Archive for the 'blogging,' Category

Consuming Information Digit-ally

RSS

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Lately I’ve realized that I’m consuming almost all my information through my RSS feed reader – news, blogs, articles of any kind. I’ve not yet moved to e-books because, ahem – all e-book readers (when they are available) in India seem to be so bloody costly!

The fact is, I still travel with a book or two. But, reading the latest blog articles on my mobile from a set of people I follow and admire, always seems to win vs. the books from authors I barely have a connect with. This has serious consequences, in my mind, on what kind of information/news/articles are being read by people. Instead of passively consuming some randomly pushed plot as decided by a publisher and a writer, now I decide the twists in the plot.

Jokes aside, the middle man is being cut out by the power of the reader and it is not just the traditional content creators that are in trouble, as is touted by the “big banner demise stories of newspapers”.

The small and convenient size of the blog articles and the easy to read format also make them more appealing to me. Oh, not to mention, most of the people who blog are experts in their fields or are striving to be so and if you pick and choose right, you get loads of good and solid information in their respective fields of expertise that is current, handy and reliable. Also, many of them have managed to create brilliant communities around their blogs, so each and every blog post gets 100+ responses. Another way to get a feel of the various industry opinions and contradictory viewpoints. They, in a way, complete the posts and make the rugged and more comprehensive.

I’ve never been able to watch news without losing interest in the first 2 minutes, read a newspaper without falling asleep (except for some interesting articles, here and there) but leave me with my RSS feedreader and I’m glued forever.

What role does a marketeer play in this world where content producers directly communicate with the readers? What do you think?

May you live in interesting times…

That is what a very popular Chinese quote says. I was literally at the end of my wits a couple of days ago. There was an unscheduled power cut of nearly 4 hours starting in the night where I live in Bangalore. (And no, I don’t have power backup installed because we thought and still think it is a luxury!).

Ok, coming back to my point of the Chinese quote. I fired up the Google reader from my mobile and started reading all the different blogs that I had not had time for in the past couple of days. As time went by and I didn’t feel bored in a “powerless” state, I realized how important it was that despite the challenges somethings did work. I was thankful for living in interesting times where I had the wisdom of the world’s best at my fingertips even if the “power” situation was out of my control.

Would you like to share any incident where you felt the same – that “you are living in interesting times”?

The “Free Hand” Lesson

It’s been a long time since I blogged – took the so-called “blogging vacation”. Back now….

I was watching a movie about karate (the karate kid) and a particular scene stuck in my head. The kid was trying to learn Karate from a book! It was as if a light bulb went on for me. I’ve never seen Indians try to self-learn something (some people are good at observing others do things and learn, but I’m trying to make a different point here). It is somehow not taught in our schools and not present in our culture. There are no stories and mythical characters who have self-taught themselves. There is a very strong component of “guru” as a human element being present or they were magically gifted (like Hanuman).  The only self-taught person I know of in Indian mythology was Ekalavya and he was suitably punished for learning something he “shouldn’t” have! I’m not arguing that one kind of learning is better than another but there is definitely an interesting element to being a self-taught person and having different sources of learning.

Is this why we see such a proliferation of exam-oriented training/coaching centres? I’m wondering what is the kind of sales that self-help books have in India (anyone from FlipKart want to comment)? Probably that is not even the right metric, because someone may wrongly believe that they can learn/want to learn from a book and purchase it and never use it again. What do you think?
PS: Karate means “Free Hand”

Aryan’s Mom

I rediscovered a very old and good friend of mine along with her creative spark recently!Introducing to all of you my friend who blogs at – http://www.aryan-mylife.blogspot.com/.

I was amazed at the fact that she decided to take up blogging as a hobby, the fact that she could write well was a given. When I started reading, I could not stop at one. She is chronicling her journey with her son since the day he was born from his perspective. What started as a simple pass time has, in my mind, morphed into a very deep and humourous way of a parent’s discovery of a child’s world.

Kudos to her for the great job she is doing….keep up the good work and a must read for the rest of you.

The “closet” writers’ choice…

It is funny how sometimes mainstream media people perceive new media. The other day, I was talking to one of the owners of a magazine and I mentioned about my interest to write. I added that I had written in newspapers previously and now I maintain a blog that I update regularly. The other owner walks in and the person who I was talking to introduces me saying…”apparently she is a closet writer”…although I understand the word “closet” and the sarcasm in the sentence, I don’t really care! Here are the reasons:

1. I get bored of formats – I remember writing cover articles for The Metro Plus 5 years ago, I enjoyed it while it lasted. I wrote about 7 or 8 and then I stopped.  I stopped because I got bored of that format of writing – I did a lot of interviews with people around a topic of my choice, created a theme, a body of 400-500 words around the topic and submitted it for review. They selected a nice picture for the theme did some editing and published it. I had to wait for weeks sometimes for it to see the light of the day, there is absolutely no wait time with my blog – I publish when I want! I would love to write something fresh and new in a different style and have the freedom to experiment with it as I go along.

2. The power of pull – I get people on my blog who read the specific kind of content that they are looking for, instead of  a generic newspaper/magazine where a “masala” of stuff gets published so that they cater to the  varied tastes of their “invisible” customer.

3. The power of being ones own editor – Every time you write in mainstream media, no matter how hard you try there is invariably some element of pressure that creeps in (at least for me) that prevents me from being myself. On one end, it helps me be more formal and succinct in my writing and on the other, the pressure does alter the style at some level. I like being my own boss and having the freedom to express views in the style that suits me!

Don’t get me wrong, I love to write for mainstream media, it has a unparalleled push and grants “instant” recognition to the writer, but I would never want to lose my “closet” space for anything. Having discovered this space, it is more of  must have than a “weak alternative” for me! What do other bloggers think, are we really the “closet” writers?

Why Indian VCs should blog actively?

As I was planning to attend the Tie-ISB Connect this year, I decided to look up the various panelists online to understand who I would be meeting. I found most of them on LinkedIn, great! But, I found that most of them did not blog. I think it is a loss to the Indian startup community and probably, to the VC community too! Here’s why I think so…

1. VC-thinking process – way before an entrepreneur starts to create pitch-decks, they are looking at who to pitch, how to pitch, what is the right etiquette and more often than not, who is interested in the same domain as where they are starting up. Basically, they are looking for the “inside scoop” on what VCs think is a good pitch and what kind of team composition is apporpriate and so on…The VC websites only show up the “finished goods” – someone here got $$$ and someone there got more $$$ as funding. How, what, where and more importantly, why not – are good insights can more easily be shared on personal blogs (to whatever extent possible!)

2. Know-thy-VC – This is an oft-repeated theme at most startup meets and what better medium than the blog to get to know someone before you commit to take the funding? I’m assuming not everyone has a direct face to face access to the VCs while mulling their startup venture. (Also, reading a blog is not a substitute to reaching out, networking and knowing someone in person, it is just a first step) Over time, you can get to know what they are thinking, why and how they make their decisions. This will be a wealth of information for the startups at one end, and on the other might act as a self-filtration mechanism based on who has or not done their homework during the process of reaching up to the VC!

3. Moving beyond the one-session intervention – A blog will extend the touch points of the VC for the wannabe entrepreneur community from the  “one-session” panel discussion or the hosted networking event to a stream of thoughts, active conversations via comments and rating systems. This will encourage more people to startup as it will begin a process of demystifying startup and investment process.

So, this post is a special shout out to the Indian VCs who already blog – Thank You, and to those who don’t, to start a “blog habit” and enrich us with their thoughts and insights.

Do entrepreneurs need previous experience? – YourStory Blog

Here is the article Suhani published at YourStory Blog, it has my interview also in it along with a couple of other entrepreneurs. You can find the unabridged version of the article that I wrote – here

Thanks for sending over the link, Suhani!


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