Chennai OCC Meetup – Social Media for Startups

The Chennai Open Coffee Club June Meetup happened on 13 June at The Startup Centre with focus on Social Media for Startups. This is a consolidated version of topics which were discussed for those who missed out on the event.

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Key Takeaways of the Meetup

  1. People use Social Media because of measurable ROI compared to Billboard Ads or Banners. Another reason to use Social Media for marketing is for the higher ROI compared to other conventional methodologies.
  2. Using the right keywords and targeting the right set of audience is the key to increasing your conversion rates. Social Media is all about experimenting. What works today need not work tomorrow.
  3. Do not advertise on Facebook for likes. It is similar to paying for level upgrade in Temple Run. It typically does not mean a lot to your business. Market for clicks, conversions, sales.
  4. To begin with Social Media Marketing, it is important to have a domain for yourself. Not very advisable to have a .biz or domain. Preferably – .Com / .Co.
  5. The most important Social Media Real Estate one needs to start with is a blog. Keep writing blog articles and try providing value to your users. Starting with the first paragraph is what all it takes. Your first article need not be 1000 words, it could even be just 300 – 400 words.
  6. Email Subscription is an easy hack to acquire followers and audience. Make them subscribe to your content and provide them value.
  7. Social Media Marketing is more of a marathon rather than a sprint. Do not expect immediate returns or conversions to happen.
  8. The trend is changing towards Visual Marketing. Images get a better traction on Social Media in comparison to text. Viral Content is good to create brand awareness among a larger audience on Social Media.
  9. Social Media Marketing is not just restricted to Facebook and Twitter. Use Quora, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram or other Social Media Platforms.
  10. The most important thing one needs to figure out beginning Social Media Marketing is to identify his audience and the best channel to reach out to them. Unless and until the target audience is figured out, it is more of an AK47 approach rather than a sniper shot approach.


Image Courtesy: Jaydeep Halbe

The event saw a good participation of around 60 folks from startup of different domains. The interaction followed by a couple of startup demoing their product among the community folks and obtaining product validation suggestions.

PS: These were the points I was able to remember and was able to put together. Feel free to let me know if you find any mistakes or points being missed out. Would love to add it into the article.

Thanks for reading through the article. My name is Nivas Ravichandran (Growth Specialist at Frilp). I am reachable on Facebook at Nivas Ravichandran.

How can I volunteer for IEEE?

An anonymous person in Quora asked me the question – How can I volunteer for IEEE? I had written an answer there and thought it would be a good idea to have it in my blog as well.


How can I volunteer for IEEE?

I do have the IEEE membership but no idea about volunteering for it.
Would be happy, if you could share the experience, eligibility, selection criteria etc.
P.S.I belong to North India


Start from your Student Branch
If you are a student – start with your student branch. There is not better place to start volunteering. Check if your college has an IEEE Student Branch. If it does, reach out to your IEEE Chairperson or IEEE Branch Counsellor and express your interest to volunteer. If it does not, use the link provided Page on to sign up a petition. You would need 12 active student IEEE Members and 3 active staffs who are IEEE Members.

Volunteer for / Organize activities
A good way to start volunteering would be to volunteer for organize activities in your student branch. Start off really small. It could be a quick technology discussion among the IEEE members or a project demonstration by one of the members. Or ask any of your student friends to teach Photoshop or Arduino or any skill to all the remaining IEEE members. All the above suggestions do not need any funds and will be a good start to host activities.

Approach your Section / Student Activities Committee
In every IEEE Section (In your case either one of these – Delhi, Gujarat, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkatta, Kharagpur, Uttar Pradesh) there is something called Student Activities Committee or Executive Committee. If you are a student approach the SAC, if you are a professional – approach the Section Execom for volunteering opportunities.

Approaching for volunteering opportunities
I am sure every section is definitely in need of active interested volunteers to support their activities. It depends on how you approach them. Do not approach saying you wish to volunteer bluntly. Let them know your skills and capabilities and make them understand how you would be able to add value to the section or team. Let us say you know Graphic Design / Web Design – tell them you are good at either of it and will be able to design the website or maintain it for them. Do not think on what you want but more from the perspective of what they would be expecting from you.

Moving on further you could volunteer for India Level Teams, Region Level, Society and MGA Level Teams.

Not for positions / perks. For the joy of volunteering.
Hope the above tips were helpful. Volunteering for IEEE would gift you the benefit of meeting amazing and like-minded people. An exposure to an entirely new world and a huge network of friends and colleagues. The learning you get through volunteering is unmatched. Do not volunteer to obtain positions / perks from IEEE. That would be volunteering for the wrong reasons. Volunteer in IEEE for the joy of volunteering.

My name is Nivas Ravichandran and I am a volunteer of IEEE for the past 6 years. I have volunteered and organized more than a 150+ activities in IEEE. I started off from my student branch and now I volunteer in a couple of committees and initiatives. The journey of volunteering in IEEE has been amazing and it has given me friends from across the world. Most of the skills I possess today is because some IEEE Responsibility demanded me of it and I developed it to fill the gap. Do not stop learning or volunteering.

Happy volunteering.

Nivas Ravichandran
You could reach out to me on Nivas Ravichandran | Facebook if you have any queries.

Dear Uber, You have got some serious problem here!

Dear Uber,

I am a regular customer of Uber in Chennai and have loved your service. I have admired your technology, your App and the promptness of the service. But in the recent days, I have been so frustrated with how you folks have treated me that I was pushed to write this blog to let you know how big a glitch you have in your system.

My account was recently deactivated from Uber. After weeks of continuous follow up with the Uber Chennai Support Team, they tell me my account has been deactivated as there were two accounts in Uber with similar email ids. I explained the situation to the Chennai Support Team, and they apologised and reactivated my account.

Reason for two accounts – I had used Uber initially with my Google Account. When I bought a new phone and installed the Uber App I did not know which account I had used (whether FB or Google), I signed in through FB. I did not realise another account was being created until the moment when I realised my PayTM account was not connected. I immediately signed out and signed back through my original account. I did not book a single ride with the other account or use a referral code to gain cash. 

Now, every time I try booking a cab it asks me to verify my email. Even when I do it, it does not allow me to book a cab. Feels extremely frustrated for being a loyal customer to Uber. Again, after weeks of followup with your Chennai Support Team (Honestly needs to buck up to the pace. New users should not be the only focus. Customer retention is important too.) they tell me my device has been banned by Uber for using two accounts. #Facepalm If you are going to ban users for such a stupid reason, you folks have a big problem to take care of.

A once loyal user of Uber.

The Hard Thing about Hard Things – By Ben Horowitz

I recently read the book titled “The Hard Thing about Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz. A very interesting read about the hard things an Entrepreneur faces and questions for which people generally do not have an answer for.


I really loved a quote from the book which I would like to restate here – “Hard things are hard because there are no easy answers or recipes. They are hard because your emotions are at odds with your logic. They are hard because you don’t know the answer and you cannot ask for help without showing the weakness.”

The lines totally made sense to me and I think I shall definitely try to break the hard things through the methods mentioned. If you are an Entrepreneur or who is into the startup community, this is definitely a must read. I totally loved it.


Ok Glass – My first experience with Google Glass

There has definitely been a lot of buzz around the Google Glass and everyone has been wanting to try their hand at it. Thanks to The Startup Centre and Vijay Anand for arranging a Google Glass Workshop at the Startup Centre. Thanks to Harihara Sudhan, Murtuza Kutub and Surendran Kandasamy for facilitating the demo and the device.

For those Google Glass Enthusiasts and people who missed out the event today, a few insights from the event which might help you.


User Experience

I initially had a worry that the screen might affect your visibility but as shown in the Google Glass Videos, the small rectangular screen was placed on the top right corner of the screen and did not create much of a hindrance. Ok, Glass is the command to be given to activate the device for further commands. They could either be given through voice commands or touch interface on the side of the glass.

The recognition of voice commands was good but the user did have a lot of trouble with a couple of the applications.

Camera Quality


The above picture is a picture taken by Google Glass (5 MP Camera). The quality was way better than what I had expected from the device.

Storage size

The device has a storage space of 16 GB. 4 GB of the space is located for built in applications and around 12 GB is available for further purposes.

Connecting to the Internet

There are typically two ways of connecting to the internet. You can either pair your Glass with your phone (Apple and Android) over Bluetooth and use it for connectivity or connect it over WiFi. The functionality of the Glass gets limited to taking photos and videos when the connectivity is not present.



(Image Shown for reference)

In Google Glass, cards are replacing screens. We are not very sure whether the fonts can be changed or not but there is a lot of limitation to how much you can edit the interface of the device. There are two types of cards – static and live cards.

Battery Life

The Google Glass has a battery life of around 3- 4 hours which was a complete shock for me. It is very difficult for you to charge the device every couple of hours to continue your routine.


According to the user, the navigation on the Google Glass is way better than the navigation being done on the phone.


Image Source: Apple Insider (Image shown for reference)

Glass Apps

For all the developers who want to develop Applications for Google Glass App, you should check out the Google Developer Link – Click here.


On a final note, the Google Glass is definitely a revolutionary product predicting its use cases but due to the lack of Apps available the functionality of the product does not match its prize of 1500 $. But I definitely believe once the number of Applications start increasing on the platform the device could become extremely useful and powerful for every individual. Good work Google.


If you think I have missed out any points mentioned or if the data mentioned above is wrong, feel free to comment below and I am open to discussions. Thanks for reading.

Talk – On Crowd-funding by Priyanka Agarwal

Attended a Talk on Crowd-funding by Priyanka Agarwal, the founder of Wishberry at The Startup Centre on August 28 2014.

10649752_10152437006608305_3541752983654344681_nA Few Important points discussed during the talk.

Two types of Crowd-funding setups available on platforms:
1. Flexible funding – The Entrepreneur/Artist receives whatever money raised from backers irrespective of the project reaching the goal or not.
2. All or nothing – The Entrepreneur/Artist receives the raised money only if the project reaches the set goal within the period of time. If failed, the money will be refunded to the backers of the project and The Entrepreneur/Artist does not receive any money.

Why Wishberry prefers All or Nothing?
The quality of the project will not be as promised if the goal is not reached which will disappoint the backers of the project. Hence the money is returned back to the supporters. Note: It is very important to place the required resource as the goal rather than placing it high. Anyways, the funding does not have a limitation even after reaching the goal. You could anytime raise over and above the goal if needed.

Average time needed to prepare for campaign:
One month should be a good time to prepare for the campaign. The most important part of the campaign is the pitch video. Depending on the amount you wish to raise it is ideal for you invest on the video accordingly.

Approximate budget needed to crowd-fund on
Wishberry charges INR 2500 upfront for enrolling your project. An approximate budget should be 15 K including the pitch video. If you do not possess the money to prepare the video, a suggested method would be to commit a percentage of the funding raised if the goal is achieved. In fact, a lot of film makers are ready to support these campaigns in the above mentioned method. Wishberry will receive 10 % of the raised funding if the goal of the project is achieved.

Why SaaS cannot be or difficult to be Crowd-funded ?
If SaaS will be a free to use platform after creation, it is extremely difficult to raise funds for it as their is no returns for the backers. Wishberry generally does not allow E-Commerce ideas to be crowd-funded. Instead if you have a SaaS which will have a premium price, crowd-fund it with a discount price which could lead to successful crowd funding.

Tip to crack Crowd-funding:
Create an emotional connect and offer good/satisfying returns for the backers. Try creating an exclusivity for the backers and the hype for the project will increase resulting to better crowd-funding of the project.

Difference between a Crowd-funding platform and an E-Commerce Platform:
A crowd-funding platform is when you have the Proto ready but you need support to build the final product. It is a must to have the Proto ready for crowd-funding to happen. An E-commerce Platform is for selling a product which is already ready to be shipped. If you have the product ready, go to an E-commerce platform and not a crowd-funding platform.


My Article gets published on Frilp Blog !

I got selected as a Frilp One to have a dream dine at Pasta Bar Veneto. This was for the self we contest Frilp had conducted during the Frilp One Chennai Meet. I had written a blog about my experience and Frilp Team published it on the blog.

Read the entire Blog Here


The blog had a very good reach of 3000 shares and likes on the Page. The Frilp Team was also happy about the blog I had written and the reach it had.

The day when Chennai experts met – Frilp One Chennai Meet

June 7, 2014 it was. The day when the Chennai experts (Frilp Ones) would meet at Hablis Hotel for the first ever Frilp One Chennai Meet.

For those who do not know what Frilp and Frilp One is all about:

Frilp helps you find awesome recommendations on trusted businesses/shops/services, from your own friends and folks you trust in real world! Frilp One is the top users of Frilp who are experts of Chennai and know where to find what. 

For the rest start here:

Generally when I order something, I inform my mom in prior that she is going to receive a package and not to panic. But this came in as a surprise. A package with the Frilp One Chennai Meet invite, Invitation, Goodies and an Uber Invite for pick up and drop to the event.

photo copy

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Improving your network

It is extremely important for a person to have a very good network. Here are ways on how you could improve your network.

1. Attend Events of your interest


There are a number of events (either paid or free) which keep happening in your locality which would be extremely helpful in improving your network. This would be a great opportunity to meet people with similar interest and passion. When you go for such events, sit with people whom you have not met before and strike a conversation with them before you leave the event. If you are attending a talk or a lecture, approach the speaker (or organiser) and share your views and feedback with him. He/she would be extremely delighted to hear some honest feedback and would love to network with people. It would be great to get his card for further contact.

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5 Steps to get an Internship

 1. Search out for companies/startups of your interestJack_Telescope

Internet is an amazing tool. Use the internet to search out for companies/startups of your interest in your city. Attend job fairs or professional events to network with people from different fields. Once you do this, use your network of contacts to refer startups or companies they know. Prepare a list and shortlist them on your interest. Having a good network of people is the best way to penetrate into the environment.

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