EP 6 – Product Development for Publishers With Factor Daily’s Jayadevan PK

    Fact checked by Vahe Arabian
    Vahe Arabian

    Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing. My vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and promote their efforts, my passion is to uncover talent and… Read more

    Edited by Vahe Arabian
    Vahe Arabian

    Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing. My vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and promote their efforts, my passion is to uncover talent and…Read more

    Jayadevan PK avatar

    Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing. My vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and...Read more

    FactorDaily, a newly formed startup in India, has raised $1 million to kick-start its efforts in tech publishing. Jayadevan PK (Co-founder & Head of Product) goes through how they raised venture capital without a proposed monetization model. He also delves into the product development lessons (using tech) he’s learned which will be bringing Factor Daily to break even in 2019.


    Podcast Transcription

    Vahe Arabian: Welcome to Episode Six of the State of Digital Publishing podcast. State of Digital Publishing is an online publication and community providing resources, perspectives, collaboration on musical digital media and publishing professionals in new digital media technology and audience development. In this episode, I speak with Jayadevan PK, co-founder and head of product at Factor Daily. Hi, Jayadevan, how are you?

    Stay up to date on the latest news, trends, and best practices in digital publishing.

    Jayadevan PK: I’m good, how are you?

    Vahe Arabian: I’m good thanks. Great to connect with you. If you don’t mind just starting off just letting our audience know more about you and about Factor Daily.

    Jayadevan PK: Yeah, sure. We started Factor Daily about two years ago, and the idea was to raise the bar of technology journalism in India. And we come from different backgrounds, mostly from a journalism background, but we have people from tech and people from design in our teams. The idea was to say, “Hey, technology is affecting everybody’s lives in India in a big way and we need to do justice with the way it’s covered now”. Nothing has changed in the last 5-10 years because it’s always been the newspapers, and it’s always been the blogs that cover technology.

    Jayadevan PK: So, we said, “How can we change this?” That’s how we got together. So, I was with the Economic Times a couple of times, and I also worked for a startup blog in between. A couple of general newspapers, and my co-founder, Pankaj, he used to work for Tech Content. A bunch of other publications including Meet, which is India’s second largest financial daily and the Economic Times, which is India’s largest financial daily. So, two of us and we had … That’s how we started off, luckily for us we managed to raise some money and we put a great team together. So, yeah, here we are. Two years out.

    Vahe Arabian: No, I read that from a series of investors you were able to raise one million dollars, which is very rare in our space given the declining ad revenues and everything else. How were you able to convince or present the proposition of what you mentioned now to the investors? And how were you able to get them to invest in you guys, given that, like you’ve said or from what I’ve read, that you’re still working on developing the product?

    Jayadevan PK: You know what everybody understands is that media is changing, and the old type of media is not going to work with the new audience. And what everybody also realizes is, hey, there’s a lot of flux in the market as to how news is distributed, or how news is gathered, and how news is consumed. Our proposition was, “hey, we have a lot of journalism background, can we fit technology into this? And can we see if we can come out with something interesting, something better than what is out there already as a product?” That was our proposition. I think the investors … we have typically… do larger investments. But in India, if you’ve noticed, that it’s a new trend that a lot of larger investors have started cutting smaller checks. Because they don’t want to miss out on getting in all little companies. I think we were one of the guys who they thought had the right mix of journalism and tech background. And I don’t think they gave it too much thought.  So, I think that’s how it happened.

    Vahe Arabian: I understand. If we could just take a step back, are you able to just provide a bit more background about how you guys have set up at the moment or how your team looks like at the moment?

    Jayadevan PK: Yeah, sure. We have five or six writers, we have one editor, he does the copy and he also helps us mold the copies better. And we have a couple of people in design, one person in sales and marketing, and then we have one person in distribution, which is social and other things. Yeah, so that’s all we are, and so we got here through a series of experiments. Like, there was a time when we said we’d only do video because the video has the future. And then we said, “Hey, we need to think back, we need to look at what we are good at.”

    Jayadevan PK: So, the video was not really we were good at so we had to chuck that. The video was one of the experiments; the other experiment we’re doing right now is through podcasting. We’ve always been good at very detailed long-form stories in the business of technology space. So, that seems to be working really well for us. While we continue to do that, we want to add layers of reaching out to the audience. Podcasts seem to be working well for us now, we have a podcast called “Outliers”, it’s into its 50th episode and we have sponsors coming in and those things.

    Jayadevan PK: Yeah, so that’s how we are set up. We are fairly leading in that sense because we figure we can’t play the advertising, the CPC kind of a game here because that’s probably not the way we think Factor Daily’s future will be. We don’t believe in the whole ad-driven model, as of now, and that’s what we’ve learned over the last couple of years.

    Vahe Arabian: So, you mentioned sponsorships as something that it’s coming to the foreplay. What are the other current monetization or business models that you guys have building up or have in plan at the moment?

    Jayadevan PK: There are a couple of things that we are planning to do. One is we want to see if the readers will be willing to pay in some way or the other. We’re still working on that, it’s too early for us to talk about what exactly we’re doing. Because we are trying to figure out how to deliver the right amount of value and what could be the pricing for that, and how much of content should be put behind the payroll, how much of it should be outside the payroll, and those things. We’re kind of really thinking hard on that front.

    Jayadevan PK: We might decide not to do it, but we would have done the research on that piece, so that’s one piece. The core monetization area for us right now is through a brand studio kind of a model where we have an internal … Our sales and marketing person also works with the design folks and some of our external writers who are not full-time surfers. And we kind of deliver brand solutions, so we come up with concepts on how brands can engage better with their target audience and we picture two brands.

    Jayadevan PK: We have a couple of those programs going, as of now, so that covers some of our costs. We think we’ll be able to cover most of our costs by next year for this kind of a thing.

    Vahe Arabian: So, can you go through and outline how you came to the conclusion of, for example, you’ve created a brand studio product now. What was the process that you went through, and how did you end up including that that’s one of the rare avenues that you want to take?

    Jayadevan PK: It’s, in fact, my co-founder who’s more in touch with the brands, but from what I hear is brands want to experiment with newer brands that offer newer media properties, that offer some kind of creditability, some kind of innovative products. And then we went out and we’ve met a lot of brands without actually pitching them a product. We came back and we said, “Hey, what are we good at?” And then we figured some of the things, we’ve created a couple of properties so far. For example, we had this property called future of jobs, now in the world, we’re talking about technology taking over a lot of jobs with AI and those kinds of things coming into play. There is a lot of anxiety over what are the jobs of the next generation going to look like? Or how do you make yourself more employable? And countries like India especially, because we have a million people coming on to the workforce every month. So, we said, “Hey, is there a brand which wants to come and talk to the audience about how this is going to shape up?”

    Jayadevan PK: So, it’s more of an influencer kind of network where we got some of the largest recruiters from the country, we got some of the influencers in the States. And we also got a lot of readers into the mix, where we said, “Hey, this is how the conversation is going on around future of jobs, these are the areas that are getting disrupted”. If you have a banking job how is it going to change, if you have a job in an industry how is it going to change? We found a sponsor for that and we went to market with the product and we did all of the meet-ups around the country.

    Jayadevan PK: And we did the sole big event around the theme. We had a series of articles also around the theme and all of this is kind of clearly demarcated as, “Hey, this is a sponsor, or this is brought to you by …” and those kinds. So that we don’t violate any rules of journalism. We practice that very religiously in Factor Daily. That’s one product, the other product that we’re working on currently it’s called Data Warriors and it’s a challenge which a brand has … I mean again we designed the concept and we went to a brand which is open to working with us on this.

    Jayadevan PK: And the brand wants to kind of talk to data scientists and people who implement large solutions in enterprises. So, we have this challenge going on but the largest prize money which is sponsored by the brand and they also give us a little bit of money to run the program. So, it’s actually running very successfully, we have thousands of people who signed up for the challenge. We source problem statements from companies that have solutions that need to be hacked around data.

    Jayadevan PK: And we put that to the participants and that’s how it’s working. We typically sign slightly longer term contracts so that we are able to spend some time and build up these properties into reasonable sites. This is our first year, I think we’ll do it for another couple of years and then we’ll see how it goes from there.

    Vahe Arabian: So, just to make sure, at the moment you’re building up individual properties for your clients? So, it’s not on the Factor Daily website itself, is that correct?

    Jayadevan PK: Yeah. It’s not on the Factor Daily website, yeah.

    Vahe Arabian: I understand. And for you to be able to pitch to these clients, what kind of data or substantiation do you have for them? Do you just use based on the orders that you have or Factor Daily to validate to getting involved in these types of programs with them? Or is that something just based on your knowledge, what kind of things do you use to explain the clients that help them understand the value of the programs that you want to run for them?

    Jayadevan PK: I think a lot of our stories are very detailed and rich in information and it deals specifically with areas of technology and the kind of properties. And it also aligns with the properties that we create because these are essentially coming out of our experience in that niche. That opens a lot of doors for us because when our teams talk to clients and customers, they would have already read or come across Factor Daily as a brand on Factor Daily’s content in some form or the other. That really helps. We, by virtue of us, being a startup we don’t have tens of millions of views to talk about. And we don’t sell on that point; we don’t talk to them about, “Hey, if you partner with us we’ll give you so many clicks or so many views”. I think those days are passed, we have to work with the brands to create these properties, that’s how it works. And in most cases we have noticed they would have already read Factor Daily or somebody would have told them about us, and so a lot of word of mouth is happening for us right now.

    Vahe Arabian: And for you to be able to build up the properties to achieve results that you want, journalism and the long-form content help with plays a big factor. But did you always have background skills in other digital marketing fields such as SEO, content marketing or anything else? Or are you guys just purely focusing on the engagement an influencer and just writing content to build up the properties?

    Jayadevan PK: Yeah. Right now it’s mostly influencers and create content, you know, good journalism and stuff. We don’t really do any content marketing, as of now, and we also don’t do any SEO. But we have the skills in-house to be able to deliver if in case a program requires that. Like we have a digital marketer who works with our brands for their specific properties. But we don’t kind of sell our services that aggressively. The thing to keep in mind here is that we’re not a large operation, we’re a lean team like I said.

    Jayadevan PK: So, it can be like you know the margins can be good and we can have great teams, and the properties that we design can be of very high quality, but we’re not really on the scale side of things. That’s a different game and I don’t think that’s for us for now.

    Vahe Arabian: I think that’s a really good point that you made there. This lays on to talking about product development processes because if you’re not focusing on skill then I’m sure then if you gonna continue on some quality then you must have a process to be able to consistently deliver on that quality. So, have you guys been able to create a repeatable process or a process for these campaigns and for future products that you want to develop?

    Jayadevan PK: Yeah. We totally ideate about what are the products that we can take to market and if they’re closer to what we’re doing as an editorial team, that works better for us. So, we have these conversations with banks, fairly regularly. None of our journalists are involved with this; it’s mostly sales and marketing team. The good thing is that whoever you put in that position of doing the sales and marketing needs to have a very deep understanding of the niche that they’re operating.

    Jayadevan PK: Company classic sale in that sense, you have to work with the marketing for CMOs and you have to work with the people who handle the bank in that sense. So, I think that’s what works for us, and then there’s also another area they also come up with ideas around, “Hey, we have this great podcast which is doing well now, is there a way to take it to the market?” Then the marketing person can come in and talk about that to the banks. So, that’s how it usually works for us, we do … let me just think …

    Jayadevan PK: What we’re trying to also do, from a product perspective, is to align, like I said how to get readers to in some ways or the other contribute to the journalism that we practice. Mainly have a small portion of our revenues come from that and which is where really the whole product thinking comes into play. And we’re a little early on that journey so not so much to talk about it but we have you know … yeah. We’ll probably have a lot of insights maybe a year down the lane, depending on how those things go.

    Vahe Arabian: I mean that makes sense to me. What are some of the charges because it seems like it’s a very time intensive process as well. What are some of the challenges around being able to replicate this process, like being able to go out to the market, being able to always speak with the market and getting an idea of what people are wanting to read about, and then being able to produce that? What are some of the challenges around being able to do that repeatedly?

    Jayadevan PK: Okay. A couple of things. From a monetization angle, the challenges I mean like, for example, a lot of brands have already done their thinking in terms of what do I want my brand to talk to the consumer or to the buyer. And when we get in on that stage, it becomes a lot of execution and that’s not something that we really get to work. Where we want to work with brands just really early where they’re conceiving of a strategy or of certain new lineups on a product or a certain new channel of communications.

    Jayadevan PK: That’s when we want to come in where we work with them right from the beginning. So, it’s not an easy sale and it often takes a lot of time and a lot of back and forth. But from our experience, it’s been good so far. I think we’re among the few people who are doing that in India right now, with a lot of focus on the domain. Which is technology and those kinds, there are a lot of people doing the same thing in areas such as entertainment and many other industries. But in tech, I think we have the advantage of being early and we have the advantage of being one of the few players that are doing this.

    Jayadevan PK: The other challenge on the newsroom side is the whole newsroom gathering process and stuff. Like most of the newer digital media companies, we have processes around how do we make editing easier, how do we make reporting easier, we use tools like Asana and Slack. I’m sure people have talked about it before. I think we’re a lot more nimble compared to the older newsrooms, but where we also have a little bit of challenge is we’re very particular about the quality of the product that we put out.

    Jayadevan PK: So, we have an editing layer, so that slows us down, which is why we don’t play the, “Hey, who published the article first and who gets the most number of clicks”. We are more about how can we put a very definitive story out there and how can we be really credible and how can we hold the most sacred content in the tech space. That’s what we stand for, so we have an editing layer in between. That’s a good thing and a bad thing so it can be a challenge as well as an opportunity.

    Jayadevan PK: Because a lot of blogs and others end up publishing very fast and they end up making mistakes, and in the long run we think that’s not good.

    Vahe Arabian: In terms of driving the product then I know obviously you’re in charge of about like … in terms of helping with the decision-making, does it sit more on the editorial side or the marketing side? Or how do you come with the decision-making process, how do you come up with the decision-making process around product development?

    Jayadevan PK: It’s mostly with the editorial, and we think that’s a better approach. It’s like we come up with concepts, the editorial comes up with concepts, that it thinks might work or it thinks it’s exciting for the audience or it thinks works in the market. Brand marketing person talks to the brands that she is aware of it, sees if there is any interest in those areas. And if they see that there is interest and then we kind of know quickly crystallize that into a product and we go back to them with the proposal and that’s how it works.

    Vahe Arabian: How do you see product development moving forward and how do you see the team structure playing a factor into that?

    Jayadevan PK: Yeah. When I say product, let me just define it the way I know, what I’m doing here right now and the way we look at the product. One of the things is product for us is right now we have a website and we have a bunch of things like WhatsApp groups and those things. I’m more focused on the technology product side of things, my co-founder they focus on the overall let’s say if you want to look at as a media product, the campaigns, and the brand, of course, it’s all done by them. But when I am talking about product development, I mostly focus on the technology side of things.

    Jayadevan PK: How do we get a new app out, how do we crack the solution better, how do we gear our internal systems so that we are able to tap the news better. That’s what I focus on mostly, and in that respect, we’ve had a lot of learning. I think the last couple of years, like most startups, we started off on WordPress and we’re working on a bunch of things; how do we customize the CMS stuff. We’re coming out with an app very soon so it will be a web app. We also have internal IT team or a tech team, we used to develop everything in-house.

    Jayadevan PK: We’ve stopped doing that because we’ve noticed that the dev work is very cyclical so it peaks at some point and for a long period of time there is no real work happening. Except for maintaining what they have been. So, right now we have one person who is really good at tech and then we work with a bunch of partners who help us put things together.

    Vahe Arabian: I understand. You also started mentioning about some of the lessons that you’ve learnt. You said that you delegate the development work to other people because it’s very cyclical. Lessons around having sitting in the product development or on the editorial team, is there any other lessons you think you might not have covered on here?

    Jayadevan PK: Yeah. I can share a couple of generic lessons which probably works for a lot of startups. So, one is don’t spend too much time on real estate or off the spaces because you spend a lot of time on getting the product right before anything else. That’s really key, everything else is a distraction, so that’s one. Number two is around the hiring set of things. Every hire that you make in the early days will have this proportionate impact on how you’re seen in the market, what you put out there and the speed at which you move.

    Jayadevan PK: This is going to be really key. What happens in many media companies or early startups is that you end up hiring people as they come along and things don’t always go as planned. So, it’s really important to see if there is a culture fit, if there are a skill level mismatch and those things. I would say this is something every entrepreneur should really focus on, especially in early days. And then there’s this whole bit about processes, so it’s probably not a good idea to have too many processes in the early days.

    Jayadevan PK: Because startups benefit from a little bit of chaos, from a little bit of going the extra mile and we work many hours and those things. But as you scale on, as you grow, then it should be some kind of standing around how do we get things done. It may not be a written set of rules like you have in bigger companies but it can be a generic sense of understanding. And this is what I would define as the culture of the company. So, I think these three things are really key, and these are the things that we have learned the hard way, we’ve made mistakes and that’s how we learn. Yeah.

    Vahe Arabian: In terms of some of the trends that you say in terms of the product development like what do you see, I mean do you look at other countries’ examples to look at trends? And what kind of trends do you see shaping, how you’re going to be building Factor Daily? Because, for example, I know ft.com in terms of their team, their structure, they have a separate specialist, editor specialist. On top of it, they have an audience editor who overlays and see if they will be able to build better clients and then better products. How do you see your product development and in general product development happening in many companies is moving forward?

    Jayadevan PK: I think we need to have people who understand what can be done with technology or what can be done on the distribution side. I wouldn’t recommend journalists going deep or spending too much time trying to distribute something, or trying to create a new data visualization. I think a journalist should spend most of the time finding great stories. I think, however, we as journalists should also know what can be done on these platforms and be constantly learning from other publishers as well.

    Jayadevan PK: So, when you see something good like a very well designed story in which there’s this whole journalism angle to it, there is this whole design angle to it and then there is this whole distribution angle to it. All three of them come together and then that makes a killer story. Yeah, I think that way some of our stories we work really early with the design and the tech team, and that’s how it gets done. So, we keep sharing a lot of stories that we see and we like within the company groups and that gets people excited, “Hey, why don’t we buy something like this?”

    Jayadevan PK: And once you’ve tried it you feel like repeating it, so then the learning curve is always easier as we go along. That’s how it’s been for us in terms of learning from other publishers and also interdisciplinary team side. The general awareness levels with the writers I would say are much higher in our newsroom vis-a-vis a traditional newsroom, as to what you can do with technology. And what are the limits that we can test with stories.

    Vahe Arabian: So, I guess you suggest that for other startups or even like existing ones who might want to reinvent themselves, increasing the awareness of technology is going to be a key aspect in being able to test out new content which combines design, good quality content, and distribution. How would someone be able to up-skill to be able to do all that, what would you advice someone who you would want to hire in your company to do?

    Jayadevan PK: Yeah. One is you need to be constantly evangelizing newer things, and you need to have at least a few people who are considered early adopters. So, whenever they see something they share it in the groups and talk about it to their colleagues and try and get them excited about it. “Hey, did you see this, now you can have a publication on the blog scene”, those kinds of site. Some of us then it’s… we dig into it, or, “Hey, did you see this New York Times has published amazing visualization, do you know how it was done?”

    Jayadevan PK: And then the tech guy chimes in and says, “Hey, they used D3.js or some other framework to work on this”. “Can we use that? I have a story coming up and it’s data-heavy, can we use that?” “Yes, let’s do it.” That’s how it works. I think it’s important to have small bite-sized communication between team members. For which Slack or WhatsApp works really well, and then you need to have these longer project kind of approach for which we use Asana.

    Jayadevan PK: I think it really helps because while most of us sit in a back room, we have a few people working remotely, and since we’re really in a team we’re always on the road. So, it really helps that we keep in touch and share things on groups.

    Vahe Arabian: Definitely. I agree I’m hearing a lot more of that Slack and WhatsApp is helping with remote teams and communication. But, I guess, like you said the culture is going to be the big part, it glues everything together. If you don’t have the culture then it doesn’t … you know the profit that you have or the process that you have will all fall down.

    Jayadevan PK: Yeah, absolutely.

    Vahe Arabian: Yeah, 100%. With the plan with Factor Daily, I know you mentioned some of it in the beginning, but what are some of the hypothesis, some of the issues that you’re planning to achieve in 2018?

    Jayadevan PK: I think we want to kind of take a slightly contrary view when it comes to platforms, which is like, “Hey, can we work without readers directly, and not depend on Facebook or Google every time we publish a new story for distribution?” Merely email is a good medium for that maybe, an app is a good medium for that. So, that’s one line of thinking that we have, and that’s something you will see on Factor Daily in 2018. What we’ve realized is you know platforms change their algorithms and they change their approach to content. And we can’t have a publication built on those lines, so it can’t be like, “Hey, Facebook says the video is the future”, and suddenly everybody is making videos. Platforms also tend to commoditize everything that they get into and increasing the competition there. So, even if it’s a smaller reader base, if it’s premium and if you have a direct connection with the reader, we feel that’s going to be more valuable for us in a current state of existence. Things could change but I think that’s what’s going to be the major theme in 2018. How do we build that direct connection with our readers.

    Vahe Arabian: How do you build up the audience to be able to have a direct communication? Are you, like you said, those doing influencer based campaigns? How are you going to build up the audience so you can then have these direct communications or ongoing direct communications and not rely on platforms?

    Jayadevan PK: Yeah. One of the things that we’ve been doing is we’ve been seeding a lot of communities through the offline meet-ups that we have been doing. And they all become part of WhatsApp groups and email lists. And then as we go along, the groups grow larger, there’s a lot of value which the readers then sends back to the group by sharing content or insights. We have a bunch of those groups already set up, so we feel that’s a great way of communicating directly to our readers. We have a newsletter which does reasonably well.

    Jayadevan PK: So, I think that’s probably one and then we’ll soon have like I said, we’ll have user sign-ups, where we’ll try and create a relationship between us and the user in a more meaningful manner.

    Vahe Arabian: That’s very interesting. I’ve seen a lot more companies and media companies, particularly who are running their own conferences or even their own meetups. This ties in with a lot of what you’re saying so it definitely makes sense. Just on the final note, what do you advise people who want to get into tech space in terms of crew progression? I know you said some of that already but if someone else wanted just to start their own media set up similar to yours, what kind of progression advice can you provide?

    Jayadevan PK: I would say this is a great time to start because, like I said, things are changing really fast. And if you’re reasonably aware of your strengths, you can find ways of figuring out, “is there somebody who needs what I provide in the market?” There is a way to build a product around that. I think it also helps if you have a certain degree of experience in larger media companies because then you can spot gaps and stuff. I also believe that as we go forward you need to have some kind of expertise in some niche or the other.

    Jayadevan PK: You can’t be a generic reporter in that sense. As you go along you need to develop certain skills in some areas which you can bring to the table. Always look out for a good founder that you can work with, I don’t think ownership can be done alone, I think you need one or two people to start with. And these are people who would otherwise work within any other situation, and these are people who you share a certain level of comfort with. It can’t be, “Hey,  I’m starting up, I’m looking for a co-founder”. It can’t be a quick match. I think you know …

    Vahe Arabian: What if that doesn’t work though, if you’ve got an idea and you don’t know of other people that might be interested about that idea, why do you think starting that way wouldn’t work?

    Jayadevan PK: I didn’t catch it, did you say if you have an idea and …?

    Vahe Arabian: You mentioned now that you shouldn’t go down the path of starting something and then trying to get people on board. My question was just around why you think that … if you know that other people are interested about that, why do you think that’s not the best way of doing that?

    Jayadevan PK: No, what I meant was if you have an idea and … I’m talking about co-founders like … I’m only saying if you have an idea you need to find a co-founder who you probably know for a long time or you probably have worked with or have a lot of experience with. You can’t hire a co-founder is what I meant, you need to kind of have a certain level of comfort working with that person already. Because when you start the company, it’s not just going to be about that idea, there could be a bunch of other things that are going to come at you. And then you need to find out ways to navigate those things, which is why I said you know hey this thing. So, that’s what I meant by that.

    Vahe Arabian: No, I definitely understood that, I guess I’m just thinking just for our audience that people who don’t have that type of person. I mean you were fortunate enough that you started with a few people and I saw that you have a founding team of 10 people who you guys had a history with. For those people who are ambitious but don’t have that network, how do you think they can overcome that?

    Jayadevan PK: That’s a tough one.

    Vahe Arabian: I know it’s a tough one, yeah.

    Jayadevan PK: I would say, look I mean, there’s nothing wrong with doing it alone like if you’re really kicked about an idea and you … I mean there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing it alone. But from my perspective, it makes it a little easier if you have people to work with. If the idea is yours and you find an early team, finding an early team is going to take a while if you’re just going to be alone. And what I’ve also noticed from the chat with investors and others is that they also like teams that have founders who bring complementary skills.
    Also, have very clearly defined roles in the company. Which kind of avoids a lot of problems going forward. I’ve heard from many startups that you know, because startups are intense, there tend to be fights and there tend to be these things. Which is why I said it can get tough as things go forward.

    Vahe Arabian: I understand. I guess the general advice would be start off with the existing media company, work your way up a bit. And then once you can find the gap of opportunity while you’re there then think about branching out on your own with people who are in a similar situation, or on a similar mindset as you.

    Jayadevan PK: Yeah. So, this is what’s worked for me. I know entrepreneurs who have started on their own outside and fresh out of college and they’ve done really well. Because there are startups in India as well that I’ve noticed, and they’re doing very well like if you look at companies like News and Shots or Daily Hunt. These are a couple of startups in the news space, they’re not really from a journalism or a news background but their apps inspire millions of people today. So, that can also work but they were pretty strong in tech and product development as such. So, they had their skills.

    Vahe Arabian: What are their skills like more specifically that you think has worked for them?

    Jayadevan PK: I think what’s worked for them is like if you take Daily Hunt, I think it’s India’s number one news app from a vernacular point of view, I’m sorry, from a local language point of view. So, you could say that those guys were seasoned entrepreneurs who’ve had startups before. One of their co-founders is a completely tech-driven person and she built a restaurant recommendation engine before he started this. Their other co-founder again was into apps and product development, so those two guys came together and these are complete outsiders if you look at it from a news media point of view. But if you look at it now they have one of the most consumed news apps in the country right now. I think their strength was mostly around technology and product that really paid off for them.

    Vahe Arabian: Makes sense. It’s definitely several times ahead and I read as well recently that India took over the US as one of the largest internet consuming and reading country. So, there’s definitely a lot of area for India to grow and there’s a lot of niches that could be covered. I only wish you guys the best of luck and I hope that you guys really flourish especially with the bank content initiative that you have.

    Jayadevan PK: Thank you. Yeah, it was great talking to you, yeah. Thank you.

    Vahe Arabian: Great talking to you as well, thank you.

    Jayadevan PK: Bye.

    Vahe Arabian: You just heard from Jayadevan around the Factor Daily’s bank content aspirations and how they’re trying to take the platform approach in order to directly connect with their audiences and monetize their initiatives. What are your thoughts, do you think it’s going to work? Do you believe in the power of dot social? Thanks for listening to Episode Six of the State of Digital Publishing podcast. Until next time.

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