I started blogging in July 2001 at a blog named Knowledge El Doradoinitially hosted on Blogger. Knowledge El Dorado was a blog on Knowledge Management, Collaboration and Communities. Social Media, as we know it today, did not exist. My job required me to figure out how knowledge management ideas and new tools like blogs can be used for knowledge sharing within organisations.

In the beginning, I had little idea about the space I was blogging about. But nearly two years of blogging and working in that space, resulted in a deep understanding of collaboration and social media. It later helped in making sense of emerging phenomenon like social networks and public conversation tools like Twitter.

Knowledge El Dorado was my first blog but it was the second act of internet publishing that I had undertaken. In the year of my introduction to the internet, I had started a site called The NothinOfficial Hangout. Blogging was yet to be invented in August 1998. User generated content and publishing were championed by Tripod and Geocities.

NIIT’s software course did not teach programming for the internet at that time. So building The NothinOfficial Hangout taught me how to create websites. The goal of the hangout was to create a clique of “aam admi” (mango-men) writers who wanted to express themselves. This self-publishing capability engendered by internet was simply wonderful to a twenty-something.

Around the same time I started JainList, an email discussion list on Jainism. JainList along with companion website JainNet was my way of giving back – philanthropy through skills instead of money. JainList has grown to become the largest email discussion group on Jainism.

Nurturing JainList helped me in learning Jain philosophy and also the principles of cultivating an online community.

This blog, Mobile Pundit, was started in November 2004. Earlier that year, using Reliance’s internet capable CDMA phone as well as reading Howard Rheingold’s book Smart Mobs got me excited about the potential of mobility and the impending mobile revolution in India.

Doing Mobile Pundit not only helped in tracking a fast evolving space, but also led to founding of the Mumbai chapter of Mobile Monday.

In all of the above illustrations, the common theme is “Learning by doing”. Whether its Knowledge El Dorado or Mobile Pundit, my knowledge of the subjects increased manifold after I started blogging. Unlike authoring books, there is no need to be an authority on a subject when writing blogs. On the contrary, I find it very useful to start a blog on something I don’t know much about.

  • Choose a subject that you have no clue of
  • Start a blog on that subject
  • End up being smart on that subject

The magic of blogging is that it instills a discipline of reading and thinking. Read-Think-Blog. Regular reading about different aspects of a subject helps in building a conceptual model. Learning-by-doing and Learning-by-Blogging are specially useful when dealing with emerging technologies, where there are no textbooks.

Last but not the least is the people and social angle of blogging. Reader’s feedback clarifies your thinking, adds bits you may not know, points out flaws in writing and often encourages to write more. Blog is also a great way to connect with like-minded people who are passionate about the same subject. Read-Think-Blog-Feedback-Connect. Blogging is a form of thinking-out-loud.

Starting today in the new year (Samvat), I have decided to get regular with blogging again. And yes, the reason is the same – learn about a new subject or two.

Going ahead the scope of this blog would not be restricted to mobility alone. Because mobility is no longer just about mobiles. It is about how Indians adopt technology (connected smartphones, tablets, smart TVs etc) and how convergence changes the personal, social and political landscapes of our great grand land.

Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. (Mark Twain)


Ravience Digital, the mobile marketing technology startup I had founded 3 years ago has been acquired by Netcore Solutions. I have worked with tech entrepreneur Rajesh Jain for over 10 years, in his earlier venture IndiaWorld and then at Netcore.

The announcement that was made in this regard last week:

Digital real-time communications company Netcore Solutions today said that it has acquired Ravience, a Mumbai-based mobile marketing services provider, for an undisclosed sum. Ravience is focused on helping brands engage with their customers using its multi-modal response management suite ‘Responage’.

Since its incorporation in 2008, Ravience has achieved several customer wins at leading brands and digital agencies, helping Brand Managers in analysing and optimizing campaign responses generated through various mediums like Mobile Web, PC Web, SMS, Email and Voice.

The platform integrates various stages of digital campaigns – starting from media, visitor management, response management and finally lead management, thus filtering higher quality leads and identifying their sources.

Responage also allows rapid creation of mobile websites which are compatible across handsets, visitor analytics and validation of responses. Veerchand Bothra, founder of Ravience, said, “Usage of mobile-web is exploding with increasing penetration of smartphones, launch of 3G and aggressive pricing of data plans by mobile operators. Ravience’s platform helps enterprise customers convert clicks and responses into consumers on the mobile platform.”

This is Netcore’s second acquisition in 18 months after it acquired a majority interest in internet portal company, Greynium, which operates OneIndia, India’s largest collection of local language portals. Netcore’s Chief Executive Officer, Girish Nair, said. “Ravience complements Netcore’s offerings across SMS, Email and Web channels, and its closed loop digital campaign management platform. Upon integration, the Netcore-Ravience platform will be a unique end-to-end offering for enterprises to create, manage and enhance digital campaigns.”

Netcore Solutions is one of India’s largest digital real-time communications companies, with its email and SMS solutions being used by over 2,000 enterprises.


India is celebrating its 61st Independence Day today. Wishing all of you a great 15th August. Jai Hind!

Indian Tricolour


An analysis by telecom regulator Trai on the success of lifetime validity schemes over six months revealed that in revenue proportion, lifetime schemes are no different from the general tariff plans offered by mobile operators.

“The big picture emerging from the analysis based on empirical data is that the scheme has been very popular. The scheme has been one of the driving forces for the explosive growth of mobile subscribers, which is witnessed in the current year, ie, 2006. At he same time, service providers seem to be getting a reasonable ARPU from the scheme despite the fact that the scheme was primarily targeted towards low-usage and marginal customers”

Main points from the study:

  • 16% of the country’s mobile base has opted for such schemes
  • Only 51% of these were new users, while the rest had migrated from their exisiting schemes
  • 28% of the total additions during the six months period was on account of lifetime validity schemes
  • These users also had an average monthly revenue per user (ARPU) of Rs 218 per month compared with Rs 261 for normal prepaid users
  • At least 72% of subscribers opting for this scheme recharge their phones every month
  • These are high users of value added services
  • If a customer on a lifetime scheme uses his mobile for a minute, his operator gets 80 paise, compared to 77 paose for a normal subscriber

The Trai data breaks two myths, says AUSPI director general, SC Khanna

“First, the belief that lifetime prepaid subscribers don’t make outgoing calls and second, that a bulk of these customers hail from poorer states (B & C category circles) whose people have very low economic income such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, North East, Orissa and Jammu & Kashmir.”

This is because the study has said that over 90% of subscribers who opted for this scheme in the poorer states recharged their cards every month, against a national average of 72% and 62% in the metro cities.

The main motive of lifetime schemes is subscriber lock-in and lowering the entry barrier for new customers.

Mobile operators are bringing the entry barrier further down. Bharti Airtel, Hutch and Idea are now offering lifetime validity for Rs. 495, while Reliance Communications charges Rs. 499.

Sources: Economic Times and Hindu



Here are some interesting tidbits from a story on the doctoral research done by Carolyn Wei of the University of Washington.

“What Carolyn has done it take this really interesting element of youth culture


I’m in Hong Kong attending the 3G World Congress this week. Mobile Pundit updates will be slow, and will catch up with Indian mobility developments over the weekend.