Posts Tagged 'blogging,'

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.

Web2.0 and large corporations

I had a few interns in the office for a few months working with me. I worked on a small experiment and attempted to do a weekly “Out of Box Thinking” – OBT session for a couple of weeks. This was one of the first topics we chose to go over. It was an attempt to understand how large corporations (which are not necessarily in the web2.0 space) resist, adopt, react to and most importantly, leverage them effectively for marketing communications. So, what is it all about?

Getting over the “My Way” of…

…doing things. For many companies the implicit trust of users and going from creating and owning the products to collaborating and crowdsourcing projects is not an easy transition. For most, it is the dilemma of – is it real? is it here to stay? Some companies that have accepted this well is Asus with their WePC concept.

Acknowledging the power of…

…news spread through the viral power of word of mouth and long lasting effects of long tail. In the past, Intel experienced the power of it and more recently, major toy companies and China toy manufacturers had to bear the wrath as the “lead paint” slipped out through the blogs and reached the ear of the masses faster than people could start damage control through traditional media channels and I’m not even beginning to discuss the power of viral marketing and twitter on media, yet.

Harnessing the power of…

…focussed market research & keeping track of social network activities has dawned on companies. Though, not all have been able to make the transition from being passive listeners to active contributors or collaborators yet. When crisis strikes and you need to reach out to people who care through a new media channel (something they trust), it can’t be done in a moment like you would do for a TV commercial, it has to be built over a period of time.

What are the steps your organization is taking to adopt, accept and leverage the power of web2.0?

Why do people write blogs?

This question had bothered me for a long time before I got brainwashed enough to start one of my own. I want to dedicate one post to write down my reasons for and against and feel free to chime in with yours.

1. As a form of expression – though the audience might not necessarily be just people I know, but the point of digital and mass communication mediums is to reach out
2. Keep a record of my thoughts on disparate issues, industries, aspects that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to share with a single person/group and people can selectively choose to read/ignore what they like
3. Connect with people of similar wavelength on several different issues
4. As an extension of where I can point people to when I’m introducing myself or conveying my thoughts – to better know or understand who I’m
5. Instilling in me the discipline to think about and write good quality content – in the process improving my capabilities

1. There is enough digital junk being created day-in, day-out by others, why add to it?
2. Who really wants to hear what you experienced anywhere you went, or what you think about the latest cool technology/product that was launched
3. Too much of who you are, what you think being out there in the open for everyone to judge
4. I don’t write well enough to be read by others
5. I don’t have anything interesting to share

Most of the against points, I retaliated in my mind, with mostly – what the heck! and so, here I’m…tell me of your story, how did you start blogging? What keeps you at it?

This was a long time coming…

Here I’m about 6 years after the blogging revolution began, taking my first baby steps into it. When I thought about what my first blog should be about, I thought what better to write than how I got here and how it happened to be now!

In 2003, one fine July morning, I was thinking about topics to write about for my freelancing stint with Metro Plus. While browsing I came across the concept of a “Web Log” or “Blog” and wanted to explore it further. When I approached the local The Hindu office with my “brilliant idea”, I was met with a surprised look and politely asked to select topics that were locally relevant…of course, they were “right”, then!

Of course, I did not to write about it and stayed confused about the implications of a blog for quite sometime. I guess I was resisting change to begin with, which evolved into informed neglect later (I have been wanting to start blogging since 2006!). But here, I’m now…

In more ways than one, a blog has been a social revolution and given a right to public opinion to so many people that no other public platform has never done before and as it stands for who you are over a period of time, it becomes your digital signature, your digital persona – so better late than never, so here I’m, to join the party…and here to stay.

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