Thursday, July 19, 2007

Info Edge Recognized as Tomorrow's Giant

I'm proud to be a part of this company for over 4 years now..... :-)

Jul 17, 2007
New Delhi, Delhi, India -- (Business Wire India)
Info Edge (India) Ltd. has been identified amongst the Top 100 Mid Sized Companies in India. In a survey conducted by Business World Info Edge emerged at no. 43 on an overall performance rank, and was ranked 7 on total average returns in the Rs 50-100 crore category. In this bracket, 256 companies had made it to the final assessment.

According to Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Founder and CEO, Info Edge (India) Ltd , It feels good to be recognized as one of the best performing companies by Business World this year (a watershed year for the company in which we crossed Rs. 100 Crores and also listed on the stock exchanges). Info Edge has been consistently striving to deliver on the highest standards of professional governance and value creation through high growth and margin expansion. This recognition underscores our commitment to being the best in the industry.

The rankings were based on the holistic performance of a company. The survey included both public and private companies whose net sales was between Rs. 50 crore- 1,000 crore in the recent accounting year. Performance of a company over the past three years on five key parameters was taken in to account i.e. size, growth in net sales, growth in net profits, profitability and average returns. The companies included in the survey were those that ensured consistent performance throughout the year

The recent ranking by the Business World survey 2006 is a further reiteration of the fact that Info Edge has consistently delivered superior products and performance for its stake holders customers, employees and investors.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Social networking will supplement, not replace, job sites

Sanjeev Bikhchandani,
Founder and CEO, Info Edge India

Sanjeev Bikhchandani is one of the few people who saw the potential of the internet for value transactions. As a result, became a success story, defining the Rs 240-crore online jobs industry. His company Info Edge listed last year, and now has a mind-boggling market capitalisation of around Rs 2,400 crore. Tarana Khan and Kapil Ohri spoke to him about the Timesjobs controversy, Web 2.0, and whether Naukri has been successfully able to leverage the first-mover advantage

Q. Mr. Bikhchandani, Naukri had the first mover's advantage. How important, and sustainable, is this for you?

A. Being the first mover really helps, provided you make good use of it. So, for us, it really helped. We understood early on what it takes to create value for customers, what it takes to get revenue on the internet, what it takes to make a profit. In that understanding and knowledge, we were years ahead of the competition. So, it gets a lot easier to remain a leader. The fact is that we launched based on a deep customer insight. Others who came in took a few years to understand what it takes to build customer value -- and we were three years ahead. So that's the big reason why we succeeded.

Q. Now, the online job industry is pretty competitive. Times Jobs started a whole campaign claiming to be No. 1, to which you did respond, but they have continued with it...

A. We are actually quite delighted, because our resumes are up by a 20-25 per cent and they remain up. Currently, our resume acquisition rate is higher than ever before. What has happened is that Monster is actually No. 2, so our sales guys are happy. Because, that's like saying Monster is not No. 2. Look, we are in a market where results are measurable. If you do a job search on Naukri, you will know how many results you find, and if you do a job search on TimesJobs, you know the results. You will be able to evaluate which is the No. 1 site. Similarly, in the recruiter's side, you will know how many resumes you got from where. So, in a market where results are measurable, both the job seeker and the recruiter find it easy to evaluate competitive offerings. And when that happens, no amount of big ads can sell a lie. So, that's okay and we are pretty comfortable there.

Q. Do you think there is a lack of standardisation in terms of the definition of 'active resumes' or the numbers? Because people are quoting from different sources...

A. See, if you look at our IPO document and all our official communication, we rely more on comScore than Alexa. Having said that, we use all available data. No data source is perfect, so we use a combination of multiple data sources to arrive at conclusions. We use these data to look at trends to see if we are growing, if competition is growing faster and if the gap narrowing and the like. So it’s more of that kind of stuff rather than saying 'this is absolutely 100 per cent reliable'.

Q. Naukri is your flagship product -- how are you going to incrementally grow this business? There are numbers, of course, which can be added on, but what features or elements can you add to that product?

A. We have a very strong product and user-experience agenda. We have done a lot of work in the last 12-15 months on the product. A lot of the stuff that we do is not visible on the site, because it's in the nature of relevance ranking, algorithms and things like that. A lot of that stuff is working very hard for the clients. So, we are making serious investments there. What we realised is that if you do any feature, the competition can copy it very easily because it's visible on the site. But if you fix something which they can’t figure out, we believe that is defendable intellectual property.

Q. For the recruiters on your site, are you just concentrating on the display elements or are you offering them something more innovative in terms of exposure?

A. No, we are doing both . We have got resume database and listings products and display. Clients know what is working for them because we get 70 per cent of our business from repeat buyers.

One of the big problems in recruitment advertising online is applicant spam. So, if I put up a job and I get 500 applications, there's a large percentage of applicant spam -- junk people who are not suited for the job. Now, going through those 500 applications is a pain. Over the last two three years, we are working hard on how to minimise applicant spam. I believe we have made substantial progress through our job search algorithms.

Q. So, your focus is more on algorithms rather than cosmetic changes, like maybe video?

A. No, we will do whatever makes business sense. We don't believe video will take over all this and become mainstream in a hurry. We have been discussing video for the last couple of years and it's a question of prioritisation. If it looks like video resumes are taking off, we will definitely do it.

Q. Any other features you are considering -- maybe a networking tool – for the site?

A. I would not be able to discuss that, but we have a very strong product innovation agenda and you will see some of the stuff coming out pretty soon.

Q. Would that be a web 2.0-based innovation?

A. Yes. Everything we do, even the algorithms, are Web 2.0. We are not confident of social networking just yet. We don't believe there's a revenue model there. Having said that, if we do find a revenue model, we will definitely look into it. But we would like to get into businesses where there is at least some clarity of what the potential revenue model could be. As a company, it is not in our DNA to put up a site and say, `If it gets traffic, we will somehow make money’. We need to get the business idea before we launch a site.

Q. A lot of action is happening on social networking these days, and people are getting in touch with each other through these sites. So don't you think this is a challenge for you because people can now get job referrals through these social networks and companies can get in touch with people through them?

A. You have a point there, and if we see a revenue model, we will definitely do something. But we have to see a revenue model first.

Q. But do you see that as a challenge?

A. The challenge is that on social networking, nobody is making money. People may have valuations, people may have traffic -- but nobody is making money. Now, a lot of people are justifying this by saying that if you get traffic, you get to make money. That works for Google. It may or may not work for other sites. So, really, somebody has to show the way out for social networking. And we are not sure whether we are those people. The jury is out, and it will have to be worked out. Right now, there's some doubt.

Q. Some people we've spoken to in the industry say that classifieds will eventually die out. Do you believe that?

A. No. And I'll tell you why. Look at the history of any medium. When TV came, people said radio would die. That said, it's at least prospering. When TV came, people said print advertising would go away. But it hasn't. When internet came, people said the intermediary would go away. That's not happened. So, people generally tend to exaggerate or hype these things. Will social networking be used for finding people, whether for dating or marriage or jobs? It possibly will be. But will social networking replace them? I don't think so.

When you put your profile on a matrimonial site, you are announcing your intent that you want to get married. When you put it on a social networking site, you are not announcing that intent. So, the likelihood of a handshake happening is a lot higher (on a matrimonial site). When you put your resume on a job site to a client on it who has access to the database, you are announcing your intent that you are looking for a job. And therefore a serious conversation can be held. When you are on a social networking site, you are just saying who you are. Whether you are looking for a job or to get married...nobody knows. So the productivity of a recruiter is a lot higher on job sites. Now, can networking sites be used to find people who are not on job sites? As a support tool, yes. However, will it replace job sites or matrimonial sites? No, it will supplement. Dating...quite possible.

Q. Do you think localisation is the key to move ahead?

A. Yes. If you look at TV, when cable TV first came in, it was only English programming like CNN and Star. It remained a 'big city, upper-income' phenomenon. When did it really penetrate? When all the Hindi channels were launched on cable, starting with Zee. And suddenly, people figured that local language is the way forward. Now the vast majority of content on internet, globally, is in English. All the Indian content is also in English. So you don't have great applications if you don't have great content in local language and therefore it’s not going to drive a lot of people online unless they are English-speaking first. So, you'll have to do more than that.

Q. You also have an offline business -- Quadrangle -- a pretty old business of yours...

A. Well, actually that business is more recent than Naukri. We got into it in 2000.

Q. Fine. So that company is doing offline what Naukri is doing online, as I understand...

A. No. Naukri is a medium and a platform. A lot of recruiters use Naukri, including headhunters, and including Quadrangle. So, at Naukri we just we just enable handshakes. At Quadrangle, it starts from the first handshake and takes it to completion.

Q. So you felt it was important to have an offline business?

A. Yes. Quadrangle is a good business, it's growing well and it's cash positive.

Q. Would it continue to have a separate brand or do you want to take it into the Naukri brand?

A. As of now, there are no plans to change the brand name.

Q. And even Jeevansaathi and 99acres have potential for offline businesses. Would you consider that?

A. As of now, no. We believe that when you are not charging any high prices, there isn't enough money to be made by both the franchisee and you. We want to study the ability of a model to make money. Because if it doesn't make money, it is not viable. We can get into it only if we are convinced that the franchisee will make money, and this is the best move forward.

Q. Most of your revenue is coming from the recruitment business. How do you want to scale up the other businesses?

A. The recruitment business last year recorded some 88-89 per cent, and this includes Quadrangle and Naukri. We are not disclosing them separately but the bulk of revenue is Naukri but therefore it is less than 88 per cent. Maybe it'll be close to 80 per cent. The other businesses are scaling well, but the percentage will not change in a hurry because Naukri is also growing very, very fast.

Q. What are your plans for mobile? What's your opinion on using mobile as a medium?

A. Mobile is not a huge challenge; it's just small screen. There are two, three aspects of mobile. Nobody anywhere in the world, in my opinion, has cracked a really good model of accessing the web on the Net. Even Google. Why do you believe Google is the best search today? Because in a page of 10 or 15 results, if four are what you are looking for, you say it’s a good search and a good search engine. On the small screen, you will get three results and all three need to be the ones you are looking for. It's a very different standard of accuracy.

However, if you say that the mobile is not a tool to access a website or surf, it is a tool to communicate, then it makes sense. So, the user is already registered with me on the website and I am using mobile as a tool to communicate with him because he is not online all the time. That can work. And we believe that is route forward, at least in the short run. It's not a surfing tool, but it's a big communication tool. So, you can recognise that and say that the mobile is for communication not for surfing. And enabled with accuracy in the information inside it, you will find that mobile is working for you.

For example, we can send in job alerts. The recruiter can access the database and send an SMS. Those kind of things will work. SMS is a big one in India but as GPRS catches on you may want to get more than an SMS.

Q. You started off in the online industry when it was tiny in comparison to today, and you’ve been at it for about ten years. As an entrepreneur, how would map the transition?

A. The first big thing is that the penetration of the internet has increased substantially. So, when we launched Naukri in 1997, there were 14,000 internet accounts in the country. It must have been a couple of lakh users and in 2000 there were 4 million net users. Today, people are talking about 50 million or 70 million...those kind of numbers.

What this has done is that this has made a whole lot of internet businesses viable suddenly, which were not viable seven to eight years ago when the meltdown happened. And because of this, you are seeing investments coming in, you are seeing more and more start-ups and entrepreneurs. Therefore, a lot more action is happening, which is a good thing. When an industry grows and develops, you see a lot educational initiatives like training happening. You see companies growing and I think that will help in moving the industry. I think we are now an industry – earlier, we were a bunch a start-ups.

Q. So what's the mood, now that there is a resurgence?

A. The mood is back to being euphoric. However, this happens to all markets, which tend to over-compensate. So, there was a bust in 1999-2000, but today it's again euphoria. But I would say it is not like 1999 because today there is a real user base, real markets, real revenue happening. Therefore, I believe that a lot of businesses being created will be viable. Some will fail as it always happens, but many will be viable.

Thank you, Mr. Bikhchandani.

Source: AgencyFAQs

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Search for a Meaning…..

The post is not as profound as the title might perhaps suggest.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Wikipedia, indeed carried an explanation of what my name means. Since it was a question that every new person I meet asks me at some point, I am posting the extract here

It’s pretty simple google it by clicking here

Or read on……….

Name: Nachiketa, meaning: Fire.

There is more about the name Nachiket. Nachiket means 'the Fire' which is a source of light at the dark hours of day. Nachiket stands as the source of knowledge. He was the only one who is appreciated so much by the god of death the 'Yama' that he offered him Greatest Knowledge the 'Bramha Gyaan'.

Who was nachiket?

The name of the grandson of Uddalaka, who was a young and famous Brahmachari noted for his great determination in pursuit of knowledge. He stands as the ideal seeker of Truth.

From Wikipedia:
Nachiketa (Sanskrit:नचिकेता, IAST: Naciketā) was son of a cowherd of the name Vājashrava, who was offered to Yama to find a place in Heaven by his father. Nachiketa with his wits learnt the wisdom taught by Yama (the god of Death), found the path of realising Brahman / Moksha i.e. emancipation of the soul from rebirth.

The story of Nachiketa and Yama is mentioned in Kathopanishad. There was cowherd of the name Vājashrava; desiring a gift from the gods, he made offerings of all he owned. But the kine he had were old, yielding no milk and worthless; not such a might buy the worshipper a place in Heaven. Vājashrava had a son; he would have his father make a worthier offering. To his sire he spoke: "To which god wilt thou offer me?" "To Death I give thee".

Nachiketa thought: "I shall be neither the first nor last that fares to Yama. yet what will he do with me? It shall be with me as with others. So Nachiketa went his way to death's wide home, and waited there three days; for Death was on a journey. When Death returned, his servants said: “A Brahman guest burns like a fire; Nachiketa waits three days unwelcomed; do thou soothe him with an offering of water, for all is lost to him in whose abode a Brahman waits unfed."

Then Death spoke to Nachiketa: “Since thou, an honoured guest, hast waited in my house three days unfed, ask of me three boons in return, I shall grant them". Then first he prayed: “Grant to my father peace and to know and welcome me when I return." Yama answered: "Be it so." Nachiketa asked again: “In Heaven-world the folk are quit of thee; there is neither hunger, nor eld, nor fear of death. Reveal to me the sacred fire that leads to Heaven." Then Yama described the sacred fire- what stones for its altar, and how disposed; and Nachiketa said it over, learning the lesson taught by Yama. Yama spoke again: “I grant thee, furthermore, that this sacred fire be known for ever by thy name; thine is the fire that leads to Heaven, thy second boon."

Nachiketa asked again: " The great mystery of what cometh after death; he is, some say; others say, he is no more. This great doubt I ask thee to resolve."

Yama replied: " Even the gods of old knew not this; this is a matter hard to be learnt; ask me any other boon only ask not of death."

But Nachiketa insisted to resolve mystery after death and no other boon.
Yama explained that the goal of sacred wisdom, of goodly works and faith, is Om! This word is Brahman, the supreme. He who doth comprehend this word, whatever he desires is his.

Thus having learnt the wisdom taught by Yama, and finding Brahman, Nachiketa was freed from death.

Some more extracts I found on the internet…. Read on.

Nachiketa’s Pitruvaakya paripaalana on Moral Stories

A tribute to the great Bharatiya Samskruti.

By Once upon a time there lived a braahmana named Vajashrava (Uddaalaka), who wished to accumulate punyam by performing a great yagnyam. The yagnyam was duly performed, but when the time for the daanams came, Vajashrava kept all the healthy cows for himself and gave away only those that were old and infirm. His son, Nachiketa, who was observing this, became very sad. He wanted his father to get the full phalitham for the yagnyam. He knew from shaastras that one must always give away things that are good, which will help others and the ones most liked by the donor. He went to his father and said: "O Father! Why are you donating only old cows that cannot give milk and cannot help the daana-grahitas? As you know, such an act is a great paapam. Your intent was to accumulate punyam. These gifts will have the opposite effect. Please donate your best of the cows".

Kathopanishad: The Mystery of Death and the Meaning of Life
by Swami Rama
From: Sacred Journey
This Upanishad is a beautiful, poetic explanation of the mystery of life and death, the law of karma, and how to attain liberation from grief and distress. It is composed in one hundred nineteen mantras and constructed around a dialogue between a spiritually minded young man named Nachiketa on one hand and Yama, the king of death on the other. Yama, unlike portrayals in Greek or Roman mythology of the king of death, is not something dreadful. He was the first man born on the earth to die and was a self realized master. In this scripture, Yama may be compared to the highest discriminating intelligence of the human being, while Nachiketa represents the lower mind, albeit with strength and courage.

The dialogue between the two reveals the character of a dedicated but yet unrealized spiritual seeker. Nachiketa is someone we can understand as well as admire. Though he has many doubts, his faith is indisputable. Above all he harbors a deep desire for the highest knowledge and ultimate happiness.

Nachiketa is tested by Yama to determine how strong his desire for truth is. Is it stronger than the attractions to the things of desire in the world? Yes. Nachiketa renounces everything for the sake of Self-realization. Above all else he wants to know Atman, the real Self.

The story of Nachiketa

This story about a Brahman hotra priests yagya and his son's propriety. One Auddaalaki "Vaajashravas (the gift giver)" Aruni by name decided to give away his possessions in order to earn some good Karma (He had the name Vaajashravas or food-giver). He had, however, at that particular ceremony called the vishvajit given only those goods which were defective. The cows were old and the skin barely hanging on their bony frames. The udders were not giving milk and the teeth could hardly chew. This was the sacrifice which Vajrashravas intended to give in order to get into heaven in the afterlife. His son called Nachiketa by name and a very astute young man saw his fathers dilemma. By way of rectifying the situation he suggested to his father that he be given away. In this way since the son was the prize possession his father could earn the necessary merits and would be absolved for his paltry offering which must surely have offended the Gods.

Complaints we have.......

Had got a mail from a friend.... sent my fingers flying on the laptop......

Some complaints i hear all the time...... i do it to...... hope it's a turn around for me too.....
  1. husband who snores all night
  2. my teenage daughter who is complaining about doing dishes
  3. taxes that I pay
  4. the mess to clean after a party
  5. the clothes that fit a little too snug
  6. my shadow that watches me work
  7. a floor that needs mopping, and windows that need cleaning
  8. all the complaining I hear about the government
  9. the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot
  10. the noise I have to bear from my neighbours
  11. the pile of laundry and ironing
  12. weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day
  13. the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours
People - Think Positive !!

This is nice - finding positive out of every negative - which we don't always manage to do.

Be thankful...

1. For the husband who snores all night, because he is at home asleep with you not with someone else.

2. For a daughter who is complaining about doing dishes, because that means she is at home & not on the streets.

3. For the taxes that I pay because it means that I am employed.

4. For the mess to clean after a party because it means that I have been surrounded by friends.

5. For the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.

6. For my shadow that watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.

7. For a floor that needs mopping, and windows that need cleaning because it means I have a home.

8. For all the complaining I hear about the government because it means that we have freedom of speech.

9. For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking and that I have been blessed with transportation.

10. For the noise I have to bear from my neighbours because it means that I can hear.

11. For the pile of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.

12. For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been capable of working hard.

13. For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I am still alive.

I like the way media has become democratic: Sanjeev Bikhchandani

I like the way media has become democratic: Sanjeev Bikhchandani
Sudipta Sengupta
10 July 2007, Tuesday

Sanjeev Bikhchandani, the CEO of InfoEdge recently took to blogging. In a chitchat session with Sudipta Sengupta, Bikhchandani reveals how this blog will be a platform to express his views, and not an internet marketing or PR platform for his company.
A blog from a CEO is perhaps not a new thing. But a blog from a CEO that does not revolve round the company’s Internet marketing strategies is perhaps a very rare thing. Sanjeev Bikhchandani, co-founder and CEO, InfoEdge (India), better known for its web site, has recently started blogging because he loves writing. In the first two months of blogging, readers have seen him talking about the Prime Minister’s comment on salary cuts for CEOs, reservation in St.Stephen’s college, Timesjobs’ attacking advertising against and life after’s IPO. In a lively conversation with Sudipta, he promises to keep up this diversity in his blog.
Sudipta: Congrats! Your blog was long due and it has completed two months.
Sanjeev: I am hardly a prolific blogger. Only five posts in two months. But, yes, I am glad I got down to it after thinking about it for so long. It feels good to get started.

An all out ‘internet savvy’ person, what took you so long to come to the blogosphere?
Sanjeev: Actually I am not very Internet savvy. I regard myself as being more customer, people and business savvy. My knowledge of the Internet has always been merely adequate. Unless something is very important or urgent, I am frequently lazy about doing it. So it was with blogging.

So what finally made you a blogger – a personal flow of creativity or a PR exercise for
Sanjeev: Mostly the former. I like to write, I do have views and like to express them. However the Timesjobs campaign was topical at the time when I started. Hence the second post was about that.

What can we expect now? Another successful website around the concept of ‘blogging’?
Sanjeev: We are not planning a website around blogging. We will however look at other stuff which fits in well with our current portfolio of sites. We will announce what they are at the appropriate juncture.

Bloggers usually search hard for subjects to write on. What do you intend to pick up?
Sanjeev: My blog probably will not be focused on one theme. I will write what I believe I know about. So far I have written about Naukri and Timesjobs, corporate salaries, reservations at St. Stephen’s and life after the IPO. All are different. My next post is likely to be about the characteristics of good entrepreneurial opportunities. I need time to work on it, which I have not been able to find. It may take a few days.

What is your overall idea about the concept of citizen journalism? Do you think the writings of common people can change the world?
Sanjeev: Yes. Media has become a lot more democratic. The public has information from many sources due to the Internet. Blogging has given a voice to everyone who wants to speak out. The absolute power that media houses wielded due to the earlier oligopolistic control on news has diminished substantially. I like the new environment.

Your second post on your blog starts with, “I wrote a couple of hundred words about nothing and nine people commented and encouraged me to continue blogging”. This post has 24 comments. Seems like you are one celebrity blogger in the making. How does it feel?

Sanjeev: My subsequent posts have had much fewer comments. I suspect it is because the first post was mentioned by Gautam Ghosh in his blog. Because I write infrequently, the blog is not very popular.


Monday, July 9, 2007

Party @ Big Chill

2 new team members joined our product team - Manas and Nikhil. As tradition would have it we all went out for a party. the venue could be none other than Big Chill

Pictures say it all View it with captions at
Party @ Big Chill

Family Holiday in Goa

View it with captions at

Why should a CEO Blog?

Why should a CEO Blog? CEO answers.

In India there are only a handful of CEO’s who blog. Sanjeev Bikhchandani started his blog a few months back. His blog was received by the blogosphere with much appreciation. Being one of the few CEO Blogger’s here is a short interview with Mr Bikhchandani and his views on CEO Blogging.

Q) What initiated you to blog?

I like to write. I have views on a few things. I wanted to express them. As simple as that

Q) What has been the response to your blog?

I have been encouraged by the number and the quality of comments.

Q) Do you think CEO blog's help the company? and how?

Yes a good blog by a CEO would help the company he works for. However for me that would be a happy incidental outcome. The main reason why I started was to express my views.

Q) Would you advise CEO’s to blog and what would your advice be?

They should blog if they can write. It will enable them to communicate with many audiences at the same time - the general public, customers, competition, government, their own employees. It will also give them feedback about themselves and the company. This feedback is a good reality check

Now that we have heard it from the horse’s mouth on 'why a CEO should blog' here are a few things a CEO should be careful of while blogging.

Being Petty – Being the CEO of a company one must try and have a Macro National Perspective of not only his company and the industry as a whole.

Being Superficial - Being Critical on Competition with No base

Using a blog as advertising tool rather than using it to communicate with his audiences.