We also craft real world digital products and services. We do that mostly because we love the act of creation. But we also do that because it keeps us sharp and prevents us from talking through our hats – as consultants sometimes do!
Over the years we have cerated more than a dozen digital media products. Majority of them have failed in the market place, but a couple of them have gone on to to be significant players in their niche. We learn from our successes, but even more so from our failures.
The digital world that we have recently come to inhabit is constantly and radically being transformed. The advances in infrastructure and technology are overwhelming the consumer with an avalanche of content. Yet they seem to be craving more. We keep finding new and interesting ways to consume (and even create) more content and information in new ways, places and devices.
In a world where transformational change seems to be the new normal, publishing a website or an app is just not enough. What worked yesterday will not work today; and what works today will likely not work tomorrow. The only way to keep abreast with change is to capitalize on this disruption. To ensure that your digital media strategy is constantly monitored, tested, evaluated and reconfigured... and back to monitoring.
This is a partial list of some of the projects that we have incubated. We picked these because we think they represent a cross-section of project types [this list does not include the projects in the pipeline, nor the clients we consult with].
Pitara is one of Asia's largest children's website -- it is a huge collection of multimedia and multilingual content. It uses a distributed workforce -- its authors and editors are almost never in the same physical location.
Project type: Website - Multimedia content
Technologies: WordPress, PHP, Java
Key features: Content Management system (CMS) optimized for rapid deployment and update of interactive content and advertising.
We crafted a solution that seemlessly transferred thousands of pages of legacy content (included text, images, interactive Flash and Java animations/game) over to WordPress, while making sure that decades of link history and Google love was maintained.
The new website is fast — it delivers cached pages to all non-logged-in users, but those cached pages are updated whenever the site is updated. It is easy to update and maintain — logged users have role-based access to the backend. Authors and editors have access to edit history as well as grade-appropriateness scores -- Flesch–Kincaid readability scores are generated for each piece of content.
PublishersGlobal is the world's leading B2B information service for the publishing industry. It contains a huge database of changing information, and a large set of tools for the industry and end-users.
Project type: Website - Access controlled subscription service
Technologies: PHP, MySql, Bootstrap, jQuery
Key features: Multi-level role-based access for content use and creation. Large database of content optimized for a range of tools and utilities for paid and free subscribers.
With tens of thousands of possible combinations available for each profile and an even larger set of choices available for each end user, the challenge was to design and implement a database solution that was fast, efficient, reliable and cost-effective.
The final solution allows different users (Free/Paid/Premium) different levels of access for viewing, submitting, editing and manipulating the information. Similarly, editors have different levels of access to edit/review depending on their experience. Along with all of this, algorithmic solutions help front-end users as well as back-end editors to maintain accuracy of the data.
ParentsSquare is an online magazine for parents. It includes a large set of personalized tools and utilities for parents, and to-be parents.
Project type: Website - Content & interactive tools
Technologies: WordPress, PHP
Key features: Multiple original WordPress Plugins were created for interactive tools like baby name finder, pregnancy tracker...
On the face of it this seemed like a WordPress theme creation project. But articles are not the only thing the ParentsSquare website needed to serve. They wanted to offer multiple utilities to parents and would-be parents
Creating original WordPress plugins that would use a large database of legacy content to deliver interactive utilities was key to the sucess of this project. We created a cacheable (so that it ran fast) baby name finder with personalised and shareable shortlists. WE also created plugins for personalizable pregnancy trackers and immunisation schedules for this project.
The documentary exchange is a startup attempting to be a documentary archive and resource center. While the project is still in 'Beta' the website is live. The App is under development.
Project type: Website - User-generated content
Audience: Documentary Film afficionados
Technologies: WordPress, PHP, Bootstrap, jQuery
Key features: End-users, editors and film fraternity can collaboratively create, share and manage content, comment and dialogue.
Visualized as a collaborative project for documentary filmmakers and afficionados to work together to create a space for discussing, exchanging and distributing documentary films and information about them.
An original Bootstrap integrated WordPress theme was created for this project. A large library of original plugins was also created for easy updation and maintenance of textual as well as multimedia content.
RushFinder is a curated adventure/extreme sports directory, marketplace as well as user-generated information/experience sharing platform.
Project type: Website - Directory with events listing & sale
Audience: Adventure sports enthusiasts
Technologies: WordPress, PHP, MySql, jQuery, Google maps APIs
Key features: The end-user gets a feed of sports and events with comments and ratings by other users. Adventure providers can remotely add new events.
Rushfinder needed a specific blend and interaction of curated content as well as user-genearted content with front-end multi-media submissions and a back-end editorial approval system.
The site provides interactive maps, driving directions, user rating and review system and outfitter contact system enhances the user interaction significantly.
The site, if it so desires, can charge businesses a fee (or not) for being listed. All listed businesses can use a parallel system to post specific events, and sell tickets if they so wish to - once again this service can be free or charged.
theNewsCollective is a not-for-profit news aggregation and search service. It allows users to create a personalized news system by customizing a large list of non-mainstream news sources.
Laravel framework, PHP, MySql, Bootstrap, jQuery
Project type: Website - Algorithmically curated news
Audience: Serious news readers and industry professionals
Technologies: Laravel framework, PHP, MySql
Key features: A database of algorithmically curated news that can be personalized by the end-user
A proprietary RSS feed reader was created for this project. The aggregated feed items are then algorithmically rated, which gets further refined based on multiple signals -- from the web and from the users.
The system is designed to continuously aggregate and learn from signals. As the knowledge repository has grown, users (especially from the news media) have also started using it as a news search tool.
A newer set of signaling systems is under development that will use a much larger set of signals to fine-tune the newsfeed for the website as well as the to-be-launched App.
When he is not working on a client engagement Ajay can often be found working on long-term projects while cycling, scuba diving or backpacking in some remote part of the world. Visit his blog to read about his latest adventure.
Over the last 30-odd years Ajay has worked for large corporations as well as fledgling start-ups. He has led venture capital-backed entrepreneurial ventures and been part of large global teams. Ajay has done work for and consulted with a range of clients spread across the globe. These diverse experiences help him see the world from multiple perspectives making him a better consultant and developer.
Ajay sees himself primarily as a practitioner who loves to get his hands dirty on the next design challenge. Everything that you see in the portfolio section above has been personally crafted by him. The strategy, the design, the code...
Some of the products he has personally designed and coded have gone on to be VC-funded and some have become profitable businesses. In recent years he has also been involved in a large number of not-for-profit projects and organizations.
His decades of experience in building brands, crafting technology and designing elegant solutions is now deployed to help large and small companies design and implement a digital media strategy.
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