Products and Services for Loyola Alumni

Last week, we launched a Loyola search engine here at loyolites.com. Users searching anything related to Loyola School, Trivandrum will now get more relevant search results. You will no longer have to wade through pages of Google results because, instead of searching the entire web for your keywords (search terms), the Loyola search engine will give you results from a specialised search of blogs and websites of Loyolites. It’s powered by Google and to start with, digs 55+ blogs and websites. Try it yourself.

The Loyola search engine is a product/service that improves our lives in a simple and small way. It is not the first of Loyola products, but it highlights the potential and likelihood of a new generation of products for Loyola old boys.

Generation 1 Products

The earliest Loyola alumni products were the newsletter and the directory, both launched by the Loyola Old Boys’ Association (LOBA) between 1990 and 1992, when P.A. Murukan (1984) was the secretary. Since then, the newsletter has invariably appeared twice a year. The revised editions of the directory have been less frequent. Bringing out a revised directory is a mammoth task, one that calls for a Pradeep Kumar (1974) to lead and accomplish. An online version (partially revised) appeared in July 2004, but is no longer available on the web.

Gen 1 products were initiated by the Association, and were used by LOBA members of various batches. These products emerged in an era when people looked up to the Fat Man to deliver the goods. If one or two Loyolites had an idea for the alumni community, they would approach Fat Man, and after deliberations among office-bearers, Fat Man would either accept (and implement) the idea or reject the idea. If the idea was rejected, Little Boys would go home, instead of implementing it on their own. Because even though LOBA members did not account for even 1/3rd of the students who studied at Loyola, the Association was synonymous with the Loyola alumni movement.

Generation 2 Products

Somewhere in the late 1990s, things changed. As the economy liberalised, people became confident of trying things out on their own; looking up to the state went out of fashion in India. In LOBA’s case, more than the social environment, it was probably technology that ushered in a new era. The internet made it possible for Little Boys to ignore the Fat Man.

1988 batch logoIn several batches, one or two Loyolites created e-groups. Little Boys did not bother to pitch the idea to Fat Man; they just set up the groups and started exchanging mails. As the internet became ubiquitous and more Loyolites joined the infotech industry, e-groups mushroomed and buzzed with activity. Some batches (like 1988, 1991, 1998 and 2001) set up their own websites.

These Gen 2 alumni products/services were initiated by one or two individuals, and were aimed at serving their own batch. An exception was the 1991 batch’s website, but that too was set up initially for the batch, and was only later extended to the entire Loyola alumni community. The ‘batchward’ sentiment of the era is also reflected in the rise of batch names. Boys of Seventy-Seven (BOSS – 1977), Ninety-One Batch LoyolitES (NOBLES -1991), Knights (1988) and Sabse Aage (2001) became prominent.

Generation 3 Products

And now we have Gen 3 — products initiated by a few individuals, but for the entire Loyola community (and possibly beyond). The Loyola search engine is an example, but not the first of this kind.

Loyola School Trivandrum community at OrkutThe earliest Gen 3 products were the communities of Loyolites at Orkut, which helped old boys get in touch with friends, including seniors and juniors. The Loyola School Trivandrum community, the biggest of them, was set up in 2004 by Christophe Manshoven (2001) and handed over to Deepak Madhusoodanan (1996). Note the inter-batch co-operation without mediation by LOBA. loyolites.com too sprang up in 2007 at the initiative of a few individuals of different batches, and serves all Loyolites; it was neither conceived nor implemented by LOBA.

The shift from Gen 2 to Gen 3 too has been driven by technology and how people use it. Today, tools for creating small products are available on our personal computer, and the expenses involved are negligible. Preparing an audio-video feature on Loyola no longer calls for signing a deal with a TV production company; if you or your friends are talented and tech-literate, it can be readied over a weekend. I think we’ll see more Gen 3 products coming from tech-savvy Loyolites who are in college: they have ideas, they are enterprising, and they embrace technology.

What product/service can you create?

Memorabilia and other alumni products

T-shirts, posters, coffee mugs or any of the merchandise typically produced for universities in the US and Europe? How about a Loyola alumni letterhead that old boys can use to write letters to teachers? Heard of the guy who created a “Cheer Loyola Sons” ringtone? Why not offer an MP3 collection called “Songs of Loyola” for download? Students of Loyola, why not publish the LENS on the internet? Why not sell a CD of the school magazines? Why not…

Contrary to beliefs, it does not take much time to create a product. It took me only one day to set up the Loyola search engine. It may have taken me 25 hours (spread across months) to set up the system for the monthly e-newsletter; it takes less than two hours a month to deliver the service.

Why would you create a Loyola product? For the sheer fun of it. There are bonuses in store too. If your product is offered free (like my blog or the e-newsletter), you’ll be happy when a Loyolite calls you from London to say that he enjoys using your product. If your product is sold at a price, you can earn a few bucks. In my experience, there’s a vast pool of Loyolites eager to consume Loyola products. There are buyers waiting for sellers.

In the past, people expected Fat Man to do things, and complained whenever Fat Man failed to. Today, Little Boys take the road less travelled, and oh boy, hasn’t that made a difference! So, think of a Loyola product and run with it.

I look forward to hosting a “Loyola Shop” at loyolites.com in 2008.

What’s your idea, mate?

Post Your Comment

13 Comments

  • LOBA is comparetively less active than this place. I agree. But ennu vechu LOBA de notice board il thanne ividethe ad ittittu LOBAku ittu paniyano ? πŸ˜€ LOL

    The LENS. You spoke to those kids at school the other day. In school thers a belief that you can’t do anything without a teacher’s support. DP used to take everything onto her shoulders earlier. With her gone now, no one wants to take the “responsibility” , in case it flops n they get the blame.

    I’m all for the idea. To those who ask why .
    Because we can!

  • LOBA is active — it recently hosted the national Jesuit Alumni meet, no? I was merely tracing the history of alumni products. LOBA is “less active” in this sphere probably because its focus nowadays is the school, and not the old boys. Otherwise, the Association would have facilitated or created e-groups, websites, etc. before individuals created them.

    If what I heard is true, it’s a pity that LENS got caught up in silly excuses and petty fights in 2007-08. It’s a Loyola product that would have been immensely popular online.

    Anyway, there’s no point in complaining. Little Boys should develop their own products and services πŸ™‚

  • LOBA fails to keep up with the times for want of young blood.
    The plans for the site not working as expected to.
    Mebbe the its time others took over.
    I don’t have the answers. What is wrong ?

    And yes, LENS would have been immensly popular. I propose them(those kids) that i’d do the uploading work if they were to finish it and give me a copy, hard or soft.

    Tons of jobless people like me around ya know.

  • I am from one of those batches were the sentiments of batch fraternity have for long overweighed the feeling of overall Loyola brotherhood. Until Orkut and your blog came up I never thought it possible that a Loyola community could be fostered succesfully…have never been to a LOBA meeting or get to read about their activities…so I have no idea how active it is.

    I loved your generational capture of alumni products. Technology certainly has become an enabler for enterprising old boys but the 2nd gen products launched failed because they didnt promote interactivity and 3rd gen interactive products like the discussion forum on Orkut have become passive and have not lived up to their potential because the target audience is just not interested in making the little effort asked of them.

    The LENS is something I loved to read back then and would love to get my hands on regularly. Taking it online would be something we would all appreciate as everyone seems to be starved of news from school.

    However a Loyola Shop might succeed because when it comes to the school we loyolites love to wear our hearts on our sleeves and clothes and memorabilia should sell well. Good Luck to you on this venture!

    Not to sound pessimistic, I have no ideas to sell…after failing to sell the idea of the batch website to my own classmates to be updated in collaborative manner and then a team blogging effort on our years in Loyola that never went beyond the conceptualization stage…I came to realize that most loyolites will “read online but not act online”(rephrasing from your lessons learnt post!). Not blaming anyone…i have learnt that what interests me need not interest several others.

  • That was a thoughtful comment. My experience with LOBA too has been similar to Jiby’s — in a world of competing interests on people’s time/mindspace, the alumni movement (why, even Loyola) is low priority for more than 99% of the old boys.

    But if the remaining 1% can set up things and work towards popularising a product/service, there will be an impact. loyolites.com is a platform for the 1% to implement ideas.

    Some ideas will fail. No problemo. Some ideas need more time; Loyola was not made in a day πŸ™‚ So, guys, please don’t give up yet. Who knows, you might win support from outside your batch. So, onward.

    Contact me, talk to other old boys of other batches, bounce ideas, think of how to do things for others. The 99% will chip in some day, in some way.

  • I think the team blogging on the memories of the Loyola years is a really good concept. I try to do as much as possible to recall my days in Loyola through my blog, but sadly very few , like Jiby said, seem to be interested in it. The ones like Jiby and Syam who did it regularly and whole heartedly are doing a wonderful job.

    Looking forward to read many more Loyolite diaries. πŸ™‚

  • @karthik.
    Thanks for the referance πŸ˜€

    Ashoketta,
    You say 99% of the guys are not intersted neither in the alumni nor the school. I quote someone whose now in the loba board. ” People want to know what theLOBA can give them. not what they can have to do for the association”
    likewise, people want to knwo what they get out of it all.

    I’ve been to the meetings and all ever since i joined the LOBA and got “nominated” as JS that year itself. And though i see nothing much accomplished, it has helped me get a whole load of frinds from across the years. Decades!. People from all walks of life and around the world. Contacts that a boy just outta school would otherwise never have had.
    For someone as social as me(i belive), its fun. Few do critisise the meetings accomplish nothing. But its likeminded people who enjoy company who come together to do stuff like this. That is what drives THEM.

    For us few who seem jobless enough to write all this(btw. I AM jobless lol), the fact is that we enjoy what we do. but as Jiby said, everyone might not. Some like to read i guess, because it brings back the nostalgic memories. It gives them something. But for them to do it, for them to help run a site, for them to contribute, they want to know what they get out of it.

    Do we have an answer?

  • I agree with Karthik. Team blogging can work if 2-3 guys take charge as Editors. Write, and also get guest posts. Fortnightly or monthly schedule will ease pressure on you guys too. I’ll be happy to set up a WordPress blog here at loyolites.com for a team blog. My suggestion is: don’t make it a batch-specific blog. A non-batch blog will have more readers and contributors. Karthik? Jiby? Deepak?

    The problem that Syam mentioned is true for many voluntary initiatives: a few chaps are more active than others. So what? The 1% who lead should not expect the 99% to be as active as themselves. In my experience, where Loyolites have perceived a benefit (be it in enjoying a service themselves, or the satisfaction of helping the school/society), they have chipped in — as volunteers for medical camp, as sponsors of an alumni website, etc.. These volunteers and sponsors were from the 99%. I was touched when a guy who studied just two years in Loyola (+2) contributed for LOBA’s official site in 2003-04.

    It might sound harsh. But I feel that LOBA is now run by tired people who do not see much merit in doing things for others. When such people form the 1% leadership core, do not expect the 99% to help out wholeheartedly. First, decide to do things for others. Then, do things for others. Thereafter, appeal for support, show the benefits, etc. People will reciprocate for doing bigger things; that’s my experience.

  • Inspiring to say the least, chetta. Your post actually gave a rather potent fillip to my dream to create a website for ‘The Zero Six Guys’. I’ll need a loyolites.com subdomain! πŸ˜€ Hope you’ll oblige.

    Speaking of which:
    “Heard of the guy who created a β€œCheer Loyola Sons” ringtone?”
    That was me! πŸ˜› The ringtones are still available!

    SMS RT SS to +919895898806 for The School Song
    RT LAF for The LA Fest Song!
    [Works only on Nokia phones]

    I’m planning poly & mp3 ringtones. What say about a GPRS website?? :

  • Hari, didn’t know it was you. Cool! I have a midi file of the school song.

    Will wait for you to set up the GPRS website, or make loyolites.com GPRS-friendly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *