The Mouse Charmers – Digital Pioneers of India by Anuradha Goyal is a non fiction book that gives an introduction to a few successful Internet start-up businesses from India. Internet has enabled e-commerce to flourish, and it’s no different in India. What have web businesses created, what differentiates them, how successful have they been, are the questions dealt with by this book.
There are three parts to this book: Commerce, Content & Connectors. I liked the second one – Content – the most maybe because I am involved in something similar. Connectors part was fine too. But the initial Commerce part disappointed me as most of the info was familiar to me.
When I read a book like this, I expect a lot of information (that cannot be found on the net, magazines, etc.) condensed in as few words as possible. With Non Fiction, I am on the lookout for content that will benefit me in someway, teach me something, or inspire me to do something, or just introduce me to interesting/challenging things done by others.
On the last criterion, this book excels. It introduced me to popular websites/portals/services that I can put to use. Take for example, Imagesbazaar.com, a site where they sell high quality Indian photos and videos; Games2Win.in, a site that allows us to play free Online games; Zomato.com, a site that not only allows us to locate interesting nearby restaurants, but can also enable us to find out which items are good there (user reviews).
But I felt the book lacks depth. The interviews and research should have been more in-depth, and the author could have tried to avoid giving suggestions on what else business people should do with their businesses. As a reader, I am looking for insights, the business secrets that companies don’t reveal, what went wrong, what could have been done better, and of course, what went right. These things are there but not sufficiently covered. At times, the author gives more importance to style than substance.
I still think it’s a good effort that introduced interesting and varied Online business models (with statistics and charts) to me. A bit more in-depth interviews and analysis could make this book better.