Sharing knowledge is the way to go!

It’s been a while since I last blogged and I do have a very good reason for that. Satthwa, my new startup has kept me very busy, not just in terms of handling operations and scaling but also in terms of ‘education.’

If you had asked me anything about hair care / hair oils / shampoos etc 8 months back, I would have had no idea about it. For the last few months, I have been on a quest to educate myself and learn whatever I can, whenever I can. The best place to learn is of course the internet, but I always verify the authority of the resource that I am learning from and almost always check at least 2-3 other resources to have a broader outlook.

The direct impact of this learning / research is that I am able to understand my product better and in turn this helps me create a better product.

There is a saying that “knowledge grows when you share” and I completely believe in it and that is one of the reasons I have recently been active on Quora as well. Quora allows me not just share my knowledge but also read from other peoples experiences and gain better understanding of a topic. When I answer a question, I try to explain the reason / science behind my answer as well so that people reading it know why they have to do something, instead of someone just tell them to do it.

Thanks to the awesome response which I have received on Quora, I am not the #1 Most viewed Writer in Hair Care.

Most viewed writer in Hair Care on Quora.com

Vodafone India 3G vs 4G speed test

Vodafone India 4GToday I got the Vodafone 4G sim delivered to my home and I must say that the service was quick, I had smsed for the switch over from 3G to 4G and the sim was delivered to me within 2 days.

So the purpose of this article is to test the speed between 3G and 4G network on Vodafone. Let’s get started!

To keep this test as fair as possible. I am using the same phone (Xiaomi Mi4i) for the speed test and even the same phone number, once before porting it, while it was still on 3G and after porting to 4G. Also, the phone was placed in the exact same spot for both the tests. The screenshots you see below, on the left is the 3G (denoted by H+) and on the right is the 4G. And WOW! I am getting .43mbps download speed more on 4G, a 10% improvement. Of course i am being sarcastic, Vodafone spends thousands of crores on 4G spectrum license and this is what we get? I think i was better of with 3G. By the way, i have tested with Airtel as well and on the 3 different occasions which i tests, the results were quite similar to a 3G speed, mostly between 2-4mbps.

Typically 4G LTE speed is supposed to be 10 times 3G which means I should be getting between 30-40mbps downloads but that’s certainly not the case. I hope this is not just another way to move customers to 4G for free initially and then start making them pay more while giving them the same speed as before.

Vodafone 3g vs 4g speed test

Please note: I am not comparing the upload speed, simply because that does not matter as much on a normal usage.

Monitoring your outsourced social media campaigns is a must!

Most of the Brands & Startups alike outsource their social media marketing / search engine marketing along with many other such services… but how many monitor their campaigns once they have been outsourced?

I came across a sponsored post on my Facebook today which made me think on the age old question.. in-house vs outsource?

Look at the campaign below… There are some major mistakes in this campaign. Can you spot them?

ET Media Labs - Tjori Campaign

1. The brand advertised in the images “Tjori” is a fashion brand
2. The text below the images is for CARS24.com
3. The link which i clicked the banner lead me to ETMediaLabs.com (well, this you could not have spotted)
4. Probably the most important of all, why are they selling women fashion to me? Completely wrong target market.

When i clicked through to etmedialabs.com, i was greeted with the bold banner which read “An IIT & IIM Alumni Venture.” and below that there was another banner which said “WE PROMISE 30% BETTER ROI AND CPA VIA PRECISE TARGETING”. (sidenote: i could not find a link to their SLA to check on the “promise” delivery terms)

ET Media Labs

Clearly this is far from their claims. I would urge all startups not to “blindly” trust companies which are run by IIT & IIM Alumni’s. You need to do your homework, set a benchmark for your campaign performance and then evaluate the outsourced companies performance and claims against that benchmark to see if they have actually achieved. Get involved with the process as much as you can, after all it’s your MONEY and the credibility of your BRAND at stake!

Update: After 9 hours of posting this article, the Ad. continues to be displayed and has started to get comments as well!

Tjori comments on FB ad.

Amazon India & differential sellers policy

Update (04/4/16): Amazon India did not budge and hence I gave up on them, at least for the time being. Chose to concentrate my energies on Flipkart, where we are listed and kicking!

Update (23/3/16): Shortly after writing this article, I wrote to Amazon’s Chairman Jeff Bezos and appraised him about the situation. I am happy to say that he has instructed the executive seller support team to look into this matter. Hope to get this issue resolved as quickly as possible so that i can get selling on Amazon India!

Amazon Indian SellersAs you know that I launched my new Health / Beauty product startup “Satthwa” less than a couple months back and the response has been great! We gave out free samples of our Premium Hair Oil to a lot of people (selected from a contest on Facebook) and we are happy to say that the results they have achieved have increased our sales from word of mouth.

Currently all our sales come from our own website http://satthwa.com but I wanted to put our product on Amazon.in as well and hence we started the process of getting it listed on it.

Usually anyone can just create an account on Amazon as a seller and get selling within an hour, especially if the product they want to sell is already listed on Amazon. In our case, we were going to sell in the category “Beauty” which is a restricted category and need a few days before Amazon manually approves new sellers on it. Along with that we also wanted to register our brand “Satthwa” with Amazon as we are the owners of the brand and this gives us more control over it.

The process took a couple weeks and finally after all the documentation, we were able to list our product and to be on the safer side, we wanted to tweak our listing and make it accurate / credible before we formally announced our foray on Amazon, turns out this wait was a blessing as just a couple days into the listing, Amazon decided to remove our product without any warning. After contacting the seller support agent, I got to know that they think we are in violation of their terms as our listing mentions “Hair Fall Control”, “Hair Regrowth Oil” terms.

Now how do we sell our regrowth hair oil, without mentioning what exactly it does? Though i understand the position of Amazon that there could be a lot of “brands” trying to mislead people by selling their products under false pretexts but that’s what Amazon reviews are for, if a product gets enough bad reviews, they should take it off the shelf. However taking an approach like this from the get go, pushes back genuine sellers. In a country like India where the government does enough damage to make sure that companies have a tough time starting up, we surely do not need a private company who is a “ecommerce enabler” to hold us back.

As for the Amazon policies, I have seen that it varies from seller to seller. If there is a product which is selling a lot with a lot of reviews. Amazon let’s them bend or even break their rule when it comes to the “Claims” & “Guarantees” which the brand makes, however for those who are new to selling have to abide by different rule set.

This is what precisely a market place should not do. It creates unwarranted monopoly of bigger brands and good smaller brands keep fighting to stay afloat.

With so much money being pumped by Amazon into advertising and getting new sellers on board, I certainly hope for equality in policies amongst many other things!

Satthwa My new startup!

I am happy to announce the launch of my new startup http://satthwa.com (Purity). Satthwa is my first non IT startup and also the first startup which is a bit personal. The first product we have launched is a Premium Hair Oil!

To be honest, I did not think in my wildest dreams that i would be launching a hair oil product.. let alone dabble in the beauty / cosmetic industry but this is how it played out. A couple years back, i noticed sudden hair fall and the tought of going bald stuck me and i could not imagine how that would be.. or rather i did not want to imagine. I tried various products some from the top cosmetic companies and paid thousands but that only helped a little, then a few months back i tried and tested a mix of some oils and they did the trick. Most of these oils, we have used in isolation but when they are mixed with some other oils, they are a potent combination for hair. Once i saw results, i gave it to friends and family to try out and the feedback i got was excellent. That was my moment of clarity!.. why not sell the product and help others as well… that’s how Satthwa was born.

Satthwa - Premium Hair Oil