Inspiring Story: Can’t go to vote, then vote on the go - Right2Vote

Inspiring Stories

17 May 2017

Inspiring Story: Can’t go to vote, then vote on the go - Right2Vote

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

#Inspiringstories@Awfis is an initiative by Awfis Editorial Team to showcase the brilliant business ideas and the journey of our startup member community.

Neeraj Gutgutia believes in doing what is right, whether at work, or in his personal life.

Right2Vote, shared work space
Team Right2Vote

It was in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, while working with Prashant Kishore, a political strategist, that he realised the many limitations people face when asked to cast their vote. Even the most responsible among his friends faced hurdles and obstacles that prevented them from being a responsible citizen.

The reasons varied from the mundane like unable to take time off from work, the distance and being unwell, to the more serious issues like lack of a voter id card, being registered in a different city, or worse, finding out that someone has already voted in their name.

An entrepreneur by heart, Neeraj gave much thought to the problem, and eventually came to the conclusion that the physical voting booth was central to the issue. Instead of bringing the voter to the booth, why not bring the booth, albeit, a virtual one, to the voter?

This was the idea and the foundation upon which Right2Vote came into existence.

With his experience of 14 years in a corporate set-up with leading corporates like Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, Hiranandani Group, Neeraj, a Chartered Accountant and MBA from IIM Indore by qualification, decided to take this plunge. He, along with his 12-member team had already forayed into banking authentication, security and transactions, and realised that the best practises from banking industry can easily be replicated on to Right2Vote, which is today the world’s first mobile verified voting platform.

Interestingly, this platform need not be limited to political elections, and can also be deployed by large corporates to help come to decisions which involve the whole company. Top management, which doesn’t always know ground reality, can unknowingly take flawed decisions that are rarely countered by juniors. With this platform, corporate decision-making gets simplified. This platform can also be used for professional body election, college election, housing society election among others.

Neeraj asks, “If everything has moved to the mobile today – shopping, banking, bill payment – then why not voting?” Fair thought, we say.

Right2Vote is a B2B2C company where people pay to hold their election on this platform and for the required election management. Voters have to pay nothing, and instead, they get the ease and convenience of voting from wherever they are.

Customers can save up to 90% of their cost, time and effort, while enjoying greater voter participation, 10x better verification and 10x better security. The payment procedure is simple. Billing is on a PAAS (Platform As A Service) model, where customers pay as per features used and the number of people invited to vote.
To give an example, a high-end poll with Aadhar-based verification and high-end encryption, the platform costs just Rs 10 per voter. Now compare that to Rs 1000 plus  per voter in booth-based voting!

When asked about the viability of the service, Neeraj is confident that the idea will pick up. “It is not a question of whether it will happen or not. It is only a matter of when.” Mobile voting is the future and when customers see advantages like a 90% fall in voter drop-out rate, 90% saving in cost, time and effort, as well as greater security, they are bound to see the merit in shifting from a traditional booth-based voting model to the mobile app.

Neeraj and his team hope to help conduct the 2019 Lok Sabha elections on this platform. When he crunched the number for us, this is what we saw: $5 billion, 2 months and the physical effort of over 1 crore people go into a successful Lok Sabha election. With this platform, the team guarantees to bring it down to less than 1/10th the cost, 1/30th the time and 1/1,00,00,000 the human effort.

Talking about his vision Neeraj said, “Our vision is to ‘Make Democracy Real’. Right now, a substantial percentage of the population is denied its voting right due to booth-based voting and then voters are blamed for not voting. By providing voters the facility to cast their vote from a secure mobile device, the accessibility problem will end.”

Right2Vote is an essential service that is strongly rooted in an existing need. Neeraj’s heart is in the right place, and his and his team’s experience and passion to make voting through smartphones a reality will see them achieve success very soon.

We at Awfis think Right2Vote is solving a real world problem with an innovative approach and it is awesome to have such inspiring ideas brewing within our Pro-working centres. We wish Right2Vote luck in their journey.

What can we learn from Bill Gates, the world’s richest man?

Inspiring Stories

15 April 2019

What can we learn from Bill Gates, the world’s richest man?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

From humble beginnings to setting up a software empire, his empire has changed the world as we know it and made him worth $89 billion when he stepped down as CEO.

One of the most popular entrepreneurs of all time, Bill Gates is better known as the prodigy who started the technology revolution by launching a software company after dropping out of Harvard in 1974.

His success at Microsoft has earned him the title of one of the richest men in the world. We’ve put together a few of his leadership lessons that we believe can help your business grow

#1 Do not get distracted by success

Bill Gates has said “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose”.

It is but human to get carried away by success, especially when it comes easily, and keeps coming. But that’s not the case with Bill Gates. He never allowed his success to cloud his business judgements. He lacks overconfidence and understands that success cannot supersede business ethics. Yes, he does attribute his initial success as the stepping stone for future triumphs, but he was always prepared for the psychological challenges that success can bring.

#1 Have a vision

Gates never let his role at Microsoft define him. He dreams big, and he dreams beyond the immediate. He kept beating competition because at every point, he kept dreaming bigger and beyond and stayed a step ahead of the rest. He has a rich philanthropic life and that also contributes to his success in his primary career. He is more involved in society at large than just as a software supplier, and that makes it easy to follow him as a leader.

#1 Doesn’t hurt to rate yourself a little higher

Did you know that the contract that established Microsoft was proposed in the air? When Bill told Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) that he could develop an interpreter for microcomputers, he was overrating himself; he had never done that before. But he was ready to go the extra mile to get it done. Gates and his partner, Allen, worked hard to get the interpreter ready within a few weeks after MITS expressed its interest in their proposal. The result of that effort today is Microsoft.

#1 Be ready to embrace failure

You’ve started your business to be successful, but entrepreneurship comes with its set of challenges. Too much success, for too long, can make anyone complacent and even arrogant about their abilities. Remember that no one is invincible and you should always be prepared for rough patches. Don’t let those bog you down. Instead, get back up, dust yourself and learn from them.

#1 Value time

Gates has said, “no matter how much money you have, you can’t buy more time”. He values every minute of his day and plans his daily activities to ensure the most important tasks never get left undone. He will not attend meetings that don’t really need him. He is immensely successful today, but he knows that he has the same number of hours as everyone else, and has still retained the same value for time as before.

#1 Do your own thing, and be good at it

Every one of us starts with inspiration; some of us even continue to be inspired throughout our careers. However, remember that there is a thin but distinct line between being inspired and trying to replicate what someone else has done. Find your own brand voice and identity to ensure that you stand out among competition.

Gates joined a computer club at 13 and he realised he’d found his calling. He spent hours teaching himself how to program, and with his dedication and foresight turned his passion into a billion-dollar business, something that not many people had believed was possible at that time.

#1 Stop feeling sorry for yourself

“Life is not fair; get used to it.”, Bill Gates. Let’s face it; things are not always going to go your way. And not everything is in your control. You might make a mistake, or the industry might suffer a slowdown. There are very few companies that have grown without facing their share of serious problems. What matters is how you respond to this crisis. Use the negative situation as a learning curve and look for ways to control damage. Perhaps your business can adapt to the situation and come out of it better and stronger.

#1 Care for other people

Bill Gates’ leadership role is not limited to his success alone or that of his team members, but he works hard to ensure that others grow too. His leadership comes through very strongly in his philanthropy and humanitarianism efforts. To sustain his goals, he, along with Melinda Gates, founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, an organization focused on saving lives and improving global health. He believes that his life’s accomplishments would mean less if his energy and talent cannot be used to improve other lives and society at large.

Conclusion

You might have noticed that all the leadership lessons are marked #1. (Did you just go back to check?) That’s because we believe every single one of these points is a valuable instruction and neither one can be rated better than any other. What do you make of these? Do write to us and tell us which one resonated with you the most.

From the biggest news stories to the trendiest trends

Inspiring Stories

04 April 2019

From the biggest news stories to the trendiest trends

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Oscar Wild has said that ‘Life imitates art more than art imitates life’. And there is definitely some truth to his observation. It is common knowledge that works of fiction have been known to inspire. But sometimes things are taken a few steps further, and then these imitations turn borderline bizarre.

The year’s barely a quarter down and it has already spawned a series of incredible stories and mindboggling trends, the kind we would have never dreamed would catch on.

Presenting a few of the biggest stories and trendiest trends of 2019 (so far), in no particular order:

Game of Thrones Finale

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlR4PJn8b8I

 For many fans the wait is finally over, almost. The much-awaited grand finale of Game of Thrones is set to premier on HBO on April 14 this year. And social media is abuzz with how the series will end. Keeping in mind the huge build-up and the expectations that the audience have from the series, David Benioff and Dan Weiss chose to direct this themselves. However, they are well aware that even the best-case end will not please everyone and they can only hope to receive minimal fan backlash.

There is much secrecy around the last episodes of the series that GoT the whole world hooked. Not many details are out, and apparently only select crew members wearing a special Episode 6 badge were allowed on set, and some scenes were even shot on a closed set.

If fans are worried about not knowing what to do with their time after watching the finale, a week later a 2-hour documentary on the making of the show’s final season will air on HBO. What they look forward to next is anybody’s guess.

Now that the biggest news is out of the way, let’s look at some of the trends that have swept up the digital world.

The Bird Box Challenge

You might want to take off the blindfold for this one. Netflix’s latest horror flick, Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich and Sarah Paulson, is a movie about an invisible entity that can make people hallucinate if they are exposed to it. As a result of that, people in the movie go about with their eyes covered to avoid any accidental exposure that can cause them to eventually kill themselves.

The thrilling movie had the audience on the edge of their sofas and beanbags, no doubt. What the makers did not expect was that people would recreate the movie in real life and give birth to the Bird Box Challenge, where people go about their daily life with their eyes covered. Naturally, some of the results are hilarious and, in some cases, things did go wrong horribly.

The challenge got so out of hand that Netflix had to issue a warning asking people to stop the challenge and not land up in the hospital.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=361kslpyQMU

Egg Post

What does a humble egg have that Kylie Jenner doesn’t? For starters, more Instagram likes than her birth announcement post. While Jenner once held the world record for the maximum number of likes on a post (18M to be precise), the unassuming egg has poached the title and gone on to amass 24.5M likes since it first made its appearance on social media on January 4th this year. And it is the only post of the account, made explicitly to beat Kylie’s record.

In response, Kylie cracked an egg on the ground and posted it online with the caption ‘take that little egg’. It’s an amazing time to be alive, isn’t it?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-LqnJuamRQ

This isn’t the first time that people have tried to get a lot of Instagram likes, quickly and break existing records. And it won’t be the last. Even now people are scrambling to break the egg’s record with their posts. Let’s see who beats this one.

https://twitter.com/myawfis/status/1085500673263726592

‘Throw cheese at your baby’ challenge

If there’s anything that takes the cheese, we mean cake, it is throwing slices of cheese at babies. All in the name of garnering points or likes or share on social media.

It all started when a father from Michigan tossed a slice of cheese at his toddler. Understandably, the kid was shocked, but the father was amused. He posted the video online and it was reposted on Twitter by another social media addict who goes by the name of @unclehxlmes. The video went viral and soon after twitter was flooded with people throwing cheese slices at their kids or younger siblings.

A few did feel it was disrespectful and tossed them at their cat or dogs instead. We’re sure those guys were pleased as punch. The original Facebook video and the Twitter one have both been taken down since then.

Cleaning!

The last in our series of strange but true tales is the cleaning trend. Instagram influencers like Mrs Hinch (with 1.4M followers) have managed to glamorize mundane, back-breaking tasks like cleaning. People are jumping the bandwagon and hashtags like #cleaningobsessed were trending on Instagram late last year. Cleaning tips and ideas was one of the most common topics on several friends and family groups too.

Interestingly, this trend did benefit some people. Cleaning companies saw a dramatic rise in their numbers since Mrs Hinch started talking about cleaning. One of the brands also noticed a spike after a product was endorsed for free by the influencer.

Not many were pleased though. Some people think that their family members are taking this obsession too far. Being excited to clean the house or wanting to try out a new dish cloth or a cleaning product taking precedence over family time seems like taking things a little too far, according to them. But the cleaners themselves find it therapeutic.

Will the trend last long? No one knows. After all, there are better things to do than watch someone clean a sink or fold and put away washed laundry, right?

Conclusion

Trends come and go, and no one really knows why something sticks and why something doesn’t. In today’s quick-fix age, it is important to understand the ‘Instagrammable’ value of something before speculating on its popularity.

A new ‘brand’ of influencers

Inspiring Stories

27 March 2019

A new ‘brand’ of influencers

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Are people brands?

The jury is still out on that, but we believe that famous people could be (and are) presented as brands. If they stand for a promise, or perhaps as a personification of a product, a service, an organisation or a belief, individuals can move from being people to brands.

People have personalities, they possess character and they stand for something. The trick is to find that one authentic trait that can transform a person into a brand. Marketing 101 – branding is the process of managing an identity and perception. And the role of the brand manager is to showcase the positive and sometimes not-so-positive traits to help the brand get an advantage in the marketplace.

There are a host of people who have branded themselves well. We’ve chosen the 7 most influential people who have built powerful reputations in the industry, and today are brands by themselves.

Michelle Obama

Let’s open the list with Michelle Obama, a name most popular with people from across the world. Even though she came into the spotlight as the wife of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, she is a well-known personality in her own right. She might have left the White House two years back, but she continues to be a person of influence even today. Her memoir, Becoming, sold 3 million copies by early December and it topped the bestseller list within 15 days of its release. In a poll conducted by Gallop last year, she was selected as the most admired woman in the United States.

If you’ve still not read the book, you can get a snippet here.

Bill Gates

Just the fact the he is the founder of Microsoft gives Bill Gates a permanent spot on the list of influential people. However, the reason we picked him here today is because of his philanthropic side. He and his wife, Melinda Gates have started the Bill & Melinda Foundation that is believed to be the world’s largest private foundation and it holds US$50.7M in assets. That is a lot of funds to help reach the goals of the foundation, which are to reduce poverty and improve healthcare across the world. In the US, the foundation aims to expand educational opportunities and grant greater access to information technology.

Rihanna

Influence isn’t all serious business. And definitely not when you have pop icons like Rihanna on the scene. This Barbados-born artist has 356k followers on Instagram alone and over 59 million on Facebook, and is easily the world’s most influential pop idol. Her success, however, is not limited to her musical prowess. She has also extended her popularity into business and has launched highly successful cosmetics and lingerie brands. Fenty Beauty, that caters to women of colour, has 40 unheard-of shades. The brand promotes diversity not just in offering, but also in its advertising that reminds every woman of colour that she comes from royalty.

Rami Malek

Who doesn’t know Rami Malek today! The actor started out with television where he won an Emmy for his lead role in the psychological drama, Mr. Robot. His international acclaim, however, came with his portrayal of Freddie Mercury, the frontman of the hit 1970s band, Queen. Rami Malek has quite a fan following, with numbers racking up to 600k+ followers on Twitter, nearly 480k on Facebook and a whopping 1m on Instagram. Talk about being influential.

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos has already disrupted the retail industry when he founded the e-commerce company Amazon. But that is old news. Today, he is also making waves in the media world. He purchased the well-respected Washington Post in 2013. The newspaper was on a decline and the world watched with bated breath to see what would happen next. In less than 3 years, the newspaper bounced back and its readership exploded. The reason was simple – its content was more suitable for the digital world and covered the technology sector extensively.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey has always held considerable influence. A successful businesswoman and talk show host, she manages to get more done than we can ever imagine. An actress, a film producer, a philanthropist, and an activist, rumours abound of her intent to run for the presidential election in 2020. If the number of her followers (16m on Instagram alone) is anything to go by, we’d say she has a mighty good chance of being successful there too.

Elon Musk

This list cannot be complete without including the dashing, enterprising CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk. He is admired not just for his billions, but it is his incredible vision and engineering that has got him his, hold your breath, 17.1m Twitter followers! And he also owns SpaceX, a rocket and spacecraft company. Come on, that’s a hands-down winner in our books. Then there is Tesla, his electric car and energy company. And did you know that he has shared the patents for his electric cars with the whole world because he believes these solutions must be available to all to save the planet. Wow!

Conclusion

If we had the space, the list would actually be much longer. We could have spoken about Michael B Jordan, the actor who played Erik Killmonger in ‘Black Panther’, or Lady Gaga, who has more than 77 million followers on Twitter and Greta Gerwig, an actress/director who is making waves in a male-dominated industry.

The list of people who are brands is pretty long. But why don’t you tell us your favourite. And why.