#8 Episode - Amrut Deshmukh, A Social Entrepreneur Is On A Mission To Make India Read.
EFox Question -Hi Amrut, tell us a little bit about your background and career?
Amrut Deshmukh - An outdated Chartered Accountant who left his CA practice to make India read. After completing CA studies, I got into Stock Market to know how they make EASY money. Never found the answer. No job satisfaction. All gamblers around me. Money became less exciting. So thought of getting into some noble profession like teaching. Taught CA students. Subjects like Financial Management & Accountancy for free.Was always fascinated by using the latest technology in whatever I do. Started my own CA firm to suffice my kitchen. Never enjoyed. Tried 3 innovative ideas as start-ups. Failed. Now on a mission “Make India Read” through “Booklet App” which freely available on Play store and Apple Store.
EFox Question -You started 3 startups earlier, what is the biggest learning from your experience working at these 3 startups?
EFox Question - Tell us about your present foundation, 'Mission Make India Read'?
Amrut Deshmukh - I believe books can make us think differently. Books can bring health, wealth, love and happiness by making us empathetic humans. So every week I take a new bestseller, read it, summarize it and record it in my voice (typically in 3 parts of 6 mins each). I then release it for you on Booklet App every Wednesday - part 1, Thursday - Part 2 and Friday - Part 3. You shall get a push notification on your mobile for the same. Almost 8 lakhs people are part of this social mission.
EFox Question - How did you come up with the idea 'Make India Read'?
Amrut Deshmukh - It’s a funny story. As I was struggling with start-up ideas, one day my CA friend invited me to a movie ‘Bahubali’. We reached the movie theatre 15 mins before the showtime. Just to kill time, I narrated him the key takeaways of the book I recently read “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. My friend was so impressed. He said, “Amrut, I don’t get enough time to read. You are an avid reader. If you can share short summary of whichever book you read, your reading habit can benefit me.” He said it casually and was engrossed into the movie but I could not. I saw a huge opportunity in this idea. During the interval, under the pretext of attending nature’s call, I escaped from the cinema hall. Spent sleepless nights and decided to execute the idea within a week. Being a non-IT guy, I had no knowledge of developing a website or an app. Words TT Rangarajan from his book “Unposted Letter” poked me – It’s not important what you have. It’s important what you DO with what you have. I have WhatsApp! I started sharing a book summary every week with 15 of my close friends on WhatsApp and asked them to share with their friends. Within 2 weeks I got 1000 requests on WhatsApp. I was thrilled by the massive response. I named it as Mission “Make India Read”.
EFox Question - Where do you want to take 'Make India Read'? What is your vision?
Amrut Deshmukh - I have an ambitious plan to make “Booklet” the biggest social enterprise of India. Want to introduce a new breed of entrepreneurs in India i.e. Social Entrepreneurs where primary objective is not wealth maximization but adding value to the society with money as a by-product of the process.
I learned this from the "Human-Focused Design" written by Yu-Kai Chou. A research-based conclusion says: "Abundance is the enemy of motivation. Humans value things which are scarcely available"
There are 100's of summaries ready with me. If we get all of them at once in the app, we are bound to lose the motivation to read any of them. But what if I say, "You can pull a new summary from me if you read/listen to the existing summary. Read more, get more!"
In the next app update, reading habit will be gamified. I promise to create a positive addiction for books.😊
EFox Question - When did you think Booklet- 'Make India Read' (App) was the right time to build and launch? How this app is bringing change in day to day reading method?
Amrut Deshmukh - One fine day, WhatsApp banned me for sending too many messages. They thought I am spamming. After repetitive requests, I could convince the WhatsApp team that it’s being done with a noble intention to cultivate the habit of reading among st the youth of India. And the ban was lifted. On reaching the number of 1 lakh readers, my WhatsApp started crashing very often. It was unable to handle the huge traffic. I asked my IT friends to help me develop an App. Finally on World Book Day i.e. 23rd April 2016, I launched “Booklet” App.
EFox Question - One mistake you believe every individual must avoid?
Amrut Deshmukh - Stop waiting for perfection. "Strive for excellence, not perfection. Perfections is flawlessness. It comes with ego. Whereas excellence involves exposing yourself with all your flaws (which is scary and ego hurting), take feedback and improve till you achieve a perfect level.
EFox Question - You are doing some fantastic work in 'Social Entrepreneurship'. What message do you want to pass to our readers?