Life Mojo – A Health Startup

Here is a Banglore, India based startup that tries to goad you into monitoring your weight, diet ,exercise and overall health. At fist I thought it is one of those pesky websites that require a load of information to tell you stuff you already knew. But I was wrong- this is a surprisingly nifty website with a cool design that helps you sum up and track your health on a daily basis. Here is an interview I did with the CEO of www.lifemojo.com , Namit Nangia

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1) What gave you the idea of Life Mojo. 

Well, it is an interesting story, I got a chance to meet Dr. Shikha Sharma (a renowned weight management and health expert) as a Technology Advisor. Dr Sharma wanted a solution for a few problems that existed in her business. After that meeting and after seeing Adnan Sami lose weight, I tried losing weight and was able to lose 11 Kgs in 45 days (which I soon regained).

On analysis of this successful weight loss, the LifeMojo team realized that the key was constant monitoring of what I ate, my fitness regimen, and an eye on my weight. But the problem was that I soon regained weight. The team looked around and found a lot of similar people and a solution to this problem. The solution is right diet consultation, as per one’s body composition and meal preferences. But this right advice is (1) expensive, (2) inconvenient due to the traveling involved (3) inaccessible, since good nutrition experts who understand one’s meal preferences are not easy to find. And thus as a solution to all these problems, LifeMojo was born.

LifeMojo started as a B2B solution for health experts and then got evolved into the present B2C product where people can plan and track their lifestyle and analyze how to have a healthier lifestyle.

How does it work.

On LifeMojo you can start by analyzing your body and lifestyle. You can learn more about your body, daily calorie intake, etc. We have tools that enable you to plan your diet and exercise schedule depending on your analysis, and track them to see the amount of calories you consume and burn. This continuous monitoring of your lifestyle would help you achieve your fitness goals faster.

Do you have international ( non Indian visitors)

Yes, there have been international (non Indian) visitors on LifeMojo (though not a significant number), most of them have discovered LifeMojo by Google searches on topics like running and diet tips.

2) What prompted for you to choose startups rather than work for mainstream IT companies.

I have had a lot of ideas that I wanted to work on, since my third year at NSIT. In order to make them a reality I thought I would have to gain experience on making a product end to end, so I worked for Trilogy (one of the mainstream IT company) for 2 years which was a great learning experience. After that I co-founded a company called MyDuniya and soon realized an idea or a product by itself is not the only thing that one needs to run a company. I decided to work at a startup Flightraja (now known as Via), founded by few of my friends at Trilogy, and experienced how to build and grow a business around a product. I worked there for 1.5 years and learned a lot about what it takes to build a successful company. Around 6 months back I along with other 2 friends Varun (who has been with me since NSIT and we have been working together in the same companies there after) and Himanshu (who has been a great mentor and friend while I was working at Trilogy) started LifeMojo.

So in short we have always wanted to try out our Ideas and a good mix of experiences from mainstream IT company, startup and previous venture is what we have to build and grow LifeMojo.

3) I noticed all founders of life Mojo went to the same college and worked at the same company. How important is this chemistry in founding a startup.

I have seen examples of both for and against "starting a company with friends", but for us having a good chemistry and understanding about each other’s strengths and weaknesses has been very helpful. There are times in a startup when things aren’t as

Continue reading “Life Mojo – A Health Startup”

Indian Americans – Coming home

Lately Indian Americans or American immigrants from India have been in the public profile a lot. This ranges from Bobby Jindal, Governor of Lousiana, the WWF Wrestler Khali,) and Vikram Pandit, Head of Citigroup and Indira Nooyi , Head of Pepsico. While India has lately been known as the place for outsourcing services jobs, while China has outsourced manufacturing jobs. Indian engineers ,especially in the computer industry have contributed a lot like Sabeer Bhatia , founder of Hotmail, Ashish Gupta of Junglee, and other companies like Intel (Pentium chip team lead Vinod Dham) and Microsoft have used Indian Americans a productive and positive contributor to India. Did you know an Indian Google Engineer first thought of http://news.google.com  . Movie makers like Meera Nair and Night Shyamalan have further raised the visibility of this  hard working community. Actors like Karl Penn who is on Barack Obama’s arts committee for his campaign have helped mark the step towards the mainstream.Indian students are one the largest block of overseas students in America

There are other sides of this story as well.

Second generations of Indian Americans find it hard to adjust to conservative traditional homes and upbringing, while dealing with American modern peer pressure.

In fact there is an acronym for this called ABCD or American Born Confused Desi (Desi is slang in Hindi for Indian Americans among themselves.It literally means local). India is a big outsourcing center and people vent anger on losing jobs to Indian Americans. 

Yet, Indian Americans are equally at risk of their jobs being outsourced. Indian Sikhs were racially attacked after September 11 because they look like Arabs with their turbans, even though ironically Indian Sikhism was created a mechanism against Muslim oppression in pre-British India.

India and the US as foreign policy partners face joint terror threats from jihadis hiding in Pakistan but have differed on approaches to handle this. Given their cultural traditions, Indian Americans have the highest median income levels and lowest per capita crime rates.
The United States has the best educational infrastructure and has the biggest market for goods and services. Indian companies aspiring to grow sales in these markets find it difficult to manage the cultural intricacies and subtle communication for negotiations.

Thus Indian companies have hired an increasing number of American citizens to give that insight among marketing to that market. Similarly countries wanting to enter the Indian market are happy to hire Indian Americans who are aware of working in both cultures. This is also especially true in the outsourcing sector where Indian Americans who have returned are in great demand, because they have the expertise as well as the networking needed.

 

Salaries in India are lower, top executives can expect unto 100,000-150000 USD only.

But because cost of living in India is so low, you can live in a big bungalow , have a chauffeur driven car,have full time day care for your kids, and a full time butler. The savings that you pile up are also substantial as each dollar is worth 45 Indian rupees.Culturally India has the largest English speaking population, so language is no barrier. They are friendly to foreigners because of the past colonial legacy (The British left in a peaceful transition thanks to Gandhian non violence).

The food and local cuisine are the best, and for a returning expatriate the profile of job and responsibilities is more attractive because of explosive growth and thus faster

Continue reading “Indian Americans – Coming home”

R for SAS and SPSS Users

Update -The R for SAS and SPSS Users book is 1 week away. It is an analytics textbook and can be used as a reference for R,SPSS,SAS as well as any object oriented programming language. Buying it can potentially strengthen your skills and resume in SAS as well as R, and SPSS as well.

Note-Robert Muenchen (pronounced Min’-chen) is the author of the famous R for SAS and SPSS users, and his forthcoming book is an extensive tutorial on anyone wanting to learn either SAS,SPSS,or R or even to migrate from one platform to another. In an exclusive interview Bob agreed to answer some questions on the book , and on students planning to enter science careers.

What made you write the R For SAS and SPSS users?

The book-

A few years ago, all my colleagues seemed to be suddenly talking about R. Had I tried it? What did I think? Wasn’t it amazing? I searched around for a review and found an article by Patrick Burns, “R Relative to Statistics Packages” which is posted on the UCLA site (http://www.ats.ucla.edu/stat/technicalreports/). That article pointed out the many advantages of R and in it Burns claimed that knowing a standard statistics package interfered with learning R. That article really got my interest up. Pat’s article was a rejoinder to “Strategically using General Purpose Statistics Packages: A Look at Stata, SAS and SPSS” by Michael Mitchell, then the manager of statistical consulting at UCLA (it’s at that same site). In it he said little about R, other than he had “enormous difficulties” learning it that he had especially found the documentation lacking.

I dove in and started learning R. It was incredibly hard work, most of which was caused by my expectations of how I thought it ought to work. I did have a lot to “unlearn” but once I figured a certain step out, I could see that explaining it to another SAS or SPSS user would be relatively easy. I started keeping notes on these differences for myself initially. I finally posted them on the Internet as the first version of R for SAS and SPSS Users. It was only 80 pages and much of its explanation was in the form of extensive R program comments. I provided 27 example programs, each done in SAS, SPSS and R. A person could see how they differed, topic by topic. When a person ran the sections of the R programs and read all the comments, he or she would learn how R worked.

A web page counter on that document showed it was getting about 10,000 hits a month. That translates into about 300 users, paging back and forth through the document. An editor from Springer emailed me to ask if I could make it a book. I said it might be 150 pages when I wrote out the prose to replace all the comments. It turned out to be 480 pages!

What are the salient points in this book ?

The main point is that having R taught to you using terms you already know will make R much easier to learn. SAS and SPSS concepts are used in the body of the book as well as the table of contents, the index and even the glossary. For example, the table of contents has an entry for “Value Labels or Formats” even though R uses neither of those terms as SPSS and SAS do, respectively. The index alone took over 80 hours to compile because it is important for people to be able to look up things like “length” as both a SAS statement and as an R function. The glossary defines R terms using SAS/SPSS jargon and then again using proper R definitions.

SAS and SPSS each have five main parts: 1) commands to read and manage data, 2) procedures for statistics & graphics, 3) output management systems that allow you to use output as input to other analyses, 4) a macro language to automate the above steps and finally 5) a matrix language to help you extend the packages. All five of these parts use different statements and rules that do not apply to the others. Due to the complexity of all this, many SAS and SPSS users never get past the first two parts.

R instead has all these functions unified into a common single structure. That makes it much more flexible and powerful. This claim may seem to be a matter of opinion, but the evidence to back it up comes from the companies themselves. The developers at SAS Institute and SPSS Inc. don’t write their procedures in their own languages, R developers do.

How do you think R will impact the statistical software vendors?

With more statistical procedures than any other package, and its free price, some people think R will put many of the proprietary vendors out of business. R is a tsunami coming at the vendors and how they respond will determine their future. Take SPSS Inc. for example. They have written an excellent interface to R that lets you transfer your data back and forth, letting you run R functions in the middle of your SPSS programs. I show how to use it in my book. Starting with SPSS 17, you can also add R functions to the SPSS menus. This is particularly important because most SPSS users prefer to use menus. The company itself is adding menus to R functions, letting them rapidly expand SPSS’ capabilities at very little expense. They saw the R tsunami coming and they hopped on a surfboard to make the most of it. I think this attitude will help them thrive in the future.

SAS Institute so far as been ignoring R. That means if you need to use an analytic method that is only available in R, you must learn much more R than an SPSS user would. Once you have done that, you might be much more likely to switch over completely to R. Colleagues inside SAS Institute tell me they are debating whether they should follow SPSS’ lead and write a link to R. This has already been done by MineQuest, LLC (see http://www.minequest.com/Products.html ) with their amusingly named, “A bridge to R” product (playing off “A Bridge Too Far.”)

Statistica is officially supporting R. You can read about the details at (http://www.statsoft.com/industries/Rlanguage.htm) . Statacorp has not supported R in Stata yet, although a user, Roger Newson, has written an R interface to it (http://ideas.repec.org/c/boc/bocode/s456847.html).

The company with the most to lose are the makers of S-PLUS. That was Insightful Corp. until they were recently bought out by Tibco. Since R is an implementation of the S language, S-PLUS could be hit pretty hard. On the other hand, they do have functions that handle “big data” so there is a chance that people will develop programs in R, run out of memory and then end up porting them to S-PLUS. S-PLUS also has a more comprehensive graphical user interface than R does, giving them an advantage. However, XL-Solutions Corp. has their new R-PLUS version that adds a slick GUI to R (http://www.experience-rplus.com/). There could be a rocky road ahead for S-PLUS. IBM faced a similar dilemma when computing hardware started becoming commodities. They prospered by making up the difference with service income. Perhaps Tibco can too.

Do you have special discounts for students?

My original version of R for SAS and SPSS Users is still online at http://RforSASandSPSSusers.com so students can get it there for free. The book version has a small market that is mostly students so pricing was set with that in mind.

What made you choose a career in Science and what have been the reasons for your success in it.

I started out as an accounting major. I was lucky enough to have had two years of bookkeeping in high school, and I worked part-time in the accounting department of ServiceMaster Industries for several years. I got to fill in for whoever was on vacation, so I got a broad range of accounting experience. I also got my first experience with statistics by helping the auditors. We took a stratified sample of transactions. With transactions divided into segments by their value, and sample a greater proportion as the value increased. For the most expensive transactions, we examined them all. My job was to be the “gofer” who collected all the invoices, checks, etc. to prove that the transactions were real. For a kid in high school, that was great fun!

By the time I was a freshman at Bradley University, I became excited by three new areas: mathematics, computing and psychology. I got to work in a lab at the Peoria Addictions Research Institute, studying addiction in rats and the parts of the brain that were involved. I wrote a simple stat package in FORTRAN to analyze data. After getting my B.A. in psychology, I worked on a PhD in Educational Psychology at Arizona State University. I loved that field and did well, but the job market for professors in that field was horrible at the time. So I transferred to a PhD program in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at The University of Tennessee. It turned out that I did not really care for that area at all, and I spent much of my time studying computing and calculus. My assistantship was with the Department of Statistics. By the time my first year was up, I transferred to statistics. At the time the department lacked a PhD program, so after four years of grad school I stopped with an M.S. in Statistics and got a job as a computing consultant helping people with their SAS, SPSS and STATGRAPHICS programs. Later I was able to expand that role, creating a full-fledged statistical consulting center in partnership with the Department of Statistics. Ongoing funding cuts have been chipping away at that concept though.

What made me a success? I love my job! I get to work with a lot of smart scientists and their grad students, expanding scientific knowledge. What could be better?

Science is boring, and not well paying career compared to being a lawyer or a sales job. People think you are a nerd. Please comment based on your experiences.

Science is constantly making new discoveries. That’s not boring! An area that most people can relate to is medicine. When we finish a study that shows a new treatment is better than an old one, our efforts will help thousands of people. In one study we compared a new, very expensive anti-nausea drug to an old one that was quite cheap. The pharmaceutical company claimed the new drug was better of course, but our study showed that it was not. That ended up helping to control health care costs that we all see escalating rapidly.

Another study found for the first time, a measure that could predict how well a hearing aid would help a person. Now, it’s easy to measure a hearing aid and see that it is doing what it is supposed to do, but a huge proportion of people who buy them don’t like them and stop wearing them after a brief period. Scientists tried for decades to predict which people would not be good candidates for hearing aids. A very sharp scientist at UT, Anna Nabelek, came up with the concept of Acceptable Noise Level. We measured how much background noise people were willing to tolerate before trying a hearing aid. That allowed us to develop a model that could predict well for the first time if someone should bother spending up to $5,000 for hearing aids. For retired people on a fixed income, that was an important finding. An audiology journal devoted an entire issue to the work.

It’s true that you can make more money in many other fields. But the excitement of discovery and the feeling that I’m helping to extend science very satisfying and well worth the lower salary. Plus, having a job in science means you will never have a chance to get bored!

What is your view on Rice University’s initiatives to create open source textbooks at http://cnx.org/ .

I think this is a really good idea. One of my favorite statistics books is Statnotes: Topics in Multivariate Analysis, by G David Garson. You can read it for free at http://www2.chass.ncsu.edu/garson/pa765/statnote.htm .

Universities pay professors to spend their time doing research, which must be published to get credit. So why not pay professors to write text books too? There have been probably hundreds of introductory books in every imaginable field. They cannot all make it in the marketplace so when they drop out of publication, why not make them available for free? I still have my old Introductory Statistics textbook from 30 years ago and the material is still good. It may be missing a few modern things like boxplots, but it would not take much effort to bring it up to date.

I’m also a huge fan of Project Gutenburg (http://www.archive.org/details/gutenberg). That is a collection of over 20,000 books, articles, etc. available there for free download. My wife does volunteer project management and post-processing with Distributed Proofreaders (http://www.pgdp.net/) which supplies books for Gutenburg.

What are your views on students uploading scanned copies of books to torrent sharing web sites because of expensive books.

The cost of textbooks has gotten out of hand. I think students should pressure universities and professors to consider cheaper alternatives. However scanning books putting them up on web sites isn’t sharing, it’s stealing. I put in most of my weekends and nights for 2 ½ years on my book that will be lucky to sell a few thousand copies. That works out to pennies per hour. Seeing it scanned in would be quite depressing.

When is the book coming out ? What is taking so long ?

We ran into problems when the book was translated from Microsoft Word to LaTeX. The translator program did not anticipate that an index would already be in place. That resulted in 2-3 errors per page. We’re working through that and should finally get it printed in early October.

Biography

Robert A. Muenchen is a consulting statistician with 28 years of experience. He is currently the manager of the Statistical Consulting Center at the University of Tennessee. He holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. in Statistics. Bob has conducted research for a variety of public and private organizations and has assisted on more than 1,000 graduate theses and dissertations. He has coauthored over 40 articles published in scientific journals and conference proceedings. Bob has served on the advisory boards of SPSS Inc., the Statistical Graphics Corporation and PC Week Magazine. His suggested improvements have been incorporated into SAS, SPSS, JMP, STATGRAPHICS and several R packages. His research interests include statistical computing, data graphics and visualization,text analysis, data mining, psychometrics and resampling.

Ajay-He is also a very modest and great human being.

http://www.amazon.com/SAS-SPSS-Users-Statistics-Computing/dp/0387094172/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217456813&sr=8-1

India and Internet:Serial Entrepreneur

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1) What has been the story of your career and what message would you like to send to young people aspiring for MBA’s

Well, a quick history is that I completed my B.Com with specialisation in Accounting & Financial Management from Mumbai University and then my MBA from IIMA in 1993. My first job was with Trans Indus, a UK-based Tour Operator providing tailor-made Independent Holidays to British Travellers. My role was marketing and sales. I then joined Magnasound India to pursue my passion in Music and after 2 years, moved to become part of Sony Music’s set-up team in India. I was soon tempted by the opportunity to explore the emerging Internet space with Mudra Communications, where I was asked to set-up Mudra Interactive. 3 years and a few successful websites and campaigns later, I decided to go my own way and set-up Indigo Consulting in 2000.

My message to young aspiring MBAs is:

1. Please work for at least 2 years before doing an MBA (3-4 years is ideal)

2. After your MBA, forget that you have the degree. Don’t be bound by the "MBA-approved" career options – choose what gives you max satisfaction, cos that is the best guarantee that you will excel at your job.

(PS, you can find more at http://www.rediff.com/money/2007/mar/28guest.htm)

2) What various ventures have you been involved in. What is the motivation/drive behind these initiatives ?

Indigo Consulting (www.indigo.co.in) and Cashcow.in

The motivation behind both these initiatives is to create a commercial venture from scratch that offers sustainable value to clients and employees.

Indigo Consulting: By being the most respected Digital Agency in the Asia-Pacific region – respected through: Innovative Work that delivers business results for client, and provides an experience filled with learning and passion for the employees.

Cashcow.in: By being a definitive resource for Financial Services practitioners that provides timely and relevant information to help them keep pace with the ever changing world of marketing.

Creating this from scratch was personally important to me since my own motivation was the entire creative and "nurturing" process.

Perhaps the biggest risk to what I had started out to do came when 2.5/3 years into the business (and we were stable but yet quite small), my partner and co-founder decided he wanted to pursue other interests instead. I was extremely worried about the impact this would have on the confidence of our clients and employees. We had just about started building a name for ourselves and it would have been easy to have read this as a signal of yet another venture falling by the wayside. Most importantly it challenged my own self-confidence to go it alone and to achieve what we had set out to do. The commitment to the venture and my passion to create the venture is what saw me through those days – and  of course a whole lot of luck which you cannot discount.

3) What are the key learnings that you have learnt in this short period. What advice would you give to someone just out of college today and looking for career choices.

One of the most important learnings is that it is very important to identify and recognise your talents and choose a career that exploits those talents. You have to love what you do to be great at it.

Another lesson that I have learnt is the importance of honesty and integrity towards your work. Your work has to be an expression of who you are, and I’m sure, everyone wants to be known in a positive way for their work.

4) Is an IIM MBA necessary for success .Comments please.Please give supporting anecdotes or examples.

Not at all. There are sufficient examples out there of people who did not have an MBA at all, let alone an IIM MBA – Narayan Murthy is the best example of our times. However, an MBA MAY help in being better prepared, and most importantly as an insurance policy.

5) Whats your vision for Cashcow.in . Which international website is a good comparable for it ? What learnings would one gain from this site or subscribing to the newsletter ?

Cashcow.in aims to be the definitive source for tracking financial services marketing trends and happenings in India, serving as an invaluable resource to practitioners and students of BFSI marketing. It aims to be recognised for its timely, insightful as well as unique coverage of the domain. One of the sites we like in the domain is www.netbanker.com.

 

Biography- Vikas completed his post-graduation in Business Management from Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad, and has over 14 years’ experience in Sales, Marketing & Interactive Media. Prior to starting Indigo Consulting, he set-up and led Mudra Interactive, Mudra Communications’ Interactive and New Media division.
A music buff, Vikas counts playing guitar, traveling/outdoor activities, and gadgets among his passions. He also runs Cashcow, India’s first blog on Financial Services marketing.

Online Analytics -June Dershewitz

June Dershewitz

One of World’s Leading and Well Known Authority on Web Analytics

1) What’s the latest trend you see in Online Analytics over the next year and next three to five years.

I strongly believe that web analytics is on its way to becoming business analytics. In the early days we were solely focused on analyzing clickstream data, but in recent years we’ve relaxed our definition of web analytics to include things like voice of customer
and offline outcome data and multivariate testing. More and more I hear people talking about how online customer interaction fits in with the overall goals of the business rather than as an isolated island of activity. In the future I think we’ll see less of a distinction
between traditional business intelligence and what we currently consider to be the separate field of web analytics.

2) Tell us how you came in this field of work, and what factors made
you succeed.

I entered the field of web analytics in 1999. Like many people who got their start at that time, it happened totally by chance. I had applied for a job as a web developer, but the interviewer thought I’d be perfect for another open position – as a web analyst. I took it just to see what it was like. Here it is a decade later and I’m still in web analytics – so I guess you could say it worked out.

Why is web analytics is a natural match for me? Well, I’ve always felt quite comfortable

Continue reading “Online Analytics -June Dershewitz”

India and the Internet-Self Publishing Pothi.com

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1) What has been the story of your career and what message would you like to send to young people aspiring for MBA’s

(Masters of Business Administration)

Jaya -I come from a small town in Bihar, where I completed my class 10th in a residential school close-by. Finished my high school from DPS Ranchi and then joined IIT Kanpur for a B. Tech. in Computer Science & Engineering. Joined IIM Lucknow right after that. Since then I worked with a start-up and then with Google India in Product Management roles, before starting full time on Pothi.com

Message to young people aspiring for an MBA: Don’t aspire for an MBA, because everyone else is doing so, or because people want you to. Aspire for being good at what is in your heart. If you an artist at heart, aspire to be a good artist! If MBA it is, then you probably know what you want to get out of it.

2) Why did you turn down a job from Google and start a startup straight after college

Jaya -I had opted out of placement from the campus and joined a start-up (not my own). There was no offer for Google at that time. I did work for Google later as a Product Manager before starting on my own. The reason for joining a start-up after the college were two fold. Firstly some of the job possibilities that looked very lucrative before joining an MBA turned out to be not so lucrative. I really enjoyed reading the psychology and sociology behind consumer behaviour, how they shape choices etc. But a real life job would have entailed ensuring that people drink more Pepsi and eat more chocolates! After my summer internship I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy it. So, I thought going back to technology and take up something where technological as well as management education could be put to use. The start-up was providing the right platform with a product management role.

Secondly, I always wanted to be an entrepreneur myself and hence working in a start-up looked like a good preparation ground. After about two years since graduating, I found myself ready with an idea I was passionate about, a partner with complementary skills and same passion for the idea and some savings to sustain myself for a few months. So, Pothi.com emerged.

3) What are the key learnings that you have learnt in this short period

Jaya -I think one of the major (and useful) realizations for me has been that start-up (success) and institutional funding are not synonymous. Somehow, people always talk to entrepreneurs and discuss start-ups in terms of how good the business is from a Venture Capital (VC) perspective. One has to realize that VCs are geared towards investing in only certain kinds of businesses. That does not mean there is no demand for some of the other kinds of product and services or that a sustainable business can not be made out of them.

4) Is an IIM MBA necessary for success .Comments please.

Jaya-I am very biased against an MBA, especially the way it is used in India/IIMs – as a job agency and not a learning ground. No, I don’t think that an IIM MBA or any MBA (or any particular degree for that matter!) is necessary for success.

Note- IIM stands for Indian Institutes of Management. They are six IIMs and they are the analogous counterparts of the IVY league of USA

5) Whats your vision for Pothi.com . Which website is a good analogy for it ? Why should anyone visit the website ?

Jaya-There is lot more interesting and good content out there than what traditional publishing (and distribution, as we learned over time) can support. All of them should be produced and distributed in the form of a book, which is the most versatile, economical and easy form for consuming content. And Pothi.com should pioneer that!

 

Jaya Jha is the co-founder of Pothi.com. She is an IIT Kanpur and IIM Lucknow alumnus and was working with Google India as a Product Manager before starting up on Pothi.com full time. She enjoys reading, writing and traveling.She topped IIM Lucknow and was a gold medallist there.First person to be hired outside of US office in the APM Program at Google. APM Pogram is a 2 year training program for fresh graduates to take up the Product Management Role in Google.She was also awarded Sangeeta Goel Memorial Award for highest All India Rank (88) in JEE 2000 amongst the girl students admitted to Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur

Specific Services at Pothi.com start as low as 12 USD for writers (due to India based costs).International shipping is enabled.

India and the Internet:Workosaur.com

Q1. What has been the story of your career and what message would you like to send to young people aspiring for MBA’s or just starting their careers?image
A1. I’d rather have the reader click through to my LinkedIn profile (http://www.linkedin.com/in/nimish79) to see how my career has panned thus far. However, the interesting bits only start now that I have taken upon myself the challenge to create true value by building a big Internet business – click by click.
Also, I feel it’s too early for me to be dispensing advice to those starting their careers. To each his own dream.
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Q2. Why did you create a web startup?
A2. While I have always tried to spot the right opportunity to get started, my last few jobs have been in the Internet space. And I took to it just like a fish takes to water. Also having set up two Internet businesses and having contributed in different capacities to the other businesses at my previous organizations, starting off in this space was a natural progression for me.
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Q3. What are the key learnings that you have learnt in this short period?
A3.
1. INNOVATE or DIE.

My first initiative, workosaur.com, is a niche job site targeting senior professionals. To exist in the online recruitment industry, which is currently dominated by big players who entered the market early, makes it imperative for me innovate. Moreso because even late entrants with deep pockets have struggled to remain competitive.
2. BUILD TO LAST. DON’T BUILD TO EXIT.
Many Internet startups today are not built on a solid business model. They exist under the assumption that one of the bigger plays will snap them up. When you have such a vision, there is a greater chance that you would fail. Because if things don’t go your way and the bootstrapping costs pile up, you may lose patience, and hang up your boots. So it’s always better to build a business that can go all the way – one that provides tangible value to its audience – so that you can make money at some stage of your product’s lifecycle.
3. WORK HARD.
During the start-up stage, it pays to work hard. For example, I decided to read and learn everything I could – right from managing and hosting a webserver to designing on Photoship/GIMP to programming in PHP/Python to HTMLization to search engine optimization to campaign management and online marketing. I knew enought to be able to do all the initial work myself and was able to launch workosaur.com under USD 1000. If one isn’t willing to do this kind of spadework, it becomes difficult to sustain a start-up which can’t be monetized early.

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Q4. Is an MBA (IIM or Otherwise) necessary for success. Comments please.

A4. In my opinion, an MBA (especially from an IIM) is detrimental to success if one aspires to be an entrepreneur. Given the prevalence of extremely high salaries amongst the IIM pass-outs, one tends to build a comfort zone around themselves. And it’s difficult to get out of. During conversations I have noticed that most of my peers aspire to start up but the superficial comfort zone of drawing a fixed monthly income holds them back. And once you are so risk-averse, it is very difficult to tread the entrepreneurial route.

Also, the comfort in their current job kills the stomach to do spade work. And with this you have pretty much eliminated the key elements that are necessary to be a successful entrepreneur.
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Q5. Whats your vision for your site. Which website is a good analogy for it? Why should anyone visit the website?

A5. The vision for workosaur.com is to be the #1 job search destination for middle-level and senior-level management. My current mission is to aggregate the most Rs. 10+ lac jobs and simultaneously build features that would be of great utility for my audience.
It’s a niche segment and currently there is no competitor operating exclusively in the same niche. The competition comes from multiple channels like the top management jobs on naukri and monster plus print classifieds such as Times Ascent.
We have chosen to serve only senior professionals on workosaur. Once you decide to serve a niche, you are in a better position to give them what they want. (We are like a Chinese restaurant which serves good Chinese food to an audience who has come to eat Chinese cuisine.) Senior professionals who visit workosaur will note that we aggregate only 7-figure jobs i.e. jobs that pay more than Rs. 10 lacs per annum. And we do not provide recruiters any access to our database of CVs unless its in response to a job posting. Thus the need for confidentiality is taken care of. Apart from this, you’d find a lot of nifty features that are built for this audience. Log on to workosaur and try them out.

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Bio:
Workosaur.com is a free job board for senior positions i.e. jobs that pay more than Rs. 10+ lacs per annum. Unlike the other job sites, workosaur.com truly focus on aggregating the most lucrative jobs in India and overseas – Corporate-level, vice president, director and manager positions. Workosaur.com explicitly asks employers to use the job board only for positions for which they can afford to pay more than Rs. 10 lacs per annum, thus making workosaur an aggregator of 7-figure jobs.