Sameer Agarwal

His views, thoughts, introspection and rants

Marketing Gimmick…. perhaps for a noble cause?

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Khojguru seems to be yet another classifieds/city listing/yellow pages site. I say “seems to be” since my five odd minutes of surfing on this site could not tell me much. Anyway, not so much a review on the site, but a thought on how Anurag Agarwal, perhaps the founder of the site, is trying to promote it.

What do you do when you’ve hardly any differentiation in your product and when you haven’t been able to position it right. “Isko sab pata hai” (meaning this knows everything; that’s the tag line on the site), par isse mujhe kuch nahin pata chalta hai! (but this hardly tells me anything!).

Take a guess. Do you give freebies to everyone who joins? Do you do an ad blitzkrieg? Do you sponsor events? Huh. All that’s old!

Khojguru promises to donate Re 1 for every registration on their site to the National Defence Fund. Given the high voltage patriotism after the recent Mumbai attacks, this sure is going to  persuade a user to spare a minute for registration. Think about it – Re 1 for every registration – I’m sure if they reach a critical mass, they’ll get back at least 10 times for every user. Neat, hmmm!

PS: Don’t ask me if this persuaded me to register ;)

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January 6th, 2009 at 10:33 am

Posted in Thoughts,web

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Welcome 2009!

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2009 is here and it couldn’t have come sooner. Time just flies by and by and by…………! 

2008 was quite an eventful year. Like all years I guess – just that 2008 is fresher in the memory. Traveled quite a bit – thrice to Delhi, once to Mysore, once to Chikmagalur, once to Coorg, once to Trichy and twice to Chennai. Made some resolutions, broke most of them! Did not exercise enough. Did not read enough. Made reasonable accomplishments at work – was Employee of the year, got a top rating and made my own road almost literally by incubating a new service line!

The last few days were complete hibernation. Did not touch a computer for almost two weeks. Did not read a single newspaper, nor watched TV! But hey such luxuries ought not last for too long; else the nomenclature changes – ‘luxury’ would then become ‘deprivation’ I believe!! Anyway, am back on the ‘scene’ – good or bad!

2009 ought to be the year of fitness. Got a gym membership AND a spa one too! Need to lose at least 4 inches off my waist and generally feel (and perhaps look) better. Let’s see what I do…

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January 5th, 2009 at 11:59 am

Posted in Introspection

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Fighting terrorism

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I won’t talk about the recent shameful and dreadful terror attack on Mumbai per se – but on what to do next. My thoughts on how to fight this menace; not that I’m an expert… but just my two cents I guess.

We can’t hope for situations like this to get addressed by mere rhetoric or patriotism. We do need an investment in basic police infrastructure so that a Karkare doesn’t die fighting AK56s with a .303 rifle and a half sleeve bullet-proof vest! So that a bunch of boys do not come sailing in boats, land on the Gateway of India and start firing indiscriminately and take hundreds hostage; without the Information Bureau having no clue about it!

We do need a solid security infrastructure to fight this; maybe we already have one. But beyond building infrastructure we need reforms as well – why can’t we pay our armed forces and police better? Why do we raise a hue and cry over the 24 eggs that an army officer gets? You pay peanuts and you get monkeys… right?

And, we need to leave politics behind when it comes to fighting terror. Why do we need a Shivraj Patil as the home minister who has no idea about what he needs to do and has the audacity to continue staying in office despite terror attacks every few weeks? Now that he has quit (or fired) it seems fixed – but is it really? Is it about Patil himself, or is this a larger issue? Why does LK Advani have to say “Oh this is worse than the last time…”?

And, we need to fight corruption. It takes a bicycle, and not a passport, to come from Nepal/Bangladesh to India and then 200 Rs for a ration card. How can we allow this to happen? How can we sell our country for 200Rs? Is this how we grow at 8% year on year I wonder!

The Bottom-line: the main culprit is our so called ‘spirit’ to move on… heck how can we get so thick skinned. We’re concerned today, but will soon forget it like the hundreds other terror attacks in this country before. I think we only deserve it. I liked what Suhel Seth said yesterday on a TV channel – we need surgery not band-aids… we don’t need elections; call a national emergency and fix it NOW…

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December 1st, 2008 at 6:11 pm

Relationship Counseling anyone?

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Sakshi is doing lots with her life these days – makes me proud and jealous at the same time! Guess what, she’s become a voluntary relationship counseler today. Check out the latest Love Guru on the block – she got some 6 queries within 6 hrs of ‘launching’ it! Bravo Sakshi :)

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November 20th, 2008 at 9:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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People notice more than you think they do

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We use Microsoft Communicator for instant messaging at work. Communicator has an option of setting a status message which is visible to everyone who has you on their contact list, but in a rather non-intuitive manner (see below; the pinned note; on taking the mouse over the status message of the contact appears as tool-tip text).

I did use to check status messages of other people on my contact list generally, but I thought that was just me and my quirks. So I thought I’ll test it out.

And so, I put a status message saying that

FY09 planning for iKnow on… If you bothered to check my status – well, then may as well pass on some ideas :)

Now who would read it I thought. But the truth of the matter is that several people did. Interesting….!

PS: iKnow is an integrated Knowledge Management, information and communications program for one of the teams (Decision Support and Analytics Services [DSAS]) at Hewlett-Packard.

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November 11th, 2008 at 10:23 am

Posted in Introspection

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Why can’t you say it straight?

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Hell, rant again. Seems like I’m the most inspired to blog when I have a rant. Why on earth will I want to make a rant public? I guess it’s similar to just “talking it out”. So here goes.

One thing that really pisses me off is when people can’t say it straight. I don’t seem to understand why this fear psychosis really spans everyone – across gender, ranks and culture! I guess there is one set of people who have the courage/assertiveness to say things the way they mean and the other much larger set who can’t.

Why can’t Yes or No be easier to say. Whoever believes in Ms Rand anyway! There is no black or white for them; it is all gray and as ambiguous as it gets. Some people survive on ambiguity for they feel it keeps their options open. Am I one of them? Very difficult for me to answer, but I sincerely hope that I’m not. May God always give me the courage to call a spade a spade. Amen!

Ok I’m feeling better now :)

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October 29th, 2008 at 6:20 pm

We miss you Papa!

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It’s been 6 years that you’re gone but the memories just keep getting more vivid. Everything I do, everything that happens reminds me of you in some way or the other. I’m trying to become what you wanted me to… I know you’re there helping me out… Always be!

Love you Papa

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October 24th, 2008 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Feelings

This one is just to break the hiatus

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I’ve been hibernating for two months now. Been completely off blogging; off reading; off exercising. Crazy how I get so caught up in life. Looking at the past two months – it started with getting awfully busy, ‘that’ broke the routine and the discipline was gone. End result – a completely weird routine…. It’s funny how blogging reflects my personal patterns. If I’m blogging regularly that sort of means I’m more organized those days. Hehe!

Anyway such hibernation happens to me every once in a while. The good thing is that I do wake up! Let’s see how long I stay awake this time….

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October 20th, 2008 at 2:15 pm

Posted in Rants

How to get yourself noticed in the blogosphere?

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I was chatting with an acquaintance who wanted some advice on how to establish their startup (actually the idea) with a target segment of internet users. Not that I’m an expert in this area, but I did give him my two cents, and I thought I’ll put them up here as well.

The assumption is that the company/personal blog will be the primary vehicle to ‘establish’ that connect. So here are some tips on successful blogging:

  1. Write regularly and briefly (heard of Flash Fiction?!). Most blog readers, read regularly but have a very short attention span
  2. Monitor your traffic (including your RSS feed). Analyze what kind of topics are working (getting more traffic, comments) and which are not.
  3. Subscribe to RSS feeds of active bloggers. Keep commenting on their blogs actively – it’s easier to get noticed like that
  4. SEO is not dead. Optimize your blog and try to own some keywords – show up on the first page for keywords that matter. Be diligent about tagging each of your posts
  5. Create groups on Facebook, Orkut and similar community sites. People notice groups because of friend feeds and typically subscribe themselves as well (me too) – so you can get some eyeballs by leveraging the chain effect
  6. Get your blog listed on as many blog aggregator sites as you can

Of course these are basics. More professional help is available at Blogworks run by a person called Rajesh Lalwani. And no, I’m not getting paid to write about them. Just that I discovered them lately and found them interesting!

Written by sameer

August 18th, 2008 at 4:55 pm

What do I want out of life?

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Must be a simple question for some, but the most difficult for me. I guess I’ve been trying to figure it out forever. Heck my conclusion is that I’ve no burning ambition in life – an ambition for which I may give up everything, or give ‘it’ everything.

A little secret. People often ask (typically in training programs and interviews) what my ambition is. Sometimes I’ve been honest enough to say that I really do not have an ambition, but sometimes I just make up something. And it’s not that, that ‘something’ is not something I want. Well I do want ‘that’, but does that qualify to be a burning ambition. Heck, no.

For the time being I’ve given on identifying my burning ambition. Guess I’m fine without one. It may be a very mediocre thing to do (being fine without THE BIG goal), but well I haven’t found it yet.

So. So what if I don’t know what the big goal is yet. How about the small ones that keep coming to my mind everyday. I read somewhere recently that writing ‘it’ down brings commitment to a thought. So well I thought, why not. Let me write down, and possibly keep writing my-goals (that’s the tag I intend to use for similar future posts).

Here goes. Some of the things I want out of life (Disclaimer: some of them will be VERY contradicting, but that’s how I am!):

  1. I want to be an entrepreneur – run a startup
  2. I want my startup to go public
  3. I want to make a lot of money
  4. I want a  life of solitude – with nothing to do
  5. I want to read all the books on the planet (or the ones that count)
  6. I want to go back to school – Harvard
  7. I want to travel at least 50% of the globe
  8. I want to go on a cruise
  9. I want to own a yacht
  10. I want to do sky-diving
  11. I want to do scuba diving
  12. I want to learn how to play the guitar
  13. I want to learn how to play the piano
  14. I want to learn how to swim (funny but yeah I don’t know how to swim!)
  15. I want to learn Waltz
  16. I want to learn Salsa
  17. I want to learn French
  18. I want to learn horse riding
  19. I want to learn how to fly a plane
  20. I want to own my private jet
  21. I want to live away from the city, in peace and tranquility with no material interests whatsoever
  22. I want to…

Well that should be enough for a lifetime. Maybe no. I’m sure I’ll keep adding to this list. But I guess the more important thing is how many I accomplish out of this list. Let’s see……..!

Written by sameer

August 17th, 2008 at 8:21 pm

Posted in Introspection

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