The Gray Hair Speaketh

Advice that is largely Unsolicited.. – Collaborative Knowledge Management and Research Tool

Sumeet Anand, founder and CEO, asked me to review his startup,

Category: B2C -> Web research tool; Enterprise -> Collaboration and Knowledge Management tool

What does it do? is an interesting mashup of a Wikipedia and social bookmarking sites. It is a tool for collaboration and knowledge management, and offered free on open web for individual users, and planned to be offered also on web based SaaS as well as in enterprise versions.

What more?
There is obviously a significant software effort that has gone into the making of For example, there is virtually a concept of a browser within the browser. You do not really need to use the back button at all, as you navigate through the various pages in Kreeo. The navigation, layout, presentation have all been done with thought, and are good.

My quick two cents:
You can’t help but think Wikipedia as you see Kreeo. Yes, there are differences. But to an average user looking for information, does he notice the various subtle differences. Also most importantly, content is the key. For a site of this nature, we are talking of tons and tons of content. Without that, it leaves me with a feeling of a great idea, but being unable to appreciate the nuances, without adequate data. Moreover, without data, it does not compel me to return soon!

Wisdom Nuggets in more detail:
1. I have a suspicion – and I could be wrong – that Kreeo was created by fundamentally, a technology person! There is a huge emphasis on the application, perhaps to an extent, at the cost of the larger business model.

2. Sumeet informed me the beta was launched in Jan 2009, after a year of alpha. That being the case, it would have been great to have used a part of that one year, also for creating some content for Kreeo. At this time, without the content, it creates interest, but then disappointment.

3. There will be questions about why Kreeo, and why not Wikipedia? Even on the SaaS or Enterprise versions, there are enough Wiki implementations available to serve the purpose. With all the technology bits, the core reason to look at Kreeo as against a Wiki, does not come out that clearly. If it takes an effort to understand that difference, it may not quite be good enough.

4. On a content driven aggregation, we have also seen in recent days, Guy Kawasaki’s venture, The strategy that Alltop has used has enabled it to grow significant content quickly and it keeps growing. As a pure web reference tool, it may today offer better value than Kreeo does. So yes, I am getting repetitive on the content front, rather the lack of it, on Kreeo. But that unforutnately, is a big issue on Kreeo, at this time.

5. So where does Kreeo go from here? If Enterprise and SaaS is the way to go, and to offer Kreeo as a platform for enterprises to manage their knowledge, then it is important to focus only on that. And present these solutions with all the differentiation and the benefits coming out strong and clear. If enterprise content and knowledge is what Kreeo will drive, let it not dilute the brand and the offering by also being in the larger B2C / Social Media space.

6. On the other hand, if the larger B2C is what beckons, it must be appreciated that creating an encyclopedia of sorts takes a toll. Even in a collaborative mode. Either there has to be a clear strategy to energize the masses to contribute and create, OR Kreeo could think of focusing on a few verticals, instead of the entire universe. And at least for those few verticals, ensure that real depth of information exists.

Overall, I must repeat that the technology is promising, but I am concerned about the business model, at this time.



March 17, 2009 Posted by | Knowledge Management, Startup, Technology, Web Research | , , , , , | 3 Comments – Online Store for Organic Products

Priyanka Baya asked me to do a reivew of

Easy Organic Products

Easy Organic Products

Category: B2C -> E-commerce -> Organic Products

What does it do? is a regular online store selling a wide range of Organic products.

What more?
Shipping is from Singapore. Default currency is also SGD. However products are offered to be shipped all over the world. There is a store delivery mentioned, but I could not locate any reference to a store address.

My quick two cents:
The store probably runs okay because of the product range and a working operation. However there is ample room for improvement. The store comes out looking quite amateurish in all respects, by normal e-commerce standards. Simply getting best e-commerce practises in place, and combing the site to fix the various errors, will lead to significant improvement.

Wisdom Nuggets in more details:
1. On the home page, the fonts and layout is all over the place. Using too many bold tags, and also a lot of ampersand signs “&” is a quick indication of an amateurish effort. Add to that, the vast open spaces in the center whereas the left and right columns run longer. Obviously opportunities have been lost to position then, some large sized images of best sellers.

2. Speaking of best sellers, in that list, there is repeat mention of Gift Vouchers. It is clear that this list comes out of a database, and there isn’t an easy manual fix to it. A customer would like to know that Gift Vouchers are popular, you are wasting an opportunity by listing 3 denominations of Gift Vouchers as best sellers, on your home page.

3. The testimonial link from the home page goes to an inside page where there is only one testimonial. Looks embarrassing.

4. Product images can be improved. There could be larger sized ones, multiple views and in some cases, videos too. All of these are quite par for the course, these days.

5. The SEO effort is not present. Almost all pages return the same page titles, for example. For a small e-commerce site, this can make a big difference to the overall sales.

6. Links don’t work right once you are in the wholesale area of the site.

To repeat, due to the interesting product range, the site probably does decent sales. However, clearly there is huge room for improvement and it can scale newer heights, if it can fix many trivial misses.

At this time, the site looks like a good “organic growth” (pardon the pun!) business, but does not show the potential to become a huge winner, which it has potential to become.


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March 17, 2009 Posted by | Ecommerce, Startup | , , , , | 2 Comments – a destination for Internships

Abhishek Sharma, co-founder, requested for a review of his startup,

Category: B2C -> Recruitment -> Interns

What does it do? offers prospective interns a one-stop destination to find good internships. Recruiters looking to recruit interns are asked to register and post their requirements of interns.

What more?

  • Compact little site with few links that get everything done.
  • All services offered free at this time.
  • The revenue earners that I see, are the Google AdSense links on many of the pages.

My quick two cents:
Interesting niche identified. But is the niche too small to make for a sizeable business?
HelloIntern may need to either significantly invest in popularizing the internship culture in India (create a larger market) or go global (assuming there are no established leaders globally) to generate scale in the business.

Wisdom Nuggets in more detail:
1.”Where is the money?”. If it takes time to earn it, that is fine. But is there a large enough pie out there, to cut a slice out of? Otherwise, all the hard work will not pay rich dividends.
2. Abhishek conveyed an ambition to reach 10,000 companies and 1 million students in 2-3 years. Is there a market at least 4-5 times that number? On the face of it, if restricted to India alone, the numbers do appear to be large. But there needs to be validation of the numbers through some research on the subject.
3. Internships happen via college placement cells too. Is there a room for a strong alliance of HelloInterns with college placement cells? That must be explored. Especially for tier II, tier III towns where many recruiting companies may not be visiting for internship recruitments.
4. Can HelloIntern show a real difference to students and companies, as compared to established recruitment portals like Naukri, Monster, etc.? If the niche is interesting enough, it is easy for them to spin it within their portals. After all, they already have the recruitment relationships with organizations. This may be one of the toughest hurdles. On the other hand, if HelloIntern can attract independently, the niche Interns segment, and become a destination with volumes, then they also become an attractive acquisition target for a larger recruitment portal.
5. How does HelloIntern seriously scale up?
a. By increasing the market size. This may be most challenging, but done well, it can also be the most rewarding, in terms of an added benefit of brand building. By creating collaterals on how internship can be offered, what kind of jobs can be interned, why should they be interned, etc., they need to create the pipe from the recruiter’s end.
b. By launching globally: There is nothing to prevent HelloIntern to be a global play. Where there are established market leaders, HelloIntern can leave the space. But there may be ample number of countries where the opportunity may be present, but no one has tapped it well so far.
c. By going beyond pure interns and looking at all kind of short term / temporary positions: of course, the domain name may restrict such a foray, and I would also recommend this only as a last option.

One or the other way, attaining size will be the critical key!

From this review onwards, I am also including a Gray Scale rating. This is an indication, based on current business and potential, about the likely success of the startup. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the one most likely to succeed.


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March 17, 2009 Posted by | Recruitment, Startup | 1 Comment