Monthly Archives: March 2012

15 Blog Titles for FREE

A lot of fellow bloggers and readers ask me how I never seem to run out of topics to blog about and seem to be able to publish blogs regularly. Idea generation is NEVER an issue if you keep your eyes and ears open, think creatively and read consistently….

In this post I have listed 15 FREE Blog titles (Blogging related) which anyone can write. I do hope it helps you to publish your next blog post. Feel free to use your creativity to build / enhance any of these…

1) The Reasons Why I like blogging
2) The Reasons Why I dislike blogging
3) The Blogs that I REALLY enjoyed reading and Why?
4) The Reasons why I don’t leave a comment on your blog
5) The Bloggers whose blogs I REALLY REALLY like
6) The Many Benefits of blogging
7) What I realized about MYSELF from my blogging experiences? (Note - this could mean that you realized that blogging was just not for you)
8) A List of Blog Titles for FREE (A list of blog titles which others can write about)
9) How blogging made a difference in my life? (Could be that you you learnt, changed your views about a topic, made you think, brought about a change, etc.)
10) My Observations on Bloggers (Yes! There are several distingushing traits and behaviors of bloggers – Just observe and think and you will be able to write a post on this)
11) Why Blogging is NOT for me? (The most common excuses I hear are - No time, No interest, No motivation, No return on time invested as many tell me). But you can write a post on your list and that will sure be a HIT!
12) The BEST blogs I read last week
13) My All TIME Favorite Blogs
14) The Best Blogging Sites that I have come across – A simple list of all the useful blogging sites that you have come across
15) An Analysis of the BEST BLOG that I Read and why I liked it so much? – Should present your views and why a specific blog / blog post stands out…

Hope you found this list useful… 

Do you have another idea to add here? Leave a comment to let me know…

12 Most Mesmerizing Mantras on How to Publish 321 Blogs in 321 Days

I have published 321 blog posts in 321 days in the Blogosphere — these include all that I have written on my public blogs, my private blogs, corporate blogs, as a guest blogger and on several community blogs. In terms of averages, that’s almost 1 blog per day.

In terms of size, they varied from ones which had a few paragraphs to the ones which were so long that I converted them to a series. In terms of quality again, they range from good, great, excellent to outstanding! In terms of the hats I have worn, they span across the whole range: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, White and Black. In terms of literary style, they range from prose to poetry. In terms of impact on readers, there were those which did not elicit any reaction and response; and those which actually brought tears because they were so touching, moving, personal or special.

In my own assessment, this is a significant achievement given that I have 2 full time jobs — one at Wipro and one as a mother; not to mention all the other roles and responsibilities that I shoulder being a part of this cosmic world! And the reality is that blogging does take time and effort. But then again, I do love blogging… so I always manage to make or find the time to blog.

The Holy Grail is to understand the process of blogging and deconstruct the same. In this post, I will articulate how I have successfully done this.

1. Keep a log of blog topics
The reality is that topics to blog about can occur at any time of the day or night and when you are in the midst of any activity. And if you don’t capture the topic in that moment, it is lost in the myriad of other things. When a blog topic occurs to you, make it a point to capture it. It can be on a piece of paper, on a notepad, on a document, as a message/memo, on your mobile — whatever! The key is to log it.

One of the challenges that many bloggers face is that they run out of ideas or topics to blog about when they actually get down to blogging. If you have such a ready-to-use log of blog topics, you will never really run out of blogs. In my personal example, as of this date I have about 90 topics that I can write about anytime in the future. And I am certain that these topics will keep me busy for a couple of months!

2. Think about blog content every opportunity you get
Once you have decided on the topic for your blog, be sure to think about the blog content at every opportunity that you get. Ask yourself basic questions like Why? How? When? Where? Why? For Whom? And the response to these questions will form the content of your blog.

It can be when you are taking a walk, when you are cooking, when you are at a traffic signal, when you are waiting, when you are idle, when you are browsing and waiting for that page to open up… just a few moments that you get can be spent constructively to refine your thoughts. If you are clear in your mind about what you want to articulate in your blog, the actual writing process takes very little time.

3. Always keep handy a place to scribble your thoughts
Again, this could be on a piece of paper, on a notepad, on a document, as a message / memo on your mobile — whatever! The key is to note down the points as you refine your thoughts. Be sure to keep your writings in a place where you won’t lose them! Again, this habit significantly reduces your actually blogging time as a lot of the back-end work is complete.

4. When you get a chance, write and update the post
Any chance or time that you get to update your post, don’t miss it. This could be in the form of a Word document, Notepad, or in your Blog Drafts. In reality, blog posts are evolving pieces of creative work. Hence, you will not get it right the first time every time.

Over a period of time, you will add on to your blog content and before you know, there will be enough quality and quantity for you to publish. And yes! There are some posts which you will probably complete in 10 minutes and some which take eons. That is just the law of averages at work. So don’t fret!

5. When your creative juices flow, just blog
There are times when you experience moments in which you are able to blog to perfection. The right words just seem to ooze out so naturally, so effortlessly, so beautifully and so rapidly. And in these moments you actually lose track of time and the world around you; and tend to deliver your best blogs. When you experience such a moment and your creative juices flow, just leave everything else (Yes! They can all wait!) and blog. You will be amazed at what you are able to create in those few minutes. Many times, you almost wonder if it was you who wrote that piece!

6. Proofread
Once you have compiled about 90% of your content, spend time proofreading what you have written. Edit, re-edit… re-edit… until you are personally satisfied! If you can outsource the proofreading task to a friend or family, then great! You just saved yourself more time! Of course, be sure to take the final look at your blog and certify with your stamp of approval. Ultimately, it is your name that will be associated with the blog post.

7. Finalize where you will publish your post
Once you have all your content ready, it’s time to publish. Do note that all the points mentioned above are off line activities. They don’t really need you to be online. Of course, when you think it’s right to publish, go for it.

Spend some time to think about the target audience you want your blog to reach. Research about various forums available to publish your post. Based on your own assessment, finalize on the forum where you will publish your blog

8. Publish at the right time
By virtue of understanding the pulse of your readers, you should be able to gauge what times of the day and what days of the week you generally get the maximum readership. Try to publish your posts at these times.

9. Set targets
Another useful mantra is to set a specific blogging targets for yourself. For example: I will write 2 posts and publish 1 post this week. What targets ensure is that you have a blogging plan and set aside some time on a periodic basis for blogging. This mandates some form of self-discipline.

The reality is that there are two sides of the brain – The right creative brain and the left logical brain. Blogging is a form of an individual’s creative expression. So a blogger typically, tends to use more of the right brain. Of course, you do also use your left brain also; albeit this is limited. Setting targets ensures that the left brain is further utilized. After all, balance in employing both sides of your brain is the key to ensure that your gray cells are constantly nurtured.

10. Monitor your targets
Once you have set targets, assess and monitor your progress. This may lead to a review and modification of your targets, to set higher targets or being more disciplined in your blogging efforts.

11. Read and respond to comments
Do set aside some time to read and respond to comments of readers. Reader engagement through comments has the potential to establish reader loyalty, not to mention the additional fringe benefit of possibly getting new ideas for your next blog!!!

12. Enjoy the process… enjoy blogging
Lastly and most importantly, just keep at blogging and enjoy blogging.

This has worked for me. Will it work for you? Please leave a comment and…
Happy Blogging!

Published @ http://12most.com/2011/12/07/12-mesmerizing-mantras-publish-321-blogs-321-days/ (7 Dec 2011). Republished with permission, courtesy of 12 Most

Understanding the Hype Cycle of a Blog

It’s the start of a new year—the time when organizations work on their business strategies. And when you work on strategy, the one thing you definitely do is get a perspective on two facets of your business operations:

  1. aspects internal to your organization
  2. what the external world is saying: your customers, your competitors, your partners and of course independent analysts.

One thing that I definitely read this time of the year are the analysts’ reports by Gartner, Forrester, IDC, and so on.

And given that I’m an active blogger, I’m always looking for ways to learn, apply, adapt and leverage new ideas, thoughts, and insights into my blogs. During one such pensive moment, I was mulling over whether there was any co-relation between Gartner’s Hype Cycle and blogs. And yes, I believe there is!

What is the Hype Cycle?

The Gartner Hype Cycle is a methodology that’s been used effectively by Gartner since 1995. The Hype Cycle provides a graphic representation of the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications, and how they are potentially relevant to solving real business problems and exploiting new opportunities.

The Gartner Hype Cycle methodology gives you a view of how a technology or application will evolve over time, providing insight into managing its deployment within the context of your specific business goals.

The key phases in Gartner’s Hype Cycle

Each Hype Cycle drills down into the five key phases of a technology’s life cycle.

  1. Technology trigger: A potential technology breakthrough kicks things off. Early proof-of-concept stories and media interest trigger significant publicity. Often no usable products exist and commercial viability is unproven.
  2. Peak of inflated expectations: Early publicity produces a number of success stories—often accompanied by scores of failures. Some companies take action; many do not.
  3. Trough of disillusionment: Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver. Producers of the technology shake out or fail. Investments continue only if the surviving providers improve their products to the satisfaction of early adopters.
  4. Slope of enlightenment: More instances of how the technology can benefit the enterprise start to crystallize and become more widely understood. Second- and third-generation products appear from technology providers. More enterprises fund pilots; conservative companies remain cautious.
  5. Plateau of productivity: Mainstream adoption starts to take off. Criteria for assessing provider viability are more clearly defined. The technology’s broad market applicability and relevance are clearly paying off.

(Check the source of this information for more details.)

The hype cycle of a blog

If you’ve been blogging, or watching the blogosphere for any length of time, you can likely see how the hype cycle applies to blogging. Let’s step through it in detail.

The trigger of a blog

Every blog is born out of a trigger. Technology may not always be the trigger, but it is a definite enabler. Had technology not evolved to where it is, blogging may not have existed as it does today. The trigger for a blog could be:

  • a personal need to express, to capture, to consolidate, to be heard, to create a brand, to share, to learn, to connect, to belong to a community, to leave a legacy
  • a business need for new customer acquisition, marketing, branding, customer servicing, customer engagement, or revenue generation.

The key questions you need to answer when you start a blog are:

  • Why I am starting this blog?
  • Who are my target readers?
  • What do I really want to achieve by blogging?

It’s good to have some degree of clarity on these issues at the outset. Of course, they will change and evolve with time, but you need to have baseline answers in place if you are to move forward and start your blog.

In this phase, the blogger is usually unsure about many things:

  • Will there be any reader interest in my blog?
  • How do I reach my potential readers?
  • Will I be able to generate meaningful content over a period of time?

The best piece of advice for this phase of the Hype Cycle of a Blog is to test the waters by creating a blog. Keep at blogging, read about blogging, experiment, learn, and evolve. Along the way, you will discover your own commitment and interest towards blogging.

The peak of inflated expectations for a blog

This is the phase in which one of the following happens to your blog:

  • One or more of your blog posts generates interest, a good amount of readers, shares, and comments. You almost feel like a mini-celebrity in select circles and begin to enjoy the elevated status you’ve achieved.
  • One of more of your blogs is criticized, and you receive negative feedback and comments on your thoughts, and hence the content itself, or the way you’ve presented or written the information.
  • Hardly anyone reads your blogs or ever leaves a comment.

The best piece of advice for bloggers experiencing this phase of the Hype Cycle of a Blog is:

  • Study, observe, and analyze the blogs you wish your blog was more like
  • Re-think these questions:
    1. Why I am starting this blog?
    2. Who are my target readers?
    3. What do I really want to achieve by blogging?
    4. How should I market my blog to ensure that I reach the right audience?
  • Don’t assume that the past precedents are indications of how the future will pan out in your journey as a blogger.
  • Keep a check on your future expectations of the blog

The trough of disillusionment of a blog

This next phase in the hype cycle of a blog is probably the most crucial as it will determine how long you will continue blogging. This is the phase when most bloggers are somewhat disenchanted with the results of their blogging efforts, either due to their own lack of interest in blogging, lack of a reader base, lack of interest from the blogosphere, limited shares and comments…

The best piece of advice for this phase of the hype cycle of a blog is:

  • Don’t let one or two highs or lows determine the future of your blog. Blogging is here to stay, and the way you leverage the power of this medium in your personal or professional context is completely your choice.
  • Re-visit your own reasons for starting your blog and make any course corrections that are required. Following are the key areas that you need to critically evaluate and plan:
    • quality of content
    • frequency of posting
    • identification of your target readers
    • blog marketing.

The reality is that many bloggers quit at this stage, disillusioned with their own capabilities at blogging as well as all the hype that surrounds blogging.

Slope of enlightenment of a blog

This is the best phase in the hype cycle of a blog—it’s at this point that a blogger has his or her “Eureka” moment and feels that:

  • they have found their niche in the blogosphere
  • their creative juices flow incessantly—there’s no dearth of ideas and, most importantly, they can convert anything and everything they see, hear, think, and feel into blog content
  • they have found target readers
  • most importantly, they begin to enjoy blogging.

If you have reached this point, consider yourself lucky. Many congratulations to you!

The sky is the limit for what you can achieve here. You can sell products (like books), personal services (like consulting and advisory services), your own ideas, and other’s products services and ideas. You have the potential to become a cyber-celebrity and most importantly you have the opportunity to create an impact on those who read your blogs.

The only advice for this phase of the hype cycle of a blog is this:

  • Keep a self-check on your intent for blogging. It may have evolved along the way, but don’t lose sight of your answer to the question, “Why are you blogging?”
  • Value your readers as they complete your blog. Any creative piece of work has a creator and a consumer and their mutual to co-existence is a necessity and reality. A movie has limited value till it is viewed by an audience. In the same light, the blogs you create have limited value till they are consumed by readers.

The plateau of productivity of a blog

This is the phase when you mature as a blogger, and your blog matures too—both go to a new elevated level. Your blog has a brand of its own and you have a presence in the blogosphere. Not many bloggers get here simply because they don’t spend enough time asking and answering the key questions from the start of their blogging journey.

If you’re in this phase, you don’t need any advice: you know where to go and how to get there!

Which phase of the hype cycle is your blog in? Leave a comment to let me know.

Originally published @ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2012/03/02/understanding-the-hype-cycle-of-a-blog/. Edited and re-published here

The ONLY 3 BLOGS that YOU will REALLY REMEMBER

I stepped into the blogging world in March 2010. In the past 2 years, I’ve read zillions of blog posts in the blogosphere. Today, when I asked myself which one’s I really remember, the number seemed to be abysmally small.. Somehow the math did not quite add up… I don’t think the issue is of memory or when I read the post, but it was something else…

After some thinking, analysis and soul searching, I realized that we (You & Me) REALLY REMEMBER blogs ONLY if they fall into ONE of the following THREE categories:
1) Blogs from which YOU LEARN
2) Blogs which make YOU THINK
3) Blogs which TOUCH YOUR HEART

In this post, I will illustrate the best examples of blogs which I remember in each of the categories above:

1) Blogs from which YOU LEARN
The posts which top my list are:
Jeff Bullas post on 12 Important Steps some Bloggers Forget 
Heidi Cohen’s post on How to make your blog stand out
Danny Iny post on How I Became the Freddy Krueger of Blogging

And usually, learning can be in terms of new / radial ideas, interesting concepts, How To do something, Data and Facts, People, History, Companies, Life, etc. etc. etc. But most importantly, it has to be relevant in your personal context. My list above is a classic example of this – Since I am an active blogger, I usually look at learning the many aspects of blogging from fellow bloggers

2) Blogs which make YOU THINK
The posts which I remembered in great detail were:
Chris Bogan’s post on 106 Excuses That Prevent You From Ever Becoming Great  [Of course, I did not remember all 106 reasons, but I did remember the excuses I usually give :)]
Leo Babauta’s post on Your Top 10 Clutter Questions, Answered
Courtney Carver post on Kill the inner clutter before it kills you

For getting anyone to think, you need to be able to plant the seed of thought in the mind. And for this, you need to have a powerful message and be effective in articulation. Many times, the most effective way to get someone to think is to ask a question. Hence, many bloggers tend to conclude their posts with a question – This way they make a conscious effort to plant that seed in your mind…

3) Blogs which TOUCH YOUR HEART
The posts which top my list here are:
Lisa Petrilli’s post on What I learnt about networking when I asked a stranger for a kidney. Till date, this is one of the finest and more beautiful blogs that I have come across in the blogosphere
Jamie Wallace’s post on 36 Things I Want My Daughter to Always Remember 

It’s usually hard to predict what evokes emotions in a reader as everyone is unique and have different trigger points for their feelings. Nevertheless, if you can get a reader to feel a basic human emotion like joy, love, surprise, etc. , they are likely to remember your post for a very long time…

So if you do the Math, I was able to recall instantly only 9 posts.. . And that’s really taught me some GOOD LESSONS….

Ending Diamonds of Wisdom:
• You tend to remember blogs in the long term only if
o They are contextually relevant in your personal scenario
o They make you learn, think or feel – for whatever reason!
• If you want readers to really REMEMBER your posts / you as a blogger then ensure that you write blogs through which a reader can learn something, think or feel an emotion..
• The REAL VALUE of your BLOG is if it has an IMPACT and LONG TERM RECALL for any reader, and in my view that is any blogger’s real victory and legacy in the long term

Ending with the Million Dollar Question – Which blogs that you remember and WHY?

9 Reasons Why I Don’t Leave a Comment on your Blog…

There’s a lot of focus and discussion around the number of comments a blog is able to elicit – And this is used by many global sites as the yardstick for measuring the popularity of a Blog Post. Hence, being able to initiate and engage with readers through comments is a focus and priority for many bloggers.

However, if you’ve been a blogger for a while now… The one thing that you will realize is that readers surprise you many times with their reactions and responses – There may be a post you published which in your own assessment should elicit loads of reader comments, but you barely get any.. And some which you published not expecting any real comments, but you were pleasantly surprised with the amont of comments that your post elicited… That’s probably one of the most exciting aspects of being a blogger – You NEVER KNOW WHEN your in for a SURPRISE – Some good surprises, some bad surprises and some ugly surprises!!!

As I took a step back to ask myself why I don’t comment on all the blogs that I read, the honest answers are below:

1) I’ve not READ your BLOG
Yes! This is one of the possible reasons on why I might not comment on your blog – With so many blogs in the blogosphere, its so easy to miss reading your blog, and hence I CANNOT comment on your blog. So to get me / any reader to read your blog, your Blog Title must appeal to me and your blog content must engage me. Also, if your blog is personally recommended by someone I hold in high regard, the chances that I read you blog are increased significantly!

2) There was NOTHING for me to COMMENT
Another reason which surprised me. Simply because neither did the post elicit any thought or emotion which compelled me to comment. Like there are so many blogs to which I say OK… So what? and move on… If you want someone to leave a comment, your blog should touch them or make them think…

3) I did NOT FEEL LIKE Commenting
Sometimes, I’m just not in the mood to leave a comment. And once the moment has passed, its gone. I rarely ever go back to the post and leave a comment

4) There was NO place to Comment
Yes! There are some awesome blogs on which I really want to comment, but there’s no place / option to leave a comment. How sad but TRUE!

5) Its very DIFFICULT to Comment
Some blogs make the whole process of leaving a comment an ordeal that I’d rather NOT leave a comment. Lets face it! We all deal with a zillion DIFFICULT things on a daily basis, and hence I would really appreciate if leaving a comment was easy!

5) I’m experiencing some technical issues
Again, one of the reasons why I have not left a comment many times – My browser hangs, A machine problem, The site went down, etc etc. And if I don’t leave a comment then and there, I’ll probably NEVER go back to leave a comment… That’s the TRUTH!

6) I’m doing 5 other things while reading your post
Given that most of us are multi-tasking everyday, this is not surprising to me. I’m probably reading your blog while watching the TV, talking to my family and thinking about my next blog post :). So somehow I forget to leave a comment

7) I did not understand your post
Again, there are so many posts which I read with full interest and attention, but I did not understand what you are trying to say. Mostly its not the subject – But the articulation which is the typical root-cause OR may be it’s just not in my league. Whatever! If I don’t understand what you’re trying to convey, I’ll probably not leave a comment..

8) I just DID NOT have the TIME
There are some posts which I want to leave a comment but I am genuinely running short of time. Like I am rushing for my next appointment or there’s something else crying for my immediate attention, and hence though I do want to leave a comment – I don’t! And again, if I’ve missed leaving it then and there, there’s very little chance that I’ll re-visit to comment – Unless there’s a compelling reason to do so!!!

9) I Don’t KNOW
There are sometimes when I don’t know why I don’t leave a comment… There’s no specific reason that I can zero-in.. But I end up not leaving a comment…

What are the reasons why you don’t leave a comment? Leave a comment to let me know…

The 3 Phenomenal LESSONS by KEEPING AWAY from Blog STATISTICS

Blogging can be addictive once you start enjoying it. And it’s an addiction which demands your most valuable asset – i.e. TIME. And if you’re into blogging for the long haul, you will be willing to make this investment today and tomorrow.

For a long time, I was under the impression that 80% of my time went towards the underlying process of creating a blog post. I realized how wrong I was only when I initiated a self-imposed exile from BLOG STATISTICS – Yes! The very data which every blogger monitors and tracks regularly – page views, shares, tweets, number of comments, number of visitors, blog ranking, etc. etc. etc.

So let me tell you what I used to do? – The OLD ME
Every opportunity that I got in the day or night (More specifically, every minute I was even half-awake) – no matter what else I was doing, I would login to check the data on my blogs. How many views? Which posts got the maximum viewership? How many times where they shared?, etc. etc. etc..

And what did I aim to do? – The New ME
To completely stay away from blog statistics for 1 week – No! NOT even a peek

Was I successful? – The Triumphant ME
Yes! But it was hard… Really Really Really HARD!
How do you stay away from something which was so integral to your everyday routine, which was part of your everyday routine, which almost defined your everyday routine :)

What did I GAIN? – The Enlightened ME
The whole experience left me with 3 learning’s and insights, which have been phenomenal personal GAINS
1) Tracking BLOG STATISTICS was actually taking 40% OF MY TIME
I did not realize this, but it was true. We’ve all heard of Tiny drops of water make the Mighty Ocean – And this is especially TRUE with time. Without being aware of it, my continuous obsession with blog data compelled me to check blog statistics several times in the day – And I always intend to spend 2 minutes, but it invariably extended to anywhere between  3 – 15 minutes. Not a pleasant realization, nevertheless – Better late than never! So the reality was this – In case I spent 100 minutes a day on blogging – only 60 minutes I was actually blogging and creating content. The remaining 40 minutes I was actually spending on following the blog data

2) Blog Data DID NOT CHANGE based on when I SAW IT!
As basic as this sounds, I realized that the data was available anytime I wanted. So if I checked it after a week, it was STILL the SAME. And to be honest, it did not make any real difference in my life on when I viewed this data – Life went on & pretty merrily too! And if readers had to read, they would. Those who felt like sharing in their networks did so. And some also left a comment…

3) I got time to do other THINGS that I really ENJOYED
This was the most SIGNIFICANT personal benefit. I found that I had time to do all the things which were on my To-Do List, but I never seemed to get around doing them. Purely from a blogging perspective – I was able to read new blogs, comment on others blogs and generate more meaningful content on my blogs – Not to mention, that I was able to do this more efficiently and effectively than my normal averages. Of course, apart from blogging – I seemed to have more time with friends, family and doing other things which I always wanted to do!

So my self-imposed exile from BLOG STATISTICS has left me a LOT WISER!!!

Ending Words of Wisdom
• Don’t be over obsessive about the data – Don’t make blog statistics the focal point of your life
• Blog statistics are just data. The real value of the data is only if you spend some time in analyzing this data to take-away some learning’s or insights which you can apply back in your blogs to achieve your end objective
• As a blogger, it’s still important to track your blog statistics. However, set aside specific time on a periodic basis for this activity. And you MUST TIME-BOX this activity!!!

Have you had a similar experience? Leave a comment to let me know…

Women on Twitter

As I did my research for the Women’s Day Series, I was surprised to find the number of lists on Women on Twitter… I am yet to create my own list and it will take some time since I have just become active on Twitter. Nevertheless, I have compiled all the useful and interesting links I found about Women on Twitter…

Hope you find this compilation useful!

The Nifty Top 50 Women on Twitter @ http://webbiquity.com/social-media-marketing/the-nifty-50-top-women-of-twitter-for-2011/

Twitters Top 75 Badass Women @ http://www.bitrebels.com/social/twitter%E2%80%99s-top-75-badass-women/ Top

Business Women to Follow on Twitter @ http://www.mba-online-program.com/top-women-to-follow-on-twitter 8/

 Extraordinary Women to Follow on Twitter @ http://www.8womendream.com/27075/more-8-women-dreamers-on-twitter/ 

18 Funny Women you should be following on Twitter @ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/23/18-funny-women-on-twitter_n_1224751.html &  http://holykaw.alltop.com/18-funny-women-to-follow-on-twitter  

20 Inspiring Young Female Founders to Follow on Twitter @ http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2012/02/10/20-inspiring-young-female-founders-to-follow-on-twitter/

 8 Women to Follow on Twitter @ http://businessontwitter.co.uk/twitter/2011/03/international-womens-day-8-women-to-follow-on-twitter/

Top 20 Business Women to Follow on Twitter @ http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2010/10/06/womanzworld-top-20-business-women-to-follow-on-twitter/

 ADDITIONAL REFERENCES

People you should follow on Twitter @ http://www.cosmopolitan.com/advice/people-you-should-follow-on-twitter

 The Listorious 140 Twitterers : The Most Listed People on Twitter @ http://listorious.com/top/listed

The Most Powerful Twitter Users @ http://tweet.grader.com/top/users

The First 99 People to Follow on Twitter @ http://technmarketing.com/2010/08/the-first-99-people-to-follow-on-twitter/

The 9 Women Bloggers I’ve Learnt From

As a blogger, I’ve read zillions of blogs from several bloggers across the globe. And I have learnt from some blogs, been inspired by some blogs, laughed at some blogs, gone back wiser after reading some blogs and of course, vowed never again to visit some blogs..

On the occasion of Women’s Day, I wanted to dedicate a post to The 9 Women Bloggers who I’ve learnt from. Since my personal interests are diverse, the list below is a reflection of this diversity. Each of these bloggers has a unique style of writing, different focus and niche, different brand image and different follower base. However, personally every time I visit their blogs – I learn, I am inspired, I get new ideas or I get answers to questions.

And just wanted to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU ALL! Keep Blogging! Happy Blogging!

So without any further ado, let me list them below in alphabetical order:
Amy Oscar
Blog @ http://amyoscar.com/
Focus: Life, Inspiration

Ann Tran
Blog @ http://ann-tran.com/
Focus: Social Media, Inspiration

Aparna
Blog @ http://www.mydiversekitchen.com/
Focus: Cooking (Indian)

Heidi Cohen
Blog @ http://heidicohen.com
Focus: Social Media, Marketing

Kristie Heins
Blog @ www.kikolani.com
Focus: Blogging, Social Media

Lisa Petrilli
Blog @ http://www.lisapetrilli.com/
Focus: Visionary Leadership

Margie Clayman
Blog @ www.margieclayman.com
Focus: Social Media, Marketing, Advertising

Paula Pant
Blog @ http://afford-anything.com
Focus: Freedom, Wealth, Personal Finance

Sree
Blog @ http://sree-firststeps.blogspot.in/
Focus: Parenting (India)

ADDITIONAL READINGS
As I did my research on Women’s Day, I discovered that there were so many lists on Women’s blogs and exposed me to several new women bloggers.. While I have not yet read all of them, felt it would be worthwhile to share the links that I found interesting…

100 Must Read Blogs… By Women

Top 100 Female Bloggers
Top 10 Female Bloggers in the World
Women in Blogging : 125 Fearless Female Bloggers
Top 100 Women Bloggers you should be reading
This List of Top 10 Blogs by Women Might Change Your Life.
50 Best Blogs by Women

Nischala’s Blog-o-Rendezvous with AISHWARYA SURESH

About AISHWARYA SURESH
Aishwarya is the founder of Banna Creations. As a part of her corporate career, Aishwarya has a decade of experience with Fortune-100 IT / ITES companies leading sales, marketing and sales support teams before she became an entrepreneur. Though an Electrical Engineer by qualification, she has always taken a keen interest in India’s rich cultural heritage and vast repertoire of hand-crafted products and textiles that are the livelihood of millions of people across the country. Aishwarya is also a painter, a potter and runs marathons in her spare time.

About BANNA
Banna in Kannada means ‘color’. Banna Creations is a platform for customers to easily access exquisite hand- crafted products from India. Banna specializes in hand-made textiles, art & craft products that are commercially un-exposed / marginally exposed and not easily accessible. The products range from handmade art and craft to handloom and weaves from across India. In doing so, Banna provides commercial and social upliftment to artists and artisans, creates awareness about different forms of art, craft, weaves and textiles and helps both products and the creators move into the mainstream. The long-term vision for Banna is to create a Creative Centre for Art and Craft that will be used by artists and artisans to showcase their work and for regular workshops and training sessions to train interested individuals and groups.
Banna creations has also been featured in several leading publications including papers like “The Hindu” and magazines like “Femina”. Stop by her website or blog , Follow her on Twitter @bannacreations, Or Check her Facebook page

THE RENDEZVOUS
Nischala: Hi Aishwarya! Congrats on the success of your recent exhibition and more importantly on the great initial success as an entrepreneur. So tell me how it all started?
Aishwarya:  Thank You! Banna Creations is 6 months old and was conceptualized with the objective to revive Indian hand-made art and crafts. The aim is not just to provide a retail outlet for the products created by Indian artists and craftsmen, but also by working to create a larger awareness of several art forms and the artists who create them using traditional skills that have been handed down the ages.
To be honest, there were multiple triggers for starting this venture. Firstly, my personal interest in the Indian heritage of hand-made arts and crafts. Secondly, my personal experiences in retail stores made me realize a large number of products being sold as Indian handicraft were not necessarily hand-crafted. So the word handicraft or even handloom as it is known today which does not necessarily mean that a product is actually being hand- crafted.
The result is that traditional skills and the people practicing them are completely lost in the whole value chain from production to the retail shelf. Artists and artisans lose their traditional means of livelihood and don’t get their due. The beauty of the traditional art form and the whole process of creating a product and the people involved in the creation was and is a story waiting to be told.
Banna works with the following objectives:
1) To provide a connect between the artisans who are creating these hand-made arts and crafts to the end-customer. Essentially, to provide opportunities for people to understand and learn the age-old unique techniques of these art and craft forms. And more importantly to appreciate heritage family traditions and Indian art forms. This is being done by  our exhibitions and corporate sales, and also by workshops and demonstrations which are platforms for artisans to interact directly with a customer base and showcase their skills
2) To provide additional monetization avenues to the artists and craftsman for their products – with the intent that this will ensure that these art forms continue to exist, and not really perish with time

Nischala: That’s awesome. But the decision to leave a flourishing corporate job to doing something of your own is not easy… How was it in your case?
Aishwarya: Hmm.. I spent a lot of time on background research and analysis to understand issues from various angles. I mainly tried to understand issues and problems faced by artisans as well as the way in which retail stores operate in this sector in India today. Over a period of time, I was clear about 3 things:
1) I was deeply passionate about this – And I believe that passion is the key element which can actually enable you to make such a choice,
2) I strongly believed that I could make a difference
3) With the vision and scale of impact I had in mind, it was not possible to toggle between a corporate job and a venture such as this which is a 24X7 job. – So I made a choice to quit.
In my case, I was lucky that I received full support from friends and family. And that’s been one of my BIGGEST lessons so far – An entrepreneur does not survive alone. You need an entire ecosystem to support you. In my case, my family and friends were willing to believe in what I believed in.

Nischala: OK. So what kind of support did your family extend?
Aishwarya: In my specific case, there are no entrepreneurs on my side of the family. So my mentor for understanding basics of running a business was my father-in-law. He runs his own enterprise, so helped me with all the documentation and paper-work. For marketing, my husband who is a marketing guru has helped by putting in place Banna’s marketing strategy which I execute.. And I must confess that it’s a lot of hard-work. And my family and friends have stood by me in many small and big ways to ensure that I am able to give my time and energy towards something I believe in and am truly passionate about.

Nischala: So, what’s the tough part?
Aishwarya: The tough and yet very fulfilling part is that I do everything on my own – My exhibitions, dealing with vendors, suppliers and artisans itself. Also, given that the sector is completely unorganized, the need to adhere to deadlines needs to be re- iterated several times over.. There is also always the challenge of balancing quality versus quantity. There have been several instances where quality has been compromised because of tight deadlines and larger quantities and entire shipments have been sent back as a result. However disheartening this might sound the sheer sense of fulfillment after the completion of an exhibition or workshop or executing an order makes up for a lot of tough challenges that one constantly faces.

Nischala: What’s the happiest moment in your journey so far?
Aishwarya: I think the happiest moment is that I have been able to achieve the primary objective of Banna in less than 6 months – which is essentially to connect artisans with customers. The model of my initiative is not ONLY to sell, but to provide that connect, to revive art forms and to re-create a market. So we’ve successfully done workshops and exhibitions; and have received a phenomenal response. Workshops are where you can see how these products are created and also learn from the artisans themselves. For e.g: We’ve done a painting workshop, embroidery workshop, etc.

Nischala: But many of these art forms are on products which don’t sell. Like many women don’t wear saris as in the past. So is there any product innovation done?
Aishwarya: Yes. Absolutely. Based on my own ideas and feedback from customers. For e.g: There’s a specific form of embroidery (Kasuti) which is famous in North Karnataka and typically done on silk sarees. But not too many people wear sarees in the fast paced lives that we lead today. . So we have innovated in using this same embroidery to create other products which customers actually buy and use – like clutch purses, home linen, folders, books, files, etc. So we are promoting the art form and retaining livelihoods, but creating an alternate market – so there is a commercial success as well

Nischala: What’s been the response from the artists and craftsman?
Aishwarya: It’s been a mixed response. Some don’t think of it as a big deal, as many people have done it before. They are tougher to deal with. Some are hungry for business and for their art forms to get popularized. So it’s easier to work with them. Personally, I look at the positives and learn from all the experiences and never let myself get disheartened ( however difficult that is to do) regardless of the response I get from artisans as well as from customers.

Nischala: If you had to look back at your corporate job, and yourself now – what is the biggest change?
Aishwarya: It’s a lot of HARD WORK to be on your own. I used to work 16 – 17 hours a day as a part of my corporate job, but this is different because this is so much more intense. You are that much more driven since this is for yourself. You are answerable to yourself and at all times to the vision and the reason why this was started.
Also, since I am on my own and it is a new venture, the sheer amount of brain-work to get things moving is phenomenal. Financially too, every single earning is ploughed back into the initiative as we need to grow and expand.

Nischala: So what’s the long term vision? Something like a Dilli Haat in Bangalore?
Aishwarya: Well.. One is to (re-)create and generate a market for these products, and really that means for the traditional handicraft and hand-made art forms – So in that sense, it can be called a Dilli Haat. The other critical part is to have a centre of art and craft which will essentially be a space where artists and artisans can showcase their skills and conduct demonstrations and workshops at all times. . People can not only buy products, it’s an opportunity for self-education and also people can also learn how to do these

Nischala: Just curious, but how has the response been for the workshops? Are people keen to learn and what kind of people attend these?
Aishwarya: There’s been a phenomenal response for the workshops. Initially I was anxious myself, as I did not know if people had time or interest. Surprisingly, all kinds of people have attended – Diversity in age (17 – 70), Men & Women, Professions – House-wife, HR head, Trainer, NGO, etc. And they’ve all giving me very positive feedback, which is encouraging…

Nischala: That’s good to hear. So given that there’s a lot of ways for new businesses to leverage digital marketing and social media, do you use these at Banna?
Aishwarya: Yes absolutely. Marketing is basically digital marketing or more specifically social media marketing – We use Facebook, Twitter , our blog etc.. Our web-site is work–in-progress and the best part is that it has an online payment gateway to facilitate online sales. So looking forward to the launch to facilitate this

Nischala: Awesome! That’s great progress. So any last words you want to share as a part of this rendezvous?
Aishwarya: I recently had the opportunity to attend the Development Dialogue 2012 at Hubli conducted by the Gururaj Deshpande Foundation. Development Dialogue is a three day event that brings together hundreds of practitioners, academics, investors, grassroots activists, philanthropists and entrepreneurs from across the world to discuss sustainable solutions to society’s problems.
This year the key note speaker was N R Narayana Murthy and he spoke about the journey of Infosys. That was so inspirational, and also something that I will never forget. Three basic messages stuck with me and this is what I will share in regards to starting and being an entrepreneur:
* “Never lose sight of your goals”
* “Believe in what you want to achieve”
* “Constantly re- invent yourself and innovate”
Very powerful messages and they will stay with me….

Nischala: Great Aishwarya! Best wishes on your journey at Banna. And hope it brings back color into the life’s of many…. Thanks for your time
Aishwarya: Thank You

How did you like this rendezvous? Leave a comment to let us know

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The 5 Distinguishing Traits of a PROSPEROUS WOMAN

On the occasion of Women’s Day, I spent a significant amount of time on women – I read about them, observed them, analyzed them and interacted with them – Women in business, Women in art, Women in politics, Women in power, Women in academics, Women at work, Women who have it all, Women who are a part of my life, Women who rule my life :)

On reflection, I realized that some women were definitely more PROSPEROUS than others. There is no universal definition of prosperity … But whatever is your definition of PROSPERITY and in whatever sphere you are looking at, you will find these traits listed below as TRULY DISTINGUSHING in a PROSPEROUS WOMAN

1) CONNECTED WITH THEIR FEMININITY
All the women who I consider prosperous have this as a distinguishing trait – They are deeply connected with their femininity. They are aware of it they accept it and also know how to leverage this strength in their life. There is a definite power in femininity – Just that many women are unaware of it, ignore it or simply choose to underplay it. And those who are able to harness it in their lives usually end up prosperous

2) AMAZINGLY POSITIVE
Prosperous women are amazingly positive. Encircle them with the worst situation or circumstance, and they’ll still be positive – Rather they will choose to look at the positive and find a way out. And I don’t mean that they are disconnected from reality, but more in terms of being pragmatic and positive. Positivity is a mind-set; and some woman are born this way, some are conditioned this way and some turn out this way. Just pause and reflect “Would you rather be around someone who is always positive or negative?”

3) ACCEPTING
Being accepting is a truly admirable trait and one which make a REAL DIFFERENCE in the life of a woman. And prosperous women have TRULY made peace and accepted their past, their strengths, their weakness, their power and their many roles – In one word ACCEPTED THEMSELVES FOR WHAT THEY ARE.

4) OPEN
I was surprised when I discovered this. But openness seems to really stand out when it came to prosperous women – They were open in their thoughts, in their expressions, with their emotions, to people, experiences, life, and most importantly, to learn/un-learn and re-learn…

5) PERCEPTIVE
Prosperous women observe, are aware, sense, are sensitive, understand – what you say, what you don’t say, what you feel and many times even what you’re thinking. They have an exclusive combination of a high EQ (Emotional Quotient),high IQ (Intellectual Quotient) and high SQ (Spiritual Quotient) which is balanced… This gives them a unique insight into people and human behavior. Of course, they continuously enrich these quotients with their real-life interactions & experiences; and continuously improve along the way

What do you think? Do the prosperous women in your life exhibit one / more of these distinguishing traits? Leave a comment to let me know…

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