So I thought I’d give a little background on why this blog is titled Natso’s Not So Personal Blog. Yeah, it’s today’s assignment, but I am already satisfied with my title, so I’ll go ahead and publish a post. I haven’t found my angle of writing yet. So far, I know it’s going to be not so personal things, like reading, writing and NGO stuff. I guess I like this title because Natso sounds like not so, and it’s like one of those cheesy puns.
Except there’s something I should tell you about the word Natso. Ladies and gentlemen… (drum roll) the truth of the matter is… Natso is not my real name (gasp!).
My real name has eleven letters and seven of them are consonants. Yep, just about your typical Mongolian name. I won’t write my real name, because, like a lego piece, it poses a choking hazard for the unitiated to pronounce. Talk about mystic spell(ing)s.
So Natso is basically a contraction of my real name. I actually created a blog titled Natso Personal on Blogger a long time ago, but then focused on blogging about books or other things, so I changed it. Basically I don’t like to come across as someone pouring out their personal information for everyone to see. But when you’re blogging for a long time, and you want to build a relationship with your readers, you might have tendency to write TMI things.
About the tagline: lives in Mongolia, writes in English. As you can see, very simple tagline. What I’m hoping right now is that it becomes my Unique Value Proposition–you know, something that sets me apart from other blogs. I also have seen a lot of short story authors’ bio include “lives in [Insert city and state] with [Insert significant other and obligatory pet]” sentence a lot, so I tried to emulate that.
Speaking of UVP and pets, there was an example in a Coursera class called Foundation for Business Strategy that’s bothering me now. It goes like this.
During the dot-com in the 90s, there was a site called Pets.com. It had a simple brand, simple domain, simple logo (stuffed puppy puppet) and a simple business model–sell pet supplies. It had a good branding and even featured their puppy ad during Super Bowl. Then, it went bust.
Its Unique Value Proposition was not so unique. Everybody wanted in on the pet supplies and chomped from their market share. It was not unique enough.
So that’s what I am afraid of. That my tagline is simple to the point of being ripped off and spawning several more blogs. In the domain of blogging, especially in Mongolia, I’d see this as a compliment that I’m impacting, if not inspiring, people. But I’ve seen people take and build on my idea to my expense so many times now. For example, my NGO’s UVP is that its trying to build a cluster of creative industries. I talked about this to several crowds, pitching and trying to recruit co-founders for a year now. But this August, a crowdfunding NGO had used an exact word cluster poster basically translating our creative content poster into Mongolian. Worst thing is the folks had even scored an interview in Bloomberg, while I was only getting featured in a newspaper. Granted, the business models are different, but they have taken our UVP!
In most cases, I’m glad when people build in my idea. It gives me the sense I’m making a change. In 2010, I think, there was Startup Weekend 3 in UB, and I pitched my ride-sharing web idea, unaahuvaa. Soon after, the startup show car pool pitch was running. I mean they took the angle, not my pitch, plus I didn’t deliver what I promised, so fair game. But it still brings an awkward situation and makes you think if all the effort you took and someone else getting credit for that makes you feel powerless.
OK. Enough personal information.
I guess the takeaway is that competition is inevitable, and you should focus on building an identity that other people can’t imitate that easily. Some people accomplish it by getting specialized in the least explored market or embracing their weirdest side.