Monday, November 2, 2009

Mukesh Ambai Eyes Education

Potential of the Indian education segment -

According to an IDFC-SSKI report, Indians spend $50 billion annually on private education. The four segments of the education market — plus two, higher, vocational and supplemental — present a $80-billion opportunity by 2012. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16%, says a CLSA Pacific study.

Now Mukesh Ambani is planning a private university in line with Ivy league institutions, says this ET headline article.

Good to see the larger groups getting interested in the education space.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Understanding Users Of Social Networks - By HBS Prof

From this article from HBS Working Knowledge -

If the ongoing social networking revolution has you scratching your head and asking, "Why do people spend time on this?" and "How can my company benefit from the social network revolution?" you've got a lot in common with Harvard Business School professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski.

Only difference: Piskorski has spent years studying users of online social networks (SN) and has developed surprising findings about the needs that they fulfill, how men and women use these services differently, and how Twitter—the newest kid on the block—is sharply different from forerunners such as Facebook and MySpace. He has also applied many of the insights to help companies develop strategies for leveraging these various online entities for profit.

Excerpts -

On why social networks?

"Online social networks are most useful when they address real failures in the operation of offline networks," says Piskorski.

On LinkedIn

"If I am looking for someone who can help me with my start up, I would ask my friends if they know such a person, and if they don't, I would ask them to inquire with their friends. The problem is that those friends of friends don't always have an incentive to help, so they won't work on my behalf. But here is where LinkedIn comes in handy—there I can go and search through the network of my friends of friends and find the person I am looking for."

Photos - the biggest driver of activity

The biggest discovery: pictures. "People just love to look at pictures," says Piskorski. "That's the killer app of all online social networks. Seventy percent of all actions are related to viewing pictures or viewing other people's profiles."

Usage by gender

Piskorski has also found deep gender differences in the use of sites. The biggest usage categories are men looking at women they don't know, followed by men looking at women they do know. Women look at other women they know. Overall, women receive two-thirds of all page views.

For Twitter - Everything turns upside down

Piskorski says these findings do not hold for one network: Twitter.

Looking at who uses Twitter, which restricts users to 140-character messages, Piskorski and student-researcher Bill Heil (HBS MBA '09) found that 90 percent of Twitter posts were created by only 10 percent of users. This was not surprising, he says, because the technology uses words without photos to communicate.

"Only the people who are willing to put themselves out there publicly in words to people who they may not know will use Twitter. Some people will find this incredibly appealing, others will find this too scary."

But the remarkable finding was the gender dynamics. According to the research, there are more women on Twitter than men, women tweet about the same rate as men, but men's tweets are followed by both sexes much more than expected by chance.

"That was stunning because on all these other social networks you see the opposite," Piskorski says.

No one uses MySpace

MySpace has a PR problem because its users are in places where they don't have much contact with people who create news that gets read by others. Other than that, there is really no difference between users of Facebook and MySpace, except they are poorer on MySpace."

Monday, July 27, 2009

India To Have 3rd Largest Internet Userbase By 2013

"The number of people online around the world will grow more than 45 per cent to 2.2 billion users by 2013 and Asia will continue to be the biggest Internet growth engine.

"... India will be the third largest internet user base by 2013 with China and the US taking the first two spots, respectively," technology and market research firm Forrester Research said in a report.
From a Forrester Research report. Via Contentsutra from the PTI piece.

Like most forecasts, this one also has to be taken with a pinch of salt. When it comes to internet usage in India, I believe we have already spent way too much salt by now, with most of the forecasts and estimates not turning out as expected. Worse still, there are already enough people fighting for what appears to be, as of yet, a small pie and claiming all kinds of numbers when the measurement metrics and not very clear. Anyway, that's for another blog post another time. While the numbers may not be as turn out exactly as forecasted or as estimated, there is not denying that there is growth, albeit slowly and there is a huge opportunity waiting to come good. A few years in the context of an entire industry is a short time, and hope there are enough people around to make the most of the opportunity.