Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Strategy

Opportunity hunting on the Internet

You have heard of so many things that the Internet has been promising to change for more than 15 years now. Whether it is the dream of online quality education, or finding dream job vacancies in Mumbai , or finding out amazing travel hotspots, Internet / companies doing online business has/have always tried to position themselves as ‘cutting edge’. I define this as ‘opportunity hunting’ – in essence Opportunity hunting is finding or discovering exactly what you want online!

Opportunity hunting has evolved –

One indicator of opportunity hunting online is the number of search visits on Google. How you may ask? Since the internet has evolved, there has been the phenomenon called the rise of platforms which unlock opportunities. Right at the start of Internet revolution in 1995, yahoo unlocked the opportunity of finding every important thing or ‘opportunity’ online on one single page. Then as the Internet started expanding and opportunities started getting created all over the place, there was the rise of the search engines, which can now be effectively put as the rise of Google circa 2002. Perhaps Google is the biggest ‘opportunity hunting ground’ on the Internet even now.

primary search engine interest graph

Number of searches of key search terms on Google since 2004

Then, in 2004 something happened. Internet started connecting people – first with the rise of Friendster, then orkut and then finally came Facebook. Facebook was a pioneer in what is called web 2.0 today and it unlocked a lot more and different ‘opportunities’ on the Internet. For one, it created social experiences – Check the Facebook widget on the right side of this page to know what I am talking about. Strat.in becomes a great place to hangout because of the people who read our posts, and that also excites authors to contact us!

Parallel to all of this, there was a rise of Wikipedia which unlocked Internet’s opportunity hunting from a knowledge perspective. Who would have imagined that the world’s most diverse encyclopaedia created is by a non-profit organisation? Or that Internet would crash the glass ceiling of knowledge which was till now reserved only for the privileged few who could attend universities? Similar examples of opportunity hunting include other such big platforms!

Right, so there are these opportunity hunting destinations – so how can you leverage them for your benefit ? Thats the moot question, isn’t it?

Here are my tips for opportunity hunting on the Internet

1. At least have a faint idea what you are looking for – That always helps! Even if you are looking for a date or an opportunity to work on a research paper with a professor from a top school in the world – knowing what you want always helps!

2. Start with Google & check out review sites – Typically, on the social web today, there are amazing review sites. Right from imdb or rottentomatoes for movies, to several book review / shopping sites for books – there are amazing ‘opportunities’ that have already been uncovered by people! Do not reinvent the wheel for opportunities such as these – to save time and even money!

3. Do not get overwhelmed with choices – Many a times, people get overwhelmed with choices. When you log on to a job site, do use filters well enough so that you can narrow down to a decent number of filters . Avoiding this situation helps when it comes to opportunity hunting!

4. If an opportunity is good enough, act on it – Indecision or not taking a decision is also a decision, remember that. Like in real life, opportunities do not knock everyday. If there is an opportunity you feel should be taken, then go for it! All great men/women have necessarily taken opportunities which others before them spurned !

What are your tips on opportunity hunting? Let us know in the comments section!

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Business, Entertainment, Entrepreneurship, IIM, Planning

3 Idiots – All is well! Really?

3-Idiots-2009 3 Idiots is an amazing movie! It hits the right chords in comedy, philosophy, romance and everything else that any bollywood movie can touch. Till now everyone whom I have asked has given only positive feedback about it. Amir Khan has given an amazing performance and the movie has done very well at the box office as well. The message of the movie is also very clear, follow your heart when picking your profession, and not necessarily the safe professions like Engineering / Medicine in India. A very good concept indeed.

After the movie I was discussing with some friends the whole concept shown in the movie, ‘Beti ko doctor and bete ko engineer banao’ (Make a girl Doctor and a boy an Engineer) has been the slogan for India since quite some time. We all laugh at it, mock it, and sometimes also complain about it, but do we ever try to recognize the reasons behind it? Lets try to remember the public issues movies were questioning during the 1990s. Wasn’t it being jobless in spite of being educated? Wasn’t finding a job being a graduate a very difficult task at one point of time (and probably stil is a bit difficult). This is the reason why probably our parents, and their parents started the mantra of ‘girl doctor, boy engineer’. To think of it this mantra has been working moderately in our generation with a lot of middle class boys / girls from my school being engineers / doctors and doing very well (this is not saying that others are not doing well!).

Another reason which can be quite obvious is that Indians are relatively risk averse people. We have one of the highest savings rate in the world, we have one of the most populated middle class in the world, we also have probably the highest poverty in the world! Thus the desire of parents to give their children a safe, secure working profession rather than dreaming something big and then not making it. Which brings us to the next big question, why is it bad to dream something big and then not making it (in India)? I have put in India in brackets because the movie and the article are concerning something specific to India. The reason why this is considered bad in India is because the basic living standard in India still has not come up yet. In other developed countries even if you do a smallish job (be a salesman / store operator / cab driver ) you can still afford a decent house, a nice car, visit the movie theater, give good gifts to your children, buy an iPod blah blah. In India if you are in one of these jobs then you can’t really do all these things! and this is where the fundamental problem comes in, that people are too afraid to dream and fail. Although movies like 3 Idiots will show that following your heart is the best way to go forward, I still reckon it is a bit too early to say that. What if Farhan in 3 Idiots goes for the photography internship and then finds out that photography was not his passion but just timepass (leisure!) and when he has to do it 24 hr then he hates it! What will he do then? Probably come back and try to get a job in India. What if it is an year like 2009 where recession is at its peak and he is unable to get a job. Now he has been out of job for 2 years and no work experience. What then?? It is this fear which prevails in the mind of Farhan’s father in the movie and in Raju’s mind as well. Yes being without fear is very important, but doing whatever you feel like doing still seems a bit overstretched. Would love to hear your feedback on this, so if you are reading this then please do leave a comment.

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