Snowflakes Templates – Blogs are the new media

Just came across this interesting post about Snowflake templates where you put a word with just about anything, and make a punchline. For instance, “X is the new Y”, or “In Soviet-Russia, X Y’s you”, and in Israel during the election campaign, a leader came up with “Not X. Y”. Some examples are:

  1. Dhoni is the new Tendulkar
  2. Laptops are the new supercomputers
  3. In Soviet Russia, water drinks you
  4. In Bollywood, dreams make you
  5. Not a blog. An elegy.
  6. Not a snowflake. A phenomenon.
  7. Rahul is the new Rajiv!

What snowflake patterns have you seen? Any common in India?

Hop onto the original post as well.


Was browsing orkut, when suddenly I remembered one of the wierdest co-incidences that has happened to me. This was 2 years back — we had just finished one of the theater sessions in Bangalore and chilling at a coffee joints, and as it often happens when there are enough people and few topics, the discussion happened to meander towards the topic of birthdays. It was one of those early classes, and I was very enthusiastic, and immediately gave a shout with mine. Suddenly, the girl next to me told hers, and (yes you guessed it right) her birthday was on the same day, same year!

All this while, the guy on the other side, had been cut-off from the conversation since we had been talking about relatively boring things, or perhaps busy talking to his girlfriend. Suddenly, he decided to pop in, and this was really wierd, the most unbelievable thing to have happened to me — he was born on the same day, albeit in a different year! Three people sitting in a row sharing the same birthday. How many times has it happened to you?

What is the wierdest such thing that has happened to you?

Clay Shirky’s predictions about the future of Mass Media

Just found this article on The Guardian site. Clay Shirky’s a professor at NYU and a scholar of Mass Media and the effect internet trends would have on them. Worth a read — I agree with some of his predictions (and presumptuously adding some of my own):

  1. Newspaper’s will diverge into 2 classes – magazines such as Economist which will exist for the people willing to pay for high quality coverage, and mass coverage of all possible news on the internet that will be available free and paid for by advertising dollars. Communities such as Twitter might help surfacing the right news.
  2. Niche newspapers and magazines will only exist online — the distribution costs for anything that doesn’t have economies of scale are not justified.
  3. TV will also change dramatically – The current state of the industry is that content is tightly controlled by the Channels, and hence to maintain quality, studios invest a lot of money (at least in India). We will see a lot of rise of amateur content, but only so much, since professionals will soon (and have, if I am not wrong) start publishing on YouTube and the like. However, the sudden loosening of the grip on distribution (since there are no longer any channels), will mean the quality of the content will change. Video distribution will be controlled far more by social networking sites (a la Facebook) than are blog posts.
  4. Books will be relatively less affected, at least until we hit a e-book reader that really rocks! My guess, though is devices like Kindle will improve a lot in the next decade or so, and might affect book sales greatly. Print-on-Demand will grow, but I am still not aware of how much it costs to print just one copy, so I am not in a position to comment. A large part of the cost if the cost of distribution, PoD will really succeed if the following equation is satisfied (since you will still pick up books at a store):

cost_of_traditional_book + cost_of_distribution_to_store > cost_of_printing_just_one_copy

The full article can be found here.

What is a *FREE* customer worth?

I always wonder if companies should pursue community building with lots of users, or a few paid users. While both have their advantage, it is a question that can be better answered on a case-to-case basis. Many factors might affect the strategy a company might want to employ – funding levels (do you have money to invest through a franchise building phase?), maturity of the market (how many other players are there?), state of the product (is your product extremely well-defined, or are you tuning it still?), but I found this feature story by Sunil Gupta and Carl Mela that brings to the fore a new dimension and one I had not been able to quantify — indirect network effects — when you acquire a free customer, over time they might start buying from you, or attract other customers.

Gupta and Mela point out these free customers are extremely important for many businesses — from a shopping mall where they build up aspirational value and buy products later, or gaming consoles where it drives more developers and a wider eco-system leading to a higher monetization. They explain these in light of an online auctions house — where more buyers lead to more sellers and higher lifetime earnings even though the buyers don’t actually pay a fee. What’s really interesting about the report is that they have quantified these indirect network effects, explain how a penetrative pricing (low initially, and higher later) leads to higher lifetime earnings since it broadens the base.

Also reminds me of when I was talking to a manager in Shoppers Stop sometime back, and he told me that everybody walking into his store is a potential customer — they might not buy anything now, but the fact that they walked in shows that they are interested in buying something, and will come back and buy. Which is also true of brands targeting youth — they don’t have a lot of immediate spending power, but very high lifetime earnings, and so you are better off getting them hooked onto your products.

There is also a more detailed research report that I wish to delve into, and if you want to read the full feature, just search intelligently]

[Via OCC Bangalore mailing list]

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