needs to shell out for a pocket-sized video camera when smart phones have an HD video camera built in, with email and Angry Birds to boot?” asks Shira Ovide at The Wall Street Journal. The sad truth is “the Flip won’t be missed all that much,” says Rachel King at ZDNet.

2. Cisco didn’t really understand the consumer business
The purchase was part of an effort by Cisco to diversify its business and offer gear aimed directly at consumers. That’s a challenging market to enter, with fast-changing designs and dominant competitors like Apple and Sony. This latest move could be “an admission by Cisco that it made a mistake and that it paid too much for a company it didn’t really need,” says Evelyn M. Rusli at The New York Times. “It’s simply a market they didn’t understand,” says Simon Leopold, an analyst with Morgan, Keegan & Company, as quoted by The New York Times.

3. Wall Street never liked Cisco’s Flip strategy
Wall Street analysts were skeptical from the start about Cisco’s foray into video cameras and home videoconferencing. “The Street never fell in love with Cisco’s consumer strategy and the Flip product line was the epitome of this disdain,” says Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White, as quoted by MarketWatch. Cisco’s stock price has plummeted since late 2009.

4. Cisco knew Flip was hopeless
With its stock languishing, Cisco needed to devote more attention to its core businesses. The “only real surprise” is that Cisco didn’t even bother to try to sell its Flip business before shutting it down, says Rob Pegoraro at The Washington Post. Sales of the cameras were actually up 15% over the previous year, but the company was looking for even faster growth. “I can only conclude that Cisco saw no hope” for the Flip, Pegoraro says.

The Birth place of Internet – The ARPA Lab

04/14/11 10:22 PM

This is the room where the Internet was born, 3420 Boelter Hall at the University of California, Los Angeles.

From BoingBoing,

This is the same room, 42 years later. Until recently, nobody knew exactly which room had housed the lab where the first ARPANET message was sent. But, now that it’s been pinpointed as 3420 Boelter, there’s work underway to restore the room to its 1969 appearance, and preserve it as a historic site. The Kleinrock Internet Heritage Site and Archive opens June 1st.

Does Google Celebrate Failures?

04/12/11 11:24 PM

Do we need to celebrate failures in order to get success, Google CEO Eric Schmidt says YES. I think sometimes it is good to celebrate failures as it helps us to realize our mistakes, expose our weakness, possibly some big lessons to learn. Failures, if analyzed and understood properly helps us in taking us to next level. Here is an analysis on Google much hyped but failed projects , with Company’s stand on each failed project. It is interesting to see that Google even stopped developing some of the successful products, its strategy of launching early and quickly has paid off

Here is the list of Google failed products:

Google Wave (May 2009 to August 2010)

In celebration of Google Wave’s closure, the company said:
But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects…..
Wave has taught us a lot, and we are proud of the team for the ways in which they have pushed the boundaries of computer science. We are excited about what they will develop next as we continue to create innovations with the potential to advance technology and the wider web.

Google SearchWiki (November 2008 to March 2010)

The celebratory quote:
Stars in search replace SearchWiki. In our testing, we learned that people really liked the idea of marking a website for future reference, but they didn’t like changing the order of Google’s organic search results

Google Audio Ads (January 2006 to February 2009)

The failure celebration quote:
At Google we’ve never shied away from high-risk, high-reward projects. We believe that making big bets is not only in the best interests of our users and partners, but also important for our long term success. In 2006, we launched Google Audio Ads and Google Radio Automation to create a new revenue stream for broadcast radio, produce more relevant advertising for listeners and streamline the buying and selling of radio ads. While we’ve devoted substantial resources to developing these products and learned a lot along the way, we haven’t had the impact we hoped for.
So we have decided to exit the broadcast radio business and focus our efforts in online streaming audio….
We have always accepted that if you take risks not all of them will pay off. Deciding to close products is never easy, but we will continue to focus on advertising products that provide measurability for advertisers, and are relevant and useful for users, listeners and viewers.

Google Video (January 2005 to January 2009)

As for the closing of uploads to Google Video, Google said:
At Google, we like to launch early, launch often, and to iterate our products. Occasionally, this means we have to re-evaluate our efforts and make difficult decisions to be sure we focus on products that make the most sense for our users.
In a few months, we will discontinue support for uploads to Google Video….
There are still great options for people who want to upload content to Google, and we invite them to explore YouTube’s dynamic global community or Picasa Web Albums. If you have questions or need more information please read our FAQ page.
We’re confident this decision is the right one for our users, and we’re looking forward to making Google Video an even better place for you to search and find videos from all over the web.

Dodgeball (May 2005 to January 2009)

Google’s quote to celebrate the Dodgeball failure:
Some of you may also be familiar with Dodgeball.com, a mobile social networking service that lets you share your location with friends via text message. We have decided to discontinue Dodgeball.com in the next couple of months, after which this service will no longer be available. We will communicate the exact time-frame shortly.

Jaiku (October 2007 to January 2009)

The Jaiki celebratory failure quote:
Google has long believed that thoughtful iteration is the best way to build useful products for our users. As part of that process, we are always looking for ways to better focus our teams on the products that can have the most impact….
While Google will no longer actively develop the Jaiku codebase, the service itself will live on thanks to a dedicated and passionate volunteer team of Googlers.

Google Notebook (May 2006 – January 2009)

The closure quote:
At Google, we’re constantly working to innovate and improve our products so people can easily find and manage information. At times though, we have to decide where to focus our efforts and which technologies we expect will yield the most benefit to users in the long run.
Starting next week, we plan to stop active development on Google Notebook. This means we’ll no longer be adding features or offer Notebook for new users.

Google Catalogs (December 2001 to January 2009)

Google celebrated the failure by saying:
It was a great experiment. Nonetheless, in recent years, Catalog Search hasn’t been as popular as some of our other products. So tomorrow, we’re bidding it a fond farewell and focusing our efforts to bring more and more types of offline information such as magazines, newspapers and of course, books, online

Google Print Ads (November 2006 to January 2009)

The celebration of failure quotation:
In the last few months, we’ve been taking a long, hard look at all the things we are doing to ensure we are investing our resources in the projects that will have the biggest impact for our users and partners. While we hoped that Print Ads would create a new revenue stream for newspapers and produce more relevant advertising for consumers, the product has not created the impact that we — or our partners — wanted. As a result, we will stop offering Print Ads on February 28….

Google Page Creator (April 2006 to August 2008)

Page Creator has always been a Google Labs project (Labs is our “technology playground” where we let users test-drive experimental products and give us feedback so we can innovate more quickly). Since launching Page Creator in Labs, we’ve learned a lot and have incorporated those lessons into Google Sites. We think the Labs program, which allows users to try new things before they’re fully baked, lets us innovate faster and ultimately create the best possible products.

Google Answers (April 2002 to November 2006)

The celebratory failure statement:
Google is a company fueled by innovation, which to us means trying lots of new things all the time — and sometimes it means reconsidering our goals for a product. Later this week, we will stop accepting new questions in Google Answers….
Google Answers was a great experiment which provided us with a lot of material for developing future products to serve our users. We’ll continue to look for new ways to improve the search experience and to connect people to the information they want.

PostScript: Google encourages its employees to spend 20% of their time in doing the stuff what they like. Though many product failed at Google labs, the ones which have seen successes have revolutionized the world as we know. It is always good to try and fail and learn something out of it, that is where the beauty of R&D lies.


We learned about rights before we learned about duties

04/12/11 12:19 PM

In an interesting article from Gurucharan Das on Tamilnad elections, he takes a dig on the politics of freebies that might lead to a bleak future. When someone told DMK stands for ” Delhi Money for Karunanidhi “,  not many were surprised including me after realizing that A.Raja has been sent to Delhi just to pass the buck from the centre to State to fund the state elections.

The K-Klan

It is pity to see that a state machinery instead of creating jobs and welfare schemes for the common man, it is distributing wealth from the tax payers money which is outrageous.

Here is the complete writeup, read on http://gurcharandas.org/node/630

Has MindTree failed in making it from Good to Great?

04/11/11 6:51 PM

On March 31 2011, Ashok Soota, the Founder and Chairman of MindTree has resigned from his first startup. He is aged about 67 now and ready to roar again.  His second innings would be a new one called  “Happiest Minds” which he might wants to achieve what he could not be achieved with MindTree.  Along with 9 other members from Wipro, he founded MindTree in 1999 with just $9.5 million seed capital. He virtually changed the Indian IT outsourcing industry and even brought Wipro and Infosys to this foray of consulting business.

The Man Behind MindTree's success

MindTree went IPO in 2007 and oversubscribed 103 times, then in 2008 the company’s revenue start dipping slowly. Ashok along with Subroto Bagchi  took MindTree to a whopping $100 million revenue in just 6 yrs of its existence but failed short in making a good company to a great one. When MindTree tried its luck with kyocera, many predicted that MindTree was going in a wrong direction and as expected it was a big failure.

What is that went wrong in MindTree that made Ashok Soota to move out. Though Ashok claims he wanted to start a new venture but many insiders feel that there is something that has horribly gone wrong. In Forbes Feb issue, Why Ashok Soota Quit MindTree,  Mitu tried to do a qucik analysis on what went wrong in the boardroom.

Here are some of the key learnings from this episode:

The firm had set a target of $231 million in 2007-08, but managed only $192 million in revenue. In 2008, it suffered a huge loss on mark-to-market provisions, dragging profit after tax down by 55 percent. On April 1, 2008, MindTree’s 10th anniversary, Soota announced an ambitious target of $1 billion by 2014. “With such a strong and large founding team, growth expectations are higher,” says Sethi. Yet, between 2008 and 2010, revenues stayed stagnant at $270 million

In October 2009, as the head of strategy, Soota spearheaded a foray into making mobile handsets by acquiring the India R&D centre of Kyocera Wireless. MindTree had never managed a products business before but Soota hoped it would add $100 million in revenue before 2014. However, the investments required to sustain the business were five times more than the $10 million the company had budgeted for. In October 2010, the company aborted the products business and said it would focus only on services. Apart from the money it had sunk into the project, the company lost about $3.5 million in restructuring costs and also had to let go of some people.

But more than money, the company’s reputation took a hit. In its report, brokerage firm CLSA Asia Pacific slammed the board for showing poor judgment in entering the business. This setback may have widened the growing chasm between vice chairman Subroto Bagchi and Soota.

After MindTree announced the closure of the mobile products business in October 2010, the responsibility for setting the company’s strategy and the planning process shifted to Krishnakumar. Soota resigned three months later.

MindTree has to move on with this and prove its credentials to its shareholders and 10000+ employees and bring back their confidence in the Company. Hope MindTree has that all the stuff to do it.

Disappointed our investors and we have confused our employees

04/8/11 6:44 PM

Following the recent Nokia CEO’s “ Burning oil Platform” brutally honest internal memo, here comes one more from a  IT Bellwether Cisco, On April 4th Cisco CEO John Chambers sent out an internal mail to Cisco employees on his strategies, Missing market opportunities, lack of accountability and much more. Here is the complete text of his memo john-chambers-memo-to-cisco-employees

All is not Well

Some of the key highlights from the memo:

Our people, our relationships, our innovation and our strategy to extend the role of the network. We have anticipated market transitions and made good decisions in capturing them. We are disrupting the data center space. We are redefining the collaboration market. And we have gone big on video, a market that is changing society and business completely.

We are a $40B company that for the last decade has seen a virtual explosion in market opportunity. The Internet has taken on an entirely new form– and our growth strategy has been based on capturing the incredible opportunity afforded by this massive demand for the network. Many say that in the face of this expansion, Cisco needs more discipline. I agree.

That said, today we face a simple truth: we have disappointed our investors and we have confused our employees. Bottom line, we have lost some of the credibility that is foundational to Cisco’s success – and we must earn it back. Our market is in transition, and our company is in transition. And the time is right to define this transition for ourselves and our industry. I understand this. It’s time for focus.

As I’ve said, our strategy is sound. It is aspects of our operational execution that are not. We have been slow to make decisions, we have had surprises where we should not, and we have lost the accountability that has been a hallmark of our ability to execute consistently for our customers and our shareholders. That is unacceptable. And it is exactly what we will attack.

We will take bold steps and we will make tough decisions. With change comes disruption, and you will see this necessary and healthy disruption as we make meaningful decisions in a timely, targeted and measureable way. We will address with surgical precision what we need to fix in our portfolio and what we need to better enable.

As i said in my earlier post, Some of Cisco’s acquisitions didn’t turn up as expected and failed in identifying the Market adjacency such as UMI. Some of the Cisco’s switching market is lost to Juniper. Though Cisco has a strong market base it can’t rely on their glorious past. In one word, Cisco has to change, its market strategy has to change, set out right priorities, have to redefine time to market, learn to adjust when and where it is needed quickly, put a strong Vision and Road map instead if confusing and disappointing employees and investors.

I feel that this memo should have come way earlier considering the Cisco’s 3 back to back miserable quarter results. John choose to test Cisco by capturing too many opportunities, all at the same time without have proper experience for eg, entering the consumer segment which demands atleast one new product has to be rolled out for every 6 months which Cisco didn’t understand?

Cisco will definitely come back as IBM did it few years back. This is just a wake up call that Cisco has to address it properly, it is just a matter of time. I hope Cisco has that Leadership capability to pull out itself from this. As John says “I want it to be a company that keeps changing the way the world lives, works, plays and learns. A company that knows how to win and intends to continue that track record. A company that’s taking the network where it needs to be, with focus. And at a place that puts people, customers and communities at the core of its values. That’s Cisco, no excuses.

Yeddi Promoting Bus day in Bangalore

04/8/11 2:17 PM

Karnataka chief minister as seen in BMTC Bus day promotion


The invention that unlocked a locked-in artist

04/7/11 11:48 PM

Open-source invention that gave the artist — and gives others in his circumstance — the means to make art again

Rarest of rare Moments of Indian cricket — ICC 2011 World Cup

04/7/11 2:13 PM

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