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BlogCamp.in September 8, 2006

Posted by rajAT in blog, bloggers, india, indiablogcamp.
1 comment so far

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I will be camping at BlogCamp this weekend. 🙂

Conversations that will keep people chatty at the camp are –

  • Blogging and Governance – How blogs are being used to provide assistance during times of crisis, uncovering potential crimes, activities, taking on the government, etc.
  • Blogging and Entrepreneurship – Many professionals are using blogs to change their world. Here we talk about how blogging can work towards career development and related areas.
  • Corporate Blogging – Many corporates have started blogging, taking them closer to customers. Here, you could share your stories on why you are incorporating blogs in your products and media strategies.
  • Getting Geeky – The Art and Science of Blogging, how to go about it, tips and tricks of trade and taking blogging to the next level.
  • Blogging as New Media – As blogging goes mainstream, it complements journalism. Here we talk about why traditional media should care about blogging as a form of citizen journalism.
  • Blogging as a Hobby – How blogs help you in showcasing your talents and skills, in sharing your deep thoughts.
  • Blogging and Community – As a tool for action, collective or distributed, as a binding force, as a way for individuals to contribute, and to get back something

There is beach party planned on Saturday night. An evening on the lawns, a bonfire, booze, music, swimming pool, good food. Place is a minute’s walk from the beach. We will be crashing the night at the beach house and will be camping out in the lawns. Looking forward for it the most :D.

Going by spicejet 🙂 to make the whole experience spicy. 🙂

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Blogumentary August 18, 2006

Posted by rajAT in blog, blogumentary, chuck olsen, media2.0, web2.0.
1 comment so far

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BLOGUMENTARY playfully explores the many ways blogs are influencing our media, our politics, and our relationships. Personal political writing is the foundation of our democracy, but mass media has reduced us to passive consumers instead of active citizens. Blogs return us to our roots and reengage us in democracy.

Shot in candid first-person style by director Chuck Olsen, himself an avid blogger, the film features interviews with influential bloggers including Joe Trippi, Jeff Jarvis, Dan Gillmor, John Hinderaker, Jason Kottke and Meg Hourihan. From the rise of Howard Dean to the fall of Dan Rather, from love at first blog to a friend’s suicidal blog post, “Blogumentary” is a fresh and compelling journey into our hyperconnected existence.

Also showing: episodes from “Minnesota Stories,” the vlog edited by Olsen, featuring stories of the normal, the abnormal, and the paranormal in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes.

Watch the trailer

Buy tickets here.

Blogger jailed by US federal court August 2, 2006

Posted by rajAT in blog, bloggers, jail, josh wolf.
3 comments

The New York Times reports today what may be the first case of a blogger jailed by a US federal court for not handing over sources or source materials for a story – a case that will raise no end of questions about the rights, responsibilities, and protections of citizens acting as journalists.

Josh Wolf, a 24-year-old blogger and freelancer, had shot video of a San Francisco protest over the 2005 meeting of the G8 in Scotland. Violence ensued, a police officer’s skull was fractured, and authorities say a smoke bomb or firework was put under a police car. Wolf sold some of his video to local TV stations and put more up on his blog. Prosecutors demanded that Wolf testify before a grand jury and hand over everything he shot. Wolf refused and, yesterday, a federal judge found him in contempt and sent him to prison, where he could stay until the grand jury’s term expires next summer. Soon after, a post appeared on his blog asking for donations, thoughts, and prayers under the headline, “Josh is in jail and this is his mom”.

[Via Buzzmachine]

My Technorati Ranking July 22, 2006

Posted by rajAT in blog, dream on, rajat gupta.
11 comments

I have breached the top 100,000 ranking on Technorati in just 2 months
My current ranking is 98,712.
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It is a big feat considering that Technorati tracks 49.1 million blogs.

I am thrilled.

Dream On has made it to the Top 10 WordPress blogs of the day couple of times.

The post on StarDolls has been there in Top 10 posts on wordpress from a week now.

I took a loooong time before I started blogging.
There were number of reasons for not blogging.

But finally I did start blogging. And now I am hooked 🙂

Blogging also landed me some freelancing gigs for US publishing houses.

Now a quick overview of my blog.
I blog about

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Number of posts – 72
Comments – 225

No. of Hits – 14,691 ( As on 22nd July, 10 AM IST)

I get traffic from pretty much all over the world.
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The clustermaps has done a remarkable job for me. Planning to take their premium service.
Some of the highs of blogging.

Jeff Jarvis, blogger extraordinaire, who blogs at BuzzMachine linked couple of my posts.
Desipundit had linked 4 of my posts.

I had a blog conversation with Richard Charkin, Tom Evslin, Alan Moore, Amit Ranjan and Rashmi Bansal.

Quite a few friends put me on their blogrolls. Thanks guys!!

I came in touch with lot of interesting people all around the world through my blog which wont have been possible otherwise.

Well I dont want to get started here with the power of blogs blah blah.
They are indeed very powerful means of communication.

And you got to be blogging to understand that.

Thanks alot for reading, linking and commenting on my posts.

Have you got a girlfriend? July 21, 2006

Posted by rajAT in blog, bloggers, Bloggers Anonymous, fun.
1 comment so far

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Microsoft’s Latest Acquisition July 19, 2006

Posted by rajAT in blog, fun, microsoft.
2 comments

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Indiagoes – It just got better July 18, 2006

Posted by rajAT in aggregator, betterlabs, blog, india, indiagoes, media2.0, web2.0.
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Indiagoes.com is a new generation news service that aggregates and delivers Indian news flawlessly.

Team at Indiagoes has been working hard to make our life simpler. They have added some really nifty features on their website. On of them is the auto tagging of the news item. Auto-tagging really helps in browsing the content by context. Auto-tagging also ensure standardized tags which otherwise are left to whims-fancies of the tagger.

The personalization feature is really the one which has blown me. Normaly you are asked by sites to submit your choices explicitly but Indiagoes learn it automatically. So the more you read, the more it gets tuned to your tastes. Now that is really kewl. 🙂

They have added flickr feeds of Indian content. It is also the best place to find the podcasts and videos of the Indians by the Indians.

Something that has really been missing from the blogosphere i.e. Indian blog Aggregator. Indiagoes has done that too. Kudos to the team.

So have a look at the website here – http://beta.indiagoes.com. Sneak in using the passcode – barcamphyd.

Do let me know your views on it ?

Blog Bucks June 26, 2006

Posted by rajAT in blog, bloggers, entrepreneur, startup, vc, venture capital.
2 comments

contentnext.JPGAs the print media ponder the possibilities presented by blogs, some journalists are raising money to turn their own independent blogs into businesses.

The latest example is, Rafat Ali, the publisher of PaidContent.org and two other news and analysis sites, MocoNews.net and Contentsutra.com, focused on digital media and other high-tech trends, has raised money to expand his Web-publishing business from venture capitalist Alan Patricof.

The financing, though small in comparison with most Web deals, is one of several in recent weeks that indicate optimism on the part of early-stage investors in the viability of blogs as an outlet for journalism, rather than the gossip and personal opinion that characterizes much of the medium.

Mr. Ali started PaidContent.org four years ago when he couldn't find work after two publications he wrote for, Inside.com and Silicon Alley Reporter, shut down. His site has since developed a following among people interested in how the Internet and other technologies are affecting the media business.

I met Mr. Rafat at a mixer in New Delhi in December. At that time Mr. Trehan, VP Indiatimes, mentioned that Rafat is a million dollar guy. AOL purchase of Weblogs Inc. was still wet and all professional bloggers were eyeing similar deals. Rafat and team continued their good work and now this deal can go along way in building PaidContent a big money spinner.

Between did I mention that ContentSutra was the first professional blog I started reading way back in 2005 (internet years 😀 ). And it openned the doors of a whole new world. Thanks Rafat and all the best.  

Clueless Publishers June 7, 2006

Posted by rajAT in blog, book, books, google, media, media2.0, publishing, technology, web2.0.
7 comments

The business of publishing books is going to get disintermediated. Even if publishers start publishing books online they cannot save their empires. It is like arranging the deck chairs on Titanic.

An author goes to a famous publishing house because a publisher has got a network already that is necessary for a mega success of the book. A publisher

1) Buys reputation , an example.

2) Provide a platform for getting into international markets.

3) And most importantly prints the book.

But things on internet work a bit differently, isn't it.

At the moment you cannot buy reputation online, thank god. You publish your book on internet and blogs take it in all the corners of the world.

So why in future an author will go to a publisher to get his book published. That is the question to be answered?

An author should ask I am the one who is creating the content. I am one who is advertising the book through blogs so why I need this guy called publisher. Note that royalties are not that big.

Publishers have lost half of their battle when Amazon started reviews on its website. Over the years book lovers all round the world have contributed significant amout of data on its website. And now Amazon has got that valuable data and not the publishers.

And now Amazon has started allowing the authors to blog from Amazon.com itself. It is a good idea. But Amazon is not the edge.

Authors will prefer their own blog sites. But amazon still have a fighting chance over the publishers as an internet book publishing platfrom. Simple reason is Amazon has built network goods.

How to make money by publishing books online will be figured out by someone who is more enteprising. Scott has got some ideas though.

Publishers are just unnecessarily fretting with Google; they should be spending their time thinking the next platform, if there is one.

Surely, very interesting times lie ahead of us.

 

 

Hyderabad Bloggers Meet June 7, 2006

Posted by rajAT in blog, bloggers, hyderabad, india, meetup.
3 comments

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It was a initial kickoff meet.

We are planning a bigger meet somewhere around June end.

So all you hyderabadi bloggers drop a comment.

Also watch this space.

A meet up will be announced soon.

Enterprise 2.0 June 6, 2006

Posted by rajAT in blog, entrepreneur, india, media2.0, peer production, social, startup, technology, vc, web2.0.
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Ray Lane takes a shot at an enterprise 2.0 in an interview with Businessweek. Ray Lane is a partner at KPCB and before that he was president and COO at ORACLe. Now he is working with startups like Visible Path ( MySpace for enterprises ) and SpikeSource. Now that is quite a career shift , isn't it. 🙂

Some of the key points from the interview with my thoughts on them –

1. Innovation is a six month cycle instead of a 3 year cycle. This means window of opportunity where you can cash on your idea is now 6 months. Think, Build, Sell your idea in a six months time. Not because if you fail to capitalize on it someone else would do it, but the idea will get obsolete.

2. In the enterprise 2.0 the IT decisions will not be taken by the CTOs or CIOs, but the individuals. Some might be wondering how this will happen. If people will be free to use their own software,imagine the havoc that will be caused. Ray give some examples of the technology which was adopted bottom up – Blackberryl, Good Technology and Skype. Another good example is that a small group wants to collaborate on some project and they use any wiki software that is available out there.

3. The advantage of providing software as a service is huge. Another benefit is that corporations don't have to commit big sums of money for this. A typical enterprise software implementation take couple of years and millions of dollars.

4. Data is a concern though. Executives will nt like confidential enterprise information residing elsewhere. But for a moment, think of a teen who is living on myspace today when he joins workforce tomorrow, is he going to give a damn to such concerns.

5. All software cann't be provided this way.

6. Existing giants cann't adapt to the service model because they just can't.

7. America is not China. So employees will talk about what is going in the company through podcasts, blogs and any other channels available. You can't dooce them :). Companies view this as a grave security concern but see the brighter side of it. It can take customer enagement with the products they love, to a different dimension. I now can know who has designed the Tshirt I am wearing. Voila !

Btw all this is going to be a great boon for the developing countries. If Indian people are going to leapfrog to mobiles, Indian enterprises are going to leapfrog to all these light weight enterprise solutions. :).

Any enterpreneurs out there listening ?

Volunteers Needed: Indonesia Earthquake June 3, 2006

Posted by rajAT in blog, disaster, earthquake, help, indonesia, volunteers.
1 comment so far

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Volunteers Needed – A message from Angelo on behalf of World Wide Help –

In response to the Java Quake of 27th May, 2006, we have set up the Java Quake Help Wiki (http://javaquake.worldwidehelp.info) and since it was set up, in the past 24 hours we are coordinating disaster relief operations with major aid agencies and teams on the ground. There’s also a team working with us in setting up sms relay communications into affected areas based on the previous relief efforts in the region.

The wiki has the basic design and structure in place but we URGENTLY NEED online volunteers to help us out with the wiki in terms of the following tasks:

1. Move relevant content from tsunamihelp (tsunamihelp.info and quakehelp.asiaquake.org)
2. Scrape info from the blogs covering the quake on technorati
3 Post translations from helpjogja.net blog to the wiki (via Andy Carvin’s link: toggletext.com)
4. Remove irrelevant info
5. Add static info on the main page
6. Spread the word out about the wiki

…….etc.

We have been and are in touch with ICRC-Geneva, TSF and IFRC and are receiving important information such as assessments directly from them which shows that they recognize our relief efforts on the blog and wiki. Additionally, we are being provided with 24/7 info updates from aid workers and their teams in the field and are also blogging at World Wide Help ( blog.worldwidehelp.info). We been requested by a couple of NGOs to coordinate and communicate with them in publishing their situational reps on the wiki and blog.

Any help from all of you for the organization and management of content on the wiki is most appreciated. If you’re interested in lending a hand please head over to the wiki or drop us a line to javaquake@worldwidehelp.info

Some more links.
At Global Voices Online on a special Indonesia earthquake blog, flow of aid to Indonesia, volcanic activity and links to situation reports from various relief agencies.

 

Are books dead? June 3, 2006

Posted by rajAT in blog, book, books, digital library, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, media2.0.
4 comments

[Via J Jarvis] Richard Charkin, head of Macmillan publishers has shared these statistics.
On average across the world people spend 6.5 hours a week reading. The most of amount time spent reading is in India (10.7 hours), the least Korea (3.1 hours). UK is very near the bottom at 5.3 hours, Germany and USA a little higher at 5.7 hours.

The Chinese listen to radio less than any other nation (2.1 hours a week), Argentina the most (20.8 hours).

On average people now spend more time on the Internet for leisure (not work) than reading – 8.9 vs 6.5 hours. Mexico uses the Intenet for leisure least (6.3 hours) and Taiwan the most (12.6 hours).

Internet use reduces the time people have for reading by around 20%.

40% of Europeans do not read books.

More people use the Internet for leisure than read books in the developed world.

And people wonder why publishers are spending so much time and effort on digital development.

First of all, it is great to know that we Indians are spending maximum in devouring books. Literacy rate of India is seeing a steady rise over the last decade or so.

The most connected country in the world that is Korea is spending least time reading books. Now there lies the juice. Does this mean that internet is going to kill the books as we know. Has it become an outmoded means of communicating information.

Well Jeff Jarvis thinks so. He has pointed out many problems with the books.

  • They are frozen in time without the means of being updated and corrected.
  • They have no link to related knowledge, debates, and sources.
  • They create, at best, a one-way relationship with a reader.
  • They try to teach readers but don’t teach authors.
  • They tend to be too damned long because they have to be long enough to be books.
  • They are expensive to produce.
  • They depend on scarce shelf space.
  • They depend on blockbuster economics.
  • They can’t afford to serve the real mass of niches.
  • They are subject to gatekeepers’ whims.
  • They aren’t searchable.
  • They aren’t linkable.
  • They have no metadata.
  • They carry no conversation.
  • They are thrown out when there’s no space for them anymore.

In the end – We need to kill the book to save books.

I couldn't agree more.

PS: It is a great opportunity for the entrepreneurs. 🙂

Peer Production: Boon or Bane June 3, 2006

Posted by rajAT in blog, citizen journalism, collectivism, digg, media2.0, peer production, technology, web2.0, wikipedia, youtube.
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Nick Carr and Jaron Lanier say that rise of digital collectivism is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise. They argue that this is different from meritocracy where the best gets awarded. Nick is of the opinion that the peer produced goods will be mediocre. But as these average goods are available for free that undermines the economic incentives for creating something that is better than mediocre.

Nick points out that markets are good at setting prices for commodities as markets filter out individual biases. There are things where markets are not good like writing books, encyclopedia entries or editing newspapers or magazines. Let me try to expain Nick’s argument by an example – It says that Wikipedia is a mediocre product as compared to Britannica encyclopedia or any other encyclopedia. Now that there is a free mediocre product i.e. Wikipedia in the market people will not buy Britannica anymore. The sales of Britannica will drop and Britannica will take its encyclopedia product off from the market. So, how Britannica should survive in the wake of wikepedia? If Wikipedia is mediocre then I think there is an opportunity for Britannica to tap in. People are always ready to pay premium for the best knowledge. I really don’t think that this behavior will change in future also. The knowledge worker viz consultant, lawyer, doctor faces this competition daily but does he feel threatened from a consultant who is providing his services free of cost. No. Because the costly consultant knows that the cost is not the differentiator but the specialized knowledge that he is having. And that is going to attract the client.

If Britannica thinks that they have a superior product than Wikipedia, they shouldn’t fret. In fact they should see wikipedia as its free version. Let me give you some real life example. Couple of my friends got hooked to wikipedia. They were spending tones of time reading articles on it and they ended up buying Britannica and Microsoft Encarta. I asked them why they have bought two encyclopedias – They said Encarta got lots of multimedia content and Britannica got lots of wonderful long articles. And now they have best of both the worlds. Now if they want to check on a particular thing they first saw it on Wikipedia and then on the regular encyclopedia. Society overall has benefited by having a wikipedia. It gives people a choice and people are smart enough to figure out what is good for them.

Let us have a look at newspapers and magazines. Will Ohmynews or NowPublic will replace NYT or BBC well I don’t think so. Citizen journalism will perform an important role in our society and they give a refreshing new choice to the people. The established media houses because of certain restrictions, generally don’t report things in full. This could be because they are related to one political party or because of the nationalist agenda. Citizen journalists don’t have any such prejudices and give unbiased view of the situation. And it is great to have this alternative available. Similar reasons can be given for consumer generated videos and pictures. We cannot compare the pictures present in Flickr by the ones that get published in National Geographic. But people would like to see both. No video on YouTube can be compared to any oscar winning movie.

Jaron Lanier argues that American Idol can’t give you a John Lennon. I am not sure of American Idol but the singers who won in Indian Idol are signed by big music houses. In fact some of the singers who won in other popular singing competitions got nominated as best playback singers in Filmfare awards (Indian Oscars). Shows like Indian idols give such a great platform to the budding stars and motivates millions of other people too. And this also puts pressure on the existing established singers to give their best. As a result, the society gets benefited.

In the end, I will say that connected production or peer production or whatever you want to call it is a great boon to the society. It challenges the authority of the existing established players who have to come with more innovative ways to survive and sustain. People are going to buy / favor / consume the product which is the best.

Peer production has just raised the bar.

India and Citizen Journalism May 27, 2006

Posted by rajAT in blog, citizen journalism, digg, india, media2.0, mom2.0, web2.0.
18 comments

Last evening, I gave an overview of Web 2.0 to my mother. I told her that now people can have their own digital diaries on internet. They can express their opinion on any topic and can share it with other people. This whole phenomenon is called Blogging. She said, "It is little weird my dear, Diaries are supposed to be personal". I told her that people write their views on politics, technology, sports etc. Some of them are personal also people write about their break offs with their girl friends and boy friends but then privacy was a 20th century problem. She couldn’t really come on terms with the privacy part.

After that I started showing her some blogs. Ajit Jaokar's OpenGardens was open on my laptop. She read open gardens and exclaimed, "Rajat show me this one". The word gardens have attracted her. My mom loves gardening and her Bonsai are very famous. I chuckled and said this is not about gardening but a mobile blog. She was not happy on listening this.

After that I started telling her that Media is no longer one way. It has become a lot more participative. She was quietly thinking and I was looking at her. She then said this means that now anybody can become a reporter. I was like YESSSS!!! I have not uttered a word about citizen journalism and she got there on her own. I got very excited and told her about that the best source of information on IRAQ is not CNN or BBC but a blog. People all over the world go to that website for unbiased information on IRAQ. Next thing on my radar was Ohmynews.com. I told her that all the news items published here are submitted by common people and not journalists. This gives so much power to common people like us as now we have a big forum to express our views. I told her that now we don't need a team of senior editors to decide which is bigger news and which new item should not be printed. Thanks to Digg.com where people decide which news goes on the top and which goes on the bottom. This is WE in WEB.

She was very impressed on listening to all this. And I ended my little lecture by saying that these changes are as big as the invention of printing press.

But after that I started thinking about why citizen journalism is so easy for Indians to get. This was 3rd or 4th time when I have given an overview of Web 2.0 to a person who uses internet barely. All of them jumped at citizen journalism. I think people especially Indians have lacked forums where they are heard, a place where they can go and speak about the problems like corruption, bureaucracy that have crippled the society. I can forsee a very bigger change that our society is going to witness in near future.

Can you?