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Nirmal's Blog

Nirmal's Blog

Making Visit Lumbini Year 2012 a Success (Published on Nepalnews.com)

Nepal Tourism Year 2011 brought 735,965 visitors to the country. The aim of Visit Lumbini Year 2o12 is to attract 1 million visitors. Organizing a tourism year back to back presents a unique challenge for Nepal’s tourism officials and I want to offer my suggestions to hold a successful Visit Lumbini Year 2012.  To make this year’s tourism campaign a success, I believe we need to take a holistic approach and strategically promote Lumbini. The feat of this campaign will not only depend on planning and advertising by the tourism officials but also on the wholehearted support from the government as well as the citizens.

Since we just had Visit Nepal 2011, I believe most people who will visit Nepal this year will probably be first time visitors and might have booked the trip to see Lumbini or other places in Nepal. There is a certain way to position this tourism campaign before travelers land at the airport in Nepal and also when they are already in the country. Tourism officials can act on these suggestions and hopefully leverage them to make this year’s Lumbini campaign a real success.

At Tribhuvan airport, I observed various visitor touch points that can be leveraged to better promote this year’s tourism efforts.  Before travelers land at Tribhuvan airport, the airline flight attendant can hand a one page handout about Lumbini along with the Customs Declaration form.  People who were already planning to go to Lumbini will have more information on their hands and people who did not know about Lumbini will get to learn about it. Second, coming towards the Customs area at the airport, currently there is a big banner mentioning its Visit Nepal 2011. This should be replaced with Visit Lumbini Year 2012. Lastly, there should be a Visitor Center that travellers can go to in order to learn more about Lumbini or other places in Nepal. This booth will serve as a place where tourists can have their questions answered, get maps or any additional information that would help make their stay enjoyable.

Once visitors are already in Nepal, promoting tourism to Lumbini should follow different strategies. First, most tourists generally stay at hotels during their visit to Nepal so hotels should be ready to explain the significance of Lumbini to their guests and they can partner with travel agencies to offer tour packages to Lumbini. Second, the tourism organizing committee should place ads on popular English dailies such as The Himalayan Times and The Kathmandu Post to further promote the tourism campaign. Travel agencies can also advertise on such English newspapers offering packages and deals to Lumbini. When I travel around Kathmandu, I hardly noticed a billboard or sign promoting this year’s tourism efforts. There is hardly any public notice that makes you aware that it is Visit Lumbini Year 2012. So third, I would suggest placing billboards and signs in high traffic areas such as Thamel, Kings Way, Kalanki, Koteswor, New Baneshwore or Chahabil which would draw eyeballs and increase awareness of this year’s tourism campaign to visit Lumbini. This strategy would also encourage domestic residents to visit Lumbini.

Another way to attract tourists and domestic residents to Lumbini is by highlighting the significance of the place. Lumbini is significant for the birth of Buddhism and its spiritual meaning provides visitors a compelling reason to visit the area. I could see high profile individuals such as Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon whose visit to Lumbini could really highlight the importance of the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Ban Ki-moon who is the son of a devout Buddhist woman had indicated in his first visit to Nepal that he was interested in visiting the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Having an international figure such as Ban Ki-moon visit Lumbini would also reinforce that Lord Buddha was indeed born in Lumbini, Nepal. Bringing such high profile individuals to visit Lumbini would mean a huge success to the tourism organizing committee and to Nepal.

So, how do we measure if Visit Lumbini Year 2012 was successful? What types of analytics can we use to better understand visitor behavior? It was reported by Sangam Prasain on The Kathmandu Post (April 2, 2012) that the average per day spending by foreign tourists dropped to one of its lowest levels in the past decade. Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA) reported that in 2003, the average spending per person per day was $79.10 (highest in ten years), $43.20 (2010) and $39.90 (2011). This means we have to understand why each visitor is spending less, how long does an average visitor stay in the country, what places did he/she go to, what would entice them to come back, etc. Some of these questions could have been answered if proper data collection and analytics were used for Nepal Tourism Year 2011. The tourism organizing committee can use those insights to facilitate better visitor experience.

Holding a tourism year consecutively presents various challenges. One of my concerns is that we could have used the feedback from visitors and businesses from last year’s tourism campaign and improved upon them before declaring another tourism year. For example, if we received a lot of responses that the conditions of our roads could be greatly improved, then we could have spent time fixing them before announcing another tourism campaign. Secondly, we have announced a tourism year but can we assure the safety of the visitors in the country. According to the website (www.nepalbandh.com), allegedly we had 168 bandhs (closings) in 2011 with 38 bandhs in May alone. If we cannot provide security to visitors let alone citizens and curb these bandhs, it will surely ruin the experience of travelers and the long-term impact will hamper our tourism efforts in the future.  Thus, the government and citizens alike should weigh the costs of bandhs and damage caused to the international reputation of Nepal.

All these simple strategies and suggestions listed above can contribute to a successful Visit Lumbini Year 2012. Making this year’s tourism efforts a success takes cooperation from tourism officials, businesses, the government and citizens. If visitors have a great experience during their time in Nepal, it will surely put our country in a positive limelight around the world.

Are you a brand manager?

Today we have so many tools at our disposal. As young professionals, we have a few of these accounts: LinkedIn, Facebook and going further Twitter, YouTube, WordPress, Pinterest etc. Sometimes I feel like just having to sign in with one account and access all of the different accounts I have.

It is definitely not required for most of us to have accounts in these different technological platforms. But then again we feel that we are missing out something, not making enough connections or feeling that just because everyone is there. In this hyperconnected world, we have essentially directly or indirectly become our own personal brand managers.

How effectively are you managing your personal brand?

Value of a Facebook Like

Facebook has made it so easy to Like a comment, picture, video or status. It’s so easy to Like with a click of the mouse making every activity on the social media site quantifiable. What I do not see is how valuable is that Like when you Like everything-comment, picture, video or status.

I feel that if you are an individual that Likes everything that a brand posts on its Facebook page or hits Like on every baby picture or wedding picture on your friends page, the value of your Like goes down. If you Like certain items on Facebook, it gives your Likes some meaning. Without carefully choosing what to Like, you’re giving away meaning of your Likes.

Image source: MadTomato

A Must Read Book (for all)

Few years back, I was going through Business Week and found the list of the best selling books. One of them was How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I was very interested to get my hands on that book. I got the book and was happy to read it from page to page until I finished it. There are numerous principles noted at the end of each chapter and the principles are simple and easy to apply in everyday life. I believe everyone can learn those principles, apply them and see how much better their life could be.

So if you interested to know what book would I recommend to anyone in any field, I would say How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

Academia meets Industry at ICT Meetup

On June 17,  I went to the ICT Meetup at Prime College. The theme of the ICT Meetup was Academia-Industry Collaboration and there were 14 participating organizations. I was representing Parakhi and looked forward to speaking on Elements of entrepreneurship: from idea to execution.

I walked in as the opening remarks had just started. It was good to hear some inspiring and motivating words from Biplav Man Shrestha, Guest Speaker Manahor Bhattrai and Principal Naresh P. Shrestha. There were a few remarks that resonated with me from hearing the speakers: Biplav touched on value creation and used Facebook as an example; Manohar talked about staying updated in the technical field but added to not be 100% technical.

After the opening remarks, we headed upstairs in the waiting room. I was glad to have met the Principal who was gracious to share his excitement for the meetup and of the speakers’ presence. I interacted with few of the other speakers and headed towards the 1st session: E-governance by Manahor Bhattrai. Manahor Bhattrai talked about the importance of government, value of e-governance and shared his prior experience working with Nepal’s government. I was keen to hear about the challenges of e-governance’s application in Nepal and glad to learn and hear his thoughts on the subject. Then it came time for my presentation and I talked about the three important elements of entrepreneurship: idea, vision and execution. Following my presentation was Vidhan Rana, from Biruwa Ventures. Vidhan described the IT challenges and opportunities in Nepal and had good content in his slides.

After the first few sessions ended, we had lunch and I was able to meet and chat with people who were doing some exciting work in Nepal. I met Sakar Pudasaini who’s working on the site Galli Galli, an innovative project to make Kathmandu and its neighboring cities more tangible and navigable. I also chatted with Jamon Mok and Akash Gurung who are very involved in the social entrepreneurship space at Gazaab and are organizing a business plan competition from July 2nd-July 6th.

I dropped by the Mobile Networking session which was filled with students and also mingled with students. I was personally glad to observe the enthusiasm of the attending students and especially the passion of the members of the organizing team. Overall it was a well put together event by Prime IT Club and Prime College and the Meetup served as an important and indispensible bridge between academia and profession. I did share with the organizing team on how the event could improve or be even better next time.

Shortcomings of a resume

Resumes have been a critical piece to the job search process. It provides the first impression for the company of the candidate. Although some companies do multiple step interviews, there are significant shortcomings on relying on the resume for hiring candidates.

If you decide to hire a candidate, its important to know if the candidate has the right qualifications. Even more important, the candidate needs to have a good attitude (can be easily trained), is proactive (at times projects needs to be owned), strong work ethic (needs to be motivated beyond financially), a team player (needs to get along with coworkers) and lastly blends well with the company culture (a bad apple can ruin the whole basket).

Do you still rely only on the resume?

Are you an entrepreneur?

Over the years, through experience, observation and discussion, I think I have an idea on what makes a successful entrepreneur. A successful entrepreneur has three important things: idea, vision and execution.

The most important aspect of any entrepreneurial activity is the idea. What is the idea? How is it going to serve the current market? How much demand is there for the specific idea?

Second the vision. Ideas can be great but it needs vision. What is the long term goal? How much can the idea grow? Does the idea serve a niche market or can it serve a lot of people?

Third the execution part. Having the idea is great, vision is equally important and tantamount to it is execution of that idea. Is it a pioneering idea? Can you gain a first mover advantage by executing that idea? How quick do you adapt to the changing marketplace?

ICT Meetup

I am speaking on Elements of Entrepreneurship: From idea to execution at the ICT Meetup.

When you go abroad,

It’ true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. When you don’t have something that you used to have, then you start to miss it and wish to have it again. I am writing this today so we, and even I learn to appreciate little things that we do have now.

When you go abroad from Nepal, most of us will be on our own. Being independent will teach an individual a lot from learning how to manage hard earned money to learning how to cook (if you don’t know that already). However going from the comfort of living in your home to moving to a completely new environment and starting from scratch takes adjustments and courage. Thus, you should appreciate life’s little moments when you are in Nepal. This could mean enjoying the time with your parents and relatives, watching your nephews and nieces grow older and enjoying the company of your friends.

One thing I have noticed is that most people, who are living abroad or have lived abroad for many years, miss Nepal and especially their families and relatives. It’s very easy to take what you have now for granted but the ones who can make the best of their time with their families and relatives will surely appreciate it later in life. If you ask most people who live abroad what they miss back home, they will surely talk about their parents, relatives or friends.

Second when you live in Nepal, it’s easy to take the natural beauty that Nepal has for granted, but when you go abroad you will certainly realize why so many tourists are attracted to Nepal. Nepal is one of the most naturally gifted places in the world. So if you are living in Nepal, take the time to go to Mustang, Everest Base Camp, Ilam or hundreds of other adventurous places in Nepal. All these amazing destinations are right in your backyard. Why not go to a new place every weekend or every other weekend while you are living in Nepal?

Third although life seems hectic in Nepal, people do have a lot of time on their hands. Time is extremely precious. When you have time on your hands, you can do a lot of things. It’s important to best utilize your time because most people living abroad lead a very hectic life. People living abroad are very much caught up in their work lives and do not get that much time off to relax and unwind. So do the things that you really love to do now. When you start working, you will surely miss and long for the days when you had so much time in your hands.

So my point is simple: live in the moment. Happiness is not in the destination but in the journey. Enjoy the simple things that you do have now and life in itself becomes the ultimate present.

Skype conversation with Chandan Sapkota, researcher at South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment

 After doing a G+ hangout in March with Chandan Sapkota, I knew that a follow up conversation was important especially in the backdrop of May 27. There are so many questions that are being raised now and I was keenly interested to hear his thoughts on the state of Nepal’s economy.

On June 2nd, 2012, we talked and here’s a summary of our conversation.

How is Nepal Investment Year 2012/2013 going?
Nepal Investment Year 2012/2013 is not going anywhere. Right now even domestic investors are wary of what to do with their money. Nepal Investment Year 2012/2013 was supposed to run from July 16 2012 to July 16 2013. The Investment Board was just given authority to hire staff and the six months leading up to now there was not much going on. I mean why would people want to invest in Nepal. First, there are no perquisites such as infrastructure, the cost of production is high and there is no guarantee that you will get an expected rate of return for your investment. The constitution was needed but now without it there is so much uncertainty.

Was it wise to launch Nepal Investment Year 2012/2013 and Visit Lumbini Year 2012 when the country was facing political gridlock and massive bandhs?
I am pessimistic about the Nepal Investment Year 2012/2013. I don’t even think the election will be held on November 22 because for that there needs to be a consensus government. It could be 8-10 months from now by the time the election takes place. With the pressure from private sector to announce an investment year, the government followed suit. There was no preparation for this. In an ad hoc basis, the Investment Board was handed over the responsibilty to make it a success. There never was and is a sincere commitment to make investment year a success.
As far as the Visit Lumbini Year 2012 goes, we do not know how much budget they have, and who is on the steering committee etc. I mean there are some people from NTB promoting the Visit Lumbini Year 2012 in various US cities.

More remitted money means more foreign exchange reserves. The gross foreign exchange reserves have increased by 35.3% to Rs 368.1 billion due to increases in remittance and service receipt. What does that mean for Nepal?
For citizens, the gross foreign exchange reserves do not mean anything. For the economy, high foreign exchange reserves mean the capacity of country to finance imports for certain months and the ability to pay foreign investors in foreign exchange if they want to repatriate income. High foreign exchange reserve is usually a sign that the economy is in a good shape. But, in our case, it has come about without any policy changes or effort by policymakers. We have to thank the depreciation of rupees against dollar and high remittance inflows.

How can we encourage more capital investment from remitted money so we can avoid the Dutch disease?
The capital formation rate from remitted money is just 2.5%. In terms of using that money for investment, investors need to get confidence that they can gain a rate of return. I also believe that our consumption habit has to change. Currently the daily consumption is 78.9%.
There are areas where individuals could invest in such as agriculture. There are certain items that are only available in certain parts of the country like honey, ginger or cardamom.
Currently 55.8% of the households get some sort of remittance. In Nepal an investment requires a lot of capital. Also Nepal has one of the highest wage overhead costs in South Asia. You have to arrange living for employees, sometimes even allowing employees to attend rallies for different causes on work days. Also our competitive advantage in cheap labor is fast eroding.

How much damage does a bandh cause to our economy in a day? Do bandh organizers realize this cost and hindrance to our national image?
A bandh causes about Rs 1.92 billion and Rs 1.96 billion damage per day to the economy. That data is from 2010. I had written a blog about that a while back. However the cost of bandh differs from a day-to-day basis. A bandh that goes on for two days does not cost twice the damage, there is actually a slight decrease in the amount of damage.
It is actually illegal to organize a bandh and you have to get permission from the government. But, it has become a virus in Nepal, which we cannot get rid of.

How much effect does Ma Pa Se haves on the economy? Can we create a win-win situation for this?
We will find this data in 2 months when the Ministry of Finance comes up with Economic Survey 2011/12. Our GDP is based on 15 sectors and hotel and restaurants are one of them. It contributes 1.78% to GDP. We will find out from the report how much effect it has had on the hotel and restaurant sector.
To create a win-win situation, I believe the government could utilize breathalyzers that measure the blood alcohol content. Right now the machines we currently have are not that effective.

What's the priority?

When there is no priority, everything becomes a priority. Focus is a critical skill. Too many times we have learned at school and in the real world that it is good to multi-task. I can’t stress how important focus is. So figure out your priority and then focus like a needle.

In a good company, I believe the best ideas become a compass to the company’s direction. The ecosystem should always allow the best ideas to come forward. When the ideas are presented, it’s critical to first understand what the company’s priorities are. What are the short-term goals? long-term goals? Even for short term goals, what are the top 3 goals. When the priority is not clear, then every small project will be equally as important as the big one. Then its a problem.

Figure out your priority, focus on it and you’ll be amazed at the results.

A letter to your customer

Dear customer,

We care about you. Thank you for being with us from the start. We believe in providing the best service to you and look forward to building our relationship going forward.

It’s for people like you that we are so passionate on building new products and services. Our whole team from the headquarters to the retail stores are happy to be working with you. Please let us know if we can improve our services so we can meet or exceed your expectations. Your feedback is deeply important to us.

Sincerely,

Your company

Power of a brand

It’s interesting to observe the power of brands in today’s world. For example sports brands such as Nike, Adidas, Reebok and Puma have international appeal. Almost all of the clothes of these brands are made in countries where there is cheap labor (Vietnam, Malaysia). But even people in those countries where the clothes are manufactured prefer to wear Nike and Adidas rather than a local sports brand. It’s not much about where the clothes are made but rather which brand it is.

Conversation with Surendra Lawoti on Landscape in Transformation:The Kathmandu Project

Technology has truly changed how we connect with each other. Recently a friend in Toronto reached out to me on Facebook and told me about an exciting project that Surendra Lawoti is planning to do. Surendra, a photographer based in Toronto who has exhibited his work internationally is planning to doLandscape in Transformation: The Kathmandu Project. He plans to be in Nepal for five weeks in July and August of 2012 capturing Kathmandu’s changing landscape.

Surendra is raising $3,000 (new goal: $4,500) through indiegogo to work on this campaign. Please visit Landscape in Transformation: The Kathmandu Project to learn more about this project and how to contribute.

We set up a time to talk on Skype and discussed his project and its vision. Here’s a summary of our conversation from May 18, 2012.

How did this idea come about?

I have been living abroad in North America since 1994. I finished my undergraduate in Chicago, and then got my MFA in Boston. Four years ago I arrived in Canada. Since I was educated here, I always wanted to do a project in Nepal. The last time I was in Nepal was 2010. At that time I looked around to see what I could do in Nepal. I really wanted to do a photo project.
I am interested in the social and political meaning behind the landscapes. I want to learn the story behind something or someone. Recently, I did a project titled Don River. Don River is a river situated in Toronto which passes some towns and there are a lot of homeless people living close to it plus there is a jungle. I was interested to learn more about the homeless people and how they reached there. There are factors of urbanization, economics and poverty in there. We can’t just say they are homeless because they are poor. There are a lot of things behind how they got there. In a similar fashion, Nepal’s landscape is changing. For example, there are multiple reasons why Bagmati is dirty and I hope to capture the story through my pictures.

In the Indiegogo website, it states: With this project, I want to create a dialogue by bringing forth my photographs to the public of Kathmandu, to the people in power, to the people who can influence and to the people who are concerned. Can you elaborate more on the dialogue you want to create? 
Traditionally, after you have done the work, you would do a gallery exhibit. I was thinking to myself how can I engage people? In terms of the issues related to urbanization, I want to talk to Bagmati Development committee and other organizations and learn from them.
Perspective in photography is different from social sciences. In social sciences you focus on a lot of facts. However in art and especially photography what you get is a new perspective. Photography has a new language.
I want to showcase my work through local publications. For Don River, I took it to the exhibition, which draws a lot of people who are into the arts. Besides that group, a lot of people would not get to see it. So I want to focus on exhibiting my work through publications. I live in Toronto so first I want to learn from the people in Kathmandu and then show them my work.
My ideal goal is to learn from environmentalists, people in social sciences and those who run squatter settlement organizations and then create a discussion and dialogue.

How can this project help the general public?
Photography is a simple thing. When you click the camera, you get a realistic representation of something. Once I heard a great artist describe photography as either a mirror or a window. It is a window because you look out to the world and a mirror because it is a representation of you. I think this project will help understand Kathmandu in a new perspective. Photography often exaggerates a certain thing. A photograph presents a certain image and I want to bring forth the language or vocabulary of the photographic images.

Are you planning to do an art show later in Nepal on this project? 
My first audience for this project is Nepali people living in Nepal. Later on I can bring the work to the audience in North America.

An open culture

The best ideas do not follow a hierarchy. As much as a great idea can come from the top, it can also come from the bottom. The companies that truly become better overtime are the ones that listen to their employees. Sometimes the best feedback you can get on a product or a service is from your employees.

Lots of companies brag on their website that they consider employees as assets to the company. On the contrary, most employees face a hierarchical structure in decision making and idea generation as they join companies. The ones that succeed overtime really listen to their internal customers and improve consistently before customers point them out publicly.

Does your business have an open culture?

Media's influence on perception of athletes

I love watching sports. How the media presents a certain sport and its athletes certainly influences its viewers on how they perceive the two. As an avid basketball fan, I love watching the NBA and NCAA games. Recently I watched The Crossover: Genealogy of one of Basketball’s Most Vicious Moves on The New York Times website.

It’s a nice clip that talks about one of basketball’s most revered moves: the crossover. However it only shows a handful of athletes who used that move in NBA games. There are thousands of players who use that move and some even better than the players discussed in the video. The video only talks about the move in the context of NBA games. So my point is that the media influences us in thinking that only a few handful basketball players are really good in crossovers when in fact there are so many players who are equally good or better.

The Crossover

Overvaluation of experience

Experience matters to a certain degree. In business there is a lot of value placed on experience than education.

I believe that an efficient hiring process is still not part of many businesses. What you put on a resume makes a lot of difference and careful selection of words and sentences helps you get into corporate doors. In fact people make hiring decisions based completely on what they see on a resume. “Oh this person has a lot of experience in sales, Oh this person generated XYZ amount of revenue for the company.” I feel that experience is worth 20% and passion, work ethic and a desire to learn worth 80% in a hiring decision.

With young entrepreneurs popping up left and right in Silicon Valley and beyond, I see a lot of pluses of being young in the game. When you’re young, you’re more of a risk taker, can take more chances and recover quickly. Sometimes past work experiences actually hinder current decisions and having learned that it did not work before, so lets not go there might even cost the company.

So if you’re a young entrepreneur, look for experience but if you can’t get any at current, then gain some experience by working on your idea. If you’re a hiring manager, don’t put over emphasis on experience and actually take a chance on young candidates.

Waiting to execute

 

A lot of great ideas never see the light of day. This can happen for myriad reasons. Sometimes its the management that takes too much time understanding the idea, at other times it stays in the pipeline for a perfect execution. Yet companies succeed and fail depending on the idea’s execution.

So if you are a decision maker, you have to ask yourself: Should I go ahead and launch the idea and improve it over time or Should I wait till I have perfected the strategy and execute it when its ready? I think some of the best companies know that there is never a perfect time to launch an idea. It’s much more important to adapt and tweak the idea overtime rather than wait and get surprised by the competition. Thus slow and steady does not win the race in this context.

Intuition

Intuition is a key trait in business and in personal life. Sometimes you just know that something is right or something is wrong. You just have that feeling inside of you.

When you factor in intuition in your decision making, it creates wonders. A lot of times people make decisions hastily or after much thorough analysis but the ones that factor in intuition in their decision making usually come out of it being more adaptive. I have made countless decisions based on my intuition. A lot of times in life you don’t know what the outcome will be, but somehow your mind and your gut gives you inclination towards one decision than the other. So make intuition a key element of your decision making process.

Nepali: A TV Blog

“Nepali” is a television programme that deals with all things Nepali. It talks about the broader scope of the Nepali identity, and how these different identities connect us as a people. – YouTube promo of Nepali TV blog

This past Thursday evening, I sat down with Yubakar Raj Rajkarnikar at Parakhi’s office. I heard about Yubakar’s new project, Nepali: A TV Blog some time ago. The show currently airs on Avenues TV on Saturday nights at 8:30am.  I had prepared a few questions to ask him and looked forward to our meeting. When we met, we talked about his new venture, entrepreneurship and passion among other things.

Nirmal: What is the idea behind the concept of Nepali: A TV Blog?

Yubakar: Actually the content came first more than the format. Overtime I had discussions with people I work with around what represents Nepal. Nepali language does not represent everyone. There are so many things that unify and represent us. I had wanted to do something on print, radio and television. At Y magazine (www.yzine.com.np) back then, we had a competition amongst photographers to select pictures that represented Nepal. We later went to a TV station and suggested the idea which they bought. The idea behind this concept was to discover things that are Nepali and to find out what could be those things that are common to all Nepali. We chose the bike because it is youthful, and we wanted to have an informal style to it so we decided to keep a blog format which could be more appealing to the youth.

Nirmal: How many people are working in your team? Do you have historians working with you?

Yubakar: We have 5 core people on the team (Me, Alok Tuladhar, Vikash Pradhan, Tsering Choden, Laxan Kundan) and three other people who helped us in shooting. Actually we did our research by talking to people,  through the internet and books.

 Nirmal: Who is your target audience? How are you promoting this venture?

Yubakar: Our target audience is the urban youth. To appeal to this group we have used English script throughout the video; the format itself is a blog so it could be relevant to the group. To promote this venture, besides TV we are promoting it on Facebook, YouTube and the website. Newspapers such as myrepublica, The Himalayan Times, and Annapurna Post have also been very supportive of our project.

Nirmal: How do you come up with where to travel and who to interview?

Yubakar: Actually we chose the locations of where to travel and whom to interview. The TV station gave us full flexibility on that.  The TV station funded this project and we spent 4 weeks altogether (2 weeks in the east, 2 weeks in the west) to complete this project.

 Nirmal: So What is Nepal all about? Is it easy to define who is a Nepali or what is Nepali?

Yubakar: There are a lot of things that make us unique. We have different names, castes, clothes, food, festivals etc. But, the feelings behind those are what connect us. The happiness behind those activities is the same. I also realized that the Nepali smile is wholehearted and I believe it is uniform with Nepali people. I also feel that the entrepreneurial feeling is common amongst us. At various places that I visited, I found people doing innovative and unique things that I did not know existed before. For example, we found a person who has been running a radio program for 10 years which only does program regarding death. In village areas, it’s hard to get or spread the news of death and the radio program helps in distributing that information so people can move about their lives accordingly.