Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I have been thinking of starting this blog for a long time. I finally decided to start it after writing my post on Walmart entering India.

The idea is very simple. The Indian blogosphere is rich with debates and discussions about all issues, including those related to business. A lot of new ideas are put forth, critiques offered, and suggestions made in the blog posts written. However most blogposts are written based on intuitive reasoning. A lot of theoretical propositions are made based on common sense and logic. While there is nothing wrong with it, since it is the first step in the evolution of theory, it would help if there was some research and data analysis done to back up the theories.

For instance, while writing my post on Walmart, I thought about my own buying behaviour when I lived in Bombay. I was earning a reasonable amount of money. I could afford to travel in taxis. And yet I shopped for my groceries almost exclusively from the local kirana-wallah. Why? Several reasons. The nearest Supermart was 8 km away and Bombay is not a city where you travel unless you really have to, even if you can afford a luxurious ride. Plus my local baniya would take my order on the phone and deliver anything to my diirstep within half an hour, even if it was just a loaf of bread.

I further realised that my buying behaviour in India was different than in USA. In USA I usually visit the story once every two weeks and stock up on everything. Even vegetables and meats come frozen, and everything else is packaged. The weather here is such that even the items which can't be refrigerated, like bread for instance, last longer. In India however, I had to buy something or the other every day or at the most every other day. I HAD to rely on my baniya, even if Big Bazaar offered me greater discounts.

So I wondered, can I generalise my own experiences and the learnings from it to the population? Maybe. But to do so with any degree of confidence, it would help if I had some research to cite and back up my claims. Who will do this research?

And then I thought about my MBA days. All those Marketing term papers. The toughest part was identifying a question interesting and important enough to impress the Professor. And there I thought of a natural synergy waiting to be created.

There are thousands of MBA students in India looking for ideas to research for their term papers. There are hundreds of bloggers debating in India and putting forth intuitive theories, but with no time or resources to back them up with research. This is a ripe scenario for mutual back-scratching.

This blog has been created to enable such back-scratching. Bloggers should post here those theories of theirs which they would like researched, and which they think will be interesting enough to make good term papers. MBA students can come to this blog, get ideas for term papers, and write them. They can post their term papers on the blog, creating a resource of research rich for reference and citing. This will also help build recognition and reputation for MBA students. If an MBA student writes a term paper, publishes it here, and it is linked to and cited by several bloggers and even columnists, it will show up on a google search for his name. It will also be a very good CV point, if the idea of this blog is successful. Plus the knowledge will be there for everyone to access. What happens nowadays is good papers are written, presented, published in a booklet by the organisers, and forgotten in a few weeks. There is no archive where the research can be stored and referred.

So this is an attempt to create an open source repository of basic business research. With the retail sector changing so rapidly, there will be a plethora of ideas for Marketing students. I am sure there will be ample idea for Finance as well. The exact operational details will be worked out in a few days. I will definitely need a group of bloggers interested in co-managing/editing this blog with me on a voluntary basis. We can run it on blogspot as a pilot project and if it is successful, maybe think of shifting to a separate domain.

As of now, let us just run this as a pilot project. I will be posting ideas I get for research. If you have some ideas, you can either mail them to me, or if you are interested, I will make you a member of this blog so you can post it yourself.

Mail me at gaurav.sabnis(at)gmail.com

19 Comments:

Blogger Patrix said...

Amit is right. This would work better in a non-linear format that usually a blog has. You might want to explore using a CMS with strong search capabilities. Tag clouds, keyword incorporation, and also instructions for citations. You don't want MBA students directly copying stuff as that may discourage people from sharing their papers.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well,i think its a real good idea.Also using a CC copyright on this stuff might encourage acknowledgment
(thus reducing copy-paste work).

12:33 PM  
Blogger Suresh said...

why not use a wiki ? there are places you can set up a free wiki, and then anyone can edit any document: makes less work for you, and is a lot more decentralized ?

2:34 PM  
Blogger Gaurav said...

Thanks for your suggestions everyone. keep them coming. I just started out with the basic idea of a repository for mba term papers, and a place to give ideas for the same. I know a blog might not be the best means for it. Started this as just a pilot. And even then, realised that wordpress might have been a better option than blogspot.

Of course, there will be guidelines, instructions, CC copyright, etc. In a day or two I will start a mailing list for people interested in kick-starting this idea, so the whole process can be formalised.

Till then keep your suggestions coming.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Piyush Garyali said...

I would also suggest using a Wiki purely because it is the best format for such ventures. MediaWiki, for instance, is loaded with features (it is the force that drives Wikipedia). I was able to set a Wiki server in my office and you don't need to be tech-guru for doing that.

Just buy some server space and configure MediaWiki. I use Kubuntu-Apache-MySql!

5:51 PM  
Blogger Rakesh Sharma said...

Nice innovative effort. I believe apart from Marketing domain, even Finance (Corporate and Project) related papers could be added in the repository too..

8:25 PM  
Blogger Scribbler said...

sounds interesting. even if a blog is to be used, you need stronger categorisation and showcasing abilities... like for new topics, or top topics... maybe Wordpress and a good design that is more visible...

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happens nowadays is good papers are written, presented, published in a booklet by the organisers, and forgotten in a few weeks. There is no archive where the research can be stored and referred

is this true? isn't there an equivalent of "DBLP" (computer science research repository) for marketing research papers?

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice innovative & interesting idea. But yes, you need to take care of authenticity (copy/paste) more than anything else.. the aspiring MBAs should not get discouraged by their work being copied.

I think right now the steps (categorization, guidelines, instructions, CC copyright etc) you have thought of, are good enough to start with.
Depending on the response (I am sure that would be heavy), you can shift to another domain. I can see it happening very soon ;)

good papers are written, presented, published in a booklet by the organisers, and forgotten in a few weeks.. So true!

11:24 PM  
Blogger അരവിന്ദ് :: aravind said...

Really nice idea!
As a near-future MBA student, I am really interested and looking forward to this place for great guidelines!

Thanks Gaurav for this effort! Will help this mission as much as I can in the future.

1:26 AM  
Blogger buRt said...

hey...
count me in!

cheers,
trendspotter

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am ready to contribute, though I may not have the credentials. At present, I am only an MBA aspirant

1:49 AM  
Blogger Aditya said...

gaurav - this sounds like an interesting exercise. did you get any further?

6:38 AM  
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