Prologue:
If I had a Android Smartphone since 2008, am pretty sure I would have been the Foursquare Mayor for Kannur-Ernakulam Intercity Express. It’s the usual train by which I used to travel back home from college on weekends. And now, after passing out, still come back in it after the odd visits to college.

And just like clockwork, I “always” take a bus to Vytilla Junction and walk the exact 1Km home, accompanied by a pack of Kurkure. With my usual speed of eating and my regular speed of walk, I almost always finish off the packet by the time I reach the turn home. A distance of about 900m.

Present:
This dates back to…… last week. As usual I bought a packet of Kurkure and started on my way home. Walking on the wrong side of NH-47 with music blazing into my ear drums and lips smacking the spiciness of the snack has been a 4 year old tradition for me.

Snacks, I always eat with the same pace – gobble ‘em up! This day was no different. Just as Switchfoot started to sing “Learning to Breathe”, I started munching on my packet of shapeless delights. As time went by, Switchfoot was replaced by Coldplay and A R Rahman, and my hands got busier searching the depths of the packet. And…….. WHAT??!! Its over??!!

Horror of horrors, the packet was empty! Finished! Blank! Zero! Nothing!!

I looked around. No, it wasn’t the turn home. In fact it was way back. Somewhere right after The Nyle Plaza Hotel. WTF!!
Did I eat too fast? Definitely Not!
Did the packet have a hole? Uh Huh. No. (I checked)
Did I share it with anyone on the way? HELL NO!

So…. All the troubleshooting of the hypothesis led me to the single possible inference – Kurkure’s packet had lesser quantity than before!

I was heartbroken! Whenever I used to watch anyone with a packet of Lays, with enough air in it to fill up an Oxygen Cylinder, I used to feel proud of my pack of snack. But at that particular moment, all those things seemed as a distant past. History.

My companion, that helped me cover about 900m of my 1 Km back home, this time hardly stayed with me for about 700m. My maths ain’t great but am sure these numbers sure demoted it from Distinction to Second Class. <sniff>

Alone, with nothing but the spicy taste lingering in my lips, I continued the rest of my journey back home. All the while, music blaring in my ears – “Its already Over…..”.

Kurkure!!! Why this Kolaveri Di?

P.S. After a couple of days, again the same thing happened. This time it lasted for the same 700m itself. 🙁

The morning started off with the front page of the newspaper shouting out loud that it was a hartal (some politician had been murdered brutally). Bad news to begin the day with. So I moved on to the sports page when my mobile scheduler beeped – 1330 hrs: Attend Workshop on Intellectual Property Strategies at Startup Village!

Darn! I had almost forgotten.

So, after a client meeting scheduled in the morning that dragged on till noon, I, along with my friend Manu, reached the Kinfra campus of Startup Village at about 1430 hrs. An hour late! Luckily, we were let in to attend the session. (Thanks guys!).

The first session was handled by Mr Dilip Kumar, Founder at Inolyst. He spoke about the differences between patent, trademark and copyright and the pros and cons of each. Shortly thereafter, the audience gathered was honored by the arrival of Mr P. H Kurian, IAS, Principal Secretary IT, the Chief Guest. He was welcomed on board by Sijo Kuruvilla George, CEO, Startup Village.

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Kurian Sir first asked each and everyone of us present there to introduce ourselves and then smoothly moved on with the session. He spoke from his in-depth knowledge about the field and from his first hand experience as the Controller General of Patents, Trademarks and Designs. He explained to us using various examples about what are the implications that could be faced if patents are not applied for at the right time and the legalities involved.

After Kurian Sir’s session and before moving on to Dilip Sir’s session, we had a wonderful Tea Break. Wonderful, because the samosas felt like heaven for both of us who hadn’t had anything since morning 😀

Well. As we moved on to the next session, each of us started understanding in more detail about why an execution strategy is needed for creating valuable intellectual property. Dilip Sir explained to us further about the structured model involved in the lengthy process of patent registration and “WHY” exactly importance should be given to patent registration – not just for protection but also as a means of getting investors and revenue generation based business model.

This last session, which also happened to be the lengthiest session of the day, also covered the differences in patent filing aspects in India and abroad and also revealed some important facts for technology entrepreneurs like how in India we cannot file for a patent for a software per se.

As the day’s session ended and I left the building, one couldn’t help but feel awed at the awesomeness of the place. A place, that would house some of the budding minds and aspiring entrepreneurs of the present generation. Something which maybe, only another start-up entrepreneur would be able to appreciate.

 

Well, I’ll be frank with you from the start. It wasn’t exactly the first page. Or any page if I am to be true to myself. It was all a result of a prank which no one cared to verify about. And it ‘might’ have had become news too even before people would have cared to find the truth behind it.

It all started with a few of my friends – @rameezhere, @dubliyublog and @fuzzhead045 trying to get #OccupyUniCal to trend, to proclaim our open frustration towards our University. I too joined in the fun and came out with all sorts of jokes about the University (most of which were actually true!). For example the case when a guy passed the exam without even appearing for it and another guy passing the exam when he copied from his friend’s paper and both of them had different electives! All the stories, if jotted down, would be worth a novel!

So then, coming back to the ‘almost’ TOI story of #OccupyUniCal. Here’s how the events turned out over the past couple of days.

22 March 2012 – 11:50PM I sent out the following pic, supporting #OccupyUniCal

23 March 2012 – Full Day Me and most of my active friends on twitter sent out hilarious tweets supporting the hash-tag #OccupyUniCal

23 March 2012 – 11:30PM With an “evil grin” on my face and a prank in mind, I upload a photoshop’d pic, with the tweet –

“Looks like #OccupyUniCalDID Trend for a while!! Kewl!! Anybody noticed??”

24 March 2012 – 6PM By this time most of my active friends on Twitter had either Retweeted or atleast seen the above pic.

24 March 2012 – 7:31PM A correspondent from TOI tweets me and my friend @dubliyublog saying –

“I’m reporter of Times of India. Want to do story on unical. Reply asap. 944xxxxxxx”.

Needless to say I was ROFL and LMAO!! Since I lost my net connection at that exact time, I was not able to reply back to him.

24 March 2012 – Around 10:30PM I text messaged the correspondent apologizing for the delay in response from my side. He tells me he would call me the next day and get the story from me. Soon enough, I reply to his mail explaining to him the whole situation as just a prank with the concept of the prank actually meant as an initiation to actually encourage more people to tweet about it. I also ask him whether he would be able to make any news out of the first pic (The pic on top).

25 March 2012 – 5:29PM Not hearing anything from the correspondent (whom I sincerely presume was out for a sensational and not sensible news), I post the following tweet with the given pic-

The Story of how  trended in a single day with just about 40-50 tweets!!

BANG!!

Then began a chain reaction of @Replies on Twitter to all my friends :D. Couple of them see the lighter side, couple of them do not. But hey, all’s well that ends well! At least for me things turned out to be pretty good! I got more clicks on my Tweet than I have ever had and a TOI reporter even contacted me for the news! Sheesh! What more could I ask for? 😀

But all the same, this ‘experiment’ did teach me an important factor about the Social Audience- in the rush through to consume information, many people fail to check, or at least think about the genuineness of the news they read. People are so interested reading things they “want-to-read”, that at times they even stop thinking for themselves! How else can you explain to me that people believed a hash-tag trended with just 90-100 tweets by 7-8 users?

Well, I am no one to judge anyone. I intended my prank to actually be a prank and nothing else. But finally it turned out to be more of a kind of Social Experiment.

Drawing Board

Everyone would agree if I say the web is basically about consumption. Every second we are online, we consume. Be it photos on FB, tweets, blog posts or likewise, whole of the online audience are consumers. And after we consume the data, only the ones that leave an impression on our mind, we share. These materials that we share form a major part of our online/virtual personality. Just as in real life we are what we do, similarly in the virtual world, we are what we share. Or create!

Though all of us are consumers, similarly, all of us are curators too. Every comment that we post, though it may not have an individual value as such, seen on the larger perspective, is also a new content. Curated content, that is.

And that’s exactly what am treading into. With 24 hours not being sufficient enough nowadays for anyone, whenever a new idea is to be thought of, the first thought that comes to everyone’s mind is “Google Search”. Instead of spending at least half an hour to think out something original, after 5 minutes of so called “intense brainstorming”, we turn to the mercy of Google. Marketing Strategists see an idea/campaign some other company thousands of miles away might have done and then ‘curate’ the idea to suit their needs. Of course, that also is innovation and that too needs creativity, but in the longer run the whole meaning of the word creativity is compromised.

In the field of creative marketing (and I personally focus on Social Media Marketing), people who are successful are either idea creators or very good idea curators. And to be frank, both the types of people are needed.

All entrepreneurs start off as idea creators. Sadly, somewhere down the path most of them transform to idea curators. Maybe it’s because they run out of juice. Or maybe the risk-taking-X-factor decreases. Whatever be the reason, it’s unfortunate.

As I was searching Google for the image of a drawing board to post on our page, I felt guilty for thinking in the terms of an idea curator. That’s not how I would like to conceive myself. Idea creation is the adrenaline I thrive on. And I sure do hope it doesn’t run out anytime in the coming century!!

P.S.  But at times am still tempted to curate ideas :D