How many of us use e-mails to communicate with friends, families, acquaintances, living in different parts of the world, separated miles apart from us?

mail_box_2

How many of us use social media networks to contact, or connect with the same families, friends, acquaintances etc?

Social Media

Internet and web has made our lives much easier right?

That’s what I do! I work hard, day and night to make your lives easier.

I am a “Web Architect” by profession, a passionate entrepreneur by choice. 

On Monday the 7th September 1992, Army of Ciskei kills 28 African National Congress demonstrators. Baseball commissioner Faye Vincent resigns. Nancy Lopez wins LPGA Rail Charity Golf Classic. “Batman Returns” tops the box office and I was born .

I was Born

I was Born

Family, Friends, Food, Games, Toys, what not! Those were the best days of my life.  I am really close with my sister. We used to enjoy a lot playing, chatting, fighting, crying, experimenting etc. Actually she wanted a baby sister, and she used to pray a lot for one, unfortunately she got me! So she used to have fun dressing me up me like a girl and I used to cooperate to the fullest possible extent  .

We used to enjoy a lot playing, chatting, fighting, crying, experimenting etc.

We used to enjoy a lot playing, chatting, fighting, crying, experimenting etc.

She used to dress me up like a girl

She used to dress me up like a girl

We used to enjoy a lot playing, chatting, fighting, crying, experimenting etc.

We used to enjoy a lot playing, chatting, fighting, crying, experimenting etc.

We used to enjoy a lot playing, chatting, fighting, crying, experimenting etc.

We used to enjoy a lot playing, chatting, fighting, crying, experimenting etc.

When I was 5 years old, we moved to Sharjah, UAE.  I came across many stuff which I never thought would ever exist like trendy speeding cars, bikes, sky scrapers, bathrooms with a “Bath Tub”, and “Arabs.” I also found new friends, new school, had lots of fun. uh! A new life it was for me it was.

 trendy speeding cars, bikes, sky scrapers, bathrooms with a "Bath Tub", and "Arabs.

trendy speeding cars, bikes, sky scrapers, bathrooms with a “Bath Tub”, and “Arabs.

 trendy speeding cars, bikes, sky scrapers, bathrooms with a "Bath Tub", and "Arabs.

trendy speeding cars, bikes, sky scrapers, bathrooms with a “Bath Tub”, and “Arabs.

 trendy speeding cars, bikes, sky scrapers, bathrooms with a "Bath Tub", and "Arabs.

trendy speeding cars, bikes, sky scrapers, bathrooms with a “Bath Tub”, and “Arabs.

 trendy speeding cars, bikes, sky scrapers, bathrooms with a "Bath Tub", and "Arabs.

trendy speeding cars, bikes, sky scrapers, bathrooms with a “Bath Tub”, and “Arabs.

 trendy speeding cars, bikes, sky scrapers, bathrooms with a "Bath Tub", and "Arabs.

trendy speeding cars, bikes, sky scrapers, bathrooms with a “Bath Tub”, and “Arabs.

 trendy speeding cars, bikes, sky scrapers, bathrooms with a "Bath Tub", and "Arabs.

trendy speeding cars, bikes, sky scrapers, bathrooms with a “Bath Tub”, and “Arabs.

I was a big time foodie since the day I was born. My mom always says that, she had to give me two bottles of milk to make me stop crying.  May be because of that, as time went by, I was growing “horizontally and vertically” in a faster rate. Like any outsiders, even my parents noticed that and realized that it’s high time they took some actions. As a result, I was made to join “Karate” classes which I enjoyed to the core but the main problem was me still growing horizontally and vertically, fast despite of all the hardcore training I got from my karate classes.

Karate Practice

Karate Practice

karate-2

I was always attracted to activities which involved less body movements, and I found technology to be fascinating. When I was 6, I got my first video game and my sister and I used to sit hours in front of that playing Super Mario, street fighter, double dragon, turtles etc.

It was a Friday morning, if I am not wrong, I got up at around 8:30 am, unusually very early, and I was terrified to see something, my mom and dad was working on with it. It was a white box with a screen. It looked like a TV but it wasn’t. My mom called me, holding me tight, pointed at that big thing and said, “Look at our new computer.” A new world with limitless opportunities opened up in front of me that day.  My dad was busy explaining the different parts of the computer, like the mouse, the CPU, the Monitor etc and I was still in a state of AWE. Finally he let me touch the mouse and he said move the pointer towards this thing which he called as “My Computer”. It was extremely difficult for me to bring that arrow because it wasn’t moving the way I wanted it to, like how could you move something inside a TV with a small controller placed outside and that too in that small space? It took me couple of days to get used to it and gain the “Mouse Control.”

The first game we played in that PC was “Dress up the girl” a flash based game where we had to dress up a beautiful little girl in a petty coat. I and my sister used to play that game over and over again, we were fed up of dressing up that girl with the same outfit and I must admit that I got so bored that I even tried removing her petty coat which the game wouldn’t let me do it. Perverted Mind? I know.

Like most of the kids I started playing more games. The more I played games; more I fell in love with my computer.  At times I used to get angry and used to give few kicks too and my computer wouldn’t complain.

I have very few friends in life. But I believe, my computer is, was and will be my best friend for life. Unlike many other kids of my age, I was busy programming in C when I was 7. May be because of that, I am unanimously referred to as a “Unique Product Made in India.”

This is a pic of me, definitely eating an apple, and that's my sister, and you can see my sweet little PC over there.

This is a pic of me, definitely eating an apple, and that’s my sister, and you can see my sweet little PC over there.

My parents had set time limits for me to use my computer. Every day 1 or ½ hours to 2 hours is my allotted time slot and spending 2 hours with my computer made our relation grow stronger.  In fact, I still remember, I was at school and I wanted the classes to get over so badly that I can spend time with my computer.

By the end of 2000, I had to say good bye to Sharjah, as my parents decided to move out and settle in Trivandrum, Kerala, place where I was born. My sister and I were really happy because we had our cousins, relatives every one of there. Lots of people to play and hang around with. By then it was quite famous among my family circle that I am quite good with computers and one day, my cousin brother, came up to me and said, “You know a lot about computers right,  can you create a website for me?

A website? What is that?” I honestly wanted to ask him that question, but my dignity and pride didn’t allow me to.  I said “Yea sure, why not? Let’s do it” I have noticed the word “Website” on the home page of MSN.com earlier and recollecting all that, we both worked on the computer for hours. “Tada, here you go, your website.” I said. “That’s all? I have a website now?” asked my cousin dubiously and I nodded. He typed in “www.ananthshankar@hotmail.com” and nothing would display. “Oh, that shouldn’t happen, let me check” I said with slight embarrassed smile. I did try anything and everything and couldn’t make the link work and later I realized that, what I created wasn’t a website, but an email id for him!

My willingness to fail is my ability to succeed“. Failure is a topic, I love speaking about and I can speak about that for hours and hours. I feel that, “if you don’t taste the bitterness of defeat or failure, you cannot fully cherish the sweetness of victory.” I viciously learned HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript etc and developed my first website when I was 8 or 9 years old. Days went by like seconds. Years like minutes and when I turned 15, I had a profile of my own, an ethical hacker who helped many tech companies solve big problems.  A tech kid who fell in love with his computer!

Since my childhood, I always dreamed to do big things. But my parents had just one main reason to worry about. That was me growing “Horizontally and vertically.” The over these years they tried many different things like made me join Roller Skating classes, then swimming , then soccer club etc etc but nothing stopped my growth rate. Finally they sought god’s help!

Finally they sought god's help!

Finally they sought god’s help!

I was an active participant. I tried my best to participate in all the streams I believed I had some interest, and bagged many awards and trophies. I joined “The Boy Scout Movement” and became one of the youngest troop captains in no time.  May be all this eliminated “Stage Fright” from me forever and that gave me confidence. I believe that Confidence is something which is very important in business, especially when you are pitching.  But the main problem was, none of my activities got me good friends.

20131004_144646 20131004_144704 active-participant active-participant_1 active-participant_4 active-participant_5 active-participant_7-1

I enjoyed living in my virtual world, where I ruled an empire. I had my computer to give me knowledge, information, entertainment, friends, in fact I had a wonderful life inside the virtual world than in this physical world. My parents found out this obnoxious relationship of mine and decided to use that as a bait to control me. If I did a mistake, or if I didn’t study, then NO computer for me. They would cancel the 2 hours slot according to “Rohith’s Computer Usage Policy” allotted to me which was usually on Saturdays and Sundays only and that’s enough to ruin my weekends.

Bakery items faced a moderate ban at my place and there was this bakery which sold absolutely delicious sandwiches which was my all time favorite and it was 20 bucks. I was 15 years old, a student, from where would I get money? But I wanted to eat that sandwich, if possible, daily. I realized, that if this small desire of mine should come true, I should make some money and I carefully analyzed all the skill sets I have and decided that I will make a website and sell it to someone. There was this friend of mine whose uncle wanted a website, and he came to me. I said I will do it and finally developed a website for 20/-. Yea, a website for 20 bucks! I didn’t know the commercial value of websites, I didn’t even know there existed web development companies, I didn’t know anything about business. But one thing I knew, I can make lots of money with this skill of mine.

Immediately after my 10th board exam, with my three friends, Dileep Mohan, Gokul Krishnan & Sreedhar Venugopal, I launched Axeleron. Those days, “Orkut” was one famous social network platform which was widely used by all and there was something called “Scrapbook.” I made a scrap saying that I launched a company and I am inviting web projects. My assumption was, I would immediately start getting calls but it never happened. I waited for hours, days, months..Nope!, no one called and at that point I realized the importance of “Marketing and Sales.”

Axeleron

Axeleron

Axeleron-Begins

There are three factors which is closely associated with Marketing and Sales and they are a) Branding, b) Communication & c) Public Relation. These three factors not only complement each other but also is required for successful marketing and sales campaign.

What is Branding?

During those days when cattle farming was at it’s peak, farmers had trouble distinguishing ones cattle from the other one. So they sealed their names on to these cattle. That’s how branding began. Then later on, food and beverage industry started sealing “Ok Tested”, “Best Quality” “100% Pure” tags onto their products. Then other industries started calling their products with unique names. According to me a brand is not just a name. but its “passion”, “emotion”, “trust”, “loyalty” & “unique set of values.”

What is Communication?

If you ask me, in simple words, I would say, “Communication in business is the art of convincing.” You should communicate something to the other party and convince him/her to trust you. If you fail to do so, thats waste of energy and resources.  There is this story of a young man who started a new company. He invested lots of money to get a brilliant office space, and he furnished it with latest leather furniture, Italian floor marbles, executive desks, latest computers etc. One day, he saw a man coming into his office and just to sound big in front of this guy, he picked up his phone and started making big talks like “Yea, I am transferring 6 crores to your account today” “No problem, you can pay me later, its just 6 crores right?” etc and finally he disconnected the call and asked the guy “Good morning, how may I help you?” and the guy said ” Sir, I’m here to activate your phone connection.”

Then what is Public Relation?

Actually, PR is is the practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organization and the public but consider it as an opportunity to connect with many brilliant minds. By connecting, you build networks and by building networks, you can develop your brand, get more clients, investors, bankers, advertisers, etc etc etc.

These three factors are very important for any business and there was no one to teach me all these.

There is one more thing which is extremely important. Maintaining good relation with your customers. Customers are of various types like Loyal customers, impulse customers, need-based customers, wandering customers etc.  At time customers could get so finicky that you would want to kill yourself for it. I will give you an example

Couple of years back, a customer calls me and said he wanted a website. I said, sure we can help you out, may I know what kind of website you are looking for. He said” I need a normal site to display my company details” okay that would be how many pages sir?, I asked.” I don’t know, you tell me, ” he said, and I was like, “Sir, normal website would have 5-6 pages like Home, About us, Services, Gallery, Contactus, etc” and he was like “Six pages is it, hmm, okay, can you do one thing, can you make it double sided so that we can save pages. ” I almost fainted.

Another customer gave me a project. After 20 mins of travel from her office, I reached mine and I get an email asking how the work is going! I said, we are just about to start it. Every 1 hour or so she would keep on asking me and at times I started ignoring her mails. It was quite a big work and I had already mentioned it would take atleast 15-20 days to get it developed. On the fourth day she calls and shouts at me saying “What is this, the site is not ready, how many days it has been, send me what ever you have done so far so that I can verify it” , “Mam we are still doing the development part, and It has just been 4 days” I said. She was like “I don’t care send me everything you’ve done so far” and I did send her, this, 7 pages of this! And I asked her should I make any changes to this and I never heard from her again until we finished the project and was ready for delivery.

client-1 client-2 client-3

For me business was all a trial and error method. I attempt something and if it failed, I would perform a close analysis on my actions and would find out what went wrong and try not to commit that mistake again. But today, there are hundreds of ways to get help like business incubators, accelerators, workshops, leadership coaching, mentoring etc and it’s available everywhere in plenty.  My mentor was my computer.

According to Mr. Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Systems, there are about 500 million rich people in this world and about 5 billion people who want to lead a rich life style like these top 500 million rich people. But if we take a closer look at the figures, something is not right. We do not have enough resources to make these people rich.

But if there is a problem, there has to be a solution and the solution to this problem is Entrepreneurship.

An Entrepreneur is a person who invents his own future. I invented my own future.

“My son is an entrepreneur, that’s what you’re called when you don’t have a job”, this is what my mom thinks about me.

Apart from being an entrepreneur, I am also a socially responsible citizen.

I was attending this big meeting with a panel of Investors, CEOs and I was the oldest person in the room. One young lady, probably in her 60s, asked me, “Son what is your accomplishment, what have you achieved so far?” I told her “I am sponsoring a poor kid since the day I turned 18. That’s my accomplishment. The smile on her face, when she sees me, is my achievement.”

I could have told her that I developed my first website when I was 8 years old, or I started my company when I was 15 or I became the Director of Technology and Indian operations for a Canadian company at the age of 21 etc but I didn’t, why? Because, I feel that I haven’t achieved or accomplished anything in the world of business till date and I have a long way to go.  I still fail, and encounter big problems and It’s a herculean task for both my partners and for me to find solutions to those problems.

I am now 21 years old and is at the verge of starting a new company which would help out many brilliant minds achieve their dreams. I am also currently serving as the Director, technology and Indian operations for a Canadian based Indian company.  I was recently called in as a TEDX Speaker and a that was a dream come true experience for me.

TEDX Speech

 

 

 

 

 

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