Archive for December 2007
The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) has come out with their projections for the year 2008. Much of the predictions are in line with what is already known, that tech spending is going to significantly reduce in 2008, leading to reduced opportunities that will trickle down in as fewer exits and even fewer IPOs.
According to NVCA, a vast majority of their members estimate that the investments for 2008 will be to the tune of $27 billion, which is pretty close to the number that was for the year 2007. In 2007, according to studies, India had accounted for $4.2 billion of that figure and considering the state of the US economy, the logical conclusion would be that the investors would be looking at markets outside the US for better returns, thus leading to at least that number being matched or easily crossed in 2008.
In 2008 the slowdown is expected to hit IT spending by a wide margin:
“In January, we predicted IT spending growth of 6.1 percent for 2007. It now looks like growth will be 3.5 percent at year end.” – Jim Hale, Founding Partner, FTVentures
This is a sentiment that is widely seen on Wall Street with analysts scampering to fill their portfolio with safe stocks (companies that have a limited impact in terms of exposure to the US economy by having wider exposure to emerging markets and companies that do mission-critical installations and service contracts like Cisco or Oracle, who will have limited impact). Strangely, all of the analysts seem to consider semiconductors as a safe bet since there are major cost and capacity cuts planned for 2008 to shore up margins and increased demand to due to artificially constrained supply.
So, what does it mean for India? Well, not much. The segments that the VCs are looking to invest are the following: CleanTech, Media and entertainment, Biotech and Internet specific companies. Currently, other than carbon credits, there is not much worth investing in country yet that is in the domain of cleantech. Biotech is a bit of an enigma for me and honestly, other than a barebones knowledge that the segment is doing really well, I have no clue about how much is being taken onboard in terms of venture capital in the segment. there is though a fleeting mention somewhere that the segment attracted about $125 m funding in 2006. Maybe, this will be our rock star segment for 2008?
That leaves us with the obvious and usual suspects of media and entertainment and Internet specific companies. The latter is quite an interesting segment since it is exploding in India. At the same time, it is not a cheap segment to be in. Initial capital requirements are insanely high and the cost of securing decent carriage is even higher. And I can’t really see any existing players who are looking to do an IPO in 2008, though there is the rumor of Reuters exiting the Times Now venture (I know, I know, single sourced anonymous comment means nothing!), leaving a nice chunk of equity available for being picked up. Of course, there is the much bigger rumor of BCCL itself looking to offload some equity, even as it still won’t get itself listed.
Internet-specific companies. Oh well. Which and where, are two rather interesting questions in the segment. Most of the established players already have varying degrees of of exposure to venture capital and others are already public. Even if there is intent, like in the case of Infoedge, of raising capital, the question remains where are you going t put that money into? With even IAMAI scaling down its projections for growth and usage of internet in India, the chances of a surprise segment that will manifest itself in 2008 is going to be highly unlikely.
Other obvious ones like travel have already been done to death (with established number 1, 2 and 3 players), leaving us with the rather obvious option of consolidation via M&As. Other segments like matrimony and email have the same issues and even if were to talk in terms of the potential that is present in the market, we’d end up with the usual chicken-and-egg problem of penetration stifling reach all too easily.
All said and done, this is mostly guesswork, informed and uninformed, so what actually happens remains to be seen in 2008.
The first feeling you get after finishing Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the shore is akin to stepping out of being in a deep and delicious trance. Beyond the intricate detailing of events and characters, when you step out of the often-crazy world that Murakami sets up, you feel wrung inside-out, having been dragged along with the characters on their respective amazing journeys.
The most distinct thing about Kafka on the shore is that judgment is flung firmly out of the window from the first page. If you are the types who work overtime to make moral or any other type of judgments, this book is certainly not for you. On the other hand, if you love your fiction like if it were the best Tiramisu you have ever had in your life — multi-layered and mutli-flavoured — this is certainly the book for you.
The story has a pace that is quite unexpected and does not let off till the end and it covers grounds and cultures that is very obviously beyond what the Japanese isles — where the story is set — can account for. At the same time, it does not shut you out, even if you are not the average ‘intellectual’ and keeps you firmly interested and involved till the end.
The best thing about the book is that there are so many different ways in which it can be interpreted, but the overbearing theme is of a constant search for the self, which is the thread that joins together everyone involved in the book.
I guess that is what makes the book so special, that there is a little bit of yourself in every character, without it being entirely about you. The work stands equally tall, even when you don’t identify with it.
The only question that remains is if anyone would dare to make a movie. Rest assured, it will never be a commercial hit, but writing a screenplay for it and later translating it with a camera should be an adventure that very few would dare to start on.
- A bunch of cats and dogs speaking silly English gets more traction on a regular basis than the political blog of a mainstream television network on WordPress.com
- The most read story on latimes.com is about a transsexual sportswriter coming out in the publication that
heshe writes for.
- OJR’s “Five lessons from 2007” amount to pretty much no lesson at all. Seriously, if getting a breaking news blog, copying sports style and trying to dig the facts out is all that it would take to ‘fix’ media in 2008, I am at a loss for what can be said about the situation.
Update: Updated post (on December 11, 2008) here.
- We won’t be running any binary installations, all software will be compiled from source.
- The installation won’t make use of Fink or Darwinports either.
- These are instructions for the Intel Macs.
- Using this approach would mean that you will need to maintain the stack by hand.
- Use this information at your own risk.
- If you don’t want to go through all the trouble and use a binary installation, read this post.
The software stack we are going to install will be as follows:
Apache HTTP Server 2.2.6
MySQL 5.1.22 RC
We will also need to install the following software dependencies:
- Xcode (from the Leopard DVD or Apple Developer connection )
- Readline (
- Tidy (
This installation would not have been possible without help from the following websites:
- Installing Readline on OSX without using Fink or Darwinports
- Workaround for Tidy’s platform.h problem
- Installing the GD library on OSX Leopard
Now to the installation:
Download mysql-5.1.22-rc.tar.gz from the http://dev.mysql.com website
$sudo make install
Update: The steps did help me in getting to install the server, but on start up it did give certain location-specific errors.
As Hill has pointed out in the comments, MySQL.com has not released a version of their software for Leopard, but I got 5.1.22 RC to install, run and connect from PHP without any hassles following the instructions in one of the links he had kindly posted.
Download the source from ftp://ftp.cwru.edu/pub/bash/readline-5.2.tar.gz
There are bugs with the installation as elaborated in this link with workarounds:
$sudo make install static
Download the source from
$sudo make install
Follow the instructions at Veola.net
$CFLAGS="-arch i386 -isysroot /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.5.sdk"
if you get an apr.h error regarding sendfile, edit the apr.h file in srclib/ext/includes and change APR_HAS_SENDFILE to ’0′
$sudo make install
--with-snmp=/usr --enable-exif \
$sudo make install
And that’s all folks!