Category Archives: Misc

Startups :Creating barrier of entries

next-great-idea

Very first qn that crosses the mind of first time startup entrepreneurs. How do I protect my idea ?

Foremost important thing : Ideas are worthless unless executed properly with viable business plan.

Here are some ways:
1. File for provisional patent if you plan to sell in US..its not very expensive, but creates some barrier of entry..If you are not in US, follow same in your country if it has IP laws
2. Register your company and file for trademarks ..again not very expensive, but its not very cheap…
3. Partner with a very reputable law firm.For example my lawfirm is WSGR (www.wsgr.com) and they are very good and rank among top 10 in US. Many lawfirms are startup friendly or find one who is. Many defer fees or don’t charge anything for 1st yr. Negotiate with them. Partnering with good law firm has its benefits and it also signal investors that you are advised by some good firms.
4. Build MVP faster . Ideas don’t matter much. Execution and viable business models matter. So work on that.
5. Once you register your company legally and have finalized idea/business model , start branding campaigns to generate some traction..these are not so easy and takes time.
6. Start thinking of EU/FDA compliance process…They require tons of documentation and are very process oriented..get familiar with it…Familiarity and knowledge is important and can keep your copy cats away for some time…
7. As I mentioned earlier, Start selling …Many think they should sell only when they have beta or final product…Selling should begin very early to really understand what works and what doesn’t with minimum resources…fail fast and fail often should be the key to accelerate your success 🙂

Would love to hear more ideas and thoughts from readers.

Republished all popular posts back…

Recently my blog has been hacked and the wordpress sql db has been corrupted. For some reason, I had backup of everything else except the critical sql db which has all the posts and many useful comments/responses… I had many articles dating back to 2005…Its a big loss to me..Ofcourse lesson learned 🙂

Luckily, waybackmachine.org has come to my rescue. I was able to retrieve all my posts and republish them with the only caveat being all posts are with today’s date..I did’nt retrieve some of them as I felt its useless as they are not relevant given we are in 2012…

If you have bookmarked any article and I haven’t republished, let me know the article name/blog post and I will do the needful….

Lastly, I haven’t blogged for a while due to personal commitments, but will blog going forward. Also, I will be blogging now on healthcare, Wireless sensors, systems design, energy management .

Cisco Valet router or Fon 2.0N

Cisco Valet router or Fon 2.0N :

by kiran on Aug.02, 2010, under General, Technology

Should I buy “ease of setup” Cisco Valet router or “smart router which can get more things done with ease of setup” aka Fon 2.0N .

I’m not writing a PR for Fon 2.0N nor this is a marketing blog for Fonera. I’m working on home automation on a tighet budget and have been looking at various devices and saw the video from cisco valet routers and after reading through the specifications , I had this question: why buy Cisco Valet routers when you can do the same and get more things done for lesser price . I’m talking about the Fon 2.0N router from Fonera . I’m an happy Fon 2.0N user for over 8 months and the setup is a breeze so it should satisfy the networking newbies as well (defaults works as well ) and can create seperate network for outsiders/guests (meaning no need to share you private wireless SSID/WEP keys). So question is why someone should 150$ for just “ease of setup”.. Fon works on opensource and also downloads torrents, converts 3G to Wifi, is media/print server, can handle youtube/picasa/megaupload/rapidshare . It actually serves large audience including newbies/geeks/students/wireless enthusiasts .

check this link from networkworld newsletter where the author tells that linksys E-series routers from cisco itself does all the above with lesser price tag..Even then, Fon 2.0N should be a better choice.

Looks like Cisco is trying to appeal consumers with “ease of setup” as their pitch…but will they succeed or will this be yet another router from cisco…?

What I have to admit is, I liked the product design and from what I have seen, they seem to have avoided the usage of technical terms including “router” :) and they use wireless hot spots/internet access which helps many users though… Since I haven’t tried the router hands-on and my impression was based on the router specs and videos from cisco, I might be wrong as well. If anyone has hands-on experience , let me know or let me know if I’m missing something

Genchi Genbutsu Principle..

Genchi Genbutsu : People who have read books about Toyota’s philosphy or who work in Japanese factroys might have known this term already.. Click the link below for small explanation what it means

http://www.japanese123.com/genchigenbutsu.htm

In a general sense , it can be applied to any industry. I know a R&D director in a decent  startup who doesnt have a clue what the market wants. He sits in his cubicle and visualizes what the market wants and directs his R&D team. I was like what the crap ??. He is technically  brilliant, but if he doesnt know where there is a gap in the market, what is the use of his technical brilliance ???

” what gets developed in R&D, stays in R&D only ”

Being an Field Application Engineer

It is a long post (you are warned !! :)
I have been recently asked by someone as what it takes to be sucessful application engineer . So, I thought why not blog about ..Though much of it is written from EDA industry perspective, it applies for appln engineers in other industries as well. So, here it goes ….
1. Technical expertise : You have to be atleast good if not proficient in the domain..for example, lets say, if you are application engineer for a formal verification product, you need to have expertise in the FV techniques and good understanding as what logic/physical synthesis tools do in terms of optimization. Just mere tool knowledge will not suffice..

2. You should be a like a double edged sword ..You need to be able to understand the hardware design…be it RTL , Scan insertion , P&R or CTS and at the same time , you should be able to understand how the algorithm (tool) behaves (from software perspective..)..If you dont understand both, you will not be able to understand what the HW designer is trying to accomplish and at the same time, you will not be able to find out if the tool is missing any feature or is it a limitation of the technology and finally if it is a bug …one more important reason is , you might need to translate the designers intention into a feature speficiation and direct your R&D.

3. Business Sense : I think this is very important component for an Appln engineer. You need to be in constant touch with the customer and get feedback on the product. You should be able to sense the impact derived from that feedback. Whenever there is a oppurtunity to promote a new product, you should do so immediately and let your marketing/sales team know about it immediately. Just being technical is not enough.
Application engineer without good business sense can negatively impact the company he represents.

4. Pre-Sales : Ability to benchmark against the competitor and convince him about your products technical merits. Depending upon the competetion and product and domain in which you operate, this can be very intensive and grilling. Failure is not an option . A true winning aptitude and to do whatever it takes is absolute must. No compromises.
I’m not exagaretting , but it might involve some sacrifices like working during xmas or thanksgiving :) . Pre-Sales campaigns can very stressful and can burn a person. So, if you cant work under pressurized environment and have strict rules about your work timings, then you might not like this role. Believe me there are some customers who keep  evaluating for very long time or they evaluate now and then re-evaluate after couple of months and there are reasons why they do like this ( first and foremost reason is to check the quality of the tool :) ) . So it is tiresome and it requires willingness to walk that extra mile to win the benchmark is a must.
5. Post-Sales/Deployment : A succesful tech campaign and business(pre-saleS) win is the starting step. The 20/80 rule applies here ( 80% of the business comes from 20% of your customers). So, sucessful deployment of the product across the depth and breadth of the company is key . It will also gives Sales folks a chance to push other products
into the company. Dedicated and fast support is one of the strategies. Providing support for their first tapeout with your company’s product is another key. A sucessfull deployment also means to work with the design methodology groups,designers ( front end and backend ), understanding their design goals and issues ; resolving their issues . It might be necessary to come up a design methodlogy /flow either on a project basis or company wide . A constant interaction with the design team is a must . This also helps the appln engineer to see what is lacking and fill in the gaps either through scripting or getting R&D implement the missing features and enhance the product.

6. Evangelism : Not many folks know about this. Some people mix this with the marketing. This is virually non-existent in EDA/semiconductor industry. Marketing is more about the product , evangelism is creating a community around the product. Who else can be a better person other than the appln engineer to do this?

7. Customer Facing Skills : Only few people have this skill and like to be infront of customers. You need to have some thick skin and take all the yelling :) ..Imagine when you are presenting or giving a demo to a customer and your tool crashes everytime you invoke it :) , scary is’nt it? okk..lets ease up a bit, it crashes only few times, how can you face the customer now? You should be able to ease and control the situtation …I can list hundreds of scenarios like this . It also takes a great deal of energy to say NO to a customer. Believe me its not an easy situtation. You need to be diplomatic when saying so sothat relationships are’nt hurt . It all comes by experience and ability to dynamically change the situtation on the fly :)

8. Issue Management : Very important skill . Should be in constant touch with the customer , track down the issues and have a proper resolution to all their issues with a fix schedule . It is important that the customer acknowledges and is actually OK with the fix schedule.If the schedule is missed for any issue, customer should be informed immediately.

9. Time management : Ability to multi-task is a must.

10. Debugging Skills: If you are not good in debugging or cant debug fast enough, you dont fit to be an Appln engineer.

11. Attitude : Having a proper attitude and ability to learn things fast is necessary to suceed in the job. You might need to learn different technologies, products/tools to perform your job better.
12. Peer-Peer Commn : Try to maintain peer-peer communication. There is no book which teaches on how to debug faster or perform each of the above skills I mentioned sofar. It is only through peer-peer communication you can learn . You might have an experienced AE in your organization, who can give you pointers ; its not that you cant solve it , Its that the other AE has done it 100 times and so knows the common pitfalls . You can avoid doing the same mistakes and save your valuable time.

13. Product Strategy : This requires knowledge in competitors products and its features , different technologies , business sense. Only then you will be able to place the product strategically infront of the customer.

14. Licensing Model : It is not essential , but very good skill to posses and understand how the licensing works like what features can be licensed ( to understand this, you need to justify why the customer will pay for this in the first place ) . If you know of any other venues through which you can generate a revenue for your software, it surely helps the Sales organization. Remember sales fix everything :)

In short, appln engineer is best evangelist an EDA company can have. He is the face of the company , best knowledgeable (technical) person who can deliver solutions out of the box, best person who has access to people who use the tool and therefore can promote the product to real decision influentiers , best person to give feedback to the marketing and sales organization, drive the product usability in the field, enhance and validate the product ( and its features) ;

So sounds like fun job right!! Atleast I love it and I’m being constantly challenged with newer technologies , products, sales and marketing campaigns:)

I would appreciate any feedback or comments.

Wanna a start a company in India..here is the procedure to do so…

Kumaran on blog has posted the detailed procedure on whats required to start one . You can chech this link : How to lauch a company in india

or read it below :

This information will be useful for those who are looking in a nutshell the steps involved to start a Private Limited company in India1. First and foremost identify the Directors of the Company. Minimum of two directors need to present and Maximum of 8 is allowed.
2. All Directors should have DIN (Directors Identification Number). If you do not have one you can apply DIN online
at www.mca.gov.in. FAQ on DIN http://www.mca.gov.in/MinistryWebsite/dca/faq/faq1.html
Documents required for DIN

A. Identity Proof (Any one of the following)
PAN Card
Driving License
Passport
Voter ID Card
Others (to be specified)
B. Residence Proof (Any one of the following)
Driving License
Passport
Voter ID Card
Telephone Bill
Ration Card
Electricity Bill
Bank Statement
Others (to be specified)

3. Once you have got your DIN then you need to apply for Company name. You need to go with 5-6 names in the order which you prefer.If the name is not available then they go to the next one in the order you have provided.

4. You need to apply online for the name availability . You need to Fill in Form 1A. Forms are avilable at this
location.http://www2.mca.gov.in/MinistryWebsite/dca/downloadeforms/eformTemplates/1030-Form1A_help.zip

5. Once you have got your name approved you have to apply for the Incorporation of Company. For this you
will have to prepare Memorandum of Association which will detail what the company;s operations the first list of directors
who are going the be in the board need to be defined in this document. This should be applied along with Form 1
http://www2.mca.gov.in/MinistryWebsite/dca/downloadeforms/eformTemplates/1022-Form1_help.zip. Ocne this has been approved make atleast 10-15 copies of your Certificate of Incorporation and Memorandum of Association and have it in a booklet form.

6. Once your company has been incorporated you can open a Current account in any of the leading banks
for carrying out your operations. You will need to submit a copy of Certificate of Incorporation and Memorandum of Association along with Borad resolution to open the bank account.

7. Thenyou need to apply for TAN and PAN for the Company
https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/pan/form49A.html
https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/tan/form49B.html

8. If your services are in Software related area you can apply for STPI license which will give you certain benefits
like Company need not pay tax for 5 years, there will be no import or expurty duty levied on software/hardware,
You will get office spaces at lower rates at STPI units. These are few of the benefits of becoming an STPI member.

All this you can do on your own or you can outsource these to professional auditor. We did it through Auditor and it took almost three weeks (Upto Step 7 excluding STPI) and all charges(excluding sTPI) would approximately cost you Rs.25,000.

I am not sure how much it would cost if you do it on your own. I read in one of the blogs that in Delhi the whole
process was completed in 30 minutes after the e-Governance was launched.

Good Luck and If you need more information or any guidance drop in a mail.

This information will be useful for those who are looking in a nutshell the steps involved to start a Private Limited company in India

1. First and foremost identify the Directors of the Company. Minimum of two directors need to present and Maximum of 8 is allowed.
2. All Directors should have DIN (Directors Identification Number). If you do not have one you can apply DIN online
at www.mca.gov.in. FAQ on DIN http://www.mca.gov.in/MinistryWebsite/dca/faq/faq1.html
Documents required for DIN

A. Identity Proof (Any one of the following)
PAN Card
Driving License
Passport
Voter ID Card
Others (to be specified)
B. Residence Proof (Any one of the following)
Driving License
Passport
Voter ID Card
Telephone Bill
Ration Card
Electricity Bill
Bank Statement
Others (to be specified)

3. Once you have got your DIN then you need to apply for Company name. You need to go with 5-6 names in the order which you prefer.If the name is not available then they go to the next one in the order you have provided.

4. You need to apply online for the name availability . You need to Fill in Form 1A. Forms are avilable at this
location.http://www2.mca.gov.in/MinistryWebsite/dca/downloadeforms/eformTemplates/1030-Form1A_help.zip

5. Once you have got your name approved you have to apply for the Incorporation of Company. For this you
will have to prepare Memorandum of Association which will detail what the company;s operations the first list of directors
who are going the be in the board need to be defined in this document. This should be applied along with Form 1
http://www2.mca.gov.in/MinistryWebsite/dca/downloadeforms/eformTemplates/1022-Form1_help.zip. Ocne this has been approved make atleast 10-15 copies of your Certificate of Incorporation and Memorandum of Association and have it in a booklet form.

6. Once your company has been incorporated you can open a Current account in any of the leading banks
for carrying out your operations. You will need to submit a copy of Certificate of Incorporation and Memorandum of Association along with Borad resolution to open the bank account.

7. Thenyou need to apply for TAN and PAN for the Company
https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/pan/form49A.html
https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/tan/form49B.html

8. If your services are in Software related area you can apply for STPI license which will give you certain benefits
like Company need not pay tax for 5 years, there will be no import or expurty duty levied on software/hardware,
You will get office spaces at lower rates at STPI units. These are few of the benefits of becoming an STPI member.

All this you can do on your own or you can outsource these to professional auditor. We did it through Auditor and it took almost three weeks (Upto Step 7 excluding STPI) and all charges(excluding sTPI) would approximately cost you Rs.25,000.

I am not sure how much it would cost if you do it on your own. I read in one of the blogs that in Delhi the whole process was completed in 30 minutes after the e-Governance was launched.

From one of the users post :

or Overseas Company

A foreign company or individual planning to set up business outsourcing in Indian IT can do it as:

1.As a Foreign Company through a Liaison Office / Representative Office, Project Office or Branch Office.
2.As an Indian Company through a joint venture or a wholly owned subsidiary
3.Foreign Company is one that has been incorporated outside India and conducts business inside India. And these companies must comply with the provisions of Indian Companies Act 1956.

Liaison Office / Representative Office:

1.The ERA Act regulates the opening and operation of such offices while the RBIs (Reserve Bank of India) approval is needed for opening these offices.
2.These offices are not permitted to conduct any kind of business or commercial activity or to earn any income here.
3.Commercial activities must be limited to the collection and transmission of information between the overseas Head Office and the prospective Indian customer.
4.The overseas head office, through inward remittance of Foreign exchange, should meet the expenses of these offices.
5.Permission for these offices is granted initially for 3 years and may be extended from time to time.

Project Office

1.With the approval of RBI, overseas companies are planning to execute specific projects in India, which can set up temporary software projects or site offices in India.
2.This is generally for Government approved projects.

Branch Office

Foreign companies engaged in manufacturing and trading activities abroad can set up Branch Offices for business outsourcing in India with the permission of RBI, for the following purposes.

1.To represent the parent company / other foreign companies in various matters in India like buying / selling agents.
2.To conduct research work in the area in which the parent company is engaged, provided the results of the research work are made available to Indian Companies.
3.To undertake export and import trading activities.
4.To promote possible technical and financial collaborations between the Indian companies and overseas companies.
5.A branch office is not permitted to carry out manufacturing activities on its own but is permitted to sub contract these to Indian manufacturers.

As an Indian Company

1.Through incorporation of a company under the provisions of Indian Companies Act 1956, a foreign company can commence operations in India.
2.Foreign equity in such companies can be up to 100% depending upon the business plan of the foreign investor, prevailing investment policies of govt. of India and on the receipt of requisite approvals.

Joint Venture with an Indian partner

By forming strategic alliances with Indian partners, foreign companies can set up their operations in India.
This will benefit the foreign investor in the following ways:
1.Available financial resources of the Indian partner.
2.Already established distribution / marketing set up of the Indian partner.
3.Already established contacts of the Indian partner that help smoothen the process of setting up operations.

Approval of foreign investments

1.Automatic approval Foreign equity up to 50%, 51% and 74 % are given automatic approval by RBI, if they fulfill the prescribed parameters (in certain industries) specified by the Government of India.
2.Govt. approval Foreign equity exceeding 50%, 51% or 74% in both specified and unspecified industries needs prior specific approval from Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

Wholly Owned Subsidiary

1.If a foreign investor holds 100% share of an Indian IT Company it has the right to set up a wholly owned subsidiary.
2.Prior approval from FIPB is needed.
3.Only holding operation is involved and all subsequent/downstream investments to be carried out require prior govt. approval.
4.Proprietary technology is sought to be protected or sophisticated technology is proposed to be brought in.
5.At least 50% of the production is to be exported.
6.Proposals for consultancy.
7.Proposals for infrastructure like roads, industrial model towers, industrial parks or estates

Johari window Model-Improving Interpersonal Communication

sted in Generalat 11:19 am by kiran

For ppl who havent heard about this before , here is a brief note about it: Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham invented this model to improve the human interaction …in otherwords improve interpersonal communication skills…

As you see, in the picture there are four quadrants, the first quadrant “OPEN”, it indicates things which you know about urself and which others also know about you…feelings, impressions,needs , ambitions or desires etc…

In the second quadrant “BLIND”, things which are unknown to you, but which others might know about you or which they might have noticed about you , but unknown to you fall in this quadrant. For example, a person might have noticed that you use the word “actually” quite frequently during conversations, which you didnt observe. Or another example could be that you dont maintain eye contact when talking or you are not good listener. Few things which people might have noticed about you , but they might be hesistant to reveal them to you …but once they reveal, all those things move into the Quadrant I , since you and the other person also knows those things about you……

In the third quadrant “HIDDEN”, things which you know about yourself, but are unknown to rest..mostly kept as secret within yourself ….for example, you might have desires to do some stuff which you are not comfortable in revealing it to the public. One should be careful as what to be/can be revealed and to whom it can be revealed.

The last quadrant “UNKNOWN” talks about things which you and others dont know as well …..when the person is put into new situtations or given new challenges ..lot of new things/capabilities will be revealed and depending upon the information revealed..it can be moved into either Quadrant I or Quadrant III.

Corporations can use Johari window model to improve intergroup and intragroup communucation skills ….at a personal level, this helps in self improvement and
gives opp to work on things which otherwise would have remained as “blind” spots itself.

If you know certain things about me which lies in quadrant II, feel free to let me know ….