X|Media|Lab: Rajat Paharia
Rajat Paharia is the founder and Chief Product Officer of Bunchball (San Francisco). Bunchball's Nitro platform motivates user behaviour online.
He says the biggest challenge of ‘commercialising ideas’ in the current economic climate is fear and how it leads to paralysis.
“Customers are afraid to spend money, even when they know they need to be innovating or they're going to die.”
Rajat Paharia is one of the international mentors at X|Media|Lab, Commercialising Ideas, in Auckland from May 22-24. The lab is designed to help local digital media companies get their ideas to market.
What is exciting you most right now in the digital arena?
What I think is most exciting these days is what's often being referred to as "cloud computing" - computing infrastructure on-demand, that scales with my business. The large fixed costs required to deal with variable and spiky demands are the bane of businesses - the ideal is something that scales in sync with your needs. This enables me to experiment with ideas quickly and at low risk.
A company that's taken a similar area into another field is LiveOps (a customer of ours), who I think have a brilliant model - call center on demand. Rather than maintaining the fixed overhead of a building, equipment, people, etc. to deal with variable call demand, they have 20,000 work at home call center agents that they can scale on demand to meet their customer's needs.
What are some of the challenges of ‘commercialising ideas’ in the current economic climate?
The biggest challenge is the fear that's in the air, and how that leads to paralysis. Customers are afraid to spend money, even when they know they need to be innovating or they're going to die.
It seems counter-intuitive that at the time when companies should be experimenting the most to find new revenue streams, business models, and profit opportunities, that they're often stricken with fear and don't act, and end up sliding further down the spiral.
What is your “Big Idea” for 2009?
Our Big Idea for 2009 is that website owners should be able to change user behaviour on their websites the same way that they change cells in Excel - it should be that easy!
Rajat Paharia bio
Rajat Paharia is the founder and Chief Product Officer of Bunchball. Bunchball's Nitro platform motivates user behaviour online. Nitro distills concepts from behavioural economics and game design into a web service that major media companies, social networks, ISPs, and others are using to drive user behaviour and increase engagement on their web sites.
Rajat's skill set combines a unique understanding of technology and design that stems from a four year career at design firm IDEO where he was co-director of the Software Experiences Practice. While there he worked with clients including AT&T Wireless, Avaya, Microsoft, McDonald's, HP and Philips. Prior to IDEO, Rajat worked at Philips Consumer Electronics, IBM Research and ViewStar. He has a Masters degree in Computer Science from Stanford University, with a focus on Human Computer Interaction, and an undergraduate degree from the University of California Berkeley.