Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ten steps to making money from smart ideas

smart ideas ten to make moneyIP Australia has this advise for people who are planning to startup business or has smart ideas.


1. Treat intellectual property as a business asset by putting a dollar value on it and look to protect it in the same way you do your tangible assets. This is important for your balance sheet if you want to attract investment to grow your business, or to find out what your business and your IP is worth if you want to sell it.

2. Understand the different types of IP and the advantages of each one. Patents protect inventions; design registration protects its look. A registered trade mark protects brand names, logos, original sounds and scents and even aspects of packaging. Or you may want to rely on rights such as copyright or trade secrets, which do not need to be registered, to protect your IP. IP Australia’s website gives you more details about your IP options at www.ipaustralia.gov.au.

3. Keep your smart idea confidential—until it’s protected. If talking to others about your idea, use a confidentiality agreement, otherwise you could risk your right to legal protection and competitive advantage. Once signed by the party, a confidentiality agreement prevents them from disclosing your ideas to others without your permission.

4. Protect your idea using the IP system. Wise innovators seek advice from an IP professional sooner rather than later.

5. Build a model of your invention, where practical, to help prospective financial backers visualise your smart idea and its market potential. However, don’t let anyone see it without having a confidentiality agreement in place first. Also, if you have an invention, be cautious not to chase money in relation to that invention before lodging an application for patent protection. A ‘commercial use’ of the invention prior to filing your patent application may destroy your chance of receiving a patent.

6. Keep track of all your development and protection costs to help you put a value on your IP and give you an idea of how profitable your venture should be to recover costs.

7. Every business needs to research its potential market and understand its likely consumers, competitors, buyers, licensees, investors, manufacturers and distributors. Doing this will help you work out if your product or service is competitive. It will also assist you to avoid infringing the IP rights of others.

8. Many inventors are great at inventing but to commercialise your idea you need a variety of business skills. Taking a course in business management or at least educating yourself via books or accessing information on the web is fundamental. Use support groups such as inventor’s associations, your local Business Enterprise Centre and government agencies. However, before taking major steps, invest in quality professional advice.

9. There are different ways to make money from IP. You can sell it, license it or make products yourself. It might be more profitable in some cases to not manufacture it yourself. If you do this, get legal advice on any contracts you intend entering into with other parties.

10. Keep an eye out for infringers. Not only do copycats erode your hard-won market share, poor quality imitations can quickly ruin your brand reputation. Seek the advice of a lawyer or patent/trade mark attorney to help you to decide on the best course of action against infringers. You may need to take legal action, but infringers can often be stopped without having to resort to legal proceedings.

More on this here.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Unholy alliance - Microsoft, Novell partnership

Microsoft has announced its partnership with Novell to put Suse Linux (2nd no Linux distro) on a Windows desktop. As part of the deal, Microsoft will offer sales support for Suse Linux and also co-develop technologies with Novell to make it easier for users to run both Suse Linux and Microsoft Windows on their computers. Microsoft plans to distribute 70,000 coupons for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server maintenance and support to customers that want to run both Windows and Linux in their environments. In addition to this, Novell and Microsoft will work together to improve interoperability between Windows and Novell's SuSE Linux.

Some insights from infoworld why this partnership has come along:

Scenario one: Looking to the future and seeing the proverbial handwriting on the wall, this stops the bleeding of Windows to Linux desktops.

Scenario two: Did the desktop OEMs push Microsoft toward this deal?
More of their customers want Linux and so the PC manufacturers want this technology so they can give them both.

Scenario three: The most intriguing possibility of all.
Did increasing sales of Apple Macintosh which now has Intel inside and uses OS X which is a form of Unix, have anything to do with this decision.

All this sounds very compelling for Linux enthusiasts, but in reality its not, esp when Microsoft talks about interoperability. Microsoft over the years has been opposing Linux and open source solution and now this deal, doesn't ring a bell to me. Novell and Microsoft have come together because they both want to screw Oracle and Red Hat. This unholy alliance of arch rivals getting together is to strike on the head of other guys.

Is this alliance going to help Novell? In short term yes, but in longer term no. As Foley from zdnet adds, "Microsoft is not conceding that desktop Linux is gaining ground. It's not admitting that its closed-source strategy has failed. Sure, Microsoft is licensing to customers' requests for better interoperability. But if you think the Redmondians are throwing in the towel, vis-a-vis open source, you are underestimating severely Microsoft's well-proven ability to come out ahead on any partnership to which it commits." And that, I think, may be the real take-away from this, aptly described in this post from ZDNet's Mitch Ratcliffe. Microsoft is not changing its license to GPL, it is still going to sell it s/w under strict license, but Novell has opened the gates for Microsoft to sell to its customers.
This alliance is a win-win situation for Microsoft and it proves again, it has no soul at all when it comes to business.

Looking ahead, this deal and Oracle's recent unbreakable Linux move has definitely put lot of pressure on RedHat.
It will be interesting how RedHat responds to these changes in marketplace. Until now there hasn't been much pressure on its share price, its holding up, which suggests market has lot of confidence in RedHat. Let us wait and watch how this unholy alliance comes out in future.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Take2 -Top Web2.0 Apps in Australia

I recently wrote about upcoming Web 2.0 apps in Australia and it was received well. As a result of that i have now updated this list in collaboration with Richard Macmanus from Web 2.0 workgroup. More here, here and here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Top 5 Probable Digg Buyers

Rumors are hot about News Corp planning to buy Digg. It’s a rumor right now, how much truth is there, is anybodies guess. This can be a real news and might have been leaked to press as a part of strategy as suggested by Internet Analyst, Henry Blodget,

Settle on basic deal terms and a provisional price, leak details so the market has a couple of days to chew on the idea, see how the stock reacts, neutralize the market’s biggest concern (lawsuits) by announcing a distribution pact with the main guy who might sue you, fix the price, rubber-stamp the press release, and go.

Coming days will tell us how much truth is there. If News Corp cannot buy this then these might be probable buyers for digg.

Microsoft - Microsoft will be the obvious choice because Microsoft is lagging in this Web 2.0 phenomenon. There hasn't been any decent/buzzing service offering by Microsoft in this space. If this comes on board, it will provide them a kick-start, which they are hoping for a while. Microsoft has got all the ingredients the to make this happen.

Yahooo - Yahoo's revenue is not increasing and is losing to Google on many fronts. If yahoo can pull this off it will be their third prize catch after flickr and del.icio.us. Both of these are brilliant applications. Digg will fit well into their service offering.

Time Warner - Time warner group which own Netscape will be other contender. Netscape has launched their portal on digg style but is not popluar as digg is. Netscape recently asked top digg contributors to join and get paid for their contribution. Netscape would definitely like to acquire this.

Google - If nobody can buy digg than Google will definitely try. It will be more of a strategic move, to not to allow Yahoo, Microsoft or News corp to buy this. Google can pull this off.

I can think of only these 5 contenders, what do you think? is there any other company (media) which might be interested in?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Top Web 2.0 Apps in Australia


Everyday we read/hear about the new web 2.0 applications start up with interesting concepts used. Recent acquisition of Youtube by Google has raised hope for new start ups to realize there dream of making it big time. Aussies are not behind in this trend. There are quite a few interesting applications which have come out of hibernation.


To do list - Remember the Milk

It allows users to manage tasks online as any to do list will do. It is integrated with Google Maps, Skype (IM) and is available on Mobiles as well. This is a very popular application around the globe with more than 100,000 users from 155 countries. It was launched in October 2005.


Digg clone for funniest email - FWDitOn

This is inspired by digg. It allows users to read hilarious emails, do a rating and share it with others. It is an interesting concept and has caught attention from few Venture Capitalists from overseas. This site was covered recently on techcrunch.


Community for parents - Minti

Minti provides an online platform for dads & moms to share and rank their advice about parenthood in a simple way and with lots of fun. It was launched in March this year after raising USD$1.2M.


Connecting students in Australia - Student face

It is a social networking service inspired by Facebook, Orkut, which allows students to share information, swap pictures, videos and more. It helps in uniting students with similar interests from all over the country. Membership in StudentFace is exclusive to students who are enrolled in an Australian university and have a valid university (.au or .edu) email address. The site was lunched this year.


Marketing for bloggers using emails - Zookda

Zookoda is a blog broadcasting service provider. It allows bloggers to spread the word about their blogs by sending blog summaries via email. Zookoda provides blog owners with the tools to manage their mailing lists, design their emails, broadcast blog summaries and track recipient usage. It was launched this year in March and is now up for sale.

The Universal Web Storage Platform - Omnidrive

This is a full-scale web storage platform that can be accessed from a web browser, Windows or Mac desktop and even a mobile device. It allows users and developers to easily access and share content and files on the web. This was started by Nik Cubrilovic and launched in the beginning of this year. It was covered by techcrunch and recently got coverage in nine msn's The Bulletin magazine.


Blog search engine - Gnoos

It is a blog search engine which is inspired by Technorati. It's main focus is towards local bloggers. It was launched in May 2006.


Social networking service - Babbello

It is a social networking service inspired by Myspace. It allows people (popular with teens) to write blogs, chat, download ring tones for mobile, swap photos and more.


Connecting buyers and sellers - findit.com.au

Its a portal inspired by Craiglist. It provides a free forum for all community advertisements and listings .


Property Search - Spyk

This allows you to search all residential properties for sale or rent across Australia. It is a project designed and developed by Tim Kremer.

Other notable ones in dealing with real estates are :


Update: I have found two more notable sites.

News rating- Sukk

Its a Digg clone for rating of news from Australia and New Zealand. Site was lunched on September 5th, 2006.



News rating- PerthNorg

Its a Digg clone for rating of news from Australia. Its more comprehensive and allows news to be published and rated separately in different categories like technology, sports, lifestyle, business and others. Interestingly in addition to voting, it increases the rating if some one post a comment on a news/story/article .

Note: I can't think of covering all the Web 2.0 applications in Australia, if I have missed any application. I would like all of you to share information on other Web 2.0 applications in Australia. Please do leave a comment.
Disclaimer: Views expressed here are my personal. I am not a paid employee of any business/organizations covered in this article. I work for a software development and integration company, in Melbourne, Australia.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

6 Ways to make people's life better worldwide

I have been thinking for a while how user generated content sites like Digg, Flickr, Wikipedia and others can be used for people's benefit. This is my list of ideas how we can bring more transparency and accountability in our day to day life engagement.

1. Combination of Wikipedia and Digg style rating system for government offices.
People (users) can come and post their experiences with with photos (taken from mobile phones or others). This has the potential to be a successful venture in places like India, Brazil, Italy, Russia, where corruption and non transparency is very high.

2. Digg style rating site for hospitals.
Its mash up with Google maps and Flickr will provide missing details.

3. Digg style rating site for schools and universities.
Mash ups of Google maps and Flickr will add more value in it.

4. Digg style rating site for TV channels, magazines, newspapers and books.

5. Digg style rating site for aviation and transport industry.
Like rating for airlines and their flights, trains, buses and their routes.
Its mash up with Flickr and Google maps will be a plus.

6. Digg style rating site for restaurants, hotels, motels.
Its mash up with Flickr and Google maps will be a plus.

If there are any other ideas please post them in comments and i will add to
this list.