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Shikhar is a Satirist, Science Communicator, Sci-tech Blogger, Sonneteer, Rationalist, and Futurist. Having so many projects going on at the same time, Shikhar Srivastava is hard to keep track of. In this interview, we talked about the importance of reading and where to find skilled people to get your projects done.
Where are you from? I am from the “city of Nawabs”, Lucknow, India.
Hobbies: I am a gamer and I enjoy watching sports. I am a huge combat sports fan, especially pro-wrestling and MMA.
And I read A LOT of books! (<—- this is key in my opinion)
Favorite quote: “It’s the choices that make us who we are and we can always choose to do what’s right.” – Peter Parker / Spiderman.
Twitter Handle: @shikhar_sri
Hey BAUS, I’m honored to have you on the site. What’s your motivation behind pursuing entrepreneurship?
I love building things. From a Spenserian Sonnet to an analytics dashboard, building new things is what gets me most excited. Also, I feel a strong urge to help improve the lives of others in any way I can. Perhaps I just want to be remembered as someone who tried.
Was there a defining moment in your life?
There were several defining moments and I have been influenced by many great thinkers and doers but I think the one moment that stands out is when I realized how much I loved reading. I genuinely believe that reading improves us as people and makes us appreciate so much that we would otherwise not notice.
What are you working on?
After having worked with several startups for more than half a decade I have now started focusing on my own work. I work on things I love doing in everyday life. I love satire so I am currently running a satire website – totalnonsensenews.com. I love science and tech so I am starting a sci-tech website – techdekko.com. I love gaming so I have a new gaming channel on YouTube – GameDekko. I love pro-wrestling so I have a new pro-wrestling podcast coming up – SmarkTalk.
I love meeting entrepreneurs and learning about the cool things they are working on so with my friend Debarun Bhattacharjee I run a community of entrepreneurs and creatives called stannals.org.
We have some super talented people working in various teams for all these ventures and I am always looking to collaborate with more folks. So if you are reading this and want to collab, hit me up.
What is each company looking to accomplish?
Stannals is meant to bring together entrepreneurs from around the world and have them share their expertise, knowledge, and experiences with other aspiring entrepreneurs who can then learn and grow by helping each other.
The satire site (TNN) is meant to be a mirror to the society and we use self-deprecating humor and ridicule of ridiculous news pieces that nobody should be paying attention but they do anyway because we are all bombarded with information all the time.
Gaming, wrestling, and science are things I am passionate about and it is so cool that I am able to collaborate with others and take my passion to an audience.
How is your product/service different and unique? What’s the vision?
I believe whether or not products and services are unique or different should always be left in the safekeeping of our audiences so I will let the audience read, watch, listen, and decide. The vision is twofold – build successful ventures and have a lot of fun doing it.
Who is your audience? How do you find them?
Considering the diversity of our work I think our audience comes from pretty much every imaginable section of society. Social media is the game and there are a ton of platforms one can choose to reach an audience.
My number one recommendation is facebook.
Give the readers the best entrepreneurship advice you have.
Most of the things entrepreneurs say sound clichéd to people who aspire to be entrepreneurs but to be honest these clichéd things are true to the hilt! So yes, you have heard this before but hear it again because this matters:
Love what you do and do what you love. Also, try and bring value to people and try to have fun while doing it.
Teach us anything practical. Can you recommend any favorite websites to learn that?
I like practical advice that actually helps.
If you are reading this in countries like the US or India, or basically any country with a large e-commerce presence, go to YouTube and search for “Gary Vaynerchuk garage sale”. Then build on what the incomparable GaryVee teaches you in those videos. This will help you make a few side bucks while you hustle.
If you have a good idea and want to get started quick, work with freelancers. The most insanely talented people on the Internet live on freelancer.com, fiverr.com, and github.
If you are stuck and seek solutions to your problems find them on Stack Overflow, Quora, and Moz.
What should an entrepreneur focus on?
Listen to your audience. Period. There is a buzzword called ‘social listening’ that I think is still extremely underrated. Understand it and use it to your advantage.
This might be a tough one: What are some of your favorite books?
That’s a fairly difficult one to answer for someone who reads pretty much every day. A lot of friends have asked me this so I have started adding all the books I liked reading, or would like to read, to a Goodreads list. So far I have added around 100 books to this list. I think once I am done adding there will be a little more than 500 books in that list. You can find this list here.
Where do you see yourself and your ventures in a couple of years?
I see myself building on my current ventures, strengthening my teams, and launching several new ventures that are currently in ideation phase over the next couple of years.
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