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Tanmay Bhat on The Power of Short Feedback Loops 🔁, Platforms & Their Rockstars and The Rewards Of Originality

Tanmay Bhat, Comedian, YouTuber, Investor chats with Amit Somani, Managing Partner Prime Venture Partners.

Listen to the podcast to learn about

02:00 - Advertising TV Stand up & Originality

12:00 - What makes something interesting?

18:00 - The Power of Short Feedback Loops

24:00 - How to Find Next Super Creators

32:00 - Asking the Right Questions as a Creator

36:00 - Platforms & Their Rockstars

40:00 - Startup Founders & Bollywood Actors

You can read the complete transcript below

Amit Somani 00:45

Welcome to the Prime Venture Partners podcast. I am delighted to have Tanmay Bhat with me today. It is actually a bit of a fanboy moment for me. I’ve actually seen him perform many times, way in the past. I actually have, in Bombay no less. And actually maybe from when, you’re still a “kid”, but even when you were younger, I’ve become a big fan. And I’ve just seen your journey from those days to becoming a creator, to being in the creator economy to now participating and co-running a DAO, and so many other interesting things. So I’m really glad he’s taking the time to hang out with us. So welcome to the show Tanmay.

Tanmay Bhat 01:25

Thank you, Amit, thank you. Since I’m now a Bangalore person, I was like, I need to do these podcasts. And I need to get deeper in the Bangalore ecosystem. So here I am. Nice to be here. Thank you so much for having me. And I didn’t know you watched me perform. Okay, cool. I don’t know if that’s embarrassing. That’s good.

Amit Somani 01:45

It was quite a while ago, but yeah, it was great. So you’re obviously a very creative person and that thread seems to run through your entire professional life as it may, you also mentioned that you are building multiple careers in public. But I want to go back to the beginning, you’ve always said in multiple podcasts. And you’re always obsessed with advertising. So talk to us about some of the early inspiration to start creating things. And when did you figure out that boss I’ve got the talent and I should do something with it, or was it just serendipity that sort of led the way?

Tanmay Bhat 02:20

I think, to be very honest, I was a fat kid. So as a kid, I only needed attention, so when I was in School, I think it would be okay to say I was a fairly bright student. I was always in the top three in class. Whenever the teacher would ask any question, I would be the kid who would make a joke and the whole class would snigger. And that feeling was really good. It was fun, like everybody enjoyed it. Teachers used to say, Tanmay it’s fun when you’re in the class. That used to feel really nice. And, I think when you’re a fat kid, you want to latch on to any sort of validation that you would get. And that I think was the beginning of the drug addiction, which is called need for validation.

And then, very early on, so… growing up in those years, I meet a lot of senior advertising folks now. And it’s one thing that’s common at that point, there were not too many options for a creative career, distribution was a lot more centralized, at that point, if you want to, the idea that you want to be a filmmaker, was incredibly daunting, because you would kill your dream the moment you thought of it. That how would I make a picture, thinking of wanting to be an artist, but also difficult because modes of distribution were so limited. That being someone, being a TV host, being an actor, being a renowned singer, seemed incredibly unachievable, but the thing that seemed achievable was being a copywriter. I can write ads because my friends said so, that felt incredibly achievable, that felt within reach.

And all these college festivals and that sort of stuff would always have a mad ads segment where the most creative people or “creative” who’s the most fun loving used to do that. So that’s when I decided that, very early on in school, I knew that I wasn’t cut out to be a doctor or an engineer, because I didn’t derive joy in that. Albeit my dad wanted me to be a marine engineer. I did science from Mithibai college, and that’s when I realized that okay, I think copywriting is it. I used to be obsessed. I used to spend hours and hours on agencyfaqs.com. I knew which agency in Bombay had what client. I would read everything by Prasoon Joshi, Piyush Pandey. I have photos of me in college having pictures with them, but it was mostly that I wanted to do something creative for a living. Then I discovered the salaries that copywriters get paid and I said maybe some other form of creativity would be fun.

And one day I was at St. Xavier’s at Malhar. The festival I was participating in, personality contests type of thing Mr. Malhar and Ronnie screwvala and Zarina Mehta were the judges And they were launching Bindaas at that point. And they put me in touch with Roshan Abbas’s production company that was making a show about stand up comedy. And they said,” this guy seems funny, why don’t you go work there?’’ And that was my introduction to some sort of a formal writing contract. I used to write columns here and there, funny columns. And I used to write a blog just to express myself. But that was my first foray into proper writing. Then I wrote for television, I’ve written for radio, I’ve written multiple movies. I then eventually stand up happened much later, by the time I was, 23-24. But I did a bit of everything. Yeah, that’s how it began.

Amit Somani 06:15

So let me go back to the early days, not just in college, but when you’re in school. You know… everybody’s cracking jokes, I mean, not everybody, but like, there’s enough percentage of people cracking jokes, that you are exceptional, right? And that you should kind of cultivate it and pursue it. And I’m also a big fan of Jerry Seinfeld, who just wrote this book a couple of years ago about every single show that was on Seinfeld, stand up shows, were being A-B tested.

Tanmay Bhat 06:50

I completely relate to that. It was almost like I was constantly honing the script since I was a kid, I know the feeling that he’s talking about. I have found myself saying the same jokes around the same friends in multiple situations. And they point out saying, you said it somewhere and I’ve heard it. And I’m like, I don’t know what it is, but every situation my brain automatically went into, what is the thing that can get a laugh so much so that eventually I got conscious of it. And then you start using these. I think humor is the superpower. Humor can be infused in any situation, and it makes the situation so much better. And then eventually I started learning the tricks of the trade. For example, when I used to pitch I used to write with Rohan, Ashish & Khamba all these guys, we began by writing for these award shows. And when we used to write these award shows, the pitching process was always a little fascinating. Because it’s like, you’re actually selling, the skill is to sell your script.

So what we used to do is we used to enter the room and me and Rohan would just look at each other and we would switch on, like we have to make a certain atmosphere here, so for the initial 10 mins we would discuss current affairs, what’s going on in the news. That time we used to obsessively tweet, tweeting was our daily workout, this happened let’s crack a joke, that happened, crack a joke. And we’d spend the first 10 minutes just building trust in the room that we are the funny guys because it became a lot easier to sell once that trust was established. Then as some other small things were, when you’re pitching something, you always want to reject some of your own jokes to show that you have skin in the game you care about this, this joke is way too much, let’s reject this.

So while writing itself, we would think of jokes that were either too blasphemous for the occasion. And we put it in saying, this is the rejected joke that we will put in so that the other person feels like they got their word in. So humor was a superpower. And it’s merely the medium of any kind of expression. So maybe it was never like, let’s hone the craft. It was like everywhere, that was the only way of doing it, be it an essay that I’ve written in school, that very kindly I had a really lovely professor called Mrs. Putran who was one of the first to validate this. Teachers play a very significant role when you’re young. I remember, there was Hindi, Marathi, English, and I used to always feel extremely comfortable in English, but I felt I could express myself most, because of her. There was one particular essay, we were supposed to write essays in school, where everybody used to memorize it and in SSC medium we always had to memorize it. Your way of expressing yourself was also memorized.

So there was an essay where I had not memorized anything and wrote whatever came to my mind. She gave me nine on 10, the highest in class on that essay. And she said do you know why I’ve given you this? Because you’re original and very few people are that. Ever Since that day I had this thing that originality is a must. And when you’re a kid, when someone validates you for that, it becomes significant.

Amit Somani 10:20

I wanted to interject, you talked a little bit earlier about the journaling process that you recently tried, but even as you’re writing these shows, whether it’s award shows or ad copies or whatever works, were you also iterating on paper, like just how you would normally do a journaling for yourself or whatever, or was it more like you tried in the real world, made the atmosphere somewhere and say this clicked so let me just write this down, or what is the creative process like then and now?

Tanmay Bhat 10:55

So now I have started. I mean, it’s not a perfect habit. But I’m starting to journal because these are the two different subjects I want to get into. The first one is I’m now starting to journal because I want to develop a stand up special. And comedy now is unlike 10 years ago, it’s no longer an occasion. Everyone’s a comedian on Twitter, which is why if you see, making jokes about sliced bread, which is an obvious, there used to be observational comic, where they would take a glass of water, and they would attack it from all sides and see what’s funny about this, what is interesting about this, they would use verbal craft to find whatever is funny about it. That’s how people used to build material. At that time this was rare, but now because of memes, there is an observation and a joke about everything that exists.

So now I was noticing a trend in stand up comedy specials, which is okay, if just pure observations has been democratized and decentralized to this degree. What is interesting, what’s interesting is high opinion, I think opinions can still be very, very original. And topical, and hence feels very consumable, perspective and high storytelling, because that’s the most unique original thing about each person and everybody’s craft there, is different. Observations about sliced bread, sliced bread can be replicated, but your personal story and journey cannot be. So for that very purpose. I was like okay, right now I still find myself getting on stage to just derive laughs whereas I’m trying to change that. And also, when it comes to comedy, something that I’ve learned the hard way. likeability is everything. Russell Peters is a phenomenal example of that. Russell was one of the first most loved people that people saw online. He was the immigrants representative, everybody loved him, because he not only captured their story, but he was funny about it. And he didn’t take himself too seriously, everybody loved him.

So it’s really like the principles of storytelling across the board. I was telling my friend Satyanshu, who was a cinema screenwriting professor, who often used to say, in the first 20-25 minutes, you want the protagonist to be incredibly likable, and you want people to root for them. So I’ve been journaling recently to find what is my story is such that when I’m doing my hour, people can root for me in the very first 20 minutes, for which I need to go to my childhood, and see what are some of the incidents that define me? That explains even my flaws today, such that you become more likable on stage, that’s one. The second part of the question was the creative process during the early writing days. Twitter had a very big role because it gave you these guardrails to be interesting in 140 characters.

So my joke writing skill became very good, because I’ve written just a countless number of jokes by now. And I had some of the most talented writers working with me. So brevity was important. Knowing that four minutes is all we had, if Ranveer and Imran Khan are opening the Filmfare Awards, we really just have the first four minutes to play with, can we fit in as many jokes as possible? Interestingness is a byproduct of the density of dopamine. This short video phenomenon is not surprising. Attention spans are going low. So the more you can hit the brain consistently, the better it is. Which is why when people watch a picture, if a new idea is not constantly introduced, it feels it has been stretched a bit, because you’re looking for the next thing immediately, so you can’t really spend time.

So because we used to be on Twitter, the joke writing skill became really strong, that really helped the paid gigs that we would have. Because we could write jokes even while sleeping, okay this is the introduction of the show, what are the rules of introduction, just address the room, we got to address, at the Filmfare award, we gotta address the room, address the people who are here, these sorts of tricks that you learned little bit from stand up, a little bit from writing, it all sort of culminated into that.

Amit Somani 15:40

No, that’s very helpful. Let’s switch gears and talk about the media or the medium. I mean, like we’ve talked about, and you’ve mentioned a couple of times today, Everything’s got democratized. So talk about not just the content and the creative expression, but the medium for delivery, you mentioned Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, whatever. So what are the various things that are happening today? And for somebody who’s starting where Tanmay was, 15 years ago, or 12 years ago, whatever and for them to break out, could the medium end up defining them or no, it’s just going to be the content and the medium, whatever is the medium of the day.

Tanmay Bhat 16:20

So it’s a super interesting question. Because I think first of all, all the platforms are a playground, okay? And I think everybody who is into marketing or some sort of creation needs to treat each platform as a playground. One is a cricketing playground. One is football and one is a gym. For example, playing in these playgrounds, trains different parts of your mental strength. For example, Twitter is a phenomenal playground, if you just want to learn how to write, if you just want to be interesting through words, Instagram is a phenomenal playground, if you just want to get great at editing, Best creators are so good, they edit on the fly, they’re able to take every trade and make it interesting, put their own spin on it. Similarly, I don’t even know what playground Facebook is anymore. YouTube is also interesting. YouTube is Instagram, but slightly longer, if you’re able to crush it on YouTube. I think your storytelling skills become super tight, if you’re able to be interesting for 10 minutes.

Each of these is meant if you’re a creator, each of these is an opportunity to have a short feedback loop. And a lot of people underestimate the importance of having a short feedback loop in your life. Short feedback loops help you refine your judgment, they help you understand what consumers like, what they will, in each of these platforms provides an opportunity, a lot of creative people embark on a longer journey or a bigger project without having the refined judgment. So my personal belief is that, the best creators are constantly creating, it’s like working out, and on the side, they have a long project. This is my big magnum opus that I’m trying to put out in the world. But in order for that to land, you have so much at stake there is time, there is effort, you need this other cycle, to know if this will land or not, without one other will fail. It’s important for both to exist. And a lot of creators. If you’re outputting once a week, and only you want to produce something that’s going to take six months of your life, you need both to coexist at the same time. Otherwise, they’ll suffer.

So each platform trains you for a different thing. And Instagram creators ask me all the time, say how do I port to YouTube. So it’s a slightly different game. But if you’re able to crush it on Instagram, you have the skills to be able to do it on YouTube. Because you have the shorter feedback loop going this one is a slightly longer feedback loop. If you can be interesting for 30 seconds, you need to be interesting for five minutes to do this 10 times over. It’s possible. So yeah, this is what I think about each platform. But I’ve never actually sat and articulated that. But yeah, this was interesting.

Amit Somani 19:30

I’m smiling ear to ear because this is the journey of a startup founder. So we are in the business of working with startups and investing in startups. And you’ve everyone has a magnum opus that they want to deliver and it’ll take a decade right? if you’re lucky, maybe longer if you’re more lucky or luckier but you’ve got to keep trying and iterating your way through whether you call it a sprint or you call it customer feedback loop or going out in the field and not in the office or whatever because if you were to saying we’re going to crush it but there is no feedback loop that you’re building with.

Tanmay Bhat 20:00

If you want to set fire, you need to know where to put kerosene, where to set fire and from where to start. And fire usually spreads slowly. So it’s the fastidiousness, it takes time for that to happen. And it takes a lot of constant… iteration is a good word.

Amit Somani 20:30

Absolutely. And startups are all about that. So you iterate to your product market fit, or scale or eventual sort of large kind of thing. I also saw this interesting quote that Shikhar found for me, which is “find yourself an enjoyable feedback loop that you would do for no money”. You can double click on that a little bit, a bit of a tangent, but still relevant in this feedback context,

Tanmay Bhat 21:00

Find a feedback loop that you do for no money. It actually ties in with what I just said. Actually I had a thought, I’m like, if you had all the money in the world, what would you do? What would you do? And a lot of people have some sort of creative expression endeavor, at the end of it. So you see, folks who have sold a startup for million dollars are on Twitter expressing themselves or they have a YouTube channel. I thought the endgame was wealth, you’re there. Now, what are you doing? So I think a creative endeavor is at the end of a lot of people’s journeys. It’s important because creation is everything. And once you’ve, you want to try different things, you’d want a different playground. But why to wait for the end, in order to figure out if you can have that from day one, nothing like it. What would you do?

So I don’t think I’m ever going to stop making videos. It could not be the same thing that I’m doing today. But maybe my end state is just podcasting. Maybe, maybe that’s what fascinates me, by the end of it. Or maybe my end state is reels. I don’t know. But I know that I’m never going to stop making content. It’s the most fun. It’s the least boring activity that you can do. Yeah, that’s what I meant to say, I think, find that loop that gives you joy, it could be even as small as just learning how to play an instrument. That is a very gratifying feedback loop, especially if you do it in a group, where there’s people constantly telling you, hey, this is what you can do, you can do it better. That’s incredibly fun.

Amit Somani 22:45

So let me put a little twister here. Imagine I put you online, And we’ll come to the DAO part of I mean, your sort of foray into that super team. But before that I give you access to like a million creators, but you can’t meet them, maybe you can talk to them. And you can see their product and their creations across platforms, like how do you figure out the next 100 or 1000, or whatever, people that have the potential to be a Tanmay Bhat, Like when you’re looking at so many different things. So if you are a platform trying to enable these people, one is you can just say, hey, look, survival of the fittest, Whoever is getting the most Likes, Shares, laughs will win. The other is to say no, no, I’m going to figure out how to do this in a little bit more part art part science manner. I’d love to know, since you’re a super creator yourself, how do you identify these guys or gals?

Tanmay Bhat 23:45

Oh, it’s an interesting question. My very dear friend Tripti, keeps telling me saying you should end up scouting, he’s like, give up your life as a creator. You are getting old. You should sit and scout because there’s some leverage there. So how I identify… getting distribution today is not as hard as, it’s hard, but I think it can be… you can have a variety of ways to get that. But at the same time, because so many people are able to build distribution. Many of them could be one trick ponies, Because the methods to get distribution are many. It can be a one trick pony. I think the thing that I’m looking for is evidence to the contrary of that. Which is: Do you understand the first principles of what makes this content work?

So anybody who can manage to continue finding a newer audience for an extended period of time, of course these people have figured it out, anybody who has managed to do it across platforms, that shows range that shows, that their first principle understanding of content is solid, anybody who’s able to articulate well, why they do what they do, that’s another signal of okay, there is a deeper understanding of what makes this tick. These are some of the things that for example, like, my dear friend Ritviz, he is… I’m trying to bring it down to one simple word, I think you need to show range in some aspect, in any aspect, it could be range of platform, it could be range of form factor. It could be a range of expressions in different formats, it could be anything, Ritviz a great example. Ritviz’s sound when I heard it for the first time, was dance music, but it was also Hindustani classical. Now, that’s a superpower, if you’re able to do a fresh combination. He showed range and skill in two areas, it just suddenly felt so fresh.

Because if content is the ability to be interesting for a period of time, now you have two variables to mix and match to be interesting. That’s strong. Like, I was telling someone the other day saying, Okay, I’m a comedian, but I’m also interested in founders, their journey, their story, startups, the VC world, if we can marry these two, it’s suddenly a new form of interest. The other day, I got up on stage, and I’m making jokes about the VC world or I’m so jealous of. I was here in Bangalore and I’m on stage and someone who works at Zerodha was in the audience, and I started riffing. I’m like, I’m just so jealous of Nikhil kamath. How can this man be so incredibly successful? Without ever raising VC money, be bulky, and he plays the guitar? What the f is this? This is too many things to be perfect in one human being. This is unfair. So at that moment, I was like, Okay, this is interesting that this combination is new, because there’s multiple variables. So the range is a nice way of defining if there’s potential for longevity.

Amit Somani 27:40

Great and that brings the other interesting topic, which is that of longevity. And again, I’ll draw an analogy to the software world, not necessarily startups where when I graduated, there was a C programming language, not even C++ And then there was Java and so again you have to have the range, you have to be able to use different mediums, different tools to adapt your art and your skill. So how do you leverage not just range but what are other things that go into longevity, not just variety and breaking out but this sustaining that over a decade or more actually.

Tanmay Bhat 28:15

The naval tweet that comes to mind is working like a lion. That’s something interesting. You want to run, relax, eat, rejuvenate, reinvent, get back. Someone who has been so good, I think Karan Johar is a phenomenal example. I once was lucky to have a flight with him where he gifted me his book. And I was talking to him about just his career and I realized holy shit. This dude’s been so incredibly relevant since 1997-98, now in 2022. So 25 years is a very long time to be at the top of one’s game. Very few people from 1998 are still the name in the industry. There’s something to be learned there. Be it in 2014, when he was part of the roast, like there’s this range there as well, like, Karan is able to be the host of Koffee With Karan while also producing films, while also being able to direct, while also being able to recognise talent and being able to do all of that, at the same time having founder mentality and creating an enterprise that can work around him. That’s incredible.

I think this is a problem that a lot of creators are going to face, which is you will find some initial traction. But having a decade-long career, it’s sometimes creators often feel… because creators are very status driven they’re not able to see this coming. creators have something that most people would die for; the ability to create distribution, it requires a certain skill that can be expressed in many different ways. If you’re able to create distribution, you have something boss, you. It’s not the only way to leverage that isn’t just to keep maximizing follower count. Maybe it is to maximum follower counts on multiple platforms. Maybe it is to take it offline and see how you can maybe teach. Maybe it is to see how you can start a b2b business as a creator, maybe consulting is something for which a lot of creators have to get out of the status mindset. Because a lot of creators are still so focused on maximizing eyeballs on the next thing that they forget to build the next bridge that can lead them to whatever else that they’re doing. Some of them are really smart, and they start asking the right questions early on.

But I think as every couple of years pass by, and people see in front of their own eyes, folks who were crushing it two years ago, are no longer supported by the algorithm. It starts becoming obvious. It’s the folks who do end up continuing to be relevant for a while and they start standing out a lot more. So the first principle is storytelling. It just needs to be ported over and over to multiple other things. What can someone who makes Instagram reels today, what can they do? They can 100% attempt YouTube. Because unlike the Instagram algorithm, the YouTube algorithm is a little more loyal to you, which is if you’re able to get 100,000 Subs as a creator it feels like it’s easier for me to reach those 100,000 than on Instagram because on Instagram if you have 100,000 people one reel could be 40k another could be 6 million. That’s rare on YouTube by the way.

Amit Somani 32:30

As we come towards the end of the podcast, let me flip it around and say if you’re a platform that’s building for creators and there are many now and I don’t mean the big guys. I mean, like, everybody’s trying to enable creators, tools for creators to get them distribution, monetization, reach brand, whatever. How should you work with creators when you’re like one of the platform builders for lack of a better word.

Tanmay Bhat 33:00

I think when it comes to creator economy startups. I’ve spoken to many many of them. Again, it’s not, it’s not something new that I’m saying, I think a lot of times the problem to be addressed should be the longest time spent. Is this a real problem? Second, there are multiple layers of creators, every few 100,000 followers that they gain, there’s a different need and a requirement. Every platform has a different requirement. So I think the core problem is where a lot of folks need to spend the most amount of time. So obsessively speaking to your customers, that is mega important. How else would you engage with creators? Can you be a little more specific on that question? Is there any example that you can give?

Amit Somani 34:05

So imagine, imagine Share chat or a meme platform, or if we want to talk about superteams dao, we probably won’t get to it. But you’re building a platform to enable creators to do their thing, So it could be anything, could be just to create, could be to distribute, could be monetise, could be to manage, silly, boring, mundane things like your accounting and payroll and collections of, whatever, or to manage your attributions or whatever. Like, there’s a whole set of people building picks and shovels and things in every which way to say, Hey, what are the creator’s needs? Let me go help them do that, but the question is, most of them, at least, on the startup side, we see they don’t have the empathy for the creator. They’re just going and saying, okay let’s make this.

Tanmay Bhat 35:05

So there’s different types of platforms, let’s look at the successful ones in them. There’s one which is like content platforms like Tiktok. Okay, let’s look at tiktok as a phenomenal example. What are some characteristics of Tiktok that when they started, what are some things that they did that they did I remember when tik tok happened I was sitting in waiting, I was telling my management saying, I’m sure at some point tik tok will want to pay to get creators from other platforms to get on. And my managers were like, why aren’t you on tik tok? You should be on tik tok. And I am like no wait, the money will come, someone will offer money. It didn’t come for a very very long time. It just never happened. So one of the lessons there is that your platform will have its own rockstars, you want to empower them.

YouTube did this phenomenally well in the early days I’m talking 2012-13-14 If you were creating on YouTube, youtube did everything they could to enable distribution for you. Today’s YouTube interface, if you look at it right it’s very different from seven years ago. At that time there were recommended channels, but now there are only recommended videos. Then there were recommended channels, you’re watching something and there are 4 recommended channels alongside, you could easily subscribe to them. So the channels that exploded, YouTube rewarded them. They found their own power users before instead of trying to poach others and the same goes for Instagram as well. Instagram is incredibly loyal to the folks who create on Instagram. When Instagram throws a party, you’ll find only a few Youtubers there, only Instagram users are there. So, I think that is super important.

I’m trying to think of some of the most phenomenal tools. Okay, so for example, one of my favorite tools is Inshorts, what a phenomenal tool they’ve made. It’s almost like they made it for people who make reels. I can’t imagine, like, I have some friends who make reels for a living. And it’s like they are Inshot editors, like they, there’s a particular way that they use inshorts, and they cannot live without it. It’s almost like Inshorts were made for one use case. That’s it and it’s so perfect for it that they just cannot think of …they just will never port, they won’t do anything else. And the delta was so high on it earlier to edit like that you needed a laptop, or a PC to do it. And it was so for one specific use case, it was the best solution that I think. I speak to some startups, but none of this is new,but this feels very basic right? Like it’s not saying anything new but it’s the truth. Some of these cliches are true. You want to be something for someone, what’s that quote then everything for everyone, whatever version of that I’m gonna talk about.

Amit Somani 38:38

There is this other thing called Lindy effect, Which basically says the longer truth lasts, longer it will last for, to say exponentially.

Tanmay Bhat 38:50

Correct. This is one of those Lindy advice.

Amit Somani 39:00

I forgot the name of your teacher who said Tanmay you wrote something original, which will be true after 20 years, no matter what form, creator economy or web three, whatever.

Tanmay Bhat 39:10

Yeah, originality is nothing but just standing out from the crowd, standing out from what’s the norm. As the norm changes, the definition of originality keeps changing.

Amit Somani 39:20

Wonderful. We can’t end without some joke, some wisecrack on the VC startup ecosystem. You gotta say something. I mean, there are so many other things to talk about, but we’re sort of a bit out of time. So I love to hear some interesting new jokes, memes, whatever.

Tanmay Bhat 39:40

I’ve moved to Bangalore recently, which has been very interesting. And I realize that this is a setup that I have, okay, I don’t have any jokes here but I’d like to riff with you. I would like to riff with you so yeah, so the setup that I had was that I moved here and I was talking to someone saying, the way people come to bombay to struggle, similarly founders come to bangalore to struggle, so founder is the new hero and bangalore is the new bollywood. Which would make Sequoia Yash Raj Films. So there’s like if anyone’s listening I’d love love for you guys to draw parallels I have a bunch that had written down. Hang on I had a bunch that are written down which would make Sequoia Yash Raj Films which means Shailendra Singh is Yash Chopra, there’s some commonalities between the two.

In bombay, if you’re a news on Instagram it’s bad news, whereas in Banglore if your news on Twitter it’s bad news. Oh sorry it’s the reverse, in Bangalore if your news on Instagram you’re bad news,because it has reached to the normal people and in Bollywood they are scared of twitter, they don’t want to be trending on Twitter. Kunal is Amir, a thinking hero. The bansals are the Khans, the Kapoor’s of Bangalore, we have NSD, you have IIT. So there’s just a bunch of these parallels I was trying to put, there were a bunch of random observations. People saying they’re building in stealth is a way of just teasing, nobody asked but you’ve to tell them that something is going on.

One of the trends that I absolutely hate about Bangalore, is this new scan of the menu thing at every restaurant. So the other day I was at a restaurant and I scanned the menu which took me to a website where I’m trying to eat salmon. So I searched for fish and I could see Kingfisher all over the menu. This thing began as a contactless thing, during COVID you don’t want contact. So I’m looking at it and I can see Kingfisher. So I called the manager and told him that I want to have Salmon, and he was like, yes, we’ll give you that. Now he’s taken my phone and he’s typing something, but he can’t find Salmon. Then he called one waiter. Now there’s three people all huddled next to each other trying to find salmon on the menu and in this process maximum contact has been achieved.

Amit Somani 42:35

You never let anyone touch your phone, ever.

Tanmay 42:45

And now everyone and their father in law is touching my phone and we’re all on top of each other, I said how are we preventing Covid? Menu was better than this, you guys don’t touch the menu yourself but let us touch it. So sometimes there’s too much technology and I think this scanning menu thing is too much technology because earlier menus were just easier okay, Mains, Starters, appetizers, drinks, simple. Now because you can do anything and there’s no cost of printing, so now when we open the menu, there’s New delight. I don’t even know what’s old delight, why are you doing this to me? Just keep it simple. So that guardrail that you would need to think twice before you reprint the menu was really good. Now it’s just creativity for creativity’s sake. It needs to stop.

Amit Somani 43:30

I was going to recommend that you do a parallel or we can do a parallel between startups and creators or comedians. Like I saw that thread run through the whole chat that I had with you today. But I think Bollywood heroes are funnier. That is funnier and more interesting. So, thank you so much Tanmay for being on the podcast. This is definitely one of the more funnier and thoughtful and more creative ones, shall we say.

Tanmay Bhat 44:00

Thanks for having me. Chat soon.

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