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A Crisp Interview of Akhil Gupta by Yo Success!

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“Help others as much as you can, but without expecting any returns. In return, someone else will help you.”

The fact remains that startups often demand immense work both mentally as well as physically. You have to put in a lot of time to cover-up strategic, operation and financial areas of the company. Akhil in that aspect has been all game, which has been paramount in the success of his startup. After completing his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from IIT Delhi, he started his career as a commercial consultant of the Asia pacific region for Shell. He gradually gained experience and went on to become senior field production engineer at Shell.

Soon he started to ponder upon the idea of launching his own company and venturing into the startup arena. This is when he cofounded stagephod.com. It is a marketplace to discover and hire filmmakers/ video makers/ production houses to create awesome videos. Currently, his role revolves around coming out with creative concepts for video ads/ campaigns.

Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.

Stagephod.com is a marketplace to find and hire a video maker/photographer to create awesome videos. Be it a company video, product video, web series, a promo video, marketing video, social video, or a client testimonial video. Currently, we have 200+ video makers and production houses associated with us.

What inspired you to build the above product/ service?

A lot of people might relate, in India majority of us choose a profession what our parents or society thinks is good for us and not what we like. A similar thing happened to me; I became an engineer and ended up working in an Oil and gas company. But my heart was always closer to doing creative things like photography, making videos, music etc. I have been working in corporate culture for the last 8 years and slowly and slowly the frustration of not been able to do what I want to be, started showing. I decided to quit my Job and at the same time started looking for start-ups who were in a creative domain. I came across a wonderful post by Nikhilesh invitation-to-join-me-as-a-co-founder-of-stagephod

I had never approached any start-up before this but the post by Nikhilesh was so well written that I was compelled to at least talk to him and find out what he is up to and if there can be any synergies between us. I think we struck a chord during our first conversation and then mutually we agreed to work together.

Stagephod is Nikhilesh’s brainchild, here he has tried to combine video making, technology and entrepreneurship together. This is exactly what I was looking, I like the whole process of making films, videos and I really wanted to be part of it. Well, I have a hidden agenda, I am crazy about Bollywood and I always dreamt of writing / directing a Bollywood movie, with Stagephod I feel I am closer to what I want to achieve. Obviously working in an Oil and gas industry would not have helped.

What is your life mantra?

Help others as much as you can, but without expecting any returns. In return, someone else will help you.

What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?

I think the most challenging part of my Journey till now is convincing my parents, extended family and myself that I would be leaving a well paying corporate Job just to satisfy creative animal in me.

How did you overcome those challenges?

Being self-funded has its own challenges, we constantly think of more creative ways of doing things which would be less on the pocket, but are more impactful, this helps our creative juice flowing which satisfies our craving of doing things in different ways.

Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.

We are Self Funded!

How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?

We ensure we hire people only when both of us like each other. We ensure this by a live-in period. Also, we do not tell people what they have to do, we ask them what they are good at and what they would like to do. We believe when people do what they like they tend to stick. The most important thing is to identify what a person needs and if we are in a position to fulfill that then there is no reason why someone will leave.

According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?

Sachin’s competency, Virat Kohli’s aggression and Dhoni’s composure

Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?

I use the standard online apps, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Quora, Linkedin.

Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.

Observing how things happen in day to day life, in markets, family events, when talking to different people etc. These really helps in understanding how things are, the way they are, why they are and how can things be done differently

Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.

I wish to be more organized, my wife is coaching me on how to be more organized :P

Answer in less than 50 words

  • One tip to success:

Challenge the phrase “haan yeh to aisa hi hota hai” and start seeing and doing things differently.

  • One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:

Doing things because they sound cool and not because you want to do it.

  • One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:

Reading people and understanding them is more important than books.

What are your plans for next 3 years?

Stagephod’s Plan:

Stagephod’s strength lies in ‘Stagephod video makers’ community. Hence, we will be doing more and more activities to give them visibility

To become a one stop solution for clients – Creating great video ad campaigns making great videos through our pool of video makers, managing project online, getting good SEO ranking for the video to distributing the video through this platform.

If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?

I will never take science and do engineering; I would rather take arts, go to a Film school and start Stagephod immediately after I graduate from film school.

What are your top three getaway destinations?

Nani ka ghar, Bangalore, IIT Delhi

Share a quote that inspires you the most.

Cannot think of any quote which inspires me but what inspires me is a quote given by myself becomes famous and people give my quote when asked about such questions.