Indian life in USA

I love Quora, I suppose it is one of the better social networks out there and I have got lot of knowledge from it. So, I am pretty active there. Recently, someone asked me to answer a question – ‘What is an Indian’s life like, after they get a job in the US after an MS in the US?

I was amused. This is what I answered-

This is what its like after getting a cushy job in USA-

  1. Rent a decent apartment, buy new clothes, laptop, SLR and all gadgets you want to show off with.
  2. Get a car if you are not in NYC.

On weekdays-

  1. Get up early for work, talk to your Mom while commuting in a public transport.
  2. Have lunch at your desk or sometimes in cafeteria, finish by 6-7pm earliest.
  3. Come home, cook with your roommates/spouse or go out for a cheap dinner if you are not cooking type.
  4. Watch some sitcom or surf/facebook.
  5. Call India and talk to your family.
  6. Sleep by 11pm.

On weekends-

  1. Drive to a nearby beach/mountain/park or any picturesque place. Take lot of pictures, share on facebook.
  2. Do hour long skype calls with your family.
  3. Go out for dinner at fancy places esp with non-Indian cuisines and click lot of pictures (closeup of food items), share on facebook.
  4. Once in a while, go to factory outlets for branded shopping.
  5. Slowly, start hiking/trekking/swimming/diving/jumping/flying/cycling or whatever activity you can – its become your new passion. Click lot of pictures, share on facebook.

On Diwali-

  • Light fancy candles, scented oils, draw rangoli – click lot of pictures, share on facebook. Post about ecofriendly Diwali.

On Holi-

  • On weekends when actually you can celebrate it, go to a community gathering, put gulal on your cheeks, click lot of pictures, share on facebook.

Same for other festivals like navratri. Gather with friends, click lot of pictures, share on facebook.
For US festivals/holidays-

  • Dress up awkwardly on halloween, go to parades, click lot of pictures, share on facebook.
  • For fourth of July, go to nearby places for the cracker show, take a lot of blurry pictures and share on facebook.
  • On New Year’s, stand for hours in line in freezing cold in NYC or something similar, and end up exhausted by midnight.

Move from cricket to baseball, soccer to football and spend couple of years learning the rules of the game (or don’t even bother). Call your friends when a popular match is about to telecasted (Rose Bowl etc), decorate potato chips, nachos, guacamole and fancy dips on your table with 2L coke, sprite bottles. Cheer loudly when commentators seem excited. Post furiously on facebook how the winning team was frickin’ awesome. When some Indian friend asks about it in the comments, refer them to a link and tell how awesome the game was.

The bottomline is do anything on the weekend that lets you click lot of pictures, and yes, you got it – share on facebook!

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I think I even offended some people. To that I just say – don’t be offended, I was there, I did it too 🙂

See the post on Quora here.

  

How Quora sent me 40x traffic and crashed my blog

I have been on Quora for a couple of years now. I answered to questions once in a while, mostly academic. But as I started using it more frequently, I found it to be the most insightful social network – if I had to find out how a person is, I would prefer to look at what he has voted for, asked and answered on Quora than his Facebook updates. I have been using Quora a lot lately and it has already paid off! I happened to reply with some personal story one time and things got a little out of hand.

girl blogging

Someone had posted a question – “I am in my late 20s, and feel I have wasted a lot of time. Is it too late?” And I couldn’t help replying because it disturbed me to think that someone can imagine its too late if they haven’t achieved wonders in 20s. I began – ‘I am 31’ and then wrote a little more. In ten minutes and 265 words, I had briefly sketched my journey through 20s and the better time afterwards when it was not really supposed to be better (after all, how can someone be happy after 30). Something I wrote must have touched a cord with people because the up votes and comments started pouring out. I guess it was this bit – ‘One can say that 20s is for making mistakes and learning and then unleash the real YOU when you are ready, sober and wiser in 30s.

This reply has generated 129,500 views, 102+ comments and 1800 upvotes till date. That is not trivial to put it modestly.

blogtraffic

This is the traffic monitor on my blog and the 40x spike mountain was a result of this post. The post contained a link to my book website and the blog update on Tretar and over 5 days, I received nearly 10K hits. The hits had gone so crazy that my webhost thought it was some phishing act going on and he blocked my blog for full 7 hrs on one of these days. So, if that hadn’t happened, there would have been crazier traffic. Also, it led to tripling of my Quora followers, many new subscriptions for my yet-to-be-released book, many new followers on the blog, twitter and Facebook.

At the end of the day, I feel people love authentic and inspirational stories. My post was genuine and relevant to the question. People could relate to it. Not only did the Quora readers read the post, many of them promoted it to new people without me even asking for it. I won’t discount the countless hours I had put in on the book website in the first place so that the content resonated with the audience when they reached it. And those who liked what they saw signed up for book updates. I had put in the work and with this post, it serendipitously came together. I would call it a touch of divine intervention in line with the theme of my book 🙂

Quora is known for discovering great content. But, I feel it can be a great channel to promote your thoughts and content as well (be a supplier). I had never thought that I’ll find people who would connect to Seven Conversations on Quora. But my post helped finding those people and it was a perfect match.

Unintentionally, I was able to use Quora for getting more visibility for my blog and book but you can do it intentionally as well. Here’s how you can get started-

  1. Sign up on www.quora.com
  2. Follow the topics relevant to your product and interests.
  3. Contribute meaningful content – ask intelligent questions and provide insightful answers. If your product is too niche, see which other topics can you provide good answers on. The more number of followers a question has, more exposure you will get.
  4. Focus on quality over quantity. In my case, I have written only 30 answers or so and have only 3 top answers (350+ upvotes). Only this epic post had links to my site and I could see the excellent traffic it generated. It wouldn’t be easy to write right answers that you can connect your product with and which can reach to a huge audience. So, do some research but when you find such an opportunity, make the best out of it.
  5. Build a following by answers as well as posting blog posts. It can be a nice extra traffic generation tool in the long run. This is the reason I think people like James Altucher repost all their blog posts separately on Quora.

I can’t claim that I had planned this and had the foresight to know how this will turn up but I am going to leverage Quora wisely in the future. Follow me there if you want to read some interesting stuff.