Friday, December 26, 2008

Been a LiL too long...

It's been a while since we said something on this blog... But now we're back, to tell you that great things are happening at your favorite site! Since the launch of LiL in August, a whole lot of developments have taken place at LiL, so that celebrating the moments of your life, or watching your friends' lives unfold, moment by moment, have just got simpler and more convenient!

So now not only can you post from just about anywhere on the site, (not to mention the various other channels of posting), you can also customize your location and mood. A recent feature is the auto-text implementation of moods, location and custom tags; which ensure that you need not have to go about "adding" new stuff every time... Just type it in the box.. and voila! You have your brand new mood/location!

Need to keep all your friends updated on your life? Well, LiL it! But what if they are not users? Simple... LiL allows you to Link your LiL account to Facebook and Twitter, so that no matter what you are doing... your friends will always know what you are up to!

A system of 'Alerts and Notifications' allows you to keep better track of your friends on LiL... You can ask LiL to mail you the happiest and the saddest moments from the lives of people you care for, so even if you don't login to LiL on a day, you'll not lose out on these moments!

Since things at LiL never really stand still, keep watching this space for the latest and greatest at LiL!

And till then, LiL On!

That's a post by Estella, an avid liller and a new blogger for the LiL story!

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Monday, September 15, 2008

What's in a Name?? - A lot it seems!

One trouble we're facing at Lifeinlines.com is that people knowing about it from Word of Mouth end up getting the name slightly wrong!

People try out lifeline.com but then we're not lifeline.com and we're Lifeinlines.com.

Neither are we lifelines.com, it's some psycho-testing thing that's not been updated in a year and has a boring first page..

I at least hope if you've heard about us from somewhere, you'll not end up believing that we're lifelines.com with all its things.. really I couldn't have created something like lifelines.com !

If you heard lifenlines.com then well, lifenlines.com would redirect you to us only.

What else could you possibly hear? NO, we're not lifeandlines.com either! I don't even know what lifeandlines.com is.. I think it's a dead link.. or a parked page!

You guessed it right, I'm putting it on our blog.. so we might just some of the ppl searching for us with these names :)

Think I should be blogging more often for LiL. Just too busy lilling about everything!

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Improving LiL

Chinz just informed of a friend of his, who actually upgraded his network connection to be able to use LiL better. On one side, it's quite pleasing to know someone likes us so much.. on the other side.. Its a wake up call that the site speed needs some reworking..While showcasing the concept at a potential associate's office.. it took an awful lot of time to load.. while the network connection couldn't have been that bad..

OL is committed to making the website a delightful experience to navigate through..

While we work to conver the many imperfections we have at the moment.... do keep pointing out, wherever you feel there's something we should be doing to make it better for you! We'll soon set up more friendly system to hear this feedback as well

Keep up!

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

The LiL Story, in a snapshot!

The original blog on Business World

Funny, I'm copy pasting the LiL story snapshot from the business world blog to here.

B-SCHOOL BLOG
Stuck On The Start Up Syndrome


"There are two kinds of people who know what they really want to do in life. One, geniuses or the rather lucky ones. The second set of people is fools who don't really know but are deluding themselves that they do. You're a normal person, you should allow yourself to make mistakes and learn. What's the big deal if you do something and it doesn't work out too well? Would it really matter so much a year or so later?"

If I were to pick my most important lessons from life at my B-school, one would probably be this remark from Prof. Jha, not inside the classroom but in a personal discussion in his office. It eased me out of the dilemma regarding 'opting out of campus summer placements'. I OOPSed.

CAT 2005… a delightful interview with IIM-C… a fond farewell to four really amazing years of college life… a month at home… and a dreamy and lost pair of eyes landed at the resort-like campus of IIM Calcutta, Joka -- as it's called, in the summer of 2006. It wasn't too long before I figured that I wasn't alone in being unsure of what to expect and what I really wanted out of the MBA. There were other lost souls around. The maturing process, however, was rather fast, compared to the freewheeling careless times of college. Soon we were made to realise the importance and the centrality of placements in our life at IIM-C.

The entrepreneurial infection that had started with being a publicity coordinator for IIT's eCell activities had led me into being fascinated with this interesting way of life. While I skipped placements at IIT, running towards setting up something of my own was a stronger drive than running away from a job.

Opting out of summer placements followed and career wise, life took a somewhat serious turn thereafter. It caused a little drift away from usual campus life as I didn't get an inside view of one of the most important experiences of a B-school life – the grilling and draining placement process. It also made me an outlier in some ways, as I wasn't part of the preparation, meeting seniors for practice interviews, iterations of the CV, etc. Involvement with the student eCell continued here as well and my exposure grew even further.
Academics, though not a cakewalk, weren't particularly difficult either, if one wasn't particularly competitive about the grades. I quite enjoyed the project work and presentations so it was a comfortable sail, thanks to some good friends.

On the entrepreneurship front, having impatiently discarded one idea after another for over a year, I got stuck with Lifeinlines – an idea of being able to record one's life, originated in the head of a friend Harpreet, now running his own campus recruitment related startup - cocubes.com. Having been a fond diary writer since I was 15, and lately a hobby street photographer, I had personally been fond of capturing experiences and moments that touched me or made me think and sometimes just reacting to something and venting myself out.

It's like I was in a fast journey now, there was so much I wanted to capture, perhaps share with some people, so many times I needed to express myself and lifeinlines eventually grew into the perfect answer to all these things.

Work on this venture started in full throttle soon after my internship. There were just three people, one in Delhi, one in Mumbai and I was working out of Kolkata. The fourth term of the MBA just whizzed by as I had kept myself overloaded with courses so that I could have more free time later on. The work gathered steam; development of prototype started, and along with also began the buzz words such as revenue models and marketing plans!

However, two months down the line, it was turning out to be difficult to keep the pace going due to other commitments. Eventually, I lost track with other two partners and LiL took a backseat for a month or so. However, the enthusiasm was still there and the fifth term was rather light as well.

While my summer 'Oops' had taken people by surprise, and my senior -- also my mentor was aghast. But on the other hand, my friends generally appreciated and respected. Post summers, it had become a usual question if I was applying for the final placements or not. It was a while before I was certain enough to start telling people that I was opting out. Funny thing with start-ups is, you feel like a salesman every waking moment. Anyone asks you about what you are doing and you need to present the whole thing properly. It can get really taxing sometimes, but after a little practice, you start enjoying it.

A new wave of energy flowed into the project after Deepak Daftari, a Kolkata-based entrepreneur running an e-learning company and a head hunting, introduced me to Nirjhareswar Bannerjee, CEO of Apex Division, a Kolkata-based web development company, that became our technical partner to develop the concept and I managed to convince my mother to lend me the initial investment. Now, it was time for long discussion meetings, making sketches and flow diagrams while sitting in the class, taking opinions from wing mates on how a page should look like.

Exposed to what technology could do, and obsessed with simplifying access to this personal diary, we added the capability to accept inputs via e-mails, Gtalk, SMS, and a voice call system – the first of its kind in India, where you can just call a number to record your voice which will be posted to your Web account instantly. Early discussions with potential users made us add multiple layers of privacy and next came multiple media formats beyond text, so the colourful experiences could be recorded thus, in images, videos, audios or MMSs.

To be taken seriously, and to take myself seriously, I registered a private limited company and called it Onelife Knowledge Services. It's an essentially experimental spirit that's behind Onelife, a reminder that you only live once so you should do everything that you want to do in this one life, without being too afraid of making mistakes. You don't want to look back and wish that you had attempted something you wanted to.


It has been quite a journey with Onelife. Though having been drawn towards this project, I was lost in a world of my own and missed out some pleasant parts of MBA life, including missing the adventure trips, parties and poker. I guess I enjoyed every bit of it nevertheless, and I've gotten a great deal from my MBA both in terms of the lessons learned and the amazing people I got to know among faculty as well as my colleagues.

As I had decided, we managed to take Lifeinlines.com live on the eve of my convocation! I had to have something to show when I stepped out of the institute with a degree. One great thing happened -- Maninder, a senior from IIT, and in a job with ITC for 5 years, agreed to join Onelife full time.

The two years of MBA are described fondly by Jokaites as the best "daze" of our lives, perhaps rightly so. Time just whizzed by. For many, like me, coming without a work experience this is the first step out of college. Marching on with life, it's been a couple of months now after convocation and while it did feel lonely outside the hostel, I'm now moving on and setting up a base close to my earlier campus, IITB.

I am still learning my lessons in communicating crisply, having goofed up chances to make a pitch to a variety of investors and other prominent people as part of eCell at IIMC. It's a good thing to talk to a lot of people about your idea. It brings out your own lack of clarity and forces you to think harder. A starry eyed ambitious young mind simply wants to do everything he can see, tries to make a product that's everything to everyone. Talking to people is a rather good teacher, even if 'they' don't tell you anything. You learn just in the process of speaking up yourself, in verbalizing and crystallizing your thoughts. My learning curve has only begun.

It did feel queer for a while when I would see my friends with pre-placement offers offering them really handsome money, when I would meet my consultant friends travelling in chauffer-driven cars and staying in premium hotels. It did seem tempting for a while, the high-flying life, but it soon settled down.

My folks advised me that I should at least take up a job and have some experience before starting this venture. Of course, the social value of making those big bucks is always luring. However, beyond a point, when they realised that I was adamant, they were fairly supportive.

The way you tend to lose track of your own plans by looking at what is happening in the market is scary. You want to accomplish everything. Then you pause, wake up one fine morning and decide on something new altogether. It's a roller coaster ride, one positive word from someone takes you high and another trivialising remark throws you off balance. The whole process in a way strengthens you. You end up having to confront your fears, letting belief ride over scepticism.

There's some amount of randomness in the world and you have to accept it. It would take some amount of glossing over calculations and what seems obvious. Best part is, you know you're probably being foolish in some ways. But you still continue on the same path. There's a good chance that you'll actually be proven wrong, which you need to be prepared for. I'm only on the starting of the path right now, remains to be seen what I prove to be.

Ankur Gattani (23) is the founder and director of OneLife Knowledge Services, which runs the portal lifeinlines.com. Gattani opted out of the final placement at IIM-C in 2008 to start his own company.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The First Lines for LIL

To post today on the blog of lifeinlines.com today is an honour. What began as an idea in the head and got passed over a cup of tea with a friend has taken shape and is out, alive and kicking. To think that a casual cup of tea can lead to someone investing 500-1000 hours of effort and making a career choice makes one feel giddy. The identification of need and the first seed might have been mine but an idea is useless without execution and Ankur's preserverance in implementing it single handedly (when we could not give him any time!!) is examplary. In this first post are the first few sketches of lifeinlines I made (I was still deciding whether to name it lifeinlines.com or lifeomap.com)!!



Why lifeinlines? Need and idea.





What is the gap that it plugs?





Over the last one year a lot of refinement has happened and what has emerged is a stronger adult version. Thanks to Shiv for the monumental effort in supporting this initially and kudos to Ankur for making this possible. My best wishes for lifeinlines 'One Life to Live'!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Meeting Scheduling!


July 2007 : Time to get some discipline in life! the first call for a telephonic conference!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The First Month!

June 2007

Ideation on features, looking up the existing popular sites and looking for what we'd want more and different, trying to organize thoughts and create documents. A bunch of newbies, trying to put together the thousands of ideas hoping to integrate them together to create the best mashup of it's class.

June 10, we still thought we were unique with the concept and nothing close existed anywhere.

June 12, discovered twitter, written as the new rage amongst western youth, in the times of india - felt that primary concept was validated and our job was to indianize!

Funnily enough, so many of hte features on LiL today were thought as originals for quite some time till we discovered somebody somewhere had thought similarly. :) . Sometimes it was intimidating, at other times, funny, but everytime it was a great discovery.

There was email input system, there was privacy meter, there was the desktop client... added to the feature list one at a time as the file versions tossed between the three of us. We had a design SBU by now :)

Then the seriuos thought of registering a private limited company went on a high.. did a few rounds for a few days.. I tried to talk to some ppl about how to structure the relationship with three stakeholders.. we started thinking of names for the company.. Weblife Pvt. Ltd. and SMocking Ac3s came up as ideas.. ASH, HAS, SHA.... (for shiv, ankur and harpreet )

Left it behind, in the quest of coming out with a good release before we registered the company.. made sense then..

Blatantly lifted material from couple of existing sites to write the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

It was time to think of revenue models. To think of sharpened focus. To think of differentiating clearly from existing players!

A marketing plan was to come into picture! Crazy ideas flowed!

Happy being the senior one, brought some discipline into the group. In terms of mail subjects, to points/content, to documentation.. he was the structure master.. kinda important for a junglee like me to have around.

Me and Shiv were to now talk twice every week and all three of us would have a conference call every wednesday night.


So far So good..