Saturday, 1 November 2014

Pitch Smart.

Hello All,
Here's introducing Micro e-books. The shortest e-books, quick and useful

Pitch Smart is the first such creation. 
Agencies have such a tough time dealing with the corporates, true? First impressions are such a herculean task? Well, here's trying to make that process slightly easy. Talking from the other side of the fence (from a corporate's point of view), Pitch Smart tells you things that matter, acts that fetch brownie points and make your pitch perfect. 
Happy Reading!

Don't forget to drop in your feedback 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Chat with Alicia Souza - The Illustrator

Learnings from the Learned #1

This series is dedicated to all those amazing achievers who never seize to inspire us! Here's starting with the lovely Alicia Souza. Do i need to introduce her? I hear most of you shout NO. So, skip this part and jump straight to the interview you guys, because i will introduce her for the benefit of others who are still not in love with her awesome illustrations

Alicia Souza is a young illustrator based out of Bangalore. She started off working for Chumbak (a Bangalore based startup selling Indian souvenirs and knick knacks) and then went on to become a freelancer. She now also runs her own e-commerce store. TED Talks, Corporate Workshops and so much more. Alicia Souza is a bunch of joy who speaks through her drawings. Can you believe her Twitter profile says, "I draw"? Such infectious passion i tell you. 

1.  You draw & always draw! so much! Considering freelancing is so self-driven, how do you manage to stick to it and not get bored?

In the beginning it was hard and a lot of conscious effort was put into sitting at my desk, especially when I'm generally a very fidgety person. Over time, I learnt to mix in a schedule that suits me and my hyperness. I also tend to work in accordance with my moods. So if I don't feel like drawing, I just don't and when I do, I make up for the times that I don't!

2. How do you manage your social profile? I mean your strategy to manage your social channels is so amazing! Your responses are quick and your content is constantly flowing. How do you manage this despite your busy schedule?

 In the beginning it was, again, challenging to fit it in a schedule and to take time off to put up a drawing but now it's a habit. Like brushing my teeth. I don't think much about it and it's part of my day. Also it helps that everyone on my page is super lovely and supportive! Makes it less of a chore and more of a joy!

3. e-commerce is so challenging today and you are now a part of that world! What is your biggest learning as an e-entrepreneur?

 I feel like I'm still learning! Adapt! that's my biggest learning. Learning to be flexible when things don't go according to plan because goodness me, they don't! But it's also so much fun because of it. 

4. Do you have a cut off time in a day when you just stop working no matter what!? Does taking off time from work help spur your creativity?

 In the beginning I used to not take time off and then I started getting family and friend obligations. in the beginning it used to be off on Sundays and I used to keep thinking about how much I could've done but then I realised how much MORE I do when I get back. Weekends are like mini-vacations away from my desk. Also, yes, I have a cut off time of 'Charlie whining for playing company'. He's like an alarm clock. And yes, it also helps because you get content to feed your drawings.

5. Do you have any plans of using your skills to raise social awareness? 

Yes, I'm already working with a dog behaviourist and pet store to print these one-page-booklets on little pet information. All the proceeds from buying them go straight to an animal shelter. It's something I've always wanted to do, so I'm glad:)

6. How do you come up with such entertaining names for your dogs?

 Charles-Brown Whimperbug Souza: I always loved the name 'Charlie' and was reading Peanuts when I got him. He responded first to the name, so it stuck. And 'Whimperbug' because he was such a whimperer when he was a puppy. 

Lola-bear Schnitzel Souza: Well, I initially wanted to call her 'Polar Bear' because she looked like a little white bear cub when I got her, but got refusals from everyone about the name, so it turned to 'lola-Bear'. 'Schnitzel' was because my friend who picked her up at the time had just gone to Prague and was obsessed with them. 

They grew into their names. 

Thank you Alicia Souza for doing this :) 
Hope you all enjoyed reading this! You may now like, share, comment or just smile 
Have a great day!

P.S - All images belong to Alicia Souza, permissions taken!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Is your feedback system people-friendly?

The addiction for feedback has always existed among achievers or to-be-achievers (be it an individual or an organization) But, how many of us have taken the "Human Factor" into consideration for the same?
Let me elaborate. Most of our feedback is so skewed towards the extroverts. Would you agree? In Webinars, the person who clicks on the raise-hand button is prioritized over a person who has keyed in his/her question in the chat bar. The person who has commented on a post is taken more seriously than the one who has merely liked something. Did we miss pondering upon the fact that, there are so many silent listeners out there, some of them being our biggest customers? Why did we just assume being loud is a sign of importance?
Needless to say, today our content (be it at a personal level or at an organizational level) is exposed to a varied set of listeners out there - there are the extroverts who respond, debate, challenge and discuss, there are the ambiverts who may prefer to take the discussion offline or online and then we have the introverts, who prefer introspection over an open discussion. When you take feedback how receptive are we to all these people-types? It's not stereotyping i am talking about, it's the inclusiveness that's important. It will make you stand out as an organization.
Here's a practical example of how i used this thought to get feedback for my blog
For the enthusiastic extroverts who love an on the spot open discussions, I have the regular comments section.
For the lovely introverts, i have a silent response section, as i prefer to call it. I do not need you to talk or give me your details. Just tell me how you would categorize my post

For the introverts who do mind speaking up in person, or for the extroverts who do not have time for an open discussion, i have a section to take this off the blog - having them send me a feedback to my mail. A lot of people do respond here.
The bubbly ambiverts are the ones who vacillate on their mode of communication. So, they always have options to choose from. I let their mood do the choosing for them.
I can now firmly say, i have accommodated all kinds of people into my feedback system. Will they now communicate more? I can't tell, after all we are humans overpowered by so many external and internal factors. But, once they want to, have i facilitated them enough? Oh yes! Moreover, this may involve a little more time & effort, but hey! it's worth it. You never know which silent listener can actually change the way you do business and take it to a whole new level.
When organizations take this thought into consideration, i am sure it will act as a strong differentiator in their favor, not to mention how considerate and inclusive they prove to be
Do you think this thought makes sense? Please comment below to share your views on the same. You could also drop me a personal message if that works for you
Thank you for reading!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Marketing Tools for Young Marketeers & Startups (part 1)

Young marketeers and small businesses/startups will find these tools highly valuable if put to use! Penning down five interesting tools you can use for your marketing endeavors

1. Haiku Deck - Last minute presentations to be made? No worries. Stop hunting for relevant images. Haiku works great and you can try it for free (ah! the *smiles*) Choose a background, pick your images, put your text, jot down your notes and done. Wait! also export to pdf or share it online! All from one spot. Use this tool online or download it to your system! I swear it only spurs your creativity! Not boring!

2. MailChimp - I know most of you are familiar with this, however sharing my experience will make a point! It's a great tool to send out newsletters to your internal or external crowd. The best part being, you can track every click, the location of your viewers and so much more! You can start off using it for free and upgrade if need be. 

3. SurveyMonkey - While all the MBA grads are going "Oh we all know this" this is as i said for the younger/newer crowd. This is a great tool to conduct surveys or quizzes for that matter. Ask questions for free and track results efficiently. Use it once to only keep using it forever!

4. Tweetdeck - Marketing and no Social Media? Not possible right? Also, twitter works great especially for B2B companies. So, while you are gathering your relevant followers, pick this tool to schedule your tweets and track your activity. Very user friendly!

5. Megavenues - For a small Marketing team, events are not managed elsewhere. Also, finding the right venue is not very easy. This site lists out so many options for different kinds of occasions. Marketers will find it very handy

Will list some more in my upcoming posts. Please do add to the list if you may want to. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Crowdsourcing Inspiration @ INK TALKS

  • INK Talks is an excellent platform for budding entrepreneurs and achievers,brilliantly captured through the art of Story Telling 
  • Started by Anu Sethuram & Lakshmi Pratury (a renowned TEDster who brough TED to India in 2009) 
  • INK Talks draws its inspiration from TED India, with its theme of UNTOLD STORIES
  • They have built a community of young unconventional achievers, who become the ambassadors of INK; they are called the INK Fellows
  • Alicia Souza, one of my role models is an INK fellow too!
  • My favorite INK talk is of Snigdha Manchandani - she loves studying TEA?! Hear that? Studying tea! 
  • INK hosts its flagship annual event called the INK Conference each year! It's happening in the end of Oct this year! So many awesome speakers, but too expensive for me. May be you can attend and share the experience? 

So, INK Talks is the new TED in India!? why not?

P.S - No, INK never asked me to write for them. No i don't get paid for this! 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Apparel Shopping 3.0

I have noticed three major trends in Apparel shopping so far. One, being the rudimentary physical shopping, where we wade through stores finding our best fits. The second phase, Apparel Shopping 2.0 as i call it is the Virtual Shopping, browsing the Internet, visiting online stores and making an online purchase! This phase triggered the convenience stimulus in us.
Well, all this apart, now i see our Shopping experience being taken to a whole new level, the Apparel Shopping 3.0 Here's mentioning two wonderful concepts i have come across recently
1. Kiosked - I am sure all of us have had our "oh i like the blue shorts in that ad" or other similar moments. While dresses worn by our favorite actors & actresses from blockbuster movies are turned into special collections in stores, our tastes are not often restricted to those popular choices right? Let me help you picture a scenario here. You are browsing a news website and you suddenly like the tee shirt a sports person is wearing. What do you do? Well, nothing but try and find something similar and almost always find yourself unsuccessful. But Kiosked helps brands this way. If the sportsman was wearing a shirt of brand X and if the brand has partnered with Kiosked, then you can go ahead and buy it by directly clicking on the shirt by getting redirected to the site where you could buy it! So, Kiosked turns anything into a store! What else? Advertising is now a Service!
Kiosked lets you buy anything anywhere (only for brands that choose to advertise with them though) If only every brand partenerd with them, you can literally buy anything you like anywhere on the Internet! Can you believe that? How interesting right?
2. Fitle - No matter how much we talk about online shopping, not many of us are still very comfortable buying apparel online, owing to the hassles involved in finding the right size. Also, we are often skeptical about how a piece of clothing would look on us. Fitle (a mobile app) nails this one by letting us try out those dresses virtually, oh yeah on your 3D virtual avatar. All you need to do is register your height and provide them a couple of your pictures (in different angles) Their exclusive 3D technology creates an avatar of you and you are good to go ahead and try your favorite outfits (their technology claims to have a 99% accuracy on all your measurements) Here's the cherry on the cake. Fitle saves all your past purchases and creates a personal wardrobe for you. So, you can always pull out your previously purchased top and try out new pairs of jeans to see which one gels well with it!
Does this seem like next phase of apparel shopping to you? It sure does to me! Please share any other interesting examples you may have.
Note : All relevant images have been borrowed from the Internet, i do not own any of them

Monday, 7 July 2014

Irrelevance - a phenomenon going extinct?

No, i did not spell it wrong, Irrelevance is what i am talking about
Entrepreneurs, Companies, Organizations, Marketers and all those who identify themselves under the umbrella of business, have begun to swear by the importance of “relevance” lately! Buy a watch on Flipkart once and more and more watches are shown to you, calling it “Relevant” I read technology news for a day or two and all i will be updated about eventually is Technology. You look for a book online and you keep attracting similar books.
Even the Facebook feed for instance will only show me updates of profiles that I regularly click on. Well, that’s sad because the whole point of being updated on the people I have lost touch with (in the physical world) is dissolved in this process. So, how exactly is Facebook connecting the world again?
This in case of an offline setup may end up being quite different. Let’s assume I love science fiction as my favorite genre. If I end up buying that book online, the internet has the lovely habit of showing me books of the same genre over and over again! So, I might not even end up attempting to look for what’s new in other genres. The purchase happens and the story ends. But imagine I am in a book store (a physical one) despite the fact that my eyes may first look out for science fiction, I will not miss on the opportunity to eye other genres as well. You never know which book may just impress you and you buy it, read it and what next, it might just end up giving you the next big idea in life! Does this show irrelevance is important? Am I missing it online?
Steve Jobs as we all know is a great businessman, a charismatic leader and everything under the sun that we can take inspiration from. Think of him and Technology is what comes to your mind first. Well, he chose to learn Calligraphy back at college! How irrelevant right? But as we know this helped him design the world’s most awesome GUI feature, “The Fonts”. If only irrelevance was so irrelevant, how could Jobs connect those dots in his life? How could he end up being charismatic and legendary?
This is what talks about calling it Meaningful Serendipity, it's all about surprising customers/users with spontaneous results. This i assume will soon be a great part of our Digital World. Does it sound like dejavu? like good old times? Ofcourse yes! Well, I am not against the wonderful algorithms that tailor content to my taste, however what i am talking about is excessive personalization that's narrowing down my world, my knowledge in particular. Don't you think?

Friday, 20 June 2014

Geethanjali - a Tribute to Indian Culture

Indian Culture is highly regarded throughout the World, but how much pride do we  "Indians"take in it is the big question. Every art form, every musical note and every Ayurvedic medicine of the good old times had the power to naturally touch and improve our lives. But our cravings and interests have clearly been blowing in another direction, where most see Western culture as superior and "cool" Well i don't blame you, because honestly i opine that Indian Culture and its might has been advertised widely to foreigners more than to us

Geethanjali was one Youtube channel that surprised me with so much Indian content aggregated at one place. If you are enthusiastic to learn Bharathnatyam, Kathak , Carnatic Music, Hindustani Music or Yoga, or so much more, all you have to do is login to their Youtube Channel and start practicing like an Ekalavya! Not just that, you can read your kid or to yourself stories of Indian Mythology, Jathaka Tales and so many more animated stories. 

Their Youtube Channel further has several other sub channels that route you to different genres. Each such channel has an amazing collection of teach-yourself and entertainment videos. No more waiting for a TV show and no more browsing through scores of videos before you land up at your favorites, Geethanjali is a one stop destination.

Their Website hosts a unique collection of Audio and Video DVDs which are very affordable. Soothing music for Yoga, Dance forms or even Meditation is available. Geethanjali is also a private music record label under the banner of Super Music based in Chennai. They house some of the biggest music artists in the industry such as  Dr. Balamurali krishna, Maharajapuram Santhanam, M. L. Vasanthakumari, Sudha Raghunathan, Kadri Gopalnath, E.Gaayathri, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan, M. S. Gopalakrishanan, Dr. Sheik Chinna Moulana, N. Ramani, Mandolin Srinivas and many more.

For all those who love Indian culture or Indian music in particular, this site will be a niche favorite. Do visit their Youtube Channel and check out their wonderful collection of videos.

You can visit their Youtube Channel here:

P.S: All the images have been extracted from their Website & Youtube Channel.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

An Open letter to Product/Service Review Websites

Dear Product/Service Review Websites,

From times when I only trusted my close peers to the time when I am almost taking the word of any stranger who has tried a product/service atleast once,  reviews have gained a lot of prominence in my decision making, I must confess. I honestly love the concept of reviews you know! They give me a sneak peak into what I am up for, that too so effortlessly. I have had days when I decided to buy or to not buy a product/service by just reading these reviews from strangers. Now you are convinced that your reviews work right? Good! But not so good! You know why? because out of all the times i have read your reviews, for once i decided i should write one too! Just doing my part you see! However, it's really funny how you dear Websites make my job so hard, especially when my writing the review is more beneficial to you as a Review curating website than me. 

So, i want to post a review and i open your website. As I click on the " Post a Review" button, you want me to register. Eh! no, i just wanted to write a review and not build a long term relationship with you where you constantly keep pushing mails at me until one fine day i get tired and break up with you by presenting you the "SPAM" award. Ok fine I will register, may be your attempting to get a real review and not a fake one. Ok i got you, here you go i fill your login form and get my account created! Ya i also took the extra effort to verify my details by logging into my id! Cool let's have some peace now. I will write a "real" review and feel happy! Oh! So many questions? Pros, Cons, Title, Subject, Rating, blah blah? I thought all I had to do was express my opinion.

Fine! Fine! I will do it, don't call me short tempered now! Filled all those extra details before i came to the "Write your review" section. Aah! fees like an achievement. Ok wrote it, and i think one more button and it's done! Before I took on my "Yes, I did it" pose, you say the review should have atleast 300 characters? What? Why? Ok you do not always have to be logical, but have you tried being practical? What's with 300 characters? Have you assumed i am not capable of expressing myself in less than that!? Out of all the times i choose to be a silent satisfied customer, i for once decide to voice it out and see what happens!?

So, here's my sincere suggestion to you dear Websites, make things simpler for people who wish to write reviews! Don't be so demanding, most people might just leave half way through the process and never come back! Lack of real reviews will eventually force brands to create fake ones which i am sure will take down your credibility. Period.

P.S: For all those who wonder if i left it half way too, no i did not. I successfully wrote the review and then took on my Feeling-Accomplished pose.

(All images in this post have been sourced from Google Images, none belong to me)

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Cannabis - The Road not taken...

I have so far talked about so many Indian startups be it on food, health, e-commerce, tech, etc. (you can read about them all here just in case you missed any - Interesting Startups) But this very startup shook me real hard! This is the story of a bunch of cool people who are working on something that's seen as "not-so-cool" Can you guess such an industry!? Wait! Let me give you a hint. This industry constitutes close to 60% of Indian workforce and contributes about 17% to our GDP. Yes! the earthy industry - Agriculture.

On hearing the word Agriculture, people may end up picturing green fields, villages, farmer deaths and what not! But, can you imagine a bunch of young people setting up a company in this arena? Surely not huh!? Well this is the story of the Bombay Hemp Company whose vision is to Educate, Cultivate and Alleviate. It was formed by a group of seven friends who are first generation agriculture entrepreneurs with zero experience in this field. 

What they do is quite interesting. Have you ever heard of Cannabis? Oh no not the one that gets you high (Cannabis Indica also called Weed/Bhang/Marijuana) We are discussing Cannabis Sativa, which is a useful and legal form of Cannabis. It allegedly could be used in 41 different industries and it has more than 25000 end uses. Hey! did you know Henry Ford made his first car using industrial hemp? Well, I did not! This industrial hemp grows close to 12 feet in three months and it is called a trillion dollar super crop. 

All said and done, how can it be used? and how are our "Cool-farmers" at Bombay Hemp Company using it? Well, in many ways! They collaborate with farmers to make the following products

1. It is used to make a form of brick which is used in the construction of "Green Buildings" This concept is pretty prominent in the West and is quickly gaining fame in India too. The speciality of this brick is it contains lime, which continuously absorbs CO2, thereby making it stronger as time passes! Also, it costs much lesser than the regular bricks

2. Hemp can be used to manufacture textiles, which are natural and require lesser resources than regular cotton

3. It is also being used to make Hemp foods, which according to the World Health Organization are considered the world's most balanced nutritional food! 

The best part about Bombay Hemp company is that they are not only carving a new industry from scratch but also are also helping farmers understand and implement the same considering how little is the land required to cultivate hemp and how much revenue it can generate. This could be the start of a new revolution uplifting the agriculture sector. Kudos to the Bombay Hemp Company! 

Check out their website for more details:

Info Sources:, 
Image Sources:,

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Getting the Shopoholics richer

No matter how innovative a startup could be, there's one question that haunts all companies, be it small or large - "How do we retain our customers?" All the marketing efforts are focused on this rigorously, albeit a very few of them achieve it, while most companies keep experiencing customer attrition.

So, how can we retain customers!? We could do this, we could do that and that and this...all said and done have you ever thought how it'd be if the answer to this question was embedded in the very business model itself? Quite a thought huh!? Well that's what this startup is doing and it is called 

As the name goes, you make money out of every purchase you make through this site. is an internet portal that aggregates 350+ e-commerce sites for you. So, what's so new about it? Hmm..well there are coupons you get! Oh! i have heard of that too! Well, have you heard of cashback over the regular discounts? For every purchase you make through, you avail a discount on the brand + a certain amount of money as cashback. Let me explain!

So, for example, if you buy stuff from Jabong through Cashkaro, apart from the discount already available, you get an extra 10% cashback. The cash keeps getting accumulated in your account and once it reaches Rs. 250 or more, you can request for a money transfer to your account! Better than asking more pocket money from your parents huh!? Earning more while you spend is a bliss ain't it? was founded by Swati Bhargava and her husband Rohan Bhargava, both graduates of the London School of Economics. Prior to, they setup a similar internet portal called Pouring, which is based out of UK. Both these portals operate on the same context of coupons and cashback - a concept that has witnessed great success in the west and is slowly catching up in India.

In my opinion, this business model serves as a great push to many who still hesitate going online shopping! Also, it holds something for both the seller and the buyer (cashkaro here) which can help them as a great clutter breaker in the virtual market. They have grown rapidly within one year of inception and have been quite active on the social media front as well! 
Does the success of this model indicate that no matter how forward we have come in the line of business, the age old Barter System is still around?

Info and Image Sources:, Google Images

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Locals always get it right? Tupperware's got competition!

Entering a market like India, where people loved "metal" for kitchen purposes, Tupperware faced a huge challenge and successfully converted it in its favour. From 1996, when it entered India till today, Tupperware opened up the "plastic-kitchenware" market. While this did great good for Tupperware, it seems to have come with its own price - opening up the  market for other local players as well. While Tupperware established itself strongly in India through its Direct Marketing, they seem to have a "not-so-strong" presence in the retail consumer market.

I was recently looking for a Tupperware lunch box set and visited a couple of local retail outlets. Not only did most of them deny having Tupperware, but they were also  vouching for this immediate alternative called the "Signora Ware" With a look and feel so much like Tupperware, it also possesses the same benefits as Tupperware, such as - it's microwaveable, it's strong plastic, comes in various colours and it also comes with so many certifications to prove its authenticity. What tops this dominance list is the "Price" It costs lesser than Tupperware (if not exponentially, the price difference is pretty visible) 

This experience made me look into this mysterious company and to my surprise, I figured out that this is a 3 decade old company located in Himachal Pradesh, India. They have no mention of when the kitchenware business per se started however, they claim to have been in the kitchen appliances market since 1981. In its website, it also claims to be "better than any international Plastic-ware brand" With a strong distribution and obviously strong dealer, retailer relations, Signora ware seems to be getting it right in the Indian retail consumer market. Though, the product isn't very well known, it seems to be an undoubted alternative to Tupperware especially for the middle class. Well, not to forget  that Signora ware is also into the Direct marketing deal just like you know who!

Is Tupperware aware of this rising competition is doubted, but it should be is clearly the answer. "Direct marketing" may have surely been a great strategy to break open the kitchenware market in India, but major focus on this format seems to have rising concerns. Surely Tupperware has a bigger terrain covered and this may not seem like a big issue, but with a direct competitor hitting you, it's never the same anymore right!?

P.S: All observations and opinions are personal and do not support or criticize any particular brand or company. 
Image Courtesy: Google

Monday, 6 January 2014

The Aam Aadmi Party Jhaadu!?

I totally understand the urge of businessmen to cash on every opportunity that comes their way. Sometimes they could say, "We bring light into your life", when all they are selling is a matchbox! Well, all is fair in business and the more creative you get, the better shall be your results. 

Opportunities are such a must-catch for them! Look at the Cycle Brand Agarbatti's ad, one would easily comprehend what I mean by saying "cashing-on-the-opportunity"

Also, let's not forget the Dhoom 3 special apparel and accessories that were up for sale on the Great Online Shopping Festival's website this December. Well, all of this put aside, here's something that tops the list unanimously!

The Aam Aadmi Jhadu! They are up for sale online!? What a smart move by to use the success of AAP to brand an un-branded good (simply meaning people don't really care which company makes them. It's a basic utility item) The AAP jhadus are being sold at a startling price of Rs. 5/-  The price holds for the first 1000 customers, post which they shall be charged Rs.19/-  Is this a one time stunt? or will we end up seeing this develop into a strong brand for broomsticks!? 

"Join Anti Corruption Campaign in Delhi. Pay Rs. 19 for this brand new Aam Aadmi ka Jhadu and celebrate the birth of corruption free NEW India." is what the website says. Converting a new political wave that's inspiring many into currency is ethical? funny? Well, that's pretty subjective. But, from the business viewpoint, I would call it a smart move! 

Many may mistake this for a fund-raising initiative, but it gets funny when you realize it is not! While the Aam Aadmi Party is busy raising funds from people by convincing them of their motives, here's investing in their fame. 
So, what are your opinions on this ? 

Check out the AAP Jhaadu here:

P.S: All opinions are purely original and not intended to promote the product or