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Shivjeet Kullar

The author is a legendary ad man who has won over a 100 awards in his career. He is also an author, a novelist a playwright and song writer. Now he has founded the unusual and powerful website adytude.com which helps power other websites, brands and businesses ahead

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Point Blank: What To Say?

In a few days time I have to speak to hundreds of DU students from different colleges at an auditorium. The topic is up to me but since I'm a advertising/branding/creative/digital person I'm presuming that they don't expect me to speak about 'Urban town planning in the smart cities context' or the 'Effects of open defecation in semi rural areas'

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In a few days time I have to speak to hundreds of DU students from different colleges at an auditorium. The topic is up to me but since I'm a advertising/branding/creative/digital person I'm presuming that they don't expect me to speak about 'Urban town planning in the smart cities context' or the 'Effects of open defecation in semi rural areas'.

So it's got to be something and thought provoking in my domain area.

For about 20 years whenever I was invited anywhere I would talk about Creativity. Since I was a creative director who had won a hundreds awards and worked with Shah Rukh, Sunny Leone, Ajay Devgan and many such, and had many films to show this was a sure shot deal and worked well.

But after a while I have to say, this got a little expected. It was like a magician who performed one trick over and over again. It got claps and cheers and even standing ovations but wasn't exploring and new ground.

That's when I started to vary the formula a little bit. I turned the talks into very interactive sessions where I asked many questions of my audience.
That was fun for a while. But change was needed again.

Then luckily I left advertising and launched a dotcom. A whole new world opened up.

Now I speak about the internet. How 144000 sites are launched every day? Why are sites valued at a billion dollars despite making a million a week loss? What do when you feel you have a huge site idea? How to try and be a millionaire before you are 28? Why the Tinder Geosearch way of dating can also be the next big food app to change the world?

And of course the evolution of a business. The thin line between experts and negative people. How to nurture an idea day by day to make it grow into a company. Where to look for when you need your first funds. Why a content specialist can earn a lot of money, a content strategist can earn more…but someone who understands the business of the internet may employ a 100 of each.

Not to mention interesting anecdotes from our journey. The ten wise men who came to our office and trashed our idea. A crucial funding meeting that was to happen in the early days when we had so few people that we were planning to go downstairs to the booze shop and 'hire' some people to sit at the desks and pretend they worked with us. A funder who we chased for six months till she gave us a cheque - that bounced twice! The painful phase after we signed a million dollar tranche when we had to send 700 documents for verification, with the deal threatening to break every five days.

All in all lots to talk about.

But then something began happening.

I noticed that the world had begun to change very fast. Yesterday was not the same as today. FB began videos in a big way. Young people stopped reading newspapers and instead got news updates every half an hour. A new kind of moving GIF suddenly began to go viral. Dark patterns on UI became a big controversy. Fake news became a bigger controversy. You could choose to Skype, Viber, Snapchat, Hike, Facetime, Instagram and now I'm betting DayCap and Confide are going to make it big.

Meanwhile the business of the internet became much more complicated also. Twitter lost over 50 per cent of its valuation over a year because they couldn't monetize. The shake outs began in Food Apps and Grocery Apps. International agencies started to make valuation corrections with alarming regularity. And now Elon Musk is planning free internet for the world.

So I'm thinking maybe I won't talk much.

I'll listen.


This article was published in BW Businessworld issue dated 'March 8, 2017' with cover story titled 'India’s Most Valuable CEOs 2017'


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