Professionals with a google education

Apr 07, 2013, 08:01 IST | Moeena Halim

Guess what's common between an organic farmer, a DJ, a quiz master and a graphologist? These enterprising folks have all used search engines such as Google, Yahoo! or Bing to discover and pursue careers. How successful have they been? And what do they do when the extensive World Wide Web lets them down?

Twenty-one-year-old Aarish Daruwalla doesn’t “waste time watching football or cricket” like others his age. This BMM student would much rather spend his free time working.

Illustration/ Amit Bandre

This is not so much of a shocker when you realise what he’s referring to as work involves running online searches for the latest international DJs’ performances, watching YouTube videos and updating his iTunes library.

And he is by no means the only one using search engines such as Google and Yahoo! to learn new things and turn them into full-time professions. In fact, there are several enterprising individuals who are now using search engines to learn enough about their area of interest to start a business or get a job—most already making oodles of money.

DJ Aarish Daruwalla at his studio in Antop Hill Warehouse. Daruwalla, who spends hours on the Web, is a self-taught DJ. Pic/Suresh KK

World at your desktop
It was Google that Daruwalla first turned to, when he realised his passion for DJing. “Since I was about 12, I knew I wanted to be a DJ—not a doctor or an engineer,” says Daruwalla, when we meet him at his Wadala studio, “I had watched a few of my DJ friends performing. But my main inspiration came from watching international performers on the Web.”

Quiz master Manas Nayak (centre) addresses the audience during a quizzing session

Watching these performances, he says, helps him stay in touch with the latest music. But more importantly, it helps him evolve and improve his own style of performing. “By watching these guys perform, I realised that the most important aspect of a DJ’s performance is audience interaction. I first DJ’d at a small party at a school jam, and the people were barely moving. I wanted to see them jumping! So the first thing I did when I got back home was log onto the Web and find out how I could improve. The event was a three-day one, and the next night, I had people jumping to my music!”

Daruwalla also ensures that he stays up-to-date with the products available in the market. Google, he says, is the best place to find out about them. “Popular international DJs such as DJ Tiesto are constantly asked to review the latest line of products. The Internet makes it extremely easy to access these. All I need to is search for either the product or the DJ on Google,” he says.

Sakshi Jain and Neha Brahmbhatt, who improved their handwriting analysis skills through Google. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Storehouse of information
The young performer, who recently produced his own song, isn’t the only one to make use of the Web this way. Delhi-based quizmaster Manas Nayak, believes it may have been impossible for him to get where he has today if it wasn’t for the Internet search engine. While Nayak began quizzing through a blog he’d set up-paying Rs 100 to the first person who answered his question correctly, he is now gearing up for his first regional quiz show. “The Orissa Quiz League, modelled on the Indian Premier League, will air on regional channel MBC TV-Odia. Auditions for the reality show kick off this weekend,” he tells us excitedly over the phone.

Google has led Nayak to a wide range of forums and quiz groups, fuelling his passion for quizzing over the years. “There are at least 2,000 active Indian quizzing blogs on the Web at the moment. Being a quizzer is about knowing answers to each and every question that is uploaded on these. The only way to make that a possibility is to read as much as you can and have a certain level of curiosity,” explains Nayak, who has hosted several quizzes for schools, colleges and corporates over the years.

He illustrates with an example: “Ask someone to link Aditya Birla, Amit Trivedi and Amitabh Bhattacharya and they would have no clue! The answer’s quite simple really. Everyone’s heard of the Idea Honey Bunny jingle right, but no one has been curious enough to look up who has composed and sung it.” The Web is a storehouse of information, asserts Nayak. But verifying information is key. If you access the right sources, the Internet can make your life that much easier. 

Update and upgrade
Luckily, for event manager Sumitt Dewan, a nonchalant Google search provided him with the right information at the right time. “About two years ago, I knew I wanted to get into organic farming, but I had no formal knowledge. When I looked it up on the Web, I found out about an interesting new project.

Israel had just joined hands with the Indian government to introduce an innovative new farming technology known as polyhouse farming. Using this soil-less technology meant that my brother, who wanted to get into the business with me, and I wouldn’t have to wait seven to eight years to get the certification for organic farming. We could start sowing within three months,” explains Dewan, who plans to start retailing his first crop of seedless fruits and vegetables in the coming months.

After Google gave him his first lightbulb moment, Dewan followed it up with workshops at various horticultural organisations. But even now, every time he faces a crisis situation at his farm in Faridabad, he turns to the Web. “I am in touch with horticultural experts, but I can’t possibly disturb them each time I have a query. I just look it up on Google,” says the BCom graduate.

For Daruwalla, too, Google has continued to be a constant companion. When he decided to begin producing his own song, he found that the Web had answers to each of his queries—from figuring out which software to use to demystifying its workings. “I studied the process step-by-step via YouTube and about seven months ago, my single, That’s Right, was ready. It’s now available on SoundCloud, HunkShare and on my Facebook page,” says the Dadar resident.

The Google school
With the exception of farming, most of the professions mentioned above, have no formal or structured courses. In such cases, Google and the world it opens up for a user serve as an open school for the eager to learn. Perhaps, this has worked best in the case of mind reader and performer Mohit Rao.

“My show includes mind reading, telepathy, hypnosis, body language pattern analysis and walking on shattered glass pieces using mental concentration and pain control. Hypnosis is the only one that can be formally learnt, but there are limited courses and none are structured or certified. Some of them also include a lot of hocus-pocus theory,” reveals Rao, who heard about the other sciences while researching the different facets of the mind and its inner workings.

“Due to the paucity of information, apart from a few books, the Internet is the only source of information. While not always credible, relevant or accurate, given its reach and penetration on the Internet into people’s lives, the Web provides a vast base of resources from around the world. This makes it easier to gather information and filter the relevant and accurate information.”

Practice makes perfect
Graphologist Neha Brahmbhatt, who set up Hastakshar—a company that provides career counselling, signature analysis, and couple compatibility—with Sakshi Jain, uses Google to practice her skill. Although the 23-year-old learnt the basics from a teacher years ago, she believes that handwriting analysis is so subjective that it is essential to continue to read other interpretations.

“There are lots of sites that analyse celebrity signatures, reading these has helped me learn about different perspectives,” says Brahmbhatt, who logs on to Google almost every day and looks up keywords like graphology or the particular name of a stroke. “While surfing the Web recently, I found out that if emphasis is given on a particular stroke in a signature, it means the person is concerned about someone who’s name begins with the letter.”

Brahmbhatt’s determination to use the search engine to stay ahead of the game resonates with quiz host Nayak, who admittedly spends four hours each night on the Web. “I’m wary of calling myself a quiz master because I believe learning is a constant process,” concludes Nayak.  

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