Friday, April 27, 2012 taking Superhero route

Checkout the latest Ad from They have Rajnikant and Chuck Norris. Here they are using the superhero card. Overall a really nice animation clip. Check it out...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Market yourself, not your product!

The HubSpots and Kissmetrics of the world have taught us a lot about Inbound Marketing,  a marketing strategy that focuses on attracting prospective customers by offering useful information. At the face of it, it may seem like a tall order. But, is that really so?
The other day I was travelling in Mumbai Local Train and I realized how these principles apply to even seemingly mundane people and events.

The Story

At one of the stations an old lady walked into the train, in tow with a huge bag. She sat down nearby, removed a ball of thread and a spool from her bag and started knitting a piece. She was knitting beautifully with amazing speed quite oblivious to the people around her.
Moral: Pitch yourself, your talent and your capabilities. Don’t always sell.

Inbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing

The Impact

Soon, people around her (including me) started talking among themselves about her skill while transfixed on her craft.
Moral: The slow paced story gradually picks up. Make people talk about you. They will notice your product. If they like it, it will surely create a buzz

The Reward

One lady visibly impressed asked her if she knits as a hobby or makes a living out of it. She said “I sell them. Want to have a look?” The lady nodded. She showed few pieces around and BAM! in a matter of 5 mins she had 10 “paid”  customers!
Moral: “You” are an ultimate seller, marketer :)
This was a classic case of inbound marketing wherein the pure skill and ability of the doer speaks for the product. It’s all about making your presence felt.
Inbound marketing is really useful for Small Businesses/Startups, primarily because it saves a lot of cash.
Disclaimer: The pundits say, do only things which work for you. So, it’s not necessary that inbound marketing or “only” inbound marketing would work.
[Guest article contributed by InteractEasy team. Reproduced from the blog]
[image courtesy Getty Images]
[ Source :]

Energy Demands from Cloud Computing Companies

Well is going to be a cloud storage business and thus while reading through this article, make me thinking as "How can we go green for backend servers and infrastructure".
Here is the report that can make us thinking...

If cloud were a country, its electricity demand would currently rank 5th in the world, which is ahead of India’s total electricity demand and this is expected to triple by 2020.
A recent report by Greenpeace slams big computing companies for using *dirty* energy to drive their cloud computing initiative.green_cloud_computing
As more people around the world use the cloud to store and share photos, videos, and documents, IT companies have to build more data centres –buildings so large they are often visible from space – that house thousands of computers and consume tremendous amounts of electricity. These cloud data centers consume a tremendous amount of electricity; some consume the equivalent of nearly 180,000 US homes or close to 1.8 million Indian homes.clean_cloud_energy
Electronic devices and the rapidly growing cloud that supports our demand for greater online access are clearly a significant force in driving global energy demand. The report shares a few specific examples of how companies have used data center location to their advantage:
- Yahoo, US: Yahoo’s decision to locate in Lockport, New York, was connected to its ability to secure a substantial (15MW) allotment of hydroelectric power from New York Power Authority.
- Facebook, Sweden: Facebook built its third major owned and operated data center in Lulea, Sweden, a location chosen for the large amount of existing hydroelectric capacity at high availability. The data center can be fully powered with renewable energy
- An increasing number of cloud companies have begun to take charge of their electricity supply chain by signing long term contracts to buy renewable electricity from a specific source through a utility or renewable energy developer via a power purchase agreement (PPA) to help drive renewable electricity onto the grid.
Download the report (pdf) from here
[Source :]

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tips for Startup Co-Founders from Asterix and Obelix

As a child (and even now) I was a huge fan of Asterix and Obelix. I would spend hours reading and re-reading Asterix and son and imagine what it would really be like if I had special magic powers. The possibilities were endless. The names were funny. The fights were amazing. The adventures were awesome.
I did believe for the longest time that the Silicon valley folklore of “Two guys and a dog startup” came from Asterix and Obelix.asterix_and_obelix_thumb
On a more serious note, I think there are 3 amazing things about them that make them the perfect startup co-founders.
1. They really respect and enjoy each others company. You can see it in every book and episode. Obelix is the one everyone makes fun of (since as we know he fell into a cauldron when he was a kid) but he’s also the most dependable. They each have their quirks (Obelix loves boars and Asterix, is just nuts for most parts).
2. They compliment each other amazingly well. One is a superhuman (magically gifted) and another learns (or drinks magic portion) his way into super-power. Asterix is supposedly the smarter of the two, but Obelix shows his smarts (Corsica, Spain).
3. They are both focused. I love this the most. They do fight (like most people do) but they know the real enemies are always the Romans. Most episodes do have some fight between the two, that brews for a few pages or panels, but put them in front of a common enemy and they are back to being old friends again.
If you are a startup team, I’d highly recommend you read a few of their comics and keep a few in your office. Things always get tough in small startups and when the going gets tough, the tough laugh it off.
If you have read any of the comics, which one is your favorite?
[Guest article contributed by Mukund Mohan. Reproduced from his blog]
[Source : ]

Friday, April 20, 2012

ESOPs in Private Limited Companies

Separation of ownership from management has been one of the principal foundations of corporate law. In this context, the idea of granting your employees stock options aims at bridging the gap between ownership and management, by giving the employees not just monetary compensation but also a sense of ownership through stock options.
There is significant literature on employee stock options (ESOPs) for public limited companies in India, but little has been written about how they can be used by private limited companies.
The issue of granting ESOPs acquires particular significance in the context of start-ups who do not offer significant compensation to their employees/ consultants but wish to offer ESOPs to retain talent and to also give them a sense of ownership and belonging. Set forth below is a summary of key issues to keep in mind while instituting an ESOP plan:
(a) Legal requirements: There are no specific guidelines/ rules or regulations under the Companies Act, 1956, that deal with employee stock option plans of a private limited company. Critical issues which arise in instituting an ESOP plan have been addressed below.
(b) Who can the options be granted to? While technically there is no prohibition to grant options to ‘promoters’ (persons who are in overall control of the company) they should ideally be excluded, because it is possible for them to get additional shares in the company through a preferential allotment. Similarly, there is no requirement that ESOPs should only be given to full time permanent employees of the company.
(c) What should be the ceiling for ESOP grants? There is no ceiling prescribed in law, however, a limit of 10-15% of the paid up capital is typically the market practice.
(d) Market price of the shares: Since in private limited companies, there is no market for the shares it is impossible to arrive at a valuation of the equity shares, unless they are valued by independent valuers, which exercise may itself be expensive. A possible solution is to use the book value of the shares.
(e) Disclosure requirements: A great step forward is the creation of an ESOP policy plan document and circulating the same to the employees. This increases transparency and creates trust among the employees in favour of the company. Typically plan documents contain details such as vesting schedule, lock-in requirements and eligibility.
(f) Enforcing the ESOP plan: While there is no one rule on who should institute the ESOP plan, ideally it should be enforced by persons who are not beneficiaries of the plan or are in no way interested in the results of the plan. Whilst, there are no independent directors in a private limited company, a possible solution is institution of the plan by independent trustees. If that however, becomes too cumbersome, then the Board of Directors could be responsible for the instituting the plan, provided that they are not beneficiaries of the plan.
Conclusion: As a start-up, ESOPs are probably on your mind as you consider bringing in the best talent to scale your business. While we have outlined the rules above which apply to you from a legal perspective, the most important rules when it comes to giving ESOPs are equity and fairness. As long as the plan you draft is fair, it is almost certain to get approved by the Court if, god forbid, a dispute should arise.
[About the author: Contributed by Hrishikesh Datar, founder of, online legal services provider (Legal Advice, Legal Documents & more.]
[Source Site:]