The Creators | To Build A Start-up (Part 1)
By: Nishka Mishra UG’22
The Creators is a series of profiles of Ashokans who are actively involved in different creative fields including, but in no way limited to, music, photography, creative writing, and visual or performing arts.
When one thinks of a start-up, a mental image that often pops up is that of a sleep-deprived 20-year old functioning on ideas, caffeine, and google docs at 2 am. While this may be so, building a team and building up what an initiative aims to do is a lot more than the easy route in life many may consider it to be. From interviewing foley artists and mentalists to fake food artists and whiskey tasters, JobberWacky is one such venture that has carved out a unique space for growth and learning within the Ashokan community. In this interview with JobberWacky’s founder, Anushka Mimami talks about all that goes on behind the interviews we see with their Mavericks!
To understand JobberWacky and what it aims to do, could you describe how this initiative came to be?
It was a Sunday night, well into quarantine. I was just sitting near the balcony with my dog and a coffee wanting to figure out what I’d do after the “best 3 years” of my life are over. Like a lot of college students, I too didn’t want to go all pant-suit corporate right after college so I went back to something I’d said in my Ashokan interview when they asked me what I wanted to be life: “a zipline instructor”; I got a “what” accompanied by a chuckle in response. That is the idea behind JobberWacky – you get access to a world where wanting to be an adventure enthusiast for a living isn’t being naive. It’s realistic!
From island caretakers to whiskey tasters, your team has interviewed a wide range of individuals in unconventional careers. Why do you think it is essential for people to understand the message you’re putting out?
It’s a tale as old as time – in the very beginning there were two streams to choose from: commerce and science. Then came the arts, slowly accumulating appreciation but still a the black sheep of all the disciplines. What is darker than black? JobberWacky. We’re saying that there’s so much beyond the arts that hasn’t even been explored yet! Our basic idea is to create some sort of a museum for all jobs! You get to see, interact with, explore and experience all these amazing professions – like an island tester or a foley artist, stuff you didn’t even know existed. We just want to make the whole millennial “find yourself” thing easier!
The entire initiative stems from my yearning for personal growth. You’ve just taken the leap from good ol’ college to the big bad world, something that college doesn’t honestly prepare you for! Why not take a couple of months off – even if it’s just a summer – to do something that enchants you, that you can spin a story from. At the end of the day, even if you’re smoking a cigar at your 100 acre farmhouse that you have amassed conventionally power broking your way through the world, you can still peacefully sigh in remembrance of that one time you worked as a cliff jumper living at the literal edge of life.
Interacting with and interviewing such diverse people offers plenty of room for growth. Is there any instance where you realized how such an initiative could benefit a student’s personal growth?
In terms of working with us, I believe that as a rule of thumb, students should work for at least one start-up/venture from the beginning. Whether it fails or you become the next Bill Gates, the things that you learn, strictly practically speaking, are invaluable. This could be something as simple as being more confident or open to rejection. For instance, since we cold-email a lot of our prospective mavericks (what we call our interviewees), the team has increasingly become better at dealing with the fact that someone may not respond to you in the way that you want them to, not matter how hard you try to convince them; being confronted with and subsequently accepting this very realistic outcome when you’re that young, really shapes how you see the world.
Is there any perception about any aspect of the initiative you held before it began that has changed in the weeks since?
I think the notion that has changed for me was that it’s going to be easy! Combining equal parts passionate and pragmatic is an extremely hard combination to balance. Some days, you’re over the moon because of a positive review or a streaming service wanting to make a tv show out of your brainchild (true story)… the others you’re frustrated at yourself and your team for not being able to meet deadlines. It’s all part and parcel of starting something new – the chaos takes a while to settle down.
Finally, if there’s any job in the world that you, as the founder could take up, what would it be?
So we’ve done about 15 unconventional job profiles by now but honestly, I still haven’t found something that I’ve found so fascinating that I won’t hesitate to commit my entire life to it. I think, me being me, I’d probably end up trying my hand at a couple of different things – from an indie film cinematographer to a goody two shoes human rights lawyer.
Sidenote, being a dog surfing trainer for a living still sounds too good to be true.