Mukesh Ambani: CEO of Reliance Industries

He did join IIT Mumbai after clearing the entrance exams, but decided to join UDCT Mumbai (Now, ICT, Mumbai) few weeks later to be with his other friends.

For those who are surprised the way I was, when I first got to know about this: UDCT's Department of Chemical Engineering  is considered the best in the country, and is ranked even higher than the IITs!

See question on Quora

Amit Bhatnagar on Quora.com on October 21, 2012

I answered a similar question earlier: How do the mechanics of Yelp's review filter work?

As Matt Solar mentioned, Yelp and TripAdvisor employees won't ever disclose how they detect fake reviews. So, any answers here (including mine) would be mostly guesswork based on some common sense and an analysis of patterns of which reviews get filtered.

See question on Quora

Tags: ,

I am not an HR person, but having reviewed some LinkedIn profiles of my classmates and other friends, I have some ideas on how to make your LinkedIn profile attractive.

Some quick tips:

  • Have a descriptive profile: You are more than a list of your job titles. Make sure that you discuss what you do, and what you bring to the table. Be sure to include a short summary statement at the start, and follow it up with details for each of the job-positions. If you have worked for non-brand companies, also include a one line description of what your company does.
  • Put a good profile picture: Whether you are on LinkedIn, Twitter or match.com, people like to connect to faces. Get a good profile picture. Investing in getting a professional headshot may not be a bad idea.
  • Get recommendations: Discussing your achievements and abilities is good, but having another person vouching for you adds an additional level of authenticity.  It also makes your profile "complete" (Minimum 3 recommendation are needed to make your profile complete by LinkedIn definition)
  • List your online presence: Your profile would be twice as interesting, if you include links to other relevant websites that you have contributed to. This may be a link to your blog, Quora profile, GitHub page or anything else.
  • Include your contact details: Not every recruiter has a paid account.  Make the job easy for potential recruiter by either being part of the Openlink network (you will need to have a paid account for this), or including your contact details in your profile.

I had written a post on my blog on a similar topic some time ago. You may find this useful:http://amitbhatnagar.com/2012/08…

See question on Quora

Tags:

Amit Bhatnagar on Quora.com on October 2, 2012

I will let someone from Amazon or Buy.com speak to how they actually use data from Searches. But having worked on many web strategy and analytics  projects, I can at least speak to what they can learn from the search-data.

Here are some of the things that you can learn by analyzing data from search:

  • Top searched products/keywords: This should be an obvious one. This can give you insights into what are your visitors most interested in. If search for a specific product/keywords is happening too often, that product may be in high demand, and you may want to make it easy for visitor by pushing the page to your website main page or on an easy to locate banner.
  • Search click-through and conversion: Which of the numerous results that a search returns get the most click-throughs or results in most number of purchases? You may want to use that as a factor in deciding the order of search-results in subsequent searches.
  • Search keyword refinement: How do visitors refine their keywords in subsequent searches? As an example: If you find that there are people searching for "laser colour printer" and then refining it to "laser color printer", this may be an indicator that some of your visitors use British English, and you may want to modify your search algorithm accordingly.
  • Search filters/filters: What are the most popular filters and sorting methods that visitors use on your site? An analysis of this at the user-level can help you deliver a customized experiencing, and at the website level, this can help you make important business decisions.
    As an example, if a user searches for shoes, then filters it by "Gender:female", and "Price: $200 and up", and then, sorts it by "Average user rating", you can deliver more upscale items as top search results for subsequent searches. If you find a number of visitors behaving this way, you may design your future product offering keeping this insight in mind.
  • Null Searches: Which search results lead to zero results (or even zero relevant results indicated by user not clicking on any of the search results) Searches that lead to zero keywords on an eCommerce website is analogous to customers coming to a grocery shop-owner, and asking for a product not on the shop. If sufficient number of customers ask for the product (and the product is inline with your business), you will like to make sure that the next time somebody asks (or searches), you have the product with you.
  • Top search pages: Which pages lead to most searches? These pages may need a scrutiny. These may be pages with more insights that encourages your visitor search for the desired product and finally complete a purchase, or these may be pages with insufficient information, and that is forcing the users to use search feature.
  • Search keyword correlations: Which products are often searched together in the same visit? (Example: Camera and memory card) Maybe you can consider a bundled offering for the two, or remind the user about product B, when she completes the purchase of product A.

    Of course, most of these won't actually be used in isolation. For example: instead of analyzing the search-keyword correlation, website owners may instead like to analyze their sales-data to know which one are actually bought together (And I believe this is what many e-Commerce sites are already doing). But combining this with search-data will definitely lead to an additional level of insight.

See question on Quora

Tags: ,

Amit Bhatnagar on Quora.com on October 1, 2012

Downvotes are not only anonymous, they are actually  invisible, i.e. you don't even know the number of downvotes an answer has got. I hope you are not talkling about that, as that will totally kill the transparency of ordering of answers!

Assuming that you are talking about making them just anonymous, not invisible (i.e. the answer would simply display Upvoted by X Quora members), I will still argue against making them anonymous. I feel that Quora upvotes serve at least the following purposes, and making them anonymous will kill/limit their utility for these purposes. I have also included examples from my own experience with each of the points. 

  • Validation: Most authoritative answers are usually the ones that are either written by subject-matter experts or industry-insiders or upvoted by them. In absence of named upvotes, we will lose the ability to identify the best answers by second of these criteria.
    The Subject matter experts may not have time to answer all the questions from their field of expertise. An upvote is a quick and easy way to establish authenticity of an existing answer without creating a redundant answer. This way named upvotes are helpful to the original questioner, other readers,  the SME and the answerer (See next point)

    As an example: My answer to Who is the oldest LinkedIn member here in Quora? was upvoted by Lee Hower,  one of the LinkedIn founders. After his upvote, anyone reading the answer will have no confusion on whether my answer is correct. (He did leave a comment too, but only his upvote would have sufficed to establish the authenticity of the answer)

  • Encouragement to answer: You may have seen people requesting celebrities to retweet/reply to their tweets on Twitter. Seeing your answer getting upvoted by a power-user is similar, but perhaps 100 times more encouraging! This not only encourages answerers to write more answers, but also sharing these stories with non-Quorans, enticing them to join Quora and thus, making this an even better community.

    Going back to the same example as previous point: My favorite Quora story is not about the answer that got me 60 upvotes; it's about the oldest LinkedIn member on Quora answer getting upvoted by the LinkedIn founder. I have shared this with many (in person and on FB) and I am sure this has made some of my friends join Quora.

  • Virality: Upvotes also serve the purpose similar to that of share on FB. Every time, I click the upvote button, it gets pushed to my followers making the content viral and improving the social aspect of the community. (I totally agree with the concerns about upvoting some answers raised by the Anon user in a previous answer, but I guess an easier solution to that is moving the "Make Anonymous" link from bottom of the page to the top, allowing people to upvote anonymously if they want to.

    For example: 60 upvotes answer that I mentioned above is about 3 months old, but still gets an occasional upvote, followed by about 3-4 more upvotes from the followers of the new upvoter on the same day! In absence of named and shared upvotes, answers like these would usually get buried among numerous others.

  • Transparency: Finally, named upvotes allow me to understand the order of answers. It's not uncommon to see an answer with x votes placed higher than another answer with x+10 votes, even when none of the users is power-user. It is usually because of the first answer getting upvoted by some power-users. I believe this is a very good feature somewhat analogous to search-engines not just counting the number of pages linking to your page, but also the credibility of those pages.
     Without named upvotes, we will either lose this very good feature, or if the ordering algorithm in the back-end does not change, we will lose the transparency in ordering the answer. It would be hard to explain why an answer with 20 upvotes is placed higher than another with 27 upvotes!

    For example: my answer to Behavioral Economics: Why do people pay $8 for a dessert with no second thought but won't buy a 99-cent iPhone/Android app without thinking hard if its worth it? with 22 upvotes is rated below another answer with 18 upvotes. Seemed a bit weird at first, but then, I realized that not only is Stephen Frank a more active Quoran than I am, but also his answer has been upvoted by some power-users like Gil Yehuda, Chris McCoy and Marc Bodnick.

So in sum, I certainly want Named upvotes to stay! Just make anonymous upvoting easy, and I think we should be all right!

See question on Quora

They may continue to use it as long as they want.. It seems they are unknowingly following Advertising Guru David Ogilvy.

This is from his book Confessions of an Advertising Man:

The two most powerful words you can use in headlines are FREE and NEW. You can seldom use FREE, but you can almost always use NEW

Of course, using "free" may prove disastrous for most businesses. So they continue to use "New", as Ogilvy suggested! (In my hometown, I am seeing a "New Janta bakery" for last 15-20 years! 🙂 )

See question on Quora

Tags: ,

amitbhatnagar on August 17, 2012

This post is a continuation of an earlier post. Read part 1 here.

  1. Describe your work: A good number of LinkedIn profiles are no more than a listing of job-titles and educational degrees. Make sure that yours is not one of them.As discussed above, your job-title may mean different things in different organizations, and outside your company, people may have no clue on what you are working on. Explain in simple terms what you are doing currently and what you have done in your previous jobs, staying away from company-specific jargon. Be as specific as you can, and focus more on skills that are transferable and applicable outside your current company.
  2. Get recommendations:  You may not be Steve Burda (nor is so many recommendations a good idea for most of us), but if have done any good work in past, there must be some people willing to vouch for it. Ask them to write a short recommendation for you. Best time for asking a recommendation is right after you complete a project. From my experience, I know that people certainly remember your good work for a long time, but with time, they tend to forget the specifics, and generic recommendations are not as powerful!
  3. Choose right keywords and skills: Most above tips would be useful when they are looking for you, i.e. the tips focus on how your profile looks when they land on your profile page. This one is about getting featured in search results, when they are not looking specifically for you, but for people like you, i.e.  people having specific skills and experience. Since by default, LinkedIn sorts search results by relevance, it is important to ensure that your profile is keyword-rich. These keywords may be a part of your Profile-summary, Specialties, work experience description, or other details. Also, ensure that  Skills & Expertise section features has the right skills listed. LinkedIn allows you to add up to 50 skills.
                     If it is not obvious which skills and keywords you should include, there are two good sources for this. Check out profiles of  other people in your domain (or people in your target role). What skills and keywords do their profiles include, and are there any, which actually are your skills too? If yes, you now have some keywords to add to your profile. Another source is especially relevant if you are looking for a job-change. Check out the description of your target jobs, and see what recruiters are looking for. If you do meet those requirements, make sure that right keywords representing these are included in your profile.
    One final word on caution here: Write your LinkedIn profile primarily for human readers (i.e. not for bots), and don’t overload it with keywords.
  4. List your online presence: Do you have an active blog ? Are you considered the Subject-Matter Expert on some topics (preferably related to your job-field) on Quora? Do you participate in the Analytics contests on Kaggle or programming projects at Github? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, make sure to list these and other relevant portions of your digital footprint under Websites section on your profile.
    One thing I have seen is that the default website-labels (“Blog”, “Company Website”, etc) are not attention-grabbing. Customize it to make it more eye-catching and informative. One thing that I observed in Google Analytics for this blog is that the traffic from LinkedIn has certainly increased (though not very significantly) since I changed the label for my website to “Amitbhatnagar.com” from default “Personal Website”. Similarly, something like “My analytics projects on Kaggle” or “My answers on Quora” will certainly get some attention, and give your profile an additional dimension.
  5. Groups: LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups. Joining Groups is a great way to connect to new people and to share/seek knowledge/information. Alumni groups and groups related to your current and past employers are obvious choices, but what would really expand your network in a meaningful is joining interests and skills related groups. Examples of these can be: Product Management, Social Media marketing, etc. Another useful aspect of joining groups is that many members allow other group members to send them messages, and as such, you may be able to contact people outside your immediate network directly without having to upgrade to Premium membership.

Bonus tip : Control your Activity Broadcasts: You can control whether your LinkedIn activity (Profile changes, recommendations, etc) gets shown in their connections news feed. If you haven’t followed Tip 0 (Keeping your LinkedIn profile current) and you suddenly start making massive changes to your profile, your co-workers may know that you are planning to quit, and you may not be comfortable with this. To avoid this, go to Settings -> Privacy Controls -> Turn on/off your activity broadcasts, and un-check the box for Activity Broadcasts (Default is checked)

Which ones of these were missing from your LinkedIn profile? Are there any that you disagree with? (Tip #4 is my best guess for this!) Are there any other tips that you feel are missing? Please share them as comments below.

Tags:

amitbhatnagar on August 16, 2012

There are two things that I am very passionate about: counseling peers and juniors about higher education/career-planning LinkedIn(I am still in very early stage of my career, but I try to make myself useful wherever I can!) and the power of social media. One place where these two merge is when somebody asks me to review their LinkedIn profile (and this has happened too often in last three years!).  Last week, when I helped a close friend with his LinkedIn profile overhaul, I thought it’s perhaps time to get ready a blog-post on things that I usually include in my LinkedIn profile feedback.

These tips are just meant to take your LinkedIn profile from just being present on LinkedIn to having a credible LinkedIn presence. Once you attain this level, you may move to relatively advanced steps, like participating in LinkedIn Q&A, using LinkedIn apps, getting a premium account, etc.

So here are 10 tips not in any particular order, starting with an elementary tip 0.

Tip 0: Keep your profile current, Always: This should be an obvious one, but many, many people ignore it, till they actually have to start hunting for a new job. In today’s connected world, you are always being looked up on LinkedIn. By coworkers, supervisors, recruiters, clients and everybody else!! (Don’t believe me? Start checking “Who’s Viewed Your Profile?” regularly!)  And if you haven’t kept your profile updated and are already in job-hunt mode, you may be interested in the Bonus tip at the end of the 10 tips below.

  1. Get a profile picture: Try a quick experiment. Search for your favorite keyword on LinkedIn, and browse through any 2-3 profile out of 10 results on results page. Now, observe which profiles were featured at the top, and which profiles did you instinctively chose to click through. Chances are high that the top profiles were mostly profiles with photos, and if you are like most people, you must have clicked at the profiles with photos and skipped the profiles with no profile picture.
    This is exactly what many recruiters will do, when your profile shows up in the results, but has no photo. (BTW, since click-through rate is one of the criteria of sorting results, this may cause your profile to appear even lower in subsequent searches!)
    What kind of photos? A professional headshot works best, but this may depend on your target/current industry and function area. For example, for an investment banker or a lawyer, a professional look may be a necessity, but if you are targeting a Silicon valley startup, a less formal pic may work. Of course, avoid party pics or group photos.  Use your best judgement, and pick a photo that you are comfortable showing to your manager/recruiter/client.
  2. Get a meaningful “Professional headline”: Other than your profile page, you may appear on different pages on LinkedIn: Search results, groups, Q&A, “People you may know” section for other users etc. At most places, the only things that users will see besides your name are: Your profile pic and “Professional Headline”. So make sure these are good. For most people, the headline is same as their current job-title, which may be okay sometimes. But I believe you are much more than your current job position. Also, many job-titles may hold little meaning outside their organization, and unless your profile visitor knows about your employer, the headline may not convey the right message. For example: a generic title like “Manager at XYZ Corp” tells me nothing, unless I know what managers at XYZ Corp typically do. Something like “Marketing professional with 8+ years of high-tech industry experience” is much better and informative.
    And if you are really feeling adventurous and want to make your headline even more attention-grabbing, try something like this:
    ★ Experienced Search Engine Marketing Consultant ★ Guaranteed ROI ★ Discover Why Companies Hire Me!

    I know that not many would be comfortable putting a bold claim like this in their headline. But a headline like this almost guarantees a click-through once you show up in search results. And don’t we want searchers to at least visit our profile, where rest of the details are there!
  3. Grab your Vanity URL: Sign in to LinkedIn and Go to home -> Profile -> View Profile. What URL you see as your “Public Profile” ? Does this follow the default (ugly) format, and look something like this:  www.linkedin.com/pub/firstname-middlename-lastname/8/472/f31? If yes, then, it’s time to get a prettier URL for your public-profile.
    Try getting one of these formats: firstname-lastname, lastname-firstname, first-initial-lastname or firstname-last-initial. If you have a common name like mine, you may have to use numbers too. (Mine is: http://www.linkedin.com/in/amitbhatnagar1) But this is still much prettier than the default URL. Once you have grabbed your URL, consider using it in the signature for your non-work email, or you may even use it in your resume, if you are looking for a job.
  4. Give your voice to your profile: Most resumes do not use pronouns: bullets are usually led by Action-verbs (“Led a team”, “Conducted a survey.. “, etc.) While writing your LinkedIn profile-summary (and the rest of your profile), consider making your LinkedIn profile distinct from your resume by writing in first person. I personally feel that writing in first person is direct and conversational, and hence, more inline with the style of social media. (I switched to a combination of first person + resume-style 5-6 months ago, and certainly, like it more that way!)
    If you are not very comfortable writing in first person or find it a bit boastful, you may stick to resume-style. One style that I am not a fan of is writing in third person. I found profiles written in third person a bit too distant and having an air of fake modesty: You are still boasting about yourself (which is not really wrong if you are honest), but your writing style pretends that what you write is others’ opinion about you!! If you feel that description of your work and abilities would seem more credible in third person, leave that part to your recommenders!
  5. Describe your company/group: For each of your job-positions, consider setting the context for your work by starting with a brief description of the company or the group that you are/working for. If your company is a lesser known entity, this is a must-do! For example: during my MBA, I had an amazing marketing strategy internship with Manheim Auctions, which is the world’s biggest B2B auto-auction company, but since they are into B2B auctions, not many end consumers know about them. I make sure that my profile visitors know the magnitude of the company by including a couple of lines describing Manheim. For my current job, although everyone knows Deloitte Consulting, but not many may specifically know about Deloitte Digital, the service line that I am working with. Again, I include a brief summary of what Deloitte Digital is about before I discuss what I am doing at Deloitte.

Continue reading part 2 of this post here.

Tags:

Amit Bhatnagar on Quora.com on August 7, 2012

As far as I know, Steven Burda is as high as it gets, when it comes to number of recommendations: http://www.linkedin.com/in/burda

He has 2938 recommendations overall, 700+ for his current position!

See question on Quora

Tags:

Good question! While I agree that traditional metrics (bounce rate, time on site, etc.) may not be directly useful, the same metrics may be more meaningful when seen at a more micro level.
A 56% bounce-rate or average time of 142 seconds per visit at website level may not tell you much about the content/user-engagement, but add some additional layers like traffic-source and landing page, and this will become very useful.
    
This should be clearer with three distinct cases below:

  1. Restaurant-hotel specific page: If the user lands on a hotel/restaurant specific page through a Google search (Very often, you'll find Yelp pages of restaurant listed higher than that of the restaurant itself) and leaves without clicking on any other page, you may not have much to worry about. You may actually congratulate yourself for good SEO: User was perhaps looking for just the hotel address or phone number for a specific hotel and yours was the first page in search results.
  2. Internal search results page: If the user lands on your search results page through a Google search (Example: A Google search for "indian restaurants in Berkeley" may lead to a Yelp search page for "indian restaurants in Berkeley"), you may be more worried than in previous case, but still things are not that bad. Perhaps, your search algorithm is not producing relevant results, or may be the layout of the search page needs restructuring.
  3. Paid search/external campaign landing page: Finally, if the user lands on your page through a paid search and leaves without converting (no matter how you define conversion), you are losing money on each such user. For this case, a high bounce rate may be a very bad news!

    Some additional ones that websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc may use to measure user-engagement:

    • Conversion: For any website, this is one of the biggest engagement metric. The definition of conversion would vary from website to website and industry to industry. In the case of the mentioned websites, some possible conversion metrics would include: Booking hotels, reserving a table at a restaurant and claiming daily-deals (like Yelp offers).
    • Number of Reviews/Number of unique reviewers: Since these websites are almost wholly about user-generated content, these are two very important metrics. While the former metric is a measure of content-generation, the latter is a good measure of website's most highly engaged users, i,e, the writers.
    • Frequency of visits: If the frequency of visits for a user (Tracked via login or cookies) is fairly high, there may be no cause of concern, even if the average time per visit is low. This is especially true for websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Taking a personal example: Even as a Yelp addict, my visits to the website/iPhone app are fairly short: very often less than a minute! But the number of these visits more than make up for the short duration.
    • Internal search usage: More often than not, visitors on these websites are not looking for a specific hotel/restaurant. They are looking for a type of restaurant/hotel in a specific location. (4* hotel in New Orleans or Ethiopian food in San Francisco, CA). If I am Yelp, I would be more concerned about the frequency of usage of the search functionality and the rate of click-through of the search results, and relatively less about the time that they spent on individual pages. Of course, I would like to see some conversion, but at least, I know the users are sufficiently engaged.
    • "Upvotes", "Follows" and other interactions between users: Most of these websites  have a built-in up-voting mechanism ("Mark as helpful", "Like", Vote as "Cool"/"Funny") that allow users to Vote up quality content. Similarly, many of these websites allow users to follow each other or add them as a "friend" or leave other users a compliment. While at the individual level, this is useful to identify quality content and power-users, at the website level number of such interactions can also be considered a great metric for user-engagement!
    • Check-ins: Most of these websites (at least I know about urban spoon and Yelp) allow users to "check-in" at hotels/restaurants. If your users remember to check-in on your website at a restaurant in the middle of a party/date, it's good news for you: they are highly engaged!
    • Social media sharing: Finally, a good measure of quality content and user-engagement these days for any website is the content shared on popular social networks. This indicates that the content is not only good enough to be read, but also interesting enough to be shared with friends.

    See question on Quora

    Tags: ,