In the Spotlight- Swapna Gadgil

Postcard Spotlight is an interview series showcasing young leaders and creative minds who are making their mark with their unique talent and drive.

In the spotlight this week is Swapna Gadgil, a fitness trainer who lives by her passion to help people lead a healthy life. She shares her journey, insights from the industry and more. Read on to know her story.

Tell us about your journey – how did you decide to pursue a career in fitness? 

I have always been an avid lover of sports and fitness since my school days. This love continued and grew in a formal gym setting in my college days. After completing my MBA and having worked in the IT industry as an HR for 4 years, I understood that this would not be what I would like to do for the rest of my life. So I thought about what excites me the most? And the answer was pretty clear. It was anything related to fitness and especially teaching it to others. So I started undergoing certifications while continuing to work in the corporate field. Also started taking personal training and conducting step aerobics while working. After a year of balancing both my HR job and my training, I decided to make the complete shift. Post that I undertook Pilates certifications which then opened up a bunch of new opportunities! 

What’s your definition of fitness? 

Fitness for me is a sound and healthy body. It definitely does not mean attaining a certain body type with heavy use of supplements, steroids, fat burners, or going through extremely strict diets that are not sustainable for a lifetime. Fitness needs to be a state of a peaceful mind and body. It should be a means to reduce stress or stress-related diseases or disorders. 

What excites you the most about your job? 

The opportunity to learn new things every day and to be able to teach them to others. It’s exciting to be able to help people lead a better life in terms of good health. A fitness coach’s job is never limited to just the physical fitness of a client. We tend to be their friend, confidante, someone who inspires them to be the best version of themselves. It’s amazing to be a confidence booster for people. 

As a fitness influencer, what kind of brands do you like being associated with? What are your considerations when a brand approaches you for collaborations? 

I always like to associate myself with brands I would use myself. These could be in terms of food, clothing, or beauty products. As fitness is very closely related to beauty and lifestyle products, I do collaborate with these as well. My main consideration is the quality of the product. It needs to fit exactly with what I would look for personally while selecting a particular brand. 

What type of workout do you enjoy the most? 

That’s a very difficult question! I like variety in my workouts. So I love to have a mix of Pilates, running, and strength training (bodyweight exercises and free weights training). I am not into lifting very heavyweights. 

If you could binge eat one thing with no consequences, what would it be? 

I could live on Butter Chicken if I had my way in the savoury section and pastries in the dessert section. 

How do you like to spend your free time? 

I like to binge-watch television and spend time with my family and friends.

What’s the first thing you want to do once this pandemic is over?

I want to travel to the beach as soon as this pandemic is over. 

Where can people get in touch with you? 

Through my Instagram @gadgilswapna or email [email protected] 

In the Spotlight- Nimit Vaishnav

Postcard Spotlight is an interview series showcasing young leaders and creative minds who are making their mark with their unique talent and drive.

In our spotlight segment this week we have Nimit Vaishnav, a talented musician, jingle creator, and avid aviation lover. Nimit explains the complex journey involved in creating music. He’s worked on over 300+ ad jingles, won multiple awards and now has his own track out – Bekarariyaan. Read to know his story.

Tell us about your journey – how did you get into music? 

My first set of guitar lessons were when I was 12 or 13 years old. My mother was extremely keen on one of her children picking up on a musical hobby.

Although I would like to add that professional music was a happy coincidence. I was walking a completely different path until the music hit me. It was during college that I got into it deeper.

Funny story, I had finished my music audition for the college band and I had time to spare when I realised the theatre auditions were on too. So I reached the hall with the guitar strapped on my back, to audition for the dramatics team. Upon seeing me, the director (Vipul Mehta, today a famous big name in theatre and TV) suddenly asked me to start playing the scene that was being rehearsed. I had NEVER done such a thing! And there I was, shocked by the sudden-ness of it. I sat down, unzipped my guitar case, as all the eyes in the rehearsal hall were on me, the cinematic pause in the proceedings, the pin-drop silence, I remember everything! ACTION! screamed the director. I began to focus on the dialogues as the scene unfolded and started playing gentle melodies on top while they were acting. It was so organic! It felt like the music was just coming to me effortlessly. No complex harmony, or rhythms, just simple melodies for how the scene was making me feel. NEWS FLASH: That play, Somu The Pagal, went on to win gold at the IPTA (Indian People’s Theatre Association) for that year with a special mention for music by producer/jury Mr. Ramesh Sippy!

That was a sign. Billboard size.

Describe your transition from a corporate job to a full-time career in music. What made you take the plunge? 

Saying goodbye to a regular source of income is never easy. It forces a lot of thought and planning. 

I used to work with the Digital arm of Star India pvt ltd, now Disney Hotstar, for about 4 and a half years. Folks at work were aware and supportive of my musical aspirations. 

Working a job helped me tremendously with my transition. It gave me some close friendships and the opportunity to learn and work with some brilliant and wonderful people. They were kind and generous to support me with business as well. That is how I ended up composing music for Kabbadi Kids Junior, Promos for Hotstar, Dance Plus, and alike. Now, I have over 300 ads under my belt. 

I had to be there, to be here.

Where do you draw creative inspiration from? 

Oh, this is easy! 

Guitar Chops – John Mayer 

AD Film score –  Dhruv Ghanekar
Film Score – Salim Suleman, Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, James Howard Newton, Ramin Djawadi

Song Writing – Arijit Singh, Amit Trivedi, AR Rehman

Music Production – San Holo, Alex Rome, MusicTechHelpGuy, and list of other Youtube artists.

Music Mixing – Eric Pillai, Ishan Naik

I try to listen to everyone and everything.

Youtubers have taught me the art of guitar playing, music production and music mixing. I learnt how to convert an idea or a jam into a song and make it sound pro. Their regular content updates in my YT suggestions list inspires me tremendously. I just take a short lesson idea and run with it. That is my trigger

If he can do it, I should at-least try. 

Share the story behind your favourite composition or something you’ve composed. 

I don’t really have a favorite composition. It’s a fling-thing. The flavour of the week, then move onto the next song. Whichever song I am working on is my new favorite song. Creating something from nothing for each song makes it a hard choice. Each song is a journey by itself having its own challenges, mental neurosis, self doubt, taking a second guess, asking ALL my friends how it sounds, only then, its final. Phew!

‘Option A or Option B, A or B, B or A, no wait, let’s go with C’  

Tell us about your new single, Bekarariyaan.

I wanted to write a song I could dance to. I wanted to make a beat that makes me jump off my seat. I wanted to write a bassline that forced a head banging listener to make a stinky face, I wanted to add vocal harmonies. But at the same time I wanted it to be relevant to our audience. Bekarariyan, in all honesty, is my attempt to challenge myself and come out of an acoustic singer song-writer mould that I thought I was in. I think you will really like it.  

‘Now stick with this song flow. No changes. Promise.’

Who’s the one artist you’d love to collaborate with and why?

I would love to collaborate with the Gully Boyz Gang. I think all of them are incredibly talented. Every song is a story and I like their story-telling style of rap when I listen to their songs. I must also congratulate the producers and artists for the music they are putting out. It’s world class.

I happened to work with a @mc_josh_official for a jingle we did for Center Fresh chewing gum on TikTok. Best experience ever.

‘Bro I have this awesome idea, but I cannot figure out the B section’

How do you like to spend your free time?

When I am not making music, I am usually flying an airplane on my Flight simulator. I love aviation and all things related. It’s the only place I can completely exit music and delve deeply into a completely different world. I can confidently tell you if the aircraft which just took off is an Airbus or a Boeing, Embraer or Cessna. I can do this for defence aviation too, Combat and Transport, throw in helicopters for a good mix. I just love it. If it is man-made and it flys, it has my attention.

‘Playing Counter-Strike is cool too though’

Which are your favourite accounts to follow on Social Media and why? 

Social media accounts across the web are the reason I know music production! I recently made a playlist on Instagram with little guitar lick and techniques lessons that Ehsaan Noorani puts out, accounts like @lickoftheday @stringsdaily and alike. The mini lessons are awesome to noodle on the guitar. Makes it a joyful mini learning experience. Who knows, the mistakes I make in playing them can be my next song.

‘Oh wow here is a song idea’

What’s the first thing you want to do once this pandemic is over? 

I would love to travel because I like the change. Traveling and being away from my studio gives me more song ideas. A lot of my song ideas began on a trip & executed upon return #fact. 

So I am looking forward to my next trip so i can come back with a bag worth of ideas.

‘Don’t forget the clothes’

Where can people get in touch with you or see your work? 

You can,

Face my book @nimitmusicproject, or Gram me Instantly @nimitmusicproject. Hit like and subscribe on my Youtube channel NimitMusicProject, Check out my music there!

PS: I have won the RAPA award for best Program ID for big fm 92.7 which has also won @newyork fest for radio for international/foreign language category.

In the Spotlight- Gaurav Ogale

Postcard Spotlight is an interview series showcasing young leaders and creative minds who are making their mark with their unique talent and drive.

In the spotlight this week is Gaurav Ogale, a visual chronicler and diarist who lends his creative vision to cultural, academic and commercial projects with equal ease and expertise. Gaurav’s keen understanding of sensitive nuances is reflected through his acclaimed work. Read on to know his story.

Tell us about your journey – what drove you to become an artist? 

I was extremely observant as a child. So I always had a lot of stories to tell and not necessarily how they unfolded in reality but how I interpreted them. These stories often and most naturally came out visually. I don’t think my aspirations were to be an artist per se, but I would say it was always to be a visual storyteller of sorts.

As a visual artist, where do you draw inspiration from? 

Everyday instances, anecdotes and objects intrigue me. Nostalgia plays a big role in my work, I think my mind is like a repository of memories and they often keep coming into the narratives I create – then however irrelevant they might be.

What’s the most challenging project you’ve worked on so far? 

The time I spent in Advertising Design was probably the most challenging, also because one had to keep creating stories, keep dreaming, and make people believe in what you are saying. There was something surreal about creating scenarios and worlds out of one’s sheer imagination. And the other project would definitely be my most recent Words and Visuals anthology since it involved collaborating with creators from distinct genres and aesthetics.

Tell us about your audiovisual project – how did the idea come about? What has the experience of collaborating with such illustrious artistes been like? 

The idea was parked somewhere in my mind for a long time. The idea of creating visual snippets, more like blink and miss films. I believe that in times when all of us are endlessly scrolling through different digital platforms, we are not able to grasp so much in one glimpse. This series was born out of that idea of telling a story through visuals and shorter narratives like spoken word, haikus or simply thoughts. While I was curating the collaborations, the approach was also to collaborate with creators who have various dimensions to their creative practice. You pick any one artist from the series and you will see that they have so much more to themselves and their craft and persona beyond what is known to the world. And that was interesting to me.

The experience was the most rewarding in my journey so far as a visual chronicler. Also because each collaborator was open to experimentation and most of them were trying out certain formats for the very first time. So it really was special.

Who’s the one creator or artist you would love to collaborate with and why? 

Arundhati Roy. I don’t know what exactly we would create, or which of her work I would like to interpret visually but there’s something that tells me that we have to create something someday. Also, her aesthetics show in her writing across genres – novels, essays, and films.

How do you like to spend your free time? 

I like to wander around. Maybe cook or daydream.

What’s the story behind your Instagram handle, patranimacchi?

It’s more the other way round now, a lot of people don’t know my real name. Patranimacchi because I like how reticent the spices in a patra-ni-macchi are. It’s a quintessential Parsi preparation as you know, it’s coy, it’s layered and when you eat it, it slowly reveals its true essence.

Which are your favourite accounts to follow on Social Media and why? 

On Instagram, I like handles that give you the space to get lost and wander and explore their minds. They could be chefs, artists, potters, filmmakers, storytellers or even just people who have a lot to say about everyday things. 

What’s the first thing you want to do once this pandemic is over?

I want to swim, I want to cycle all around without wearing a mask. And I want to get lost in the most crowded streets of my Bombay.

Where can people get in touch with you or see your work? 

Instagram: @patranimacchi

In the Spotlight- Priyanka Banerjee

Postcard Spotlight is an interview series showcasing young leaders and creative minds who are making their mark with their unique talent and drive.

In the spotlight this week is Priyanka Banerjee, a talented photographer who quit her corporate job to pursue her passion. Priyanka is the founder of The Memory Album, and her love for photography is evident through the stunning visuals she captures. Read on to know her story.

Tell us about your journey – how did you get into photography?

It has taken me nine years of working in the corporate healthcare industry to realise my passion for photography. Due to my previous work profiles at Fujifilm India and Carestream India, I used to travel extensively across the country. I was always on the move and would capture people, be it strangers, my friends or family, places, food, basically just document everything. This gave me immense joy and to pursue it further, I enrolled myself at FX School and learnt the basics of photography.

All those years of dedicated hard work, training and extensive travel, I still wanted to do something for myself. I wanted to find my purpose. I decided to quit my high profile job and follow my passion for photography. I am glad I made this switch in 2017 to start my own setup. From a kid who had an album that had The Memory Album written on it with a glitter pen to an entrepreneur, it has definitely been an amazing journey of learning, experiences, and growth.

How would you describe your personal venture, The Memory Album?

The Memory Album started with the idea of capturing moments, beautiful stories, and sharing this with the world. In 2017, it was just my cousin and me who would go for shoots, edit and deliver on time to our clients. Today in 2020, we are a team of six passionate professionals in Mumbai and Pune. All the team members are handpicked and they bring their best skillset to the table. We help each other out and this brings out the best in our clients as well.

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love. We aim to create an enriching experience for our clients. We believe in creating beautiful photos and videos that tell a story. Be it your portrait, pet or a product, we are here to take care of everything. We offer end-to-end production services from the time you connect with us.

What’s the story behind your favourite photograph?

It would be capturing the milky way on a cold freezing night at Tabo Monastery, Spiti Valley situated at a height of 10,000 feet above sea level. It was my first time shooting the night sky and it was such a phenomenal experience. We were a group of photographers on this trip and everyone’s energy level just made this a night to remember. There were literally a billion stars that you could see with your naked eye. Definitely ticked this off my bucket list, thanks to the Universe.

What makes a moment picture-perfect, according to you?

By just being yourself in front of the camera, this brings out your best emotions in the picture as well. When you look back at that photo, you should be able to feel it, that’s when you know you have captured a timeless moment.

What excites you the most about your job?

Doing what I love as a full-time job motivates me to get out of my comfort zone every day. I love meeting new people, creating mood boards for every shoot, discussing ideas with my team. What drives me to work hard every day and follow my dream is to create beautiful memories that will be cherished forever.

What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?

–  Learn your basics well. Do a course either online or from an academy.

– Keep clicking. It does not matter what camera you have, your point of view matters.

– Stand out from the rest, find out what moves you. Put that energy into your work.

– The more you practice shooting, the better you get at it.

– Keep yourself inspired. Remember why you started shooting and don’t give up.

– Be passionate about your work. This will keep you going even when you feel low.

– Your work is a reflection of you so don’t compare yourself to others.

Who’s the one person you would love to work with or shoot for and why?

It has to be Jennifer Lopez (JLo Fan Girl)! I have been such a huge fan of her work since I was a kid. She is such a warm person and so gorgeous in front of the camera. If I ever get a chance I’d definitely love to capture her, no doubt about that.

How do you like to spend your free time?

Listening to Spotify, catching up on some shows, attending Masterclass sessions online, working out, and going to the beach.

What’s the first thing you want to do once this pandemic is over?

Travel. As soon as things settle down a bit I’m off to the mountains and just soaking it all in.

Where can people get in touch with you or see your work?

Website : www.thememoryalbum.in

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thememoryalbum_/  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thememoryalbumofficial/

Email: [email protected]hememoryalbum.in

In The Spotlight – Mihir Lele

Postcard Spotlight is an interview series showcasing young leaders and creative minds who are making their mark with their unique talent and drive.

In the spotlight this week is Mihir Lele, a visual artist, animator, and designer, whose work doesn’t cease to amaze us! His spectacular art is a testimony, not just to his aesthetic sensibility, but also to his nuanced and incisive views. Read on to know his story.

Tell us about your journey – how did you decide to pursue a career in animation? 

I was always a creative child in all my classes—school and junior college. I disliked maths, physics and chemistry. I wasn’t very good at it either. I hated numbers, but I loved drawing. My school calendars, textbooks and even my answer sheets would be filled with little doodles and illustrations. I remember illustrating little scenes below the answers I wrote in my English/ Hindi literature papers, demonstrating the written answer visually. My teacher once told my mother how it baffled her that I found time in between a 3-hour exam to illustrate these answers. But it came very naturally. I enjoyed doing that. Subjects like literature and social sciences had always been my stronger subjects. So there was always an affinity towards the “arts” side.

Also, my parents were a huge source of encouragement ever since my childhood. They never switched channels when they got bored of watching Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Pogo with me, for hours. They used to tell me to draw what I saw on screen—my favourite characters, the scene I enjoyed the most and so on. I think my sense of storytelling also developed because of this encouragement. It became very personal (the importance of which I’d later learn from my mentor in design school).

So, I think a combination of all these factors led to my decision to take the plunge into a creative field. There was never really any other choice for me. As for animation, it was for the love of the medium. I was in awe of anything I saw that was animated. I grew up in an environment where animation was never looked at as a children’s pastime. Drawing was a hobby. So I knew it was something I’d enjoy—making a career out of my hobby. I knew I couldn’t live day in day out doing something I didn’t enjoy. There’s no way, even today, I can even think of doing a 9-5 job.

What’s the most exciting project or projects you’ve worked on?

I think my first professional project with AIB has one of the most serendipitous stories behind it. I used to listen to their podcasts while working on my short film in grad school (Ahmedabad). As an admirer of their work in comedy, I made a little caricature of Tanmay and mailed it to him. He replied to that and asked me to meet him if I ever attended any of his live standup shows. I did that on one occasion and met him backstage. When I told him I was studying to be an animator, he discussed the idea of Indian Mario with me.

I jumped at the opportunity and completed the Mario sketch alongside my college short film that year. I managed to graduate with another short film I worked on with AIB. From not being able to cope up with the college workload in the 1st year of animation specialisation to completing 3 full-fledged animation projects (one of which was my graduation thesis) in my last year at college, I did surprise myself.

Apart from that, the series in collaboration with Abish Mathew is something that I always look forward to working on. I get the complete creative freedom to make these short films and these kinds of opportunities rarely come by when you’re a freelancer taking up client work. So I’m always excited to work on our collaborations.

Working on the Afsos title sequence was also quite exciting. I got to work with Anirban and Dibya, the creators of the show, and the collaboration turned out to be one of the most fruitful and creatively satisfying ones. When the brief is “there is no brief”, the possibilities are endless. 

Also, I love working on my own content and telling stories that I want to, that are devoid of any work pressure/timelines/ feedback/ approvals, etc. I try to work on at least one self-initiated project every couple of months, however tiny, to keep putting out content that I believe in.

Do you ever experience a creativity block? If yes, how do you deal with it?

Yes. I think every creative person faces a creative block from time to time. I often face a situation where I feel I have burnt out and have no creativity left in me. There have been times when I’ve not had enough motivation or drive to complete something, or even start something new. Sometimes even a long break, a movie or some time off doesn’t help. I think I don’t have one definite answer to this. I have a different process to come out of it each time.

But I have noticed that just pushing myself to do anything just because I have to doesn’t help. For me, any good creative product can never be produced without me pouring myself completely into it. So, I take my friend’s advice of not being too hard on myself, cutting myself some slack and just giving myself some time because I know that the minute I find something exciting to sink my teeth into or even just one window in, I will give it my all.

Also, I go back to thinking about why I started. I’ll spend hours perfecting something, without feeling any fatigue or boredom, if it’s something that excites me. I know I’ve chosen the right profession as I love spending time working on something that interests me. 

If you had to describe your experience with AIB in three words, what would they be?

“Invest in People” is my biggest takeaway from my time at AIB.

I learnt that it isn’t important whether or not you’re working with the best, but it matters if you’re working with someone who is giving their best. A person who is truly motivated and excited about making things happen will have more to offer to you and your collaborations.

Skill sets can be acquired. One will eventually get better at anything with time. But one cannot magically acquire work ethics and drive. 

Besides animation, what are your other interests? 

I’ve picked up an interest in painting shoes. Just simple acrylics on canvas shoes. I find it pretty therapeutic and it works well as a distraction from my everyday work, which is usually in front of a computer screen. They make for great gifts too. 

Apart from that, I cook occasionally. I find it all de-stressing—going grocery shopping, prepping, cooking. Nothing too fancy, I make a decent chicken salad, roast chicken and pasta. I am a huge film buff and consume a lot of content. I watch anything and everything.

What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to choose a career in this industry?

I think one of my biggest learnings from having spent a couple of years in this field is that your work does not define you, your consistency and sincerity does. Don’t make work your be-all and end-all. One is so much more than just the work they put out.

There are so many external factors that contribute to making a project see the light of the day. Sometimes everything works perfectly in sync for the best version of your work to come out. Sometimes, nothing does. So one can never control every aspect of a project. But the one thing one can control is one’s diligence in approaching each project. So sometimes one’s project will work, sometimes it won’t. Sometimes they’ll be appreciated, other times they won’t. So I would say, see if you’re learning a little more than what you already knew from each project you take on, use feedback which you think will help you better your work and cut out the noise.

Which are your favourite accounts to follow on Social Media and why? 

One of my favourite social media accounts is that of the illustrator Pascal Campion, for his original style and thought process. Every time I spend a little bit of time looking at his work, I always come out on the other side feeling so inspired. He also does these quick existential comics on his Instagram which are just so profound.

Another account I absolutely love is Ben Marriott’s YouTube and Instagram. He consistently puts out motion design tutorials and curates great designs. I always learn something every time I spend some time on his page. I also follow a bunch of animation-related pages like that of Tarun Lak (Pixar Animator), Frame by Frame Animation that does animation related motion, art and design analysis and Vaibhav Studios (for some of the funniest and original Indian animation).

Apart from these, I follow a couple of non-work-related accounts that just make me happy, like @lauraiz (you’ll know when you see it) @tuckerbudzyn ( I love this dog!), and @hoezaay (because he’s so effortlessly funny each time).

If your life was a book or movie, what would it be called? 

My life is still in its early scripting stages. Too early to decide a name for it. I think a working title could be “Barely Adulting” 😛

What’s the first thing you want to do once this pandemic is over?

Go to Mondys (Cafe Mondegar, Colaba, one of my favourite places in Mumbai) and get a drink. 

Where can people get in touch with you?

Website: https://mihirlele6.wixsite.com/work

Email: [email protected]

Instagram: mihirl

Digital Marketing During COVID-19

Brands across the globe are slowly coming to terms with the power of digital marketing with the effects of Covid-19. Whether your brand has temporarily frozen on-ground activities or implemented remote working, adapting to digital platforms can be an optimal way to connect with your consumers in the times ahead. Here are some ways in which brands can leverage Digital Marketing during this pandemic.

  1. Enhance visibility

The Internet is the only place not quarantined for consumers. Brands should explore the realms of Social Media to build awareness, generate leads, determine how the market feels about you, and much more.

Source: Social Pilot 

  1. Connect with your customers

Always create an emotional connection with your customers. Creating content that interacts with consumers and makes them feel good is crucial in these challenging times. 

Source: Social Pilot

  1. Engage on Social Media

59% of consumers started spending more time on Social Media platforms during the pandemic to keep them entertained, connected, and informed. Assess this opportunity to double down on Social Media. Build trust with your existing and new customers. 

Source: ClickZ

  1. Be future-ready

Many companies that have transitioned online recently will remain online in the future. The relationships you build with consumers now will only strengthen your brand in a post-pandemic world.  

 Source: Hubspot

  1. Be Proactive

Companies in India, Italy, and Spain are leading the way with 73%, 71%, and 66% of their respondents making purchases through social ads. Consider investing in content warehousing and building strong SEO for your domains. 

 Source: ClickZ

  1. Bonus Benefit!

To add a little more something to your Social Media strategy contact us and let us help you make your mark!

Featured Interview

This interview was part of the CallumConnects series featured in The Asian Entrepreneur.

What’s your story?
I am an accidental entrepreneur with a fascination for human behavior.

I studied Psychology and was working as a school counselor, when I began accepting writing projects in my free time. What began as an extracurricular interest soon became a full-time occupation. Before I knew it, I had transitioned into a content writing role at a digital communications agency. Over the next few years, I worked with a number of exciting brands across various industries.

In early 2017, while talking with a friend, who was also an ex-colleague, we realised that our creative aspirations were aligned and that our skill sets were complementary — basically, we saw an opportunity for collaboration. The decision to set up a company came with apprehensions, but 3 years and 25 clients later, I can safely say that I’m on a journey I am happy to have chosen.

“As an agency, we cater to brands from multiple sectors, so no two days are ever the same.”

What excites you most about your industry?
This industry relies on vibrant talent from different walks of life — from strategists and developers to stylists and visual artists. It is exhilarating to witness the processes of these varied professions as they bring an idea to life.

As an agency, we cater to brands from multiple sectors, so no two days are ever the same. Besides, the digital medium is so dynamic, with channels, trends, and audiences evolving at an astonishing rate, the demand for fresh ideas and new perspectives is extremely high. While meeting this demand can be challenging, it also keeps the adrenaline pumping.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in India. I spent most of my student and professional life in Pune and Mumbai, respectively, before moving to Singapore in 2017.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, for its impeccable work ethic and Mumbai, for its charged pace and bustling energy.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“A job well done is a reward in it’s own right.
This is a quote from one of my favourite books, “A Man Called Ove,” by Fredrik Backman, but I think the articulation resonates with me because it echoes what my parents have always tried to drive home.

Who inspires you?
I am inspired by a number of people, particularly the women in my family. I have had the privilege of growing up around courageous, resilient, supportive and independent minded women. It is from their lives that I continue to draw strength.

I also find inspiration in the books I read. I think books provide a vantage point that widens the range and depth of one’s observations and enables one to engage with unfamiliar viewpoints. This is not just true of factual narratives. A lot of fiction, too, is rooted in human experiences that are insightful and inspiring. Even the simplest stories are sometimes a testament to the endless potential of the human spirit.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That friends make amazing business partners! I can’t say if this is the exception or the rule, but I derive great motivation and confidence from the camaraderie I share with my co-founder. 

Another thing that has blown my mind, more recently, and almost literally, is the power of daily meditation. I used to be a “need-based” meditator, but meditating everyday over the last few weeks has made me realize the remarkable impact mindfulness can have, not only on one’s mental faculties but also on the experiences one attracts.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would trust my intuition and abilities more. I stuck to what I thought were my strengths and was hesitant to challenge myself for far too many years of my life.

How do you unwind?
I enjoy dancing. I am part of a dance team that trains every week and performs at local and international dance events. I also love reading books and find yoga very relaxing.

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Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Kovalam for its pristine beaches and delightful coastal food, and Koh Samui for its idyllic vibe and because it is a foot spa heaven! 

Everyone in business should read this book:
“Thinking, Fast & Slow,” by Daniel Kahneman.

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Postcard Media is a Digital Marketing and Creative Communication agency. We partner with brands to develop and sustain their digital marketing, corporate marketing and employer branding initiatives through our innovative solutions. Our services include:
– Social Media Marketing
– Digital Advertising 
– Content Strategy and Creation
– Branding 
– Website Development 

How AI, Machine Learning, and Data Science Are Disrupting Incumbent Industries

Technology is a tool that is invading all parts of our lives. We have personal internet machines in our pockets everywhere we go. The wide acceptance of technology allows companies and entrepreneurs to create easier access to goods and services that weren’t always available. At the same time, there are still miles to go before we reach an equitable society. It is also making difficult tasks such as insurance or mortgages incredibly simple, taking the daunting aspects away from smart financial decisions. 

Technological innovations are keeping companies on their toes. Industry giants who aren’t allocating resources to R&D or software development might need to start counting their days as entrepreneurs. Top tech disruptors build apps and software services that offer a better product than the incumbent industries. Complacency in today’s economy will spell disaster down the road. 

Insurance

Insurance has been around for an incredibly long time, and up until recently, we still had to talk to a sales representative to qualify and receive services. Now the process can be completed without talking to another human being. Many insurance providers have AI chatbots to guide you through the process. These chatbots take out the confusion, relieve us of the embarrassment of not knowing the jargon, and permit us to take our time looking at documents before signing our name. Lemonade—not the Beyonce album or the drink, but the online-based home owner’s insurance company—is stealing large pieces of the market in an industry that has seen little innovation in the past fifty years. The company’s mobile app developers create such a streamlined process a cave dweller could do it. 

Finding Qualified Candidates from Old Applications

Every day thousands of jobs are posted by HR reps only for them to receive hundreds of applications. A hiring manager at a large company will see hundreds of applications a week. Restless Bandit believes that companies can save time by revisiting old applications. Even candidates not selected for one role might be a good fit for a new position or still be interested in the original position if it becomes available again. Restless Bandit uses machine learning algorithms to analyze resumes and job descriptions to produce candidates who are well qualified to fill empty roles. Leaving this search to an algorithm is a cost-saving measure for HR departments.

The company’s machine learning algorithms have scanned over 100 million job descriptions and 300 million resumes to help global companies such as Adidas and Gannett. Their algorithms are altered by data scientists to improve outcomes and remove bias. You can become a data scientist by attending a top data science bootcamp

Taking Control of Our Health

Health experts have argued that technology is a detriment to our health by reducing our physical activity, looking at screens all day, and decreasing in-person social interactions. The combination of health sciences and computer science might help reverse the negative trends technology has caused. Mental health advocates are taking advantage of technologies to help us improve our overall wellbeing. The healthcare sector is growing and tech companies are riding that wave by offering ways to collect data on bodily responses and implementing better habits based on the results. There are hundreds of types of wearable tech that focus on heart rate, tone of voice, and blood pressure. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has elevated the use of teladoc appointments. The feature increases the number of patients a doctor can see and reduces travel as well as the risk of infection from other sick patients. It also takes less time than visiting the doctor’s office in person. We can take the doctor with us everywhere, using our mobile apps.  

Business Intelligence

More data is generated today than ever before, giving businesses and professionals more access to the drivers of their success. Proper analytics of datasets can help businesses leverage high impact decisions to increase revenue, cut costs, and set applicable goals. Seekify is helping companies and their clients align efforts to build successful relationships that benefit both parties. Seekify uses an algorithm to collect and organize data into useful data sets. Using these data sets to find trends helps companies build better business practices. 

You Can Be A Disruptor Too

We are only experiencing the tip of the iceberg of tech innovation. As technologies become less expensive and more readily available, innovation will reach more industries. You can be a part of the next wave disruption by learning the required skills to be a software engineer at a top coding bootcamp.  

The author, Artur Meyster, is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.

5 Binge-Worthy Shows To Watch During Quarantine

 

We’re in the era of social distancing. As we stay at home with more time than usual on our hands, web series have gradually replaced most other sources of entertainment in our lives. So just in case you’re running out of content to watch or need some recommendations, here are some underrated gems from the realm of online streaming. 

Gullak (Streaming on SonyLIV) 

TVF (The Viral Fever) proudly lives up to its reputation of creating heartwarming content, with Gullak. Narrated from the perspective of a gullak (piggy bank), the show explores the dynamics of the Indian middle-class. The series chronicles the life of the Mishra family, who face everyday challenges that a quintessential middle-class family would face. Despite the challenges and imperfections, their love always shines through. The series follows an unconventional yet extremely endearing style of storytelling. This 5-episode series is a medley of emotions, learnings and laughter, all rolled into one. It’s definitely a treat to watch.

Barry (Streaming on Hotstar) 

Bill Hader and Alec Berg’s Emmy-winning dark comedy has been hailed as the new Breaking Bad by many critics—perhaps, rightly so. Barry will give you several glimpses into the darker side of human nature on one hand, and make you laugh on the other. The plot concerns Barry, a former US marine turned hitman who is hired to assassinate a member of an acting workshop but winds up falling in love with acting instead. Tempted to give up killing for his newfound love, Barry finds himself leading a dangerous double life. What’s on the cards for Barry? Watch to find out. You’ll be hooked, we promise. 

The Haunting of Hill House (Streaming of Netflix) 

Adapted from Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name, The Haunting of Hill House strikes a completely different note from your regular, jump scare-y horror projects. The show unfolds the story of the Crain family and the terror that accompanies them through half of their lives. The family that moves into a Massachusetts estate in the early 1990s, find themselves confronting the tormenting memories of their past. To know what we’re talking about, wait till you watch the sixth episode. You’ll find everything that makes this series so scary, inviting and as creepy as the empty windows of the Crain property. Watch it for its unique casting, incredible direction and engaging storytelling. Super bingeable! 

This is us (Streaming on Hotstar)

This is Us is not only one of the lesser-known shows but also one of the best of recent times. Featuring an incredibly talented cast of Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown and others, this brilliant family drama will manage to tug at your heartstrings effortlessly. The story follows the lives of the Pearsons and goes back and forth to showcase intricate details that make the characters who they are at present. Through its thought-provoking storytelling, this feel-good piece of art will change your perspective about family and relationships in a uniquely effective way. Watch it if you haven’t already, and get ready to experience all the feels! 

Upload (Streaming on Amazon Prime) 

From the vault of ‘The Office’ veteran Greg Daniels, Upload takes a look at the concept of the afterlife. The series is set in the year 2033, where life after death is a possibility. Technology has been invented for anyone who can afford, to upload their entire consciousness to an afterlife digital community. Everyone stuck in this digital afterlife can still interact with their living friends and family, and see what’s happening in the living world via giant screens.  The story follows Nathan Brown, an app developer, who meets with a horrible self-driving car accident. On his deathbed, Nathan chooses to have himself uploaded to his girlfriend’s luxurious virtual afterlife. Upload is a satirically brilliant take on the afterlife and capitalism—portrayed through Nathan’s experience. 

We may have to stay home for an indefinite period, but we hope these shows fill every second of your time. Enjoy watching them and also drop your recommendations in the comments below. 

Beyond Pride Month

Around the world, June is commemorated as Pride Month, in memory of the Stonewall riots that led to the queer rights movement in the US. Every year, Pride Month sees global and local initiatives highlighting LGBTQIA+ issues and acknowledging milestones in the history of the movement. It has also become a mainstream practice for brands to participate in this celebration with “pride-themed” logos, campaigns and promotions. And while this can be a tool to build awareness, it often ends up becoming yet another employer branding tactic that doesn’t necessarily benefit those that it’s meant to; come July, it’s back to business as usual with the promise of inclusiveness long buried and forgotten. 

So what’s the right way to go about it? How can cis-het people go beyond performative gestures, to offer sustained support and authentic solidarity?

Be it larger companies with proactive HR policies, smaller organisations wondering if they have the means to make a difference, or individuals wanting to be better allies — the 101 of true inclusiveness is listening to the voices that matter. There is no resource more insightful than people from within the community sharing their lived experiences; and a lot of them are using Social Media in powerful ways to share their stories, struggles and success. 

Here are some useful, reliable resources — a list of organisations and people using the digital medium to amplify the voices of queer-trans persons and those working in this sphere: 

Organisations and Collectives 

Repository of resources on queer affirmative mental health and affiliated issues, curated by the mental health practitioners and participants of MHI’s Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice (QACP) cohort. 

As a funding agency for innovative mental health initiatives, MHI focuses on making mental health accessible to marginalised persons and communities. Follow @mariwalahealth for insights on queer lives, issues and mental health.

Queer Feminist Resource Group working with queer women and trans persons. 

Nazariya works towards affirming the rights of queer people (LBT) by enabling an environment where their lived realities are non negotiable and inform the work and discourse of organisations and institutions. Read more

Organisation run by transgender persons that has contributed to the legal recognition of the transgender community in India. 

They continue to make milestone changes in the lives of transgender people through art. 

LGBTQ+ Allies Youth Network/Collective to educate, equip and empower adolescents and the youth of Manipur and North East India, through advocacy and capacity building services on health, education and sexuality.

India’s first archive of politicians supporting LGBTQIA+ rights. 

Located at the intersection of politics, queerness, and technology, they aim to push for accountability and transparency from our elected representatives. Check out State of the Qunion, their largest project so far. 

Student-run organisation working to create awareness about the issues faced by Indian LGBTQIA+ people around the world. Read more.  

Blog for LGBTQIA+ identifying people to share their personal stories. 

What began as a platform for LGBTQIA+ identifying folx from the South Asian subcontinent has now evolved into a space with diverse content from authors across the globe. Read more.  

Thought Leaders 

Shruti is a queer feminist psychotherapist. She is the Chief Advisor at Mariwala Health Initiative and part of the Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice (QACP) faculty. Her areas of engagement include mental health, gender, sexuality and human rights.

  • Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju 

After two decades of feeling like she had lived in the wrong body, Trinetra decided to change her social, legal and biological identity to match what her mind was telling her. Here, she shares her experience and talks about the importance of empathy and acceptance.

Follow @ind0ctrination

Social Communities 

Stories that counter queerphobia 

Archive of India’s queer history 

Community that raises awareness about LGBTQIA+ issues in India

Allyship is an ongoing journey — a continuous process of unlearning and relearning, of engaging with one’s own discomfort, questioning it and demonstrating solidarity through actions. So let’s look beyond the rainbows and unicorns and seek real change.