About Me

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Mumbai, India
I run an IT Security consulting firm based out of India. We started off from scratch in 2001 when I was 21, and have offices in Mumbai, Bahrain, and UAE. The idea behind the blog is to share the stories of how we run the business, the deals we make, the deals that break, the heartburn, and the sheer joy.

The Ultimate Startup Guide

The Ultimate Startup Guide is an e-book that provides answers to all your questions related to starting and growing a business in India. Everything you wanted to know about entrepreneurship in India from ideation to registration to marketing to hiring. The book contains a large number of practical examples, anecdotes, interviews, and motivational material to help you get started, and to grow rapidly in a booming Indian economy. If you've got the idea, this book will help you through with the execution and realize your dreams. Here are some of the key questions you will find answered in this book:
  • When starting a business, what are the legal issues involved?
  • What form of incorporation is better suited to which type of business?
  • What tax issues are involved?
  • How do I start a business and what are the pitfalls?
  • How do I market my business in the absence of significant funding?
  • How do I get funded?
  • What are the basic accounting concepts I should be aware of?
  • What is a business plan and how should I build one?
The brief table of contents of the book is as follows:
  1. Getting started
  2. Ideation
  3. Forms of Enterprises
  4. Funding
  5. Basic Accounting and Taxation
  6. Import and Export Licensing
  7. Trademark and Patenting
  8. Rules for NRIs and Foreigners
  9. Building a Business Plan
  10. Marketing on a Shoestring
  11. Website and Branding
  12. Women Entrepreneurs
  13. Templates
To order the Ultimate Startup Guide - email me at kkmookhey@gmail.com.

Details of the book are:
Title: The Ultimate Startup Guide
Author: Kanwal Mookhey
Pages: 150
Additional: Companion CD contains numerous templates for building your business plan, calculating cashflow, preparing profit and loss, and balance sheets, preparing invoices, your resume and profile, marketing material, websites, contracts, and many other useful and motivational material.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The demise of a Web 2.0 and some lessons

So everyone (ok everyone in the techie/geekie sphere) has been talking about the demise of Kiko, one of the more talked about Web 2.0 startups. Kiko was/is an online calendaring tool, and was climbing up the popularity charts until suddenly things started to go awry. The launch of Google's calendar and 30boxes was, of course no co-incidence, but the common presumption that Google entering any market is going to kill off all startups is probably quite wrong.

In two wonderful insider analyses, Richard White and Justin Kan (kudos on the straight-from-the-gut posts) list out what they think really went wrong. So if you're another Web 2.0 entrepreneur in India or elsewhere, give these a read, and then some. White says:

  • Stay focused: The team kind of lost focus on the main product, right when Google calendar and 30boxes launched.
  • Release early, but not too early: Don't be so enthused about getting all those cool features out that you end up releasing a kludgy, buggy version that actually turns users off.
  • Don't add way too many features, that you don't even know your market needs or not.
  • You got to be able to make the leap from "Technosphere" to the mass market - the everyday Outlook calendar user, who sees little value in suddenly using the new online calendar/word processor/spreadsheet/whatever that you're so kicked about.
He also says that it wasn't the lack of a business plan (my kinda company) or the entry of Google that really spelt the death-knell for them.

Kan mentions some of the same points, as well as:
  • Working from home may be great in keeping the overheads low, but it could often come at the cost of productivity, and may I add, team spirit.
  • Getting the right people on board is essential for any company, but can spell life-or-death for a startup.
  • Get your investors involved, and don't hesitate to ask for help
  • Build incrementally. Don't aim to build the mother-of-all products right at the start.
Dharmesh Shah has also posted an excellent article on the subject, which may or may not be accurate, but has some great lessons for Web 2.0 startups in any case. There is also an interesting discussion on at Techcrunch, with Richard responding to comments.

I think I'll pipe in as well:
  • Think customer, not features. As techies, we tend to focus on what we think is cool, while we forget that we're actually building a product not to show off how kick-ass our programming skills are, but to actually solve a problem or a pain area
  • Consider user inertia. Often great ideas fail simply because user inertia is too great. You got to give the average user (whom you are planning to reach out to, right?) enough reason and motivation to switch over to using your Web 2.0 product instead of their desktop utility. So is your Mom using your product yet?
  • Don't buy into your own hype. Hype and product viability/success are usually inversely proportional. Remember Segway? Or the entire saga of the dotcoms? Don't get carried away by search engine rankings, website hits, interviews, or newspaper column inches. Stick to the parameters that really signify whether you'll make it or not - critical mass of users, and user feedback.
  • Budget for marketing and PR. Technically, you might be the next Google. But you got to put enough moolah behind your marketing efforts. Most products don't sell themselves. They need to be sold - aggressively. Ignore the moralistic standpoint that if it is so good, it'll sell itself. Sorry, it simply won't.
And if it still doesn't pan out, you could always auction it off on eBay!

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