Has been almost close to one week after the collective edition of BCB4 and almost most of the bloggers have already blogged about the event.For me,I was thinking about what to blog about this unconference?This unconference, I was juggling between the Startups Collective and the blogger’s collective.Apart from networking,some of the things which were interesting(and worth mentioning) are given below:

a. Startup story of Sloka Telecom:
This is the first time,I heard Sujai Karampuri,CEO of Sloka Telecom speaking about his startup and believe me, it was the attraction of BCB4.Everyone(including me) was glued on the seat.He narrated his journey from US(where he stayed for 9 years) to India(where he started Sloka Telecom) through self-funding.The moments of his talk to cherish were:

1. His faith on the Indian Entrepreneurial ecosystem.Sloka is very confident about building a product ecosystem in India.
2. He spoke about how he had spent a huge amount of money for his honeymoon and the hardships that he(and his family) has faced during his Entrepreneurial jouney.One statement I remember(word to word) is “Two years back,when I(refers to Sujai) used to leave my house,I felt today is the last day of Sloka but I stood by the company(and gave faith to my people) that we would survive and do well…and now we are generating revenues !!!” He received a big applause when he told this(very openly and with all the emotions) in front of the crowd smile
3. He touched upon the most common topic i.e Services and Product companies in India about which he has already blogged here…The example was a quite evident one,Infosys,established way before Google‘s existence generates less revenues than its latter counterpart.So,if you want to move at a faster pace,than build a product which makes a meaning else investors are very happy to fund you,if you have a services company cry
4. Someone in the crowd asked “How do you recruit people for a startup?” and “How to you inject passion in them?” and his answer was universal “Passion cannot be injected !!!” …I also added a point saying “Only if the person is passionate than he would contact you to work in your company and these are the guys who are needed in a startup
5. The talk ended with the future of Sloka where he clearly sent out the message “We want to be the leaders in WiMax” and Sloka has a long way to go(by taking small steps)!!! So,is Sloka growing to get acquired? No not all !!!

Since,I had spoken to Sujai in Proto,I knew he is doing a fantastic job but after this talk,my respect for him reached newer heights and as he ended his talk,he was given a huge round of applause!!!

b. Real Power of Blogs:
For me,blog is second part of me and I really love my blog…Being a shy person,it was difficult to talk to people but with blogging,that shyness has vanished and I dream big as well as sometimes,be a motivator for some people!!!This barCamp,I met many people(which I would mention in the networking part of this article),whose blogs I read and some who read my blog…But few things surprised me:
1. Blogging is really powerful:
Honestly,I have asked few bloggers for a direct link exchange and one of them is Alok Srivastava,the ex-alumini from ISB and the winner of the Startups.in contest(where I also won the book).Being from Delhi,I never imagined I would talk to him,that too face to face…But he recognized me in the BCB4 crowd and it was nice talking to him about business.If that was not enough,he disclosed about him joining a startup(name deliberately kept confidential) and I was the very first blogger to write about that startup on my blog surprised
2. Blogging as a recruitment tool:
I personally like to maintain a nice bonding with my readers and it was a great feeling when I got to know that Piyush Gupta– an Entrepreneur(in the making) has joined a startup.Sometimes blogs can be more useful than mass media wink .Nowadays, bloggers having excellent blogs are considered as ideal people for a startup and Piyush was one of the bloggers in this space…This news made me feel that “Blogging can be an excellent recruitment platform” !!!

c. Demo of BabaLife:
Interesting website and should not be termed as a social networking site…Check it out here.

d. My Interview with Mutiny:
Jerry from Mutiny found my introduction at Blogger’s meet very interesting and decied to take a small interview where the focus was blogging.The interview lasted for around 2 minutes and some people felt that I had mugged up everything sad You can check the interview here For me,the speed with which I spoke I felt as if I am making an Elevator Pitch to get more visitors to my blog wink

e. Networking,Networking and more Networking:
Apart from my old blogger friends Ashwin,Sridhar Rao, Vibhash, Anbu Sivam, Rajan, Rajiv ; BCB4 was an excellent Networking event and some of the interesting people with whom I interacted with are:

  1. Alok Srivatsava
  2. Ashish Sinha
  3. Suresh Bhagavatula
  4. Lavanya Vishwanath
  5. Entire Mutiny team (you guys rock !!!)
  6. Thejesh GN
  7. Hrish Thota
  8. Jayanth
  9. Ramjee Ganti
  10. The Entire Chennai crew Kiruba,Vijay Anad,Ganesh App …..

What other bloggers have blogged about the event:

  1. Piyush : Demoing the product at BarCamp
  2. Sridhar : BCB-4 Summary of my experience
  3. Genious@Play : BarCamp-4 Day-2
  4. Thejesh GN : Look Maa I am on Mutiny
  5. Jerry – Some moments from BCB4
  6. Lavanya – Some things only get better
  7. Ashwin – Entrepreneurship at Home
  8. Anbusivam – Day 2@BarCamp Bangalore 4
  9. Sharmaji – BarCamp Bangalore – 4

Just came across an interesting and pictorial presentation on Business Models development.Excellent material but my “very” favourite slides were:
  1. Open Business Models # Slide 58
  2. Business process outsourcing “up-side down” in India # Slide 62

Enjoy the complete presentation wink !!!

My current read “Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble Robert Scoble & Shel Israel” was one of the most awaited books in my library biggrin Scoble, the Channel-9 creator has truly touched on all the aspects of blogging and is must read for any blogger!!!

Chapter#12 (How not to get Dooced) contains “The Corporate weblog Manifesto” , is a must read for corporate bloggers and how they can use blogs to strengthen their relationship with customers.Below is the complete manifesto:

Tell the Truth,whole truth and nothing but the truth.If your competitor has a better product than link to it.They might also do a link exchange.

Post fast on both good as well as bad news.If someone says something bad about the product , link to it before the second of third site does-and answer it’s claims as best as you can.Same , if there is some good news about your product.It’s all about building a long-term trust.

Use a Human Voice.Don’t get corporate lawyers and PR professionals to modify your speech. We can tell,believe me. Plus, you’ll be too slow. If you’re the last one to post, the joke is on you! If we don’t see an occasional typo , we’ll start to wonder if you are really human rolleyes

Make sure that you support the latest software/web/human standards.If you don’t know what they are,find about them.

Have a thick skin.Don’t try to write a corporate blog unless you can’t answer all the questions(good or bad) , professionally and quickly.

Seek out as many grassroots news resources as possible so that you know what is being discussed in the areas of interest to you.

Talk to grassroots first.The reason being , the mainstream press cruises weblogs looking for stories and looking for people to quote.People trust stories that have quotes from multiple stories , they don’t trust press releases.

If you screw up something,acknowledge it fast.Also,give a plan to unscrew it and than deliver.

Under promise and over deliver (Here,lies the key)

Know your influencer’s, salesmen, connectors of your marketplace.If you can’t connect to them during the stage of crisis than you shouldn’t try maintaining a corporate weblog.

Never change your weblog’s URL.If at all this is done,it would take several months to build up the same patterns and trust.

If your life is in turmoil and/or you are unhappy than don’t write.This would affect the writing quality in subtle ways and your readers would notice.

If you don’t have answers , say a no.Not having answers is human but get them and exceed expectations.

Never lie.You’ll get caught and hence,would lose credibility.

Never hide information.Just like space shuttle engineers,your information will get out and would loose credibility.

If you have any information that might get you in a lawsuit,consult a lawyer before posting and make it fast.

Link to your competitors and say nice things about them.Just try to be better than your competitors.

Be nice to everyone.When a big fish comes along,most people do whatever to keep the big fish happy.It is better to be nice to everyone and not just the big fish.

Be the authority of your product/company.You should know more about your product than anyone, if you’re writing a weblog about it.If there are others who know more than you, than better link them !!!

Know who is talking to you.Use services like Technorati, Pubsub….to see who they are?

Be transparent.Show you have nothing to hide.Blogging is a great way to build relationships with the other people, and nothing builds trust and confidence like people who demonstrate they aren’t hiding anything.

Build relationships offline too.If people get to know you face to face , they’ll stick by your side more often than not.Spend time in blogger meetups and conferences.

Disclose all conflicts and biases.Being transparent with your readers about your conflicts and/or biases will help you remain credible.Own a stock in your company,write about it.Get taken to dinner by a company or a person because your blog? Write about it….

Don’t blog on demand.Your blog is your own hence , always make sure that it is you who is writing somethings and not someone else.You are responsible for the content that goes on your blog.

Keep confidences.If someone says “This is not for your blog”, than don’t write about it.Set ground rules upfront for any conversation.It’s not fair for people to give you a demo and afterward say “You’re not going to put this on your blog, are you?”

Be clear when you are speaking for your company.If you’re writing a personal blog,sometimes the company might want you to write something on it.If this happens than be very clear about the role change.Also,when you’re writing your own opinion of it, it is better to say “This is my own opinion” or some other qualifier to make sure your readers understand that the information is not vetted or approved.

Demonstrate passion.Post frequently.

Respond to your readers.Read your comments,check for your referer log frequently and link back to those who are talking to you.Link to others and they would return the gesture.

Be ethical.Read and follow Charlene Lis and Allan Jenkins ethics policies.They would help you avoid ethical dilemmas.

Realize that you don’t have free speech.Your writing will be judged under the legal standards for corporate speech,especially if you are an executive of the company, so you must take care to be acccurate in terms of Product claims.

Have a conversation to your manager about blogging before you start and find out what kinds of blogging, he or she will defend.

It is always risky to attack the boss.Do it sparingly.Do with your eyes open and expect backlash.

Be careful with the legal issues.Commenting on legal issues is very risky.Be very careful when you comment in such blogs.Remember that blogs are read worldwide by people who might not see things the way they see them.

If you want to change something about the world, than ask yourself “How will I best get the change I want?”.Realize it’s easier to change your company from inside than outside.

Now as July is nearing it’s end , here is the list of my picks for this month

Related Links:

  1. Spawners April,2007
  2. Spawners May,2007
  3. Spawners February,2007

After a busy Collective schedule at the BarCamp Bangalore4 (about which there would be a brief article tomorrow) , there were many surprises (for me) that were seen in BCB4 as compared to other BCB’s.
The biggest surprise to me was many people knew me because of my blog and were very happy to see me as ThoughtsPrevail lol Looking at the frequency of the posts, few people(with whom I interacted) felt that I am a FULL TIME BLOGGER !!! I had one answer that “Blogging is like the holy relation of marriage,where the blog and the author(of the blog) should lead a happy married life wink. This means that if you take blogging very seriously and passionately,you get addicted to it and you would never know when you become a Blog Addict !!! I would definitely add myself in the list of Blog Addicts since,the first thing which comes to my mind in the morning is what would be my new blog article

Just came across an interesting article on “Blogger’s Blog” that has a list of 5 questions and if you answer 3 of them in affrimation,that you can proudly consider yourself a Blog Addict exclaim

  1. You have more blog friends than ‘real life’ friends. YES
  2. You’re blogging in your head before you fall asleep. YES
  3. Your out of town husband and you converse in your blog’s comments. NA
  4. You tell your friends and family things like, “I’ll ping you and you ping me back,” or “Okay, I want to trackback on your last comment…” NO
  5. You blog in your head an event that’s happening at that very moment! YES
Hurray, ThoughtsPrevail is an effort of a Blog Addict !!! To add one more feather to your cap,you can also check out Blue Blooded Blogging , which touches on the passion of Blogging and says:

“Blue-Blooded Blogger” is not just about the addiction, but more on the passion and love for blogging and everything related to it.You can have a look at this new terminology called Blue Blooded Blogging here.

In a nutshell,as a blogger I am a Blog Addict as a well as a “Blue Blooded Blogger”

You can download the BBB badge from here.So,Try out,if you are one of the addicts in the Blogosphere and also spread this addiction message to others in the Blogosphere !!!

Blogging and Podcasting has become a big phenomenon everywhere,be it IT,ITES,mainstream media and on & on…Every bloggger when he/she looks down their continual blogging journey,they would find a huge maturity being developed over a perriod of time.Maturity in naive terms could be changes with respect to your personality,your confidence,your communication….Be whatever is the theme of the blog(personal/IT/Business..), it is sure that initially your blog would not be known to others in the blogosphere , which means there are no readers(or customers) of your blog.This means that you are the bottom of the pyramid and now comes all the energy(and planning) to move your blog up the value chain biggrin So, your newly created blog is your own BABY or should I call your startup?

Isn’t Blogging related to Startup? Below are some of lessons a blogger learns over a period of time,which are the key elements to any startup:

  1. Market Study
  2. Bootstrapping your blog
  3. Brand Building
  4. Marketing (reach out people)
  5. Get Customer feedback
  6. Revenue Model
  7. Mentorship & Ecosystem building

a. Market Study:
You have decided to take a plunge into Blogging but don’t know where to start? Some say Blogger is good and for others WordPress is better(and yes it is open source).Other bloggers say “Better to have your own domain name?” and list of suggestions keep on coming.This in turn helps you interact with lot of bloggers and check up,where the technology is heading and plus,who knows the people with whom you have interacted will be your future readers(or customers).

b. Bootstrapping your blog:
When you have a startup,the initial hurdle is bootstrapping your startup.So,after the initial market study,you have decided to have your own domain name.If you are still in your teens,you have to hunt out for that initial sum to register your domain.You reach out parents,friends or others in your locality(and trying to convince them for the amount and ROI you would fetch through your blog.You haven’t made a business plan but still learnt lot of aspects about funding

c. Brand Building:
So,you have done the market study,done the bootstrapping.Bigger confusion now,what should be the blog URL?Will my target be just the local audience or would it address the international community as well? So,you need a Blog name that is easy to be spelt/easy to search on Google or one which would be recognized by international audience as well.Need to build a band image for your blog which is very much needed at each and every phase of a startup.

d. Marketing (reach out people):
Now,you are ready with few posts,but you are not getting enough readership.Oops,you have not marketed your blog?You now build a strategy to get more readers(so called customers).This in turn helps you to polish you marketing skills and build a larger customer base biggrin

e. Get Customer feedback:
Now after effective marketing,you have managed to build a larger customer-base.But with this comes lot of suggestions or feedback.You being the founder of your blog,have to figure out which comment/feedback to incorporate in your blog.Thus,blog helps you form a strong communication channel between you(as a blog owner) and your readers(who are the customers of your blog).

f. Revenue Model:
(Note: This is only applicable for people who are blogging for money)
You have a blog , marketed it and built a strong customer base(same readers do turn back,which is very motivating for your startup).As many say “If you have a Good idea,money follows you” but if that does not happen,you would now need to have proper model in place.Should I put Google Ads, Text Link Ads or Review Me ….Yes, you never knew that doing this, you were building a revenue model,just like every startup has a model.

g. Mentorship and Ecosystem building:
Every Entrepreneur would love to have a mentor.But how does it feel that you(as a blogger), being a mentor?.As you begin to devote more time creating a brand for your blog,you have already built a strong market knowledge !!! Very soon,you would find mails flowing into your mailbox with the new aged bloggers asking for help(guidance).This does not seem to stop with just one blogger but you would be the change agent to many of such new age bloggers. You are now a mentor for these bloggers and are indirectly building a healthy Entrepreneurial Ecosystem,which would have been very difficult without your blog biggrin

These are some random thoughts coming from my startup ThoughtsPrevail,if you have some more thoughts do share them by leaving a comment.

Interesting thoughts by Yogen Dalal,who is the managing director at Mayfield Fund, in Silicon Valley.It is a very motivating podcast where Yogen goes on to refer “A Panwala as an Entrepreneur” and later on “Every Indian as an Entrepreneur“.He also shares his thoughts on some of the Key differences between Silicon Valley and India.

Must for every aspiring Entrepreneur biggrin This podcast made my day !!!

Interview Curtosy : Kamla Bhatt of PodTech