The Times Of India,19/07/2007 had an article on “Blogging safe” where they have mentioned some of the points,which bloggers can take care of while blogging.Some of the things are worth taking note of,while I would disagree on some of the tips given by them.However,this could be a useful resource to the guys new to the field of blogging.

Below is the complete article(had to copy-paste the complete article since,you need a IndiaTimes ID to access the page)

Blogs are like personal telephone calls crossed with newspapers. If you’ve blogged about something controversial, say a bad co-worker, chances are you’d want to keep things as anonymous as possible. Here then are some techniques that will help you be the Artful Dodger by which can endlessly rant against a faulty set up and not end up with an egg on your face.

Blog Carefully (Agree 50-50)
Use a pseudonym and don’t give away any identifying details. When you write about your workplace (a popular choice), be sure not to give away telling details. These include things like where you are located, how many employees there are, and the specific sort of business you do. Even general details can give away a lot. If, for example, you write, ‘I work at an unnamed TV news channel in Mumbai’ it’s probably now clear that you work in one of a few places. So be smart. Instead, you might say that you work in media. Keep it vague. Don’t post pictures of yourself. And don’t use pseudonyms that sound like the real names they are based on. And remember that almost any kind of personal information can give your identity away — you may be the only one at your workplace with a particular birthday, or with a certain pet. Also, if you are concerned about your colleagues finding out about your blog, do not blog while you are at work. Period. You could get in trouble for using company resources like an internet connection to maintain your blog, and it will be very hard for you to argue that the blog is a work related activity.

Use Anonymising Technologies(Agree 50-50)
There are a number of technical solutions for the blogger who wishes to remain anonymous. Invisiblog is a service that offers anonymous blog hosting for free. You may create a blog there with no real names attached. Even the people who run the service will not have access to your name. If you are worried that your blog hosting service may be logging your unique IP address and thus tracking what computer you’re blogging from, you can route your internet traffic through what’s called an ‘overlay network’ that hides your IP address. More importantly, this makes it difficult for snoops on the internet to follow the path your data takes and trace it back to you. Anonymizer offers a free downloaded ‘Anonymous Surfing,’ which routes your internet traffic through an anonymizing server and can hide your IP address from the services hosting your blog.

Use Ping Servers(Completely agree)
If you want to protect your privacy while getting news out quickly, try using ping servers to broadcast your blog entry for you. Pingomatic is a tool that allows you to do this. The program will send out notice (a ‘ping’) about your blog entry to several blog search engines. Once those sites list your entry, which is usually within a few min utes,you can take the entry down. Thus the news gets out rapidly and its source can evaporate within half an hour. This protects the speaker while also helping the blog entry reach people fast.

Limit Your Audience(Strongly disagree)
Many blogging services, allow you to designate individual posts or your entire blog as available only to those who have the password, or to people whom you’ve designated as friends.

Register Your Domain Name Anonymously (Agree 50-50)
Even if you don’t give your real name or personal information in your blog, people can look up the records for your domain name and find out who you are. If you don’t want anyone to do this, consider registering your domain name anonymously. The Online Policy Group (OPG) offers privacy protective domain name registration which could be used for the same.

Blog Without Getting Fired (Completely agree)
A handful of bloggers have recently discovered that their labours of love may lead to unemployment. By some estimates, dozens of people have been fired for blogging, and the numbers are growing every day. The bad news is that in many cases, there is no legal means of redress if you have been fired for blogging. While you have freedom of speech, it does not regulate what private parties (such as most employers) do.

Blog away!!! (Agree)
Blogs are getting a lot of attention these days. You can no longer safely assume that people in your offline life won’t find out about your blog, if you ever could. New RSS tools and services mean that it’s even easier than ever search and aggregate blog entries. As long as you blog anonymously and in a work-safe way, what you say online is far less likely to come back to hurt you.

Happy and SAFE Blogging !!!

Few days back, there was a post on my blog , where I had mentioned about the book “Dabawalas”,which has entered into the list of “My Must Read” books.There were some of the business learnings which could be taken from this book which are mentioned here.Now, some of the learnings from the author Mr Shrinivas Pandit himself.Below is the copy of the email written by me(to the author) which has the feedback on the book,along with the key learnings which I got from the book.The other email is the reply from Mr Pandit,where he touches on some more aspects of business(a must read)

Mail to Mr Pandit

Reply from Mr Pandit


With this mail,Mr Pandit has sent out one more message “How to keep customers happy

biggrin

From Technical–>Management–>Business–>Entrepreneurship,books have become an integral part of my daily life.I have my own share of favorites but there are other wanna-be entrepreneurs(like me) who have already compiled their list to make life simple for others wink Below is the list of top 18 recommendations for wanna be Entrepreneurs compiled by Mahesh Pidshetti(another Entrepreneur in the making).
  1. The Strategy Paradox by Michael E. Raynor
  2. Why Smart Executives Failed in 2003 [ Motorola Irridium Story ] by Sydney
  3. Make the Move by Ishan Gupta and Rajat Khare
  4. Founders at work by Jessica Livingston
  5. Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators. [ Recommended ] by Vijay Govindarajan
  6. Art of Start. By Guy Kawasaki
  7. Purple Cow by Seth Godin
  8. Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin
  9. The Art of Deal by Donald Trump
  10. The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Laura Ries
  11. The 33 Strategy of Wars by Robert Greene
  12. Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch
  13. All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin
  14. Know How by Ram Charan
  15. The Chasm Companion by Paul Wiefels
  16. The Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
  17. Microsoft Rebooted. by Robert Slater [ MUST READ ]
  18. Business @ Speed of Thought. By Bill Gates

Thanks Mahesh, now I can definitely see many books are missing in my library biggrin

Many times,I get this question from many people(be it colleagues, friends, family and many more) as to why I blog?Yes,I do have Google Ads on my blog,but I hardly get few $(or should I say Cents) out of it neutral, than why should I spend so much energy and time on my blog.My answer is pretty simple and straightforward:

Blog is a means to express your thoughts.Different people blog for different reasons eg. some people use it as a marketing tool, some use it as a personal diary, some use it as a means of sharing knowledge and experience, some use to get their bread and butter and so on.I blog to send the message across to the audience out there about the ideas that I have in mind which helps me in connecting with like minded people.I have made many friends through my blog with whom I constantly interact and it is nice talking and mailing each one of them neutral

I was curious to know about why many others blog? While looking out for other’s opinions,I came across this post on the Taragana Blog , which clearly explains the motive behind blogging.

Not to forget, Blogging improves your communication skills and give you more confidence to address people in an audience.Also, blogging helps you in improving your attitude that you have towards your career as well as your personal life.But there is something more than that , what blogging can bring in you…Yes,it bring the Entrepreneurial instincts in you and hones your leadership skills.In fact,Liz Manifesto in her post, mentions that “Every Blogger is an Entrepreneur” and the reason is quite simple : “The more you blog,the more you need to read and the more you read,more you get knowledge which helps in widening your horizon

Out of her 10 points,following points grabbed my attention(and my take on why those points are so important for the blogger community)

Great entrepreneurs know that a strong business stands on authentic relationships. Great bloggers are great at those.
-This is where like mindedness comes into picture and there cannot be any other tool available apart from blog which can help you doing this!!!

Great entrepreneurs realize that their business is only about choosing for their customers in what they say, what they do, how they smile, and every detail of what they offer and what they choose. Great bloggers configure their blogs to meet their customers, not the other way around.
-Comments are an integral part of blogs.Bloggers love getting comments and also getting criticized sometimes.How many times,you chat with someone who reads your blog and ask the feedback on the quality since many times,after blogging for some time,your idea tank gets exchausted and this is where our blog customers(blog readers) come for our rescue.

Great entrepreneurs know that the best marketing is paying attention to the folks who already know who you are and want to help you be the best you can be — listening to your evangelists. Great bloggers are great listeners. It’s inspiring to watch them.
-This makes me remind of this post on MetroBlogging Bangalore,where I just questioned the business aspect of the hotel but I got comments which were against me.I could have easily replied to each and every comment,but the best solution was to be mum and observe how readers react.The sad part was none of them agreed that the business tactics was not correct!!!In the same place, if a reader of my blog would have read this post,he/she would have easily noticed the noticed that I was questioning business policy,rather than Bangalore neutral So,bloggers need to know when to react and when not to react!!!

In a nutshell , every blogger is an Entrepreneur!!!
Read the complete list of 10 points
here

Question to every blogger:
Why do you blog and how has it changed your life or personality?

After BlogCamp, BarCamp, WikiCamp,Proto now comes another season of Unconference.This time there is an workshop style unconference on Podcasting named PodWorks ,which would touch upon topics from “basics of podcasting” to “podcasting in Business”.

What is PodWorks?
PodWorks is a 2-day workshop styled unconference dedicated to the sharing of knowledge around new / social media (audio and video podcasting, blogging, more. It’s a successor to the extremely successful BlogCamp that was held in September 9 & 10,2006.The event is scheduled on June 9th and 10th,2007.The venue is as usual “Tidel Park in Chennai”

Team behind Podworks?
Needless to mention this since,”The Knowledge Foundation(TKF)” has taken the complete responsibility of bringing this complete Unconference atmosphere to India.Kiruba,Syed,Sunil… you guys rock !!!

Topics at PodWorks:
This time around , there would be a fixed set of topics that would be covered unlike other unconferences where topics were decided on the venue.One of the likely reasons for this change could be the knowledge of podcasting among the participants(at least I am new to podcasting cry )You can find the list of topics here

Where to register?
Registration for Podworks here.
Also, join the mailing list of Podworks to get the latest updates on Podworks and other Unconferences happening in India.

Take Aways from Podworks:
Social and Business networking, knowledge on Blogging and Podcasting and not to forget enjoyment of the free WiFi internet in Tidel Park,Chennai smile

Happy Unconferencing and Podcasting!!!

With the growing no of startups coming out of India,India has been under a scanner by VCs.The VC arm of IBM is positive about India and below is an excerpt from the article in Economic Times

Innovation in India is growing at a rapid pace, in fact faster than how it was in China when we went there a couple of years ago. So we are looking to tie up with a few VC firms including a couple of local VC players to help us identify innovative companies and technology,’’ IBM Venture Capital Group MD Claudia Fan Munce told Economc Times.

Read the complete article here

Related Article:
60,000 IT workers return home from Silicon Valley

Ever since,I met Rajesh Setty during my first unconferenceBlog Camp in Chennai,I have been following his blog,post after post.He is one of the most influential persons, I have met,very elegant yet very down to earth.You can know about Rajesh Setty here

This post comes from his blog and is based on his book “Life Beyond Code” , where he mentions about 25 ways to distinguish yourself,which are mentioned below:

1. Care as if it’s your own
2. Do your daily work with passion
3. Build strong relationships
4. Dream BIG!!!
5. Set the right expectations (Under promise and Over deliver)
6. Ask for help(when needed)
7. Celebrate small victories:

We know that:
a) Failure is the stepping stone of success.
b) It’s NOT not falling down but standing up every time we fall down that matters.
c) A bend in the road is not the end of the road.

8.Set high standards:
Always try to prove that you are the best to your ownself.Setting high standards would always help you to perform better
9. Know your values
10. Pursue right memberships:
Right memberships would pay off big time..May be,unconferences , TiE could also come in this category
11. Help people,help themselves:

People are happy when their problem is solved but they will be delighted when they learn how to solve it themselves.

12. Be a reader:
This point is amazing.As Rajesh says “Every good leader is a reader.Most of the people don’t read”.Once you have the right set of books with you,than you don’t need any other motivation
13. Plan by outcomes
14. Think long term:
We overestimate what we can achieve in a day and we underestimate what we can achieve in a year
15. Embrace uncertainty with ease:
There is more help than you will ever need but only if you are humble enough to ask. For that, you need to develop an attitude to embrace uncertainty with ease.
16. Ask the right questions:

Questions have great power. One right question asked at the right time can change the direction of our lives. Hence, the quality of the questions that we ask ourselves is VERY important.It is for the same reason that we need to choose our company very carefully. If we are surrounded with the right people and for some reason miss asking the right questions, someone in our group might ask the right question for us.

17. Engage with a coach:
It is very important to be guided by the right mentor or coach.This would have a positive effect on your business
18.Be relevant
19. Get back on your feet fast(Failures are stepping stone to success):
I can easily this point to the current happenings in my life(personal and professional,both are filled with “N” no of failures) but this is really refreshing and motivating smile.Failures happen and you will fail or fall down at times. If you want to distinguish yourself, learn to get back on your feet fast every time you fall down.
20. Lead a volunteer effort:
21. Balance innovation and Continuous improvement:
Whenever an innovation project succeeds, the next immediate step would be to put that project on a “continuous improvement” roadmap. Because no project is really “complete”.So, in summary a good framework can be “Innovation > Continuous Improvement >
Innovation”.
22. Learn to sell:
Every person is a salesman some sell skills at workplace,some sell ideas….
23. Learn systems thinking:
Systems thinking, in essence, is an understanding of the system as a whole and the mutual interaction of the underlying parts of the system.
24. Walk away from free:
Nothing comes for free though in some cases the price that you pay is not money.So get rid of things that come for Free !!
25. Influence the influencers

Found motivating and intersting than you can download the pdf of the complete article from here

Many times, you might have seen me mentioning Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin and few other writers/Entrepreneurs , whom I really admire lol.But after reading Dabawalas by Mr Shrinivas Pandit(or should I say Shrinivas Sahib as he is mentioned in the book),he has also joined the list of my favourite authors.Before jumping into some of the intersting learnings from the book,let me tell you something about the book.

Sneak preview of “Dabawalas By Mr Shrinivas Pandit”:
For some of the people,Dabawalas would be a new terminology.Daba is loosely called as Tiffin and Dabawalas is a story about a 115 year old successful business operation carried out by 5000 semi-literate people.These are the people who deliver Tiffin(Daba) from one place to another in Mumbai working under very tight schedule.You can know more about Daba here.Not to forget,they are Six Sigma certified about which you can find here
It is a book which focuses on their growing business and how the business is managed,though there is no designated CEO for the business.For people who have lived and traveled in the packed trains of Mumbai,this would be a very familiar sight in the luggage compartments of the local trains.For more information on Dabawalas,check this post on Mangalore City Blog

Insight into the book:
The book is written by Shrinivas Pandit and is based on a conversation between Shrinivas(called S),Anita(A),Raghu(R),Ganga(G) on the entire Daba business.So who are A,R,G:
Anita Dalal – Refered “A” is a journalist and a well known business consultant based in Mumbai
Raghu and Ganga- Refered “R” and “G” respectively,are the dabawalas working for “Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Supplier’s Charity Trust”
The book gives an insight into some of the business strategies followed by dabawalas along with the ethics they follow,how they win customers by winning their hearts and last but not the least,when should we accept innovation and how it can be used for the betterment of the business.The book is very well organized with a message being communicated with every chapter.The only possible drawback could be Marathi being used in the book(though they have translated in English but could be a turn-off for some of the readers).
At end of every chapter,there is a section called “Take Aways”(or learnings) which I found very striking and hence felt that I should list some of them here….so keep on reading.

Take Aways from the book:
Note:The post would be long yet interesting…so do read it completely

1.
Current Practice:
In last 25-30 years,people have become habituated to eating outside food for lunch,out of necessity,convinience or fashion
Current Opportunity:
With increased health conciousness and basic preference for home cooked food,there is an opportunity to start newer,cost effective delivery services.

2.
Current Practice:
Most of the organizations,whether public,private,public or cooperative sectors,run on the lines of a master-servant relationship.The employees do not have a stake in the organization’s survival and thus,do not develop Entrepreneurial skills or passion
Current Opportunity:
When the organization is set up on the principle that everybody is a shareholder;there is passion,commitment and responsibility for developing business in cooperation with other groups

3.
Current Practice:
A large number of business leaders do not study the supply demand market economics.When massive waves of change hit the market,they crumble.They fail to forecast changing scenarios and what would be durable in such situations
Current Opportunity:
Leaders with vision are constantly looking out for trends so as to keep their bread and butter lines of business intact.They are focused on finding what is durable in the times of change.They act upon strengthening their niche areas with constant innovation.

4.
Current Practice:
Very few organizations study their supply chain management practices.Such study from procurement of raw materials to finished product show many on-line variables are outsourced in this logistically interdependent world.It identifies the gaps that need to be met for timely delivery.
Current Opportunity:
Organizations that have an end to end broad perspective of their supply chain management are able to do a lot of cost-cutting and quality improvement in their deliverables

5.
Current Practice:
The work in any business organization consists of endless meetings,emails,phone calls combined with clutter of mechanization and computerization.The resultant service product at the low end of the technological structure is neither very efficient nor cost effective to the customer.
Current Opportunity:
Use technology when needed not otherwise.We need not import every work practice from abroad.Think global about the efficiency through automation and computerization,but act local to increase efficiency through creative efforts like dabawalas using cycles instead of mopeds.

6.
Current Practice:
Most of the organizations have a centralised decision-making for resource allocation and business development.This leads to deskilling of employee capabilities,apart from lowering their motivation to complete tasks independently
Current Opportunity:
Decentralize to empower and deliver your product at the minimum cost to the customer.If you have a mindset based on the Gandhian model of interdependent co-creation,where machine comes next to man,it is possible to provide cost effective service to the customers.

7.
Current Practice:
In the current scenario,the mortality of the organizations is high because many times the people there do not change their ways.They continue past practices even when the ground reality changes drastically.
Current Opportunity:
Organizations that survive this change are those where people are prepared to learn new techniques amd skills to enhance their levels of competence.They cherish the old methods,but embrace new ways of doing things.

8.
Current Practice:
Services have become prohibitive in cost,unreliable and inefficient for customers at the middle and bottom of the social pyramind.This is because of the excessive use of modern gadgetry,excessive consideration of ROI and the indifferent attitiude of the personnel in most organizations.
Current Opportunity:
In the hierarchy of human needs,a cost effective and affordable service is of prime importance,when we are sandwiched by high unemployment rates and an aging population.The huge demand for such services can be met by adopting a customer-centric approach based on the principle of subsistence and not profit

9.
Current Practice:
The customer service,whether of mobile phone or washing machine companies,cable operators or any others is expensive,time consuming and not very dependable.
Current Opportunity:
Any company providing service to it’s customers that sincerely believes customer is God,will make it’s service delivery dependable.In doing so,it will win customer loyalty.

10.
Current Practice:
Bad service brings down the brand value of a company so much that it loses it’s competitive edge.
Current Opportunity:
Run your service set-ups,whether in-company or outsourced on the principle of efficient service.Ensure that the mindset of the staff is devotional towards work.

11.
Current Practice:
Many organizations make tall claims about their record of exemplary service to customers but real feedback does not support such claims.
Current Opportunity:
There can be global recognition for an error free durable local service.The local bonding between service providers and clients leads to global bonding.Entrepreneurs,VC’s and business leaders all over the world looking for innovative ideas can find a few there.

12.
Current Practice:
If you look at the mountains of complaints made by customers receiving any kind of actual service,you realise that service for the most part is impersonal and careless
Current Opportunity:
The service sector business has 50% growth potential in the total future economic growth.To realise this,we need to transform our mindset and start providing service that solves customer problems.

Finally, an interesting saying from Narayan Murthy : “Technology is about reducing cost,improving productivity and bringing comfort to the people”.Who needs that more than the poor?

Some of the points may look disconnected but still each and every takeaway has a message which helps in business improvement.Before I close this long post,I would say it is an excellent resource at a very cheap price(Rs 145),which touches the crux of business (something like what Dr C K Prahalad had done in “Fortune At the Bottom of the Pyramid”)