62697100 Facebook Users in India! But Does That Translate into Business?

Yes, you heard that right!

When it comes to numbers, India comes 3rd in the ranking of all Facebook statistics by country. Although that’s just around 5% (and a little more)  of the Indian population the numbers are still huge. Not surprising to me because almost everyone I know (and I don’t live in a metro) knows about Facebook, about 75% of them have an account, and yet another 60% actively use Facebook to discuss their ideas and views. But what does this mean for Facebook in terms of revenue?

As we all know, Facebook earns its bread and butter largely through advertising. As of April 2012, the social media bellwether has recorded $1.058 billion as revenue for Q1. The third quarter advertising revenue was around $1.09 billion – that’s about 86% of their total revenue! But the Company hasn’t given us a country-wise split of its revenue, which makes us difficult to analyse Facebook trends in India.

These statistics are indeed encouraging, but how do they translate into revenue for Indian advertisers? Active Facebook users in India were once largely made up of the yuppie crowd. But over the last two years, Facebook usage has grown enormously in India. And that’s largely through mobile phones. In fact, almost 30% of its new registrations in India on Facebook were through mobile phones. And we all know the mobile phone platform is one area where Facebook hasn’t managed to monetize successfully.

In India, the focus of a majority of users is to stay updated with friends and family, rather than products. It’s the yuppie crowd that looks beyond this circle. Will this crowd choose to buy through Facebook?

Gaming is another aspect where Facebook earns its profits. But income from this source pales in comparison to income from advertising. In fact, Zynga, Facebook’s largest contributor in terms of gaming apps, had registered only 7% of overall profits in Q3 2012, as compared to 12% in Q3 2011.

Will Companies pay for Fans and Likes?

Take the case of Tata Docomo. This mobile operator has around 10 million fans on Facebook.  While other mobile operators can claim a ‘fan’ base of around 2%, Tata Docomo has a fan-base of around 10%! But the company does not advertise on Facebook, and thus doesn’t contribute to its revenue. All activities happen through the fan base- through comments, likes, etc.  Facebook did try to monetize this segment with its Reach Generator program, but failed miserably

In conclusion:

Mark has rubbished notions that Facebook cannot make money through mobile users. In fact, even as the Company recorded a loss in its Q3 2012 when compared to Q3 figures of 2011, stocks rose around 9.7% as reports indicated that revenue from mobiles contributed 14% of its earnings. Thus, there’s definitely some work going on there in this area, and lets wait for its Q4 2012 reports to see where the trend’s going.

As for social gaming , India definitely has a large percentage of users who’re using Facebook for social gaming. In fact, a recent Neilson India study revealed that almost 84% of Android users had played games on Facebook . It remains to be seen if India can reverse the trend when it comes to increasing revenue through gaming.


Visual.ly makes everyone a designer – The infographic creation tool

Infographics are becoming popular each day because of their ability to make the readers get interested to read even the most boring statistics. Though the concept of infographics is around us for a long time, the idea was not widely used because of the main reason that creation of the infographics needed the work of a professional designer who is expert in image editing tools such as the photoshop or illustrator. If you are hiring a professional company or a professional designer to create the infographics, you would drain your wallet. Wouldn’t that be awesome if there was some tool that anyone can use to create cool infographics.

What would you say if such a tool came completely free? Now I can see the smile on your face and you think I am just joking! But I am pretty serious about this and the free tool is called Visual.ly . When I say there’s a free tool, don’t get your expectation high because Visual.ly has just started adding infographic templates that you can customize with your own data.

Visual.ly was actually an infographic based social network initially where you can share the infographics that you had created. The infographic creation page part was newly added to this social network. The creation part is a web based tool with a drag and drop interface. There are a few preloaded themes available, which you can load up in the application, fire up your creativity and customize it by dragging and dropping theme elements.

The most interesting part of this web app is that, you do not need any graphic design knowledge to create cool infographics. I tried the tool myself by customizing the “twitterize” theme available in their collection. I just entered credentials of my twitter profile and the app did rest of the job. It analyzed the profile and presented a well detailed infographic. You can also create twitter infographics where you compare yourselves with celebrities or anyone. Trust me, the infographic creation part is real fun and I can see that Visual.ly I working hard in adding new themes as well.

Though for now Visual.ly cannot help you create commercial infographics as “pictochart” does, work is in progress to make this web based application to become a full-fledged infographic creation tool. With the power of social awareness that Visual.ly has, when the tool is in place, this would be the talk of the Silicon Valley

“Facebook Like” brought to life

When Xminds participated in Demo Asia 2012, we wanted to show-case the company in the start-up world in a creative manner. Our idea was to create something simple letting the world know our area of expertise which prompted the team to think SOCIAL and what better than FB in that space.

Our idea was to create something which should standout from other participants at the same time giving the startup world clear idea as to what we do.

This prompted the team to think ‘SOCIAL” and what better than FB in that space. But how could we bring FB to the physical word?

A facebook wall was built and ‘Like’ cards were made which carried the number of people ‘Liked’ us during demoasia and behind the card had a brief of what we do and our contact address.

Please watch the video below which would give you better idea.

And yes we received plenty Likes

Why was Instagram acquired by Facebook ?

April 9th 2012, a mundane Monday morning we woke up to the hot news of Facebook buying Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock. Now the million dollar question, What was it about Instagram that made it worth a $1B acquisition by Facebook?

All the pioneers in the industry are pondering over this question and trying to know what exactly prompted Mark to do so. Facebook currently has around 845 million users and almost only 50% of them are active via mobile.

As Michael Arrington stated in his blog The Mobile Paradox. “Google’s stock has declined by 4% and suffered a decline in “Cost Per Click” rates that is in large part attributable to the shift in traffic from the desktop/laptop to the mobile platform.

This clearly indicates that we are entering the new era of mobile internet and shows us that a page based advert or text would be a wrong model to generate revenue for the time to come.

An interesting fact to note is that users are moving towards mobile based internet services and to substantiate that, users have used Instagram and not Flickr or Picassa, and to do checkins the users used Path and Foursquare, not Facebook.

Hope this news creates inspiration to all those upcoming startup entrepreneurs.

Are you ready to start a new business ?

One of the common mistakes made by entrepreneurs is assuming they have just come up with a unique idea that is going to save the world from a common problem. They get so passionate about the idea that they often forget to validate this with their target audience. This results in them building something that already exists or offering something that doesn’t have a value proposition. And as expected most of those businesses end-up in the cold shelf and the entrepreneurs after burning what little they had will get back to work trying to get over the sour episode of their life.

So If you have just been hit with a great idea and before you get on the surfing board, do a self-assessment by answering the questions below.

1. Why should I spend my hard-earned money on a product without validating it first?
2. Should I build all the fancy features before I launch?
3. What’s my user acquisition strategy? Can social media help me here?
4. How am I going to earn money to pay for my resources? Do I have a good revenue model?

I will touch very briefly on the above and will tell you why they are important.

Why should I spend my hard-earned money without validating my idea?

You have to be passionate about what you are building but at the same time you have ensure that there are others around you who are also having this same problem as you.

So does your solution solve it and how big is your target market?

Once you have answered these questions honestly then go to the validation part.

So how do I validate my business idea?

There are several ways you can do this and I am going to list a few that worked well for us.

  • Talk to your friends and tell them what you are going to build and then be a patient listener.
  • Create a survey with very few questions (5 or less would be my safe bet) and invite your friends and relatives to answer it.
  • Create a facebook advertising campaign and specify the target audience and send them to the survey page.
  • Create a homepage for your product and mention what you are going to build (don’t reveal everything) and put an email box asking visitors to share their email address so that you can notify them when you launch the service.

Collect the feedback and compare them with your own answers. Are you convinced there is a need?

Should I build all the fancy features before I launch?

This is where most of the businesses fail as they wait to put the ‘bells and whistles’ and misses the feedback from early-adopters. A rule of thumb for startups is to enter the market as quickly as possible and then integrate the fancy stuff by doing quick time-boxed iterations.

Imagine where Mark Zuckerberg would have got to if he waited 7 years to launch facebook with all the fancy features it has now.

So the idea is to build a Minimum Viable Product that lets you get to the market rather quickly and then fit yourself before you run out of money.

If I were to build facebook, my MVP user stories would be

  • As a user I should be able to create an account so that I use the service.
  • As a user I should be able to login so that I can see my friends activities.
  • As a user I should be able to post my updates on the wall so that I can share it with my friends.
  • As a user I should be able to invite my friends so that I can build a network.
  • As an administrator I should be able to pull up user reports so that I can do some analytics.

And I could get someone to build this MVP in 8 weeks for less than 8000$. And If my business doesn’t get the expected traction and even if I quit, I loose only a few thousand dollars and can still survive the trauma. So build an MVP to further validate the concept and enter the market before you run out of money.

What’s my user acquisition strategy? Can social media help me?

It’s such a broad question but you should have some answers before you start. If you are planning to rely on facebook and twitter to send traffic to your website, then I suggest you revisit your decision as social media markets are very crowded and you might even go unnoticed.

So what else can you do to bring customers to your website?

Again facebook advertising campaigns can bring users to your website but that alone should not be your primary marketing technique.

I suggest you checkout the presentation ‘From Zero to a Million Users’ by Adam Smith who is the founder of Xobni. He passionately talks about lot of techniques that applies to all the market segments. So be sure to adopt a few of those.

How am I going to earn money to pay for my resources? Do I have a good revenue model?

This is definitely the most significant question that decides the fate of your business. If you have a financial model that largely depends on advertising revenue then your chances of raising investment is 1 in 100. There are a few exceptions like Quora that raised $14 million and valued at $90 million and their revenue model is still a mystery. But don’t be over-joyed; we don’t get to hear too many stories like that every year.

Fundamentally you need to understand your target market and then realign your business model to plan for growth, investment and revenue. This is easier said than done but that’s why you chose to be an entrepreneur.

My advice to startup entrepreneurs – Startups are never cheap or easier to build and don’t trust people who say so because they have never built one. To succeed, you need a good idea, excellent planning, awesome implementation, right timing, perseverance and lot of passion.

micro ISV

An attempt to identify the list of companies that were successfully run by single owners.

Some of the companies that are/were operated gotocert alone by the founder and that too profitably, later on they added more people to the team.  There could be more and it would be great if you could add them here.

1.Plenty of fish

Is an online dating service that is offered free and is only available in Canada, UK, Australia and United States. It is free to use but some of the services are charged like the message tracking services.

It is primarily available in Canada, UK, US, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, France, Italy and Germany. A person attempting to signup from any other country will receive an error message explaining this.

2.Twitpic

A website that allows users to easily post pictures and distribute in real time as an event is taking place.

3.Instapaper

Instapaper is solely owned by Marco Arment. He is the ex CTO of tumblr, the main idea behind was to read those web pages later on when he had time during his travel from office to home and vice versa. Since majority of his travel was underground where there was limited or no connectivity.  He says “It was pretty basic,” he insists, “Just a place to put everything you find when you can’t or don’t want to read right then.”

4.Balsamiq

Transforming ideas to reality can be is not that easy. This is where balsamiq steps in, a tool that helps the designers and developers to develop great software and http://balsamiq.com/products/mockups helps them to transform their ideas with more precision, clarity and with ease.

5.Bingocardcreator

Bingo Card Creator lets teachers and parents make custom printable bingo cards for instructional and entertainment purposes.

6.Duckduckgo

Another search engine similar to google, bing etc..  and claim to have more instant answers with less spam and more privacy. It is operated solely by Gabriel Weinberg and is a pretty successful business

7.Theoatmeal

Mathew Inman founded theoatmeal after he successfully sold the dating site Mingle2 that he developed in 66.5 hours. Theoatmeal is an entertainment site with full of comics, quizzes and plenty of fun things.

8.The Labnol

A one man blog is managed by Amit Agarwal and is one among the top 100 technology blogs in the world.

9.Read it later

Read it later is a competitor to instapaper is managed by Nate Weiner. The situation is the same as Marco Arment went, he did not have a lot of time neither did Nate, but Nate did not do a lot of underground travelling 😉

10.Instpundit

Instapundit is a United States political blog produced by Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee. The blog began in August 2001 as an experiment, and a part of Reynolds’ class on Internet law.

Does good project mean good output.

With the implementation of LPG; liberalization, privatization C2010-657 and globalization and incensing competition, the service industry has boosted up to an unexpected level. Earlier, the industry used to have people assigned to particular tasks but with the growth of technology, expertise in the particular field became a benefit over time.

Success of the business depends upon performance. Organizations are realizing that the critical source of competitive advantage comes from having & managing its people. Hence employees are treated as an asset of the firm.

Intellectual human capital in a volatile work environment C2070-585 proved to be a biggest lifesaver of the companies to stay in the market. With this, the employees have become a big problem as they are becoming more career-oriented and they demand meaningful work with their involvement in the decisions which affect them.

Compensations are what impact an employer’s ability to attract applicants, retain employees, & ensure optimal levels of performance. Thus incentives, rewards, fringe benefits etc come into picture.

It was believed that if company gets a good project then the outcome of the project after completion should be very effective. But with time, it is now understood by the corporate that a project will abide quality output and high productivity with skilled employees and not with huge projects.

If a company holds a very huge project but have workers who are not skilled enough for the tasks and are not motivated enough to work towards the goal then the project won’t fruit desired outcome.

Xminds Infotech Pvt. Ltd. | www.xminds.com
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Challenges in closing a project development (Is the end always the end or a new beginning)

When a project matures and you see it as conclusion of a project, it actually is not closing of the project. It is like an inauguration of a new project. An accomplished project gives ideas of new projects where data can be used as a record for the upcoming projects. Fiscally, it helps in scheming fertility of the project and business. It helps in determining budgets and project estimates for probable projects. A matured project acts as raw material for the subsequent projects. Thus closure of a project is remains a challenge in the industry.

A sapling is planted, nurtured with care, unwearyingly waited to cultivate and then the tree bears flora and sweet fruits.

Conglomerates also operate in an analogous style where the trees are the projects and they are to be given proper assistance and effective resources and expertise. A well accomplished project is the fruit that we avail. And outcome, identification and position of the firm are the fruits of the project.

Projects are the bread and butter of a firm. For a diminutive firm an effective outcome escorts to client generation and growth whereas for a huge company, projects are for revenue generation and brand building. But in both the situations vital component remains to be effective project completion. Projects are stepping stones for firm’s success.

When you begin to see the final tasks coming into focus, it is perceived a signal to ease off of the project team and the project. Thus the project managers are handed all the accountability for the rest of the project without any surveillance. This is where the managers overlook that an accomplished project sets as a point of reference for the imminent projects.

It involves many troubles, hindrances and risks at different levels of the project. Thus, one of the major concerns is project closure and it is rightly said that first and last impression makes an impact.

Xminds Infotech Pvt. Ltd. | www.xminds.com
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Get only what you want through Minimum Viable Product

The are plenty of software, applications available in the internet. Some are designed as a template with add-ons so that it can be modified according to the user’s required specifications. These add-ons not only guzzle the user’s space but can result with plenty of bugs in the software/application. The solution to this subject is to develop only what is essential.The process of designing such software can prove very efficient and expand in popularity pretty fast.

All the above can be effortlessly made accessible when we think of Minimum Viable Product. Making anything compact does not mean chopping off the parameters or reducing the functionality. Making compact is very similar to compilation of several courses and formation of an MVP.

It aims at building just what’s needed to validate the concept. Xminds, a pioneering software group aims to prepare such MVP. It has not only created the user specified software but also has made this a trend of designing such products.

It involves many parallel processes to finalize and publish the MVP. The most important facet for designing involves several iterations. The iterations help to arrive at the best possible and highly responsive product which can help in the customer satisfaction to the fullest.

The MVP provides an ideal platform to gather feedback from the users. Depending on the feedback from the one can make necessary changes to the MVP regularly with new features and updates.

MVP also helps the client to save a lot of money and time .

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Email-id: raj@xminds.com
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