How a $20 tablet from India could educate billions

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This is huge. 

Technology already changed education in the western world, it’s also booming in the developing world, trying to get everyone connected.

Initiatives such as One Laptop Per Child kicked off at the MIT in 2005 and delivered 2.4+ million XO computers for $100 a piece.

Since 2009, they shifted their focus towards tablet computers.

XO3, boasting a solar panel

Obviously, both governments and tech giants have vested interests in getting the next billion of internet users. To do that, you need a proper device and an internet connexion. So, the Indian governments wants to buy “5.86 million tablets to give to school, college-going kids”, bearing in mind 95% of the population do not currently own a computing device. Then, Mr. Suneet Tuli (picture below) created a $40 tablet named Aakash ($20 is subsidised by the indian government) and won a tender in 2010 for an initial 100,000 units.

The New York Times reports that it was a disaster (underpowered/poor touchscreen). Nonetheless, Mr Tuli is back at it and created Aakash 2 priced at $35, getting positive reviews from VentureBeat and Techcrunch, Forbes said the Aakash 2 is “Life changing”.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, left, receives an Aakash 2 (7-inch, Wi-Fi, Android) from Suneet Tuli, right, CEO of Datawind, and India’s UN Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri. (Nov. 28, 2012) AP/Richard Drew

How do they go online? The Indian government delpoyed free broadband to 600 universities and 1,200 colleges, the real deal is in unlimited mobile data plans starting $2/month, even without 3G it’s still bearable.


> Hardware is dead. Acer works on a $99 tablet, it’s too late. China will drive prices down.

> Execution is king.

Will Mr Tuli be able to deliver Aakash 2 at scale, and fast?

> Politics matter. Will technology and governmental lobby embrace that trend?

> Niche is the norm. Apple’s iPad is niche. Amazon’s Kindle is niche.

> Wow. Connect another billion minds on internet and watch what happens. How exciting?

Read more about Aakash on QZ.

-Rodolphe (initially published on


LinkedIn killed the CV. Finally!

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“As of June 2013, LinkedIn reports more than 225 million registered users in more than 200 countries and territories.” Wikipedia

In 2012, LinkedIn has seen unprecedented growth in some countries. In France, where Viadeo has been #1 for years, gathering up to 45 million members worldwide, LinkedIn jumped from 2 to a whopping 4 million members in less than 10 months.

Personally, I spend way too much time on LinkedIn, way more that on Facebook. My industry (Tech/Internet) is leading the charge, and we see most industries following closely.

linkedin_slide2_copy1   > What changed with Linkedin?

– No-bullshit zone: College students seem to be crafting misleading CVs. Well, apparently up to 78%, 80% or 92% of them do. It isn’t necessarily plain lies, it can just be overstatements, omissions, additions… LinkedIn let everyone review your information: peers, former colleagues and recruiters alike. Endorsement and recommendations given will last for many years, one pledges its reputation on a colleague.

The era of passive recruitment: In the US, 86% of job seekers are looking for work online. Recruiters are game, Pfizer reports up to 40% of its candidates come through LinkedIn. Any recruiter can draft a list of potential candidates and reach out to you directly. LinkedIn is making part of its revenues through through recruiters solutions, a brilliant (and expensive) product to source talents. Tapping into everyone in the workforce that fits into your recruiting profile is orders of magnitude better than waiting for potential candidates to reach out to you.

You’ll just love it: A social network is only as good as the number/quality of people on it. Your colleagues, peers and future recruiters are on it. Need to keep in touch? People change email, they won’t change of profile. Also, you can brand yourself very simply. Using status updates and tools such as Bufferapp to schedule updates. It’s key for career changes and business development.

> What could LinkedIn do next?

Go for Advertising: Keep learning about users That’s exciting! LinkedIn knows my education/background/work and where I live. They should acquire/develop close integrations with Tripit (to know where I am and when), Glassdoor (to figure out how much I make), beef up their knowledge graph (to know what I do for fun), keep crafting their content delivery (to deliver spot on articles/blog post about my industry/passions). That would help them serve tier-1 ads.

– Go for Expansion Disruptive products need strategies with multiple entry-point, just like Google Apps it’s interesting to go after 1) Big household names (recruiters) 2) End users (members) 3)New generations (students). Students will spend more time on their profile than on the old A4 CV. Linkedin has been around for 10 years, and seems to be on the a winner. It takes time to change usage and mindsets, luckily Facebook succeed in proving its irrelevance for the professional space. Long life to LinkedIn!

-Rodolphe (initially published on

Essay: Mining gold through Disruptive Innovation and Primary Data

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Intro: Here’s is a non-technical article on how businesses can leverage data to innovate.

Late 2009, I was working in Shanghai, and part of my job was to source the most innovative technologies and companies in the retail space. is a startup that truely stood out. They started in 2007, and raised another $US10m in 2012 and are fast expanding, their new App aim at “revolutionizing” online shopping. Based on where you live, compare prices of a shopping basket with different retailers. It’s all there: product availability, delivery date and local promotions:

“While you shop, we compare your basket in all the retailers so we can suggest smart swaps and replacements to help you save even more money.”

I’ll let the singing eggs do the explaining:

Thoughts and Implications for

> Now, that’s the perfect definition of transparency of information. Is customer loyalty in retail long gone? At any given time, you are only one click away from shopping at a different retailer. We see it as an evidence for High tech products (laptops, cameras…), but seeing that you can now substitute an entire shopping basket in a click is quite impressive.

> More interestingly, is independant from retailers featured on their site, and they resell primary data to CPG manufacturers. Traditionally, Coca-Cola, P&G… rely on traditional data providers (Nielsen…). What offers is all Saas, ultra-granular and real time. Since they focus on the user, they don’t even care if you complete your purchase online or through traditional retailers:

“It’s up to you how you use our site: You can order your basket online, print your basket as a shopping list and take it with you to your local supermarket or simply just compare different supermarket prices online.”

They have a highly replicable model, as long as they manage to acquire retailers data their future will be extremely bright.

> So, the business model is to provide consumers with comprehensive and transparent information on retailers, in order to acquire primary data and resell it to CPG manufacturers. Super disruptive and very bankable, fair play!

Thoughts and Implications for other retailers/businesses out there:

While some traditional retailers built their online presence from scratch, Amazon have been acquiring many niche retailers into their porfolio (think and, were acquired for $US550m in 2010, plus Zappos…). are the only one – to my knowledge – that act as third parties providing information as a portal.

Here’s what I’m interested in: companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon have a lot of primary data (social graphs, purchasing behaviors…) and they are large enough to market it through Ads or use it to win more business (advanced consumer profiling).

Social graphs aren’t an easy source of primary data for obvious privacy reason. But as long as it’s an anonymous analysis of purchasing behavior, it seems to be fine! Google is also having a go at gathering consumer primary data through Google Consumer Survey.

In the era of Big Data, we have a newly-found ability to make sense of largely untapped datasets. That will help all companies to articulate data they have been sitting on for years. This goes in two different ways:

Enhance your consumer experience: The Power of suggestion. Big Data from a consumer-stand point: The concept of A/B testing isn’t new, what is new is your ability to query billions of data rows to serve customers better. Think CenterParcs using BigQuery optimizing their yield management system: “Center Parcs Europe employees are tracking booking trends easily, and the application has allowed them to adapt their marketing tactics to maximize

Primary Data as a Business model: Are you sitting on a gold mine? Most businesses would gather primary data as a consequence of day-to-day business activities. Now, it’s never been easier to monetize it: Making sense of data is relatively cheap since it’s all done through external providers such as Amazon and Google. If you need ten thousands a virtual machines to query a database, all you have to do is ask, go and play with this awesome retailer dashboard created by french startup BIME based on BigQuery

So, could well-established businesses and startups alter their strategies through embracing/reselling primary data? Could AirBnB team up with Yelp and Kayak to provide a super-targeted experience for their users?

Check out what Jill Dyche, blogging on Harvard Business Review blog Network, has to add.

NB: This was meant to be a blog entry, and turned out to be more of an essay. If you agree, or more interestingly of you disagree, I’m happy to chat about it, thanks.

-Rodolphe (initially published on


The Adventurists: “Making the World Less Boring.”

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So, they want to “make the World less boring”, what a great mission statement!

In 2013, I had the chance to start the year by relocating in South Africa for 4 months, so that I could study and get certified as a Professional RYA Offshore Yachtmaster.

It has been a brilliant experience, I found myself in incredible situations with inspiring people, through ups and downs. Living an entirely different life for months have changed many things for me, and is an experience I will never forget.

Few months ago, I wrote about Vayable, providing experience based-traveling, and Charity – water, a NGO 2.0 that do FaaS: Fundraising as a Service.

Well, The Adventurists do a bit of both.  They offer crazy adventures, such as rickshaw runs and “world’s toughest horse race across the Mongolian Steppe”.

One of their most famous trip is the Mongol Rally: “Borrow” your grandma’s car, and drive it from the UK to Ulan Bator. No set route, no plan, no backup.

It’s dangerous + it’s stupid = it’s awesome

Each team need to raise £1000 before entering any adventure: “Since 2004 teams on the Mongol Rally have raised over £2 million for charity”. Most cars are handed over to local charities once they’ve arrived.

Why I love “The Adventurists”:

All-in-one approach
When you are both lazy and adventurous, you need a package that will help you decrease the uncertainty of the trip. Paperwork and hassles are (mostly) taken care of by the organizers that have no trouble scaling: everyone starts at once, no ones get there at the same time! Hundreds of partipants makes you feel better about doing something that crazy

Generation-Y is overconnected, they share everything. Look how connected this lunatic experience makes you: You’ll need to raise hard earned pictures of the queen from your network, you’ll get a fancy tracking system that your Mom will love, and a team website that keeps you in touch with the real world! That’s a lot of Facebook bragging coming your way…

Here’s how they sum it up: “Simply put, by taking part in the mighty Mongol Rally you will have tales of adventure that you will be telling your grandchildren about in decades to come.”
And you want that. Booking two-week holiday in Thaïland? fair enough. Crossing a third of the planet in a crappy car? Yes please!

I’m confident experience-based traveling will keep growing. If you think The Adventurists are too extreme, take a look at Vayable or even Everest. New generations need to set themselves apart (Adventures) in a socially rewarding context (fundraising) that they can communicate on (Social Media).