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Saturday, December 29, 2007

10 Tips for Becoming a Great Corporate Blogger

Successful blogging is not just about being the best writer on the web or even the most prolific. Being a successful blogger is about creating a connection with an audience by providing relevant content, nurturing that relationship with comments and links and keeping the dialogue flowing. Here are ten tips to get you started.

1. Understand the fundamentals of Blogger Relations

While anyone can set up a blog in a day and start publishing articles, it takes far more work to be a great blogger and see the real benefits of blogging. First, you need to have a blogging strategy that is in line with your PR strategy and business goals. Next, you have to provide relevant content. Most importantly, you must conduct what is called Blogger Relations. Blogger Relations is what blogging is all about—starting and maintaining a conversation. Unlike Public Relations or media relations where you are trying to pitch your story, with Blogger Relations you initiate and participate in ongoing discussions with other bloggers and your target audience. As the conversation progresses, you get to know the other players in your industry; you gain credibility by listening as well as commenting; and you gain new readers as other bloggers provide links back to your blog to give you credit for your ideas. The more you conduct Blogger Relations, the more successful your blogging will be.

2. Create value

Creating something of value for your audience should be the first aim of your blog; otherwise your readers will have no reason to return. This is where a public relations strategy can help you develop content that keeps your customers coming back for more.

3. Grow and sustain your audience by providing real analysis

Monitor the news and blogs for articles that would be of interest to your audience. When writing about the news as a blogger, it is not just a matter of describing the news—though that is important. It is more imperative that you provide new, informative and entertaining analysis in order to sustain and grow your audience. That is why opinion and your personal perspective interlaced with your past experiences will help to add to your credibility and foster loyal readership.

4. Report on community opinion

If you think the news is important but don’t have an opinion or perspective, one way to provide opinion is to provide a synopsis of ideas from the community at large. In addition to acting as a valuable resource for your audience, you create the opportunity to send a trackback link to one or more blogs, connecting with more bloggers AND more readers.

5. Respond with comments to build relationships and traffic

Responding to another blogger’s comment can be just as important as the article post itself. Blogging is about dialogue and the opportunity to interact with your audience. Many posts will not receive any comments, but when they do, you have to be ready to respond. Blogging is a little like having an amphitheatre of people viewing a conversation between two people. While you must focus on the conversation with your commenter, you must also be aware of the rest of the audience. In other words, you should respond to the challenge the commenter presents while at the same time providing greater context, so the entire readership can follow and benefit from your conversation.

6. Track your conversations

In order to keep conversations flowing, you have to stay aware of each discussion in progress. Unfortunately, we are still in the early days of blogging, and many blogs do not include notification technology to let you know where there has been a new post. And even if a blogger receives notification that you have commented on his/her blog, does not mean that you will receive notification when that blogger replies to your comment. If comment email subscription is available, it is wise to subscribe. You may also choose to use tools such as del.icio.us or Cocomment for tracking comments online and subsequent follow up. But, ultimately, you may have to monitor for comments manually to make sure you keep the conversations alive.

7. Don’t be afraid of criticism

Dialogue is also about criticism; so don’t be afraid when others criticize your ideas or actions you have taken on a blog. See it as opportunity to keep the conversation flowing. In the blogosphere, you are more respected when you demonstrate the ability to respond. In addition, a “foil” critiquing your work can often draw more attention to the discussion and increase readership. Furthermore, criticism can be constructive. Feedback related to product flaws and improvements can actually help your product development process.

8. Conduct interviews to generate content and ideas

Interviews are a great way to generate interest and content for the blog. Picking other bloggers to interview is particularly helpful in generating links and traffic. Many bloggers will enjoy the added attention and more than likely link back to your interview post.

9. Promote your blog

When an author writes a book, the writing process is often very much solitary. Once the book is published, however, a writer must reach out to others and promote that book through public readings and strategic marketing. Building a successful blog requires a similar approach. Once your articles are written, you have to promote them by chatting with colleagues in the industry and starting a dialogue. Connect with loyal and thoughtful readers as well as industry authorities. When bloggers take note of your article, it tends to have a viral effect, increasing eyeballs exponentially.

10. Monitor the web for brand names and references

Using RSS feed search engines such as technorati.com and blogpulse.com, monitor for mention of your company and corporate blog posts as well as important developments in your industry.

Source: Internet

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Place your order before you smoke

The wind chills and blows against the surface of my skin, layers of clothing protecting my tired body. Cigarette in my hand, breathing in the toxic flavor of a camel, granting my lungs the smoke and nicotine it demands. I look around my surroundings and survey the other victims of addiction. Yeah, all of us are the same. We have one reason to come up to this far, to smoke a cigarette.

I am talking about Probashi Café, Bashundhara Shopping Mall, Dhaka. What a piece of business they have started! God bless them all. You know, it’s really impossible to smoke in the mall. Being an air-conditioned box, it has proscribed all of us, I meant smokers. Whenever you go shopping in there, you can’t even bring out the B&H pack from your pocket. So our only hope stands on top of our head at the 8th level of the mall, the café.

It’s a nice business indeed; very simple in nature. You know a lot of smoking punks come in, and search for an appropriate place to meet their thirst. So you lease a roof-top-terrace beside your café, and put a leaflet at the entrance that keeps saying, Place your order before you smoke.

Interestingly you’ll always find so-so quality food looking forward to making your wallet frail up there. However, you’re left with no other choice. You have to make some orders before you get the VISA to that balcony.

So every time I walk in there, I put an order for a juice or coffee. I have found these to be cheaper.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Outsourcing sacrifice, sacrificing outsourcing

Sometimes it gets really difficult to link a topic to the given mandates of a publishing platform such as this blog. Nevertheless, we are always allowed to stretch our imaginations and establish some sort of a link to abide by the rules set by the blog. So the far-stretched link of this post with a business concept is this, is there any provision of springing up of ‘temporary’ companies in Bangladesh providing ‘pre-during-post’ korbani services especially in urban areas?

With due respect to religious sentiments and rituals and due caution while avoiding hurting any religious values, the question being asked is, is it possible to outsource the holy-slaughtering act away from in front of my house, the ‘chipa goli’ where I live or from the main streets of Dhaka city where we usually ply through….all away to designated slaughter houses? I don’t know how it is in the ‘true Muslim’ countries in the Middle East or how they do it in the US or even in ‘confused’ Muslim nations like Malaysia or Indonesia, but do they slaughter their holy sacrifices right in front of their houses, on the main streets of Riyadh or Kuala Lumpur? I really don’t know, due to my limited knowledge and exposure. But I wonder if it is possible to buy your favorite goru-khashi from the market and put it in designated ‘slaughter houses’ for your neighborhood, for a fee, paid to the probably private run makeshift owner of the premises. If you and your small children are interested to see the rituals with your own eyes, may be you can go to slaughter house yourself to see the act. Seeing how smoothly the knife is rubbed against the neck and how the blood spills over the pitch surely makes young kids mentally strong and practical. But why this is done? Who bothers to tell them that. However the service provider will eventually provide you with the meat bags, the cow-hide and you will sign a document/invoice denoting the end of service receipt. How about that?

I kill mosquitos with my Chinese-made electric racket, I derive sadistic pleasures while seeing the dirty mosquitos explode into thin air when in contact with the wires. However, laying to rest an animal as big as a cow or goat requires guts and spiritual motivation, which I lack miserably. Nevertheless, it sometimes gets a bit uncomfortable to see raw blood, cowdung and intestines left and right everywhere in an ‘anyways’ dirty city like Dhaka, which gets worse to see blood-laden-knife-wielding-blood-spotted-panjabi-pora hujurs running here and there to accelerate our sacrifices. I have also witnessed many foreigners taking videos of animal slaughter from the safety of their verandahs, they find the act very ‘interesting and intriguing’. But I am sure when they email those videos to their friends abroad they deplore how ‘barbaric and dirty and ruthless and merciless’ we are when it comes to religious ceremonies such as this. Which is not true right?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Vodafone subscriber you are trying to reach does not wish to receive your call

Do you often see yourself taking calls you don't want to? Well, you can now block all unwanted callers with Vodafone Call Filter, says Vodafone.


It’s undoubtedly a great thing. You’ll hardly find a person not receiving such unwanted calls from ghosts. These unwanted calls can be classified as two categories, namely, missed calls & anonymous calls. The former one makes you sick of getting missed calls from people who don’t want you to be in peace, and the later one makes you the target of some stupid mobile-assassins.

Vodafone, in India, has recently started to provide their customers with Call Filter service that allows them to add numbers to a Blacklist. Whoever phones, assuming s/he be in the blacklist, will hear a prerecorded message, The Vodafone subscriber you are trying to reach does not wish to receive your call. Vodafone is charging only 99Rs/month for the service.
I wish our telecos start the same here in Bangladesh too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

শিক্ষার্থীদেরকে Part Time Job এর সুযোগ |

বিজয় আহমেদ Economics এ Post Graduate Complete করেছেন আজ চার বছর। চাকুরীর জন্য একের পর এক সিভি ড্রপ করেই যাচ্ছেন, কিন্তু চাকুরী নামের সোনার হরিনটি তার আজও অধরাই রয়ে গেল। আর এর একমাত্র কারণ তার কোন আভিজ্ঞতা নেই।আমাদের দেশে অভিজ্ঞতা ছাড়া কোন চাকরী হয়না। আমাদের দেশে প্রায় প্রতিটি Corporate কোম্পানীই তাদের নিয়োগ বিজ্ঞাপণে স্ব স্ব পদে অভিজ্ঞতা সম্পন্ন লোক নিয়োগ করে, যার কারনে বিজয় আহমেদের মত দেশের অসংখ্য মেধাবী শিক্ষিত ছেলে-মেয়ে বেকার জীবন-যাপন করছে। আর যার ফলে অনেক সময় দেখা যায় এসব ছেলে-মেয়ে গুলো তাদের জীবনের পাশাপাশি ধবংস করছে দেশের উজ্জল ভবিষ্যত।
অবশ্য চাকুরী পেতে বর্তমানে যে শুধু অভিজ্ঞতাই প্রয়োজন তাও নয়, অনেক সময় মামা-চাচার মাধ্যমেও চাকুরী হয়ে যায় তবে সেটা খুবই গৌণ,অভিজ্ঞতাই বেশী প্রয়োজন হয় আর কোম্পনীগুলোও অভিজ্ঞ লোক নিবেই বা না কেন, আজকের বিশ্বায়নের যুগে প্রতিটি ব্যবসায়িক প্রতিষ্ঠানকেই খুবই প্রতিযোগীতার মধ্যে তাদের ব্যবসায়িক কর্মকান্ড চালাতে হয়, আর যার কারনে ক্ষতির হাত থেকে বাঁচতে প্রতিষ্ঠানের কর্মীদেরকে হতে হয় সব দিক দিয়ে দক্ষ।
আর এ সমস্যার সমাধানের জন্য আমি একটি ঊপায় খুঁজে পেয়েছি, জানিনা এটি সবার পছন্দ হবে কিনা। শিক্ষার্থীরা তাদের Graduation এর পর যদি কোন প্রতিষ্ঠানে Part Time Job করে, Masters complete না হওয়া পর্যন্ত তবে তারা এই সময়টুকুতে কিছু কাজ-কর্ম শিখে অভিজ্ঞতা অর্জন করতে পারে যা দিয়ে তারা পরবর্তীতে কোন প্রতিষ্ঠানে অনায়েশেই একটি চাকুরী জোগাড় করে নিতে পারবে। এখন প্রশ্ন আসতে পারে ব্যবসায়িক প্রতিষ্ঠানগুলো কেন শিক্ষার্থীদের এমন Part Time এর চাকরী দিবে, এতে তাদের লাভ কী? তাদের লাভ হচ্ছে তারা বিনে পারিশ্রমিকে কিছু কাজ করিয়ে নিল, যাতে তাদের বেশ আর্থিক সাশ্রয় হবে। আর শিক্ষার্থীরাতো তাদের শ্রমবাবদ পাচ্ছেই অভিজ্ঞতার সার্টিফিকেট।
আবার ব্যবসায়িক প্রতিষ্ঠানগুলো চাইলে এসব শিক্ষার্থীদেরকে Permanent ও করে নিতে পারে যদি তাদের প্রয়োজন হয়। অনেকে হয়তো আরো প্রশ্ন তুলতে পারেন যে, এমনতো হচ্ছেই। যেমন- বিবিএ, এমবিএ ইত্যাদি ডিগ্রীর পরেই বিভিন্ন কোম্পানী ইন্টার্ণশীপের ব্যবস্থা করছে। করছে, কিন্তু এ ছাড়াওতো আরো অনেক সাবজেক্টের শিক্ষার্থী রয়েছে। তারাও এরকম ইন্টার্ণশীপ বা পার্ট টাইম জবের সুযোগ পেতে পারে।
আর এ ধরনের সুযোগ যদি কোন Corporate Company দেয় শিক্ষার্থীদেরকে তবে আমার ধারনা এ দেশে একদিন গড়ে উঠবে দক্ষ জনশক্তি। যারা দেশকে নিয়ে যাবে আরো সমৃদ্ধির দিকে। তখন থাকবে না এ দেশে আর কোন হতাশা, জড়া ইত্যাদি। এ দেশ হবে একদিন বিশ্বের অন্যতম এক উন্নত দেশ।

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Power of the "Rumor-Mill"

Its common knowledge that word of mouth is THE undisputed tool for brand building, if not now, it will be sometime in the middle of the unpredictable yet very near future. What is uncommon is using it for real right now. And thats just what has been happening. If you dont believe what you are hearing, maybe you are hearing too much of billo’s rumors! Or may be, you need to check out their facebookgroup at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6469863003

Well the power of rumor in brand building is evident in this award winning project. The group, consisting of 4 students from NSU has created a rumor phenomenon, while they were preparing for a local competition called “Inter University Promologic 2007″. In the process, they gave birth to a facebook group consisting only of rumors! Currently the group has 482 members who are in it for the rumors and rumors only!

Just ponder for a second. Isnt it quite obvious? Doesnt our ancient tag of “hujugeye” jaty shows us that our brand builders should have thought about it a lot earlier?

Rumors are just a powerful form of word of mouth, just like buzz or recommendations. But digging deep, it has some unruly characteristics that makes it more powerful than the conventional word of mouth wisdom.

1. Rumors are as unpredictable as the path of a maelstrom. Its like an arrow that has been shot. Once you create its path, you can never control it.

2. Rumors spread faster than any other form of word of mouth - simply because the “sin” tag attached to it. Its wrong to spread rumor, that makes it more likely that it will be spreading in record time.

3. Rumors can never be traced back to the origin. That is why its a fantastic tool for brand builders because once they drop a rumour bomb among the mass, they can just sit and enjoy. No one’s gonna point the finger at you with much proof to back it up.

Unintentional rumours has helped brands or created overnight sensations out of them. But the time has come when we pull the reins of this unpredictable horse and use rumours as a calculated means to maximize your brand stickiness.

Shahriar Amin is the creator of the first brand related blog in Bangladesh at http://shammograffity.wordpress.com where he distributes world class brand teachings customized for the benefits of Bangladeshi businesses and students.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

500 minutes … yeahh

I’ll be getting free 500 minutes of airtime to make calls to any mobile from now. In addition, I’ll also be having free 200 SMSs to any mobile, 20 FnFs, 10 MB of free GPRS service, and 20 free MMSs to any WARID number. Moreover, I’ll get things done in seconds either by WARID SIM Genie or from the net. Wow! Isn’t that really cool?

I had several reasons to switch to WARID from grameenphone (GP). The tariff GP was charging then made me suffer a lot. Specially when I used to make FnF calls. One thing was that GP allowed me to have only one FnF number. So, I was paying a lot while making calls to my other friends and members of my family. Whenever I was in a problem I was really confused whether to make a phone call to GP or not, of course because of the amount of money I was about to lose. GP had problems with its Welcome Tunes either. I did not find it easy to install a tune at once. You’d always have to wait to get set and go. Besides, the tunes would not be heard all the time, i.e. when there was a heavy traffic fighting to get through the BTSs.

The list of reasons for moving to GP from AKTEL was endless. But it undoubtedly started with the quality of service provided by AKTEL then. It was really full of shit. I am talking about the time when AKTEL first introduced their JOY package. I used to cry while making a call after mid-night. It was like something I cannot describe with my words. I used to pray for AKTEL either to get bankrupt or destroyed. I will never forget about the services I was provided with by AKTEL. Those were worse than anything. They had some mismanagement in their administrations too. So, I thought it would be wiser to switch to the best network.

I moved to AKTEL from Citycell for just for pleasures. Citycell did not allow me to buy nice and cool mobile sets as it was CDMA technology based operator. The handsets were really like toys. Its tariff was not attractive to me anymore. More students were buying AKTEL SIMs then. Because AKTEL had a 30 second pulse. So you’d never expense a full 7 taka if you talked only for 29 seconds. In addition, I thought it’d be nice to have a SIM than to have a CDMA-technology thing. I though I’d be able to change my handsets whenever I wished. A reason for not buying GP then was the cost of a GP-SIM. Let me guess, oh yeah, it was almost a double of an AKTEL one then (2004).

Whatever you say, whatever you think; as of now, WARID is the best. You get all those free-bees just spending as low as 575 taka. Though I must admit, these are available in the post-paid packages only. But it doesn’t matter, does it? I used to spend about 1500 taka a month while using GP. Now I need to pay out a sum of 800 taka or a bit more. That’s really cool to me.

For now, I go for WARID.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Always growing, but never improving

Yesterday I went to the 2nd Dhaka International Mobile Phone Fair 2007 with some intentions to check out the best offers that were available from the sellers, telecom service providers and others. I have always known that whenever you go to such a fair, you get things at reasonable rates, and sometimes at low prices. I found a lot of people like me waiting in the queue to buy a ticket and to get in.

I got disappointed at the first sight as I was entering the fair. It was not like a standard one. Just some stalls with a number of sellers. Very mundane, very amateurish. Absence of most of the well-known companies like AKTEL, WARID, grameenphone etc. made it more boring to me. I strongly believe that many people were expecting them as well. I asked someone about their absence, but it ended up with no suitable answers. I saw some underground companies, along with a real state company and a University stall. They were promoting themselves there. All of these made me ran out of that place.


I noticed some alluring offers from a range of sellers while moving along. They were tendering some old sets (like Sony Ericsson T20, Siemens C35, etc.) at a price as low as taka 830 only. I wish you could only see people rushing to those worthwhile offers! But did they know those sets were the ones which were not sold when they (sellers) bought them (sets) to sell? Some of the sets were found to be troubled, and some others were found to be of low quality. In a fair when people are in a hurry, they often do not think about these and make their choices at once.


I also noticed a lot Chinese sets resembling NOKIA. Many people were interested in them as well. First of all they look like NOKIA. Secondly, they produce more sounds than Sony Ericsson, and the last but not the least they have cameras. I asked a potential buyer why he was choosing a fake NOKIA set while the original NOKIA stall was standing just a few meters away. He said that he could not afford the price to buy an original NOKIA of the similar kind. I informed him that his set is not going to last a couple of months. Hearing me he smiled, which meant I was crazy. Then I asked one of the sellers about the warranty of the sets. She said no warranty is provided with the sets.

However, I also found some good sets and offers. NOKIA brought N95 8GB, 5310 and 5610. Computer Source brought HEDY, together with some other cool sets. ASUS and HTC –PDAs were brought by Global Brand Pvt. LTD. Arena showed TECHNO mobile. SAMSUNG was offering gifts with its products. Venn brought a set that allows you to add some numbers to a blacklist which would help you get less missed-calls. Electro-Mart reduced the price of its KONKA mobile sets exclusively for the fair. Maximus and Motorola brought some new models with attractive prices. INTIGRA brought Sprint, Malata and ALCATEL.


Whilst there were some good offerings, there were some worse ones either. On one hand, if you wanted to buy a quality set you could not afford, and on to other, if you wanted to buy a low-class set you could not have any warranty. Which side would you fall for then? I saw a slogan written on the banners of the fair, Always growing, always improving. Yeah, it’s right that our mobile market is growing. But I cannot agree that it’s improving. What do you say?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Top 50 keywords leading to this blog

Here is the list of top 50 keywords out of 854 from around the world leading to the Bangladesh Corporate Blog. Interesting to see what the world is searching for regarding the Bangladeshi corporates and businesses.


Keyword Visits



1.
consumers' expectations from retail industry in bangladesh
30



2.
bangladesh corporate blog
13



3.
bangladeshcorporate
13



4.
bangladesh corporate blogs
10



5.
competitive advantages of citycell in bangladesh
8



6.
vehicle tracking+grameen phone
8



7.
radio today bangladesh
7



8.
bangladesh corporate
6



9.
bangladesh blogs
5



10.
bangladesh corporate blogspot
5



11.
nestle bangladesh
5



12.
unilever bangladesh
5



13.
marius armeanca
4



14.
why did citycell change their logo in bangladesh?
4



15.
banglalink annual report
3



16.
banglalink customer service strategy
3



17.
call center jobs in bangladesh
3



18.
corporate bangladesh
3



19.
radio today in bangladesh
3



20.
stock businesses in bangladesh
3



21.
warid logo
3



22.
wimax bangladesh
3



23.
aktel
2



24.
article about akij group
2



25.
asiatic mcl
2



26.
bangladesh cement saturated
2



27.
bangladesh radio today
2



28.
banglalink sex
2



29.
best fried chicken bangladesh
2



30.
blogs bangladesh economy
2



31.
bpo bangladesh
2



32.
cement market in bangladesh
2



33.
channel differentiation of warid tel in bangladesh
2



34.
citycell
2



35.
corporate blog bangladesh
2



36.
corporate blog of bangladesh
2



37.
corporate blogs bangladesh
2



38.
corporate hr practice in bd
2



39.
csr activities in bangladesh
2



40.
csr of banglalink
2



41.
csr of hsbc bank in bangladesh
2



42.
dutch bangla bank csr activities
2



43.
g4s bangladesh
2



44.
heidelbergcement bangladesh
2



45.
heidelbergcement limestone import bangladesh
2



46.
hsbc, sme banking, june 2007, bangladesh
2



47.
http://bangladeshcorporate.blogspot.com/
2



48.
hua wei bribe bangladesh
2



49.
job trust bank bangladesh
2



50.
lanka bangla securities ltd. bangladesh
2



Monday, December 3, 2007

Corporate, corruption, bribe and my dulabhai

I suspect that my Dulabhai is a ghushkhor. I remember my cousin depressingly wording out a couple of months ago that things have become tougher these days, especially after the arrival of this government. Erstwhile, it was easier to ensure income from ‘different’ sources. Now it has become really difficult. Sending two kids to Scholastica, staying in an apartment in Uttara, planning to buy a car in near future, all this have become really constrained due to the lack of supply of income from ‘other’ sources. Well I still understand that government offices such as PDB (Power Development Board) (where my Dulabhai works) used to be one of the hotbeds of power misuse and corruption. I wonder still, what are the needs of a common man in Bangladesh that would compel him to take/give bribes. This brother-in-law of mine has nearly cracked his forehead along with evident cracks on the floor by saying regular prayers and confessing to God almighty perhaps, of his wrongdoings. He wears an innocent look with a pot-belly and bald head. He must be saying that he is doing all this to be able to provide ‘good education’ for his children (by sending them to an English medium school like Scholastica). He must be arguing with God that he is taking bribe because ‘that’s the way things are here in Bangladesh…join in or be left out’. So if you want to be with the flow, join the tribe of the bribesmen. Government offices have always been like this perhaps, many might argue, but what about the private sector?


Starting from Lockheed Martin’s lobbying in the US government during various wars to corruption in countries like China, ‘speedmoney’ seems to be a term we all live with and tend to take easily. But how severe or how essential is it in the context of Bangladesh? I have heard that many telcos, banks, development agencies happily nurture the culture of ‘speedmoney’ while awarding any jobs to third-parties. Event management companies in Bangladesh will know better how much they have to pay to which officers and managers in those telecom companies and banks to get that big deal of country-wide activation or promotional campaigns, or for that company merchandize manufacturing deals etc. May be this is the way things are, the way they are supposed to be or are they really? Greed knows no need, no limits…as long as there is a chance of getting free money, we are all up for it. But could be there a hierarchy of bribes need? I mean very much like the Maslow’s hierarchy needs, can we classify the need to take bribes in terms of their relevance with real life and its needs. For example, a young executive in a Bangladeshi company might not need to take any bribe during early years of working life, but as he starts a family, becomes more ambitious, and prices of daily necessities shoot through the roof in Bangladesh, may be he will be allured to start unwanted practices at work. However when someone reaches mid-age, when basic needs are met, future of children are ensured (higher studies in US, UK etc.) even then what can drive people in Bangladeshi companies to keep on taking bribes? Does it become a mere habit issue, ‘khaite bhallage tai khai’, types justifications….? Who knows.

Don’t use a very generic name to your product!

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

--- William Shakespeare


Ya that is right. But if we think it the other way, then it would be wrong. Mr. X is a luminous person. He is god damn good in his professional life. He got a nice name as well. But if he got a name like “Ata Mia” or so then how would he feel or what would you people say? I am sure that some people would tease him from the back because of such name. His class mates would call him Mr. Fruit. Isn’t it funny? Although it sounds funny but it is the truth. So a good name is very important. It is not only for a person but also for a product.

In our country local companies endorse their company name with their product name e.g. “ABC Candy”, “ABC Pure Oil”, “ABC MILK” and so on. Research shows us that these types of names are not much catchy to the customers/consumers. That is why BIG Guys like Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Nestlé go after such names: Close Up (toothpaste), Tide (laundry detergent) and Nescafé (coffee).

Local companies should learn now from these BIG Guys before it is too late. In addition to that a marketing report by Al Ries (a marketing professional and author) would show us his thought on product naming. Here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZtZlPSRO5M

Sunday, December 2, 2007

10000 towers mean 10000 trackable locations

The Daily Star reports
Grameenphone has recently commissioned the 10,000th base station in its nationwide network, reaching a new milestone in the country's telecoms sector. The 10,000 base stations are located in about 5,700 sites around the country, said a press release.“ The company has so far invested more than Tk 10,700 crore (US$1.6 billion) to build the network infrastructure since its inception in 1997. It has invested over Tk 3,100 crore ($450 million) during the first three quarters of the current year while Tk 2,100 crore ($310 million) was invested in 2006 alone.Grameenphone is implementing an aggressive roll-out programme by installing new network elements with an emphasis on maintaining quality service. A number of steps are being taken to identify the problems spots in the network in order to constantly improve quality.Grameenphone has built the largest fibre optic cable network in the country with 2300 kilometers of fibre along the highways. It also has leased from Bangladesh Railway another 2000 kilometers of fibre along the railway tracks.
Introducing location based services has been one of the hot topics discussed in this blog. 10000 base tower stations imply 10000 trackable locations around the country. It is surely in the offing for GP to come up with a unique VAS such as the Location Based Services. The question remains that of timing, as to exactly when GP will launch a service such as this. Majority of its customers are still discovering the chills and thrills of downloading ringtones, wallpapers and welcome tunes, there is no need to show your ace card if the play is suitably in your favour as of now, when the need will arise, the trump card will be shown....and Location Based Services will be an interesting trump card in the context of Bangladesh.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

CityCell, take a bow

Last year I bought two CityCell Prepaid connections with just 2,600 Taka. I wanted to avail the lowest FnF rate in the market. Likewise, a couple of buddies of mine did the same. They too wanted to take an advantage of the best FnF tariff by CityCell. Afterwards, more and more mates of mine were doing the same as it reduced the amount of load we had to take while talking to our would-be better-halves. Within a couple of months I watched a number of students were using a CityCell besides their regular cellular. They would say, Ah! It’s just a Personal Mobile.

We were charged an amount of 25 Paisa (0.25 Taka)!! whole day long! No more waiting to get 12:00AM on the clock, starting to change the SIM cards, and then talk, talk and talk! No more overcrowding of too many calls right after the clock said it was 12, the long yearning midnight! We used to talk all day, all night. Who had sometime to study, to think, to do something or to get some good night sleep then? Moreover, the lines would remain always clear, i.e. no hanging around to get the line free or something like that. We talked in the morning, in the afternoon and obviously at night when there was not even a ghost to bother us!

Let me state an example of how CityCell lessened our load. I have a buddy in my department at the University. His name is J. This guy talked about 700 hours (To be more precise, 680 Hours) with his CityCell to a single number (FnF). Now let’s do some calculations. The average FnF rates charged by other companies at that time was Taka 0.80 + 15% VAT which made it Taka 0.92/min a call. So, 680 hours x 60 = 40,800mins. And (40,800mins x Taka 0.92) = Taka 37,536! If he did not use CityCell he would have been mad by now. Now, what was his actual cost then? 40,800mins x Taka 0.28 = Taka 10,510 only! Amazing, hmm?

CityCell also relieved some of our worries at times. Those of us used mobile phone sets valued more than Taka 15,000 used to take with us the CityCell mobile during night travels. In case some offenders took an interest in snatching away our mobiles, we would happily give away our CityCell to them. A lot of parents had worries that their child made phone calls all the evening and shitted on his/her studies day after day. Therefore, sweet child of theirs used Plan B, i.e. handing over his/her regular phone to them, then locking his/her door and starting to talk with CityCell. Oh! God, you are too good, they kept saying.

But on the other end of the scale we had problems too. Some of us were tired of keeping two mobiles simultaneously. Some of us could not afford to maintain both mobiles at a time. The problem was not with CityCell’s services, but with its RIM cards. They do no fit in any GSM sets since they were made to support CDMA technology only. None of us could use a single set for using two services all together. Thus, there was a chaos. As a result, we were waiting for a GSM based company to open door for us. We waited… … …

Then came Warid. Just a few days [From November 19, 2007] back it has opened doors for us. Now we have similar or even less rates to avail. With its heavy initiatives Warid is going to set itself into our very hearts soon, very soon. 5 FnFs to any operator with alluring tariffs and other hot & cool features, what else anybody need? Eventually, we had a chance to get rid of CityCell and other SIM cards, and get set with Warid enjoying its startling tariffs.

Is it time for CityCell to bend for a while. Can it provide its customers with more cool services than other GSM mobile operators? We’ll have to wait and see. A new CEO has been appointed and a whole new team is working tirelessly to make some new advancements. Whether it will win people’s hearts or get trashed is yet to be forecasted. Let the pros bother about that. What concerns me most is that I need Taka 0.25 only to make a phone call to my near and dear ones. I don’t have to bother carrying two mobile phones anymore. I am pretty pleased now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In Bangladesh, nothing is what it seems >> CASE # 1 >>

Nokia > Nokla > Noka > Nikia > Nsikia> ( ? )

Nokia is undoubtedly the most powerful mobile phone brand in the world. It’s mammoth presence in the hands of the mass made it the #1 selling brand all over Bangladesh as well. From a local fisherman to a CEO of a MNC, who doesn’t have one? With its sophisticated tools, great look and easy-to-use features it made itself the buddy of most of the mobile phone users. And all of these made some of our businessmen mad! They want to tap into the cloning business in order to make some quick cash providing buyers with poor, clone handsets which are in fact less expensive, but not stable.
Yesterday one of my aunts came to our home to show us her recently bought Nokla mobile set blended with 5 speakers, 2MP camera and some other cool features. She was very proud of her set which could produce more sound than my SonyEricsson K750i. She was also pleased with the price she bought her mobile phone with.
No doubt, within a few weeks she will call me and say, can you help me with my mobile phone? 3 of its speakers are not producing any sound, and the camera button is not working as required. Please take it to a technician who can restore it.
These mobile sets are grasping more and more share of the mobile phone market. This seems to happen to the people less educated and who are ignorant about the originality of a mobile phone set. Eastern Plaza, Motalib Plaza, Bashundhara City Shopping Complex, Stadium, … you name it, all of these markets are loaded with these poor and less expensive mobile phone sets. I have heard that these sets come from China. There are places in China where you can make a Nokia N95 clone by spending less than BD Taka 10,000! OMG! Can you imagine?
It has been like a deadly virus which is infecting most of the people without having an antidote to it. Whoever buys one ends in losing those money invested behind it. The authorities who legally market original Nokia phone sets in Bangladesh are always shouting “Buy Only – MADE BY NOKIA”. But who gives a damn?
One last word, it’s not only happening to Nokia alone. There are also SunyEricsson, SonyEricssun sets available in the market. So when you go to market in order to buy one, make sure you double check the originality of the phone set. Otherwise … you know, don’t you?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Please help us rebuild our towers

Please write ‘help’ and send to 1234 and 10 tk. from your account will be sent to the aid of the victims of cyclone Sidr. Please try to understand that we, as telecom operators, are trying to make your contributions easier so your aid reaches the destitute in the coastal belt of Bangladesh who are left reeling after the Sidr chaos. Please also try to understand that many of our base tower stations have been destroyed by the cyclone and we have lost enormous revenue due to lack of electricity and communication infrastructure that followed the cyclone’s destruction. Just imagine the amount of revenue we could have generated from airtime and SMS from those two days. Even now, we have to run many of those stations with alternate power backups, which is costing us money too. And remember we just paid a hefty fine to the Government for our ‘illegal’ flirting with VoIP babes. So although we know that we have deep pockets, as of now, we do feel a small dent in there. So we need your help, please give us your money, we want to tickle your sensitivity, your emotional call to stand by your distressed countrymen and exploit it to compensate for the huge loss we have incurred due to this stupid disaster. Nevertheless we are adept businessmen, we have the insight to spot light of opportunity even in the darkest of shipwrecks. So here we are, come as it may be Sidr or Odor or whatever you name the storm, we will always know how to milk out the money out of your pocket and repair our own hands. Now stop reading this stupid and baseless post and go to the ‘message’ option in your handset, please type ‘help’….(you know the rest).


When the powerful earthquake struck Kashmir in 2005, it created quite a stir and array of relief arranging activities around the world. A few Pakistanis who used to own the off-licence shop on top of which I used to reside in London was among those ‘relief collectors’, who identified the call of the hour and decided to contribute to the rebuilding of their nation through that fund raising. They set up a donation box wrapped around with newspapers clippings in English and Urdu depicting horror tales of the earthquake victims in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmiri territories. Whoever came to the off-licence shop to buy bread, butter or booze, could not miss the box that cried for help. People donated whole-heartedly, sometimes they didn’t take the change in return, they put it inside the box instead. Sometimes they shared their grief and sympathy with the shop-keepers while putting out a ‘fiver’ or a ‘tenner’, a few ‘quids’ for the sake of charity and humanity. I also took my turn and donated in good faith a very insignificant amount only to realize after a week that I only bought a few bottles of beers for those soldiers of humanity and good cause. They stopped collecting the fund when they thought they have had enough, invited their friends from Wembley and Bradford, arranged a good party, cooked Mughlai food, listened to Hindi music, drank like dogs, made me sacrifice my night’s sleep and they went to sleep happy around dawn. Since then, I have a profound sense of suspicion when saviors of mankind pop up overnight to raise funds and help the ‘devastated people’ who get struck after natural calamities like floods, cyclone, earthquakes etc.


Appeal for help through designated bank accounts seem more realistic and trust-worthy, rather than sending SMSs to thin air naively believing that my aid is going to reach to the victims struck so hard by the disaster. I am very cautious so that companies don’t make use of the vulnerability of the situation on ground and make merry on my money. SOS.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Effective multi-tasking

Adrian O’Connor

In the workplace, multi-tasking has become a mandatory skill. So how can you multi-task effectively? The first step is recognising that the entire process is, essentially, a form of time management. Here’s some additional advice:

Create a schedule of priorities
Multi-tasking madness often results from not being able to decide which task to do first – you switch from one assignment to another as you constantly re-prioritise. In the end, many projects and activities do not receive the necessary attention. Get off this mental merry-go-round by using a calendar to organise your immediate work-related priorities. Consult this schedule throughout the day to ensure your focus remains on the most pressing projects.

Don’t let time be your enemy
Consider this scenario: You are compiling figures for an important report when the phone rings. A colleague needs help with his research and asks if you can swing by. Though you have only a few minutes to spare, you don’t return to your desk until an hour later. Multi-tasking also often causes workers to focus on the most recent project – and for more time than originally intended. To avoid this, try setting a timer to alert you when it is time to switch gears and move on to the next project. Be disciplined; unless a critical request arises, don’t change your focus until it’s time to do so.

Keep your desk clean
Don’t let clutter distract you from making smooth transitions from one assignment to the next. Immediately file away the work related to the previous task so that it is out of sight – and out of mind. Use a file cabinet or organiser to hold all your paperwork and take out what you need only when you are working on it. If something new comes along, don’t look at it until you are ready to make a place for it in your schedule of priorities.

Don’t be afraid to unplug
While technology can increase your productivity, it also can be the source of tremendous distraction. Be brave and turn off your electronic devices when necessary. Also consider putting a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on your door or outside your cubicle to make sure people understand that you intend to focus on something important for a certain amount of time and do not wish to be interrupted.

There are times when multi-tasking does help you achieve more. However, it is important to think before automatically assuming you’ll be more productive by doing everything at once. Some projects require all of your attention, and figuring out which ones do will save you time and may even help you get more done.

Adrian O’Connor is regional manager of Robert Half Finance & Accounting. Robert Half Finance & Accounting is the world’s first and largest recruitment consultancy, specialising in the placement of accounting and finance professionals on a temporary and permanent basis. Visit us at http://www.roberthalf.co.uk/

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

3 minute MBA course

So many training firms, consultancies, brand management firms are arranging workshops, management training, etc. on various topics. We thought to chip in with some of our version of knowledge and expertise too.
Lesson 1:
A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs.
When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor. Before she says a word, Bob says, "I'll give you $800 to drop that towel." After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob.
After a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves.
The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, "Who was that?"
"It was Bob, the next door neighbor," she replies.
"Great!" the husband says, "Did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?"
Moral of the story: If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Lesson 2:
A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie says, "I'll give each of you just one wish."
"Me first! Me first!" says the admin clerk. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world."
Puff! She's gone.
"Me next! Me next!" says the sales rep. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life."
Puff! He's gone.
"OK, you're up," the Genie says to the manager. The manager says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch."
Moral of the story: Always let your boss have the first say.

Lesson 3
An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing?"
The eagle answered: "Sure, why not."
So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.
Moral of the story: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Lesson 4
A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree," sighed the turkey, "but I haven't got the energy."
"Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?" replied the bull. They're packed with nutrients."
The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree.
He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.
Moral of the story: Bull Shit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.

Lesson 5
A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him.
As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.
A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.
Moral of the story:
(1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy(2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend (3) And when you're in deep shit, it's best to keep your mouth shut!
This ends the 3-minute management course.
(source : internet)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Belonging to a brand...everyone is invited

2 years ago when I took my car to the Mohakhali workshop for maintenance, I had the privilege to meet ‘someone’ who worked for Toyota. As I was waiting in the congested, dirty workshop to witness my car being dismantled, I was approached by one of the mechanics that my car will be ‘operated upon’ by their expert specialist, who worked in Toyota, Japan. The teenager announced this with a sense of pride in his eyes, shining bright through his greased, dusty, sweaty face. I nodded with a smile and curiosity. Moments later, there appeared a ‘guru mechanic’ wearing Bermuda shirts and wrench in his hand. No introduction needed, as he himself introduced his ex-employer first, Toyota that is, and started describing with confidence, how he plans to work on my car. I kept wondering how a mere sense of belonging to a big brand name can do wonders to its smallest, least insignificant of employees. With due respects to all forms of labor, who knew whether the lead mechanic worked as…a mechanic or as an executive or as the head of new product design in the Japanese car kingdom…really didn’t matter..atleast to him.

Similarly I keep on hearing every now and then from people staying abroad that so and so is working in Microsoft, or so and so has recently joined HP or NASA etc. We hear all this and are left with the impression that how insignificant our profession in Bangladesh is, people are working with big names, may be getting a hefty pay pack in the end of the month and look at us…chasing and swearing at the stubborn CNG-walas on our way to and from office in the choked streets of Dhaka city. But who knows…the grass may not be greener on the other side, but who bothers to cross check.

Last week, my office work took me to the realm of rural Bangladesh where the presence of ‘urban’ people is itself a reason for crowding, if its backed by Land Rovers too, then you are surely a reason to be stared at and enquired about. During the event proceedings, some of the curios onlookers become innocently courageous enough to approach you and ask, “afni ki ga-ra-min fone e kam koren??” (do you work in Grameen Phone?). My negative head nod is never enough to stop them from speculating that “apnera nishchoi onek taka pan…40-50 hajar…” (you must be earning a lot isn’t it? 40-50 thousand?). I keep wondering yet again that the ‘blue propeller’ has successfully penetrated into the remotest corners of Bangladesh so well, coupled with the happy piracy of its logos in t-shirts, caps etc. that it has become a household name and anybody working in, working with, working for, used to work in…Grameen Phone, could be a temporary celebrity in rural areas of Bangladesh.

Even in urban areas, I have noticed my friends working in GP getting (un)solicited phone calls during private hours i.e. while attending a Gaaye Holud program, dinner etc. Relatives, friends, friends’ neighbors, their friends, etc. keep on calling from time to time when they experience network problems, when their cellphone does not switch on, when they have a candidate who is looking for a job etc.—being absolutely unaware and relaxed about the fact that the person they are calling might be working in an entirely different department with little or no link, acquaintance in the department in concern. Such is the power of the GP brand it seems. Doesn’t matter if you are one of the directors, or AGM, DGM of any department or if you work as one of the lift operators in GP, as long as you can claim that the ‘blue propeller’ fans you, you will have a certain fan following around you (atleast in rural Bangladesh).

Lastly I remember when I used to work in a call center in India, we used to have a ‘transport manager’ called Christie. He used to arrange incoming and outgoing vehicles for the call center staff. One day I asked him where he lived in Delhi. He replied with conviction, “British High Commission, Chanakya Puri!”, I thought the British High Commissioner to India was speaking direct to me face to face. Later on I found out that he worked as a driver…say chauffeur…for the British High Commission. I was amused and surpirsed to see the exuberance he beamed, thanks to the Queen’s Union Jack brand, many Christies are around us, amidst us, basking in the glory of a strong brand and enjoying the limelight and attention.

বাংলাদেশ করপোরেট ব্লগস্ - এ লিখুন মাতৃভাষায়।

ইন্টারনেটে বাংলার ব্যবহার ক্রমেই বেড়ে চলছে। এর ধারাবাহিকতায় আপনারা ইচ্ছা করলেই বাংলাদেশ করপোরেট ব্লগস্ - এ মাতৃভাষায় আপনার মতামত প্রকাশ করতে পারবেন। তবে এর জন্য আপনার কম্পিউটারে কিছু টুলস্ যোগ করে নিতে হবে। আর একবার এইসব টুলস্ ইন্সটল করে নিলে আপনি শুধু বাংলাদেশ করপোরেট ব্লগস্ - নয়, আরো হাজারো সাইটে বাংলা লিখতে পারবেন, আর দেখতে তো পারবেনই।
এজন্য ভিজিট করুন http://www.omicronlab.com/ আর ডাউনলোড করে নিন অভ্র-কিবোর্ড। এতে আপনি কয়েকভাবে বাংলা লিখতে পারবেন, যেমন - বিজয়, অভ্র, বর্ণনা, ন্যাশনাল ইত্যাদি।
এসাইটে প্রয়োজনীয় বাংলা ফন্ট পাবেন যা আপনার পিসিতে ইন্সটল করলে যেকোন বাংলা সাইট দেখতে পাবেন।
শুধু তাই নয়। এখানে আছে অভ্র কনভার্টার যা দিয়ে বাংলা ইউনিকোডে পরিনত করতে পারবেন আপনার বিজয়, আল্পনা, প্রশিকা শব্দ, প্রবর্তন দিয়ে তৈরি করা ডকুমেন্ট সমূহ।
অশেষ ধন্যবাদ অমিকর্ন-ল্যাবকে মাতৃভাষা বিকাশে তাদের অসামান্য অবদানের জন্য।

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Old battle, new players

So, the mobile phone companies are getting themselves enlisted in the Stock Market. Let’s see how well they do? If everything is set then we can expect GP & AKTEL offering their first IPO by June 2008. I wonder how the investors will react to their IPO. Will we notice some dramatic movements as we have experienced during the IPO offering by BRAC BANK LTD? Or will it just be like an ordinary company offering? Let’s wait and see.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Birds do it, bees do it

While going through my news feeds this week and surfing around the web, I noticed a curious theme that kept repeating.

First, several articles on The World Toilet Summit 2007 that was recently held in New Delhi. Did you know that according to the WHO, 2.6 billion people on this planet, or 40% of the world, has no access to hygienic toilets? Or that diarrhea kills 1.6 million children a year, more than that killed by malaria, and that the principle cause of which is water polluted by human waste? An interesting excerpt from one of the articles:

“Experts all agree that the two most important public health measures in the world, measures that saved more lives than either vaccines or antibiotics, were in place by the time of the Roman Empire: running water and toilets that carry feces safely away. But, because of the expense of pipes and plumbing, they have remained for over 2,000 years the province of the relatively rich of the world, even though measures that save far fewer lives — from cinchona bark for malaria to antiretrovirals for AIDS — have been hailed as godsends […] …lack of adequate toilets threatens more children than, for example, global warming does.” [Emphases mine]

And then, this article from last year that quotes another UN study that surveyed nearly 4,500 schools in Bangladesh and found that as a nation we average one latrine for every 152 pupils. In one case, the survey found 500 students sharing just one latrine. Compare this to a world average of only 20-30 students per latrine. This causes obvious health risks, as well as irregular school attendance, especially for girl pupils.

Of course most Bangladeshis, especially those living in urban centers, are well aware of the lack of proper facilities available to the general pubic (not to mention the “sidewalk surprises” that can often punctuate our day). I started to wonder if there was a business opportunity here to start a self-sustaining social enterprise. And lo and behold, the Internet did not disappoint yet again.

I found this interesting concept on the Adeamus site from a social planner in Calcutta who envisions a “Toilet Bus” for women slum dwellers. The idea is to convert a double-decker bus into a mobile toilet service that would be parked near slums at certain times of the day. The waste would be safely stored in a storage tank on the vehicle and then disposed in a dedicated landfill site using a “twin sanitary pit” system. Once a pit is filled with waste, it is closed and a new one started. When the second pit fills up, the first one would be reopened and the refuse in it (which by then is inert) removed and used as (presumably organic?) manure which can be sold to generate revenue. This approach would potentially kill many birds with one stone: provide relief to poor slum dweller women, raise public awareness on sanitation, perhaps contribute to our fertilizer crisis, and create income generating opportunities for the poor. This is one business that will never run out of input (by which I mean, of course, “output”).

Bf

Sunday, November 11, 2007

On Corporate Blogging Content & Sample Reading List

I just wanted to follow-up on my fellow blogger Red & Green’s post about ushering corporate blogging or business-oriented blogging in Bangladesh.

One of the more frequent comments I hear and read about specialized subject matter blogging is the notion that somehow you’re giving away "wisdom" for free by publishing it on a public blog. I think that’s a short-sighted view and is trumped by the thousands of very high quality blogs on the Web where various subject matter experts maintain a free flow of commentary and analysis on their blogs. I am more of the view that there aren’t any new ideas, just new ways of understanding and applying ideas. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain from sharing ideas and collaborating online (one only needs to look at the open source software movement). Of course, if you find the formula for cold fusion or how to solve Dhaka traffic, by all means patent it and run laughing to the bank, you have my best wishes.

I just wanted to share a very short list of just some of the more specialized blogs that I track frequently in my newsreader and find quite a lot of valuable ideas for “free”. As follows in no particular order:


Seth Godin’s Blog – an excellent marketing blog from a subject expert, author, and entrepreneur; considered to be the world’s most popular marketing blog

Springwise – an excellent blog exposing and sharing new innovative business ideas

Freakonomics – authors of the best-selling book explore “the hidden side of everything” as a very interesting and thought-provoking ongoing coda to their book

Marginal Revolution – a blog on economics and economic theories in practice

The Consumerist – a blog focused on consumer advocacy and giving consumers a voice

Commodity Trader – perhaps not interesting to a wider audience, but a very interesting look at commodity trading and futures markets

Wal-Mart Watch - a watchdog blog that monitors the actions of Wal-Mart

TechCrunch – a blog that profiles and reviews new Internet companies and products

Micro Persuasion – a blog on how technology is revolutionizing media and marketing

Duct Tape Marketing – a marketing and branding blog

The Entrepreneurial Mind – blog on entrepreneurship maintained by the head of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Belmont University

Small Business Trends – blog on the small business market

Church of the Customer – compelling blog on customer loyalty and creating “customer evangelists”

Brand Autopsy – blog on branding, marketing, and customer service

The Undercover EconomistTim Harford’s blog on finding economics in everyday life (see also his excellent “Dear Economist” column in the FT where he answers reader’s personal questions using the latest economic theories in a humorous way.)

The World Bank’s Private Sector Development blog – news, resources, and ideas on how private enterprise can contribute to fighting poverty, maintained by the World Bank’s knowledge service

Innoblog – a good business-oriented blog, with focus on innovation and technology

The Long Tail– a blog around the book (and article) of the same name; written by the book author who is also editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine. Expounds on the concept of “the long tail” which is explained much better on the site, but basically proposes that the culture and the economy are evolving towards more and more narrowly-targeted goods and services aimed at an expanding array of niche markets.

Or you could see this list compiled by one blogger on the Top 100 business blogs. And here’s an article from BusinessWeek providing Six Tips for Corporate Bloggers, and another one on how blogs will change your business.


While everyone is jumping on the corporate blogging bandwagon in other parts of the world, I think it doesn’t always make sense (blogs maintained by CEOs, for example, are often tedious and boring). You can’t have a blog just for the sake of having one, or because everyone else has one (blogs aren’t lawyers or nuclear bombs, after all). Often these corporate blogs fizzle out after a few short months or weeks (for example, marketing blogs that are created around the launch of a specific consumer product). Keeping content fresh and compelling is always a challenge.

Technology companies generally do a good job of creating blogs that are if not useful (e.g., tech support, customer feedback), but also interesting and keep customers updated on the latest developments and give a window into interesting companies or project teams. Some good examples are The Official Google Blog, Inside Firefox (for the Firefox browser) and Opera Watch (for the Opera browser).

Where it makes perhaps more “natural” sense is in the media industry, particularly with more traditional media like newspapers and magazines. For example, The New York Times has a bunch of very interesting and thought provoking blogs, my favorites being Freakonomics, Think Again, Diner’s Journal, and The Lede. In fact, most major newspapers with an online presence now have their writers maintaining a blog. It’s a natural fit, and I would venture that most of the writers enjoy writing from a more personal and editorial point of view. It probably also helps the newspapers keep fresh content circulating on their sites, initiate dialogue with their readers, and helps encourage viral promotion of their content as other bloggers reference blog posts through Trackback and social bookmarking sites like Digg and Del.icio.us.

I think it would be interesting to have some of the editors and writers from, say, The Daily Star and New Age maintain blogs on their sites. I’d venture a guess that some of the writers already have personal blogs (please let us know in the comments if you’re aware of any). I know that bdnews24.com has started a blog, but I don’t see it being updated very regularly.

One particular topic I would love to see tracked or blogged in Dhaka more regularly is social and entertainment events. I would love to see the writers and editors from the City Life and Metropolitan desks at our newspapers maintain a blog that maintains a calendar of upcoming events and reviews of events and places to hang out.

Any ideas? (remember, they’re a dime a dozen and everywhere already).

More interestingly, any volunteers?

Bf

Professional Corporate Blogging in Bangladesh

Blogging. Corporate Blogging. Professional Corporate Blogging. The first concept is in its very nascence in Bangladesh. We are tying to promote the 2nd and the 3rd concept is a remote one, or is it really?

Do you run a business or a company? Or do you work for one?
Do you think having a paid corporate blogger in your company will be useful?
Do you think along with the conventional marketing tactics you are undertaking, including your website, corporate blogging can be the most powerful tool to promote your products/service to a worldwide internet audience?

Although you can start a blog for your company yourself, probably its too ambitious to do all these on your own at this stage in the context of Bangladesh. With a low penetration of internet usage, low awareness of corporate blogging, its not worth it to do all this now, but is it not worth thinking about it? Find out that person in your company who has a knack for writing on topics, s/he doesn’t necessarily have to be from the Market Research department, somebody from Sales, Customer Service or even HR or IT can do, as long as someone can produce a critical evaluation of your company, its products/services etc. As long as someone can defend allegations, complaints, keep secrets, humbly and gently beat own drums, announce new arrivals etc. all for the sake of your company, the objective is achieved.

It would be nice to see the herald of professional corporate blogging in Bangladesh, sooner or later.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

How to save your job in Bangladesh?


What else do we need to kiss to save our jobs in Bangladesh? Look at the chain above from top to bottom, starting from hand to feet to arse. All for that golden job. Which companies in Bangladesh have this culture the most? All? Some? Telecoms? Banks?....wonder.

Bangladeshi Bloggers Meet



2nd Bangladesh Bloggers Meet was held at Kozmo Lounge, Dhanmondi, Dhaka on 3rd November, Thursday at 5 PM. 36 participants attended the meet to share experience, expertise and expectation on how blogging can make a difference to Bangladesh.

Bangladeshi bloggers representing group blogs such as Somewhere In Blog, Bangladesh Corporate Blogs, individual bloggers and enthusiasts took part in a lively informal interaction to identify present challenges and opportunities in the Bangladeshi blogosphere.



The meet took decision on three issues. A group will be created in Facebook which will work as the platform for all Bangladeshi blogs, which will facilitate quicker information dissemination and action for the Bangladeshi member blogs.




A Bangladeshi Bloggers’ Day will be fixed every year in November/December when all the Bangladeshi bloggers will congregate to celebrate and plan for future.

Also, on the national occasions such as Independence Day, Bengali New Year, Victory Day, all the Bangladeshi blogs will be asked to put up special logo, icons, banner, layout etc. to express solidarity on national ground to the rest of the worldwide internet audience.



The meeting ended with a high note and vote of thanks.

PS. A group called Bangladeshi Bloggers Community has been created in Facebook. Please spread the word around and invite Bangladeshi Blogs to join.



Monday, November 5, 2007

Real Estate and Economic Development: a response

One of my recent posts, "Bulls, Bears & Fools" received a comment from an Anonymous person a couple of days ago that I thought I would share and respond to here in a post. The comment was as follows:
"You put up some good points but has a number of weakness, for e.g. promotion of real estate growth is not good for economic development, it might increase economic growth but does not produce any economic output....so end of the day in real terms such development is useless....there are many other weaknesses in your arguments from a Development Economics standpoint however i dont the time required to talk about them here and plus shower free knowledge in a blog, how brilliant it might be" [sic]
My response is as follows.

Thanks for the comment, Anonymous. There may well be many weaknesses with some of my points, the lack of hard data being my primary weakness. I always hope readers will point out weaknesses and challenge me as you have done.

While your points were slightly besides the point of my original post, please allow me to address your main (and only) point that real estate is (a) “not good for economic development”, and (b) “does not produce any economic output” while somehow “increases economic growth” (to use your own words).

Your first point is perhaps just barely debatable (if not academic), and your second point is, besides being contradictory, not consistent with reality or facts. In fact, you couldn’t be more wrong if you tried.

Real estate basically encompasses land and any permanent fixtures on land. Real estate development encompasses trading and developing land and permanent fixtures on land (including residential, industrial, and commercial properties). In short, this would include companies involved in: labor, construction, brokering, property sales and management, architecture, financial services and investments, appraisal, etc., not to mention all the people and businesses that need a roof over their heads to live and trade under (e.g., retailers, transporters, hotels, restaurants, government, banks, hospitals, etc., etc., etc.)

From a “Development Economics standpoint” (to again use your words), real estate is one of the prime indicators of economic growth, investment, and output. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find a more tangible investment or indicator for economic development and/or output. In fact, in most nations (developed or underdeveloped) a significant portion of national wealth is in the form of real estate. There is also a strong positive link between the health of the real estate market and the overall job market.

And in the Bangladeshi context specifically, where increasing urbanization is taxing our urban centers beyond the point of tolerance for city dwellers (traffic, load shedding, crime, pollution, etc.), I would argue that real estate development in underdeveloped rural areas of Bangladesh is vital to our future social and economic stability as a nation (of course, concurrent with infrastructure development like roads, electricity, and so forth).

Or perhaps I can convince you with some evidence which I gathered online in just under 2 minutes of Googling.

According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the real estate/renting sector was estimated to contribute Tk. 349,151,000,000 (34915.1 crores) to Bangladesh’s GDP in 2006-7, or 7.74% of total GDP, and growing at 3.77% per annum. By the way, that didn’t include the construction sector which was estimated to perhaps contribute another Tk. 367,701,000,000 (36770.1 crores) to GDP, or about 8.5% of total GDP. To put it another way, at the current exchange rate, those two sectors alone could contribute around USD $10.69 billion directly to our GDP. Or in yet another way, over 15% of our total GDP.

And to put it in yet another and final way, I wonder if the laborers who toil on construction sites all over Bangladesh would agree with you that real estate produces no “economic output”? Or the bank employees who process and issue mortgages? Or the ready-made garments industry that needs to build factories?

If you are working with an alternative definition or understanding of “economic output” or “economic development”, I would strongly encourage you to add to your comments and help us stimulate further debate. I might have misconstrued or misunderstood your comments.

To bring this all back to the original point of my original post: we should be more concerned about the state of “real” economic activity (e.g., real estate) rather than the volatility and probable bubble in the stock market (which is, again, more an indication of returns on financial capital and speculation than “real” economic output). And therefore by extension, our policy makers and economic advisers should focus on policy that stimulates “real” investment in sectors like real estate, rather than try and influence the stock market. Of course, the private sector in the form of Bangladeshi corporates will have to take a leadership position in concert with the public sector.

Perhaps you’ve also seen the recent news in the American economy regarding the subprime lending/mortgage crisis.

It’s regrettable that you didn’t have the time to “shower” us with your “free knowledge” or elaborate your points further in your comments. That’s what will keep this blog from becoming, in fact, quite "brilliant". In the meantime, I humbly suggest you study economic development and investment a little bit further, and then use your knowledge to contribute to our economic development.

Kind regards,
Bf
(bengalfoam at gmail dot com)