Monthly Archives: December 2006

Indian Entrepreneurship

In two days I’ll be going to India, my last trip there was 6 years ago, and from what I hear, things have already dramatically changed since then.

What I’m mainly interested to see is how the rising middle class is affecting the country. Is it like the rise of the massive middle class in the U.S. in the 1950′s, or is it different?

While I’m there I’ll try to visit some of the massive call centers I hear so much about, perhaps make a few contacts. Some of the best engineering talent in the world is in India, so some interesting things must be happening there regarding entrepreneurship. This is a democratic country with tons of talent being used to develop tons of large scale projects, so it’s inevitable that Indian entrepreneurs will spring up all over the place. I’d like to meet some of these people.

Some questions I’ll ask myself while there:

-What brand of cars are becoming prevalent? Fiats dominated the road last time I visited.

-Last time I went, disposal waste per household was extremely low. I remember one guy with a small basket picking up the garbage for every household in an entire colony (equivalent to an apartment complex). Hardly anything was wasted. How has that changed with modern packaging techniques, fast food etc?

-How easy/hard is it to get an internet connection and power outlet for my laptop over there? Is it expensive?

-Cell phone usage?

-Adjusted price comparison of a Big Mac in the United States and India. Over there It’s actually called a Maharaja Mac and is made with lamb or chicken instead of Beef. McDonald’s got in some trouble for serving beef.

-Attitudes towards the United States?

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I’m also highly interested to see if the level of corruption has gone down, as this is one of the more powerful issues I see holding India back.

The way of doing business there is entrenched in bribes and “Bonuses”, many which are now considered a normal part of doing business. The sad thing is the people who enforce the law are involved too, so people are forced to continue the system of bribes in order to get anything done.
For example: If you open a restaurant and need a liquor license, let’s just say unless you pay someone a very large “gratuity” for their work, your license won’t show up for the next 10 years.

This also happens on a smaller scale. For example: If you want to park your car in a no parking zone, an officer will ticket or tow your car unless you “encourage” the officer not to with a monetary incentive.

I also want to try some sort of money experiment while in India. With the sheer amount of poor people already trying to sell stuff, I don’t know if my bottled water experiment would fly over there, so I’ll have to look for something else!

New Ecommerce Website

A new venture I am working on is another ecommerce business which will be based on a Yahoo Store Ecommerce platform.

It will be called www.BodyMonkey.com

The name came from a body jewelry store I was going to create, but my lack of interest left the domain for dead. I then needed a temporary domain name to let the Yahoo designers build the site, so I used BodyMonkey and then started to really like the name. It’s catchy and can eventually become a brand. ……and the name just makes me laugh!

A setback on this business is of all the shopping cart platforms out there, the one I know the LEAST about is Yahoo Stores. Another setback to the process is the limited number of Yahoo Store designers out there, because Yahoo uses their own custom programming language called RTML. This means a specialized designer must be hired, and “specialized” always equals “more money.” I’m not a fan of spending a lot of money on a business until its proven itself….but I had to suck it up on this one.

So far the rough shell of the site has been posted, and work is about 30% done on the site. Currently the site is a duplicate of my House Of Rave business, but that will somewhat be changed in the coming weeks. I will focus more on the design and layout in the coming weeks.

BodyMonkey will work much like my first online business, but this time I can correct a lot of the mistakes I’ve made in the past, and implement new features the HoR software doesn’t have. Something I’ve been having a lot of fun doing is making product videos and taking product photos for all the products that will be on the site. The supplier carries over 2,000+ products which I will eventually also carry, so this is no small undertaking and will be an ongoing process.

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I’m trying to find some sort of logo for BodyMonkey, and maybe even a character. When the site is running I want to rotate the logo every two weeks. Customers will be able to submit their logos, and if they’re used on the site, they get a free t-shirt or something like that.

This will be the first time I’m commissioning art for a website, which should be interested. It’s interesting to watch a talented artist use their creativity. So far, this is all I’ve come up with on my own:

The reason I think this business will do well is because I have so much fun doing stuff for it. Getting artwork done by caricature artists, learning a new ecommerce platform, taking product photos, playing with the products myself, making product videos etc…

The reason BodyMonkey never turned into a body jewelry store is because I don’t care or know anything about body jewelry. The whole project would have been half-assed and therefore never become anything big.

I wrote about taking product photos a short while ago which is challenging and fun, but even harder is making product videos. My first few were horribly cheesy, and I realized the need for proper camera techniques and proper editing. I may eventually invest in some expensive video editing software.

Here is one sample of a product video for these really neat Luna Candle things:

I’m sure I’ll get better at these product videos as time goes on.

So over the next few months, BodyMonkey.com will be transformed from just a simple shell of a site, to a fully functional Ecommerce store.