Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Logic of a "free" customer

For the past few days, I have been thinking about how much is a 'free' customer worth.
For example, All the social networking sites like Facebook, Orkut, MySpace offer free logins for anyone. Similar is the case for eBay.

For example on eBay, all buyers are free registrants . Only the sellers pay - and that too when they get a product to sell. This gives rise to an interesting situation - without 'free' buyers, there are no sellers - and without the sellers the revenue model fails.

Similar is the case with Orkut - without the free users, there are no ads, and hence no money. But its slightly complicated here as Orkut is owned by Google. so there might be opportunity costs involved. like for example, when someone clicks on ads by google from a third party site, google must be paying something to that site as well (as it does in adsense). So when Google values its Orkut users, it will also factor in these savings.

Facebook epitomizes this type of revenue model - it allows advertisers to select their target group very effectively. Allowing them to streamline their ad via features such as
* Location
* Age
* Sex

* Keywords
* Education
* Workplace

* Relationship Status
* Relationship Interests
* Languages

But exactly how useful are these customers? there might be some customers who never click on any ads. Or for that matter, sell products on eBay. So these people never make money for the company. On second thoughts, these might still generate some revenue for eBay - by increasing the selling price through competitive bidding.

This thought cropped up in my head while listening to a presentation on the revenue models followed by browsers. Since then I have not been able to stop thinking about it. So HAD to publish it. Anyone who has some idea on this, please do comment/ contact me. I wish to learn more about this fascinating concept.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How frank should our leaders be?

Last night I read Mohinish Sinha's article on leadership. It talks about a situation where leaders dont either see the bad picture (due to their own rosy glasses) or dont want to let it out in the open lest everyone else comes to know of it. He says "...Leaders, whose self concept is brittle, hesitate to call the truths lest they will be found out. ..."

However, as I see it, there is another side of the story. As he writes in the preceding line, " Organisations tend to mimic the behaviors of the leaders at the top." So a leader might want to shield the bad news from the employees - just to keep them motivated. This, however noble it appears, is not without its flaws. A leader has to be able to see the whole picture, and know the short-comings well. So even if the bad news is not let out in the open, it has to be dealt with - firmly.

HBS too had a similar article/ opinion poll sometime back. They talk about the National leaders during times of crisis. The question posed is if or how frank or deceptive should the leaders be during crisis. The leader showing negative sentiments is not a good sign and it tends to reduce the general morale. However no one wants a leader who lives in a cocoon of self-deception and believes that everything is fine.

As is reported elsewhere, about 70% communication happens via non-verbal means. So the self-deceptive will come out as more natural and more convincing while the one who understands realty will show some signs of distress. But human brain is pretty good at understanding cues from fellow human beings. We can understand if someone is in a slight distress and still very optimistic. Most people would trust such a person more than someone who shows no signs of crisis.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, March 13, 2009

Classic Chennai is now open!

The Chennai group of Microsoft Student Partners presents "Classic Chennai" , a fiesta of month-long ONLINE competitions Supported by Microsoft, held from March 15th , 2009 to April 15th , 2009. Lots of Exciting prizes to be won!!!

Mix your creativity with the love for the city, and win loads of prizes.

This is an opportunity for all college students across India to talk about Chennai. Any Indian student enrolled for a full-time course is eligible to take part in this extravaganza.

The Chennai edition of the MSPs want the students to think about their city, and we are fully aware that its not just the technical students who love the city – so this event is totally non-technical.

VISIT: www.classicchennai.net


The theme of each event revolves around the vivid city of Chennai and what you think makes it Classic.

Event list:

BLOG –O- CHENNAI : Blogging Ride the Blogger’s paradise for one whole month on the theme 'Classic Chennai'.

PALETTE –DE- CHENNAI : Poster Designing If you can design a poster that outlines Chennai and its highlights in its best form, Palette -de -Chennai IS the platform for you. Are you game ?

THE CLASSIC CHENN-EYE : Photography It’s all about the “being at the site at the right time”. Is photography your passion? Come aboard The Classic Chenn-eye.

SYNTH@CC : Photosynth Merge and weave together multiple images to illustrate what is in a three dimensional world onto a two dimensional screen losing none of the details using " Microsoft Live Labs photosynth " : http://photosynth.net

LIGHTS, CAMERA, CHENNAI! : Short filmmaking
A Classic movie, the one that touches your sensibility is an outcome of the effort of the man behind the camera. Is it time that you assumed that skeletal role in the making of a memorable film, get noticed !

Capture a busy metro, a vivid environment with a blend of cultures the way you see it with eyes and play it for your audience. Yes! Let Envisage Chennai, the Documentary event lead you all the way.

The CNUG Student Community always strives to bring the best and latest technology into the lives of all of Chennai’s students. Classic Chennai is a unique initiative that not only serves as a platform to encourage young talent but also throws light on how recent technology can help nurture that talent, especially in the field of arts & entertainment. Throughout this month, sessions on technologies like Photosynth and talks by experts on filmmaking and photography to encourage and help participants, are also on the offering.

Contact us at: care@classicchennai.net

Phone : 9884280854

PS - Read newspaper articles about classic chennai here and here.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Irony - as (or do ) we understand it

I had heard this classical hindi song called "पानी में मीन प्यासी | मोहे सुन सुन आवत हांसी ||..." - when I was kid - when translated to English, it reads "I find it really funny that the fish feels thirsty despite being in water..." . It somehow surfaced from my subconscious to the 'everyday-mind' a few days back. And from there on, I could always recognise some irony that reminded me of the song.

The fact is that we are so obsessed with our own understanding of the world and its accompanying prejudices that we tend to ignore/discredit things that do not fit into our instinctive model. Like the other day, I was talking with my friends about the potential for extra-terrestrial life - and almost everyone seemed to believe that they will need an organic photosynthesis (or its sillicon analogous compound). But why cant it be that case that they derive their energy not from a external sun- but from its core itself. We tend to ignore this possibility simply because we assume that life will not be sustainable at those temperatures. When I first proposed this, the audience was startled and started rubbishing it even without thinking. Then when we discussed it with some cool head, it turns out that everyone was convinced that it could indeed be the case. This is a classic case of prejudices blocking our vision.

In a general case, just because others covet a particular thing, it does not mean that the person having it will find it of any or much use. A typical case would be that of abundance - if someone has more money than what he/she finds sufficient, any incremental money has very little potential for making the person happy. Same could be the case with the protagonist fish in the afore mentioned song. Its our own inability to judge the drive of others that induces laughter at the situation - so in a way we are mocking ourselves.

Stumble Upon Toolbar