The reality behind the Forbes – Flipkart story

Logo of Flipkart.com

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, if you looked at the title and came to read this, then you get the point – sensationalism sells!

I have known the Bansals for some time now, and know a bunch of other folks at Flipkart through common networks and while I don’t know the reality more than anyone else out there, one thing I can vouch for is that they are one of the most focused teams I have ever met, with insane passion for customer delight. They have grown the company to this size at a pace that very few can fathom and if anyone deserves to succeed they certainly do!

I think the articles by Ashish and Mukund have already covered various facets of how hard it is to run a company in general, so I will touch upon a very different topic:

Journalists: Why It Is So Hard To Get Them To Report Correctly

Over the last couple of years, I have had the opportunity of dealing with several journalists and bloggers and I believe both have their own space in this universe.

Bloggers are typically a youthful bunch, very eager to meet, flexible on the story with the primary goal being providing their own unique flavor to any story they cover. In general, it is very easy to work with them because they are very well read about the area they cover and it is very easy to explain stuff to them and expect it to appear as expected in the coverage.

With journalists, I have typically found that they are harder to reach out to, unless they have a story to cover, in which case they reach out to you instead ( that is if they know you exist ). One of the peculiar things that I have seen while dealing with journalists is that they have a story in mind, they have a set of hypothesis and they try to fit “whatever you say” into this structure. In most interactions, it seemed to me as if they are fairly knowledgeable of the area that they are covering, but their only goal is to complete the story at hand, not to understand the details and report them as they are.

In addition, journalists do not have as much freedom as bloggers do – they have an editorial process to follow and even if they are kind enough to oblige you with covering your words verbatim, it will all be undone by the time it passes through the editor’s desk. Even after spending several hours explaining, proof reading, editing, none of our coverage with journalists has ever been reproduced as we expected it to.

So What Did Flipkart Do Wrong?

I think the biggest mistake Flipkart made was to not have a media manager responsible for the story. It seems like they gave all the information in good faith, expecting the coverage to boost their brand image, but it is as dangerous to leave a Journalist with raw information as it is to leave a Goat in the Lion’s den ( and expect it to survive ).

Anyway, what’s done is done! Hope better sense prevails and Flipkart does prove all the detractors wrong!

6 thoughts on “The reality behind the Forbes – Flipkart story”

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