E-commerce Experience at Future Bazaar: Fancy Money, Fancy team and no focus on usability

2 weeks back I was browising around on FutureBazaar.com and having gone through their fairly impressive catalogue of items, decided on impulse, to purchase a few items for my long ignored kitchen.

What began then was a tale stretching over 3 weeks that refuses to go away and has for me once again brought in to doubt, the much touted ‘What is wrong with the E-commerce space in India?’

While there a lot of things that can be done to make E-commerce a better bet in India, the 2 most obvious factors on which the electronic play hinges is the ability to bring in new users in to its fold, which is partially to do with concerns regarding security, availability of credit cards/ debit cards while the second and equally if not more important factor – the ability to deliver a consistent and seamless experience.

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What goes around, comes around – From Pimp to Prostitute

Just to give a little context I am currently in the process of boot-strapping my second venture along with a friend from IIMK. The first venture, Minkle (www.minkle.in) – was in the mobile apps space and had to be curtailed (read as put in the freezer and not completely killed off) due to various factors that are endemic to startups and to the mobile apps / m-commerce space in India. Prior to taking the proverbial leap as an entrepreneur, I was an Investment Banker and Corporate Finance guy for 2 years, following my MBA from IIMK.

While this wasn’t apparent to me for quite some time, recently while discussing with my partner about how we as struggling entrepreneurs were likened to prostitutes, I realised the same is true for the comparison between I-Bankers / VCs and Pimps and how I had for roughly 2 years been on either side of the fence.

Phase I: The induction to the ‘Pimpin’ world

Fresh out of IIM, I took up a job as an I-banker and rolled in, a fledling, in the ‘towering’ microcosm of PE, VCs and I-Bankers. I realise that there are many simmilarities between a Pimp and an I-banker or Venture capitalist. I use the term ‘Pimp”, to encapsulate both I-bankers and VCs because while both serve different functions, in the eyes of the entrepreneur, especially ones who do not have too much exposure to the VC / PE scene, they are one and the same to a large extent. (This is a generalisation for I-Bankers and PE / VC investors and bears no reference to any specific person or company).  Continue reading

Being ‘Anti-Social’ does pay its dues

I have had this post in the freezer for quite some time now and thanks to my brother’s latest note on Facebook and about half a bottle of Old Monk (yes its still 3 hours to 12 AM on NYE and am already THAT high!), i finally got myself to over come some inertia and complete it.

Now before I begin, this post is based primarily on two of the most recent media offerings that I have been exposed to – ‘The Social Network’ movie and ‘The Big Short’ novel by Michael Lewis (some may remember him as the author of Liar’s Poker). While I have loosely interpreted the term ‘media’ here as any storage or transmission channel for information, the conclusion that I drew from these two are to a large extent plausible and to some people like me, even a little bit disturbing. Continue reading

Talwars – A blend too deep to Fathom

This post is the first in what I am sure would be many on the Clan that i belong to – the ‘Talwars’ (pronounced as tal- WAARDDZZ). While many an ode can be composed regarding their rich history – right from their disputed origins and their involvement in the freedom struggle; to their quirks and idiosyncrasies – all richly highlighted in Golu chahcha’s sessions and witnessed and even to some extent documented, by each Talwar especially of the younger generations, this post is just to give one a quick glimpse into what the Clan is all about.

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Mumbai – Delivery Guys nightmare!

Thought I’d just share something that strikes me as one of the more discernible features of the city that I reside in – Mumbai. At times peculiar and at times downright frustrating, this one feature is something that has been fairly evident to me right from my first days in Mumbai.

And while not something as grand as the the other features of Mumbai ala’ the crowds, locals, bad roads & traffic, quality of life etc., this is something that has struck me as quite peculiar at times and that is the NAMING CONVENTION OF BULDINGS AND LOCALITIES!

Having stayed in residential areas in 3 cities in India and 1 abroad – Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Bahrain, I have realised that each city has its own method for organising lanes and by-lanes within any residential locality, that is all except Mumbai. Continue reading