Monthly Archives: September 2007

Pondi’s Book of Business Ideas: Idea 5 – What Job?

Back in IIT, during our recruitment days, the burning question used to be (and probably still is) – career choice. Should I get a core job or study further? If not a core job, should it be Business Research, or should it be Finance? Should it be Consulting or Sales & Marketing? Or if nothing works out, should I get the worst-case-scenario IT job or take the CAT to make up for past CGPA sins?

Two years after graduation, I am glad and quite content to have founded a company, but had I been doing a job, I would have been none the wiser. What’s worse is that, when my juniors ask me for advice, it saddens me to see them going through the same motions. The professors on the other hand, rue the fact that students are much more interested in joining Finance and Consulting jobs than their core departments – I hear people are doing certification courses from the National Stock Exchange while at IIT. (I guess I have no locust standi to whine about our ‘engineering talent’ getting wasted – considering I wasted no time in switching job profiles). 

A part solution to this problem is to increase the amount of information available and its dessemination which is where ‘What Job?’ comes in.

Product Name: What Job? [The inspiration for the name comes from Manoj Jhanwar]

Logo:

whatjob

One-Line Description: ‘What Job?’ would be a blog, podcast and wiki about careers.

Long Description: 

At the very outset, the blog and podcast would comprise interviews with people in all kinds of careers and at all kinds of positions – asking them about their sectors, their profiles, their educational background, the pros and cons of the job, and what someone should do if the want to make it there.

Another aspect could be to serve as guide to the recruitment process in different companies and sectors. So one could have audio recordings of mock (or even real) interviews [recruitment interviews] , Recruitment data from colleges (if it can be provided) etc.

We can also have workplace videos – an attempt to understand what kind of work culture do different sectors and different companies entail.

The wiki would be a ‘job wiki’ and will take care of the chinks in the blog/podcast till the content there is built up. We will have wiki articles on careers, companies, b-schools, educational programs, degree courses, important people within an industry and so on.

How will it make money?

Again this is one of those ideas where money isn’t the primary driver – it’s public good. However, it never hurts to make an organisation self-sustained so it’s worth thinking about how this thing would make money. Besides the obvious first answer to all content-driven internet businesses (advertising), what else can we do? a) We can do slightly smarter advertising. For example, imagine at the end of every post Naukri.com puts in contextual links to, ‘apply for this job’, ‘hire for this position’, ‘apply to this company’ etc. b) Another could be having an associated job board – though I am not entirely sure how the publisher makes money in the case of a job board.

Issues

I think one of the main issues will be that the content could end up being too politically correct. Who would like to publicly state that their company sucks/job sucks? The wiki pages might be edited to portray companies in a positive light. Plus, I wonder if any of the things described here would effectively aggregate the varied opinions of people on different things.


Off-topic: Came across another site which posts business ideas – at the rather ambitious rate of 1 everyday – http://astartupaday.wordpress.com/

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The state of the Indian Blogosphere

The state of the Indian blogosphere vs. the western blogosphere : 

I wanted to start this blog post with a comparison between two potentially A-List bloggers who started blogging recently – one American and one Indian. These were: Marc Andreesen (at http://blog.pmarca.com) and Sanjeev Bikhchandani (at http://bikhchandani.blogspot.com/).

Unfortunately, Sanjeev has practically stopped blogging. He wrote 4 posts in May followed by 1 in June and that’s that – (all of which made for great reading by the way). Marc on the other hand started with a bang: he wrote some absolutely amazing posts on a variety of topics ranging from Entrpreneurship, Technology, Science Fiction and Current Affairs. But now, he has largely limited himself to pulling out passages or quotes from various sources and adding a one-liner to it as his take.

Nevertheless, the question I wanted to ask was, Where are all the Indian blogs?

There could be two reasons why I don’t have the answer to the question. a) I am a newbie to blogs and don’t know which are the most read Indian blogs even though they exist. b) Since I don’t hear about or stumble upon very many Indian blogs (Unlike say you would on all kinds of American blogs), it equally possible that they don’t exist. [I am not counting blogs like GigaOm, which, though run or written by people of Indian origin, touch upon India-related topics very rarely.]

There are definitely some well known Indian bloggers. There’s Amit Agarwal who is a full time blogger, there are some internet/tech blogs like Contentsutra, Alootechie, Webyantra (this one is dying by the way) and some others like Youth Curry (amazingly insightful) and Great Bong (hilarious).

You may find some more lists here: Indibloggies, iPatrix, India-Blogs

The point I am trying to make when I ask that question is that while bloggers exist and some of them are fairly popular, blogging isn’t a conversational medium at all.

Look at the US. Someone writes about a topic, someone else takes it up and so on so forth – creating a coherent and involving discussion around all kinds of things. This has also spawned sites like TechMeme which keep a track of such ‘conversations’.

Here, there have been some such discussions around specific issues in the past: IIPM, reservations and Jessica Lal come to mind – but do they create any impact? Why don’t they happen more often?

I think most Indian blogs are about the author and his/her musings – a personal diary on a variety of topics (this one included :)). [Even those make for amazing reading, but then we need more industry veterans like Sanjeev Bikhchandani blogging (and also hope that they blog more often)].

Also, in the USA, blogging is big business. Besides the success stories of Weblogs Inc. (which was purchased by AOL for $25m) there are other big blog networks such as Nick Denton’s Gawker Media, Techcrunch, GigaOM etc. There are others that exist on a variety of topics(link). Why doesn’t something like this exist in India, or why isn’t anyone trying to create a blog network? [A Google search got me this – on Instablogs – but it doesn’t seem to have any flagship blogs (for e.g. Engadget for Weblogs), just syndicated stories from a lot of ‘channels’.]

It’s unfortunate that the such a medium hasn’t found sufficient consumers or creators in India (yet?).

I think [Aside: I was almost going to say ‘I personally believe’, when I was reminded of this video] that proliferation of Internet media via blogs and the like, would be the real catalyst of internet usage in India.