20 facts about me

Some quick facts about this faceless blogger. If you are reading this, why don’t you comment below and let me know 20 facts about yourself? Let’s get the chain building!

1. I have no middle name. I am thankful for that. My name is already 22 letters long! Phew!

2. I am vegetarian and dislike having oily stuff. Makes me sick. Kind of like a personal in-built heath check mechanism. Isn’t that awesome?!

3. I absolutely lurve cheese!!! You know those cheese platters you get when you go wine tasting? Aaah…pure bliss!

4. I am the only child of my parents. And that has his upsides. More love, more attention (oh that’s good when you’re growing up) and more sincere care. Family is wonderful if you think about it.

5. I’ve never been camping! Will I like staying in tents? Oh yes! Always wanted to do that since I was little. Take me camping, someone!

6. I am excessively passionate about x number of things. I either passionately like something, or I totally ignore it. There, somehow, doesn’t seem to be a middle ground in my world.

7. I just had a cupcake eating challenge, so I am currently sick and tired of cupcakes. But that doesn’t mean I won’t try and take a bite off some yummy looking cupcakes in the near future.

8. People who aren’t kind to animals rank really low in my “good books.” Cuz really, what’s not to love about animals?!

9. I have got to travel on my birthday. No one can get me to stay where I am during that time of the year. My day – my rules 😉

10. I am a Twitter and Pinterest addict. These are the two social media sites I think are worth being active on. Unless of course you’re more of a LinkedIn sort of a person.

11. I hate “lol” or “lulz” or any of its relatives. If you are laughing, just laugh out loud for real!

12. I hate those older men with balding heads and potbellies staring at you as if you’re just going to turn around and fall in love with them. Seriously! That ain’t really going to happen, Sir.

13. I love learning new languages and I am currently crushing heavily on Spanish. Bueno, isn’t it?

14. People who have no clue how to respect elders are seriously a burden on the planet. Just jump off the edge, won’t you?

15. I love books and get a kick out of taking those reading challenges on Goodreads. I’ve never completed any challenge thus far though. But hey, maybe this year?

16. My favourite tipple? Can be anything from a cup of warm ginger tea to a glass of Cabernet. It has to be smooth,  or how are you going to get good dreams at all?

17. I personally have nothing against serpents. Bit unfortunately, they seem to give me the creeps. So, if you have a python as your pet, please – you can’t visit!

18. Beautiful sceneries take my breath away. Make me work in the midst of greenery, and I could go on forever without a break. Nature…You have no parallel!

19. I don’t believe in ghosts or monsters under the bed. But if you guys exist, we can always co-exist, eh? 

20. I could listen to soft Asian music all the time. Music that soothes my senses? I could get addicted to it.

Try it sometime. Works wonders for your mood!

If you own a startup, pop those innovation pills right away

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Being an entrepreneur is a tough job. No one can deny that. Especially so, when you are a newbie in the entrepreneurship game and have just given birth to a startup. Entrepreneurs need to take some fast and effective steps to get a startup established and polish the offerings and solutions to a form that spawns customer demand. They have to anchor value in their offerings with respect to novelty, excellence, and usability, even with the insufficient assets and finances they start out with; moreover, all this has to be achieved amidst the tug-of-war that they walk into with the industry competitors.

Many entrepreneurs don’t seem to be able to figure out the “right” course to take to grow their businesses. Luckily, one course that seems to be working for many startup owners is innovation in marketing.

Building on the basics of marketing

Although startups are sprouting all around us these days, they do not appear to be sticking to the “conventional marketing guide” or pulling out tried-and-tested ideas to promote themselves. Over the years, startups have proven that their marketing basics are solid as rock and nothing can shake them. Additionally, it seems to have been repeatedly hammered into all startup entrepreneurs that they need to have a mission statement in place that they need to follow like the holy Bible. Despite finding the “right” audience, developing spectacular content, and promoting their offerings across all channels possible, they feel the need to do “that something more.”

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What all this calls into question is the need for some novel marketing strategies that redline the startup from rival companies and encourage customers to approach the startup in question instead. In reality, this is a very ambitious objective to have, but once you—as an entrepreneur— have mastered some tactics, it will definitely appear to be more achievable. Maybe the following examples will prove to be an inspiration?

 

Celebrating uniqueness with marketing: Some cases to learn from

Mailbox: This mobile email service – unfortunately – breathed its last in February this year. Although the ultimate fate of the startup is not worth mentioning, it did manage to make a splash and grow steadily since it started a few years ago. Whether or not it was as successful as Dropbox, it created a demo video quite similar to the one Dropbox created during its launch. This Mailbox video was quite appealing and went on to draw 100,000 views in under four hours after its release. What worked for Mailbox is that, simultaneously with the video, it ran the count of the number of other users on the waiting list trying to get an address on the service. The strap-line used? “Get on this list—and fast.” Within slightly more than a month, Mailbox had a million users registered and earnestly awaiting the commencement of the service.

Uber: As of May 28, 2016, this multinational taxicab and vehicles-for-hire service provider has its network spread across over 66 countries now. But this company started fresh a few years back and grabbed the attention of its prospects by simply offering gratis rides during a well-known conference in Austin. That’s how they ended up being tried by a huge chunk of their target group within that same week. What got their (now-faithful) customers to call Uber “cute” was how the company started delivering roses for the customers’ spouses and “special someone”s on everyone’s favorite Valentine’s Day!

Uber

Groupon: Not to be forgotten here are the innovative marketing tactics used by Groupon (referred to as NearBuy in India these days), a global ecommerce marketplace. The company is not just another one of those ecommerce sites on the market today. Groupon has always clubbed all deals on its site with an added deal known as “Refer a friend.” Here’s why that helped: The deal helped customers to earn an additional $10 when their referral made their first buy. Used in this way, this strategy offers absolute value for both customers and prospects, adding to the total virality of the concept. With “Refer a friend,” Groupon has enough reason to be jumping for joy as it seems to be saving the company considerable money in promotions!

Marketing is the key

Entrepreneurs never get desperate. They just get more innovative with their marketing. If you have a startup that currently requires nurturing, just keep this Guy Kawasaki quote in mind,

“If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing.”

One way or the other, marketing is key.

Do let us know your thoughts too. Just drop us a line in the Comments section below and we can, maybe, have an engrossing discussion? Till then, happy marketing!

 

Mobility in the Travel and Hospitality Industry

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The competitive landscape is now more cutthroat than ever before. It takes two parts of mobility combined with one part of personalized experiences to reinvent the competitive landscape of today. It is no longer a point to be considered if mobility is absolutely crucial for a business. That is a given. What matters now is the pace at which unique mobility solutions can be executed. So, what is the impact of this mobility revolution on the Travel and Hospitality industry? Let’s have a look!

The Wave of Mobility that Hit the Travel and Hospitality Industry

The Travel and Hospitality industry has openly acknowledged that customer service is key to their business. When on trips, around 97% of all guests and travelers carry mobile devices with them. Travelers take mobile seriously when mapping the outline of their trips—from search and browsing through reviews to getting boarding passes on their mobile devices. The industry has been impacted and businesses are now lining up to get onboard the wave of mobility.

To go with the flow, what is currently required is for businesses to render themselves more customer-oriented by offering novel solutions, analyzing customer behavioral information, and utilizing the learnings to enhance business results. Mobility helps businesses of today stay sharp, be more forthcoming to customer requirements, and make a mark for themselves in the crowd.

More Mobility Equates to More Customer-Friendliness

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Realizing just this, companies in the Travel and Hospitality sector are ramping up their customer service by rapidly adopting many mobility solutions. At the fore of such solutions are Mobile check-in and boarding offerings that allow travelers to save on the time spent standing in lines by opting for mobile check-in and boarding.

Also popular in the market are Mobile Tourist information offerings that work to make the travel experience more exciting by providing accurate and customized information on the destination and its vicinity. Travelers also seem to be attracted to mobile airport lounge offerings that help them unwind, focus their energies on something productive, refresh themselves, or just escape from the pandemonium of airports.

To save travelers the worry of ferreting out information about airport lounges, such as their address, service times, convenience offered, together with valuable digital photographs, and feedback by others. Many companies have already started offering mobile airport guides that utilize technology to facilitate traversing across terminals for travelers.

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Many tour managers have often expressed that they need something to aid them while handling tours for travelers with contrasting viewpoints on the best way to travel. Mobile tour operator solutions serve as deputies to the tour operators to help them offer customized services to their customers.

Badly managed housekeeping has always proven to be bad news for Hospitality businesses. To prevent such mishaps, many of these companies have adopted mobile housekeeping solutions. These solutions enable straightforward and productive operations and more rapid interactions among departments. The mobile concierge solution helps Hospitality service providers delight guests and provide customized services, thereby boosting dependability and profit.

These are just some of the many mobility solutions out there that are faithfully serving the Travel and Hospitality companies around the world. These solutions are ensuring unwrinkled functioning, new profit inlets, and devoted customers. It won’t be surprising if there was an avalanche of such mobile solutions in the near future, bringing businesses and customers much closer to each other than ever before. Here’s to the level of convenience we can expect soon!

 

A Future without Banks

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It’s not uncommon for people of this generation to hear about the concept of a “bank-less” future. It’s something that is seen as the future of finance by many advocates of the idea.

The recent action plan embraced by the European Commission to establish a Capital Markets Union could well be the precursor for this concept. The idea behind the plan is to enhance the scope of financial markets and thereby, perhaps, bring down the power of banks in general. Over the years, banks across the globe have been facing mounting pressure due to the digital phenomena that has hit the economy. The discussion has now started and is catapulting into newer levels. But, is such a future possible? And if yes, how would it be?

A snapshot of what could be and what is

If you thought you’ll have a bank around when you are ready to purchase a house or car, think again; this may not be the case in some time. The paper-based currencies of today may not be at our disposal to buy whatever we want. The beloved ATMs may not be at our service to churn out money as we need it.

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Remember we used to barter things before currencies were invented? Maybe this upcoming plan could take us back to this previous century. And, bartering could mean that we would not even get precise change for what we are “paying.” This complication in transactions is what banks had eased out when they started issuing currencies, checks, and now debit and credit cards that rendered the entire purchase-and-selling process so much easier. It is worth contemplating that the pioneers of single-click e-purchasing, such as the Snapdeals and Flipkarts of today, may soon establish their own type of “banks” that will slowly oust the kind of banks we are familiar with currently.

Banks and the banking sector have conventionally been run by private bankers and stock brokers. Currently, however, the situation is witnessing a slight change. A doubly strong force is hitting this monopoly of bank ownership as we know it.  First, a new wave of automation is being readied to replace human bankers with software that can perform detailed customer profiling and market analysis to, ultimately, help in making investment decisions. Second, the biggest wave in the investment world of today – aka crowd-sourced investing – is making a dent in the banking landscape.

Non-Banks: A game of unpredictability or safety?

Over the years, banks have been our go-to place for borrowing money – or taking “loans.” Prior to banks, people relied on their kin and kith to borrow money from. As we all know, this usually ends up in fights, arguments, and relationships going haywire never to be mended again. Banks made everyone’s lives easier by bringing loan officers into the picture. They acted as intermediaries who were detached from the personal lives of the borrowers and the lenders. Fair play, don’t you think?

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It’s only after hundreds of years of experimentation that nations around the world settled for currencies that they were comfortable dealing in. In the present day, central banks dominate national currencies and control supply majorly via commercial banks. Central banks, therefore, seem to hold this holy power to increase or cut short supply by adding to and implementing reserve criteria on commercial banks.

So yes, intriguing changes are about to hit the banking sector. But, the question pertinent to the situation is: can the upcoming non-banks replicate the security and simplicity that banks provide us? Further, if the crucial banking areas are acquired by non-banks, will governments still be able to drive the finances of countries? It’s a wait until we get the answers to these questions, but it sure won’t be a long wait, nevertheless.

The investment scene is going to be even more relentless in 2016

 

 

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My team did some detailed analysis on the potential investment scene one can expect to see as the rest of 2016 slowly unfolds. And it’s not going to be anything like the economy expected!

Startups were drenched in investors’ money all of last year. The inconsistently playful stock market, however, is now making the investors work more carefully toward the startups they want to invest in. The total amount that investors would be investing is estimated to drop by a quarter of what it was last year.

So, what are some of the investment trends we foresee? Let’s explore!

Education: Does it matter?

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Will educational qualifications be that important when you evaluate startup founders? That’s a big NO.

Take any successful new venture and it’s probably the baby of a high school dropout. Ultimately, all that matters is the idea behind the company. Is the concept fresh and promising? Then, you’ve just struck gold! The universities or schools the founders attended will not be used as a criterion for judging the potential of the startup either as, in reality, startup ideas are being conceived equally well by the minds of many innovators, be that of an ex-MITian or an ex-IITian.

The fate of the investees

Indeed, many of the startups get acquired within a couple of years. And really, isn’t that the ultimate dream of the founders?

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Some of the startups do stumble and crash. Things to watch out for are overexpansion and blind competition.

Then, there will be those who go public. How do they perform right after that? We’ve seen some pretty dismal performance for most IPO-based companies. So, is it really a good route to take? That’s quite a gamble in itself!