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7th Feb 2023
2hr 9min

Episode 4 | Vamsi Kurama | Plane

Today's guest is Vamsi Kurama, a passionate entrepreneur, software product builder and founder of Plane.

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Transcript for Plane

Djagmo: Welcome to the Knowledge Entrepreneurs Show, where we celebrate the innovators driving change in the education industry at Edison os. We've worked with over 500 knowledge entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into profitable businesses. Today's guests of the Knowledge Entrepreneur Show is Surama, a passionate entrepreneur and software product builder.

Djagmo: VAMSI is the founder of Plain, a startup that aims to revolutionize the way we use and interact with technology. With a bachelor's degree in computer science from Java, Naru Technological University. Kada BAMSI has demonstrated his expertise in the field of software development. He's also the author of the bestseller book, Python Programming, A Modern Approach.

Djagmo: We're excited to have bamc on the show today to share his insights on entrepreneurship and technology and how he's leveraging his skills to make a positive impact in the world. Hi, Bai, a formal welcome to the Knowledge Entrepreneur

Vamsi: Show. Thanks a lot, judge. Thanks a lot. Thanks a lot. Thank you.

Djagmo: Thank you so much for taking your time out and, uh, joining this on a Sunday evening.

Djagmo: I know how super occupied you are, so

Vamsi: Yeah, yeah, I'm, I'm glad that I'm on the show. I've been, uh, you know, hearing a lot about the show and I also have gone through the previous episodes of yours. I think, uh, yeah, this will be fun. Let's do it.

Djagmo: Okay. Great. So, uh, Rami, uh, just for the, uh, sake of the listeners, I'm sure you know why we are doing this podcast and everything, but still, you know, I'm just gonna talk a little bit about what this podcast is.

Djagmo: Why are we doing it, and why are you here basically? So this is the Knowledge Entrepreneurship. This podcast is called as a knowledge Entrepreneurship. So what is a knowledge entrepreneurship? Basically, we are looking to talk to people who are, you know, entrepreneurs in the knowledge domain. Um, reason being, you know, Edison OS is a education online platform for teachers, trainers, academies, and, uh, when we do podcasts with people who are in the knowledge industry, uh, there are a lot of information on the internet about what to do, how to do and stuff like that.

Djagmo: But talking to people who've been there, who've done that, conversing with them, talking about that, brings out a lot of these information that may not be available out there in a formal structured way. And these, uh, information, these exchanges will not only positively give them information, okay, this is what I need to start, but this can also help people come to a conclusion whether this is for them or not.

Djagmo: They can also save themselves from not entering into it after getting to know the reality. So that is also a value. It may not have, always have to be positive somebody. So that's the thing. And um, so why is one C here? One C is not your, uh, typical knowledge entrepreneur as in, you know, he doesn't run an academic or something like that.

Djagmo: But, uh, yeah, indirectly he did because, um, okay. Before talking about what RAMSI did, what ramsi is today is RAMSI is one of the most, uh, you know, uh, I mean, I don't know, but people that I talk to, they consider ramsi is one of the top software developers in India that they have worked with. And, uh, he's based in, uh, Andra Pradesh and, uh, he's gonna be moving to ABA soon.

Djagmo: And, uh, he's a computer science graduate. That's about it. I don't think he's done any fancy degree in all those things. And so this is what he's, but then he's building a lot of products. But, um, why is Onec here then? You know, if he's just a developer, uh, he did something called Aquiz. Uh, Kitz is also one of the many products that he built, but he built it for himself, not for somebody else.

Djagmo: So, Kitz happens to be a platform similar to Di Lingo. Di Lingo is for languages, Kitz is for programming. So he's also been an educator. And, um, it's, the journey is still on, probably at this point is just paused. I think he's gonna arrive it. But we are gonna talk to VSC and find out all of these, uh, information, uh, in this podcast.

Djagmo: So hopefully, uh, you know, people who are aspiring to become entrepreneurs in the knowledge space you're gonna have, I think you're gonna have a lot of value in this podcast. So with that, I will, uh, get to ce. We can start this on a very, Informal way. Personal way. Why? Because, you know, personal connection is very important for people to be able to relate initially.

Djagmo: Nice. So I'm gonna start off by asking, please share anything that you would like to, you know, because everything is a reason, uh, for who you are today. So yeah, open to you. Onto you.

Vamsi: Awesome. Thanks a lot, Jack, for the introduction. Uh, so let me talk about myself first. I've been, uh, in the software space for the last, uh, five and a half years.

Vamsi: And, uh, just to, uh, tell a brief about myself, I have this company called Caral. Uh, Caral is a company that, uh, you know, we are into producing software products and, uh, we kind of engineer large scale massive systems, right? Right. From, uh, systems that can scale from tens to thousands to millions of users.

Vamsi: That's what we do at the company. And talking about my relationship to the academy, I was extremely close because I did my bachelor's and I'm a state award environmental award from the government for my, uh, degree computer science. And, uh, it's been, uh, a fantastic journey for four years. That's, that's the most, uh, important piece of my life.

Vamsi: I would say the four years of extremely enthusiastic to learn a lot of stuff about computer science. You know, it was out of the pure love what I've done. And I had this passion for programming for a very long time, since my eighth standard. So I've been doing that, uh, very often, often. And, uh, it's been quite a journey for me.

Vamsi: And after my bachelor's, that obsession became kind of, uh, you know, uh, it, it, it went beyond obsession. It went beyond obsession. And I was in a state where, okay, let me do something. And honestly speaking, you've put it in a very nice way of taking it to myself. You know, certain things, the decisions that when you try to create some decisions are something that you do it with your intuition, right?

Vamsi: You fundamentally don't think about anything with respect to the data or the market, because business, you need to think from various perspectives. But sometimes you have a gut feeling and your intuition pushes you to do something. And that's where you kind of, uh, start doing many things in life. So again, back to the story I graduated, uh, in, in 2017, and it was, uh, I, I came out of the college and I wanted to do something.

Vamsi: I had crazy offers on my plate. Uh, you know, in France I had an offer in India, I have offers from big, big companies. But there was a feeling that, okay, I wanted to do something, and this needs to be big, you know? And the really important thing that happened to me that time, you know, just before my bachelor's, is I was this author for this book called Python Programming in Modern Approach, which is published with Pson Education.

Vamsi: And that kind of have eaten me up because the writing process for was almost for, uh, two years, 10, because I, I wrote this small book called piek. Which became a crazy hit, uh, where this was distributed in a bunch of colleges where I used to visit for seminars and things like that. And, uh, this became a

Djagmo: huge, uh, sorry to interrupt you.

Djagmo: Did you say you wrote this book before your bachelor's? Yeah. Wow. Okay. Sorry.

Vamsi: Right. So, and again, the, the origin story of, uh, you know, Python programming and Modern Approach is this book, the initial book that I've written that's a 40 pager Python book, a very tiny book where I used to visit a lot of colleges and, uh, you know, teach about Python because in the states of Python was extremely, uh, you know, it, it was a language that is part the site.

Vamsi: People used to talk about different other languages, like, you know, if the audience knew about cc plus plus Java, you know, the standard, classic languages. But Python was pretty new to the Indian space. So that's where we started evangelizing, uh, a lot about Python. And I wrote this book called piek, which we became a good thing.

Vamsi: And then later on, PN approached me and we, I published with peers. And so again, coming back to this story of, uh, kids, um, we started out, out of extreme passion towards programming, right? And maybe I'll, I'll put it this way. I started out with my own selfishness of, okay, I need to do something and what do I know the best?

Vamsi: You know, I know programming the best way possible. And then we started it off. So that's how the kids' journey started. And, uh, yeah, it's, it's been arrived, uh, when we started out. And on the other hand, we were doing consulting projects to make sure that the company's living and, you know, this is something that we.

Vamsi: Pulled it as a product, you know, a B2C product and that kind.

Djagmo: Got it. Great. Ramsey, thank you. I'm gonna like, uh, go back a little bit because, uh, thanks for sharing. You know, that wasn't even a specific question, so thank you for like, you know, talking a bunch of things because I have a lot of questions from this.

Djagmo: So, uh, one thing, what I was interested is, uh, how your childhood was, because you touched upon, uh, that a little bit. You said eight standard was the time when you, uh, started getting interested in programming, right? So, I mean, uh, the reason I'll, before I ask question, if I can, I will try and articulate the reason we are asking you the question.

Djagmo: Sorry, asking you the question because I think that is a very important thing. The reason I'm asking is two things. If there are people listening and, you know, if they can find certain pattern or certain logical thing that can be, uh, modeled, that is one reason. Another reason is this is also, I am assuming, hoping a lot of educators are watching this, and I think as educators it is very important to know what picks a student, what drives a student and interest and stuff like that.

Djagmo: That's the reason I'm asking. So, standard, what exactly, how did you get interested into programming? Like, what triggered you?

Vamsi: Right. So I would say, you know, it, it mostly came from my parents. You know, my dad is a professor of computer science. Okay. Okay. And, uh, you know, I was surrounded with a bunch of computers.

Vamsi: Uh, you know, we, we started using computers when they're C R T monitors, you know, big Yes, yes. And the CPU used to be a size of a tiny kid, you know, Thank you, uh, that size CPUs, and we were always obsessed about these blue screens whenever, where, wherever we used to see these blue screens, because that's the loading part that comes in.

Vamsi: And it's, it's all that, uh, you know, technology for me is probably, you know, everybody who one in the nineties will relate, relate to this was kind of, uh, fascination, right? Yeah. Because there is, uh, a constant exponential growth in terms of the technology space. So I was always surrounded by these things and, uh, probably, you know, that might be the reason which drove me.

Vamsi: And that also is something, you know, when people look at you sitting before the computer, uh, you are, you are something to them, right? That gives you a lot of, uh, you know, this, this, this person is good at computers and things. So, but more than that, uh, I am pretty much interested in, uh, early math of my life.

Vamsi: I was doing a lot of math at that time, and, uh, at, at one point I started, uh, you know, it, it math became too much for me and one thing that I could replace with this program. So when, in my school, when Q Basic, Q Basic was the first programming language that I was introduced to, uh, when that was there, uh, it interested me a lot in terms of doing some bunch of instructions and that, that drove me in into the Seamless

Djagmo: program.

Djagmo: Okay. Uh, okay. One reason is your father himself was a professor of computer science, but not, uh, seeing somebody who was a software engineer, you know, who was in the US who was earning a lot. No.

Vamsi: Was that No, it was not like that. And even there was not any, uh, you know, formal education that I've gone through.

Vamsi: Even, you know, there were not that many times where I interacted with my dad. It was just looking and seeing things. It was, there was no pro teaching per se, you know, that went into the system. It was pure surrounding, surrounding myself with them. Okay. And seeing a lot of people around me, that's what triggered me.

Vamsi: Okay.

Djagmo: So that triggered an aid standard. And then before even completing bachelor's, you say that you wrote a book that means you must have gotten yourself involved in computers a lot from eighth science itself, uh, which is what must have driven you to take computer science as a bachelor's degree also.

Djagmo: Right. So, uh, was there any, uh, guidance, uh, for you from your father through, uh, this period, from eighth to your engineering? Or it was just, you know, you just went behind your interests and whatever picked your curiosity?

Vamsi: I was a very curious kid from, uh, you know, from a very younger age. So I always kind of, uh, used to read, uh, the books that are classic in nature.

Vamsi: For example, in my intermediate, you know, the plus one, plus two, I used to read something in that's there in bse. Mm-hmm. Not that I wanted to do something. I used to read a lot of Richard Fame and classics, uh, you know, uh, lectures of Computation or something that sorts, I used to read a lot of, uh, other books in, in the field of that, that field of science.

Vamsi: So when I, uh, grad after my plus two, I joined the college. And, uh, after joining the college, I know that I, I wanted to do something in the field of programming, but I wasn't able to do that. Uh, and first year I started programming aggressively. You know, I, I used to do something that's there in my fourth year.

Vamsi: Um, and I started doing that, doing that. At, at one point I hit a, a threshold where I said, okay, this is not enough room. And then it, my journey from there started off visiting a lot of conferences. I used to be in Bangalore for almost, uh, four months, uh, yeah, in, in, during the four month period, which starts right from October, October season.

Vamsi: The conferences start in Manor. Uh, you have programming languages, conferences, you know, being done at those places. And I used to be there in Manor almost for 15, 20 days in that zone. So that drove me a lot. And I used to meet the best folks. You know, I, I've met Brad Fitzpatrick, uh, who's the one who created a bunch of sticks at Google.

Vamsi: Uh, Robert Wording, who is the creator of a programming language called. So I started to, you know, increase my network and talking to people that intrigued me plot. And by the time I came down to my second, third years, I was in a zone where, okay, I, I, I know a bunch of things. And now that I used to visit these conferences, there is this organization which apparently got diluted, uh, not today.

Vamsi: It's called pssi, Python Software Society of India. Uh, I was part of Pssi and, uh, PSSI after that, you know, they used to organize something called the user groups. So user group is a concept where you started in a place, you ask, uh, a bunch of people to come together and you start evangelizing the programming language, Python for Better Grade group.

Vamsi: That's what we used to do. And I organized this, uh, group called, uh, PK on the place, Python Users Group, where we conducted a lot of sessions apparently in the entire state. This was the only user group at that time. Okay. So we were invited, you know, we are a bunch of four friends who started this out where I used to lead a lot of things.

Vamsi: And you know, a lot of colleges used to call us for asking us to, you know, give seminars and things like that because a lot of these companies, like tcs, Wipro, and the Bigs in India used to have Java as the core at that time, but they started taking a transition into Python. Okay. Right. Uh, during the 20 fifteens.

Vamsi: 20 sixteens. So, so, so when this transition was happening, the Academy doesn't contain Python as their standard curriculum. Mm-hmm. Right? And, uh, now that we know something about Python and we were starting to evangelize these things, a lot of institutions wanted to come there and teach them Python them to their students because they need a placement trajectory, you know?

Vamsi: Right, right. For college. So there is a, a, you know, a direction to it where the colleges want us badly. And that's where I have taught almost 12,000 people, you know, going to, uh, colleges. Uh, we, I think I, I almost visited close to, yeah, I think 15, 20 colleges where there are about, you know, the crowd is about thousand or so, uh, thousand, sometimes 500, sometimes or so, so multiple times.

Vamsi: So this is in the state of immigra? Both, both the states, both available states where, uh, we, we used to go there, we sit, we used to sit for the whole day, uh, teach them in the first half and make them code in the second half. And this used to run for two days. Okay. So that made me write a book for them because there were a bunch of questions, you know, people used to come there and ask me questions, which book do I know have to refer?

Vamsi: And things like that. I used to read a lot of books that, that is something that I used it for my teaching material. But eventually what I felt was, okay, there needs to be a tiny thing because I'm going on a two day workshop to their institution. And it, it required some kind of an additional resource for me to give them.

Vamsi: And that's where I wrote this thing called PI Quick. So it's like quick Python, right? Uh, PI Quick. And, uh, later, you know, this, this became a huge thing and it was open source. A lot of people from other companies started to work on it, you know, give me advices solutions on my writing. Uh, open source is all about contributions, right?

Vamsi: Yeah. Yeah. They appreciate and they give, uh, you know, sometimes the feedback is hard. Sometimes there is a constructive feedback, but you get to improve your content and material. And that's where my journey towards other stuff started. You know, writing a full handbook. Great.

Djagmo: Okay. So, uh, uh, couple of things.

Djagmo: When you said that, you know, when you were in your first year of graduation, you started solving problems, uh, that were given to the fourth year. Now this was because, uh, you knew all the things that was in the curriculum in the first three years. Is it you had already finished all these things or you thought, okay.

Djagmo: Or was it that? No, no, no. No matter what, I need to straight away approach the fourth year things so that your mindset is changed. Is it something you do with your mindset? You forced yourself into it, or you thought you really know? I know all these things, so I'm gonna do fourth year stuff.

Vamsi: See, let me tell you a very, uh, nice story around this.

Vamsi: I was a curious kid. It's not pushing myself. Okay. There were times where I used to, uh, kind of, uh, you know, if I'm not interested in something, hmm. I'll just close the book and sleep. Okay. And, you know, morning, I'll not be even able to pick that up. But there are, there are times with programming or, uh, coding per se.

Vamsi: The idea was, I, I never got exhausted doing it for long hours. I never felt exhausted. Thank you. Even though it was, you know, it, it was out of pure love, pure love, love for programming and things like that. It was curiosity, definitely for sure. But I never got exhausted. Uh, there are times where I've coded for, uh, you know, 36 hours.

Vamsi: Wow. Apparently I had some sleep in the middle, but that was the kind of stretch that I used to have. So I never got exhausted. That's one. And I was a curious kid. It was never pushing myself to get into that zone and things like that. Got answer it automatically, you know, my brain started loving it and it'll start picking

Djagmo: you up.

Djagmo: No, no, I got your answer. Amazing. And, uh, when you said, you know, you taught, you, uh, taught, uh, 12,000, 15,000 kids in different colleges, uh, students in different, so was this like what a volunteering activity or was it a paid activity? What was

Vamsi: it? Uh, it was a paid activity, of course, you know, we had to, uh, fund while

Djagmo: you were a student.

Djagmo: Yes. And you represented Pssi while doing this.

Vamsi: Yeah. It was kind of not representing PSS a pssa. You should promote these activities. Okay. Okay. Uh, so this is a organization, there is an excellent organization called Bang Pipes, uh, Bangalore, Python Users, bang Pipes. Ah, so that's where we got connected to a bunch of, uh, very interesting folks.

Vamsi: Okay. In the domain and where they used to help me a lot. And that's how we started evangelizing the

Djagmo: Great. Okay. So, um, as a teacher, I mean, forget that you were a student then on all those things. What you do is what counts. Right? Actions are the ones that really define somebody. So you started teaching and you started teaching for money and, uh, that, uh, led you to write a book also.

Djagmo: And, uh, then you, you spoke something about open source. Uh, correct me if I'm wrong. Open source as far as I have heard is, uh, say for example, something. Uh, openai.com today is like an open source artificial intelligence stuff, right? So that is some sort of a tool, is what they call us open source. But you only wrote a book or was PI Quick something?

Djagmo: Some tool or something like that? What,

Vamsi: what, what's it? Okay. So open source is very simple. Open source is where you have everything on the internet for free of cost without any commercial, uh, you know, liability

Djagmo: on it. Oh, fine, fine. Generally open source is what it means. Correct?

Vamsi: Correct. And, and open AI is not an open company.

Vamsi: Uh, you know, that's, that's a controversial thing that's going on to Twitter. That open AI is not equal to, ah, it was intended to be an open source company, but okay. It's, it's a completely closed company right now, but the name of the company, the goal of the company was established in a way to open source all the work that they've been

Djagmo: doing.

Djagmo: Okay, fine. So my confusion here was that open source means some technology, the codes behind that particular tool, if it is out there in the internet, that's what is called open source. It's like Tesla's, uh, stuff are also on open source.

Vamsi: So just to give you a very nice example around open source Linux, you know, the Android phone Linux?

Vamsi: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Is completely built on the internet. You know, it's, it's open. Ah, every single day this creator called Linnux stores, he, he writes code, you know, he publishes it onto the internet.

Djagmo: Right. And it need not be free of cost. Is it? Open source need not be free. Of course it is free. Of course it's free.

Djagmo: I mean, for the guy who, uh, uh, does the work, does he get paid?

Vamsi: No, it's, it's all from the funding or the contributions that he get. Ah, somebody funds, Len is probably has a foundation called Linux. Uh, but there is no commercial value in it. Open source doesn't got it. They, they're, they're not for profit. It has value in it if you are trying to go into a direction where you start an open source company.

Vamsi: But if it's an open source project, then things are different.

Djagmo: Okay. Fine. Got it. But a lot of things, I don't want to, you know, your topic. Yeah. But, but thanks. Yeah. I got an understanding. Great. Um, so now, uh, coming back, you know, uh, you finished your, uh, so you stopped teaching after that, after publishing the book?

Vamsi: Yeah. So, see, the reason, uh, again, I just wanted to talk about something that's very interesting. Uh, okay. I never thought I'll be a great teacher. Okay. The idea, the interest was, uh, you know, in, in languages as I told you for a very long time. And, uh, my first seminar, the first seminar that I was able to give at that time is within my college, you know, uh, because I, I asked permission from my hr, the head of the department, and I asked her, can I do this?

Vamsi: She said, okay, fine. You know, you can take a, a, a break, uh, for, I'll, I'll make sure that the classes are not happening in the evening session. And you are, you can pick the session up. And there are about, uh, 60 attendees, uh, where, you know, I had to teach from two in the afternoon until five. So it was a three, three hours straight session.

Vamsi: Um, and almost, yeah, as I told you, somewhere around 50, 60 odd people came into that session. And it was, uh, very interesting that day where I started teaching them. Hmm. And you know, my focus was more onto, uh, teaching, you know, telling them, looking at my presentation slides and things like that. And after five, 10 minutes, I understood that the crowd is not serious with me.

Vamsi: Uh, you know, the most of the crowd that's there in the, and then the group were kind of doing their own stuff because you know the age group, right. And you're doing Right. Right. They're doing their own stuff. And I felt like, okay, I need to focus more on the crowd rather than on my slides or my, uh, you know, wise and things like that.

Vamsi: And then I started looking at the crowd, uh, observing them and changing the direction of my teaching into a more interactable. Mm. Right. Uh, and I was still not satisfied because still most of the crowd is not listening to me. Okay. But one thing that drove me that day is six people, or Yeah, six, seven people that day.

Vamsi: I still remember those names and faces. Uh, were having a little smile on their face, you know, they're really enjoying what I'm teaching. Right. That drove me for the next, you know, two and a half hours that actually those were the folks who drove me, uh, in saying that, okay, this is, this is really cool. And those were the six people.

Vamsi: Exactly. I know those six people. After the session is done, they came out to meet me and they said, this is excellent. We wanted to learn more about it. Let me know where do we have to be? Mm. So, you know, most of the crowd at that time was busy with all sorts of their own stuff. And, you know, you know that how students, we, you know, I, as a student also, if something is boring, we kind of get into some, something that's irrelevant.

Vamsi: You know, we do all sorts of, uh, things there. So yeah, that, that actually have given me more confidence that I'll be able to teach. And, uh, teaching needs to be more, uh, how do I put that narrowed down? And you should really see that what's working best for the crowd rather than keeping it to yourself.

Djagmo: Got it.

Djagmo: And which, where, uh, which year were you in when you did this seminar? First one, uh, second year. Second year. Okay. A quick question now, was this seminar requested by people who knew that you were good in something? Or was it, you know, a voluntary thing that you did? Or do you, did you have a agenda behind

Vamsi: it?

Vamsi: No, I did it voluntarily because I just really wanted to, uh, no, I was interesting visiting this conferences. Um, I was visiting these conferences and I, I really wanted to talk about something and, you know, of course my friends were talking about, where are you going? You know, what are you doing? And all sorts of stuff.

Vamsi: Mm-hmm. I really wanted to show something that is cool. You know, something, if something cool comes into the market, you wanted to show it to your friends, right? Mm-hmm. That's how it started. I approached my HRD where, uh, I told them, you know, this is something that I've been. Learning a lot about, so let me know if I can give you a seminar.

Vamsi: And as I told you that tragically started already think the Python is coming into the market. So they were pretty interested, you know, somebody who is, who is in our organization wants to teach, you know, for, for nothing, you know, for free of cost, why do you have to say no? And they said, said yes.

Djagmo: So you did this out of a genuine intention of sharing something with your fellow people.

Djagmo: Exactly, exactly. That's about it. Nothing else. No agenda behind this. No agenda. Uh, it was, you, you didn't treat that as, okay, you know what, uh, I'm gonna kind of start my practice here in the future. I'm gonna become this. Because you said you went to conferences and you must have had some sort of inspirations or, you know, something you might have liked somebody and you wanted to replicate them or something.

Djagmo: Nothing like that. You just wanted to, you just picked something, you just wanted to come and share. That's about it. Yep. Okay. Uh, but did you, uh, tell your folks about these conferences? Uh, did you pay to attend those conferences?

Vamsi: Yeah, we pay, uh, sometimes, you know, it's, it's a huge pay as well. So you paid it out

Djagmo: of your own pocket?

Djagmo: Yeah. Out of your own interest. And how did you get to know about these conferences?

Vamsi: Uh, a lot from the internet. Ah-huh

Djagmo: Okay. Because you're in those communities and that's how you get to know these people coming, correct? Correct. Okay. Okay. Okay. Brilliant. Got it. Okay. Rami, great. Uh, I, I thought, uh, I had other thoughts.

Djagmo: That's the reason I asked you these questions. It might have come across pretty, uh, basic or silly or whatever. Okay. Now you said you, uh, had some lucrative, attractive offers. Crazy offers. Right now just cur just curiosity. Can you put some numbers to those? You don't have to say the name of the company if you don't want to simply just to say the numbers so that, oh, you left this much and, you know, just to get that idea.

Vamsi: Uh, so our first arranged from 40 to 70.

Djagmo: This was when you were just 21, 20 17. 2017 when you were like, just out of college. Great. Yeah. And, uh, did you discuss about this with your parents before, uh, rejecting them or moving on to do whatever you wanted to do?

Vamsi: They were clear in terms of, uh, whatever I wanted to do.

Vamsi: Mm-hmm. I have put it, uh, you know, straight saying that this is what I like, uh, love about my work. And, uh, they told me that they do whatever you wish. And, you know, from a very typical, uh, perspective, you know, the society's perspective. They also asked me, you know, do you want to get into some kind of a master's and things like that.

Vamsi: But fortunately the company picked up and where I had to, uh, leave, leave it there, the master's thing, but

Djagmo: Okay. So you did enroll yourself into some master's program?

Vamsi: I did not. That's a long story. You know, I'll, I'll probably talk about it later, but yeah, there's two, there was nothing kind of, um, uh, no, from my parents.

Vamsi: Mm-hmm. It was your choice. Supportive? Yeah, it was, it was my choice and I told them, they said yes.

Djagmo: Great. Okay. So, um, just,

Vamsi: and these were the offers, you know, outside India at that time. Uh, where I had to fly down to France, from France one offer, things like that. So it was kind of in India also, I had an offer.

Vamsi: Uh, but yeah, the highest amount is from the other country.

Djagmo: Okay. Got it. I'm gonna ask a lot more about this. I mean, not about the numbers and stuff like that, but some of the questions, but then before that, I just wanna quickly come to the present day now, uh, 2017, today we are in 20, 23, 5, 6 years down the line.

Djagmo: Now, you know that people also work in big companies and then they come out saying that X some company X some company, and then, you know, they kind of have this image about themselves and then they go to build on stuff. Right. Um, having spent five, six years on your own without having any experience in any of the big companies, when you look back, do you think you, it, it would've helped you not financially, it would've helped you from some other way if you could've worked for one, two years?

Vamsi: Uh, definitely. I would say yes. Uh, you know, because in life, something that I wanted at every point in my life is some kind of a mentorship. Uh, the right mentor can drive you in the right, right path. Working in a company might really help me a lot, uh, but I would've missed the challenges here. You know, there are pros and cons of every decision that we make, right, right, right.

Vamsi: Uh, so something, I would've really loved to do it if the opportunity was something that I, I would've liked at that time. But again, it's all destiny and the thing that I've just, you know, chosen. Yeah, no point. I, I'll say, definitely say yes. Uh, if I would've gone to another company, I would've learned a lot given the right mentorship.

Djagmo: Got it. No, thank you for being honest about this, because, you know, going back and saying, yes, I could have done that is not easy. The reason I asked you was just others get an idea as to, you know, what can happen if you work and then do what can happen. You said there are pros and cons to both. So having worked would've got your good mentor, but then you would've missed out on the challenges that you solved yourself.

Djagmo: So yeah, I think it boils down to what they want to choose now. Um, coming back to, you know, uh, not taking up those offers that you got and then going on to start a company now, just because you're talented, you're intelligent, whatever it is, you know, business is different, having intelligence and about expertise about some topic is different.

Djagmo: Uh, how did you convert that, um, expertise you had into a monetary profitable venture? What were the gaps or, you know, what was your journey

Vamsi: till you got there? Right, so initially it was, uh, hard, you know, in terms of, uh, making connections. The biggest thing in the entrepreneur journey, especially when you're into the services business, uh, the consulting business, you need to meet a lot of people because, uh, in the initial days we, we apparently, you know, the first project was quick.

Vamsi: That made us arrive for almost, uh, six, seven months. And then later we were talking about all sorts of talking with all sorts of people in the industry market. And, uh, trying to connect with a lot of people and things like that. Uh, but yeah, it was kind of, uh, meeting a lot of people when you start the entrepreneurial journey, uh, it was meeting a lot of people, but initially, I, I never had this mindset of, okay, we'll have to meet a lot of people at things.

Vamsi: Like we were in a mindset where, you know, uh, okay, let's start a company, let's make some money. That's the initial thought that everybody will have as an entrepreneur, right? Mm-hmm. Hmm. But you'll not look at the, uh, big picture, what happens, you know, you always see this image of what's under the water if, if there is a huge mountain, and what's about, so there are a lot of things that goes into building an empire, uh, and being an entrepreneur.

Vamsi: But, uh, initially, you know, honestly speaking there one zero thoughts. All I know is I know that I have a skillset with me that I'll be able to program web websites, web applications, mobile applications and things like that. So I thought I'll just convert the skill into a monitoring value. That was it, the initial thought, was it?

Vamsi: Not more than that. Okay.

Djagmo: So what was your first project and how exactly you got it? You got it from a referral. Was it very easy? What was it?

Vamsi: Yeah, first I think, uh, it, it became a bit easier for us because we worked, uh, with the government, uh, where we were, uh, you know, trying to build applications for the government and, uh, you know, it was, again, they have their own cons in terms of the monetary value and things like that, because you have, right, uh, little, so we got it through a via referral and uh, right, we produced that application into the market.

Vamsi: Right. And we created them. We made some money back.

Djagmo: Great. And, uh, the book that you wrote mm-hmm. Uh, did that help you, you know, did, was that, uh, did that act as a source of credit for you when you went outside asking for projects?

Vamsi: Uh, yeah, definitely. I'd say yes, because, uh, a lot of people know you by the name of the book and you know, you're an author and you have, uh, already an established name.

Vamsi: Right? Right. So it become easier for me to get into conversations, uh, quick conversations, you know, how do you portray yourself or project yourself to other people? Right? You, you write a book and this is what you want to do. You talk about all the stuff that you know about. It becomes easier. So definitely I say that helped me a lot.

Djagmo: Got it. So, uh, first project you said it was re was easy and all those things. So what, what, what after that, what happened

Vamsi: after that? Okay, so that was an interesting thing where we had to wait for a very, very long time and I almost networked with 300 people. Okay. Uh, 300, 3 50 people on. Okay. Out of which I think there were only two conversions.

Vamsi: Uh, so all,

Djagmo: when you say networked, uh, okay. Networking is one thing, because interestingly, you also said you converted two after the 3 50, 300 networks, right? So you mean to say there were, uh, one-on-one meetings,

Vamsi: like, uh, yeah, one-on-one meetings, uh, you know, where we used to go into, um, Sometimes it was, uh, you know, gatherings where, where the tech folks come in, right?

Vamsi: Right. Sometimes it was more into, uh, you know, phone calls, referrals, and things like that. Mm-hmm. So initially, no. There are two kinds, right? One where they approach you, where you have, uh, inbound, right? Where the client approaches you saying that, Hey, I have X YZ problems. Can you solve this problem? Mm-hmm.

Vamsi: The other way is, you know, calling them, you know, cold calling them and asking for, Hey, do you want this x, y, Z to be done for you? I'm here for you. So the second half is very hard. The first time easy, right? Getting in bounds and working on it is easy. But now that we don't know what the domain to work on, because this is a wide spectrum, right?

Vamsi: We can, now that you are good at building something, now you can build websites, mobile applications, and um, you know, mobile applications and all that stuff. It's really hard for you to pick up a specific domain. Mm. So I can go into something sort of an e-commerce or education or, uh, finance or any system, because these are the common areas, right?

Vamsi: We can build applications in any specific number domain. So it was hard to narrow down which domain do we want to work for? And, uh, every entrepreneur will keep saying this, how do we say no to a lot of things, right? So in the initial days, it was hard to kind of, uh, layer yourself. A lot like an onion, you know, you have all the things in the middle, right?

Vamsi: So you kind of, you have to layer yourself saying that, okay, reject this, you know, say yes to that and say no to this. And it, it was kind of that journey. Mm-hmm. So when I say, when I said three 50 to two conversion, so it was more on, you know, we getting to know them, calling them, asking for a meeting, uh, giving our, showing our pitch deck presentation of what we have done so far, and then trying to get something under the table.

Djagmo: Okay. When you say you getting to know them, that means you discovering them? Finding them. Okay. You know, like a list building activities, what you're talking about 26? Yeah,

Vamsi: it was a list building. Okay.

Djagmo: And how do you know these people might have, have a requirement?

Vamsi: Uh, okay. So these guys used to come and talk about their products and, uh, these guys are pretty much, um, startups and you know, how startups works, always startup.

Vamsi: They try to kind of, uh, give it out to a other consulting partner or a service provider who can Right. Get this done for you. Right. And probably mid-level companies is, is too early at that time. Uh, so it was mostly startups that we reached out to asking for, you know, because startups wants to scale faster, right?

Vamsi: And scaling faster requires a lot of, uh, you know, pace in terms of what you build, right? So that pace comes with some money and giving it out to a service provider. So that's how the initial ideation was there. Apparently that changed later, after a very long time. Okay. Uh, but yeah, the initial set up, the idea was, okay, call these folks.

Vamsi: The startup of folks and then trying to reach, reach out to them in terms of getting to know them and what is the requirement they have and things like that. Most of the people, you know, out of three 50, I would say 60% of the people really had a requirement. Uh, but you know, the financial constraints would've stopped them to do that.

Djagmo: Hmm. And, uh, the calling part, right? When you said you had a business development team to do that?

Vamsi: No, it was only two fellows who started off the company, myself and my friend. Okay. Including my brother at that time. Okay. Only three people on the company. The, the company itself is tribute. Right. So we used to do

Djagmo: everything.

Djagmo: So the three of you would do call calling and

Vamsi: all those? Yeah. I used to do the cold calling. The other one, uh, does the coding and, you know, all that stuff. Okay. And, uh, we have was also, you know, my brother was also part of the team and he used to help me out after his colleges. So that was it. That was the team.

Vamsi: Okay.

Djagmo: So, okay. Cold calling and all those things is sales. Right. I've done some sales and I know the challenges that lie in cold calling and following that whole process before you can get, so did you have those skills naturally or you realized, oh man, you know, uh, if I'm an entrepreneur I need to know sales to start off.

Djagmo: And then how did you pick it on the go?

Vamsi: No, I, I did pick it on the go. Uh, it was learning, uh, right from, uh, day one. My, the initial calls were easier because you always have a, a had a referral. I had a referral that time. Mm-hmm. And I used to talk about that referral, saying that, okay, you know, you know, X, y, Z gave me a number and I know that you have a requirement here.

Vamsi: Can you talk more about it and things like that. If they're interested, they get to talk, know more about you. But if they're not interested, sometimes they'll be like, you know, can you drop an email? Probably I'll get back to you next week. So it was more onto calling and emailing at that time.

Djagmo: Okay. And you followed the entire process that you said for yourself following uh, everything.

Vamsi: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I know for a fact that something that I knew at that time is if somebody is coming back to you within a week's time, uh, it's awin situation that you're trying to create, it's the closest to a scene. Yeah. But, but later what we realized is that after one and a year, okay, uh, when we, we reached out to a lot of people, right.

Vamsi: And they started reaching us, you know, saying that, Hey, I have this department, can you do this for me? But if you want something to be done in a quicker way, you know, you want that project in the next two to three months. Uh, they would respond to you in one week step. One

Djagmo: week step. Right. Great. So, uh, these are two conversions that you said.

Djagmo: These were the second and the third after the first easy referral thing. I didn't get the question. Can you repeat? Uh, you said you got two conversions out of the three 50 calls or networking Correct. That you did, right? Correct. This was the, your, uh, second and third, uh, projects respectively after the first government, correct?

Djagmo: Exactly. Okay, fine. And, uh, okay. Now little bit going, you know, backtracking at this point, uh, how much time had passed, uh, your first project, second and third, by the time you got these three projects since you started Roughly. Okay.

Vamsi: So I think it took us almost a year enough to get the second and third project E not exactly year enough.

Vamsi: I'll say one year, two months.

Djagmo: Great. The question I wanted ask was, in this one year, two months, was there any instance when you thought, oh, should I have taken those

Vamsi: offers? Uh, I never, I, I don't know. This is a very interesting thought that you've put in my head right now. Uh, I know that I was going through a rough ride.

Vamsi: There were pain points where we also, again, we hired two more folks at that time, you know, including three of us plus two. There were, uh, hard times where I was constantly thinking about, uh, what do I have to do next? I never have thought through that. Okay. I would've taken that offer. I never had that thought, interestingly.

Vamsi: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Uh, but I was in a constant mode of, uh, you know, resonating with all the things that are happening in my life and trying to understand, okay, what's wrong? What's something that we are, uh, you know, doing in a bad way? How can we make this better? How do we make sure that we save some money?

Vamsi: You know, not wasting it at, at this point in time. Uh, you know, how do we build up that little frugality in the system? How can we, you know, what's our survival rate? What's the run rate that we have? So these were the thoughts in my head, rather than talking about the offers. Uh, but it was hard, you know, thinking about, which, you know, you, you had to call, there were times where I had to call about 20 people in a day, right?

Vamsi: And 20 people in a day is extremely hard, you know, you can't even imagine. 20 might look like a small number. But you're exhausted after the first call, your entire state of thinking goes off. Yeah. Yeah. Somebody is not responding to you the way you want them to respond. Yes. You go into a negative zone, you know, you, yes.

Vamsi: You have kind of, uh, you are, you're pissed off in line. Right? Right. Uh, why do I have to do this? That's the question. It was not kind of going back or picking those offers. I would've had, had the, if I, you know, if I were about to think in that direction, I would've had the other way around saying that, okay, I would've taken this route.

Vamsi: Hmm. But, uh, I never had that, uh, thought of, okay. Going back and picking that job.

Djagmo: Okay. I mean, uh, the thinking behind the question was, you know, uh, not exactly going and taking the job back, but then realizing how hard, uh, the entrepreneurial journey can be apart from the skills that you might have getting business.

Djagmo: Right. That is where I wanted to, uh, you know, come and ask you that question because, uh, you know, oh, you know what, I could have at least somebody else is getting the business. I could have put my skills to use from that point of view is what I tried to ask. And at any point in this one, uh, one year, two months, right?

Djagmo: When you were, uh, dry, no projects, did you have to borrow money to sustain? Uh, although you just had three people team. Uh, but still, you know,

Vamsi: I did borrow at one point. Uh, I did borrow, uh, I think only during the entire, uh, entrepre journey. I dated once. Okay. Uh, fortunately I was able to repay them back in three months.

Vamsi: Okay. Not even three months, I think two and a half months. Okay. Uh, and I did that, uh, because we had to pay salaries to the new grant that who came up to the organization. Mm-hmm. And the other half where I was doing some consulting myself alone with other companies directly. Hmm. It's like, not like a project where I had to run their team and things like that.

Vamsi: You know, it's, it's me as an individual going and getting the contribution done and where I used to put my money into the organization, the company, and then starting to replace those.

Djagmo: Got it. And, uh, from what I know you, uh, it's mostly, you know, the way you said you started off, you started off with another co-founder.

Djagmo: Was it a co-founder or was it just a friend who joined you as an

Vamsi: employee? Yeah, so it was, we never had the idea of co-founders, founders or any sort of these fancy titles. Right. Titles. I even, I don't know why, even initial days, I used to hate myself calling as eu. Right. Uh, I did that after three and a half years.

Vamsi: I think in the, during pandemic I know that, okay, this is time for me. I, I know certain set of manageable skills for me to call myself as a ceo. I would rather, at that time I used to call myself more as a cto, you know, a chief technology officer because I used to do a lot of things. Right. Right. But CEO seems to be a kind of, uh, uh, you know, extremely overrated term for me at that time.

Vamsi: Right. Uh, but it was kind of just, you know, a bunch of friends trying to build an organization. So we said, okay, um, let's, let's try to build something up. No additional motive, agenda. Right. Uh, but you can call as co-founders. Definitely. And

Djagmo: the friend is Sorry if that Oh, the company was still there. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Djagmo: Which it is. Uh, just to clarify to the listeners, uh, so is that friend still there with caravan? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Vamsi: He's there with me.

Djagmo: Great. Amazing. What, six years. Okay. That's something you've pulled off. Um, so Rami, now let us go to, you know, Keith, so what exactly happened? So, uh, Keith didn't come to your mind in this one year, two months, right.

Djagmo: Uh, in the journey that you're talking about getting the

Vamsi: second and the third line. Okay. That's a very no interesting piece that we wanted to, uh, track on. So one, uh, you know, that product building process Hmm. Again, this was out of intuition in looking at a lot of data in the market, consulting companies, it's really hard for you to find people, you know, find people who can give you work.

Vamsi: Yeah. Right? Right. On the other side, product business is completely different. You know, people will reach out to you start using your product and they pay for your product. Right. The idea for kids started off because we were struggling so hard on the table for Right. Getting these projects onto the table.

Vamsi: Right. That's how kids started. Hmm. And, uh, I always know for sure that we have to solve a real problem in the world. Right. Real problem. And we, we had to be genuine at that time. And we said, okay, there are a lot of people that we are teaching. We go to seminars and things like that. There is a lot of struggle in the market.

Vamsi: So we know what we know better as programming and how to teach, teach it. So let's start off Keith's. That's how it started. Got it.

Djagmo: So, um, okay. So Keith's idea came into the picture in the process of finding the second and the third project because, uh, you were also struggling to kind of find these servicing projects and you thought, okay, why not build a product, you know, product ourself and then sell that?

Djagmo: That was your

Vamsi: idea behind that. Yeah. Yeah. But not exactly during the, uh, first and second project sales. Okay. Uh, it was always there to start off because there was a idea at that time. You know, today, product companies can grow faster, right? Yes, yes. Uh, because you have the funding route that you can pick up, you have the evaluation route that you can pick up quickly.

Vamsi: Mm-hmm. Uh, you have, you are in a country like India where the population is huge, your customer base in India itself will give you a bigger growth, uh, project. So there are multiple directions, uh, in the years 2018. Uh, so where we thought, okay, let's build a product. Okay. And like, let's try to, uh, you know, this is our happy space, right?

Vamsi: Uh, building tech and, you know, helping people learn as a happy space for us. So we will still be in the happy space and making someone that, that was the exact idea that we had when we started off kids. It was not exactly during that one, two, it was always there, uh, not from one day one, I would say, right?

Vamsi: Yeah. Uh, we really wanted to solve a fundamental problem. So that, that started, but most of the thinking I can say happened at, at that, that time.

Djagmo: Got it. This was always there. The question was, well, yeah, and uh, given that you didn't have any projects, you thought that could be the right time to invest more into it.

Djagmo: Yeah. Got it. And uh, Keith is basically your platform, uh, where you teach something, right? Correct. So, uh, did you, was it even a no-brainer that, you know, that's what you're going to do, or you had to do a lot of thinking as to what domain you wanted because see, uh, you could have, might as well done a Ola Uber or whatever, right?

Djagmo: But you chose that. So was that a no-brainer or did you have to choose again,

Vamsi: as I told you, that this was a happy space, you know, the domain that you've been with there for almost five years by that time? You know, we started our journey, right? This started in our first year of bachelor's and that was there of the teaching thing.

Vamsi: People, you know, uh, getting to know a lot about them and things like that. As I told you, that scene where, uh, when I was teaching for the first time in my college, I had this little smile, you know, that those smiles I've seen many times when I used to go to con seminars and things like that, right? One thing that I realized is people love it when it's more interactive, and the idea was of kids is to teach programming in an interactive way, not just in the form of videos.

Vamsi: Because video learning at that time was a bit of, uh, you know, I, I had different, uh, thought process towards videos because videos will not be able to practice something, right? Right. Programming is like an art form. You know, you'll have to, let's say if you learn how to play a violin in or piano, you'll have to practice it.

Vamsi: Right. Unless you practice it. If you're watching something, you cannot get into that, that system of getting to learn a lot about it. It's, it's purely interactive, right? Yeah. So Kids is an interactive platform. It is a zero video based teaching thing. So you don't have videos at

Djagmo: all. Nobody's, uh, teaching, uh, in the form of a video.

Vamsi: No, no teaching in the form of video. That was the central idea of not to teach anything in the form of video. We will have videos, but the support, probably the teaching, but 95% of the teaching that is done on the platform is interactive. That's what we decided to go with. So that's where the idea of Key started.

Vamsi: And we were, as I told you, we were already in the space for, uh, helping people learn, teach and things like that. And, uh, it became a no-brainer for us. Okay, let's pick this field because we may not stress too much.

Djagmo: Got it. So, I'm gonna go back a little bit because I was waiting for us to come and talk about kids to ask you this question.

Djagmo: You said when you did your first seminar, 50 60 students or people were there, and majority of them weren't paying attention to you, they were doing their own stuff, and only five, six people kind of kept you going till the end. And you said you changed something. First of all, did you succeed in bringing, getting all the attention of all the people that day?

Djagmo: If you did, uh, what you, you spoke about a certain change that you did first, 30, 20 minutes. You were focusing on your slides and P p T and all those things, and then you had to change and then talk, interact and engage with the crowd. Can you. Walk us through this process, uh, in as much depth as possible, because, you know, at the end of the day, listeners are also trainers.

Djagmo: I think this is, this, this can be a very key thing.

Vamsi: Right? Uh, so initially, you know, it was kind of, um, myself to the board, but later on I, I saw that the crowd is not interested in my teaching. So I started looking at people's eyes, you know, the first thing that I started doing it directly, giving a one, one-on-one eye contact in terms of understanding what they think about and are they really liking it.

Vamsi: So then I tried gathering all my energy towards focusing on wherever these people are, you know, these folks are in, in the group. Uh, I started focusing on certain areas, you know, my more of my vision is going onto those areas for me to convey directly to them rather than focusing on something else. Hmm.

Vamsi: You know, that interactive, you know, you have to connect with the audience in order to get your teaching, right. So that's where, uh, I tried changing my trajectory of teaching. And, you know, after teaching for a very long time, probably know six, seven months straight for almost, uh, a, a good number of hours, what I understood is I had a lot of questions and the questionnaire from the right, I started compiling them and keeping them ready and teaching them immediately to them.

Vamsi: Hmm. Rather than, uh, you know, waiting, making myself wait for the questions to come. I started my teaching to go into that zone where the questionnaire started to form a kind of, you know, lesson for them, whatever questions that they're asking me, I tried to compile it as a proper thing and then trying to deliver it out to them like a bunch.

Vamsi: So that's where, yeah, bunch of s that's where people started enter because it's the same group, right? It's the same demographic that you're teaching group. Right. So it becomes much, much easier for you to focus on, you know, how they think, what's their attitude, what's their style of, uh, presenting things or how do they talk about all sorts of additional cross-functional domains that they wanted to, um, talk about.

Vamsi: You know, some people will come and say, Hey, can I do games with it? Hey, s can I do internet applications with it? Can I do, uh, you know, sort of finance applications with it? All sorts of stuff. So, you know, for a fact that what they're interested in, right? Right. And if you're teaching kids, the first thing that you'll have to tell them is, Hey, let's do some games.

Vamsi: Right. They'll be interested. Right. If you teach them something that is, you know, let, let me tell you how to deploy a, a, a cloud application in an AWS EC two container. If I say that, they'll be like, what the hell are you teaching? You know, I don't know anything about what you're talking, right. But let's say if I say games to them, that might be of great interest.

Vamsi: But if I talk about games with a person today, you know, who is probably in his career, in a good point in career, they'll not be interested. I'll have to talk about AWS and e C. Right. So it, it's more about, about their demographic point of the one. And the other thing is more on, uh, trying to understand how they're interacting and responding to you as, uh, as, as a person, as an individual.

Vamsi: So, yeah. Got it. To be my, okay.

Djagmo: So uh, you were interested in computer science and AIDS standard itself. Yes. So, but were you also interested to be a computer science teacher, or you wanted to be a software developer? I'll tell you why I'm asking you this question.

Vamsi: Okay. So, so there are two things. One, that is computer science.

Vamsi: Mm-hmm. The other one is programming and the other one is coding. Right. Uh, I tell you the difference between programming and coding. Programming includes coding programming is a more elaborate space. Okay. Uh, in programming, there are actually three parts. One, you think you translate that thinking into an algorithm and then you pick up a programming language to code something.

Vamsi: Right? So coding is just that final piece in terms of, uh, getting something shipped. Programming is a broader space. I love the thinking space, you know, the thinking and the algorithm space. I love it a lot. So I was particularly interested in programming, not the coding part. Coding Hmm. Uh, you know, coding part later came up, you know.

Vamsi: Okay. When I was starting to learn languages, I code about 12 programming languages today. Uh, but yeah. Uh, the coding part came later. Hmm. I'm trying to understand the fascinating things inside the programming languages. Hmm. That's where the coding part came into picture. Uh, but programming was always there.

Vamsi: You know, I, I love that thinking to come into, let's say you gimme a problem, X, Y, Z, how do I solve it? I keep thinking in my head. Hmm. And that's where they started. And then problem, uh, after a while I started moving into picking up languages like cc plus plus Java, Python Plus we started doing all this stuff and, um, but yeah, computer science came in later when I started Mahas.

Vamsi: Mm-hmm. So it was a bit different. Right. Got

Djagmo: it. Okay. The reason I asked you this question is this Right. Um, but thank you so much for, I didn't know this whole programming thing had so much. Now what I understand is thinking and translating the thought into algorithm is like ideation of a certain concept or creating something out of nothing.

Djagmo: Coding is like an execution of that. It's like, you know, bringing some laborers and then putting together bricks on somebody else's plan. That's how I imagined when you were telling No,

Vamsi: no, that's a, that's a very, very interesting way of putting it. It's actually that, but probably some people might backlash on it, but, but that's the reason.

Vamsi: No,

Djagmo: I mean, uh, come on. No disrespect when I say laborers, right? I mean, uh, both of them are doing some building work, but, you know, it's different things, but yeah,

Vamsi: it was, uh, you knew, but you, you nailed it from that perspective. Very

Djagmo: interesting. Now, the reason I asked you this question is this. Now you said you volunteered to give this seminar, and in the first seminar you said 50, 60 people were there.

Djagmo: I'm sure that also was by choice only. You didn't force anybody to come. They came by themselves. Yeah. In that you have majority of them not paying attention to you. Right. Two things could've happened. You did one thing, but most probably people would've been like, Hey, I am trying to come and share something.

Djagmo: You're not even paying attention. I'm gonna go. You don't deserve it. That is, that is probably gonna be the attitude. But why did you take it upon yourself as a challenge to figure out a way to teach these people?

Vamsi: Uh, okay. So when I started going to these conferences, Hmm. The one thing that I love about these conferences that in Bangalore, uh, sometimes they happen in Goa and things like that.

Vamsi: I think Pubcon happens in Goa. Hmm. Uh, as sharing, uh, Robert Wedding is the creator of this programming language called . Uh, airline. Sorry. Okay. E R L A N G. And that's the language that powers your WhatsApp, just to give you some funding. Mm-hmm. The entire WhatsApp is built upon this language called Right.

Vamsi: Okay. Right. Robert waiting is the creator of airline. Okay. And, uh, when I started speaking with Robert, waiting when he came down to Bangalor Hmm. We spoke for almost 45 minutes street, you know, as a creator, he is, is like the demand for me to even think of, you know, meeting himself was, uh, a great thing in my life.

Vamsi: Hmm. When, when I, when I'm trying to approach him, there were my heartbeat. This rose, you know, very high. But when I went to him, when I spoke about him, I was really surprised. The kind of person he is is a very nice heart. He spoke with me for almost 40 minutes, uh, and we had shared some crazy stuff in terms of, uh, you know, the language, what he's trying to do, what I am trying to do.

Vamsi: The most interesting part, part was we were having his discussion before going to lunch. Both of us skipped the lunch. Okay. And the conference again started. Okay. No, he did not be, that person is a, he would be somewhere in his, his, uh, sixties or six seventies. That time. It, he did not do that. Yeah, he did not do that.

Vamsi: Right. But he, he stood up for me that, you know, he, he actually, uh, we were standing, you know, while talking. We were standing and not even sitting. So he was standing there talking to me for about 40 minutes straight. We, we have skipped the lunch. We again rushed to the lunch to gets in plates and we had lunch.

Vamsi: So that kind of drove me into the idea of, okay, sharing peop with people is really interesting, you know? And, uh, once you resonate with the thought, let's say you say something to me, I say something to you. And when you start a beautiful conversation, that's where a lot of learning happens. You know, as a person or from a, even from a life perspective, when you really make a really good, great conversation, I say, I'll say the, you know, the concept of neuroplasticity, right?

Vamsi: Train to change a bit. Probably some deep conversations in your life will definitely do that. Uh, pondering upon a thought will do that, this concept of neuroplasticity. But those nice conversations will trigger certain things in your head that make you a better person.

Djagmo: Awesome, man. Uh, I think, uh, I mean, um, if there is a moment where I'd like to kind of stop and share this re kind of, uh, uh, you know, broadcast a message, I think it's this because, uh, I've also taught, um, in a very small capacity during some times, uh, and I've had this experience where, you know, students are not listening to you.

Djagmo: It's a certain trigger. So, but what I understand from talking to you is that, look, if a student is not listening to you, it is a teacher's duty to kind of do something to bring the attention and, uh, try and look at it from a positive way and then do it. I think this is. Great. And you said you solved this and you kind of, uh, made this happen.

Djagmo: It may, if not all a hundred percent, at least you might have increased your percentage from those six people to a little more people. What you said is you started making eye contact, you started understanding the demographic and coming prepared for their questions and expecting the kind of questions that they might ask, and then, uh, solving their problems and their curiosities and stuff like that.

Djagmo: Um,

Vamsi: and one thing that I've learned after a lot of teaching is, uh, be a fun person when you're a teacher. Ha, you know, I started cracking jokes in middle jokes because the, the demographic that I was with, uh, you know, and, and this needs to be a bit, uh, uh, you know, grounded or close to whatever they're talking on in their everyday life, right?

Vamsi: So, kind of put some fun in, in your teaching. Don't be serious, very serious. Uh, that will, that will kind of change the entire crowd. Some crowd, whoever is not looking at you, will start looking at you, right? So you need to be a fun teacher.

Djagmo: Did you prepare, uh, for these jokes as well, or these are just, you know what, these are random, random,

Vamsi: random, you know, based upon the kind everyday stuff, uh, everyday stuff and whatever they do, you know, you'll have certain groups in the audience, right?

Vamsi: Ha ha. Where they try to do all sorts of nonsense at that time, right? So taking those into as example, ah, then trying to crack some joke and this entire group now starts to listen to you. That's a very interesting thing that later happened. And those, those now folks are also, you know, interested in you saying that, okay, this guy is.

Vamsi: Uh, you know, align with our thinking. Me is also our let's listen to me, so,

Djagmo: got it. But you know what, as a teacher, you're trying to do something. I'm okay with this. Sorry, I'm gonna like digress a little bit for two minutes. Mm-hmm. Same thing. Go to today's standup comedy. I see a lot of reels, okay? Mm-hmm.

Djagmo: They were standup comedians who'd come prepared with topics and crack jokes. But today, if you see, have you noticed this pattern? I don't know if they come prepared to crack jokes or they have a list of topics, right? They will use their audience only and roast them only and make a show out of it, man.

Djagmo: Right. Good. Right. This is for some reason, see, as a teacher it's okay for you to take somebody and make fun, but as a comedian, your profession is that you're supposed to do something apart from the people who are coming to watch your show roast now. So yeah, that's what I was thinking. But anyway, sorry, sorry about that to just go off the track.

Djagmo: But what you said, uh, just, uh, triggered that particular thought for me.

Vamsi: Yeah. See these are probably in the entire two, two and half hour space that I'm teaching. Ha ha. These jokes will be somewhere around four to five, not more than that. You know, at times, you know, you go up, of course there's a balance.

Djagmo: Yes, yes, yes, yes. How you kind come down. Yes. Otherwise, obviously your old will be problem. Yeah. So it's a fine balance basically. Yeah. Got it. So now, uh, let's get back to kids. So, uh, we spoke about kids when you had the thought very much before you started your developing company, Carville, but then, you know, uh, since uh, it, things all fell into place.

Djagmo: So when officially did you start off Kes and like, how was the journey like?

Vamsi: Um, you know, we started off I think in the early 20 eighteens, I don't know, 2018. Okay. Yeah. 2018, uh, we launched it to our, uh, audience in the, yeah, I think Q3 of 2018. Yeah, Q3 of 2018. That's where we kind of launched it, but there were alpha users coming in the Q2 of 2018.

Vamsi: So we started early, you know, Jan 2018 is the point where we started off. Okay. Uh, Jan, so,

Djagmo: uh, I'm sorry. I've only heard about beta users or beta testing. Alpha users are the main people. Is it Once it's

Vamsi: fully done, alpha users are internal. Close French. Oh, beta users are, uh, got it. People who, whom you give it out.

Vamsi: Ah, so, you know, when friends used to visit us, we used to give their laptop to them. You know, ask them to log in and these are very, very close people. Got it, got it, got it. Users are somebody you don't know. Okay. And then there is a public release where you give it out to, and

Djagmo: Oh, this is the first time officially I'm hearing somebody's use Alpha users.

Djagmo: Okay, great. So that is the thing. Is it or is it your own? Yeah, it's the thing. Thing. It's the thing. Alpha user. Okay, fine. Alpha, beta and public. Okay. Alpha testing. Beta testing and public. Yeah. Alpha users, alpha testing.

Vamsi: Got it. So you call them Alpha user, it's fine to call them Alpha users.

Djagmo: Okay, fine. So, uh, when you, when you started Keith, you were also having projects coming in, so, uh, didn't you have a lot of projects that you could do, Keith, or did you have to really consciously balance the effort that went in between the projects that you took up and the ?

Vamsi: That was hard. Uh, I had to balance it.

Vamsi: Okay. Was extremely hard. That's one decision that I probably, uh, would I, I'll, I'll not say regret, but, uh, I would've done it better. Hmm. Because, uh, one way we wanted funds to make sure that we run the show. Hmm. Uh, and the other half is where we wanted to do something that we are passionate about. Hmm. And also, you know, trying to create a product.

Vamsi: Okay. Of course, the, uh, goal was to create a business out of it. Hmm. But it was hard. Hmm. Uh, and the way we approach this problem is in two ways. One is I used to work the morning half for car and evening half. I used to work for kids. Okay. So, morning, nine to 12, one until one. We used to fo I used to focus on, uh, the, the consulting projects.

Vamsi: Mm-hmm. The second half is where I used to work on this project because that took me almost, uh, uh, two, two and a half months to figure out that, okay, something is not good and let me break my day into two Hals. They're the first half I work for this company, and the second half I work for this. And the important decision that we took is the nons sharing.

Vamsi: Of resources, you know, no sharing of resources, uh, meaning we isolated teams, we isolated people

Djagmo: for kids. Yeah. Con dedicated

Vamsi: people's. The only person who shared is me. Okay. Uh, where I had to think of that and this as well. That's how I, I managed to pull it

Djagmo: off. So your, uh, your, your, uh, service company funded the keys?

Djagmo: Correct. Got it. Um, okay. Now let's say, you know, we'll go to the point where you've completed billing kit and it's, you know, ready for the public. It did go public, right? At some point it went public. Now, before that, uh, I just wanna touch upon one more topic because, you know, you told, when you spoke about Keith, you said you made a decision.

Djagmo: 95% of it is gonna be interactive. Only 5% is gonna be video-based teaching and stuff like that. You totally didn't want that. Now, when you talk about interactive, it involves a lot of psychology, right? Mm-hmm. You need to know the users, how they respond and stuff like that. It's not simply, you know, uh, whatever is on textbook.

Djagmo: You're not putting it out there. I'm sure you have your own value proposition there for it to be a U S P right now. Um, how much, I mean, did you really have to like, kind of go deep into psychology as well, or that just came naturally and you figured it out easily? What,

Vamsi: what is the process again? Well, we hired a psychology consultant as well for people.

Vamsi: Oh, interesting. Okay. In order to help us, you know, it was more onto understanding the patterns of data, ah, and how they interact and what's the time that, uh, you know, somebody can focus on, because interactive where you get bored, right? Uh, after certain time video you can, you can just put it in front of your screen and start viewing it after some time.

Vamsi: Even might pause it and come back and things slow. We did that intentionally for kids for one reason. Programming needs to be interactive so that, you know, it's like, I can't teach you a guitar just by looking at a video. Right? You need to have a guitar in your hand. Right. So that was the idea. So making it interactive, you want them to come code, sit and type or click at list.

Vamsi: So not just watching the video. Mm-hmm. And, uh, we hired a psychology consultant and, uh, she helped us out in understanding certain metrics, you know, how students respond and things like that. And we were able to incorporate a few of her ideas in the product. And, uh, also trying to understand from the data that we have collected and sharing that data back with the consultant, saying that, okay, this is, this is the assumption that we made and this is the data that we have.

Vamsi: Can we correlate these assumptions and data? That's something that we have done.

Djagmo: Wow. So to all the people who are building something to do with, uh, teaching, especially in this mall, uh, it's not just the content. So it is also, uh, you know, a, a psychologist is also part of the. Team is what I, uh, learned because I just asked you casually.

Djagmo: I just thought you might have read something and did something, but, uh, okay. And this really made an impact. Those, uh,

Vamsi: I'd say it did, definitely for sure, because, uh, the learning was faster. When you have somebody from a expertise, you know Right. An expert being coming onto the table and trying to help you out.

Vamsi: Hmm. Definitely. Whatever experiments that you wanted to run for, uh, you know, four months, five months, and then getting the data and correlating with them, you happen to make that in four days. You know, as simple as that. So I always believe in experts because, uh, they kind of pace it up, you know? Right.

Vamsi: Move things faster field. Right. And that's how it helped us a lot in pacing. We would've definitely, if, if you, if you ask me a question, like if the psychology is not there on the table, will Yeah. What would have happened? Yeah. Probably would've taken us four or five months to figure, figure it out ourself.

Vamsi: Ha. But this helped us to pace it up faster within 10, 15 days. We were able to put that into our system and, uh, trying to understand, uh, you know, different behavioral patterns. Uh, size of the lesson is pretty important in interactive courses. Mm-hmm. So what's the attention span? What's the size of the courses that we have to create?

Vamsi: We started creating what, a 40 minute interactive courses, which is like a. Shitiest thing that somebody can do. Long time, broken that into multiple halves. You know, our, each lot was almost 11, twelve-ish minutes. Ah, um, not more than that. Some, some hard topics came down to seven minutes also. Okay. So multiple things that we did around it.

Vamsi: So it helps us help it a lot in terms of understanding the human behavioral patterns and especially again, uh, she also gave us some insights on the demographic. How does the demographic behavioral, so experts always pace, pace your things.

Djagmo: And this psychology expert was, um, specifically working with the learning community, is it?

Vamsi: No, no, no. She was, uh, with the university. Okay. Uh, it was, it was university. So she was with the university at that time and she was a professor there. She helped us. Got it. Okay. Here as a teacher for her to also identify? No, she's a psychology professor,

Djagmo: teacher. Oh, okay, okay, okay. Got it. Got it, got it. Yeah.

Djagmo: It's a right mix. Got it. Yeah. Very sweet mix. Uh, sweet spot, uh, to have somebody's expertise in. So, uh, Rami, uh, now let's say you're built, now you need to make the sales bringing the money and all those things, which is the most, uh, difficult thing. I think any entrepreneur deals with product Is there.

Djagmo: Everything is there making money. So what, what happened? Did you, uh, how did you sell it? What were your learnings?

Vamsi: Okay, so two things with respective kids. Uh, one thing is that we thought it's easy for us to. Get going. Mm-hmm. Um, but it became really hard for us. We, after three months, uh, we had almost 9,000 users on the platform.

Djagmo: Okay. Sorry. Sorry. Uh, one quick clarification. So Keith is a platform for people to learn programming. Correct. Which includes all the three things that you said. Is it thinking, translating it into algorithm? Yep. Yep. Yeah. Yeah. And uh, the language is also coding.

Vamsi: We used to teach them Python, cc plus plus, Java, html, all those courses are there.

Vamsi: Just like, you know, if you look at Ude me, huh? You have all these, you know, you learn Java, learn Python videos instead. Here you have it as interactive by size lessons. Correct. It, food as simple as

Djagmo: that food. Sorry. Uh, you were talking about having 9,000 students.

Vamsi: Yeah, we initially launched it, I think mid of 2080 we launched it.

Vamsi: Okay. Um, when we launched it, uh, people loved the platform. I can say for sure. Because people used to do these interact. We have been tracking a lot of metrics at that time. People used to do these, uh, interactive courses at 2:00 AM in the morning, 1:00 AM in the morning. Okay. 1:00 AM in the morning. There were times where we had 300 students.

Vamsi: Wow. Okay. So we really know that people are interested. Uh, but the biggest challenge comes with the monitor monitoring. Monitoring angle. Yeah. Because now that it's interactive, again, one of the biggest challenges that we had at that time is managing our infrastructure, right. Our cloud infrastructure, because we keep, we end up in paying a lot for cock cloud infrastructure.

Vamsi: So then we started figuring out various options and how do we. Get that cloud infrastructure built out, you know, the, the costing down. So we did a lot of experiments there. We saved almost, uh, 30, 40,000, you know, that came off our tech expertise in building systems, in crafting systems for other people. So we did those experiments and, uh, it was kind of, uh, not easy.

Vamsi: There are a lot of free users, uh, but almost close to, I'd say not even into digits, right? Uh, somewhere around 40, 50 were paid users. Okay? You have tens and thousands of, you know, 10,000 people as free users, three users on the other side. You have people, 50, 60 people paying for your product. So that was the kind of situation we are in.

Vamsi: And then, uh, B2C in India is, is very hard, you know, uh, talking about which, you know, directly when you reach out to people, uh, especially the student market. Uh, the initial thing was to make it free. That will definitely help you a lot, but if you want somebody to pay for your courses, it's really, really, really hard.

Vamsi: Okay. Uh, and that too, uh, probably would've, uh, thought of it as a lingo that kind of put us in a very bad spot. Okay. Because lingo had, uh, a easy growth, uh, in terms of free users. Okay. And they also took a hard time in figuring out what their paid users look like. But we always used to compare Azure with that became a problem because that's a application.

Vamsi: Catering to the US markets and the Western markets. Right. Ours is an Indian market, right? Right. So it kind of, uh, is we, we kind of tried to compare ourself to, and we thought, okay, this will be the simple game. But that didn't happen at all for one reason. A lot of people are free, but a lot of, uh, people don't want to pray.

Vamsi: Right. And still there is a fear, you know, most of the people at that time, even today, I guess so, had this fear of what is the value that I get? Right. You know? Um, and even if somebody finish up and finishes up an entire course, uh, our courses used to start at 1500 rupees to 3000 rupees online. The immediate questions somebody asks me is the, what is the value that I get?

Vamsi: We used to go to colleges again, we used to visit a lot of colleges that invited us for our Python lectures and us to evangelize kits as a product. Right? Right. Make them sign up and introduce that to them. That became an easier thing for us because we had connects. Um, but the immediate question, once you are done with it, you know, you have this 1500 rupe, 3000 rupe, um, moderates priced for you.

Vamsi: You can pick this up. The immediate question that comes to you is, what is the value that I get? Okay. Learning as a value is, I would say, uh, very much underrated. So, um, even today, I, I guess that that is, that is kind of happening quite often. Nobody appreciates learning, even if you're learning something.

Vamsi: So it's really hard for the student, you know, from, from ages, probably 18 to 20 to, in the Indian ecosystem, they don't spend money for learning. Okay? And this probably will come when you have a sales team in-house. It cannot be a product like growth. People do not in India, do not come to you saying that, Hey, do you have a product?

Vamsi: Are you helping me learn? I'll pay for you. That's not the kind of ecosystem that we are in. There needs to be a sales division that drives this every single day thing. Right? Right. And uh, that kind of, uh, also is, you know, when you establish a sales market in mobile, right? Yeah. You kind of, uh, I don't want to speak about it, but you kind of go and sometimes into a non-ethical zone in order to sell a product, uh, which is kind of, uh, I'll, I'll not say it's bad, but you tell hundred things to them, uh, hundred things to them that this is possible, that is possible for them to make a sale, you know, for, for, for the sales guy to make a sale.

Vamsi: You, you tell them hundred things. So we were like, we always envisioned this is a product led thing, you know, growing thing. But again, we are trying to build up a sales team. Probably hundreds and hundreds of sales team members of the sales team should come in. Otherwise teams would've been some sort of sort of a Whitehead Junior.

Vamsi: Exactly. Yeah. It would've, it would've definitely become a Whitehead Junior. Whitehead Junior has other planning class courses and things, but definitely would've become that too. Hmm. Uh, but probably for a different demographic that is Right. Junior is for a kids demographic. Uh, but this would've been in, in this space.

Vamsi: Hmm. And, uh, most of the people started contacting us for placement because the end goal, uh, for a bachelor's student, the first year student, is to get in to a job. You get a placement. Hmm. And that placement module was kind of missing, and we started to build that. Uh, but yeah. Uh, to answer your question, it was pretty hard for us to convert all these users, uh, in the initial days.

Vamsi: Hmm. But the few users were growing crazy. Everything, every single day we are adding 500, 600, 700 users. Right. But paid users, we had to make, we, we also did that. Again, we will get back to that conversation later. Okay. But yeah, to answer your question, this, this was more of it.

Djagmo: Got it. So, okay. You said what could have been right.

Djagmo: You spoke about, uh, salespeople and all those things. You definitely thought about it and you made a conscious decision to make it product led growth and all those things. Um, and, uh, one of your methods were visiting institutions and then pitching, and then you did that. Uh, you said whatever numbers, you said all these numbers are despite that.

Djagmo: Is it despite you visiting colleges and everything? No,

Vamsi: it was there. Uh, sometimes, you know, the colleges used to help other colleges where we had posters being sent. You know, we had, uh, Because the demographic, everybody are in colleges. Okay. So that's the reason we were reaching out to colleges. Okay. And, uh, you know, there used to be, we never ran marketing ads on Facebook or it, any sort of stuff.

Vamsi: Okay. Because we really wanted to see, test the waters in initial is what, what is the traction probably, you know, we would've done it, we would've crossed 50,000 students, but mean, say, uh,

Djagmo: free users. Yeah. Free itself. If you would've crossed 50,000,

Vamsi: then you might have done, we've done digital marketing and things like that.

Vamsi: That, that was the goal.

Djagmo: Okay. So what was the, uh, you know, highest it went in terms of free users also.

Vamsi: So we went up to 35,000 people.

Djagmo: Okay. And the paid users at that point was,

Vamsi: uh, I think roughly around in hundred. You'll have them in hundreds. Not even more hundred

Djagmo: more, not even more than that. Less than 1%.

Djagmo: Yeah. Okay. And so what was the, uh, problem? Like, you know, did you diagnose the

Vamsi: problem? Problem was extremely simple. Uh, value creation and, uh, value creation, even if you're able to do it. Mm-hmm. That value creation needs to be in a way people understand that, okay, this is gonna help me in something else.

Vamsi: Okay. Uh, if, if I would've put it in this way, you know, if, if you would've said 30,000 rupees for this bundle, you get a placement interview, probably it would've been a different direction. Ah, okay. So the final value creation, what does, uh, Uh, you know, let's, let's talk about a bunch of demographics here just to understand what I'm talking, when I, when I use the word value creation, right.

Vamsi: Let's say if you're selling a product for kids, okay? Right. An education product for kids. The value creation there is, uh, being a ranker in the school. Mm-hmm. Uh, if you are creating the science product mm-hmm. Getting high scores every single day mm-hmm. Because that gives the dad a high feel, right?

Vamsi: Correct. A high feel on, okay. Um, you know, my, my kid is doing really well. He's a rank. Mm-hmm. That's the final thing. No. If you're product the outcome. Yeah. The outcome, I would say. Um, and then you have the other demographic of plus one, plus two hmmhmm. There, your creation becomes your I T G, ID g Yeah, yeah.

Vamsi: Need ranks or things like that. Yes. So, increase your rank by thousand, 2000 and, and when it comes to this demographic, the, uh, you know, undergraduate demographic, you have to tell them a placement. Placement. Jobs. Jobs. Right. Right. The final value creation. Right. So this is something that we realized, you know, after working on it, and we were about to do that placement thing also as part of kids, but what we understood is that this value creation is something that the other person needs to understand.

Vamsi: And if you want to make them understand that this is the value creation that you're doing, you'll have to do some sales calls. Mm-hmm. You can't, cannot do that by just putting a banner on your webpage. Okay. You need to help them understand, either you go to them, talk to them, give a seminar, identify a bunch of folks, and get yourselves done.

Vamsi: Right. What are the other ways, column two things. Right? So this is at a, at a very broad level, the problem is, you know, when you have an education product, there, there needs to, I think I'll add one more thing also. One, uh, this concept of, uh, giving them the final goal Hmm. Needs to be direct. Direct in the sense whoever is paying for it.

Vamsi: And the second way you connect with them and do the sales thing. Or the third thing is where somebody comes in and says, Hey, you know, I have used x, y, Z platform and I was able to score this much. You know, that that referral also works, right? So your friend coming to you and saying that, Hey, you know, I have tracked this exam because I've been using this platform.

Vamsi: Right. Definitely gonna pay for it. Right? So any of these three things should happen from a b B2C perspective. Okay.

Djagmo: You didn't pursue in that direction?

Vamsi: We did. Uh, you know, the reason why we kind of, uh, had to stop working on kids is, uh, during pandemic. Hmm. The 2020 is when the pandemic right after get hit.

Vamsi: Right. Uh, and during pandemic, we were visiting a lot of colleges. Okay. And again, this, the backstory for this is, uh, we understood that, okay, hey, the kid is not directly interested. So we'll have to build a sales team, which we don't have a plan of building a sales team yet. And we are not against the concept of setting up a sales team, but hey, let's not do it because we don't have funds on the plate, or we kind of, uh, don't want to get into that direction very soon.

Vamsi: So let's try to evangelize by going to visiting institutions. So we started doing that. We went and visited a lot of institutions. We gave them free logins, you know, free user logins to everyone. People started playing around with the platform. People started learning Python. People started learning a lot of things.

Vamsi: And then, uh, we came back and, uh, saw metrics. The metrics were very low in terms of the paid user, auto paid user, commercial, uh, even, even though we went there because we thought, okay, letting them know at this point in time and creating, uh, a really good, uh, uh, you know, institution in them will help us make sales.

Vamsi: But that didn't happen. And then the other way happened where we spoke to the college mm-hmm. Punishment. Mm-hmm. We said, Hey, we have a product. We'll bundle it for you, for all the students. You'll be getting this bundle. Are you interested? That's the kind of switch that we've put forward.

Djagmo: So from your, from b2c, you are trying to go to b2, b2c,

Vamsi: b2, b2c.

Vamsi: Right? It is still b2c, but it's B2B two C. Right. We went there and we said, Hey, uh, you, we have this in place. So do you, are you interested? Then the answer started to be positive. Okay. Um, you know, people are like, okay, uh, give us end logins, but this time we wanted logins for our teachers as well. Okay.

Vamsi: Because teachers need to pay proof. Uh, it's a fund that is coming from the management. We will do whatever it takes internally, but this is a fund that directly comes from the management. Hmm. And, uh, share us a few logins. We will let you know. We will work on it. Hmm. And we'll get back to you. But there were a few agreements that already went into picture and because of the pandemic, we had to, you know, take them off.

Vamsi: Off. And they also requested for us to come for every three months, you know, once in a quarter, uh, if you can send a trainer, you know, helping them understand kids in a better way. Mm-hmm. It'll help us a lot in terms of helping our folks understand, because some people might be new. Uh, and give us metrics as well.

Vamsi: Give us dashboards for college. Okay. Uh, who is performing really well. We had to, again, create a dashboard module for college and influence. Hmm. Uh, that's a different thing, but this kind of worked, uh, you know, going to colleges, visiting the management and helping them explain. But again, this is a long process.

Vamsi: Uh, it'll take like one, two months, three months for them to sign, sign off. Uh, but there are positive things coming up onto the table. Uh, and then, you know, at that time when we wanted to pursue this in full scale, the pandemic hit, pandemic hit. Right. Uh, and we had, you know, nobody is at, even at colleges and Right.

Vamsi: Everybody, were going into a mode where, okay, we have to protect ourself. Right. And that's where, that's the very reason why we had to shelve down the product. And, uh, on the flip side, uh, we had a lot of projects onto the table. Hmm. Uh, you know, we thought we, there'll be no projects at all, but a lot of organizations are.

Vamsi: Getting an online, uh, platform for themself, right. Education institutions, uh, a lot of e-com companies, every, everybody are trying to get into the completely online space. And that's where, uh, on the flip side where we had huge pipeline that is being built for the com consulting projects. And then we had to pursue that because here we had, yeah, you had to also

Djagmo: survive and

Vamsi: sustain.

Vamsi: Yeah. Yeah. It was, it was really hard for us to say, and a lot of colleges started calling us, saying that, Hey, can we postpone this pandemic hit? And things like that. Mm-hmm. Uh, you know, we, but we are really interested. Can you do this for us? And then we thought, okay, let's, it's, it's been a hard journey for us for the last, uh, uh, you know, nine, 10 months.

Vamsi: So let's park it for now and let's revisit that back later as additional we did.

Djagmo: So when you said you peaked at 35,000 free users, right? And then you had hardly a hundred. So how much money did, were you spending on a monthly basis to keep it alive?

Vamsi: Uh, that's an interesting question. So I would say close to, uh, four, 4.5 lax per month.

Djagmo: Wow. Okay. And you weren't even funded? No. Your, uh, developer, uh, company was funding

Vamsi: this. Oh, so this is, this is the calculation that I did out of, uh, the cloud infrastructure are expenses for visitor visiting colleges, uh, the developers that are there on the table, the salaries, you're paying everything.

Vamsi: Everything. Right, right. Say, yeah, roughly in the zone of four, four LAX is something that we can definitely do.

Djagmo: Okay. And uh, Rami, you said you made a mistake by comparing yourself to di lingo, mainly because j Lingos target market was US and the Western countries than US is India. Like, what exactly are these differences?

Djagmo: What makes them different from us?

Vamsi: Okay, so one comparison. The reason why I brought that up is one comparison is that's a different domain. It's a different domain. This program No is different. Yes, yes, yes. Right. Languages is a fundamental thing. You know, it's a pri it's primitive. Correct. So you, what we thought was okay, you know, we are obsessed about, you know, we are 10 guys and we are obsessed about something.

Vamsi: We are obsessed about something, right? We kind of, uh, reject every single thought that comes into our head, right? We were in a state where, okay, programming languages are important and everybody needs to learn. Program. Uh, today, I'll not say, you know, programming languages are not important. Programming languages are still good for everyone.

Vamsi: Probably everyone should learn how to program. Uh, it helps you a lot in your daily life as well, you know, your thinking and things like that. But, uh, at that time, the comparison was more, we thought it was apples, apples comparison, but later we realized it's apples ORs comparison. Uh, one is, uh, one was that we were constantly comparing ourself to the growth tragically of the dealing users, right?

Vamsi: Because English as a language is, is required. You know, if you have to step out of India or if you have to step out of a

Djagmo: country, the market is way bigger when compared to

Vamsi: this, correct. That's a fundamental thing. You have to live. Yes. And that's the reason you have to speak a language. Yes. Here it was.

Vamsi: This is a career thing. Right? Right. The language of learning languages is not a fundamental thing. Right. It's more onto a career option kind of thing. Right. So that's where we, uh, probably would've taken a wrong comparison. Right, right. And, uh, the growth in other companies, sorry, other countries is kind of, uh, I'll not say easy, but the kind of, uh, techniques or the marketing that they do is kind of bit different.

Vamsi: Right. Because like, if you pick up us as a country, or Canada as a country, probably Canada is a bad option because of they gain the language thing. We are a country with almost 144 population today. Right. Right. And, uh, the diversity that you have, the kind of language, language that you may talk might not be good enough for another person.

Vamsi: Right. Right. Uh, you have a crazy di We are in a country where the completely diverse ecosystems, right. Uh, from state to state, things change from, uh, you know, sometimes within states things change. Right. The kind of thinking that you have changes and it's, it's, it's a lot more diverse, but it's not that diverse in the Western world.

Vamsi: So most of the people talk English. It's a common language for them. Mm. Probably they'll ask, uh, you know, which, what place are you from? Uh, you'll have to ask, but we need not ask here, right. If you are from correct Bangor, it's easy for me to understand. You're from bango. When you talk with me final, I'll be able to tell you.

Vamsi: So that is the kind of wrong comparison that we did When we are comparing applications, uh, in the Western world versus applications in the Indian world, you have to be more local here. Uh, for example, just to give you some context around the way, uh, an academy have pulled it off for their u PSC and things like mm-hmm.

Vamsi: They went completely local. The language of teaching was Hindi, right? We never had hin on kids, but the later thought was, okay, should we do this? Should we do this other language? Kind of a communication, uh, on, on kids. But again, as I told you, the reason was more onto, uh, what to do at that time. And it was a roughly one and a one year, nine month journey, not even close to two years and pandemic hit.

Vamsi: That's the reason we've shared. But the very reason of trying to compare the western world versus India is very bad if you ask me. Mm-hmm. So you have to be more local in terms of your content if you're building an application. Got it. And, uh, you'll also have to remember that, you know, when you talked about psychology, that the thing that comes to my mind every single time is understanding that demographic psychology within the extensure, you'll always have to have when you are trying to build some something in India, probably I'll say have a map on your, if you, if you're building a, a countrywide application, have a map on your table as an entrepreneur.

Vamsi: Uh, trying to identify, okay, what is the spot for ap? What is the spot for Corona? What's the spot for Mar Astra daily? Ariana up. So try figuring out where you wanted to take this product and try checking for, uh, you know, the local stuff, you know, the local things there in that specific place. If you're building a country with application and that gives you a good growth.

Vamsi: And our country is a population with one 40 crows, and the median age of the country is 28 right now. Right. Then you have, the population is about 28, half the population is below 28. Right. So you have 70 crows about 28, 70, code bill 28. So that gives you another dimension of so much young population. Yeah.

Vamsi: Now, if you drill it down to 21 to 28, how many people would've been there and what demographic these states go into. Now, if you keep narrowing down the data that you have and then place them on your map, and then if you try to sell it, if I'm trying to sell this product to a, a, you know, north Indian guy, um, hate to call it a North Indian guy, but still in the northern India of northern part of India, uh, you'll have to use Hindi as a primary language because nobody, um, not everybody will know the language that you wanted them to know.

Vamsi: So again, dialect also matters, you know? Right. If you can't, cannot even say, okay, this is this Indian, this is that. Yes, yes, yes. So, so what I would recommend as going into that zone when it comes to, you know, Building applications in India. And that was a bad, very bad mistake that we started to do, comparing the US markets, US applications, and building applications.

Djagmo: Okay. So Rami, if I have to understand right, to summarize what you said, if you would've probably had this inside, are you simp, uh, are you trying to say that you must have built Keith's in, in different languages for different parts of India? Is that what you're trying to say? Yeah. Okay.

Vamsi: Fine. And keeping it more local.

Vamsi: Uh, probably, uh, the one idea that we,

Djagmo: so what do you mean when you say keeping it more local? Beyond language? Something you mean to say? Is it? Yeah.

Vamsi: Uh, the faces, you know, probably the one mistake that, uh, that we would've done is completely ditching the video based learning.

Djagmo: Ah, relatability or connection was

Vamsi: missing.

Vamsi: Correct. Relatability was missing probably. No, it's fine to go with the idea of interactive learning. Probably. I, I told you that 95% was interactive learning and 5% was video learning. We would've made it at least 85, 15. Okay. Uh, 85% is interactive learning and 15% video learning content, video content, and all this video content that we are, if you would've done it in a local way where the more local guys come in and talk about things, it would've been much, much easier for us.

Vamsi: Hmm.

Djagmo: Good. That's what I'm focus say. Okay. Good. Okay. So. One is we can say that Keiths doesn't have a relatability or connection now that what it does is it opens you up to a bigger market. Right. So, but you stuck to India, is it? You never went outside of

Vamsi: India. Ah-huh. That's a very interesting question. So we were about to launch, so that's what we have decided.

Vamsi: Okay. This is not working in India, huh? Probably. It's working to a very small extent. Let's try to pitch into the other markets. We wanted to build a mobile application for that, sir, because we were only running on a web application. Web app. Okay. Hmm. Uh, that is kind of a completely, that would've been a game changer if you would've built a mobile application first front of web application.

Vamsi: The biggest mistake that we have done is going with the web application first. We would've went with the mobile application first in order to crack the market and have more downloads. Would you

Djagmo: follow this strategy across, uh, all educational topics? Anybody into B2C education, would you say? First go with mobile app and not web path controversial

Vamsi: thing, but yes.

Vamsi: Okay. Why controversial? So some people might say, you know, uh, mobile application comes in handy because this, this is, this device is there with you for almost, uh, yeah. Entire day. And there

Djagmo: are more cell phones, uh, than laptops. Right. In India, if

Vamsi: you see Exactly, exactly. So this is with you more time. And, uh, it's a no-brainer for you to think of mobile applications being the first stakeholders, right?

Vamsi: Uh, but some people they might want cloud labs and things like that, ah, which is hard for you to type on. Mobile phones. Mobile phones, right? Uh, and, uh, some people might not have the infrastructure to, to launch in the App Store because App Store and Google Store, if you have to launch it, it takes about, uh, a week's time for you to get published onto App Store.

Vamsi: Even your app is ready. Hmm. And, uh, you are completely compliant with all the terms that we applicated study. Hmm, right? The same goes with, uh, place Store also. So the infrastructure that you need to create and the compliances that you'll have to meet in order to produce yourself into the app store and the Play Store, it's not easy, right?

Vamsi: It requires some kind of, uh, developer knowledge, some kind of additional effort that you'll have to put in, in order to build the app. So definitely it's, it's a very, uh, important thought that everybody who is getting into the education space to start off with mobile and then probably go together, have a mobile, mobile position.

Djagmo: Okay. So you are, uh, now looking to launch it with the, in the Western market in the US and all those things.

Vamsi: So yeah, that, that actually, you know, I, when you, when we actually discussed about this, I thought, okay, I'll announce it during the podcast itself. Okay? So the one important question that we took three weeks back is how can we revise kit, uh, because again, Uh, the name keeps came from John Kitz, right?

Vamsi: As a creating English poet. Mm-hmm. I think the beauty, joy forever, uh, is something that he have written as a piece of line in his, uh, phrases. Hmm. So, for us, when I look at that thing of programming, it gives me used to give me a lot of hype. Okay. And I thought, okay, artists, we always used to feel like artists, you know, as being programmers, we always used to feel as artists.

Vamsi: And that is the great, he's the greatest man and he lived for a very short time on the planet. Um, and I said, I felt, okay, let me use John Keith's name, name, name it in his thing, uh, later, yeah, probably the name might change now, uh, because of multiple reasons, but we are relaunching key in the next few months, but this time doesn't have any commercial, uh, uh, angle to it.

Vamsi: Oh, it's going to be a hundred percent free of cost. Okay. A hundred percent. Uh, uh, you know, open source and, uh, no idea of ever having a monetary angle to it. It'll be free forever.

Djagmo: So, uh, I've read this line of late in the social media. I mean, I think since a long time, if something is free, then you are the product.

Djagmo: The user is the product.

Vamsi: Can I say? Yeah, it, it is going to be completely free. Uh, probably early, uh, Q2 will be, uh, sorry, Q1 of 2024. 2020. No, no, not Q1 of 2024. But then, like if you are. I'm actually going to the financial queues q1 s q2. That's the reason I'm getting confused. Okay. Uh, so yeah, Q2 of, uh, 2023, you will have the entire product revived and you'll have it on the web for free.

Djagmo: For free. Okay. Can I probe you like, I mean, uh, what, what are you gonna take away from

Vamsi: being free? Uh, nothing. See, we are making some money from our consulting businesses and things like that. Uh, we are in a good shape and we, we've also, we are launching a few other products as well. Okay. Uh, uh, we don't have a idea right now to probably, we are comfortable.

Vamsi: We are not in a Oh, pretty bad shape. We are comfortable in terms of our s and things like that. Uh, so now, you know, it's, it's just, you know, whatever. We have done it in the past, you just wanna let it

Djagmo: there. Okay, fine. Yeah. You don't

Vamsi: mind not making money from it, is it? Yeah, I don't, probably some thought comes in later on.

Vamsi: If somebody keeps probing me for a very long time, I look at it. Uh, but I can say that, uh, most of it will still remain free if somebody comes in and says, Hey, there is a lot of opportunity to it. Let me be honest, you know, everybody has that, uh, greed right. Towards, uh, making something right. So if somebody probes me saying that, okay, hey, there is a lot of value to it, can you do this?

Vamsi: Uh, still, uh, to put it in a very honest way, I'll put 95% of the application. Probably 5% will be from a monetary perspective, but, huh. I wish that it remains a hundred percent free forever. Uh, but yeah. If, if some, some angle comes in, I'll still keep the 95% and 5% probably from the monitor. Interesting. So, and we are all probabilistic scientists, so we always try to keep that zone open.

Vamsi: That's the

Djagmo: reason. Okay. So, okay guys, here, it's just, I think, uh, those are listening. Those are wondering. Yeah. This is just one C doing one C things. So there's nothing for you to take away from going free. Whatever you've built, uh, you might have to figure out why exactly you might be doing it, but he says, you know, he can do it.

Djagmo: So he is doing it. That's about it. He's, uh, worked, uh, on it. He's built it. He wants to, you know, he wants you to see the market, basically. But ramsi interesting thing, at least for me, you said learning is, uh, learning products are slightly underrated and people are hesitant to pay money, right? Yeah. I don't know.

Djagmo: I might, I, I might be ignorantly asking you this question, but Udemi, uh, is still in the market. Uh, I'm not even sure if they're profitable or not, but they are, uh, they don't have a sales team. Uh, they only, uh, uh, sell excessively by excessive marketing, like digital marketing, right. Email, emails and sale and all those things.

Djagmo: So you never, uh, tried going in that route for skits?

Vamsi: Again, we were ignorant in the initial days. Okay. And, uh, later we know have seen other platforms and how they're doing it. And that time we were young as well in terms of, okay. Okay. Looking at the mindset, Uhhuh. Due till today has 95% off on every of their courses.

Vamsi: Exactly. Yeah. There are a bunch of marketing gis that they try to play around. You would've also done that, but, um, but yeah, your marketing would've helped us make better sales. Uh, and, and a lot of people, I don't know, a lot of people have trust in videos. Mm. Because they always can refer back. Right. And, uh Right, okay.

Vamsi: Refer back. And, and my notion, you know, also changed a bit. Uh, I told you 85, 15, but at that time, that was the thought process. You know, I told initially we thought 95 5% of the videos, 95% of the content is right contracted. Right after that, after doing a bunch of experiments, we came down to zone, okay, hey, let's do 1585.

Vamsi: Let's still pick to it. Now if you are, ask me, I'll make it 60 40 or 1740 mm. You know, my, uh, thing for videos have gone away, you know, about, but it still has to be interacted, probably, you know, a person sitting and coding there. It shouldn't be kind of somebody teaching on the blackboard. Mm-hmm. So, so the, the confidence that people have in them when they, when they're trying to purchase a code online from a place like Udemy and things like that, is the ability for them to go and revisit the video later, at any point in their lifetime.

Vamsi: Every, every course is a lifetime course. Right. Once you pay for a course in Udemy, it's there for you forever. Right. So that gives them a lot of confidence and resources that Udemi gives you. You know, you have files download and things like that.

Djagmo: There's something to take away

Vamsi: for people. Yeah. That's something that people are gonna trust from a PLG perspective, you know, and then pay for you.

Vamsi: Got it. And again, Udemi, I don't know to what extent they, they'll definitely get a lot of money from this programming domain domain and u is a marketplace, right? You have all sorts of courses, all sorts of courses. You don't have this programming, you have, uh, cooking, you have programming, you have finance, you have, uh, office management, project management, every, yeah.

Vamsi: Yeah. So that's a bigger marketplace in terms of, and, and their marketing might be different for different from the mix.

Djagmo: Got it. Rami, so I'm seeing, uh, final topic that I'd like to touch upon, uh, something that we spoke when we met you. I mean, uh, on the phone before the podcast you told about how you scaled up your company from three to 41.

Djagmo: And it's not just about scaling up, right? I mean, a lot of things to it. Like, for example, you touched upon how you felt the need for a people's team, like somebody to manage the people in your company and to address a lot of things and to kind of streamline and set things right? Uh, this might be for your software development company, but building a team is a team for any entrepreneur, right?

Djagmo: So for people listening, uh, you know, for people, those who are in that stage of growing from three to 40 or 50, you know, what is it that you would like to share? Ex what exactly did you did and how did it impact, uh, what

Vamsi: difference has it made? Right. Uh, I think first three people, four people, you'll not have any, um, complaints because you get to speak with them on phone directly or somebody sitting beside you.

Vamsi: You speak to them, communicate with them directly, and get your things done. Great. Uh, even five, six, it's gonna be the same way. Mm. So you will, um, you know, easily make the conversations. Mm-hmm. So it's, it's very simple that the reason why we added more people onto the team is we have a lot of work to be shared.

Vamsi: Uh, I was doing all sorts of, uh, activities. You know, I was doing my finance, finance, the company finance. I'm taking care of it, I'm doing the management, I'm doing the sales, I'm doing the coding work at night, I'm doing everything, uh, except cleaning my office. I'm doing everything okay. Right. Uh, so at least, you know, I had that privilege of, uh, hiring somebody to do that for me.

Vamsi: Uh, but except doing that, I'm doing every single thing. And, uh, there was a lot, lot of work on my plate and I had to share it. So we started hiring developers because that was the first initial step that we took hiring developers and then this developers group, uh, as these guys were going somewhere around nine and 10, uh, with a bottleneck saying that, okay, I'll have to go through.

Vamsi: Uh, so recruitment in this office space is extremely hard. Okay. The tion rate is, I'd say hundred is to five. You interview a hundred people,

Djagmo: you only take five people. Is it five

Vamsi: people? Something like that. Okay. And sometimes it comes to a very low number. Sometimes two, also, So out of thousand people that we have gone through in the past eight, nine months, uh, not like one and a half years, not eight, just 8, 8, 9 months.

Vamsi: Uh, we did filter somewhere close to 1200 and we were only able to hire roughly close to 18 or 16. Oh my God. Okay. Right. So there was a lot to do on the talent acquisition back then. Okay. So that's where I wanted somebody to take care of that. Okay. So now I hired a person onto my optional where the initial idea was to post on this wide variety of platforms you have, have, uh, platform like, uh, you know, LinkedIn, uh, and then angel.co.

Vamsi: And then you have touch, touch all your platforms. Yeah. So we had to pose this onto these platforms and then get, uh, a lot of resumes that was, again, shared with another person. And then as the developers do, uh, one thing that I had in my mind is, uh, not being able to communicate with the way I used to communicate with another, you know?

Vamsi: Mm-hmm. There are some people still till today, I haven't seen those faces, you know, two, three days back they have, they're hired in the company. Okay. I haven't met with them. Okay. So I'll make sure I meet with them in the next 15 days, uh, after their hire date, but I haven't met with them. So there needs to be a process in terms of, uh, onboarding, getting, uh, onboarding them, getting to talk to them, talk about the company there and, and trust me on this, that find people that who can stay with you for a longer time.

Vamsi: Hmm. I don't believe in the concept of in year. Also, I, I'd say if you are building a company, I've been so persistent for about five years, standing solo, uh, trying to, uh, draw all my energies at one spot and trying to build the organization every single time. And there is a higher, you should see whether that person is you for at least two, two to three years.

Vamsi: Okay. I put it five years for them. It might be scary sometimes to the other person. Right. I, it'll be really, really scary for some person saying that, okay, why is this person saying five years? But genuinely, I want somebody to stick with me for five years. Company is not something that you can take over or take it up the ladder within like two, three years, that's not gonna happen.

Vamsi: Some piece of work that you're doing will have to do it. You have to do it for 12 years or so, 10, 12 years or so. You need to spend a decade on it. So that's the reason, if you put in a lot of effort in terms of getting the right set of people to build it for you and, uh, work, especially when it comes to startups, it cannot be nine to fifth.

Vamsi: Right? Right. Uh, you'll have to start your day. It's okay to start your day at 11. Right. But probably you'll have to work 11 until 11:00 PM night. Right. 11:00 AM in the morning to 11:00 PM So there are times where every, there are some times where my levelers, you know, my team members, they sit for longer.

Vamsi: Three. Wow. I feel bad for, you know, them to be on calls, but they're happy, you know, they don't have any complaints saying that, okay, I'm, I'm enjoying my work. I'm doing whatever it takes. So while this is growing, uh, I need to make sure that each and every individual needs to be personally connected. If there is any complaint from somebody saying that, Hey, uh, I'm not able to, you know, we, we get a lot of projects, consulting projects onto the table, and sometimes they might be bored about the project.

Vamsi: Uh, somebody needs to go in on a regular basis and talk to them of what issues are you facing and things. So that made me, uh, increase. Uh, you know, when, when I'm increasing my team size, I, I made sure that there is an effective communication being done for the team member. Right? I hate to use the word employee.

Vamsi: That's the reason I'm using the word team member because it's, it's like a teams player, right? It's like playing football. We need to give the right pass for the other member to hit a goal, right? So that's where we tried to kind of, uh, there were hard times in the days, but this stopped when we started creating our people team.

Vamsi: Uh, the people team now has just two people in it. One has senior guy, uh, who as into placements and things like that is helping us out in every way possible to communicate. Hmm. Uh, he touch bases with every single individual on a weekly basis. Every single week, four times a week, he'll touch base with them and I get to, uh, if there is any issue four times a month, you mean?

Vamsi: Four times a month? Yeah. So four times a month. If, if there is any issue that, uh, the three team member raises, we will go there, figure it out, sort it out. All this, there are some people, you know, we might forget, you know, we don't have an HR team. We have a people team. People team. Right. HR team does some set of activities, people, team is being, you know, I created it for my own reasons.

Vamsi: Got it. Uh, we call him the chief of staff on our people team. I created it to make sure that everybody's individually connected. Right. And real genuine, uh, concerns are being sorted at the earlie. Right. We, you know, now that we don't have a HR team, this creates another problem, uh, where we don't have a track.

Vamsi: This isn't somebody who is there in us with us for a longer period of time. Uh, we might want to give them an appraisal or a hike. Right? Right. So now our building team is trying to get there to me right now saying that, okay, this person have already, you know, spent one year time with us, six months time with us, and intern has spent six months time with, is there enough?

Vamsi: So we have created ladders and immediately getting them sorted, result, talk to them, get it resolved, you know, make them happy at times and things. So, and, uh, it's really important who can, uh, completely understand what you're trying to build. In the same way, enjoy the kind of work that you do in your, in your, the daily work that you do.

Vamsi: Unless I'm Andrew, that happens. Nobody is gonna, uh, you know, stay with you for a longer time. And it's important to, um, also look at firing as an option. Sometimes, you know, when you, when you, when you are in a boots stamp ecosystem, Hmm. Equally higher is important. Fire is also important. Okay. If somebody's not resonating with you, uh, somebody is not, um, is not loving the work and there is a lot of burn, right.

Vamsi: Every single month, there's a lot of that you're trying to. So we can sometimes kind then go back. Our people team does it again. Uh, where, okay, this is not working out for us. Let's come onto a middle ground. What do we do? And then say, okay, let's, let's part ways in, but from right, from three to 41, whatever journey that we have gone through.

Vamsi: Mm-hmm. I think I'll put it in, uh, I'll conclude in five things. One, uh, trying to establish a direct communication that needs to be one person who communicates with everyone. Okay. Uh, at least trying to know their thinking, you know, what's there in their head. Right. Uh, and communicate it to the leadership.

Vamsi: That's one. And the second thing is, uh, don't hire somebody who doesn't, does not resonate your thought process. Right. Or, or the kind of work that you're trying to do. Right. It shouldn't be for the sake of joining the organization. Sometimes, you know, we, we'll have a lot of work, but we don't have people.

Vamsi: Mm-hmm. Sometimes we'll have a lot of people not have work. Right. Right. But imagine a situation where if somebody's passionate, deeply passionate about staying with you, you can do something for the other. Yeah. Yeah. Right. So if, even if we are in a state where we have a lot of work and no people, we put in tremendous amount of effort to get the right person.

Vamsi: Got it. Right. And uh, the third one is, uh, uh, trying to help them, uh, learn about the cross-functional domain, because that's where the youth is currently pretty much interested in. Mm-hmm. Let's say if somebody is another backend team, he wants to learn printed. Mm. You know, giving them that path of exploration.

Vamsi: Saying that, okay, hey, can you do this? You know, they'll be super excited, super pumped. Uh, that's the other thing. And definitely fourth point is something from the monitor perspective, uh, making sure that the industry is now super crazily heated up because of the recession and things like that. Uh, but it's really important to protect their, uh, interests and making sure they are paid the right time.

Vamsi: Uh, because that's from the beginning of the company. One thing that I've struggled so hard is to get their payments out on the last weeks, uh, last days of the month. Got it. And we, we start looking at things from 29th to 31st, everything which should be sorted up. Got it. If it's February 28th, it needs to be sorted up.

Vamsi: So something like that has been genuinely there. We have been doing that because that came out of a different notion of we have seen our parents, you know? Right. Everybody used to push somebody into an Armand job. Right. Of the job safety. Right. Uh, and getting yourself paid in time. Right. Because the government does it.

Vamsi: Yeah. But the other way around on the industry, in the private sector, uh, now it changed. There is a flip where the government is not able to pay properly and then the private sectors are Yeah. Really nice to people. Uh, but we wanted, I've seen my parents grow that way and they've, you know, my relatives talking about government jobs and things like that.

Vamsi: I really wanted to give them a trust factor. Mm-hmm. So that's something that we have done it for every single individual. Right. From three to 40. We keep telling this, your positions will be moved. After three months, if it's an intern, the positions will be immediately, uh, not talked about in six months time.

Vamsi: So something that sorts are, uh, done every single time. And, uh, at least once a month or twice a month, uh, the CEO of the organization has to go in there, give them a crazy talk that gives 'em a hi and come back. Right. So that's also needs to be there, like a pep talk. Got it. Yeah. Like a pep talk.

Djagmo: How long does that reach?

Vamsi: Uh, which

Djagmo: one? The pep talk. How long does it

Vamsi: last? Um, I'll keep it very short. You know, people are bored. You know, this, this age group that we are in right now, they get bored. So you have to keep it straught, short, straight, get a different character from the history. Probably last week I've talked about Napoleon.

Vamsi: Okay. Um, so different character from the history. Uh, give them a right shot, right thing and talk about the projects that we have done. Not more than 20 minutes. Interesting,

Djagmo: interesting. So, uh, while you spoke about your team and the people's team, you told that you look at people for them to stay for at least five years.

Djagmo: So I mean, that's fine, but how do you actually figure it out during the interview? Or how do you ensure that happens? Is it like you try your best and then it

Vamsi: is gonna, I'm, I'm extremely fortunate to have people like, like them with me right now. Uh, there are people who are stuck with me for three years.

Vamsi: Uh, I'll say, um, one. Four people for the last three years, uh, um, then three people for the last four years. Uh, so I have, I have already people in the system, not that great. Great. The core team, unfortunately the same. Yeah. The core team is, is still there with me. And, uh, you know, it's, it's pure ideation and, uh, it's, it's pure.

Vamsi: You'll be able to understand, at least if somebody is able to give you a commitment for two years. Hmm. Uh, you know, my ask is higher, you know, it's five years. Right. But if somebody is there for you to, uh, say, saying that, okay, hey, I'll stick with you for two years, it's fine. You know, I, I know for, I know for sure that I'll be able to make them my money.

Vamsi: So my, my, my, my will be. Got it. So if it's more onto that, so if somebody is giving you that trust for two years, it's good to go, but you

Djagmo: don't, uh, get them to sign and stuff like that? No, nothing like that. Nothing like that. Okay.

Vamsi: It's pure trust.

Djagmo: Okay. And, uh, I was about to ask this question, but you yourself brought the topic out, you know, uh, I just want to ask you, everywhere today on social media, you say the news about laying off, right?

Djagmo: This company has laid off so many thousands of people. So, uh, is you also feel that heat, is it also coming to your level? And, uh, is it true? Is it

Vamsi: real? What is it? The recession is always from the global markets. The global economy, right. Recession is driven by the global economy. Right. Um, so by all these companies, whoever are laying off are public companies and in the markets, Hmm.

Vamsi: Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, all these folks are under public markets. Right. And it's important for them to protect certain interests for in the interest of investors. Got it. Right. And that's the reason, uh, they kind of lay off. Okay. I'll not say there is zero heat on us. There is some heat on us.

Vamsi: Okay. But not to the extent of laying of people in the, in the space right now. Probably we slow down our hiring process right now. Okay. Uh, we haven't even done our hiring froze. We have slowed down our hiring process. Okay. Uh, just to be sure that Okay. We have a bunch of things in our pipeline. Okay. And also, you know, probably intercession only will be for a maximum of one and half years.

Vamsi: We cannot be there for a very long time. Okay. Uh, again, it'll, once the market takes a positive curve, better fresh hires, lot of money coming into the zone, everything gets funded more and more. Right. So it's, it's a bit big casino that we are playing in right now. Mm-hmm. So it's all about that market. How does the market shape out and things like that.

Vamsi: I'll not say zero heat, some heat, which, uh, reduced our hiring. Got

Djagmo: it. One. And, uh, just a couple of closing questions. Uh, of what percentage of your projects are, uh, education based or knowledge based?

Vamsi: So we've done most of the projects in the education space. Okay. Uh, mostly I'd say, uh, 80% probably, uh, Uh, 18, 10 projects are, this is 70%.

Vamsi: 70%? Yeah. 70% of the projects are in education space. Okay. We doing that for, is that a conscious decision? Uh, yes. Uh, that is a concept decision because, uh, it's easy to stick with one domain and start, start scaling quicker. Okay. Because the context remains same when you're talking to another person.

Vamsi: Right. So the context still sitting, especially for consulting organizations, uh, bringing up a niche, right. Picking up a niche and then working on it becomes easier than probably you might lose some money because of the, knows that you're telling to other people. Uh, but that constant, uh, decision making on just trying to stick to a specific niche will help us a lot.

Vamsi: Got it. In scaling in any, any, any industry. Got it.

Djagmo: So, uh, your company is, is a software development company, but in the education niche? Yeah. Okay. You take up all projects.

Vamsi: We don't have hundred project number finance right now. Okay. Uh, but, you know, one to hardly compare to whatever amount of projects that we have on the tech space.

Djagmo: Okay. Cool. You don't have any ideas of expanding on the finance, uh, domain? Probably.

Vamsi: See at this point in time we are comfortable with the education domain. Okay. Uh, but we'll keep looking. So we call ourself a product development studio, uh, meaning we build products for entrepreneurs and we scale products for entrepreneurs.

Vamsi: Uh, so now that, you know, we have grown a bit bigger. It's more on to still a certain established players that we are with and things like that. Hmm. But we'll definitely get into other domains as well. As the team grows, you know, we have this 40 people probably, if I have to go into other domains, I'll have more people I'll have to meet, have need to have more people in the system.

Vamsi: So we, we will definitely

Djagmo: do that. Got it. One final closing question. So to anybody listening, you know, who's in the B2C space, who's looking to, you know, launch an app, launch some education, web app or anything, what is it that you'd like to share, uh, from your Keith's experience

Vamsi: today? Right. Um, keep it extremely lightweight.

Vamsi: Um, don't over program, over code overthink because assumptions are different. They're completely different. And, uh, the kind of the way market responds to you is completely different. So keep it simple. Stick to an idea. Uh, stick with it for a longer period of time and launch it fast. Right. And ship other set of important features faster.

Vamsi: This will be the only thing that I'll say for any single product in the market. Not just tech, but keeping it, we, we overthink a lot in terms of building products, right? What is the fundamental problem? If take that fundamental problem that is actually needed to be solved, I'll not build another Uber or Uber because it's already a solved problem.

Vamsi: Right? Right. Uh, something that, you know, probably if, uh, some that are, I'll just give you an example of, uh, let's say if you are catering to the finance market, right? There are a lot of finance people in the market. Probably trying to clean up their Excel sheets on a daily basis, right? A tool for them to cut down the time of their Excel cleaning from eight hours to eight minutes.

Vamsi: If you are trying to do that, keep it simple, solve the problem, try to layer on top of it, ship it faster, right? So that's the direction we'll have to go. Rather than saying that, okay, this guy is a finance guy, I will make him help do every single thing that is he's trying to do in his life. Mm-hmm. Uh, probably, you know, I'll pays, I'll pay his desk that and stuff like that.

Vamsi: So it's not, go ahead, do everything in that specific number, even though you're signaled to the finance application financed. Don't try to solve everything. Solve something simple in, in first place and probably expand on top of it. Right. So that will help people a lot in terms of expansions. Okay. And, uh, this is something that I've, uh, tweeted recently.

Vamsi: Okay. Um, that, you know, don't, uh, build what, what your customer want. Okay. What your, build something that all, you know, what your customers want. So something that you should always remember while you're building, um, is prioritizing certain set of important things. Uh, if, if, let's say if I have 10 customers, if one customer comes in and says, Hey, can you build this one?

Vamsi: If three customers comes in and hey, can you build this one, then my priority will be going to the second, second thing, second future. Right? So that's something that should keep constantly doing around the space.

Djagmo: Okay. And, uh, you said that you know, 70% of your clients are education based, so. Are there any trends that you see today where education in India, B2C is going

Vamsi: towards?

Vamsi: I think, um, you know, the large players have been slowing a bit. Yeah. This is a good news. Some to some people, definitely For sure. The large players are slowing down and catering to a niche will start picking up crazy. In India, for example, uh, probably, you know, I can, uh, pick up this u PSE space, huh?

Vamsi: Probably somebody who is in this specific region, uh, might want to crack so and so x, y, Z exams. You know, somebody can become an expert in ipss or IRS or something else. Huh. So trying to focus on that specific niche in the initial days at least, you know, when you start off something, uh, go aggressively in, in that space.

Vamsi: Uh, capture us very small market probably will be also good with hundred, 500 foods, probably paying you something, you know, really decent, really, really decent, right? Trying to, to get such markets will be more and more in India, rather than figuring out a large volume space. Saying that, okay, hey, I'm building an app for 15 growth people in India.

Vamsi: That's not gonna work, right. At least to my knowledge, that's not gonna work easily because people have done it in the past and have failed miserable. So trying to understand a certain set of probably a very defined pool of 25 K market. Find the 25 K market. Try to narrow it. Probably you'll be able to get, uh, if you're able to get.

Vamsi: A thousand people from that market. Hmm. Uh, making, uh, you know, good revenues probably, you know, making, you can still make, you know, even if you're charging one, like post a simple method. Right, right. So getting into that space will help you a lot in terms of, you know, understanding things

Djagmo: and stuff like that.

Djagmo: Okay. So basically you're telling to all the educators out there, if they're looking to kind of, you know, get into the business, look at a narrow focused, uh, area where you can penetrate. Yeah. Yeah. It could be for individual teachers or it could be, you know, who, who go out on social media and make some content or apps very

Vamsi: narrow, very narrow.

Vamsi: Uh, you know, probably IB schools are there in India. Right, right. So probably pick up an ib, right. IB for this, this, this. Narrow it down, teach them probably you create your own premiumness, add premiumness to it. Got it. That definitely becomes a

Djagmo: successful business. Cool. Uh, great pharmacy. I mean, uh, is there anything that you thought I did not ask and you wanted to share?

Djagmo: This is the time for that if you, if, if, if at all, Dennis. No, I

Vamsi: think, uh, we had a great conversation today. Great. Uh, you know, one thing that I've, uh, seen all in my entrepreneurial journey is the staying with it. Uh, you know, most of the people kind of step back, uh, within two years, three years. Right.

Vamsi: Maximum. You know, I've seen people and a lot of my friends, almost 10, 20, 10, 15 people of my friends who came into the entrepreneurial journey. I was the only person now, you know, in the entrepreneurial space. All those folks left. Okay. Uh, saying that, okay, we are tired right now. We'll not be able, but st staying with it for a long time, uh, you know, you need to have that audacity and, uh, you know, sticking with, with that problem and trying to be persistent there can help you a lot.

Vamsi: And then it picks up, you know, that's, that, that the quote of one night success will definitely start turning up because of all the journey that you would've probably had. Right. But you have to pay for that one night to happen.

Djagmo: Yeah. It's like a, a similar example to a bamboo thing, right? You just wait, suddenly it shoots up.

Djagmo: You know, don't know when, from an entrepreneur's perspective, you don't know when, but when it shoots up, it'll be fast. Yeah. Yeah.

Vamsi: I, I'd say anybody who starting off five years is the time they'll, after five years they'll get used to it. Even if something is not taking up, they'll be used to it and they'll be like, I'll still stick to it.

Vamsi: Still stick to it. Right. But yeah, I had the, you know, I'm extremely fortunate to start at a very young age. Okay. Uh, so that it became easier for me to go through all the rough challenges and I don't have any additional responsibilities will be taken care of. Right. So that kind of help me, but somebody who is starting off late also need to stick to it and probably who, who ever is there in the space trying to, uh, no.

Vamsi: Having certain responsibilities and things like that have kind of a very, very small plan B. Right. So that it becomes easier only for your revenue, you know, for, for making sure your other things are sorted up, not kind of going back. But sticking to it for a very long time will really, really help.

Djagmo: Got it.

Djagmo: Rami, thank you so much. Um, I think, uh, we've extended our, uh, time slot by about 12 minutes now. Thank you for that. Uh, it was amazing talking to you. Uh, I can go on, but, you know, uh, to us is, I think is, it's in time. We'll probably have a part two sometime. Uh, I have a lot more questions from whatever we spoke, but you know, it's probably away from, um, the entrepreneurial journey and stuff like that.

Djagmo: Um, so yeah. Thank you. And, um, we will probably see each other again in part two after some time, if you would be interested.

Vamsi: Sure. Wonderful. This was, this was fun to do for me. It's been a very long time since I've had, uh, stayed. I, I didn't, I, I thought I'll be exhausted within an hour time, but I, I was able to do this for a very long time.

Vamsi: Thanks a lot for this, and thank you. Yeah, we definitely

Djagmo: do. Partner. Yeah. This podcast is brought to you by Edison os a no-code EdTech platform to operate an online education business. Knowledge. Entrepreneurs can use Edison OS to sell online courses from their own websites, manage online masterclass, 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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