And now it is Laila time

So here goes live my other venture – www.asklaila.com – local search engine. The Laila journey has been just amazing. We started the journey approx 9 months back and at last reached the D day ( D as in delivery ) on 3rd Aug, 2007. It  is such a great feeling to write some code  where you can see the usage happening in front of your eyes. I have spent 12 years of my professional career writing code for so many alien societies that doing something desi was so much of relief.

The biggest challenge was to build everything from scratch and still keep a focus on the quality of things and timelines. Finding good quality of people has been one of the biggest challenge. When I see so many young kids driven by pure monetary benefits instead of bigger challenges, I just feel bad for them. Tough to find people who love challenges and enjoy the sheer joy of solving something which no one has solved before.

Being part of startup is always about finding the right solution smart way within limited time and resources. This is what drives much more innovation. I wish how large companies could let go their desire to keep a tight control and instead spawn many more smaller companies. I am sure they will end up creating much more business that way. I guess someday large corporates will evolve a distributed model of operation and will reduce inter unit dependencies to maximize organizational efficiencies and reduce  avoidable red tape.

Coming back to the launch,  lot of people ask why another one when there are so many in the market. This always reminds me of how some generic search engines are not good for specific verticals because they are trying to be good in too many verticals. As in life sometimes when you try to be good to too many people you end up being good to none or end up compromising principles. Life is about believing in principles and not bothering about rubbing few folks on the wrong side in defending them.

I  hope to get lots of feedback from all and work towards improving the quality and user experience. That is what will keep driving me for next few months……

  • anonymous

    congrats Birla .. Good to see it out.
    –rajaram

  • bkbirla

    What are you up to ? Do send across the feedback.
    Birla

  • anonymous

    Well its great but looks like only few months back you were predicting the death of google – and now you copy what they have already created (checkout google local). http://bkbirla.livejournal.com/3205.html

    And BTW, their demise is no where near yet…

    Are you sure you really know what you say? Or you blurb out whatever you feel like that day thinking you will impress your clueless readers. May be that’s why you blog name is “… Hardly thinking”.

  • sunson

    Congrats on the launch! A one-stop desi-vertical search is a good idea, but do you think its going to be a big deal for a Yahoo! or google to extend their existing local search stuff onto india? I mean, Yahoo! is already doing it. Google/Yahoo!’s local search platform for the US is solid. Its only a matter of understanding the potential. Even if that is, say, 1 year from now, I tell you, your “sticky” users aren’t even going to think 1.5 times before switching over to them. 🙂

    I guess someday large corporates will evolve a distributed model of operation and will reduce inter unit dependencies to maximize organizational efficiencies and reduce avoidable red tape.

    Given you’ve been in Amazon bangalore, I’m sure you know how much of reinventing-the-wheel we had to go through given that we started out in this ‘distributed model’. There are scars (and even unhealed wounds) that pains ease of work simply because we’d reinvented it ourselves. from our own svn, to packaging to IT policies to front-desk operations. I think standardisation and re-use is important than allowing everybody to ‘evolve’ on their own. Its just too much waste of time.

    Wouldn’t you love it if you had your hardware managed, your employee appraisals taken care of, your source-control/network/email/etc., , a company-wide robust software infrastructure (ex: ‘large corporate’ gives you TIBCO, Oracle, etc.,. licenses without any hassles), etc.,. and instead had all the time to work on the problem solving? I agree, the other aspects are fun. But all I’m saying is that its not the most efficient 🙂

  • sunson

    btw, I searched for ‘pasta’ and I got “Dr.Shiva Prasad K.” as the only result.

  • sunson

    You could also do a spell suggestion?

  • bkbirla

    Thanks a lot.

    BTW let me get few things clear on the “Death” articles. I am not trying to predict death or survival of any company. I claim no expertise in this area. What I am trying to point out is that these are few of the things which are dangers for a company. I apologize if my catchy headline has caused any confusion in your mind.

    On the second topic of what I write on my blog, you are extremely right when you say that I have not put much thought into it. For me blogs are a platform to express your opinions and not write pages of explanation to argue on the rationale. After all let us leave some work for all the MBAs hired by so many consultancy companies.

    BTW, it might be a good idea for you to come out of your Anonymous avatara and let us sort out any confusions.

  • anonymous

    I’m part-time with http://chakpak.com . Rest taking rest and reading.
    Joining zapak in another month and half ..

    Yeah I’ve been sending some feedback, thru ur system.

  • bkbirla

    Ok so let me respond to the issues you raised one by one….

    Other big players jumping into the market
    – Yes they can and they will at some point. We are focussed on building a great search experience for the user and in the end users will decide what works for them best. But i won’t make the assumption that users will go with these large brands just because they are large brands. BTW some of these large brands started like small startups just few years back. What we are doing to create a high bar for others to emulate is something which I will not be able to provide much details on (at least on blog).

    Model of operation of large companies
    – In my opinion business is all about understanding your customers and proximity to customers and focus on them does help. I think large global entities with low decentralization of power and decision making slows down the pace of decision making and ability to react to market forces. The infrastructure issues you pointed out are important things but in my opinion not as important as agility of an organization.

    BTW with so much opensource all over the place, reuse and knowledge sharing is happening across organizations also.

  • anonymous

    Congrats Birla on the release
    It calls for a big party 🙂
    I have already become an avid user of your site 🙂

    Btw Happy birthday
    Many happy returns of the day

    — Santosh Kabbur

  • bkbirla

    Thanks a lot for your wishes….

    The party is always on. Drop in to potluck sometime. Do let me know if you don’t find anything on asklaila.

    Hope you guys are still playing some cricket…

    Birla

  • anonymous

    Sure, will definitely drop in to Potluck

    Till now i have been all most everything i search for on asklaila

    One suggestion is, you can write a plugin (or whatever it is called) to add asklaila in IE7/Firefox search box, so that it’ll be very easy to search

  • anonymous

    Sure, will definitely drop in to Potluck

    Till now i have been able to find all most everything i search for on asklaila

    One suggestion is, you can write a plugin (or whatever it is called) to add asklaila in IE7/Firefox search box, so that it’ll be very easy to search

  • anonymous

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce

  • anonymous

    Hi Birla,

    Please find a URL where people are addressing about the issues and review to support and help the new startup which might be interesting to you.
    http://desistartups.wordpress.com/2008/04/07/restaurant-reviewing-indian-startups-comparison-burrp-needgrub

    Sreeram

  • Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?

    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no backup.

    Do you have any solutions to stop hackers?

  • An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend who has been conducting a little research on this. And he actually ordered me breakfast because I discovered it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this matter here on your web site.

  • yah very interesting………

  • Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

  • yah very interesting………

    There is another new “Indian Local Search Engine” Launched in market.

    FinderBoy – Local information search bridges the gap between the users and businesses by helping users find relevant providers of products. Search for all your local needs . Find nearby Restaurants , Shopping centers , Cinemas , Entertainment , Spa , Salon , Doctors , Schools , Coffee shops , Hospitals etc.