Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Water ++ India up for it?

My Professor once said, "The Tongue is the most ruthless organ of our body - simply because it will not accept the same taste again and again. Change is mandatory for it" This fact has also rubbed off on our appetite for water I assume! For the past couple of months, if you have noticed little blue bottles like these in nearby retail stores, you surely have witnessed what I call Enhanced Water. It is normal water with additives like minute sweeteners, natural flavours, vitamins, minerals, etc. This segment of drinking water or rather flavoured drinking water is a new entrant into the Indian market though it has existed for a while abroad. It is seen as a healthy alternative to soft beverages that may contain fizz and sweeteners (which obviously aren't the healthy type) Flavoured water could be seen as an extension to the regular bottled drinking water market





Top players abroad : Hint, Clearly Canadian, SoBe Life Water, Glaceau Vitamin Water, etc.

In India : B'lue is a product jointly offered by Danone (famous product : Evian water) and Narang (famous product: Lindt) It is sweetened flavoured water in pale blue colour. It comes in three unique flavours namely: Guava, Peach and Apple.



How did this concept pop up? 


 - Most people across the globe don't drink water much - the extra effort is often avoided. 
 - Regular Water is simply boring!
 - Obesity is on the rise and since other beverages that contain sugar and fizz are undoubtedly bad for the body,  the whole concept of flavoured water came into the picture. 

Nevertheless, this is not a new concept since flavoured water dates back to several centuries where history quotes several instances of kings (especially in India) consuming flavoured water (possibly by Tulsi or other natural herbs)

So, here's a note on what I opine could be the strengths and weaknesses of such a product in India

Bottlenecks:

1.)  India is such a fizz loving country. Sweet beverages are also a long time favourite. Doesn't that explain why Thumbs Up, Coke and Pepsi are still the roaring beverages of the market? Pure water and added flavours? not really sure how this mere combo could rock the market!
2.) They are priced above the carbonated drinks, which may slightly hinder their mass acceptance (atleast initially)

Strong points:

1.)  It is healthier than the regular aerated drinks and squashes. So, it perfectly targets all the health concious Indians
2.)  The product has entered the Indian market in a time where more new products are being well received and tried. However is the Indian market ready for this? We'll just have to wait and see

Bisleri, which enjoys a 65% share in the bottled mineral water segment is also eyeing on this market and will soon be launching its own flavoured drinks. With more and more companies venturing into this segment, future seems to hold a lot for this product. 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Snapchatting the World!

Recently I came across this new app for Android and iOS called "SnapChat" which lets users click pictures, take videos and also lets them add text and pictures to it. These pictures and videos known as "Snaps" can then be shared with  friends on your list. 

So you must be thinking what the big deal is when so many more apps let me do that! Well, you surely will think otherwise when I tell you that this app lets you share these snaps with your friends and will delete them soon after they are seen! Now that catches your attention huh!? SnapChat lets you decide the time limit for how long your recipients can view the snaps. It could be anywhere between 1 and 10 seconds, post which the snaps shall be hidden from the receiver's device and deleted from SnapChat's server.


(SnapChat's logo is called the "Ghostface Chillah")

SnapChat is a photo messaging app developed by Stanford students, Bobby Murphy and Evan Speigel  in 2011 as part of their final year project. It has been pretty long (2 years) since this app got released into the market. Apart from the millions of downloads and fame, what gets interesting is that, FB had recently tried hard to acquire this startup and got turned down. This is one of those few startups like Twitter that chose to stay on their ground and not get sold off. Though the app has been misused enough in the most obvious ways, it is an bold idea worth developing. 

So this left me wondering... Despite the fact that there are on an average two startups opening up in India each day, why is that the silicon valley startups get this big in no time and Indian startups take a really long time to even get identified? These were some of the reasons I thought are different about them and us: (this may not hold true for all Indian startups)

1. In India, having no job is a sin! It's a sign of incapability, leave alone trying to assess his/her ability to employ others. So, most tangential ideas are wrapped up even before they take form  

2. Risk taking is looked down upon by many startups. Here, the focus is more on customer behaviour,  current market behaviour and we  often shy away even from the thought of trying to create something the world would not have thought of. 

3. As for us, our biggest fear is acceptance,be it when building things or when coming up with lateral ideas! We think more about others than ourselves, so we do not believe in our own idea much. So anything, we think could change the world has a greater chance of getting diluted and discarded. On the other hand, the silicon valley guys just mould their ideas with no questions asked!

4. The feeling of "boasting-about-oneself-is-a-bad-thing" has been drilled deep into our Indian minds which majorly differentiates Indian startups from the startups abroad

However, with more talented young minds stepping into the business world each day, let's hope more Indian startups get there soon.

The App can be downloaded here: 

Source of info about Snapchat: Internet
All views mentioned above are subjective 

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Shopping on Wheels


It was a real surprise for me when I first noticed a government organization own an e-commerce store in India. The store with railway tracks in its background and the logo on the top will clearly shock many who are unaware of this. It is none another than IRCTC, a wing of the Indian Railways. They own an e-commerce store that sells anything from apparels to electronics, home d├ęcor to sports items. The store currently offers close to 30,000 products from 500 brands. It also offers free shipping on a purchase of or above Rs. 500


The IRCTC e-ticketing site contains a link to this store at the top. The moment I saw it, I began to imagine IRCTC trying to sell branded goods to passengers in trains just like the airlines companies do up in the air. However, to my delight I realized that this was not the case and it was  purely an e-commerce store. The store management was handed over to Yebhi.com, which handles both the user interface/design of the site along with the supply chain operations. This is one obvious reason for why the site more or less looks like Yebhi.com itself. Now how does Yebhi benefit from it? 
1) It gets its share of money for handling the look and feel and operations of the store
2) It gains access to the IRCTC database through which it can expand its user base immensely
                                                 

Though the site seems pretty good and well equipped, there are a few notable things here:

1) Though IRCTC is one of the most visited sites which assumes a daily footfall of 1.2 million visitors, it still carries with it loads of complaints such as the Server being down, issues of slow network, loss of money when the ticket was not booked and so on. Despite the kind of reputation it holds for many, the fact that they dared to venture into the click and mortar setup that has nothing to do with railways is shocking and perhaps a daring move

2)The site however requires you to re-create an account to shop here. You aren't allowed to login with your regular IRCTC login details

3)The site is more or less like any other e-commerce stores of today and hence does not really have a visible differentiator except for the fact that unlike many e-commerce stores that are suspected to pack up and leave somewhere down the lane, IRCTC's store may stand its ground longer.

4) Expect for the link to their site in the e-ticketing portal, the site is pretty much not advertised elsewhere. So, are we looking at a company that is planning to do business online without advertising much online?

5) The IRCTC store has no social presence at all. No login through social networking sites, no exclusive Facebook or Twitter pages. Perhaps they prefer preventing complaints on a public domain than having to confront them.

Nevertheless, the site is user friendly and has a simple design, so saves a lot of customer's time and effort. I would really hope the site improves over time and stands as a firm example to many more budding e-commerce players. 

You may visit the store here: http://www.shop.irctc.co.in
Info and Image Courtesy: Internet

Monday, 26 August 2013

A world full of Jargon

Out of the many things that fascinate me about the world of business, usage of Jargon is one thing that takes a toll on me. It's not about the very existence of it, but my concern lies in the misuse of it. 

3 reasons why I strongly believe Jargon are a total no-no. 



1) The Vision and Mission statement mania: I do not know if it is just me, but I somehow land up not understanding the vision and mission statements of most companies. I'd rather skip it than try and understand something that totally makes me feel like a foreigner there! If mission and vision are things so vital for a company, why is it deliberately sentenced so against normal understanding? 

2) The Unwanted abbreviations: "The best way to get our customers to talk in this situation is by using the FGD mechanism", said my fellow student. FGD!? Oh a focus group discussion. right! Sorry that didn't strike me soon and certainly disrupted my flow of concentration. Now my question is,  how much time and energy did we actually save up by making an abbreviation of an otherwise easy to understand term? How much do I approve of the very "Focus Group Discussion" term will be a story I will save for another day.

3) If you can't convince, confuse : Sometimes people play around with jargon when they clearly cannot prove themselves. I once happened to read an undergrad college's educational brochure that says "We offer contemporary globally acceptable and holistic curriculum" There was another college that said, "We offer World class holistic global education" Ok! Now I don't really know or want to know how they differ from one one another. This is what I personally call a forceful usage of Jargon! 

Scientists say we practically use only 1% of our brain. I opine that it's not because we don't attempt to use the rest of it, but because half the things that interest us in the world are covered up under the necessity to understand the veil over them- the Jargon. Our interest soon dissolves much before we reach anywhere close to it. 

People say "It's easy, it's not Rocket Science" If not for the horrifying jargon around us, may be someday many of us will attempt to even understand Rocket science too!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

ShyCart.com - for all the products you shy away from


Despite all the open-minded talks and broad minded thinking, we ought to confess that there are many products even today that we shy away from buying/asking for. We either have representatives sent to ask for them or have the medical store guy deliver it straight to us. Well, this will no more be a hassle because there is a new startup out there addressing this gap. It is called "ShyCart.com"



ShyCart is an online store for both men and women (though it is majorly inclined towards the female needs) selling products which are often embarrassing to purchase in person. They cater to the needs of women of various age groups. Also, ShyCart mainly focuses on products that are not readily available in general stores near us. Through this site, all you have to do  is Order and pay for your stuff online and they will deliver your products to you in discrete packing.

Apart from the basic shopping facility, they have also provided some interesting additional services. like "Ask the Doctor" and the "Tips" section- which is structured more like an FAQ section, answering some essential questions pertaining to both men and women. 

In my opinion,  this is an excellent initiative because this site addresses a gap that was existent for a very long time in our society. It eases our job, making our secret purchases even more convenient and easily-accessible from anywhere and everywhere. 

Here's the link to its site: http://shycart.com/

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Email = Google or Yahoo ?

If that's your notion as of today, you're so not aware of all the awesome features other mail service providers out there are offering. All the mail servers you must have heard thus far may have included Gmail (which has more or less become synonymous with the very term e-mail), Yahoo mail, Hotmail, Rediff mail and a few others that offer closely similar services. But let me tell you about a very interesting e-mail provider called BigString.

 Big String: 





How many times does it happen that we badly regret having sent a mail in anger and disgust and just wish we could take it back? Often right? How cool would it be to have an email that you can edit, delete or even cooler; self-destruct itself after sending ? It not just happens with James Bond. Now, it's even possible with you. Bigstring let's you do that!

Some cool features of BigString include:

1) It lets you recall, edit or delete the email sent by you even after the mail has been opened by the receiver

2) You can track the number of times your email had been opened by the recipient

3) You can make arrangements for your mail to be self-destructed after a certain time limit

4) You can send password protected emails ; a password that only you and your recipient   can share

5) You can also send in mails that cannot be forwarded or printed

Interesting huh? Well, though Bigstring has its own pitfalls the services it offers are truly remarkable and it is an info worth sharing around!

P.S: Currently the site has gone offline but it's worth a shot once the site is up! 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

How Popcorn joined the movie business


How often does it happen that we go to the movies and not buy popcorn? not very often right? Have you ever wondered how pop corn had become an inevitable part of the theatres?  I too did not until one of my professors mentioned it in class. So, i decided this would turn out to be a pretty interesting story to both know and tell. So, here it goes...

Even before pop corn was seen as a snack, it was used in making small garlands that women wore around their head when dancing during the 16th century. Eventually, it was introduced as a snack that was sold in carnivals and public fairs. The world's first portable popcorn machine was invented in 1885. Ever since, people began setting up popcorn shops of their own and since it was as cheap as 5 cents a bag, sales began to sore high. 

One great coincidence that happened was the inception of Nickelodeon's theatres that attracted huge crowds, so much so that the popcorn vendors found this place a lucrative one to sell their popcorn (of course outside the theatre) However, the theatre owners were annoyed by the smell that these vending machines left behind after use.

Then, there came the Great Depression and movie sales began to plummet. But, popcorn sales remained untouched. So, owners of movie theaters had no choice but to invite the smell inside the theatre that once seemed so annoying to them. That's when the theatre owners decided to setup their own popcorn vending machines inside the theatres so as to attract people. This worked well for them and that's precisely how popcorn entered the movie theatres.  




Two interesting events took place during this time. One being the advent of Television that massively hit the big guys' business, i..e. the Movie Theatres. Secondly, due to the prevailing conditions during the World War II, sugar distribution began to drop. So, availability of candy had become scarce. This further boosted the sales of popcorn giving it the everlasting position in the theatres that it still enjoys till date. 

Info source: Internet


Monday, 8 July 2013

Do you know your Virtual Value?


The Value of a person is pretty subjective. It can have multiple notions. However, in our physical world, we are apparently talking about the person's social status or his/her economic level. Now, we obviously spend a lot of time in the virtual world everyday right? I meant our social media and cloud presence. So, do you know what's your value up there? Tricky huh? Well, not very! 

In a world where information is power everything holds a value. You and I as normal people may not realize our worth but, businesses out there do! Marketing, Sales, Distribution, etc. are what people say as elements necessary for a business. But Information forms the nucleus of any business. Though, it is not explicitly mentioned it is implied. How would i know whom to sell my product if i din't know there are people out there in need of it? It is as simple as that! So, as an individual, your tastes, preferences and  lifestyle are important sources of information. While people can make money out of it by catering to your needs, there are also people out there who make money by selling this basic information.

Hackers could gather this info about you, not just you but of many many people without their knowledge and make a database out of it. They sell this info out and you may not even know until trouble actually starts peeping at you!

It is surprising to know that there is a way to calculate your value in case a hacker were to use your information. This application is called the CLOUDSWEEPER! It is a research project  being conducted at the University of Illinois, Chicago by Peter Snyder and Chris Kanich. This tool helps users understand the online risks and makes them confront the necessity to secure their accounts.

Once you choose to run this tool, it requests for permission to access your gmail account. However, it does not ask for your credentials. Cloudsweeper then sweeps through all the information in your account that may seem lucrative to hackers. It then puts a value to your account, i.e. indirectly to you. For example, Apple is worth $8 and Amazon is worth $15 as of now! The important thing to understand here is, greater the value of your account, higher is your risk!  (The value referring to the money a hacker could earn out of your account)It only indicates that your account is more vulnerable! This does not end here! If you are interested in working on this vulnerability issue, Cloudsweeper offers you ways in which you could deal with your security essentials.

Sometimes we pass on our passwords through mail and never anticipate that they could be stolen. It is also possible that some of you hold one password for all of your accounts. So, technically speaking  in both the cases, one account of yours could hold the key to open multiple other accounts that belong to you. Never thought so right? There is so much such info that we unknowingly hold on the cloud without encrypting. Cloudsweeper  offers to encrypt such info for you. 

Cloudsweeper makes use of OAuth, which is an open authorization standard to access user accounts without getting to our credentials. This enables users revoke their access at any point of time.

For everyone who thinks they aren't really exposed to such vulnerabilities, since they are normal, this tool is a reality check. So, start clicking to know how much worth your virtual self if!

For cloudsweeper tool click here: https://cloudsweeper.cs.uic.edu/

Content and Picture Courtesy: Internet

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Secret Decoded


Observation and Association are two major forces that could totally transform the way you are engineered to see the world. Out of the numerous such links i try to draw about the world around me, here's something interesting i wanted to share.

Like the Secret, by Rhonda Byrne says, "When you incline yourself keenly towards what you wish in life and keep visualizing it often, the entire universe will come together to bring it to you". I am sure you were as inspired by this as i was. Seemed believable and for many, it was practically tested and proved too. 

We know business entities try to cash on every little thing that catches their attention since profit generation is their oxygen. Well, they would use this highly imaginative concept too, who had seen this coming? Or may be that's what i see it as!

You visit an online store today, Facebook is suggesting you similar ones the next day, you buy something in Jabong today and Gmail keeps routing similar sites to you while Google asks you to buy more! Even YouTube keeps suggesting more videos matching your previous choice . Does this ring a bell? Isn't this a sure shot implementation of the "Law of Attraction". You visit a site today and immediately all the social networking platforms are on their way routing similar sites to you. 


We totally understand that these platforms try to analyse our activities to provide us a customized service in the process of creating a feeling of "life-at-your-footsteps" But here comes the question! Does my buying a pendrive today from Flipkart indicate that  i'll buy more each day until i buy so many of them that i land up opening my own store? Certainly not! So, probably Google or Facebook should try and show me other electronic gadget offerings rather than bombarding me with pendrive ads from similar sites from the time i buy a pendrive. 

In this field, Law of attraction may hold good at times but definitely not always. Though it may not seem like a lot of disturbance, improving this aspect could help social networking sites improve their service. 

P.S: This is a purely original observation of mine and not a fact that this service has been inspired by the Law of Attraction.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Did you know about OnlinePrasad.com?


Life has become so hectic for some of us that we barely find any time to eat, drink or even sleep, leave alone spending time with family and friends.  How we wish the clock could stop for a while! Yeah, i agree that our life has become mechanical to an extent. But this website left me totally jaw dropped!

"Exercise for body and prayer for  soul", said a great man! Perhaps considering our digital lives, he should have quoted it as "Exercise for body and Internet for soul" We have switched our everyday online. Haven't we? We are hungry, we order food online, we are bored, we chat with friends online, we want to go out, we book a cab online, we want to read, we just download an e-book. Observing this shift of ours, people have started creating websites that make us even  more detached from the real world and  hook us to this virtual world. One such effort is OnlinePrasad.com



Online and Prasad are two highly divergent words, when put together hit you hard the first time you hear, however their concept is pretty interesting. We are apparently too busy to  spare any time for god, so they have converted are prayers into a service they could offer. Pretty confusing huh? Let me make it simple! 

You have a special occasion to pray or rather visit god. Since you obviously can't go all the distance, Online Prasad guys collect a minimum fare from you. They pray for you, present offerings to god on your behalf and then post your prasad home! So, it's basically the "Upload-money-and-download-blessings" concept.

As much as i appreciate the innovative ideas people come up with to make our lives easier each day, i pity how mechanical we have become that we have shifted our faith and belief online too. If we live online, we might as well find god online huh?

Do visit their site here: http://onlineprasad.com/

P.S: This is no marketing strategy. Just an info share. No offence intended. It was just a funny to look at it. Hope it's taken in the right spirit. 

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Pink Cupcakes Hyderabad #My favorite startup no.7


What 's a party without a cake? Be it small or big, cakes are always a delight. They complete the celebration, don't they? and obviously everyone loves cake! It's your birthday and you get a freshly baked cake. Does it make you happy? Oh yes it does. If it's your favorite flavor? OMG a perfect match! and what if the cake was solely customized for you? not just in terms of flavor and shape, but in terms of every tiny detail? say  based on your personality?

No, i am not going to bake that cake for you. I am just going to tell you the story of my favorite startup no. 7 and it is called Pink Cupcakes, Hyderabad!


The story goes that Reema, the founder of Pink cupcakes, was a professional working for a Fortune 500 company. She loved cooking and inherited her skills from her loving mother who always created wonders in the kitchen. Apart from her love for it, cooking was Reema's way of venting out the work stress. And then one day she realized, she could turn this into a full time job since she loved it so much. Then came her Eureka moment and BAM!! Pink Cupcakes took life!  



In 2012, she swapped her corporate career with the Baking business that was so dear to her. Her passion is clearly seen in her cakes. They are all so well designed and obviously well baked. A cake for the shopaholic in you, or a cake for the cartoon lover in you, no matter what theme, they bake some attractively delicious cakes for everybody's distinct needs.











If they are this yum to look at, how awesome would they actually taste?  
Visit their website here and take a sneak peek at their yummy designs :) They are adorable!  http://bakingwithpink.in/
P.S: Like i always say this is just an info share and not a marketing strategy. 
Hope you like it :)

Image and Info courtesy: Internet
Untill my next post on my favorite startup no. 8

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Taxi for Sure #my favorite startup no. 6

Plato was a 100% right when he said "Necessity is the mother of Invention"  Little issues that often go unnoticed are the ones that have a brilliant solution, a solution so powerful and enthusiastic that it can lead you into a business, not just any business but a passionate one! Anyone who enters Bangalore have always had an issue dealing with the auto guys right? While the autowala's here assume that everyone who lives in/visits Bangalore is an IT person earning like Bill Gates, the next best option is a cab. Yes, i agree there are the big red AC buses, but they are not always matching our choice of comfort and convenience. 

Raghunandan and Aprameya Radhakrishnan were two good friends who frequently traveled around the country when working and often faced issues with cab services. So what do you think they did? Definitely they were no quitters! 


Let me tell you about my favorite startup no. 6 and it is called Taxi for Sure.

With an aim to make our taxi-prone lives easier, two IIM grads came up with a brilliant idea to aggregate the Taxi industry in India. Anytime, any place, any kind of taxi, login to taxtforsure.com or call 60601010 and you are sure to get a cab when in need. Information about Prices, taxi availability, etc. are just a call/click away with taxiforsure! Now you may ask how is this any different from calling the regular cab guys? The answer is, instead of calling 3, 4 operators where you could go all explaining about where you are, when you need the cab blah blah..and finally figure out he was not available but was just listening to your long sad story, taxi for sure lets you pick from a wide range of cabs; be it of any provider easily and quickly.



They currently have more than 1000 cars under their wing. So how do they do it? No, they don't own all those cars! They have partnered with various cab service providers both from the organized and unorganized cab service industry. Whenever you hire a cab through them, a share of the fare you pay goes to Taxi for sure. This share differs depending on whether it is an organized or unorganized cab service provider. That's a smart idea to cut on huge investment. isn't it?

They started operations in 2011. Initially they started off in Delhi and Bangalore and are now planning to expand to other major metro cities in the country.

So, next time you are out their getting late or going to a party, you know how to get a cab with no hassles!

You can check out their website here: http://www.taxiforsure.com

P.S: Like i always say, this is just an info share and no marketing startegy!

Image and Info: Internet

Untill my next post on my favorite startup no: 7....

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Varied Inclinations


Are you aware that Asia alone accounts to 44.8% of the Internet users around the world? (According to Internet World Stats) Internet has made the world smaller and closer. Here’s a glimpse into a small survey conducted by me on what interests Netizens like us the most…

Social Networking is the widely chanted word today. So, it obviously bags the first place. Doesn’t it?  Like we all know, it’s not just the youth that fall under this belt, but people of other age groups as well. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, MySpace, FourSquare, Pinterest, Instagram, so on and so forth, the list is never ending. I recently came across a study conducted by Pew Surveys, which quotes that 50% of all adults use Social Networking and 65% of all adult Internet users are into Social Networking. Doesn’t sound surprising to me!

According to my study, people have said that they prefer Social Networking this extensively because it serves as a platform for them to express and voice out their opinions in public
without having to feel embarrassed or ashamed (which could be the case with people having the fear of public speaking). Time and again, they have found Social Networking to be an easy way of staying in touch with people from both past and present.

Today, Social networking has become a one stop solution for multiple activities. We make friends, have important events reminded, share opinions, post pictures, post videos, get jobs, shop online, play games, stay connected and what not. The world just shrunk for good ha?   In recent times, we are also witnessing how Social Networks have become influential and contagious.

The second most visited platform is e-commerce. Not a tough guess again! All the people surveyed have tried online shopping atleast once. Online stores like E-bay, Amazon, Flipkart, Jabong, Myntra, etc. have revolutionized the whole concept of Shopping. Netizens believe that Online Shopping not only saves them time and added costs (like travelling charges) but also provides them with better options with less or no effort. Well that’s certainly the prime reason for using e-commerce. Isn’t it?

 Price Comparison Social Engines like Junglee.com, Price Grabber, etc. let users compare products, prices and lucrative offers on a single platform. Special Deals and offers are what most of the consumers look out for, they say. Students opine that e-commerce sites like Amazon provide the best deals for them especially during festive seasons. They see Amazon as very economical and they also say that the packages are delivered safely before the deadlines.

Apart from these, Netizens say that they mostly visit sites that help them keep track of the latest trends and happenings around the world which otherwise becomes time consuming considering their modern lifestyle. The traffic to other professional sites is however less in comparison to the major ones mentioned above since they are more restricted in terms of their relevance to people of all streams. 

All said and done, what’s your favorite site?

Statistics Source: Internet

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Indian Bean.com #my favorite startup no. 5


I have read scores of articles and experiences of people who say how important coffee is to them, how a cup of coffee can ward off all their tensions, how coffee is like an emotional spa to their senses and so on. I cannot specifically define the love and affection people share with a cup of coffee, because i am not into the habit of consuming coffee. Anyhow, from all the stuff i got to read, written by and for coffee lovers, all i can decipher is, it's magical and an out of the world experience for them!

How far would you go to get the best coffee in town? One km? two? ten? How would the coffee lover in you feel if i told you that the best coffee shall be delivered straight at your door step?

The other day i got to read a magazine and i came across this wonderful startup that dealt with this one special delicacy, coffee! If not for the love of coffee, i decided to share this story considering the love for startups that has rubbed off on me. 

So here comes the story of my favorite startup no. 5 and it is called "The indian bean.com"

The Indianbean.com brings to you the most relished coffee from the best coffee estates. Yes, you heard me right, because theindianbean.com is one of the online portals that has transported the coffee world online! They sell estate filter coffee that is handpicked from the estates of Coorg and Kodaikanal. 

They are a startup based in Mumbai. The story goes as: Kunal Ross, the founder and CEO of theindianbean.com was an ardent coffee lover himself. He had observed that 60-80% of the best quality Indian coffee beans were being exported to other countries leaving our own produce to go scanty.  Moreover, though we have many reputed coffee outlets here like the CCD, Baritsa, etc. they aren't really affordable on a daily basis. This problem needed a solution and  Kunal fortunately had one! 



They currently sell two varieties of coffee: one being, Frowner's coffee from Kodaikanal, which is a non certified organic variety, while the other is the Appa's coffee from Coorg, which is   a certified non-organic variety also known as the "baap of all coffees" Recently they have also started selling a new variety called the Watapi, which is a 100% arabica coffee coming from the prestigious B.R hills of Karnataka.

The best part is, once the order is taken, they roast the beans based on the customer's choice and it is delivered within 2-3 days! The people of Mumbai have an advantage here: i.e. no delivery charges! Now that's a bonus! Their packaging is very elegant and impressive too!



Check out the website here : http://theindianbean.com/

P.S: Just to remind you again, this is no marketing strategy, just an info. share. Hope you like it :)

Images and Info. : Internet

Untill my next post on my favorite startup no. 6...

Monday, 13 May 2013

Do you know the recipe for a successful startup?


Recently i happened to witness a presentation on "Do s and Don't s of a successful Business Plan" by Ms. Nandini Vaidyanathan, founder and mentor at Carma Connect. She is a mentor for entrepreneurs in and out of Indian, giving the best advice in the fitting of ways! Now, her talk was not just regular, it was rather mind blowing, so much so that i decided to share some insights from her talk with you guys!

Changing your FB status to Self Employed/ Entrepreneur,  takes more than just an FB account. So, i have jotted down some pointers from her presentation, that are necessary to set up a successful startup! 

1) Before you start building your business, the most rudimentary and  important part is the "IDEA". It is the foundation for your business. In today's world most of the ideas are "me-too" ones, meaning, there's barely any innovation! So, let your idea be a game changing one. Go original! Go fresh!
2) Once the idea is finalized, bring it to the table and start discussing it! Ask people to valuate your idea. However, remember not to get it valuated by people who are either left with no option but to say "great" or by people who are greatly impressed by the very word of a startup! Grab a list of all your worst critics and get them to work on their most revengeful review and Snap! you'll have the right opinion coming your way. Now Fix your idea!
3) No money, no business! So, when it's time to look out for investors, always remember that it is certainly your headache and yours alone to convince the big guy! He/she might look at the fruits, while you look at the roots! Never mind! because it is just a perception mismatch! Once you get past it, life becomes easier.

        

4) You have now setup a sweet little business of your own! It is evident that you can't handle it all alone, so you decide to hire people, your team! Watch out ! because at this juncture, you are responsible for your team's performance. If you hire anyone who knocks at your door, it shall be a wrong move! Believe in your business! If not experienced, atleast hire capable people who share the same passion as you and then watch them work magic for your startup!

5) Build a strong Differentiation! When you sell cupcakes in a space where there are 10 others like you, find the one reason that separates you from the crowd, let's say a cherry on the top. If that's the cherry people have been looking out for thus far, they are already on their way to your store! Dare to be different! That's where the game begins!
6) Finally, focus on the future as well! As important as "today" is, bear in mind that "tomorrow" is no far away! Be ahead of your time and come up with a logical and achievable Business plan that will be your guide all along!

Right from the stage of idea generation to execution, cook a nice dish that is not just liked by you, but by all ! Be specific and focused. After all you don't want a Recipe of Disaster!


P.S: Please note that all the concepts quoted above have been delivered by Ms. Nandini Vaidyanathan. They have been rephrased, embellished and coated with some examples by me for the benefit of the readers from a blog's perspective.

Untill my next post ...

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Chic Factor #my favorite startup no.4


Impressions may be hard to make , but trust me be it dark or fair, tall or short, fat or lean, "well-dressed" people always get their share of attention! Don't you think? Well, that's because, when you are well dressed, you  possess a whiff of confidence around you that makes you  feel special! All said and done, i am not here to lecture you about the importance of dressing sense, rather i am here to talk about my favorite startup no. 4 

This startup is a chic store started for all those wonderful girls and women out there who aim to look their best every day on every occasion! and it is called the "Chic Factor

The story of this startup is no less interesting than its very name! Who would have thought a regular Facebook page talking about fashion would turn into an International label today? However, it's all in the way it is worked out. Right? Chic factor was started by a bunch of girls in 2010 who are as fashion-inclined as their own customers! So, they initially came up with a very interesting online Magazine, that talked about Fashion, Beauty tips, Skin care, Hair care and what not! That colorful magazine called "Chic Factor Gazette" soon went viral and became a-must-visit page! 

Is it not obvious that the person who gives you the best fashion advice is the one you go shopping with? Well, that's what Chic Factor did! They started putting up some awesome stuff  for sale on their Facebook page and all the girlies started loving it! I have had a personal experience buying accessories from them and trust me, their stuff is truly incredible! Their packaging is totally adorable and makes one feel mega special!

Now they have transformed into a full fledged e-commerce store called the "Chic Factor Store" They have an amazing collection of accessories, eye-wear, bags, apparel and what not! Anything and Everything that would make a girl happy, they have it in there! 


Their online store, their social engagement with  customers are worth an appreciation! Chic Factor succeeds in keeping it fresh and interesting, though it is quite a task given the changing moods and fashion preferences of people! Their aim is to make the world Chicanomical, they say, and when it comes to this, they are certainly doing a fantastic job i must say!


Check out their website here: https://chicfactorstore.com/ and i am sure you'll not return empty handed!

Information and Images Source: Chic Factor

P.S: Like i always say, this isn't a marketing startegy! It's  mere info sharing. Hope you liked it :)

Untill my next post on my favorite startup no. 5...

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Beard Design #my favorite startup no. 3


When people ask me what my favorite advertisement is, i often quote "Nokia Lumia 800: The Amazing Everyday" because i think it's jaw dropping how they show the most routine activities in the most creative of ways! Enough to make everyday so fresh and new! (for those who missed it, here's the ad : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1qTbs8K3go)


Well my point is, we barely like routine do we? Well if you do, then this post is definitely not for you! If "Perspective", "out of the box", "divergent thinking" and "creativity" are some of your pet words then, welcome aboard because today i am about to talk about a very unique and interesting startup.


This is my favorite startup no. 3 and it is called "Beard Design"




Beard Design is certainly one of those startups who swear by the "anti-routine" rules. They are into Branding, Design, Package designing, etc. They are specialized in Designing and that's necessarily their oxygen. They leave their creative footprint in every task they take up! For instance when they were asked to come up with some innovative designing  for a startup called Vserv, so that their office would look cool and this is what they came up with!





                                                   
Wow right? Who would think Monday is boring anymore? Any day and Everyday would be so excitingly refreshing in such a work environment. If this thrilled you, hold on because, they were later asked to come up with a brand identity for another startup named Tea Trunk, that procures and sells gourmet tea and this is what they came up with
Impressive? Elegant? Well, i guess when you actually take a look at the work they have done so far, you would just go speechless. Now coming to the part, where we uncover the story, Beard Design is a startup based in Goa. (now you see where the inspiration comes from huh? ) It was started by Abhishek Sarda, who ventured into different jobs before he narrowed down to his passion. He previously worked for PPT Saloon, he even sold handmade soaps at a flea market before that. Every startup has a mantra: Now what's theirs? They offer their services  exclusively to startups. You would ask why and the answer goes like this.. Like i said, they hate rules that take you nowhere and they are routine averse. So they stick to startups that are as open minded and risk loving as they are. So true because people like people like them and that helps them work better with each other! 

If you take a glimpse at their website, you cannot help but notice their distinctiveness, not to mention their attention to detail,  which is a blend of both professionalism and playfulness (in the positive sense) 


I am no designer, yet i love this startup for their fresh designs that leave me awe struck everytime i see them! If making mere normal things look highly different is considered magic, trust me these guys have a bunch of magic wands in there.

You can check out their website here: http://bearddesign.in/ I am sure you'll love it :)

P.S: Like i always say, this is only sharing and no marketing move! Hope you liked it !

Source(Information and Images): http://bearddesign.in/

Untill my next post on my favorite startup no. 4...