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An Interview with Anuradha Bajpai, Co-Founder & CEO of Woodpie.com

17/03/2016
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Open Talk @DSIM

An Interview with Anuradha Bajpai, Co-Founder & CEO of Woodpie.com

Woodpie.com is a social network for book lovers. It enables readers to easily discover books through the people they trust. It is a platform that brings the reading community together. Woodpie.com matches similar readers. Readers in the same city can meet over coffee, exchange books and expand their social circle in real life.

 

Q1. Hi Anuradha, welcome to DSIM. Let’s begin with your background and tell us what made you start working on Woodpie? How did the idea of starting up come to your mind?

Ans. Background: I am a Computer Science graduate from Oriental Institute of Science and Technology, Bhopal and have 12+ years of experience in design and delivery of software applications with various international IT companies.

Origin of Idea: Once my husband Manoj Jindal, who is also the co-founder and I saw a book in a store. The book was ‘Why men don’t listen and women can’t read maps.’ We liked the title, but were not sure if we wanted to buy it. We had also read ‘Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus,’ which seemed similar. So we left the book. The next day we visited a friend and coincidently spotted the same book there. Our friend highly recommended the book, and lent it to us. We read it and found it very interesting. That’s when it occurred to us that we need a platform which will help us discover books through friends.

There are millions of books, but how do we know which is good? There are online reviews, but how do we know if the reviews are genuine and not marketing ploys. A recommendation from a known person always weighs much higher than hundreds of recommendations from unknown people. Also, a book that you want to read may be somewhere close to you. You may not have to buy it, but simply borrow. So we built Woodpie.com. It is a social network which helps readers discover books through trusted network, connect with other readers, recommend books, discover similar readers and meet with readers in the same city over coffee and exchange books. Woodpie.com helps you to discover similar readers like you and make new friends.

Q2. Wonderful Idea with the great name! How did you come up with the name?
Ans. My co-founder Manoj Jindal came up with the name. The idea of sharing books excites us. When two people read the same book, paper is saved and so is the wood (jungle). So if we imagine that we have a perfectly spherical globe, Woodpie is saving one small piece of this world, a small piece of wood. So, we decided on the name ‘woodpie’.

Q3. Interesting Anuradha. So, what is the role of digital marketing in your market initiatives?

Ans. Digital marketing is pivotal for the growth of our company. Woodpie.com is an online platform that brings readers together. As a start-up and with the limited budget, we can’t afford the cost of most of the traditional marketing channel. Optimizing the cost is critical for us. Digital marketing makes it possible to reach to right audience and quickly measure the efforts and retune.

To kick-start, we used social media and content marketing among other tools to reach out to relevant people. In almost one year after launch, readers from 47 countries, 384 cities in India and 79 cities in US have joined this large global book community mainly through digital marketing and then word of mouth publicity by our users.

Q4. Wonderful! How the market is adapting digital marketing and how to persist in the changing Industry?
Ans. Digital marketing is changing nonstop. In digital space, it’s important to remain up to date with all the latest changes in the industry; otherwise you will lag behind. The best way to stay ahead is to know what the big trends are and predict the way the market is moving and then plan and act accordingly. Although it is impossible to predict the future 100%, it is possible to analyze current trends.
Q5. I believe you also have a partner? How important is to have a partner when you start-up?
Ans. It is critical to have partners who believe in the vision of the company and goes that extra mile every time to achieve goals. Companies go through tough times. Having partners who believe in the idea and have faith in the vision helps the company to keep moving forward, overcome hurdles and achieve desired success.
Q6. Anuradha, I noticed that you are not charging a single penny for using your services, but what about the future? Do you have any new features in the pipeline?

Ans. Woodpie.com is a powerful book discovery platform. Currently, we are focused on building this platform and making it valuable for the readers’ community to discover great books. As a next step, we will make it easier for our users to buy books by affiliating with book retailers and will earn referral commission.

Q7. Nice thought! So, at last one more question, what is your message to those young people who have superb start-up ideas but don’t have the courage to proceed?

Ans. Execution is the key. The process is simple as they say, build fast and fail fast. Make a minimum viable product, which would take lesser time and resources to build. Initially, contact your users personally and request for feedback. Feedback is critical to refine a product and make it appealing to your users.

Keep iterating and use digital marketing effectively as it allows you to do measurable and interactive marketing and helps to reach the right audience much faster. Building a start-up is not easy, but there is no greater satisfaction than seeing your idea turn into reality. Watching people use it and find it valuable gives immense feeling of contentment.

“It was nice talking to you. Thank you so much for your time and providing us valuable information.”

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