Category Archives: Events

Key Takeaways from Day 3 at Social Media Week, Mumbai

About Social Media Week

Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas, innovations and insights into how social media and technology are changing business, society and culture around the world.

Social Media Week, Mumbai – Day 3 at Todi Mills Social

Day 3 focused on social media for start ups and entrepreneurs.



Image Credit: SMW Mumbai
  • IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program provides technology, business mentoring and go to market support to various startups.
  • Cognitive computing as a tool – Chatbots and other programs work on a similar mechanism, which begins with understanding spoken language, generating hypothesis, suggesting a solution and ability to self learn
  • IBM’s Cognitive Machine – Watson – has 10-12 various functions it can perform ranging from language, speech, image to data insights
  • Using cognitive machine, one can understand the profile, mood, tone and motive of the consumers
  • This technology can also be used for recruitments to figure out personality of the person



Samit Arora, Co-founder – Sales Panda
  • Digital Marketing is one of the cheapest tools available for start-ups
  • Art of using digital marketing is like making a perfect cocktail – you need to try things out, burn some money, before you figure out what works best for your brand
  • By 2025 internet will become like electricity and 1080p HD videos will be consumed on smartphones – video content is need for the day
  • Work on your on page SEO (good content, testimonials) and off page SEO (recommendations, getting vouched by experts)
  • Some free tools which can be used – Google Analytics, Buffer, Hootsuite, Website grader, Adwords
  • Adopt a Keyword strategy – pick up some keywords – all your blogposts should connect with those keywords – they should be in sync
  • Check where the customer gets engaged – is the reaching the website (if not, check uptime), is he bouncing off from landing page (work on your engagement, create a better visual or story), is website responsive to mobiles?
  • Tools for running an email campaign – Upwork, MailChimp, Rapportive
  • Process for Digital Marketing:
  • Assess -> Strategize -> Plan -> Implement -> Optimise



The WHY of Personal Branding: People buy from people. It is next that people buy something else you put forward

  • By speaking about yourself in 5 minutes interaction, you open a possibility to stay connected and be open to further discussions. At that time you can talk about your products/ service, not before that
  • Your presence comes first before the efficiency / performance of your product / service

The HOW of Personal Branding: Be purposeful, programmed, serious.

  • Your online recognition on various social media platforms should be in sync with each other
  • Social media platforms are for giving, not for selling. So be aware you need to give, a lot, before anything comes back to you
  • Markets are in conversations – if people speak, there’s a market. Similarly, if there’s a market, people will speak

The WHAT of Personal Branding: Follow 1:9:90 rule of online marketing. 90% consume content, 9% curate it, 1% creates it. Be a part of 1%.

  • Begin Working out loud – share your work even before its complete and invite feedbacks and collaborations to make it even better
  • Be authentic rather than transparent – share only if it’s relevant to your audience

The WHO of Personal Branding: Richer conversations happen only with fewer people. Find out the following people (follow order of subsets) and engage in conversation with them:

  • Domain Experts
    • People who you know
      • People who share
        • People who respond

The NOW of Personal Branding: There’s no better time to begin than NOW!




Key Takeaways from Day 1 at Social Media Week, Mumbai

About Social Media Week

Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas, innovations and insights into how social media and technology are changing business, society and culture around the world.

Social Media Week, Mumbai – Day 1 at Grand Hyatt Regency


Power of Storytelling in the Landscape of New Media -Vivek Nayer, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

Image Credit: SMW Mumbai
  • Tell stories to customers to build a rapport
  • Short videos are an awesome way to share stories
  • While choosing social media tools check for relevance, context, co-creation abilities (dubsmash), innovation, topicality and interactivity
  • Be authentic and share what does your brand stand for


Power of Communities – Rohit Varma, R Square Consulting

Image Credit: SMW Mumbai
  • Communities already exist. Brands should be looking at how to support them in what they do
  • Plan for long term engagement
  • Encourage people in the communities
  • Personalised communication creates connection and engagement
  • Take opinions and feedbacks seriously

Data with Soul – Samir Pitwala, Culture Machine

Image Credit: SMW Mumbai
  • Analytics is being used for content distribution to relevant audience; now it is increasingly playing an important role in content creation too
  • Bots to interact with consumers and change user experience – they will auto-detect, copy and deduce what consumers want without them telling it
  • Analytics Softwares for content creation – use real time trends, understand vibes and make automated videos for consumption (uses same principle – auto detect, copy, deduce).
  • Six types of Videos – 360 degree videos, live, web series, long form, short form, vertical videos
  • Vertical videos and short form videos are great way to engage consumers





Say Yes to Dry Holi this Year

Shahdev Amte ties a torn dusty cloth on his head and wears his old sandals. He sips a small amount of water from the pot, conscious to avoid the urge of drinking the last pot left and walks out of his hut towards the local dam in his district. He has got accustomed to the scorching heat and his skin cannot be damaged further, given the state is already is in – wrinkled and sun burnt. He looks a decade older than 35. His eyes are dry and filled with hopelessness. As he passes through his barren field, he observes the deep cracks in the soil and the wasted crop seeds which couldn’t blossom due to bad rains. This is the third year this has happened – both kharif and rabi crops haven’t grown and the amount of debt has surpassed a formidable level.  He wonders if there is any other way out of this debt – the government provides a relief of Rs. 1,00,000 on suicide cases; but his debt is more than that. As he reaches the dam, he checks the small amount of water left in the reservoir – close to 6% left. How are we going to make it till June, he wonders.

Some Facts –

  • Maharashtra is facing an unprecedented drought, especially in Marathwada region – CM Devendra Fadnavis
  • Finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar would present the state budget on March 18 and the government’s focus would be on the measures to mitigate the agrarian crisis brought about by successive droughts.
  • The state government has provided Rs 12,000 crore for drought-mitigation in the last one-and-a-half years. The outlay for this year might be more



What are we celebrating?

When our own people are dying due to scarcity of water and failed crops, what are we exactly celebrating this holi? Why such a waste of water which can be used for much better purposes?

We want to do something; but don’t know what. We want to bring a change; but don’t know how! Well, here’s a chance to do something for yourself and for others – Say Yes to Dry Holi this year – avoid using water and convince friends and society members to do the same.

Lets voice solidarity with our farmers and  celebrate life this Holi. Let us shun the use of water and stick to playing dry holi – this is the least we can do from our side and cause an impact.


Will this cause an impact?

Approximately 60 families of three persons each will be able to get water for the entire year if potable and non-potable water tankers are not used in Mumbai for playing holi. (Calculations in the image below) So think about the impact if entire country stands with the farmers!


These numbers do not represent the total amount of water used by Mumbai during Holi – 450 tankers is a low end estimate as majority tanker owners refused to share details of tankers they supplied for rain dance afraid of BMC taking action against them.
With rising number of societies and bigger budgets for grand celebrations, this estimate will go much higher this year.



What I urge you to do:

  1. Sign up for the petition supporting Dry Holi here. All you have to do is provide your name and email ID.
  2. Share this message to all your friends and family members so that they can also be a part of this initiative.
  3. Convince your building secretary to organise a meeting and spread this message in your society. Ask them to sign the petition.
  4. Share your thoughts on water conservation this Holi with the hashtag – #SayYesToDryHoli on your fb wall and twitter.

Tips on how to save water during Holi

# Use water only for bathing once you are done playing with dry colours
# Prefer natural colours as they wash off easily and save water

# Stop playing with balloons
# Play with colours in outdoors so that water usage could be prevented in washing the house floor
# Apply oil on hair and some moisturising lotion to prevent skin from staining

This is just the beginning

We need to look around and find other ways to save water during our routine life too.

Raghuram Rajan on Strengthening Free Enterprise in India

Dr. Raghuram G Rajan, Governor, Reserve Bank of India was the keynote speaker at 13th Nani A. Palkhivala Memorial Lecture, Mumbai on February 4, 2016.

The topic he chose to speak on was Strengthening Free Enterprise in India; apt and in sync with the Government’s efforts to promote entrepreneurship through various incentives and Make In India.

Addressing the audience which was a mix of various demographies, he explained the idea of free enterprise in a lucid way, using simple words instead of jargon to ensure each attendee including college students get the context.

We have our weaknesses and our excesses, but our democracy is self-correcting, and even while some institutions weaken, others come to the fore. India’s is a dynamic society, ever changing, ever rejuvenating. Indeed, the possibilities for free enterprise in India today are probably better than ever before in its history.

Conditions which impact free enterprise have historically thought to be two:

  1. Level playing field with easy entry and exit, and
  2. Protection of property rights.

Dr. Rajan also stressed on two additional points he thought are important for free enterprise to be politically viable.

  1. Broadening access to capabilities, and
  2. A basic safety net.

The following are some excerpts –

1. Level playing field with easy entry and exit

  • Competition leads to efficient outcomes when anyone can enter, set up a firm, and compete. The best entity wins leading to economy wide efficiency
  • Free enterprise and competition combats prejudice and social biases – It’s better that money talks rather than religion as money doesn’t have any odour. Money plays the role of an equalizer – it provides an ability to create choice; one can choose various products, services and vendors irrespective of their background based on their ability and willingness to spend money. eg. Dalit entrepreneurs
  • Government and regulators are needed to set the rules of the game and enforce behavior. Government shouldn’t be biased towards any organisation, or the principle of setting rules in the first place will be lost and will lead to crony capitalism – rich getting richer and poor getting poorer
  • Extent of regulations – To the extent it doesn’t kill small companies. Eg. Italy had a lot of small firms but wasn’t growing as compared to UK. The reason was Italy had too many regulations to be adhered to right from the start whereas UK had regulations as per the size of the organisation, giving small firms time to grow and then be regulated by more rules.
    True job creators in an economy are small firms which grow big, not small firms who stay the same place – hence its important there be minimum regulations at entry level
  • History of India – We have advanced from various issues over the years to empower free enterprise
    • Licence-Permit Raj: Remedy: Liberalization of the 1990s
    • Resources Raj: Privileged access to mines, spectrum, etc. Remedy: Auctions and transparency
    • Inspector Raj: Remedy: Start up India, reducing red tape, entry barriers – Continuing clean-up of laws gives hope, especially as states compete for simplifying regulations
      Idea of free enterprise isn’t a dog eat dog world but right level of regulations
  • Main issues faced by new firms
    • Infrastructure & Logistics – Government needs to invest in power, roads, ports, airports, internet marketplaces to facilitate small firms; eg – large firms can self-generate power for their factories, but small firms can’t
    • Land – Competition between states to get more business and create employment is changing things. Chief Ministers are granting land for factories to entrepreneurs in consultation with farmers of the locality
    • Finance – Large banks do not fund small, new and untried entrepreneurs. That’s where changing technology and small banks and other institutions come into picture. Government planning to create a unique identity for firms too – this will link the credit default history of firms to their promoters, ensuring defaulters never get loan again
  • Uneven playing field when it comes to resolution of distress –
    • There should be an easy exit – so that the living dead firms are allowed to die and the allocated resources can be put to better use
    • Distress rules become very harsh on small entrepreneurs – often leaving them bankrupt
    • Distress rules not competent for large firms as court focuses on revival rather than resolution, promoters find a way out – banks end up taking a hit in their books
    • Anticipating possibility of loan default, banks already account for that in their interest rates, leading to high interest rates on loans – killing businesses; thus wilful defaulters have made borrowing all the more expensive for honest entrepreneurs
    • Operational and speedy bankruptcy code will level the playing field – ensuring separate firms get separate treatment based on their size
  • Emergence of Cartels and Monopoly – A huge threat to free enterprise – This is being well addressed by the Competition Commission of India
  • Reason for these political changes – To create employment which can be created only be small firms which start growing

2. Protection of Property Rights

  • Private property protection needed to incentivize activity
  • Moderate and predictable taxes and estate duties – Government has delivered.
    • Administrative steps to rein in unnecessary tax demands
    • Automation of significant parts of the tax process
  • Retrospective taxation: Clear government statement. However, base erosion and profit shifting – worldwide issue that large corporations need to answer – equal requirement of transparency on corporate side: Need for global agreements

3. Broadening Access to Capabilities

  • Aam aadmi attaches no value to free enterprise if he cannot participate
  • Increasingly, enterprises of the future require employees to have decent education and health
  • Malnutrition curses an individual for life, as does poor early education
  • Effective delivery of social programs so that everyone has the ability to compete is absolutely necessary – Capitalism doesn’t start at age zero, it starts at 21 when you know and are able

4. A Basic Safety Net

  • Need a basic safety net, not focused on firms but on individuals – unemployment insurance, basic healthcare, pensions
  • Should not be prohibitively costly for government
    • Cost entitlements and incorporate into budget liability projections
    • Charge reasonable premiums for insurance
  • Safety net can also encourage people to take risks they would shy away from otherwise


  • The Government is working in the right direction to achieve the above objectives
  • India has come a long way in encouraging free enterprise
  • From tiny shops to large internet start-ups, the spirit of entrepreneurship is alive
  • Doing business is becoming reputable, as is getting rich through entrepreneurship
  • But a lot more work is needed to improve the environment so that everyone has a chance. Rather than looking for special dispensations, business has to push for improving the business environment for everyone. Glad business associations are increasingly doing this
  • As Palkhivala said, India always seems to find the way, perhaps not quickly and not linearly, but in due course


Image Source – Here

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Art of Authentic Story Telling

Two days of Blog Now Live Forever – the most disruptive event in blogging were amazing. Got to learn a lot, meet new people and totally had fun!!

The following were the speakers –
Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden Lead, Pilot, Entrepreneur, Fencer) Christoph Trappe (The Authentic Storytelling Project),
Jeff Bullas (Blogger, Author, Strategist and Speaker – Online content and social media)
Preeti Shenoy (Best selling author)
Arnab Ray (Blogger and Computer scientist)
Anshul Tewari (Founder – YouthKiAwaaz)
Kanan Gill (stand-up comedian and YouTuber)
Purba Ray (Blogger @ A-Musing)

In this post I’ll detail the what, why and how of authentic story telling!

So what are authentic stories?

Authentic stories are not just for selling products/ services. That’s how you can use authentic stories in least possible way. So what falls in the scope of stories – Everything – People, Brands, vision for the company etc. People relate to you, brands, align to visions on basis of how the story appeals them – if they are able to relate to it, they’ll become best marketers for you / your brand / vision. That’s the only differentiating factor left in today’s market – Price and quality are more or less the same.

You can ask an Apple fan why does he love an iphone so much! 😛 Its one conversation he loves to get involved in – He’ll get so passionate about the product that he’ll describe it and fight for it like it’s his own – that’s the power of authentic stories!

Here are some important takeaways to tell authentic stories about you, your brand, your products, your company.

  1. Make up your mind – Decide to be authentic and never look back. Keep no back doors open! Here are some pointers to help you figure out your story. Suppose you want to join a course on the weekends which will help you in your career, here is how you’ll reason with the following pointers
    1. Why do you do it? – To get knowledge to take my career from x to y
    2. Negative Consequences of doing – Losing weekend time to be spent with family
    3. Who needs to buy in? – Family, esp spouse and children

Passion will help you get started, purpose will help you keep going

  1. Determine the need – Some needs aren’t apparent. You need to figure out what do you need the most and prioritise it. There will always be urgent things, the key is to also work on important things alongside. Where you are in your career is great, but what do you need now to take it to the next level? Are you working on it? Make a flow chart with two paths – one where you take actions and choose to aim at the next level and one where you continue to be where you are, see what’s better considering the trade offs
  1. Buy in – Buy in is very essential. Getting permission from family to do the weekend course doesn’t absolve you from removing time for them. You have to figure out other ways to balance both- Ask them to meet you up for lunch during the course break or to drop or pick you up. You have to constantly keep getting their buy in so that you can attend the course without any worries – one way to do that is manage time for them from other pockets
  1. Story – Your story should reflect the way you see how this course is going to help you become better at what you are doing and in turn the benefits to your family. It should be clear with respect to what you expect from others and how you are going to make up for the time spent on the course. Not having the latter will lead to conflicts later on.
  1. Measurement – You should be clear wrt what do you expect from the other person by sharing the authentic story. Being ambiguous will lead to ambiguous results.
  1. Keep going – You need to keep taking actions, believe in your journey, enrol people that matter and keep running – for its not a sprint, but a marathon!!
Christoph on the dias
Christoph on the dias

*Christoph Trappe is a career storyteller who has worked as a journalist, a nonprofit executive, and a content marketing strategist and consultant. His digital initiatives have been recognized globally. He is currently helping hospitals across the United States share their authentic stories. The IMA named him Internet Marketer of the Year in 2015. You can follow him @CTrappe

5 Reasons why you should not buy Tata Sky Transfer!

Yes you read it right!! While entire India is going gaga over Tata Sky+’s new feature of Transfer, I’m going to give you five valid and distinguishable reasons why not to buy it!

Read these only if paying Rs 9300 for recording stuff and watching it on the go isn’t a bomb for you!

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, let me first share what Tata Sky+ Transfer is all about:

About the innovative product:


It is an additional set top box of Tata Sky which encrypts your recorded tv series / movies/ matches and the same can then be transferred to any device you hold containing Tata Sky app through your home wifi network. There is no cost to transfer the encrypted videos from the set top box to your laptop / tablets / smart phones. Once transferred, the app decrypts it and you can watch your recorded stuff seamlessly, anywhere on the go! So Record, Transfer, Carry!

Other features

  1. Record Series – Record all episodes of your favorite serial
  2. Karaoke – Bond with family and friends watching bollywood song videos, lyrics cues and singing on the ’Score’ mode
  3. Record on the go – You can start recording from any of the devices via internet by using the app – you need not be home to record something.
  4. Rewind, Forward, Pause – Create your own rewinds, forward the ads, pause to let it sink!


So here we go…

  1. Commuting to and fro will now become more entertaining – No more extended sleeping

Who’d like to sleep when you can catch up on your favourite TV shows, matches, movies! Killing that 3-4 hours of commuting time has never been so easy – That too while learning new things!

Learn even when you travel!
Learn even when you travel!
  1. Your spouse will no longer be able to dominate the remote – for the remote is dead!

Tata Sky Transfer makes remote obsolete, since now you can watch what you want, where you want it, when you want it – Let your spouse grab the remote and sit in front of the TV, you watch stuff on your laptop/tablet/mobile!


  1. You will have nothing important to do when your mother in law calls – As you can record and carry it later

Yes, you’ll have to figure out a new way to get out of that, watching very important news no longer is a valid reason!


  1. You’ll no longer be able to say to your friends you’re too busy to watch something

Now you can have the cake and eat it too – at your pace, at your own convenience! Isko laga daala, to life aur bhi jinga lala!

Watch it with friends!!
Watch it with friends!!
  1. You’ll have something which Sharmaji doesn’t have – boast about it!

Play this trump and score against Sharmaji, for what neighbours say and perceive about you matter.


I attended the launch of Tata Sky Transfer at St Regis, Palladium and here are some pics.


Illuminati enacting the Game of Thrones scene of Joffrey ordering to kill Ned Stark!
Illuminati group enacting the Game of Thrones scene of Joffrey ordering to kill Ned Stark!

You can find more information here.

Mystery Writing Workshop by Zac ‘O’ Yean at Kala Ghoda Fest 2014

IMG_5718 IMG_5720Mystery Writing Workshop by Zac ‘O’ Yean at Kala Ghoda Fest 2014

  • Save any Ideas you get or come across while reading by jotting them down in different folders of genres in evernote. For hard copies of ideas put them in different boxes – say horror ideas, thriller ideas, romantic ideas etc
  • What should be your target? Writing Book? That’s a Goal, you need to keep a vision ahead and plan your future novels
  • On Reading: Keep a wide / diverse genre. If youare writing comedy you should take inspiration from serious autobiographies also (Contrast Reading for bringing out the best in writing). Read good as well as worst books to understand the thin line of difference
  • Write from the perspective of readers. They should feel they have invested their time and money well
  • A Bad Story is only an INEFFECTIVE Story
  • 3 Purposes of a Good Writer
  1. Entertainment (Dialogue Writing – Based on Craftsmanship – should be of IQ of people expected to read this and be thought provoking. Can be learned with time)
  2. Aesthetics (Customised style of writing – it is like brand creation – what makes your novels more you. This should be your talent, cannot be learned)
  3. The Point (The story should make some sort of point – a drive home message – say truth always prevails – this sets a theme for the entire novel)
  • What does a good story contain?
  1. Tragedy
  2. Conflict
  3. Suspense
  4. Believable happy ending
  • Detective Story guidelines
  1. Starting point should describe a MISDEED (Mystery)
  2. Investigation (unravelling mystery in bits and pieces)
  3. Solution in the end (maybe happy or satisfactory)
  4. Suitable Explanation

Detective story may or may not have a moral. You should give clues at different points, some false clues too which later turn out to be dead ends – reader should be able to crack it and if he/she does that, it should be with an element of doubt – give sufficient clues to keep the reader interested

  • How to achieve the above?
  1. Think in terms of Action: Start the story with active lines in first pages / chapter. Passive lines (explanations, details) will make it heavy reading and might make the reader put the book down. So say you can establish characters in first chapter and keep second chapter for explanations
  2. End every chapter with cliff hangers
  3. Skip writing the part which the reader will obviously skip while reading – Remove long descriptions – figure out a way to make the story exciting
  4. You should be able to justify every page of the novel, it should only contain necessary stuff
  5. Theory of Painful Writing – Your book can be the best thriller if you write about what will scare you the most – face your own fears – as you will be able to relate to it and write it better – Story plot should include interlinked cliff hangers in chapters / scenes / mains / events
  6. Characters: Victims, Witnesses (Hero / Protagonists), Suspects (Erotic), Red Herrings (Seems like criminals but victims or vice versa), Criminals, Investigator
  7. Chapters: A good book should have 25 chapters (4000 words/chapter). So once you write the story edit it accordingly. It is important to get an outer perspective as its very hard to edit what you yourself have written
  8. Conceptualisation: You may start with plot or characters. Avoid basing characters on people you knows in real life. Plot Idea may come from characters / setting (milieu) – say what could be the worst thing that could happen to you in Bombay of 1990s? Milieu –The time zone of novel and background city in which it is written. Choose an unexplored part of country, say India – there are very few novels on our city or villages
  9. Benchmarks
  • First 1000 Words – something complicated should happen
  • 30000 Words – First tragedy has happened / glimpse of face of monster – Turning Point
  • 45000 Words – Symbolic moment of Truth – Metaphor – Main character decides to take revenge
  • 60000 Words – Point of No Return (hero knows the killer now)
  • 75000 Words – Crisis peaks (it seems world will end in next 10000 words)
  • 95000 Words – Final End