The news industry has been haemorrhaging jobs throughout the last decade. In the United States, the number of people employed in newsrooms declined by 25% from 2008 to 2018 — according to Pew’s analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics OES survey.

A potential reason for this could be automation. According to the New York Times, “Roughly a third of the content published by Bloomberg News uses some form of automated technology”.

Journalism professor Dan Kennedy recently tweeted, Hearing news of more layoffs at the @BostonHerald. Meanwhile, the amazing @grlreporter writes that Herald parent @MediaNewsGroup is moving toward outsourcing page…


TL;DR: Sector-specific data, satellite imagery, and vehicle registration data provide some answers

Growth in India appears to be slowing right now — real GDP growth rate has dropped every quarter since March 2018, and was a dismal 5.83% in the Q4 (Jan-Mar) 2018–19 quarter. This was the lowest GDP growth since Q4 2013–14. Moreover, real annual growth in FY 2018–19 was a relatively tepid 6.81%, the lowest it has been since 2013–14.

YoY Real GDP Growth in India — by quarter

This is obviously concerning. But GDP growth is a coarse measure. It does not tell us how individual regions and industries are growing.

For investors and corporate planners…


TL;DR: Names can be used to estimate affluence, ethnicity, age, gender and other attributes

Is someone named “Rhea Ahluwalia” more likely to be affluent than someone named “Panna Lal”?

If your instinctive answer was “Yes”, you would — ceteris paribus— be right. Indian names (both first and last) contain enormous signalling value. They can be used by marketers, analysts, and entrepreneurs to assess the affluence, age, ethnicity, and gender distributions of their audience.

A. Methodology

At Loki.ai, we analyzed more than 100 million names from publicly available sources to develop algorithms that predict audience demographics and affluence based on the names of…


TL;DR: Add more value than you extract. Build real relationships. Follow up humanely.

Photo by ROOM on Unsplash

I started Loki.ai in September 2017 as a solo, bootstrapped entrepreneur. Since then, the business has rapidly grown and become profitable — with no investment in marketing or PR.

All of our business has come through direct sales, which seems to be norm for products at our price point (≥$1,000/month). As a mostly introverted programmer, learning how to sell has been my biggest challenge.

Have gotten slightly better at the process over the last 2 years, and have tried to distill lessons learnt in this post —…


Content is a curse. It causes you to think you can make what’s going to delight users. It causes you to ignore their contributions. It causes you to focus on your own content rather than how to get the best content in the world — content that anyone can make.

This is my attempt at synthesizing ideas and concepts from Bharat Anand’s excellent book The Content Trap. Errors in interpretation are my fault. Credit for the insights is entirely Bharat’s.

The Current Media Scenario

The content industry is characterised by cut-throat competition, worsening financial outlooks, a passive management response, and management disagreement on how…


Publishers today face a paradoxical challenge. Revenue and profitability outlooks for the industry are shaky – even as it reaches record audiences and creates unprecedented cultural impact. There is impressive audience growth in digital, but online ad-revenues and CPMs are too low for sustaining large-scale journalism.

Most publishers have not yet found the key to being sustainable in a digital environment. A number of silver-bullet solutions have been proposed in the recent past — Facebook Instant Articles, iPad apps, distributed publishing, and the pivot-to-video, to name a few. …


This story is a part of a larger series on a playbook for digital publishers

“The most poorly read stories, it turns out, are often the most “dutiful” — incremental pieces, typically with minimal added context, without visuals and largely undifferentiated from the competition. They frequently do not clear the bar of journalism worth paying for.”

– New York Times 2020 Report (published in 2017)

A salient feature of the remarkable turnaround of the New York Times has been its focus on visual journalism. While outlets like The Economist have always created visually striking charts and graphs, the Times has — over the last 5 years in particular — addressed visual storytelling with renewed vigour…


This story is a part of a larger series on a playbook for digital publishers

Don’t ever tether your business to the benevolence of a third party.
– Jim VandeHei, Co-Founder of Axios and Politico

As social media (particularly Facebook) exploded in the early to mid 2010s, publishers like Buzzfeed, Vice, and Refinery29 surged in popularity. With their dizzying growth and valuations, distributed publishers (those that relied on platforms to reach users instead of building a direct relationship with them) seemed to be a smarter bet than legacy publishers.

At the height of its dizzying valuation, Jonathan Perelman of Buzzfeed said “Content Is King, But Distribution Is Queen and She Wears the Pants”.

More recently…


TL;DR: I learned how to work at scale, had relative freedom, and got a decent amount of money as a bootstrapped solo entrepreneur. However, I found it difficult to do truly impactful things without a team/tribe.

Overview of the company

My company (Loki.ai) provides data APIs, dashboards, and iframes to media companies. It scrapes unstructured, publicly available data, and converts it into data feeds and articles in close to real time.

Some applications of these include air-quality monitoring, traffic monitoring, election dashboards, and monitoring of economic indicators.

An air-quality monitoring iframe that we provided to a media client in India


Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep has been one of the most impactful books I’ve read this year. Was first made aware of the book on Peter Attia’s podcast, and then received 3 independent recommendations to read the book from friends.

I read the book cover-to-cover, and took copious notes. Sharing a summary of these here both as a reference for myself, and in hope that it might move fellow Type-A people to prioritize sleep a little more.

Basic Sleep Patterns

There are essentially three kinds of sleep, which I will quickly highlight to make the rest of this post easier to read:

My sleep pattern on July 11, 2019 (as recorded by Fitbit)
  1. Rapid…

Rishabh Srivastava

Founder at Loki.ai

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