While I was still working on my MBA at Leavy, I took a course in Small Business Entrepreneurship under Dr. Albert Bruno. As a part of the course, we were asked to present a business plan for a venture. Since I have been working in the Mobile app industry for about 5 years now, I formed a small team whick looked into bulilding a small venture around Bollywood movies and how it can cope better with the brave new world of mobile devices.
After we did our research a few facts jumped out. Firstly, Bollywood is a unique industry. It produces an amazing number of movies – around 800+ per year. This is the number of movies produced in Hindi – the official language of India. If you add movies in 18 other regional languages, the number is closer to 1100. These movies have a profound cultural impact on the lives of billions of Indian, for whom these represent an escape from the daily realities of life. In the last few decades, Bollywood’s influence has spread beyond India and it’s neighbors such as Pakistan and Bangladesh. Thanks to the Indian diaspora, an increasingly large number of audience loves Bollywood. When we did the maths, we estimated this number to be about 30million people living outside India, who consumed Bollywood audience. This is a increasingly techno-savvy and relatively affluent audience, which has limited means to get to Bollywood content. Many studio’s recognize this which explains the increasing presence of NRI (non resident indian) themes in movies, simultaneous launches of movies across continents and frequent tours by Movie stars outside India.
But in the last 10 years, Bollywood has been accosted by a new challenge – the Internet. Piracy, which has always been a problem with Bollywood since the advent of VHS, has skyrocketed. With the internet, piracy has now crossed the boundaries imposed by physical media. Most new movies are ripped and pirated within days of release and are available on Bittorrent networks. Small Indian stores across the US sell ripped DVD’s for $1 with absolutely no legal repercussions. According to the US India Business Council/Ernst report on “The Effects of Counterfeiting and Piracy on India’s Entertainment Industry,” Bollywood lost US $959 million and 571,896 jobs due to piracy.
But, when viewed from the perspective of the consumer who lives outside India, there are very few Legal medium to consume Bollywood content. If the consumer are not lucky enough to live in Silicon Valley or New York or have access to a few channels from monopolized cable channels from Dish or Comcast, they turn on to the Internet to get to that content. And when they do go to the internet, they are presented with the wild wild west – online bulletin boards with links to dubious sites where they can download bit torrents for movies and TV serials. The sites are often inundated with ads and possibly viruses. The sites are often taken down due to legal issues and the content is usually low quality.
The situation is even more dire when it comes to accessing Bollywood on mobile devices. Due to the small screen size and limitation of device hardware, consumers have the least access to Bollywood on mobile phones.
I had almost lost the code for abettercal, an app that I wrote back in 2009 (for iOS2.1 no less). Found it on my old macbook pro, and put it up on bitbucket. I have to say, I am pretty impressed by what all I got done in a month of coding.
The app is an exact copy of the standard iPhone calendar. But it does a little more than the standard calendar. It syncs up your google calendar account and allows you to read write to google calendar. Also, it can take voice memos, uploads it on amazon EC2 and takes the url and syncs it into google calendar. You can replay the voice memos from within the app and they should up as embedded clips on a browser on google calendar.
It was quite an impressive hack, and I am very proud of it. I will re-release it sometimes soon, I think and make it free.
It has been a surprising 48 hours since Fotobook was released. I am humbled by the kind reception it has got. The app has gotten more than 2K downloads in the first 48 hours! If anything, this is a testament to the need for better Photo viewers on the world’s favorite Social network platform.
Apple has featured Fotobook in ‘New and Noteworthy’. Here we come ‘What’s Hot’.
On a side note, I was impressed with Facebook’s dev support team. Fotobook has a minor outage caused by an automation tool, which they fixed in an hour. Thanks!
I had been thinking about a more photo friendly Facebook app for a few months now. Writing apps between a full time job at Yahoo! (awesomest place to work), an MBA at Santa Clara University, and being the ‘Best daddy in the whole wide world’, is challenging.
Finally, I got about 3 weeks of ‘free’ time between winter and spring sessions at SCU and did Fotobook. Here is it at all it’s glory, I hope you like it. Drop me a line if you want features.
We are happy to announce chatroulette for Android at PaypalX event. The app used Twilio and Paypal. The app is currently in beta. Drop us a line if you want to learn more.
It has been 2 weeks since Chatroulette was submitted in the Appstore. Apple has started testing the app, because I got a call from one of their reviewers. It was followed by a terse ‘we need more time to test the app’ mail. Hopefully it will see the light of day soon.
Nothing kills attention like a Powerpoint presentation. Instead, I am going to use Prezi. Here is something that I put together in 5 minutes.
Ok, after 4 hours of hard work cannibalizing bottlr, I submitted my new app Chatroulette for iPhone today.
It is a simple 1 minute random phone call app. You get 5 free minutes to start with. As always, both callerID’s are hidden. Many thanks to Twilio for their excellent API.
Now it’s your turn Apple….
I have submitted a new update to the appstore. In spite of promises of Foursquare like checkins in Leash, I had to rush this release without checkins. After a few weeks, I have discovered that the code is attempting to updating the UI when in background, causing more battery drain for older phones.
From Apple’s IOS Application Programming Guide :
“Avoid updating your windows and views. While in the background, your application’s windows and views are not visible, so you should not try to update them. Although creating and manipulating window and view objects in the background will not cause your application to be terminated, this work should be postponed until your application moves to the foreground.”
So 3 weeks back, I released my 4th app ‘Leash GPS tracker’. Boy, am I excited to see it get about 1000 users in 3 weeks. Leash is a Google Latitude like service for the iOS4.0 phones. It runs in the background, and it’s free.
Anyways, while driving back home I decided on one more app to do before my MBA program which started last weeks takes over my life. A couple of hours or tinkering, and I have an app.
What is it? All I can say is that it is another social app. By the way, if you are a designer or know any good iPhone designers with some free cycles, let me know.