Sramana Mitra: It’s not viable for startups to come into a market with major incumbents purely on the strength of usability. I just don’t think it’s going to be viable.
Jeetu Patel: Let’s take Syncplicity. We took the DNA that they had around user experience and SaaS. They would have not been able to make a dent by themselves as a standalone company, but because we took this small company of creative people and fueled the growth and innovation, it made us, within one year, the fastest growing file sync and share vendor in the market.
Sramana Mitra: It’s a specific category that has an active user base category. But if you talk about other areas that are less of a consumer IT like finance software, people outside the enterprise are not using financial software on a day-in-day-out basis. It’s not at the same rate that you use your iPhone or Yelp for instance. The frequency of usage is smaller. Those are areas where I think usability is not the primary wedge with which you can enter the market. Those are entrenched areas.
Jeetu Patel: The point that I was trying to make is in the productivity for knowledge workers. There’s a huge amount of white space where there’s going to be a ton of innovation.
Sramana Mitra: If you constrain the market by that, I agree with you. That is a space where there are opportunities for startups to make a dent with usability.
Jeetu Patel: The second area is around the connected devices. In the World Economic Forum speech yesterday, the projection is in the near future, about a trillion devices will be connected to the Internet. In 1984, we had 1,000 devices connected to the Internet. There’s going to be a huge level of data that will be collected over them and as a result, there will be more analytics, prediction, and insights coming in. That’s an area where there’s going to be a huge amount of innovation. GE, for example, has all of the things that they produce, whether it is an aircraft engine or a light bulb. All of those will actually have smart transmitters that are capturing data on the usage and transmitting that data back to people. Wearables and connected devices will be an area where there will be a fair amount of innovation as well.
Sramana Mitra: I think connected devices is actually a bigger opportunity than wearables.
Jeetu Patel: I completely agree. For wearables, I don’t think the tipping point will be in a two-year time frame. That will have a much longer ramp. Whereas connected devices have been going on for a while and you’re going to see an aggressive ramp in 2014 and 2015.
Sramana Mitra: There are still question marks around wearables but with connected devices, I don’t think there are questions marks. It’s a real high value opportunity.