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Milking at LaVeda dairy farms


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Launching “La Veda”


A concept – of supplying pure cow milk – that started in 2013 is now a realty. The lessons learned with founding of O’Leche, the successes and failures and lots of R&D have given birth to La veda. It’s a single minded goal of producing the highest possible quality cow milk and bringing it directly to homes of the consumers.

The first of La Veda dairy farm is under way in Aravali hills of Rajasthan. This farm would show case many of our innovations around upkeep and feeding of cows to how we all will live at the farm. The new ideas abound from simple planting of the trees to how the energy is generated. BTW, the farm is completely off-grid.

It’s an exercise in getting out of the way of the nature. Which is often harder than expected. It’s a journey and we would like you to be a part of it. Your ideas, thoughts, observations are valuable so keep them coming.


A new chapter in content marketing strategy for professionals


The internet is abuzz with content marketing. It seems to be the flavor of the day and justifiably so. However, most of this discussion is around how to make your content go viral. What will catch the attention of the viewers? What will get tweeted by thousands and what will get most Facebook likes?

Need less to say that these strategies end up recommending the content that is eye-catching and with some funny or clever tag lines. The picture of a laughing cat or a video of some one acting silly while may bring million of of eye balls, it hardly brings the right kind of audiences for an expert who wishes to develop his/her credibility in a given discipline.

These strategies are great if you are selling milk or latest fashion items or or or…this style is highly questionable when it comes to promoting a professional image of an individual or an organization.

So, what is it that a professional seeks from the marketing perspective…

1. Establish one’s reputation in the chosen field as an expert
2. Grow the professional network
3. Engage people who may eventually become potential clients or business/professional partners

The kim kardashian style breaking the internet hardly helps you with above goals unless you happen to be in modeling/acting or related fields where overall popularity matters.

So, what can a professional do?

Historically, professionals/experts have focused on blogging, occasionally publishing a presentation and writing books including ebooks. The latest craze is about publishing on social media like Linkedin an information nugget or infographics.

While this may suffice for many, especially with high degree of activity on social media, it is hardly sufficient to maintain and grow your professional reputation at large. The time commitment, and the cost, could be prohibitive for many. After all you can tweet only so much.

The eBooks are one of the exceptions. Once the time and cost commitment is made it helps in continuously enhancing your reputation with each new reader, growing network and even create a passive income stream. So, the natural curiosity leads to the question of what else is out there that has similar or even better characteristics.

Developing online courses at Classle offers one such opportunity. Growing number of experts and accomplished professionals are joining the elite group of online educators to share their life’s experiences and expertise with students and learners globally. They are building a community of like minded people, interacting with them, and growing their reach beyond geographical boundaries. All this while generating a substantial passive income.

I believe that 2015 is the year where we add a new chapter in the book of content marketing for professionals and experts with online courses.

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Why the high dropout rate for MOOCs?


Recently MIT Technology review published a scathing review of MOOC technology. They claimed that almost 90% of the people who sign up for a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) never finish the course. The analogy is that of a bookshelf. Many people pick up a book, flip through few pages and put it back. Well, I have done that too. The waning interest in MOOCs and apparent lack of success is attributed to the limited nuanced interaction as in a classroom.

MIT may have touched upon something with the “nuanced” part of the classroom interaction. In a traditional MOOC environment a student simply downloads a video at will and that’s the end of it. If a student is highly motivated then this system works fine. I have not done any research on it but would doubt more than a small percentage of students are that motivated.

So, what is the solution…

Classle has adopted a different approach. Courses are scheduled for a fixed duration where a group of students take it together. They are supported/nudged (gently) by a course facilitator and their questions are answered by subject matter experts. All this is aided by a community around the course with plenty of reference and other supporting (like quizzes, projects) material.

Although, it may never be able to replace a teacher in the classroom but it comes close. May be this is the solution we were looking for.

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What is my social media strategy for 2015


The last few cocktail parties, friends and strangers alike have been asking me, repeatedly I must say, about my social media strategy for 2015. Both, for me personally and for all the businesses (O’Leche and Classle) that I am involved in. By the 4th enquiry I was really wondering, “Is it something like a new year’s resolution that I am suppose to have?” I had not given it a thought.

So, has the social media landscape really changed all that much in 2014? Is there some new social network or platform that I must pay attention to? Or is something like Y2K problem that manifests on 2014 new year’s eve. I, none the less, decided to write it down as I am sure in next cocktail party some one will ask again.

Here it is…

Create better content – When I go back and read old blog posts or look at the presentations I am left with the feeling that we could have done a better job. Whether it was to explain a topic, grammar, visuals or lack there of or myriad of other reasons, the content produced could have been better.

Explore more content types – I have always felt comfortable with slides. May be it is due to my management consulting background. It’s time, I need to go beyond blog posts, pictures and slides. The next thing in my list are videos and creating a course and may be some infographics.

Be consistent – In past I have either been too involved or simply disappeared for an extended period of time. This breaks the flow and I end up doing more damage than good. So, I am building a schedule (twitter especially) and sticking to it.

Explore the less travelled paths – Frankly, same old same old is getting a bit boring. There are a lots of smaller, niche social media sites and mobile apps. It’s time to make new friends and grow the circle.

Go old fashion being social – I see a direct correlation between my offline activities (startups, travels, parties, hobbies…) and the size and quality of my network. So, I am planning to turn off my iPhone and be more involved in real life next year.

That’s it. As the Panda would say, “There is no secret magical sauce!”

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How to enhance the employee engagement – a case study


In a recent Gallup survey worldwide only 13% of employees are engaged at work. Need less to say that it directly affects the bottom line in terms of lost productivity. That by some estimation is $450-500  billion annually for US alone. To me this number sounds high but even if we cut it in half it is still big.

So, how does an organization deal with the employee engagement challenge? The engagement issue spans across educational, geographical, gender and age boundaries implying that there has to be a missing common thread. While, I do not proclaim to be an employee engagement expert would like to share one of our project in IT industry that may shed some light on this issue.

The situation

A market leading IT services company that operates in multiple countries. To manage the growth and growing business they need to hire a large number of students straight from the college at a substantial recruiting cost. The lead time between making the offer to joining is 6-12 months. What they found that in spite of a good offer many of the recruits simply did not join the firm leading to an escalating recruitment cost and management bandwidth.

The strategy

We decided to increase the level of engagement with potential recruits with Classle’s cloud campus solution. The recruits were offered free online courses which were led by the senior employees. A learning based community was created that actively did the IT projects in small teams, shared content and learning and much more.

The result

Number of recruits who did not join dropped by 20-30% depending upon the college and semester. Even more, the recruits who joined were much better skilled and had a high degree of brand awareness and loyalty that helped in future recruitment drives.

Why can’t we extend the similar concept to existing employees. I believe that the shared learning experience not only enhances the employees skill set but also increases the engagement.

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