Tuesday, November 05, 2019

On Reviews and How to Read them in the era of Influencer Marketing

Today the average service/medical business has become savvy to consumer marketing techniques and some use social media including Yelp, Google. Facebook for managing their online business presence. Consumers also depend on these reviews a lot.

So the question is how do you assess whether a Dentist/Framing Shop/Other Service business is actually going to be trustworthy in the long term and treat you as a long-term customer from Day 1?

The old school way of getting a referral from your trusted contact is always the best but people move jobs, homes, cities. It's not always an option. I've got a few thoughts on what works and what doesn't that's grounded in reverse engineering marketing techniques I have seen.

Typically, the source of the reviews matters. How is the review company/website making money - look to understand this to understand whether you can trust the reviews?

Second, look for the number of reviews. If it's not over 20+ - either the business is new/doesn't care/hasn't modernized/not a place you want to go since people have avoided giving reviews.

Third, look for the quality of reviews. Typically, fake reviews are easy to spot since they look very similar, have users that seem to be reviewing a host of items and don't have a clear digital profile. Reviews also fall into two categories - the 1-2 star reviews or the 5-star reviews. They are both worth reading to understand what drove the low ratings and why someone took the time to write them. The business response, in this case, is also telling. For the five star reviews, there are three ways this could occur - paid, asked for by business owner from a happy customer, self-written. Try to find the self-written ones, the more there are, the more likely the ratings truly reflect the business. The happy customer requested reviews are also OK but should be a secondary source of confirmation.

Also, completely avoid influencer marketing - paid reviews/promotions are usually a red flag.

Finally, after you have shortlisted your business/company etc., give them a call and interact with them to get a sense of your own.

Putting all this together usually avoids bad experiences with businesses.


Saturday, December 08, 2018

How much good can a few dollars do?


Sharehouse Charitable Foundation is supporting a number of children in their pursuit of happiness. Please check out this video and the stories of the children.

You can support one kid for the whole year or donate for a specific item for them - books, stationery or lunch.

Donate now and while sending your donation, please indicate if you would like the donation to go to a specific recipient and/ or for a specific purpose (school books, food, laptop, general)

More information on Mary Ann:

Her profile

Coverage of her work

Use this email address to send money: sumandatta82@gmail.com

How to use Google Pay to donate.


How to use your bank account


How to use Paypal

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

One less number to call

Shirts on the hangers, shoes on the floor
Grandma's in the kitchen, vendors at the door
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
But you're missing

Pictures on the wall, the breeze blows in from the window
Your house is waiting, your house is waiting
For you to walk in, for you to walk in
But you're missing, you're missing

You're missing when I shut out the lights
You're missing when I close my eyes
You're missing when I see the sun rise
You're missing

Morning is morning, the evening falls I have
One less number to call, but too many phone calls
How's everything, everything?
Everything, everything

You're missing, you're missing....Dad.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Journeys end

Sometimes late at night and during those spaces in a busy day,
I feel that I knew you before I met you,
Somewhere in the vast emptiness of space and time, You knew me and I you.

Did you think we loved by chance ?
Did you think it's all happenstance ?
You - it was you that chose and it was me.

We chose but not with the mental circuits in our brain,
Our souls knew that we were meeting again.
With every atom and layer of our being,
Our beings saw each other without seeing.

Through thousands of miles of telephone lines,
Through differences in space and time,
A spoken word and a genuine laugh,
Launched a love that transcended this life.

A soft hello across the line,
A whisper sharing deepest fears,
While laughter was always there,
Two friends met at their journeys end.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Rising Tide

Rising Tide

Shipwrecked on the shore,
I found the will to build a boat,
Awaiting the rising tide to take me to new shores.

People never cease to amaze,
Some change the way you live,
Others break the images in your heart and mind.

Your life is like a storybook,
A new chapter at every turn,
Some prologues and other epilogues.

I'm never ending this story,
It's with me till I die,
Writing the next chapter is today.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Quarterlife crisis

The world as it looks today is not much different from what it has been for millenia.
A new world order has arisen. A new form of slavery has come into existence.
A delusion of freedom exists in most countries. In reality we are but slaves to our economic situation.
You work at a job. You earn money. You spend it to maintain the lifestyle of your peers.
Money from corporation goes to buy goods made by corporation.
The profit off the labors of the people go to the oligarchy at the top.You run the endless cycle of work-pay-buy-work.
I've joined the club. I'm an young professional. Get a better lifestyle and maintain the oligarchy.
The oligarchy changes from time to time. But the status quo remains with a new oligarchy in place.
It's 1984.
There exist but 3 classes of people--- the rich(the oligarchy), the poor and the middle class which contains the seeds of the next oligarchy.However, rich in this context implies not only monetary wealth but power to control wealth as in the case of political power.
In the midst of a quarterlife crisis I question my existence in this world order.
Is anyone truly free? The oligarchy---slaves to the system, the middle class---slaves to the oligarchy, the poor---slaves to everything and everyone.

Written - circa 2008

Options Basics

Options are a contract between 2 parties where one party has the right (but no obligation) to buy or sell an underlying asset at a fixed price at a future date.

2 types:
Call - right to buy an asset at a fixed price
Put - right to sell an asset at fixed price

There are 2 parties involved - the buyer of the contract and the seller (option writer).
The fixed price is called strike price/exercise price.

American option: Can be exercised on any date up to and including the expiration date.
European option: Can be exercised only on expiration date.

Option writer is "short" on the contract
Option buyer is "long" on the contract

Stock options:

Price of buying the option: Option Premium
By convention, all traded options expire on the Saturday following the third Friday of the month.

At-the-money: Current price of stock = exercise price of option
In-the-money: Payoff from exercising an option immediately is positive. More positive ones are called Deep-in-the-money.
Out-of-the-money: Payoff from exercising an option immediately is negative. More negative ones are called Deep-out-of-the-money.

Stock option prices are always written on 100 shares of the stock.
Option prices are however quoted on a per-share basis.
Therefore, an ask price of $3.30 implies that you would pay 3.30 x $100 = $330 for the contract.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Oh home country


Oh home country,
change comes naturally to you,
As it does to me.
Some of the old is lost,
While the new flourish.
Creative destruction
Of ancient ways to give way to the new.
Passing time shifts the cultural landscape,
Snapshots in time from my visits remain.
Matching the picture to the reality,
Matching the past to the present.
Oh home country,
Some change is good,
Some change is necessary
And some change is sad.
Nostalgia Nostalgia,
Screams the sarangi.
The dholak beats away,
While the rockstar rises.
Sweet moments,
Sad moments,
Oh home country,
Thou shalt not be forgotten.
A part of me,
Always, always.