Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Proto.in - High Expectations And Mixed Signals

Right from the moment I heard about Proto.in, I set my expectations very high and love to see them met in entirety. I truly believe in India becoming the Innovation Power house of the Flat world. And as mentioned in the words of Vijay Anand, what we really need to create that edge are solutions that are revolutionary rather than evolutionary and Proto.in will mark the beginning of the journey.
I believe what we need for this country is not evolution, but a revolution. This event will mark its initiation. -- Vijay Anand(Source)

I am not sure what is in store for me at Proto.in's first ever conference, but I was sadly surprised and shocked from mixed signals in announcements in the last 48 hours.

Following an announcement by Proto.in team last week about releasing initial short list of Companies participating in the first conference, I have been watching its blog eagerly with great expectations. For sure there was a big suprise. The team of Proto.in declared that the list won't be announced until the D'day. So wait must go on till the final day.
After speaking to a couple of entrepreneurs and companies, we have come to a decision. We are going to with-held the names of the companies from the general public till the day of the event.

Source: Proto.in - Create. Collaborate. Contribute » Archives » Initial Shortlist Announcement

It is clearly evident from the blog post that they don't want other Bloggers and Media to start reviewing and profiling those companies before the main event.
The reason why we want to do this is because, everybody will find the reason to come to the event, and listen right from the founders themselves as to what inspired them, the dreams, goals and visions that they carry for their company, team and the product - which will be something which will lose its impact, if we release the list now itself.

I understand the reason and sincerely appreciate their decision. So the initial little surprise was infact a great feeling of comfort that Proto.in team is doing their best to deliver what they have promised.

The shocking part comes not from the original announcement at Proto.in, but from a blog post at Webyantra by one of the Proto.in organizers, Amit Ranjan. Responding to questions on whether products at Proto.in will be comparable or better than a typical Demo conference, Amit said some thing I don't like to hear and doesn't seem to go inline with what Vijay Anand's perspective on Proto.in.
Its unlikely that what you are going to see there can compete with Demo. The two technology ecosystems are in completely different stages of their evolution and any direct comparisions, would probably be an academic exercise.

At the same time, you are likely to come across some promising technologies and products from companies that are striving to create something innovative in a technological landscape that is dominated by services oriented outsourcing companies. The final list of 30 will include companies from internet based services, Web2.0, Mobile, Digital Commerce, consumer hardware and Telecom.

This gives me a different impression now, about the kind of products that will be showcased in the upcoming show.

I don't know about comparing Proto.in with Demo on the Quality and Profile of Products, but I love to see that these new Solutions shocased at Proto.in inspire Silicon Valley and that they are indeed REVOLUTIONARY than natural or localized evolutions of solutions from Silicon Valley or other parts of world.

And sadly, like many others, the blog post affirms the confusion of 'no-innovation in outsourcing'. Thatz totally insane. I love the Software Services companies like Infosys, Wipro, TCS and likes that completely changed the way world of business operates and proved beyond doubt that 'The World is Flat'. Not just that, these are the companies that actually made India synonymous with Software and IT and made every Indian proud. No revolution of this sort could be achieved by lack of Innovation and excellent execution models. What they did and have been doing is absolutely and truly innovative and indeed quite revolutionary.

I don't understand quite well these mixed signals. Don't understand the level of disbelief in Innovation in India either. I hope, I see what I love to see in Proto.in. Fingers crossed until the D'day.
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5 comments:

  1. Since You seem to be avidly covering the event as it closes its day of dawn, I'll give you an insight. The first thing that we did after receiving all the nominations was to eliminate companies that were indian versions of silicon valley products. You definitely don't require 8-10 minutes of time to explain them, all you needed to say was "This is an Indian version of such-and-such". The impressive part was that, even after we did that, we were still left with companies with a dash of innovation, depth in thinking and daring in thought.

    Amit in right in one sense. The evolution of thinking is not yet in the same stage as it is in the silicon valley. As I mentioned, its just the "initiation". But We are seeing a very good start.. and I am personally very impressed with it.

    Does that help? :)

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  2. Thank you very much for the insight Vijay. It does help.

    'A dash of innovation, depth in thinking and daring in thought' as I understand is precisely what sets Silicon Valley apart from the rest along with resourcefulness and mentorship available to startups.

    I haven't understood the 'evolution of thinking is not yet' part that both Amit and You are trying convey. From my discussions and listening to recent Venture Capital conference at MIT, I understand that there are excellent and innovative ideas but some of the startups have trouble coming up with right business models and business vision to grow beyond gathering eye-balls. That has been a primary concern voiced by many VCs. May be you guys are talking the same.

    Anyway, Myself along with the crowd or as Amit put with love, 'lesser mortals', can and will wait for 17 more days to see what you guys mean.

    Appreciate the Initiative and great work you guys are doing.
    Good Luck with the Show.
    Murali

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  3. good to hear that home grown innovations are being encouraged. what are the chances of them getting funding?

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  4. Recently heard lots of good news on that front. Many Startups in India have received funding in the last 6 months and many funds have been setup to exclusively cater to Indian market.

    One difficulty VCs are facing, atleast expressing is that many of the startups are trying to mimic Valley startups without clear strategic advantage instead of focussing on a wider domestic market in India where they can really differentiate.

    Fingers crossed to wait and see how many startups will get mentors, advice and Investors through Proto.in, the first of its kind proactive conference.

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  5. Nice overview of Proto.in. I really wish to see something succeed like this in India. Also, I came across another review on techbanyan which deserves a special mention - http://www.techbanyan.com/archives/123

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