World Economic Forum Wrap up

It’s been a hectic 10 days – other than every city being hotter by 10 degrees than the other and the timezones being in a continuous state of flux – what struck me so much this time was the difference and diversity that really exists – in some sense reminding me of the oh-so-ept HSBC adverts where the same thing means something different…

But rather than bore you with my philosophical ranting here is a quick few lines on what the Annual Meeting of New Champions brought up…

1. Cloud Computing is firmly in fashion – I sat in a presentation in the “Beta” zone (catchy as to the world the Cloud is Work In Progress) where I could swear the slides shared by some of the panelists that included Clive Selley from BT were music to our ears (here I refer to nivio).

The forum I think has done a great job in brining this mainstream but feel that there could have been more oomph to it and I think more of the debate-able topics – so everyone with low and high involvement walked out learning something new.

My push to the Head of Sales for Akamai would be whether they would exist in the future if regional datacenters would be the way forward – especially given the internet is more than the USA!

2. A great talk by the Chinese Premier – probably one of the best I heard the snippets of (I missed the closing plenary to get onto a plane back home!). But I believe the optimism of growth, the advice to company’s entering China and the potential concerns for the double dip that “could” occur this year/2011 were probably some of the most vibrant views he talked about – I am not sure if anyone asked about the matter of hacking Google but then I think given we were in tianjin it may not have been a wise move

3. The nightcaps – this for all of you that are new to the forum is where everyone speaks off the record, ties get lose, jackets come off and in Davos it get’s even risque but thats more for another post. Imagine having a jamaican band singing Waka Waka in the middle of an Industrial City in China in a party hosted by one of India’s largest Tech/Process firms (GenPact) – Pramod Bhasin is the CEO and put on a real show!

4. The friends you meet and make – this is the real heart of attending the Forum – the likeminded people you meet again and the new and old friends you find. My buddies this year were a blast – the guys from Scribd – humbling to meet them and infact I think they have a great CTO (I made notes whilst talking to him – now if only we could find ourselves another Jared!

5. The meetings – why at the bottom because I think they are important but not the spirit of the Forum and what / why we are there… we met the heads of BT, Akamai, Wipro, Alcatel Lucent and others… by in all – it was clear that our year was going to be busy as long as ship product on time (which thanks to my dedicated and unbelievably resourceful team this may be our first on time ship!)

That’s about all…

More soon… I am trying to be regular!


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What does a CEO do and tianjin?!

Whilst thinking about planning my packing to the lovely city of Tianjin for this years World Economic Forum Summer Davos session I got an email from my little cousin with a link that actually one of our board had also sent me some days back.

So without repeating what I read – I wanted to link to the article as I think it is very insightful… http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2010/09/what-a-ceo-does-continued.html

The important here is to note a few really important elements in the CEO hat:

1. In the beginning the CEO does everything – sweep the floor to decide billion dollar vision.

2. At a certain points he/she build a team and starts to flow the creative juices – he/she is in the team.

3. At a certain point, arguable, he or she is partly in the team and partly out of it… in some cases the bond with the COO grows but distinctly the job at the top becomes lonely.

4. They have to usher brilliance and encourage people to take chances yet shepherd the company to steer properly; this is sometimes contradictory.

5. They have to be able to live and breathe uncertainty externally and yet breathe calm/peace when they look into the eyes of those in their company…

6. They need to excite, inspire and push forward… and ideally create a chain reaction so everyone else does.

7. They need to focus on long term and short terms – stitching what sometimes look as different chapters from a different book into a single book!

8. They at times need to make unpopular decisions and things that align with the vision.

9. They need to smile a lot and be able to communicate culture, vision but also failure with the same passion and gusto…

10. THEY NEED TO BELIEVE….

More on Tianjin in the next post – am about to leave this coffee shop! Oh the perils of running around in monsoon season in India!

Is hiring obsolete?!

I read this and think it is great… here is a snippet with a link to Paul’s site.

Hiring is Obsolete http://paulgraham.com/hiring.html

May 2005

(This essay is derived from a talk at the Berkeley CSUA.)

The three big powers on the Internet now are Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft. Average age of their founders: 24. So it is pretty well established now that grad students can start successful companies. And if grad students can do it, why not undergrads?

Like everything else in technology, the cost of starting a startup has decreased dramatically. Now it’s so low that it has disappeared into the noise. The main cost of starting a Web-based startup is food and rent. Which means it doesn’t cost much more to start a company than to be a total slacker. You can probably start a startup on ten thousand dollars of seed funding, if you’re prepared to live on ramen.

The less it costs to start a company, the less you need the permission of investors to do it. So a lot of people will be able to start companies now who never could have before.

The most interesting subset may be those in their early twenties. I’m not so excited about founders who have everything investors want except intelligence, or everything except energy. The most promising group to be liberated by the new, lower threshold are those who have everything investors want except experience.

Christmas @ Nivio

Christmas at Nivio is always a lot of fun! This year has been a lot of work and equally a lot of fun – but the results have been super especially towards the end of the year!

Some highlights:

– Our social networking endeavours finally taking off
– Rio (our puppy) made his debut visit to Nivio’s london office
– We got a london office!
– Lots of telco partnerships!
– We started the qtr with less than 10% paid and ended the qtr with greater than 90% paid as a sign up rate!

Ok more in a bit better get bk to the poker game im losing!

Cloud – too many things to too many people

Having spent a good part of this year pitching to VCs I’ve realised that there is a general misunderstanding or worse still an overuse of the word cloud.

I believe the world sees cloud computing by in large from either an enterprise angle or from a pure web apps play – and that seems to be the be all end all of cloud computing – atleast in the eyes of a lot of the eurozone vcs.

Cloud computing is so much more than just some apps sitting and using storage on an EC3 or azure. Surely the real potential of the “grid”, the “cloud” or the “generators” is to
A) maximise the utilisation of under utilised resources – by that I mean your PC!
B) use the benefits of offloaded processing and subscription based applications to provide computing to the 5bn people that today don’t have access to it.
C) remove all the pain areas associated with running your own “generator” and instead have a steady, controlled service where you get what you want on demand!

I sincerely hope we see more “cloud” initiatives pushing computing to a new generation of users.

Incidentally this is why we created nivio!