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Personal takeaways from the Nasscom Product Conclave- Bangalore

I was there at the Nasscom Product conclave that just concluded in Bangalore. We had a great 2 days- meeting some truly inspiring people, picking the brains of many smart individuals and exploring possibilities of partnerships with synergistic businesses.

As always happens; there were some sessions that were more effective and some that were sadly not allowed to live up to their billings. As an example of the latter, I was definitely not alone in expecting a far livelier session when Dr Sridhar Vembu (Zoho) and Mr Bharat Goenka (Tally solutions) came together. Which is a pity- because both these gentlemen are legends and could have shared a lot if only a more skillful interviewer/ moderator was in the chair.

Now for the positives:

1. It was amazing how much people were willing to share: about their journeys, about the successes, about their failures. And, even legends like Sridhar Vembu spent so much time sharing tips knowing fully well that we have competing products.

Some people who merit mention:

a. Shalin Jain of : Shalin has been running a startup, successfully for the last 10 years and it was fascinating to hear his perspectives on online marketing and customer acquisition. He shared absolutely down to earth tips on his adwords strategy, customer acquisition strategies and above all selling abroad.

b. Vishal Gondal: needs no introduction. Did a lively session with Vivek Wadhwa and stayed back to give very succinct and sensible tips on a live customer situation we have.

c. Vivek Wadhwa: Prof Wadhwa of Duke was here all days and made a lot of contribution to our understanding of the ecosystem. His emphasis on education and experience and also his advise on mapping products to markets are key takeaways from the meet.

d. Pallav Nadhani: Twenty-something, Pallav runs Fusioncharts out of Kolkata and it was amazing to see his energy and passion around the product. He and Shalin, epitomised to me the idea that the CEO of a startup must sell.

e. Others: Mukund Mohan, Ashish Gupta (Helion ventures), Sramana Mitra and Mark Levinson (Finisar)- thank you all.

Ideas that I have carried back:

1. Stop adding features.

2. Focus on best in class UI, identifying a couple of sizeable niches and focus acquisition strategies around them.

3. Go deep once you get a traction in any vertical.

4. Make the online experience easy and let that do your marketing.

5. Your first few customers are very important- because if they have best in class processes, they will help you build best in class processes in your product.

Others I enjoyed meeting and getting to know: Anand Bhairat (Way2Goals), Dilip Ittyera and Keshav Naik (Aikon Labs), Amit Patel (Setu).. some have been in business for a long time, others are just starting. Lots to learn and be humbled by. Thank you all.


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