Interview with a Student Entrepreneur
Insight is an online advertisement portal which aims at bridging the gap between the commercial and social sector of society. Within a short span of time the website achieved over 50 thousand hits and still counting.
Their Specialties include: Advertisement, Design, Animation, designing T-Shirts, Brochures.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Nitin Agarwal, one of the cofounders of Insight , here are excerpts from the interview conducted by Nurture Talent Academy-India’s 1st Training Institute for Entrepreneurs:
NTA: What motivated you to take up this initiative – ‘Insight’?
Nitin: It was after our exams when a couple of my friends and I went out to play pool. There was a huge queue and a lot of people were waiting for their turn to play. So, along with my colleague and co-founder Kanishka Prakash, I thought of doing something which would solve this problem. We understood there was a need for something which will bridge this; the link between the corporate and social life. Now, this was the basic idea which changed manifold times when it got executed. Since Manipal is a University town, with thousands of student and also since majority of the people spend most of their leisure time online, we thought why not give both, the corporate world (to sell their products) and the society (to be aware of the happenings in Manipal and Udupi), a platform to remain connected. So, this was the motivation of our start up.
NTA: Why the name ‘Insight’?
Nitin: Ok, now this was a huge issue for both of us- Kanishka and I, to decide on the name which best described our start up. After a lot of discussions and meetings, we jumped to this one word ‘Insight’ which means ‘a piece of information’ and this perfectly matched with what we were doing.
NTA: What has been your most effective marketing tactic?
Nitin: Again, Manipal is a University town, with thousands of students and being students ourselves, we could understand the mentality very well. We started an online quiz to promote our website, the winner of which would have his/her name mentioned on our website along with a free burger from Planet Cafe. This attracted a lot of people which helped us build a name in the college.
NTA: How has ‘Insight’ changed in the past 1 year?
Nitin: ‘Insight’ just completed a year on 2nd October 2012, and we have seen many ups and downs like all other start-ups. We are no different. But ‘Insight’ has changed to a good extent, it has also shifted focus on its new project- ‘Identity’ which deals with printing customised T-Shirts. We have printed T-Shirts and Shirts for many clubs in Manipal including Formula Manipal, Team Manipal Racing, SAE and IE- EnC to name a few.
NTA: What is your favourite book/movie of all time?
Nitin: Well, I have a long list of them. But my favourite movie would be ‘Guru’ (starring Abhishek Bachchan). There are many great lessons to learn from this movie. My favourite book would be ‘Wings of Fire’ by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
NTA: Which inspiring personality past/present would you like to have dinner with? Why?
Nitin: There is always something to learn from every single individual. But as soon as you asked this question, the name of that one individual which came to my mind was Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam. His whole life is praise worthy. He had his goals defined from the onset and then he worked hard towards achieving them. The situation which he rose from to where he is today is truly an achievement. And even at this age, he is delivering for the country in some way or the other. His speeches are always a source of inspiration to me. A general poor Rameshwaram boy, who had nothing but physics in his mind and atheism in his soul, went on to become the president of the country. Great Innovator!! Kudos Dr. Kalam.
NTA: What is your least favourite part about being an entrepreneur?
Nitin: Everything in life has its pros and cons, entrepreneurship being no different. I have created a number of cold wars with my colleagues and would like to sort it all out before I leave college. But this is part and parcel of the process and I have no one to blame for the situation. It hasn’t been a rough ride throughout however. I have received support from many of my friends at the same time.
NTA: How would you describe your leadership style?
Nitin: I would say I have always tried to be a team player and support my team however I could. I have always consider work as my priority and this trend will continue despite what others have to say about me, be it praise or criticism. Infact, I welcome criticism and try taking it in a constructive manner to motivate myself to do better constantly. I have always believed in, “Work with us, rather than work for us”, because of which I’ve never acted like a boss amongst my fellow colleagues and teammates.
NTA: What’s the best and worst business advice you’ve ever received?
Nitin: A lot of advices and “gyaan” tags along with entrepreneurship. I paid heed to all the advices that came my way but implemented only those which I thought would work really well for us.
The best business advice that came across my way was to always try and tell your customers about “Why, How, What” of any of your actions, rather than “What, How, Why”. People can relate to the former much more efficiently. Also, ensure that work ethics are intact.
The worst business advice was, “Be Diplomatic to your customers”, which I personally feel is barely a necessity!
NTA: In your opinion, does an entrepreneur need an MBA to be successful? Are you planning to do an MBA in the future?
Nitin: Well, Entrepreneurship is just about following your intuitions and having the confidence in yourself to take the first step forward towards the idea. MBA is just an add-on to your Entrepreneurship skills. Many people have this misconception that an MBA guarantees success in entrepreneurship which is not true.
No, I have a family business to handle and to be honest, 5 years down the line I don’t see myself doing an MBA.
NTA: Finally, Your advice to young entrepreneurs
Nitin: Entrepreneurship doesn’t have an age limit. Infact, the earlier one starts, the better it is. Because, say you start at an age of 15, and for some reason, your ideas don’t work out, you can always go and join college (that is a backup for you) and wait until you hit on another idea. Entrepreneurs have some things in common- risk taking ability, decision making, and belief in whatever he/she does. There used to be an era, when we hardly heard about any start-ups, and now, we have a lot of them. We need more of those. And most important of all, please don’t run after the money. Allan Border once said this to young cricketers in Australia and I strongly agree: “Take Care of Runs and Dollars will take care of themselves”. Money is the result, don’t run after it. If your idea is innovative and unique enough, you will have loads and loads of money. Being recognized as an Entrepreneur is a great feeling within. It’s a complete package which requires and develops certain skills in you. Before, when I used to hear any entrepreneur speak; I took inspiration from them. Hope this gives inspiration to someone as well.
I Welcome all young Entrepreneurs to our legacy!!
If you would like to get in touch with Nitin.You can do so at:
Nurture Talent Academy