Running a publication isn’t easy like any other startup. While you always break your head in maintaining a balance between re-hashed and original content, limited cash flow chops your growth.
Advertising money isn’t enough to survive if you are in a niche space while tightly holding your objective. As a founder everyday you have to make a call between content and money. We at Lighthouse Insights have chosen to value content first for the last three years and we will do so till our last breath.
But Q1 2014 tested us. It has been the most challenging time in my last three years of entrepreneurial journey. We (my Co-Founder Vinaya and I) were on the verge to close it down but our hard work got some fruits and we are still surviving.
It is an every day fight for survival and in this fight one man needs a special mention. He has a tongue sharper than sword, never minces words, he even told me once why do you (to be read as our startup) exist but the next thirty minutes he was giving ideas to survive. People say he has loads of attitude, I haven’t met him till date and I have always spoken to him on phone but not for a single moment I have felt that he has shown attitude to me.
For this story I will name him NP for now.
First interaction last year
I have written a post on keeping the balance between rehashed content and original content. NP forced me to think on it. He made me understand to differentiate content between information and knowledge.
It was last year, I was struggling to keep up pace with the publishing world and I wanted to speak to some one who has spent time in the business. I spoke to most of the influencers in the country but they support the eco-system when they are at conferences or on Twitter.
I had heard about NP’s attitude so avoided him; I never met him when I had a chance. But destiny had something else written, I was asked to talk to him by a friend of mine. One early morning I decided to leave a FB message asking for help. I was confident that he would ignore it but I got a response in 10 mins. The response included his number and a time to call. He was on his early morning jog and the so called “attitude guy” spoke to me for an hour. That one hour is still the biggest knowledge for me and it has helped LI a lot.
NP spoke about different ways of content creation, how to increase influence, and he also told not to make the mistakes that he did.
That was it and I spoke again after three or four months later with some issues. Again he spoke to me in next ten minutes with no ego and no fear.
Second interaction recently
Recently we wrote an article which got us our first threat mail from the communications department of a well known brand and a strong indication to be dragged to court for maligning the brand. We had curated tweets for the article but since the PR can’t block tweets they thought of slapping a court notice on us.
The first time when we saw the email, I was not that much worried but after a second mail I thought it is time when I should take someone’s serious help. NP has been a believer and vocalist for freedom of speech and expression. I approached him on email with the entire situation.
I get a reply in ten minutes, NP told me that there is no way they can put a case on LI but he wanted to see the chain of mails that I got from the company.
In the next thirty minutes, he wrote an extensive email where he gave me two clear options while breaking each and everything in a simplistic form. The mail is like a wiki for me for future such problems. Not only did he take time out from his busy schedule for helping me but he also provided me with accurate information.
On both occasions as you see I am not a friend of NP (he is not even following me on Twitter) and had no personal interest but he did help me with all possible inputs, more than I expected. He did this for the simple reason that he truly believes in helping people. There are stories floating on the internet about his attitude and his behavior of giving a rat’s ass but then he won’t say no to anyone who needs his help. At least he has never said no to me till date.
He may not be your friend but he will still help you.
NP is none other than the renowned journalist and Founder of MediaNama – Nikhil Pahwa. He has been a great mentor to our startup. MediaNama has been one of my favorite sites for its digital content. NP wrote a post recently on six years completion of Medianama and I thought this would be the right time to thank him for his gestures.
In his post NP says – “As you grow older, birthdays are no longer about you, but about the people you care for, and those who find joy in your growth, success (and survival).”
Wishes for you Nikhil and Medianama, hope you keep growing and stay focused to the breadth, depth and impact of the digital domain.
Image credit: web