The first MoMo Delhi was held last Saturday. It was an interesting mix of people and companies.
There were two mobile based social networking start-ups: Linksurf and Yaari.com. Neither were exciting and the homework seemed incomplete. Yaari.com is perhaps the better one. If one sets aside the mobile aspect which probably won’t work, they may well create an Indian community on the web and set themselves up for sale to say MySpace who would want to catch up with Orkut. But its a very iffy proposition given the biz models in social networking are still scaling up and that its very difficult to transfer a community and to integrate two different look n feels. It’ll be interesting to see how the look n feel of yaari.com shapes up.
Another company was webaroo which allows for for offline browsing and search on a mobile device. I agree with the need for offline browsing but its easily met otherwise. For example, if I want to browse stuff offline I just open it in new tabs in Firefox and read them later, typically in a flight. I’ve never had heavier needs but I do remember leeching software from my student days that could download an entire site. Webaroo is better with its compression and web-packs for organisation of content. But will someone pay for it? Probably not and I guess Webaroo knows it and hence the software is for free. They intend to earn revenue through ads. That would kick in only when they have volumes which seems to be far off. But they seem to be ready for the long haul.
The gyan sessions were boring. Its the same things recycled again and again! I haven’t kept close tabs over the mobile world and if I found the content recycled I wonder what the others thought.
The last was a panel discussion. I almost skipped it. Panels are usually insipid for me. However, I couldn’t leave for some other reasons. In the end, it was great that I didn’t. Manoj from Airtel was just awesome. He came out strongly in defence of operators with statistics and ground level realities that only an Ops guy can. One of the panelists Alok Mittal has captured this well, so I’ll not repeat.
At the end of the day, I was:
1. Excited by the enthusiasm of the people in start-ups/looking to start one
2. Disappointed by lack of maturity among entrepreneurs. There is a need for education on the kind of plans that can get funded. Instead, there was frustration about some plans not getting funded without any realisation that the plan may be bad.
3. Disappointed by the plans/businesses that I heard. Except for one (and he didn’t present), all were tweaks trying to ride the wave of web/mobile 2.0. But I guess its a good enough hit rate.
4. Happy with connections revived and new ones made.
Looking forward to more of these. Would attend the MoMo Bangalore at the end of this month.