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Words. Wisdom. Winners.

Is anyone looking?

Seth Godin is truly a genius. To come up with what he does, on a daily basis, requires enlightenment!

And here is another gem from him

Perhaps you can burn 500 calories on the treadmill before you give up for the day. With a personal coach, though, you could do 700. The trainer gets you to exert more effort.

You wake up on a Monday morning after a long hard weekend of misbehaving. You have a splitting headache. You can easily call in sick, no one will freak out. But then you remember that there’s a $500 bonus at stake if you keep your attendance perfect. You make the effort because someone else is bribing you.

There’s an entire system organized around the idea that we’re too weak to deliver effort without external rewards and punishment. If you only grow on demand, you’re selling yourself short. If you’re only as good as your current boss/trainer/sergeant, you’ve given over the most important thing you have to someone else.

The thing I care the most about: what do you do when no one is looking, what do you make when it’s not an immediate part of your job… how many push ups do you do, just because you can?

——-

When you are an entrepreneur, the above acquires higher meaning. Very soon you realize that it cannot be the term sheet valuation, or the CEO title, or the media coverage, or the swanky office space that drives you. The drive has to be you yourself.

The question is – can you live with a sub-optimal structure knowing that it is a sub-optimal structure. Can you really get up everyday and do those push-ups, because you ought to!

What comes first? Product or Sales?

I have made a lot of mistakes in life. One in particular that I remember was during the early days of StudyNation. The product had not had a good start (we had launched as StudyTimes.com). Our SEO strategy hadn’t worked as well as we thought. We had to shut down the site and relaunch as StudyNation.com

The relaunch was immensely successful. Within 3 months we were very close to displacing the top sites. The traction on the traffic was fantastic.

As the one closely working on the project, I decided to do something that I shouldn’t have, in hindsight! Selling!

Sales is core to any business. And everyone in the world has to think of sales sooner than you would like, unless ofcourse if your last name ends in -kerberg! And thats what I did as well. Problem was, there wasnt anything core to sell. The product wasnt ready for sales! The traffic wasnt high enough to sell advertising and the lead generation side of the business needed me to work on the product before I stepped out into the market.

It was a discussion with Vivek that made me realize my flaw. It was evident the minute we sat down to chat about it. I had made the fundamental mistake of running after sales even before the product was ready!

That said, Seth Godin argues that the attitude should be to ship fast. Had the iPhone waited to do a ‘complete’ job of itself (heck, it didnt even have SMS forward. It still doesnt have an SMS way of sharing contacts!), it possibly would never have been the iPhone we know of! But then, that was the iPhone. It was a revolution as it is. The same logic, I reckon, doesnt work when you shipping out something that as already been shipped before, especially by someone else!

The idea is to ALWAYS place the product first. Make sure the sales you wish to achieve, is supported by the product you have built. No point building an ecommerce product that doesnt make buying simple. Or a lead generation product that doesnt make searching on the site simple. Thats core. Thats fundamental.

Product is your sales!

 

ISB is Top 20 Global MBA School – 4th year in a row

Now thats an achievement. And honestly, I am quite disturbed at reactions of ISBians who feel ‘saddened’ by IIMA being there at 11. It shows lack of maturity and vision. IIMA is a great school and has possibly single-handedly done a lot for this country. So lets not take it away from them. The ISB is NOT the IIM! It will never be and thats thebest we should all be proud of!

I am completely on Cloud Nine with ISB’s performance  – Top 20 MBA School globally for 4 years in a row, when the school is celebrating its 10th year, is remarkable. Proud to be part of the family!

Bing copies from Google – Brilliant!

Anyone who tracks the Internet space (which doesnt meant FB, btw) would have read Danny Sullivan’s article on how Bing is Cheating and Copying search results from Google.

This is brilliant! Not so much for the fact that Bing does this, but for the fact that this is possibly the first time that Google has ‘accepted’ in as many words that it can actually tweak search results to show what they want!

Let me repeat that

read more…

Google decides its mobile, and mobile it is!

Paid clicks increased by 18% over corresponding quarter, but CPC increased only 4%. Which could be interpreted several ways!

Eric Schmidt steps down as CEO and Larry takes over! Sergey, the nerd, still remains beind the scenes. All of which could be interpreted several ways!

Focus for the next 10 years will be mobile! No 2 ways about that!

Mobile is surely going to be the next big thing! I see it around me already. And I am sure FaceBook already knows it, by analyzing their traffic source split and the growth that mobile is experiencing. And hey, someone already knew it somehow before anyone else did, and they are kicking ass now!!

The world is going to be exciting 10 years from now! Whats going to be even more exciting is who amongst the giants will take the lead, or will we all see a new giant!

Tackling the MBA Hot Seat

Wrote an article for the Mint Newspaper for today’s Career Section.

Top business schools across the world follow an admissions process that goes beyond entrance exams and work experience quantum. Today the admission teams look for candidates who have thought through their applications and incorporate their life’s aspirations in these rather than providing rehearsed, socially desirable responses.

I have been mentoring MBA aspirants for over four years and still see a surprising percentage of them under-prepared for the interview process. Even basic questions are not well thought out. While it’s easier to get away with this lack of focus during the application stage, perhaps even at the essay-writing stage, the gaps in preparation become apparent and difficult to brush aside during the interview. Which is why there are four key questions aspirants should ask themselves before facing an interview panel. read more…

ISB launches ‘young leaders programme’

The Indian School of Business (ISB) today launched a first-of-its-kind program titled the Young Leaders Program – India’s first leadership programme for students in pre-final year of graduation

Under the YLP, the ISB will select students who have excellent academic and extra-curricular credentials, and demonstrate leadership potential. They will be mentored and groomed by ISB faculty through a well designed learning programme that will equip them with skills to ensure a seamless transition from college to work life. And eventually offer them gauranteed admission to ISB’s flagship 1-year PGP in Management. read more…

Solstice – ISB Alumni Reunion 2010

Solstice happened this weekend from Dec 17-19. ISB was kickstarting the ISB@10 celebrations and our batch was celebrating its 5th year. Needless to say, the 3 days were awesome. The current batch left no stone unturned in making us feel special and ofcourse meeting everyone in the same setting once again can never be boring!

Strings played and played crazy! All feel in love with Bilal and Faisal! And I fell in love with their music, all over again! Making me go back to the “yeh hai meri kahani” days!

The icing on the cake was the ISB@10 kickstart event. Beautifully ‘anchored’ by Dean Rangnekar, it comprised panelists that have been instrumental in designing ISB the way it is today. Was awesome hearing the stories of how the idea was conceptualized to what it is today!

Some exploits from the weekend

How Best to Monetize From the Internet

The Internet has turned out to be an awesomely cost-effective (and no, that doesnt mean cheap. It means just that – Cost effective) medium of promoting oneself. Compared to other channels available, the Internet is far more measurable, controllable and reportable!

I am not a big fan of print because it also serves as a lead generation medium, but with little success nowadays given the clutter. And there is nothing in the name of innovation that happens in that space. Its run by people whose philosophy is “less is money. Control space”. And its not measurable. I know of cases where education institutions have run quarter page ads in 5 national dailies, only to generate 33 leads! No accountability!

Radio suffers from the same. I think its high time that Radio innovated and went social. Ads are rarely effective on radio (and OMG, whats up with the real estate ads on radio. WHO MAKES THEM?) and the medium will do far better if they start promoting business through conversations and the audience, than through these stupid ads.

And TV doesnt make sense for 99% of businesses!

Problem is, while most people know that the Internet is important, most people dont understand it. So here are the top 5 things that you should know, if you wish to Monetize from the Internet.

read more…

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