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Pensieve

Anything and everything

Void

Endless contemplation, boundless confusions, still unaware of what I seek. A respite or a siphon? A huge entangled web of thoughts, growing larger and fuzzier, making me difficult to breathe.

As I look out of my window, I see the mango tree. It’s tawny boughs dancing free. Pregnant with sweetness that every living soul desires, never does it fails to give, till the time tires.

void

Being my first attempt at writing, I am still unsure of what I want to pen down. But nevertheless I want to let my trail of thoughts flow into this Pensieve, where I can look upon them in times of distress, times when I need a pat on my back, an open gush of oxygen.

My mind is like a blank canvas right now, white. My fingers are like a painter holding a brush but unsure of how and where to start. I want to paint it. Fill it with colours. But I am scared whether it would turn out to be beautiful. Beautiful, with shades and strokes. I want my creation to talk to me, inspire me. I doubt whether I can do it. But yes, I can. I sound very dual because I am thinking dual. With every bated breath comes an anxiety, an urge. Very quietly an idea creeps into my dark mind. My mind, dark without illumination.

So much to think, so less to say. When can I ever fill this void? Incomplete as it sounds,

I will still leave it that way.

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How 3 Well-known Social Good Brands Are Holding On To Their Donors

via How 3 Well-known Social Good Brands Are Holding On To Their Donors . My post on CreativelyUnsettled.

Unlocking Creativity

 

creative-confidence-equation
Source: Taraleaver.com

 

I am currently facing the usual writers’ block. As most of us do, I started asking myself whether I can really write, or produce something so good that my readers would come flooding to my blog. It is still a dream. So while I was here staring blankly at my screen, making out the letters on my keypad, tossing up ideas in my mind, I decided to read something. And not my usual sci-fi, fiction or fantasy! I laid my hands on Creative Confidence, by Tom Kelly and David Kelly.

I consider this blog as homework after reading the first chapter.

How do you define creativity?

Most of us don’t. We just associate it with anything arty, like design, painting, decorating, handicrafts etc. As I did, we all need to get one thing straight. Each one of us is creative. And being creative is not being artful. Creativity is not restricted to the realms of art and craft. It seeps deeper than that. It is a state of mind, a way of thinking that shows up depending on our surroundings, our activities and what situation we are in. Circulating money in stock market and making a profit out of it is creativity in itself. Not everyone can do that. Creativity is an extension of one’s imagination. The power and the ability to do something, differently.

Creativity is a hereditary trait. Hell No!

There is no gene defined for creativity that you inherit from your forefathers. Einstein’s father wasn’t a stalwart of relativity. While we were kids, we did not just grow up crunching numbers or analyzing reports. Most of the complex things start simple.  We scribbled, babbled, made vague noises testing our vocal chords. Intelligence is a creative state of mind. Many of us raise our hands up and say, “Oh no, I am not creative at all!” Many others cringe to accept that they have a creative side to them. Today, the number one quality required in most c-level positions is creativity. Ability to think and act out of the box.

How to develop Creativity?

There is no crash course defined to develop creativity. It is either you want to be creative or you don’t want to be. Unrestricted, boundless ideas flowing through your mind and a free approach to ideas around you, is the first step towards unleashing your creative aura. Get out of your comfort zone, try something that you have never tried before, learn a new skill, do something freehand or as they say, let your “chi” flow freely :D.

It is all in your mind. Research point to the fact that we humans use only about 10% of our brain (yes, I watched Lucy). So why are we wasting the remaining 90%? Is there a biological or global restriction on using the remaining 90? No.

Entrepreneurs are creative. Period.

They think differently and they dare to act upon it. We live in an age of entrepreneurship where a modestly skilled – not educated- but skilled individual devices a solution to the most common problems that we face. Organizations are moving out of the corporate bureaucracy to motivate their employees to think creatively and harness it to design amazing products and solutions.

So, next time you enter your mind palace, remember that you are creative. It’s just a matter of bringing it into action.

10 Growth Hacking Tools to Increase Footfalls in your e-Commerce Store This Holiday Season

Writeratti

10 Growth Hacking Tools To Increase Footfalls on Your e-Commerce Store This Holiday Season

With Holiday Season just around the corner, merchants are geared up to welcome enthusiastic shoppers to cash in on the Holiday Season Sales. In Q4 2014, mobile devices represented 45 percent of the holiday season Web traffic, a 26 percent increase over the previous year.  It is predicted that this holiday, mobile traffic to most retailers will top 60 percent of their share. As smart devices made a boom just 3-4 years back, e-commerce businesses readjusted their strategies to be out there more and more at the tip of their shoppers’ fingers!

So, you have your store ready, your products are waiting to be grabbed. How do you get people to come over and notice you? Here are 10 handpicked tools to increase consumer footfalls in your e-commerce store this holiday season.

  1. Refer-a-friend

Developed by ShopSocially, Refer-a-friend allows merchants to convert their referral traffic by 3x. The Refer-a-Friend app

View original post 622 more words

Escaping into the Serenity of Sikkim

“It feels great to be back home right?”

I never said yes. Because I had just come back from a place that felt closer than home.

Sikkim, oh you small wonder!

Sikkim has breathed life into my stagnant self. It is amazing the effect that a place can have on you. The breathtaking Himalayas, the gentle locals, the tiny and close-knit city, the peaceful monasteries and ambient nature. One tends to turn into a poet upon visiting this place or even a monk ( I am actually weighing one of those options).

Skies at Rumtek, Sikkim
Skies at Rumtek, Sikkim. Picture Credits: Nidhi

I decided to make a travelogue about Sikkim, but that has to hold on for a bit. I first want to relish every single feeling that erupted in my mind upon arriving at this tiny eastern thumb of India. This place has etched something so deep in my heart, even the most delightful red velvet cake can’t counter that effect.

Most of the people around us are not even aware that Sikkim is a state and not a city. For those who have never explored the opportunity of a vacation at this place, here’s a real life experience straight from the horse’s mouth for you.

General Information

Map of Sikkim
Map of Sikkim

Sikkim is a small eastern state surrounded by 3 countries – Nepal, China and Bhutan and consisting of 4 zones, marked by 4 major cities –

  1. East Sikkim – Gangtok –State Capital
  2. West Sikkim- Geyzing
  3. South Sikkim – Namchi
  4. North Sikkim – Mangan

Temperature

Summer: Max 21 C and Min 13 C

Winter: Max 13 C and Min 5 C

Best time to visit: Sept-Oct (Summer) | March – April (Post winter)

Languages: Hindi, English, Nepali, Bhutia and Bengali (scarcely)

State Tree: Rhododendron niveum

Religion: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam

Culture

Sikkim as a whole package is a winning combination. The culture here is heavily influenced by Buddhism which is evident by the beautiful monasteries surrounding it, maroon clad cool monks sprinkled in the population and the general discipline and humility exuded by the locals here.

A Bhutanese devotee at Do-Drul Chorten Monastery, Deorali
A Bhutanese devotee at Do-Drul Chorten Monastery, Deorali. Picture Credits: Nidhi

Let me ask you, what makes a place or a city perfect?

I say the sound balance in thought and conduct of each and every individual who lives there makes even the remotest place serene. Sikkim is one such rare beauty. The people, no matter what occupation, caste, creed or religion they belong to, live by the same principles as the others – modesty, cleanliness, discipline, humility and honesty. In-spite of the variety in background and occupation, everyone takes the onus to keep their surroundings clean. Even the public toilets are clean here! I have never heard of the concept of a clean public loo in India!

Social Life

In Sikkim, there is a complete absence of gender bias. I have crossed paths with more women police than men in Sikkim.

The laws are strict and people follow them. The most interesting and a healthy habit that makes these people so adorable is that they give equal importance to work and enjoyment. Their day starts at 6-7 AM and the streets are empty by 8 PM. Every evening from 1600 hrs onwards, the entire city of Gangtok is on MG Marg enjoying the picturesque view, the fountains, coffee and endless dishes of momos and rolls. Oh, I have had more momos in the 4 days I was there than in my entire lifetime! 😀

Evenings at MG Marg
Evenings at MG Marg. Picture Credits: Nidhi

Old, young, working class, children everyone spends time in the evening talking, taking a walk, meeting their friends or just doing pranayama on of the wooden benches.

What you won’t find here is eve-teasing, robbery, spitting or defecating in public, throwing trash on the streets and physical fights.

Streets painted with Buddha murals to avoid spitting
Streets painted with Buddha murals to avoid spitting

I miss my morning coffee at Baker’s café, at my favourite table overlooking the Kanchendzonga mountains and daffodil shrub growing on the rooftop below.

View of a cloud laden Kanchendzonga from Baker's Cafe, MG Marg, Sikkim
Kanchendzonga from Baker’s Cafe. Picture Credits: Nidhi

I miss this lovely city of Gangtok where Football is more revered than God and where, roads are connected by hidden staircases.

I miss this state of world biodiversity heritage where orchids line the streets and even the most deserted bus stop looks like a mural monument 🙂

I miss the prayer flags, the saintly cats…the ropeway, the bakhut clad elegant women scurrying to work, the Tata Max sumos cruising through winding roads and above all the fresh air.

Sikkim, here is my humble ode to you and your people. I am coming back soon.

Prayer Flags at Tsomgo Lake, 14000 ft above sea level
Prayer Flags at Tsomgo Lake, 14000 ft above sea level. Picture Credits: Nidhi

All the pictures are clicked by me on my visit to Sikkim. Being original media, any form of plagiarism, editing or reusing of images and content without my prior permission will be treated as an infringement of copyright and bear legal consequences.

Content Writing 102: A Recipe to Dish out the Most Sumptuous Piece of Content

And the next one here. From my new blog Writeratti, exclusively for posts related to Internet, Digital Marketing, Content Writing and Social Media.

Writeratti

In my last post, Content Writing 101: Content Writing for Dummies, we focused upon the different forms of content that are consumed every day. In here, we will learn how to determine the right story for your content. Every piece of content that you write or plan to write should have a story, and a credible one. Any cock and bull redundant news with all the juice sucked out will go down the drain.

Be it a blog, an article, a video or a podcast. Whatever you create with the intent for others to see and consume, should be worth consuming. Your sources, facts, your analysis on the data at hand and the time of publishing should be strong enough for readers to pop their eyeballs, jump on their chairs and break out of their comfort zones to read and view it.

The Hero’s Content Cycle

Writer and philosopher…

View original post 689 more words

Content Writing 101: How do you define content to the dummies?

To all the beginners out there. Welcome to the free world of writing.

Better, earning from what you write and being your own boss. Given the startup age, everybody wants to start something of their own. Disparate from their boss’ limited view at things and with an urge to make a mark.

Earlier, there was a single school of discipline called Marketing that included, Sales, MARCOM and Business Development. Now the picture is altogether different. Enter Internet. We gaze into the 13-inch screen longer than we have even spoken to our colleague sitting next to us during the day. Today, internet has, I would say, spruced up the business and market scenario and made it a tad bit complex. 2 sides of the same coin. Given the shift of customers towards internet, business followed them and now we have online shopping hitting $2.29 billion in sales this past Cyber Monday. (View more internet marketing stats here)

I have specifically named this post in a very “textbook” sort of way so that I can add to it, plus, you can relate to it better as a step by step guide for learning the art of crafting content.

So what do you say when someone asks you ‘What exactly is content?’

Content is anything and everything that the sea of internet junkies, customers, businesses, job seekers, artists and you would want to read, watch or listen to. Content is the base on which any business or individual draws attention over the web through varied media. The most widely used forms of content are: blogs, articles, websites, videos(both product and brand message), podcasts, case studies, white papers, online seminars.

Here’s an excellent content matrix designed by Distilled, that very clinically shows, what are the different forms of content being used and at what level/purpose of communication. The levels being marked as: Awareness, Purchase as a function of Emotional and Rational tone of communications. The purposes being classified as: To – entertain, educate, persuade and convert.

Embedded image permalink
Image Source: Distilled

Phew! I could on and on while there will be some more unique forms of content taking birth in the minds of those crazily awesome Digital Content stalwarts! To sum it up – The more, the merrier.

In my next post -‘Content Writing 102’ ( I won’t divulge the title just yet ;)), I shall tell you how to arrive at an acceptable and usable marketing content from resources across the internet. In short, how to filter out all the noise around you to refine and collect usable content.

Meanwhile, if you like this post and would want me to write about any particular topic of your choice, please leave your comments below. I would be more than happy to hear from you.

For content project inquiries, please leave your details in the form below or write to me on nidhi@wordhoot.com!

Cheers and stay tuned!

Online Retailers earn $2.69bn via Social Shopping

The Social Commerce Blog

Amazon enabling shopping via Twitter reinforces the promise social media has for retailer. Zak Stambor, Internet Retailer managing editor, spoke at the annual ChannelAdvisor Catalyst client conference in Las Vegas on the changing trends in shopping behavior due to the influence of Social Media.

social500

According to Internet Retailer’s Social Media 500, the top 500 ranked retailers earned $2.69 billion last year directly by shoppers clicking through social networks. That’s 62.5% more than in 2012. These estimates do not cover the other social channels through which social influences eCommerce sales.  A few years ago retailers judged their Social ROI based on the number of followers they had on these Social Media Channels. Now, they are diving headfirst into the social media space making their products available at a single click.

Social networks are modifying themselves to be more adaptable for retailers to advertise and sell their products efficiently. Social media giants…

View original post 121 more words

Understanding the future of Social Commerce

The Social Commerce Blog

Social media is the latest channel for shopping online. With peer reviews and product information readily available in social networks, customers shop critically based on the information they receive in their social circles. With Social Commerce trending the online shopping space, every marketer needs to know what Social Commerce holds for us in future and how can it be utilized for increased conversions.

future of social commerce

In an exclusive chat with Business News Daily, Scott Lachut, director of research and strategy at PSFK Labs, a trends-led business innovation consultancy, answered questions about social commerce explaining its various facets. He spoke at lengths on how changing trends and additional social commerce integrations, will affect consumers’ shopping behavior and retailers’ promotion strategy.

While talking on Twitter’s upcoming “Buy” button feature, Scott explained that, as channels grow in number, consumers get several more new ways to discover products. It is now upto the…

View original post 161 more words

Use Pinterest to Boost your eCommerce Sales

The Social Commerce Blog

According to a story on MarketingLand, Pinterest touts itself as “the world’s largest human created collection of things,” with more than 30 billion pins on 750 million boards. It’s a treasure trove of data about user interests that Pinterest digs into, to serve more relevant related content to Pinners.

Pinterest-Board-Example

Pinterest is by far the most rapidly emerging visual marketing site for eCommerce Brands. A research article by eMarketer in Forbes states that, Pinterest will have more than 40 million monthly active users in the U.S. by the end of 2014 closely seconding Twitter, which leads with 57 million MAUs in North America. The critics called it a flash in the plan, but results are all there for us to see.

With 87% of the Pinterest users dominated by females, eCommerce retailers should primarily focus on this site to showcase their products. If you are wondering how to flourish on Pinterest…

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