I didn’t think it could happen, even though I’d read about it happening, and if it could, definitely not to me! But it did happen.
I developed a site…and sold it!
The idea for What Are Chatbots was germinated one summer afternoon last year when we were brainstorming with the founders of Skilla on how to explain the concept of chat bots to clueless investors. So I recruited an intern and we started reading…about the history of Artificial Intelligence, the first chat bots, more recent forays in this world of conversational technology and its many applications.
After a fortnight of research, I started compiling a white paper, only by that time we had decided to bootstrap some more and avoid the whole investor loop till Skilla had reached a certain stage. So I took the white paper, broke it down into individual posts and put up a Medium publication. What better way to get readers for the hard work done by my intern and me?
The site looked good and started getting traction – we even started getting followers!
The quick success confirmed our hypothesis that there was a need for a publication that talked about chat bots in an informal, non-techie way. A blog whose target audience was the same as the target market of the chat bots – the average millennial who was curious about this new phenomenon and wanted to find out more about it without having to deal with the jargon, preferably in short snippets of information easily consumed while waiting for a friend at the bar or cabbing it to work. So I continued writing for the site whenever I came across an interesting chat bot and had some free time.
Much to my delight, a friend who works for a communication consultancy based in Bangalore, reached out and asked if we could meet. They were curious about chat bots and thought that their clients would be interested in this new trend…and what better way to clue them in on chat bots, than a blog that talks about them?
A few discussions later, I found myself sending them a proposal and before the month was over, I had sold What Are Chatbots…
Time to bring out those champagne glasses! Once the jubilation subsided, I did feel a twinge of sadness when I realised that I would no longer be the person who took all decisions regarding the site (logo, layout, appearance or even the editorial style and content). But I continue to write for the publication, pitching in an article whenever a bot strikes my fancy, while the team of writers at the agency now manage its growth and maintenance.
The experience made me realise several things:
- I write well – even when its about something I might not necessarily understand and in a style that’s not really mine.
- People buy sites, even regular hobby sites by very regular writers – it’s not a random myth.
- If built with focus and drive, even a simple hobby site can attract attention – and eventually be sold!
- Chat bots are the next big thing – and not just because Mark Zuckerberg says so – but because they do make sense!