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Women 2.0 Napkin Business Plan Challenge

Article published on Mar 24th, 2007 | No Comments | Trackback | Categories »

I wanted to let you all know about a very interesting, very cool business plan competition. This one isn’t your typical submit a 10 page business plan and then present a long winded powerpoint presentation. Rather, Women 2.0 (the organization hosting the competition), is asking that those interested in competing put their business idea on a 7×7in napkin. The napkins will all be judged and the top 2 will win some moola plus the opportunity to meet with a Venture Capital firm interested in their idea. Deadline is approaching fast (March 30), so make sure to submit your napkins right away. Check out Women 2.0’s site for the 4-1-1.


I had a couple extra minutes today…

Article published on Mar 18th, 2007 | 3 Comments | Trackback | Categories »
[x] Posted in New Features

Since Thursday I’ve been checking espn.com every hour to check the scores for the tournament games. I made a pool on Facebook called Raymond’s Pool of Pools (I’m vain, I know). Some of the Connect’rs are on it. I think Kaiser forgot to fill out his bracket, but his wife remembered. Right now, Sumaya is in first, but that won’t last very long. She picked Duke and Notre Dame to go to the Final Four.
Anyway, the reason I’m even talking about this is because it gave me some time to do mindless work during commercials. So I came up with this…

Yes, you see correctly. I’ve starting developing a toolbar. This isn’t anything high tech. It looks bad right now. I’ll have Kaiser make the graphics better. We’ll come out with a beta or something soon. It’s integrated with Google and everything, so you can sync it up with your Gmail. I know there’s some diehard TCC fans out there wanting this. We’ll keep you posted!


one of the best tips of your life

Article published on Mar 15th, 2007 | 1 Comment | Trackback | Categories »
[x] Posted in Technology

Especially in this technology-infested era: Always backup your files. My hard drive has now crashed twice in the last two and a half months.

Read the rest of this entry »


The DesiConnect Blog

Article published on Mar 14th, 2007 | 3 Comments | Trackback | Categories »

We’ve quietly launched our South Asian blog. Titled “The DesiConnect Blog,” we’re still trying to come up with something a little bit more creative…Okay, A LOT more creative.

So why the blog? We wanted a couple things. We’re a weekly publication, and we noticed people come to the site everyday. So why not have content that’s added daily? We didn’t want more interviews to publish. We already have a staff of 30 that research and interview the people we profile. We went out and sought out some bloggers. Now, we didn’t just want any blogger. All of our bloggers are more than well-equipped to write on the topics they’ve chosen. Something else we wanted from The DesiConnect Blog is a chance for you, the reader, to interact with our content. Feel free to comment on the posts and start a discussion. Someone’s gotta do it, so start!

We plan on sending out a dedicated email announcing The DesiConnect Blog. Right now, we have one post, but by the end of the week, you’ll see all our different bloggers. I’m really excited about this!

So the next question is…Why a blog only for The DesiConnect? We definitely plan on launching blogs for the other magazines. Right now, we have a full plate. Next month we plan on launching, as Sumaya mentioned in her post, The AfricanaConnect. We’re very excited about that! It’s been in the works for a long time, but we’ve been waiting to get the right people involved. We have a wonderful staff working on it. Also, next month we’re launching a news portal. I don’t want to get into much detail on it right now, but it’s going to be replacing the “news2know” section that you get on your weekly emails. I know a lot of you read it, but I promise you, you won’t be disappointed with what we have in store. Once that gets situated, I’ll be recruiting a staff of bloggers for the other magazines.

Okay, I know there’s more questions you have. It’s late though, and I’m tired. So, if you have questions, feel free to ask me.


Where did Raymond go?

Article published on Mar 13th, 2007 | No Comments | Trackback | Categories »
[x] Posted in New Features

When we launched our Founders blog, Raymond was the face that you saw on many of the blog posts. However, lately people have noticed that he’s been a little M.I.A on the blog – so what’s the deal? It’s all pretty exciting really – he’s been heading up a few new and very big projects with Kaiser to bring new meaning to the Desi community blogosphere and a shared news portal for all of our e-magazines and websites.

While they work around the clock to redefine and bring more value to what we offer you at The CulturalConnect, I’ve been working with a newly created team (Elisha, Tunde, Bukola and Elizabeth) to prepare for the launch of The AfricanaConnect (will be our fifth e-magazine and website) in early April.

It’s been a little tiring to get all of this done in a short period of time – but fortunately for us – we love it :) so stay tuned, we promise a lot of new stuff we can’t wait to get your feedback on.



Article published on Mar 12th, 2007 | 1 Comment | Trackback | Categories »
[x] Posted in New Features

It’s time to hit the refresh button because there are new things going on.

In preparation for something special this week, we’ve updated the look of the blog and added some new things on the side (recent posts and comments) and at the bottom of each post (links for Digg, del.icio.us, Facebook, and Send Page to Friend).

Also, the common icons throughout the site have gotten a much-needed touch-up (might need to refresh on a non-blog page to see it). They make me happy now.

Farewell, old design…

snapshot of old blog design


Fly Birdie, Fly

Article published on Mar 7th, 2007 | 1 Comment | Trackback | Categories »
[x] Posted in Conferences

For those that have been following our new blog closely, you’ll notice that this is my first official post :)

I’ve been to been itching to write, but the truth of the matter is that I have no idea where the last three months have gone! Anyone else feel the same? I think part of it has to do with the fact that I’ve been traveling a lot for The CulturalConnect (something I didn’t do much of last year). In fact, I’m currently writing this at the Toronto International Airport.

Why all the traveling? Well you may remember that a few months ago BusinessWeek Magazine recognized The CulturalConnect as one of America’s Top Company run by young entrepreneurs. Since then we’ve had a lot of requests by journalists for interviews and conferences/event coordinators looking for us to come out and share our story.

TCC has been featured in 15 articles (since BizWeek) making our total media coverage about 50. Even more exciting, personally, has been the invitations to come speak at Universities, Business Conferences and Cultural Events around the nation. I really enjoy the opportunity to speak to, share our story with, meet and connect with so many new people of different backgrounds, age groups, interests and professional industries.

In January, Raymond and I had the wonderful opportunity to present a keynote and a couple workshop talks at the University of Michigan South Asian Awareness Network Conference (as Raymond previously blogged about). In February, I spoke at the San Francisco State University’s 1st Annual Marketing Association Meeting as their keynote speaker. We also attended/participated at the NASALSA Annual Conference and a Bali Institute event as top level media sponsors.

This past weekend has been quite a whirlwind. I had the amazing opportunity to speak at the 6th Annual Achieving Professional Excellence (APEX) Conference in snowy Toronto, Canada. I’m actually surprised that my flight landed as I flew in on the worst snow storm it has had in over 10 years (atleast that is what I was told).

I gave a workshop entitled “For the Young, Driven and Forward-Thinking” where I was asked to share my experiences about working in Marketing at a great Fortune 500 company like Sun Microsystems, my involvement in the Non-Profit community and of course about The CulturalConnect and what it is like to be a young entrepreneur running it with my co-founders. I spent a lot of time sharing snapshots on the very inspiring and amazing professionals we have had the opportunity to interview in our magazines. I find that sharing these stories really resonate with college students and recent alums that are stressed about degree and career choices.

I must say that it was such a well organized and professional conference. I’m constantly surprised by college students that put on conferences better than more experienced and seasoned conference coordinators. I’d like to give a big shout-out to the very talented Conference Chair Aditi Kapadia (to the right of me) and her relentless conference team (special thanks to Sal Rabbani for the invitation – to the left of me).

It has been a great (albeit busy) start of the year. I really want this year to be stepping up on providing even more amazing interviews, growing our readership and connecting in person with our fabulous readers from around the world. We’ll keep you posted on future speaking engagements. If you hear that we’re going to be speaking in your area, please email us so we can ‘Connect’ in person ;)


Where are the issues this week?

Article published on Feb 27th, 2007 | No Comments | Trackback | Categories »

You’re probably scratching your head about why we haven’t had any new issues this week. If you haven’t figured out already, it’s the end of the month, and we always send out the Month-in-Review during the last week of the month. It gives a chance for our readers to catch up on all our issues. Colin and Kaiser have been working non-stop to send something out for later this week. So, stay tuned!


Ajax, oh my

Article published on Feb 18th, 2007 | 1 Comment | Trackback | Categories »
[x] Posted in Web 2.Hyped

I wonder if I come off as contradictory: a reclusive tinkerer locked up in his lab (with pet fur and poop collecting on the floor), messing around with code and inventing his own better (or so he thinks) solutions to already ’solved’ problems, while shunning the latest technology fad like an outdated and lazy IT department at…the Department of Windows 3.1 [?].

For as long as I’ve been developing web apps, I’ve also been behind on trends and fads. It really isn’t a good thing for someone in my field, I know. Part of it is that I’ve come across too much badly written/organized code to trust apps written by anyone else. We’re using WordPress as our blogging software mostly because it wasn’t a smart idea for me to put in the time to write our own blogging system. WordPress is great for the end user, but while building the templates, I’ve found a ton of nuisances that make me wonder how they got the system working in the first place.

The other part is that I have a negative reaction to anything that’s hyped up so much. Take Ruby On Rails: I had a chance to experiment with at work a few months ago, and aside from the five frustrating days I spent trying to get it functioning correctly, I wasn’t at all impressed by it once I got into it. Yeah, it’s probably the best framework out there for anyone that doesn’t have much experience developing applications in an organized way. But guess what? I’ve written my own framework (which is what the site has been running on since the relaunch), and while it’s not as user-friendly as Rails is out the box, it does just as good a job, and has a few key features that Rails, for whatever reason, is sorely lacking.

Having said all that, I’ve been growing increasingly fond of Ajax. In a nutshell, Ajax makes pages more interactive by sending and receiving data in the background without reloading the page. You’ve probably come across it without realizing it: Gmail, Facebook, Flickr, and the new Yahoo! Mail make heavy use of it.

And now, TCC has it! If you’re logged in, just check out your preferences. (You’ll need to refresh to reload the new stylesheet.) I spent the last week working on a small Javascript library and tweaking the framework to be more Ajax-friendly (that wasn’t tricky or time-consuming, thanks in part to my foresight and skillz with coding).

It isn’t impressive, but now that the foundation is laid, it’s a good sign of newer and better things to come for the site.

Assuming I don’t get OCD with the details.


Posting Events: Part 3

Article published on Feb 16th, 2007 | No Comments | Trackback | Categories »
[x] Posted in Events

Woohoo! I’m impressed with everyone who posted events this past week. I have news to announce as well. The events page was the 4th most trafficked page this week. So, this could mean a couple things: 1) People are actually reading my blog posts and reacting to said posts; 2) It just naturally got more trafficked; or 3) Damn it. I had a third one. Ugh. Oh well.

Speaking of events. Sumaya is attending the NASALSA Conference tomorrow. If you’re in the Bay Area, make sure to stop by attend some workshops. I understand there’s a registration fee, so take cash.

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