Jeri Ellsworth & Tilt Five : From Dirt Track Races to Augmented Reality Games: Bringing players together & tabletop games to ‘Life’

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning , Internet of Things, Mixed Realities, Virtual Realities, and the list goes on. It is the era of ‘Hearables’ & ‘Wearables’. In the last 4-5 years, Technology has been going through a lightning fast transformation.

One such Technology that is touted to have lot of possibilities, but hardly utilized to its full potential, is Augmented Reality (AR). In the midst of numerous Augmented Reality Apps & development kits available now including the likes of ARCore & ARKit, here comes a ‘game’ changing AR offering : “Tilt Five”.

Tilt Five – The Next Level of Immersive Gaming

Jeri Ellsworth, Founder & CEO of Tilt Five (based out of Santa Clara, California), has always believed in the prowess of AR & had started getting her hands ‘dirty’ working on varied prototypes since 2011. During a midnight one hour call (courtesy the time zone difference), Jeri took me through her interesting life story of how a high school dropout, dirt car racer is now the most looked up to person in the Augmented Reality spectrum.

The game mode type interview of Jeri Ellsworth:-

First before starting a game we need to know about the characters in the game and the expertise / skillsets attached to each character.

VJCV : Who is Jeri Ellsworth ?

JE : I am a ‘Curious Engineer’ & always worked on anything & everything related to Computer & Electronics.

VJCV : From the articles I read about you, I thought that you dropped out of high school ?

JE : Oh Yes. During my high school days, I was busy building race cars & taking part in dirt track racing. I was making so much money from it, that I eventually dropped out of high school.

VJCV : Interesting. So how did you get introduced to the world of cars ?

JE : My dad had a car repair shop. I used to help him and got to learn a lot about ‘what went inside a car’. My Dad & mentors helped me turn metal in to beautiful cars. I started designing & building my own race cars, for dirt track racing and I sold them as well. I was the only female ‘dirt track race’ car chassis builder in my area during early 1990s. There used to be 1-5 Challenger Circuit races and one season I finished 2nd out of 100 participants.

VJCV : From Race Cars to Computers, how did this transition take place ?

JE : My friend showed me a computer in 1995 & that was the time when everyone talked about computers & huge margins were involved in that business. So we agreed to open a store and started selling assembled computers. This later on became my own venture and I ended up opening 5 computer stores from 1995 – 2000. In the 2000, the margins in computers dropped drastically, so it no longer seemed like a viable business. Some of my employees wanted to continue running the stores, so I offered to give away the stores to them.

VJCV: You said bye bye to computers when it was capturing every household ?

JE : Not exactly. This was the period in which i moved to Silicon Valley & got to work on electronics. I met entrepreneurs , startup founders, investors and learned a lot about electronics. I earned myself the tag of the go to person for designs & project completions. I was doing this on a contracting basis.

VJCV : Did you get to work on any interesting projects during this phase ?

JE: One of the toy companies approached me in 2004. They wanted to use the old Commodore 64 computer, reverse engineer it & put that in to a video game. I managed to do this in less than 8 months and received a lot of accolades & eventually became the “Product Designer” specialist.

VJCV : You must have learned a lot working on all these areas, so was there a thought of sharing this knowledge with others as well ?

JE: I started a YouTube Channel and started posting videos. My intention was to help people understand technology in the simplest possible way.

VJCV : When did you get to lay your hands on Augmented Reality ?

JE: I was hired by Valve Corporation to form their R&D team. My task was to bring the family around the table playing games together. Here I even got to work on the earliest prototypes of HTC Vive. The time spent at Valve made me realize the possibilities of Augmented Reality. But it was difficult for me to make the company understand about the actual power of AR. I ended up parting ways with Valve. But I was fortunate enough to take my work with me. Valve agreed to sell the design, prototype, etc. that I had worked on for a small amount.

VJCV : This is how you started CastAR ? One of the earliest Augmented Reality focused company ?

JE: It was around 2013 & CastAR was one of the early entrants in to this side of the tech world. We had lot of work happening around AR and were trying to provide the best possible experience to the customers. We received venture capital, and the VCs took the company in a different direction than the original plans. They brought in executives to run the company, and those executives weren’t familiar with how to operate a start-up.  They ended up going through all of the funding we had within eight months and weren’t able to secure additional funding.  Because of this, CastAR went under in mid-2017.

VJCV: What kept you going after all these and how did you end up starting TiltFive ?

JE : I always believed that AR as a technology is still in a very nascent stage but with great utilities. I wanted to recreate the thought processes and ideas that were laid out during my stint with Valve. So I did not want to give up on this and put my efforts into building a new company – Tilt Five. Myself & some others, were able to buy back the assets of CastAR, and we used that as a basis for the new company.

VJCV: AR is making an impact in lot of sectors but you chose to come out with a game board. Can you share your thoughts on that & what is special about Tilt Five ?

JE: Gaming is one of the best ways to get in to the market and can be scaled up easily. The receptiveness will be great and then tech geeks will be able to understand the ‘real power’ of Tilt Five. There are games already in the market which use Virtual Reality but then you are completely cut off from the real world. With Tilt Five players can have a more social experience, and they will still be able to see the real objects around them.  They’ll be able to see their friends sitting around them, as well as enjoy their pizza, chips or coke. Tilt Five also blends objects, such as playing cards, tokens, and minis, as well as hand gestures, and that’s what makes it mixed reality.

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VJCV: One of the features I liked personally is the option of playing the games with your family / friends who are at different parts of the world. So does everyone need a Tilt Five game to get connected ?

JE: We wanted to bring people together. Tilt Five can be played online with anyone connected to the game. Each player will be able to see things ‘virtually’ & can experience playing the game in a similar way you would have enjoyed sitting & playing in the same room. Even players can connect their PC or any other supported gaming platform & start playing with Tilt Five gamers.

VJCV: You are providing the SDK & giving an option for developers to design their own games. What is the thought behind that ?

JE: We want developers to explore Tilt Five & come out with their own versions of games. We are focusing on building the hardware and welcoming users to be innovative with their designs. We are also in the process of working together with major Game Developer brands & we want to help more people enjoy this special immersive experience.

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VJCV: Is Tilt Five restricted to Gaming ? What are the future plans for Tilt Five ?

JE: Though we are focusing on gaming, this has a great potential in other areas. It can be used in healthcare, sports, education & lot of other industries. We will be happy to see our Users working with the SDK to create various applications. This can even be used for conference calls & will be a great way to showcase presentations – the ideas which normally get discussed using powerpoint & excel will get a 360 degree look & feel.

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VJCV: How can I buy Tilt Five & what is the cost?

JE: You can order it online. The first set of kits are going out to the market in early Feb 2020. If you place an order now then mostly you will get your own Tilt Five by July / Aug 2020. The cost starts at $299.

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Glasses weigh 85 gms (which i felt is super light weight for this technology) & the Wand helps to move things around & interact with the Augmented Reality

VJCV: You have chosen KickStarter platform to sell Tilt Five ? Any specific reason behind that ?

JE: KickStarter is a great platform to raise funds & also to get a feel for the market response and demand. We have already crossed our KickStarter threshold & hope to see more people placing orders.

VJCV: What are your thoughts about the Augmented Reality technology ?

JE: I strongly feel that in the 4-5 years, Augmented Reality will be the new ‘computing’ platform. It used to be the Commodore 64 & other computers in the 70s, then the transition happened in early 2000. It has been evolving faster in the last decade & we can see lot of changes happening in the way we are using technology & computers. AR is still at a very nascent state & I foresee Augmented Reality to be the center point of the next major tech revolution.

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VJCV: Thank you Jeri for taking out time and taking me through you life story of racing cars, selling computers, video games, experiences of running a startup & showcasing the upcoming gaming revolution – ‘Tilt Five’. All the best to this venture which i am sure will scale to multiple sectors in the coming years. Hope you are also managing to do your own ‘crazy’ things as well in the midst of all these tech stuffs.

JE: Thank you Vijay. It was a great conversation.

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Jeri Ellsworth in her Roller Derby avatar

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It was a great conversation with Jeri Ellsworth, the ‘inspirational’ person who is always surrounded by computers & electronics, the real Augmented Reality specialist.

I already have some ideas in my mind that can be tried using Tilt Five platform. Tilt Five along with Artificial Intelligence will surely be a game changer. Now I know the power of the ‘avatar’ of this game & eagerly waiting to start my Tilt Five Tabletop gaming with my friends. I am equally excited to see the ways in which gamers & other tech developers make use of this awesome Augmented Reality offering.

This is part of the VJCV PAC Talk Series. Great Conversations with people who believe in – “Passion Attitude Curiosity”.

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Barosi : Indian Dairy Farm Startup with an Earthy Good Food touch.

26 Oct 1998 5:45 am : Wadakanchery, Thrissur, Kerala

The earthy fragrance of cow dung is slowly spreading in to the house. Kolam (Rangoli), can be seen on top of the base made with cow dung. The flame on the lamp near Tulsi plant is slowly swaying to the tune of the wind. The house is silent except that there is lot of action happening in the kitchen.

Parvathy Ammal is busy preparing the food but is restless & keeps looking at Ajanta clock hanging inside the kitchen & can be heard murmuring to herself “It is 5:50 now & still no clue or did i miss listening to the bell ?”. Tring tring , tring tring, the bell of Milkman Ramesh’s cycle brought a wide smile on to Parvathy Ammal’s face. She, in her 70s, literally runs with a big steel vessel in her hand towards the entrance of the house. “Rameshaa, today i will need 2 liters of milk”. Ramesh replied “Doctor’s house already took the extra milk”. She quickly responded “Ramesh, I have a special function today and i really need the extra liter of milk. I will prepare payasam and maybe you can taste it on your way back home”. Ramesh could not resist this offer & poured extra milk to the steel vessel in her hands.

23 Sep 2019 Pataudi, Haryana

Durlabh Rawat , a mechanical engineer, is busy taking care of his Cows (oh yes not Cars) in his farm located at Pataudi, Haryana & making sure that the Milk delivery schedule for the next day is planned well. He also checks if anyone has placed order for extra milk.

Durlabh , the founder of Barosi brand of milk, is helping customers in Gurgaon to experience this special “Earthy, Good Food” feeling.

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Barosi delivers products like Milk from the farm to doorstep in 12 hours. Milk is delivered in glass bottle placed inside a jute bag.
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Barosi ‘farm experience’ – Customers can visit their farm

I was wondering what a mechanical engineer is doing in an animal farm. This made me scout and connect with this new age ‘Farmer’.

“One of my favourite activity is to travel, trek and meet farmers in different parts of India” said Durlabh. He has seen and experienced the rural and urban lifestyle of India. He was born and brought up in Dayanatpur, a small village in Uttar Pradesh & spent considerable amount of his corporate life in Delhi working as part of the Customer Care & Channel Sales team of one of the major Automobile companies in India.

Durlabh’s Celfie moment (Selfie with Cows)

“I wanted to start something which helps me to connect back to the basics. Now my idea has evolved where at one end we procure fresh, pure and authentic produce from farmers & at the other end consumer is getting best quality daily food essentials like Milk, Honey, Ghee, Jaggery, Flour & Fruits. ” says Durlabh as he goes through the contract he has signed with a corporate to supply regular Milk.

Durlabh started the brand “Barosi” in 2016 and in the last 3 years this Dairy Farm ‘Startup’ , catering to Gurgaon market, has grown from 200 to 900 customers. The brand name was initially “Milch” but due to trademark issues, had to be changed and decided upon the name ‘Barosi”.

The ‘MasterChefs’ at home are very choosy about the brand of milk they consume and normally the same brand has been used in households for years or rather decades. Durlabh mentioned that this was one of the main focus areas for them “Milk is the entry door to any kitchen and it is not easy to gain that trust”.

The market place is changing drastically & needs of people are also getting altered regularly. When a kid is born in the family, one of the main points discussed in length is about the brand of milk to be given to the new born. Apart from this, there are lot of office goers & students staying in and around Delhi, NCR area who want a stress free delivery of milk as per their requirements – a customized solution. This gave brands like Barosi a chance to interact with the prospects & explain the benefits of their offering which are in line with the nutrient value expectations & ease of ordering as well as customization.

It is a daunting task to go door to door & explain about brand USPs. So the initial growth of Barosi was slow as the focus was mainly on acquiring customers through offline subscriptions. It reached a stage at which Durlabh felt that the business is not sustainable & he might have to get back to his corporate life.

Durlabh was fortunate enough to meet Suhas Misra, one of the founders of PaperBoat (the beverage brand which took away the shelf space of major brands).

It is crucial to have a right mentor at each point of your life. Bill Campbell was one of the longest serving director on Apple’s board and mentored Steve Jobs.

“Suhas has guided us strategically. His wisdom about FMCG brands has helped us in each step of our journey. Going Offline to Online was one of them which has played a crucial role in our last one year’s growth journey.” said Durlabh about the importance of mentorship. In the last one year, Barosi has almost 90% of new customers subscribing through the online platform. If it was not for Suhas’s timely help, Barosi might not have survived its early days.

Barosi has now started excelling their Social Media communication with interesting creatives.

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“You take care of the team and they will do wonders for you” says Durlabh. One of the reasons why the farmers are happy to work with Barosi is because of the premium they get for their products. Durlabh makes sure that they are paid higher than the prevailing market rates & also helps them with the required handholding to prosper as a farmer.

“We are now into Milk, Jaggery, Flour and Ghee. Our aim is to increase our customer subscriptions and also to enhance our per kitchen market share” said Durlabh when we were discussing about the plans of Barosi. He has quickly learned the art of running a startup and targeting market shares.

“4 years back there were 30-35 similar startups in our area & currently only but 7-8 of them are performing well” said Durlabh, emphasising on getting the business model right. But he is happy that there is competition in the market for such type of farm fresh products. As per him, this helps in educating the customers easily as each brand is talking about similar concept.

“We are having an annual revenue of more than 2.5 Cr INR and operate on a positive EBITDA”. Durlabh’s IIM Lucknow General Management degree, which he had completed 8 years back, is now coming into use while talking about balance sheet.

Durlabh feels fortunate enough to work in a startup environment. “Startup ecosystem is agile, frugal and gives opportunity to handle different challenges. At the end of the day, it helps in becoming a better person every day

They currently have a webapp (& have plans to launch a mobile App soon) through which customers can register, login and plan their milk & other offerings from Barosi. Customer can set the frequency of delivery as per their requirements.

Barosi believes in trust and they have a no questions asked return and refund policy. Durlabh concludes by saying that ‘Customer believes in our brand and we believe our customer’.

It is all about Trust. Durlabh’s parents and his wife trusted his idea and supported him. This has helped him to build a complete ecosystem of ‘Barosi’ trust.

2 Oct 2019 Barosi Office in the midst of greenery 🙂

Barosi has tied up with O’Right , an INSEAD Alumni initiative startup last week who are using IoT (Internet of Things) devices to track various factors that affect the quality of the milk. This will be used to track purity & customers will be able to get the nutrition details of the milk delivered to them on a regular basis.

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FarmBox, the new offering from Barosi is getting launched today. Customized Box filled with fresh farm fruits delivered at your doorstep. Customer can order 3kg or 6kg & set the frequency as needed – weekly/fortnightly or on order basis. Plans are in pipeline to offern vegetables as well shortly.

The brand Barosi and their Earthy, Good Food will be expanding in the next 2 years to Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chandigarh & Ahmedabad.

It always gives a rustic feel when you think about farms and fresh milk. I am glad to meet people like Durlabh who have ‘passionately’ decided to go back to the basics & are happy with the ‘Small Joys of Life’

The story of Barosi took me to those days when my grand mother, Parvathy Ammal, used to eagerly wait for milkman Ramesh’s cycle bell 🙂

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This is part of the series : VJCV’s Filter Coffee PAC talks. An open chat with People who focus on ‘Passion Attitude Curiosity’.

Start Something Priceless : Mastercard : A Brand that believes in creating lasting impressions

“Good Morning Venkat, You are now part of the ‘Start Something Priceless’ journey ” : These might be the words that will be welcoming my friend, when he joins MasterCard Dublin office today.

In the last 53 years, since the company started in 1966, it has gone through brand transitions and keeps pace with the changing eco system around us. They started their ‘Digital Transformation’ journey in the mid of 2016 with the launch of a New Brand mark. The last 3 years has seen a steady action packed transition happening to this ‘leading technology’ company delivering electronics payment. In the endeavor of being there for the customer at every touch point, Mastercard has ventured in to providing multi sensory Brand Expressions as well from the start of 2019.

When you are in a city where the climate tempts you to cuddle & sleep at peace, an alarm is what is required to kick start the day. Venkat can use ‘Sonic‘ as his alarm ring tone & get a feel of India. When you are away from your country , then even the remotest sense of something from there will encourage you to open your eyes wide.

Mastercard has given a voice to its logo. It is called the ‘Sonic‘. Physical, Digital and Voice payments done with the help of Mastercard will be getting this affirmative Sonic melody when the transaction is completed.

This one is called the Mumbai version. Mastercard has launched versions for few other cities as well and are planning to cover all major cities in the near future.

Mr. Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer of Mastercard, can be heard in this video talking, at Cannes Lions, about the importance of Voice identity of the Mastercard brand.

Passion and Optimism are the two key attributes required to excel at anything. I am sure Venkat will put all his efforts and showcase his skills right from the start. But sometimes you get too much occupied with the work that your stomach will start giving signals for a refill. No worries, Mastercard is there to the rescue.

Mastercard has launched two original macaron flavors , Passion & Optimism , conceived by Kreémart & crafted by Laduree. As per the company article, Passion represents the company’s energy and commitment to helping people get closer to the things that they love. And Optimism signifies its confidence and efforts to making the world a better place. Together, they champion the brand’s platform to Start Something Priceless.

This will be launched at the New York Times Food Festival (5th Oct, 2019)

This gives the customers a chance to touch, feel and taste the brand. A very unique way to give special experiences to the customers. Mastercard says that they believe in “knowing the interest of the customers & anticipating their needs”.

The lunch breaks are the ‘Priceless‘ moment for any new employee joining an organisation. This is the time you will get to meet people, have casual conversations and understand the pulse of the work place.

Mastercard has opened up a restaurant called ‘Priceless‘ at the Spring Studios in the New York City. This will be catering to the consumers culinary passions. Priceless tastes have been carefully handpicked from across the globe and recreated in this Mastercard restaurant. Currently they have The Rock from Zanzibar, Lyaness from London and Teruzushi from Japan as part of this Priceless experience.

Rugby World Cup 2019′ – one of the most discussed topics in Dublin and other parts of Ireland now. Ireland has a great Rugby team and everyone is keeping their fingers crossed to witness the Trophy coming home.

While waiting to pick his son from the after school, Venkat will have a chance to interact with other parents. Sports is a great ice breaker and Rugby will give a heads up in this. So for a person working with Mastercard, there is so much happening around Rugby that it is easy to get into a conversation.

Mastercard has got their Sports marketing bang on the buck. They are presenting the player of the match trophy at the Rugby World Cup happening in Japan after each match. The ‘Live Trophy‘ is designed keeping in mind the traditional Origami style, along with the Social Media impressions of the fans during the game & the highlights of the game. This is a great memento as well as Trophy for the player of the match & also a good fan engagement tool. This truly fuels the Spirit of Sportsmanship by bringing together everyone involved with the game.

The weather condition in Dublin cannot be accurately predicted even by Google. So when walking around in Dublin, you prefer not to give much work to your hands. In addition to this, for people like Venkat who have to walk their kids back from school or get groceries from super market , a wearable saves lot of ‘time’.

Mastercard is touching the lives of the customer at numerous expected and unexpected junctures. Brand logo sound, macarons, restaurants ( there is one in Rome International Airport as well known as Bistro), helping Girls learn technology (Girls4Tech initiative), supporting farmers (helping small scale farmers connect with buyers), coming out with global destination information with details of city wise spends (Bangkok tops the list in regard with destination & Dubai tops the list in regard with per day spend by travelers) & so on , Mastercard definitely keeps reminding people that – some things are Priceless, for everything else there is Mastercard.

“People expect a lot, but sometimes what they don’t expect can make a more lasting impression,” said Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Mastercard.

From a Dubliner perspective: No one can predict Dublin weather. For everything else there is MasterCard 🙂

I wish Venkat all the best in his journey with this world class brand. A great place to ‘Start Something Priceless’.

60,420,900 Views & Counting: YouTube invests in this Indian EduTech Startup Don’t Memorise: Exclusive Interview with ever ‘Kyurious’ Ganesh Pai

Curious to Know More about this ?

We read, learn or explore to quench our curiosity.

Curiosity is an extremely important 21st century skill” – Says the founder of this Indian Startup.

I was curious to know about this EduTech India Startup. When brands are brainstorming and strategizing plans to increase the ‘likes’; this startup attracted the likes of YouTube to invest in them.

Why would YouTube invest in a startup ?

I checked the YouTube subscription base (as on 22nd Sep, 2019) of the World’s top universities.

Stanford University : 982k

Oxford University : 171k

MIT : 506k

Harvard University : 995k

Cambridge University : 171k

My curiosity level went up & did a similar check of the leading edutech platforms.

Coursera : 122k

Udacity : 391k

Byju’s : 809k

The curious blogger in me finally managed to connect with this edutech startup and got to do an exclusive interview of Ganesh Pai, the founder of Don’t Memorise, right after the euphoric news of YouTube investment.

3 things helped me to strike an instant chord with Ganesh.

– The passion for teaching. The same passion with which my mother used to teach kids in my hometown. I was fortunate to grow up seeing and listening to those classes, the good old ‘offline’ classes.

– The location of the Startup: Thane, Maharashtra, India. The place where I spent 14 years of my ‘Aamchi Mumbai’ days.

– Finally, the love for football

and that too Chelsea FC fan. I was like .. You are also a Chelsea fan? This couldn’t have gone better & the interview questions were kept aside for the next 2-3 minutes. We discussed the current situation of Chelsea: Lampard as the manager , the transfer ban, the upcoming games and the old days when Ranieri used to be the manager.

We had to quickly come back to discussing about Don’t Memorise.

The interview was filled with surprises for me :-

What is your current subscriber base on YouTube ?

We are managing to grow slowly and steadily , said Ganesh with a modest smile.

Currently we have 790k subscribers on YouTube & our 2 month old hindi channel has garnered close to 3k.

Whose idea is behind this ?

I always wanted to teach. I quit my corporate job in 2012 and was working part time for Tutor Vista teaching Maths online. That is when this idea struck me. I thought of starting something on my own.

Who inspired you to start Don’t memorise ?

My Dad.

One evening, I shared the thought process of starting something on my own with dad. He asked me to come with him on an early morning walk the next day to have the ‘talk’.

I shared my thought of teaching at least 100+ students.

But my dad said No for this and asked me ‘why just 100, why not a million students?’.

This was the tipping point to get going with Don’t Memorise.

How old is your brand now ?

Just 5 years old. We started in 2014 and the initial 2-3 years were similar to a toddler running around and exploring stuffs. It is in the last 3 years that our learning curve has gone up drastically.

How has been the journey so far ?

Very interesting indeed.

The first year , we had 300 subscribers. It grew to 1500 the subsequent year. A great 400% growth was the only positive thing we could see in those numbers. But it was nothing when you look at it from a CEO perspective.

But the 3rd year our base increased to 1,50,000. This is when we realised that there is great potential and acceptability for Don’t Memorise. We have not looked back after that and it has been a steady growth for us.

Is there any fees involved in the learning ?

Nothing at all. Anyone can login to Don’t Memorise & start watching our videos. It is free for all.

What are your current offerings ?

We have videos for middle school and high school students. In addition to that Don’t Memorise also offers Test Prep materials for GMAT, GRE, SAT, etc.

Don’t Memorise can be used by Students to review concepts, Parents to refresh their knowledge and even teachers who ‘flip’ their classrooms.

Are you happy with the progress of Don’t Memorise till now ?

Extremely happy. Touchwood it has got ‘fans’ from across the globe.

Now with the recent launch of our videos in Hindi, we hope to reach out and support more users.

We have also launched our new series of videos under ‘Kyu Box’ for the ‘Kyurious‘ minds.

Do you offer customised solutions?

There are lot of brands out there using our services. We provide white label content for many education platforms.

Aside from creating educational resources, Don’t Memorise can be found helping students resolve specific problems on www.socratic.org.

Thousands of students from over 120+ countries have had their learning supported by Don’t Memorise to date.

What are your future plans in regard with the numbers ?

I wanted to teach 100 kids. My dad pushed me to teach a million kids. Currently, as we speak, if I consider YouTube, Don’t Memorise website and Udemy where we have some course materials, the total views are approximately 70 Million.

Now with all the stakeholders support, we want to reach out to a billion students. It is not an easy target but we’ve come a long way & want to continue with this learning expedition.

It was a great interview I had with Ganesh to understand the idea behind Don’t Memorise and their growth story.

Ganesh has also got associated with Ted-Ed as an educator to create 2 of their animated ‘lessons worth sharing’ & one of which has garnered over 3 million views.

I could understand that the key reason for YouTube to invest in Don’t Memorise is because of the quality and simplicity of the content.

YouTube also acknowledges the fact that online learning is growing at a tremendous pace.

Edutech 2019 & startups focusing on that will be one of the leading stories of this year.

Don’t Memorise also won the ‘The Edupreneur Village : The Final Battle’ – where they competed against 11 other startups and got the highest recognition.

Content can do wonders. Marketing helps you to tell the world that you have a wonderful product but Content shows the World that you actually have an awesome product. Don’t Memorise till now have spent close to zero money on Marketing.

Amazing to know that a small company sitting in one corner of Thane is busy with bringing out great content and competing against the best in the world.

When parents are struggling to keep the gadgets away from the kids and restrict the screentime, platforms like Don’t Memorise can be a sort of savior to make sure that there is some learning happening always.

Any guess in regard with the number of people working with Don’t Memorise ?

I was left in awe. The team size of Don’t Memorise is just meagre 15 employees and some interns. The office size of Dont Memorise from a Mumbai person’s perspective will be similar to a lavish 2 BHK :).

I figured out that there are online edutech platforms like Khan Academy (joined YouTube in 2006) with 5.07 Million subscribers. I think this is something which can now be targeted by Ganesh.

Going forward, Universities and other educational institutions will have a tough competition from these Online EduTech companies.

Ganesh believes that it is all about the attitude. Skills and knowledge can be imparted but attitude is the key to success. One of the current leading animators working in Don’t Memorise is the son of their family cook , who didn’t have any knowledge about computer but had a great attitude.

Indeed a great Attitude & the Curiosity to learn or question things will take you to places you wouldn’t have dreamt of ever.

Don’t Memorise, Know More!” aptly shows the world that size doesn’t matter.

Don’t Memorise Website

It is important to ace the PAC Man game. Passion, Attitude and Curiousness.

This is part of the featured interviews under ‘VJCV’s Pursuit of HappYness’: ‘Filter Coffee with PAC Man / Woman’. You can contact the author @ vijaykrishnacv@gmail.com.

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For the Kyurious people, some info from my side about the YouTube channels which have a massive subscriber base & views:-

The channels with all time high numbers in YouTube:-

5 Minute Craft (joined in 2016) : 60.7M subscribers & 15,737,111,571 views

PewDiePie (joined in 2010) : 101 Million with 23,456,693,573 views

T Series (joined in 2006) – India’s largest music label & movie studio : 112 Million with a whopping 83,308,033,641 views.

Global Car Sales: At Crossroads : Customer ‘Spoilt for Choice’ or Courtesy Vague Market Signals ? Automobile Industry is Drifting ?

Often drivers are irritated with the speed limits.

Why you need to limit driving speed ?

“My Car has a capacity to zip past the highway at 200 kmph , so why should I drive at 80 kmph ?”

The Signals in between makes things worse. Feel restless waiting for the Signal to turn Green ?

Space available on the roads, Safety, equal opportunity for all drivers, etc. makes the case strong for having the Speeding limits as well as the stops at Signals.

The scenario with an automobile manufacturer is also very similar.

Every Automobile company wants to increase their sales and in turn the Market Share.

“I have a production capacity of 200 cars per day, so why should I restrict it to 80? Why not utilise my 100% Production capacity ? ”

If every car manufacturer starts to think like this then there will be cars coming out of the automobile plants at a constant rate but are there enough buyers in the market ?

Many a time, there are Signals coming from the market which will indicate the manufacturer that you need to slow down or even stop manufacturing.

But the pressure from Stakeholders make you to keep aiming for higher targets. The annual targets get boiled down to monthly sales numbers & it is almost like a 100m sprint which happens every month end to achieve them.

There is nothing wrong about it. It is only when more cars are sold, the cash flow happens and you make more profits. This will in turn help in giving salaries, incentives, increments to employees, payment to vendors, etc. Definitely it also helps to maintain the Stock market price to a major extent.

The average number of car manufacturing plants in each country will be around 25-50 depending upon the geography.

Except for a revolutionary Automobile brand, all other manufacturers sell their cars through dealership. The number of dealerships has been growing in the last 10 years. There was no looking back after the 2008-09 sub prime crisis / recession. Though there were slight slowdowns in different countries due to respective macroeconomic scenarios, the growth story of automobile manufacturer and associated dealerships had been phenomenal. In fact the number of new dealerships are justified with the amount of sale which happened in the last 3-4 years.

The number of cars which have occupied the roads in the last 10 years have been significant. The global sales from 2000-2015 was at 54.9 million. From 2016 onwards the numbers have grown up drastically.

People closely associated with the Automobile industry know that it is a very cyclical one. With every spurt of economic downturn, the sales numbers start going south. The last 6-8 months have seen a global slowdown of sales. One of the main reasons attributed to this is the US – China trade issues. This has sent the Chinese Automotive market on a downward spiral. There are other economic decisions which has impacted sales in countries like Germany, Argentina, etc. UK and Ireland are also having tough days with the Brexit looming over them.

A newspaper article from Dublin, Ireland:

A person planning to purchase a car 10 years back had limited options compared to today’s offerings. Present scenario gives umpteen number of choices for the customer. Many international brands are also expanding and have started selling their cars in developing markets. Buying a car is always a big decision. It is something that you will be using at least for the next 3 years. So the purchase has to be absolutely spot on. Customer is spoilt for choice and gets confused seeing different dealerships and brands in the offering.

To add to this , the traffic situation doesn’t help the cause. Though the sales have grown up drastically , the infrastructure development has been at a slow pace comparatively. This adds to the woes of purchasing decision.

The customer is looking for a ‘mobility’ solution. With the easy availability of cab aggregators / ride sharing apps like Uber, Lyft, Grab, Didi, Free Now, Ola, etc. it becomes a matter of convenience. There are auto manufacturers moving to a subscriber based model as well.

On top of this , there has been a steady interest seen in the cycle and e-scooter sector, which includes electric segways & hoverboards as well. It helps you skip the traffic, stay fit,save environment, corporate cycle to work tax saving scheme and is also light on your pocket.

This pleasant confusing state is going to get more complex in the next 3-4 years. Autonomous / self-driving cars are under testing and it is just a matter of time before the right technology is established.

So for a customer : the basket of choices is getting bigger and better.

On top of all these, there are lot of other issues that play in a customer’s mind. Oil prices are going up. There is a slow down of economy, which means that the job security is not good. As a customer , you don’t want to spend your savings on purchasing a car , when you are not certain about the near future. Every day you get to read about government’s plans to revise the taxes on cars / come out with temporary measures to revive the economy. So the best option is to wait for their actions.

If this was not enough, there is another challenge of emission norms in countries like India and China. China is in the process of implementing ‘China VI’ & India will see ‘Bharat VI’ by April 2020. The slow growing ‘dont know whats happening type’ electric car segment is also an option for the customers & the ‘budget friendly’ used car market / cost effective imported car as well.

As a customer, even though you may have the budget available to buy a car, but you are at Crossroads.

What will happen if I buy a car now ? Is this the best time to buy a car with all these things happening around?”

With my little knowledge about Automobile industry (I worked with a leading Indian Automotive manufacturer for 7.5 years), I would say that this is a time to do your ‘trade-off’.

Yes, there are lot of macro as well as micro economic changes happening currently. There is no clear signal in regard with the government support/actions to revive auto industry. Plus the emission norm scenario which impacts your resale value makes this a complete catch 22 situation. Though the Auto industry may start reviving in the next 4-5 months, it is going to be a slow and steady one.

If you have a need and have the budget to buy a car (okay with the traffic conditions, don’t want to rely on cab aggregators, etc.) , then this might be the best time to make that decision. The discounts are at all time high, plus you can bargain and get some waivers / discount on insurance, get some free accessories ,etc. The resale value for the car you purchase now vs something you would have purchased post April 2020 will get nullified with the current upfront discount. Also consider the fact that you will be trying to sell this car by 2022-23 & by that time the market situation might have completely changed. So there is no guarantee that a car bought post April 2020 will fetch you a great resale value.

There is going to be a great transition happening in the Automotive industry in the next 5 years. By 2025 the developed markets would have moved to shared cars, electric cars, self driving cars or even flying cars or 3D printed cars & that too with brands like Google and Apple getting into the Automotive sector anything is possible. The technological development would have been completed & it will be just a matter of time before it replicates to other markets. It may take a while for majority of the market to get into that transition but it will happen in every market maybe in 10 / 15 years time.

Change is inevitable. WhatsApp, Google and many other young brand have changed the whole market scenario and the way customer consume their thoughts.

So this might be possibly the last chance to enjoy such huge discounts while buying your ‘own’ car.

It is worth a ‘Trade-Off’ for the respective government bodies to tweak the policies for a certain time frame, for the manufacturers to re look at their strategies and expectations to revive the market, for the dealers to streamline the stocks and for the customer to make that right decision of buying a ‘mobility’ solution.

Sharmaji ki Betiyaan kuch kar dikhayenge: Queens building a ‘Slush’ Kingdom: Beauty & Skincare Products

Customer is the King always…!!!

What does the customer look forward to from any Brand ? : Customisation.

And for a Marketeer, ‘Word of Mouth’ is still one of the best forms of Marketing.

The parent in me keeps looking for interesting products which will help in getting the day to day activities of my daughter streamlined.

So it was a pleasant surprise for me when I saw a teddy bear shaped baby soap. Most of the kids are fascinated by teddy bear & it is the same scenario at my home as well. My next worry point was whether it is safe for kids. A quick check helped me understand that the soap is 100% organic & no chemicals were used in manufacturing it.

This made me more curious and spoke to the brain behind this – ‘Shruti’. Shruti is working with one of the leading global chipset manufacturers & doing some interesting work with smart-speakers.

My first question to Shruti was “How safe is this soap? Will there be any side effects ?”. The answer made me believe that ‘All Is Well’. Shruti replied with a sense of pride “ If something is safe to eat, it is safe as skin food too. For example, we use edible colors instead of chemical colors, edible olive oil etc.”

“Wow.. This is interesting” – This was my reaction. But ‘Men will be Men‘ – oh yes the Imperial Blue advertisement types 😉 . So I asked her “Is this restricted to eating or you have products inspired by drinks as well ? ”

Now it was time to say ‘Cheers’. She does have a ‘beer soap‘. Immediate question I had was “Kaunsa beer use karte ho (which beer do you use)?”. They use the brand which has ‘drunk’ into the market share of beer brands in the last couple of years in India: Bira. A brand which has become a favourite with many beer lovers , most of it is courtesy to the ‘Word of Mouth’ marketing they got in their initial days.

They also have Wine infused soaps for those who say ‘Wine chalega, baaki drinks nahi’ 🙂.

All these soaps are getting sold under the brand name “Slush“.

The discussion didn’t end here. “Anything for a teetotaler ?” : I continued my line of questioning. “Oh yea , we do have orange, lemon, vanilla, Starbucks inspired ones as well in our offering” – said Swati , the one who is handling the marketing of Slush & continued with her thought process of customisation “We don’t want to leave any customer unhappy, so we have something or the other for everyone. Customer is the King & we don’t want to disappoint the King”.

I was amazed with the range of products which were manufactured by this new brand “Slush”. That too all of them getting made in their Kitchen.

They have soaps for people who are on diet. This includes soaps made out of Green tea, oatmeal, etc. So are they edible ? No. But at least for some people, who are on diet / healthy food habit, it gives that extra sense of achievement when they have products made of such ingredients.

Our parents and grand parents have always emphasized on the benefits of using natural ingredients, like turmeric, sandalwood, turmeric, multani mitti, which has medicinal qualities. Slush has a range of medicinal soaps as well.

But all said and done skincare is a different ball game. Every person has a different skin condition and ideally the soap/beauty products need to be used as per the nature of our skin. Though many of us hardly ponder over this while buying a soap, this is something that may help us to maintain the brightness/freshness of our skin.

Shruti was explaining to me the different types of skin-care. I was surprised to see that this Electronics Engineer is well versed in the field of beauty products. So I had to stop her in between & understand the whole thought process behind the start of “Slush”.

“Mom is a trained beautician. Starting from our teen years, she has emphasized on using herbal and homemade skin care methods instead of using chemically formulated ones. She also passed on our granny’s tips and still guides us to the full extent.” said Shruti.

So why the name Slush ?

It stemmed from the process of creating herbal formulations for our products where we mix and mash herbs, flowers, peels, grains etc. creating their “slush”. This gives a feel of fresh, organic stuff being created.‘ Swati , the master mind behind this name answered with a smile.

The two sisters, Shruti & Swati, have been working on ‘Slush’ for the last 15 months; mainly on weekends, as they are busy with their corporate life during the week. Swati is working with one of the leading Automobile companies in India.

Slush Waffle Soap

The manufacturing, quality check & final approval of each product is a complete family affair.

“We create a new sample soap, which is tested for around 5 days by Mom, Swati, my husband Nikesh & myself.
Then we have a meeting and discuss its effects on each type of skin, improvements that can be made etc.
The final product is approved by my dad. He is very particular about the skin sensitivity e.g. minor cuts or prickly and aroma accuracy. Later we release it as a product.”

Shruti & Swati plan to continue with their corporate career for now & are ready to ‘Slush’ weekends in their Kitchen Factory.

After listening to all this, I was pretty sure that both of them were totally busy & get little time to do anything else.

But Sharamji ki Betiyaan Ki alag hi Jalwa hai. Shruti has her own line of boutique & all party wear dresses for the family is designed & stitched by her.

Swati is busy designing her own versions of Doodles or dancing to her favourite songs in the midst of this.

No wonder they have a special line of beauty products termed as ‘Shapes with Benefits’.

People are ready to experiment new underdogs in the market. From ordering customised cakes to customised gifting , it is the personal touch that attracts customers to try new upcoming brands.

Slush McD Fries Inspired Soap

Slush has been growing steadily and currently have 100+ customers with them. Nothing at all in comparison with the FMCG giants but definitely something ‘hatke’.

We do not want to go wrong on product quality to get quick volumes. The awareness and demand for organic goods will grow at its own pace. Slowly and steadily in the next 12-18 months, we expect to see a sizeable market opportunity.’

The sisters believe that Slush “is a gift of happy skin to our customers” & “carefree care of skin, prepared by a mother’s recipe”.

It is great to see parents & husbands who support the ideas / ventures of their daughters / wives.

We love all things natural, including your Smile 🙂

Customer is King , but a Queen knows how to keep the King happy.

Shruti & Swati, the Queens are in the process of building a new ‘Slush’ kingdom.

Sharmaji ki Betiyaan Zaroor kuch kar dikhayenge.

For those who want to know more about Slush :-

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Finals : It’s time to Cycle into the future & ReWrite History of Sports : Malayalam Movie Finals

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“We are the country with the world’s second largest population, but still we hardly manage to get medals” : This is the common reaction from an Indian after taking a quick look at the medal table of any international sporting event.

From Asian Games to Olympics, the journey has been really ‘slow and steady’ but without winning any race :- Slow in getting more athletes to take part & Steady in maintaining the status quo of our ranks at these events.

It is equally heartening to see that we continue to get accolades and maintain a good track record in some selective sports.

In the recent times the focus have started shifting to other sports as well. Thanks to the commendable performances from some individual sports personalities.

Sports is a part of the educational system but then it is only a handful of the youngsters who actually pursue this as a career option. In this as well the amount of female participation is very minimal.

When we look back into the athletes / sports personalities who have won medals and got accolades, the count is not encouraging. The fingers in our hand is more than enough to recollect and count these names. This doesn’t only mean that there are not enough people doing good in the sports but also the fact that the person doesn’t get the required media coverage or state / national level recognition.

In the last decade or so we have seen biopics of Indian athletes,  Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Dangal, Mary Kom, Gold, Soorma, etc., bringing out the stories behind the achievement of sports personalities. These movies gave goosebumps to the audience.

There were other sports based movies like Chak De, Lagaan, etc. which gave us the feeling that that team effort can take you places. But the Indian movie related to sports which I recollect and still watch with all the eagerness is “Jo Jeetha Wohi Sikhandhar”. This movie definitely was a launch pad for Aamir Khan. The first image that comes in to your mind when you hear the name of the movie is the cycling competition. Though the competition was limited to school level sports , it was indeed a very refreshing movie. So when I heard that there is a new movie which is getting released in Kerala with ‘Cycle’ as its main lead, I was curious to know the storyline.

Finals” is a movie about the cycling prodigy Alice Varghese who has an aim of winning the Medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It is a great time for someone to come out with a sports related topic. The actress , Rajisha Vijayan, who pulls off cycling the race track scenes with utmost ease was not even knowing to ride a cycle before the start of shooting the movie. Suraj Venjaramoodu , the actor who effortlessly manages to do any role given to him, plays the dad’s part.  Arun P R in his debut directorial has brought out a story which was close to his heart for the last 12 years.

I will quote the wordings of Ullas Krishnan, who is a movie buff & a sports enthusiast:

Arun has been working in theatre for long time & has been a promising writer for some time. With a strong humanitarian view and always on the lookout for using art as a medium to convey a strong message, I am sure his debut directorial is also going to be an engaging experience for all the viewers. A movie on Cycling is so rare not just in Malayalam but even in Indian cinema, so I hope & pray for all the success for the movie for many sports dramas to come”.

The way in which Arun has brought out the sacrifices of parents who support their children to pursue dreams is noteworthy. It also touches upon the struggle of a sports person to get past the ‘sports system’, which has it’s fair share of hand in the current status quo.

“Each medal we win is to repay : our family members, fellow people and banks” – the harsh reality.

The song “Parakkam, Parakkam” is very apt to those who dream about following their passion, especially in sports:

“If you have the courage to choose the right track then no one can stop you from Flying, Exploring the never ending shores & Achieving your Dreams”.

PT Usha, Shiny Abraham, Anju Boby George – these are the athletes who created a name for Kerala in the World Sporting Map. Kerala has been producing a lot of sporting talents in the recent years as well. I hope the day is not far away when once again a Sports person from Kerala will get to wear the Olympic Medal.

The first Olympic Medal was won by Manuel Fredrick, the goal keeper who made sure that India won the bronze medal in Hockey in the 1972 Munich Olympics.

The female sports personalities from India are spreading their wings wide & flying high.

It was Dipa Karmakar who showed us that it is possible to win medals in gymnastics.

Saina & Sindhu added feathers to our cap with their badminton dominance.

Mary Kom boxed her way through to glory.

The wrestlers : Geeta Phogat, Babita Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, Babita Kumari : The names that send shivers up the spine of the opponents.

Hima Das , the running machine, is dominating the international tracks.

Dutee Chand, Preeja Sreedharan showing their prowess in the track & field events.

Dipika Pallikal & Joshna Chinappa : The queens of Indian Squash contingent.

Manasi Joshi, the para athlete, showed us that determination and courage to choose the right track will take you to places.

There are many more names as well who are doing wonders in Sports for India. The list is getting longer day by day.

But the whole idea of sports can do wonders as a career option fizzles out the moment you step out of the cinema or in a day or two after watching the movie.

I hope the tide changes & movies like “Finals” will be an inspiration for many parents and youngsters to look at Sports as a mainstream career option. Also hope our people in charge of Sports ministry take corrective steps, make it more transparent & help upcoming talents. It has to be a combination of the above two to get us more medals.

I feel this was the right time to launch a movie focusing on Cycling. India has just started winning medals in cycling in the world circuit. Esow Alben , part of the Indian junior team, is literally firing up the cycling tracks. He along with Rojit Singh & Ronaldo Singh won the first ever international Gold medal in cycling for India in the recently concluded Junior Track World Championships.

It is our turn to say Thank you Arun for this Onam treat. Kudos to the whole team who were involved in the making of Finals.

Hope to see the Indian flag moving up & hear the National Anthem play a lot many times in the future sporting events across the globe. It is time to Cycle in to the Future & Rewrite the History of Sports with the tricolour.

Musical Journey of Anand Bhaskar : Goodbye to being a Digital Marketer Managing Million views: Hello to his own songs crossing Million views: Music Stories

First impression is the best impression. The 15 minutes discussion I had with Anand Bhaskar inside a boardroom in Dubai few months ago made me believe in one thing “Iska Time Ayega”.


Anand Bhaskar was wearing a black jeans and a red chequered shirt. He showed all traits of those artists who eagerly wait for opportunities to showcase their talent. The zeal to perform and the passion to turn that evening into a memorable musical night for the audience  could be seen in the way Anand was mentioning his plans for the event.


After the initial discussion about the preferences of the audience and the type of music which will get them going, I was curious to know more about him. It was a dream come true for me when I met Anand as I had become an instant fan of his band & himself after listening to his songs, from the time the band was selected for the event, for umpteen number of times on YouTube.


Many of us out there are talented in multiple genres. We get lot of opportunities to keep our talents alive when we are still busy completing our education. It is then we stand in the midst of the cross road of a steady corporate career with monthly salary vs going behind your passion. Most of us have ended up choosing the former option either because of varied circumstances or the lower appetite to take risks. Anand was also no exception to this. The only difference was that he somehow managed to keep his strings together & didn’t lose touch of his first love : music.


The Delhi born Kerala boy started learning music from his early school days. He learnt Carnatic music for 11 years under his guru Sreekumar.

Though he was adept in writing songs and giving voice to the lyrics, it was the night which turned Mumbai upside down that became the catalyst for him. The 26/11 Mumbai incident made him pen down a new song ‘Hey Ram’ . This song was an instant hit among his friends & Anand’s wife persuaded him to record the song. This led to the launch of his first album Samsara.



In the meanwhile, he was working as the Digital Marketing head of one of the advertising agencies in Mumbai. His days went about finalizing the right digital strategy for his clients and nights were busy humming new tunes. This double header went on for a while before he decided to part ways with the regular income route & chose the road less traveled. It is not easy to just walk out of a bread earning job, that too when you are in a senior position, unless you have someone to support you.
Anand didn’t have to look far to get that required assistance. His wife Nidhi stood up to the situation and gave him that much required impetus to pursue his passion. Nidhi told him “Just do music, I will handle the rest”. He took the bold decision to follow his passion in 2014.

It was not an easy start. The initial 4-5 months made him think that this journey will not see any light of the day. But his persistent efforts helped him to get the break and from then onwards it has been a one directional musical notes for Anand Bhaskar.

Anand Bhaskar Collective , the little known music band , started churning out new songs and their popularity started growing at a steady pace. The band has come out with 2 albums till now – Samsara & Excuse Me and are working on a new album now. They came out with a special song for those who love spitting on the road and dirtying public premises. 

Some of his band members have changed but each one of them who have been associated with ABC share the same passion towards music. This has helped him to keep ABC going & growing over the years. I was also surprised by the way these musicians support other bands who are competing with them in the market. Maybe when you grow from scratch , you always learn to Stay humble, Stay grounded.

Everyone would have listened to the super infectious voice of Anand while browsing through the advertisements which pop up during the commercial breaks. He has been the go to versatile singer for many advertisement agencies. The advantage of knowing multiple languages & the ease at which Anand sings different genres has helped him get multiple singing assignments.

From two wheeler brands like Yamaha, Hero & Honda to the mega cricketing mania IPL – he has made his presence felt in all these advertisements with his addictive voice. Some of the notable ads include Yamaha – Call of the Blues, Hero World Challenge, Vivo IPL 2018 CSK vs MI, Rajasthan Royals theme song, Yipee mood masala & Flipkart.

The word started spreading and his voice & composition prowess got the much needed recognition.

The digital platforms,  Netflix, Amazon and Voot, lapped him and his music. He composed the music for Amazon Prime’s Mirzapur, he sung ‘Fuh se Fantasy’  for  Voot original series & showed his Punjabi singing swag with Bakra Swag for Netflix original Chopsticks.


He also lend his voice to the Malayalam song ‘Kedathe’ for the movie Vallikudilile Vellakaran.



Anand got his Tollywood playback singing break with the song ‘Gana Gana Gana’.

The first bollywood song sung by him was for Bhaagi 2 – Get Ready to Fight.

It was just a matter of time before he attained greater heights & it couldn’t have been better than the much talked about ‘Mission Mangal’. Anand Bhaskar sang the famous “Shaabaashiyaan” along with co singers Shilpa Rao & Abhijeet. This song has crossed million views – a commendable feat for someone like Anand Bhaskar.
Though I wouldn’t consider this as his mission accomplishment song but indeed a great step towards attaining a name for himself in the famous and highly competitive playback music industry.

My personal favourites include his Bakra Swag number & Kaanha.



As a fan of ABC, I am eagerly waiting for the release of their new album ‘Ufaq’ – the horizon.

From waiting for days to get a call for one singing assignment to a fully booked calendar , it has been indeed a Five years of awesome rock and roll journey for Anand Bhaskar.


Anand is all smiles when he looks back at his achievements: “In December 2019, I’ll finish 5 years as a full time musician, with several prestigious ad campaigns, 4 film songs (2 Bollywood, 1 Malayalam and 1 Telugu), 2 albums and several ads and web series as a music director, under my belt.”

Another great example of following the passion and succeeding in attaining the goals.

The lyrics of the song ‘Shaabaashiyaan’ is apt for people like Anand & a motivation for others who are sitting on top of the fence not knowing which side to jump:-

Kehte the log jo, Qaabil nahi hai tu

Denge wahi Salaamiyan

Dil thaam ke jahaan,Dekhega ek din

Tere bhi kaamiyaabiyaan

Kar ke dikha Kamaal vo

____________________________________

Anand Bhaskar : Mallu with the Delhi attitude : Deadly combo

https://www.facebook.com/anandbhaskarofficial/

Wind, Water & Wanderer: The Pure Magic of Kite Surfing & Hospitality : Achill Island, Mayo, Ireland : Accommodation & Adventure Activities

Bon jour Monsieur

Comma cava ?

I was listening to this conversation while settling down on the breakfast table in one corner of the inhouse restaurant of this small lodge. Though I was still in my own world trying to remember the places that I need to visit today with my wife and daughter, i glanced around to get hold of the person who is speaking French.

The ‘madame’ was wearing a blue jeans and a black top with her hair waving to the mild winds. She was swiftly moving from one table to another, getting into small conversations while clearing the table. I could judge that many of them are regular customers in this resort.

Mornings can be tricky depending upon how your day starts, especially when you are traveling with your 3 year old. As soon as I heard these conversations, quickly exchanged a smile with my wife and got an affirmative nod from her. This was indeed a very soothing sight for us parents, the one which gives an assurance that any requests from your kiddo can be put forth and managed without much trouble.

Catherine, the French Madame, did pay a visit to our table as well to exchange the morning greetings & assured us that we can get whatever is required for the kid. I was still not sure if she was a waitress or a part time employee, as she was hands on with all the hotel chores.

It was only during the evening dinner , I realised that the photo of a female athlete hanging on the wall of the restaurant had a very stark resemblance to Catherine. I was curious to clarify my doubt and didn’t have to wait much longer. I could see her moving around to oversee the requests of customers in the crowded restaurant. Europe has a habit of finishing the dinner before 8 pm & I was still stuck to the typical 10 pm dinner. By the time we finished our dinner , most of the restaurant was empty.

I got the answer from Catherine itself. She replied with a smile for my question & said “Oh yes, that pic over the fire place, it’s me”.

Kite-Surfing is one of the extreme/adventure sports which you don’t get to see in abundance. It is an amalgamation of wind speed, water movements & the wanderer inside you, who is ready to travel miles to experience something adventurous. I was thrilled to hear the story of the co-founder of Ireland’s first Kite-Surfing school – “The Pure Magic”.

Catherine Etienne & Francois Colussi , owners of Pure Magic , Ireland’s first dedicated Kite Surfing shop had two things in common. Both of the business partners had a passion for adventure sports & they hailed from Brittany, France.

Francois, a mechanical engineer, who moved to Dublin Ireland to complete his masters was always keen to go behind his passion : Adventure Sports. During the same period , Catherine joined her college in Dublin and then moved to Spain to work. Francois convinced her that there is a scope for water sports in Dublin, Ireland. She left her job in Spain and joined Francois. This led to the starting of ‘Pure Magic’ in 2006 : Ireland’s first dedicated Kite Surfing Shop & School.

In one of their trips to Achill Island, the western most island of Ireland, to conduct a Kite Surfing session, they realised that there is a dearth of proper lodging facilities in the island. Achill Island is a great place for Kite Surfing.

With the help of one of their friends, they managed to initially rent out a lodge which was closed for 4 years. It was completely renovated and opened up for public in 2010. It is now 9 years since the opening of Pure Magic Hotel in Achill Island & the founders are indeed surfing in the right direction & have taken ownership of the place as well. Pure Magic in Achill Island has 11 rooms which can accommodate approximately 35 people. The complete lodge has been decorated with elements of water sports, especially Kite Surfing. They have regular Kite Surfing sessions happening at the lake and the beach near by during the summer period.

Kite Surfing specialists compete with each other in recording the highest jump. The latest record as per Catherine was somewhere around 28 metres, which was set in Cape Town by a Kite Surfing specialist. As per her the kite surfing sport also has developed over the last 14 years. The equipments available now along with the Technology & Gadgets makes it a safer sport compared to a decade ago. Woo Sport App is used by surfers to record & boast their achievements. As per Woo stats , the latest record stands at 32 metres set by Maarten Haeger. Pure Magic lodge has a small library which includes books about Kite Surfing as well. I managed to learn about some of the brands of Kites used by the experts : Cabrinha, Slingshot, Ozone, Flysurfer and Madame’s favourite F-One.

Pure Magic Watersports school and shop is in Clontarf, Dublin with Kite-Surfing lessons happening in Dollymount & Sutton beaches.

(Woo App)

The list of people who have done the Kite-Surfing with the Pure Magic crew includes CEOs from the Silicon Valley as well. The latest trend is to have meetings or conferences in off beat places & try your hand on something adventurous as well.

The bonus for people staying at Pure Magic is the chance to savor the awesome food prepared by the French Chef. The pizzas of Pure Magic is famous and you will find it difficult to find a table in the restaurant if you don’t have a prior booking.

It is not easy to control the kite with the wind calling the shots , but these people from Pure Magic make it look like a casual walk in the park.

It is the pure passion for the Sport which brought them together to open the Kite Surfing shop, school in Dublin & then the lodge in Achill Island. I asked Catherine about their expansion plans and was a bit surprised (but happy) with her reply. They are not planning to expand in the near future. She said that it is not about just making money, but it’s about the passion of teaching & imparting the experience of water sports to customers. So they are very clear about their focus area: to give great experience for each & every customer.

Follow your Passion, everything else will Follow you”

Details about this ‘Pure Magic’:-

Non smoking place. Advantage of having owners who are into sports. They understand the importance of keeping the butt away.

Pure Magic,Achill Island, County Mayo (300 kms from Dublin). It is a great drive from one end of Ireland to this part (Dublin to Achill). Awesome roads with scenic view. A great ‘long weekend’ destination from Dublin.

Teresa is the person in charge and she is always ready to extend all possible help with a big smile. A jovial personality with a magical touch.

Parking Space: Free open parking available across the road in front of the lodge.

Kids play area is good with a doll house and a hammock. You can also visit the beach near by and keep the kids busy with building sand castles.

Breakfast : Basic spread

Rooms : Neat , clean & have a touch of ocean element everywhere. If you are going with kids who love bunk beds , then this is definitely the place.

Activities:

Kite Surfing, Paddle boating, cave visits, yoga sessions, etc. can be booked with them. If this not your cup of tea, then enjoy a local Mayo Red beer & read a novel sitting beneath the Magic tree overlooking the mountain on one side and lake on the other side.

Must try: Pizzas and Garlic bread

Pure Magic Achill Website

Au Revoir

The Movers & Shakers Of Football Transfers : Super Agents , Sports Agencies & Family Members

The new season of Club Football kicked off yesterday with Premier League & Ligue 1 matches .

Liverpool started their campaign with a 4-1 win over Norwich City. Olympique Lyonnais won 3-0 against AS Monaco.

Mo Salah and Van Dijk scored their first goals of the season for Liverpool & AS Monaco were reduced to 10 men , courtesy a controversial VAR referred red card to their playmaker Cesc Fabregas.

It was not long back that Mo Salah was part of the Chelsea FC squad. He later on played for Fiorentina and Roma on loan , before making a permanent move to Roma. 2017 season saw the Egyptian moving to Liverpool FC and he has not looked back after that as he is too busy scoring goals from all angles.

Van Dijk was one of the costliest defenders signed by a Premier League side & a strong contender for the coveted Ballon d’or this year.

Cesc Fabregas, the midfielder who is considered as an expert in breaking open the opponent defense, joined AS Monaco last season.

Mo Salah, Van Dijk, Fabregas and hundreds of other footballers keep moving from one club to another during their career. So who orchastrate their moves ?

Ramy Abbas is the advisor of Liverpool’s Egyptian goal scoring machine, Mo Salah.

The name that connects Van Dijk & Henderson is Neil Fewings, the agent who represents one of the biggest US sporting agency Wasserman. He manages both of these players & it has been touted that Henderson played an essential role in completing the move of Van Dijk to LFC.

Arsenal fans will always cherish the days when Thiery Henry & Fabregas played together for them. One of the key reasons behind Cesc’s move to Monaco was his preference to play under Thiery Henry, his good old Arsenal team mate. This was made easier by his agent Darren Dein, with whom he has been working from his Arsenal days. Darren Dein is the agent of Henry as well. So the move happened without any hassles.

The movers and shakers of Football transfers : ‘Agents’ – who work smartly & tirelessly behind the scenes.

Europe league football is dominated by the likes of FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Inter Milan, Napoli, Paris Saint Germain,Ajax FC, Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea FC and handful of other clubs. Similar to that the ‘Agents’ market is a stronghold of names who are synonymous to big player signings.

Jorge Mendes is the richest Sporting agent in the Soccer arena. The Portuguese agent who started his career as a DJ and a bar owner, quickly moved up in ranks when it came to the transfer market of football players.

Gestifute , Sports Career Management Company, is a brain child of Jorge Mendes. Mendes has a list of elite players and coaches signed up with him. He was instrumental in helping Jose Mourinho’s move to Chelsea in 2004. This was followed by a bunch of players from Portugal moving to Chelsea FC.

The ‘super agent’ Mendes also handles the super player Christiano Ronaldo. His move to Manchester United, Real Madrid & Juventus was all managed by Mendes. Mendes & Gestifute would have made millions of dollars from these deals. Diego Costa, James Rodriguez, De Gea and the upcoming football star Joao Felix are clients of Jorge Mendes.

Jorge Mendes knows the importance of tapping the future potential. That is how he has managed to scale these heights. Every young upcoming football player from Portugal is in his radar. He almost single handedly dominate the Portugese football players and coaches. Apart from the above mentioned high value players and coaches, his recent stint with the newly promoted team, Wolverhampton Wanderers, to the Premier League shows his prowess. Wolverhampton is now part of China’s Fosun International Group. Guo Guangchang is the business man who owns Fosun Group. Mendes has helped in getting key players for this club & in addition to this the manager of Wolverhampton , Nuno Santo, is from Portugal. Thus it attracts the players from Portugal to be part of Wolves FC.

Guangchang & Mendes have signed an agreement to tap the potential of football in China. This is a great move by Mendes to make his presence felt in this part of the globe which is supposed to be one of the upcoming world football destination.

Mino Raoila is the name which every Manchester United fan will have known by now. Mino Raoila is the agent who manages Paul Pogba. Raoila started as a waiter and moved his ways into becoming one of the most successful Sports agents in Europe.

The players associated with him includes Mkhitaryan & the great Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Mino Raoila believes in hard work. He is of the opinion that as a footballer you should have the passion and dedication to put in that extra effort to stand apart from other players. Raoila , compared to other agents , has a limited set of players with him. He is a person who takes the professional relationship to a very cordial and friendly one with each of his clients & bargains the best possible deal for them. As a person who has managed restaurant, he knows the value of each customer.

Fernando Felicevich is the one who controls majority of the key South American players. Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Claudio Bravo, Charles Aranguiz are all managed by this FF agent.

Volker Struth, the Executive Director of Sports Total, is the powerhouse of German players. Toni Kroos, Marco Reus, Niklas Stark are few of the players managed by this go to agent of Bundesliga.

When it comes to Spanish players – Adrian Miguel, Pedro, Kepa, Navas ; the agent who stands right next to them is Jose Otin. He is considered as the key influencer in the La liga circuit and is also the man behind Bahia Internacional, the sports management company.

The agent who is known as the premier league specialist is Jonathan Barnet. He along with his partner David Manasseh has made their presence felt in the Premier League. Interestingly the first client of Jonathan Barnet was Brian Lara & his list also includes the retired boxing champion Lennox Lewis. Barnet is known in the Football World for his role in facilitating the transfer of Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid. It was considered as one of the costliest signing of that time. The other players linked to him are Jordan Pickford, Luke Shaw, Joe Hart, Jessie Lingard. He is also the man behind the controversial move of Ashley Cole from Arsenal FC to Chelsea FC.

Jonathan Barnet & David Manasseh started a company known as Stellar Group Limited in 1994 which oversees all these movements. They are now one of the leading Sports consulting companies ranging from Football, Rugby, NFL, Cricket to Athletics. Barnet has a strong team which helps him scout new young talented players and they focus on investing , training & developing talent.

Team Wass / Wasserman Media Group is one of the most prominent Sports Management Companies based out of the United States of America. The talent managed by them are from an array of sporting fields – Baseball, Golf, Basketball, American Football, Soccer, Hockey & Action Sports.

The World Cup winning team of USA was mostly represented by players managed by Wasserman.

Van Dijk & Henderson are also part of Team Wass talent management. Wasserman Media Group lead by Casey Wasserman is slowly and steadily making their presence felt in the European Football Leagues. They consider the management of each player as a case study and makes sure that it always ends up on the positive side.

Though each of them have their own working style, one thing in common to all the agents & sports management companies is that they are always in the look out to identify young talent , calculate the possible potential & create a Win Win situation for the player and themselves.

In addition to the above mentioned agents and sports consulting companies there are some players who feel that it is always good to have everything in the family itself.

Neymar Jr , who holds the record for the highest transfer fee of €222 million is managed by his dad Neymar Sr. As per reports, Neymar Sr , who acts as the agent for his son, would have made approximately €40 million from that record transfer deal between Paris Saint Germain & FC Barcelona. In addition to this Neymar Sr has accumulated lots of money by overseeing his son’s transfers and new deals along the years.

Lionel Messi , the quintessential name many associate with football, takes help of his dad to manage the business side of football. Messi’s current contract clause of €300 million looks like a lot of money. In case one of the big clubs is ready to buy out then Messi’s dad will make a good deal of money, somewhere close to €60 million.

There are some young footballers like Callum Hudson Odoi who also takes the service of his dad to play the role of his agent.

The clubs always want to sign the best players in the world, players want to move to the leading clubs and behind all these are the actual Movers & Shakers of Football transfers : The Agents. There are players who have changed their agents to make sure that they get better deals & clubs. Lot depends on the contacts developed by these agents / sports management companies on how and where the movement happens, which also helps in the making or breaking of many players.

I would like to see a tournament represented by players for their agents. Jorge Mendes XI, Mino Raoila XI, Jonathan Barnet XI, Jose Otin XI , etc. It will be a super contest for sure.

Considering that there is lot of money talks happening in the Chinese Super League & Major League Soccer, the demand for all these agents & sports management companies will be on a steady rise.

But with the onset of technology, it is just a matter of time before we see an Artificial Intelligence enabled Robot acting as the agent for players. Until then it is game on between these ‘behind the scenes’ specialists who compete against each other to get the best deals for their players and ultimately themselves.

Coaches and players together make a great team; but Agents write the script of this success journey of football”

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