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29th Mar 2023
2hrs 32min

Episode 2 | Prudhvi Potuganti | Supervised Learning

Prudhvi shares his journey building Supervised Learning to train people to transition into data science, including his own story & challenges faced

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Transcript for Supervised Learning

Djagmo: Welcome to the Knowledge Entrepreneurs Show, where we celebrate the innovators driving change in the education industry. At EdisonOS we've worked with over 500 knowledge entrepreneurs to turn their edtech ideas into profitable businesses. Today's guest is Prudhvi Potuganti. Prudhvi Potuganti is a data scientist with six plus years of experience into forecasting optimization, machine learning, natural language processing, and web marketing, e-commerce domains, and electrical utilities. Prudhvi has extensive experience in building algorithms from scratch to suit client requirements and has published his work in rapid journals with over 60 citations to date. Hi Prudhvi, welcome to the Knowledge Entrepreneur Show. Thank you so much for joining. Thank you so much for taking your time out for this. So I think we had a discussion as to what this podcast is going to be about, but you know, I'll just repeat it once.

So this is a podcast, you know, where we have knowledge entrepreneurs as our guest.The whole purpose and idea of this podcast is for us to be able to, you know, share practical, real information about your experience, the guest's experience as to how their journey in this business was, you know, to give an idea for the people that are outside, you know, who are still probably teaching as a part-time, but they might have that thought of, you know, plunging into it full-time but they're not really sure, right. I'm not trying to say that, you know, this podcast is going to help motivate them to come into it, but this podcast may even give them the clarity to decide this is not for them, because it's really not for everybody. Right. Entrepreneurship is not for everybody.

So that's the whole idea. So, Prudhvi before we, you know, get into the topic. Before the listeners you know, I'd like to get to know about you. I know you, but you know, if I talk to you, and get some information about you personally, about your journey, I think the listeners will also be able to connect with you.
So Prudhvi if you can start off by telling your story, you know, your, as, as personal as you're comfortable, like where you started off, your schooling, the way you grew up. And how did you come up to be here? This is, yeah. You can start off. 

Prudhvi: Okay. First of all, Jay, thank you so much for the opportunity and it is a pleasure meeting you and talking. And first of all, I'll start with appreciation for the podcast idea to the knowledge entrepreneurs. That's really interesting. Second, I will, okay. With regards to my introduction. Okay, I'll, I brought up, I was brought up and grown in a small town named Koderma , it's near Hyderabad, 200 kilometers away from Hyderabad And, my schooling until 10th standard was there. And, I think in the 8th standard, uh, I was particularly intrigued to get into a very good college from the childhood I always wanted to be a scientist. I was, with the electronics, new electrical items, etc so that's, I thought IIT would be a path. I took two years , plus one and plus two at Vijayawada, that's the capital of AP now. And after that I got, seat in ISM Dhanbad as well as an NIT Warangal. I couldn't realize the dream of IIT, and then I joined NIT Warangal in mechanical engineering. But I got a branch shift into electrical engineering Four years I actually studied electrical engineering, a lot of math. I grew very passionate about the energy sector. And coming from an education background, my dad has been a teacher for his entire life, he dedicated his life to teaching English to college students. So there was that motivation also after college.

Yeah. Entrepreneurship and education are something which I actively pursued, for four years, but, mostly in a very small way in my own way. Then in 2016 I realized, okay, I should get into the industry for some experience. Then I found data science to be the new world or new passion. I did a small cohort based certification and then entered into this field. 2017-18 was there in Bangalore, 2018 to 19. I was there in Hyderabad, at two small startups, working directly with the CEO, building products and services. That was in, in data science. So that was my work. And again, entrepreneurship hit me. I felt like the education thing is calling inside me. And then I resigned from my job, started doing it full-time right away. But there has been a time, six months, 2018, January to July, while I was working, on the weekends I started teaching people. Data science course as well. Those six months offered me a buffer to decide whether I should go do this full-time or not. And 2018 July I started full-time. July 4th is the incorporation data as well.
And since then I have been doing supervised learning.com, where I teach and mentor people, transitioning into data science as well as NLP. So yeah. That's a brief introduction, I would say. 

Djagmo: Thank you. Thank you for that. That is quite a journey. So you said, you graduated in 2016. Is it? From 2012 to 2016. You were, you did four years ago? 

Prudhivi: Experimenting with entrepreneurship itself. So originally I did electrical engineering. I published quite a few papers and undergraduate papers. So right out of my college I started, one venture which is no longer working. So the venture, again, it's also into eduTech, but then it's more of a mentor, mentee, connecting platform, especially for undergraduate research.Today, IITs, and NITs have incorporated undergraduate research as a part of curriculum. If you look at IITs, IIITs fourth year, 5th year students are publishing research in 2022. But back in 2012, we didn't have that kind of or allowing students to publish papers. So my idea was that, okay, if we can connect PhD students who always are lacking time to experiment the new ideas in their field with undergraduate students
So both together could work and produce papers. The problem with the academics in those days or even today, is lack of qualified experts who can guide people in research.Professors are very less, their time is way even more, less. They don't have time to train undergraduate students in research.
So, this whole idea was based on that undergraduate research. So six months of B Tech thesis, and we have seven lakhs graduates coming out in India. So probably one lakh thesis comes out every year, B.Tech thesis. And, and none of them go into production or there's no tangible outcome for the BTECH projects. It's just going as for the sake of it. So that is the motivation. That's when we started. I experimented with a lot of things, but mostly bootstrapped them as well. And then, I felt, okay, I'm too young for this, inexperienced for this. Then I left that dream in around 2015, 2015 time. 

Djagmo: Okay. So you tried this from 2012 to 2015, 3 years. So,  can you share, you know, what are your key learnings from that period? Because it's interesting, right? in 2012 you graduated, you must have been what about 22? 21. 22, yes. And,  if you do not, join a full-time job. And you have you know, you're trying some stuff on your own for three years, but then again, 2018, you're back full-time into entrepreneurship. You have a five year gap. So what happened in those three years, 2012 to 2015? Like what happened in those years? Okay. What made you decide, during 2015? Okay, you know what? I need to stop this. What are your learnings? 

Prudhvi: Okay, first of all, I ventured into it without even working a single year in the corporate or anything. So if you have asked me how to project manage or how to put a task for yourself, how to manage money, how to incorporate a company.Zero. I started in 2012 with that zero knowledge. So a lot of fundamentals around the business. I'm not clear with first of all.And second thing is when I started in 2018, I have some money to put in or I know some skills to monetize, go and monetize on the weekend or something.
But in 2012, I didn't have something like that.And, yeah, mostly money and, having lacked business fundamentals,and I, I feel that the market then is not right for this kind of product. We wanted to do everything online then 201. Because I'm a NIT graduate, I've seen four years of the internet in my college, but that's not the case of internet. In 2016, also, we were paying 200 rupees for one GB of mobile data until Jio came. So data accessibility and online accessibility. So these are the things which we are quite familiar with now. But back in 2012, if I said to people, Hey, there's a portal. There are people, 20 people, mentors, you can go and find your mentor. You can pay them hourly. And you can choose some project, get some real life projects. So this was something, too, too early for those days. And lack of money also. So you should all, my takeaway is like, you should get started with some basic seed fund from your savings and then pull in something from your family, and that's how you get started.
But, Jay, one thing I will, I'm really proud of is instead of making a platform, I went as a mentor in my own platform. I pitched services to students. I got two or three students trained, mentored, and they also published the research. They got motivated, they joined research universities, pursued their MS and thesis, I, I still remember them.

They still are in touch with me. So as an idea it worked, but as a platform scaling it making it wider to the audience, it didn't. So today a lot of platforms are doing that actually. 

Djagmo: Got it. And, when you decided, you know, you're gonna pursue something like this after you graduated in 2012, right, you had your family backing you, they were supporting you?

Prudhvi: Not really. Dad was always supportive. Mom was shocked. So, yeah, I think, not much, I would say. Yeah, it's hard. Again, the entrepreneurship bug, I'll come back and say the word today. Today in 2020 with Shark Tank episodes coming every week, probably entrepreneurship has become a norm. 2012 is like a decade ago. It still was not Norm. Zomato was not Born, Swigi was not born. Uber was not born. So it was those days. Right. So people haven't heard about, startups  then  but yeah, I had that, ideas coming from, I would, especially thank Hari, one of my senior who Came from the US, started an incubation space in NIT Warangal in those days, and motivated people. And VA Sastri three, one of our Alumni, who donated money to build an incubation space. Yeah. That was the time when, so you can think of it as the Hub of an NIT Warangal then. Today T-Hub is very famous in Hyderabad. So in those days itself NIT Warangal people, I mean our college has that vision actually to start some entrepreneurship in the college itself.

Djagmo: Great. Yeah. So, what happened after 2015, 2015 to 2018? I'm sure it's quite important because for you to be able to start in 2018 again, you must have done something right between 2015 to 2018. 

Prudhvi: Yeah, so first thing I found, I came into an area which is very wanting.  Earlier I was working in engineering, electrical engineering research. From there I shifted to data science, which is very upcoming. That's the first thing. Second thing, I equipped myself with data science skills. And, the third thing is I went to a product company, worked there for some time. I went to a services company, where I worked for the first time. I directly reported to two CEOs. And, I had a seed fund, which I had always wanted to start my startup. So I think I will check for all the four marks, which is required to start up again. 

Djagmo: Got it. But how did you identify data science Prudhvi ? Because today you are clear. That day, you know, you might have had 10 things in front of you, but how did you choose data science? 

Prudhvi: yeah. Yes. From electrical. See, I'll tell you, Coursera first started in 2011. With this Andrew Ng course. Right. So in fact, when I did research also, I was working on optimization algorithms, which is something very close to the machine learning field actually. So when Andrew Ng first enrolled in the NIT Warangal, we all planned as a student club. We all planned to directly telecast it live because the internet was not available for those many students. So that course became very popular. Still the foundational course for AI, even on Coursera,that's where it started. But during the 2012 to 15 break, I didn't realize that machine learning data will go this big, actually. Second thing is, in 2015, I came across this one article, not article, a video of a woman TEDx speaker. Not about data, but she was talking about false cases and false cases of 490 A against men.
So 498A is harassment for Dowry or something. Okay. And 498A section. And as per that section, if a woman goes and complains in a police station.That man, no matter who he is, will get arrested, husband, husband's family. Even if it's a three-year- old kid, he can be put in jail. So that is, that is the ethical 498A. This woman was talking about how this act was being misused, like to settle this or to get divorced or something.So it was, it was a very powerful law again, against domestic violence, right? So when I saw that it was literally agitated. I never knew about that law, first of all.
Literally agitated. Then I went and talked to my mom. She said there's one person she knows who has experienced such things. So it's a lot of agitation. Now, I want to know the truth. Is this woman speaking the truth or is this section really that atrocious? Is it people using it for misleading like people are using it for that. Then I went to the NCRB website, National Crime Report Bureau website. They publish a yearly report In all the IPC 23 sections according criminal sections, under which punishments can be given, how many cases are filed, how many got convicted, how many got released, saying that the case is not valid.
Then I calculated this conviction rates for last 10, 15 years, conviction rates, across each IPC section, for example, for murder, for rape, for theft, etc. Now, I figured out there are 20 or 21 sections over the years. This particular section, which is 498 A, has lowest conviction rate. The average conviction rate was 40%. This particular section has only a conviction rate of 21% and highest withdrawal rate. So, maybe, top one or two in terms of withdrawal rate.So I compared it with other sections actually, because across the sections, my assumption is across the sections, the conviction rates and withdrawal rates should be similar.

But this is pointing in the other direction, saying that a lot of cases are getting filed, trend is going up, conviction trend is going down, and withdrawal rate is also going up. So these are the evidence I presented and saying that, hey, this article could be being misused by women against men to settle this course. You presented to whom?  I wrote this article for a website called Factly.in. So, these are the people. In fact, I talked to them and I said, hey, you should write an article on this. And they were like, okay. Get, get the date. 

Djagmo: Sorry to interrupt. Now, this whole, uh, you writing this article for factly, right? So what is that all about? Like, was it part of your data science project? 

Prudhvi: I'll tell you. So I was not in data science there.So throughout this, getting PDFs, downloading it, calculating the Excel, putting all the data on Excel and calculating the conviction rates and writing a story.

Djagmo: Was this just a random interest for you? You were like watching a random, Ted talk video, and then you come across this 498 A and then you get agitated and then you are just doing it for the social interest 

Prudhvi: entire day. For the entire day. I did this, and then I realized, okay, we need some tools to work around the data. And in fact, that article got published there's a lot of interest came in. And in fact I got into a flow. Like I really wanted to do it. I did it. I felt proud of that work. Then I realized the work of, and at the same time I was looking for some areas I wanted to get into. Then I had one of my friend who recently transitioned into this field I went and spoke to him in Hyderabad. How is the work? I talked to him, I researched a bit. So yeah, my past experience with optimization and this work, and I tried Python several times. Also learning Python. And all this mixed up. And then I realized, hey this is the field I want to go in, because I did a background thesis. And one more thing is I read a book called Freakonomics. Even today. Yeah. Even today, if someone wants to come into data science, I'll ask them, hey, go and read Freakonomics. If you feel like loving that book, loving that kind of analysis, then yeah, Freakonomics writes about, database facts, analyzing and drawing insights from it. So these are the motivations I figured out. I will like this field based on this work. Actually, in fact, you can think of a small internship that made me realize.

Djagmo: yeah. Got it. Great. So, you said this because I asked you like, how did you end up in data science? Why did you choose data science? And you chose it because of this particular Ted talk that happened to be about 498A section 498A. And then you just got involved in it personally. Yes. Then while getting involved in it, you felt you needed more tools. And that is, uh, you used Excel and all those things, but you know, you felt there is something more that I need and that's how. You got into data science, great. Yes. Yes. Okay. And after that is when you go join a certification course in Data science. Oh, okay. Great. So how long did it take for you to finish this certification 

Prudhvi: the certification course was a six months course. It was completely physical back then. I used to stay in Kodara, my hometown itself. The course was in Hyderabad, so I used to do up and down for six months every day, Friday evening, travel 200 kilometers, attend the classes for two days and go back on Saturday, Sunday evening or Monday morning. Yes, this was a weekend 

Djagmo: Yeah. Great. Yes. And after the six months is when you get into the jobs? 

Prudhvi: Yeah. After six months during this cohort itself, the founder of the institute offered me a job, come join this institute itself. And after that I landed up a job in Bangalore as well. So both happened. So I felt like, anyways, I'm teaching. If I work for this institute, again, it would be teaching. So let me go and experience the product. So I joined that small startup in Indiranagar Bangalore.So that's how it started. 

Djagmo: Great, great. So, 2015, is when you, you know, get into data science and all this journey. And then you worked until 2018 before you started, right? So you said you started sometime on July 4th when you incorporated,in 2018. So before incorporating on July 4th When was this idea, you know, when did you, before you know everybody, when they want to start their own business. They don't start straight away. It would be a side hustle while they work. So how many months of that happened? How many months of side hustle happened? 

Prudhvi: Yeah. So 2017, November or December, I think December one Fine day I opened LinkedIn after a long time.I just wanted to write a post. That was my first post.It was like, hey, a lot of people, I don't remember the post, hey, a lot of people would require mentoring to come into the field. So I am looking forward to mentoring a few people who want to come into this field. Into Data Science.My thought was like, I'll [00:25:00] find one or two people I'll try to mentor, help them out of, uh, of boringness from the regular work. I wanted to have a side hustle. Didn't plan for it, just thought about how it would work. I put up a post, that post went viral. 

Djagmo: This was, a free thing that you offered or a paid thing that you. 

Prudhvi: I didn't figure out whether I should do it paid or free. I just said I'll mentor people.In my mind, in my mind, I wanted to do free only. I didn't want to charge anyone then because I'm in a full-time job, it had 400 likes, almost a hundred people responded. It took me three, four, or five days to manually reply to everyone. And then I said, okay, let's talk on a call. And I arranged a Hangouts meeting, I guess I didn't know Hangouts meeting has a limit and people started responding in one week and hey, Prudhvi we, we can't join the session. And that's when I reached out to Deepak. Hey Deepak, I kept the post, this went viral. By then I know Deepak and your team is building something for Edtech, interacted, from 2016 through Aviram as well 

Djagmo: Aviram is also introduced to. Right? 

Prudhvi: Yes, yes. By then I was talking with Deepak itself. So, Deepak quickly said, okay, we'll onboard you, you can use the platform. And uh, by January, during this one month, what happened is what I plan to do mentoring. But everyone was like Prudhvi, we wanted classes. We don't need mentoring. Only mentoring will not work. Kind of response. And that's where I thought, okay.

Anyways, I'm interested in teaching, so let's start classes. And we started weekend classes. In January we started the first batch with five people.And that went up to May, I guess. Yeah, that was your first Oh, that was my first cohort. Okay. Yeah. So this was the side hustle, uh, I kept on doing and one more motivation I had was like I, I always wanted this side hustle and keep learning because I felt education training people is a way for mentor also to learn, so that's one more motivation. 

Djagmo: Got it. And these five students were paid thing that 

Prudhvi: Yeah, yeah, yeah. From mentoring when I shifted to live classes, uh, it was like, okay, we'll do the paid thing itself. Yeah. Instead of unpaid, because unpaid, doesn't work because there are platform charges and all. I'm also spending my time

Djagmo: Yeah, you're spending your time. It's only fair. Yeah. And,you got all your students through one LinkedIn post, correct? Yeah. Nothing else. Great. 

Prudhivi: So that's, I, I'll tell you, I'll tell you, there was this one student called Siddharth. Right.He's the first student as well. Okay. At one point of time I said, Hey, this is overwhelming me. November, December, I'll not do any mentoring. I'll not do teaching. I dropped out, almost. Okay. But Siddharth that was the student who persuaded me. Prudhvi, you said in the call, you will take classes. I love your teaching. I can, I I got a connect with you. You should start, you should start, etc. So yeah, that's how it started. In fact, due to pure follow up of Siddharth for three or four times, one of the factor I took to start the cohort

Djagmo: Got it. And, I think from whatever you've said. You did not need much of a money to start off with, right? No capital requirement. Any money that you would've spent was for the online platform that you needed to carry out the teaching. Okay. So a couple of things, right? When you start off something like this, see you start telling, you think that you just mentor two people, but then that becomes a viral post, and then people are asking you to take classes and then you decide, okay, I'm gonna start off with five students. Now, tell me, there is a lot of decision that needs to be made before you start, right? So many aspects. One is, how much to charge, whether you're going to do weekdays or weekends. How much time is needed and what is the curriculum? Are you going to create materials or is everything gonna be live class? And, you know, the projects. Can you walk me through this entire process? You know, how did you crack this? Did you have a co-founder or were you a solopreneur?

Prudhvi: yeah. again,No Co-founder. I'm solopreneur all throughout, at least during that time. And second thing is curriculum I was aware of because, see, one more thing Jag I wanted to tell you is by then it was almost one and a half year in data science. Okay. And second thing is I personally went through a cohort. And, I know that cohort did not really help me when I went into industry. Industry was very rough. I had to learn things, learn things right on the go. Simple example is my cohort was completely based on our and my Bangalore startup, colleagues were laughing, oh, you are going to coding?

No, get out of here, kind of thing. I had to shift into Python within a day, within a day. So that's, so there are lot of learnings on how a real cohort or real education and data science should be which is I assimilated during, during my one and a half years of, or two years of work at industry. 

Djagmo:So Prudhvi, sorry to stop you. You're saying that the six months of certification course that you did over the weekends didn't really help you out as much as it should have? 

Prudhvi: Yes. To be honest, looking at the hindsight, yes. But, at the same time it didn't see, if I don't have that, I would not have been here. It laid a foundation. It made things easier, to understand, but much of the learning a lot of self-learning afterwards. That's why I felt like, okay, we should have a, see, let's say 10% is what I learned for the, if industry need, hundred percent, I learned the percent 

Djagmo: the cohort. For people who are listening, you know, I mean, not only data, people who are in transition phase. So if there are some courses like what you attended, if there are courses like that, is it good to not have great expectations to, but to just consider these courses as just a stepping stone, but then you'll still have to do the 90% of thing yourself, 

Prudhvi: Yes. Yes. I would, I would gladly say that even today when I subscribe to new courses also, I'll keep that in mind because a lot has to be self-learnt sometimes and you go into course with a lot of expectation that doesn't work out right. Then it might be a problem.There is one part with the economic side, the cost of the core side also. If there should be, again, it is an Indian mindset. People expect a lot of value from what they put in the money. I'm not answering that side of the question. But if you are saying that a lot of the courses will not provide a hundred percent, will never be able to provide hundred percent. 

Djagmo: Got it. So, okay, going back to your experience, right? Yes. We were talking about your whole decision process, and then you said that you learned but then you had to switch to Python.

Prudhvi: Switch to Python, yeah. Yeah. So, so a lot of these learnings helped me in designing the curriculum. So curriculum was sorted. So curriculum is just a two days of time sitting then live or self-paced. I think I remember having, had a discussion with Deepak also and coming from a teacher's family, we never, go to self-paced. Even today, I'm not very comfortable self paced and given that I'm mentoring right, I can't exert influence through self-paced. So, so that is sorted business wise, it was only extra income. So I didn't do, in fact, if even today I didn't do a lot of work out around pricing, get an expert, see what is market charging.

I didn't do the pricing analysis. Still my nine batches or 10 batches. so I only thought, okay, I had two or three bulk point figures with about the industry going, I know what is my value add, okay, this will be reasonable amount. That's what I had in mind, and I charge it that. So that's how it went. So most of the decisions, curriculum and academic, I could take it on my own. Rest all the decisions, took some decisions and made it work. Yeah. So, that's how I took 

Djagmo: some decisions, made some decisions, and made the decision work. Sometimes you don't do the make the right decisions. You take decisions and then make it right.  Great. Have to, yeah. Okay. But, when you were, you know, let's say for example, deciding on the pricing. Did you consider, did you want to consciously be lesser than all the competitors or like, you know, the big players? 

Prudhvi: okay. yes. I, I wanted to be, but I had my calculation in mind.Because see, any EdTech product is has a marketing and sales cost to it I thought I will get my students organically and pass out that marketing and sales cost to the student. So basically, because this completely designed organically, I don't want to charge them likewise. So that is the only thing. And to the value I provide. I would say I'm charging the premium only, and never has been my intention. Okay, to get more students, let's charge less kind of thought. So it's, it's not like, if you, if you ask me Prudhvi, do you want to sell an iPhone or Xiomo 10k phone or MI 10k phone, I would say, I want to be an iPhone. Even today I want to be an iPhone. I want give that premium.

Djagmo: Got it. Got it. So, at the, so at the point, you know, when you started off for the first time, obviously, you know, you had challenges in terms of making decisions, right? But after you started because it was your first batch, did things really pan out the way you planned? Or were there a lot of challenges you faced and on the go, changes were made or on the go at this?

Prudhvi: Okay. Okay.Yeah, definitely. Adjustments have had to be made, type of delivery, like more hands-on rather than theory. Trying to make it more engaged. Flexibility with the timings half an hour, one hour like that for the students,slight changes in curriculum, also add some topics, remove some topics. Adding more assignments or less assignments. Yeah. So these are the things which I had to make changes.But, one, one thing I didn't anticipate was I was expecting all the five students will be there until the last class. But that turned out otherwise though. So I didn't have this completion rate concept in mind then.

Djagmo: So what was the completion rate of your, of your first batch?

Prudhvi: two students completed it. That's it out of five.

Djagmo: Okay. So what happened? What happened?

Prudhvi: I think, most of them were working. So they had their own applications and they dropped out. Some of them came in next batches actually.

Djagmo: they could n't give the time.Okay. But the fees were collected upfront. 

Prudhvi: Yeah, yeah. The fees was collected upfront

Djagmo: Yeah, no, obviously, right, because I mean, them completing is definitely, you know, not in your control. There's only so much that you can control because you are committing for the entire time 

Prudhvi: And there was considerable mentoring component to it also, I said like I assist them on the weekdays. I was available on the call. There was a Slack channel. They can communicate with me directly. Their assignments were evaluated. Any personal request, like resume review has to be accommodated. So yeah, we keep these things in mind, right? A lot of things, right? Yeah. And, uh, the problem is the dropouts mostly happened at 60%, 70% after the live class delivery. Got it. Maybe 50%, below if they have happened at 20%, 15% of the time, at least we can think of it. But even today, I observed the scene, the dropouts happen at 40%, 50% of completion.

Djagmo: Okay. And this is because they realize, you know, they're not able to pick up the subject at that point, or is it because they're not able to put in that much amount of time and effort? 

Prudhvi: I believe this basically because you will get something if you badly want it. Only in today's way and all, even today, I tell this example, uh, Jay to a lot of people, a deer runs for life. A tiger runs for lunch, okay? I mean, a deer and tiger are chasing. Tiger is chasing deer, Deer is running for life. Tiger is running for lunch. So who will win? Most likely it would be deer,which can escape because it's running for life. Not the tiger. Okay. Tiger is hunting. 

Djagmo: but it's, you say that deer's intention of escaping is way higher than Tiger's intention of catching the deer because tiger is not at the risk of losing its life. But deer is the risk of losing. That's what you mean to say. Okay. 

Prudhvi: Yeah. So, when often in sales calls, uh, people ask me, Prudhvi I'll, will I be able to make the transition? Then my answer is always this thing. Are you running like a deer or are you running like a Tiger? Okay. So I, I use this concept also because a lot of them [00:41:00] are working, they have family responsibilities, they have work, professional responsibilities, etc. So you're in a position of tiger. You are just need a lunch. You don't need a life now. So if you need a life, then data science is for you because that's the amount of time you have to put for career transitions, at least in this field. Got 

Djagmo: So you said that you know, when you got this five students, you were still working right? And then you only did during the weekend. Now you would've, you know, planned, okay, look, you know what? I'm working also, weekdays I can only do so much, weekends is when I'm gonna spend the time. No tell me if you estimated a certain amount of time before starting. How much was it true? You know, did it really go beyond, above and beyond the number of hours you planned? Did it also spill over to the weekdays? How did you manage? 

Prudhvi: definitely. See, first of all, I didn't plan. I know my work would get really hectic. But definitely it was more than expectation, the time or preparing the slides from the scratch.  Definitely it's more, it did spill, spill into my personal life, my professional life, luckily I could manage, because I had this habit of deep focus, deep work, staying away from the distractions and I'm prepared for it, so, like chalo will do it and yeah. Okay. So, and one more thing is supervised learning.com is a premium domain, very premium domain. I had to put entire money, which I got from this batch just to buy the domain. How much was that? It was, I said right. I charged 50,000 for each student. 

Djagmo: closer to two and a half lakhs, 

Prudhvi:  not two and half lakhs I mean, all the students didn't pay full amount. okay. 1, 2, 1 0.5 lakh. Just for the domain. And, Jag, I, I'll tell you, sitting in the office one day, I thought, okay, I think it was February. I am ,when I made the decision to do the training and to want to make it full-time, I made that decision. I'm looking for a name. Supervised learning is a premium type of machine learning , one of the machine learning algorithm. At the same time it is like mentor based learning meaning also

Djagmo: Correct. Correct. So it's, it's also generic meaning, but later I realized that it has also got to do something specific to machine learning. 

Prudivi: Machine learning and supervised learning.com. How the hell did this website, no one buy and I searched for it. I was in the office twelve o'clock, uh, I was sitting right in front of my boss. My boss table.And I found the domain, I got connected to this GoDaddy executive, the executive know that I was buying. So I was like, hey, stay hold onto this line. She was like, no sir, don't worry.This is a premium domain. I'll stay connected, don't worry. And I swiped three credit cards. And I made that purchase on that day. Till today it remains one of the best decisions, I would say, to choose that domain. 

Djagmo: So you did not consult with anybody before going ahead and buying that domain?

Prudhvi: I searched. It was available. I made a call.

Djagmo: Great. And this was, this was when, when you were mentoring these five students, is it? 

Prudhvi: Yes, it was February or March of 2018. 

Djagmo: Okay. So you hadn't, called your venture supervised learning before that? interesting. Great. Yeah, that is interesting. I never imagined because you know, usually the most commonly said is, you know, your domain doesn't matter. You mean why do you want to, you need to save money, in these, you know, areas of the business. Right? But then you've gone ahead and made a pretty hefty investment for somebody who's gonna start off

Prudhvi: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, so first thing is, I said like, hey, that money is not mine. That money came from a LinkedIn post. I'm already working Monday to Friday salaries there. This is some extra money I'm making. I want to buy something worthwhile. So, yeah, I mean, I had this penchant for good domains from long back, not just now. Ofcourse. 

Djagmo: Ah, yeah. So, wait, now this is something that strike my head were you approached after you bought by other people, were people wanting to buy it from you for a higher price? 

Prudhvi: I was approached, definitely for a higher price, of course.okay. They didn't tell me the price, but I got emails actually, and I got a lot of data scientists asking me Prudhvi, how the hell did you get this domain? Yeah. Because they know the value of it. Even from my cohort where I educated, where I got through, the mentor who taught me one day came into my office, how the hell did you get this domain? I was like, okay. I searched for it. I, I, it was there. I got some money, I got some guts. I got more guts than money to buy it.

Djagmo: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Seriously, because it's, it is such a invisible thing, right? Wait, where did your money go? Oh, I bought a domain. Where is that? You know, I don't know. Where is it? It's there. If you go and type it on the internet, it just open up. So what you do with it is what matters more than just having it.

So, great. Prudhvi and coming back to your,five student batch that you started off, right. The, your first cohort. Now tell me what was the combination like? I know that you are naturally inclined not towards self paced courses and you were into live classes right. But did you kind of, you know, mix and match the combination of live classes and self-paced courses to save time to make it more efficient? What was a split like and how did you arrive at that decision?
Prudhvi: zero,  zero Jag self-paced part. Even today, even today, we 200% live, nothing self pased. But, yes. there were thoughts, from day one 

Djagmo: sorry to stop you. Yeah. Sorry to stop you. Yeah. I, I, I think at this point it's important to know what is your definition of self paced learning and what is your definition of live classes? What is included in self-based and what is included in live mentoring? 

Prudhvi: Okay. Se live classes means, trainer coming online. And teaching, when I say online, it's like a Zoom or Google Meet where in person instructor led the classes ,that's called live. And self-based is instructor sometime back. He recorded and they put it student can open any time and complete them. So the best example is you can, you think Udemy as self paced. Most of the courses on Udemy or Coursera are self-paced. We are completely live. A hundred percent live. 

Djagmo: Hundred percent live. So, but, um, you would have the students do assignments and do projects and All right. Apart from your live.

Prudhvi: yes. That, that's there. 

Djagmo: okay. And what would those, uh, entail? You know, let's say for example, a capstone project or, you know, yeah some sort of, you know, would you ask them, you know, what, here is a resource. I want you to go learn this and come back.  

Prudhvi: yes we do that in an indirect way. So we have quizzes,some of the quizzes will include topics which are not taught in the classes, so I allow them to go and research, and problems also. We ask students to solve some problem using python, some, some problems using hand method, pen and paper method also. So all of them would have at least 30% of 40% of topics, which they have to go ahead and read again, which is not there in the classes also. So that's how I make them learn beyond the class.  

Djagmo: Got it. And what, what were the timings like on Saturday Sundays? The classes? 

Prudhvi: it was, I think it was, nine to 12, I guess. Yeah. Nine to 12 in the morning. 

Djagmo: three hours it was on Saturday, three hours it was on Sunday. So, Pridhvi, now what next, you know, you finished five students. Do you start another batch in the middle of those, in the, you know, in the middle of that cohort, or you waited for it to finish? How did you proceed from there?

Prudhvi: yeah, basically I waited for them to finish itself. And, I think, from there onwards, I made a decision to pursue this full-time and, one more aspect here is I wanted to pursue a part-time master's plus PhD, let's say part-time PhD at IIIT Hyderabad so one of the reasons for pursuing this full-time is also I can pursue my PhD part-time and do this, educational thing part-time, like 50-50% of the time. That was the motivation. And then I said like, so for example, if you work six days a week, three days, three days, I'll do PhD, three days supervised. That was the decision I took. And I resigned my job in 2018, July. And then I started full-time and that's how my journey at IIIT Hyderabad also started. But of course, after the startup took off, by 2019, 1 year into the master's program, in a part-time fashion, I, was growing so big and time I required this company was requiring more, and I am enjoying this process more.

So I kept that masters aside for quite some time after one year. I kept it on hold, actually. I can go back and do it at, at any time as well

Djagmo: I just asked because you know that your supervised learning was a great success, right?
Because That's how I see it. So, tell me, you were probably, you know, everybody may not be able to pull it off the way you did, you know, you got some revenue and then, you know, that would've obviously given you some confidence, to quit your job. And I'm sure you know, when you started the second batch itself, you wouldn't have missed the money aspect from your job you might have made up for  With supervised learning from the first converts. Yes. But, so but did you have any apprehensions? Were you, were you having any doubts?  yes.  And how did you, you thought, okay, you know what, this is a gamble. I'm gonna go for a gamble, or did you have any method to the madness.

Prudhvi: No, jag there has been a lot of apprehension, lot of stress as well. Okay. At one point of time, I think, four months into starting supervised, I prepared my mind to go and ask my roommate to pay the rent. We were in a, a sharing apartment. I prepared my mind and my, he's a very close friend. He is like, he loves entrepreneurs. He's like challo, I'll pay for next three months.
Go and do what you want. So, I mean, he, he's that sort of personality I didn't ask actually. So that was the kind of stress I went through. Because this new guarantee that second batch will have five students. Right. And there's no guarantee everyone will pay also. And as expected, the second batch has only three conversions, by the way.

So that af that's that's happened after I resigned and costs were mounting and then then, then I thought like, I'll go as a consultant, help other edtechs who want to start up and or take up some classes in the evening or something like that. So that's to generate extra revenue to help me float and to get invested in supervised. So that was the plan actually. 

Djagmo: So you didn't really take off the way you thought you might, you only got three conversions, and then you are saying that you had to go and work for other academics and teach to make some extra money. You had to do okay. All these things. Okay? Yes. At any point did you, you know, just backtrack and think, oh, did I make a mistake? Should I not quit the job? All those thoughts. 

Prudhvi: I never had that. See, I had regrets. I worried about how to get the cash flows. but I personally enjoyed it. I never had the thought, should I go back to the job? I was always like. Can someone come and give me work for two days as a data scientist, please, can someone come and give me work for three days as a data scientist, the other three days I have for my startup. So that was the thought. So, so I was like 20%, 30%, like making less than what I need actually, maybe 50%.

And by the way, all, all this was happening,when my dad could fund me, I can go, dad, this is the situation. Give me some money.Or I could ask my friends. I'm the youngest in the family. So I had eight brothers who are working, cousins, Abhiram being one of them. So I could, I could ask any one of them, hey, can you help me out? I, I didn't still touch upon friends and family, but I know back in mind I have their support. I have that question. I didn't. So you call it ego or self-respect, but I had this, okay. I had to stand on my own. I'm not gonna ask anyone help of money. 

Djagmo: So Prudhvi, you said, you know, you, you had made only three conversions as opposed to as, compared to five in your first batch, so how did those three conversions happen? Same LinkedIn post itself, or it was 

Prudhvi: Yeah, same LinkedIn, no, no, no. Same LinkedIn post itself. In fact, I started loving LinkedIn, the kind of platform. It is the kind of way you can demonstrate your knowledge, especially the text posts were going viral. No, no, not many creators there, not many data scientists who can add some real value. So that's how it went. I mean, I started posting actively. I [00:57:00] really loved it. In fact, I, I had my marketing, I mean the startup in I worked at a company called Perceptive Analytics. The company CEO, as well as the marketing expert, both still appreciate me how, the way I grew LinkedIn actually. So, yeah, from the LinkedIn, the leads started flowing. There's no other way. And a few referrals from old friends, actually old friends by then,I communicated to all my native friends, school friends,hey am doing trainings if you know someone who need help, please refer, etc. 

Djagmo: Yeah, okay. But looking back, right.  Would you do anything in addition to just promoting on LinkedIn alone or would you have still stuck to LinkedIn only.

Prudhvi: I would have spent a till more time on any other platform. Like, like perhaps YouTube. Perhaps YouTube, I think my personal aversion again, is the self-paced, hit the marketing ability, because I wouldn't, I would always refuse, hey, I would don't want to record. I'll go live, right. Kind of person. So yeah, I think, looking back, yeah, some more channels would have really helped that's what I feel. But, but it is always, your time is limited today Jag. If I had spent more time on YouTube, maybe I would not have been so proud about the content we developed. Today, the content we developed is at a place where even three lacs per student courses [00:59:00] couldn't develop such good quality content. Academic wise. So yeah, I spent a lot of time there. That is the only thing

Djagmo: So by content you mean to say, see, you're not doing self-based courses, right. 

Prudhvi: But at least you, what do you mean? Yeah. At least what goes into live also, because there are a lot of tutorials, Jupiter, notebooks, uh, the slides, assignment questions, questions ka solutions, quizzes, quizzes ka solutions. So all this,academic material,are and even after the course, we give, some self-paced content as well, after the course, not before the course. 

Djagmo: Got it.So when you say we, you started, hiring people for your team, is it?

Prudhvi: Yes. I had to I think,by 2019, 18 July, August, I started. 2019 February. I had, hired two, February. March, I guess March is when I hired two interns. Both of them were first my students or mentors through LinkedIn. And they were looking for some work. I, I was looking for some help actually. And I figured out like, if you are a one person, you will never scale. So let's get hire a team and let's start building something. I think that's the yeah. 2019 March onwards, we had employees, two interns and me. Yeah. 

Djagmo: Great. So you say that, you know, 2018, July, you only have three students, and then 2019 in February you hired. So what happened in that, I mean, in that

Prudhvi: yeah, I, I think it's, it's just a shift of, one thing is shift of mindset so when I started tapping, the consulting market, a lot of people were willing to pay for my services. That's one thing. Second thing is, I think, I got one opportunity to teach on Saturday Sundays itself. I think it was in December, 2018. It was paying a good money, but it's a physical classroom nine to six. That nine to four, not six, nine to four morning, nine to four, almost six hours of teaching. Seven hours of teaching , lets remove the break. And six hours of teaching. It is from a good institute, good money. But the only problem is I cannot take any batches for supervised. So I said like, okay. 

Djagmo:  is that because of the time constraint or you had to sign some exclusivity contract?

Prudhvi: No, no, not  exclusive, time constraint .But still, I went and started a batch, which is batch four, from five o'clock [01:02:00] to 7.30 is the batch. There's a first batch I took in the evening 

Djagmo: nine to four. You finished that and immediately you start another batch from 5 to 7.30

Prudhvi: and this is in a different place than my sitting place Institute. So I had to travel from four o'clock to 7.30. Jag it was worth it. I would, I still remember teaching, uh, at seven o'clock or 6.30. My voice used to go blurred sometimes, and it was a very hard time. I could hardly sleep, also sometimes on those days. But it was definitely better. I could effort two employees Jag. If I do that for four or five months, I can wipe, I, I can start doing supervised batches [01:03:00] myself. 

Djagmo: You were building a fund for supervised learning by doing?

Prudhvi: yeah I was building a fund. Yeah, I, it was definitely, even today I'll, I go and I taught at nine hours a day almost. So I feel proud of it Monday, see Monday to Friday anyways, less like Go sleep, go to a mall. No worries. 

Djagmo: Supervised learning runs on weekends only. 

Prudhvi: Weekends only because on the weekdays you don't have a lot of batches.

Djagmo: yeah. Great. So, okay, fine.  2018, before you quit the job you teach five people, two people complete, and then 2018, second batch, three people, all three people completed was a course completion hundred?

Prudhvi: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Then it was good. 

Djagmo: okay. And, what is the duration of your batch typically? 

Prudhvi: it was generally five months to six [01:04:00] months 

Djagmo: five months, six months. And While you started the second batch, did you start another one during the middle of the second batch, or did you wait for 

Prudivi: No, no, no. It was always, so morning batches only I used it to take,so I had to wait till this batch completes. I didn't run parallel batches then. 

Djagmo: So when you say 2019, you hired, from the third batch onwards, you had employees or people to work with you

Prudivi: so there was no third, third batch, just like, there is no, I guess Windows nine. There was no third batch. I said batch four. 

Djagmo: can you elaborate a little bit? 

Prudhvi: No, I, so after batch two, I took a outside consultant, as a consultant I went to other institute, trained them, right. So I treated myself like, okay, this is the third batch. They did with third batch. And when I [01:05:00] started for supervised again, I said, okay, let's call this batch four, that's it batch four was, I think,February of 2019. 

Djagmo: Okay. February, January, yeah. Did you, did you change your marketing approach or was it only LinkedIn? 

Prudhvi: No, it was LinkedIn. It was LinkedIn. But by then a lot of referrals were coming and check, actually my friends, family, they were giving,  in fact batch four, I remember, we had done almost 15 conversions, 10 or 15 conversions.

Djagmo: Wow. Wow. That's, that's quite jump

Prudhvi: quite a jump. But, many of them at a discounted price, etc, that's only batch we reduced. 

Djagmo: Okay. But still, you know, 15 is a very healthy number for you also

Prudhvi:  Very healthy number. Yes, yes, 

Djagmo: Got it. And, so what [01:06:00] happened from there? Like, you know, 15 and then what next? 

Prudhvi: 15 and then, I stopped,as my predictions went. I got my fund, 15 conversions. Then I got some revenue for this interns also

Djagmo: So when you're talking about funding. These are not external funding, friends, family, these are funding that you earned yourself

Prudhvi: Revenue, I would say revenue. Revenue. So from this revenue, I grew confident and I said,we started batch five, the first batch on weekdays, actually,for the first time. I said, in the morning, I'll teach Tuesdays and Fridays morning. That's when I started batch five. And by then I'm also, I was thinking of, getting into another, kind of, course, which is called NLP hundred Hours course, Natural Language Processing. So the fundamental idea [01:07:00] is we wanted to train all, so the data science market has a lot of beginner courses, no intermediate or advanced courses. I wanted to be the first person to get into the advanced courses segment where already who are data scientists will come and learn with me. So that is the idea. So we started the NLP 100 hours courses, that was in mid of,by the time of launch? Yeah, it was mid of March or April of 2019. 

Djagmo: This one that was, this was like what, how many,what was the duration of this and what was

Prudhvi: Yeah. Yeah. So this fees was very a bit less. We started it, uh, one price per second batch one price a hundred hours course. So it's like, 3000 rupees. So 3,600 seconds basically. So 3,600 rupees is the course cost. And [01:08:00] remember, this was a live class and it was an advanced course. No one in India still has this course

Djagmo: but how is it Prudhvu, you said hundred hours, right? So, but I thought, you know, the reason I asked you how much you charged was because this, you said is an advanced course, right? So I thought probably, you know, you gonna charge more

Prudhvi: see the problem. What I felt is, see the target audience are data scientists already. So I wanted to build a community of data scientists first thing. And second thing is they would've figured it out, already see, they would've figured it out. This kind of NLP [01:09:00] knowledge. People will pay for one course in this maximum two courses, but you can't expect a two year data scientist to pay for NLP because he'll be like, hey, I'll take a textbook and learn it. Something like that. And, again, we thought like, again, my thought was like, I would go and tell all these data scientists, this is how we teach.

If you want to refer anyone, please refer us to end-to-end data science course. So think of end-to-end data science as our profitable business and NLPs a funnel which we are building, basically. But this is for advanced users. Why? For advanced users? Because in the market, if you are going to ask anyone who is the best institute in data science, who will you ask? You'll ask the data scientist, right? So if they can endorse us, will be really good. That is the idea. 

Djagmo: [01:10:00] that's how you yeah, I was, I I was a little confused because, you know,how can you get, how, how can you make an advanced course a funnel for some of your basic course? But your idea was that if people are gonna go ask the data scientist, they're gonna like refer you back and then that's how it's gonna be.

Prudhvi: It'll be very high. Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'll tell you basically,in that hundred hours, 40 hours was self-paced, 60 hours was live. So I was just saying 60 hours live, 60 minutes, 60 into 60, 3600rupees. Right. And, 3,600 rupees. So that's how it came calculation. So it was per minute. That strength, we couldn't [01:11:00] control. We got hundred people enrolling for that. See, we didn't make a lot of revenue, but even today I am very happy with the NLP course.

And the, the kind of, challenge is also huge. The expectation was huge. The things were huge. But yeah, I think I'm still happy with that NLP Course. I can proudly tell you there is no single edutech who is doing hundred hours of NLP. Even today they don't have 20 hours of content. 

Djagmo: that's great. Okay. Right. So this is something right now, I just wanna get back to you about the logic behind, you know, you were doing a 15 member batch of five months of data science course. Right. Which definitely seems more [01:12:00] profitable to you. But then you also plan to do this NLP Hundred hours. Now was this, was this a marketing move mostly? 

Prudhvi: the pricing was a marketing move, I would say. And second thing is yeah. So basically I didn't feel like charging more, I I didn't think too much into marketing. Also, didn't have a marketing aspect. 

Djagmo: reason I'm asking you it like this is because, you are already, you know, you're doing something that's been successful. 15 people at that point. Yeah. My question is why this NLP? And then when you said whatever you said, I'm assuming am I right in assuming that you thought, okay, you know what, we need to grow our, flagship course, which is data science. Did you see this NLP as one of the methods [01:13:00] to grow bigger in that thing? Did you see it as that or it accidentally happened? 

Prudhvi: It accidentally happened first thing. Okay. And second thing is the vision I had in fact,supervised learning as a machine learning term. I used it because, in 2018 itself, I saw a huge number of institutes doing data science training. I thought like, and my knowledge is also coming from, hey, I completed a basic cohort, 10% and I came into industry. I had to figure out this 90%. So the fundamental idea was, why can't we start a courses for people who graduate from great learning upgrad? So all my competitors people Whoever make a career transition should come to me and learn extra things in data science. So I wanted to place supervised learning there. That was the first thought. [01:14:00] the idea of NLP hundred hours being affordable is also the same thought. 

Djagmo: All these, all these  players didn't have an NLP, is it?

Prudhvi: no even today they don't have, even today they don't have. 

Djagmo: Okay. And any reason for that? Not that there is no demand for that, right? 

Prudhvi: there is demand, but market is too fragmented and I don't think, see who will take an NLP course people who completed data scientist journey itself will take an NLP course. Now they already burnt their pockets with this expensive fee. They already had this edutech. I don't know whether this Edtech will have returning customers or not. So, I mean, I'm talking about premium edtechs

Djagmo: No, it's interesting about this because this itself can be a huge topic for us to this, because I'm definitely gonna come back to this. But you know what, I want to, you know, complete this one story line, right? Because we are now at [01:15:00] 2019, second half that is very, yeah. And then you complete your NP. Now NLP insisted here is, now tell me something. 2019, let's say you finish your NLP and then, you know, 2020 probably you would've had plans, the pandemic hits in March, so What happens here?

Prudhvi: I'll tell you, by September, Jag, we were doing almost 10 like a month transactions. Yeah. Batch. So that NLP, batch starting and that boosting team by then, 2019, September, I had four people. We were publishing use cases.Our data science batches were going with a lot of enrollments. Batch six came up with 30 enrollments. Batch seven came up with 45 enrollments. Batch seven was somewhere in July. Batch eight was at 50 enrollments [01:16:00] and things I, I wish I had breaks Jag in those times because every of the initiative which I took, started exploring, and in fact, I became a bottleneck at some point of time, which I can only understand looking from hindsight. I'm the only person delivering. See, my original plan was, hey, I used to get some 70 K or 80 k. I get, the same amount of from the trainings I want, for that I need five people. And here you go. An NLP has a hundred people and batch seven has some 35, 40 people, don't remember the numbers exactly. So things, things slightly, started escalating, scaling on its own which I didnot plan

Djagmo:  If you weren ready or, or you didn't kind of expect that sort of a growth.

Prudhvi:  I would say. I would say. And, I had to make hiring choices on marketing and sales. Never we had hiring and so we had a team [01:17:00] of four data scientists. We were preparing content, we were teaching all the LinkedIn and posts were managing. So September, October. And my CA, I had no experience with accounting. The first time I went to CA was like, you didn't deduct TDS for TeachEdison payment. Why didn't you do that? So, honestly, I didn't know TDS, I didn't know GST. We became GST compliant in the second year itself. So these headaches were coming over, hiring, co-working space, managing the space. One year back, I had to ask my friend for rental. Now I had to manage every other shit, which is nothing related to teaching. So, I mean, it was good path. 

Djagmo: Happy problems to solve, problems with happy problems to solve. Problems to solve, right? Right. 

Prudhvi: But [01:18:00] they, they came at a level which I didn't understand. You didn't understand. They, they came at a speed, which I didn't for fortunately, I had friends to help. We did well, uh, in December, I think Novembder end, we started batching, batch eight. We had to take 60 enrollments. Jag, I had to say no to people. Remember people were coming with saying, hey, I'll pay 50 K for your course. I said like, no, wait for two months. Imagine.Who will have that scenario? 

Djagmo: Just for the, just for the nice feeling of it. I just want to, you know. Yeah. Kind of walk through the numbers of growth now that I've spoken to you.  Yeah. Your first batch. Five students. Second batch, slide dip. Three students. Third batch, you teach for somebody else. Fourth batch is 15, fifth batch is 30, sixth is 40, 50. And then we are talking about 80 here. Wow. 

Prudhvi: Yeah. Batch seven , batch eight was around 60, 40, 50. 

Djagmo: now all these are happening through [01:19:00] LinkedIn and referrals alone. Only paid marketing at all

Prudhvi: Zero. Zero. All LinkedIn. Batch eight, batch eight is the Pinacle. Batch nine is even more. Batch nine.  I have, almost 65, 70 enrollments actually. And, Jag, this started taking a toll on my health. In fact, I wasn't taking rest Saturday Sundays teaching, again, Tuesday, Friday NLP batch. And this enrollments, managing employees, because once you hire people, you have to assign work to them. Payrolls, CA- accounting, coworking space. So too many things. And, and the pressure of what's next, how to take this all, how to sustain this and all. I started taking alone, right. All. And by then,by February, I think in the middle [01:20:00] of February, I fell ill, for continuously two weeks

Djagmo: This is what, 2019 you're talking about? Or? 2020? 

Prudhvi: 2020. So, Just before the pandemic. So then I couldn't take classes for two weeks continuously. I think, batch nine started in February, first week. And,for, I, I had a very bad mouth also. I couldn't speak actually. Okay. So, so that was, that for two weeks I couldn't speak.

I was, well, I was walking, I was going to office.  I posting on LinkedIn, but I had very bad Yeah. Very bad mouth ulcers. Where, for which I couldn't. And I, I was not able to sleep properly. So that was the covid came to me before, actually hit the world 

Djagmo: no. I mean, are you serious, you got covid or you're just telling symbolically 

Prudhvi: Got symbolically.  I, I knew that I [01:21:00] had to slow down. But after that, so, so the main problem happened as I couldn't take classes continuously in February and March. I was like very, very, taking a lot of breaks, taking small classes. And I couldn't explain to students, So I think, uh, that's when we enrolled for batch 2 NLP, by the way in December we enrolled for batch two of NLP. But this time, we charged it 15,000. 

Djagmo: Batch one was you charged one rupee per minute. So 3600 something, right? 

Prudhvi: Yes, yes. Then, we jumped into 15 K, 10 K, 15 k,  with recordings and without recordings still. We had,  I think,  20-25 enrollments. But what I did is, for college students, I just offered it a thousand. So still in batch two, we had arrange, [01:22:00] again, 90 enrollments.  But tiered pricing. Same revenue as batch one. But, yeah, February, 2020 is, what my personal health things started falling apart. So, yeah. So from there I had to put breaks. It's an opportunity. So batch nine started in February,and batch eight was there in, so basically till September till Covid sub subsided. I didn't take a new batch, five months.I was at home, I was teaching, and luckily, because we had a complete online thing from day one, we were teaching on Zoom, our core operations didn't get Affected.

Djagmo: because you didn't have to change anything. You were already. And, [01:23:00] 

Prudhvi: I think I, I still remember, I, I got this microphone from my office, sat at home, started teaching. 

Djagmo: That's, blue yeti. Yeah. Blue Yeti. Yes. Right. 

Prudhvi: Yeah. And by the way, I purchased this in February, 2020 itself, when I was ill, I was like, okay, let me upgrade my setup at least.

Djagmo: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, Blue Yeti is like one of the sort premium, how to, yeah. Great. So, so that's okay. We are right now in 2020. So 2020. So even before pandemic, you were anywhere doing online. So the pandemic online actually didnot disturb your thing. In fact, pandemic must have only increased the demand, for your courses. 

Prudhvi: So one thing is we put breaks. Second thing is , so all our target audience were software employees. One thing is they were worried about the job. Job. And, COVID, [01:24:00] immediately had some layouts, especially in some sectors which were affected by Covid. A lot of people were working from home suddenly, lot of stress, etc. I remember having, taking sales calls. People were saying like, hey Prudhvi, Monday to Friday online zoom call. Saturday and Sunday, I have to learn on Zoom. No, not now, etc. So that is the same time which gave rise to a lot of YouTube influencers, everyone.  Online, that's teaching stuff, etc. COVID 19 immediately didn't give us any boost or neither. It give, didn't give any dip, but, we started seeing the dip from October onwards. October, 2020. . Two, almost, next [01:25:00] number onwards and it 21. 

Djagmo: What was the dip like Prudhvi, so here we are talking about a revenue of say, close to, 10, 20 lacks per month

Prudhvi:  so dip was slow actually. And, so we were doing 15-20, still 15-20 per batch, which is like quite comfortable for me. Okay. So you can say 50% easily, from the peak was the dip. Okay. Was the first thing is it was not completely my personal choice. It was not completely due to Covid. It was my personal choice also. Reduced my posting on,LinkedIn. I really wanted to take a break. See, 2018 onwards, 2018 July to, let's say 2020 July. I literally don't remember how many movies I watched or how many times I ate my favorite food, [01:26:00] or how many times I talked hardly to my niece. so it was a lot of, uh, uh, juggle, hustle, etc. And, and I won't regret it. It was a choice after that, also Covid, give me a time, I said like, okay, let me go back and complete my masters, right. At the same time, teach whatever I could , for one and a half year I was doing that. So we were running one batch  or two batches. 

Djagmo: Wow. And you got back was your masters. Some progress. Have you finished it or is it's ongoing? 

Prudhvi: I finished almost 50% of it. 

Djagmo: Wow. Man, listeners, this is, this is something, you know, whatever Pridhvi was talking so far itself, you know, something like dreamy on top of the, look at this guy, he's almost successful now that, you know, in the break. He wants to go back and do masters. Everybody quit their education to do [01:27:00] business. This guy is taking a break from successful business to do masters. Wow. 

Prudhvi: Yeah. See, that is the reason, Jag, I, I still feel that is the reason I started it off. If someone says supervised learning, I, I still remember I wrote it in my diary. I had did podcasts. I said to people, hey, uh, three days of my work for supervised, three other three days for my IIIT masters. So that's how it started. So I went back, I took courses, I completed six courses. I got ace also in few courses. I'm happy with that. 

Djagmo: Great, great. Yeah. Okay, great. So Pridhvi, we were talking about, you know, the point in 2020 where for a lot of reasons that you also consciously thought that, you know, you'll, you'll kind of ease, ease into supervise learning, you know, decrease the you know, onboarding. But you also said [01:28:00] that, even if you decided that, by itself also it's stagnated and then there was a down trend. Now what do you attribute these things to? Is it because of the pandemic itself, or, you know, also was the data science industry, as you know, as a whole was undergoing a transition. 

Prudhvi: Uh, so I would say, mostly 95% directly or indirectly related to pandemic itself because pandemic affected every life, right? Right. So on one side, people who want to pursue data science courses, they were doing work from home. It was really toxic, sitting all the day. You know, at one point of time people were up a lot of digital content consumption, etc. They wanted a break out of it. That's one thing. Second thing is, yes data science, industry hiring and [01:29:00] all, is also a luxury for many industries because people are experimenting with it. Okay?  A lot of small and medium scale industries, went to cut off this data science teams initially during the pandemic. And as soon as the second wave subsided, they thought, no, no other way. So you see the lot of ups and downs in the industry. We don't know who is keeping data scientists. Who is hiring, who is leaving The enterprise is good. I mean, the big you call the big fortune 500 kind of companies. They're good with it. I mean, they, they, they benefited a lot from low interest rates. They didn't have to think of anything else during the pandemic. So the other side, there were too many changes happening. For example, retail, big retail had to hire data scientists, small retail. They have to think of the supply [01:30:00] chains first, so they were struggling. So yeah, due to pandemic, there's a lot of change.And also on the business side, again, as I said, lot of people sat at home. They didn't have time the content creation is going up. The algorithms changed. So people were creating content like crazy, good or bad. No one cares, works or not works. No one cares. There's a video today or not. And, and it, it's very monotonic for employees also to work from home. So everyone are glued to screens.

Consumption went up, production went up.So yeah, I think these are the most prominent reasons I could figure it out. Why the data science education industry went through a lot of phases and Jag, it is notable to see, I've followed this space for five years. I've seen at least 10 companies, local, big, small, who raised funds, who didn't raise funds, just go out of business, in this two and half years in data science. Data science, EduTech. And I'm talking, this is a time when edutechs all over India.

Djagmo: my next question was this, so Prudhvi, what was your observation about some of the competitors, right? They were a lot of data science coaching centers. So you're saying at least, 10 of them who you knew shut down. They went out of business. 

Prudhvi: Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Offline.  First let's segment it offline. Immediate shutdown. Most of them, only 10% or 15% shifted online. And online players, in the like low price, medium price people. They're also torn apart, because of this [01:32:00] free content from YouTube kind of thing. And high priced ones,  their margins got hit. The hiring became very difficult. Everyone's afford, the mid-price range,and so at least three or four companies in the mid-price range just go bust. And the people who just started six months before pandemic  like, let's say October, 2019 to 2020, right. Immediately shut down. A lot of small, actually people like supervised where we used to be like solopreneur. We started like a team. We went back becoming solopreneurs again. It was September, 2021, when I had my last teammate, resigning. Not resigning. So one thing I did was I didn't want to cut off anyone. [01:33:00] right. I didn't want to fire, fire anyone. Yeah. I just told them, at least last two, three people, hey, this is the scenario, but we'll keep working because I'm running batches.

We had revenue coming in. I am good to pay salaries, right? But, so the last data scientist I had was, had a plan to go for masters. So as soon as he went to for masters, and the other person who was handling operations had got a pretty decent hike and that person also left. So I, during the entire pandemic, though we struggled financially, I, I'm proud that I didn't cut off anyone. Fire anybody. I didn't fire anyone. Yes. I didn't fire a single person. And in fact, I paid in full to everyone. Whatever the salaries we discussed, signed up, I paid in full. Not even a single withheld. I just want to run it without regrets, at least in the beginning of my career. And I'm happy about it.  

Djagmo: yeah, yeah. You seem to have pulled it off like that, you know. No bitter feelings. Yes. And, no bitter experiences or anybody. I mean, at the end of the day, it's not like, you know, you cannot have them, but everybody tries to avoid it and you've pulled it up because businesses are about money at the end of the day. But now let us say, so in that way, this is how I'd like to conclude your story is still a great story because I mean, as a listener, right. For me, I'm not trying to, you know analyze, judge and all those things as a listener, you know, who's been listening to you, your journey and all those things. When you said,  your business kind of stagnated in 2020 September, and then it kind of saw down trend going ahead, I thought, okay, what happened? But then when you go back and look at a bigger picture, the perspective is, hey, boss, 10 other data science coaching companies have shut down. [01:35:00] And if you manage to sustain in that period, and you're still managing to keep the show alive, I think you're still doing, and you're still being pretty successful, is how I'd like to see it. Because obviously, you know, nobody escaped the pandemic. Some people were hit very hard and, you know, there's nothing could be done about it. But there are two things I wanna go back to, right? One is, yes, of course, we've established that pandemic was very, you know, important, that played a role. Would you have, now, let's say you, you said that, you know, you were on LinkedIn. You said  Yes. It could have been better if you were on YouTube, right. Yes. Now, for somebody who's starting off, let's say they are a data scientist themselves. Say they're somebody like you listening and then you know they have a good LinkedIn presence, would you ask them to just stick to LinkedIn or should they be proactive and get on other channels, other [01:36:00] platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and all those things? What is your advice? 

Prudhvi: My advice would be, again, it depends upon personality, but, at least two should be good, without any of them they have to rely on the paid marketing, I would say. So at least two is good. And my advice is to like, you have to do it consistently for quite some time, either on LinkedIn or YouTube or Instagram for at least one, one and a half year without any organic leads or anything coming up. If you are going to do , do it, it would be, much better. And today's YouTube when compared to when I started 2019 YouTube. Now it is almost saturated level on the data science channels as well. Same thing with LinkedIn. Also lot of players. So, so consistency plays an important role that's the first advice. [01:37:00] Second advice, any two should be good actually. 

Djagmo: Any two should be good is what you're saying? 

Prudhvi: Any two? Yeah. 

Djagmo: based on the personality, of that particular person. Yes. Yes. So your answer to, you know, if somebody is looking for, okay, you know, which platform do I take up as a primary promotion thing? You are telling them it depends on the personality and the kind of skills they have.But I,you know, I'm thinking LinkedIn is a non-negotiable because this is something related to professional things. So I think LinkedIn should be there, compulsory there. Yes. And as a supplement to LinkedIn, I think you can either be on Instagram or YouTube is what you're saying.

Prudhvi: Yep. Yes. That, that should be, and you should be camera ready. You should have at least a few digital marketing skills, at least. Fundamentals, like how to produce content. 

Djagmo: Okay, great. And, right now you are primarily on LinkedIn and then you are also right now pursuing your master's as well

Prudhvi:  yes. Yes. So basically the new [01:38:00] updates, by 2023, I think, 22 November, right? I completed three semesters of two subjects each, so totally. I'm done with six subjects. Which is like almost 50% done. The most difficult part. Now, what I'm, what I was doing, I, what I am planning to do is get back to supervised again with full force. Now I've got, got break, got enough energy. I've set up, sorted my financials and everything is sorted. Now I'm coming back and planning to launch two batches slowly and three batches at a time. So that's what I'm, I'm re beginning again, the journey, to scale up. I'm ready to scale up if it really scales up

Djagmo:  No, no, no. I don't see any reason why it wouldn't, but I will. I will, I will definitely come to this. This is like very interesting. I'm gonna come back to this. I'm gonna talk about, I have [01:39:00] a lot of questions around this, but there is one thing that I just wanna close the loop on. When we were talking about a time in 2020 when it got stagnated and it was seeing, and you spoke about having enough runway. Just to understand Prudhvi, in terms of, in terms of students, we didn't understand. In terms of revenue. Right. Let's start from, let's say 2018 July is when you started off officially. And then, uh, 2018, first half, you kind of tested the waters. You had your first batch with five students. So after starting officially, 2018, half year, you had three students. That's all I think, right? We are looking at a revenue of about one lakhs for the year of 2018. Second half, right? Yes. 2019. What was the entire year's revenue ballpark number

Prudhvi: So we hit,  almost 80 lakhs 2019-20 financial year.

Djagmo: Okay. Okay. 20 financial year. That is, starting from April, 2019 to March 2020. 80 lacks was the revenue almost. And you, and at this point you had a team size of?

Prudhvi: It was varying. At the start of the financial year, it was three itself, but at the end of the financial it was eight. So on an average it is six people. 

Djagmo: Six people. And, these six people, couple of them were interns or all of them were interns? 

Prudhvi: mostly all full-time, no interns. Okay though we took, as an internship, they were full-time in-office internship only. Okay. And I think,  by I think, in the first quarter of 2019-20, that is, right by May-June itself, I no longer took date, interns. I, I just, I just give them role as a data scientist starting, irrespective of the capabilities, etc. So  most of them are data scientists. The reason I required data scientists, we had a plan to build up a lot of use cases. Custom use solutions content. And second thing is we wanted to get into advanced courses also.So, the data scientists were helping up in building use cases. At the same time, building up any coursework also. 

Djagmo: Got it. Got it. Makes complete sense. And these were the people who also helped you with other stuff whenever needed?

Prudhvi: Whenever needed. By the end of 1920, I have a person for sales. I have a person for marketing full-time. Yes, so I said on average six for entire finance year, 

Djagmo: plus or minus two or here and there. Okay. Yeah. And, what was the average salary that you were paying these people on a yearly basis.

Prudhvi: okay. So it, it was like, too very , because. Lowest was 25K or 20K. That's for data scientist with a zero zero experience. And highest was one lakh, a month. So it was always 12 lakhs, per month. I think it, I remember it's  110,000 also. That was the biggest hire I made. Just before the pandemic. I think it was the, it's in February, 2020, we signed it. 

Djagmo: But, and then you also had an office, right? Like physical office that you were paying rent for? 

Prudhvi: Yes, yes, yes. That was around 40 K a month. Cabin

Djagmo: Got it. Okay. So now,  2019-2020 financial year, we are looking at 80 lackhs, [01:43:00] let's say with an expense of about 2.548, like 25-30 lakhs would've been your expenses right? I mean, approx, right? Approx, there's a reason I'm just coming to this, right?  Now, from 2020 April to 2021 March, what was, what did this 80 Lakhs look like? 

Prudhvi: it almost came to 40 which is then the next financial what I would say. Yes, yes. See, that's in mid of pandemic people came to zero. I'm still happy. I'm still very happy. Uh, thank God. I thank my audience.Everyone Because we could do that. No regrets. 

Djagmo: got it. And, what is it now from 2021-2022? What was it? 

Prudhvi: so we are, we are still doing somewhere around 40. I'm still doing 32-40 in the range of 32-40. Brilliant-Which includes, which includes all the consulting income I'm making and service providing or going and training for supervised batches, everything. 

Djagmo: And as a solopreneur, what does your expenses look like? 

Prudhvi: okay, so because we are going completely organic, most of my expenses is in the terms of time where I create the content itself. but if I'm, if you are, if you're saying paying who, whom are you paying? Sometimes I take help from other consultants I pay, okay. So just for one month or two months or hourly consulting or something like that. That's one of the pay and the platform charges for the running the website, the learning management system. And of course CA to maintain your accounts [01:45:00] and if at all, any depreciation or computers, gadgets, which you buy to deliver the courses. That's it. And of course that, that's it. Apart from that, nothing, nothing did I put,I'll tell you one thing, which comes from personal life. So in February, not February, March 17th, 2020. This is in Hyderabad, the same house, which I meant residing in. And, it took a lot of toll on me. First thing is,  actually my purpose was for to rent it out and generate some rental revenue and this is right located in [01:46:00] financial district which is where all the software employees work. And March 23rd, lockdown came in, everyone packed and went away. And the community which I live in, that's a community where owners have to beg, literally begged, hey, come and occupy our houses. Almost 50% of the community was vacant, including my house. So I have to move in, I have to pay the EMI. And, down payment gone, Emmi gone. So, at least, I don't say it's a wrong move, it, it turned out to be a wrong move. Lot of toll on the financial health, otherwise and let me tell you, Jag, I'll tell you. I'm an entrepreneur, so I never bothered about the finances, the income item, but when I sat with the credit team who were offering me a loan. So it took a very hard, lot of time, lot of convincing to get a home loan, which is considered the safest loan in the country. So I had to go around two, three banks.

Djagmo: That is because you were not working, you didn't have a salary, but you were an entrepreneur. Despite, despite having success, revenue is less man. I mean, it's, uh, yeah, you know, and you're not even in a manufacturing or something where revenues something, profits or something. You are pretty much. Making what, like a chunk of the revenues, your profits, net profits. 

Prudhvi: Happily. They can happily do 40% but the only problem is again,it's a startup. So generally for bank. I'm lucky I somehow managed the loan and, figured it out. But yeah, that was one crazy ride, actually. 

Djagmo: No, that's amazing. Seriously. It is. It is a crazy ride, right. I mean,  just imagine so many stories like yours out there, and I'm sure everybody will have something to talk about and the difficulty. So, yeah. So, from a financial perspective, right. Whatever you unwent, right. So, see, nobody can fault you or blame you for, you know, going ahead and using the money that you earn to make purchases and stuff like that because, you know you are, you are gonna be optimistic about the future, but then, you know, something like a lockdown comes, it is literally once in a lifetime event for a lot of people. What has it affected you in some way from Spending perspective, has it changed your outlook about money? Are you like extremely safe now? What is that? You know, [01:49:00] have you changed your method of handling money now since then? 

Prudhvi: Yes, definitely. Yes. One thing is Jag even before pandemic, I had a friend who was a business advisor who used to say, Prudhvi you are extremely frugal. If you, look at me, I'm always on the conservative side. Don't take any risks,don't take any chances, etc .So our burning was like 10%. Cse cost of consumer acquisition is zero, zero marketing spend.  The salaries which I pay for data scientists are though reasonable. It's a small chunk of the revenue we are generating. Yeah, I played very safe even before pandemic.But still, I struggled, Jag. I, I can say that. And yes, it definitely changed my view towards money. It changed a lot actually. So like now, I think two times before [01:50:00] committing any major purchases, right? Either on behalf of personal life or on the company side.

Djagmo: so do you have any rule now? Do you have any rule? Let's say for example, you know, you wanna purchase something, which is 25 lakhs, let's say, do you have a rule now? No. You know what, if I'm gonna purchase, so. That is worth 25 lacks. I need to have a liquid money of 50 lakhs, at least in the account. Did you have any such rules?

Prudhvi: Yeah. I don't keep, I don't keep any rules, but I'm just not committing any lump sum payments. That's one thing. And second thing is, see I would say even if Covid has come at least four months late, let's say instead of March, let's say it came in September. I would've been in much safer position because I took some commitments in February, March which were like hiring big people and making a house on personal front, on personal and professional front, we took a lot of major decisions. No, [01:51:00] I didn't anticipate anything. But still, I played safe. I didn't owe money. I didn't default anyone. But yeah, if coming back to rule, no such rule Jag, but, upfront payments. I, I, at this time, I would pay very careful paying for one year,  paying for two years or taking a big gadget or something like that.

Djagmo: Got it. Got it. No, this is, this is, this is like really insightful. I'm gonna come back to this in a different angle a little later because I think I still have some other questions related to your business itself. First, I want to like, you know, talk about them. Now coming back to the current thing, 2020. You've been,you've gone back to being a solopreneur from 2021 September, if that's correct. Yes. Now it's been about one, one and a half years. You've been like solo now. Yes, yes. You said you're gonna be launching multiple batches now, right? So, and you [01:52:00] said your financials are back correct. And I'm sure these financials are back because of your one and a half years of hustle, right? You're consulting your, so you've literally been saving. Great. So now what, what are your plans like laid out? I mean, like, are you gonna be building a team? How are you going to do two, three batches? Are you gonna be hiring data scientists again? Are you going to also hire people who are gonna be teaching or is it only you teaching? What is all these things? 

Prudivi: Okay, so first thing is, one of my dream, even during pre pandemic time was to get into consulting job. I always believe during service, providing building products and teaching all the three, that's what I wanted to do in data science segment.So, so think of, other competitors. Some other EdTech. They teach everything management, project management, every, a lot of [01:53:00] tons of courses. But we wanted to be a niche player in data science who can do services, who can do product building, have our own products, who can do research, who can also teach people. So,this is my vision, five year vision, or which I had during the, even before I started supervised. In fact, the reason we aggressively hired data scientists also is we, we actually signed up to NDAs. We're about to get the data, we're about to get kickstart ,took consulting projects before covid but as soon as the covid hit the education, so I took a brand name aveni.ai. So we are still considering building services and products because what I believe is if you just teach, you don't become really good player you teach, you hire them, you provide jobs. So it's, it's like a community. I want to [01:54:00] build around a ecosystem to be precise. That's the vision I had. And yes, now I'm going to restart that path. On the education side, the plan is to increase the batches and hire one or two data scientist. And one regret I had is I didn't publish enough free content on the website, so I want to fulfill that. So we want to publish free content. 

Djagmo: This is, this is what I meant when I asked you, you know, would you look back and do something differently? I think you, you mentioned the most important point here. 

Prudhvi: Yeah. So, so I want to do some more free content, and put it on our website. We don't, I, I also had regrets about community building want to build community, do some free live classes and have some office presence in Hyderabad. Invite people to our office, do meetups, something kind of things. So that's what we missed [01:55:00] out during pre covid. Now we want to begin with that. So, yeah so teaching and consulting with full vigor, that's the plan, going up forward. And of course the first hires would be data scientists. And, yeah that's it going to be 

Djagmo: great. Great. Prudhvi I'm gonna come back to this important thing. Free content, you know, I'm gonna like, dig more, you know, pick your brain a little bit more. Right. Look, I think it's so underrated and so important today. Free content. Now tell me Pridhvi. You've always been on, you've already been on LinkedIn, you've built, you've built a brand and stuff like that. Now, even for you, you've realized free content after a number of years, like at least after four years, I think is when you're like, seriously talking about free content. Now tell me. Why, what made you think about this and what do you think this is gonna help you accomplish? And generally, would you also advocate this to [01:56:00] all knowledge entrepreneurs out there, you know, who are inot teaching? 

Prudhvi: Okay. For this, I'll first start with, any marketing person who will reach out to me. If I explain this to, my explained story, they'll say like Prudhvi you are an outlier. First thing is, because for most of the knowledge entrepreneurs, they start, they give free content. The distribute, they build a funnel, and from the funnel, they would make some sales, small sale, some from them, big sale And from them, even big sale, right? I'm like, I did LinkedIn post from bottom of the funnel and I made 50K conversions, end-to-end data science. For, I, I ran this without anything in the middle of funnel, right? For 17 batches. So and so, so basically this is what happened. It worked out for me and that is the reason I never couldn't spend some time on free content. Because the people who paid for my services, I need to dedicate my time for them. [01:57:00] That's the only reason. Now coming back to your next question, why do you want to do free content see I want to build more trust. I want to reach out to more people. I want to help more people out with at least the fundamentals. Like at least let's say Python beginning or something like that. And, I just want to give a flavor of what my content is for the people, even before they pay. Building more trust. See if you can build trust with just LinkedIn posts, why can't you build more trust? With some free courses if everyone are doing it.

And why shouldn't you do it? That's the thought earlier I didn't have time. Now I had time. So I will, I will happily do it. And, will I advise it for every knowledge entrepreneur? Yes. Preferably yes. It, it's a, everyone is different for Prudhvi is different, for every other, it is different. If it works for you, like me, like you just start on [01:58:00] Instagram post and you get paid people and that's getting satisfied for you, fine, go ahead. But at some point of time, put something free, on your website to give a flavor of what it is. 

Djagmo: Got it. Okay. So, you know, listeners I think this is very important. You know, whatever has told, whatever. See Previ is an outlier, right? I think we can, we've all identified that by now. I mean, everybody is not gonna simply start off on LinkedIn, put a post and get it. That's not happening. Not happening. That's a very rare thing. But that doesn't mean you have other ways to achieve what Prudhvi has achieved. Right? And for the majority of them, it's gonna be this. If you want to teach something, if you are a knowledge entrepreneur, aspiring knowledge entrepreneur, I think one thing, what I've commonly heard from a lot of people is that you need to give out free content because that's how people realize what you're doing. That is how they get to know, okay, this guy is teaching. And then you know what, the content you have is may not be the main secret. The secret is your mentorship, how you deliver your content, how you communicate with your audience, and how you, I think that also has a high value as much as content has. So I think that is what I would like to take away from Pridhvi's answer. And I think I would also like to add that, bottom line, if you're a knowledge entrepreneur who's starting off today, start off with free content. That has to be a staple. You can do all the other things in combination. But if Pridhvi is starting it now, I think. Somebody who's, starting today should definitely have this on their list. Okay Prudhvi. Got it. Great. So coming back to your, answer about, you know, what your plans are, you said two things. One is consulting and one is education. And for education, you're looking Okay. Listeners, if anybody is you know, [02:00:00]  is a data scientist out there and after listening to Prudhvi, you're looking forward to work with Prudhvi, I think he's hiring about two data scientists.

Reach out to Prudhvi at the, at the end of the podcast, we will leave the details, how you can reach out to Prudhvi, contact on all those things. So, do reach out to Prudhvi, you've got an opportunity there. And he's also looking to consult, do some consulting work. Prudhvi, can you elaborate a little bit about what is this consulting work you're talking about so that, you know, the listeners can get a clear idea and if there is somebody who'd like to use, you know, use your help, they might as well, you know, know clearly what you're going to do

Prudhvi: Yeah. So, when this, so basically all the companies, enterprise, SMEs, even the startups, everyone are sitting on the data of the customers. B2b, b2c, everyone, every business is now capturing data. Now what is happening is every company is not, [02:01:00] u capable of. Having their own data team. When I say data team, let's say engineering team, data engineering, or a business analytics team or a data scientist team modeling. So three task visualization and dashboarding modeling and engineering, moving the data from here and there, etc.Not, these are the three main tasks any data team can do, and not everyone is capable of hiring, nurturing, and generating, value out of the data teams because, you need a whole new vertical to develop this. But you are sitting on data, but if you don't develop this vertical, you are missing out on the value side because today a lot of decisions are being made out of data itself. So yeah, our services aim is to help those businesses. [02:02:00] you work in any domain, medical pharma or retail, FinTech or any domain you are serving customers, you're serving businesses, doesn't mind. Are you storing data? And do you have a team of data scientist data team to generate value out of your data? If you don't have, and if you want to generate value out of your teams, of your data, We are there to help you. So that is the goal of the Service segment. We are starting with, retail as well as customer analytics space. That's where we are personally strong with. So D2C brands or FMCG brands or retailers or retail chains or anyone whose business is around this. And of course, FinTech also slowly we want to get into FinTech. So these are the three spaces in which any of the payers are operating and they're sitting on the data. They don't have data teams. We are [02:03:00] there to help them to extract business value out of data. So that's the goal of the services. 

Djagmo: got it, got it. Thank you so much for elaborating on that. So, if they have to find out more information, you have a separate website for this, right? Can you spell it out? Yeah, yeah. A V A N i.ai

Prudhvi: Okay. avani.ai  is the Sanskrit name for Earth. Great For Earth. So sustainability is something So though I want to make value for businesses. It's always sustainability. So I took the name of the earth itself. So luckily it starts with ai. Ai, it starts with and ends with a i. So the same thing. It's not yet up and turning. Mostly we'll have it in a month or month and a half. [02:04:00] but there's a landing page. There's a landing page. If you want to put some details, you can just subscribe to our newsletter. Landing page is out. 

Djagmo: Yeah. Great. Okay. So Prudhvi, final two segments I want to touch upon one is, you know, the last segment is a little personal and fun sort of a thing. And the one before that, is, you know, one aspect that you spoke about, here and there was, you were completely doing this online and you said, you know, you were using TeachEdison's platform at the start and then, you know, you had your own journey about the whole tech platform. Yes. Could you share with, as you know, what your experience was like,when it came to choosing tech platforms? What are the challenges you faced? how have you solved it? What are the challenges you might still be facing? What is the ideal platform? What are the key things that people should look for when choosing an [02:05:00] online platform?

Prudhvi: okay. So I think, this, this itself is journey because, I started with 2016. I was with TeachEdison. The day you started building platform. I mean, I was like just a consumer looking for some engineering college. But then, so I've been on the platform, I've seen it grow as seen in evolving features, so one of the features I would say is on the delivery side, the platform should allow you to do all vehicles of delivery online, self-paced, blended offline also. If you just need registrations also. So thats, one thing. Second thing is support you in the marketing side of the content. Let's say blog. Ability to create a blog, ability to create a landing page, good landing page, ability to create short courses. And when I say ability, not only just the courses and content side,but the marketing side, also ability to mail them completion of course. That's second thing, sales side, all capturing all the leads on the website.

If the CRM can do it, it would be great. And, a reasonably basic CRM on the backend so that people can use it. And, I think, yeah, marketing, sales, content side and ofcourse live class integrations, that's well, so if, and reasonably priced with a lot of tiers because the business skills are scales down too often. Yeah, pretty much these many features. If they're looking for it would be good. And I personally associated with startups a lot of times. Someone who is building. I still remember, bugging the feature team for, I want this feature, I want that feature.

Djagmo: I think, people like you are the ones who built teachers and I think all across, right, SAAS is being built because of the initial customers. 

Prudhvi: user relation customers. So, I personally have to mention Siva. I had direct access to Siva. I know after a few, I don't know, but I had got personal access. So Siva was good that he came onto our Slack channel. Siva, I want you to come on our Slack channel. So we had a list of tasks. I used to ask this customization, I used to explain. It was wonderful interacting with the team. And every feature I asked, every single feature I ask, it was shipped to me. That was something really wonderful. And, then we built one analytics, a student dashboard. Actually, in one of your question, it was there. [02:08:00] So we use you to take data off. How student was interacting with the website, let's say sale on the course platform in in fact, how many times at what time he joined the class, at what time he left data, and how much time he was viewing the website, video. All this we downloaded and built a, we built a table dashboard for ourself. This was what we were using, for at least batch eight, batch nine, and then I had a demo with, uh, Siva. I showed, told Shiva, this is what we need. And I think with the new platform, they built that analytics as well. So yeah, I think, these are some of the features, which will be helpful. And,for the beginners don't go for the big plans, if possible, free or affordable plans. As users scale the business, you scale it up. And, that's how it goes. Yeah. 

Djagmo: Got [02:09:00] it. And what is the platform you're using now and, how many platforms you've used in your journey Prudhvi?

Prudhvi: Okay. So, the platform which I'm using is from Graphy. I think it is acquired by Unacademy, I guess. Unacademy. And,this is the second platform. Our first platform was TeachEdison. And the platform, I was there with the old platform for almost three years of 2018 onwards. We had it, so till 2021 and the only reason I had to shift back to Graphy is so TeachEdison is moving from old platform to new platform. And, on the pricing side, I want, so, because I wanted to take a break, I don't know. I can't anticipate how much charges, I can afford So Graphy was rapidly [02:10:00] acquiring customers. There was a reasonably, very affordable offer. So that is the reason I have moved in, into Graphy. Yeah. And I haven't used the platform heavily because I've just running one or two batches, every quarter or something. 

Djagmo: So for your live delivery of classes, also, you're using Graphy? And Graphy gives you all of the things that you spoke about?

Prudhvi: most. 70%, 80%. 

Djagmo:so every your, whole business is running on graph at this point?

Prudhvi: whole business is running on the Graphy itself, but as I said, so we are not doing a lot of, marketing or sales or in fact inbound leads. Also, I'm not capturing on the platform. To be very honest, I am not using it extensively. So I'm just using it for the [02:11:00] delivery of the leads, which I was getting. I mean, this was the past .From now. We'll start using it aggressively. 

Djagmo: Got it. Are there any things that you need but are, but are not available at Graphy at this point? 

Prudhvi: Live class scheduling. I miss that a lot. So for example, on TeachEdison platform, when a batch, batch is starting, I can just, do one form and all the 40 or 50 classes will get scheduled at one go. And with all the classes live, user to be there. I, it's not there in Graphy. I don't think they'll build any time soon. Every time I need a session, I have to go and create it, click it up, create it,so yeah, that's, that's one feature I miss a lot.

Djagmo: Got it, got it.And we are always there if, if at all you need. And we are not only, we are not in a transition state from old to new. We've completely transitioned and the new platform.

Prudhvi: I think, I was talking Yeah, yeah. At one and half year it has been like, yeah,

Djagmo: We spent a lot of time on that. Okay. Prudhvi, great. I think, I'm pretty happy with all the questions that I wanted to ask you, and thank you so much for being so open and being a sport to answer all the questions that I've asked you. But now I'm just gonna ask you some, you know, informal questions. Sure, sure. Something to, you know, it's not only personal, it'll also, especially when you were talking about a time in 2020 when you, when you paid money for this apartment or this flat, whatever. Okay. Were you married at that point in time or were you going to get married?

Prudhvi: no, not married. Just signed up. I got married in Jan. 2021. 2021. Everything was fixed at that point. Not [02:13:00] fixed, but at least not broken. I just had plasters around. So, so basically the marriage got fixed only in the December, 2020 and we got married in Jan 2021. It was, traditional, arranged set up, arranged marriage. So during the covid with a very small crowd, that's how I got married. Yeah

Djagmo:  Okay. Here's my question, Prudhvi. You were an entrepreneur. How did you convince, because, you know in India ,the grooms, the husband materials, they expect them to be working, getting a salary, even better they would, they would like the guy to be working in a government job and stuff. So how did you convince, was it a long process where you stressed walk, walk us, walk us through the entire process?

Prudhvi: It was a very long process. Not with my wife.With my wife,  it has been easy somehow. I'll tell you the reason as well. But the journey has been quite hectic because the kind of questions. I'll tell you one example, I took a screenshot  of the dashboard, razor pay dashboard. Where it'll show all my earnings. And, and I sent it to a possible bride, or, uh, sorry, girl or girl's, father, I don't remember. I had to share, think of,the connection we built and, the not convinced, etc. It has been quite a struggle. It's quite [02:15:00] painful, right? Sometimes to answer the questions because no one looks at what it takes to start a business. First the question is, it, it takes a lot of guts to leave your salary. And people can't wait for 10 minutes if Swiggy delivers late. Right. But can you wait for six months without any salary? Is the, a question more to guts. Are you ready to take, even my partner, even today? She says you are very bold. You are very bold and yes, before the marriage, yes, I met a lot of possible brides who questioned. And the kind of business I'm doing is I'll see knowledge entrepreneur who, how many people in India will understand knowledge entrepreneur. So, so if I say, hey, I'm a running, I'm running a company, okay, you're running company. What do you do? You build software? No, I teach.So if you're if you're teaching, you'll become teacher. Right? Well, how will you become an entrepreneur?  So I, I have to explain then, who are your students? my students are working in corporate, they're working in corporate. And you teach and you're an entrepreneur. Like, so this is completely a new world. No one, the only good thing was the people know at least data science and AI, etc. So I had questions like if everything goes bad,will you be able to go back to job? Will your ego get hurt if I ask you to go to a job. From a possible bribe. Possible girl who will marry. I heard a person asking me to send the GST returns file for two financial years to arrange it. And, I had a person asking, okay, what is your last drawn salary when you were in industry, then okay, if everything goes wrong, you'll get this pay right? Right. So I don't, I don't consider 80 Lakhs turnover. I'll consider last time you draw eight lakhs. So I'll consider eight Lakhs salary. Okay. So I've seen this a lot. At one point of time I have to refrain from talking people to who cannot understand my business so it was quite bumpy. Quite bumpy ride. Especially on the finding a partner side.

Djagmo: So Prudhvi, two problems. One is, you know, being a knowledge entrepreneur, especially being one in the mid twenties or late twenties. If somebody wants to get married. I think people would've just understood what you went through. And I'm sure for the majority of them, it's gonna be like this. And, second [02:18:00] one, you struggled to get a loan for your house despite  doing so well for yourself. So what, what would you tell the young ones that are listening to and who are, you know, doing something similar to what you're doing or who are aspiring to do something like you? What is your advice? 

Prudhvi: okay, so entrepreneurship is,like delayed gratification. You will have your own benefits, okay. How many people will go to a chartered accountant and sign IT returns for a company. I sign it as an direct. I have a DIN you have a pan number. I have a DIN I sign every year. So, my statements, I give salaries to five people, four people. So I'm just listing out the benefits. Every Monday morning on this Wipro Circle Road, I'll see a lot of people with  faces going to offices. I go to a MV mall and watch a movie on Monday morning, 10 o'clock show. I wantedly book [02:19:00] that show just to go out and feel good about myself. So the thing here is entrepreneurship comes with its own benefits. And definitely it is delayed gratification.If you want it, then do it. But if you are a person who will budge to peer pressure. Then then don't do it. And second thing, Jag I went to bank loan Bank manager, I sat in front of him. Sir, did you ever feel like doing a job? And did you ever feel like starting business? He was like, I want to, but I'm stuck in this bank loan. Sir. I'm doing it. I'm, I'm providing jobs to people. You have a home which you can mortgage if I don't pay the loan, please give me the loan. This is the statement I'm saying, I'm giving jobs to people. Look how many unemployed people are there. I came forward to provide jobs to them. Please help me out how to put it. In fact, this [02:20:00] manager wrote a recommendation letter to their AGM saying, it's my personal authorization guarantee. I know this customer for quite some time. Please give him the loan. That's how I got the loan.

Djagmo: That's how you got it. If despite not having two ITR, so just not having two year of ITR

Prudhvi: Yes. So basically, entrepreneurship will come with its own benefits. You have to wait for it. And don't leave that path so easily. It may take five years, it may take 10 years. Look at any big company. Apple was about to get sold by Microsoft infused funds. Take any company, everything will go through this kind of it and all. So yeah, that's my advice for anyone who wants an entrepreneur to become an entrepreneur. 

Djagmo: But you're saying, uh, there is no escaping the fact that you'll have to undergo these things while finding a bride?  

Prudhvi: if your father has a lot of money, maybe not, or if you're, or if you're really handsome, tall, six feet well built like , then if then you're not, or there's one or you have the knack for making the girl fall for you head over heels, then still no problem.So I didn't have any of these three, so yeah, I had to struggle. And I, I had to mention this point, my wife's uncle's, father's come from a teaching background as well. So I somehow felt like, yeah, this teaching has provided me with this match 

Djagmo: and with the father also. That is also another thing. Yeah. 

Prudhvi: Yeah. So luckily my father-in-law is a teacher himself, so he understands me. So yeah, you'll always have a partner who will support. Even today, my wife will tell me, If I go back and say, hey, this is getting too hectic. I want to go back to work. She says, in two years of marriage, she never asked me to go back to work. Like right to her job. She's like, do what you like. Even if you don't get six months pay, that's fine. Uh, but do what you like. Don't go into the job again. Just because of me or peer pressure. So I'm really lucky, really lucky to have such understanding partner. 

Djagmo: Great. Great Prudhvi thank you. This is what I've got a set of questions, you know, which might I think help our viewers right So, yeah. Okay. one question before we go. So, how's your competition like right now? Or are you even worried about competition or you're just not worried and focusing on what you're doing? 

Prudhvi: Yeah, I think,at one point of time I felt that you shouldn't be worried about competition but what I do is I see what they're doing good, and if it is working out, I try to adopt some of their steps .So for example, we were giving delivery schedules,fixed schedule. So earlier it was like, okay, five ,but now we are doing delivery schedules like, okay, this week is break. This week is not great. Everything fixed upfront and giving. So I take best practices from my competitors.And I'm not really worried about them. There are a lot of differences. One difference is even today a lot of people are doing blended, but show it as a hundred percent live.We are actually doing a hundred percent live. That is competitive [02:24:00] advantage for me. And, the kind of teaching, I have almost five years teaching experience in data science itself. Okay. So yeah. Where do you get a five years experience person teaching you every single class. So that's the advantage. 

Djagmo: What are, what three books would you recommend to the audience and why? 

Prudhvi: Okay, I've been a great book reader. If you're showing video, I think you can see that

corner books. So I don't read fiction. Most of, them are non-fiction. The books I would love is, first thing deep work. Focus the work by Cal Newport, second thing I would say says flow. Flow by Mihali. I don't know how to pronounce the second one. Flow is a popular book. It's about how you can be happy, about your work, how it's f l o w is it flow .And, the third thing I would say is the last lecture by Randy Pausch. It, it was his book, after he wrote it, after he was diagnosed with the terminal cancer saying how his career went, what are his learnings from his entire life on his death. But he wrote that book. So I think these three books I would recommend to all my users. 

Djagmo: What are the three movies that you'd recommend, if at all? There is any.  

Prudhvi: So not a movies person. I think, I, I see I take a lot of challenges in entrepreneurial life, so I don't go for movies which are really [02:26:00] challenging to watch. I just say that. Just normal entertainment I go for lot of comedy movies. 

Djagmo: So what are the last three? Uh, recently watched films, three of them that you. Okay. You are Telegu speaking person. 

Prudhvi: I enjoyed Avatar 2. It was really awesome. Okay. Then I, I do watch a lot. And second thing is I would say Pushpa. It's it's one and a half year almost again. And one book I will talk about, one movie. I think it's a social dilemma. I guess it's on Netflix documentary. Social dilemma. It's on how people spend a lot of time on Social media. How is it?  So these three movies I would recommend to the audience, if at all, my favorite movies. 

Djagmo: What are the three other podcasts? Do you listen to podcasts? If you do, do you have any on the top of your mind that you really like? 

Prudhvi: Okay. Not a podcast person. The only one podcast I ever listened to was Kunal Shah who is the cred founder. Kunal Shah, right.  Beer Biceps, interviewed this cred founder. Kunal shah, Beer Biceps interview. That was a podcast. I liked it. Okay. I watched it. That's it. Not a podcast person. Okay. Don't know what podcasts are. I mean, I did a lot of podcasts, but what are the top and, [02:28:00] uh, I don't, I'm on more of a text person.  So Kunal shah's interview with this Beer Bicep guy. It was like really wonderful. Yeah So you asked, So Was it worth the journey? Is a question I would've asked. It was, it, it was definitely worth it. As Steve Jobs says, all the dots only will get connected at the end.  I, I've seen that happen. So at the start, you don't know. At sometimes you feel a lot of despair, a lot of struggle. Especially the covid hit the small entrepreneurs very hard. [02:29:00] Right. But is it worth it? Definitely, yes. Very strong. Yes. I'm very happy with whatever I did. 

Djagmo: Hmm. Great. And the last question, final question is where can the listeners find you online or generally? 

Prudhvi: Okay. Okay. The only platform I'm available is LinkedIn. And of course I had a plan to start YouTube channel. I had one with few videos. Of course, not very active. Yeah. LinkedIn and YouTube. That's where you can find me. I'll give you the links.You can post it

Djagmo: I will post it. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Sure. Great. First of all, let us consider this. As you know, the first season, we will definitely have another one down the line. You'll have new journeys. Yes. And especially for a person who likes to share. I don't think there's anything better than talking to people like you. It was amazing. I am like, really? You know, [02:30:00] I'm, I, I think I'm pretty fortunate to do this podcast thing, first of all, because I get to talk to people who are doing something different out there. And, my experience conversing with you has been pretty amazing, right? It's a unique story. It is, you know, it gives you so much of perspective what it takes for somebody to follow their passion, the kind of problems that you've solved, the ups and downs that you've taken, and, you know, all these things is like, as a listener, as a direct listener it is amazing.  I love this whole experience. I would totally love to have another episode sometime down the line when you're ready. And thank you once again for taking your time out. It's almost been what, three, three and a half hours You've taken time. So yeah, thank you from the bottom of my heart for this.

Prudhvi:  thank you Jag. I have to honestly confess one thing just [02:31:00] from after yesterday's podcast, right throughout the two and half hours we, I spent. I felt very good. One reason is, it was about discovering me what I've done again. So it was like, 20 shots of dopamine coming at once. So I felt very good, remembering all the story thank you for uncovering. And, I loved talking. And first of all, I love this idea of sharing knowledge entrepreneurs because everyone should have access to this kind of content when they're about to start the journey. When I started off, I didn't know. I started creating path for myself, just like that. And yeah, I think whatever you're doing is wonderful. You have been great host, Jag. Good listener. 

Djagmo: Great. This podcast is brought to you by EdisonOS, a no-code tech platform to operate an online education business. Knowledge. Entrepreneurs can use EdisonOS to sell online courses from their own websites, manage online masterclasses, launch mobile learning apps, sell online practice tests for competitive exams, run online learning communities, digitizing their offline tutoring business, use it as a learning management system, and a lot more cases in the domain of knowledge commerce.

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