What is life and are we living it in the best way possible? We keep asking ourselves the same question again and again. While working 9-5 jobs daily, does that even make a difference? While all such questions do need answers to have a sustainable life, few have gone out of the mainstream way of living and overcome challenges to live a genuinely fulfilling life. Such stories are quite exciting, and one platform is thriving to bring the spotlight to such stories.
Against the Odds is a video podcast hosted by Akash Damodaran, who has exciting and captivating conversations with individuals who have overcome challenges and downsides in life. It’s quite a spine-tingling podcast aiming to inspire people to do what they love and completely change their lives. Bangalore Insider had the privilege of conducting a short interview with Akash Damodaran to know more about Against the Odds and everything about it. Learn more from the excerpts given below.
Give a brief info about your startup?
AD: Our video podcast series, Against The Odds(ATO), is all about inspiring people to take the unconventional path and lead a life that is truly fulfilling and rewarding. Entrepreneur, Tech Enthusiast, and host, Akash Damodaran, has captivating conversations with talented individuals who take us through their journeys, the challenges they face, and how they continually adapt to overcome them. Stories and conversations have a hidden power to change our lives and these are no different. Tune into these conversations for the right kick of motivation and take the leap to a truly purposeful life.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
AD: I currently do not see a Show or a Podcast in India that talks about the important things in life. Most people today tend to take up the safest routes and not look at what would truly be fulfilling. The name of the game here is to one-up yourself regularly and ensure that they are slowly moving towards their big goals/aims in life as opposed to hitting a mid-life crisis where one is doing nothing interesting(according to them) with their lives.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
AD: I’m an Entrepreneur, Tech Geek and a Constant Learner. Alongside Against The Odds, I currently run a start-up, Tuck Stand, in the F&B space where we are looking at streamlining all the bulk food requirements for corporates, residential societies, and more. I have prior experience ideating and kickstarting a few smaller startups but my biggest stint was working for one of the biggest professional services firms in the world where I was a Product Manager and Tech expert.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
AD: ATO is based out of Bangalore considering this is personally one of my favourite places for so many reasons. The show too features guests who are predominantly Bangalorean. The format of the show takes a lot from this city too where we have a heavy underlying Bangalorean theme, although it’s relatable to pretty much any Indian. Bangalore has always been one of the most culturally diverse cities in India with a wide variety of talent in the startup, creative, and entrepreneurial spaces. Also, considering there is a dearth of South Indian or Bangalorean content in this space, I was eager to do something of my own rather than waiting around for someone else to do so. Hence, this was the perfect place to kick things off.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
AD: I’m a classic overthinker. So when it comes to solving problems, there are no “high-level” approaches; uncovering each and every detail is vital for my sanity. Personally, I am truly trying to put my words and thoughts into action and looking at really implementing the content that I put out there. So, personal growth has taken front burner for the last couple of years. These are things that would keep me up at night but considering health falls under the self-development realm, I try and not stay awake at night.
Who are your competitors and how are you better than them?
AD: Currently, there are very few podcasts from Bangalore or India, that are creating content at the level that we are, in this space. So I feel that itself makes ATO truly unique. But what really sets us apart from the competition is that we have decided to go the video route, as opposed to simply sticking to audio, which is what most podcast creators are doing these days. And that too with video, we have put in a lot of thought when it comes to production value, narrative and the message, and I feel that is one of the biggest reasons why our work is getting noticed now. Also, relatability has been one of the core values of the show and hence, the show is very conversational as opposed to it being an interview, which truly helps drive the message home.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
AD: This is something that we have spoken about multiple times on the show, which is – Work-Life Balance does not exist. Considering work is something that is part of your life, and not another entity in itself, it’s a moot term. So just like what we are trying with the show, to get people to find something that doesn’t get you to feel like you’re required to “work” and “stress out” or burn out, I believe ATO has given me the opportunity to do something that might seem like work to others but is actually something that I enjoy doing. So to answer your question, I manage it well, I guess?
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
AD: At this juncture, everything is bootstrapped and we are planning to keep it that way. But if the right investment/funding comes along then this would be something we would be open to considering. Also, we are now in talks with a few sponsors who have shown interest in partnering with us, but nothing we have confirmed on. We are on the lookout for the right sponsors that would tie well with the theme of the show. Our viewers and listeners come first, always. So – Value, first; Money, second! (FYI, we do have a community partner onboard though but no monetary benefits there)
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
AD: Unsure of this one; nothing comes to mind right now.
What gets you excited about this company?
AD: The fact that I am able to provide value to other people without charging them is something that I am very proud of. In today’s day and age where anything and everything is available to you at your fingertips’ beck and call, it means that you have to really set yourself apart from the norm, and that is something that we are doing quite well, I believe. And also, it doesn’t just end with creating content, we are also putting these things into practice and helping out individuals who are looking to learn and build a profile or portfolio in the content and marketing space. Hence, our team comprises mostly of such individuals who are driven and adamant of learning and thriving in these spaces.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
AD: I would love to say that I have fixed everyday routine but that hasn’t been the case. The ideal way I would describe it best is that I have a couple of different routines that I choose to execute on a daily basis. One of them requires me to sit at home and manage both Tuck Stand and ATO(be it editing, scripting, or anything under the content sun) while another would require me to be at the studio or office space for our shoots and in person collaboration with the team. But sleep has now become a non-negotiable factor for me so I ensure that I get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep on a daily basis and ensure that I brush my teeth before going to bed, if that counts for anything.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
AD: Our current team is a very talented group that I have had to put together after having rigorous rounds of interviews and seeing that we are all motivated with the same purpose and end-goal in mind. Currently, we are a small team that is still on the lookout for talented or driven individuals, but we make it happen. Shoutout to Prasad, Anubhav and Ankita from our team; you guys are killing it! And also to Apoorva, my wife, who has been an honorary team member and, personally, my sounding board, my rock, and pillar of strength. Wouldn’t have been able to do all this without you people.
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