The origin of Sidhuisms

In the early years that SONY Entertainment Television (SET) India (now Multi Screen Media) forayed into cricket broadcasting, among the first few series they acquired the rights for was from the Board of Cricket Control in Sri Lanka (now called Sri Lanka Cricket).

When the Indian cricket team toured Sri Lanka in July-August 2001 the matches were broadcast on MAX, the newly launched movies & cricket channel of SET India.

Apart from being a significant ‘first’ for the channel (which later broadcast many of ICC’s flagship tournaments, and the IPL), that Sri Lanka series also heralded another significant ‘first’: The debut of Navjyot Singh Sidhu – as a cricket commentator! A couple of matches into the series, and Sidhu had made his mark with telling effect!

Early Sidhuisms included:

If ifs and buts were pots and pans, there would be no tinkers.

And:

The Sri Lankan score is running like an Indian taxi meter.

A few of us within the channel (most notably my colleague Pavan Chawla) realized there was more we could do and overnight we set up http://www.sidhuisms.com (sadly, no longer in use).

Sidhuisms on setindia.com

Archived screenshot of the original Sidhuisms website on setindia.com

(Archive link to the original Sidhuisms website. More archived links: Herehere, and here)

The realization that Sidhuisms would acquire a life of their own had started dawning on everyone.

Commendation letter from CEO for Sidhuisms

Commendation letter from CEO for Sidhuisms

I even received a commendation letter from the then  CEO Kunal Das Gupta.

 —
While the world at large was reacting with incredulity to Sidhu’s facility with words and his sense of dramatic enunciation, I recalled a hitherto unconnected comment from Ravi Shastri some years ago, where he’d shared that Sherry (the nickname Sidhu was called by) was the most entertaining cricketer in the dressing room.
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Small detour here:

Contrary to his current critics’ labeling of him as a cliche-spewing commentator – Shastri during his active cricket days, was considered one of the shrewder tacticians in the game. Exemplified by the fact that in spite of possessing moderate talents with the bat, the ball, and in the field, he went on to become the original ‘Champion of Champions’ in ODI cricket, and for long shared the record for hitting 6 sixes in an over with the great Sir Garfield Sobers.

He had also been slated to become the India captain. However, some run-ins with the cricket authorities put paid to that. For the record, Shastri did captain India in a single Test match. The Chennai Test against the West Indies in 1988, which India won thanks to an explosive debut by Narendra Hirwani who took 8 wickets in each innings with his leg-spin bowling.

So when Ravi Shastri made that revelation about Sidhu being an entertainer — that remained stuck in my mind for a long time. And now it all came back to fall in place in August 2001.

Buoyed by the success of his Sidhuisms, Sidhu went on to making a full-blown career in entertainment and politics. I hear he’s recently also launched his official website http://www.sherryontop.com.

So yeah, we’ll take some credit/blame for having started it all in 2001! :-)

Why Matt Mullenweg is the Rahul Dravid of the internet industry

A small company called Pyra Labs started ‘Blogger’ in 1999. A bigger company called Google bought them in 2003. Google went public in 2004. Google is today the biggest internet company in the world (by market cap).

In the years 2003-2006 Google (after its ‘search’ dominance) strung together a massive eco-system that included Blogger as a content publishing tool, Ad-sense as a monetization channel for content publishers, YouTube as an in-browser video platform that allowed embedding of videos in blogs (or any webpage), that together gave massive momentum to the era of ‘UGC’ (User Generated Content).

Matt Mullenweg started WordPress in 2003-2004, when he was all of 19 years! His company Automattic (triple pun on – automatic, attic, and his own name – Matt!) runs some of the best software used both by individuals as well as enterprises. Today, one-fifth of the internet runs on WordPress! Way bigger than Blogger. Way bigger than any other CMS (Content Management Service) platform.

At 29 years, Matt Mullenweg is just 4 months older to Mark Zuckerberg.

Yet, it is the founder of Facebook, who has been the runaway darling of popular media and investors alike. 

WordPress completes 10 years exactly a month from now.

About time, the world recognized the stellar contribution of Matt and his team.