Monday, 2 March 2015

Gaurav Agrawal CTO Healthkart: Succeeding in e-commerce as a vertical play

  1. Healthkart   is one of India’s top 10 ecomm sites, 7.5Lac paying customers. has two businesses:
    1. Healthkart ( ) focuses on nutrition and fitness such as protein bars, vitamins, fitness supplements- the proposition being they provide authentic products coming from sources verified
    2. Healthkartplus ( is a very interesting new app with 1 MM plus downloads, recommended by the govt of india. The concept is to enter any medicine and look up what its used for, substitutes that are cheaper, what its sideffects are etc.. many doctors etc are using this to check medicines.
  2. Competing as a vertical play against the large horizontal ecomm players
    1. Whilst its true that regardless of size, one have to build scale, logistics, website, traffic etc…they believe  have certain advantages as well:
    2. because they are a vertical niche, they can actually do more- e.g. certified reviews from gym trainers - more credible folks. 
    3. A much stronger community -of fitness buffs for instance
    4. Also tend to be more focused on the leanness of the organisation- richness of product, content etc.
  3. Mobile first
    1. healthkartplus is bigger on mobile than on the desktop, whereas Healthkart is 50:50 mobile/desktop
    2. every new feature, how do they bring it to mobile first, not desktop
    3. when we first got our app out, we weren’t the most efficient, and our users were using data on EDGE. Now we aggressively cache data, only send data thats needed- it takes a lot more diligence
  4. Ecommerce in india has been about involving the Tier 2/Tier 3.
    1. this is true for Healthkart as well- with 50% of sales coming from tier3/tier4.
    2. We are very proud that folks in places like the hinterland/ north east today has access to products they could only get in a high-end shop in delhi.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Gabor Veszig, Prezi- Building a globally successful product out of Hungary

Gabor from Prezi, whose promise is to make you a better presenter- they have 50Million users, growing fast. This video is about how Prezi became a really successful product coming out of Hungary.
The big idea behind Prezi
  1. As humans, we are much better with spatial memory than with reading text. Prezi uses this insight to create a tool that enables people to share ideas in a better way- yes, they are in the same space as Keynote and Powerpoint.
  2. they have 50Million users
How they use Agile to do product development
  1. How do we create software thats easy for everyone to use? For instance, what software that allows people to put info in space?usually, these are the 3 d modelling software that are very complex to use. how do we simplify?
  2. They believe in small iteration cycles, develop, push to users, understand behaviour/ get feedback and iterate
  3. "We can have 24 hr deployment cycles-an idea in the morning, deployed by the evening"
  4. Agile means- Creating as many opportunities to change your product as possible
Ecosystem inHungary vs India
  1. Easier to build products for the global market sitting in a smaller country, because there is no big internal market tempting them. From day 1 they had to have global impact- easier in a small market because one has to go global.
  2. When they do things, they never do for just Hungary- the whole of Hungary is 10M people, you have 20M in Mumbai alone, 
  3. Its also easier to hire good talent in smaller companies


Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Age of Marketing Tech (#MarTech)- Benedict @Iprospect

As Digital surpasses other media spends, Martech spends start to shoot up- and that drives performance marketing- my insightful chat with Benedict from Iprospect.

"In the UK digital surpassed TV as the dominant spend 6-7 years ago, and after that, investment into technology that underpins the digital performance became a no brainer- that leap of faith is starting to happen in India"

It does’t make sense to do fixed ad buys anymore. thats the power of programmatic. With programmatic, the cost per lead increases, but the efficacies are way better.

A very clearheaded conversation, this video stands out to me for the clarity with which Benedict defines performance,and how today’s tech is defining performance all with specific examples. A must hear.

We cover a range of things- attribution, performance for revenue vs performance for brand
Programmatic buying and how it changes the entire operating landscape, including how creative development needs to change keeping the dynamic environment in mind.

He also talks about attribution and how analytics and data management are driving it. he defines the “biggest step into unknown for the brand”.


Sunday, 22 February 2015

Performance Marketing with Parul Bhargava, Vcommission

 My video with Parul Bhargava née Mehta a passionate Internet marketer from India who started with the affiliate marketing industry and went on to lead vCommission, India’s first International Affiliate Network with Exclusive CPA offers! Established in 2008, their 12,500 affiliates deliver performance to brands.
  1. "You don’t have to pay for visibility until you get ROI- thats Performance marketing. Whats The big deal behind it? It ensures that ROIs are obtainable with Lower LTV customers as well, opening up a whole swathe of segments to target/ works for smaller businesses with lower budgets"
  2. "Our industry right now works on last click attribution- which is why coupon sites are growing, because no matter how convinced you are about what you want to buy, you are still going to look for an offer/discount before you buy it"
  3.   She has studied publisher promotion methods, and focuses on innovative affiliate marketing methods. With a technical background, she now leads the affiliate network with her technical knowledge ensuring pioneering initiatives in tracking technology

Friday, 20 February 2015

Nikhil TripAdvisor

  1. An early adopter of user generated content, TripAdvisor is the most influential travel advisory portal in the world, with +360 Million users across the world. A great example of how truly digital companies think and do things..
  2. One of the most trusted travel brands, the place for the best travel content on the web, one of the top 15 trends that have changed/ shaped travel business (eg cheap airlines, etc) the smart hoteliers caught on first, because it is a fantastic free marketing site- and today, you have to engage with tripadvisor, as travelers dont book without looking.
  3. How Trip advisor is different is that it has all the great content - hotels, photos etc.. on the same page, there are live prices from all the hotel booking sites (Eg etc) moment you click on the price, the partner pays them for the click.
  4. Of their $1B of revenues, 75% came from pay-per-click. Another 13% of come from business listings- the hotels get an opportunity to directly get a lead from their review page- and they pay a flat annual fee. The rest is banner/ display advertising.
  5. Tech plays a big role in the product and service development:
  6. Meta is one of the pivots they did- earlier, u had the logo u could click on to go to the partner site for pricing. Now all pricing is dynamically shown on the website itself.
  7. The next pivot, currently underway, is about changing the clunky mobile experience, through instant booking, where u can complete a transaction from inside the mobile app.The “book” on tripadvisor gets fulfilled by the partner that has won the bid, realtime.
  8. A new feature, called “Just for you”, takes into account what i want and what i have chosen in the past to only show the kind of stuff that I like.
  9. To stimulate ugc reviews, they have done various ideas- for instance , something they did only in India first- Multipoints- where they tie-up with airline partners, reach out to frequently traveling people, incentivised them with air miles and now that program has gone global with massive programs in Brazil.
  10. Their review express product, hotels adopt on their own, Accor, best western already request their customers to leave reviews on trip advisor.


Sunday, 15 February 2015

"An app for Booking restaurant tables"- Dine-out's Sahil

My video with Sahil Jain, co founder of Dineout, a restaurant table booking startup that 30L people use every month to book tables in 1000 restaurants in 6 cities. on startups, being acquired, and growth…

When we started in 2012, everyone said “India mein table kaun book karta hai?” there has been a huge mindset change in the last 2 years- be it taxis, hotels, airlines etc. Dining out is the 2nd most important thing after movies. And the mobile-first approach has exploded for us- started with 5% going onto 40% now, estimated to be 70% by year end.

1000 restaurants, 6 cities. 30K diners monthly ->150K diners. Includes premium restaurants such as Olive bar/ Claridges etc

The key is Consumer convenience- the customer can book a table and save money on deals on the restaurant+ recommendations on places

They have FoS sales team+ online registration for the restaurants

They were acquired by Times internet a year ago at a reported valuation of $10M. Leveraging the TimesInternet b2b clout to acquire restaurants, and b2c to reach out to consumers

Traffic: 40% coming through app, also have a 10 member call center (25%) - typically larger group bookings want human confirmations, 20% thro mobile web, 15% thro' online.


Saturday, 14 February 2015

Titan: Integrating E-commerce into the offline model - AlokedeepSingh

How does an ecomm play work for a company with a dominant physical distribution?  Well its different. 
E-commerce in Titan is not just about servicing India, but also Indians cross border. Since they don’t have the backing of valuation money,they take the business checks and balances very seriously- for example, their returns are about 3% as compared to industry averages of 30-40%. 
Also ,since their brands advertise, their ecomm play off their pull rather than spend own marketing money. They also don’t discount overtly…They also have concepts like “shop on line and pick up instore”- allowing them to leverage their physical presence.
Their largest infra cost is tech, which gets amortised over time- its more economical than setting up a store. They also ship to a limited set of places beyond store presence in upcountry areas. 
In online and offline integration people assume its the front end that needs integration (store front end+ devices). The biggest integration point is inventory- once thats done, the front ends are easy to build. 
They are also experimenting with i-beacon pilots and other online to offline pull models, but many of these are in the wait-and-watch mode.
Aloke Links

“Next 10-15 years of India belong to the Travel industry ”-Hari Nair, ho...

  • HolidayIQ has a lot of content, and a 6.5 Million community that comes here to consume this content. “We are a media business. Media is about consuming good content. You have the UGC reviews of Tripadvisor, and you have the satirical take of a Buzz-feed. We aim to bring all of these together and marry this to an existing community. There isn't an example of this kind of a travel media proposition elsewhere, all based on real consumer feedback”
  • Buyers are over educated today- so you have to create a story, sell it to them and they will come, but it cannot be a narrated experience, but has to come out through conversations. The next 10-15 years in India will be the world of tourism, which will become a grass-root change agent. Only 60 of the 600 districts in India are leisure travel destinations. We have 90% of the country left and that is going to change things.
  • Content is an ever evolving thing. Once, knowing whether hotel had wifi was relevant, next came reviews- whether the wifi was good is more important. Today a lot of the content we have is structured (70-80%) which include reviews etc, but the opportunity is in unstructured, curated user generated content- the conversations.
  • What we are seeing now is the next wave- what is the nature of conversation around this destination. To me this is the essence of the mobile paradigm, a reflection of the “now” / conversation paradigm, that meaningfully bring out what the brand stands for.
  • An example was how we  did a tour with our hotel experts of Taj West-end, Bangalore, and got them to talk about stuff in the hotel which the guests couldn't obviously see.

Monday, 9 February 2015

"From Rajnikanth to Ganesha" Video with Ryan Germick, Google's Doodler-in-Chief

Ryan Germick leads the Doodle team at Google, responsible for the refreshing new manifestation of the logo of Google everytime it changes. He has +2,000 illustrations, animations, and interactive experiences on Google home pages around the world.
He co-designed the Street View Pegman and Gmail's emoticons, and was the driving creative force behind the Pac-Man,Sesame Street, Charlie Chaplin, Les Paul, Robert Moog, Star Trek, and 2012 London Olympics doodles among many dozen others. We discuss how Ryan sees the creative and the tech worlds merge... Ryan loves the Mobile mindshift, Rajnikanth (Yes,Thalaiva himself!) and Indian Gods and Mythology....


Monday, 26 January 2015

"TeenPatti is India's answer to CandyCrush" RahulRazdan, ExWechat

Rahul, previously head, India with TenCent (Wechat) and IBIBO games,  currently leading a Gaming revolution with Mango Games talks about  the coming Gaming revolution in India.

On messaging apps, "Unleashing the phone book made whatsapp open up floodgates, but others, such as Line, Wechat, Kakaotalk etc have gone way ahead"

He discusses Mobile gaming and why India has been held back in this space.

Rahul's links:

"Mobile First is passe, its now Mobile Only" Aloke Bajpai IXIGO

My chat with Aloke Bajpai, the CEO/founder of IXIGO-He explains how an entire generation of indians uses mobile as the only experience to access the digital world, and why thinking for this audience requires a "mobile only" thinking, not be hamstrung by the desktop experience at all. He also talks about "graceful ways to degrade the experience, to account for spotty cellular data coverage"

Servicing +5M customers monthly, IXIGO is a travel intermediary that is very focused on the mobile only digital ecosystem, they got funded $18.5 M in 2011.

Aloke's links

Thursday, 22 January 2015

"100Million wallets by next year" VijayShekharSharma, PAYTM

The new rockstar on the block is PayTM, which has raised +600 Million from Alibaba and Temasek on a $1.5 Billion valuation. My chat with Vijay Shekhar Sharma, who is targeting +100 Million wallets by the next year.
We get into detail on the business, on how they have travelled this far... Brilliant conversation.

Vijay's Links:

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

"Buy Media by targeting audiences, not Placements" says Tushar Vyas, GroupM

Tushar is a managing partner for the digital media business of GroupM, India's largest media buying company (30-40% of all media spends). Tushar has been a speaker at various online, mobile digital media summits in the past. In this conversation-he shares his take, based on his being in the thick of things on the following:
  • The Digital advertising Landscape?
  • How long should we expect mobile advertising to scale to a level whereit becomes significant, and are big FMCG brands taking to it?
  • Realtime bidding and Programmatic buying– how is it impacting theadvertising world? is it good or bad  for publishers? Is it good or bad for advertisers?
Some snippets: “Digital is about using Tech to get the right message at the right time to the consumer”
“Traditional media is placement driven- front page, ipl etc… though those exist in the digital
environment as well, they are sold as human to human transactions (egReservation buy in Google) -The new way to buy media is to chase audiences not placements- define audiences on context (eg search) or on past behavior (eg retargeting)…”


Sunday, 4 January 2015

"Hybrid Experts" Morihiko Hasebe, Hakuhodo Japans 2nd largest agency

Mori from Japan's 2nd largest Agency, Hakuhodo, talks about how agencies in Japan have developed "Hybrid Experts", who have interdisciplinary skills to create non linear campaigns... how does copywriting + architecture sound? How about an art director with medical experience? outcomes are Hito Hospital and Remm Business hotel. He talks about how advertising is expanding its territory to develop products and services using skills picked up in advertising.

Born and raised in Tokyo, Mori started out as a copywriter with Hakuhodo in 1986. Driven by his passion to communicate, he undertook a wide variety of projects with creative freedom. He also produced big campaigns which reached millions. Before he knew it, he was a veteran of 28  years, with many international and domestic awards under his belt. His passion for great advertising continues to drive him. Mori has sat on the film Jury at Cannes in 2003, AdFest in 2005, Asia Advertising Award(AAA), One Show, D&AD in 2006 & 2008, and chaired at The Chillies(Sri Lankan Ad Award) in 2007. He also judged ACC, Japan’s major TVC award from 2004-2006, Spkes Asia in 2009, AdStars and CICCLPE in 2014.


Thursday, 1 January 2015

"Creating Typeface and Fonts for Indian languages" SarangKulkarni

What does it take to create fonts for Indian languages? my chat with Sarang Kulkarni, who supplies google with all the typefaces of indian languages.

In todays mobile/digital/screen led world, the user interface on the screen is the all important defining criterion for what gets popular and what doesnt. The language typeface is at the core of this- i explore how, as the internet reaches out to the billion indians, other languages beyond english will matter more, and how typefaces are being created for those languages?

An alumnus of Sir J. J. Institute of Applied arts, Sarang specializes in type design and calligraphy. In 2005, he founded ‘WhiteCrow’ – a type foundry and design studio based in Mumbai. With key clients such as Vodafone India, Virgin Mobile India, Star India, and Coca Cola India, White Crow has steadily found its niche in multi-lingual branding, designing custom typefaces across Indian scripts and calligraphy. Sarang is also a part of ‘Aksharaya’, a group of Letter conscious people who channelise their collective efforts to document, promote, explore and create awareness about Indian scripts.

Ek Type is a collaborative type foundry based in India that specializes in developing fonts across Indian languages, many of which will be multi-script.


"Personalisation is at the core of digital and the future of Marketing" ...

Many of you thought Adobe was about flash and creative suite , right?  Well, the digital marketing cloud - Adobe's marketing platform makes up 20% of Adobe’s estimated value and generated around $1 billion in annual revenues in 2013. One can say they get Digital better than any other company because they power up pretty much most of the digital marketing infra in companies out there- with 15,000 clients.
My chat with Mark Szulc, the Guru & Platform evangelist on how he sees Digital as mainstream marketing. He talks about how personalisation is at the core of what constitutes digital, and is at the future of marketing.
Collection of data across digital properties, web apps, mobile properties etc... and capture it across platforms, and look for insights/ anomaly detections from data and use it to optimise experience or drive outcomes.


Saturday, 6 December 2014

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Going Digital: How the bottom of the pyramid in India get online- video ...

My video with a very interesting entrepreneur, Paresh Rajde, who runs an assisted model for people who cannot transact online. "Earlier he used to go to railway station/ electricity board to pay bills, today he walks into one of my Suvidhaa centres..."

Even today, only 8% of population are online, 92 % cannot, and most transactions a cash, Without digital access and digital money how do we reach the technology benefit to the masses? Suvidhaa is one alternative.

Suvidhaa, in 7 years,  has a pan india, footprint of over 75,000 small retail touch points across 2800+ towns in India and services over 20 mn unique customers. It has 300 partners across 20 categories of services, from insurance to rail tickets.

Suvidhaa was ranked by Red Herring Inc., amongst Asia’s Top 100 Start-ups in 2009 & nominated for Global 200 Start-ups in 2010 and more recently, as per The Brand Trust Report – India Study 2013, Suvidhaa has been acknowledged & recognized as the “Most Trusted Retail Services Brand”.

Paresh's Links

Law for the Design and Creative Folks: Kushagra Shah, IP Lawyer

Kushagra from Kundalia Associates is a Kolkata based lawyer who deals with law as it pertains to a designer, design studio and a creative individual...
Criminal law's aim is to try a person accused of a crime... whereas with intangible property, it is about helping them protect their property. Today's Digital world means that if someone copies somebody elses material, they are 1000 times more likely to be found out. Infact, there are business models built around just infringements of IP law...
He talks about how someone opened a lounge serving purported  Darjeeling tea- that the darjeeling tea folks opposed- this is in supreme court.

Kushagra's links

Saturday, 22 November 2014

"Designing businesses is as creative as picking up a pen"-Mat Heinl, Mov...

My video with Mat Heinl, CEO of Moving Brands, a London hq'd creative/design agency :
Their client base spans a range- from A 200 year old Saville Row tailor -Norton and Sons, to global complex organisations like Swisscom or HP.
On mobile in India, he says-"The leapfrog in access, where you take a group of people with zero access and give them perhaps more access than people in the first world- thats interesting set of circumstances, that just overcomes legacy of we haven't done this before ... it will be like fire"
They designed Infosys experience centre, where they had to explain a wide range of services as an offer to the customer. They made it high tech, interactive form factor opportunity. We needed to work a lot on how we bring content to life- how do i translate strategy into something more engaging and human.

Mat's Links: