Help ... On Demand

This blog gets 20 unique visitors everyday. Most of these visitors come from search engines. I am sure this blog cant really serve whatever request the visitor has in mind.
Lets say I have loads of free time on my hands and I shall take up requests from people to help them find information. eMail me with your search query and I shall help you locate information. Upto 5 requests per day.
Lets see if this gimmick goes down well with people.
P.S.: If you want "human powered" search engine, I have heard that "" is very neat.

Silk Route - Boondein

This is what I posted on my blog about 18 months ago.

I still love the song and it still brings back lots of memories.

Artist: Silk Route
Track: Boondein

Koi Ho, Yaadon Mein,
Palko Pe Boondein Liye,
Aaeina Bani, Yeh Aankhen Teri

Dheemi Se, Khusbu Hai,
Haawao Ke Jhokon Ne Jo,
Chuke Tujhe, Churaaayeee

Saanson Ki, Raahon Mein,
Kya Mile Sakenge Kabhi,
Dhoonde Tujhe, Nigahe Meri,

Saathi They, Janmo Se,
Rahon Mein Kyu Kho Gaye,
Manzil Humne, Bulane Lagi,

Nagma Ho, Bhiga Sa,
Ya Tum Ho Koi Gazal,
Har Pal Jise, Gungunata Rahu,

Hoton Se, Hole Se,
Sargam Jo Bahne Lagi,
Aane Lagi, Chahe Meri

Yet another meaningful song with absolutely great lyrics and music. Performed by Silk Route with soothing voice of Mohit Chauhan.

The Future of War of Words

I have been blogging on War of Words for quite some time now. I have talked about everything under the sun. From personal things to rants against people to photography to investments to lyrics to even one-liners.

War of Words has changed form ever these last four years. It has evolved form a personal journal to a pot pourri of thoughts, opinions and news. A brief history would be
When I started a blog, I did not know what am I supposed to do with an online journal. I posted everything I could think of.

Somewhere down the line, I thought you could make money out of a blog with Adsense. I started working towards it. Obviously with 1000 things on my mind, it failed.

Then I thought I would contribute to the wave of open journalism and citizen reporters. I did not have quality or the depth to make a dent and become the next Ragahv Behl.

Next was becoming an evangelist (probably the single most overused, abused and misquoted word after "strategy"). I did not become one.

And this is where I stand today.

I get about 20 unique visitors a day. Mostly land here from search engines. Not a single friend, colleague or a neighbour is a regular visitor. Only person to have bookmarked War of Words with a RSS Reader is myself. People have landed here searching for Pictures (India Unity Pictures), Advertisements (Keep Walking), Guitar Tabs (Saawariya), Famous People (Sachin Tendulkar) etc.

I have not made a zilch of difference to anything or anyone with this four years old online presence. I sure have developed a super-inflated ego, opinion on things and a biased view of world.

A decision needs to be taken on future of War of Words.

Social Networks - The Future

I posted an answer on Social Networks on LinkedIn.


Looks like no one can have enough of Social Networks.

In my opinion, the entire wave of networks would keep on flooding the Internet. Pertinent question would be which network would survive in the long term.

Lets not even go into reasons why these networks are created in the first place.

Things that would keep one social network ahead of another are

1. Network Effect: The network with most number of people would eventually win. People would have to join the network with most people and most people would join a network because the network has most people on it. Saw this in action with Orkut in India.

2. Repeat Visitors: Once a social network grows beyond its novelty factor, a lot of people simply stop coming back. Network should have something that attracts people back. LinkedIn: Professionals. Facebook: Applications.

If I need to talk to my friends and other random people about something, I can create a blog, I can comment on other blogs. I can send SMS, emails, call for real. The utility of a social network for daily chores is simply absent. Networks would have to offer more than just dating, friendship, music etc.

3. Offering: A network should give me something that is hard to find (or do) in real life. For example LinkedIn. This is something (access to people with IQ :D) that I cant get in real life. No popular network apart from LinkedIn offers this to me.

Apart from these three, if few networks have to emerge as winners, they need to take care of following

1. Regional networks: Even though Internet does not have any boundaries as such, currently we have different networks dominating different geographies. Friendster - Asia, mySpace - US, Orkut - India and Brazil.

Obviously the reason for this spatial distribution is real connections (you invite, join and interact with social networks where your real-life friends are and most of your real-life friends live close to you)

2. Interest Areas: End of the day you join a network and stay there because you are interested in something and you want to connect to people with similar interests and want their opinions.

Myspace could connect all musicians, Linkedin could connect all professionals etc. The social network that can do this first would end up as a winner in my opinion.

If I was to compare professional interests, FaceBook with its applications is a move in that direction but it still lacks seriousness for a QnA network and more importantly it does not have the kind of people LinkedIn has. Similarly if I was to compare music interests, Myspace and FaceBook are still not there.

In my opinion, social networks are like any other commodity. In the long run, we would have one or two major players with chunk of the market share. And the networks that can aggregate interest areas and geographic spread would emerge as winners in long term.


Ever Elusive Users

Definition: User is a person at the core of the business. User should ideally bring revenue to the company. In some cases, if he is not bringing in the money, he should participate.

A lot of new start-ups and websites boast about million users in few months of operation (and in some cases, existence). They say, they have "almost reached" the critical user mass from where they can take-off to the next paradigm of web enabled services that will enable them to harness the collective intelligence that will empower businesses and solve intricate business problems in a cost effective manner. Sounds like Dilbert Mission Statement Generator at work.

Every successful and not so successful business (especially of the online variety) talks about number of users they have and the percentage of market they command. Ironically, they never talk about number of users actually bringing in cash to the business. Everyone seems to be pushing it under the carpet.

The numbers although are very important, they are more likely to be abused and misused. Every time someone says that they have 20 million of the 40 million Indian Internet Users (or half the universe), there should be questions like

  • How many use the service on a regular basis?
  • What is the percentage of repeats?
  • How often do repeat users come-back?
  • How many actually contributed to the revenues in last one month?

  • Obvisouly most of the times, answers are as elusive as the users themselves. It is very very easy to get someone to a website but the hard part is to get the user come back again and again and again. The hardest part, is to get the user to interact with the business. And this interaction actually makes the money for the website. The hook, the stickiness factor, the tipping point is very important.

    E-commerce Websites
    This is especially pertinent for rapidly springing ecommerce websites. might have 100,000 users but

  • What is the actual number of people who place orders?
  • How many of these orders are being fulfilled?
  • Do these users come back with more orders?

  • Collaborative or User Generated Content
    Collaborative websites are growing at the speed of mushrooms in India. With ease of implementation of Web 2.0, increasing bandwidths, and lots of time to spare, quite a few user generated websites (obviously operating in their beta modes) have come up. USP for most of these websites is user reviews, user written articles, user made videos, user stories, user this and user that. The biggest question here is

  • What percentage of users is actually creating the content?
  • And how many actually come back on a regular basis (with a frequency of at least once every two days)?

  • Finally, next time someone comes up with a fancy number for their user base, ask them about their revenue per user. If at all they have a revenue stream (apart from monetizing with Google Adsense), answers would be really surprising.

    Someone once said, "With fools and tools anything can be proved". Next time someone pitches a beta version web 2.0 website with 2 million users, please be skeptic before pumping in the money behind the idea and ever elusive users.

    Comments? Thoughts? Views?

    Related Links
    eBay admits they over-paid for Skype (Business Week, Oct 1, 2007)

    GharExpert is now following you on Twitter!

    Yet another example of a business following me on Twitter.
    Earlier one was Saawariya the Movie by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Twitter <>
    Date: Nov 12, 2007 3:59 PM
    Subject: GharExpert is now following you on Twitter!
    To: ****

    Hi, s4ur4bh.

    GharExpert (GharExpert) is now following your updates on Twitter.

    Check out GharExpert's profile here:

    You may follow GharExpert as well by clicking on the "follow" button.


    Turn off these emails at:

    Happy Birthday Shahrukh Khan

    SRK turns 42 today. Happy Birthday.

    He is one of the few celebs that I want meet and talk and understand. Other ones being Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet.

    I dedicate the following Apple Computers advert to him ...
    Here’s to the crazy ones.
    The misfits.
    The rebels.
    The troublemakers.
    The round pegs in the square holes.
    The ones who see things differently.
    They’re not fond of rules.
    And they have no respect for the status quo.
    You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
    About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
    Because they change things.
    They push the human race forward.
    And while some see them as the crazy ones,
    We see genius.
    Because the people who are crazy enough to think
    they can change the world,
    Are the ones who do.

    This is not the complete text. There is more.

    And here is the complete text of the advert
    Here’s to the crazy ones.
    The misfits.
    The rebels.
    The troublemakers.
    The round pegs in the square holes.
    The ones who see things differently.
    They’re not fond of rules.
    And they have no respect for the status quo.
    You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
    About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
    Because they change things.
    They invent.
    They imagine.
    They heal.
    They explore.
    They create.
    They inspire.
    They push the human race forward.
    Maybe they have to be crazy.
    How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
    Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
    Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

    We make tools for these kinds of people.
    While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

    Because the people who are crazy enough to think
    they can change the world, are the ones who do.

    The Nidhi Kapoor Story

    Did you like this post? May be you want to read my first book - The Nidhi Kapoor Story.

    Check it out on Amazon or Flipkart?