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  • Writer's pictureVyasa Speaking

We don't know his last name. But, we know his brand.

Updated: Jun 13, 2021

It is very difficult to embrace hardships and insults while building a company. Unlike biopics, the future looks hazy and is unknown. Will you be gloried or will you just become another startup that was wiped out after 10 months? Paraphrasing a book that is written by an engineer who wanted to get into the business of Theatre and Performing Arts. He stormed the market in 2010 and his face and brand became the pride of Chennai.

Meet Karthik Kumar, now known as Evam Karthik. No one knows his initials but his brand grew so big that it preceded his name. Here is a snippet of “Do Startup” by Evam Karthik.

Image Credits - Instagram ( @evamkarthik )

Karthik Kumar started his journey when he was 25. He was a typical middle-class engineer with an MBA degree as a safe net. Contrarily, his goals were anything but ordinary. The story begins in 2003 when he was working on his MBA thesis on the subject “Viability of a Theatre or a Drama based business”. Funnily, after documenting interviews from several artists and film makers across the country, their thesis ended with a firm NO. It is impossible to sustain a successful business model in theatre and performing arts. During the early 2000s', theatre was seen only as a hobby and never as a career option. Pairing a creative interest with money has the potential to give birth to a golden goose. It was so tempting that Karthik decided to go for it.

He started his business 2 years after graduating with full awareness that this business was bound to fail. That was how Evam was born. From a distance Evam won all brownie points for a "cool" startup. Hence, he was never short of a good team. Startup culture was churning attention at the rise of the dot-com bubble. But, the team swirled down to a scattered few when the startup shine wore off.

Paraphrasing this amazing analogy from the book,

Imagine Bruce Wayne wanting to become a batman. Did he want to become one so that he could wear a Batsuit and drive a Bat mobile or run an underground empire? Or the 1,000 hours of work that goes behind to keep a city safe was an enticing offer? This is a perfect analogy to self-enquire our motives. Because by the end of the day, we are battling the good and dark side within us. The decision that finally surfaces would have fought through so many voices that goes on inside our head. It is important to allow all voices speak out.

Anyone can go back to being a Bruce Wayne if things fall out. But, being a Batman is a lot harder as the wounds and scars are hidden. Only the Bat signal in the sky is visible.

When Evam started, Karthik was blessed with time. And it is uncomfortable to have so much free time. Having no purpose can drive a person insane. It is a paradox. When you startup, there is a purpose. But the path towards the purpose is unclear. The path is obscured. The path is non-existent. No one tells you what to do. The unconventional author says, being busy is not related to a person's self-worth. And being busy is not always good for business.

“How much of your need to be an entrepreneur is actually a need to just feel important? If your answer to the question has an undefinable X-factor along with the need to be important, I think you have it in you to become one." says Karthik who toiled for 2 years as Sales and Marketing Representative to earn the seed capital for Evam.

To see a startup grow to a brand, fall from its grace, to pick itself up and resolve to a corner podium was frustrating, inspiring and magical. The brand that had seen elaborate and expensive theatre productions was reduced to a state of one spotlight. All of a sudden, Evam no longer did plays and transformed into the sanctum sanctorum of South Indian Comics. While they lay flat on the ground, broken and unconscious, they lifted one finger in protest and gave birth to Evam Tamasha - the biggest South Indian Brand for Standup Comedians.

Paraphrasing from the book, "Do Startup" by Evam Karthik.

Vyasa Speaking is also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Gaana and Castbox.

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