How Do You Find A Co-Founder?

Finding a Co-Founder? Leave it to fate. Sort of.

My wife and I started Kamakshi Media one year ago as Co-Founders. And for the past couple of months, I have been courting a third co-founder. To put it differently, I really want him to come on board as the CTO. And fate has a big role to play in the whole process that almost started by accident.

The Accidental Meeting

One day in early November, I thought of giving “G”  a call. It was the day after Diwali, and I thought it was a good time to catch up with old friends and acquaintances. He did not answer my call. The next day, he called, apologized for not being able to speak, and then the two of us got talking about our respective lives. The call lasted over two hours, and we spoke about digital media, video, podcasts, and of course, how to market the content.

Something told me that day that he was the guy I should be talking to more and more as we start building our technology musclepower. This feeling was reinforced the very next day when he called again, and told me that he had been researching the market for audio, and he thought it had a lot of potential. He also gave several suggestions on the format of the podcasts, newer tools and technologies to distribute the content. More on that in a later post. Everything he said to me that day was music to my ears.

At the end of the call, I asked him if we could meet.

And meet we did, one week later. Our rezvendous point was the Cafe Coffee Day in Indiranagar. We met at ten AM and talked till one PM. Around that time, my wife also joined us for lunch. We walked across the street to California Pizza Kitchen. Over lunch, G spent over an hour explaining the impact of Unified Payment Interface (or UPI).  Between his monologue and the pizzas, we had spent two more hours.  It was nearing 4 PM, and it was time for my wife to go back to her office, G had to pick up his daughter from daycare, and I had to head back and take buddy for his walk.

Decision Made (one way, atleast…)

That night, my wife Minu and I had a long discussion about G. We both felt that he was the guy. A techie, with MBA smarts, and one who loves media. He was our guy. I decided to talk to him one more time and get him on board as soon as possible, that is, if he was equally interested.

We met again a couple of weeks later, at the same coffee shop. That’s when I asked him if he was interested in joining our startup. His reply,

“Let me think about it”.

And soon, it was December

G was wrapping up some of his other commitments and went incommunicado for a couple of weeks. Minu kept asking me what was happening. I, in an unusual display of calm and patience, kept my cool. Last week, we met again. This time, we discussed dates and numbers. Starting date and his equity stake, that it.

We also talked about his roles and responsibilities, office setup (fortunately, we both believe that we don’t really need an office for our business) and finally, what was his “Why”. That is, why he wanted to join us. That night, I put together a Job description for him- seven bullet points on a single sheet of paper.

G’s Decision

On December 15th, G called me and said that he was ready to come on board on January 15th. We just need to finalize what’s his share. I sent him the link to the first season of Startup Podcast, particularly where Co-Founders of Gimlet Media (Alex Blumberg and Matt Leiber) talk about equity and share of partnership. Not that I compare myself to Alex or Kamakshi Media to Gimlet (the latter can happen in a few years, hopefully).My objective was to have him and Minu listen to the conversation that was so relevant to our present situation.

The Road Ahead

Now that we know G is inclined to join, I am bouncing off ideas with him already. For example, eMail, or Slack? What file storage system to use? He is thinking AWS, I am still using Dropbox but toying with alternatives (Hubic and PCloud). Those are the gaps that need to be bridged, sooner than later.

So at this time, it looks like it is going to work out. And the investors like it too. G and I have known each other for over 7 years. He comes from a technology background, and I am hardly a techie. He is a media buff, but his first love is video, followed by images. I love writing, and of course audio. I’m good at the content creation and curation part, he is good in the distribution. Overall, I would say it is a good mix of skillsets and experiences. Add Minu’s strength in marketing to business and B2C sales, I think we will have a good team in place a month from now.

Winning the Govt. of Karnataka- 91 Springboard Scholarship

We have won the Govt. of Karnataka/ 91 Springboard Scholarship!

One of the exciting pieces of news this week for Kamakshi Media is that we won the Government of Karnataka/ 91 Springboard Scholarship. The below message literally made our day early Tuesday morning:

Kamakshi Media has been selected by the Apex committee for the scholarship program at 91springboard.

I had submitted the application in the first week of December, and was called to present my case the very next day. A week later, they informed me about the decision. That was pretty quick, and now we have something exciting to talk about! You can read more about the scholarship here.

What this scholarship means for us

First of all, the term “scholarship” is a little misleading. We get a coworking space at a subsidized rate, and several freebies right from Amazon AWS to VOIP phone services and to testing and software tools. It means one more change. For the past year, we had been working from home office: I was working full time, my wife was helping out part time. Other other members of our fledgling startup work remotely. We thought a lot about working from the co-working space, and finally decided to go ahead.

Karnataka Government Startup Scholarship Benefits

What about the time?

Koramangala is in South Bengaluru, we live way up north in Yelahanka. And given the traffic situation in Bengaluru, I thought several times before agreeing to take up the co-working space. Spending nearly eight hours in traffic every week means eight productive hours lost – that is almost a workday. Can we afford it? Not really. But then we considered the following factors:
– Getting out of comfort zone
– Networking opportunities
– Interacting with other startups and learning what other are doing

Considering the above, the decision was a no brainer.So starting next week- Tuesday December 20th to be precise, we will have a new office address, atleast for two days every week.

You can read about the 91 Springboard/ Government of Karnataka Scholarship here.

60 Days, 60 Blog Posts Challenge…

60 Blogs is a celebration!

Why we’re doing this Blogging Challenge

Next month, January 16th to be precise, Kamakshi Media LLP celebrates its first birthday. To mark this occasion, we are launching a 60 days, 60 posts program. Simply put, we will publish one new post every day for the next 60 days. Of course, we will have these posts in multiple formats: some may be in audio, others as a video, stitched together with a mix of text, infographics, and images. These posts will cover a variety of topics related to podcasting and writing: two things that I love to do. We will also talk about social media marketing and life in a startup. In all, over the next two months, I plan to share the things that I have learnt while setting up Kamakshi Media and being a part of its journey.

I will also update some of the older posts so that the content remains fresh, for example, a very popular blog that I had written: 7 Ways to Record Podcast Interviews Online. The title should now read 10 ways to Record, because there are newer options available, and some of options (Blab, for example) are no longer around.

Sample List of blog posts I am planning to write (not in order)

– Review: Dropbox Paper versus Evernote versus Zoho Writing App for online Writing and collaboration
– How To: Distributing Podcast using WhatsApp
– Case Study: Branding using Podcasts
– How To: Setting Up a Podcasting Station
– Resources: Tools I use for Podcast Production and Distribution
– Writing: Nanowrimo experience
– Content Management: How we use put content strategy into action
– Startup Life

 

How can you remain updated on this journey?

You can sign up to the newsletter, for starters! that way, you can get the summary of each blog post everyday. You can also follow me on Twitter (@meamarvyas)

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Image Source: Pixabay and BarnImages.com

Parenting is Teamwork, Reinforced!

What happens when you bring together a group of about 30 persons in a room, bring in the camera crew, and ask them to talk about their parenting experiences? You get a healthy mix of ideas, aha! moments and actionable advise. This is how I would summarise the It Takes 2 event that was held in Bengaluru on the 17th of November. But before I write further, allow me to roll back the time.

I Too Had a Diaper Moment

The heading of this paragraph bears an uncanny resemblance to a bestselling book that is popular among the youth, but it also has a term that I learnt at the event: diaper moment. Every parent has them.I had mine six years ago when I learnt how to change a diaper from a man. My wife and I had had been married only for about six months. One day, our neighbour had a medical emergency and had to travel to the other end of town. They asked us if their children, a five year old boy and a two year old girl, could spend the night at our home. It was around nine in the night, when Gauri, the two year old, told my wife that she was not comfortable in the diaper. Both my wife and I were in a fix: neither of us knew how to change a diaper. I ended up calling a friend of mine, who gave us a rundown on how the process works. What stood out from that entire incident was that changing a diaper is not rocket science. Needless to say, I also realized that the one needed to use both the hands. I remembered this incident when I was at the It Takes 2 event in Bengaluru. It Takes 2, indeed: in this case, the involvement of both parents in raising a child.

Now, lets’ get back to the event

The #ItTakes2 event was interesting to me for several reasons. First of all, it was the first event on parenting that I attended. Secondly, I got to meet several bloggers who wrote about parenting. It was the first time that I interacted with so many fellow bloggers in a single location who wrote on this topic. Next a major Corporate, in this case Proctor and Gamble through their Pampers brand, played the role of a facilitator to bring together this group. It seemed like a focus group discussion, except that it wasn’t. The panel discussion and the follow up conversations were actually very interesting, with some useful takeaways. Let me talk about some of them.

Taking parenting seriously

The panel discussion criss-crossed several interrelated topics such as the role of the father in raising child. It was discussed that the development of a chid who is raised by both the parents is better: this means that the father has to get involved from early on. A father HAS to take parenting seriously. Be it playing with the child, or helping them learn.

Division of labor

Taken purely in the context of raising the child, this becomes an important topic to talk about. And here’s why:If the mother stays at home to look after the child, it becomes her full time day job. When the father comes home from work, then he must help out and the responsibilities much be divided equally. Better still, they should sometimes swap certain responsibilities. To draw an analogy from cricket, this is similar to rotating the strike by batsmen.

It is okay for parents to feel insecure about their skills

I still cannot hold a baby confidently. Period. And The skill that I learnt six years ago, I still suck at it. And it’s okay not to be adept at these skills. But more importantly, it is okay for fathers and mothers alike not to individually master every skill that is required to raise a child. But how about complimenting the skills? Parents are a team, after all! For example, one parent could look after the deeding, the other could narrate stories. It underscored the fact that most parents know but only a few parents practise: rather than making it a can do part of their daily agenda, parents, particularly fathers, must move this to the top of their must do list.

My Takeaways

If someone was looking for a networking forum for parents, they should have attended this event. It was exciting to see a site like MyCity4kids calling upon the parent bloggers to participate and share their viewpoints. The discussions were healthy, with lots of actionable advise. It was great to meet other bloggers, exchange contact details and listen to their stories. But the most important takeaway was the reinforcement of the belief that #ittakes2 to raise a child, and the sooner parents take a more active part in their child’s development, the better it will be for the entire family.

 Here are some more pictures from the event:

It Takes 2 Parenting event, Bengaluru

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Tools That I Use for Podcasting

I have written about the hardware setup that I have for my podcast ‘recording studio’ in the past. Today, I thought of writing about the programs or softwares that I use for managing the entire podcast workflow. By workflow, I mean the entire process right from identifying a potential guest to scheduling time with them, recording the interview, editing, release of an episode, and marketing.

You might have guessed by now that releasing a podcast episode is not as simple as it seems. But by no means it is intimidating, in fact, once you set up the Standard Operating Procedure or SOP, it becomes quite easy to follow. Let us see how.

Scheduling  Interviews

I use Google Spreadsheet to manage the interview schedule. I’ve written about it in detail in this blog post, but I will summarize it here: I have several columns in the spreadsheet, right from the name and contact information of the potential guest, when I first approached them, their response (yes/no/no response), date of follow up, all the way upto whether I sent them a Thank You mail after the interview or not.

I use another spreadsheet to maintain the release schedule of interviews. Some podcasters recommend using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool. I’ve tried using Zoho CRM in the past, and while it is quite useful, I loved the speed and simplicity of a spreadsheet.

Recording the Interview

I’ve written in the past about the 7 different ways of recording podcasts: I have used Skype, Cleanfeed, Zencastr the most (in that order), and found them to be very useful tools. Each comes with its own quirks and requirements: For Skype, you will need to install a call recorder in order to record the calls. The choice of recorder varies from Pamela (Windows) to eCamm (Mac), to Skype Call Recorder (Linux). I use eCamm for my Mac.

Editing

I use Audacity for basic editing, and I’m learning how to use Garageband to do that task. My audio editor is travelling at this time, so I am doing the editing by myself till the time I find his replacement.

Hosting

We used Libsyn for the first three months, but since April this year, we use Audioboom. Kamakshi Media is registered as a channel with Audioboom and we have separate channels for all our shows, including MyKitaab and Baalgatha.

Releasing An Episode

MyKitaab and Baalgatha  Podcasts are available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Facebook. The episodes can also be heard on the websites for the respective shows. For NRI:Now, Returned to India, we use iTunes and the Kamakshi Media website. All shows can also be heard on Audioboom, where Kamakshi Media’s podcasts are hosted.

I also use Clammr to release 20 second snippets of the podcasts every time a new episode is released.

Promotion

the social media promotions take place on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and in some cases, LinkedIn. I also use Quora to write about the podcast interviews, and (subtly) promote the shows. The social media promotions are managed through Hootsuite.

Task Management

I am not a big fan of Project Management or Task Management tools. When I was a program manager for Amazon, I relied on Spreadsheets to get these tasks done, because of the short learning curve, ease of use, and they do not depend on “Ever-on” Internet. This was very important because I would spend a lot of time on Construction sites that had very poor phone connectivity, let alone Internet access. That is no longer the case, but I have come to love spreadsheets. Some podcasters like Tim Lewis of Begin Self Publishing Podcast use Trello for task management, and I am beginning to use it slowly and (un)steadily.

Podcast Websites

Finally, the “Home” for the podcasts: I use WordPress for MyKitaab, Baalgatha and Kamakshi Media websites; as well as my author website – Amarvyas.in.

What’s Next

Technologies change, and so do tools. This list may look significantly different as new sites and services keep coming up, I will keep experimenting, learning, and un-learning these tools. Hope you find this list useful for your podcasting (or blogging) needs.

Image source: Pixabay

When “free” online storage comes at a cost

Most of us use some form of “free” cloud storage or another, be it Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or a similar service. So do I. But over the years, the choice and use of online storage services became a problem. Here’s how I overcame it.

The problem of plenty

Over the years, I have accumulated Two gmail accounts, one Windows Live! account, Dropbox, Cloudme, and after I got the Mac, an iCloud account. The good part is, I had a total of 50 GB of ‘free’ online storage. Add to that an additional 20 GB through My wife, 100 GB from my web host, and my alma mater’s google Apps (now Google Suite) account theoretically offers ‘unlimited’ storage). For sake of simplicity, let us say we have a total of 170 to 180 GB of ‘free’ online storage, which is awesome.

Add the storage table here

I began storing the backups of documents into different accounts, and over a period of time, it became a nightmare. I began storing my writing samples, personal documents, academic transcripts, and other important documents on one of the two Google Drive accounts, with a copy on One Drive. Documents related to my business, Kamakshi Media were stored on the Google Drive.

All edited audio files for MyKitaab and Baalgatha Podcasts were originally stored on Dropbox. I would also use Dropbox for sending the raw audio files to my editor and get back the edited files into Dropbox, and with a 7 GB storage, I quickly began to run out of space. So I ended up transferring the completed audio files onto my second gmail account, and Dropbox was used for storing screenshots, images to be used in Social media, and sharing files with the editor. iCloud began to be used for storing all expense reports, receipts, and invoices.

Last week, I had to search for a couple of documents related to my wife’s work, and it took me over an hour to locate them. They were not on any of the online drives, but I could find them on the external 300 GB Seagate drive that I use for backing up data locally. That got me thinking, “Finding a document take me so long to find, what will happen if I had to search for images?” With thousands of photographs, it is not practical to name each image. That means opening up (or previewing) each image to find the photograph was had taken during our last vacation, for example.

There HAS to be a better way

The above line is a hat tip to Kevin O’Leary from Sharktank, and I took this line seriously. I wanted only two storage accounts, one for day to day use, and the other for a periodic backup. I signed up for Mega, the site which offers 50 GB storage in their free account. Using Multcloud, I moved all the scattered files to Mega, and cleared out the One Drive and one of the Google Drive accounts. Storage in Dropbox was brought down to 1 GB of files that I had shared with editors, customers and some other folks. One of my Google accounts became a shared account across all the Google accounts between my wife and I. This includes the mp3 files (final version of the files for MyKitaab Podcast), total storage space = 11 GB and counting. Once the 15 GB space is consumed, I will start storing the files on my Wife’s Google Drive storage space, and share the files back with me. All my writing will be in Dropbox, with a backup on Mega.

All the documents related to Kamakshi Media were moved to iCloud. Mega will be the ‘data dump’ for all documents, organised into relevant folders.

Image courtesy Flickr

 

Images from Baalgatha Podcast

Here is a small but growing collection of images from Baaglatha Podcast. These images are sources from public domain (and some created by us using Canva!).

Images from Baalgatha Podcast

Crowdfunding Campaign for Fairconditioning.org

Kamskhimedia developed a content plan for assisting Fariconditioning.org in their crowdfunding campaign. We created  audio podcasts, infographics blog posts and a series of over 50 tweets. You can view some of the infographics below.

click on any of the images to start the slideshow

Crowdfunding

Infographics for Crowdfunding campaign

You can listen to the audio interviews below.


As a part of this campaign, we also created a series of blog posts, you can read a sample post by clicking here.

New Show Announcement: Publishing Next- MyKitaab Cast

We are excited to make this announcement that about our new show: Publishing Next- MyKitaab Cast. Many listeners of Mykitaab Podcast might be familiar that MyKitaab is the podcasting partner for Publishing Next 2016 .This event is an annual conference on book publishing, and this year, it will be held in the city of Kochi from September 15-17.

This series will include three sections: Pre-event, mid-event and post-event.
The pre-event portion consists of five short (around five minute) interviews of some of the speakers at the event. The Mid-event section will include key highlights and daily updates from the event, as well as interviews with the participants. Finally, in the post-event segment, we will discuss the key takeaways and next steps. In other words, we will develop pan audio diary around this event.

The first episode of this series, was released today. Neeraj is an Operations, Strategy and Marketing professional at uread.com. He shares his perspectives on Publishing Next 2016, and tells us why he is excited about this event.

You can listen to the entire series below

Note: We are also excited to mention that Kamakshi Media LLP has produced a total of Six shows over the past nine months! The image for this blog post lists these shows.

MyKitaab Podcast is Featured on iTunes

iTunes recognizes our efforts!

I am very excited to inform that MyKitaab Podcast is featured on the front banner of iTunes in India. Also note that NRI:Now, Returned to India, the audiobook based on my debut novel is also featured here.

Listens matter, so do reviews on iTunes

It is a validation that we must be doing something right. But more importantly, a big Thank You to all the reviewers, listeners and supporters!

I also posted about it on Facebook, you can follow the discussion on Facebook or below: