How to go through the back door to come out of the front door?

 We in Sri Lanka know that what could go wrong in 2016 went wrong? I need not elucidate.

by Victor Cherubim  

( January 1, 2017, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) I have written on many subjects over many years about the known unknowns, about futuristic trends, and about business liking stability in a world of uncertainty, among many other subjects. In fact to be honest, I too cannot remember what I have led my readers, perhaps, into the world of the “Wizard of Oz”, except what the New Year holds, what everyone wants to know ahead of time.

Drawing from my experience I like to share what few lessons I have learned.

Never sell your writing 

Never sell yourself direct. Never even sell your work on line. Instead run with your content and encapsulate your brand and that represents you and what it is all about. Say little or next to nothing about yourself but tell great stories –focus on content rather than length of space of your work and you’ll sell or rather have more readers. I don’t know what fables or stories I have related, but I hope to keep my readers alert.

Don’t promote or push your writing 

I have become adjusted to leave people to decide how they consume my brand experience and how to maintain an authentic voice. Many use social media to promote themselves. This approach really frustrates the very reader you are trying to reach.

Avoid pander to opinion 

Don’t create content that you think will appeal to people. Pleasing all is the beginning of pleasing none. Make, create, innovate and share content with your fingerprint and people you want as your readers, or people you are trying to get will eventually find you.

What really counts for a writer? 

What really counts is engagement – engagement with your reader. The famous saying:

“If content is king and distribution queen, then engagement or people sharing that content and talking about it, is everything.” Assess your performance by the people who you are able to reach. That’s what matters.

Go out on a limb; go out of your comfort zone? 

You need your readers, while your readers don’t need you. If you readers are surprised at what you have to say, they will read you. It is your content that makes them happy and will always be read even if it is outside your comfort zone.

Let’s now come to the nitty gritty?

Many of you may have read in the news that Lake House, known as Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd,  a well known publishing house, reduced its debt  from Rs.800 million to Rs.300 million earning at least Rs.150 million in profit this year. We note that newspaper sales have increased 10 percent. But what really was the cause of this surge in readership?

I need hardly elucidate. It was the uncertainty surrounding that made people buy the trilingual newspapers or so it seems? People want to be ahead of the times.

We in Sri Lanka know that what could go wrong in 2016 went wrong? I need not elucidate.

Read Kusal Perera in today’s Daily Mirror. He says…. a government “which cannot instruct the Justice Minister to unconditionally release all Tamil youth detained without charges for many long years can only talk of reconciliation for media hype.”He also states: “national development must go beyond urban economic gains. Rural economy should be able to retain youth with space for viable economic life.”

Nobody saw it coming, not even the soothsayers, futurists. Brexit or the election of Donald Trump in the US Presidential race, or the demonetisation in India, was not foretold.

According to Forbes magazine “Sri Lanka’s Debt crisis was so bad that the Government doesn’t even know how much money it owes.” Was it Rs.9 trillion and increasing at Rs. 1 trillion every year for the past 3 years?

Were we naive to think that the West with its own economic worries was able to help redeem our debt mountain? Have we been conditioned to living off the State too long, off handouts from NGO’s or off our non productive effort? Productivity is the measure of efficiency of a person, machine, factory or system in converting inputs into useful outputs?

The IMF had warned the “Yalapalanya” government instead of borrowing to meet its debt repayment, to rationalise the tax system and arrest inflation.

Much has been done over the past two years, but much more needs to be done as the years roll by. Time is of essence.

Politics is not the only realm in which there is a shift in thinking. Whilst thinking back to what 2016 did or did not bring will hardly move us forward, let us find out what is in store for us in 2017, perhaps the fate of the “yahapalanaya” government.

Turbulence has its advantages. What we are seeing is the power of the individual, instead of the power of the State. People are starting to question whether the rural poor have benefitted. There is no question that national development must go beyond urban economic gains. Individuals can have a stoppable ability to manifest “what they want is what they want”. Don’t spin the problem. Focus on solutions, and you come out of the front door.


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