Thursday, November 16, 2006

"It's not about the Technology ...

but the problem it solves" says Don Dodge. Well said.

The first time I saw, I was impressed by its technology and the potential (for a Google acquisition). The only business case I could see was Google acquiring them to index their image database. Imagine you searching for images of Aishwarya Rai and if the image I have here was named IMG_841.jpg, a search engine would not have picked it up. Since it is named AishwaryaRai_Sketch.jpg, it will get picked up. An image should either be named or tagged appropriately in order for search engines to pick it up. What Riya promises is that even if my file was named IMG_841.jpg, it will also be tagged as a picture of Aishwarya Rai as it does visual pattern matching of the image and not just the file name. Wow. That is pretty cool stuff. Iff, it works all the time.

The problem Riya is facing is an interesting one. You have a solution to an unknown problem. You need to define a problem that is compelling for the audience to invest in you. It has to be timed right, and priced right.

What a sweet problem to have. They have the technological solution, and are searching for an appropriate problem to solve.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Nocturnal fixin'

All of us have scheduled an auto repair or service and had to drop the car off at a designated place, in the morning, and pick it up in the evening after the work is done? You have to figure out how you are going to manage without a car for the day. Lots of repair shops are not open on weekends, or in the evening. This adds to the problem. How many times have we skipped/postponed a service/repair just because we didn't want to go through this pain? And, even if we get the service performed, and then find out that something was not fixed right, we have to go through the whole ritual all over again. What a pain. Especially in most of the US cities where public transportation isn't up to snuf.

Now, imagine this. You drive your car around all day. Send it to a special place at night where people work on it all night long, and you wake up to a squeaky clean serviced automobile. No, I am not saying that we will ship (or better yet, beam) it to Bangalore and offshore the auto service industry too.

This is a new business model that I am suggesting. Imagine an auto shop that works all night (and, maybe all day, in shifts). The reasoning behind this is that autos are a necessity in most cities in tea US. Why take away a necessity when it is needed most. Instead, take it away (for service, cleaning, etc.) when it is needed least. Which is, when the user is sleeping or at home.

You drop off your car in the evening on the way home. The shop checks your vehicle and calls you about the service/questions/estimates before 8 or 9 PM. Once all the answers are obtained, the mechanics go to work at night and get the job done. You arrive early in the morning and pick up your car for use throughout the day! The shop, if smart, will throw in bagels/doughnuts and coffee in the morning. That wasn't so bad, was it?

So, how come we don't see places like these. There are several logistic as well as operational details missing in my example above, but I don't see any glaring problems that aren't solvable.

I, for one, would love this kind of convenience.