Careers in Digital Media (for MBAs with Tech background)

So, I was talking to a guy who’s just about to finish his MBA and is interested in making a career in digital media. He wanted to know what kinds of career opportunities are available in digital media for MBAs with tech background.

The simple answer is – way too many!! Your IT background may not have worked in your favour while you were tyring to get into a b-school (we all know how difficult it is to differentiate yourself with  IT experienceJ) but here’s the good part - your IT experience is the best thing that has happened to you if you want to make a career in digital media. Of course, you are going to have to be a lot more specific and creative in your pitch.

Roughly speaking, I think there are three career paths that one can explore.

Persuasive Technology + Systems Thinking for Gov2.0

Government agencies across the world are organizing data mashup contests as part of their Gov2.0 initiatives. This is great but certainly not enough. Some analysts think it’s a futile exercise. I wouldn’t go that far but I certainly believe that the true audience for Gov2.0 are regular citizens and not just the programmers and data analysts who participate in these competitions. The true value of Gov2.0 lies in energising the masses to participate in policy creation and service delivery processes.

So, what can government agencies do?

Two things:
  • First of all, understand what it takes to influence digital (or otherwise) behaviour of masses. 
  • And secondly, use/design a suitable behavioural modelling tool to gain deeper understanding of the outcomes from your Gov2.0 initiative.

The Purpose of Government 2.0

Apparently, there are two schools of thoughts in Government 2.0. On one hand you have Gartner analyst Andrea Di Maio and many others who believe government agencies will embrace Gov2.0 only when it’s proved beyond doubt that Gov2.0 will help them do their job more efficiently and effectively (yellow circle). On the other hand, you have many Gov2.0 evangelists such as Tim Berners-Lee (creator of internet and Gov2.0 lead for the UK), Don Tapscot (author of Wikinomics and MacroWikinomics) and Tim O’Reilly who believe government agencies should whole-heartedly support Gov2.0 initiatives because, well, it’s the right thing to do (blue circle). Of course, both sides acknowledge the importance of each other’s perspective and it’d be interesting to see what turn this debate takes in time to come. In the meantime however, we at Wipro believe that these two approaches are not orthogonal; in fact, there’s a huge overlap between the two (as we’ve tried to show in the diagram above). To appreciate how these two approaches reconcile with each other, it’s necessary to have a deeper understanding of the emergent nature of digital media, the principles of open value creation and the rise of participatory culture among citizens (brought about by web 2.0). Drawing on our decades of experience in implementing government transformation technology; shared services, cloud computing, enterprise collaboration platforms, business process optimization, change management practices and social computing consulting, we’ve developed one of the most sophisticated and evolved Government 2.0 consulting practices in the world. If you are a government agency trying to make sense of this beast called Gov2.0 or perhaps you are already involved in Gov2.0 related activities and want to identify and prioritize the most critical areas, we believe the following list of challenges and suggested approaches will come handy for you:

Influence or Empower?

Of late there’s been a lot of discussion (here, here and here) on whether social media should be used to influence customers or to empower customers. Mark those words – “should be used” – as if someone has a choice!! I think if marketers had complete control over what they could do with social media, they’d always choose “influence customers” over “empower customer”. Fortunately, they don’t have any such control. In fact, I think, the whole debate about empowering or influencing customers is sort of futile. The customers ARE already empowered by social media. Thank you very much!! I think the question you (companies/marketers) should ask yourself is – how are you going to influence “empowered customers”?  Old techniques aren’t going to work. For instance,

WikiLeaks sets the perfect stage for Gov2.0 adoption


Those who hate WikiLeaks are either:
  • Corrupt politicians
  • or Government conspirators
  • or Companies that have so much at stake that they cannot afford to offend governments.



For everyone else, Julian Assange is a hero.

You can read a lot about Wikileaks elsewhere. I just want to make one point here:

A lot of people seem to believe that WikiLeaks will compromise the safety of certain people/countries/agencies if allowed to do what it’s doing and so WikiLeaks is evil and should be shutdown. Here’s the problem with this argument – The idea of WikiLeaks is not to compromise the safety of people, the idea is to make govt. agencies so accountable that they never do stupid things in the first place. If we just look at what WikiLeaks can do in the short run – we’d all arrive at the wrong conclusions. In the long run, however, WikiLeaks can change the way governments work across the globe. WikiLeaks is not too different from the IMF watchdog agency “Bretton Woods Project”, it’s just one hundred times more effective and powerful. The information that government agencies are trying to hide shouldn't have been there in the first place...the lack of radical transparency / real watchdog agency is what allowed them to indulge in such conspiracies with the belief that they would be able to get away with anything...

Solution -  Forward looking government agencies that do not want to be embarrassed by WikiLeaks of the future have a solution that they can look forward to  – Government 2.0.

Grand Scheme of Things - My Take

I know...it needs a lot more work. Have been working on it for a while....and wanted to share it here...


"Trust me — this is not your father’s federal government"

Governments 2.0 is redefining the Role of Government Agencies
From transportation to education to elections to law enforcement, the digital revolution is transforming government and politics, slashing bureaucracies; improving services; producing innovative solutions to some of thorniest global problems; changing the terms of the left/right political debate; and offering ordinary people access to a degree of information and individual influence until recently accessible only to the most powerful citizens. Make no mistake, today, tectonic shifts in technology, demographics, politics and economics are driving the next evolution of democratic government — a transition from monolithic government to Government 2.0 where pluralistic, networked forms of government will become the dominant organizational model for service delivery and policy-making.

Content is not King



Here’s the problem with great content – I can’t find it!!

Really, the content that gets my attention is the one that’s good at gaming the system. If it can’t make its way to the top 5 search results on Google, well, I wouldn’t even know it existed. Even the links I get from my social connections are actually the ones that are somehow gaming the system.

Looking at it from a slightly different point of view - what exactly is a great content anyway? It’s all subjective. If I read some decent stuff and never get a chance to see something better on the same topic, I would never know that better content existed somewhere. Below are a few more points to prove that you can’t compete on the quality of your content alone:

How Social Media enables Experience Economy?

Apparently, there are only 3 reasons why you choose to buy a product or a service -
1. It's the cheapest
2. It's unique
3. You're sold on marketing!!

These are also the fundamental reasons that drive a company's differentiating strategy. A company can choose to:
1. Differentiate on price (Indian IT companies, Goods sold in Flea markets)
2. Differentiate on product (Apple, Tata Nano)
3. Differentiate on marketing (Pepsi, Coke, Microsoft)

For ages, companies have followed various versions of these strategies with varying degrees of success. However, during the last 2 decades, a special kind of differentiating strategy (customer experience) has been found to produce better and more sustainable returns than what other strategies produce. This interesting trend was discovered in 1998 by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore. They noticed that as goods and services became commoditized, the customer experiences that companies created, led to more sustainable differentiation. They published their seminal research in an article "Welcome to Experience Economy" in HBR and also wrote a book with the same name. Although differentiating-on-experience falls in the realm of differentiating-on-marketing, there's more to it than just marketing as discussed below.

My goal here is not to explain what “experience economy” is; rather I want to show how fundamental the roots of social media are from an "experience economy" point of view. To prove this point, let's begin by looking at an interesting example from the book "The Experience Economy" that beautifully explains this tectonic shift.

"The entire history of economic progress can be recapitulated in the four-stage evolution of the birthday cake. As a vestige of the agrarian economy, mothers made birthday cakes from scratch, mixing farm commodities (flour, sugar, butter, and eggs) that together cost mere dimes. As the goods-based industrial economy advanced, moms paid a dollar or two to Betty Crocker for premixed ingredients. Later, when the service economy took hold, busy parents ordered cakes from the bakery or grocery store, which, at $10 or $15, cost ten times as much as the packaged ingredients. Now, time-starved parents neither make the birthday cake nor even throw the party. Instead, they spend $100 or more to ”outsource” the entire event to the Discovery Zone, the Mining Company, or some other business that stages a memorable event for the kids-and often throws in the cake for free. Welcome to the emerging experience economy."


Final word on Social media ROI

Key take-away: Forrester’s recent report (16th July 2010) on Social Media ROI, I believe, puts an end to this endless debate. If you want to refer to just one definitive source on Social Media ROI, look no further and get the report from here (if you are not a Forrester client, it’s going to cost you a fortune…see a summary of the report at the end of this post to get an overall idea!!)

Around a year back, I was looking for a challenging social media issue to complete an academic project. I reached out to many well known social media experts to get their suggestions on what people in social media industry were struggling with - to my delight, I received many suggestions such as..

Jason Falls (Founder of Social Media Explorer):
I'm keenly interested in a couple of things right now. Perhaps one of these will work for you:
           -           The biggest fear most companies have is talking to customers who are mad/dissatisfied/detractors in a public forum. I'd love to catalog several examples of people who have done it successfully and not so successfully and see if there are some best practices/insights we could glean from that.
           -           Building community is a big push with companies right now. I'd love to do a retrospective on how communities form, going back to Rome, Greece, etc., to talk about the common bonds that bring people together - geography, common need, religion, etc. - then move into modern times and see where communities of consumers (Harley Davidson riders, etc.) gravitate and why and if there are commonalities we can pull from those. This is going to be the basis of "social business" for years to come but no one has adequately plunged into the topic yet.


What’s up with Data?

“The Economist” is not “Scientific American”; People don't read Economist to find out what’s happening in web technology. So, when a magazine like “The Economist” publishes a 20-page cover story on data and how data is being used by online businesses and government agencies, you know something big is going on…

And how big is that thing?…well, let me explain.


Why Behavioural Targeting is such a Big Deal?

If you want to run ads for your products on online or offline media, you’re going to have to take care of 2 things:

Reach – You can focus on increasing the reach of your ads. This is a time tested concept; if you have the money to reach out to a very large crowd, you’ll always find some people who’d be interested in purchasing your products – TV does it very well. The only problem is - your ad spend may not be optimized. Along with people who’ll buy your stuff, you are also wasting your marketing budget on a very large number of people who have no intention of doing business with you.

Frequency – Focusing on increasing the frequency of your ads is quite intuitive. After all, if you keep repeating your adds hundreds of time, some people will eventually buy your stuff just to see what the heck it is that you can't stop bugging them with. There are various theories about how frequency capping can achieve optimum result. For a long time, advertisers believed that showing an ad 3 times was the most optimum thing to do. This theory was disputed in 2003 by Atlas (now part of Microsoft), which claimed that even though the ROAS (return on ad spend) was optimum with 3 ad impressions, following such a “frequency capping” strategy could severely compromise on reach. The new optimum number is 10 as per Atlas. Needless to say, betting on frequency is not the most optimum way of spending your marketing dollars.


Why did Google Wave fail?

{On 4th August 2010, Google officially declared Google Wave to be dead. Here's my take on why I believe Google wave failed?}


A simple no-nonsense answer to that question can be found on Page#194 of Clay Shirky’s book Cognitive Surplus:
“Projects that will work only if they grow large generally won’t grow large;

A veritable natural law in social media is that to get to a system that is large and good, it is far better to start with a system that is small and good and work on making it bigger than to start with a system that is large and mediocre and working on making it better.

Clash of the Titans

Chris Anderson says “free is the future of business” and supports Stewart Brand’s famous declaration "information wants to be free". He also writes a book on it – Free: The future of radical price
·         Argument: A decade and a half into the great online experiment, the last debates over free versus pay online are ending. In 2007 The New York Times went free; this year, so will much of The Wall Street Journal… - http://bit.ly/3wPxef

Nicholas Carr says "information wants to be free my ass" (check this and this on Nick’s blog Rough Type)
        ·         Argument: Gizmodo reports that monthly information subscriptions and fees can easily run to $500 or more nowadays. A lot of people today probably spend more on information than they spend on food.

Malcolm Gladwell supports Nick...says Chris Anderson is Wrong
        
·       Malcolm Gladwell to Chris Anderson: No “Free” Lunch - http://bit.ly/QBlYn
·       Gladwell dismisses Anderson as a “technological utopian” - http://bit.ly/115qjD
Seth Godin says "Malcolm Gladwell is wrong" about Chris Anderson
       ·         Malcolm is wrong - http://bit.ly/ioi3r 

Nick Carr says “Internet is bad for us” and “Google is making us stupid”. Writes a book on it - The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
       ·         Argument - When the Net absorbs a medium, that medium is recreated in the Net's image. It injects the medium's content with hyperlinks, blinking ads, and other digital gewgaws, and it surrounds the content with the content of other media it has absorbed. A new e-mail message, for instance, may announce its arrival as we're glancing over the latest headlines at a newspaper's site. The result is to scatter our attention and diffuse our concentration

Clay Shirky says Nick is wrong


·        Abundance is good for us - http://bit.ly/1kgYhf.
·        Problem is filter failure not info overload
     

    Tyler Cowen (marginalrevolution.com) says what Nick calls “disjoint bits of distracting information” are actually “small cultural bits that are building blocks for seeing and understanding some larger trends and narratives. Our growing preference for small cultural bits enhances our understanding of the beauty of the broader human story, even though not every part of the outside world looks so pretty… http://bit.ly/aX8Y9Q


    ·       Argument - It’s no accident that most of the great scientific and technological innovation over the last millennium has taken place in crowded, distracting urban centers. The printed page itself encouraged those manifold connections, by allowing ideas to be stored and shared and circulated more efficiently. One can make the case that the Enlightenment depended more on the exchange of ideas than it did on solitary, deep-focus reading.

    4 online business ideas to die for !!

    The pace at which new online business models are being invented is mind-boggling. Around 6 months back, I stumbled upon a blog post by Doc Searls (co-author of Cluetrain Manifesto), in which he talks about a new trend called “Intention economy” and the next thing I get to know is someone has already launched a start-up (Readbeacon) based on the idea…such is the pace. While Doc Searls is leading an initiative called VRM (Vendor Relationship Management) at Harvard Law School to research and explore future possibilities of this emerging trend, the folks at RedBeacon are already experimenting with the idea in real life. Same is the case with many other ideas. For instance, semantic web is generally looked upon as an idea which is much ahead of its time (see this and this to know how people have played it down); but the truth is there are already over 2 dozen very successful start-ups that have made millions based on the idea.

    The answer lies in the Power Law :-)

    As a kid I was always too tall for my age and had difficulty explaining this monstrosity to people (as if I was responsible for it!!), that is, until the knowledge of Normal Distribution came to my rescue. Every tangible thing around us follows normal distribution, well almost everything…and if something doesn’t, there’s a theory that says, the distribution of those distributions will follow normal distribution. So, you see, Normal Distribution is like God’s law - you cannot defy it. Once, you get this point, it’s so easy to use it in arguments. For instance, if you are blessed with less than average height, you could say something like this – well you know what, there are way too many people with average height and there are quite a few monsters like yours truly… and since normal distribution cannot be defied, some people had to be short to prevent the world from God’s wrath, so here I’m.  If you are a stats genius, you’ll quickly see the fallacy in the logic, but I can tell you that it works most-of-the-time (because normal distribution prevents too many people from becoming stats geniusJ).

    Jokes apart, here’s the thing. We have been led to believe that Normal distribution is the best way to describe all sorts of common phenomenon that happens around us. It appeals to our common sense. Isn’t bell-curve the most intuitive thing in the world? Even a 10-year old can understand it. In fact, Mirowski says – “Linear thinking is engrained in our mentality. Scientific and mathematical models are based on the concepts of equilibrium and linearity. Economics, for instance, is almost theistic in its assumption that economic phenomena trend toward equilibrium.” We have been trained to look for averages and variances (the two criteria for describing any ND…What’s the average age of Indian cricket team?, average attendance record of students in a class, average height of Dutch people etc.) Imagine a world where averages didn’t have any meaning, where knowing variances did not add anything to your knowledge. That’s the world we are heading towards. More on this later!!

    When we view the world using Normal distributions lens, we run the risk of ignoring important future trends as unimportant outliers in the data set. These future trends will only appear outside of the Bell curve until it is too late to take any action. (Nassim Nicholas Taleb has written two books – Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan to discuss this very issue. His words seem almost prophetic in the backdrop of recent global economic meltdown, an extreme event). There’s a growing realization among statisticians and business strategists that ND doesn’t reflect the true nature of our new world. In fact, people who are still using normal distribution to explain contemporary business models are quickly losing ground. Check this blog post by John Hagel (the author of Net Worth, Net Gain and more recently The Power of Pull) for an in-depth analysis of Gaussian world (Normal Distribution) v/s Paretian World (Power Law) debate. John says – “We’re shifting from a Gaussian world to a Paretian world, with profound implications for business” and then goes on to explain how Guassian (ND) distribution fails to model the workings of post-modern world. It’s an extremely interesting read and I cannot recommend it any more strongly. John talks about two conditions under which a Gaussian system can morph into a Paretian system – when tension increases and cost of connections decreases.  The increasing usage of digital media and particularly social networks has brought down the barriers for meeting these two criteria. In fact, business models in digital media cannot be satisfactorily understood if one doesn’t understand the Power Law. If you had been using ND to assess the nature of digital world, you probably arrived at wrong conclusions. The virtual world is not governed by the “real-world” normal distribution (you see, we don’t call it virtual world for nothing!!). 

    Can social networks replace email?

    Here’s an updated and expanded version of my previous post for Joka Strategist.
    Can social networks replace email?
    There’s a lot of debate going on about how and when social networks will replace emails. On one hand, the proponents of the idea claim that we should look at teenagers (who are shunning emails in favour of social networks) to see what future has in store for us, whereas on the other hand,  the staunch supporters of email services refuse to believe that something as important as emails could be replaced with something else. Apparently, the odds seem to be in favour of social networks taking over a very large share of email services. However, the reasons put forward by many evangelists of the idea are diluted by subtle sales pitches and tend to miss the bigger picture. For instance, Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, says that what teenagers do today becomes norm for the rest of us tomorrow. This is not entirely true and Sheryl was severely criticized for making such a far-fetched contention based on unwarranted assumptions.

    Interestingly, a simple answer to the debate can be found in the history of social networks. Clay Shirky in his prophetic book "Here Comes Everybody" mentions that the origin of the entire social computing phenomenon can be traced back to the day when email services started including a seemingly insignificant feature called "Reply All". In fact, all social computing can be crudely viewed as a super "Reply All" feature on your email account. And since, email is the genesis of social computing, it's probably logical to expect that better and more evolved email services (social networks) will eventually replace traditional email services.

    Can Government 2.0 Solve Prisoner's Dilemma?

    To get an introduction to Prisoner's dilemma and game theory, see this and this.

    Governments have always thrived on information arbitrage - and unsurprisingly poor citizens have suffered. The reason why the US and many other countries invested billions of dollars to develop nuclear bombs was this - they didn't have a solution to Prisoner's dilemma. In fact, I wouldn't be too wrong if I said almost all wars in the history were fought because we never had a solution to Prisoner's Dilemma. Facing an unknown adversary; governments, kings and generals did exactly what game theory suggests in such scenarios - Defect.

    In simple words - If you can't be sure about what the other guy can do to you, you are better off amassing all kinds of weapons....just in case". And since the other guy is as smart as you are, he's probably going to do the same...leading to a vicious circle of arms race and all that; the end result - everyone's a loser.

    However, things are going to change now. Increasing usage of social media in government (gov2.0) will radically alter the way government agencies function. It may take a few years but it's inevitable; there's no going back now. The memorandum of transparency and open government signed by the US president last year is a strong evidence of their intentions and it's a prelude to what's going to happen across the globe. Almost all developed countries have already started working on using social media in government agencies. When gov2.0 is fully implemented, citizens would be able to track how their tax money is being spent by government. They'd have real time access to all public sector information. They'd have a role to play in policy creations. The three pillars of gov2.0 are transparency, participation and collaboration; when gov2.0 is fully functional, information arbitrage will cease to exist in government dictionaries.

    Cynics will claim that it's a Utopian vision and web2.0, gov2.0, democracy 2.0 or what have you...are all fads...but they are NOT... and there are signs all over the place... if you only have the time and patience to observe. For instance, Prof. BJ Fogg, who heads the Persuassive Technology Lab at Standford University, talks about world peace using Social Media. Besides running a hugely popular course called "Psychology of Facebook" he also runs an interesting Peace innovation program at Stanford University.  Even though the idea of world peace is a lofty one, it's actually based on solid theory and I firmly believe that it's possible. Government 2.0 is perhaps one strong step in this direction.

    Real-time Market Hypothesis - how real-time phenomenon will kill online retailing as we know it today!!

    What do you think are the real reasons behind the success of online retailing?
    I mean why would people willingly agree to wait for a week to get their favourite book from  Amazon and Rediff when they can buy it today from a bookstore. Agreed, it works out slightly cheaper and you don't have to take the pain of driving down to your neighborhood book store. But is that all... that makes you purchase things online?...I doubt it...I think our ability to delay gratification plays a much more important role here than what we have been giving it credit for. If you are in your late 20s or early 30s, you have spent quite a bit of time in pre-internet era and may not even realize that you are practicing "delayed gratification"; it's part of your personality, deeply ingrained in your brain by your parents; but if you belong to gen-Y, you probably can't imagine a life without instant messaging, twitter, digg etc. You'd refuse to believe that just a few years back people had to wait for weeks to receive their snail mails and no...it didn't make them kill themselves!! The truth is - for gen-Y, the real-time phenomenon is just a logical extension to their email and social networks and soon there'll be more number of gen-Y in this world than baby boomers. 

    On a social networking website, do you ever bother checking your friends old status messages..I doubt if you do...you just care 'bout their current messages...that's what matters...a recent research revealed that the probability of a tweet getting retweeted drops dramatically after just 10 seconds from the time when a message is tweeted. What does it tell us about people, perhaps that they just care about the tweets they get in real-time...


    Why the Long Tail is Overrated!!

    Chris Anderson's claim: "Internet has empowered consumers to find and afford products more closely tailored to their individual tastes, and so they will migrate away from homogenized hits. The wise company, therefore, will stop relying on blockbusters and focus on the profits to be made from the long tail—niche offerings that cannot profitably be provided through brick-and-mortar channels."


    Why this is not entirely true: Soon after the book "The Long Tail" was published, HBS marketing professor Anita Elberse published an article in HBR questioning the validity of this theory. The long tail theory is quite intuitive but interestingly the ideas refuting the theory are even more intuitive! huh!!


    When Prof. Elberse took a deeper look at the customer-transactions data of various online retailers, she found an interesting pattern among people who are actually responsible for the growing volume of business in the so called long-tail. - First of all, a disproportionately large share of the audience for popular products consists of relatively light consumers, whereas a disproportionately large share of the audience for obscure products consists of relatively heavy consumers; and secondly, consumers of obscure products generally appreciate them less than they do popular products. - This finding is in stark contrast with what long-tail theory claims!


    Isn't that common sense - There are generally only two kinds of customers: those who buy a lot and those who buy a little. Those who buy a little (light consumers) flock to the popular stuff and those who buy a lot (heavy consumers), too, like what's popular, but they're more willing to try obscure fare. So, if you believed in the long-tail theory and started a niche retail store believing that niche buyers will flock to your store, you'd be wrong. People who buy niche stuff are generally heavy buyers and if there's a retail store that keeps popular and niche stuff both, they'd probably buy their niche merchandise from that store while buying the popular stuff!!  


    The HBR article by prof. Elberse is a must read for anyone who's running or planning to start an online business.


    Links:
    Should you invest in the long tail - HBR - Prof. Anita Elberse
    The Wrong Tail - Slate Magazine - Tim Wu

    Digital Media Industry Consolidation in Asia

    Major international advertising agencies such as Publicis, WPP, Omnicorp, etc. have acquired many smaller fishes in Asia and more specifically in India and China during last 4 years. Following is a chronological list of M&A that has happened in India and other parts of Asia since 2006. I presented this report to a guest faculty in my school (who's also the CEO of a very popular international ad agency) and he found it quite insightful!


    From a Mint article published in early 2007:
    Some of the recent international heads, who have unveiled their digital objectives in national and international interviews, include WPP’s Global Strategy Director Mark Read; Havas CEO Fernando Rodes Vila; Publicis Worldwide COO Robert Pinder; Aegis Media Asia CEO Richard Halmarick; IPG’s Steve Gatfield (CEO, Lowe Worldwide); and Omnicom Vice Chairman Michael Birkin.                                                                                         

    TEDx 2010 events in India

    TEDxCaclutta is being hosted at IIM Calcutta Auditorium!!


    TEDxAhmedabad - 6/26/2010
    TEDxASB – 4/21/2010
    TEDxBangalore - 3/13/2010
    TEDxCalcutta - 3/21/2010
    TEDxChanakya - 6/20/2010
    TEDxChennai - 10/10/2010
    TEDxCochin – TBD
    TEDxDelhi- TBD
    TEDxFoothillsofAravalli - 4/3/2010
    TEDxHyderabad - TBD
    TEDxIITKGP - 3/20/2010
    TEDxIITRoorkee – 3/27/2010
    TEDxIndore - 4/11/2010
    TEDxISB – TBD
    TEDxJodhpur - 5/16/2010
    TEDxKarnataka – TBD
    TEDxKids@Riverside - 11/14/2010
    TEDxKonkan - TBD
    TEDxKundapur - 5/8/2010
    TEDxMumbai – 4/3/2010
    TEDxNirmaU - 3/25/2010
    TEDxNSIT - 3/31/2010
    TEDxPatna - 12/12/2010
    TEDxPilani - 3/13/2010
    TEDxPondicherry - 8/14/2010
    TEDxPSNACET – 12/2/2010
    TEDxPune - 10/10/10
    TEDxVIT - 3/27/2010
    TEDxYouth@Bangelore – TBD



    source - http://wikisharma.blogspot.com/2010/03/ted-x-squared.html

    A lost business idea

    A lost business idea:
    Found this interesting quote on eMarketer blog -

    “Naturally occurring conversations will be utilized in product innovation and design, and companies will create incentives for people's attention and engagement while repurposing and analyzing content and engagement in new ways that will deliver valuable input.”
    Ravit Lichtenberg, founder and chief strategist, Ustrategy.com, in an article in ReadWriteWeb.com, December 11, 2009

    It reminds me of a business plan that Surjendu (my classmate at IIMC) and I wrote in October last year. Our business plan was based on 3 ideas:
    - capturing "naturally occurring conversation" using mobile platform
    - incentivsing users to engage in conversations
    - sharing business intelligence with companies who'd then use the info for product innovation/modification etc.

    As it happens with most visionary ideas (huh!), ours was rejected by the business plan competition panel. I'm sure the panelists wouldn't have dared rejecting our idea if we had included this quote from a "founder and chief strategist". Too bad!!

    Social Media Stats

    Interesting stats about Social Media from eMarketer.
    - Rate of growth of online social networking spending is more  in countries outside US even though US accounts for the largest share total expenditure.
    - A large number of  marketers continue to use social media for brand-building even though the social channels are as useful for sales, customer service, IT and research.


    Social Business Strategy coming of Age

    Here's an amazing graphic that gives a holistic view of Social Business Strategy:


    "The key to this framework is to understand that the process between SCRM and E2.0 is never ending and that they both integrate into one another.  The feedback and the knowledge that is obtained from SCRM is then fed back into the Enterprise to be acted upon.  Once action is taken the customers once again provide feedback and so the process continues.  This never ending sharing of information and customer empowerment is what is referred to as the experience continuum."

    Source - Jacob Moran

    The State of Inbound Marketing



    Here's an interesting report by HubSpot on the state of Inbound Marketing. Key take-aways:


    • Inbound marketing channels deliver a dramatically lower cost-per-sales lead than outbound channels
    • Blogs lead other social media categories in terms of importance to business
    • Small businesses are most aggressively allocating lead generation budgets to blogging, social media and search engine optimization




    How to improve your blog's search rank

    3 take-aways from this chart - for improving search rank of your page:

    1. A large number of links to your page increases its search ranking (22.33% – Link popularity of the specific page). So, get as many back-links as possible. Diversity helps too.

    2. Anchor text of external links plays an extremely important role (20.26% – Anchor text of external links to the page) - Monitor the anchor texts of external links.

    3. Trust/Authority of the host domain is the most important factor (23.87%). For regular bloggers, the take-away here is probably this - having a blog on blogger or wordpress is more SEO freindly than having a blog on some lesser known site such as blogadda. So, if your blogging somewhere else, consider exporting your blog to blogger or wordpress.

    Here's a list of top 5 ranking factors {source - SEOmoz.org survey conducted in 2009}:

    1. Keyword Focused Anchor Text from External Links

      73% very high importance
      73%
    2. External Link Popularity (quantity/quality of external links)

      71% very high importance
      71%
    3. Diversity of Link Sources (links from many unique root domains)

      67% very high importance
      67%
    4. Keyword Use Anywhere in the Title Tag

      66% very high importance
      66%
    5. Trustworthiness of the Domain Based on Link Distance from Trusted Domains (e.g. TrustRank, Domain mozTrust, etc.)

      66% very high importance
      66%