Web 3.0 by Sramana Mitra

September 27, 2007

Recently found a very interesting blog by Sramana Mitra…an internet veteran with a very impressive profile.

She has given her overall perspective on where web is going…and calls it Web 3.0…a very attractive title indeed for all aspirants who think that they’ve missed the Web 2.0 bus… 🙂

Her formula is as follows –

3C = Content, Commerce, Community | 4th C = Context | P = Personalization | VS = Vertical Search

Web 3.0 = (4C + P + VS).

Traditionally, Content and Commerce have always been separate…Community and UGC are latest fads…and they earn revenue by advertising content to relevant users (context and personalization)…where a lot of advertisers are eCommerce players…

Amazon is the only company I see around, which has a good focus on each of the above…they have great recommendation system…that always encourages discovery of new content (good for eCommerce)…they have great personalization and context…they have flawless eCommerce…but all the content they have is UGC…they don’t themselves create expert content (book reviews etc.)…and there is not as much focus on community, though there are community features like ListMania…

Doesn’t it sound too ambitious? Imagine a CNet + Wize + eBay…

But theoretically…there is nothing wrong with having an eCommerce site that gives you great SN features and great content…may be it’s just that we are habitual of having separate providers for content and commerce…and some great player will change our perceptions…

Sramana has also written some posts about important verticals…like travel and jobs from Web 3.0 perspective…very interesting ones indeed…


Nuances of open source technologies…

September 24, 2007

I have always faced these problems during last 4 years of J2EE development. This problem that I faced now, is an epitome of that.

1. I am using Hibernate3 with Weblogic. So I tried the new feature of delete HQL query. Steangely, it says…”org.hibernate.QueryException: query must begin with SELECT or FROM“.

2. Digging on this, I found this – http://forum.springframework.org/showthread.php?t=18732 which asked me to use the new HQL parsing version ASTQueryTranslatorFactory instead of ClassicQueryTranslatorFactory.

3. Upon using that, I found this , this and this (Weblogic issues).

4. To summarize, Weblogic uses some old version of a parsing library (antlr), and it loads that library before loading application. This prevents HB3 to see the new version of antlr, which is needed to parse this new kind of queries (HQL update or HQL delete).

So, in the end, it looks like it’s not possible to use these queries. 😥

I just wanted to delete some rows from database god damn !!! 

This problem summarizes typical compatibility issues every open source developer faces so often. I wonder whether .NET developers are free from such weird issues?

P.S. Hibernate 3 does not support SQL update/delete queries with createSQLQuery() API…why? why? why? 🙂

Finally…I used session.Connection() API to get the connection and used good old PreparedeStatement to do the work for me.

Paul Graham on the ‘Elite’ class…

September 11, 2007

I’ve always felt that IIT’s and IIM’s are hyped…

Now, you can of course say that this is because I didn’t  join one… 🙂 

But seriously, how much you gain out of a college really depends on you, rather than the college, or the Prof’s. Now, in Indian scenario, this varies a little. The gap in quality of professors in IIT’s and just below that, is huge…unlike US.

Paul Graham has validated these thoughts with the experience he had in Y Combinator…as always, very interesting and thought provoking to read.

Dharmesh on startup conflicts…

August 24, 2007

Startups, is an immensely high involvement activity…just like marriage…

In a marriage, a natural bond present between heterosexual beings keeps couples together…in up’s and down’s. In a startup, it’s the passion and ambition of creating something worthwhile and different that keeps diverse people together…

Dharmesh Shah has written an excellent article about the typical issues almost every co-founder would face because of being in such a high involvement activity, with everyone betting a very important part of their lives on some mission…of course you might create your best friends there, but there is obviously the other side to the coin…

He doesn’t give you any guidelines though…may be a sequel will follow… 🙂

Even the comments are definitely worth reading…

Chak De !!!

August 20, 2007

Awesome movie…

After a long time, I was totally engrossed in the movie…totally involved…emotionally…

Hats off to this new director…Shimit Amin…his and his entire team’s efforts show up in the movie…and hockey looks like real hockey…of course they’ve selected the crew accordingly…good there are no glossy-glitzy heroins…so viewer really focuses on the theme… 🙂

It pinpoints exactly the problems that’ve crippled Indian sports for so many years…and creates a soft corner for all the oppressed groups…for female players who get oppressed and ignored by their relatives…for backword states like Jharkhand whose players can’t speak either Hindi or English properly, and don’t even have proper clothes to wear…for Hockey as a game in general, which in spite of being our national game, has always lived in the shadow of Cricket…and for minority religions like Muslims, who have always been tagged as pro-pakistan without looking at individual attitudes…

All of these interwened fantastically…

No rubbish item songs…no unnecessary skin display…and most importantly…in spite of having Shahrukh in a very dominating role…no melo drama…I mean, of course, the movie has loads of drama…but they don’t go overboard…

A must watch…!!!

Adieu to my wisdom tooth and Harry Potter…

August 15, 2007

I am only half as dumb as I was yesterday now…after losing one of the 2 wisdom teeth…(I was already half mad as the other two have never shown up…:)
Wasn’t as painful as I had imgined though…in fact…there was no pain at all…thanks to Dr. Karmarkar…

Took my chance to delve into the seventh HP book…and cried after a lot many years while reading a book… 🙂 dont really remember when I had been so engrossed for nearly 2 full days in a book…the ending chapters are absolutely wonderful…

Thank you J. K. Rowlling…

Don’t know how die hard Harry Potter fans would live now…without the excitement of ‘what happens next’…when a casual reader like me got so engrossed…may be as Sherlock Holmes was resuccrected on popular demand…Harry will reveal more of his life…but looks very unlikely looking at the clearcut epilogue…with all our young friends living a healthy happy family life…

Indian Tech Starups…a roundup…

August 10, 2007

First blog on my new home… 🙂

A roundup of Indian tech startups…a gist of what I have been reading for past few weeks…


What they do
Burrp, JustDial, Mkhoj, Onyomo, MGinger, Myzus, Moveo, ValueFirst Local search. Burrp is more lifestyle services oriented. All are getting into mobile/SMS based services. JustDial is more into call centre interface and certainly have a head-start. mKhoj is primaily into localized deals and discount offerings. Onyomo is primarily local search. mGinger is trying to apply chain marketing to SMS media. They pay a few bucks for every SMS Ad read by a user. Not sure how willing an advertiser would be, when he knows his ads might be getting read just for the sake of a few bucks. Also, this will be popular only in young not-earning-but-want-to-spend crowd (say age 16-20). Moveo is into mobile VAS applications.

Ticket booking & Movie rental
Bookeazy, Movietell,
Ticket booking online. Bookmyshow is recent entrant from the house of Media giant TV18. Others will have a very tough time competing with them.
Seventymm, Madhouse DVD rental online (Indian Netflix). Madhouse has been acquired by Seventymm. They also have very good funding. With a clear-cut revenue model, they look set for a big success.

MakeMyTrip, Yatra, TravelGuru ,Ezeego and so on… Travel services online. Biggest revenue category, dog fight going on. All are very similar to each other.
Travenues (iXigo), Zoomtra, Inasra Travel search engines. They parse all the above sites and give users structured output. I believe they work on lead generation revenues. Inasra is focusing on Hotel bookings.

Financial services
Apnaloan, InsuranceMall Apnaloan connects borrowers with banks. The site looks very crappy to me. 😐
InsuranceMall is an insurance selling site. They are part of some insurance brokerage firm called Bonsai. I dont know why, but they dont sell life insurance online. IRDA restrictions?

Real Estate Search

99acres, Jaidad, IndiaProperty
Real Estate B2C classifieds.
Is there some scope for a vertical search engine here? 🙂

SpotEazy, ShoppingTadka, OffersForShoppers Shopping deals search engines. Most of these are present only in a city or two right now…but all of them intend to expand nationwide very soon…ShoppingTadka yet to launch.

Global players
SlideShare Share PowerPoint presentations. They now have the one & only, Guy Kawasaki, on board. Look very much set for success.
Web office suite. Their products are superb, and are certainly ahead of their Google counterparts.

Social Networking
MingleBox, Yaari, Sixer.TV, BigAdda, SERaja Social networking. MingleBox has early mover advantage. BigAdda is a late entrant from Reliance. SERaja is events-based networking.

Photo sharing & printing
Picsquare, iTasweer Photo sharing and printing. There are several other players here. Very crowded. iTasweer has struck a deal with Microsoft for having their service integrated with Vista.
Komli, Tyroo, Ozone Ad networks. Yahoo picked up stake in Tyroo. Komli is working on a product in this space.

Myntra User created designs (T-shirts, Mugs, Caps etc.). Goos that these guys have a clean & simple revenue model, especially because advertising model has not yet generated a lot of money in India. I didnt get the name though…is it a twist to ‘Mantra’?
Maps & GPS
RouteGuru Road directions, the good old way, using landmarks. Very ‘Indian’ way of solving the problem.


Similar to Google Maps. I guess they act as content providers to a lot of other sites.

Sulekha Sulekha has an early mover advantage here.

Marc says, you don’t need to plan too much…

August 1, 2007

In the 7th article of this series…Marc is trying to assure the aspiring entrepreneur, that he does not need to, rather he possibly cannot, figure out exact details of the business plan or revenue model, all upfront…I was slightly disappointed at the post though…as it focuses too much time on the story (How Edison accidently invented the phonograph)…but too little on actual concrete analysis…unlike his previous more elaborate posts.

Scrum Pros and Cons

August 1, 2007

When I was at Doubleclick Inc, we were part of Scrum rollout. We had Ken Schwabber himself coming in as a consultant guiding us on the rollout and the problems we were facing.I think Scrum was really helpful…here is how I would summarize its strengths and weaknesses…


  1. Scrum encourages teamwork and transparency. It helps breaking down hierarchies. It helps even a fresh developer to understand what an engineering manager and a product manager is doing (even though he might be clueless initially on what people are talking about 🙂 ).

  2. Scrum focuses on user features. This is its strength as well as weakness sometimes (see below).

  3. Scrum is adaptive, and gives a good visibility to the management on development effciencies of all teams using normalized benchmarks (though this normalization would be difficult to achieve in practice).


  1. Scrum focuses totally on user features. It might be very tempting for the team to get quick-and-dirty rather than slow-but-clean approach. Simple speaking, non functional requirements like clean scalable archiectue, clean consistent programming practices, consistent documentation, security of the system, memory footprint can easily get ignored, beacause they have no direct impact on user experience. It would be really cumbersome to clean up the system later on, when your userbase grows quickly, and hackers start playing with your system.

  2. Theoretically, Scrum asks every team member to forget his specialization (Developer, QA, BA etc.) and work as a team member. But, I could not comprehend at all, how a BA would understand about architecture and scalability when he does not know the difference between Java and JSP?

  3. It is primarily useful for product based companies. It does not focus on creating empirical feedback data that’ll be useful across all projects (needed in services based companies). It does not focus on handovers (which is needed regularly in Indian high-attrition scenario 🙂 ) and documentations needed for handovers. Power of simplicity is ok, but just removing some concerns from one’s perspective (as against CMMI, which is a very heavy process pyramid in comparison) does not make them unreal.

Of course, I know very little about management or processes, but this was what my perspective, as a developer…but didn’t dare to argue with Ken Schwabber then… 🙂

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June 24, 2007

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