Elite Blogger: Rendezvous With Nandini Maheshwari and Team

There is no question about the non familiarity of BornRich amongst geeks, designers and uber-rich class. Now its time to familiarize yourself with the face behind it: Nandini Maheshwari, editor, Bornrich and CCO (chief content officer), blogger cum co-founder, Instablogs. Fortunately, today I have a lot of meat for you as you have a threesome from an India-based network Instablogs launched in October 2005. Nandini Maheshwari, Ankit Maheshwari, CTO and CEO, Instablogs along with their eight-month young baby girl Aanya Maheshwari.

As you go with the flow of excerpts, you will realize that this eight-month young kid is doing her homework silently by kicking her parents tight (Nandini mentioned waking up at 6 in morning after Aanya’s alarm bell bangs), thereby managing to extract her share of attention from her entrepreneur parents. Good Aanya!

Anaya’s entry into Maheshwari’s family is being seen as a lucky mascot. And it was proved days back when TechCrunch Duncan Riley uncovered the financials and projections of Instablogs. Something that got launched as a blogging network is gradually turning into a mainstream media with a difference. All your hows’ and whys’ can be answered through the exhaustive responses from the Instablogs leads. Now I will stay tight lipped and you go ahead penning down any queries.

Introduce yourself to my readers.
Folks, this is Nandini from BornRich. I am also the co-founder of Instablogs Network, one of the fastest growing social news site.

Take us to your typical day at work?
My little daughter, Aanya has a fantastic biological clock. Her alarm goes off exactly at 6:00am. The best or worse part is at that time she is full of energy and wants to play. So I get my daily dose of exercise in running after her. But I also sneak out few minutes in between to check my emails and read few of the blog posts in my reader.

Then I start forming mental checklist and prepare a “To Do List” and decide what to do for the day (this keeps on changing throughout the morning). Reach office, chat with few guys, connect with few writers (online and offline) and answer my emails. Scan my reader again, pick out some cool stories. The day is followed with usual office stuff like meetings, presentations, etc.

Oh did I mention, I always take Aanya with me to the office. In between changing her nappies, I also manage to post few articles, and plan for bornrich articles with the team. Leave office by 8:00. Check stats, email and back-links again before saying goodnight which is around 12:30 am in the night.

Nandini favoBesides posting, what all activities do you participate in that adds to the success of Bornrich viz. digg, link exchange and others?

One advice I would like to give to the new bloggers is, invest in your readers. Always reply to their tips, emails, comments etc. Secondly, try to be friends with your fellow bloggers. Link a lot to their blogs and, always give credit to people.

Don`t try to manipulate social news sites like digg, reddit etc. Let you readers submit there. Instead, put your energy in finding interesting news.

Instablogs is a huge network, why you chose to write only on bornrich?
I have always been fascinated with luxury lifestyle and when I decided upon a luxury blog, it instantly hit me. So BornRich was born.

Favorite Posts from bornrich
Multimedia Bed (RUF Cinema)
Make wine at home with winepod
US SUBS new discovery 1000 submarine

What are your top 5 online reads or blogs besides bornrich?
Gizmodo, Trendir, YankoDesign, Appliancist, Luxist Your views on Traditional Journalism V/S Blogging.
I think the line between traditional media and new media is diminishing everyday. You will see more bloggers in future breaking news, fast checking facts, employing proof readers and doing the news coverage as professionally you expect a traditional guy to do. We have already seen in many instances where bloggers have outshine traditional media by not hours but days like Burma conflict, Tibet protests and during Iraq war.

I am certain that in coming days we are going to see traditional media and new media working together shoulder to shoulder, Instablogs is a step in that direction, where traditional and new media don’t compete but complement each other.

Here is a small set of business-side responses from the duo running Instablogs so beautifully regarding northward moving curve of Instablogs Network.

How true is techcrunch report on Instablogs negotiating a $3 million funding. When will it be on papers tentatively? Is this your initiative or an invitation from funding source?
Yes, we have been talking to few investors lately. But the figure Techcrunch quoted is not correct, even the Presentation they got hold of is an old one. We have participated in few startups events and got a lot of positive feedback from there. Most of talks have originated out of these events.

How reliable is the projections traced by techcrunch for Instablogs especially generating a revenue of $850,000 per month?
As I told you, it was an old presentation. Won’t be able to disclose any figures at the moment!

Growth plans for Instablogs, what all features/ value additions can your savvy readers look forward to?
Instablogs with its history of innovation and its desire to remain ahead of competition continues working on more features and tools. When most of the social news sites and main stream media sites were doing the same stuff of comments, dead-ending articles or aggregating content from other sites; Instablogs was re-inventing the presentation of the news in a totally new fashion never seen before on any news sites, making it the only place where news-junkie got satiated.

With the understanding that news is no longer a singular article and which has metamorphosed to perspectives; we at Instablogs has developed next generation tools and widgets which help readers to think through the news with a better understanding and more command over it, which they have demanded since the advent of civilization.
Instablogs’ focus is to build a news-ecosystem which can turn a passive reader into an active participant making every article in Instablogs a live discussion.

When did you realize that Instablogs is going to get so huge?
We still have long way to go. We have just started with the new version.

Give us an insight about the deal with AP. Isn’t the full-text content source questionable under copyrights norms? What is that %age increase in your traffic figures and monetary figures after tying up with AP? Which agency next?

We are syndicating AP content and paying them monthly fees. We are also in talks with other news agencies for similar content licensing. Copyright of the content remain with the agencies. We have seen a healthy growth in our readership in all.

What helps you generate monthly revenue of 25k in absence of ads on the face of your site? What is the revenue-generation model behind Instablogs?
We run ads on all of our sites. The ads were taken off for a while during beta testing the site. But now since new version is up, ads will up very soon.

Any plans to develop a sales team who can get you sufficient ads?
Yes, we are in talks with few guys who will help us to sell unsold inventory. We are also in talks with few ad networks as well.

Where do you see Instablogs after five years from now?
The prime news destination on the web. A playground for news junkies and your daily morning read.

How do you find Elitechoice?
I love not just writing but reading about luxury lifestyle and EliteChoice is a fabulous online resource for luxury life living. Besides, I love where you have taken EliteChoice, single-handedly.

Lastly, you can ask me one-question now.
My question to you would be: What you had in mind when you started EliteChoice? Where do you see it going?
EliteChoice, as the name goes was started with a view point to cover every bit of information that can alarm elite class. Then be it products, news or expert’s reviews’. During my coverage, I could sense its bent towards more of products (of course luxurious) but managed to scale up to offering essential news about upcoming events. I completely agree with your emphasis on investing time in community and readers as this is what am exercising at Elitechoice. I am hopeful that it gets right kind of identification among the savvy bloggers and then it will reach itself where it should reach. The first one it has got by reaching to the platform of Zola Marquis: Cool geek of the week. Second onebringing worthy names onto my blog under Elite Blogger series.

Many thanks Nandini for feeding my readers with your direct responses and we wish luck to you and team for making their round!
Nandini Maheshwari

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