Tag Archives: web

The Best of Web: 23/6/2012

Looking for something interesting to read? I read the following links(and visited websites) today and liked, you might want to read them/check them out

  1. The Future of Social Networking: Web Entrepreneurs, Vision 2.0
  2. Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup – Class 18 Notes Essay (Founder as Victim, Founder as God)
  3. Rapportive (Email Pluggin)
  4. Codeacademy (Learn Coding)



Being Productive @ Work

Off late I’ve been thinking and reading(a bit) on how to be more productive and efficient while working. Information/Web Workers that we are, run a great risk of diverging from the tasks in hand to doing something completely random(and useless mostly).

It often happens with me that I start working on something(say a presentation) and get a notification on my Tweetdeck or BlackBerry and before I realize I am going through somebody’s twitter profile or reading a blog post somebody shared.

Here are some of the things that I’ve tried and have managed to save some time/productivity loss. To ensure that the post doesn’t stretch long enough I’ve divided into two parts and this is the first part.

1) Not Logging on IM’s: It’s been a few months since I logged into any of the Instant Messengers while working and it’s definitely a time saver. Though I have accounts on almost all the popular IMs I use them sparingly that too only when I need to have a predecided conversation with someone. If you find it tough being offline on IM’s, being invisible is the next best thing

2)  Not Checking Emails Every 2/5 Minutes: Certain professions, job roles and situations expect that you read and reply all incoming mail as soon as possible but for most of us that’s not the case. Therefore clicking refresh button or clicking on that open gmail tab is neither needed nor useful.  I am also practicing this habit of not checking mails every 5 minutes and trying to do it at least after an hour.

3)  Disabling Notifications: Whether you realize it or not, if you are active on Facebook and use a desktop too for Twitter among other things, your chances of getting a comment/invite/tagging/update notification are really high and you’ll end up loosing focus and time quite often. Therefore it’s a good idea to disable email notifications for your Facebook and other tools/services.
Got a productivity tip to share? Post it as a comment and I’ll try to include it in the next post on this topic.

Building Social Products in India

Last saturday saw the 2nd meet of Social Media Club’s Delhi chapter and I along with Dipankar Sarkar spoke about our experiences and learnings from Building a Global Social Product(Kwippy)  out of India.

I personally was quite excited about the talk as we generally don’t talk about products much in the regular Twitter, Bloggers and other Social Media related meets and I feel this is something that we should do often to create awareness amongst the attendees and if possible encourage people to build new products.

smcd (Pic courtesy Gaurav Mishra)

Here’s the presentation from the talk

View more presentations from Mayank Dhingra.

Talking about web products they can be categorized into two categories, “Innovation” (a completely new concept, first of its kind) and “Improvisation” ( a slight modification in an innovative idea and/or a slight modification in its implementation). From what I’ve observed most social web products in India belog to the “Improvisation” category with focus on the Indian market. Be it a social network, a platform to share pictures or microblog.

Though there is nothing wrong in improvising on someone’s concept and building a product for the local market but I guess most of the products in this segment fail to add any substantial value to the concept or it’s localised execution. Also, what  makes me wonder is why there aren’t many popular Indian web products in other categories particularly Global products based on an Innovative concept(from India) and Global products based on Improvisation(from India) of some innovative concept.

I feel there’s a lot of scope in both Made in India, for India and Made in India for World categories and I would keep a close watch for products in these two categories and now that I have moved out of Kwippy(will detail out in a seperate post) maybe work on something myself sometime soon 🙂

Taking notepad to the web

I’ve got this habbit of taking notes while doing stuff online and I can be found having at least one instance of notepad(or kate) open on my laptop. The notepad works better than writing things on a paper as it doesn’t break the flow while taking notes and more importantly its easier to archive and share this way.Be it a bunch of links, or a piece of text that I need for reference or usage while emailing, the notepad works really well and I think there are more people who do the same.

Perhaps it’s this thing that led someone to make an online version of notepad meant for doing similar things. txtb.in is a service that does precisely this. Got some text that you want to store or share online ?
Just go to txtb.in and follow these two ridiculously simple steps

1) Write/Paste Text:

2) Press Save

This will give you a URL for your text and anyone who has this URL can access that text you wrote, talk about simplicity.

Not that txt bin is the only site that’s doing this, there’s textsave and then there’s yanobs notepad. Personally speaking, though I haven’t used any of these services much, I like txtb.in the most. Here are the things I like about it

1) No signup required
2) Really simple and intuitive work-flow
3) Clean/No-nonsense interface

Did you get a chance to check out these services ? If yes, what do you think of them?

Find ’em and Engage ’em

The first step in engaging customers online is to know where to find them. Unless you know where to find whom, your social media strategy cannot be effective. I’ve tried to collate a list of various site/services that can be used to engage customers or spread the buzz.

Social Networks:
Facebook, Myspace, Orkut, Hi5, Friendster are one of the biggest hangout places on the planet and if your customers access the web, the chances of finding them in one of these networks are pretty high. If you are looking for young mainstream audience these are the places you can find them.

Microblogging Networks:
Microblogging platforms offer a good mix of community size and ability to hold conversations. They are probably the most effective and quickest way to connect with an existing or potential customer. Twitter, Plurk, Kwippy, Identica, Rejaw et all are some of the microblogging networks worth having your presence on. From my observation majority of the users of these networks are older than 25, are working and are there to explore and learn more(other than having fun). The audience is far from mainstream by most standards.

Social Aggregators:
Social aggregators are currently underdogs when it comes for brands to engage with customers. Despite the fact that aggregators can ease out the effort spent in tracking the buzz and conversing with customers their usage for these purposes is yet to pick steam.  Friendfeed, Social Thing, Profilactic, Flock, Strands and Plaxo Pulse are some of the popular tools. An even more niche audience, the  majority users of aggregators are again older than 25, working and more active on the web.

Since there are lots & lots of popular sharing sites I have split them according to the content/social object shared.

Video Sharing Sites: Youtube is by far the most popular video sharing site and offers a great platform to share promotional content & build relationships with your customers. The demographics here are quite widespread with a lot of young/teenage users. Lots of families &  artists use youtube to store and share their videos with families and fans. Checkout this for more.

Photo Sharing Sites: Flickr, picasaweb, photobucket and smugmug are some of the more popular sites which can be used to engage customer or just spreading the word. Majority Flickr users are above age 35 and have finished high school.

Presentation Sharing Sites: Another underdog when it comes to online marketing and creating a buzz presentation sharing sites can prove to be a nice hunting ground to engage with a niche and a bit more savvy netizens. Slideshare appears to be the only site which offers presentation sharing capabilities and has a good user community. Given the fact that most people don’t have a rendezvous with presentations until a certain age  the majority users here would also be beyond their teenage years and would have finished education upto a certain level.

LinkedIn is another potential tool to connect and form relationships with people. I strongly think it should  be an important part of one’s social media strategy.

I am sure I must have missed some sites/services, if you know of any please drop a note and I’ll include them

Early Adopters vs early adopters

An early adopter or lighthouse customer is an early customer of a given company, product, or technology. – Wikipedia

If you are a regular user of any social media site chances are that you might have come across this term fairly often. Think Early Adopters think Robert Scoble, Steve Rubel and the likes. Interestingly a lot hasn’t been said about the fact that for each Early Adopter there are hundreds and thousands of “early adopters” who are more or less that important for a new service. An early adopter could be a defined as scaled down version of an Early Adopter in most metrics. Having hundreds of subscribers/followers instead of thousands,their blog readership would be in hundreds instead of thousands etc. While the frequency at which they use the new services would roughly be same as Early Adopters but when it comes to trying new services and giving regular feedback/suggestions they are often ahead(in numbers and frequency respectively) of Early Adopters.

Essentially these are the people who are the bridge between Early Adopters and the mainstream users and are just as interested in exploring new services as it can be and are just as passionate about what they do but with a smaller sphere of influence.

In the past year or so that I’ve been using social media services I’ve seen quite a few instances in which a new service picked momentum because some Early Adopter started using it regularly and started spreading the word. Does it mean that “Its mandatory for a new service to get blessings of an Early Adopter or two in order to succeed ?” . Sure it helps if someone whose articulate, has insight and has a big follower base starts to use a new service but I am not sure if this was the case always and with every successful service. By successful here I just mean in terms of active users & web traffic.

I am not too sure if popular sites like Orkut, Scribd etc caught eyeballs because of some Early Adopters.
If I think about it, I got to know about these sites and many more from people who would fall in the category of “early adopters” and not “Early Adopters”. While the early adopters might not have the same levels of expertise or insights but they make up with extra enthusiasm and optimism.

As aptly mentioned by Steven early adopters don’t equal success i.e If you have Early Adopters as raving fans it won’t necessarily mean that the mainstream audience will love your product just as much or the revenue would not be a problem.

In my opinion while new services should keep an eye on the Early Adopters and try to convert them to regular users of their service they shouldn’t be obsessed with just them and NOT overlook the small fish in the sea aka the early adopters because the early adopters because are easier to find(and please).  Also, since they are more close to the mainstream audience in terms of their usage & behavioral patterns their feedback would probably be more relevant/useful if you are targeting the mainstream audience. What also tends to happen at times with Early Adopters is the sense of entitlment (which at times comes in initial days itself) which could leave the team behind the service in a perplexed/worrisome state and they’ll end up expending their energies in the wrong direction.

I’d summarize it all by saying while Early Adopters are great to have one should get obsessed by them and shouldn’t ignore the early adopters in the process.