May 31, 2007

Blog(casting) made easy...

Blogging is becoming popular day by day and same is the case with bloggers.Though,Blogging cannot replace mass media,bloggers have gained media attention and respect as well.This made me curious to know the total no of blogs that exist,till date(without taking into account,the no of updates that happen in the blog) and google search for "No of Blogs in the world" indicates that there are over 60 million blogs existing,till date.

India,as you might have guessed,is not far and this is what Blog Herald reports about India:

India/ Pakistan: approx 1 million blogs no firm figures however.I’ve noticed a significant rise out of India recently, and certainly the Indian press is also reporting on the emergence of Indian blogs, which is a sure sign that there must be a reasonable number there.
Sub Total: 24.35 million

This is certainly good news for Indian Bloggers.I actively picked up blogging after BlogCamp,Chennai but some pick up blogging by reading other's blogs or reading books or some other means.However,once you spend quality time reading blogs and writing them,you want to dig more into it and this is where the new magazine "Blogger and Podcaster" would help for the blogger community.A magazine dedicated to Blogging and Podcasting...Whew,that's pretty exciting...

Register for the online version of the magazine for free and you get to read interview of Scoble and other geek bloggers neutral

I hope that this magazine would help in improving the podcasting scene in India,which looks very bleak right now neutral.Do not forget to subscribe to the magazine by clicking here

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May 30, 2007

Life lessons from N. R. N. M

N R Narayana Murthy,mentor of Infosys spoke at the New York University (Stern School of Business) on lessons he learnt from his life and career.The speech revolves around his college days,initial struggle of his career and life after foundation of Infosys.Some of the sudden and special events , which have taught him many learnings in life.

The important excerpts from the speech are given below:

Pre Infosys:
1. Sometimes advice can come from an unexpected source, and chance events can sometimes open new doors.

2. Entrepreneurship, resulting in large-scale job creation, was/is the only viable mechanism for eradicating poverty in societies.

Post Infosys:
If you want to create a great company, we should be optimistic and confident. They have more than lived up to their promise of that day.

Below are life lessons from these events,in his own words.
Note: "I" in the article refers to Narayana Murthy

1. I will begin with the importance of learning from experience. It is less important, I believe, where you start. It is more important how and what you learn. If the quality of the learning is high, the development gradient is steep, and, given time, you can find yourself in a previously unattainable place. I believe the Infosys story is living proof of this.

Learning from experience, however, can be complicated. It can be much more difficult to learn from success than from failure. If we fail, we think carefully about the precise cause. Success can indiscriminately reinforce all our prior actions.

2. A second theme concerns the power of chance events. As I think across a wide variety of settings in my life, I am struck by the incredible role played by the interplay of chance events with intentional choices. While the turning points themselves are indeed often fortuitous, how we respond to them is anything but so. It is this very quality of how we respond systematically to chance events that is crucial.

3. Of course, the mindset one works with is also quite critical. As recent work by the psychologist, Carol Dweck, has shown, it matters greatly whether one believes in ability as inherent or that it can be developed. Put simply, the former view, a fixed mindset, creates a tendency to avoid challenges, to ignore useful negative feedback and leads such people to plateau early and not achieve their full potential.

The latter view, a growth mindset, leads to a tendency to embrace challenges, to learn from criticism and such people reach ever higher levels of achievement.

4. The fourth theme is a cornerstone of the Indian spiritual tradition: self-knowledge. Indeed, the highest form of knowledge, it is said, is self-knowledge. I believe this greater awareness and knowledge of oneself is what ultimately helps develop a more grounded belief in oneself, courage, determination, and, above all, humility, all qualities which enable one to wear one's success with dignity and grace.

Read the complete article here


May 28, 2007

Comic side of blogosphere...

Was just checking Amit Ranjan's blog and came across a slide , which shows the funny side of blogging biggrin The presentation touches the different aspects of blogging and my favourite slide is Slide#6 , which is given below:

As per my understanding,this slide suggests : "Blogging is an addiction and this is what suggests the same.After marriage if you cannot blog(which is , if you are short of ideas) than you can have kids…"

Check out the funny presentation below:

Which is your favourite slide?

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May 27, 2007

Failures , road to memorable success

Failures seems a very familiar word to everyone.Everyone might have failed in some way or the other.Different phases of life has different failures associated with it starting from the day a person is born-->becomes a teenager-->person starts working-->gets married and so on...

Leaving the teen age aside(which is more for enjoying rather than taking things too seriously),the age when a person starts working is very important.A person looking out for a new job could be facing failures by not clearing interviews though talent/knowledge is not proportional to clearance in the interview.When a person starts to venture out,difficulties become double but the excitement is also doubled since , it is your own baby wink

But failing (again and again) leads to de-motivation and you tend to look into yourself "Are you worth it?" but the important thing what we forget is "Trying" which is more than "Failing".With every failure you see yourself improving(which also depends on the individual whether he wants to improve or not) and the distance between you and your destination becomes lesser and lesser and one day "You are there at your desired destination"

Some of my personal failures(or ares of improvement, which I always remember):
  1. Not getting a job, after passing out from the college
  2. Crisis in my personal life (which makes you stronger day by day)
  3. Some of the technologies which I wished to learn but could not learn and many more ....
I remember an interview in Datamatics(4 years back) which I cleared only because I could answer one question(which was from the Program Manager of the company) - "Who is Gururaj (Desh) Deshpande?" and my memories became fresh when I read a chapter in "How Innovators connect" which speaks about FAILURES.I would like to share "Gururaj (Desh) Despande's story along with some of the important points revolving around "Failures and Success" and the lessons we get from them.Let me try to note down some of the interesting findings from the chapter "Connecting with failure"
It is not so much that people like to fail but rather than they see "Failure" as a necessary side trip in the journey to bring great offerings to the market.

"It is very important to break away from your past in order to absorb new ideas.You should be comfortable in saying "I'm going to start something new,I better shut off the past and begin a different chapter in my life" - Umang Gupta,CEO of Keynote Systems
Never lose sight of the past (The Gururaj (Desh) Deshpande story):
Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande is the chairman of Sycamore Networks and he is on the board of directors of many IT companies.But he was not successful like this before.He has a pay cheque of $26.95 framed in his office.This cheque helps him to remember how someone can overcome failure with success.As Deshpande says: "Failures broaden your comfort zone and allow you to view risk a little differently"

He co-founded network hardware company Coral Network Corp in 1988 and "boot-strapped" th company while trying to raise $4 million in VC funding.When funding came in , it was a dream come true for him and his wife.His wife who was in IT also quit her job to take care of their two young children.
But soon,there was an ugly misunderstanding between him and his co-founder and they parted ways.When Coral Networks was sold to Synoptics,$26.95 was all that Mr Deshpande earned from the sale.

But Coral's experience strengthened Deshpande's belief that it is important to find things that excite you and do things you want to do and you should not be afraid of making a living.In India,culturally, people don't want to accept failure because if you fail,you are marked for life.The irony he says is more you can deal with failure,the faster you can bounce back,whether you are an individual, a company or even a national economy.

After a (so called) failure,Deshpande was out with his new venture Cascade Communications Corp.Cascade became a huge success and very soon grew to $500 million in revenues.In 1997,Ascend Communications acquired Cascade for $3.7 billion.

From his early days,Deshpande learnt a lot: "To get things started , you have to be slightly crazy ,since if you are too thoughtful and too analytical , you would probably never pull the trigger".These things are not so different from the critical decisions that we take in personal life like when to get married,having children or buying a house etc

Once Cascade was sold,Gururaj Deshpande went on to start his new venture Sycamore Networks.This time around he was able to finance himself and raising money for this venture took him only 15 seconds biggrin Today,along with his work with Sycamore,Deshpande also acts as a VC and is an investor in many startups in India and the US.
This is just a small story of a successful Entrepreneur who was hit by failures and bounced back well.Every Entrepreneur(or should I say person) is hit by failures but it all depends on how you come back after failure.

If you have reached so long in this post,I really appreciate it but you would ask this question "Why only Gururaj Deshpande? The reason is a. I cleared the Datamatics Interview (4 years back) but I did not join there biggrin and b. I keep his photograph on my desk in the office since,I really appreciate his effort.

Finally before I end this article,last words of success: "The successful innovators don't let failure stop their internal quest to succeed"

You can also check out "The Steve Jobs Story about failures and success" here , which is really very motivating and also also teaches you many lessons in just 14 minutes biggrin

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May 26, 2007

Spawners May , 2007

Time to collect and put some of the interesting links for the month of May,2007.Below are some of the links which I found interesting:

  1. Ken speaks about Things to talk when meetup with a Venture Capital
  2. Professor Sadagopan speaks about Advice to graduating students (Must read for the new entrants in the industry)
  3. Udayan Bose speaks on Retaining good team members through Loosing a good team member
  4. Business Punditon What Tiger Woods can teach you about running a business
Interesting points from Professor Sadagopan's article:
The Internet generation has lots of strengths but one major weakness. They seem to have substituted “read” with “browse”.

Interesting points from the Business Pundit article:
In business, I think we often know the things we should do, but instead we try to do the things we want to do. We like the random fun things. We want to plan, brainstorm, hold meetings, all the stuff that doesn't require any discipline or focus. Unfortunately it's also all the stuff that doesn't make us better at what we are ultimately trying to do. We know we should be putting, but we want to take out the big driver and have a good time. Then we complain about our score.

It's hard to be the best. To do it, you have to be willing to go above and beyond what everyone else is doing. You have to spend 4 hours at the range with a single club, if that's what it takes. Is it fun? Of course not. But if you can make the short term sacrifices in order to reap those long-term successes, you'll experience a joy that most people never do.
Related Posts:
Spawners February , 2007
Spawners April , 2007

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May 25, 2007

Part time venture with full time job

It is around 4:30 AM and have not blogged for nearly two days cry Was very busy with my startup idea and hence,could not get time to blog but I am back again.Working part time with a full time day job,I have understood quite a few things that "life is not simple".Also,working part time during the night time(on some working days and weekends),I have understood that time goes by very quickly and sometimes,we seem to lose our time on things which are very trivial,which does not involve your venture but something else(this could be checking your mail,your blog or any other personal activity).I guess pair programming would be a bit effective in this case wink I managed to make a few do's and don't's for my idea which I strictly follow and I ensure I don't break them(more about that would post later).Helps me to be more attentive and productive...

Also, life changes when you have two things going parallely,you need to focus on both(your day job,which earns you "bread & butter" and your part time venture) and you cannot ignore either of them.Day job is important for your living and your venture is important since,you need to take it forward with passion(which would also involve sleepless yet exciting nights).So,how to concentrate on both?Had a look at one of the presentation's which stresses on "Working on a (part time) venture,without quitting your day job".The article mentions 5 simple ways to self-fund your venture(from your salary) and also how you can use your venture for the betterment of your organization.And guess what,it also tells "How you can make your boss a Beta tester".

The 5 ways mentioned in the article are given below:
  1. Use your salary for funding
  2. Turn common complaints into a business plan
  3. Make your boss a Beta tester [don't be surprised,you read it correct wink]
  4. Take advantage of your company's reputation
  5. Convert your employer into a business partner
The complete article is given below:

You can also read the same article here

Would upload more on my do's and dont's later...

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May 23, 2007

Infosys's - InfYi to promote Social Entrepreneurial dreams

Infosys has taken a step ahead and formed "InfYi", a new initiative within the company through which it will support, and in some cases fund, ideas on social entrepreneurship and convert them to viable business plans.

As stated in The Economic Times,23rd May 2007:
The initiative, called InfYi will function as the corporate chapter of the Young India initiative started by the Confederation of Indian Industry. Reflecting that charter, all its members below the age of 35 will be Infoscions.

The stress won't be on funding but to provide guidance to the Entrepreneurs. Based on the inputs that a project or idea needs, a senior council member will contribute to it. The projects could be in youth affairs, education, healthcare, economy or any other socially-relevant area. So far, InfYi has received 13 project ideas. Three of these will be shortlisted taken from concept to execution. They will be put through the paces by a team which has worked out how to capitalise on opportunities and survive downturns.
Read the complete article here

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May 22, 2007

Should VCs look beyond DotComs?

Few days back there was a post on my blog which had raised some questions on the Web 2.0 phenomenon.May be post the dotcom-bust,Web 2.0 has been a savior for many of the companies.Was reading this week's Business Today and found an interesting article titled "VC's still love Dotcoms"(Page-72) , which gives an insight into dotcoms from the VC's point of view.It has interviews by Ashish Gupta of Helion Ventures,Promod Haque of Norwest Ventures and Alok Mittal of Canaan Partners.Let me try to list down some of the important points mentioned in the article:

Last year, VCs invested $166 million in 27 internet companies,compared to $17 million and 2 dotcoms,the year before.So,VCs are quite optimistic about dotcoms

What sort of dotcoms are VCs interested in(by Ashish Gupta):
  1. It must be one that addresses a customer pain point or fills a market gap
  2. It must be differentiated and unique , and most importantly scalable
  3. As per VCs , startups in education,financial services and healthcare are some of the most attractive areas
  4. You'd better have a top-notch team that has worked together for some years,if you want to make raising money a cinch.
  5. There's so much more to do with the internet , since the old backbone that most companies relied on will soon be redundant
Other emerging areas around internet?
Ashish Gupta says "There are lots of interesting opportunities in the hybrid areas that combine the internet with BPO or the mobile phone".Helion Venture's investment in JiGrahak,a Bangalore based mobile startup is an example of this trend.

As per Rajesh Jain,Managing director of Netcore solutions, there are two obvious problems:
  1. Indian entrepreneurs want to imitate the success stories in the west and VCs also feel most comfortable investing in them.
  2. However,there are not many success stories in a given vertical.There is only one YouTube,MySpace or Orkut.
Below is the statistics of the VC investments in dotcoms(from January,2005 till date):

Click here to enlarge the image

But there are other areas like Embedded market, Organized retail(though there are VCs already investing in this one), where we have lot of startups waiting for funding.It is obvious that the risk in such companies would be much higher , than in a dotcom biggrin This post on my blog focussed on two such startups in that field.May be,it is time when VCs should look beyond dotcoms since, the real innovation comes from such companies !!!

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May 21, 2007

India Blogs 1.0

Amit Agarwal,the geek blogger from India has compiled a list "India Blogs 1.0 - The Most Widely Read Indian Bloggers" and was elated to see my name featured in the list as well biggrin

However,there is no section for "Entrepreneurship & Startups" , which is where I would have preferred my blog to be featured.Anyways,those days are not far enough!!!
I could also notice my fellow bloggers - Ashish,Vibhash, Abhishek, Mayank,Rishi, Ramanathan, Madhur , Gautam Ghosh , Ranjan in the list....Keep doing the great work guys.

You can find the list of the blogs here

Thanks Amit for noticing my blog.Also,watch that space for some pretty informative blogs in the list.

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May 20, 2007

Blogging it safe?

The Times Of India,19/07/2007 had an article on "Blogging safe" where they have mentioned some of the points,which bloggers can take care of while blogging.Some of the things are worth taking note of,while I would disagree on some of the tips given by them.However,this could be a useful resource to the guys new to the field of blogging.

Below is the complete article(had to copy-paste the complete article since,you need a IndiaTimes ID to access the page)

Blogs are like personal telephone calls crossed with newspapers. If you’ve blogged about something controversial, say a bad co-worker, chances are you’d want to keep things as anonymous as possible. Here then are some techniques that will help you be the Artful Dodger by which can endlessly rant against a faulty set up and not end up with an egg on your face.

Blog Carefully (Agree 50-50)
Use a pseudonym and don’t give away any identifying details. When you write about your workplace (a popular choice), be sure not to give away telling details. These include things like where you are located, how many employees there are, and the specific sort of business you do. Even general details can give away a lot. If, for example, you write, ‘I work at an unnamed TV news channel in Mumbai’ it’s probably now clear that you work in one of a few places. So be smart. Instead, you might say that you work in media. Keep it vague. Don’t post pictures of yourself. And don’t use pseudonyms that sound like the real names they are based on. And remember that almost any kind of personal information can give your identity away — you may be the only one at your workplace with a particular birthday, or with a certain pet. Also, if you are concerned about your colleagues finding out about your blog, do not blog while you are at work. Period. You could get in trouble for using company resources like an internet connection to maintain your blog, and it will be very hard for you to argue that the blog is a work related activity.

Use Anonymising Technologies(Agree 50-50)
There are a number of technical solutions for the blogger who wishes to remain anonymous. Invisiblog is a service that offers anonymous blog hosting for free. You may create a blog there with no real names attached. Even the people who run the service will not have access to your name. If you are worried that your blog hosting service may be logging your unique IP address and thus tracking what computer you’re blogging from, you can route your internet traffic through what’s called an ‘overlay network’ that hides your IP address. More importantly, this makes it difficult for snoops on the internet to follow the path your data takes and trace it back to you. Anonymizer offers a free downloaded ‘Anonymous Surfing,’ which routes your internet traffic through an anonymizing server and can hide your IP address from the services hosting your blog.

Use Ping Servers(Completely agree)
If you want to protect your privacy while getting news out quickly, try using ping servers to broadcast your blog entry for you. Pingomatic is a tool that allows you to do this. The program will send out notice (a ‘ping’) about your blog entry to several blog search engines. Once those sites list your entry, which is usually within a few min utes,you can take the entry down. Thus the news gets out rapidly and its source can evaporate within half an hour. This protects the speaker while also helping the blog entry reach people fast.

Limit Your Audience(Strongly disagree)
Many blogging services, allow you to designate individual posts or your entire blog as available only to those who have the password, or to people whom you’ve designated as friends.

Register Your Domain Name Anonymously (Agree 50-50)
Even if you don’t give your real name or personal information in your blog, people can look up the records for your domain name and find out who you are. If you don’t want anyone to do this, consider registering your domain name anonymously. The Online Policy Group (OPG) offers privacy protective domain name registration which could be used for the same.

Blog Without Getting Fired (Completely agree)
A handful of bloggers have recently discovered that their labours of love may lead to unemployment. By some estimates, dozens of people have been fired for blogging, and the numbers are growing every day. The bad news is that in many cases, there is no legal means of redress if you have been fired for blogging. While you have freedom of speech, it does not regulate what private parties (such as most employers) do.

Blog away!!! (Agree)
Blogs are getting a lot of attention these days. You can no longer safely assume that people in your offline life won’t find out about your blog, if you ever could. New RSS tools and services mean that it’s even easier than ever search and aggregate blog entries. As long as you blog anonymously and in a work-safe way, what you say online is far less likely to come back to hurt you.

Happy and SAFE Blogging !!!

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Dabawalas : Straight from the gut

Few days back, there was a post on my blog , where I had mentioned about the book "Dabawalas",which has entered into the list of "My Must Read" books.There were some of the business learnings which could be taken from this book which are mentioned here.Now, some of the learnings from the author Mr Shrinivas Pandit himself.Below is the copy of the email written by me(to the author) which has the feedback on the book,along with the key learnings which I got from the book.The other email is the reply from Mr Pandit,where he touches on some more aspects of business(a must read)

Mail to Mr Pandit

Reply from Mr Pandit

With this mail,Mr Pandit has sent out one more message "How to keep customers happy"

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May 19, 2007

Top 18 : For (wanna-be) Entrepreneurs

May 18, 2007

Blogging breeds Entrepreneurship...

Many times,I get this question from many people(be it colleagues, friends, family and many more) as to why I blog?Yes,I do have Google Ads on my blog,but I hardly get few $(or should I say Cents) out of it neutral, than why should I spend so much energy and time on my blog.My answer is pretty simple and straightforward:
Blog is a means to express your thoughts.Different people blog for different reasons eg. some people use it as a marketing tool, some use it as a personal diary, some use it as a means of sharing knowledge and experience, some use to get their bread and butter and so on.I blog to send the message across to the audience out there about the ideas that I have in mind which helps me in connecting with like minded people.I have made many friends through my blog with whom I constantly interact and it is nice talking and mailing each one of them neutral
I was curious to know about why many others blog? While looking out for other's opinions,I came across this post on the Taragana Blog , which clearly explains the motive behind blogging.

Not to forget, Blogging improves your communication skills and give you more confidence to address people in an audience.Also, blogging helps you in improving your attitude that you have towards your career as well as your personal life.But there is something more than that , what blogging can bring in you...Yes,it bring the Entrepreneurial instincts in you and hones your leadership skills.In fact,Liz Manifesto in her post, mentions that "Every Blogger is an Entrepreneur" and the reason is quite simple : "The more you blog,the more you need to read and the more you read,more you get knowledge which helps in widening your horizon"

Out of her 10 points,following points grabbed my attention(and my take on why those points are so important for the blogger community)

Great entrepreneurs know that a strong business stands on authentic relationships. Great bloggers are great at those.
-This is where like mindedness comes into picture and there cannot be any other tool available apart from blog which can help you doing this!!!

Great entrepreneurs realize that their business is only about choosing for their customers in what they say, what they do, how they smile, and every detail of what they offer and what they choose. Great bloggers configure their blogs to meet their customers, not the other way around.
-Comments are an integral part of blogs.Bloggers love getting comments and also getting criticized sometimes.How many times,you chat with someone who reads your blog and ask the feedback on the quality since many times,after blogging for some time,your idea tank gets exchausted and this is where our blog customers(blog readers) come for our rescue.

Great entrepreneurs know that the best marketing is paying attention to the folks who already know who you are and want to help you be the best you can be — listening to your evangelists. Great bloggers are great listeners. It’s inspiring to watch them.
-This makes me remind of this post on MetroBlogging Bangalore,where I just questioned the business aspect of the hotel but I got comments which were against me.I could have easily replied to each and every comment,but the best solution was to be mum and observe how readers react.The sad part was none of them agreed that the business tactics was not correct!!!In the same place, if a reader of my blog would have read this post,he/she would have easily noticed the noticed that I was questioning business policy,rather than Bangalore neutral So,bloggers need to know when to react and when not to react!!!

In a nutshell , every blogger is an Entrepreneur!!!
Read the complete list of 10 points

Question to every blogger:
Why do you blog and how has it changed your life or personality?

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May 16, 2007

PodWorks : Unconference on Podcasting

After BlogCamp, BarCamp, WikiCamp,Proto now comes another season of Unconference.This time there is an workshop style unconference on Podcasting named PodWorks ,which would touch upon topics from "basics of podcasting" to "podcasting in Business".

What is PodWorks?
PodWorks is a 2-day workshop styled unconference dedicated to the sharing of knowledge around new / social media (audio and video podcasting, blogging, more. It's a successor to the extremely successful BlogCamp that was held in September 9 & 10,2006.The event is scheduled on June 9th and 10th,2007.The venue is as usual "Tidel Park in Chennai"

Team behind Podworks?
Needless to mention this since,"The Knowledge Foundation(TKF)" has taken the complete responsibility of bringing this complete Unconference atmosphere to India.Kiruba,Syed,Sunil... you guys rock !!!

Topics at PodWorks:
This time around , there would be a fixed set of topics that would be covered unlike other unconferences where topics were decided on the venue.One of the likely reasons for this change could be the knowledge of podcasting among the participants(at least I am new to podcasting cry )You can find the list of topics here

Where to register?
Registration for Podworks here.
Also, join the mailing list of Podworks to get the latest updates on Podworks and other Unconferences happening in India.

Take Aways from Podworks:
Social and Business networking, knowledge on Blogging and Podcasting and not to forget enjoyment of the free WiFi internet in Tidel Park,Chennai smile

Happy Unconferencing and Podcasting!!!

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IBM VC group positive about India

With the growing no of startups coming out of India,India has been under a scanner by VCs.The VC arm of IBM is positive about India and below is an excerpt from the article in Economic Times
Innovation in India is growing at a rapid pace, in fact faster than how it was in China when we went there a couple of years ago. So we are looking to tie up with a few VC firms including a couple of local VC players to help us identify innovative companies and technology,’’ IBM Venture Capital Group MD Claudia Fan Munce told Economc Times.
Read the complete article here

Related Article:
60,000 IT workers return home from Silicon Valley

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May 15, 2007

25 ways to distinguish yourself

Ever since,I met Rajesh Setty during my first unconference - Blog Camp in Chennai,I have been following his blog,post after post.He is one of the most influential persons, I have met,very elegant yet very down to earth.You can know about Rajesh Setty here

This post comes from his blog and is based on his book "Life Beyond Code" , where he mentions about 25 ways to distinguish yourself,which are mentioned below:

1. Care as if it's your own
2. Do your daily work with passion
3. Build strong relationships
4. Dream BIG!!!
5. Set the right expectations (Under promise and Over deliver)
6. Ask for help(when needed)
7. Celebrate small victories:
We know that:
a) Failure is the stepping stone of success.
b) It’s NOT not falling down but standing up every time we fall down that matters.
c) A bend in the road is not the end of the road.
8.Set high standards:
Always try to prove that you are the best to your ownself.Setting high standards would always help you to perform better
9. Know your values
10. Pursue right memberships:
Right memberships would pay off big time..May be,unconferences , TiE could also come in this category
11. Help people,help themselves:
People are happy when their problem is solved but they will be delighted when they learn how to solve it themselves.
12. Be a reader:
This point is amazing.As Rajesh says "Every good leader is a reader.Most of the people don't read".Once you have the right set of books with you,than you don't need any other motivation
13. Plan by outcomes
14. Think long term:
We overestimate what we can achieve in a day and we underestimate what we can achieve in a year
15. Embrace uncertainty with ease:
There is more help than you will ever need but only if you are humble enough to ask. For that, you need to develop an attitude to embrace uncertainty with ease.
16. Ask the right questions:
Questions have great power. One right question asked at the right time can change the direction of our lives. Hence, the quality of the questions that we ask ourselves is VERY important.It is for the same reason that we need to choose our company very carefully. If we are surrounded with the right people and for some reason miss asking the right questions, someone in our group might ask the right question for us.
17. Engage with a coach:
It is very important to be guided by the right mentor or coach.This would have a positive effect on your business
18.Be relevant
19. Get back on your feet fast(Failures are stepping stone to success):
I can easily this point to the current happenings in my life(personal and professional,both are filled with "N" no of failures) but this is really refreshing and motivating smile.Failures happen and you will fail or fall down at times. If you want to distinguish yourself, learn to get back on your feet fast every time you fall down.
20. Lead a volunteer effort:
21. Balance innovation and Continuous improvement:
Whenever an innovation project succeeds, the next immediate step would be to put that project on a “continuous improvement” roadmap. Because no project is really “complete”.So, in summary a good framework can be “Innovation > Continuous Improvement >
22. Learn to sell:
Every person is a salesman some sell skills at workplace,some sell ideas....
23. Learn systems thinking:
Systems thinking, in essence, is an understanding of the system as a whole and the mutual interaction of the underlying parts of the system.
24. Walk away from free:
Nothing comes for free though in some cases the price that you pay is not money.So get rid of things that come for Free !!
25. Influence the influencers

Found motivating and intersting than you can download the pdf of the complete article from here

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May 14, 2007

Dabawalas , building lasting success based on values...

Many times, you might have seen me mentioning Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin and few other writers/Entrepreneurs , whom I really admire lol.But after reading Dabawalas by Mr Shrinivas Pandit(or should I say Shrinivas Sahib as he is mentioned in the book),he has also joined the list of my favourite authors.Before jumping into some of the intersting learnings from the book,let me tell you something about the book.

Sneak preview of "Dabawalas By Mr Shrinivas Pandit":
For some of the people,Dabawalas would be a new terminology.Daba is loosely called as Tiffin and Dabawalas is a story about a 115 year old successful business operation carried out by 5000 semi-literate people.These are the people who deliver Tiffin(Daba) from one place to another in Mumbai working under very tight schedule.You can know more about Daba here.Not to forget,they are Six Sigma certified about which you can find here
It is a book which focuses on their growing business and how the business is managed,though there is no designated CEO for the business.For people who have lived and traveled in the packed trains of Mumbai,this would be a very familiar sight in the luggage compartments of the local trains.For more information on Dabawalas,check this post on Mangalore City Blog

Insight into the book:
The book is written by Shrinivas Pandit and is based on a conversation between Shrinivas(called S),Anita(A),Raghu(R),Ganga(G) on the entire Daba business.So who are A,R,G:
Anita Dalal - Refered "A" is a journalist and a well known business consultant based in Mumbai
Raghu and Ganga- Refered "R" and "G" respectively,are the dabawalas working for "Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Supplier's Charity Trust"
The book gives an insight into some of the business strategies followed by dabawalas along with the ethics they follow,how they win customers by winning their hearts and last but not the least,when should we accept innovation and how it can be used for the betterment of the business.The book is very well organized with a message being communicated with every chapter.The only possible drawback could be Marathi being used in the book(though they have translated in English but could be a turn-off for some of the readers).
At end of every chapter,there is a section called "Take Aways"(or learnings) which I found very striking and hence felt that I should list some of them keep on reading.

Take Aways from the book:
Note:The post would be long yet do read it completely

Current Practice:
In last 25-30 years,people have become habituated to eating outside food for lunch,out of necessity,convinience or fashion
Current Opportunity:
With increased health conciousness and basic preference for home cooked food,there is an opportunity to start newer,cost effective delivery services.

Current Practice:
Most of the organizations,whether public,private,public or cooperative sectors,run on the lines of a master-servant relationship.The employees do not have a stake in the organization's survival and thus,do not develop Entrepreneurial skills or passion
Current Opportunity:
When the organization is set up on the principle that everybody is a shareholder;there is passion,commitment and responsibility for developing business in cooperation with other groups

Current Practice:
A large number of business leaders do not study the supply demand market economics.When massive waves of change hit the market,they crumble.They fail to forecast changing scenarios and what would be durable in such situations
Current Opportunity:
Leaders with vision are constantly looking out for trends so as to keep their bread and butter lines of business intact.They are focused on finding what is durable in the times of change.They act upon strengthening their niche areas with constant innovation.

Current Practice:
Very few organizations study their supply chain management practices.Such study from procurement of raw materials to finished product show many on-line variables are outsourced in this logistically interdependent world.It identifies the gaps that need to be met for timely delivery.
Current Opportunity:
Organizations that have an end to end broad perspective of their supply chain management are able to do a lot of cost-cutting and quality improvement in their deliverables

Current Practice:
The work in any business organization consists of endless meetings,emails,phone calls combined with clutter of mechanization and computerization.The resultant service product at the low end of the technological structure is neither very efficient nor cost effective to the customer.
Current Opportunity:
Use technology when needed not otherwise.We need not import every work practice from abroad.Think global about the efficiency through automation and computerization,but act local to increase efficiency through creative efforts like dabawalas using cycles instead of mopeds.

Current Practice:
Most of the organizations have a centralised decision-making for resource allocation and business development.This leads to deskilling of employee capabilities,apart from lowering their motivation to complete tasks independently
Current Opportunity:
Decentralize to empower and deliver your product at the minimum cost to the customer.If you have a mindset based on the Gandhian model of interdependent co-creation,where machine comes next to man,it is possible to provide cost effective service to the customers.

Current Practice:
In the current scenario,the mortality of the organizations is high because many times the people there do not change their ways.They continue past practices even when the ground reality changes drastically.
Current Opportunity:
Organizations that survive this change are those where people are prepared to learn new techniques amd skills to enhance their levels of competence.They cherish the old methods,but embrace new ways of doing things.

Current Practice:
Services have become prohibitive in cost,unreliable and inefficient for customers at the middle and bottom of the social pyramind.This is because of the excessive use of modern gadgetry,excessive consideration of ROI and the indifferent attitiude of the personnel in most organizations.
Current Opportunity:
In the hierarchy of human needs,a cost effective and affordable service is of prime importance,when we are sandwiched by high unemployment rates and an aging population.The huge demand for such services can be met by adopting a customer-centric approach based on the principle of subsistence and not profit

Current Practice:
The customer service,whether of mobile phone or washing machine companies,cable operators or any others is expensive,time consuming and not very dependable.
Current Opportunity:
Any company providing service to it's customers that sincerely believes customer is God,will make it's service delivery dependable.In doing so,it will win customer loyalty.

Current Practice:
Bad service brings down the brand value of a company so much that it loses it's competitive edge.
Current Opportunity:
Run your service set-ups,whether in-company or outsourced on the principle of efficient service.Ensure that the mindset of the staff is devotional towards work.

Current Practice:
Many organizations make tall claims about their record of exemplary service to customers but real feedback does not support such claims.
Current Opportunity:
There can be global recognition for an error free durable local service.The local bonding between service providers and clients leads to global bonding.Entrepreneurs,VC's and business leaders all over the world looking for innovative ideas can find a few there.

Current Practice:
If you look at the mountains of complaints made by customers receiving any kind of actual service,you realise that service for the most part is impersonal and careless
Current Opportunity:
The service sector business has 50% growth potential in the total future economic growth.To realise this,we need to transform our mindset and start providing service that solves customer problems.

Finally, an interesting saying from Narayan Murthy : "Technology is about reducing cost,improving productivity and bringing comfort to the people".Who needs that more than the poor?"

Some of the points may look disconnected but still each and every takeaway has a message which helps in business improvement.Before I close this long post,I would say it is an excellent resource at a very cheap price(Rs 145),which touches the crux of business (something like what Dr C K Prahalad had done in "Fortune At the Bottom of the Pyramid")

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May 13, 2007

Bangalore...A Metropolitian City?

This is one of the incident's which happened to me during the weekend.Since,it was pertaining to Bangalore hence I decided to post on Metro Blogging Bangalore.It is a personal post(for which I might be criticized) but I would appreciate positive criticism You can find the post here

Now just extending the learnings from the incident:
a. Be it any business,we should understand that it is easy to make customers but it is even easier to lose them
b. A smile can still create wonders to your business so whenever you greet someone(be it personal or business guy),use the cheapest(and easiest) way to win them
c. Always remember "Customer is GOD" and hence, it is very important to treat every customer with equal importance.

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May 11, 2007

Sabermetrics : Hiring strategy for Startups

How many times have you felt that your colleague/friend/roommate is getting overpaid?You can judge his salary based on his experience or qualifications or domain expertise and the list goes on and on.....There could be multiple answers to this question wink Though,I don't have a startup(but working on it) but one thing is obvious : "A person joins a startup only if he is passionate about the technology or he has an urge to have his own startup sometime".After speaking to lot of Entrepreneurs,I understood one thing that hiring the first few people in a startup is very important,the reason is they would be the people responsible for hiring other guys(for the startup)

So,hiring is the buzzword and it is not very simple.Wrong person getting hired in a large organization makes very less difference to the organization since, the company can manage to play around with him.The article tries to co-relate baseball fundamentals and hiring for startups...Below is the excerpt from the article by Joe Kraus, Co-Founder and CEO of JotSpot

Sabermetrics,what is it?
Sabermetrics is the analysis of baseball through objective evidence, especially baseball statistics. The term is derived from the acronym SABR, which stands for the Society for American Baseball Research.More on Sabermetrics here

Are you ready to join a Startup?
A person joining a startup should be very passionate about the company and the product.This means that every person should think as if he has invested in the product and if the product does not click in the market,he would loose his money neutral

Are Engineers being underpaid in Startups?
So what is the relation of Baseball with Startups?The hiring strategy in Baseball teams(or for that matter any other sport) is based purely on following criteria:

How fast a player can run? How powerfully can they hit? How fast can they throw? How well can they field? How much do they have the “look” of a baseball player?

In order to build winning teams,we need to think different and go beyond the normal selection criteria whether it is baseball or a startup.Now,comparing this with the first few employees who are a part of the startup,Joe feels that Engineers are underpaid in startups..Have a look at the excerpt below:
I(Joe) think the market generally undervalues key engineering hires relative to their contributions.

Why does this happen? For a few reasons, I think. First, most CEOs are not technical (I’m not either). So, they tend to highly value the things they understand (marketing, business development, sales) and undervalue the things they don’t (engineering). Second, people are more attracted to people like themselves. Come from marketing and you’ll probably pay more for marketing people. Third, and perhaps most importantly, is the fact that there are no identified fact-based metrics that help CEO's understand how to value engineers.
The article here brings to light some of the interesting lessons(related to recruitment) that startups can learn from Sabermetrics...Do not miss it by any chance

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May 10, 2007

(Un)conference marketing

There has a lot of mention about Unconferences on my blog and as you might have guessed,I truly love Unconferences. IMHO,BlogCamp was the first unconference that I had attended in September,2006(I know I was too late cry) and this is where I understood the power of Blogging.How blogging can made a powerful medium to build a network of like minded people and lots of benefits with respect to marketing through blogs.

Suddenly a personal blog changes its looks and becomes a dedicated blog to Business and Entrepreneurship.May be the interest in Entrepreneurship also came through this event(yes,it is hard to believe but a single memorable incident can change your life).After BlogCamp,there was no looking back,than came the season of BarCamp,WikiMania,Proto and not to forget MoMo(where it becomes very difficult to reach on time wink).There was so much effect of Unconferences that I came out with few articles on my blog,solely on Unconferences:
  1. Missing unconferences...are you making a mistake?
  2. Marketing strategies for startups
Talking about marketing,Unconference has become an excellent platform for Entrepreneurs to showcase their work and get honest feedback from an enthusiastic crowd.There was a demo by Rajiv(who is also the organizer of MoMo,Bangalore along with Rajan) on ThinFone during the last BarCamp and he was quite impressed with the honest feedback given by the crowd.He also got a lot of buyer's from the crowd wink As it is said,the best way to test a product is to give the product to a set of people , so that they can test drive and give the feedback.ActivMobs are the guys who benefited heavily from Unconferences like MoMo and BarCamp where they had given a demo of their free group SMS service 'InActiv'.Along with the feedback,they also managed to increase the user base of their free group SMS service and this is what InActiv has to say about it's user base.

These are just a few examples that came to my mind and there is no doubt that "Unconference is the best place to showcase your work especially during the germination phase of your idea"

This is the scene as to how unconferences have changed the face of Business and Marketing in India.Now,let us go globally and see what they have to say?CNN reports on "Unconferences as fun conferences" points out the following:

"We figured there was much more expertise in the audience than there possibly could be onstage," says BarCamp co-founder Ryan King.

Unconferences break the barrier between the two. Attendees write topics they're interested in on boards, consolidate the topics, and then break into discussion groups.

This article on BusinessWeek shows how Unconferences are shaking the conventional biz.An interesting excerpt from the article is :
The unconference movement is also a response to the commercialism of many business gatherings. "I don't see why I should pay hundreds of dollars for the privilege of being sold to," says David Tamés, a consultant and blogger who spoke recently at PodCamp NYC, a free gathering about podcasting held in early April. At a traditional industry conference, Tamés says, "every single panelist is chosen for economic and political reasons—because they're sponsoring it or they know someone in the organization, and they're all doing sales pitches."
It is quite obvious that Unconferences cannot be a threat to the conferences neither can it replace them but definitely provides an excellent platform for marketing(that too free of cost smile).This is just the begging and there is more to come in the era of Unconference.

There are lot of unconferences in the coming months(in Bangalore and Chennai) , details of which would be listed on my blog very soon!!!

Happy Unconferencing!!!

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May 8, 2007

Insight into Killer Blogging

It is said that actions speak louder than words hence,picture representation is more effective to communicate than words.An interesting PICTORIAL presentation by the so called Guru of Blogging - Robert Scoble.

He explains the "Ten Ways to a Killer Blog"(taken from his book-Naked Conversations):
  1. Blog cause you want to
  2. Read other blogs
  3. Pick a niche you own(be different)
  4. Link to other blogs
  5. Admit mistakes
  6. Write good headlines
  7. Use other media
  8. Have a voice
  9. Go outside the blogosphere
  10. Market yourself

The points which I liked the most are in Bold.Let me explain why I found those points effective:
  • Blog cause you want to: Many time,you want to communicate your thoughts to someone and feel there could be some other medium through which you can communicate.This is where Blogs come into picture.Makes simple to express your ideas to the audience.So when you blog,keep your blog updated else the readers would shy away from your blog(slowly and steadily)...So,blog because you feel blogging is required and not because someone else tells you to blog.
  • Pick a niche you own(be different): Very important to write posts that fit your theme and yes,theme should be well thought of lol My best example to this would be MobilePundit - weblog of MobileMonday,Mumbai organizer Veer Bothra....You won't find any post on his blog which is outside the Mobile Arena...This is what is required to catch the eyeballs of the readers.Write what suits your blog.
  • Write good headlines: To accumulate and write content,takes less time than to think about a decent headline.Around 30% of your time(in writing a post) should go in deciding your header since,the header communicates what the article would contain and that too,in a single think..think...than publish your article For eg. I changed the headline of this article 4 times,before freezing on this title,I hope it was well thought of wink
  • Go outside the blogosphere: This statement has an depth meaning.Many times,out of excitement,I speak about my blog in front of the wrong audience.But this helps me understand the audience and based do on their behaviour,I get another article....what do you say? wink
  • Market yourself: This is very important when you have a brand new blog.During this stage,your initial articles should be eye catching and informative.Follow the right ways to market your blog and make the audience feel the presence of your blog.Remember,if you have a good blog,marketing effort would be minimal since, your blog is better(than others) and unique smile

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May 7, 2007

Financial Management for a Startup Firm

Few days back,I had mentioned about Guest Blogging and my first guest blogger is Ranjan.Now let us have a look at Ranjan's profile or should I say,this is how Ranjan describes himself biggrin

About Ranjan:
Ranjan is one of the older bloggers (He's 39) and brings more than 16 years of work experience in Insurance, Housing Finance and Investment industry with himself. He likes to post his thoughts on topics like Personal Finance and Business Management through his blog

Let us now look as to what does he have for us in store.But before that,let me answer the question "Why Ranjan?" wink

Why I approached Ranjan to write on Finance?
IMHO many of us are techie guys and we don't think much beyond technology.But when it comes to companies or ideas , finance also turns out to be a very important aspect,which is a black box to me and may be it would be the same to many of us.Hence,Ranjan was the right person to write on the same.

Ranjan has tried to showcase some of the points which should be considered by Entrepreneurs(at least first generation) while starting off...Interesting let's jump to the crux of the article

(Note : "I" in the article refers to Ranjan)

Financial Management for a Startup Firm:

Is it important for a startup to understand corporate financial information, evaluate corporate financial performance and understand the language of accounting and finance?

I feel that the idea of a startup is a romantic and sexy one till you start the start up. Once you are confident of your idea and think it’s time to make it happen, it’s time to do some reality checks.

Let us ask the “bringing back to Earth” questions with a financial angle. In fact the business plan, Sales forecast, ROI, Break even analysis etc.
  1. How much money is needed to launch the project? What are the short term working capital needs? Here you try to understand your capital requirements.
  2. What return on investment can the business bring? This is the first question a VC would ask. You have to work on the ROI that your business can bring.
  3. What could be the possible source of funds? Friends, relatives, VC or a Bank?
  4. What are the projected Sales forecast and the likely expenses? You may do well to build a projected cash flow statement for the next 1-3 years.
  5. When do you look to cover your initial costs? In other words, when do you break even?
  6. Can you build a projected balance sheet for your business?

Difficult questions? Maybe yes, but if you are not prepared to answer them or face them, the startup may remain just a pipe dream.

If success was easy it would no longer be success. Admittedly, though finding the answers is not like rocket science, it looks entirely geeky to many of us.

There are no ready made answers. It follows after you are able to define your business, review your competitive environment and do a SWOT analysis for yourself.

And tools? Start with a pen and a paper, quickly graduate to Excel sheet or any other spreadsheet and you are on your way!! Getting started is all you need to worry about!! haven't we heard Goethe's couplet: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Finally, thanks Ranjan for taking time off your busy schedule and contributing to this blog.I (Himanshu) hope you found this small piece of information informative , just as I did.

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May 6, 2007

Business Opportunity....where is it?

There have been lot's of talks about Software Entrepreneurs,Retail Entrepreneurs .... but Economic Times has come with an interesting story on Entrepreneurship-->Farmers turned Entrepreneurs.

The story is about farmers in Punjab who have gone into diversified businesses like retail, restaurants etc. After reading the complete story, one thing is clear that "Right business opportunity should be seen at the right time".

This is the good example of "Strike while the iron is hot" biggrin

Read the interesting story of "Farmers turned Entrepreneurs" here

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May 5, 2007

Microsoft + Yahoo = No Deal

Software giant Microsoft has expressed it's interest to take over Yahoo.However,this is the second time,MSFT has expressed it's interest in YHOO.

As per the BusinessWeek reports:
According to newspaper reports May 4, Microsoft has asked Yahoo to enter formal negotiations for an acquisition that could be worth $50 billion. Yahoo's market capitalization was about $38 billion at the close of trading May 3.
Reports of the deal sent Yahoo shares jumping 17% in premarket trading, while Microsoft slipped 1.5%.
As TechCrunch reports, if this deal goes through, the takeover would be one of the largest corporate takeovers in American corporate history, and likely the largest ever in the Tech sector.

But as I am about to complete this post,Wall Street Journal has reported "The deal is no longer active but the two companies are finding other ways of cooperating"

Read the Business Week coverage about the MSFT-YHOO takeover here.
Additional information covered by TechCrunch here

Read the latest on the merger by Wall Street Journal here

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May 4, 2007

Blogging : The unethical way...

Though I have completed nearly 2.5 years of blogging,at one stage,I was a newbie in the field of blogging.If you check my posts during my early days,you would understand the level of immaturity,which is quite expected.The first thing you would observe is none of the posts are linked to each other but with frequent blogging,things have changed and there are continual improvements.

During the initial days of blogging,I wasn't aware about Technorati[guess I was dumb cry] and other sites that give an insight as to where your blog stands in the crowd.It is quite obvious that the initial rank would have been in millions but as of today,Thoughtsprevail stands at 56,513 on Technorati.So,there are 103 incoming links from 76 blogs. Needless to mention that Technorati keeps a track of the no of blogs linking to your blog(i.e. Rank gets calculated based on the number of incoming links to your blog).So, 56,513 on Technorati is definitely a good rank and with time, it would go even further.

But does this rank mean that this blog(or for that matter,any other blog) is getting good readership or it is a blog with good content.This question is sure difficult to answer.IMHO,your Technorati rank is not a justification that your blog has more readership.So,suppose you want to improve your rank,you can follow two easy ways:
  1. Comment on other's blog: "Hey nice blog you have,check out mine..I have blogrolled mine as well"
  2. Link exchange(i.e Exchange links and also add each other as Favorites in Technorati)
This means A blogrolls B and B blogrolls A(and sometimes both A and B are unaware about each other's content).In fact,India's prominent pro-blogger John TP got his Technorati rank increased by a massive number just by favorite exchange(A and B favorite each other).Check out his post here.But now,this trend and Link Exchange trend has come on many blogs where bloggers openly invite other bloggers to do a link exchange and trust me,the blog rank has gone up by leaps and bounds,in all the cases.

Since,I am a blogger, rank matters for me as well and I would love to see my blog rank better on Technorati.As a blogger,you also need to read lot of blogs as well and when I found the Link Exchange post on many of the blogs(hence,I have not mentioned a link here since,many bloggers would feel offended),it tempted me to have a similar post on my blog.But after giving a thought,I reached the conclusion,this aspect of blogging is very unethical.If you are a blogger producing good content,readers would follow you,you need not persuade them to read your blog For Example:"If your are a company having a good product,customers sure will catch hold of you.In a nutshell, Higher rank on Technorati is not directly proportional to your readership.

Now coming back to BlogRolling(or Link Exchange), are we supposed to blogroll only if the person blogrolls you.The answer is a No.You can blogroll blog A,if you feel Blog A has good content and your readers would be interested in reading Blog A as well.At least you have the Blog in your records and should not be worried about loosing your Favorited Blogs(which lie in the Firefox bookmarks).Definitely if you are a blogger striking good content,blog A would (automatically) blog roll you, for sure biggrin

Remember, no matter what your blog talks about,it will always have its dedicated share of readers but to gain readership(or higher ranking),a (blind) link exchange would be highly unethical.This unethical way would cost you the loss of existing readership(which is far more important than your Technorati rank).Definitely,Technorati by no way,can authenticate the incoming link on these basis.

Apparently,while listening to the Guy Kawasaki's video podcast(on Blogging and Blog Evangelism),the topic of blogrolling was covered by him and guess, this was the right way to do ethical blogging.

May be this rule could also be added to the Blogger's Code of Conduct.Remember,Blogging is not a competition, but a simple and easy way to communicate your thoughts to a wide range of audience.

Related Posts:
Blogger's Code of Conduct
Two years of successful blogging

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