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One of the many ways in which we don't keep up with the Times is in adjusting our self-image. My image of myself has always been that of a creator. So I would not have used that word creator. When I was younger, I thought of myself as someone who would write books. One day when I fell in love with cinema as a kid, I thought I would make movies one day. But then in my early teens, I chose between the two.


I decided that writing books was easier as it didn't involve other people. But here's the thing. If I was born 30 years after I was actually born, these might not be the outlets I would aspire to. We are surrounded today by so many other ways to express ourselves, to tell stories, to connect with others. Maybe I'd want to be a YouTube. Maybe I dream of being a showrunner for a Web series. Maybe I'd want to be the Picasso of Instagram or the Shakespeare of stand up comedy.


And hey, who knows, maybe I'd want to be a part Gösta.


Welcome to the Scene and The Unseen, our weekly podcast on economics, politics and behavioral science. Please welcome your host, Ahmed Varma. Welcome to the scene in The Unseen. My guest today is Warren DiGirolamo, a creator and broadcaster whose personal journey feels quite different from mine, partly because he's almost a decade younger, but who has recently been trying to figure out the exact things that I've been obsessing about. First, let me give you a bit of his bare bio, well-rounded engineering.


Then he did Moscone. Then he worked for a while as a producer at MTV in January. Then he started his own advertising agency, The Glitch, which was acquired a couple of years ago by the global giant WPP. He also runs a podcast called Advertising is Dead and has a newsletter called Unschool, as well as a YouTube show called Overindulges Show in which I was a recent guest. Now, what is a common obsession here? It's understanding how the world has changed for creators.


You could say that by joining music television, Baroon jumped into the deep end at the end of the old world. And then when he struck off on his own in 2009, a new world was forming. Now, here are the salient points of this new world, which is still evolving. One, anyone can be a creator. You don't need fancy training and expensive equipment and the backing of a big platform to create stuff. A smartphone is enough to.


The relationship between creators and their audiences has gradually become more intimate with the less need of a platform in between. And this has threatened advertising as well, which is a pertinent point given that Warren, for more than a decade has been a creator working in the advertising business and try these new ways of how we connect with our audiences have changed not just the way we create, but also who we are. I've said time and again on the show that learning the art of long conversations changed where I am as a person.


In this episode, Warren echoes that sentiment. I enjoyed chatting with him because I think, like with most successful creators in this new world, what you see is what you get, what on a straightforward, curious, humble about what he does not know, hungry to know more and always thinking about the world getting better, as it were.


So I enjoyed this conversation that goes over many of these areas. But I have to warn you that it doesn't touch the emotional depths of the last couple of episodes. I did. But Ghazala Wahhab and Barnicoat, this conversation won't make you cry, but it can make you think. And what's not to like about that. Before we begin, though, let's take a quick commercial break, which because I don't actually have a sponsor for this episode, is actually about my own writing course.


Why don't you sign up? Have you always wanted to be a writer, but never quite got down to it? Well, I'd love to help you. One of the great joys of the lockdown for me was discovering how much I enjoyed teaching what I have learned over the years and my online course. The art of writing is now open for registration in the schools through four webinars, three to four weekends, I shed all I know about the craft and practice of writing.


There are many exercises, much interaction, and over the years that have taught discourse, a lively writing community has formed itself. The cross-cultural piece 10000 plus GST, or about 150 dollars, and the April classes begin on April 3rd. So if you're interested, head on over to register at India, go dot com slash writing. That's Indian slash writing. Being a good writer doesn't require God given talent, just the willingness to work hard and a clear idea of what you need to do to refine your skills.


I can help you. Warren, welcome to the scene in The Unseen. Thank you for having me. This is I'm really looking forward to this one. Yeah, I mean, this is a I have, of course, just been on your show that were on the show, which was fun. And also, of course, you have the your long running podcast. Advertising is great. And, you know, when I was kind of researching for the show, for this episode, I came across this, quote, bios about how you don't do any prep like you switch on 15 minutes before your recording and you switch off 10 minutes afterwards.


And my process is somewhat different.


So I thought this is almost like, you know, Tendulkar and Dravid together in the popular stereotypes, that it's effortless for one and so much effort for the other to obviously like. I keep telling people about the undercurrent of it that the stereotype is completely false because Tendulkar also put in a heck of a lot of work and Dravid also had immense natural talent. So it's an unfortunate stereotype. But to come away from those particular superstars to you, tell me a little bit about your early years.


Like, what is intriguing about you is that, you know, if Wenger sees the image of a gorilla, co-founder of the glitch, content creator, productivity guru, all of those things upon close to you, you get an image of a guy who's, like, full on hipster type. You know, there would be at home in Bandra. But you actually grew up in Kolkata, in Andhra Pradesh. So tell me a little bit about that.


What was that like growing up in Kolkata? So it's interesting, you said coconut.


So Kolkata was its original name and then it became cochinita when I was growing up and I started school to call it Cool Canada, even when you were young and you think, OK, I can call Canada.


Right. But yeah. Yeah.


So interesting that I grew up in Canada just for everyone is course to find the British East Godavari district and a large part of families that I grew up there. So standard South Indian, Telugu, Brahmin family, everybody's either a doctor or an engineer. The doctors stay back home. Engineers go to America literally like the standard template is my family. So you'll find a large part of my family in in San Francisco, in Boston, you know, the the regular sports as such.


And my family back home was a multi specialty hospital. I didn't know you had to pay for medical treatment as much as you did. And for the longest part, because every specialization there was some uncle or there was somebody there. Citigroup, I actually grew up in a hospital.


My dad's a surgeon, my grand mom, even though she was she practiced as a guy and was an MBBS. But because she became a doctor when she did, she she said basically Deleware generations and families and stuff like that. So I grew up on the on the first floor of a hospital, had walked into an operating theatre from the youngest of ages with the mask and a cap and watch operations fainted in one of those. And then I realised I will never be a doctor because I just couldn't deal with it.


And but it was great. I mean, I think I grew up at an interesting time. There is well, I think my parents were not the traditional kinds, I grew up with my dad and mom listening to Pink Floyd and Deep Purple and and Michael Bolton on the other end of things. And and and and they had me maneuverer in their early 20s when they had me. So they kind of grew up together. That is the starting. Mom was also starting and in of a great place because I had a good set of friends at play.


But I also had got my own space. And in hindsight, I mean, I think a lot of how my mind works still originates from a lot of stuff I learned as a kid over there. But the feels like a different world. Yeah, and, you know, once in a not even a one liner in a half hour, you know, you sort of spoke about your cochinita years as being full of children given and Michael Jackson. But one thing you know that I'm really curious about and that I ask all of my guests at different ages whether they in their 50s, 60s, 40s, like me, your 30s or whatever is and I feel it also gives me a great sense of what it was like to grow up at that time in India.


You know, tell me the years of your childhood and what kind of stuff for you consuming. Like, how much did you get to read? What was the access to books? Like what kind of music do you listen to? Like I remember when I was growing up in the 80s, in the 90s, it was all the, you know, the stereotypical music like you named Pink Floyd and they will be the Deep Purple and all of that.


And you had to make an effort to look beyond that. The world was not at your fingertips, as it were. So what were your sort of early influences in terms of, you know, music, films, books? What was that like for you?


So I actually had a lot of access to both music and books growing up. Mom and I read a lot. Still do. So access to a wide spread of books, radio, and they almost like pushed me to read more trainmen because I felt it's a good thing to do. You're going to get to know more about the world if you read, and that's what I ended up doing. So on one hand, you would have your standard, you know, you would have your opinion and keep pronouncing her last name wrong or on the other end you would also end up getting books, which so I was a huge I have to admit this.


I spent the first three of my life watching the same movie, which is Jungle Book, because I would walk across the street, there would be a video lending library, which was a thing, and they only had like this one tape for everything else was terrible movies or a couple of stuff from abroad. I just picked this up and just and they were like, just keep it, because I would go every day, watch it, written it, and then again go back the next day and they would just like a couple of houses away.


So growing up, I actually was I I'm a weird mixture of being very extroverted, but extremely opposed to the need to kind of have time to himself. I was there as a kid, like I would go out and play, but I wanted to come back into my room and and play with my girls and play with a lot of Lego. And growing up at that time, it was a lot about playing with toys by myself and a lot of friends across the street to do this kind stuff.


But it was an interesting time because, you know, I love music from the time I was a kid. That's his story. My mother tells that I would dance to water splashing in the bathroom and I was that kid. I would go for break dancing competitions from the time it was allowed for me to go and terms an age limit. And you would go to an audio audiocassette shop and all you would find was Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson and Madonna and a few others are once in a while.


Bruce Springsteen will pop in and that's pretty much what we had available. And I watched a lot along with actual injury was a huge influence at that time for most of us. I think I saw his Thriller version before I saw the actual Thriller version of Michael Jackson.


So I grew up. That's what I feel it was.


It was an interesting mix of things as my parents were people who were very exposed to the world outside. So, you know, at home I would still have a you have a Michael J. Fox when we were playing on one end. Or you would have I remember there was a book there was called Brian's Book, which was to be there or, you know, you would find such varied things at home and you wouldn't understand when you suddenly left the house.


You see a lot of people weren't necessarily into a lot of that stuff. So I bet it's kind of balance that I think I learned to balance it as well. And eventually the same for my sister as well many years later. But it was an interesting time and they had a group of friends who I grew up with. And so this is a closed group I kind of grew along with.


So yeah, I actually got a lot of my music influences from my parents. What they would listen to, I would listen to their ABC. There was a lot of Beatles at home. There was the standard, you know, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, etc.. My uncle, my mother's younger brother, actually became an interesting influence for me because I had moved towards listening to a lot of pop and stuff like that. Like he came home and he saw I think he saw me listening to Backstreet Boys and he was like this.


There is no way you're going down this route and give me a Marilyn Manson and a Nine Inch Nails CD. My life changed after that. Mother was not happy because I used to play Doom at that point of time and listen to Metal Manson.


And at that point of time in America, a lot of the school shootings had had happened to people who were listening to this and playing that game. Right. So, um, and I was like, no, I know you're worried about it. That's not what I'm going to do. And and so I feel a lot. And then my journey with music has been interesting.


It's one of the things I obsess over so much. I listen to so much music through every single genre. So that was like a huge band, which is also kind of led me to being this person obsessed with music, television. Like I would only watch MTV in the 90s before that. For people who remember it every Saturday or Sunday, Demetra would have a compilation of music videos that would come on Top of the Pops, I think it was called.


I don't remember the exact most interesting name to it, so I should record those on a tape. And we watched them so Careless Whisper. I remember a bunch of those videos of that time, Tracy Chapman and I.


I loved the music video as an as a form into something which really appealed to me. And all the dream was that in life I want to do something with MTV in life. I didn't know what it was, but I think that it originated there and. Eventually did happen years later, and so one tick of the box happened, but my influences are very varied in that sense. So I would be guilty, but when you come out of the house, two buttons of the shirt kind of get loosened up.


You go hang with the boys back, but you didn't give it all of that stuff back home. I can also get my own space to be myself. So it was an interesting time growing up from that period.


What's your comfort food like? Not just in terms of food, but are there songs you keep going back to the movies, you keep going back to books you reread? So I'm actually a hardcore Mosse Bollywood buff, three day is still one of my all time favorite movies, I still go back to it when I need to find something to watch. And as a public sector, obviously always there, but I think there is something I know why I keep going back to it.


Mitton movies, dance, dance, discordance. So that kind of cinema somehow appealed to me, and it still does. I there was something so interesting about that character. Right. And for me, were I enjoyable? Those were not the main guys know that the two guys that anomaly's sporty or you would have those two other characters when me was so amazing that I missed them in movies now.


So I do a lot of that. Do I go back to that? Yeah. I still need people with every single meal that I get. So is my comfort food. I threw the pandemic because my mom couldn't give me some. I eventually found someone who can ship it off Amazon and I got it. So food wise and pretty straightforward, I enjoy all kinds of food, but I am eating by myself, you silly old school. Then you'd have some pickle if you're a beauty and mature.


So I still go back to some of those things. Also got a lot into science fiction at that point of time as well. So Orson Scott Card was a huge influence in terms of his books, not necessarily his political views later on, but as I as I learned. But he wrote a series called The Inductees, which kind of really stuck with me. And what I loved about that is he wrote a series with one character and then he went back and he wrote the same story from the perspective of different characters, which I find interesting for an author to actually do in science fiction and fantasy.


So we are so varied influences, varied directions, as you can see. You're fascinating and you mentioned that your parents had you early, they were in their early 20s and you know, yesterday in my writing group, someone shared one of my favorite poems by Philip Larkin with the first verse effectively is that if you help your mom and dad, they may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the force they had and add some extra just for you.


And then it kind of goes on. What would you like as parents? Were you a rebellious kid? What kind of kid were you? When you look back in hindsight, like now you're a parent yourself, and I'm presuming you became a parent a little later with a little more reflection and all of that. So what was it like growing up? Because in a sense, I think young parents, when they have their first kid, they are growing up at the same time as a kid, which is, you know, kind of interesting and something that you might only see in hindsight.


What was that like?


So I actually have a very interesting relationship with my parents. Right. Because like you rightly said, we grew up together in many ways. They were learning things as at the time. And, you know, they were very young. But I think that what I had in many ways was a very close knit community, always together. We were doing stuff. I didn't even I didn't make kindergarten money, but because my dad was doing his master's in surgery there and I spent a large amount of time there because me and my mom were generally just like roam around and do stuff.


I mean, I didn't have school and you would explore places. You're going to go somewhere.


And me and my mom and her on her aluna would kind of go around and. And I think that's what made it interesting for for I think for all three of us, because we kind of got you know, if we let you have a lot more moments when you're not watching something or not doing something. And I feel we were we had a lot more moments nowadays, obviously, which I still try to do as a nice little retain that a lot more and and eventually and again and going back, obviously.


But he gets into that work and everything else. But for me, those early years were very interesting and which part I recollect. Because I feel that, you know, they were trying to get to a point of actually doing something in life while I was still trying to figure out what I mean. You're in kindergarten. You don't know anything, right? So and I was a reasonably naughty kid. I would not be. So, you know, they'd be having breakfast and get a call from God, from school that I cut my tongue by jumping around with my tongue or trying to get surgery on my tongue to stitch it up because I'm done with flopping out.


And I just done something and or like falling off alone somewhere in some stones going into my knee.


So I was I think I was troublesome, but I would get into trouble a lot. I've always been good at avoiding being caught. It has been the the long standing trend to a large part of my schooling years is that I will be involved in the planning of things. I would be involved in the execution of a prank or something to do, but most times would not get caught. And I kind of see that trait in Leah as well. So I at some point I call it out on some of those things, like I know what you're doing.


I've been doing some work it enough for three and a half year old.


She looks at me as if we had enough. You got me there. But I think that it's all. It was great fun growing up, though, with them being so young as well, because I because I got to see parties as I was growing up, I got to see them being young. So those are my oldest recollections of both of them, which which is great.


That's fascinating. And what was it like growing up in a small town? Like how long were you there? And also, I guess a small town can affect you in two ways. One is that it can give you a certain sense of confidence because back in the day, you don't really know the big, bad world out there. So, you know, you can be comfortable in your skin and all those other anxieties that might come in when you're in a big city, when you feel you're being judged, where all those other pressures aren't really there.


But at the same time, what's your view of the world in the sense, your view of the world, even given that, you know, you're in a home of some privilege, there's exposure to books and music and all of that, but even all of that is kind of limited. So what's your view of the world at that time? And when you look back on, you know, the small town, you you know, what strikes you are?


The interesting part is there is an interesting flip and you mention it in the right way when you're in a small town and you do reasonably well lettings things. I wasn't I was an average, sometimes above average student. I was not. I was you know, I was one of those guys. You go to meetings and he can do he has so much potential. You know, I love that kid, but I actually like Al Sharpton easily. I would win a swimming competition because they were fighting towards him.


And so there was things that you hindsight to think about and you like. So I would hustle my way into being every single sports team, very bad sport in general.


And so I don't think I was overconfident, but I did. I was in control with a certain sense of confidence that, you know, I was among the top set of people.


Right. Not necessarily because obviously and, you know, they were a huge issue with education and systems in general, because I feel that before almost like a supply chain system of getting people out with the same sort of mindset. So I wasn't like of those guys were like 95 percent, 96 percent that I ended up in my den started with like an 88 percent, which in hindsight is not bad. But it wasn't necessarily that you didn't get above 90 percent.


Actually, a lot of people would be like that. My parents didn't necessarily get as much. They were like, you know, idiot is good enough. And and so but after that, when I actually went to Bangalore for my 11th and 12th and that actually was an interesting story, is that I actually joined junior college in in Canada. I took the standard. All my friends were joining a couple of those colleges to study, to become engineers.


I said, OK, I don't want to be a doctor. My logic was it takes X number of years of study to be an engineer, X number of years to be a doctor. Engineering is much lower.


Let's do that. I also love to quote, quitting was a love of mine because I discovered computers and I still remember that first dialup modem that came in trying to open that website at night, opening a website. And it was for obvious reasons because you could also discover things which you're not allowed to watch when parents were awake. And so I was I was obsessed with that. I learned like not only programming like like Basic and and C++ and stuff like that.


And I see a lot of that. And I joined this college, which is supposed to prepare you for engineering entrance and all that stuff. And the culture shock, weirdly enough, even though I was in school in Canada, was immense because it was a factory outlet to create people who were getting injured in college. And. It would almost be a scenario where you would be in college from 7:00 in the morning till like seven, eight, nine, you were pushed to study Sanscrit as your language because Sanscrit, you can actually get almost 100 or 200 because all the questions come from the textbook.


So it was almost your mugging up the entire textbook. So you could actually get that you you can get that higher percentage. There's a reason why I feel that we have a factory of creative engineers coming in, not necessarily bringing our creative engineers that I really related to and even toxic materials. But when I saw that and I saw I think it which one I relate it to those more from those flames as much as it was engineering years, because that is the truth.


That is what happens. And and my uncle had come down to get the procedure done. One of my dad's friends had come down to get the procedure done with my dad. And he said, What are you doing here? And I'm like, I'm doing this. It's like you are a person who should not be good. And he said, let me take you to my school. And he was from a school called Bishop Orton's in Bangalore boarding school.


Been around for years and years and years and some sort of heritage. And that's what took me there, somehow managed to get me. So me, my dad and him drilldown said their dad, and he figured out how to get me admission. I don't know what they got mean because to them it started being a few weeks. But he was an ex student and he kind of pulled a few pieces there. But once they got in and I had to go to a hospital, very nice boarding school.


The the flip that happened, my life is whatever I perceived as cool, whatever I perceived as a confidence building thing for me back in Canada suddenly became a big negative for me. Because you would watch a movie, let's say I watch, which was your and this is a fact, and you find him wearing a neon colored T-shirt, you would buy any uncorrect T-shirt. I had that cool chain that a quote rain, which is not cool at all in hindsight to wear.


And I was told it was not cool. So I believe that those who use in boarding school, although I made some great friends, some of them were still kind of jacked with them. One of you all reunited on a WhatsApp group recently, which is fun. I feel those couple of years really pushed me down in dumpsters, generally what my confidence level was. So I retreated that I was just going to get on the stage to do anything would become this guy who was very averse to prove that I was cool.


So I would do stuff like bunking out at night or go out and get billion for the entire dorm because I'm not like I was paying for it. I would be the guy who would do those things just to almost get some sort of approval. And I feel I will go through that. So years later, when I was asked to do my first IDEX stock and it was in in college in Canada, what I actually spoke about was the small town mindset that I spoke about that because I believe a lot of guys go through that a lot.


We come from a small town with an immense chip on their shoulder that I'm somehow less aware, no lesser I'm not where all these other guys are in everything apart from maybe remarks. And I did that privately because I felt that through my years in Bangalore, my parents call those the dark ages of of my time. I had a lot of fun. I have a lot of friends from Bangladesh, but it was not the nicest time in my own head space in where I was.




And that's like a fascinating transition. You spoke about about how you sort of lined up in Bishop Skorton in Bangalore and all these other imperatives come into play with what was one school is not cool. So you've got to prove your school and you're, you know, signaling in different ways. And it reminded me of something Jonathan Haidt recently said, like, I produce a podcast called Brave New World, which is hosted by Personhood. And he did an episode with Jonathan Haidt, where he was talking about what social media has done over the last ten years, essentially.


And apparently for boys, it's not been a problem because I spend a lot of time playing video games and all of that, and it builds up skills and it doesn't really hurt them. For girls, it's been devastating and has led to a rise in teenage depression and all of that. And I think what girls go through seems to be similar to what you said you went through in the sense that you are suddenly on this platform where everyone is performing all the time.


You know, all the other nine year old girls of your nine year old girl are brand managers of themselves where they are putting a particular face forward. And if you want to belong, that's what you do. And back in the day before social media, maybe you hang out in person together and you build bonds right away. But over here, everything is performative. There are all these anxieties and pressures. And at a larger societal level, you know, it seems to me just thinking aloud to be an analogue of what you went through when you went from a small town into the big, bad world.


And that seems to be happening to kids everywhere all the time. I mean, is that something that's going to struck you as well?


Yeah, definitely has. Right. Because. This need for acceptance is so high and lots of different kinds, and I feel that's it, I knew there were people in my back.


If I go back to boarding school who wouldn't necessarily care, you know, there would be one set of people who were generally the guys who just came in to stay in their dorm, go to where they learned then they were the cool kids.


They were some of them who'd been around boarding for a long time, some of them who were good at sport or, you know, the guys who became became pontifex or had been all those things. I became a prefect at some point, also stripped off it for a reason which I'll get into. And so they were all of those. And at some point you want to be friends with the cool ones. And I mean, I don't think there's anything wrong about what or how you, regardless of that, happens.


And it is a little bit of pulling of the leg and stuff. But I feel that for some people who kind of stuck in between, which is what I was, I didn't want to be the person who was not hanging around with everyone, but I knew I wasn't cool enough because I didn't play football. My taste in music at that point, while I still had a few of these metal Bensons and Nine Inch Nails and stuff like that, I was still also did have a back seat by the city because I still like to Backstreet Boys.


So or you don't listen to Guns N Roses happened or you know, I discovered Visa and I discovered Green Day.


And so people had progressed beyond some of the stuff I listened to because I didn't have access to them. And and so that became a thing. And you slowly make friends. But I feel that boarding school more than anything else, which I don't think it's going to be the same now because of cell phones and everything else, but it could school taught you that you would meet so many different characters from across the world. It's almost like a mini social network where you can put into it and you don't know what anyone is thinking, because I don't think anyone's coming in with bad intentions, even has their own thought processes.


And you learn how to navigate life a lot more. And I learned a lot of that in two years. And but in trying to do that, you would do stuff like, you know, jump off the gate and go and which will be delay into signing off all movies and get caught, get stripped off your perfect ship, kicked out of boarding. I live in a friend's house, take money from home and not necessarily spend it right and use it more for partying and other things and not spend it on food.


And and I remember that there was a time when I told my mother and she I knew that she was really upset about it, that I was spending changed to eat bananas as food, but spending all the money on going out to party and have a drink and all that stuff. Right. And in hindsight, really stupid things. But I feel doing stupid things in life later on. And and I think I've learned a lot from from it, especially those years when I look back at those.


And it also kind of strikes me and I'm thinking aloud that in certain ways, you know, ambition can be a drawback in the sense that you spoke about kids in your boarding school who are not ambitious in a sense of needing to fit in so they can just chill out, they can study, they can do whatever, they can listen to Backstreet Boys. But if you're ambitious and you want to get ahead in the world and you want to fit in, then you start kind of doing things to fit in.


And it can especially be a con and strikes me in the modern world where, you know, we grew up, where our early thoughts are not captured for posterity because there's no Twitter, there's no Facebook. We are not the kind of garbage that we thought and said, like I know I thought and said, I'm sure you must have as well, because young people do. Right. And it's not out there. Nobody's, you know, taking a screenshot, putting it out there.


And with young people, it seems to me that there is this pressure to be performative, to kind of enter that race. And once you have, it can harden who you are, because I think what happens is that, you know, if I have a bunch of private thoughts and I don't articulate them, it's that much more likely for me to change my mind, to learn as things go on. But once I take public positions, then because of reasons of ego, I can feel compelled to double down and defend the positions I have taken and then I can harden.


And that alone can just make me a completely different person from what I, you know, otherwise would have been. And again, I'm just thinking aloud. But do you think there's something to that? And you know, how much of sort of happenstance do you ascribe to your becoming the person you are? Because, you know, all these little things that happen in our lives can just shape us and take us in directions, which changes completely. For example, what if you hadn't gone to Bishop, got in school, what if you'd stayed in your engineering factory in Canada?


Or what if you know the directions that will just go straight? You took after this where you got into communication and all that and shifted from that. But what if all that hadn't sort of happened?


Oh, I totally agree. I think that that there are moments in your life which define who you become. One moment for me was definitely coming. And of course, also I just realized that my parents actually sent me because when I was my fourth standard, they took me to another boarding school. And when I came back in three days, I really went with my dad and came back saying, I don't want to do this, basically cried and came back.


But that would be one strong. I feel another woman to be right after my 12th standard around that time. Now here's where I think something's just meant to be, that everybody subliterate variety. I don't think there's any chance I would have gotten into.


Eighty three exams were on 2nd of June 2000. Now, for anybody, I'm just trying to think of the person who decided that would be the day for an I.A. exam to happen, it is the millennium.


It is. It is a day after New Year's Eve.


And I knew so many people who were sitting and studying. I didn't I didn't. I literally I didn't even give the exam and it remember appear and say that I'm I'm going to. But I just didn't. And that was I was on a downward spiral in life. And then that led me to not preparing properly for. Engineering entrance exams didn't get into it, then you start escaping the reality that you are on a downward spiral. Then I went on that route for a long time, because what happens is that you start I feel the difference is that at that point, you would hide stuff for fear of what your parents or what society would think.


But we would hide lesser things with a lot of stuff you would do was not entirely documented online, like you said. But I think the realm of what like I know that I kind of go back to some old posts on Instagram or on Facebook and think, OK, was there stuff I would see in the past because I didn't know what was going on or not. And I agree. There were terms we used. They were jokes we made.


There was general behavior. And because I don't think people I think that book and you either don't know any better because everybody else is doing it or, you know, and you willfully do it. And I feel the vast majority, even maybe even now, I don't know any better. They don't understand the concept of many other things and why something is wrong. And I feel that was obviously much larger then, but it's not like it's going away even now.


I still meet many people who don't understand. I remember meeting someone in Bombay when when the meeting was happening and he was like images of Otaka. And I said because I don't think he, I think was oblivious of it.


I don't think he really meant it as to say, OK, do these things really happen? I think he really meant it in terms of is it actually such a big thing that, you know, hasn't, you know, more than this believe it was more like, really, is it such a big thing? So and I found it interesting. And I think this those battler's back in life through many things. Right. And and and you would look at even something as small as what it meant to kind of getting to a place on merit, which I never knew I'd gotten into mishaps through my uncle.


I eventually got into engineering college again through another dad's friend, because management got to to. So he you figured to college, which is good in Bangalore management quarter, that helps her to pay money going to Gordon. And that is again one more downward spiral. If it didn't do well, get flunking papers managed to escape through a four year degree in six years. But but yeah. So I feel like that period I look back at a lot, many times, especially when I write something down.


Whenever I try to write a book, I would just go back to those years. But in hindsight, I learned so much from those years than I did at that point of time.


And, you know, in one of the earlier episodes of advertising is great. In fact, the most charming episode in my opinion, you know, the Valentines episode where your wife sort of chats with you. And at one point she, I think, used this phrase about you, which I found fascinating, which is she said that you're in a good, deep relationship with yourself. Stopcock.


And I was kind of struck by that. And, you know, I've been sort of thinking about how we construct our sense of the self in recent years. And it strikes me that it is all so contingent in the sense that we are hardwired in a certain way and that's an accident. And then we are born where we are in the circumstances and families. And that's also an accident. And then we go through life and all these different accidents happen to us.


And in the end we end up as a unit. Whoever we are at that point in time bewitches to me, it seems almost entirely a product of accidents. And, you know, for someone given to those, you know, the kind of self reflection you've done in your podcast and in your newsletter and all of that, what do you think of that? Like, you know, do you think that if there is like who is Warren really?


Like, you know, it's easy to say that, OK, we're a product of all these different things happening to us, but let's say that other things happen. Is it a constant Warren who is at the center of it all through the sort of circumstances changing change, so does a chemical imbalance in your head, which, you know, a different set of things happen? Does that change you? You know, there are people who will get a brain tumour and they'll go into mass shootings because something has changed in a certain way.


Yeah. So is it a good one in there or, you know, like me also sometimes feel like they're kind of floating that, you know, who am I?


Sort of the floating happens all the time. But there is something I realized, especially in a weird way after I started to broadcast, I always try to play the role which I felt I needed postmodern lawyers, because, you know, I've been through the engineering phase. Dinko didn't even apply for a job in engineering because I didn't want to do the role in a call centre stint. But I work for AOL cancellations for the boards. I think it feels like a year, but I think it was to four to six months and work for Jack Daniels Whiskey and a few others as a alcohol promoter.


When I went to Poona, I took a call for myself because and I think that's which it adds back to everything which I am at this moment is. When I got into symbiosis, my Boehner, I'd actually gotten married and I got into it also through a bit of a fluke. So that's one more crucial point in my life, is my mother's was around. She still is. But I should ask for the Reader's Digest reader for the longest subscriber.


I always have that at home and my mom would be reading it. The symbiosis entrance peace application form came in a religious ed. sends it to me in Bangalore. While I was working, the call center said, you always want to work in the media. Why don't we just apply?


And because I was doing the job of a promoter as well. I applied to it saying I want to study PR because I thought the same thing. I didn't know any better, quit my job, went back home, didn't study, just like lying around on the couch and watched MTV for those few months. And then when I went back to Bangalore, you that exam, I actually I remember I went back to Bangalore, got a haircut, made a friend after a long time, had drank all night and and went for the exam in the morning, answer English, answered general knowledge and walked out, didn't answer start, didn't answer math.


None of those things. Because in my head I was like, if it's my mom, why do they need these sections. It was common for a lot of the random point. I don't I will still not see this in Lafayette. I still had a job and are still figuring it out.


So and I got in I got in the first list. I remember when I got in the first list, I didn't believe it. I didn't even check on, checked and called me in. And I got the call because I was asleep at 2:00 in the afternoon.


And and I think at that point, this is finally getting a chance in life to prove something, to merit something you always wanted to do. So I said, it's not like I want to become this saint, but if I don't focus now, there is no point. And so I who knew I had a role to play and my role was OK doing this. And I need to learn as much as I can about this space that I've always been so fascinated by the regular area.


Where do you want to work with MTV? It went two places I wanted to work. I went to Internet, MTV, delivered through my reality show period, focused on being a producer. That's what I wanted to be through glitch. It was about being the right kind of everything entrepreneur, but just being that person who was around to to make sure enough support was there. The podcast actually let me suddenly be myself again after a long time out in the open, which I know was I still hold back that I will miss a guy, even athletes would not go out and have a lot of events going on, going out for a drink.


I would not go beyond the first drink and I would leave them like I will not. I still have to have that relationship. But you can turn to me when you need something, not someone who's always hanging out with you. And I might want to show some of the early guys who I crossed that with very early on. And but with the podcast, I realized now I'm so open about it. I'm like an open book. I talk about everything in my life.


I open about things like I finally have come to a point in life and I'm like all the stuff I've been interested in, all this stuff I have I like to do. Even though some of them might be really weird. It's fine. That's what makes me who I am. And the more I speak about it with that tone, if there is a young kid from another small town listening to me in a small way and I feel I want to give back to that kid that I was, who was a lot of fun when he was growing up in Canada, I had a lot of confidence of all the stuff that he was interested in, like I was going to jump off a stool for a break dancing competition and jump on the stage and try and do a proper they will move.


And I went from that to being a person who was just very happy to be at the back and not really be in the forefront of things. And and so I agree that. What we are asking is the purest form of what we are, what I feel at some point when you when you reach a certain point in life, you're going to go back to that if you're lucky and get to have a slightly more mature version of that kid.


That's kind of fascinating. And I like last week, I did an episode with the Prime Bonica and who, you know, had a turbulent childhood, turbulent sort of early adulthood and, you know, nothing was working out for him. And then at one point, he says that he finally got a job in Bombay in the Free Press Journal, and he went out there. And when he was given the job, he was on his desk and said, OK, this is where you'll be sitting.


And he said, that was. A turning point in his life because he sits down and then he goes to the loo and he throws up because he realizes that, you know, for the first time in his life that, you know, everything that he's ever spoken about. He can do it now. Now, is it time for him to actually act and get stuff done? And, you know, when you were sort of speaking about that shift to symbiosis, like earlier in your episode with BUJAR, you spoke about how you were always blaming others for everything that went wrong, you know, including those unfortunate choices of school or engineering or whatever.


And now you can't blame yourself anymore. You had to kind of take charge. And another thing that struck me about that episode was how, you know, your wife mentioned that your symbiosis friends remember you very differently from your Bangalor friends. You know, they remember you as much more driven and focused and all of that. Now, when you came into it, obviously, like you said, you weren't even sure what Byard was early on. You shifted into, you know, video production.


I think you said, what was that formative period like? Because you are discovering the media now. It's also the early 2000s where the media is kind of changing shape and just becoming a whole different Beamon. Like, I think when, you know, when I was on your show, we we spoke about how I was on MTV in January from 95 to 99. And you made the same journey 10 years later. And yet it struck me later that the organizations that we worked in at that time were completely different from each other.


And indeed, they're completely different now from when you left it. So everything is evolving, everything is changing. And you are in this place where I presume some of the teaching must be teaching about an old paradigm in Old World, which is actually, you know, a lot of it is just not going to be relevant. You have to figure stuff out. So take me through your process of kind of, you know, discovering what is the kind of work that you want to do and you know, how and how your image of yourself therefore evolves.


Like at that point in time. What do you see yourself becoming?


So if I look at MSNBC this time, it it wasn't as much about what I was taught. To be honest, I still wasn't focused in studies that I would still like.


If you had two, eight a.m. and three the animation class, I would not show up because they would not be a good idea. But they were few more deals actually spoke to me. And interestingly enough, so were my my editing teacher.


He would show us Amirabad Anthony and he would talk to us about certain shots and how they were edited. And he was a fascinating man. And I thought I think his name was and he'd come in from FDA and he would talk about these things. And I was never so I'm not a purist in that sense that I won't talk about film the way people do. And they still watch this film.


And I of those things that I'm a product of the 90's MTV, I keep going back to that for me, being able to have worked with Cinnabar and and Cyrus and all these guys was like a dream because I'd kind of for me, the benchmark of someone who was really held that spot for me has been negligent.


But by far the range that Manesh on still continues to show if I can is still there, still delivered is phenomenal. And I look.


And so when I was there, I think I made a great set of friends and we all, interestingly, had similar interests. Deep down, I feel a lot of my friends, I still have some great guys I can hang with them will have a lot of fun. But I think deep down, what we were really interested in, what we could talk about for days and hours was not necessarily the same thing. And I think that's the big difference.


And secondly, when you're in a communication school, no matter how much structure they might want to put around you, it still is a lot more open ended. And you'd have an art class and you would have a class around editing and and our established cameras, I would not say a camera and a bunch of those.


And I think that gave me a certain level of freedom. And also because we all were living off campus when I was an interesting space at that point of time for us because we weren't in the huge campus that those images are now. And I'd be on this small campus and we had like four rooms.


And we all live around campus somewhere, so I felt that period for me was weird because of the friends, I mean, and because of the conversations I had with some of my professors, some of them who were from an older time.


Right. So when I went to intern and came back, mean it had, you know, microfauna. We used cameras like it was something we would be could rough around with. But back in college, for a lot of those professors, a camera was a remote Prevacid camera at the Murray mouth. And Rotu similar to is actually the thing that was said. Right, because we were playing around with the camera. I said, why can't I just sort of thing, I'll back it up so I can get that dropdown short of something falling.


And I saw the shock on on my professor's face that I would even think of something like that. But I'm like, it's OK. It's a handycam.


And we throw it off. And he like he really had a bit of a fit, I remember.


But more than anything else, I feel you need to be on the right side of people at the right time in life. I regret every single point. Like I would not have been as reasonably fluent in Hindi if it was not for my friends during and during college. We were all Punjabi. I learned Hindi from them because Gilden School Hindi is not Hindi. You do not say at the end of every sentence. I have never understood why that is written that way.


I learned it from a group of Punjabi boys, almost all of whose ratings have done state and and who I meet whenever I can when they are here or whenever I've been able to travel.


And what is fun about the bunch who I didn't see those guys. I still hang with you and now they are still my closest friends are still the people I can truly be. No holds barred. Hang the same. Maybe hung since 2000. Five, six I think. And what was sort of, you know, during this period where you're learning the craft of different things, whether it's editing and you said not so much camera, but you're learning the craft of different things, what is the kind of art that appeals to you?


Like what are your influences where your idols like? Of course, you've said that there's an attraction towards MTV and channel video. By this time, they had actually changed a lot because I remember, you know, when I went to Channel V shortly after what's going to happen and all of that, because I was sort of attracted to that. I was there for a couple of years and I went to MTV and, you know, your exposed side.


So she joined a bit after that. Or you've mentioned in other conversations and I still remember there was one drastic David, you know, at that point in time or early CEO before Alex came in was a guy called Swoony Lola, who I remember when he first interviewed me, he was wearing shorts and green socks, which I thought is so cool. This is what MTV should be. And he would always say that we will only play Western music.


We are not going to do Hindi, we're not going to do this. And then there was this regional meeting one day where, you know, there was I think whoever was charge of MTV Asia came down and he is like standing in the middle and the entire office is there and that guy stands there and, you know, reels of the figures that this is almost Bollywood. This is how much in these cells. I don't understand why we are not playing that music.


And Sunil is, of course, nodding vigorously. And we went in with a vengeance. And that was the first shift I saw and it was still OK. And I came in from this very sort of snobbish and elitist position of no, no. You know, I came here because, you know, I love alternative rock. And, you know, I'd be talking about all those great shows in the MTV, US. And, you know, I was devastated when they dropped Beavis and Butthead.


You know, when I joined MTV, it was playing and they dropped it. And and I thought that's a horrible shift. But then what I saw in the 2000s was that the shift was, you know, they just went into reality TV and roadies and all of that, which, you know, not my thing at all. And then, I mean, it just seems to me that they progressively went further and further away from what I like them for in the first place.


But that's a digression. What I was asking was, what were you looking up to then? Like you're learning the craft. What kind of work do you want to do? Like, do you want to make movies at some point? Do you want to make music videos at some point? What are the music videos that you really like from that period?


So weirdly enough, I wanted to just make music videos. I thought that's what people in music channels did, that we would make music videos. In hindsight, do you find out that's not true at all? So I went through phases. I think for me, some of the typical ones that you would listen to Nirvana very into Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison. So when he said I was in college, I at some point became that pretentious, OK?


And now I'm in communication school person. It's OK in college we're all pretentious. So I think that's that's not necessarily a negative point. So I had grown my hair out a little bit. I would have had to learn the side. I would I would listen to Jim Morrison at night after having had a couple of extra drinks, shoot my own shadow in the dark with some light on it. And it did something weird with my own poetry, which is horrendous because and it wasn't like I was not born.


I remember her telling me that I was influenced by the world's worst. It was Jim Morrison because I used to read Jim Morrison's poetry books and try to write poetry like him. Not the best frame of reference in hindsight, but that is my frame of reference and that is my influence. So I would write this poem and I would dance in this thing and I would show it in college to some professors who were also regular walk.


And they would try to find meaning in what I was shooting and I was just trying to get a shadow and and it was a lot of fun. I, I so I remember that I submitted a lot of music videos as projects during that time except for my final project and shooting that kind of stuff, because the ending was orbit, I would try stuff out like. But I also realized that I was always a bit of a I think you jugaad is the right word.


So you would end up shooting a lot of stuff and realize you don't have enough footage. So you suddenly start reversing the footage to cover up for it and make that seem cool. Um, so I do a lot of those I would love to edit, to edit was the edit room or something which I fell in love with very early on, because that's where stuff really gets made. I actually went to MTV at an interesting time as well as my internship.


I remember visiting MTV and I said, OK, I'm going here. I managed to get into the place I've always wanted to get into and that office was phenomenal that he would space. They had the vibe of it. It was just more than I expected it to be. I remember walking the first day and, you know, just sitting there and just doing what brought does in life, which is just generally being he was being he was in an element of being a prankster in those days.


So he was doing that because would pull off Bakradze on every new person who joined MTV at that point of time. And he was pulling that off on seven. So I happened to notice it. And one of my first shorts was with Nicole. So all that is happening. I did research for this, but my thing was that, OK, I'm going here, let me learn as much as they can. So I worked on every single issue that is possible.


So that influenced me a lot because I learn until I learn the art of formats at MTV, I actually learn how stuff has to be shot, how we can, because we were doing a lot with very little and we were using time like nobody else was.


And I realize that only MTV did that channel. We never did that because when I later on went to Channel V, how much over time it would take me to do three edits would take someone to do just one in there, because MTV had taught me to work a certain way.


They taught me a certain work ethic and and almost a structure of working. We just I let whatever we have as Internet culture now is still for me stuff we did in MTV and I can take every single format. There is a connection there. And I feel and I'm a huge format junkie, I love to explore different formats of just not everything, like even how people played a newsletter to how someone makes a YouTube video to do an Instagram relay. I look at formats like a hawk.


It's one of those things I love to see because I think it shows variation and gives you something to kind of use as a framework. And I kind of brought that back soft my first year when I was little, I was learning the ropes and stuff, but I feel came back to college in my second year after that three, four month stint at MTV, having learned so much in that period. And that's when I was clear about what I wanted to do.


I knew I could be someone who worked in that kind of like youth television and reality TV was really not something I really enjoyed. I gravitated towards it because and I think at that time reality was a little different from what it became eventually, which is when I kind of tuned out of television. The TV then was saying, can you take a set of people and put them in a situation that will make them react with some sort of emotion. So in my head is actually, if you go deep into it's almost like you're looking at human psychology.


Right. What will make someone because you are under pressure, you have cameras on you and you need to find a way to kind of push someone a little over that edge to be able to react in the way they would naturally would if they were under pressure. But you just have to bring that in faster.


So and we would sit and do those things. I remember the first time I heard someone cry on camera. I felt I was really upset and I was sitting as an adult. But a girl came up to me and he said to me because he saw I was upset about it. And and he kind of sat with me and he spoke to me about the mindset you need to have and the fact that you're not forcing someone to do this. They have signed up to be on a show.


You're doing what you have to do. You're not in any way causing them how this is the pressure of it. And and so I had a bunch of really good mentors, that part.


I mean, there were a bunch of producers, the or these bunch I remember Nicole was a person they would turn to. I still don't know. Sometimes I'll speak to about how we did all the stuff we did. And I feel for me models for months and the Internet after that. When I went back to MTV, that was my true university and everything I've done in my career, how to manage teams, how to organize stuff, logistics, I learned in that year and a enough and you do a lot of things to kind of unpack that.


Firstly, you know, I love reality television as well. But, you know, one of the early years of Twitter, I think I was live tweeting Big Boss, which I kind of liked much more than what used to be frank, which I thought was, you know, kind of obnoxious and difficult to watch. But that's just me.


But one of the things that struck me when you were talking about your early forays into Jim Morrison's poetry and all of that is that typically when we are young and especially when we try to create things and of course, it is a fact that in men, the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for socializing and all that, doesn't really, you know, developed in twenty five. So which is why a lot of teenage violence and all that is kind of common.


So so people take time to get formed. And when you're young, often you have energy, but you don't necessarily have either taste or experience. And experience of course comes with time and taste also forms. And I think part of this forming is, of course you want to fit in with your peers who you listen to, whatever they're doing. But through all that, there is kind of a code of your own taste, your own aesthetic, your own sensibility kind of forming.


So, you know, couple of things. Like one, clearly from a lot of your work, like your newsletter, especially recently, focuses on things like frameworks and processes and all of that, as you mentioned. And that's a craft of it. And that's also incredibly fascinating. But before we get to tell me a bit about how your taste evolved during this period, like out of, you know, what are your guilty pleasures still out of what you used to like, then what makes you cringe today?


And you know, what parts of your early work do you look back to when you say, hey, that's great? And what part is, you know, not quite like that? So I actually look back on a large part of that book and delivers sometimes fascinated about the stuff which we did. So I did all my reality TV stuff. I actually really enjoyed maybe my last show in January, which I can get into, was because the format was so bizarre.


And in hindsight, I was like, I don't know what we were doing.


And it was a show called Channel We Kidnap, where you would have a couple and you would kidnap one of them and then it would make the person who's left behind and this person's best friend compete in a series of us to win money and free the person who's been kidnapped. In hindsight, when I'm seeing this outlaw, it makes no sense. We made that show. We made a really interesting show. But for what I think that was us really just enjoying a format because of the stuff we could do it so we would give them to us.


And each episode there were three producers and all of us would have won one episode each.


And so we were already living our fantasies of stuff we wanted to do with us. I think we had come to that point, the reality TV, where producers were just thinking of the US and the masala, you're going to get like I would come up with stuff that like I put an entire basement on fire and this person's outside with locked up and the keys are inside and these guys are going with heat suits and getting the job out with fireballs going off.


And there was a stunt crew and all there.


But and I would also do stuff like drop them in the middle of a gun battle with a gun and two people have to go find them in the middle of it. I got lost. The camera crew got lost trying to shoot them. I was groped. I'm sure many of my crew were groped as well.


But we would think of these really bizarre ideas. Thankfully, the entire crew was men. I'm just putting it out there.


And it was I think we're doing all of those. But in general, I loved it. The only things I could, Ingeborg.


Whenever I try to do a format that wasn't Bollywood or reality, I've always been terrible at which required editorial order that required Fenice, so I remember doing a tech show for Chandlery when I was there and it required animation. And I'm like, how tough can animation be? The animators busy. So I just made my own animation. I didn't know how to animate. I just learned I did something random, put it up on television. I don't know how it went on television.


And suddenly the creative director channel we're looking at using, what is that?


And so I pulled up and I was like the animator was busy. So when I look at some of those, I was like, OK, I sometimes pushed it too far with almost being cocky about it more than being lazy. I think I was just cocky about it because I was really. I feel that once you're in a certain flow and you're doing chores, when you when you skip to a different format, you need to skip your mindset. And I didn't skip I was still functioning the way I would actually even move to channel we to do Bollywood shows because nobody on Channel B wanted to touch in the because listening to English, they're so and I love working volume that I was like, okay, one second I'm going to watch this house for a short I've got to meet him, shake his hand.


I've been able to shoot in a set with Ramgopal Varma to create a set for Sunday Leela Bhansali.


So for me, I would still I you know, you revel in those at that point of time because you have some of those things in your head. And I think it was great fun to do. And I have a lot of fond remembrances of my entire Bollywood short period, but I don't cringe at any of that. But I might cringe at would be me trying to do stuff which I should not have tried doing like animation, but so none of my tastes.


I cringe, but I feel I will go back to many of them.


With music is a great example for me. I listen to every single genre possible, apart from classical, maybe classical something I still I a I say I was speak my problem, which is that when you're younger, if you go for enough Speakman concerts, you have a certain aversion to Indian classical music, if you're too young to understand it. So when you grow up, you tend to not want to listen to it. It's not my mother's fault.


It's not anyone's fault. It's just that I just noticed when I was younger. But yeah. So I don't I don't regret any of those things. I would just say that doing shows like where I put Animation's up and doing kidnapper to cringe pieces and actually made me also realize I wanted to quit because by then reality TV had reached that point where you didn't have to press those buttons to get them to react. People were reacting on camera so they knew that would get them footage.


So for me, that took the fun of the fun of looking at what will psychologically make this person react and plan stuff out was no longer needed. You could set it up and people were reacting anyway so that they would be seen a certain way on camera. And I'm like, I'm not here to get like people to act and never really excited me. So that's also something that made me do not. And in a sense, that sort of extreme move in reality TV where people are reacting because they know what's expected of them, also procedures are coming age of social media where everything is performative anyway.


But, uh, you know, uh, let's take a quick commercial break. And after we do, we'll come back to 2009 and, you know, the changing times and what you then went on to do next. Long before I was a broadcaster, I was a writer, in fact, chances are that many of you first heard of me because of my blog, India Uncaught, which was active between 2003 and 2009 and became somewhat popular at the time.


I loved the freedom to form gave me and I feel I was shaped by it in many ways. I exercise my writing muscle every day and was forced to think about many different things because I had wrote about many different things. Will that phase in my life ended for various reasons and now it is time to revive it. Only now I'm doing it through a newsletter. I have started the India and got newsletter at India on Gardot Substract dot com where I will write regularly about whatever catches my fancy.


I write about some of the themes I covered in this podcast and about much else. So please to head on over to India on Gardot substract dot com and subscribe. It is free once you sign up. Each new installment that I write will lined up in your email inbox. You don't need to go anywhere. So subscribe now for free. The Indian card newsletter at India and Gardot substract dotcom. Thank you. Welcome back to the scene in The Unseen, I'm chatting with the Reverend Ogallala about his fascinating life and journey, and we've reached 2009 where obviously there is at approximate level one interesting shift where, you know, you leave Shennawi and you start your own advertising agency, the glitch.


But you've also spoken in the past about how, you know, it's not just a career change. There's sort of a ton of stuff happening around that time. Television is changing. Digital is coming up. The Internet is changing the way people consume information and all of that. So tell me a little bit about that. What about those changing times is sort of driving whatever is happening? So this is a I think from 2006, 2007, there was a bit of an interesting period.


It was an interesting period, mainly because on one end, this just becoming a thing. And we to the website and MTV India dot com, the early days of people really putting up curated content online. And I remember they used to be in the music area. Remember were didn't we use it on our website, forgetting the name right now, which which is going to create stuff on indie music. And so weird for us who work in music television, who would go to a website which was great indie music to kind of get what was happening there, because we had gone beyond that every time looping Bollywood.


By then our jobs were to do reality TV. There were very few music videos, non, you know, regular going on.


And although I was lucky enough to be one of the last people to do a show called Launchpad for January, which is a show to find next big rock band and stuff like that, an hour before Rock On and everything else that happened. Forsight And I remember when we were doing that as well, it was a lot about let's find different languages would kind of come in. So we would be abandoned from Cal saying in English. But Cassini's division was a legendary band.


We had an indie band called for it called Who Still Played the still the composer of movies and stuff.


So where all that going? But it was still largely repetitive because I was going from one reality show to the other. I had almost twice I'd almost gone back to MTV because I still had one bucket list, but I'd never produced roadies and always wanted to produce roadies because it was a journey into the water world at that point.


That's something I always wanted to do. So I almost quit. I would say I once walked up to Zulfi, I was my then boss and I was just going to quit. She doesn't know this. And she said, Do you want to launchpad? I lost it in my head, so I stayed and I did that, sure, but I feel let me into it had come to that point where we had grown up the ranks really quickly in our time and chandlery, because when we were in general and he used to shoot promos and I would shoot shows, there was a set of people who are senior to us who happen to quit around the same time.


So suddenly we were assistants who suddenly became producers very quickly and we learned those things by Hucko or it like we had to learn on the job.


Right. So a lot of the stuff kind of put deep into the deep end and figured it out. But when we said we're not going to play music anymore and we're going USGBC, we're going to do fiction, that's envelopment.


We can stay here, we'll have great careers. And it said, I wanna quit and do something on my own. And I'm like, what do you plan to do when say, I don't know, I will do something. We will try something with digital video and stuff like that. I didn't know what we were going to do. He didn't know what to do. I said, OK, even I'll quit. And there's a line which I stick by.


And I think by that most time that I feel is one of those benchmarks in itself is what's the worst that can happen.


And so workers would find a job and it endlessly failed because we didn't have responsibilities. We are too busy to say we paying for, but I bill as long as had money for those three years alive, we spent six months thinking of the name one month trying to figure out what work we would do good when we when we were leaving everyone else. The mistake was post recession. In the end of the 2009 to the end, it was, you know, voyageurs and people really were trying to hold on to their jobs.


And who are these two young guys who were doing reasonably well, would not have lost their jobs or quitting. To start a company we didn't even know who'll give us a book, and we had one project, one and a half, and we finished that project and we didn't actually didn't have work for I think for two weeks to three weeks. And we were like sitting at home because we didn't know how this worked. We just thought we'll talk to a few people and we'll get some work.


Never got it. And that's when we really start to understand that we need to be open to doing anything and everything.


So we started off as a production house because he used to direct I was a terrible director, but I could edit and produce so we would take turns editing, I would produce and you would direct. And we just took projects like that. But we kept trying to do stuff in digital to pitch some stuff. And we both geeks in our own right of the stuff we got on. I'm Bodos. You wouldn't take this fiddling around with doing stuff with it, so with stuff on the side, but we would still do like I would be still one of the first projects and never forget we still promos for Disney, so for their DVD section.


So we would do a promo for Princess and the Frog DVD coming out that the DVD got as an animation then and it would have a voiceover. And speaking of voiceover, the cartoon, we do projects like that. We made we made Priyanka Chopra showreel for her to go to Hollywood, one of our first projects, because I remember all the DVD that come to our house, amongst others, and we had run through all of them, find those shots to show her range of acting.


And and we got and we were stupid enough to take that money and go buy a TV like we would do stuff like that in the early days. But at some point, I think six, eight months later in really I think. Yeah, but what we need to finish, we had Prashanth who actually still with us who wrote in and said can I in dealing with you guys, I'm hearing you guys are doing some fun stuff. And so he came in from Simbi realize that office was that apartment.


He slept on the couch, worked on project, went back and he said well you guys hired me and that's when we actually became a company because we realized, OK, we're hiring someone. Then we hired a few other people and a lot of these initial setup people who really connected with you in operations on his third stint with Beechnut. So he quit a couple of times, come back, wants to be an entrepreneur once more to go to work for Apple for a bit.


And there's a second employee was a guy called Venky who came in who incidentally, now works for Netflix. And we end up doing some stuff together in that sense. Right.


So in a weird way that a lot of these characters were still around in our lives.


But that was also a time when people didn't get digital.


Think we were looking at it as if it's what podcasting is now, that people it's experimental budget for all brands, if at all. And and so we got bit steely random activations and stuff that we would like know if someone tweets this to this thing than a random Nerf gun would fire something at a target. And if we hit the target, your hand will come on the screen. Right. We would we would beat stuff like that or that we to do stunts like diesel was stunning to and they had to make a bring people to their sales website.


And the website creation had taken so long that one week for launch and had not done any publicity. So we made a bunch of hundred people change their relationship status on Facebook from Cingular, whatever it was doing a relationship. And we had a Russian who unfortunately had to go from marriage to in a relationship and he had to answer to a few people on that front nzei incautiously. And because we made them all poor thing, because single is boring and to some is awesome.


Diesel turns dot com.


Rachel, you do stupid stuff like that and like thousand percent increase in traffic on the website.


Nobody was on the website. So in hindsight, twenty percent isn't much when you look at it that way. But we would pitch that stuff but also do television. We would shoot stuff for MTV was still a client with us as a client. We continue to make that pay the bills and then slowly but surely became a company somewhere in between and and became an agency at a later point when at some point Brian said, you guys are doing all the fun stuff.


We also want to do strategy and we like how tough can it be? We realized it is much tougher than we thought it was, but that's how we became an agency much later. So, you know, a lot of what you're seeing actually brings back memories and it's very interesting how, you know, our journeys over a few years apart has these sort of resonances in the sense I straight out of college, I went into advertising and then Channel V and then MTV.


And you seem to have taken kind of the reverse spot. And also in the late 1990s, I you know, I was one of the judges at this event called the Great Indian Rock, which was done by Rock Street Journal and MTV together to find the next great Indian MotoCorp. And it's around that time also that Jenova announced that they were not going to be a music channel, but a youth channel, in the words that 099 and of course, they didn't make the definitive shift until much later, but they carried out a grand experiment in 99, which didn't quite work out.


In fact, I shifted back from MTV, shifted back to January for the second time around that period. No, you know, my number of thoughts that come up here and number one is that, you know, did it make a difference that you were, in a sense, coming into this business of advertising, not with an advertising background, as you would expect, that people have worked in ad agencies and then they've said we'll strike out on our own, but from a television background.


So you're coming at it from a completely different angle. And that makes a difference to how you look at it and what you offer. And the broader question is that two different angles matter, because even when you come before that in the media, you've got that engineering background, right? You've done engineering and then you're doing buscombe. So in a sense, it is already a little bit of a difference between you and the other guys, you know, and maybe your early love for coding played a part in that.


I don't know if chording, you know, helps you think in a more structured way or whether it just attracts the people who think in a more structured way and the position is the other way around. So one, you know, do these different frames of reference that you bring into something, help you stand out from what's already in the field? And that's number one. And number two is that do you think that because you want from an agency background and you don't have those sort of set conventions and ways of looking at the world, that you brought something to the table or you saw something that others did not see?


I feel like the legacy baggage that comes with advertising. Right. And I feel advertising stuff was even today with that. I don't have any of that, even though now I've been in it long enough, thankfully, because there is beauty to how advertising used to be done and the many elements of that that still stay. But it's a very different world.


And interestingly, what's been constant in our lives is when we got into the agency, said we were a digital agency, the lead agency of that time was a lot more focused on websites and banner ads and all that stuff.


And and we came from productions of Our Edge was we knew video. And we knew how that was produced, so we would go and read stuff which nobody would even think was possible. A good example. I remember we did something for Cornetto around Valentine's Day where we said you can I think we could tweet or write to us on Facebook and give us any lyrics. And we have a set of Cupids with musical instruments who would make that into a song and post it for you to share.


We actually went and took 11 small tiny studios, the small ones you get in, you know, which you get for auditions and be dressed up guys as stupid people who are musicians put cameras on them. Had innate immunity, we built a software to be able to edit that out, the software half the time did not work. So we actually had to manually it doesn't place so a guy would write in Myanmar and this guy would make Meow Meow into a tune and it would go on to the page that we did about three to four days.


And what people didn't get was traditionally how even advertising video was shot, wasn't it was short like this. We were taking our learnings from the Hustle, that MTV channel we had taught us and brought it here, and we will do stuff like this.


So by the time we got to being an agency in an agency lens, but instead we want that, we want that mindset. But also with you managing what you put on social, because we were very clear we are the social agency will continue to do all the will do. We do we do interventions.


We do all of that for you. And and that's how it became one. And then we learned the ropes of I remember when we first started pitching stuff on Facebook, we asked people to celebrate Facebook's free. Why should it pay you to do it? Right. We've actually heard those things. And it was interesting when I think back on it, because people didn't necessarily know what to do with Social. It was nail in the checklist. It was the lowest item that you need to have a Facebook page.


You need to have a Twitter account and maybe be on Google Plus sluiced to be a thing. And many of those and we will just keep pitching stuff. And thankfully, because of video and because we did stuff with clients or people didn't think about, so we would go to movies.


Right. So we would do something for you, do motion pictures for Buffi or we would go to a biology motion pictures and do so.


We would go to these guys, you know, they'll want to experiment cause Schwartzmann wanted to get buzzed and we do the bizarre list of ideas and then suddenly brands like a Unilever, etc. we were doing smaller productions for.


So can you do this also for us?


And we still kept the ship sailing by doing TV production, so we did it, MTV Unplugged, we did a season of that.


We will continue to do those shows till we reached a point where we had a team who understood. So I'm not an easy person. I'm still not I still look at the production and content business, thankfully, have been able to stick to that my entire career. It's always been the more creative person who understood the nuances to a broader extent of advertising and design, especially. So he kind of focused on that. And at some point Pooja came in and because Pooja had that experience, she helped bring some of that structure that agencies required, which we didn't have before she came in and she bought that structure.


And that's why I think it truly became an agency.


I think we will we will still you still have fun buzz creating agency where a bunch of accounts but for not a long standing account. Still, Pooja came on about structure, but she channelize to the madness of what we would come up with and do, which would surprise everybody that this is the kind of stuff and it's not just the team we had built over time would think of these outlandish things to do. Like an outlandish sometimes is not the obvious.


So I remember when we did the season of MTV Unplugged, the biggest ask was and I remember it this on me who was then name of MTV at us. I think it is. We're doing MTV Unplugged here, but more times in India, you have to get a younger crowd. That's not necessarily the audience who wants to listen to the music and we don't want to do that. And because that's a practice most of the audience has seen, all your TV shows are your audience.


If you had to sit there and clap so our actual people, can you correct that for me? So we figured a digital activation. We had a bus score on Bombay saying gig is going to be doing an MTV Unplugged. We'll pick you up. We'll take you to Bay, which is the outskirts of Bombay. That's the studio we were shooting. It spent the day there being the audience. Figure out a way to record it, because most times you end up doing some songs twice just to get a couple of extra shots, get to interact with the talent, come back.


And so it became an experience plus a show which was never the way it was done. So we don't find these acts to do it. And I think one of our turning points with a show called NENO Drive with MTV, where we really became digital in our mind, set in in a social world, because what we were doing was we was sending four nationals into four parts of India with four people in them. And every day we would be uploading videos of what happened in that day.


Within that day, so should the whole day edited upload by morning and basis the number of. And think about it in hindsight. This is the number of views read tweets or likes they guard. They would get points which would eventually convert into prize money.


Well so and. The logistical nightmare that was and this is not Lake or SDU India, this is Bregier, India, so we would have those Internet dongles that you would carry around. Involving trade would fail at most games, some idiot machine would fail in the most bizarre list of places with three seasons of that. And I think those three seasons taught us how social influence worked, how you can really create different kinds of content online that can get decent.


And because if we're doing all of that, it helped us with the brand because the brand saw the people doing these things.


How much of that can we tap into to add that madness with some form of the strategic part that kind of came in over time and then that's a scaled up and became the agency, which is why when whenever someone asks me that I'm an advertising person, I still say I'm not generalizing, but I'm still a content person.


I'm still a production person because I think at the at the root of it, I'm still that. And you know, a fundamental question about advertising, it seems that what has also happened over maybe the last 20 years is that advertising has changed in many basic ways. For example, you know, just from the point of view of a creator or one of the things that kind of delights me about the modern age is that, you know, if I want to connect with my audience, I can now go directly.


I do not need a platform. And typically what would happen is I would sell whatever I am doing to a platform or make it for them. They would then sell advertising and I would get a little chunk of that. And now all of that loop, from a creative point of view, is completely bypassed.


I don't need the platform and therefore an advertising, you know, as a, you know, print barnicoat in the last episode that we did. And, you know, he was the editor at a number of online publications like Redefined Yahoo! And All That. And he was pointing out how it's gone from, you know, dollars to pennies for competitively the same whatever. So in a sense, there is a sense of, you know, advertising going sort of downhill in that sense.


And the particular period of time which you're talking about when digital comes up is like like one of the things that you've spoken about earlier is how you needed to change the mindset of your clients and tell them, go, don't do one big Paepcke. You need 300 pieces of content in a year. So instead of thinking about, you know, one big television commercial which they'll play everywhere and they'll buy space on, you know, maybe Doordarshan the 80s or all the different satellite channels in the 90s.


Now, you got to think of this mix of stuff. How difficult was it? And also the other mindset shift is that very often what happens is when a new media comes, it becomes one of the boxes. So you see a Facebook back in step back and neither can I. And you take those boxes and you're done and you don't really put your heart into it. And it's just stuff that you do and, you know, it becomes that kind of a game.


So what were these mindset shifts, both in terms of getting others to sort of change their mindset in this way and your own mindset shift like one of cozad hopes that you come from television. But did it also make a difference that you're part of a generation which is used to digital, which is used to, you know, consuming on multiple screens as part of sort of your growing up and taking in the world, which might have been very different from some of the sort of managers you're speaking to at these various brands.


A few things happened around that time, and I feel it took a certain transition. You know, when we first started doing stuff that agencies do, we were all those people. You know, you hold an audience, sit on the chairs around the table in those meetings that you're standing at the back because you'd have someone talk about the campaign, except that obviously social media marketing your visual because you almost become that at the end of it was never the prime point.


We've worked very hard. I think a lot of us in that rendition of it is that Germany, a bunch of us, we worked very hard to have that seat at the time.


And we did that by showing a few things. We showed them true value in terms of what they could get out of it. And I feel the learning has been in three stages. Consumers learned first because consumer behavior moved very quickly as soon as they could get the Internet and started doing stuff with it. Consumers adopted this, like this whole mobile first India piece is so important to think about because we tend to compare things to how the West does it and the West even now means a lot more drilldown from laptop and computer culture.


India is very mobile culture and that's how our consumers function.


That's a very important distinction to make because we very naturally that we I go back to my AOL call center days and I think about how they were and the issues they had. And I remember that they were so analog even at that time. And so because of that, what happened here was that the consumers shifting the brands are trying to figure out what to do. The brands and their breakfast have to give them credit for that. Most brands, including larger ones, like I feel like even some, like a Unilever, was fairly large.


I have seen that transition from how the world and we started working with them, I think, way back in 2011. But now and even then, it was a focus area for this and figuring it out and also prime focus area for them. So I've seen that with many of them. So they've all kind of moved only agencies moved last agencies for me, not necessarily guys like us who were anywhere doing what we were doing and didn't really care about the traditional stuff, the traditional players in many ways, because they also were doing a lot of things which wasn't really threatened as much by digital then.


So would doing what they were really good at, like making great television commercials and you doing, you know, those those long planning sessions and then all of those things. And at some point when these two moved fast and then you had a bunch of these brands coming in who were selling only on digital, that you had your your startup so your did to see brands. And when that happen, stuff moved so quickly, that's when the agencies basically got disappeared because brands at least switch quickly to single.


Let's put because for a brand in many cases become easier because once again, this completes my loop. I can see women products being sold. What piece of marketing for me will is getting me to get someone to get by on on a website? And certainly so they start moving quickly and everybody started up and now within another view point of flux in the industry, which is what I find interesting and it's already happening.


But I think the largest action happening is that right before the agencies board the central point of creativity, now I feel the brands.


Agencies are helping facilitate the creativity in many ways, it's very I know that people will tell me what I'm seeing right now is sacrilege, but I truly believe that I that brands are taking the ownership of the overall brand and creativity a lot more than they ever did, because it is easier to go to an agency and they will handle it for years.


The number of pitches that it happened, the number of people who come in for each and every project, the number of collaborations that are required, I am seeing more and more the brand names of people who are thinking of it from a creative lense. And so they are pulling in collaborators. So the agency's role is almost to be innovative navigator saying, OK, great things don't do this. This will affect you, or you want to produce 50000 thousand pieces of creative in a year.


This is how I can help you do it at the best. Ottoway or this how you need to work with data. This how you need to work with your media. So we are navigators not we're not necessarily people holding the reins in that sense. So that's the shift that's happened. Even they're adapting to it.


But when I look at how our journey has been and look at how things have changed, I think the change has really been the day you could turn it on from being a marketing team that would say I'm helping you market your product using marketing that helps sell your product.


That's when the whole game changed because suddenly you were actually controlling sales. And that just changes the whole game because you suddenly have that happening and then your distribution channels of oil, which would you know, what's your standard of sending it to different stores across the country and all of that and telecom came in and suddenly those didn't matter. You can have a tiny startup who just distributing off online who can hit as much sales as as some of the biggest established players of decades of or if not longer.


So that's really been the change.


So, you know, I want to drill down on something interesting. You said, you know, when I joined advertising in 94, there was this old code going around or not this old code going around then. But I heard it then by John Wanamaker saying half the money is spent on advertising is wasted, but I don't know which of. And when I did a recent episode with the Serwer and the ad guru, but he spoke about how a lot of digital marketing or digital advertising is spray and pray that, you know, you don't really know what's going on.


And I chatted with him about Matrix as well, which I want to ask you about, because you pointed out that, you know, you said that there was a shift where brands began to take attention of you when they realized that you're not just going to help them market the product, they're going to help them sell. It does is to drill down. Understood. Does it then mean that what you're doing, the kind of advertising that you are doing is actually quantifiable, that there are metrics that can actually show the impact so that all dilemma of I don't know, you know, whether this is truly effective or not.


It's just a box I have to take. There's that all old dilemma and go away. Is it possible to quantify effectiveness?


So it's extremely quantifiable to a larger extent than it has been before. But whether it is still one big provider that you set, what your what you're setting benchmarks against, like what do you want to achieve? And that's really important many times. And that gets missed no matter what you might get as medics or whatever might happen. That is where you end up feeling. And it's also an iterative game. It's no longer OK, let's make that one perfect piece and have it go.


This is also outrageous. You're trying stuff out. Seeing something that works doesn't work. I give an old television analogy that you know how your program or television channel for the shows and what would follow what and what you would make a programming calendar for the year. That's what brands are doing now. Right.


So you'll have some stuff that'll feel sometimes that'll work. But at the end of the year, you're looking back and saying, well, I did a bunch of these things. These things didn't work, these things worked. This is my Dunning's and I'm doing it next year. And that's really the way it is happening. I agree with them. I think that there's a lot of the some measurement is a tricky thing because I feel that there would be days thrown around.


Very, very, very useful data is not important. What do they look at?


And how we interpret it is important. So in most cases, what happens is you will try to find data to prove what your idea is to be right, rather than looking at data and data, having your idea from it, which is the right way to do it. So there's this piece that we see in office a lot, and Roets is the most is that data is a creator director's best friend. Because what you would have, you know, the quintessential Italian director would walk around outside, find inspiration in something and to come back now, it's like simply looking at a stream of data and really getting some insights from that.


So, um, it's it's about how you look at it. And and again, data and content, the words that are the most widely used for for wizardly random reasons are across the industry. But data is truly just that. You're getting the insights you would get by doing 10 market visits, talking to 50 hundred consumers. You're getting there. We're looking at a stream of a piece on a monitor. And as long as you use that right, then that's good data.


And I think we are also moving towards a slightly more secure form of doing this right. We're moving towards first party data. We moving towards all of that.


And I think while that does affect the business, I feel it's important because. At some point, the consumer should not be the product. And I feel that some sometimes the tendency is to use data to kind of get to them as the best way you can for the business, but it's important to kind of have that defense in your head.


But I think that thankfully, it's the way I've seen most brands are very we've worked with have always been very cognizant of that. You know, there's a line and they don't necessarily want to cross it.


And, you know, you call your podcast when you started it, advertising is red, and which is, of course, a provocative title coming from an Edmondo, you claim you're not an ad man, but what the hell now?


What is the scene for advertising? Is it actually doing? Because it strikes me that, you know, when I look at it from the content point of view, a lot of the content icons do. Most of the content that consumers no advertising. I've put ad blockers on my browser. I subscribe to Netflix and Amazon Prime. And I'm, you know, consuming from the I literally don't watch any television. The only advertising I consumers possibly during cricket matches when I can just mute the damn thing.


And similarly, as a creator, I find that now whatever money I make is coming directly from people. It is not coming through. I mean, I do get some advertising, thankfully, on my show after all this time. But it's a small chunk of what I otherways make under direction in general seems to be even for creators to not have to rely on it so much. So now the point is that if content is not, you know, reliant on advertising, you know, if that bridge is broken, people are willing to just be directly for content.


What's the future for advertising? You know, what are your sort of thoughts on this? Because I'm looking at it very much from the outside. This is not something I have ever thought deeply about. So enlighten me.


So there are a few things that are happening which sometimes you think about is the term agency or advertising right for what we do?


There are parts to what the agency business is right now. One big chunk is digital transformation. So you helping clients transform every part of their operation to digital rights. So in some ways you're competing on one end with the next century and a Deloitte, except because you helping them build those large tech build. So everything from looking at how they function internally, how to add digital elements into that, adding back into that process flows everything out. So that's one part big part of what agencies are doing now.


Then there is a big amount of work we're doing even on the technology part of the agency business now is so large it doesn't get talked about enough. You know, you're doing stuff around Salesforce implementation CRM, you're doing a lot of that. And I see a lot of that growing in scaling and being very stable businesses for agencies. The creative part of the business, I feel, is the one that is actually died in some form of the classical way of it.


I think, though, so you know that I'm a huge Scott Galloway fanboy. Why are the things he say retailers like is that he says advertising is the decks of the board. He was the board. I don't like the word board, but all of the people who can't pay a subscription, that's how I like it. And I think that's important. There's still a large amount of people who still are looking to get something for free with an ad in between.


And eventually they will pay for, you know, not getting those ads in between, you know, their content.


So that's still relevant. What I feel is important to note is that whatever you make as advertising now has to be relevant for the audience now, not of the order. Um, for instance, whenever someone talks about how could you see the ads during the IPL, I say that you realise when an ad comes on, people are looking at their phone.


Because if they were watching it on TV, they look at their phone, they're not paying attention to the outrage. So then what are you making on as an air that is playing on there? On that phone for me is more relevant than what's playing on TV. And I think those nuances are there. So. Content will still always be the prime focus on the creative side, but when whatever you're creating now has to be good legs as a piece that you would share.


When I think of some of the biggest disruptors in the ads, some of the not disruptors are the most brilliant work in recent times, like for a maximum effort, which is that I and it is this brand company is a phenomenal case study. Great. Like, here's a guy who is so creative as an actor and everything else, and he's genuinely funny. Will this company that does really interesting pieces around some of the brands he owns and the movies he works on, that they are now considered some of the most important coming up with innovative ideas around stuff that happens.


And he's doing that because he's thinking digital. He's thinking what is shareable and he's thinking on the fly versus you don't have two months to come up with a script and shoot something. You know, how do you do it? Martin Sorrell famously says, faster, better, cheaper is his focus now with Miramax and his father and what he is doing. And clients want faster, better, cheaper. But I think clients also warned true value. And I feel that that's what we're doing.


So we will be creating we're also not just talking about the creative idea. We talk about how creating it a certain way will make them spend less in the short term and in the long term. I use the word Mixtec more than I've ever done in production context over the last year and a half than I ever have. So the actual part, which also took an ordinary dressing, which is, OK, let's make the film and let's talk about the.


So I have not spent any time doing that in recent years.


I know a large amount of my team focus a lot on the strategy part, and that's still very relevant with still thinking long term. But the classical madman advertising for me is that because that's not a small part of what brands will do in the future and that's going to go down more and more. What will stay is what all are you creating to connect every single category of consumers or in all of that stuff. So antagonistically longstanding and in most cases random response to your question.


But there are so many pieces to the advertising business now that what was traditionally known as the ad business is now a small part of it. It's no longer the whole of it. That's fascinating. So, again, I think aloud and, you know, I hope you and other people who really know advertising will forgive me if this next question is a bit naive, but let's do a thought experiment. Uh, you know, you just spoke about how Scott Galloway spoke about advertising being a tax on the poor and so on.


Let's do a thought experiment. Let's say that at some point in the future and hopefully sooner or later, do we go extinct or this happens. There's a sort of scarcity world where in a sense, nobody is too poor to pay for content. So everyone's paying for content. Nobody needs to have the attention, you know, sold as a product, so to say, which is what advertising typically is. And so what does the advertiser do? Because on the one hand, as a consumer, I do want to know what is out there and all of that.


But at the same time, I don't want any intrusions on my attention. If I'm watching content, I want to watch content, you know, like obviously in one of the privileged, but I'm subscribing to YouTube premium. So even there I don't see ads, no Netflix, but I'm all of that. And presumably there will be similar options for any kind of content at all. So I thought experiment utopian or dystopian world for the advertising people were.


So then what does a brand do? How do brands reach people? What is advertising then? Is an agency just the people who are doing tech back end and CRM and, you know, whatever else you spoke about or how are they actually managing to get the products in front of the consumer?


A large part of what you said is already happening, and I feel it is already a point in focus, so. Think of what you consume, which brands are all still a part of, even though they're not right. Think of the entire creator and influencer economy. They invented economy especially. So people do follow so many creators slash influencers primarily because of the brand. So I would say a lot of the startups focus so much on that, and I'm not interested in how startup they'll do.


But I'm focus focused on performance, marketing and e-commerce. Do influencer marketing raise a few rounds, come to that, get that CDE around and then go get that big agency to that big campaign? Right. Because in a country like India, I for at least in the near future, you traditional mediums are still TV is not going anywhere. Hoardings aren't going anywhere. A lot of that stuff is still here to stay. But in Tatman questions on.


But that's, I think, more in terms of moving my habit than I think. Like, I know people in my that read the newspaper that I don't.


And so I feel that's more my own personal prejudice, if that's the word to use and. So I look at it from the advertising business in the future will exist wherever brands are, they have to connect with the consumer.


Today it's on an Instagram or an Amazon on, you know, on YouTube. It might not necessarily just be as an ad. I've spent the last year also studying how creators monetize. And because I talk as a podcast of this, there are certain ways that, you know, to monetize what of the other ways.


And it is so much happening, which weirdly enough, I didn't know about, you know, work in the space race or the Amazon affiliate program for me was a revelation.


I didn't realize it because I realize a lot of the tech YouTube, as I follow all have almost backs you can buy and they make some money off the fact, you know, you follow someone and that they use certain equipment.


You know, I love the content. So this must be legit equipment. So you'd end up buying it. And so this person gets something for it. Similarly, we put some products out there, you know, and so I feel that part is going to scale up more and more.


Each individual now is a media channel to themselves and eventually maybe the entire world is going to be an influence that are different categories and everything just kind of keep making money and putting stuff out there. Right. I mean, from what I hear and I don't know enough about it, that in China they've reached of more far more at one stage in this journey than than the rest of the world has.


On the other end, I feel the traditional ad is going to be one of those big ones, the new year blockbuster. So say on the US, the Super Bowl, they have a well, we have the IPL. I feel you'll end up having some of these big movement pieces which will have ads happen. I don't think that's going away. They'll evolve involved. They they might become content pieces, might become CDs, might become shores. We'll have all those forms.


And brands are doing this more and more on this. I know brands who are looking at what they do from an editorial mindset. Right. So, you know, you look at the brand, why would you follow a brand online is because not because you want to see that ad. Because you want to see what is something about the content they post, excites you or interests you. And at some point, brands are making that shift to an editorial mindset.


So certainly the continent putting out is content to itself, not necessarily selling the product, and I use this this term a lot, I said consumers that come to you to get two forms of value, one, instead of giving them some value, like a great deal, you know, something like that, or they'll come to the connect to their values in some way. And that value doesn't have to seem very hard or it could be just a form of entertainment or agenda that you like, which really works.


I mean, I think of a bunch of brands which are the only ones I follow because I just am entertained by what they post.


And I think that's really the future.


The future is that will go brands will go a lot more editorial and they'll realize at some point that that editorial content is also monetized. Well, it can be a tiny piece of that PNL. But let's say tomorrow, if I'm a beauty brand and I'm doing a lot of these tutorials and everything else and its backs and stuff like that, at some point it's helping me sell.


But what if some other country's exclusive? What if some of that stuff is only for a subscription base cohort of consumers? And I'm just I'm free wheeling here in my head. Maybe someone will pay for that. You never know. I mean, maybe that's the future.


Maybe that's the future of what we'll build out as agencies, because as long as brands have to connect with a consumer, there'll be some form of this thing called the agency. Will it be what it was? I don't think so, which is why the name of the show came in. The name of the show actually in Disney came from Murdoch's Cordella Ligue. So advertising is that comes from this thing. He keeps saying that they thought there was a video he did.


I forgot where I think it is a video from his stern school class where he said the death of the advertising and industrial know everything and marketing industrial something. And so I said, that's too long. But if you break it down in advertising, is there this is an interesting term to use and that's how the name of the show kind of came to be. So that's what I truly believe. I think already there is just that. And it's a good thing that you hold on certain things which are great.


There are many beautiful things about how bad it has been, which I've come to learn after becoming part of a network. I never realized that while I was an independent agency. But I don't think we had a generation who is nostalgic about this because I am not. I know the people who I know there are a bunch of them who are. I'm not I think things evolve, you move ahead, you can't stay in the past, you enjoy those, are you going to go back and look at those?


But, um, yeah. So that's that form of energy that's going to stay.


So, you know, I'm going to get some of your thoughts on the content ecosystem and the creator ecosystem as well, because that's something I've also been thinking a lot about over the last one year. These are exciting times. But before that, uh, you know, to kind of wrap up your, uh, not your thoughts on advertising possible, that part of the journey, you know, at one point you got acquired by WPP and I assume things have worked out extremely well for you.


So, you know, there is a journey where around 2009, you leave Jenova, you say, okay, this is interesting work. This is what we're going to do. You'll get down to it. You go in the directions and you follow those directions. And then you have what I presume is your big payday. And you can now children do whatever you want. But one, you are still in advertising, you're still part of the glitch.


You're still sort of doing whatever. And at the same time, you are also exploring these other new directions with first one podcast and then this YouTube podcast where on the show and all of that. So my question is that, you know, in one of your newsletters you've written about how you need to think about what you're doing for your career and what you're doing for your life in the sense that you have to view one as the means to an end.


And so how have your thoughts of sort of, you know, the kind of work that you want to do evolved over these last 12 or 13 years since you started the glitch? You know, where initially you go out there saying, hey, will, you know, we'll make me videos for digital and will do all of that. And then in that journey, presumably as a company grows, your mindset is also changing your putting your different kinds of processes in place, your goals are changing.


Then the acquisition happens. Then you discover, you know, the creator ecosystem and how that's going. But at the same time, you have one foot and you're still running the glitch. So take me through your thinking on all of this.


So when we started to do it, then I chose not to have traditional designations. We were called left brain and right when I was left. And he was right because we thought that sounded cool. Very, very like and we just wanted to leave. We are there to start a company, one, become CEO and become CTO. And because we decided none of us, that neither of us would be CEO. So we not first CEO, which because that designation didn't exist before she came on.


So my role was always very operations oriented because of my experience with reality TV. I knew how to go to the sticks or stuff like that. Administration, terrible math metabolism, but managed finance for the longest time with a little in hindsight, a very, very junior team and not really and really focus on that as much as we should have.


But my role is that my role was to make a few things happen, is to make sure that the ship ran with Roy, to make sure the stuff we sold. And that's something which he took on us on his surface official would come through and executed.


Right. I had to take care of it. Is there enough money in the bank? Is that just kind of getting people in, managing their lives? So I always had that role. I always enjoyed that, having those 50 things to do.


Over the years, what also happened is that we brought in people who took certain things off our plate and eventually once we came towards and we didn't, we never thought being acquired was a thing. Like we didn't even know that existed until someone approached us many years before we even got acquired. And we were like, OK, it is something that happens. We actually even worked with the team. And I remember the team came on because in 2011, Russian came on to be our first investor, and he was one person who would keep telling us these are things that would come ahead for you.


And I feel that he's kind of a great person to have had as a mentor partner because he will never tell us what to do. He will tell us something like this will come up and I will let you guys take a choice and maybe give you a point of view from my experience. But I will not make a choice for you. So we hired him to help us out with a lot of the decisions.


And and at some point, by the time we decided to get acquired, because we realized that's the way to go. If you wanted to scale the way we want to scale and and at the pace at which you wanted to, we then end up trying to choose networks. And we went through that and I think forced the acquisition when when we finally did get acquired in 2018. I was at a point when I handed over a lot of my response.


So I no longer had to look at finance options pretty much out of my listings or someone hand over the money.


So I was left with a few things to do, and I always like to have different things to do in this kind of just happened. The board gushingly happened. And to fill the gap of stuff I want to do because I had also gotten very comfortable. I get very nervous and I'm comfortable. Right. When you sit and you feel like I have a relaxed day most days, and that's when I get really like I panicked a little bit because I'm like I'm worried that when things are too relaxed, something can go wrong.


I'm happy when there is some stress to deal with them that everything's going on. So and that's when this thing happened.


And then I just said back very beautifully to what I do at large. So I come back to the team, I come back to clients, I connect with perspectives and insights, which I wouldn't have gotten if I didn't do the podcast, not just from the guests.


I get a lot from the guests. I feel like I guess I learn something from.


But I also feel like I've learned a lot about the talent out there who wants to work in this space because I interact with a large part of my audience, also wants to work in this new business. And I also then get insights into tools and creators. And so I'll go back to the guys in our production team with Hack's, which I am thinking of, which they might not use it because somebody used to using bigger equipment.


Something is very like, you know, which is stimming, which is a YouTube video to get this from.


And so like and so all of that kind of adds up. But my role over time while I've played me roles like, no, there's certain clients I've had good relationships with and kind of built that over time they'll be damson. Albar So I've always been a person of really gaps and give support. My job is I still consider doing my job. He says that over time we had people who came into the system who said, OK, I'll take care of things till like we have this thing called shooting.


The fan was on this the level to which people can manage that hitting the fan has increased. So when it still comes to us, it's still going to be a big problem to deal with. But thankfully now we have a solid set of people leading the organization who take care of a lot of their denso. And I think that's what I enjoy.


And which is why I think the creative thing happened, because I like good, let me get my hands dirty after being in a leadership role for so long. What I don't want to do is to have too much of a team, which is why I really like it's very shoestring in terms of the guys you work with on the bottom, to be sure. And I don't I hired someone. I worked with the team, which they established. And so I'm very wary of falling into the trap of, again, becoming this person who's taking care of an organized set of people like I don't want to lose each other again in battle.


And then we have a fabulous team now, thankfully, take that off my plate as well.


So, yeah. So that's how my roll the world and it's. I genuinely find that it's great to work with people. From this generation, because they feel they have a very interesting mindset and I feel that I'm late, I'm very late on the border millennials, because it is to kind of this huge third line there. But I feel now the purpose when people make fun of the fact that GenZE has a single purpose and I feel they truly want to do stuff which.


And connects to what they really believe, and at some point we need to be able to do enough to be able to connect to that and the concern and is to do that, I don't think we succeed all the time as the business world, et cetera, I think in general.


But I find that so beautiful aboard. And I don't know what General is going to be like, but I think GenZE at least has that. And and so that's one thing which really excites me. I think my podcast helps me connect with this group of people who I find so fascinating, who I feel have a lot of the pressures every generation has, but also lives in a world, like you said, which is a constantly everything you say is on the record.


There's so much pressure. That is, your mental health has taken a beating because of everything else. And so in some way kind of giving back to me and telling them the world would be OK. Right. There are many, many things to unpack there.


But I'll begin by asking a question on leadership like you've in the past, quoted Mandela talking about how a good leader should lead from the back. Right. So how did you sort of discover and evolve your leadership or your managerial style? Because that seems to be something which you have a very settled vision of now, which has come over a period of time. Did that come through trial and error? Were there moments where you had to reorient yourself and so on?


Some pieces were already set in place by the time we started. Because I also let smaller teams rattle again. I go back to reality. What you do, dealing with the team of people that you have producers, you have a camera crew, production team. So I had some nuances of how to handle a widespread set of people, write jokes that I use a lot of my tropes from reality TV contestants on employees in the early years because I'm like, how do you deal with this person, with the Malaysian mindset this way?


So I might have in all honesty, there is a strong possibility I could have done that.


But in general, I'm always so I know being a person who gets to pretend I'm not angry very easily, that I don't get I get flustered, but I try not to show it too much with a team because I feel that it only seeps down. And naturally, I try to be the person to try and find a solution. Where have I lost my shirt sometimes? Have I said stuff you shouldn't have said? Have I dealt with the situations wrong?


Of course, but I think I've learned from those and over time kind of developed a style which was and I think it also comes back to the fact that I don't necessarily want to sit in the room saying I am the center of attention. I never wanted to be that person. And I still not. I think even as a creator now, I am not putting out videos which say, OK, this is what my cortesio is, what I have said that I only pretend to share as much of the people I talk to.


Rather than what I see, I think there's so much in there, and I feel that I did that as English as well, is that I would recommend better. I've got a great bunch of people together. How do I help them do what they want to do by taking of all the headaches if they have, you know, it could be you know, at some point companies become bureaucratic. We so have we. We have many parts which are bureaucratic.


At some point there are stuff which like. No, like like reading a contract or looking at, you know, there are those things which are not exciting for a larger part of the people you hire. So I would take care of those by instinct to let them do what they're doing. I can take care of these once in a while. I'll get a project which I would like the board and I would do that and so on and so forth.


So I think my style evolved because I naturally gravitate towards logistics. I enjoy it. I'm actually very unstructured, but I still enjoy logistics and that's why I took to production. So because production in India is a very unstructured business, it's very it's like the Wild West.


So that's how my leadership Seybold and at some point also because I kept a certain distance and I learned that from them DVD and from each channel day is that the more distance you keep, it's not like being cold, but like there needs to be a line. So I wouldn't like even when I had, like, my first assistant producer, I would take care of that person like he was. Almost like a. Take care of it, but I would still make that the religion I was still not your friend in the normal sense, and still that person you can turn to when you need help.


I also became this person because of the people I learned from. I know the producers I had back at MTV back in January, who I learned good and bad from.


I learned how you should not be. Whenever I seen someone try to make them the center of it, it becomes a problem. Whereas you're always a facilitator. I think we need a good producer and I still say I'm a good producer because you're a facilitator. You're not the director. You're not the scriptwriter. You're not the deal. You know the actor. You have to make sure the ship runs and reaches its destination. And so I just took that mindset of me being a producer and put it into me being an entrepreneur.


And that's always worked out.


Let's move on to, I think, another of sort of the big changes that we've seen in the last decade and a half. You spoke earlier of about how, you know, tech has changed so much. And, uh, you know, one realisation of this was, you know, I think back in 2016, these guys from the U.S. got in touch with me and said, would I do a YouTube series for them and would I kind of make some videos?


What I'm talking about concepts for three minutes and whatever. And I scripted it and they said I will pay X amount for the production, which was decent enough to get someone to produce it. So I reached out to a contemporary of mine who had also done the MTV channel thing. And you might even know him. David Polycarp. Yeah, yeah. And yeah. So David is a very dear friend. So David very kindly said, don't worry, I will take care of everything.


And he got like a 20 percent crew to my house and they moved bookshelves around and Hussar production went into it. And I was at that time just thinking in my head that, OK, my imagination was right. A guy will come with one camera and one little mechanical just kind of happen. And there is this massive kind of crew. And, you know, recently I've also been thinking of experimenting with YouTube and all of that or building my own set up, researching that.


And the thing is that it is incredibly simple, like even for podcasting, you know, like what I'm doing now. I mean, I'm basically producing my own show and I can get near studio quality output, you know, with a really basic budget equipment. What twenty years ago would have been a full production involving so much and probably beyond the reach of one person. But today you can sit in your room and, you know, just kind of get it done.


And this is something that I think sort of all the people perhaps of my generation haven't quite fully come to terms with. But younger creators have immediately figured it out because they are native to do so, consuming the stuff all the time. They're much more comfortable with technology and so on. How has the transition been for you? Because in a sense, you started off in the old world where you are using all those, I presume, those big ass cameras and or whatever.


But at the same time, like you mentioned, you're fortunate enough to be in a place where the workflows are not that dogmatic, where you're constantly doing jugal sugar and you're not getting doing things very fast, which is very much sort of the YouTube ethic in a sense. Just get it done. Get it done. Just keep doing throw things at the wall.


What was that sort of process for you like? And is that stuff that the agencies also internalized in the work you do? Like you said that you pick up tips from creators and you'll pass it along to them. So, you know, how has that impacted your workflow, for example, like, you know, what's the workflow of the world, of the world?


What I'm doing is pretty simple, actually. So I go to the spirit of experimentation where I will in some time spend unnecessary money on random things and eventually come with a simple solution. So I wanted my, for instance, video to be slightly better than regular zoom quality. So I bought a Web cam eventually, which was great because it got me. I'm like, OK, you do this one zero eight zero, you don't need a four camera.


Got a webcam for three thousand rupees. I took care of that. So for me that was good. Took care of an entire piece because every time I went to another platform and I tried Mini, there was some problem I always faced in the video. Part of it, the audio parts have always been great. So I've still stuck to using Zoom in most cases, but my work was pretty simple. I have a bunch of people I've kind of working with now from this company called the Small Business Project Project and his team of Fabulous and I've known Richard for a bit and and what I've actually done with them is trying to work with them and say that I said, OK, I'm going to give you X, Y and Z.


I need to take care of other business for me. And we figure the workflow and and also kind of find people who you will meet, actually some of the some of the guys who work on the audio are like IBM, who kind of so we're going to plug in and they helping on that front find somebody else who's just reached out and said, OK, I'm pulling out inside some episodes and someone wants ten chapters. Right. So, yeah, you don't have timestamps on an episode.


Someone was nice enough to email me saying these are the time stamps for your episode. And I said, OK, do you want to do this all the time? I can make it a big gig. So I think some of those things have organically evolved and we've putting together a team of people. Who are naturally proactive in doing stuff and finding a flaw. My said is pretty straightforward. I actually, you know, one of the first things you said is that I don't.


But I always say my prep is not traditional, but I do a 15 minute brief chat with my guests a week before at least or whenever I can get a slot. So in that I scribble a few things on my iPad and that is my frame of reference. In some cases, their PR teams or whoever will send me some stuff which I generally don't necessarily follow. But I do find a few pieces there as nuggets, which I find interesting.


So I put them down there and then I let it flow there because a lot of my audience also it is advertising is there is a lot more corporate. So I get a lot more info there on the worm, Dougie.


So for me, I call it in broadcasting because I feel it's interesting to bring someone in and how will they look on audition and literally whatever it does.


And that's what I've been doing. I've been I've been trying to find as widespread a set of guests as I can and just have a chat about stuff I'd want to really talk to them about.


And and not looking at this as being, okay, this is like a show that's focused on X and Y and Z. It's like you learn so much. I'm gonna. So that's how I'm looking at that.


But going back to the other part about what I learned as as actual hacks and tools and creation, what's been interesting is it's been an interesting three way street where I know the people in our team as well who will follow some of those YouTube channels, like, for instance, a large part of what we do is product. So how do you show the product was traditionally very complex?


It still is a complex process because to make it look the way you some of those things you need that texture, you need new those all of that stuff.


And that's a very complicated process and it's very expensive to do.


But are so many of these YouTube who have these hack?


So I, for instance, that follow a few of them and I keep sending those videos. We have a few of those groups between people in the office that only one on Instagram, one on WhatsApp, and we all keep sending stuff across. And and those range from someone's television commercial to someone's behind the scenes video of a YouTube product short and and somewhere in between, we found things we will adopt.


So we do a lot of product stuff that looks Instagram worthy, might not be at the same ness of what is traditionally a product short for an ad, but it's great for Instagram, it's great for e-commerce. So also makes it seem like it's content, which you normally scroll past.


So we build a lot and a lot of the techniques we use to create that is what YouTube was used.


And so I love when that happens and when that's happening and when somebody dishearteningly you use something red, what do you use this equipment? So I learned this already.


So times when I have actually sent across stuff which I have bought as random small equipment and to try and use this.


So I remember when we were doing stuff at Fashion Week or like me, know there was a thing where you need to switch your mindset where you would shoot something on a larger camera movie doing it machine edited and uploaded online, but it had to be as low as possible.


We started shooting on an iPhone, so every year the glitch office would have a brand new set of iPhones coming in, the old set sold off, best investment ever goes through the year when we had to go to smaller events, etc..


These phones have fabulous cameras. I shoot. So I'm starting to work on a few log like or straight up country like pieces for YouTube. I had a GoPro. I try to use some of the camera. I eventually came down to using my iPhone. This is a great camera. Figured a way to get the right kind of tripod. And I use like I bought a light and all that stuff. But a lot of these techniques, when I look at how people actually look, when you mentioned the crew kind of coming into people now, those shorts and also thanks to whole shoots happened last year, have become that tiny.


You really have to people come in. I had to shoot something for a workshop because I was doing one game with one camera, put the mic in and had no light because he said, can you just shoot in the day? So I finally come to that point of getting as many people as required in India. We have many people on a set. It's a problem. We graden giving employment. It's it's fabulous that you would have one guy walking around giving people Billerica bottles, bring water on a separate tradition.


You go abroad, someone goes and takes their own water. They have a guy to pick up the toolbox as you level unlogged. So for everything, there is somebody's job, which is great in a larger context, but also it makes it a very crowded space and makes it very noisy.


Whereas like and I think they finally come to that point. It's I mean, obviously we have to figure out how all those people are going to survive, what they're going to do. And and they also and some of those things have gone back to normal in many of those cases will happen the same.


But. We finally realizing, especially from you, was that this stuff can be short, you don't necessarily need 50 people for everything you can do to five people, just that we've never tried to do it because we thought it's simpler and more relaxed to have one person to do every single thing.


And and that nuance is fabulous now. And motion creators like I don't want to give me a phone and I'll go shoot that. The way they shoot is interesting. I've learned so much on that. They believe in archiving, which is fabulous because they'll see something random, they'll shoot it distorted in their phone and they'll use it a later date. It's just there in their stock of of videos, which we will never think of as stock footage. Yeah, I mean, you get into the habit of you should be rolling all the time and you never know when you kind of might use it.


So tell me about but, you know, you're so beginning to explore the creator ecosystem. Like, first of all, you don't when you start thinking of yourself as a creator in the sense is it when you start doing advertising, is there or is it somewhere kind of into that, you know, on your newsletter as well, you shared plenty of insights about sort of the creator ecosystem. You've spoken about how do you build frameworks, you've spoken about what you call the intimate content ecosystem.


Take me through it. You know, your personal narrative of how you begin to think of yourself as a creator and then about how you begin to set up those processes by which you kind of create and how that conception of yourself is evolving to begin with before we actually get down to what the ecosystem is like.


So I think I truly became a creator in my head while I always dabble in these things since I started the podcast, I think by the time I hit like 75, 80 episodes of advertising is that I'm like, once again, this is actually a thing, right? Because I think for the first 50 hours, still figuring out what I was, it took me a while to even think about the fact that I was a podcast host because I used to always mumble as a kid and through college.


So I was never clear like I would be in meetings and I would all talk slower. People aren't getting what you see.


And to go from that to me, doing this as like almost something which I do almost as of my job. And I'd say that in the nicest way possible. And it has been an interesting transition for my own head space, and I feel like I've become a lot more.


Confident about the things I'll be able to do, I always had confidence growing over the years since my days in Bangalore and everything else, but I've truly been able to actually do this happened around 75 percent, around 50.


I was happy. I don't know what next. So I remember that when I finished 50 episodes, I made this note down saying notes post 50. And one of the things like what are the things I need to now work on?


Because learned about let's get the show. That's when I. Looking at programming a lot more about how to make the variance of my guests interesting. How do we look at what's happening around the show in that sense? One day someone told me that why is your Instagram account so boring? I'm like, what do you mean?


And if you go to it, all you see are what Bill and yellow posts, because I wasn't posting anything except for the episode created every week. They said people want more from you around the show.


I'm like, that seems like a lot of work. And so I stayed and I would then associating random stuff. It wasn't there was no plan. Something I'd find interesting I would share. I was still I think I became a creative, fully and full fledged ness when a lot don't happen because I was suddenly at home.


I had bought a mic because I wanted to dabble in recording some stuff myself, and also because I said sometimes you might need some patch work. I didn't want to travel all the way back to the IBM studio to do it.


Let me just buy a mic. So I bought you would be mine and it was there. And when I started to create this is enjoying all the smaller pieces, because sometimes when you're in a studio, do you miss all the other stuff you could do around it?


And you and I think the first couple of months of loglines, because there wasn't much you could do work also wasn't as hectic for a lot of us because there was not as much happening on many fronts. So that's a as information happened because I want to just not just talk about advertising and marketing. Right. In other words, in this space, I want to talk about something that is utterly random, which is why I use this happen. I was like, this is going to be the one you need to have that one out of irreverence of any random conversation.


And this is what the show is. And the more I read it, then I started looking at how other people post. I started looking at how to create and slowly but surely I started enjoying many elements of it also doesn't have to be that complicated.


I feel that that baggage you take from having short stuff and stuff with all that stuff around makes you not want to do it. But I feel that that's what the difference between generations is, that people now are born with the phone, which they could create with. Whereas when cell phones came into our lives a little later in life and then the cameras and everything else. So I discovered that in 2020, I think 2019 doubling and I wasn't committing to it.


I had friends who in the space said, OK, why don't you do more with this and that? You need to decide if this is a hobby or if this is something you're doing. Seriously, even me being a part Gustl says Unprime, you're giving so much time and effort and money money as being just like the time I spend on it. Is it going somewhere? I just doing it for fun. So decide that and plan it that way.


And I have a few of these friends who will always put these points in my yard. And whenever I'm just because I tend to get on the floor and enjoy the flow and not think about how this could be in the future. And I have a few of them, including Pooja, who will sit me down and see think about why you're doing this and think about and pull that down and then move with that. And that's what I've been doing.


But, uh, yeah, I'm just enjoying sharing more and more I found new for of Instagram was something I started to do a lot more in 2020. Then I started looking at the kind of content I want to share.


So I started shedding stuff about books because I'm being terrible at remembering pieces of books. I find it fascinating that you remember so many of these things, but I sometimes I don't remember anything.


So I found an app called Read Voice and the device has been fabulous for me because everything I would bookmark on my Kindle would show up there and I'm like, and I'd keep going back to it.


You mean like a few things every day or something I bookmarked or something which I marked up. And so I started sharing that and that started to be something people really enjoyed. My workout videos have a random thing I decided to do for a large part of how I've been able to push. I need to find that one piece to anchor my day, which gives me like it's my fault meditation that that one what? Forty five minutes to one out of work out every day.


And I work out every single day. I took a week off, started again when we're recording this and it's been one of those things. So I just started to share a bunch of these things, going back to my love of all Marxists or triangulator format, right with the spaces I would try and use later. All of these things have come from. But let's just try this out. Maybe I'll enjoy doing it.


And and also some from random to pull back as well. Pull back and say, OK, you're doing too much. Now, think about all the stuff you want to do and don't want to do and and and recalibrate as well going to come back. So that's been made clear. The journey has been about what do I want to share with the world, which I feel they'll get some value from which I also enjoy doing while I'm sharing it. And I realize I have a lot of those and I still have many more, which I still want to work on and share.


And so that's what's keeping me going, as in this whole creative mindset of mine.


So I'm going to ramble a bit and also give my gentle disagreement with something you said in one of your posts. But first, the ramble, which is that, you know, when I was teaching a podcasting course and people would ask, you know, what should I make a podcast about or where are the gaps in the market and blah, blah, blah. And I would always say that, listen, you know, everything's been done. Every ideas out there, every format is out there.


There's nothing new. Even if you find a gap in the market, 50 other people will. The only thing that makes your show unique is you. So you have to be authentic to yourself. And in a sense, that's also how I defined the scene in the on scene, is that this is a show that is documenting my intellectual curiosity. I speak, I have conversations with people I want to have conversations with. And I, like you correctly, said, you know, you have something to learn from everybody.


Every single person on this planet knows something that you don't. So if you have the opportunity to have a conversation and learn some of that, that's incredible. Now, as you were speaking, it struck me that, you know, everything else that you're doing, whether it is sharing the things that you found interesting in the books you read or whether it is your workout videos and so on, also feeds into that same thing. It feeds into authenticity and who you are, which is what will ultimately draw someone, you know, tomorrow.


If I announce that started the scene in the on scene, I'm taking a break. Someone else will do the interviews. It's not the same show anymore. It's completely different rate. And ditto with advertising. Is there or in fact, any good show done by anybody?


In fact, one of my editors or who I've shared with IBM still knows Wonder, telling me how it's fascinating to him that the same guest will come on my show and your show and psychotic show, and it'll be a completely different conversation, which is one of the delights of it. And the gentle disagreement is because I think at some point you were speaking about what you should keep in mind when you're starting a podcast. And I think the second of your questions, if I remember correctly, was why you you know, what do you have that is special?


That is whatever. And I think in a sense, that is the wrong question in the sense that one everyone is sort of, you know, unique in the way. And secondly, even if you're not an expert in something, the point is that you are on a journey which many other people are on at different stages, perhaps. So there is value in your sharing that part of it anymore. So someone who is, for example, watching one of your workout videos might aspire to work out like that, might be a person who works out himself and is looking at how someone else does it, a fellow traveler does it, so to say.


I would imagine that people who listen to our respective podcasts have thought about many of these things are interested in some of these things. It doesn't matter who we perceive as Hawson or special, it is our sort of journey that we share. And to that extent, it seems that a lot of what makes creators stand out is that element of being true to themselves. Like when blogs came about, people used to disparagingly say of blogs that, hey, who wants to know what you had for breakfast?


And I'm like, no, actually, you know, in a sense, many people want to know what you had for breakfast. What are your sort of thoughts on this?


So. To clarify the point, you disagreed on that. Is that why I said that, why you is because if you are not convinced as to why are you the person to do this, you will not stick onto this for too long because I feel a lot of it will start podcast. All I want to do is go somebody else is doing it or somebody else is doing this. That authentic part you spoke about is exactly the reasoning. And I agree because it's a journey, right?


I do this 25 episode thing every 25 years. I sit down and say, why am I doing this? I revisit that thing. Why am I that? Which is why at some point I say, OK, I can't only talk advertising and marketing. Let me talk to businesses. Welfare dressing is that the war on drugs should happen because I'm interested in personal elopement. I'm interested in in workflows and everything else and productivity as such.


And so all of that is how that happened. But what I feel is interesting about the guests and the voices that I agree with you broadcast, for me, the biggest revelation has been is that it's such a simple medium in that it's its voice in this conversation. It is the kind which we do.


But it's also so liberating because you're not constrained by. Studio said Lades, which is what a lot of us get constrained by in video, which I know that YouTube is, and deal makers will disagree with me because they don't necessarily have any constraints as well. But I feel it's a medium where you can actually go deeper into things and really get insight as you personally want to get out and people will find insights from that.


And what's also kind of interesting is that I've had my own journey in the way I speak on the part just over the last two and a half years, because I feel that I will be rewarded by learning every word with the kind of guests I want to bring on kind of conditions I want to have. Because also at some point I agree with you that people come in for the host a lot more than the guests because they want the hosts way of having a conversation, the way of digging into what the matter of that episode is subject matter.


So this is what interests them because they relate to that. It's like so I speak to some people about some of the most popular podcasts globally. Right. That many people don't like my sense of scale. I kind of agree with them in some context because I find Reid Hoffman to be great in some kind of this is not so great in many. I feel he uses sound design to cover for many of his own issues, maybe in the way he does it.


Similarly, for I remember listening to this podcast called Inside Voices, which has been my find of last year, and Inside Voices was a podcast where the conversations are only with podcast hosts. I forget the name of the hosts of the podcast, but he says that. What does your voice sound like?


And I found that to be such an interesting question because it has to, and he takes it in both the angles, said, what do you think it sounds like yet? What does it really stand for in terms of what it sounds like? And he takes both those context.


And I find it's that part of me made me think so much about who I am and what my own voice was. And that's actually when I built this framework out of thinking about how to make a podcast. And and I realized framework's what I think as the deeper I went into the break to the YouTube rabbit hole. But I mean that that podcast taught me a lot. I remember going back to this podcast was called Magali Margol. It is, what, eight podcasts and Laskaris, which I've I've seen.


And I was like, how does someone do it for us? I think even he's also on Conan's podcast, if I remember right. I'm not sure entirely.


And so his thing was interesting because he's dingo's the curiosity of the different realms he has of interest in how he works. And it was intriguing to me.


So there is so much there to unpack that at some point you're kind of sitting and you learning and you reveling in it and you letting it flow. You're hoping people are along for the ride and you're hoping that they learn something from it. And you also that easily know if people don't like it, I mean, I want to try something slightly different. Someone will write in and say, OK, I didn't like this. And you learn from that, not follow it, but you will also learn from it.




And tell me about frameworks now, like, you know, in your newsletter in the November 7th edition, to be precise, you spoke about previous to build a framework, which I found very relatable because that's almost exactly what I try to do, not necessarily what I do always. And I feel that, you know, building a framework around something that you're doing Hilton to is one. It helps clarify exactly what you're doing and sometimes way and to then it makes the process much easier.


Then it's not a mishmash of stuff that you have to somehow get through. There's just an easy way of sitting down and you're kind of getting the job done. It takes some sort of mechanical elements out of the way. Tell me a bit about how you're thinking of frameworks evolved and how you developed your own workflows and what are these three ways?


So I actually got into frameworks very recently and I wouldn't use the term framework was that I don't use for a lot of the stuff. So sometimes when somebody asked me to plan something, I think format's or my version of frameworks. I know that's a term I was allotted to this episode. And at some point when I would do and if I look at it with my own system to do it, my own reasoning as to why it has to be a certain way.


And there are few you, Dubas, who have actually learnt a bunch of stuff from. Casey Neistat has been one of my longtime favorites for just picked up the process of what he did, but I knew that I would love his episodes where he he draws stuff out the marker on paper to show how stuff happens.


I discovered material at some point in my day deep into productivity and everything else, and very learned.


This is one you do. But who his name is Nathaniel Drew. And I discovered him sometime, I think late 2019. And I found his story fascinating. The young guy from forgood, we're in America who's. Who's learns languages, who travels the world and the way he ensures the way he needed to so classical, but he goes back into his free and looks for his own life and just talks about that.


So at some point, as I start putting those down and I came up and I came across the term framework, I said once again, there are things you do in life. And I feel that the reason why the only way you can do more in your day and yet be healthy, get enough rest, accept is if you build routine into a life and then the routine is the framework for life. So for me, my process in the morning in many ways is simpler days like it's a standard flu.


I will I will do X, Y and Z right after each other. And that's my framework for my morning really, really gets altered unless I'm traveling or something else is up. And I feel that as you build those things out, you then can bring them into every single thing. Every single thing you do can be brought down to a framework because everything becomes adaptable. It's not rigid in my mind. It is fluid.


And that's how I came across it.


And then I started reading more and more about frameworks and trying to see what people have used. And I get more ideas from that. Right. So I sometimes adapt the framework. Sometimes I try to use lately some better come up with one in many cases where I come up. So my newsletter, sometimes I experiment some of the frameworks I put across, which I come up with other experimental frameworks I came up with while I was writing that newsletter. So like I thought about before, but I'm thinking about a certain topic of like what would the structure for this be?


What would the format for this be? And I came up with it and I put it on. I was at some very badly written frameworks, which when I read it, after I write it, I'm like, this doesn't work. So I scrapped something else. But that's I think I love that if I think that love of Wal-Mart has now come into this and it's just made me think about like the other day I was talking to a friend of mine named Munjal Party right here on the altar as a podcast is also our we had Leah with him and I was like, is there a framework for being a dad?


And because he and I talk a lot about being fathers, because I think we we have modern fathers of this generation are so different from how dads look like my dad was a certain way. He and I have a fabulous relationship. But I think that a lot of what is part of my role as a father involves being a lot more hands on than it ever was for anybody before.


And I enjoy so much of that. And so I said, well, is there a framework for that? And because I feel that everything in life can be drilled into a framework by that framework might not necessarily work for everyone. It would work for something, not work for the others. And the more I put it on, at least in my head, for a person who's so unstructured, it helps him bring some sort of structure into my own mind.


And I feel that civic frameworks are important, especially for that structure, to kind of keep putting down. So is it a framework for being a dead? What's your framework, my framework of being a dad is a few things I don't I haven't put it on paper, but I feel to be a dad, you need to be. The balance of a person who has enough time and a set of interests for the quarter in trade with me in labor, there are things which only she and I do together.


So it's that one part that's only her and my thing to do. And they'll be small things for the longest time was me just taking her to the loo when she had room number to write it. So I think that that takes me back or text me to do that. Mom doesn't make any doesn't take unless I was in a meeting or whatever. Or it could be that this is a book I read for very often or of recent times. I'm trying to get her into Star Wars cause she's named Leo and it's various little princes.


But how I read it is that I don't read it lately. We look at what's happening in each page and I come up with stories I want to teach her how to imagine being. Having an imagination has helped me through life in boring classrooms, in boring meetings, and at times when I was just generally bored or didn't have anything to do or just try to imagine what life would be like finding a happy place and things like that. So so some of those things are stuff that she and I do together.


I'm also the person who in her life will be the most I think strict is a bad word. But she knows that when I call something as a line, I give her a reason. And she she knows that I will not flinch from that if I if with that reason.


So everybody is surprised that I would be the strictest person with her because I'm not that person at all and anybody else. But I feel that you need to have one. There's a line between being a parent and being a friend. I don't necessarily want to need to be her friend, but I need to be her parent. And I feel that that's a distinction. So while this stuff we do together, there is stuff which are things that she knows I will have a see on.


And then beyond that is the fact that I'll always have time for her for stuff that's important for her. So she has a choice of excluding. So I'm making this up while I'm talking to you. But if I report on this, I feel that as theirs, you miss a lot of things. In the past, when I look at many people's fathers, my, my my dad had had to miss stuff because he said, I have a case.


You can't come if it's sports day. And then suddenly I understand all of those things.


But for me, it's very important that there are some things that are part of Leo's life, which I know really important to her, which if I am not a part of, that's me not doing what I have to do as a father. So stuff that we do together, stuff that's important to her and then stuff that's important to me, which is the stuff I'm strict on saying you need to like I want her to learn to take her own shoes and put them in the surak.


Not all of them are. It's a small thing, but I think it teaches you to keep things in their own place and keep them organized or rather keep them or put it. I would think about not letting things get spoiled because you don't take care of them. Like, I still have a lot of my toys from when I was a kid, when I took care of them. They're now with her and I'm trying to make sure she doesn't spoil them.


So some of those goals have ended up with her now. And so I said that it's that that triangle of those three things is what being a dad is and and you just around for the right. I feel that fathers and daughters and fathers and now and their kids have a very interesting relationship. But it doesn't have to be a disjointed relationship. And I don't have a disjointed with my father and I don't want her to have one with those.


How much does conscious thinking about framework's affect whatever the framework is, a framework or for example, you know, in that episode of advertising instead with Bujar, she speaks about how you guys have a relationship which is almost not like a conventional couple. You look at it more as a partnership and, you know, obviously you're very good friends and all of that. And I think you also spoke to one of your spoken word about how in the early parts of the marriage, it was a kind of standard and then it evolved to becoming this.


So do you think that at all? And we all all our relationships are kind of innocence, driven by inertia that falls into a particular groove and then it stays in that groove unless it is forced out of that group by an external event. So do you think there is something to be gained from all of us in just sitting back and reconsidering the things that we take for granted in the grooves that are running and thinking of what is the framework here?


And is that the right framework? What should be the framework here? Because a change in framework, it seems to me, can be profound. It can affect, you know, not just both people, but everyone around them. Like a very charming picture of your daughter that I saw on pujas Instagram page was where she's cooking something and she's sitting on the platform itself and she's making some bread and cheese or whatever. And a lovely photograph, of course.


But it also strikes me that, you know, almost sort of a symbolic image of what you would expect a young girl to be in. Both her parents are strong, independent professionals and, you know, relate to each other with a certain kind of respect and not, you know, which many frameworks of traditional Indian marriages actually don't have even within privileged households. So do you think there is something to be said about figuring out the framework for everything that one does?


I think it's all about balance.


It's about so what I found over the years that we've been married is that there are certain things that are important to me, certainly important to her, and there's something bothering each of us about each other. And it's in the same way it goes because I was anything else. And and there are some things you can work on, some things you can't. It could be as simple as possible when he's sitting up shaking his leg that had that novelistic of that person shakes his leg.


It irritates the hell out of Pooja.


I have still not been able to sort that out in all the years you married, like, what, eight or 10 years that you've been married.


But I know for a fact that she knows that I like my things. So for me, my morning time when I brew my coffee and I go do my business are very important. My, my, my mood for the day gravitates around me doing my business in the morning.


And I feel that I have to get that nice girl as graphic as possible. Whereas Pooja likes the house arranged in a way that it's lovely to look at.


And so when I eat before I go to bed, I make sure stuff is put in its place. It's my thing. I will not have done that before we were married.


I would leave things as they are, but I know it's important to her and I don't mind doing it.


I know she enjoys washing dishes. I find it. It lets me zone out of the water and it's weirdly therapeutic in some cases. So early longrun was not a problem.


So the way I look at it, but I think you find those pieces and the more you find those pieces, you also then figure out what those grooves are that you spoke of. Sometimes you find something, you know, neither of you will want to budge from, and then you need to have that coalition to find that new groove that kind of comes in because and that's what early periods of any relationship that you try to find those what are the non-negotiable?


What are the negotiables and the non negotiables? I feel in most cases you either come to terms with, but if you don't, they're just going to be stuff that sticks for a long time and create issues. We've luckily found very few non-negotiable and where one of us is going to come to terms with that.


And I think that's how you boil it, so it is in a way a framework, but I feel it's something that I also involves how we evolve as people like when I met Pooja and she made me, I feel we were also very different people than we are now.


Eight years later, we were both grown. So it's still an evolving piece or it could be like I was not as ambitious a person as I am now. When she met me, when I was an entrepreneur and I had a glitch going on and everything else from a lot more ambitious now because I suddenly see there's so much more I could do with what I've been able to build and do in life.


And similarly, for when I look at her, I've always seen Pooja as as a certain way with her career. But I'm seeing the stuff she's doing, just like beyond the workplace and the stuff she's focused on from a purpose, standpoint, etc., which were always there. But I feel that she's found that. So I feel that we evolve as people.


So you evolve those grooves in those frameworks as well.


But it's also it's condition it's important in any relationship to not let. And I believe that the biggest the biggest challenge in the world can be solved by accommodation. And I feel that we don't have conditions where you try to listen to the other person.


I think conditions are a lot. People think it's a lot more about speaking, I think as a podcast also realize a lot more about listening than it is about speaking in. And I feel that we don't listen enough. But in immigration field, as long as we listen enough, you find some nuance toward the other person's point of view is and you work around it. And as long as you do that, you'll figure out a way to evolve it into and to make it look like you correctly said.


You know, one of the things you learn as a podcast, if you're paying attention, is how much you need to listen. Like, you know, Stephen Colbert even said that we don't listen to understand. We listen to respond, which is a really bad habit that you actually and I think you know, and this is something I discussed with the great broadcaster Roberts when he was on my show, is about how there is actually a moral component to having a good conversation and to actually listening like a you know, Immanuel Kant famously spoke of the categorical imperative that you don't want to treat, you know, another human being as a means to an end, but as an end in themselves.


And very often when we are in conversation, we are doing exactly that. We are treating other people as a means to an end. Either we want to show off how smart we are. So you'll find, you know, who's interrupting all the time. And, you know, just to do one upmanship or looking for gotcha moments and all of that, which is horrible.


And I think that once as a broadcaster, you know, you start realizing that you need to get the ego out of the way, get the self out of the way and just sit back and listen. Then, you know, it would strike me that at some level that's then going to percolate through to the rest of your behaviour with people where inevitably you will also be in some situations treating some people as a means to an end.


So good becoming a better broadcaster make you a better human being on it.


But I'm a better human being as a broadcaster now than I was before. I was a terrible listener. I was openly called out for being a terrible listener cos I have a tendency which my daughter has gotten from me, I believe, which is that I can zone out very easily.


So I could be talking to you right now and my eyes glaze a little bit and be looking into the horizon. And I'm imagining something which is more interesting to me than what is going on right now. People have let it go. People have called it all through my life. But being a podcast host, you don't have a choice. You have to listen. Haven't been guilty of sometimes Odegard. Of course, you will sometimes have those instances in every every so often in an episode where you're like, yeah, it's OK, it's on autopilot.


I can glaze off for a few minutes.


It's happened, but it's made me a better human being because I feel like the venue really trying to drive a condition to read and understand the other person.


And I do try to understand what makes them tick, which is why I think I do a podcast is because I talk to like everything that is a lot of the people are copying people.


But I found such interesting people, which is interesting, interesting and thought processes and lives there many times. That part excites me so much more than the actual business. Part of it is somebody who is great. It's great to get into and you understand all of that. But the nuances of being human is so interesting because I feel people's driving forces, people know what interests them is has always been something which I always looked at, which I find interesting.


And it gives me a way to kind of dig deeper into that. Yeah, and actually, you know, the most rewarding parts of some of my recent conversations are the sort of, you know, where you're not talking about the subject per say, but just about the person and their journey, which, like many people, were very, very moved by, you know, my episode with Gizella Wahhab, especially the first 90 minutes where we spoke about a personal journey, or I had the grizzled financial journalist, but nobody on my show.


And he started off the show by chatting about how during the lockdown it was so heartbreaking for him to go out in the streets of Bandra and see people who had also been vendors now begging. And one of them, you know, held his hand and took him to a very honest all and said, please buy me something. And, you know, those glimpses of a person's humanity are I think I know what make many of these conversations so rewarding to get back to framework's for just a moment and for the very last time, if you are to sort of give advice to creators, like if there is someone out there who's thinking that I want to do a podcast or I want to do a YouTube, should, I want to create whatever, you know, and can you give me an easy framework which will which I don't necessarily have to follow all the way around.


I can discover my own thing, but can you give me an easy framework which will help me get started and think about this? And I think in your newsletter, in fact, you had actually done this. So what would you say? How should one begin to then approach that problem where you've got a ton of ideas and creativity and all of that, but you want to actually, you know, do something with it and bring it together?


I introduced him to be a creator. You need to be able to play the long game, sing how long can you do this? And it's like choosing what you do as a creator. So important it could be that you write, could be that you do a podcast, could be that you just make fun videos on on on an Instagram. Could be that you tweet. I feel that I loffler I rediscovered Twitter in many ways because I feel that somehow the algorithm for me has changed.


And I have gotten this set of people who are giving me a lot of insights and many things. So I need to find what your medium, which you can do very easily is. And I say easily because it should be natural to you.


There's a learning curve, then you have to take your time to do it. I remember when I had done math on my part because he had said two things and I found both of them very insightful. One is he said that there are two kinds of you, Dubas, why not people who are supreme experts who do want to produce a month of really working on it, pulling it together and stuff. And those guys, they work on every single one.


The other guy end up doing stuff every day, almost every day, something coming out. It's just that they're hitting you with so much volume that you will find something that you enjoy. And at some point you're almost like waiting to see what you will do tomorrow.


And the other thing he said was he said, what would you do for no money? We should be what you should be as a creator, because at some point you are a creator, not because you want to make money or want to be a star, but you're a creator because you really enjoy doing it. And like I follow this guy called Ali Abdul on YouTube, Ali Abdullah Abdullah disbarring very recently in late last year.


I find his journey so fascinating for a guy who was putting up YouTube videos on how to prepare for medical exams, which I thought was interesting because he was doing it anyway. So very easily could make it. But he was interested in this to not being this person who's not taking a break from medicine and doing all the TV stuff is doing because of all of the content.


He's made such a journey. But I think at every stage he was doing something that he would naturally be able to do. I would love to do and just let it flow of authentic content coming out. So important because you can manufacture this for too long.


And when we a manufactured because somebody is because you will find like for instance, you will find many gay TV clones out there.


Right. People will watch TV content. You will find five people who are doing exactly what Gabriela's. I have actually dug into Gravy's framework, who she shares openly about how to create content. I think they're fabulous frameworks, like there's so much to learn from how he says, how one piece of content can give you ten thousand pieces or whatever, 6000 bits of content.


And I think that's that's a great insight. Do agree with Moses officers, no, I find him entertaining in some, find him insightful in some find him repetitive in most, but doesn't mean I have to become him. I can learn something from him to make what I would come to me naturally, because I will never speak like that. And if I ever speak about business or speak about entrepreneurship, but I look at against certain nuances of it. So I feel what's most important is to find what you can naturally do all day, every day, do it quickly.


So my newsletter for something I write like in one flow, get done with it on a Thursday night or Friday night, sometimes on a Saturday morning work, half an hour or an hour and a half before it starts to get good. People's inboxes have been guilty of that a few times, but it's something that I know I can naturally write. And if you can't be honest about it and find that once you find that, then don't think about, OK, is it going to make me money?


Am I going to get too many listeners or viewers, etc. for the first many, many episodes, you know, you might do a year or two years before you get enough listeners or viewers. You might do what? One hundred? Two hundred? I didn't even look at what was like, what, 60, 70 episodes. And because I didn't it didn't strike me that I should look at it. I used to always gauge it by who would respond to me on LinkedIn and Instagram because I had someone writing and asked me a question to give me a point of view or give me something they liked about it.


A lot of people are listening in validation for the show I'm doing. But find that find that level of feedback. Find that feedback loop for yourself, find that thing you would love to do. And while you do that, also explore other avenues and you might find something you enjoy as much like for me. Now, why do I make Woodcourt videos, which is interesting to read. So I grew up a scrawny kid. I don't put on weight easily, which people tell me is a blessing, which for me was always, look, I'm because I can very easily become this scrawny person.


So I've always tried to put on weight. I do that and at some point I decided to be fit because I'm a father, because I wanted to Karelia. I don't wanna do that. I get tired very easily because I'll I quit smoking, what, eleven years ago now. But I don't think that's still in the system. So I, I for one was doing stuff, but I actually make my videos because I enjoy the fact that I'm trying to find the right track for it and I make everything into a meme.


So all my videos are using Wolcott's as a visual for what is a workplace meme. And so that's what keeps me going. I'm doing it. Not if it was defined as an interesting visual, not necessarily interesting exercise.


I do a lot of other stuff, which doesn't look great on camera, so I don't even show them. I think this is fun. This is a great, funny meme to go with it. And finally I get to collect enough or do music tracks, which I would not normally listen to and use them in these videos. So you will often find stuff beyond what you normally do focus on. That's because you keep exploring other formats. But don't ignore the prime one which you started with.


Let that go and then find another one. So now go on their journey, keep discovering and keep evolving the first one you build out. This is really great advice.


And I'll kind of double down on four of the things you said. Like one, I am a big fan of Ali Abdullah as well. In fact, in my broadcasting course, I have this slide where I show Ali Abdullah and there's a graph in front of him, which is something that he shared during a video he made when he reached a million subscribers. And that graph shows an exponential curve. And he's talking about how when he you know, he made two videos a week for about half a year.


So he had around 50 videos. And when he reached the fiftieth video, he hit 1000 subscribers. And I'm just thinking, most young people I know, they're not going to get to video 50 to hit a thousand. The moment they see the numbers aren't high, you know, they are going to drop out. In fact, you know, what is often said about science fiction writers or forecasters is what I think is true of a lot of creators, that they tend to overestimate the short term and underestimate the long term.


So they'll create something interesting or algate, you know, so many followers and so many millions or whatever. And that simply isn't true. In fact, Abdul's own sort of advice to young creators in a subsequent video was that, you know, if you want to be a YouTube person, make two videos a week for two years. So that's like two hundred videos and only then see how many subscribers you've got. So it is actually, in that sense, playing the long game.


So the advice No one played a long game advice. No. Two flows from this, which is that do it if you love it, because if you don't love it, you won't be able to do it. You won't be able to do two videos a week for two years unless you really care and you really sort of into it. And that love, again, comes from authenticity where you know, you're being true to yourself and everything you do and not trying to copy your TV or someone else and not trying to fill a niche or whatever, you would do it anyway.


And then good things happen because you do underestimate the long term as well. The third one is iterate endlessly like out of the you know, the two models that you spoke about, you know, more than me told you about. I really prefer the second model so much where you are doing something every day, because I think what that model does is that, like, you shouldn't let perfection be the enemy of production. As one of my guests said in a previous episode, if you just do something like what makes for excellence, what makes for excellence is iteration.


You do something again and again and again. You get better and better at it. You know, Virat Kohli does not become a great batsman by planning how to back. He plays thousands and tens of thousands of balls in the nets. So you got to do that with whatever entities you are kind of creating. And and finally, the fourth one, which, you know, perhaps even I should implement in some way, is be open. You know, you might find a groove in doing a particular kind of content and you might think at home, I've got this sorted.


I've learned this week unique Unicode the. But the point is that your content is coming from a particular place and there are other kinds of content which can come from a particular place. So, you know, just because something is working doesn't mean you should kind of get stuck there. You know, think about different ways of sort of doing that. And, you know, these are things I've, you know, talked a lot about. And I just feel it's important to kind of let, you know, drive it home to creators, especially the bit about the long game, which I feel is so true.


In another of your newsletter editions. And on December 19th, you, in fact, wrote about what you call the intimate content ecosystem, and you spoke about how there are like different layers to this. Tell me what you mean by intimate content and what these sort of layers kind of are, because I find that it's a very clear way of sort of giving direction toward a young creator might, you know, then be able to envisage himself doing. So the whole evolution of of creativity and function, that is that if you let me look at from the outside, you look at it.


And I think for me, just because I came from advertising and still the idea is, OK, you make money off of ads. But I feel the real thing is that and again, this is a learning from from Gary. We've got I think it gives everything away for free. But then, as I saw more and more YouTube tuba's and more and more creators, I really did some things they would make people pay for. And that's a good word to them.


It would be for and I realized they were all building communities and they were building different kinds of communities.


There is this I was listening to Pivot, which is my favorite podcast, and I wrote a book that I think between Scott and Kara Swisher, they were saying something and so that every person right now be the journalist being a content creator is building multiple channels of distribution. And the more channels of distribution they have, the more stuff they kind of own. Right, because we add that edge back to what the earlier point about trying out new things is like.


Imagine every creator who is only putting stuff on tick tock in India suddenly lost all of that, which is why most of them now are also on readers, also on mods and everything else and Chinguetti and all the others.


So going back to this, I feel that what ends up happening is that there's certain things that people are willing to pay for, but for them to be willing to pay for it, you also have to then kind of build that community of people Sicilia's that you have your general audience who is listening to it, happy with that going. Hear some people who want to have more interactions who then kind of build that community with where you might use some extra pieces there and then you'll really find this whole concept of super fans.


And I look at this as an interesting thing that one is and to look at the only fans model, not necessarily the model, I think only when there's a bad name globally because of its use now as a almost a supplement for soft porn. But what it traditionally is is the fact that I'm giving you exclusive content for you to pay me something. And what's also happening now with a look at Substract subsect for me, YSL, writing a newsletter was for two reasons.


I saw this as an opportunity for me to write again, something which I've always been wanting to do for the longest time. And secondly, let me put out an audio version of a newsletter which I thought was interesting to try out. So I think it's a it's a private podcast I sent you. It felt so enticingly intimate because that's the word I use and eventuates at some point. Would someone pay for that? I don't know. What I'm writing right now is something to be paid for, but it started off as me experimenting with models which have possibly paywalls.


I know Twitter is coming up with a model like that and I will come to that. And eventually you would subscribe to tiers of stuff that you would want from someone who really relate to. And that's actually the way creators will eventually make the most amount of their money. Know I'm not the end of the creators do make a large amount of the money through that. But if you build that system to a set of people are coming due for a very specific kind of content and it doesn't have to be a thousand people or ten thousand people, it could even be a hundred and fifty people.


But it's intimate because it's made for you. It is exclusively because this is what you really enjoy and you're going deeper into it was the general stuff that you would get, which everybody else can get as well. And the ability to do that is something which we finally have because of the Internet, because of the creative ecosystem. And that's something that you can always use. So you don't necessarily have to be gentle entertainment. Right. And even in television, they used to be this thing about the general entertainment channel and the niche channel.


Now it's great to be that niche channel because people want Misha's. So if you are niche, even if you are a person making a movie for Netflix, your finished movie maker, I feel that you might get a deal faster then if you are a must see movie maker, because they need to fill those gaps of all those niches versus kind of giving them that a big gender Lindman thing. So. If you have a specific niche and you can go deep into debt, get a captive audience, you will find a paying audience and people are willing to pay for stuff.


I feel that we sometimes don't give people enough credit that they would pay for things. I think people will. They just need to see the value in it, which is whether the broader part, the general part is so important because that's what gives them that level of trust, that then being you some money will give them something of value. So the general stuff is very important. Then you're going to drill down. You know, and it's fascinating and also the other thing is, you know, in a country like India with, you know, more than a billion people living in each can be huge.


And for a creator, you don't really need to think of scale like, you know, like I think of the sort of the two things creatives need to take into account as being, you know, reach and revenue. And you need to think about what you're doing for each and what you're doing for revenue. And you know how that kind of balances out. And what I would also say is that the one when you think of Nesh a niche doesn't need to be like an existing niche recognized where everyone else, like, say, sci fi is a niche or this is an issue that is a niche.


It can just be a niche that you can build around yourself. Like, you know, Kevin Kelly wrote this essay a decade ago, about a thousand true fans, which is a great phrase in which is coming true today on Substract, where his argument was, if you find a thousand fans who are willing to pay a moderate amount for you, that's enough. You don't need more scale and art. And on substract, you actually find, you know, where your standard subscription is.


One hundred dollars a year, you get a thousand people. You are actually sort of doing well enough and there are tons of creators on substract or using that. The other point that I would kind of put out there, as I've discovered from my own experience, is that you don't necessarily need to make something subscription or put it behind a paywall to make people pay for it. Like even the voluntary model can really work where if people appreciate certain kinds of content, they'll be kind of perfectly happy to sort of be voluntarily.


Now, I've taken tons of your time. This is already like free advertising. Is that episode just in quantity, not quality, mind you. So I'm going to sort of end with a couple of final question. So my penultimate question is really about, you know, what do you wake up in the morning looking forward to, like one of the benchmarks that I set for myself. The simple question is that every morning when I wake up, I want to look forward to the rest of the day.


So therefore, I want to fill up my tomorrow with something that I know I will look forward to when I wake up in the morning, which doesn't always happen. But I just then, you know, maybe a or something and that'll do for then. But so what is and you are obviously someone who, you know, has been reflective, has thought about all of this, has built frameworks, even redefined your podcast just by thinking about it, rather than going with the groove that it was going on quite well.


So what excites you when you wake up in the morning? What are you looking forward to? So if you'd asked me this question pre covered, my answer would have been a lot simpler. I, I would have been this and two person to wake up on a Monday morning really excited about going to work, which people tell me is the most interesting thing to have around you, because I'm like, yeah, tomorrow's Monday. I'm that person that I used to be.


Rather, I still but now I'm this person who's waking up every morning seeing how many things can I actually do today?


I tried writing a journal and I realized I have terrible writing a journal because I stopped at one question saying, why do you do what you do? And I feel that it changes every day for me. So I couldn't define that. And I and I and I bought this journal, Weather and Holiday, and I and I couldn't go beyond that page. And I still have been stuck there for like three months now. But so I wake every single set of things I really want to do.


And it it no longer is one thing. And that's what keeps me excited, is that in a day if I only did work for Glitch or if I only did advertising is there or only a newsletter, I will not be a happy person. If one day I'm doing five really different things, five different audiences and I say audiences, because I speak about this, too many people these days is when my first episode with Ranveer came out for sure.


There was a comedy guy who said, even though it's your first podcast, you did a great job. Really accepting and waiting for more. Right. And I realized I actually was failing. I think it's great. It's a very different audience and I have a fresh set of people looking at it. And so that's what excites me. What excites me every morning is, OK, so much to do.


I also learned to find on my evening because that at some point gets exhausting. And I have had like weekends, weeks that I've just crashed and my brain stops to function. But so which is I have a windowing system every night where almost eight, nine p.m. I slowly it's I still am doing a ton of stuff. We just like my pace is slower and Edington would be just like it.


I messed up your brain the whole system tonight. I apologise for that. This has been done right. And OK, so I'll break my final question into two, because something that you said, as usual, made up for those sparks go off, which is that, you know, you're doing multiple things. And what it seems to me is that you were doing a set number of things and those expended so you were doing the glitch and then you were to English.


Plus advertising is dead. And then you add newsreader and then you add the warranty issue and then you have the working old radios and all of that and it's expanding. What do you do for like are there any hacks you'd like to share in terms of A knowledge management and B, productivity?


My way of knowledge management is that I scribble stuff down and I used to read on paper and I do it on the phone or the iPad cos you lose people and that's my thing.


So I have a bunch of these snippets. I do like screenshots or just like stuff I've written down, which I keep. And I feel that's invaluable because we all believe that ideas will stick in our head, but they come to us in the worst possible time, like just when you're going to go to sleep. Sometimes when you're half asleep, when you're in the shot, always knocked them down. They'll help you in the future. That's how I write my newsletter.


To have that administrative stuff is from some random piece, which I wrote a one line somewhere. And I go back to that and that's how I write every week. So that's really one way of doing it. The other way is to constantly I mean, I find apps that really help me. I've read ways like I mentioned earlier, scripts that I find this fabulous app called Next Big Idea, which I think has been one of the revelations of of my reading life, because many times it's not just about finishing a book.


I sometimes don't end up finishing books. But sometimes it's about finding the right books, and the next big idea was started by Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant and Daniel Pink and a few others, the creation of different nonfiction books. And it had the author talk about five insights from the book. And if you like the five insights you might think, give an Amazon link to go buy it and their subscription also has Maude's where they live and and do a couple of books every month, which I haven't done.


But I subscribe to this part of it.


It lets me kind of get a bunch of ideas for stuff that's happening people are writing about. It's also made me buy a bunch of those books, but not every book has to be read fully in many cases.


Every book, some books, we just need one to get the meaning side out of it. So that's been one big focus for me. I have this need to get as much information about every random thing into my head. But I also realize you only have certain amount of time and with a mind like mind, you will zone out of book very easily. So don't end up finishing a lot of books and I tend to try and go back to them over time and just find different people to fall in the same way.


Rachael, I'm a huge geek culture and fanboy of all things. Marvel, you see everything. So like I spend four hours watching those Nedergaard.


I watched it straight up and I watched it the next day again because Bujar only seen one hour and she had gone to sleep and but then after that and that I learned ran through all the YouTube videos of people discussing smaller nuances, smaller Easter eggs.


I do that which is usually spent about six to eight hours around this night, Daggered, if not more in the span of like say a week. But that for me is great information.


It's all I'll store that somewhere. It'll help in some conversation somewhere. And weirdly enough, those are things I never would've had to scribble. It's the more serious stuff, which is framework's or like informational book stuff. You asked me something about a random thing that happened in that Zinaida movie, I will remember it verbatim, like you asked me what happens in a scene in three days. I will tell you what happens.


So I guess some things never change. Yeah.


And in, you know, one of your newsletters, six, you spoke about what you called, quote, the balanced information diet stock quote, where you spoke about how you need to satisfy your heart, your mind and your belly. So obviously, some of the going down rabbit holes, as it were, you know, satisfying different aspects of that.


And another penultimate question before I go to the final question, because this came out of that, you mentioned somewhere else that you know that because of being a father, you're consuming a lot of content. You want other otherwise, for example, you've seen frozen many, many times and you absolutely love it. You read her books and all of that. So does that help that does having this sort of new window into content build a new appreciation and therefore make you sort of a different person as well because you're consuming stuff differently and looking at content differently?


Yeah, for sure. I want to do it at Port Augusta at some point. I will definitely do it. I feel I feel that I don't have information out there, but the stuff I consume with Leah and I find some of it beautiful, that I've discovered some really interesting things because I find a lot of the books that are available for kids now.


Talk about empathy. They talk about like she has a book, which is the main focus is being on the same, but we are different.


And I find the fact that these are books available now, which I don't think we had when we were growing up, which is which is amazing.


So you wonder if we will talk to her about the color of someone's skin or talk to her about some people have privilege and some people don't.


At that age where she is three and a half, she's able to understand some of those concepts because of the stuff she consumes. Like you look at Frozen and we've seen it like fifty thousand times or if not more, this house. It's a simple thing that you're not having when you talk about love.


You're not talking about love just between a man and a woman. You're talking about the love between two sisters.


And so this some concepts which you can get out of that. And I think she understands I think she's understood what death is because of Frozen, which I feel is as dark a subject. But because she asked us that will at some point everyone go to the dark, which is what, you know, Alisyn. And I say, well, parents have kind of gone, too. And so. Some concepts around it makes me understand ultimately human beings, right, and how certain this is going to come to them, how you can teach.


And this side of content for me has really opened up just like the possibilities of how someone as young could be taught concepts which you might feel over evil. And you also find some really random stuff like this, a book Jimmy Fallon wrote where he was trying to get his daughter's first words, I think daughter's first words to be papa.


And he wrote a fun book where it's basically all the animals saying more. And Papa, I said, basically, papa all ordered her daughter's first words were Mama Bird.


And you also find stuff like that, which is like a random book. There's nothing in it. But it's so enjoyable. And I get to play with Lego again for a long time, so I'm back to that. So, yeah, it's amazing that you suddenly discover different sides of interest which Injinoo can resist playing with the Lego.


And that's a lovely quote by your dad. You don't have information that could be the title of your podcast if you ever do want to know. My final final question, which is that, you know, listeners of the scene in The Unseen are always asking for recommendations. What should I read? What should I watch? You know, and you, of course, are in a sense an omnivore of great content. But if you had to pick a handful of things, I wouldn't put a number on it.


But a handful of things which you feel were life changing for you, will you recommend to everyone, whether they watch it or they read it or whatever, you know, what would they be?


So I'd be interested in stoicism a lot in the last year or so, a year or two. And Ryan Holiday opened it up for Minkowski. Normalize that building. For anyone who's struggling with the way the world is. There's a book called Stillness is the Key. It's a fabulous book. It digs into age old philosophy, but it's just something which I think for the way the world is right now, that everything that's going on, I don't need that book I like.


It's helped me like I go back to that many times. Stillness is the keys.


It's fabulous to kind of go to in the other ones that I've read in recent times, I'm just writing. So if no one's read the right of a lifetime Bible by a good read, again, a fabulous book, just like because I feel arguably one of the best CEOs of this time and just the fact that I listen to him on a massive scale with read often and it's a two part conversation.


He talks about how you can actually make so many acquisitions as a conglomerate like Disney when imagine they acquired Marvel, acquired Lucasfilm and acquired Pixar, but let them still have that identity and they exist as those brands that so separate from Disney. Just so much to learn from his joining in on the stuff he's going to be interested sort of left. I'm on the business side of things. If I do recommend a podcast in the last couple of years I've listened to, I'd say to them one is in sidewise, which I mentioned earlier.


There's something called Inside Voice, which is not this is something that is someone and someone posted the other one. I realize there's another one Inside Voices. It's a handgun podcast. So in case the thing comes in fabulous, we're going to dig into the mindsets of PartnerSource. And my favorite fictionist podcast in recent times is something called blockbuster. Season one is the story of how George Lucas and Steven Spielberg came up with the blockbuster genre of cinema. Season two is James Cameron.


I'm not a James Cameron fan, but I love that she's and just made me like him a little bit more than because I didn't. And I don't necessarily I didn't like I thought maybe I'm biased in that front of things. So that would be my part in terms of shows. I don't watch as much content as I should on streaming, but we only watch one division, watch more division. I feel it's the riskiest thing anyone can do to make a show like that, considering it was Marvel making it because.


Every episode is almost like a different genre, and they imagined a Camooweal property and making it into a sitcom, which sounds really bizarre so that even people who don't necessarily have a superhero stuff have enjoyed it because it just feels so different. But in a non geek side of things, there's this docu series with Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine called The Defiant Ones, arguably one of my favorite docu series to go back to. I go back to it many times.


I think the story is generally so interesting. I'm not even getting into to my brother, Dr. Dre, but I think the story of just how that is what is is just fabulous to look at. And you and I always kind of one of those places I kind of go back to and kind of watch it sometimes and can get some nuances from it.


So that and this the last one is this guy is called The Minimalists. They do a podcast. They've done a documentary called Minimalism. They have a YouTube channel as well.


They have a new documentary which is on Netflix, which I think is called Lismore or something like that. As a person who is not a minimalist and everybody laughs when I say I'm watching something around minimalism, I'm the opposite of what I am a hoarder in many ways. I find that the way they talk about it to be so interesting that it makes me want to watch it and I feel that that says something for the fact that someone who is never going to be a minimalist, I know that I'm not going to, but I'm so fascinated by it because of how they speak about it.


It's I think that's an interesting one to watch.


Well, you know, even if lives on minimalistic frameworks can be, in fact, the best frameworks are the more stripped down and basic ones, I suppose. Warren, thanks. Thanks so much for gracing military presence and giving me so much of your time. No guest has ever given you as much time as you've given me today. So thanks a lot for that and thank you so much.


Fabulous. I never thought I could have actually do this longer conversation on a podcast. So I finally and this is the longest I've ever done an episode.


So thanks again. If you enjoy listening to this episode head on over to the show notes where I've given a bunch of links about all the things we spoke of, including all of Warren's work. You can also check out his website, Warren Duggie dot com and follow him on Twitter at Warren. Again, you can follow me on Twitter at Tell Me What My Amitay we ARMM you can browse past episodes of the scene in the unseen and Seen Unseen Dot.


And thank you for listening.


Did you enjoy this episode of the scene in The Unseen? If so, would you like to support the production of the show? You can go over to see an unseen dot and slash support and contribute any amount you like to keep this podcast alive and kicking. Thank you.