The world is currently going through an unprecedented crisis in the modern times. A highly infectious virus named COVID-19 has been spreading throughout the world with almost every country in the world reporting positive cases. The virus attacks the respiratory system and the infected person exhibits flu-like symptoms and can be fatal to old people or people with weak immune systems. The virus spread so quickly that healthcare professionals are unable to keep up with the influx of cases and hospitals are filled to the brim with no room to accommodate more cases in some countries. In the midst of this, there is an acute shortage of medical masks which come under personal protective equipment (PPE) for doctors and nurses. A normal surgical mask does not help with keeping the virus at bay and healthcare professionals require an N95 mask. An N95 mask or N95 respirator is a particulate-filtering facepiece respirator that meets the N95 standard of the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health air filtration rating, meaning that it filters at least 95% of airborne particles.
The COVID-19 virus made its way to India and the central government sprung to action and imposed a nationwide lockdown for three weeks which began on March 24th,2020. India also has a severe shortage of PPEs with many doctors and hospitals complaining about a lack of the masks. The shortage is partly due to the panic buying indulged by the public and also due to unavailability of masks.
Times like these always give way to extraordinary individuals who rise up to the occasion. Abrar is one such individual who rose to the occasion. It all began when Abrar noticed the strain on the medical fraternity and the healthcare infrastructure due to lack of resources and PPEs. This prompted Abrar into action and got him thinking about how to create a face shield at home with simple raw materials easily available. After some initial brainstorming and research on the internet, it took Abrar 24 hours to come up with a working design for a face shield.
Abrar then put the prototype design on his Instagram handle and asked for feedback and support from his friends. What began as a simple post ended up becoming something bigger as it garnered more and more attention, friends and strangers ended up contributing money to help Abrar produce more such face shields. It took just one Instagram post for Abrar to collect two lakh rupees within 24 hours. Abrar has raised 3 lakh rupees so far which is roughly enough to produce 30,000 masks.
Abrar and a group of friends then came together to fine tune the design and with constant feedback from doctors, they were finally able to come up with a product that can be used by medical professionals. However, increasing production comes with its own set of problems as it severely restricts logistics and manpower mobility due to the lockdown set in place. Abrar is however hopeful that he could obtain official passes which would let manpower to venture outside.
Abrar believes that public health care units are the highest priority when it comes to delivering his face shields. The product received positive feedback and a lot of corporate companies working on essential services have contacted Abrar to buy the product for their on ground and field employees. Abrar sells the product to corporates at double the cost of raw materials and the profit will be used to make more products to be given away for free to public healthcare units. Abrar wants to connect with representatives from each state to teach them how to make the face shield themselves and cater to their local markets and Bombay is already on board. All communications happen via WhatsApp.
The team is currently working on two more designs which are costlier and involve higher quality raw materials. Abrar is an automobile engineer based out of Bengaluru and works for Ather Energy and has a passion for racing bikes. Abrar believes that more people need to be aware of how to make PPEs at home in order to help people who need it the most.
If you would like to be a part of this movement, you could contribute or get in touch with Abrar on his Instagram handle. There is also a handy guide to make a face shield by yourself on a link on his profile.
4 Things To Know About Instagram Reels
Instagram Reels is the latest offering from the photo sharing platform Instagram and was launched as a replacement for the video sharing application TikTok. Instagram Reels was launched only last year and was being tested in Brazil where it was called Cenas. 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. TikTok amassed more than 200 million users in India and this is mostly due to the cheap internet plans rolled out by Jio Telecommunications, which made the internet accessible to every person even in the remote corners of India.
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 therefore Instagram is hoping to entice TikTok users to come onboard their platform.
Instagram users can open the explore tab on their mobile app and can see videos made from Reels. These videos are displayed on the top of the explore tab and take up half the screen space to ensure more visibility for the feature.
Here are 4 things you need to know about Instagram Reels:
1) Create 15 second videos:
A user can use Reels after updating their Instagram application which is available for both Android and iOS users. The Reels option is displayed when a user swipes right on their Instagram home screen. A user can record upto 15 seconds of video and can string multiple 15 second videos to make a Reel.
2) Reels can only be edited in App:
The Reels can only be edited in the Instagram app where users have a plethora of filters, music and video effects at their disposal. The Reels can be reviewed to see how they look when they are stitched together (if two 15 second Reels are merged.) The Reels can be deleted and re-recorded if they are not up to the mark.
3) Reels can be shared as a story or made public:
Unlike the normal Instagram Stories which can only be shared with your followers, Reels can be made public so they can be displayed on the explore tab for everyone on the platform to view it. If you share your Reels to your Stories or in Direct, they will disappear after 24 hours. You can also save Reels to your drafts for posting later.
4) Featured Reels:
According to Instagram, Reels which may be watched by a lot of people depending on the cultural relevance and relativity to the audience will get a featured tag to them. These featured reels will only be chosen from public accounts.
The chances are high that Instagram Reels feature is rolled out to almost everyone using Instagram in India. Let us know if you began experimenting with it and created cool videos!
5 Books For Every Entrepreneur In 2020
It is easy to talk about entrepreneurs and look at them with envy for pursuing their passion but what no one knows is the amount of sweat, blood and tears which go into making an entrepreneurial dream come true. Entrepreneurs are expected to be highly competitive in the cutthroat market and at the same time continually strive to set an example for others to follow. The sad truth however is that not all entrepreneurs succeed in their mission because some may give up midway through their entrepreneurial journey, or some might run out of cash while some are just not able to scale up their business.
Many successful entrepreneurs have documented their journey and their thoughts in autobiographies or novels for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking inspiration. These books would manage to scale up your game, improve your business strategy, potential to connect with new people and most importantly would give you courage to persist on your journey.
Here are five books in 2020 which every entrepreneur should read
1) The Lean Startup by Eric Reiss
Published in 2011, this book is still relevant even in 2020 as Eric Reiss outlines a guide to help entrepreneurs to develop methods to manage their startups/businesses. Entrepreneurs can set their strategies according to their needs and runway cash to optimise their business opportunities. The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs, in companies of all sizes, a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it is too late.
2) Zero To One: Notes On Startups Or How To Build The Future by Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel is the co founder of PayPal and an entrepreneur as well as a venture capitalist. Zero To One tries to teach entrepreneurs about how Peter Thiel thinks , his approach towards business and how one can shape the future of their startup. WhilePeter Thiel was teaching a class at Stanford University, a student named Blake Masters took notes which led to the book Zero To One released by both Thiel and Masters.
3) The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company by Bob Dorf and Steve Blank
This book is touted to be the perfect guide for any entrepreneur to scale their business. This book has detailed step by step instructions on building successful, scalable, profitable startups. The Startup Owner’s Manual is so popular that it is taught in university courses at Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia and many other universities. The Startup Owner’s Manual follows the theory of customer development, agile, and lean engineering.
4) The Greatest Salesman In The World by Og Mandino
Although first published in 1968, this book is still a bestseller and widely read by entrepreneurs. The book aims to serve as a guide to philosophy of salesmanship, and success through the story of Hafid, a poor camel boy who achieves a life of abundance. The Greatest Salesman In The World is written in the form of ten scrolls.
5) Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days by Jessica Livingston
This book is a collection of some really unique interviews done by Jessica Livingston with some of the greatest startup founders in Silicon Valley like Apple, PayPal, TiVo, Yahoo, and TripAdvisor. This book aims to offer wisdom and insights straight from the mouths of some of the most influential entrepreneurs.
Let us know if there are any other books which deserve to be read in 2020.
The Rise Of Gig Economy In India
India is notorious for churning out graduates from colleges at a very high rate and the education system in India is always under fire for not focusing on all round development but on marks and grades, instead. This is a growing concern as there are not enough jobs available to accommodate all the graduates passing out from college. However, the Indian millennial is a smart individual and when put under pressure, a millennial is capable of coming out of it better. So, what did the Indian millennial do when there were less opportunities and did not want to be part of the rat race? They turned to taking up gigs and that spawned an entire economy and industries to flourish.
Gig economy can be defined as a work engagement where on one side, there is a service seeker that is a consumer with a demand for a specific task, and on the other side, there is a service provider that is. a gig worker who can perform that specific task. The gig economy was able to flourish solely because of the advent of digital platforms which were able to connect a service seeker with a provider. More and more Indians are looking to escape from the monotony of a 9 to 5 desk job and instead take up freelance gigs which complement their skills.
In order to put the gig economy into simpler terms, here are some examples. An individual who likes to drive cars would consider working with Uber as a driver partner to earn some extra bucks. An individual who is good at playing the guitar would consider performing in live shows with a band to earn extra money. A person who is good at painting would consider selling their art for extra money. The gig ecosystem offers the millennial an outlet to escape monotony and pursue their passion instead.
The gig economy could only thrive when there are digital platforms which are able to connect the supply with the demand. The digital gig economy generated a gross volume of approximately $ 204 billion from worldwide customers in 2018. India has emerged as the 5th largest country for flexible staffing after the United States of America, China, Brazil and Japan. Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Telangana have the most opportunities in terms of growth for the flexible workers.
Gig economy allows task ownership, convenience and flexibility. Based on tastes and preferences, an individual can determine the number and type of projects they can work on, the quantum of their earnings, and thus, their work-life balance. For example, an individual who took on five gigs in one month could take only three gigs the next month to balance life at their regular job.
The gig economy has a disruptive model to connect sellers and buyers for almost all kinds of skills and services. While the size of the gig economy may seem marginal when compared to the traditional economy, it is recognized for its enormous potential with the desire of workers, specially millennials to have a flexible work schedule and the rise in the on demand consumer services. Of In India, almost 70% corporates have already used gig workers for at least one task in 2018.
In India, a platform called Lemonop, is setting an example in the gig economy by providing a platform for students and working professionals to look for gigs of their liking. There are plenty of other platforms like Lemonop which are slowly bridging the gap between talent and job demand.
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