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October 29, 2003

Red Herring's December event to feature Offshore Outsourcing

"Outsourcing in India and elsewhere" features prominently among the topics listed for the Red Herring Fall conference, an invitation-only event to be organized by the newly relaunched technology and entrepreneurship publication Red Herring.

Other topics to be covered include restructuring of the venture capital industry, 3G and other wireless technologies, China, and the digital home.

Sachio Semmoto of eAccess, Guy Gecht of EFI, Lawrence Calcano of Goldman Sachs, Guerrino De Luca of Logitech, Craig Conway of PeopleSoft, Thomas Weisel of Thomas Weisel Partners, Stratton Sclavos of VeriSign, and Gary Bloom of Veritas are listed among the speakers at the conference.

Event Details

Location: Monterey, California, USA
Venue: Monterey Plaza Hotel
Date: December 8-10, 2003

Click Here for more information about the event.

SEBI's Venture Capital advisory committee submits report

The Advisory Committee on Venture Capital has submitted its report to India's capital market regulator, SEBI. The committee, under the Chairmanship of Dr. Ashok Lahiri, Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, was set up to advise SEBI in matters relating to the development and regulation of the VC industry in the country. The report has been placed on the SEBI website for public comments.

Some of the key recommendations of the report include:

* Removal of the requirement of lock-in of shares post the listing of their investee companies. (At present, the VC funds are subjected to a lock-in for a period of one year after listing.)

* Allowing venture capital funds to invest upto a third of their corpus in listed companies (against 25% of their corpus allowed currently) . The report has however said VC funds will not be given any special exemption from the clauses governing the takeover code.

* Introduction of hybrid instruments (which are optionally convertible into equity) for investing in privately held companies.

* Allowing VC funds to invest in Non-Banking Financial Companies, Real Estate and Gold Financing.

Other recommendations cover formation of Special Purpose Vehicles, allowing domestic VC funds' to invest in foreign VC funds, tax related issues, and foreign exchange related issues.

Click Here to read the full report.

October 27, 2003

Manish Sabharwal's interview to Knowledge@Wharton

In a fascinating interview to Knowledge@Wharton, Manish Sabharwal, Founder & Managing Director of pioneering HR BPO firm, India Life Hewitt, provides both solid and witty insights into a range of industry issues: how he started out, why he sold out, why he focused on India as a market, etc.

Some extracts:

Business schools as venture incubators
I think VCs who started incubators got it wrong; business schools like Wharton are the best incubators in the world. I milked the school's ecosystem. India Life was my final project in six classes. Many professors helped me think things through, and I had a group of first-year students do a field application project. I used the summer between the two years to travel to India and refine the plan, and then moved back to India straight after school.

I guess it would make a better story if I said all my professors gave me bad grades for my business plan. But they didnÂ’t; they thought it would do well. In retrospect, entrepreneurship is like hypothesis testing. You can never prove anything right, but you have to prove it wrong. Wharton helped me eliminate many potential false starts...It was a movie I hadn't seen before, and having a vision for how it would end gave me unique leverage.

India as a market
Everybody looks at India as a production base, we looked at India as a market -- and in doing that, we inhabited a different thought-world. Because we built our business in India, we were able to leapfrog rapidly into Asia -- into countries like Singapore. For me, the question as a start-up – I had raised a teeny $2 million in venture capital from the View Group -– was whether to move back to the U.S. and compete with the big boys or to do it here in India. I decided that it would be good for us to learn in India and expand outside later.....

...We were leveraging across India and Asia, and didnÂ’t have the outdated concept of "export quality". Clients found the single window attractive, which is why 75% of our client base is multinational...

..Most global players are hesitant about setting up operations in Asia because of its complexity. But coming from India, we didn’t have a problem because that is the most complex location of all. So Asia didn't intimidate us...

India's strengths
We compared the Philippines and China, and India’s price performance equation for our business is not going away anytime soon. The Indian mind is quite agile and there is an ecosystem and hinterland that is hard to replicate. I now live in efficient Singapore and believe that one of the upsides of India’s messiness and problems is creativity, questioning and a hunger for jobs.

Beyond low costs
The major challenge is getting the client to agree to what their fully loaded in-house costs are... Using India or the costs of any offshore destination to sell is very dangerous. If pricing is your only differentiator, it quickly becomes a race to the bottom. Even if you win the rat race, you are still a rat...

...We know that for now our cost structure is a competitive advantage but selling on price is a slippery slope. People come to India Life for our domain knowledge, proven track record of execution, re-engineering capabilities and so much else. Obviously price is a ticket to entry that you have to get right but there is much more to the decision.

My sense is that commoditization occurs in every business, and you’ve got to rip up the road behind you. That is why we moved from payroll to HR management, recruitment administration, performance management, training administration and other types of activities.

The need for focus
That’s the only way we can avoid commoditization. Some potential clients say that they will only give us HR if we also take travel and other operations. But that is unacceptable. It would corrupt our DNA. That is why the opportunist or generalist BPO company is dead.

Why India Life sold out to Hewitt
(The biggest challenge for India Life was) we were a start-up and our brand was hardly known. One of the biggest neutralizers of that objection was the gift-wrapping that came with our becoming part of Hewitt. We now have $1.8 billion in revenues, we handle 16 million employees globally, and have an annual IT spend of $350 million. When our customers or prospects hear that, they realize there is much more at stake than their contract....

.....You need deep pockets in this business. God has switched sides in BPO. She is no longer on the side of the best shots; she is with the biggest armies.

On dealing with a large parent
Gift-wrapping doesnÂ’t come without strings, right? ...

You’re riding a horse, and suddenly someone puts a cart behind you...

...I keep telling Hewitt that the removal of resource constraints, which was one of my biggest attractions, does not compensate for the cholesterol that comes with becoming part of a big organization. ...

...Even at this stage of Hewittization, I think it’s a net gain. A water pistol won’t get you very far if you want to meet customer expectations. In HR, the technology treadmill is becoming so hard for companies to stay on. For us it would have been impossible without Hewitt.

The inevitability of offshoring
Many of us in emerging markets like India, who vigorously fought to deregulate and break down our own walls, feel badly let down by the attempt to now build walls against us. Good economics is not always good politics -- but I have faith that this too shall pass. The economics of offshoring are irresistible. The offshoring wave may be delayed, but it is unstoppable.

Click Here to read the full interview.

Products and services businesses require completely different DNA: Infosys sales chief

"(When) someone asks me why my company (Infosys Technologies) isn't being more aggressive with products, I will just put it down to misplaced national pride. They want India to be known for great software products. It should. But India is already well known for its services companies. And that's something to be proud of," says Basab Pradhan, Infy's Senior Vice President and Head - Worldwide Sales & Retail (North America), in a column for

Some extracts:

* The products and services businesses are so different, that the odds against a company with a dual strategy are fairly high.

* Indian IT services companies Infosys and Cognizant both show far better margins and growth compared to leading software product companies Siebel and PeopleSoft. (Pradhan substantiates this statement with a table containing actual figures.)

* It is true that in the last two years, rates in the IT services industry have been pummeled like never before. Clients won't pay what they used to simply because their businesses can't afford it. (However) the need for IT services has not diminished in any fundamental way.... Enterprise software, on the other hand, is in a bit of a pickle. Most industry pundits believe that the licensed software sales model needs a serious overhaul. Customers are just not willing to pay large sums of money towards license fees up front.... And then there's open source. Open source is the biggest force shaping the enterprise software industry, especially on the tools and platforms side, where some believe open source will suck the value out.... On the other hand, open source or proprietary software, you always need an integrator. Services never go out of fashion.

Click Here to read the full column.

"Venture Capital is not available for start-ups"

"Today, there are no true start-up VCs. Investments are happening in companies which have made cash profits and are looking for funds for the second phase of growth." says venture capitalist Vishal Nevatia of GW Capital in an interview to Economic Times.

GW Capital is focussed on mid-sized companies in the media & entertainment, retailing, and BPO sectors. Around 60% of the fund's Rs.150 crore corpus has been invested in these sectors, Nevatia said.

Click Here to read the full interview.

Selecting an offshore software development partner

The McKinsey Quarterly recently published a primer on offshore software development with an aim to help US companies identify which projects they should outsource to an offshore vendor and to whom.

Some extracts:

* Only companies with fairly large IT staffs—more than 50 in-house employees focusing on software development or maintenance—should consider offshore software partnerships, since much time and substantial resources are required to negotiate them and to oversee the work and the integration of development teams. Furthermore, a company that outsources software development shouldn't have a taste for "bleeding-edge" technology, which ought to be created in-house since it requires a high number of design-code test-redesign feedback loops.

* Offshore outsourcing is a particularly important option for maintaining legacy systems—often a large and onerous part of an IT organization's workload and one that is getting harder to accomplish given the relative rarity of legacy skills and the unattractiveness of the work.

* Offshore partners may have difficulty maintaining application designs for projects such as e-commerce applications, which have short time frames or call for feedback from users. But once these projects enter the later stages of development, even they can benefit from outsourcing.

* (The client company) should maintain its ties with other vendors so that they can serve as backups for local or highly specialized work or in the event of emergency development efforts.

An interesting feature of this primer is that quotes from real examples (based on McKinsey's work with clients and interviews) for quite a few of the recommendations. For its recommendation that a client company "should make every effort to ensure that its in-house staff stays up to speed technically with its offshore vendors so that it doesn't become entirely dependent on their assistance", McKinsey provides the following example: "A financial-services company we encountered in our work found itself almost held hostage by its offshore vendor: no one in the client company had supported one of its legacy systems for three long years, which meant that it had no substantial knowledge of this system and thus simply couldn't switch vendors. As a result, the company was unable to negotiate a favorable deal with its current vendor, which was in a position to charge $1 million more than any competitor would have done for similar work—on a contract that totaled only $3 million to $4 million. The client company escaped from this trap only when it finally replaced the legacy system in question"

Click Here to read the full article. (Free registration required)

What's slowing India's economic growth?

A recent study by global consulting firm McKinsey found three main barriers to faster growth in India: the multiplicity of regulations governing product markets, distortions in the market for land, and widespread government ownership of businesses.

"We calculate that these three barriers together inhibit GDP growth by more than 4 percent a year. Removing them would free India’s economy to grow as fast as China’s, at 10 percent a year. Some 75 million new jobs would be created outside agriculture--enough not only to absorb the rapidly growing workforce but also to reabsorb the majority of workers displaced by productivity improvements," the report says.

Click Here for more information about this report. (Free registration required).

October 18, 2003

TiE to organize India tour in February for Silicon Valley professionals

"At TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), one of the things we do is help the movers and shakers in the valley -- the lawyers, venture capitalists, accountants -- build relationships with their counterparts in India. We're conducting a tour in February to help build their Roledexes in India," Raj Jaswa, a senior member of TiE (and founder of Selectica Inc.) said in an interview to Silicon Valley Biz Ink.

"People do business with people they are comfortable with, feel an attachment to. The movers and shakers here need to have the ability to figure out a cost to a company to go into Hyderabad, for example. Or they need to know what to do in order to recruit managers and engineers. They will now have contacts they feel comfortable with," Jaswa added.

Click Here to read the full interview.

Click Here to visit the TiE web site.

New research counters anti-outsourcing lobby

At last, there is some research to counter the huge negative press generated by the "3.3 million US jobs to be lost due to offshoring" report put out by Forrestor Research.

The Indian software industry and BPO industry association, Nassom, in combination with BPO firm Evalueserve, has published a report--backed with numbers--that makes the case that outsourcing (including offshoring) benefits the US economy in the long-term.

Here are some extracts:

Outsourcing is being understood today as a win-win partnership between Indian and US companies. Both are expected to benefit, with the gains spilling over to the overall economies and domestic markets of the two nations. The Evalueserve-NASSCOM research projects the following benefits for the US economy as a result of outsourcing:

* The US economy can expect net savings of billions of dollars due to offshoring over the period 2002-2010. This is over and above the positive impact on the bottom-lines of companies
* For every US$ 100 of call center work offshored by US firms, US$ 145 is invested back into the US economy in the form of repatriated profits, increased sales of telecom equipment and cost savings.
* Similarly, the amount invested back into the US economy (for every US$100 of work) is US$133 for IT services, and US$ 142 for high end knowledge services like equity research, underwriting, tax preparation and risk management
* Offshoring of IT services has enabled US workers to move to specialized and creative roles while moving process oriented programming to offshore locations. The proportion of specialists in the US IT workforce increased from 38 percent in 1983 to 74 percent in 2002
* Utilization of offshore facilities results in the growth of the local economies and an increase in the disposable income, leading to the expansion of the global market for US goods and services. For instance, in India, the proportion of the consuming class in the overall population expanded from 14 percent to 30 percent in the 1990s and is set to touch 40 percent in 2006-07. The Indian retail sector is expected to expand from US$ 180 billion in 2003 to US$ 300 billion in 2010
* Further liberalization of the Indian economy will provide increased access for US companies to Indian markets.
* India's large middle class will open up a major opportunity for US companies
* The US economy will continue to benefit from the Indian community in the country. Indians are the most advanced minority group in the US, with IT professionals contributing over US$ 500 million to US Social Security, $500 million to income tax and spending over US$1.8 billion during visits

Click Here to read the full report at the Nasscom web site.

Other articles & resources in defense of offshoring/outsourcing

Why Offshoring Is Good for America

"Focusing on job losses in America without recognising the corresponding job gains is like managing a bank account by counting the withdrawals, and not the deposits; disregarding the improvements in the quality of jobs is like ignoring the interest payments," says Max P. Michaels, Co-founder of CRYZTAL Capital. "Indian business and political leaders should not get embroiled in these debates, lest India become the lightning rod that bears the brunt of the fury of the US workers. Let the invisible hand of the market make its way. Let US companies and their shareholders enlighten their consumers and workers on the merits of cross-border outsourcing," he advises in a column appearing in Business Today magazine.

Click Here to read the full column. (Subscription required).

The Real economics of offshoring: McKinsey

"Any move to slow down the job migration could actually hurt the United States," says a research report from global consulting firm McKinsey. "Sending US jobs offshore to cheaper labor markets generates heated political debate. Yet offshoring benefits not only individual US companies and their foreign partners but also the US economy, primarily by freeing up funds to create higher-value jobs," the report says

Focusing the offshoring debate on job losses misses the most important point: Offshoring creates value for the US economy by creating value for US companies and freeing US resources for activities with more value added, McKinsey says.

McKinsey says offshoring creates value in four ways:

Cost savings
For every dollar of spending on business services that moves offshore, US companies save 58 cents, mainly in wages. Offshore workers, who enjoy higher-than-usual wages (in their countries), tend to be more motivated compared to US workers who perform the same role. "Reduced costs are by far the greatest source of value creation for the US economy," the report says.

New revenue
In order to provide offshore services, Indian outsourcing companies buy equipment and services--from computers and telecommunications equipment to legal, financial, and marketing expertise--from US companies. McKinsey estimates that for every dollar of corporate spending that moves offshore, suppliers of offshore services buy an additional 5 cents worth of goods and services in the US. Exports from the United States to India stood at $4.1 billion in 2002, compared with less than $2.5 billion in 1990.

Repatriated earnings
Many Indian offshore service providers are in fact US companies that repatriate earnings. Such companies generate 30% of the revenues of the Indian offshore industry. Thus an additional 4 cents of every dollar spent on offshoring creates value for the US.

Redeployed labor
Offshoring also brings indirect benefits to the US economy: Capital savings can be invested to create new jobs. "Indeed, this is exactly what has happened over the past two decades as manufacturing jobs moved offshore," McKinsey says. "As jobs in call centers, back-office operations and repetitive IT functions go offshore, opportunities to train labor and invest capital to generate opportunities in higher-value-added occupations such as research and design will appear."

Net-Net, offshoring, far from being bad for the US, creates net value for the economy. "It directly recaptures 67 cents of every dollar of spending that goes abroad and indirectly might capture an additional 45 to 47 cents--producing a net gain of 12 cents to 14 cents for every dollar of costs moved offshore," McKinsey says.

The report acknowledges that the total possible wealth creation does not ease the plight of people who lose their jobs or find lower-wage ones. "These issues must be addressed. Training programs and generous severance packages, perhaps accompanied by innovative insurance programs, are among the measures that could mitigate the effects of the transition without great cost to the economy," McKinsey says.

The key message is that while many people will undoubtedly suffer short-term disruption, it should be set against the consequences of resisting change: If US companies can't move work abroad, they will become less competitive--weakening the economy and endangering more jobs--and also miss the chance to raise their productivity by focusing on the creation of jobs with higher value added. "The openness of the US economy and its inherent flexibility--particularly that of its labor market--are two of its great recognized strengths. The current danger is that public policy will make its economy less flexible. To do so would endanger the economic well-being of the US."

Click Here to read the full version of McKinsey's defense of offshore outsourcing.

Click Here to view the chart describing the McKinsey's numbers.

An argument for outsourcing

In a recent article, E5 Systems' CEO Gordon Brooks says that while limits on outsourcing may protect some U.S. jobs in the short term, the bans would end up doing more harm than good.

Click Here to read the full article.

The Economist profiles travel BPO firm Tecnovate and its UK parent ebookers

New Delhi-based Tecnovate, the Indian BPO subsidiary of UK-based leisure travel firm, ebookers plc, recently raised $10 million at a valuation of $160 million. The company which has so far catered to the needs of ebookers' European subsidiaries, now plans to use the new funds in expanding its services to third-party clients.

In a recent profile in The Economist, ebookers Founder & CEO, Dinesh Dhamija, explains why Technovate is very important to ebookers' competitiveness. According to Dhamija, Technovate saved his company £1.5m in the quarter ending June 30. “If there is a market share battle, then it will be the company that keeps costs lowest that will be the last standing,” Dhamija says in the article.

An interesting extract from The Economist article:

Delhi helps provide a round-the-clock service along with offices in Europe. But what about local knowledge or language skills? That was the fear of ebookers' office in Finland, which trained some Finnish students and sent them to work in Delhi during their college gap year. The idea has now been expanded and 50 Europeans are working alongside the 600 Indian staff. More are on their way. It is the ability to answer questions by e-mail within a few hours—even on a Sunday evening—which is characteristic of the high level of service that Mr Dhamija is counting on to help ebookers stand out from the pack.

Click Here to read the full article.

Knowledge@Wharton's interviews with BPO experts

Ravi Aron, a Wharton business school professor, interviewed a range of experts to obtain different perspectives on the latest trends in the BPO industry. The interviews were published in the latest issue of Knowledge@Wharton. As a sample, I'm posting below some extracts that I found to be especially interesting.

Extracts from the interview with Rebecca S. Scholl, principal analyst at Gartner Research:

Aron: Is the decision to migrate or outsource a process seen as a strategic (as opposed to tactical or operational) decision? Who makes this decision within the firm? CEOs, CFOs or CTOs?

Scholl: Key decision-makers for domestic BPO are the CFOs and the CEOS (in large enterprises the CFO plays a larger role and in smaller enterprises the CEO plays a larger role). CIOs and CTOs are rarely involved in the initial decision to outsource and typically get involved during the provider selection process. Most offshore BPO is highly tactical today (CIOs are more involved in offshore BPO as they are in domestic BPO).

Click Here to read the full interview.

Extracts from the interview with Peter Bendor-Samuel, founder and CEO of Everest Group, a consulting firm in Dallas, and Michael Quinn, president of Strategic Management Solutions:

Bendor Samuel: Clearly at this time India has the largest capability for English speaking labor arbitrage and has the most significant momentum with organic in-country firms. We do not expect any other nation to seriously challenge India for U.S.-based business over the next two years. For Europe, we expect Eastern European nations to emerge as destinations of choice, although at a higher cost point to India....

...We believe that the most significant development in offshore outsourcing will be the growth of large sustainable business processes such as claims processing, back office functions such as F&A and HR, and application support. We expect BPO will overtake the current IT-focused projects oriented work.

Click Here to read the full interview.

Extracts from the interview with Kiran Karnik, president of Nasscom (India's software and BPO industry association):

Aron: Some groups that advocate labor interests claim that many of these operations are data sweat shops – i.e., that workers are paid substantially less than the average income levels for equivalent levels of occupations in the country. As a result, they argue, these workers are quite badly off and they work for bare minimum wages. Can you give an estimate of the average salary of a call-center worker in India, and then tell us where this would place her or him in an income gradient - compared to the country’s per capita income?

Karnik: According to a NASSCOM-Hewitt Associates survey, the average salary of a call center worker in India is $180 a month. This is five times the country’s per capita income. For a fresh college graduate, a call center job pays about 2.5 times as much as other job openings.

Karnik: NASSCOM estimates suggest that private firms have spent close to $4 billion in setting up a world class, large and spatially dispersed telecom infrastructure in India - this includes connectivity by fiber optic cable and satellite. The cost of an international half-circuit (India-U.S.) is approximately US$1,900 for a 2 Mbps link.

Karnik: The software services and BPO services export industry in India has grown its revenues from $6.2 billion in 2000 to $7.7 billion in 2001 and $9.5 billion in 2002. In 2003, NASSCOM estimates the industry will grow its revenues to $12 billion.

Click Here to read the full interview.

Extracts from the interview with Marcus Courtney, an organizer with the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, an affiliate of the Communications Workers of America, and Ron Hira, a professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology:

Courtney: I have yet to find any compelling argument from pro-globalization cheerleaders that can point to how in the long run this will create more jobs and greater opportunity. If exporting jobs creates more jobs or saves jobs, why does our manufacturing sector continue to decline in employment?
Aron: I often hear an argument from senior executives who favor outsourcing. They maintain that in many cases, migrating some operations to lower-cost labor regimes actually results in saving jobs. That argument runs thus: When some jobs move to lower-cost centers, that move makes other parts of the company viable and results in saving several other jobs. For instance if a retail bank with a 1,400 person back-end operation that supports product lines that are barely profitable (or are unprofitable) moves 400 seats overseas to contain and manage its costs better, then the remaining 1,000 jobs are saved. If the company is forced to run all its operations from within the U.S., then it would have to withdraw from several product lines because it is unprofitable to compete in those markets.

This would have a two-fold impact: First, workers would be laid off from those unprofitable product lines, and second, consolidation would occur. A few large financial services companies (retail and corporate banks, insurance firms, brokerage houses) would grab most of the market share. As we know, the direct impact of such consolidation is the loss of jobs through centralization of operations. Outsourcing of services allows firms to stay competitive and saves several jobs that remain. How do you react to these observations?

Hira: This probably does happen in some cases, but my sense is that this is the exception and not the rule. I’d love for someone to actually collect statistics on this and give me a real and verifiable example. Companies have obvious interests in all of us believing that this is the norm rather than the exception. I’m willing to bite if provided a better sales pitch, but I doubt that is coming.

Click Here to read the full interview.

October 17, 2003

Why searching for The Next Big Thing is a waste of time

What's going to be "The Next Big Thing" (or its variation the "next killer app")?

Reams and reams of newsprint, web pages, conferences, and even oh-so-precious TV air time, is devoted to this topic--especially now that the "Internet wave" has subsided a bit (or rather, become more "mainstream").

Tim Oren, a Silicon Valley veteran (currently Managing Director of VC firm, Pacifica Fund ), has made a great post at his web log explaining why looking out--or listening to the "punditocracy"--for the NBT is a waste of time. "The Next Big Thing is a narrative we lay on top of the events after they happen..... (it generally) sneaks up from behind while you're trying to do your work, kicks your ass, walks over you, and either rifles your pockets or drops gold into your hands," Oren says. "Anyone tells you different, you're talking to a liar." Oren goes on to "tell a few tales" from his personal experience--at Apple and Kaleida Labs--to illustrate his point.

Oren does doubt that there will indeed be a NBT. Only that the odds of anyone "calling it in advance aren't very wonderful. Most likely, it will hit rudely from behind, when least expected".

So, what's his advice (for folks looking for the NBT)? "Find something that solves problems for real people, gets you up in the morning, and lets you work with good folks, and dig in".

Click Here to visit Oren's blog to read his full post (titled "Silicon Valley 4.0: You never know where you're going 'til you get there")

October 16, 2003

Red Herring relaunches online as past and present heads take digs at each other

French entrepreneur Alex Vieux, who acquired the Red Herring brandname, has relaunched the technology and entrepreurship magazine in an online format. (The new owners of the Red Herring brand cannot bring out a print magazine until September 2004 as required by Time Warner--publishers of tech business magazine Business 2.0--which bought the old RH's subscriber list.) Vieux has hired former Business 2.0 editor James Daly to head the new RH editorial team.

In an interview to San Jose Mercury News, Vieux has attacked RH's founder and original editor-in-chief, Tony Perkins, calling the old version of the magazine "hype-ridden". According to the Mercury News profile, Vieux, who served as a US correspondent for the French newspaper Le Monde, launched business conference company Dasar in 1990. The conference business "put him in touch with the tech elite", the profile says, adding that he now sits on the boards of Computer Associates, Checkpoint Software and Commerce One. Click Here to read the full Mercury News article.

Tony Perkins, who now heads the technology business "blog" Always-on, is upset at Vieux' comments and has chosen to hit back. "As Mr. Vieux embarks upon his new publishing career, he might be well advised to ponder the fate of another Frenchman from an earlier century whose ambition and arrogance were much grander than his own shortish stature," Perkins says in his latest AO column.

In the column's Member Comments section, Michael Perkins (Tony's brother and co-author of the book "The Internet Bubble"), has this to say about his interactions with Vieux: "The most poignant encounter was at Red Herring's 1999 holiday bash. Alex came up to me and began hassling me about the fact that he thought our book was wrong and that we were "misguided." (Gee, Alex, try doing the math). He better hope he has a little more perspicacity in his new endeavor." Click Here to read the Perkins brothers' take on Vieux' comments.

October 14, 2003

Bio-tech investing: the risks and rewards

At a time when VC investments in bio-tech companies (both in the US and India) is on the uptick, a recent Knowledge@Wharton article covered a conference titled “Value Creation and Destruction in Emerging Technologies: Lessons for the Biosciences” provides some insights and background.

Click Here to read the article.