Mar 30, 2009

Good Ad Versus Bad Ad

At InRev, for past few days we have been working on our new project. The project is about collaborative blogging, from the blogger around the world. As Bhupendra and I have been blogging for long time, with his immense experience, our team has been working to revamp the globalthoughtz and create a new blogging experience. In this site, we are planning to add a section where people can add their advertisement. We thought lets start by our own :), with already so many products on the line, it was obvious.

So there goes an effort to create a small 128 px by 128 px logo. If you are a designer, you know that designing is a very time consuming process. For hours, you just test around with colors. Remember there are 256 X 256 X 256 combination of colors!! Its hard job selecting one.

Lets start with F-Cube: In short F-cube is a Free Economic Reporting Site. Let me exhibit some Ad made for it and its pros and cons. (Please don't click on the image. Wait till the end. Thank You)

OK, how does this one look? At a glance, it might sound interesting, but with time you will find that its irritating. Really! There are too many things written, and all in different colour. There is two unnecessary image at the right hand side making the Ad look clutter. The company's name is too large and obnoxious. You see, you are selling service not company.

FOCUS on product, dude. I don't care how long it took, its too inefficient. Try again. And most of the advertisement really looks like this. I must confess, before I made this I had done lot of exploring. This is what happens when you start searching for inspiration at the wrong place.

So what did I do. [ Shift + Delete ] Start all over again, fresh and remember, simple. And this is how it went.

Looks fine. Its simple but too simple. It doesn't contain any tone what so ever. The problem with this is the blank white space at the right top and bottom left corner. Any space not contributing to your Ad should be deleted. But you can't delete space. So.. So you add something. Simple. :)


Now this is wrong. It didn't solve your problem. It created more. Instead of filling the empty space, it created a total distraction and confusion. It created more useless space on the left top and the right bottom.




Finally, this is fine. The reason is very logical and simple. First, the red and the blue color filled the space that was making it look odd. The complementary color always works fine, especially when its your company color. The text is simple. FREE ECONOMIC REPORT. That's the service you are after. When you sell a chocolate, you don't go around telling him the story of how the factory was started. Unless the product has no value.

But as usual, we humans have a tendency to be overwhelmed with design and become wild. Just look at what I did, after completing the above design.


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Dumm Dumm Dumm. You got a be dumm. This is a mash up and totally unnecessary. Know when to stop your creativity, this makes all the difference. :)




Let me share two more design that we did for our TwitIn Application.

I purposely did this to show, how messed up you can get when you don't understand the color combination. Its not bad to make stupid design but its wrong to believe that you have created a master piece.




Phew! Finally I am at the end of my post. The picture at the left is the one we chose for our TwitIn Application. The colors are simple and soothing. You know you can't be perfect but you can at least try.


Design requires not only creativity but also wisdom to understand what these designs actually mean. Few things you need to remember while designing:

1. Don't shout! Unless you are an activist.
2. Don't say too much. Unless you are a liar.
3. Keep it simple but not lame.
4. Be creative but not boastful.

Hope I covered most things that I wanted to share. One last thing, does long post really bore you? Just a question I have on my mind. Its a long process of understanding what works and what doesn't. You can see that all the above design might be beautiful but not the one that is necessary. The only way to find it is to keep exploring the horizon.
By the way, now you can click them as you wish. :)

Mar 27, 2009

NOT Customer Loyalty

Its odd to have such an odd title. By that, I am trying to address one issue that we face regarding the customer's loyalty and their expectation from us. We have always argued about the need for providing better services to the loyal customer and bringing new businesses. Here, I will try to put a scenario where you need to chose between the loyalty and profit. Ok, lets go.

Imagine. Just imagine, you own a small restaurant. You have nominal profit and everything is going fine. You have regular customers who visit you regularly. Life's going fine and you have no complains. Then one day.

The day is pleasant, weather is just right and its a fresh start for your business. Some groups of tourist visit your restaurant and orders some food. You are delighted by the mass and by the luck. Suddenly you realise that food stock is small. It is going to be difficult for you to cater all of them. You order your cook to make more. The new visitors orders more. The consumption increases and your rate of work is low. But you are managing. Suddenly, your loyal customer - the one who regularly visits - comes to your restaurant. Now.

Now, what would be your action. Would you divert your resources to cater your loyal customer or your newly found tourists, from where you are obviously going to gain more. Upsetting your loyal customer would hamper your balanced business and letting the opportunity go by would surely hurt you. 

From my personal experience, people tend to play safe by rejecting the opportunity. Is that justified? Or shall I say, you must have gone for new short term opportunities, to give that boost you need in your business? Hmm. It might be a question of morality and loyalty. But just give a thought.
  

Mar 26, 2009

What is Social Media?




The slide above is really a great way to understand what is social media and how you can benefit from it.

Mar 24, 2009

Location of People in Twitter (iPhone)

Recently, I was working on the data of the twitter. I did one interesting and quite simple thing. I took the list of the location people were using in there profile and fed it to one of the available online tool called (http://www.wordle.net/). Guess what I got? I found that majority of people on twitter seem to be using iPhone. May be it was obvious, but to see it through data was quite a taste. The size of the population used is 31691.

Mar 19, 2009

Why Twitter is famous?

For past few days, I have been wondering why twitter is so famous. Is it the micro-blogging? Is it the list of unknown friends that excite us? Is it the fun of shouting and listening to the world? Or is it like playing god, by having so many followers? I mean what is it that is so exciting and keeps you all day tweeting?

Only few days back, I wrote on the distribution of Tweets with respect to Followers. Right now, I am working on population distribution and its very interesting to see what is happening. Here are few of my thoughts on people at twitter.



There are many small groups of people, who enjoy tweeting to each other and updating their status to inform others. These are people with close relationship and their tweet rate is very high.  

Other category is the news channel, this works in the similar ways like media on the real world. They keep updating people with news and twitter seems to be doing good in increasing the traffic to their site. People say that twitter is bigger than news, but in reality it seems news channel's site and twitter has an interdependent relationship, especially from the news channel perspective. Also, these tweets have the largest followers.

Next is celebrities, they never seem to lose their appetite on being famous. Twitter is flooded with them and they have lots and lots of followers. But their tweet rate isn't so high.

Then there are people related to social media and online marketing. These are the people who have been using twitter to explore their business possibilities and are hugely benefiting from it. I find it very interesting way and also may be a new way, of marketing and PR. There tweets are reasonable and have an equal following and followers. 

Also, there are hundreds and thousands of individuals (web designers, artiest, writers, entrepreneur, photographers etc) exploring their way into the web. Listening, discussing and being inspired by people. Stories are being told, boundaries are being crossed and skills are being taught. Its the new way of knowledge transfer. I can directly be suggested by an expert living miles and miles away, which could have been impossible, otherwise.

So these are the people, I daily tweet to. Ohh, I forgot one thing, there are also robots among us. Don't be frightened. This are small automated webots which exist there, listening to us and generating automated status. They are similar to physical robots. They are on there own, something like Wall.E., they do their jobs assigned by their creator.


So finally, why is it so famous? Have you all ever played the classic MARIO game. Its this small plumber running to save his princess. On the way, the only thing he does is collect as many coins as possible. Trink. Trink. Trink. There are many levels to be crossed and so on.  I find twitter similar, its a huge social game. The aim is to rise high and have good social status, like in real life. 

Let me put it in points:

1. Have as many followers as possible. (Its not so easy.)
2. Get your tweets Retweeted, as many times as possible.
3. Be the most social tweeple(poeple in twitter), and earn many goody points at twitter grader.
4. Generate as many traffics to your site as possible.
5. Create a campaign, a mission that will bring people together.
6. And much more.

And many more. There are so many sites already dedicated to creating scores of your twitter. Its quite an interesting game, if you know how to play.  And by the way, the only weapons that you have is your words and only words. Its your character that people judge. 
 
But, not all are playing the games. But who ever are playing are having their times at this time of economic crisis. Its just great. I must say, twitter has created lots of innovations.

Here are few sites that generate your scores, that I know of:

If you want to play the game, start know. Create an account and start tweeting. Here you are not selling or buying virtual goodies, but real merchandies with real business value. 
Follow me here.

Hope to have comments and thoughts.

Mar 18, 2009

Free Economic Reports

                  "Information is King."

Have you heard of the above statement? Hmm.... Actually, its pretty obvious. If you have the information then you can make accurate and unbiased judgement, on the subject matter.

Beside all kinds of data, economic data is very important from the perspective of its market value, as well as human value. Every decisions and policies made by the government depend upon the current economic scenario, which off course can only be known by the data collected by the survey

Lets see a simple case:
You wake up early in the morning. Get yourself a hot cup of tea. Open the door. Get the newspaper. Read the front page and you see:

" The price of Oil has rose up 10%!!! "

" The farmers in so and so country are facing the draught. The food commodities price has increased."

" 100 employees sacked from XYZ Company."

How do you react? If you are analyst, you may shout to your wife, "I told you, this was going to happen. How right I was." 

Most of us are not analyst, neither a market follower. Therefore, the majority of people simple wonder and ask, "WHY, did it happen now. All of the sudden?" They really cannot comprehend and start to accept with the facts of life and move on. But, what if we had a place where we could get these answers. May be an Oracle of some kind with all the information. And you could just ask questions to it. Something like in Matrix Movie

Do you know what kind of system, you need for that? Let me see:

1. A system that has access to all the economic data.
2. A system that can integrate all the market data.
3. A system that can take these data to a form that people can understand.
4. A system that can project these data into graph that people can understand.
5. A system which will allow you to chose the area of interest. 
6. A system that will allow you to share the things that you have found out.
7. A system that ........

Pessimist : " Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Isn't that too long list of systems to be integrate? "

Optimist : " Hmm, but I think we can. The new age is of innovation is in integration of technology and I think social media proves it. "

Pessimist : " But its too much to handle. And ...  "

InRev : " Actually, we are building a system of such kind, we call it F-Cube. You know - Forecast For Free. You can login here. " 

So next time when there is an economic hurricane heading your way, you remain prepared.

More links:


Mar 17, 2009

TwitIn

Its been more than months since the launch of the TwitIn, and we are already getting excessive hits per day. That's awesome for a start. The tool has been getting a huge response from the twitter users and other web experts. It is a great feeling and we are hoping to bring a better service and innovation through it. 

There were many obstacle to be faced, but each difficulties made the application more better and stable. But, like all the tools and software and hell lot of technology out there, there is one thing that you have to understand, that is learning to use it efficiently and productively. If you don't then its useless. So let me explain what buzzom is?  

BUZZOM is a word which identifies itself with the buzz on the social media. It is a place where the online social media meet and where a sense is made out of social activities.  Lets go on then:

InRev TwitIn Intro : 


This is the main panel of InRev TwitIn. Here you, can see the three most important command that will increase your social network from hundred to thousands.

Flush : This removes 50 followers which are not following you.
Grow : This will add 25 people to your following list.
Reciprocate : This will allow you to follow back 50 people who have followed you.

Remember that when you are "following", the tool does not randomly select people, but instead looks at the people who has the most tendency to follow you and his/her proximity with your network. The only reason you want to follow is because you expect him/her to follow you back, isn't it?  

Ok, don't get too excited and run to grow. :)  Growth is a steady process and if you try shortcuts you are gone. TwitIn will ease your painstaking work of following each individual and removing them from your list. Have patience. There are certain rules and restriction in twitter which you must understand before you use this tools. This restricts automated program from following too many people at once.  And we have followed these rules too, as it controls the flow in media and not overcrowd it.

What is InRev Score?
 
These are few indicators that the analytics team in InRev has come up with, which scores your behaviour in twitter. Let me explain few.

The  Influence score shows how often people are following you, though you may not be following them. Some twitter user like BBC or CNN has a very high influence ratio, you can understand why, because they are really very trusted media which people follow.

The Tweet Efficiency shows the efficiency of your tweets. For example, if you are talking to stones or statues or non-living things, which do not respond, then surely your words are wasted. Similar thing can happen in social media, people might be tweeting a lot but no one may be listening or responding, these help to identify fraud cases and so on.  

Scoring Methodology

InRev Twitin Score is a Absolute Score built by using Behavior Model Technology. It is not built on relative performance of different Twitter Accounts. It uses business rules for measuring the relevance of the individual parameters subject to few assumptions.

Major highlights of the score:

1.   Score is the combination of Influence Ratio, ReTweet Ratio and Tweet Efficiency.
2.   Less Tweets is treated as a newbie account.
3. Very high Tweets is taken as fraud action. (other parameters are also taken under        consideration.)
4. No Tweet is taken as inactive account.

So that's the end of it. InRev team is innovating with new ways to improve the social media experience.  The only way it can be done is by communicating with the users and identifying their needs. So give us your feedback and comments, this will help us improve the tool and make it better.

Other links: 82 days with Twitter.

Mar 13, 2009

Twitter Analysis I (Twitin)

Well, this is going to be an interesting post. For some time, InRev team has been very popular in social media through www.buzzom.com. The concept of buzzom (Twitin) is to increase the user experience in social media and understand the market and behaviour of people. We have started with twitter, as it is the most popular social media.

With increasing number of users and the extending network, it is very difficult to understand how the network is growing and on what basis. To understand the user and the network of twitter, we have started analysing the available data, which has been retrieved by using twitter API.

Total record number retrieved = 2598
Some of the records were invalid and had to be rejected using simple filtering method.

Now let me explain the above graph.
X-axis = Number of followers
Y-axis = Number of tweets (Please click the graph to see a large image.)

The dense spot at the graph shows the place where a normal twitter user are located. These may be marketers, web designer, household business people, friend circle or may be someone who has just started using twitter.


So you can normally see that the people with more followers tend to tweet less than the people with less number of followers. This is made more clear if you see the extremes of the axis.

People like @BBCCLick and @coldplay tend to tweet less though they have a very large followers. The other extremes are @huffpost and @foxnews who tend to tweet at the range of per hour and per minute basis. Why these contradiction?

People with large number of tweets and less number of followers usually means there is a group of small community who tend to use twitter as a means to talk to each other, thus they chat more often than others. But, in case of Fox news, its not a small community but rather seems to have followed the board cast system to send news. I can't say with certainty but, the number of followers are not so huge as that of BBC, may be due to the irritation by their flooding tweets.

On the other hand, people with many followers are mainly superstars and celebrities like @coldplay and @DaveJMathews, they tend to tweet less but have many listeners. Also, news channels like @cnnbrk and @BBCClick seems to have understood that flooding with too many tweets is not going to work.

This analysis forces me to think if there could be any twitter user which could lie on the right hand side of the graph, with highest tweet. Hmm, won't that be too irritating to all the followers. I would assume that given a time period, most people would always be under the hyperbolic curve, which seems very likely. Even if someone tries to be that position, he/she will surely be pulled back. It is natural tendency. Time series analysis might prove that. (Lets wait :))

Let me share a detail table, you can make out on your own:


So, how to conclude? Well, twitter is a very open society where people share their views, some come to listen, some come to talk, some to argue and some to just pass time. Its a virtual space where people exist . Many institutes have utilized this platform, by advertising or sending awareness program. Basically, its us - the people of this world.

May be a more in depth analysis is required, so that each individual can grow and benefit from this vast media which remains there. Its a huge market and I am eagerly waiting for a big possibilities.

My analyses are based on the small amount of data which could be bias. But, InRev is working hard enough to bring unbiased analyses and result. There will be more post on the way, from which everyone would benefit.

Some interesting post on social media:

1. Online Social Theory

Mar 6, 2009

What makes a great company?

I have been going through a article at FORTUNE magazine, regarding the best company to work. There are interesting information provided regarding the top companies.
To start lets just see which companies are at the top in this year:

1.    NetApp
2.    Edward Jones
4.    Google
5.    Wegmans
6.    Cisco
7.    Genentech

Do you want to know on which basis these companies at ranked at top position. I will just list some of the points which makes these companies great. I had to do some text mining to collect these points. 

1.  Egalitarian culture
2.  Down-to-earth management ethos
3.  Increased recruitment of minorities
4.  First-class health insurance
5.  Never had a layoff.
6.  Receive performance bonuses
7.  Implementation of retention bonuses and severance 
8.  Focusing on collaborative efforts to give employees more say in decision-making

Well these are the very few points that I found out. Do you think these are really the things that people look for? May be. Well let me know your thought.

Mar 4, 2009

Business Intelligence

These days every system is getting smarter. Smartness is the measure of intelligent decisions. A smart device would mean something that can give decision with precision. Along with hardware and software systems, a business organisation is like a living organisms. Thus, if we start applying  all the rules and conditions of survival of living organism, to a business organisation, then it turns out that it works. Amazing!! (But lets not go into it now. The point I was trying to make is smart decision guarantees survival. ) 

So, how do we monitor the processes running in an organisation and make a correct decision. I don't want to make a lengthy statement on organisational behaviour, but in short, every business processes needs to be optimized for efficient operations. One way in which it can be done is through the use of Business Intelligence (BI) Software. In brief, BI is the automation of the long and lengthy human involved processes. 

Let see a simple case scenario :



 
The above diagram shows how a business professionals would go about trying to make a proper decision. Though the system is automated, there is lot of human factors involved which causes the delay and inefficiency in the system. Some of the delays in the systems are as follows:

1. Delay in the process of the request, from the business professional.
2. Inability of the business professionals to access the real data.
3. Communication gap between the two parties which is governed by the inevitable human factor.
4. Dependencies on human process, definitely decreases reliability and accuracy.

There is need for a revolution, like the one that happened during the Industrial Revolution. A complete automation of the time lagging human processes. May be we can call it "Information Revolution". Some of the lists of revolutions that we need in Business Intelligences Software are as belows:

1. High integration or standardisation of data.
2. Simple Pluggable Technology which would talk to any system.
3. Useful Data Analytics and Reporting services.
4. Customizable functions or processes.
5. Variety of ways to export and share the reports. (Excel etc)
6. Multiple Levels of Reports. (Explained here
7. Highly efficient user experience.

Among all the points, the 7th one has a higher weight as what matters at the end is not the innovative technologies or complex systems but rather satisfying user experience. Overall, the software must be able to integrate useful tools and avoid distracting features which add no value to the business processes.  

But, can it be done with the technology that are available today? I would say, yes we can. We need to just focus into usefulness and don't get overwhelmed by the unnecessary features and make the software bully. It has to be the easiest thing to use on the face of earth. Google seems to be following this mantra. No matter how simple it looks, we all know behind this simplicity exist a complex engine. It has to be similar to that.

With these challenges and thoughts, we at InRev have been struggling hard enough to come up with an efficient system. We have called it " InRev Scoop ". We have been allowing the users to interact with the system and give their feedback, and it's inspiring to get all the good thoughts and suggestions from the people. Till the date, the system has been tinkered to get the most of user experience. You can check it out here.

The new ways of doing business it obvious through the creation of experience in the user which would increase the use of the products. As Plato said : 
" The beginning is the most important part of the work."
  

Mar 3, 2009

One Cursor but Two Mouse

Have you ever tried to control your mouse from the mouse pad and the optical mouse at the same time.If you have, then you may know that it is quite close to impossible. The only way to achieve this is, if both the control is in the same direction. In that case its a redundant. 

In similar ways, in the management process, if one person is working under different heads then it is impossible to make the person work, or get anything done from him.

This is the problem that is faced during improper project management, there are more then one person making decisions. The decision maker has to be one and only one, not more than that. Yes, we can have team to discuss the issue, but the final call has to be made from one person. In similar ways that happen in the court rooms.  

The collaborative discussion may be important but the thinking and making any final decision has to be done by one key responsible person. This kind of management makes sure that the decision is taken with due responsibility. This may sound a trivial thing but it does exist everywhere in some way or other. Though we have only one heads in most organisation, the decision is not always taken by him but somehow indirectly by others.

The sense of responsibility grows when you find that you are the only one responsible for making any decision. When there is more then one, the responsibility factor gets divided and that causes inaccurate decisions or irresponsible behaviour. It is also a reason why a people are mostly destructive in a group, because the blame is on the group and not at the individuals.

Humans seems to be more aggressive while in a pack then in individual. May be its the instinctive behaviour of humans. So major points that I wanted to make was that in any management structure try to avoid two heads.

The day I dreamt of becoming someone

Reading a story is like pealing an onion, each chapters reveal new secrets and show their hidden layers. Everyone has their own story to...