Just started reading Blog Marketing Book” by Jeremy Wright and there is one section which mentions the strong relation Microsoft has with the blogger community.None of the companies can try to ignore the reviews given by bloggers on their products and the tech-giant Microsoft is also no different.There is a small passage in the book titled, “MICROSOFT LISTENS” which explains what bloggers can do even to the tech giants like Microsoft so, keep on reading:

Microsoft regularly flies customers and industry experts to its campus in Washington to listen to the feedback given by those people.The company invites dozens of key customers and partners to the event,where they spend brainstorming as a group.But as of late,Microsoft has changed it’s strategy and the company is making extensive use of blogs to get direct customer feedback.

Within a year,more than 1000 Microsoft employee blogs featured developers and product managers talking directly to customers every day , instead of once a year.Microsoft employees read dozens of blogs every day to see how customers react to Microsoft products and services.In fact,Microsoft employees have taken a bigger leap and even contribute to other’s blogs in the expanding space of Blogosphere.

So now it is clear that to Microsoft is really serious about reviews from Bloggers which would help them improve it products.

As we know every blogger has ethics but Microsoft has even taken a step forward to bribe bloggers.Check out what Joel has to say in his post on “Bribing Bloggers”

So,what does Bribing mean in this sense?Just check the image which explains what Bribing means to Bloggers.Enjoy Joel’s article(just like I did smile).
May be after this post,Microsoft may notice my blog as well smile

Just few months back,video broadcasting giant YouTube had announced to share some part of its revenue with the site users lol and now it has come up with another good marketing strategy : YouTube has decided to award some of the best videos uploaded by the users on the site.And I had happened to catch a small glimpse of the YouTube awards on CNN-IBN biggrin

But before the announcement of the awards(3 days back) , there was a statement made by the geek blogger Robert Scoble in this blog post saying:

YouTube is late in honoring the best videos of 2006 and Vloggies is ahead of YouTube by six months with their announcement of the best videos of 2006

Anyways,sit back and enjoy the best videos of 2006 on YouTube(by clicking on the image below)


Let us wait and see what is the reaction of the YouTube awards in the Blogosphere lol

My first meeting with Manish Agarwal,co-founder of Bangalore based Picsquare happened at Proto.in in 2006.I got the opportunity to ask Manish few questions on Picsquare,Entrepreneurship and his journey as an Entrepreneur.

You can read the complete Q&A session between myself and Manish at Picsquare on Startups.in
There would be more contributions from my side to the startups community , so keep a close watch on startups

Do let me know whether you liked the format of the questions,its usefulness and also what improvements you want to make it more informative smile.

With the Web 2.0 market growing beyond social networking,VCs are also raking money into the Web 2.0 market.Read an article on TheChilli and was amazed to see the booming market of Web 2.0.As reported by TheChilli, there has been investments worth $850 million during the last year(2006) in Web 2.0.

The most interesting piece of information was analysis of the number of Web 2.0 deals, that have been carried out in the recent past in 2006(based on the geographic locations):

1. United States: 126 deals with an investment of US$682.7 million(83 percent increase in deals from 2005)
2. Europe: 20 deals in 2006 with an investment of US$100.5 million(more than 200 percent increase from 2005)
3. China: 21 deals in 2006 with a decline in the investment by 26 percent to US$61.3 million(same number of deals occurred in 2005 sad)
4. Israel: 2 deals in 2006 with an investment of US$22 million(increase by one deal since 2005)

The most active investors in Web 2.0 on a worldwide basis include:

  1. Benchmark Capital
  2. Draper Fisher Jurvetson
  3. Sequoia Capital
  4. Omidyar Network
Read the complete article here

Marketing has become one of the important aspects to the success of any product and the same applies to the success of companies as well.Marketing would typically help startups to build a brand name for itself.While reading “Make the Move”, I came across some of the promotional/marketing methods which could be employed by startups , depending on the product that they are trying to market.One basic point is : “Employ the marketing strategy keeping your end customer in mind”.

1. Print Media:
Most expensive means of marketing.It won’t be so affordable to use this media at a startup stage.The main intention of the print marketing is to develop your product/company as a brand.

2. Poster/Pamphlets:
This can be mainly used , if your target customer is an individual.This could be one of the most effective methods to create an awareness about your product(keeping your end customer in mind).It is one of the low cost methods followed mostly by startups.

3. Radio:
This is the best way(after Print Media) to reach the common man biggrin It should be consistent as well as innovative.

4. Television:
This is one of the most expensive means of promotion and one with the widest reach.It is good for businesses with very huge funds and is mainly used to “Brand Management”

5. Sponsorships:
Sponsoring events that are relevant to your domain is a very good way to promote your company

6. Promotional Seminars:
This is one of the best way’s to create awareness about your product.If you are able to out some intellect into the seminars,you may even organize them for free or charge for them.

7. Sales Force:
A dedicated sales force directly going to the customers is one of the common ways to promote your product.You may need to train your sales force and set up effective channels for analyzing their performance.

8. Internet Marketing:
One of the most effective and fastest ways to market your product.These include email campaigns,website SEO,reverse linking websites with relevant websites,submission to various search engines and directories on the internet , Google Adwords campaign,Yahoo Search Marketing and resellers on the internet

9. Surface mail Campaign:
This requires sending surface mailers to your existing database regarding your product/service.

10. Distributors/Franchisees:
Very important for scaling your business and playing a volume game.It is also a tricky process and also requires expertise.

11. Unconference Marketing (My addition):
Unconferences like BarCamp, Mobile Monday, Proto are one of the best places to market your product and get feedback from a crowd of geeks lol I still remember Inactiv in BarCamp Bangalore2 and WWGIO(a product from Motvik) in MoMo and trust me , it is the easiest way to get feedback about your product.

All of us know that startups.in and Webyantra(and many other blogs) are some of the sites which keep a close track on the Entrepreneurial community and the upcoming startups in India.To know more about the global scenario,I prefer listening to podcasts available on BusinessWeek.Well,recently I just came across nPost,a site which is an excellent resource for Entrepreneurs as well as job seekers.Keep on reading to know more about nPost

What is nPost all about?
nPost is a new job board specifically targeting small- to medium-sized startups. There are currently over 300 jobs featured on the site from over 50 different companies. In addition to the job board, nPost has conducted over 160 interviews with CEOs and entrepreneurs at startups.

Motive behind nPost:
The sole motive of nPost is to promote entrepreneurship since “Entrepreneurs not only create jobs but also drive the economy”

Unique feature on nPost:
Apart from startups, jobs and interviews by entrepreneurs, there is an interesting section – upcoming events which gives an opportunity for Entrepreneurs to network with the other Entrepreneurs.

Revenue model of nPost?
There are three sources of revenue for nPost: companies can post jobs on the site, advertise on the site, and sponsor events.

Want to know more about nPost?
To know more about nPost , you can send an mail to Nathan Kaiser at nathan[at]npost[dot]com

You can subscribe to nPost feeds:
Job Feed : http://feeds.feedburner.com/nPostJobPostings

Interview Feed : http://feeds.feedburner.com/npost/entrepreneurinterviews

Every year, every month or should I say every day,many employees leave their jobs to join some other organization…Some feel pay as the first priority irrespective of the job profile and for some it is vice versa.But as most of us know,employees don’t leave companies but they leave bad managers and this is the hottest reason why “Employees leave their (well paying) jobs.Below is what Azim Premji,CEO of Wipro has to tell on the same topic taking an example of one of the instances which happened in Wipro.Interesting one(which I received in an email today) , keep on reading:

Every company faces the problem of people leaving the company for better pay or profile.

Early this year, Mark, a senior software designer, got an offer from a prestigious international firm to work in its India operations developing specialized software. He was thrilled by the offer.

He had heard a lot about the CEO. The salary was great. The company had all the right systems in place employee-friendly human resources (HR) policies, a spanking new office,and the very best technology,even a canteen that served superb food.

Twice Mark was sent abroad for training. “My learning curve is the sharpest it’s ever been,” he said soon after he joined.

Last week, less than eight months after he joined, Mark walked out of the job.

Why did this talented employee leave ?

Arun quit for the same reason that drives many good people away.

The answer lies in one of the largest studies undertaken by the Gallup Organization. The study surveyed over a million employees and 80,000 managers and was published in a book called “First Break All The Rules“. It came up with this surprising finding:

If you’re losing good people, look to their immediate boss ..Immediate boss is the reason people stay and thrive in an organization. And he ‘s the reason why people leave. When people leave they take knowledge,experience and contacts with them, straight to the competition.

” People leave managers not companies ,” write the authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.

Mostly manager drives people away?

HR experts say that of all the abuses, employees find humiliation the most intolerable. The first time, an employee may not leave,but a thought has been planted. The second time, that thought gets strengthened. The third time, he looks for another job.

When people cannot retort openly in anger, they do so by passive aggression. By digging their heels in and slowing down. By doing only what they are told to do and no more. By omitting to give the boss crucial information. Dev says: “If you work for a jerk, you basically want to get him into trouble. You don ‘t have your heart and soul in the job.”

Different managers can stress out employees in different ways – by being too controlling, too suspicious,too pushy, too critical, but they forget that workers are not fixed assets, they are free agents. When this goes on too long, an employee will quit – often over a trivial issue.

Talented men leave. Dead wood doesn’t.

When you start a business,the first thing which comes to mind is raising capital.Every person has ideas but most of the ideas don’t get implemented either because they don’t get capital to implement the idea or they are not serious about it’s implementation.Well,I am sure that I would be facing a similar problem for my own idea especially,when we try to scale up.As far the initial funding is considered,it can come from your family members or your close friends.

Just happened to see WebMarketingPlan where Paul A. Broni of Mercury Partners Inc. points out “The 5 lessons to avoid Business plan mistakes” (the important learnings) which are given below:

a. Submitting the Plan to the Wrong People
Check if the investor or the lender has an interest in your business.This can be done by making a call or just sending an introductory email.If you have a referal from accountant,banker than it gives you a better chance.An unsolicited plan would just lie at the bottom of the pile and would not be shown any interest.

b. Incomplete Executive Summary
Every investor would be interested in your executive summary and this should be present at the last in your Business Plan.Also,it should not exceed more than 2-3 pages.It should be broken into five sections given below:

  • The Opportunity
  • The Solution
  • Management
  • Market Size and Share Expectations
  • Financing Need and Exit Strategy

c. Weak Management
One of the sections that all investors will read first is the discussion on management. If you do not have direct, significant experience in the industry in which you’re trying to start your business, add someone to the management team who makes up for your weakness.Either agree to hire full-time executives or bring skilled directors onto the board.Venture capitalists, on the other hand, are not likely to invest until the management team is complete.

d. Unreasonable Financial Projections
All lenders and investors are accustomed to seeing financial projections that go in only one direction — up!!!While every business owner and entrepreneur has the best of intentions when preparing a forecast for the next five years, it is seldom realistic to assume that sales will grow by 50-100% YOY.Hence,before exposing your projections be sure that your business projections are reasonable as well as realistic

e. Greed
Nothing will ruin a deal faster than greed. If your business is little more than an idea at this point, it is not feasible to value the company at more than a few million dollars. If your plan is to raise $2 million in exchange for 10% of the business (i.e., a $20 million valuation), you are going to have a tough time attracting the interest of venture capitalists and angel investors.Spend less time getting worried about the valuation today and focus on increasing scaling up your business for the future.

You can read the complete article here