The Evolution of InsideIIM & KiRa9 – CEO’s Note & Request For Feedback
In July 2012, I quit my job to run InsideIIM.com. In September 2013, we incorporated the company KiRa9 Edumedia that owns the InsideIIM.com property. However, it was April 30th, 2011 – exactly 5 years ago that the website went live. If you are curious to know how it looked back then, click here (a simple wordpress blog).
Most of last year was spent in confusion and hence in serious introspection. The process has been humbling. Now I don’t know about other founders but there are regular periods of self-doubt, confusion and frustration for me. There are often occasions when you are unsure if you’re steering the ship in the right direction. More importantly, you need to know if you’re steering it in a ‘happy’ direction. So that I’m not misunderstood, let me clarify – as compared to this time last year, we have more users, larger revenues, more employees and higher profits today. We have no investors. We were profitable a year after incorporation so sustainability of the business has never been a question.
The question is – Are we having an impact that is large enough?
Are we utilising our energies to solve bigger problems?
Are we solving problems of a larger number of people?
A lot of structural problems with InsideIIM.com exist because it was never started to be turned into a full-time venture. There was a lack of a quality content platform that would help people make critical decisions in the MBA and Careers space so I started it as a blog hoping it would evolve on its own. I always wanted to venture out on my own but I was working on very different business ideas when InsideIIM as an ‘hobby’ was started. I still can’t clearly trace how it consumed me fully and how we ended up here. I never did a ‘market analysis’ back then before taking the plunge. The only thing I knew very clearly back when I quit my job in July 2012 was that we will definitely be able to monetise this and that eventually I’ll earn far more than what I can in a MNC job doing things I truly care about. Since then at least a few thousands students have benefited from the 3800+ stories on this platform. They have made choices armed with relevant and accurate information. Most importantly, we have triggered a critical thought process among our users and initiated important discussions. In our small way, we have helped shape careers of those users. Is it enough impact? Absolutely not. There are miles to go. But let’s not take anything away from everyone who has put in the hours at InsideIIM – Employees, Interns, Advisors, Well-wishers, Authors, Users and even our Clients. It has all been worth it.
Let’s go back to the ‘impact’ question. We want to do more. In the last few years, we have tried multiple things on the platform. There was a time we were helping students with short term accommodation, we have also tried selling courses (without a payment gateway), run a very successful interview training product, run a reasonably successful recruitment platform. (Do bear in mind we tried all these experiments by re-investing our own money. It is the only time I feel that if we had investors we could have made some of these experiments really work.) However, the only thing that most people seem to remember us for is – Content. From users to clients to well-wishers – everyone attaches maximum value to the content on our platform.
Slowly, it became clear that anything that we build at KiRa9 Edumedia that aspires to have a big enough impact will have Content at the fulcrum.
This is what we do best.
This realisation guided us to cut down everything that did not highlight or leverage our core strength – Content. We stopped our recruitment service too. In this context, it is important to highlight the decision that was taken in 2013 to build a self-publishing feature. Anyone can write a story on InsideIIM since 2014. A lot of people feared that it would destroy our content quality. However, majority of our content today is co-created by the community and not just by us. We have recently added Video Story-telling to our repertoire.
So, who are we?
We are a new-age media company in the digital space. We want to build a world-class platform with high quality content targeted at young Indians.
InsideIIM.com is our first and most popular property so far but there are many new initiatives to come your way. Some of you may have used Konversations.com – a lot of new developments on that front as well. You’ll know soon.
So it is also an opportune moment for me to ask for your feedback again. Your feedback to my note last year was extremely useful. I hope we were able to address at least some of your concerns.
I would be grateful to you if you could help me below with your views so that we are able to help you better and give you exactly what you want. You have the option to remain anonymous. You can also message me directly using the messaging option above under the author name. You can also reach me directly on Twitter – @ankit9doshi or on LinkedIn. I also promise to write more often this year. You can read my previous stories here.