While discussing podcasts, a friend remarked last week that one of the best things about podcasts is the discovery of new hitherto unknown people.

In response I said that this was the function that blogs used to perform a decade ago. Back in the day, blogs were full of links, and to other blogs. Every blog hosted a column of “favourite” blogs. You could look up people’s livejournal friends pages. People left comments on each other’s blogs, along with links to their blogs.

So as you consumed interesting blog posts, you would naturally get linked to other interesting blogs, and discover new people (incidentally this was how my wife and I discovered each other, but that’s a story for another day).

Where blogs scored over today’s podcasts, however, ¬†was that as they directed you to hitherto unknown people, they also pointed you to the precise place where you could consume more of their stuff – in the form of a blog link. So if you linked to this blog, a reader who landed up here could then discover more of me – well beyond whatever of me you featured on your blog along with your link.

And this is a missing link in the podcast – while podcast episodes have links to the guest’s work, it is not an easy organic process to go through to this link and start consuming the guest’s work (except I guess in terms of twitter accounts). Moreover, the podcast is an audio medium, so it’s not natural to go to the podcast page and click through to the links.

This is one of the tragedies of the decline of blogging (clearly I’m one of the holdouts of the blogging era, maybe because it’s served me so well). Organic discovery of new people and content is not as great as it used to be. Well, Twitter and retweets exist, but the short nature of the format is that it’s much harder to judge if someone is worth following there.

Me, all over the interwebs this week

Firstly, on Tuesday, I got interviewed by this magazine called Information Week. Rather, I had gotten interviewed by them a long time back but the interview appeared on Tuesday. I spoke about the challenges of election forecasting in India and the quality of surveys.

Again on Tuesday, and again on Wednesday, I wrote a pair of articles for Mint analyzing constituencies and parties. On Tuesday, I analyzed constituencies whose representatives have always belonged to ruling parties in the last 4 elections. There are 34 such constituencies. Then on Wednesday I wrote about the influence of states in the Lok Sabha, analyzing the proportion of MPs from each major state that was part of the ruling coalition.

If I had forgotten to mention earlier, I have a deal with Mint that lasts till next October where each month I’m supposed to write 3 articles on election data. You can find all my articles so far here.

Then, today, Pragati published my review of the book Why Nations Fail by Acemoglu and Robinson. More than a book on economics or institutions, it is an awesome history book. Get it.

And in the midst of all this, right here, I wrote a “worky” post about the pros and cons of having a dedicated analytics team.

And if you didn’t notice, this website now has “new clothes”. It was a rather long-pending change and the most important feature of the new layout is that it is “responsive”, and thus looks much better on smartphones. I’ve heard a couple of issues with it already, and do let me know if you have any more issues. And for the first time last night I opened this blog on an iPad and I find that it looks fantabulous, thanks to the OnSwipe plugin I use.