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January 18, 2005

VC, Entrepreneur collaborate to start new blog

In an interesting experiment, Venky Ganesan, a Managing Director with Globespan Capital, and Narasimha Chari, Co-founder and Chief Architect at Tropos Networks, have come together to create a blog, VenChar, sub-titled "Ideas, analysis and opinions on technology".

A sample extract below from "Ven":

I have had a chance in the last few months to talk to quite a few senior software execs from a variety of software application companies. A constant theme appears:

* The software business has changed irrevocably and has matured
* The glory days of growth are over
* Technology does not matter; its all about maintenance revenues and consolidation
* No white space remains in the software landscape

Hearing all their lamentations reminds me of an episode from my salad days when I had a real job. I was at Microsoft in the mid 90's and was lucky enough to be one of a few microsofties invited to have dinner with Bill Gates and Mike Maples (they had a program in which they selected 30 odd employees every month to have dinner with the big cheeses.) After dinner, Bill and Mike would run a 30 minute question and answer session. I asked Bill that day if he was starting out his career in the 90's and he wanted to create a big company what would he do? Bill earnestly said (and I felt he was being very honest) that the big opportunities in technology was done and that he would do something in Biotech. He felt then (this is 1993) that the software industry has matured and there was not going to be much growth anymore. Mike Maples also agreed. Obviously in retrospect they were wrong. They missed the Internet. They missed BEA, Siebel, Veritas, Verisign and other countless B2B software companies that created billions in value.

Extract from an interesting "Char" post on how Business Objects chose to "Cross the Chasm" using a "horizontal niche" approach.

The company was not trying to create a new platform to work with all database technologies, but rather was positioning itself as a “complement” to Oracle.

Interesting market entry strategy for several reasons: (1) horizontal rather than vertical strategy, (2) leverage the large installed base of a big successful company and sidestep the Early Adopters and the Chasm, (3) by creating a complementary offering, you get to work with BigCo’s salespeople, help them win more deals, make their product work better, etc., (4) since the product is complementary and improves the performance of the established product, this opens up the possibility of an acquisition down the line. Another example of this strategy would be PayPal and eBay.
I also found this "Ven" post on leadership lessons from the 2004 US elections interesting.

Arun Natarajan is the Editor of TSJ Media, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of TSJ Media's Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.