The explorer found himself at the end

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The explorer found himself at the end

We all are explorers in this infinite world. But too often we cease to become so as we are consumed by the egregious thought of “I am not good enough”. Prabhat Yadav, the founder and CEO of Explore Gadgets (a YouTube based technology channel that provides informational tech-videos) identified with this thought at a very early age. However, such a regressive thought rather played its parts for good and prepared him to break stereotypes and come out of the conventions laid about how every individual’s life should be structured. He wasn’t expected to become a doctor or an engineer as all bright children of this part of the world are; he had infinite options to create. He chose likewise and became a creator: creator of the first YouTube Channel owned by a Nepali to receive the silver play button from YouTube which honours their outstanding potential as YouTube creators.

 

It was in 2012 when Prabhat had finished his A-levels and found himself lost in despair. To release himself into happiness, he bought himself a Galaxy Note 1, at a time when buying smart phones would certainly count as an expensive treat to make yourself happy. But that phone didn’t just bring him momentary happiness of material fulfilment; it shifted his reality forever. He started to explore the phone and was mesmerised by all the manmade wonders that was enclosed in that metal frame. “I realised one can do so much with the phone. So, I made a video out of it.”

 

Setting sail

While exploring Note 1, Prabhat came across a person who guided him from the very inception of his YouTube channel. “After I got the phone, I saw people making videos and thought I could make it better,” says Prabhat. While Prabhat was exploring his phone, he accidentally bricked (damaged the software) it. He wrote to Ashwin Ganesh, the owner of C4ETech, India’s largest YouTube Tech channel and from there, their conversation began. Ashwin identified that Prabhat is capable of running his own YouTube channel given the knowledge and interest he had about gadgets and his passion for videos. Six months later, Prabhat started his journey under the guidance of his ‘Godfather’.

He registered the company in the US and started the channel on 26th July, 2012. Prabhat’s sister, Pratiksha Yadav who is living in the US, helped him to turn his conception into a concrete reality by handling all the processes – from legal to financial matters of the company. Back then, it was not possible to do it easily from Nepal.

 

Sailing through the wind

It didn’t take Prabhat too long to experience difficulties along the way. As soon as he stepped onto the platform, he found it difficult to keep up with the technologies and gadgets in the presence of YouTubers abroad. The gadgets are more expensive in Nepal than abroad, and it also takes time for new products to arrive in the Nepali market. In the face of such delay, other YouTubers would already have published videos by the time Prabhat and Co. had the gadgets on their hands. With that, viewers weren’t getting timely information, and that resulted them to lose audience.

“I started this as a passion, not a business,” says Prabhat. Early on, he just uploaded videos to feed his own interest and was scantly concerned about the technicalities of making the videos. The errors that he made weren’t identified. However, as the subscriber base grew, people started to give constructive criticisms and feedbacks to improve. So he started to find a reason to rectify them and grow. A year later, he bought himself the Galaxy Note 2 and made another video out of it. The video gained a million views in three months. It was only then he realised the impact he was making with Explore Gadgets.

To move ahead, he had to start finding solutions to his problems. He started to work on video quality, researched about cameras and lights. Ashwin guided him to come up with rich and well researched contents. Till date, you will definitely find these elements in each of their videos consistently; the reason they standout even in the international market. Keeping up with the consistency, the team of five at Explore Gadgets constantly feed themselves with gadget and technology related information from the internet and popular websites such as TechCrunch. They also carry out their independent researches and make ‘documentary-style’ videos related to technology. “Mostly, tech videos aren’t entertaining. They are just about the information. But we also try to introduce elements that makes it entertaining,” says Prabhat. “You need to know why you are making the video, what you want to convey and who the viewers you wish to connect to.” These things are the most important questions to find answers to before entering into this platform according to Prabhat, and they make sure they are aligned to this.

 

Crew members

“I have the best people I can possibly imagine working with,” says Prabhat. There are five explorers in the team, each having a passion for technology, filled with creative juice, all of them aligned to a common purpose and having a unified common vision for the company. Their ability to connect to each other, according to Prabhat, lies the roots of their effectiveness as a team. Prabhat and the co-founder Sohil Shrestha were friends from school. In 2013, They were joined by Saphal Adhikari, who was a family friend of Prabhat. Three of them are investors of the company. Aayush, Samman and Binod Gautam are also a part of the team. The work culture of Explore Gadgets is dynamic without any hierarchical structure. Though Prabhat gives the final word, each of them have an unbiased stake in the creative process.

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Fuel for the journey

Like other startups, Explore Gadgets is also going through ups and downs in its financial journey. “YouTube pays are very low these days and it's going down. Since it is a free platform, we can’t complain. There has always been the misconception that you get paid according to the views. But there are conditions applied to it and it depends on the demographics of viewers,” says Prabhat. There are three months in a year when the pay scale is good while it goes down throughout the rest, according to him. However, since Explore Gadget has over 300,000 subscribers, it can approach companies for sponsorships. Many companies are interested in such offers too. Sometimes, it is also non-monetary. For instance, online stores abroad send review gadgets and Explore Gadgets make videos for those products. They aren’t paid for the video by the respective online stores, though as compensation they get to keep the review gadgets.

What they earn from YouTube hasn’t been enough to grow the company amidst the tough competition, so the founders have made some additional investment along the way. The journey has definitely demanded their patience and perseverance before they could break even which they expect to attain in about six months.

“Basically after this I know you should not leave just because it didn’t work in few trials. Just keep on doing until you are done,” says Prabhat. Like all startup entrepreneurs he too has been threatened by the financial statements and challenged by the odds. The only reason this ship is sailing is because his passion is invincible. When he started back in 2012, he was lost. After 4 years, today, the only thing he can see is endless possibility of creation. “I have ambitions now,” he says.  

 

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Guest Wednesday, 08 April 2020