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Paytm Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma On 100 Most Influential People List



On Thursday, The Times released its annual 100 Most Influential People in the world in 2017 and two Indians made their entry onto this list – PM of India, Shri Narendra Modi, and Paytm’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma.

The 43-year-old Cheif Executive of the Indian mobile payments platform is the only Indian entrepreneur to be featured on the 2017 list.

This list also included US President Donald Trump, actor Emma Stone, philanthropist Melinda Gates, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, President of Russia Vladimir Putin, CEO, and founder of Snapchat Evan Spiegel.

The Times magazine has featured a list of pioneers, artists, actors, titans, leaders and icons from all around the world. Vijay Shekhar was listed under the titan category followed by Jeff Bezos. It was in March this year, Sharma was ranked as India’s youngest billionaire by Forbes magazine, as his net worth is $1.3 billion.

Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, who wrote Sharma’s profile was all praises for the Paytm founder. He said: “When Modi government announced (the) Demonetisation act in November, Sharma seized that moment and with a flurry of ads he encouraged people to start using the Paytm’s (sic) digital wallet platform to pay for every day’s goods and services.”

Seeing his performance in the Indian economy market, Alibaba’s Jack Ma is now an investor in Paytm. Vijay Shekhar Sharma shared his happiness on Twitter.

Check out the 2017’s full list of 100 Most Influential People in the world

  • Biram Dah Abeid, Mauritanian politician, activist
  • David Adjaye, architect
  • Riz Ahmed, actor
  • Thelma Aldana, Attorney General of Guatemala
  • James Allison, immunologist
  • Guillem Anglada-Escudé, Natalie Batalha and Michaël Gillon, astronomers
  • Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks
  • Margaret Atwood, novelist
  • Stephen Bannon, White House Chief Strategist
  • Cindy Arlette Contreras Bautista, activist
  • Samantha Bee, actor, comedian
  • Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court
  • Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon
  • Simone Biles, gymnast
  • Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour, organizers, Women’s March
  • Jason Blum, director
  • Tom Brady, football player, New England Patriots
  • Gretchen Carlson, advocate for workplace equality, former Fox News anchor
  • Chance the Rapper, rapper
  • George Church, geneticist
  • James Comey, director, FBI
  • James Corden, host, The Late Late Show with James Corden
  • Viola Davis, actor
  • Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines
  • Ava DuVernay, director
  • Daniel Ek, co-founder, and CEO, Spotify
  • Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, Chicago Cubs
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey
  • Fan Bingbing, actor
  • Bob Ferguson, Attorney General of Washington
  • Melinda Gates, philanthropist
  • Donald Glover, actor, writer, rapper
  • Ashley Graham, model
  • Glenda Gray, physician, and researcher
  • Kirsten Green, founder, Forerunner Ventures
  • Gavin Grimm, activist
  • Demis Hassabis, artificial intelligence pioneer
  • LeBron James, basketball player, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Barry Jenkins, director
  • Leslie Jones, comedian, actor
  • Colin Kaepernick, football player
  • Alicia Keys, singer
  • Kim Jong Un, Supreme Leader of North Korea
  • Jared Kushner, White House senior adviser
  • John Legend, singer, songwriter
  • John Lewis, U.S. Congressman, 5th District of Georgia
  • Leila de Lima, Philippine opposition senator
  • Jean Liu, president, Didi Chuxing
  • Demi Lovato, singer
  • Barbara Lynch, chef, restaurateur
  • Kerry James Marshall, artist
  • General James Mattis, Secretary of Defense, U.S.
  • Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
  • Conor McGregor, mixed martial artist
  • Rebekah Mercer, Republican donor
  • Alessandro Michele, designer, Gucci
  • Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India
  • Neymar, soccer player
  • Sandra Day O’Connor, former Supreme Court Justice, founder, iCivics
  • Sarah Paulson, actor
  • Jordan Peele, actor, comedian, filmmaker
  • Tom Perez, chairman, Democratic National Committee
  • Ben Platt, actor
  • Pope Francis, Pontifex
  • Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff
  • Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
  • Ryan Reynolds, actor
  • Margot Robbie, actor
  • RuPaul, television personality
  • Raed Saleh, head of Syria’s White Helmets
  • Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia
  • Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senator, New York
  • Vijay Shekhar Sharma, entrepreneur, founder, Paytm
  • Ed Sheeran, singer, songwriter
  • Cindy Sherman, photographer
  • Raf Simons, designer, chief creative officer, Calvin Klein
  • Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force
  • Evan Spiegel, CEO, and co-founder, Snapchat
  • Emma Stone, actor
  • Donald Trump, President of the United States
  • Ivanka Trump, White House special assistant
  • Dr. Celina Turchi, infectious disease expert
  • Bernard J. Tyson, CEO, Kaiser Permanente
  • Hamdi Ulukaya, entrepreneur, CEO, Chobani
  • King Maha Vajiralongkorn, King of Thailand
  • Guus Velders, atmospheric chemist
  • Margrethe Vestager, antitrust czar, European Union
  • Jeanette Vizguerra, activist
  • Wang Qishan, senior leader, Communist Party, China
  • Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator, Massachusetts
  • Colson Whitehead, novelist
  • Constance Wu, actor
  • Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, General Secretary, Communist Party, China
  • Janet Yellen, chair, Federal Reserve
  • Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo

Writer, dreamer and feminist. Smruti Kishore likes what she does and does what she likes. She's a passionate journalist obsessed with words and writing the world a better place.

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Leher Versus Clubhouse: Which Audio Listening Startup Would You Choose?



Leher Versus Clubhouse: Which Audio Listening Startup Would You Choose?,Startup Stories,Leher App Vs Clubhouse App - Which Audio Listening Startup Do You Prefer,Leher Versus Clubhouse,Leher App Vs Clubhouse App,Leher App Versus Clubhouse App,Leher,Clubhouse,Clubhouse App,Leher App,Leher App Is an Indian Alternative to Clubhouse

Clubhouse is a new type of social networking platform which is an audio only platform.  This means every conversation takes place through audio where users speak to let their thoughts known.  Users can create and host rooms where speakers will talk about a particular topic.  Originating in the Silicon Valley, Clubhouse attracted some major names onto its platform like Elon Musk, Evan Williams, Reddit co founder Alexis Ohanian, former Y Combinator President Sam Altman, AngelList co founder Naval Ravikant, Ashton Kuthcer, Oprah Winfrey, Drake, Kevin Hart and many others are some of the influential personalities who are on Clubhouse.  There is however a catch as Clubhouse is currently limited to iOS.

Leher is an Indian made alternative to Clubhouse and is a similar audio sharing and listening startup.  Leher also has video support unlike Clubhouse and is also available for both Android and iOS.  However, Leher does not have the biggest names in the world on its platform but it does have significant micro influencers and is growing at a rapid pace.  Within 180 days of its beta version launch, the company claimed to have its users spend about 44 minutes every day and 250,000 minutes per month for live video sessions.

We at Startup Stories are curious to see which among Leher or Clubhouse would our readers choose to take part in a virtual discussion.  Please let us know your answer in the poll below.

Which Audio Listening Startup Would You Choose?

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Why Are Ads On Digital Media Failing To Reach The Right Audience?



Why Are Ads On Digital Media Failing To Reach The Right Audience?,Startup Stories,Digital Advertising,Best Practices from Digital Ads Experts,reasons for digital marketing failure in startups,Reasons Why Marketing Campaigns Fail,Why You Are Failing to Reach Your Target Customers Online,Missing your target audience,The Advertising Industry Has a Problem

If you are a regular user of social media platforms and also a fan of consuming content on the digital medium, then there is a very high likelihood that you have seen ads on pages you are reading or watching something.  There would be times when you have been targeted by an ad which feels like it was wrongly targeted at you.  Imagine if you are a vegetarian by choice and while browsing online, if you are targeted by a food delivery app which shows ads about chicken dishes.  The ad would only serve to spoil the mood of the online user instead of serving its actual purpose which is to push the user to buy a chicken dish.

These wrongly targeted ads might be the side effects of performance marketing or a weak brand marketing.  Performance marketing means advertising programs where advertisers pay only when a specific action occurs. These actions can include a generated lead, a sale, a click, and more.  Inshort, performance marketing is used to create highly targeted ads for a very specific target audience at a low cost.  Performance marketing usually means high volume for a very specific cost.  

Brand marketers on the other hand believe in narrowly defining target audiences but end up spending a lot of money on ad placements.  Gautam Mehra, CEO, Dentsu Programmatic India & CDO, Dentsu International Asia Pacific said, “You’ve defined a persona, you know the emotions you want to elicit, but then you buy a YouTube masthead and CricInfo sponsorships because IPL is up.  If brand advertisers look at audience-based buys more deeply than just placements, you will see more relevant ads (sic.)”  

ALSO READ: How Digital Marketing Is Impacted Due To The COVID-19 Pandemic

Performance marketing is more of a sales function rather than a marketing function and is about meeting the cost of acquisition.  This is a reason why budgets are usually high for performance marketing.  Mehra goes on to add, “the fact is that an engineer can out-beat FMCGs on performance marketing.  Advertisers who have cracked this are spending 10x and are on an ‘always on’ mode (unlike time-bound brand campaigns.)”

There is always the case of supply and demand, with the supply usually exceeding the demand on digital platforms.  Ultimately, it boils down to the choice between no ad versus low relevance ad and it is quite easy to guess that having a low relevance ad is better.  

Arvind R. P., Director – Marketing and Communications at McDonald’s India (West and South,) said “McDonalds’ for instance, has seen its share of spends on digital grow from 20% levels a couple of years back to over 40% at present.  Outcomes of this journey have been encouraging, proven by our media-mix-modelling and other key metrics.  We have seen best results from an optimal mix of Television plus digital (sic.)”  Moreover, Arvind also believes performance marketing only approach could turn out to be more suited to short term, versus a more consistent full funnel effort.  The latter ensures adequate emphasis on building consideration, as well as growing transactions.  Arvind feels digital is a complex medium which needs investment in the right talent who could use the right tools.  Brands which underestimate the need for the investment are often disappointed from the return on investment from the digital medium.

With the constantly changing consumer dynamics marketers are now shifting to unscripted marketing which frankly needs more insights into the consumer mindset.  The lack of marketers to do the proper research is why digital medium is plagued with irrelevant ads.

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Facebook Launches BARS For Creating Raps To Counter TikTok’s Growing Popularity



Facebook Launches BARS For Creating Raps To Counter TikTok’s Growing Popularity

Facebook is leaving no stone unturned to tackle the surging popularity of the Chinese video making app TikTok.  As part of its redoubled efforts Facebook is launching a new app named BARS which could be used to create and share raps.  The core idea behind the app is rappers could focus on creating content without having to worry about investing heavily in production and equipment.

Facebook said, “Audio production tools can be complicated, expensive and difficult to use. With BARS, you can select one of our professionally-created beats, write lyrics and record yourself dropping bars (sic.)”  The company also added, “BARS auto-suggests rhymes as you’re writing to keep your flow going.  You can also jump into Challenge mode and freestyle with auto-suggested word cues.  Choose from a variety of audio and visual filters to take your creations to the next level (sic.)” 

The app is now available in the Apple App Store in the United States of America.  The invites for using BARS would be sent out in batches beginning in the USA and then expanded worldwide.  

This would be the second app which Facebook is launching to counter TikTok’s growing popularity.  Instagram Reels was the latest offering from the photo sharing platform Instagram (owned by Facebook) and was launched as a replacement for the video sharing application TikTok.  TikTok was enjoying an unrivalled popularity in India as it became a means to keep boredom at bay during the nationwide lockdown which was imposed in light of the COVID-19 virus. However, the Indian government announced that it would ban 59 Chinese applications in which TikTok was one, along with WeChat, Helo, Cam Scanner and many others.  This left a sudden void in video making applications, and Instagram realised the need for urgency to capitalize on this void.  Therefore, Instagram immediately pushed their latest feature Instagram Reels which lets its users create 15 second videos with music from Instagram’s database.  These videos look very similar to the ones made on TikTok and has gained a lot of popularity in India where Tik Tok continues to be banned.

ALSO READ: 4 Things To Know About Instagram Reels

Google also took advantage of the Indian Government’s ban of the viral application TikTok.  Google introduced a new feature on YouTube called YouTube Shorts.  The feature for all intents and purposes mimics the same features TikTok used to provide.  The new feature mimics many of TikTok’s most popular features, allowing users to make and post 15 second videos with built in creative tools encouraging them to add licensed music and more.

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