Sramana Mitra: I think robotics is extremely promising, and the whole democratization of access to quality services is very ambiguous, compelling and also not terribly difficult to figure out the value of.
Rich Mahoney: I think another part that is getting a lot of adoption lately is agriculture. There is a company called Blue River based in Mountain View. They are focusing on lettuce farming. This is a very difficult manual task – the fitting of the lettuce after you do the initial planting. >>>
Entrepreneurs are invited to the 197th FREE online 1M/1M roundtable mentoring session on Thursday, December 5, 2013, at 8 a.m. PST/11 a.m. EST/9:30 p.m. India IST.
If you are a serious entrepreneur, register to “pitch” and sell your business idea to Sramana Mitra. You’ll gain straightforward feedback, advice on next steps, and she’ll answer any of your questions. Others can register to “attend” to watch, learn, and interact through the online chat.
Gartner forecasts the SaaS market to grow 19.5% over the period 2011 through 2016 to $32.8 billion. Even at conservative estimates, researcher Tech Navio estimates the global software-as-a-service based enterprise resource planning software market projected to grow 13.93% annually from 2012 through 2016. The high growth in the market is estimated to be driven by the increased adoption of these services by SMEs.
John Meyer is the CEO of Arise Virtual Solutions, a leading company in the outsourcing/crowdsourcing industry. Arise connects individuals and companies with other companies to provide services such as customer service, sales, or technical service. John has previously served as CEO for Acxiom and as president of the Global Services group of Alcatel-Lucent, and he has more than 28 years of leadership experience. He holds an MBA from the University of Missouri and a BS in management from Pennsylvania State University. In this interview he goes into detail about Arise’s activity in the outsourcing industry, explaining how Arise helps companies find people to do part or all of their call center needs and the selection process involved with it. He also give us a few interesting stories of individuals who managed to grow a multimillion dollar business from scratch.
Sramana Mitra: John, let’s start with some of your personal background as well some background on Arise Virtual Solutions.
John Meyer: I have been in the outsourcing industry for almost 32 years. I started in the military myself, and started with a paramilitary organization called EDS. That was in the days when Ross Perot founded EDS under the idea that computer services were going to be as important as the technology. We were a small company back then. I was employee number 6,000 and subsequently it grew to almost 150,000 people. After that I was running the European operations out of London. On the way back to the headquarters, I got discovered by Pat Russo from Lucent. Pat’s vision was that what had happened in the equipment industry and computers was going to happen in the telecom equipment industry and that the value of services was going to gain in prominence. She convinced me, and it turned out to be a great success in creating a services business inside Lucent with Bell Labs. That grew into a worldwide business of almost $5.5 billion after we merged with Alcatel and the headquarters moved to France. Subsequent to that I ran a company called Acxiom. Acxiom is a big database company. The place I am at now is called Arise Virtual Solutions.
SM: What is Arise Virtual Solutions?
JM: It started as a company about 16 years ago with the idea that there is a latent workforce that happened to be disabled. It was a joint venture between Bellsoft and the state of Florida to provide jobs for people. The nature of that workforce is that its members couldn’t physically go to one place. >>>
Sramana Mitra: Your point is well taken. From what I know from bringing products to market, anything that requires too much work on the part of the consumer basically fails. As long as the products that come onto the market have self-learning capabilities, that would be fine.
Rich Mahoney: At the end of the day, these robots will be products. They will have to meet customer demands and have some value for the price people are paying for them. That is a phase that has to happen. There is a lot of attention to robotics right now. Even the smallest bits get a lot of attention at the moment. That is just the nature of the technology. But if you compare it with any other consumer product or any other area, the overall activity is extremely low. It is still very early. >>>
The online radio industry recently got a new player, with Apple launching its service under the banner iTunes Radio. For now, online radio player Pandora (NYSE:P) has managed to successfully thwart this stiff competition, as is evident in both user metrics and the company’s improving financial performance. But whether it will manage to grow market share with Apple now in the run remains to be seen.
Analysts estimate the enterprise PCIe SSD (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express Solid State Drives) based flash storage market to be worth $4 billion this year. The flash storage market is projected to grow 70% this year, making it a very attractive space for bigger technology players.
Sramana Mitra: I don’t see this happening in the food preparation domain as much as I see it happening in cleaning services. Lawn mowing is a good example, because it is a repetitive and physically exerting function. Those are good application areas. If I were thinking about consumer applications, what other applications would I be looking at in terms of launching a product to market that could be remotely as successful as Roomba? >>>