Speaking on the third day of the Goafest 2015 Knowledge Seminars, Gopinath and Bahl shared their entrepreneurial and filmmaking journeys, respectively
Aanchal Kohli | Goa | April 13, 2015
Suhas Gopinath, Founder and CEO, Global Inc, delivered a presentation on challenges faced by an entrepreneur, while Vikas Bahl, film producer, screenwriter and director, gave a taste of filmmaking in today’s world to the audience on day three of Goafest 2015.
Gopinath found his passion for working as an entrepreneur at the age of 17, while still in school. He reminisced, “Coming from a middle class family and having no business background, it was difficult to convince my parents to chase my dreams as an entrepreneur. When I initially started, I learnt one thing – it is very hard to listen to the word ‘no’. It was a challenging decision to start a multinational IT company. But slowly as I kept following my dreams, I kept learning a lot of things and have carved a niche for my company.”
Talking about how he learnt to build websites and worked as a freelancer to help companies from the US build their websites – all before he had completed his ninth standard – Gopinath said, “That time it was something that was very niche and only the strong brains could manage to pursue the same.”
During that time, he sent out his first CV to an American company, but received a very weird and a sarcastic revert on the same. That was ‘the moment’ for him, which urged him to start his own business.
He said, “My company initially faced issues, but it slowly and steadily kept preparing and churning out websites for other companies on a regular basis. The interesting fact is that we have still not marketed and promoted ourselves. But we will surely get into the same as we feel now it is important to reach out to our target audiences.”
He opened the Yellow Pages website for the American companies and searched for automobile manufacturers in the US. It showed all the CEOs’ e-mail addresses and also whether or not they had websites. With a fake e-mail account under the name ‘Michael’, Gopinath e-mailed those who didn’t have websites saying, “We would like to import automobile component from you, so could you please send me a link to your website”.
Adding further, he said, “Though the ‘Michael’ approach helped us in building strong clients and revenue, we later thought of revealing the ‘Michael’ approach to the world to win business and decided to come clean. After the reveal, quite a few clients appreciated our honesty and continued to do business with us, but at the same, a few of them also took legal actions,” he recalled.
When asked by a member of the audience as to what advice he had for the CEOs, Gopinath said, “Though I am too young to advise them, all that I want to say is that it is very important for CEOs to identify those employees who have the most passion for their jobs, and can ignite the fire in their belly. This will give CEOs an opportunity to handle the organisational business and strategise from the backend, hence encourage the new ones to lead the stage.”
Gopinath was followed on stage by filmmaker Vikas Bahl, who spoke about how the film industry has changed in the last few years and how today making a movie has become all the more the challenging.
He said, “The Indian film industry is one of the oldest ones and has witnessed tremendous changes. Today, making a film is a challenging task as the viewers’ preferences and demands are changing every now and then.” He believes that dreaming is really important.
“While making ‘Queen’, I had to take care of all the smallest of things that a girl would face when she goes through something like this. Not only do the viewers demand a strong story, they also want a strong message at the end. Today, the viewers have gone beyond just action movies and they more likely prefer practical movies. For ‘Queen’ I used some real life inspirations, which give viewers an opportunity to engage with the characters,” he added.
According to Bahl what has helped him the most in terms of achieving the position that he is at today is his faith in his passion to be able to meet the need and demand of his viewers by giving them movies like ‘Queen’.
The Knowledge Seminars at Goafest 2015 concluded with a panel discussion by East India Comedy on what helps in becoming a comedian and how the Internet helped them in creating a buzz.