Nandini Maheshwari is the managing Editor and Publisher of a truly entertaining blog, BornRich. Launched on October 5th, 2005, it has quickly become a place where visitors can come and be amazed at what more than a few dollars will buy.
Whether it be the Multi-Media Bed with RUF Cinema, the Chrome Robot TV Stand, the Solarjo Solar Power Purse, or the Sharp Refrigerator with Thawing Mechanism, Nandini scours the web to find interesting and generally quite pricey items that we all might enjoy using if they were more easily obtainable; and always, Nandini will spike her posts with a bit of humor and wit.
Born Rich was Nandini’s idea and her first blog; since then she has co-founded the Instablogs Network with her husband Ankit who lends a hand with the needed programming. Nandini runs the 100+ blogs that make up the Instablogs Network, which has just celebrated its first birthday. She also personally works on another gadget blog called CoolBuzz, which covers the “coolest gadgets and other consumer items.”
A confessed “shopaholic”, Nandini says she is inspired by the “exotic thinking” of producers and designers of things that only the rich and super-rich can afford. She claims to get a “perverse enjoyment” in covering luxury lifestyle.
I thought it would be fun to talk to Nandini about Instablogs Network, Born Rich, CoolBuzz, and some of the other goings-on in the Instablogs Network…
Judie: Nandini, it seems only fair that I get to put you in the “hot seat”, since you and your readers had your turn with me for Born Rich’s series. So let’s jump right in. I know from our chats on Google Talk that you are quite the entrepreneur. I have to tell you that I am truly impressed not just with what you have managed to do in under a year, but also by how young you are. Can you tell me a little bit about what inspired you to start not just one blog, but an entire network of them?
Nandini: I have always been inspired by new media. I subscribe to Dan Gilmor’s school of thoughts, and believe in news as discussion rather than news as lecture. The idea of formation of blog network was based on same principle. We wanted to form a news organization based on blogging. We have around 50 bloggers working on various channels, and over millions of readers every month. But after a year, we have realized its time for the model of blog networks to evolve into a larger platform which could bring more active participants, and a better bonding between bloggers and readers. This is what we are going to do with our new Instablogs Community Bringing Bloggers and Readers Closer.
Judie: I am sure that when you were a younger girl, you didn’t say. “I am going to grow up and be a famous blogger one day.” What did you want to be when you were younger? What made you decide that this was what you should do instead?
Nandini: From my childhood I have been a bookworm. I love reading newspapers, magazines, books etc. And then I used to discuss news and other events with my parents, friends etc. I think I still do the same. Blogging is a great way to express your thoughts and engage in discussions with like-minded people.
Judie: I would imagine that running the Instablogs Network has to be a full time job for both you and your husband, or is it? Do either of you have “day jobs” in addition to keeping up with these sites? If so, how do you manage?!
Nandini: From the day one, we both are involved with Instablogs network on full-time basis. The pace at which it’s growing, it leaves us with no time for anything else. Initially to fund Instablogs Network we took up a few outsourced projects for many clients. But now Instablogs Network is running well and is pulling off on its own.
Judie: In case anyone wasn’t aware, Instablogs Network is based in India. I have noticed that over half of your readership traffic comes from North America. Do you ever find it difficult to keep your postings relevant when writing for people half a world away? Or do you feel that we are all basically interested in the same type items?
Nandini: I feel the world is fast becoming a global village, where people are more connected over similar passions and interests. I write about things which appeal to me, and have never found a problem in connecting with my readers worldwide. Further, Instablogs might be a blog network based in India, but not all our bloggers are Indians.
Judie: I just have to interject a quick comment here for those of you that weren’t aware: Instablogs hit their twenty millionth page view in just a little over ten months. Obviously they have well surpassed that number now, and obviously they have managed to keep their postings very relevant, informative and entertaining to all of their readers!
You cover a lot of items in Born Rich that are well outside the purchasing power of the average person. Do you ever feel guilty that you are sparking dissatisfaction with your readers, or do you look at it as if you are inspiring them to do better…or is it something entirely different?
Nandini: I guess I am just keeping them informed in all ways. If they are born rich, I barge them with options and if they can’t afford it, I keep them entertained with all the gawking stuff.
Judie: So many of your posts on BornRich and CoolBuzz cover fabulous gadgets that I would really love to own. Would it be fair to say that you are a gadget girl, too? If so, please tell us about some of your favorites…
Nandini: Yes, I am totally a gadget-freak who would prefer an expensive gadget (be it a latest mobile phones, large screen TFT monitors, gaming laptops etc) over a diamond necklace. My list of favorite gadgets is unending, but besides those I own, I would love to own, Solarjo power purse, Zenview’s larger screen monitors, PS3, Zune …
Judie: I’ve heard it said that all bloggers have a bit of an egoist in them, that they write not only because they have something to say but also because they thrive on the feedback they receive. Do you feel that that is true? If it’s not feedback from your readers, what is the one thing that inspires you to continue searching for items and topics to post about, day in and day out?
Nandini: I can’t help agreeing with you completely. I would not have been come this far without my readers feedback that comes in all ways from words of appreciation to interesting tips. And, another reason, is I love to explore and write about all those things, which I, can’t afford to buy. Luxury stuff that most of us could just dream off, is what arrests me even more. So, I keep myself content with writing about the stuff virtual satisfaction, you can say!
Judie: What are some of your favorite sources for Born Rich or CoolBuzz posts?
Nandini: Gizmodo most importantly! I love Charlie’s punch and Jason’s humor, besides, Gizmodo is the type of blog that has it all from absolute geeky stuff to fun and luxury gadgets.
Engadget though, Engadget is a blog that stands in a totally different league with its emphasis just on hardcore tech, but, love reading it.
Luxist share the same taste with that of mine, luxury at its best
GearDiary apart from love for all the geeky stuff, I look forward to the genuine reviews you do. Love all your writings, be it your personal diary or your hardware discussions.
Judie: When not looking for new items to cover for your blogs, what do you like to do to relax?
Nandini: Going shopping is one of my ideas to get relaxed,:-) And, yes, I love to travel, watch movies and indulge in adventure sports, which I don’t get to do now that often with my hectic schedule.
Judie: You mention that you are a shopaholic; what type items do you like to buy?
Nandini: I have a passion for mobile phones and portable gadgets. So I could not resist buying a new feature-packed phone as soon as it hit the Indian shores. Apart, from it, I am not too different from the inherent girly passion for clothes and diamonds.
Judie: The last question I have for you involves what you are carrying in your bag right now. I’m going to ask you to dump it out on your couch or table and take a picture. I’d like to see what you are carrying and hear anything you would like to say about your bag’s contents…
Nandini: I just got myself an N93 on my birthday. I don’t need an iPod anymore as my phone stores all my favorite numbers, but I guess I am too sentimental to switch my loyalties from my iPod.
Nandini, I really appreciate you sitting in for a Gear Diary Interview; I wish you, Ankit, and the Instablogs Network bloggers much future success!