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This Apeejay School, Saket alumna wants to simplify technology for optimal use

Digital entrepreneur Nishtha Shukla Anand says she picked up the importance of networking at her alma mater

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Nishtha Shukla Anand is the founder of tech publishing initiative TechThirsty.com.  She launched her first enterprise Pen Pundit Media Services in 2007 as a digital entrepreneur, to offer content and digital marketing support to start-ups as well as blue chip companies. Today, she wears an eclectic array of hats as a founder and digital marketing head at TechThirsty and trustee and director at Shoolini University. In a wide-ranging interview, the versatile entrepreneur and wordsmith explains how she wants to simplify technology for users and help them use lifestyle technology optimally through her blog. She also recollects fond memories of studying at Apeejay School, Saket and explains what can enable digital content creators to stand out and why the next few decades belong to India. Edited excerpts:

Please tell us about your professional journey so far and your work profile as an entrepreneur and founder of TechThirsty.com and Pen Pundit.
I am a journalist who turned entrepreneur out of necessity. After working with India Today and Reuters in Delhi and Bengaluru respectively, I moved to Himachal Pradesh for personal reasons. That’s when I realised that opportunities in smaller towns of India were few. However, we were at the cusp of a digital content revolution in India. I realised that opportunity and set up Pen Pundit Media to offer great content to booming internet companies in 2006. Even though we were in a relatively small town of Himachal, we had work coming in from all parts of the world.
Pen Pundit has now evolved into an internet content creator enterprise and our first baby is TechThirsty.com in which we want to simplify technology for users and help them use lifestyle technology optimally. We are all spending on technology, but few of us are using it as effectively as we can. That’s where TechThirsty steps in.

Did you always want to be in this field when you were younger?

Growing up, I knew I wanted to write. I didn’t know what. So I ended up doing a journalism course from the Xavier’s Institute of Communication. However, being part of the initial team of India Today Online, I soon felt really connected to the world of internet communication that rapidly evolved into digital content and digital marketing. So it has been a continuous learning curve as the industry is nothing like it was in 2000 when I started my professional journey. However, I do want to add that having the right tools in terms of education and skills has really helped me.

How was your experience of the time you spent at Apeejay School, Saket ? Are there any members of the teaching faculty that you remember fondly?
Studying at Apeejay School, Saket was a memorable time for me. My best friends till date are from school and we are across continents but we are sure to meet at least once a year.
I remember our accounts educator Hemlata Ma’am with a lot of affection. She was adorable and made sure we enjoyed the subject – as drab as it seemed at the time.

Are there any life lessons, which you picked up in school that have helped you in your career?
I definitely picked up the importance of networking at Apeejay. I studied at Apeejay School, Saket and it was a really small batch then. But we became a little clique. Even today, I know I can reach out to any one of them if needed.

In your journalism journey, how important was the first job as a learning ground? Did you have any mentors?
My first job was with India Today but with their internet division. Now that I have been able to make a name for Pen Pundit in the area of digital communication, I think it had a massive role to play in how my career has eventually shaped up. In fact, I remember even as an intern with The Pioneer, my first article was on chat rooms and how they were changing people’s social interactions.
Mentors have played a huge role in my life. With every job I had, I worked with some inspiring editors. They taught me all about the need to ensure that everything one does has to be perfect: accurate and timely. Not a single sentence can have the slightest imperfection. I think this has been my biggest asset. So huge credit to my mentors.

What , according to you, is the mantra for being a successful digital content creator and curator?
I don’t think there is a single mantra that can create successful digital content creators. That’s because content is so readily available. So if you want to stand out, your content has to be truly unique. Therefore, if there is one thing that a good content creator should focus on, it’s the freshness of their idea.

Please share some tips for aspiring students to follow your career trajectory?
One of the most important things I would highly recommend is to read. Read as much as you can and about as many things as you can. It just opens our minds to many new ideas and possibilities.
The other thing is to know that “life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans”. So stay open to new possibilities that might be in your interest. If one dream doesn’t work out, that is okay. There is always a better opportunity around the corner. I believe the next few decades belong to India, so look for the right opportunities.

Did the Covid-19 pandemic affect your sector as well. And how did you overcome that challenge? 
I come from a unique place when it comes to working during the pandemic. First, the digital sector fast-forwarded two years with the pandemic as everything went online. So we really had to play catch up and it was one of our busiest times. Secondly, at Pen Pundit 80% of our workforce comprises women who freelance from home. So for many of us, work from home was the done thing. It’s a fashionable term today but for us, it has been a way of life since 2006.

Aasheesh Sharma is a seasoned journalist with an experience of more than 25 years spread over newspapers, news agencies, magazines and television. He has worked in leadership positions in media groups such as Hindustan Times, India Today, Times of India, NDTV, UNI and IANS. He is a published author and his essay on the longest train journey in India was included in an anthology of writings on the railways, brought out by Rupa Publications. As the Editor of Apeejay Newsroom, he is responsible for coverage of the latest news and developments in the Apeejay institutions. He can be reached at [email protected] He tweets @Aasheesh74

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