The Podium Story

Hi! 

This is Saurabh (one of the people at The Podium) and allow me to tell you a story. 

The origin of Podium 

Akshay (AD) is a senior from college and while in college, his and my paths never crossed – he is that old! But like any business school of repute, we have this really active alumni group and that’s where AD and I became “friends”. We would often chat on inane things, bounce off ideas against each other, and help each other wherever we could. 

He and I are as different as chalk and cheese – he runs an HR business, I run a marketing agency; he is a data-first person, I am a lot more gut-lead; he believes in structures and processes, I am lot more fluid.

But we do have a common passion for experimenting, creating new things and people. These three shared-interests were enough for us to continue our aimless, goalless chats. 

Life was cool till one day we got talking and one of us (can’t recall who) proposed that we ought to start a podcast if we have to accelerate our learning! Both of us agreed and decided that next time I was in Delhi, we’d catch up and record a few conversations. Thankfully, we had access to some entrepreneurs like Ankit, Dr. Annurag Batra, Nakul, and Tamanna, who readily agreed to be the “guinea pigs” and help us record some conversations with them. 

One thing led to another and here we are. With The Podium. Our attempt at creating a content destination for lifelong learners! 

The Journey

When we started on this, we wanted to do a podcast to learn from the success and failures of other entrepreneurs. We realized that we may not get access to celebrated entrepreneurs if we don’t have a reason to speak with them. A podcast felt like a convincing enough reason to knock on the doors and get them to talk to us.

Before we started, AD being AD, he wanted to do a research to understand how things work. As luck would have it, he was in Mumbai around the new year and we met people like Amit Varma (probably the biggest podcaster in India) and picked his brains about the business. 

This is when we came up with the idea of doing a deep dive in the business of podcasting and writing it like a news piece. I was reluctant but I agreed. AD wrote a pitch for The Ken and they accepted and then we started meeting and talking to listeners, podcasters, podcasting companies, radio jockeys, and whoever had any opinion on audio as a medium. Again, every person we approached, they were kind and approachable. Every “company” we went to, however, we were shown the door. Of course, these were exceptions like IVM and Storytel that were very very very open and candid.

Anyhow.

To cut long story short, we wrote this piece on podcasting. And in the process, we learned so much about the business, people, dynamics, and more. And we realized that more than a hobby where we interview entrepreneurs, we could create a sustainable business that allows us to scratch our itch, deliver great content, and make money along the way. Picture Perfect. No? 

Well, almost!

Hello, The Founder Thesis

Once we had this piece out and the fire in the belly and the ambition to meet more founders and keenness to learn, we set out to meet founders for the podcast. Almost everyone we approached agreed to speak with us and they gave us all the time that we needed to chat with them. In some cases, we recorded with them multiple times before we got the format and questions right! 

Again, we were amazed by the openness, acceptance, and kindness of people, most of these were strangers! 

Kahaniyon Ka Guccha and India Booked

Along the way, I realized that apart from just the startup founders, I want to talk to marketers as well – after all, marketing is my first love! 

And while we were jamming on the marketing podcast, it dawned on us that between the two of us, we have wide interest areas and we can create podcasts for more than one niches. It would of course require FAR more effort than we had originally envisaged. And that was ok. AD doesn’t shy away from hard work. 

We also realized that apart from just the two of us, we can enable others to hold conversations with the kind of people they want to meet! If we could create a platform, we could reach far more people that benefit kar sakte hain from the audio medium!  

We got lucky and got Mudit (and Anamika) to agree to do Kahaniyon Ka Guccha (a podcast on stories from some of the literary legends from India). They started by reciting stories by Manto. We similarly met Ayushi and the team at Purple Pencil Project* and co-created India Booked. We also seeded Beyond Campus, Podium Spotlight, and a few more. 

And before we knew it, bit by bit, we were on our way! 

So, what’s next?

Each day we get to talk to a host of people – guests, listeners, our team, and more. And each day we realize that we have this big opportunity that we need to capitalize on! 

Of course, podcasting is still nascent in India. We suspect it would always be like that – after all video offers a far more immersive experience and with things like AR / VR that have been coming soon for almost a decade, you never know. Plus lockdown has spruced up innovations and investments in other immersive mediums. Audio only may get left behind for all we know! 

Radio, on the other hand, has been around for decades and will not go anywhere. In fact, for all those 800-900 million people that do not speak English as their first language, radio still is the first port of access for content (thanks to Jio, that is changing fast!). 

And thus we continue to remain bullish on audio as a medium. Distribution can take shape of podcasts or radio – that’s step 2. But we intend to remain an audio-first business.  

So here we are! And over the next few days, I will share more updates on our thesis, our approach, and what we are trying to build. I hope you join us on the journey and continue to support us! Welcome aboard! 

That’s about it for the time being. More as we go along. 

Thanks for reading and your continued patronage

Regards,

Saurabh (on behalf of AD and Team Podium)

Footnotes

* – SG is an investor in Purple Pencil Project in his personal capacity. 

The Sherlock Syndrome!

Good Morning!!

Trust you and your loved ones are safe and cared for.

Satur-yay is here! Yay

There is this general spring in the step of people around me. There is so much cheer. God must’ve been kind to have created the idea of a weekend. From where I am perched, I can see a pados ka chai-wala playing some golden-era melodies at are-you-crazy level of volume while fiddling with the radio, the steamy tea that he’s boiling, and his patrons arguing loudly about this recent Bollywood crime gone wrong! The TV in the room I am in is blasting some blues from the days gone by! Oh, and did you know that Blues was the music of choice for those gangsters in the US?


Wait!

Did we not say Sherlock Syndrome?

Could you spot some heinous crimes happening while we were celebrating these country musicians?

And this is what brings us to the selection of the week. We will talk about some of the greatest investigative podcasts on air! In fact, with the anointing of a Pulitzer award for audio reporting, we’re sure to see some fascinating stories being told about some of them, may we say, the greatest crimes of all time!

How Fact-Finding and Disciplinary Investigations Differ

For the time being, here are some of our favorites.

Adjust your headphones now!

1. The Jordan Harbinger Show

The Jordan Harbinger Show Podcast Republic

The Jordan Harbinger Show features the who’s who of the world! The former wall-street-er turned podcaster, he has often been compared to Larry King!

In the episode we recommend, he talks to the legendary Danny Trejo about his life and his mission. You HAVE to listen to this one!

🎧  Tune in: The Jordan Harbinger Show

2. The Dark Side of Business

As the name suggests, this podcast is all about throwing the limelight on the dark side of “disciplines” ranging from dating to business to Hollywood to holidays and more!

Our favorite is the one where they talk The Black Friday! Makes for a fascinating story!

🎧  Tune in: The Dark Side of Business

3. Swindled!

Swindled - Bonus: The Promotion (McDonald's Monopoly) | Listen via Stitcher  for Podcasts

In this jaw-dropping episode, catch the story of how Jerome “Uncle Jerry” Jacobson defrauded the food giant McDonalds of some 20 million dollars!

🎧  Tune in at The Promotion


https://cdn.substack.com/image/fetch/f_auto,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/https%3A%2F%2Fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-437e-9518-adb32be77984.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fpublic%2Fimages%2F9c75b29e-8e6c-48eb-ac86-732cf4291d73_1024x512.gif

Dropping you a quick update on what we’ve been up to the last few days!

We recently published The Voice of the Indian Wedding Industry (Parthip Thyagarajan of WeddingSutra.com), who tells us the story of how he transitioned from regular, corporate life to his own dot-com venture and became a successful publisher along the way!

We also published our conversation with Arpit Chabra of IOTfy and heard him talk about how he is revolutionizing IoT, Hardware, Cloud, and Mobile technologies for building and branding consumer durables.

On the Founder Thesis, we published the story of Ambarish Gupta of Knowlarity who shared with us the P’s and Q’s of the business and how he built the largest cloud telephony company in Asia!

Finally, we spoke with Dhiraj R of Mu Sigma about how he “accidentally” built a unicorn! This one is a must-listen!

That’s all we have for today! Stay tuned, stay safe. Do tell us what else can we bring to you! Over and out!

Gratitude and Regards,

Purna and Madhu on behalf of thePodium.in team.

Don’t be a Dinosaur! 🦖

Good Morning!!

It’s the 5th of September. i.e. Teacher’s Day! Remember how back in days we would dress up as teachers & go to school. So many fun memories 💭

Anyways, on that nostalgic note, here’s wishing you a Very Happy Teacher’s Day!

Speaking of teacher’s day, this pandemic too seems like a very annoyed teacher – you know that miss who would trash you for the smallest of mischief! Well, this one has us all grounded in our homes, rethinking our choices & lives as we know it. A huge lesson in adapting, evolving & learning!


As we are all wrapping our heads around the “new normal” one thing that stands out most is the increased use of tech in our day to day & work life. While concepts such as data science, AI, ML, etc. were not unheard of, their presence in our professional & personal life has grown many folds over.

And as we meet & chat with more & more entrepreneurs we are acutely aware of how tech startups are changing things around us… For example, we were talking to Meghna Saraogi of StyleDotMe and how she is revolutionizing jewelry shopping with AR-powered tech solution.

Or how Preksha Kaparwan of AlphaAI is making data analytics accessible through simple voice commands! Seriously this would be a blessing – no more boring excels, pivots, charts, and tables to ponder over.

All of this brought us to a realization that our world is moving to a more tech-dependent environment faster than we assumed & as individuals we can not get away not knowing the basics.

Hence the title – Don’t be a Dinosaur! 😉


So for this week’s newsletter, we thought of bringing you a round-up of some great podcasts that’ll get you to update with 5 concepts of tech we come across often.

So here goes:

1. Data Skeptic

With over 250 episodes, this is one of the best podcasts to know everything about data science. The podcast features interviews with industry professionals and explanatory mini-episodes that talk about data science concepts. While the episode titles may seem to scare you off, we promise the content is easy to follow. Give it a go by starting with their episode on real-time fraud detection.

🎧 Listen to it here.

2. Everything VR & AR

This weekly podcast talks about real-world deployments of AR & VR experiences. Featuring interviews with some of the top leaders in gaming, entertainment, productivity, enterprise, social, education, medicine, software, hardware, psychology, etc. With some brilliant interviews with top bosses of brands such as Paramount, Boeing, The Burning Man & HTC, this podcast has some incredible content that you must not miss out on.

🎧 Listen to it here.

3. The AI Podcast

Hosted by celebrated journalist Noah Kravitz this podcast is produced by NVIDIA – a brand that all gaming fans are familiar with. The AI podcast strives to demystify the concepts of AI through interviews with leading experts in this field.

Their episode with NVIDIA’s Will Ramey on demystifying AI is a good place to start.

🎧 Here’s the link to this episode.

4. Learn to Code With Me

As a beginner in coding, this podcast is very resourceful. With 7 seasons completed there’s a great deal of learning you could achieve from this one. Also, do check out their blog for some great free learning resources that’ll teach you to code like a pro.

🎧 Here’s the link to this show.

5. Learning Machines 101

This podcast is for those who are curious about machine learning and seeking answers to questions like “How does it work?”, “How is it applied to everyday activities?”, “How to make tech smarter & more human-like?” etc.

Start with their episode where the hosts take a shot at defining machine learning.

🎧 Check it out here.

We hope you find value in these podcasts. Let us know what you think of them & which ones you liked.


That’s it from us for this fortnight.

Until Next Time, stay safe.


Gratitude and Regards,

Madhu, on behalf of thePodium.in team.