“ With over 50 million views across 10 languages, we believe that our journey has just begun because all you need is some ‘Josh’ in life.” ~ Supriya Paul
I had my first interaction with Supriya Paul because of a mutual friend and my mentor Manish Pandey. She, the co-founder of Josh Talks, a channel that was started in one language and is spread across 10 other regional languages in India today.
They bring together the most impactful stories of inspiring people that can transform the lives of others and teach them skills that nothing else can.
What I’ve tried to cover in this podcast is about the story behind JOSH TALKS which most of us don’t know.
We’ve talked about how Josh started, her entrepreneurship journey, and her future goals in elevating India to become a better version of itself.
BEGINNING OF JOSH
I asked Supriya about how she and her partner Shobhit came up with the idea of Josh while they were in college.
She said, “ Shobhit and I are very different from each other. We belong to different family backgrounds. I grew up in a traditional family where getting good grades and a top college was a priority, but Shobhit was from a background where he left studies to do sports. We were two different people still at the same place at Delhi University campus where students indulge in having fun. We came up with the idea about how we can fill the ‘Josh’ in their lives.”
ENTREPRENEURIAL CHALLENGES AND SEXISM
Anger strikes me when things are not moving as fast as I want. These are the perks of being an entrepreneur. It’s full of difficulties and discomfort but there’s always new learning. The faster you act on problem-solving, the faster you rise.
Talking about entrepreneurial challenges, Supriya shared that in her initial days when she was just 20, no one even took her idea seriously. Investors would say all this is a hobby and not a career, just like volunteer work.
For the first two years, people would compare Josh with ‘TED Talks’ and criticize that she turned into motivation to make her work better.
The next big challenge was convincing her parents. Being from a traditional background, no one in her family believed that anything like this would earn her money and become a career.
She said talking to your parents about your aspirations, who you want to become in your life is important and the only solution.
I agreed with this. The more you communicate with your parents, the more understanding your relationship becomes.
When I asked her whether she ever experienced sexism in her entrepreneurial journey, she narrated an incident where she went to a client meeting. The client just talked to her partner and didn’t even look at her; as if she was just a side model on their website.
She believes that every young woman goes through this crumbling phase, but it’s important how you take criticism and focus on your work.
Her three learnings from entrepreneurs –
- It’s never like only one person can win. There is enough market to be a part of it and create a tangible impact. – Ranjeet Pratap Singh.
- Never kill your curiosity by not asking questions. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. – Ankur Warikoo.
- Entrepreneurship is a long journey. It’s a marathon and not a sprint.
MENTAL TOUGHNESS AND OVERCOMING SELF DOUBT
Self-doubt occurs to everyone. After achieving so much and having an established career, what is your version of self-doubt?
Supriya talked about how she doubts herself even today when starting something new, like “Do I have enough knowledge?” “Am I experienced enough?”
Sometimes people leave your organization, and you again bury in self-doubt of the organization not serving the purpose.
Her tips to clear self-doubt,
- I started writing a journal. Writing helps structure things well.
- Give yourself a break. It’s Important for your mental health.
- Exercise to get back your life on track.
Highlighting the aspects of mental health, she adds that issues arise due to comparison and criticism.
So the very first thing you should do is figure out, is it a bad comparison? If no, then there isn’t any point in contemplating further.
The second thing is you should take criticism positively for the sake of your mental peace.
And lastly, she said, writing and exercising are helping her out in mental toughness.
HER TEAM-BUILDING TECHNIQUE
I remember the first time I visited Josh Talks’ office, I felt a different energy in every person. It was a brilliant team, focused and driven towards a goal. What is the secret to this team building?
She shared that they focus on taking Non-pedigree people, the ones who are not from an IIT or IIM. “We want people who can relate to our content, who can relate to our audience. It increases the growth scale and brings attachment to the purpose.
We spend a lot of time together, and every person works on everything.
And one thing that I’m proud of is that people working with us from day one are still there.”
MOVIES, FUTURE OF CONTENT AND BOOKS
As Supriya and I are 90’s kids, I couldn’t stop myself from asking her about her favorite movies, as my go-to content pieces are movies like ‘LAKSHYA’ and the inspiring ‘NIKE’ Ads that influenced me as a teenager.
She said that she is a big Bollywood fan. Her all-time favorite movie is Amir Khan’s ‘JO JEETA WOHI SIKANDAR’. She watched it multiple times in her school days at a time when there used to be just a single DVD and no television connection due to the study pressure of the board exams.
Also, she is a big Russell Crowe fan and her favorite movie is ‘GLADIATOR’.
She says that slang like ‘APNA TIME AAYEGA’ and ‘HOW’S THE JOSH’ in movies play an important role in the narrative that almost moves us in action.
As a content creator, when you create certain pieces, it stays back with you, makes an impact, and shapes your thought process. So I asked Supriya what her top 3 Josh Talks are that always stayed with her.
- The first Talk she mentioned was a story about building something from scratch. Sheetal is a daughter of a Bar Dancer, who developed an interest in playing drums and cracked a 100% scholarship to a U.S. drum school. Supriya mentions one line from this talk that stayed with her is ‘yeh aasman hum sab ka hai.’ ( This limitless sky belongs to all of us, no matter where you come from.)
- The second talk was of Ankur Warikoo, where he simplifies the definition of failure and success and this is something I revisit again and again in his speech.
- And the third one is the story of Ilma Afroz, who came back from Oxford to India to join the police force because she believes in creating a change.
I always think that the type of content we are creating is not mainstream but, it’s a niche. With time people are going to realize how important this value-adding content is. So when asked about the future of Content, Supriya added,
- Post-pandemic, the learning, and the skills-based content audience is increasing.
- Vernacular content made in a regional language is picking up.
- Audio-based content is the future.
Books are the best form of content that gives you exposure to some of the greatest minds in the world and how people think.
Top 5 books Supriya mentioned that had a powerful impact on her –
- THE HARD THING ABOUT THE HARD THINGS – Ben Horowitz
- BETTER UNDER PRESSURE – Justin Menkes
- POUR YOUR HEART INTO IT – Howard Schultz
- DELIVERING HAPPINESS – Tony Hsieh
- HOOKED – Nir Eyal
Talking about her book, ALL YOU NEED IS JOSH, she says that the book is an accumulation of 30 Josh Talks, stories of 30 different people from different cultural and economic backgrounds all over the country. She also says books are a very profound medium of content expression, so she is very excited about it.
LUXURY OF THE MIND
I am a hopelessly romantic person, and I think about starting a family in my 30’s. When asked about her thoughts on settling down, Supriya said
“Honestly, I too want to settle down, probably in the next 3 to 4 years. But what I am focusing on now is balancing out the work that I am doing and my health.”
Do you believe in having luxury? Not materialistic but the luxury of a mind.
“Yes. I am working on something that I love doing. I don’t know what I would have done if not for this. So I want to create luxury for myself in such a way where I would keep doing what I love and would not have to think about money.”
That would be a luxury of mind for me.
FUTURE OF JOSH TALKS
Josh Talks has spread across 10 other regional languages and has an app now. So I want to know what is coming up at Josh?
She said, at Josh, we focus on role model behavior and how we can implement this on the young audience watching from tier 2 or tier 3 cities.
We create opportunities for our audience to improve their skills, find them internships, and show the direction through our Josh Skills App.
We are focusing on creating education-based skills and improving content in the future.
MY LEARNINGS FROM SUPRIYA PAUL
- Taking motivation from your competitors and dealing positively with criticism is important.
- Focus on team building. Work with people that relate to your content.
- When content becomes more relatable and vulnerable, it works.
- Voice-based content is the future.
- Entrepreneurship is a long race. Enjoy it with positivity.