29 Jan 2012

5 Great Online & Social Media Tools For Everyday Use!

This post featured on Social Samosa and We Speak News .

You have (or are looking for) a good presence on social media. But, you also have a social life. You’re looking to balance both. Also, you’re looking to share good content with your friends and followers; you don’t want to pepper your social media contacts with stuff like you’re spamming them; you’re looking to reduce manual work on Facebook and Twitter, etc.

These two sites (and others) are great ways to direct traffic to your blog and ensuring the right content is posted at the right time. Using appropriate social media tools is key to achieve that goal.

I haven’t spent too long researching social media, but have come across 5 great tools which make life much easier for you in the online world. Some people already know about these, but those who don’t can experiment and see which one works best for them.

1.     Instapaper:  We’re all familiar with the concept of bookmarks in our browsers. Sometimes, however, we have bookmarks stored in different browsers (home computer, office laptop, mobile browser, etc.) and it’s hard to access them from different places. That’s what Instapaper fixes. All you have to do is create an account, install the ‘Read Later’ option on your most used browsers and you’re all set. Read anything interesting online? Simply click on the ‘Read Later’ option in your browser and it automatically gets saved into your account. You can log into Instapaper from anywhere and access the link. You can even share it on Twitter, FB, Pinstorm, Tumblr or Evernote at your convenience. Robert Clay introduced me to this tool, and it works like a dream.
Some tools to make you a Social Media Rockstar

22 Jan 2012

The Best Thing In Life Is...

FREE! Yes, the best thing in life is FREE! Your family! The family that brings you into this world, nurtures and nourishes you, teaches you values which steer your life, stands you up on your feet and then supports you for the rest of your life. This family includes your parents, grandparents, wife and maybe children.

But there is a price we pay for sustaining this family and maintaining its strength; the price of sacrifice, hard work, time, thought and effort. It’s a price we all gladly pay. Every individual has to do her/his bit to ensure the family functions smoothly (I know ‘functions’ sounds a little crude word, but you get the idea, right?). True, there are bad times, but as we have to remember what William Shakespeare says – “This, too, shall pass!”

Today’s manic world demands a lot of our time. So much time that we spend a lot more time with friends, colleagues, work buddies, etc. than with our families. I had talked here about how we youngsters have started focussing more on materialistic things. Technology, elite goods, fast food, movies, trash TV programmes, etc. now take up a lot of our time which we otherwise could have spent with family. More time spent with work colleagues than with a significant other is one reason for the spurt in extra marital affairs. We’re gradually being pulled away from our roots and being plunged into the culture followed in the West, something we prided on avoiding earlier.
File photo of my family some 2 decades ago

15 Jan 2012

Unparliamentary Behaviour, Really?

I will focus my attention today from daily musings to a phrase in English – ‘Unparliamentary Behaviour.’

I was fooling around in office one day, pulling people’s legs (something I’m good at) when one of the copywriters told me to stop my ‘Unparliamentary Behaviour’. And that’s when the discussion started.

I am not the 1st to question this term; it’s been questioned by a lot of people before. But how did the people who coined the term agree to it in the 1st place? Yes, ‘Unparliamentary Behaviour’ is a term to describe unruly behaviour on the part of a person/people. Quite a paradox, that! Not just India, parliaments across the world have witnessed various instances of more than mere unruly behaviour while the house has been in motion.

It’s hard to find images of unruly parliamentary behaviour online, but Isreal, Zimbabwe, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, etc. have all seen many instances of vandalism in the parliament. Research states that about 22% of the parliament’s time is lost due to such misbehaviour. Australia and some other countries have proposed a fine on politicians who misbehave and cause damage in the parliament. This should rein in those hooligans. Pity it won’t work in India, though...

So, is ‘unparliamentary’ an apt term for unruly behaviour? You would agree it should be the opposite, isn’t it? ‘Parliamentary Behaviour’, right? But it’s highly unlikely this change in diction will be implemented because it’s gonna be a major blotch on the so – called image of these politicians.

I still don’t get it! Do these politicians & bureaucrats assume their behaviour is an example for us? Where is the correlation between misbehaviour and behaviour of bureaucrats?  My office colleague and I are still scratching our heads. Someone please make sense of it for me! :(

7 Jan 2012

The TeS2011 Experience... An Entrepreneurial Summit...

I had attended the TiE Entrepreneurial Summit (TeS2011) at Bangalore on 15th & 16th December, 2011. I know it’s almost a month since the event was held, but there are some insightful points I want to share with you.

The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) is a community which was initiated by a handful of successful entrepreneurs almost 20 years ago; the most noted name of those being Vinod Khosla. Today TiE exists in 57 cities, 14 countries and spans across 5 continents.

A lot of accomplished and prolific entrepreneurs had come as speakers. They shared their knowledge and experiences with budding and wannabe starters. Some of those speakers were Dr. N.S. Raghavan (Founder Infosys & NSRCL), Sachin Bansal (Flipkart.com), Kunal Bahl (Snapdeals.com), Hari Rajagopalachari (PwC) and Dr. G. Sridhar (ACE Learning). Lunch, dinner and tea sessions provided good opportunities for attendees to connect with each other.

I’ll quote some insightful and interesting points shared by a few of them:

a.   Perception of unfairness in an organization (and real life) can be mitigated by increasing transparency & communication.
b.     Humans are filled with ‘Unrealistic Optimism/bias’, i.e. the hope that things will get better, about many situations in life despite credible information and data to oppose the belief.
c.  Behavioural economics & neuroeconomics (subjects that highly interest him) are already playing a key role in businesses pricing and positioning their products & services.

a.      USA has witnessed 47 recessions in its 220 year history. All cases have extended into global crises.
b.      In 2011, India has had a $15 billion trade surplus with the US. Also, in this year, the US has exported goods & services worth $1.4 trillion but imported worth $1.8 trillion. (This goes to show how difficult it is for US to control the fiscal deficit and borrowing, which is already 120% of the $14 trillion GDP).

a.      The fundamentals of e – commerce in India are strong.
b.      Selection of products is the largest property of an e – com organization.
c.      Talent, infrastructure and payment methods, amongst others, are the biggest challenges for an e – com service in India today.

a.      The 3 key pillars of an e – commerce company are – Value, Assortment & convenience.
b.      In 2 years, around 3, 00,000 online transactions (purchases) are expected to occur in India daily.
c.     Tier I cities prefer online retail for convenience & choice, while Tier II do so due to lack of options in offline retail.

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