Oxford to set up first research centre outside UK in India

Rediff Writes :
Oxford University will invest 10 million pounds initially to set up its first business research centre, which will study a wide span of issues in the country starting from infrastructure and education to social entrepreneurship and business taxation.


London finance and business service sector to grow by 7% – its fastest since 2000

Lite (ThisIsLondon.co.uk) mentions (on 27th oct 2006) in the news print :

London set for faster growth :Β  The centre for economics and business research now expects the finance and business service sector to grow by 7% – its fastest since 2000 — while shops and wholesalers will see growth of 2.8% against 1.3% last year!!

Inspiring Entrepreneurs – Lord Karan Bilimoria

I must admit I have been a die hard fan of Lord Karan Bilimoria, more than Cobra Beer :). Lord Karan is the Founder and Chief Executive of Cobra Beer. I have been following Cobra Beer’s innovative initiatives, be it the ultra cool Cobra Advertisements, Cobra Vision, Entrepreneur support activities like in TiE.

Through Cobra Vision, Cobra conducts, sponsors competition for producer, director, scriptwriter, AD film maker, etc.

One thing inspires me about this company is their sheer passion to “Be different”. Rediff (Indian online newspaper) has published an excellent interview with Karan. Some insights to how Karan has built Cobra with a decisive passion, commitment and eye for detail.

Rediff quote

Wasn’t it crazy of you to venture into business on your own?
My family thought I was mad! They did everything possible to discourage me. It all started when I was once playing polo in India. A polo stick maker said: ‘Look, why don’t you sell our sticks in England?’

I was 27 at the time. I always knew that I wanted to get into business at some point in my life. So I said why not give it a shot? I sold Indian polo sticks to places like Harrods and Giddons, the suppliers to the Royal family’s stables.

It was difficult. The buyer at Harrods was very rude to me. But eventually I managed to see the head buyer and got my foot in the door.

I discovered my core advantage was the fact that I was totally at home in England, and totally at home in India.

I could add value by putting the two countries together. I didn’t make much money. But that first year gave me the experience of importing, sourcing, market research and selling. Invaluable!

Did you have a mentor? Someone to guide you around the pitfalls of the business?
There was an Indian gentleman in London called Keshav Reddy. He introduced us to Mysore Breweries. He was the uncle of my partner at the time, Arjun Reddy. Arjun was a childhood friend who had an entrepreneurial bent: he’d been involved in managing his family farms and business from a very young age. So we teamed up to start Cobra. But he left the company a few years ago.

How did you raise finance?
In every possible way you can imagine! And that’s where being a chartered accountant helped a lot. It was always the biggest single problem I had: how to build a brand with no finances of my own. But one thing I believe in very strongly is the brand and the future of the business. So I’m very, very reluctant to sell my own shares. And that’s difficult because people say to me, your company is going places and I want to buy shares in it. No, sorry. You can’t.

MyBlogLog : Way to Create Your Own Blogging Community

We all bloggers happen to know each other through tag, feeds, in meetup events, via Blogging platfrom Dashboards, etc. Once known, either the connection remains through regular visits, feeds or in community meetup events or we again go back to the original mode of meeting by chance. Now for me that was big NO-NO in blogging. Why do we blog? Atleast I blog to participate in a community where I can learn and share.

I started with Blogging with Blogger, with its community flavour , I though it will be great to know fellow bloggers. But soon I was disappointed that there is nothing much tools to explore, and build my own community. Then the cool WordPress came and I was fascinated (I am still) in its community driven Dashboard, tagging and other features. However I was still felling some uneasy, why can’t I see my fellow Blogger communities. There is kind of fence separating the bigger community. I was also searching in an article how to find best bloggers
This week I landed in MyBlogLog through TechCrunch. I instantly got what I was looking for so many days of blogging!!! Communities which I can see, feel, join irrespective of what platform they use, whether I have them in my blogroll or not, even if I haven’t heard about them from anywhere!!

I am happy that I am no longer blogging alone πŸ˜‰

Google Co-op will seal fate of few Vertical Search engines

Google Co-op will seal fate of few Vertical Search engines
Have you heard about Google Co-op? You can build your own vertical search engine on top of Google using Google Co-Op !!!!!
Though this is released in May but now it has gone in full public mode and anybody can access this co-op partner program from Google.

Now think for a second what will happen to those vertical search engines having invested millions in building their own solutions!!! I think some of them are doomed unless they have value added service in addition to the vertical search. Let’s take example of Vertical Job sites (avoiding naming some of them ;), some of them are plain vanilla ones without any value addition. Now with Google Co-op anybody (with little higher technical knowledge) can launch a vertical job search engine in few days time. And on top they can put the investment completely to value addition services making mockery of the independent vertical search engines (non-Google ones)!!!

Remember: There is always room for innovations and in my example I am taking cases of those which are dummy vertical search engines)

For me now the real Vertical Search Engine war has begun. Also I think with this, Google is combining social search with vertical flavour and allowing community to mushroom around it.

Google has played the check step and launching the community soldier to play checkmate step. πŸ™‚

How long you should take to implement and launch a new idea?

I met with an entrepreneur in City who has a great idea but he went “cheap route” to implement his idea. He outsourced his idea to an IT professional in some third world country with a condition that his cost of development will reduce to 1/9 and the developer will take 9 months in developing the solution!!! So if the cost would have been 9,000 GBP, it will cost him only 1000 GBP :-). Sounds cool on paper. But after 9 months he realised that what turned out is a crap product development and total waste of 9 months!!!

During this 9 months time, there is already slightly similar concept already in UK marketplace and his solution is still far from achievable. This case opened my eyes that how come entrepreneurs keep forgetting the basic market principles!! As a Startup entrepreneur, I think one should

-Move faster into marketplace

-Reduce entry barrier (mainly cost which is major factor for Startups) but not at the cost of time to enter to market!!! Very Very Very important

-Feel as if somebody else is dreaming your idea

-Invite partners to your idea (This reduces the burden of upfront investment)

– Build what is essential to enter to market

-Participate in the product development, be it marketing or on technology side

Any other key suggestions ?

Oracle is considering launching its own Linux operating system?

This article talks about a rumor : Oracle is considering launching its own Linux operating system?

If Oracle goes into Linux, it will be able to deliver custom-made complete packages that will include both the operating system and all applications needed.

Rumors are that Oracle has its eyes on Linux releasers RedHat or Ubuntu maker Canonical for partnership (buyout?!). Linux is a popular platform for database servers. It was rumored Oracle is looking forward to introducing an Ubuntu-anchored software stack (OS-apps software bundle). Oracle’s offer could include even a dedicated hardware solution for it.

==> I think this is bound to happen because Oracle is depending too much on IBM, MS and Apple for operating system. Linux is that zigsaw which will solve Oracle’s puzzle of having an OS and application on top of it and also drive into open source.
Will they buy Redhat πŸ™‚ ..with that they will get Linux and also JBoss which RedHat had acquired few months back. JBoss has become the best Java/J2EE Application Server whereas Oracle’s Application server could never be in the top league. Infact there was a rumor going on whether JBoss will be acquired by Oracle. But RedHat acquired. May be time for them to buy both at one shot πŸ™‚