Sunday, January 20, 2013

Gym is for the Schoolish Foolish

Having titled it like that, let me tell you this up front. I've been to gyms and on a few occasions subscribed and lapsed out of the gym routine.

Gym is the school-model of staying fit. Go there, do the things in a particular manner, with the purpose of losing weight or gaining muscle (like getting maximum marks in school).

Some of the best times in school were when we played, when we whiled away time with classmates planning pranks or just chitchatting. While attending classes is what is considered important for career, the most pleasurable time was in all likelihood outside of the class.

Gym puts you in a class meant to get you a fit body. You don't make a career only through a school. You make it regardless. You make it coz something spurred your curiosity or interest or the desire to learn and earn. You don't stay fit just through a gym. You stay fit coz you enjoy your body move. You enjoy the freshness that the breathing fills your mind and body with. Fitness regimen would be more a result of the curiosity to explore the limits and stretches of your body. Not coz you have been made to undergo yet another class to shed a few kilos.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Should you build a bazaar?

I just saw this ad on the front page of today's TOI. is a platform to open your online shop. It's a venture of the now quite famous e-commerce portal

Opening an online shop sounds easy. Sounds glamorous too (doesn't it?). And why not? E-com ventures are a talk of the town. Lotsa ads appearing on television. And for a long time, ever since I did my stint at (now, I felt the same.

We've been trying to set up Mississippi online. And it has been one mighty task. This, I say, in spite of the innumerable e-commerce sites which have come up in the recent years.

My context is setting up a small e-commerce enterprise. If one tries to set up an independent e-commerce site, unless one knows coding for the web, one needs to collaborate with some amazing coders. 'Amazing' needs qualification. Coders who really try to understand your ambitions, your products and the audience for your products. Difficult to meet such guys. More difficult considering the money one has in the pocket when starting a small enterprise.

Suppose you don't set up an independent site. Then? You oughta have amazing writing skills, great visual merchandising skills (especially photography and graphical skills). But you would say one can outsource all that. Then the guy who takes such an outsourced work should have a good understanding of the same things I discussed in the last paragraph. I am not sure writing beautifully (don't confuse it with using flowering words) about products is an easy task. Nor am I sure about visual merchandising.

Is that all? Even if using an already existing platform, getting used to using it efficiently takes a good time. Software is machine. It takes time to become adept at using the machine.

Lastly, you need an amazing ability of sitting-in-front-of-the-screen. For once, I don't possess that. And while I spend a good time on the laptop, I just find it extremely difficult to stay focussed on just one application/website/piece of software.

So build a bazaar? Actually, build a bazaar in literal terms is 'build a shop'. Bazaar means you have an audience. I'm afraid here that isn't the case. Even if has its audience and displays your products to that audience, for your shop to work, you need to be able to garner good attention.

And while you need all the skills mentioned above, you need exceptional skills to garner attention and convert it into 'trust' for your shop. That takes some doing.

My recommendation, garner attention and build trust, first. If need be, build skills to garner attention and to build trust. And then build a shop.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Why is it difficult to write good quality content?

Just compare the number of words written on a hand-written page with those typed on a web page. Count. In a given space, number of typed words would be ten or twenty or even more than hand-written words. We are still accustomed to hand writing.

First we shape the buildings and then the buildings shape us. The laptop/computer screen accommodates so many letters and words that it must be a challenge for most to accept the empty screen space. On the other hand, text typed in big letter sizes feels really odd to read. Content writers often get shaped by the technology of the screen.

Here's a thought. The screen space, especially the width, meant for typing can be clearly and narrowly demarcated. And content writers write in that space. That's it. No gibberish. No stretching.

Indeed, it impacts the web design. But in a manner that visitors feel like reading.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What does one do with a life so full of dissatisfaction?

Read or stare at the screen or write something until the eyes start to blur. Until one falls asleep. And then wakes up another day to chart out the course afresh.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The First Sockwa Experience - Barefoot Running Shoes in India (Post # 5)

After some wait, I received my red Sockwa G2 pair day before yesterday. Was eager to experience them on the tarmac since that's what I had in mind when I ordered.

If you ponder about the name, you get the essence of these shoes. They snug like socks and work like shoes.

I ran 4 kms and skipped for about 10 minutes. I've done the same quite often in other makes like Vibram's Five Fingers, Vivo Barefoot. Here's a little comparison. Mind you, the context is Indian roads and conditions.

VVF have a thicker, harder sole. When I run in those I run watching my surroundings - the tree, the birds, the buildings, the people - more than the terrain. With VB, very much the same but I have to watch out more frequently to avoid stepping on the little stones. Wearing Sockwa, my concentration and eyes were fully on the tarmac. For how light and thin they are, they induce you into concentrating on the activity. I won't claim but I suppose they would aid the runner in focusing on the running form, for otherwise running just won't be pleasurable.

I also think I could have ordered size 12 instead of 11. My foot measurement is close to 27.4 cms, or may be 27.5 cms. However, the make is such that a size smaller or bigger might not make a hell lot of difference. Most importantly, they won't hurt the toes.

A nice gift to myself this winter. 2013 will see me very often in my red Sockwa. :)

I've written about VFF and VB as well, just in case you are curious. Check the posts here.