Sramana Mitra is a technology entrepreneur and strategy consultant in Silicon Valley. She has founded three companies and writes a business blog, Sramana Mitra on Strategy. She has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her three books, Entrepreneur Journeys, Bootstrapping, Weapon Of Mass Reconstruction, and Positioning: How To Test, Validate, and Bring Your Idea To Market are all available from Amazon. Mitra is also a columnist for Forbes.
Q: Welcome to Speakbindas. Tell us since when blogging has been a part of your life? Was there any motive or inspiration as a backbone of it?
- A: My friend Om Malik knew that I write well, and got me started with blogging. He thought I would be a good blogger, since I am so opinionated! I do really love to write, and I felt that the blog would be a great opportunity for me to be able to impact industry issues and shape public opinion.
Q: What is your blog all about? Which topics you cover there? Is that you alone running/maintaining the blog, or have a team?
- A: I cover a series called Entrepreneur Journeys in which, each week, in a 7-part series, I interview an entrepreneur in depth on how (s)he built his/her company. This is very popular, and I have released three books based on this series so far. They are Entrepreneur Journeys, Bootstrapping, Weapon Of Mass Reconstruction, and Positioning: How To Test, Validate, and Bring Your Idea To Market, all available from Amazon.
- In addition, I also have a series called Deal Radar, in which I showcase small companies. This series is monitored by a lot of investors.
- I also have an intensive technology stocks coverage in which I cover over 150 public companies. It offers some of the best strategic analysis of technology companies and is widely read by the investor community, as well as industry leaders.
- I have a team of researchers who assist me.
Q.: How important is it for the blogger to interact with their readers? Do you respond to all the comments that you receive?
- A: It is very important. Interaction is the best part of the blogging medium, and yes, I try to respond as much as possible. I also, often, facilitate pure discussion based posts. You can see some here: http://www.sramanamitra.com/2009/02/03/entrepreneurship-in-india-2/
Q: Is blogging for you just a passion or a medium for earning too? Does it help you to earn enough cash to quit a 9 to 5 day job?
- A: I earn some revenue, yes, but the blog is not my primary source of revenue. I monetize through ads that are sold by the IDG blog ad network. But it also acts as a “brochure” for my consulting business. I have generated substantial business through the blog over the years.
Q: Who are your favorite bloggers, whom you read frequently?
- A: I monitor Techmeme for technology headlines, which has a long list of blogs that they track. I also monitor the NYT and WSJ blogs.
Q: From the secret bucket of your blogging experiences, what tips you would like to share with the fellow bloggers?
- A: Position your blog in an area that you have expertise in and can be credible in. Streams of consciousness with no focus don’t generate readership. But focused expertise and content that showcases authority can get you a readership, as well as professional credibility, which, I believe, is the primary reason why people should blog.
Q: Do you believe that blogging completes you? If yes, tell us how?
- A: Blogging has become an important part of my activities, because I have a lot of influence over industry issues and public opinion through it. I use the blog and my Forbes column together to further this work. I also do mentoring roundtables for entrepreneurs through my blog. Another way to impact, and further the entrepreneurship cause.
Q: What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?
- A: This is hard to answer. I have had a very rich life full of interesting experiences – lots of ups and downs. Together, they make a textured tapestry, and at the end of the day, makes me a good writer with a broad range of life experiences.
Q: Say, you are sponsored to travel to 3 world destinations, where you need not to worry about costs for food, hotel or anything. Which destinations would you pick up, and why? Would you like to take someone along with you? If yes, whom?
- A: I have traveled a lot in my life. It is one of my passions. On my list of destinations in the near future are Turkey, an African safari, and a trip to Barcelona. If someone wants to sponsor these trips, fine, otherwise I’ll get to them myself. My travel companion is and will always be, my husband, Dominique.
Q: Are you into watching movies? If yes, which fills your list of favorite ones?
- A: Very much. Dead Poet’s Society. Remains of the Day. Casablanca. Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy. Camille Claudel. Many, many more.
Q: How has blogging helped you other than money?
- A: I love to work with ideas. Blogging helps me immensely in experimenting with and discussing ideas with a smart and engaging group of people. Whether it is technology, or economics, politics, philosophy, policy – I use the blog broadly to experiment with ideas.
Q: What would be the one thing you’d change about yourself?
- A: Nothing. I am very comfortable in my own skin.
Q: What is your deepest fear?
- A: I don’t have any fear of death. Once you get over the fear of death, you have no fears, really.
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
- A: Manmohan Singh and Barack Obama. I’d like to have a discussion with each on India’s and America’s entrepreneurship policy.
Q: Which is your favorite television show? Favorite songs?
- A: Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN. One of my favorite songs is Don McLean’s American Pie.
Q: What is your favorite food? Any particular dislikes?
- A: My husband and I love to cook and eat, so it is very hard to name one thing as a favorite thing to eat. I like all sorts of food and cuisines, from Italian (love a good veal or chicken picata), French (love coq au vin), Indian (where do I begin?), Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Belgian, Spanish … all those cuisines. Dislike? Yes. Eels.
Q: What’s your take on the technological advancement these days? Does it make people’s life simple or complicated?
- A: Both. Simple because communicating across the world has become cheap and easy. Complicated, because of the information overload, as well as the constant assault of crap from every direction. Spam.
Q: What do you think of “blogging is the next BIG thing”?
- A: It’s not the next big thing. It’s already a big thing.
Q: Any special message you would like to share with your blog readers as well with everyone else?
- A: I would encourage people to start blogging, and build a personal brand in a particular area of expertise, like I have done. It can add immense value to your career. At any given time, I have 5-10 interns who are developing their own blogging voice by working with me. Many of them have gone on to find good career opportunities. Don’t treat blogging as a casual thing. It is an important career development and personal branding tool. Learn to use it intelligently to further your professional goals.
1,382 total views, 2 views today