Interesting Comments Roundup – Readers share their insights

Some of the interesting insights/comments shared by ye people:

Lot of start-ups fail because founders have no prior business or sales experience. I strongly believe that founders must get some prior work experience (at cost of others) on business side before they take the plunge.

Selling/Marketing stuff and building a business from scratch is much harder than what lot of techie founders think.

– Ravi on “Learn how to negotiate with the big dogs.” – Founder, MBAKarma on Startup Lessons

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@Sameer on Indian Railways Ticket Booking APIs:

Well, to be fair their main idea is *not* to be startup friendly, is it ? Its a big service, and would like QoS, support strength etc that the bigger guys can bring in, though yeah, the requirements do seem written down for a preferred partner.

Its like the huge prices BSE etc need one to pay even for the 15mins delayed feeds! The startups inability to monetize quickly enough in a large enough way cannot be reason for these huge turnover businesses to change strategy. I mean its a running, existing biz, not an incubator, after all.

As startups – lets look beyond. Are there compelling use cases as related services that can be provided alongside/with the players who get involved with this ? Can we offer a quick trip planner or concierge that helps with the next level of service ? Where to go, what to plan for, get the cab, book the excess luggage, even plan a tuk-tuk ride or a nice alternative diversion for part of the journey, or whatever,

There are endless niches, and possibilities. The big easy fruit is just that – and obviously easy for the big boys to pick on. The smaller, bolder, not-yet-tried-or-proven stuff is what startups should be about – innit ?

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@Rajan on Demystifying Online Advertising Network Business – Strategy, Indian Opportunity:

In recent times we have seen mushrooming of online ad networks so much so we have seen comments like “its easier to start an Online Ad network than to start a website”.

But my concern is most of these so called ad networks are not investing in technology and discounting analytics alltogether.

Other concern none of the network is working on increasing the size of the market but all are running after same marketing dollar.

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@Udhay on How Should Startups conduct Usability Testing?:

Usability testing post launch is not the right thing:
I am sure a lot of people will disagree with me (more so in this part of the world), but then, UT is not something that is just a line-item in a Product Managers “to do” list and doing it at the far end of a product / service’s launch will not be of much help. On the contrary, UT’s fused into dev cycles on an ongoing basis have shown tremendous results as opposed to the ones conducted post-launch or in beta stages.

UT consultants are expensive is more of a myth than anything else. While it is true that some “specialized” state-of-the-art-and-what-not entities do claim lots and fill a lofty number in the price column, the plain fact is UT’s are and can be as flexi to be attuned to wants and needs of the start-up in terms of time, cost, objective etc. One major problem is with the Usability/User eXperience fraternity – Not much work and outreach is happening to inform and educate people about the field, its methodologies et al so that prospective clientele can take “informed” decisions. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. I would like to quote my own experiences where I have helped start-up’s across the globe to reach their “optimal experience” conforming to their offerings, demographics, markets et al. One fundamental (carved in stone) statement I insist on before signing the SoW or contract is ” …Continual involvement of the UX team from the beginning of the product/service’s development cycle…” this is because, a lot of customers treat Usability as a “can do it later, nice to have” commodity and eventually the Usability consultant / firm gets stuck with an insane timeline, low response times and lots of pressure cooker situations :-)

Not EVERYTHING that the users say is necessarily true:
This was known to Henry Ford when he said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”, aspects that depict success like Contexts, criteria, interaction et al keep changing continually and it requires a trained eye to observe, capture, act-upon and fix problem areas.

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@Abhaya on “Learn how to negotiate with the big dogs.” – Founder, MBAKarma on Startup Lessons

..”Startups are not to be run like marathons, rather as one short sprint after another.” You need to have a vision for where you are headed to, what do you want to be in five years and then breaking that big vision down in to small measurable goals for periods of 1-3 months (depending on your industry) and run hard to catch those. Then consolidate the position quickly and move ahead.

But I think I disagree with the 1st point that either get funded or start consulting. Nothing like getting funded “at the right time” – not too early and not too late, but I find consulting a distraction. Takes time away from main venture, pays easier and can really dose down the motivation of giving a hard fight. I think one strategy can be to try and generate some revenue as soon as possible and scale it along with the size of the company. Basically as I read somewhere, every new pair of hands in the company should increase your revenue exponentially. If your business is scaling linearly with number of employees, your business model needs adjustment.

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