All posts by Abhishek

An Open Letter to Present and Past Students of BIT Patna

This letter is dedicated to all present and past students of Birla Institute of Technology Mesra, Patna Campus (BIT Patna), who feel that they committed a mistake by joining the institute. I wrote this in February 2013, in response to several negative comments on a Facebook Page about BIT. I am publishing a slightly modified version of the same here.

I am from first batch (2006-10) of BIT Patna . When we took Admissions, it was hardly a College. No Internet, No Canteen, No Gym, No Power Backup. Somehow they had made two Classrooms, two laboratories, few rooms in two hostels and a small library. There were no roads, the Institute Campus was full of Mud, no Bus, no Medical Facility, no Games and if that was not enough some Herculean Restrictions were imposed on us in the name of Discipline. Above all there was NO one to guide us, no one to inspire us by telling the fancy stories of lucrative job offers at the end of 4 years.

A Pic of BIT Patna Institute Building taken by me
A Pic of BIT Patna (Institute Building) taken by me in March 2013

We were left completely blank during initial days. We had to adapt to the Circumstances and we learnt how to live with the worst of it. I envy you guys who have been given so many facilities,  but always complain.  Here, you have got enormous opportunities to excel in life, provided you realise it. Anyway, everyone realises this 1-2 year after leaving the college.

I had dropped out of one of the most prominent Govt. Engineering College (with 100 % Placements) of  Jharkhand,  just to join BIT Patna and that too against my Parents’ Wishes. I have no regrets, there were guys who left NIT Patna, COE Jadavpur University, MNIT Allahabad too to join BIT Patna.

You cannot realize the dilemma when you drop a well established College for the sake of a new institute with uncertain future. However, here was something called Brand BIT, an Internationally acclaimed Brand which made me feel important and superior whenever I met outsiders (except with those of IITs :-) )

We had no luxury as you guys have. We just lived with a hope that someday things would definitely go better. But this did not happen, when the time of placements came, Global Economy went into Recession (2008 Global Recession). All our hopes were crushed, yet we had prepared for the worst. Most of us planned to go for Higher Studies. Somehow everyone from the first batch  got placed and many even got into Top global companies.

During my College Days, as a part of a Survey I had to visit offices of several Government Departments in Patna. Not a single place was there, where a Senior Position was not occupied by some Alumni of BIT. In fact, my task was greatly simplified all because of them. The moment they learnt that I was from BIT, they started treating me  like their younger brother or a colleague. The same applies to many Government  and Private offices in the Country.  All you need is to believe in where you come from and who you are.

Today when I meet someone and  say that I am from BIT, they always hold me in high esteem. Respects automatically start showering the moment the a person comes to know about my college. Get outside India and tell someone that you are from Birla Institute of Technology and see the difference it makes.

What I want to mean is that by joining BIT you have joined the Ivy League of Technocrats who have played a very important role in shaping the future of this nation since last 50 years and who are regarded as one of the best breed of Engineers. You have the same degree which is hold by likes of Anjan Lahiri, Deven Sharma, Dr. Ganesh Natarajan,Sanjay Nayak,Himanshu Kapania, Niraj Sharan and many more.

Take Pride that you are from BIT and elevate yourself to the level of those who had been once a part of BIT. Getting a First Job is not a big deal, you would definitely get one. It might not be more paying than that of your friends in other colleges, but in the long run you will certainly have better opportunities due to this tag of BIT.  Not only in Career, this brand will help you in every sphere of life, provided you know how to use it. You made a smart choice by joining BIT and now its the time to show your potential to the outside world.

 

What Entrepreneurs can learn from Poonam Pandey ?

Poonam PandeyIf  You use Facebook or Twitter and still ask me “Who is Poonam Pandey ? “, I would advise you to deactivate your Account and go to sleep.

It is not that I am a big Fan of Poonam Pandey, but anyone who closely monitors her success with Social Media will be forced to give her a standing ovation. After all, how many Bollywood Actresses could garner over 3 Lakhs Twitter Followers and an equal number of Facebook Fans. Or, which Actor in Indian Cinema could create so much Buzz about his Debut Movie, in the way Poonam has done?

Her personal website is one of the most visited one in India and if she wishes to commercialize it, she could easily earn  handsome amount of Dollars each month.

Companies like Intel, HP, Essar, MMT advertise like hell to create a Social Media Buzz, while Poonam does it by tweeting just 140 characters.

As an entrepreneur I find it quite interesting example of Social Media Success and the way it has shaped the Business.

1. Forget Advertising, try Socializing

Advertising gains consumers, but Socializing retains them. Brands keep on spending the Lion’s Share of their Marketing Budget on Adwords and Facebook Ads, but many of them dont spend on bringing them back or hearing their Complaints.

A Classic Example –

I was impressed by the initiative of @2WinFounder  to reply every random Tweet made about Parking Frenzy.  Needless to say, when a Gamer receives a Thank You tweet from the CEO of a company which made the game, he is bound to come back again and again.

2. Twitter is like a Volcano , while Facebook is an Ocean.

I have been made to believe that Twitter is like an Active Volcano. The sudden rise of Poonam to Stardom was due to her controversial Tweets only, which were accidently (or luckily ) noted by Thousands of Twitter users. A Single Tweet from your handle can fly you to the Top, no matter who you are. So Pick an Idea, compose carefully, Tweet and Pray like hell.

You have to be word selective while Tweeting  and it must draw attention.  Writing a Tweet is similar to writing a Business Tagline.

Most of the Viral Brands like Poonam Pandey, Faking News etc. engage more on Twitter. But their Tweets are interesting, catchy and each of them brings them 100s  of new followers.

In contrast Facebook, having 10 times more users than Twitter, resembles an Ocean. Once your brand is made on Facebook, whatever garbage you post gets likes and comments. But  creating a brand on Facebook is a long and Smooth process. Like, Rome it cannot be built in a day.

3. Push and Pull Trends

One cannot predict what is going trend the next moment. While a PUSH is given by the incident that triggers the trend, the Real PULL is given exerted by millions of Twitter users who follow the trend in their tweets after spotting the trend.

Every time, something trends big, it becomes  Flash Headlines and News Media starts promoting it for their own. This is the reason why you spot Abhjjit Mukherjee trending top on Twitter even a fortnight after making his controversial statement.

Poonam is a veteran of both PUSHers and PULLers. When she feels that Buzz around her has been low for a while, she tweets something which draws attention of large number of her followers and a trend is pushed to the top of Twitter. A recent example is #EarRingsLikePoonamPandey.

Often she pulls the attention of Twitter users by tweeting with the available trending topics. More often her tweets are on the top for a given hashtag.

 

(This was the first part of this series. I would publish a second part soon focusing on the Brand Management and Market Capitalization of Poonam Pandey).

 

The Solution to WordPress 3.5 Add Media Button not Working

Like others, I too upgraded my WordPress Installations to 3.5 with a hope to get a new experience of Media Uploads. On some of the installtions it worked fine, but on Biharprabha News,  it started causing issues.

The Add Media button on the Top of Text Editor didnot render the popup when it was clicked. The same was case with Set Featured Image, which too rendered a popup earlier. If you too face the same problem, here is a quick solution to this.

Add following lines to wp-config.php file.

define(‘CONCATENATE_SCRIPTS’, false );

Make sure you add this just before these lines

require_once(ABSPATH.’wp-settings.php’);

In my case the issue was resolved after adding this. If you face the problem even after trying this, do let me know by commenting below.

For setting Featured Image, it is possible to Open the Link in a New Tab and set the Featured Image, but for adding any image to the content there is no workaround

The Beautiful Hill Stations of Simultala, Bihar

WordPress 3.5 has been out for past couple of days. Initially I was reluctant to upgrade because during last three upgrades, I had to manually delete the cache in order to restore the Admin Page.

Thankfully this time it did not happen :-) A new Feature which I encounter in 3.5 Version is the Advanced Gallery System which offers an easy way to upload and manage  images.

I wanted to test it, hence I am uploading a set of Photographs taken from Train during my last visit to Bihar (My Home State).

No one would believe me, if I say that these pics are from Bihar, but that’s the reality.

The location is areas of Jamui district along the borders of Bihar and Jharkhand. The place is  known as Simultala, a small suburban town. Indeed these beautiful landscape forced me to take their pics.

Five Rare tricks to win the Search Engine Optimization Race

I was busy past  few days  in boosting the traffic of my website news.biharprabha.com. Thanks to SEO, the number of visitors per day  increased by 500 %  in past 30 days.  Search Engine Optimization has become a very broad term now. Unlike past , where it was limited to the  on-page optimization  and off-page optimization, it has accumulated the feathers of Social Media.

I am sharing few of the strategies  that I used to achieve this feat. This is applicable to any content centered websites like  news, blogs or forums.

1.  Meta Keywords: Just Google for Search Engine Optimization and you  will get lots of results. Remember, the best firm will definitely appear on the top of Search Results for this query. Take the top 5 websites (other than Google) appearing in the search Results and analyse their code. You will find extra Meta Entries for most of them. Include them in all of your pages.

2.  Keyword   Make sure the keyword you are targeting appears in the <TITLE> of your page and inside <Hn> tags   inside the  <BODY>  of the page. Lower the value of <H> you provide, higher weight would the keyword gains w. r. t. that page. So ensure that the target keywords appears inside <H1> or <H2> tags.

Use the formula below for <H> density

Maximum  number of <Hn>= 2^(n-1)  where n=1,2,3,4,5,6

It means  never keep more than 1 <h1> tags or more than 2 <h2> tags. Doing so may invite suspicion on part of Search Engines and impact your reputation.

3: Frequency: The Crawl rate of Search Engines is directly proportional to the frequency at which new content is being added to your website. So instead of adding 5 pages/day  at a time  it is better  to add one page at the interval of every four hours.

4. Duplicate Content: This is the  most controversial  topic in the SEO domain. The impact of keeping Duplicate content varies from  site to site. If the same content appears on Times of India and on Hindustan Times website, both will appear in the search results without any harm done to any of them. But, if a small website copies the content from Times of India,, it will not get any benefit for sure. Google or any search Engine can easily identify  and devoid it of any benefit in the search Results. For  start-up websites or blogs, keep a balance between Duplicate and Original Content. If you are posting duplicate content, make sure that it is beneficial to the readers and proper credits have been given to the owner of the content.

As a thumb rule:

1. Copy in parts  and not in whole.
2. Copy but not cheat.

5. Social Media: Though  officially not stated by Google , but  it has been observed that any page  shared  multiple times  on Facebook and Twitter gains some advantage in terms of SEO. Make sure that all your contents are promoted to Twitter and Facebook whenever they are published.  Use RSS Graphiti app for automatically sharing your posts to Facebook. For Twitter, use Wp-to-Twitter plugin for immediate tweeting upon publication of new posts.

 

These tricks are based on my own experience of Search Engine Optimization. Always remember that

SEO doesnot mean fooling the Search Spiders.
It is like putting your best foot forward.
Never try to cheat the  Search Spiders.
Never Over-Optimize your page
Stay Alert; what works today may not work tomorrow

Thanks for reading. Will keep  posted about new developments in SEO Industry

Succeed with an Internet Business in Seven Steps

With the Real estate rates rocketing and inflation pouring in, who would think of setting up an online business from scratch? Yet, many people are going online and the internet business sector is booming. So what do you need to be really successful in raising one? We sum it up for you!

Have A vision: You must have a vision to succeed. A vision so strong and positive that it becomes a mantra for your employees. As a leader, your vision should realize, further, the visions of those following you; be it any of your customers or employees or other clients. So have a strong vision, protect it, nurture it and realize it.

Make a business plan: Nest, You really need to have a business model that you can follow. A strong business plan cannot only find you some really big investments, but also make sure (if, of ‘course you stick to your plans) that you cover your short term goals and gradually realize your vision to be really successful. So make a thorough business plan with your sales projection, marketing plan and other important plans before you start executing them without if’s and buts’.

Find investments: This is the step where almost 70 percent of the people would give up. But if you know that finding investments is a process and giving up is a big mistake, you will succeed in finding your capital. Put up all your savings; make a great sales pitch and bundle up your business plan. In the initial phase, you should ask your family and friends for investments by actually selling yourself and your idea to convince them that they can indeed get healthy returns if they do invest. You can even look for angel investors. And given the quality of your plan and your sales pitch, you will sure find one after knocking up many doors. When you see yourself getting recognized and making marginal profits, it’s time for moving to a Venture Capitalist for funding!

Set up the interface: Now that you have gathered up funds, set up your website. Position yourself in your customer’s shoes and see what kind of an interface can actually enhance your experience, since it’s an online business. Look how your competitions have set up. Try to beat them!

Manage sales and marketing: Now you definitely want your business to go viral. So execute your marketing plan. Social marketing can totally do the job. Send newsletters (email marketing) but do not spam. Hold out sweepstakes and other ways to attract potential customers. A healthy marketing can boost your sales like a miracle.

Master your services: On time delivery, great inventory management and attractive refund policies can do the charm! Trust your customers to gain their trust. Fostering a great customer service team can be a great investment of your time, money and energy.

Bootstrap and grow: Finally, your projections are being met and your turnover is growing. Yet, it’s not the time for cheese and pancakes! Hire quality people and invest in better suppliers to get better returns from your business. Bootstrapping can make your business stable and debt free; the key to growth and success!

 

About the author: Rebecca is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and luxury. Beside this she is fond of gadgets. Recently an article on latest car stereos attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on Portable microwave.

Thinkvidya going the LinkedIn Way

It has been 6 months since I first wrote about Thinkvidya  and honestly I could not get time (I am lazy :-) ) to visit that site in the meantime. When I visited Thinkvidya  again today,  I was impressed by many statistics presented and the milestones they have accomplished  in such a short term.

About ThinkVidya

It is an online network of Parents, Teachers and Students.  Truthfully, it is a network for 20000 learning providers with over 8000 regular teachers and trainers. No doubt, it is India’s largest Educational Network.

Why Should I Join it?

For those who fail to be impressed by the statistics; Thinkvidya acts as the missing link between Quality Tutors and the students. If you need a top-level Physics  tutor  in Bangalore,  jump to Thinkvidya, make a simple search and you are done. On opposite, if you are in search of students for your tution class or in free time, there is no better alternative than Thinkvidya.Other educational Institutes can easily find bulk number of students easily. So, if you are planning to start you Teaching business, Thinkvidya has lot to offer.   Presently it has a network  in most of the Tier-I and Tier- II cities of India including  Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad,  Pune , Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Coimbatore,Goa, Indore, Jaipur, Lucknow,Nagpur and Vadodara.

Who Should Join?

Honestly, it is not merely regular, curricular teaching  that Thinkvidya has to boast about. A majority of tutors come from co-curricular and extra-curricular domains like, Dancing, Singing, Musical Instruments, Cooking, Martial Arts, Drawing, Swimming  and Yoga. You can view the full list here.   It is very difficult to find such tutors in Indian cities, unless you are willing to pay a lofty sum to brokers.

Business Model

The Business model is simple. It is FREE for all, whether it is a student, a tutor or an institute. They can browse profiles of each other, post  Requirements or contact directly. You can contact 3 students each month for FREE, which is sufficient for a starter.

Teachers or Trainers can optionally subscribe to a paid Alert System,which provides them a regular  and targeted list of students every month. The Paid Members are also featured on the portal giving them a high visibility.

Areas of Improvement

No matter how much we achieve, there is always a better milestone. Thinkvidya also needs to innovate its user experience regularly.  The Individual user profile  design looks obsolete , something like dating  10 years back. It lacks the usual feel of Web 2.0 Design  and must be updated at earliest.

 

Lessons for Entrepreneurs

Well, it is not always that only  Software  Development for Clients pays off. Businesses must look for catering  the existing problems with technical solutions.  This is what Linkedin did, the same was done by SlideShare and of course Thinkvidya is doing the same. In fact I have no hesitation to say, Thinkvidya is India’s answer to LinkedIn. Though  these two cater different segments of people, there are several similarities among them.

 

 

 

 

How beautifully they SPAM in India ?

Every morning I get an unsolicited email from www.mydala.com offering me a Samsung Galaxy for Rs 99 and as usual  I have to trash it out.

At the footer, there exists an interesting legal disclaimer

Disclaimer: Since India has no anti-spamming law, we follow the US directive passed in Bill 1618 Title III by the 105th US Congress, which states that mail cannot be considered spam if it contains contact information, which this mail does.

FYI  never signed up on Mydala.com or subscribed to their mailers. Infact the first time I paid a visit to this site was today and  that too for unsubscribing from its mailer.

 

Now several questions cascade in my mind

1.  Does this law give someone  the right to pick my email address at random and bombard me with worthless marketing promotions? In US this law came to effect in 2003 See Here, but was never enforced. This law is also known as ‘You-can-SPAM ‘ act providing a legal umbrella to the spammers.

2. How does a law in United States give the legality to SPAMMING in India? Put in other terms, someone can  organize Live Pornography in India, just because it is legal in some countries.

3. The law says that it requires a Physical Address, Email Address and Phone Number for transmission on unsolicited commercial material. Since this email had no physical address, so it fails to abide by even the US which it claims so far.

4. It contained a phone number +91-11-43444444 as contact option. How can I remain assured that the sender is the legitimate holder of this phone number (just to ensure that it fully abides by so called US Anti-Spam Laws)?  Of Course, I am not going to call this number  and waste my money

This way, can I legalize any SPAM email by putting any fake contact options in it.

 

4. What if I pick up the emails of every Who’s Who of Mydala.com  and send this email with the same disclaimer?

 

While I refer here to Mydala.com, I have been constantly victimized by many other similar mailers in the category of Retail, Deals, and Jobs. Even well known portals like BharatMatrimony.com continue to SPAM even after multiple un-subscription request.

Thanks to Gmail’s Anti SPAM technology which prevents 90% of SPAM from featuring in my inbox. And I follow a strict practice of reporting such mailers as SPAM to the Gmail Team.

 

The question is do we need a Anti-SPAM Law like in US. If such a law comes, can it be enforced properly. Would it be effective enough as envisaged?

Or, do we require a regulation like Do- Not- Disturb Service as in  SMS Marketing?

NOTE: This item was previously  post on TheRODINHOODS  with some minor changes

Secure your Gmail with 2-Step Authentication

Security for your email account is a prime concern.Almost hacked accounts are the results of certain relaxation in security on the part of the user.
Want to add an extra layer of security to your Google account? Then go for 2-Step Authentication mechanism. This will secure your access to Gmail, Google Plus, Orkut, Google Docs and various other Google Services. All you need is a personal mobile/phone number.
STEPS
1. Visit this page to configure your mobile number to your Google Account
2. Select your Country and Mobile/Phone Number.You will receive a code on it
3. Select the mode of receiving the security code. If using phone, select Voice Call.Google will send a code on your phone. Enter the code in the textbox below and click Verify
4. Click next and Confirm that you want to enable 2-Step Authentication.

You need to provide this code once every 30 days while logging in. Google will remember it for next 30 days. If you are using a different computer, then you require this code.

Google 2 Step Authentication

Was Rancho inspired by Steve Jobs ?

Steve Jobs, the Father of Modern Computers has been well known for his innovation, creativity, attention to minute details and his spirit of struggle in the industry. Interestingly, his life story was cast on screens in a recent Hindi Movie 3 Idiots where the character of Rancho (played by Aamir Khan) immensely resembles to him.It appears that the makers of the movie were inspired by Steve for Rancho’s role.

Here are few apparent reasons which point to this conclusion:

1. Steve’s Childhood was spent in poverty.His biological parents deserted him when he was small. Rancho’s parents also died when he was small.He too was adopted by his master.Both of them were orphan in childhood.

2.Steve had great passion for making things live.He always believed in chasing his dreams and making possible what people considered impossible. Rancho was similar in character.Remember, he designed the Helicopter which was considered an impractical project by the Director of the College.

3. Rancho had 300 patents in his name while Steve Jobs has 338 American Patents in his name.

4. Steve always said- Stay Hungry,Stay Foolish; Rancho’s favorite statement(apart from All is Well!) was Never Chase Success, Chase Excellence, the Success will automatically follow you. Though Both these statements look different, both lead to the common aim of excellence.Both starved for excellence and Perfection.Both struggled a lot in life.

5. Steve Came to India in search of Enlightenment and became Buddhist.Rancho was from Laddakh were a significant portion of Buddhist population live.

6.Both could not have proper formal education.Steve dropped the college after first semester and kept on learning things from random sources or by self dedication. Rancho too never had proper elementary formal education.He used to learn from the old books of his master’s son.

7. Both dreamed of Changing the World.Rancho wanted to change the education system, while Jobs changed the way technology is used by common people in day to day activities.

Life repeats its stories and I am sure there are many who fit well in the context stated above, but Steve Jobs resembled the most. Rancho actually was the young Steve Jobs. People may come and people may go but the legend will keep on inspiring those who dream of changing the world.

 

NOTE: Steve  Jobs  has been a source of inspiration  to me . This post is my tribute to the Father of Modern Computers. Interestingly,  one of my first posts on this blog(one year back) was dedicated to him.