Archive | December, 2007

mobile-worx moves into a bigger and better office

31 Dec

Mobile-worx started growing at a surprisingly fast pace. And with growth came the need to expand our teams and we did just that! but once  we expanded our teams a realization dawned upon us that we need to be in a  really big, better, swankier and kick-ass office. From then on the hunt began. And let me tell you (and trust me on this one) it is easier to find a needle in haystack than finding a good office space in a prime locality in Chennai. Sure they were office spaces available dime a dozen in Chennai. Big, swanky, really corporate…etc. but we weren’t looking for any office. We wanted THE office which reflected the mood of mobile-worx and its products – Mklix.com and ZestADZ. So, after much huff and puff and lots of “roaming “in and around Chennai (we owe it over to our HR guy Sathish forever) we finally zeroed in on our new office in the heart of Chennai city (or should be say Singara Chennai).Our new office is in Chetpet, stone throw away from Ega theater and snuggled up quite nicely in a peaceful street, opposite of RBI quarters. You should visit us sometime.

But the really challenge was to yet to come. The odyssey which involved from negotiating the price to moving the furniture from our old office to new one and setting up cubicles was a nightmare. But then we enjoyed doing it. You see, our new office had the right ingredients in place. The perfect bastion for mobile-worx.

It is from here we will map our progress and aim to conquer the mobile space. It will be from here, our nerve centre; we will unleash ideas, strategies, thoughts which would reverberate the arena of mobile advertising and mobile social networking.

And to top it, mobile-worx appetite for talented people has started again. So we are once again going on the expansion spree for people- aggressive mavericks for sales, die- hard creative people for marketing and persistent people for technology. 

On behalf of everyone in mobile-worx, we wish all our advertisers, publishers and Mklix users a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Mobile-Worx new OFfice

 

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A martyr in twilight

28 Dec

After the initial shock wore off and minutes after the gravity of the situation dawned upon me, a sheer sense of unexplained sadness snaked its way into heart and engulfed me completely.The assassination of Benazir Bhutto was something which I never thought would happen.

I see her name /images/video clippings almost every other day either in the newspapers or in TV news channels; of her interviews, speeches… just about everything she has been doing since her dramatic return to Pakistan. And, why not? She is after all the prodigal daughter of PAKISTAN!

You may admire her for what she has been doing since her return to her homeland or hate her completely for straying away from her party’s political ideologies by drinking with the devil himself (the General, of course) to restore democracy in the country. But you can never ignore her. She was the last clarion for democracy in Pakistan.

To me she always appeared alive, pristine and had a controlled persona about the way she went about doing things which wanted to do. Like Hindu editorial aptly pointed out- She was a very courageous leader who wanted to set right the things which went wrong.

She is no more now. And with that, Pakistan has lost its most prominent torchbearer in its odyssey to become a stable democratic nation. Had she done that… had she single handedly restored democracy in the country , she would have entered the annals of Pakistan as a leader par excellence bring hope and future to the people.

In death however though, she as entered the history books as a martyr.

To Ms Bhutto (hear me if you can)

Couple of months down the lane, the world would forget you. A year from now, they would only remember you on your death anniversary’s. But believe me, it is better that way. Because, Ms Bhutto , you are not going to miss anything down here. Be happy where ever you are right now and curse the fate for not giving you the time to complete your duty.

Farewell, Ms Bhutto.

 

 

 

wow! Mklix.com (product of mobile-worx) featured in livemint

10 Dec

We recently got featured in livemint.com, which is an achievement in itself. It was very heartening to see our product being reviewed by one of the leading financial online newspaper in the country.

Basically the report states that www.mklix.com, product of the parent company mobile-worx, will be will be a mobile social networking portal where users can download premium mobile content like games, wallpapers, themes completely free.

It will be the first mobile social community in India where users can download premium content, connect with existing friends via group messaging, meet new friends and download free mobile applications completely free.

Users get it free because all features and downloads in Mklix is completely ad supported. Which means, when the users try to download any mobile content from the site, using their WAP enabled mobile device, they will get to see an ad embedded during the download process. The ads in the content will be non-intrusive and will be based on the interests of the users.

Will give you guys a complete run down on what mklix is all about in my next post. Meanwhile, check out the news clip here- Free downloads on phones

 

see you soon

The mark of a true leader- Mark (facebook founder) apologizes

6 Dec

 

“To be a leader, follow the leader” is what my company founder Terry Uppal advised me today. And in Mark Zuckerberg you see an ideal leader. He has finally come out and has profusely apologized on the way Beacon program was released and marketed. And that, my dear friends how it should be done!

A company, be it a start-up or a well established one, tries to grow in the market by new product releases and by entering new unexplored avenues (or markets) with kick-ass product marketing to their best of their ability. But nobody ever said that every time there is a new product released it is going to be success overnight. And that’s what has happened to Facebook Beacon project. For the first time facebook tried to monetize their site and it went wrong. Fair enough! Shit happens in business all the time. You make a mistake, then you unlearn and then you re-learn.

That is what Mark has done today. He has come out in public and apologized for the mistake made in the product release. You should read his post here- The facebook Blog

Remember, the whole issue was raised by 50,000 users and facebook has 35 million registered! But a good leader, a good business man is the one who values each and every customer of his and delivers what his customer wants, address issues raised by his customers and sort it out accordingly. He could have ignored the whole problem and went ahead with the program and as consolation issue a press release. But no! he personally apologizes to his users that a mistake has been made , lessons has been learnt and it will be corrected eventually. If that is not hallmark of leadership, I don’t know what is.

I had earlier posted my thoughts on Facebook Beacon Project release and had ended it with a note on how keenly I would be watching Mark’s next move on this issue. You can read my post on Facebook Beacon privacy issue.

Simple idea: – It is ok to make mistakes but it takes guts to accept that you have and then go ahead and correct it.

let me know what you guys think

 

see you soon

Technology or consumer- who is more important?

6 Dec

Sunil Bhrathi Mittal once pointed out, in The Economics time’s forum, that technology is not important but it is how you use the technology available to get results is…

I believe that he has made a very important point here. Technology keeps changing everyday but your goals remain the same (I am talking about the long term vision of your company). The core goals of the company are /should be well defined and crystal clear internally and externally.

Companies will spend billions of dollars in developing the latest technology but remember that ultimately technology is created for you to run your business in perfect order. and how will you run your business in perfect order? You do that by getting more customers and keeping the existing customer happy. Once again it boils down to that issue- customer …customer…customer. Keep your customer! Technology should help you do that and not the other way round.

Came across an interesting article today in Advertising Age on what the CMO should do in the new media marketing era and how important customer relationship management is.

You may want to read the article here:

Importance of customer focus

 

see you soon..

what creativity should be…

5 Dec

Read a very interesting anecdote in one of the leading newspapers today which got me cracking .

Let’s see the anecdote first:
Back in the 1960’s American space agency NASA was faced with a major dilemma. Astronauts needed a pen that would write in the vacuum of space. NASA got cracking into developing the $1.5 million gravity-immune “astronaut pen”. At the same time, the Russians too were faced with same dilemma. However, they used a pencil instead! The lesson is a valid one. Anyone can have a creative idea, but if it comes at the cost of simplicity and common sense, it probably isn’t as creative as it seems.
Fantastic, isn’t it? The anecdote got my juices up and running first thing, early morning.

I don’t care if you are a product manager (like me) , advertiser, brand marketer, sales head or just about any of those fancy titles you hold (there are dime a dozen available in the English Lang lexicon thickets) in your current job. Let us get the idea straight to our head point blank. If u have a product out there in the market or an idea churning in your head which you want to put in play, always (I cannot say enough of this one)… always put your customer first. Your customer can be from any vertical or any parameter but things are beautiful when they are simple, straight and easy to understand. If you don’t have that, you have lost the war (not just the battle) in the game.
Any product you launch in the market should have these elements in place:

  • Great UI : retailer can call this visual merchandising.
  • Easy navigation : your customer should be able to use your product without checking the user manual continuously.
  • Relevant content: you better get your target defined or else, as the old adage goes, if you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there. So, identity your audience, define him, and then deliver what he needs (exactly what he needs to see, read, hear) . The brand has to penetrate him in all the six senses he has. So, your content should be topnotch.
  • Easy accessibility (what you call customer service): your customer should know how to reach you and he should be able to do that fast. Call it support team, feedback team, customer backup, client servicing etc… The point is simple- keep your customer happy and satisfied and he will bring you more.

This is not an all inclusive list but these are the basic points you need to cover . feel free to drop in your points, ideas and opinions here!

Facebook Becon – privacy issue- Product Managers take note

1 Dec

Going by The Hindu’s op-ed report (a New York Times news extract), Facebook seems to have been caught in the wrong foot with its new hyper-targeting ad system called Facebook Beacon. A Beacon is nothing but a mini-feed which lets you see your friend’s online buying activities.

Let me give u an example: lets say you buy a book from a particular book shop owner, who happens to be an advertiser teamed up with facebook. Facebook watches your action and puts it up in your news feed section announcing to your friends that you have bought an “x” book from “abc” bookshop owner. It is like you are endorsing this advertiser when you are buying this “x” book from him and giving an assurance to your friends saying that you can trust the advertisers to buy books from him in the future. This is an extension of user generated advertisement and believe me, this is a quiet a powerful way to advertise and reach your customers.

This concept is called online tracking & advertising, a popular method wherein the service providers keeps track of where users are going, and send ads according to their interests , thereby making it more relevant and interactive . Companies like Microsoft, Myspace or Google do it all the time; the only thing is we don’t notice it at all.

What facebook is trying to do is, instead of tracking user’s actions and sending ads behind the scenes like the other companies do, they are being more transparent about it and sending it as mini-feeds.

But the problem brewed up, when around 50,000 registered members dint like it when facebook started telling their friends what they are buying and from whom they are buying it. This they considered as a breach of their privacy. So when Moveon.org took up this issue, these 50,000 users went ahead and singed up to show their dissent.

For Mark Zuckerberg (23), Beacon is going to be an interesting and important issue to deal with. Facebook was started, during his Harvard University days studying for his under graduation degree, to help students inside the campus (with a valid university mail id) to stay in touch with each other. Today, facebook has grown into a 35 million strong community and surely becoming a fierce rival for MySapce which has over 50 million users, not to mention Bebo.

Beacon will be used to turn this service into a profit making machine and testimonial to this is the fact that Microsoft recently took up a stake by paying 240 million dollar , which means Facebook is valued at 15 billion $ .But i personally think the whole release process and the way it was released was wrong from a “product release” point of view.

As a rookie product manager for mklix.com, I would be keeping an eye on what Mark is going to do next(or what he says) and how he is plans to execute the Beacon program. I will let you know some of the product management aspects on this issue in my next post.

See you soon…