Interview with Mr. Swagat Baruah, Founder of Catharsis Magazine
1. Tell us about yourself
I am a student of law and the founding editor of Catharsis Magazine.
2. How did the idea for your business come about?
I was just bored of the way things were for me in college. I wanted to do something interesting and so I started a magazine. I was mindful of the fact that Richard Branson also started out his career with a student magazine.
3. Can you tell us about your venture Catharsis?
It is an online intellectual magazine. I’ve always loved reading magazines like the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books and the Atlantic, and I always felt the absence of such magazines in India. So Catharsis aims at being one of such magazines, which helps its readers expand their range of knowledge and understanding of the world.
4. What are the challenges you faced till date and presently facing?
The challenges mainly faced is from the constant changing world of media itself. With the whole world online, there is a lot of freeriders in the media economy – basically people don’t like to pay for information anymore because it is all so readily available. It’s also a scary vision for the future – because free information generally tends to be cheap in quality as well, which misinforms people more than enlightening them.
And with social media and smartphones, people are in touch with some sort of media almost 24x7, so that puts an additional burden on the publishers to print lot more news. It’s a world of publish or perish. Before, one could be sure as to when someone would be able to read the news that is majorly in the mornings when the newspapers came in. Today, the news needs to be outflowing 24x7 because people are hooked to it 24x7.
5. What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
I’ve never like complaining about the world much. And even if I did, I always have tried to change things thereafter. I have many problems with the way things are in today’s world and I want to change them for the better, and that is I believe what makes me an entrepreneur.
6. How did you raise funding for your venture?
Given that it’s an online magazine, the funding wasn’t really a problem since WordPress allows you to host wonderful websites at negligible costs. Once the magazine started becoming a hit, we started receiving random donations from our readers and then there was the GNLU Legal Incubation Centre which also provided us with some financial help.
7. How do you build a successful customer base?
We chose the customer base and then stuck to them. I think that’s very important, especially in the media business. The customer doesn’t choose you, you choose the customer in this business.
8. How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?
We are mostly reliant on social media, like any other media business of today.
9. What kind of culture exists in your organization, and how did you establish it?
We have a culture of mutual growth most importantly. I believe that the editors working for Catharsis must grow as the business grows. For that I given them complete independence in deciding who to interview or to solicit as write for an upcoming issue.
10. How do you generate new ideas?
I am full of ideas, just like everyone else. It’s just that I like to work on them. So I try noting down any funny idea that comes to my mind and see how that can be worked out. It’s also important to not work on every one of your idea because sometimes you might be just completely missing the point. It requires patience and a little bit of excitement restraint.
11. What are your ideals?
Question everything and everyone.
12. How do you define success?
It is a continuous process. There is no finality to success I feel. Success for me is not buying a Rolls Royce or being on the cover of TIME Magazine, it is being able to endure all the pain that might lead me to achieve either of those two scenarios.
13. Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
I believe, to become an entrepreneur, one must be a contrarian thinker, and one must be aware of the surroundings and most importantly aware of the fact that nothing is really impossible in this world and that most things, rules, laws, religions, are all creations of men (which means that we too can be creators on such a large scale).
14. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Being able to do things at your own sweet time.
15. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Whenever the magazine receives recognition, I feel happy.
16. What entrepreneurial tricks have you discovered to keep you focused and productive in your day-to-day busy schedule?
I just read a lot and that helps me keep my focus. That also helps me constantly change my thought process.
17. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Mahatma Gandhi because he radically changed things, for the better, with consideration not just for the present but also for the future. Steve Jobs, for his sheer passion for what he did and for being able to sell himself and his company so well. He was a failure for a good part of his early years but the way he sold himself gets you thinking that he wasn’t.
18. Any message for future entrepreneur
Think different and never be afraid to dream big.
For more details please visit https://www.catharsismagazine.com/