Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Merlions, Seedcamp, Wordles, Thanks, Eyes And Feet

Singapore, here we come!

Seedcamp recently announced their first ever Singapore event. We applied and a few days ago, we were told that we had been selected as one of the 20 participating companies.

Wordle: Tags describing Participants at Seedcamp Singapore

The selected finalists come from 7 countries, with 12 of the 20 coming from Singapore, itself. Here's a wordle on what the 20 companies are about. 'Social' is the dominant theme - followed by location, shopping & gaming. We used 2 tags to describe each company - which two do you think describe Eyes And Feet? (click on the wordle to see it more clearly)

[Update: We won! Next stop: Seedcamp week in London, Jan 2011]

PS: Thank you, Sarah Lacy and Fred Wilson for pointing us to Seedcamp in response to a question we'd asked (at 7:20 on the video embedded below) on how VCs 'find' companies outside of Silicon Valley. That was September 10th - the first time we heard of Seedcamp. By the 20th, we'd applied, and now we're on our way to present at Seedcamp, Singapore on October 5th. PPS: Sarah, Fred, we're NOT focusing on our domestic market - Eyes And Feet's initial focus is on the US market.

Merlion Image courtesy: Flickr | Creative commons

Monday, September 20, 2010

How Social are America's Restaurants and Cafes on Facebook?

9% of US restaurants (listed on Yelp) have Facebook Fan Pages. The average restaurant has 313 fans, and posts updates just once a week. Restaurants with over 100 fans post more often- 1.5 times/week
Click on the Infographic below to see it in full size. Feel free to share this as you'd like.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Google Instant Predictions From 0 to 9

Google just launched Google Instant Search. Check it out if you haven't, already.

Within a few hours, Mashable had an interesting post titled "Google Instant Predictions From A to Z".

It was one of those "wish we'd thought of this idea first" moments. However, we took solace in the 'numeric' part of alphanumeric, and hence this piece in Google's Instant Predictions for the numbers. There are some interesting predictions here too. Just imagine: each time you search a street address, one of these will pop up first.

0 - 007

1 - 14th amendment

2 - 24

3 - 3ds

4 - 4chan

5 - 50 cent

6 - 60 minutes

7 - 7zip

8 - 84 lumber

9 - 90210

Oh, and don't bother checking out the symbols now. Google Instant Predictions gives results for only 3 symbols. Can you guess which ones?


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why software is easier on the soul than potato chips

Rant alert. And apologies to some of my friends who will probably be offended by this.

For my first startup in 1996, I rented a small office at a business center. My office was all of 56 sq feet. My neighbor was a 'promotion coordinator' who seemed to be doing well in more ways than one. His office measured 150 sq feet (size did matter then) and through the day he had a constant stream of good looking people (mostly women) coming into his office. He explained that his clients were liquor companies who were affected by the recent ban on mass media advertising (in India) and were looking at enhancing their presence at 'points of consumption' - aka pubs. I asked him if it ever disturbed him or his clients that they were probably making young, impressionable males drink more than they should. He had another vodka and we changed the topic.

A few years later, another friend at British American Tobacco (Dunhill, Rothmans, etc) in the Middle East was running similar 'point of consumption' promotions. He was a non smoker and did not wish to dwell on the 'ethics' of his profession. So, I left it at that.

At that time, I simplistically thought only 'vice products' had ethical issues to address!

I now believe that fast food, sodas, beverages, malt beverages, fairness creams, all belong on that list - admittedly with varying shades of gray. From Horlicks who promises kids that they will gain 2 inches in height to drinks who aren't upfront about the havoc high fructose corn syrup can wreak on our bodies to fairness creams that prey on our insecurities - they all have ethical issues to ponder over.

I'm unable to fathom how a product manager can sleep well knowing that his product will not make a kid smarter as his ad loudly promises. Or has he drunk too much of his own kool aid malt beverage? Take the fairness cream marketers - doesn't the thought of women (and men) buying it by the gallon trouble them? The fact that the results promised in the ads (in the promised time frame) are absolute outliers - it should rankle somewhere, shouldn't it?

I worked in advertising for a few years so I can understand the apathy and sense of detachment a marketer can assume (while simultaneously having focus groups to 'get under the skin' of his consumer). Many of these marketers are good, decent people who, strangely, don't seem to have an issue with the ethics of their trade. Something's certainly wrong- somewhere!

Which brings me to software...

Most of the time, it's WYSIWYG. There's almost no gap between what a customer evaluates and what she gets. Hyperbole can get you, at best, a trial. Thereafter, your product does the talking and in this age of free trials, freemium models & rampant choice, it better speak for itself!

I'm not saying software vendors are holier (than thou). Just that selling software is certainly a lot easier on the conscience!

(clarification: enterprise software suffers more of the ills ascribed to consumer products, albeit, to a lesser extent. But what the heck, if they're selling vaporware to McDonalds, so be it)

X Ray Image: Flickr | Creative Commons