Twisted Fable

Twisted Fable with Anant Gupta

The unusual conversation

Anant Gupta is CEO of Memo Pundits.  He has practiced law at one of India’s largest law firms for 2 years before founding 2 startups – Memo Pundits, the ed-tech startup, and Infinite Detours, a high-end trekking startup for travelers across the world. 

Memo Pundits is an ed-tech venture for law students across the world. The venture’s goal is to create easy access to the education required for becoming proficient in the field of law. It is currently one of the fastest-growing ed-tech platforms for law students with a base in over 200 law schools.

It’s going to be an interesting journey reading how he looks at the smallest things of life and the few principles he follows. 

What was the biggest motivation to start Memo Pundits?

Rachnendra and I decided to start Memo Pundits when we were in our 3rd year of law school. Around that time, our law school, NLUO, was winning Best Memorial awards one after the other. Rachnendra and I were personally involved in helping around 10 moot teams win such awards at even coveted moot court competitions like Jessup (National rounds). Honestly, we were a little tired of doing the actual work of formatting memorials, hence we thought of teaching the skill to the students.

“Give a man a fish, he will eat today, but teach a man to fish and he will eat forever”

Our curiosity lead us to an experiment – we thought of taking a workshop on the tips and tricks of making a “Best Memo” to the students of our college. Our workshop’s main attraction was how to use Microsoft Word like a pro. We opened the registrations and weren’t even sure to receive 10 registrations. To our surprise, within a few hours of opening registrations, around 120 students (including our seniors) signed up for the course! We happily taught the bunch and received remarkable feedback about our creative and interactive style of teaching (which is exactly the opposite of boring college lectures). 

By the end of our 5th year, we had taught about 300 students. One thing was clear – the demand for this skill was high. But then Rachnendra and I started working after college, Memo Pundits was dormant for a good 2 years. I secured a job at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and got completely swamped with work.

Now, life at a top tier firm seems enticing from the outside, and I cannot deny that the money is a perk. Sure, for the first three months you feel so financially invincible as you can suddenly spend exorbitant amounts of money on anything you want. The reality, however, catches up fast, and the monotony of spending 6-7 days a week working 10 AM to 2 AM becomes unsustainable. The days when I got free at 11 PM were my “happy days”. I realized that the bar for “happiness” is running at an all-time low. Even though some people say it gets better with seniority, I was observing the opposite– work pressure and accountability only increase with seniority, and managing all that with added personal responsibilities takes a heavy toll. The thought of leaving my job involved heavy introspection.

“What brings me true happiness?” – Spending time with friends and family, creative pursuits, traveling, relaxing over a truly free weekend.

“Can I work at a law firm for 12 hours a day for the next 30 years?” – No way.

“When am I supposed to do the things, I always dreamt of doing when I was in school and college? Aren’t these my prime years?” – This is the time. I have to do something different for my happiness.

These questions kept bugging me day and night until I took some action. So, what did I end up doing? 3 months before I left my job, I started making business plans for my two start-ups –Memo Pundits and Infinite Detours. I started networking with people, figuring out my customer base, their needs, financial sustainability, and delivering a valuable product. This is the way I got motivated and inspired about establishing Memo Pundits and living my life to the fullest simultaneously.

How do you define social media and how important is social media for you? 

Social Media has undoubtedly played a huge role in both of my start-ups i.e., Memo Pundits and Infinite Detours. In reality, a great and carefully thought-out social media strategy is the cornerstone of a successful startup and the company’s launch. Social media helps to not only show the new brand to the world, but it is intended to get the audience excited about our business and goods if it is properly packaged. It’s a convenient and capable way of creating a memorable experience that will reach the consumer and connect our product with the rest of the world. 

It holds the power to boost visibility in a matter of days or even hours, which is a big advantage for small startups that are on a strict budget and need to enhance their status as quickly as possible. 

I’ve had some experience of creating viral content for social media – be it a piano tutorial which got more than 3 lakh views or a photo of the milky way which for 3,000+ likes.

This millennium is all about rapid and effective communication, and selling and advertising on social media should be an integral part of any business strategy.

How do you define the term “success”? 

“Success”, probably one of the most subjective terms, means a plethora of things to me. I don’t claim to be a guru and I will only share learning from my experience. 

I was recently going through this amazing book called The 5AM Club. A couple of thoughts which resonate with me when I think about the idea of success:

 

  • You are born into the opportunity as well as the responsibility to become legendary
  • Everyone carries an instinct for excellence. No one needs to stay frozen in average
  • You are so much more powerful than you may currently understand

 

So, my idea of “success” includes realizing your true potential and living every day to reach the pinnacle of the grand story, which you can proudly tell your grandkids.

Success also includes living life in your own way, rationalized by your life experiences. I no longer have a definite ‘job’, but I certainly believe that I have created a lifestyle where I am always working, but thankfully is also the place where I have been the happiest. It is hidden in the little things like being able to break free from the daily grind and rigid schedules once in a while and giving myself the chance to refresh and rejuvenate through music or traveling, both of which are my muse. 

I also believe I was truly successful the moment I listened to my conscience and was brave enough to go after it. It led me to be happy with who I am and like myself for it. The feeling of getting an idea and turning it into a worthwhile company while enjoying every moment of it, uncovering my true passion and purpose, giving back to my community in the process, all the while making time for my loved ones is the true definition of success to me.

One thing and the person you cannot survive without and why?

My to-do lists – To-do lists are a no-brainer for me and have been for the longest time (approx. 8 years). It is that one trick that is quite uncomplicated to follow, maintain, and implement, a trick which promises impeccable results if incorporated into the daily routine and followed diligently. Yet most people underestimate its power. 

“If it’s not written down it doesn’t exist”

Normally, in our brain, thousands of things are swirling around. Without an organized approach, it feels like we are pulling straws trying to recall anything and everything, even though we know in the back of our head they are doomed to fall away. But after penning them down, we get an instant sense of relief and the commotion inside our head fades away. So even though the workload does not decrease, the psychology of lists leads our brain to stop worrying and turn on true thought mode where we can prioritize and figure out what is important enough to do now and what can wait. This builds efficiency and discipline while keeping anxiety at bay.

When it comes to a person, it is my sister. She has always been my inspiration for always doing the correct thing irrespective of how much difficult the situation is. I’ve learnt (and still learning) the art of happiness and a content life. She is also a great listener and always gives helpful and sincere advice. I believe everyone deserves someone who is non-judgmental and accepting of other’s decisions. I consider myself very lucky to be able to love and grow up with such an amazing and inspiring soul like her.

What is money and wealth for you? 

Money is not a goal or destination for me but rather the result of working hard to reach your final destination. 

Wealth is different. Wealth can be monetary and non-monetary. There is a famous video of Bob Marley in which he was asked if he has a lot of riches and he said that he has the riches of life and that’s all he cared about. So, the perspective towards wealth should include so much more than what people generally can see. You should have the wealth of experience, the wealth of time, wealth of energy, wealth of relations – these things matter more than anything to pursue the journey of life.

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