What We Learnt in 2015

January 31, 2016 by Abhinav Sahai

The growth of any organization is dependent on its value system. If the organization fails to adhere to its own values, the chances of its growth (financially and otherwise) will always be bleak. At Niswey, one of our key values is Learning. And so when 2015 ended, we asked everyone, what did they learn this year? What started as a small but genuine question on email, eventually became a source of inspiration for all of us. And thus, as all other good things, we decided to share this with you too ?? Here it goes, in no particular order, or actually in the order it was shared.

  • Keep listening to the customer. With all ears, and eyes and heart. Not with fear, anger, or boredom as your state of mind. Keep listening with an intent to help, to serve. It’s easy to say, but not as easy to do, consistently. But do it anyway.
  • What we don’t know enough about, within the team, we can collaborate and learn quickly. Hackathons show the way.
  • Sales proposals don’t have to be boring, with sections and sections of SoW, Terms, Pricing, etc. You can use storytelling to sell.


  • Working in an awesome team helps in getting better outcomes. Throw your thought/idea/solution to the team and get different flavors and view points.
  • Share your success and failures with the team. You learn how you could have avoided failures and how you could have done things better. The team learns from your deeds and this process helps in organizational growth.
  • Fear is the biggest hurdle of your path to achievements. Seek help, focus more, do whatever to overcome it… you learn big time when you achieve something by overcoming fear.
  • There are different types of customers and they always want more from you. Understand them, negotiate, get things rolling!
  • Applying real world experiences in the creatives.
  • Making websites live, end to end.
  • UX knowledge application for clients


  • Taking the plunge is the best way to learn something new. You could read and observe all you want, but nothing teaches you better than actually going ahead and doing it.
  • You and your client may have slightly different ideas of what is great content. The trick to a successful project is to be in tune with what the client wants and be willing to modify your content into what they want, not what you like. It is difficult, it might put you off a little, but you need to do it anyway.
  • Working with a team that is always trying to improve itself, is extremely inspiring. There is a lot to learn from them, even outside the job.


  • It doesn’t matter whether you work for a corporate giant or a small start-up, what matters is the people you’re surrounded by should inspire and motivate you to become a better professional and a better human being.
  • Never take your happiness for granted. If you’re stuck in a place which doesn’t make you happy, leave.
  • Don’t become a yes-man. It’s okay to say “no” to your client. There is a reason why they hired you. If you explain why certain things can’t work or won’t yield desired results, they’ll appreciate the honesty and it’ll build trust.
  • While designing a website, make sure you and your client are on the same page. Involve them in the designing process, take constant feedback and genuinely listen to what their concerns are. It’ll help in closing the project a lot quicker.
  • Never stop learning.


  • To make an impact with the target audience, it’s important to understand the central idea of the topic. This can be a long process which will involve a lot of research and even brainstorming with the key stakeholders. Creating, managing and distributing content will then revolve around this central idea
  • Always accept your goof-ups and flaws. Even if you are not able to complete a task, just accept that you couldn’t do it. When things are not working the way you want them to, accept it’s not the ideal way and change your approach. Finding reasons may help you escape the current situation but in the longer run, you’ll find yourself lagging behind. Acceptance will help you to move ahead and perform in a better way.
  • If one has to grow as an individual, it’s important to be surrounded by people who have different perceptions about life and are true to themselves. Talking to them daily make you feel richer at the end of the day. The whole experience is as enriching as traveling.


  • A beginner will usually have a lot more possibilities in her mind, as compared to any expert. Value every beginner as much as anyone else, if not more.
  • Changing yourself isn’t the aim; becoming a better version of yourself is. Each person has her own way of expression. Giving people the liberty to express themselves in their their own unique ways would always yield the best results.
  • As Tony Hsieh says: Your culture is your brand.
  • Most people are too lazy to read every word of your blog. They usually skim through. Present your content as if you were writing it for a drunk reader. Adding graphics or embedding tweets/Instagram pics is even more important now.
  • Execution trumps strategy; efficiency trumps perfection.
  • A blog is as good as the energies invested in optimizing it for search engines and promoting it on social media and other channels.
  • You are what you read. Not being able to finish reading a book will also help you realize something about your interests.
  • To ensure registrations for a free webinar, you need to direct your tone towards knowledge sharing and the community feeling, rather than trying to sell the webinar in each sentence.
  • And this quote by Amy Poehler sums up my 2015: “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.

And Me:

  • Content Promotion: Just writing good content and sharing on your social profiles is not enough. You need to do at least ten other things to make the content reach your intended audience.
  • Extrinsic Motivation & Empathy: We’re a flat structure and everyone is on their own to complete their tasks. But that has a negative too. Sometimes people can feel lonely, and they need support. Not in terms of physical or resource, but emotional support. To boost the morale, keep the momentum going.
  • Spirituality: Out of 21 books I read last year, four were spiritual. This is the first time I’ve ever read a spiritual book. What did I learn? Making the effort is important, but making the universe conspire for your goals, is equally important, and being spiritual helps.
  • Gratitude: Although I still believe what we accomplish in life is directly proportional to our hard work but I should still be thankful to the universe for conspiring it to happen.
  • Focus: About mid 2015, I (almost) quit Facebook. And then realized that its wasn’t about the time saved, it was about the gain in focus. How? Because what we see online is what we discuss offline. In short, cut the crap and focus on what’s important. When the mind knew that I don’t have to focus on something, the brain would automatically cut it off and let me be in my zone. So regaining focus through a conscious effort was a huge learning for me.

These are some of the important learnings we had. The blog’s over but the learnings aren’t, thankfully ??

Did you keep a track of your learnings? Maybe spend a couple of minutes and try to recall, I’m sure you’d love it. And then, do remember to share with us too.