The changing world has brought many unique and startling products and services but also has provided strong and talented individuals in the form of businessmen/businesswomen and entrepreneurs who have not only taken the world of business by a storm but have also inspired to strive hard for what you want and never look back. Their success stories speak a lot about their hard work, dedication and expertise in their fields but also sheds light about their unwavering spirit, the determination to help and provide people with their company/start-up’s products and services and also take the responsibility of lifting their respective industry or sector as a whole. These leaders do not care about the competition in the market, because frankly, they do not care as all they want to do and beat is their previous self and prove that they can become better. These leaders not only command the respect, status and name among their respective industry/sector but among their competitors and the market and consumers, as they stand out and truly define what a leader is and how those aspiring to become a leader should be.
This story is about one such leader and entrepreneur, who not only proved her mettle in the Media & Communication industry but also inspired many aspiring businesswomen and women entrepreneurs to not hesitate and take their step towards becoming a better self and prove to the world and their self that women are not weak in any aspect when it comes to running and handling a start-up or business. Mallika and her companies, Little Yellow Beetle Apna Dr, and Ballistic Learning a Moodle Partner have been one of the pioneers in the Media & Communication, Innovation, Sustainability in Technology industry, providing a plethora of unique products/services with varied approaches that command their client’s high satisfaction ratings but also their utmost respect and loyalty towards them. However, this story is not about Little Yellow Beetle, Apna Dr, or Ballistic Learning – it’s about celebrating the inspiring stories of one of the most dynamic, internationally awarded women business leaders, Mallika Bajaj.
Mallika’s road to success, the inception of Little Yellow Beetle.
Mallika has always been a media person by training and profession, living and working in one of the most culturally-diverse countries in the world, India. From the beginning of her formative years, her interest lied in the interplay of media, technology and society. However, her assignments challenged her to delve deeper into the people she met, and understand what made them – them. Mallika’s association with people with next-to-no access to information and technology showed her that such people didn’t just exist in history — they live and breathe around us. It showed her the two nations were living in one country, and one of them needed a voice that she decided to become. These repercussions were courtesy the same – basic human right/ necessity, or platforms enabling a voice and she started working on how she could contribute and give back to society. As she moved up, and within the divisions and onwards to setting up her ventures, be it the Little Yellow Beetle or ApnaDr, she continued to see adversity and a pressing need to contribute, with all of her limited capacity. Now, her team aims to innovate with purpose and consciously work towards creating kinder content with Little Yellow Beetle and ApnaDr by being relevant in the 21st century, maximizing the reach by enabling technology to effectively mend the broken ladder and hopefully be holistic as the society gears towards an innovative, succinct digital eco-system.
With a Master’s degree under her belt in 2013 from the Mecca of Media & Communications — Goldsmiths, University of London, after a BA in the same from the University of Melbourne, she learned through her communications with multinationals, banks and hospitals she was working with, at how terrible connected India was digitally, and she feels that’s where she hit her life’s crossroad. Back in India, people relied on tele-calling to communicate, and emails weren’t formal communication platforms back then. That’s when it dawned upon her and therefore, while on the one hand, she continued to remain ambassador for Goldsmiths University of London, and Member for the alumna Council University of Melbourne, she decided to translate her academic expertise to up India’s digital performance at the global level and moved back home — determined to Digitise India. Soon after, India had a Prime Minister who stepped in and made her and her team’s keywords his national mandate. They couldn’t have asked for a better advocate — an ideal mascot — for what Little Yellow Beetle and Mallika believed in.
If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.
As with all start-ups and companies, setting them up is easy but keeping them afloat is the bigger question and hurdle, and along the way, an entrepreneur faces varieties of challenges and hurdles, which not only test their resilience but also the overall capability and mettle of an entrepreneur and the mammoth task that Mallika has been navigating through has been the need to juggle the manifold growth within new media and the dearth of knowledge, and its comprehension. Battling the ego of ‘self-certified experts’ misleading innocents and well-intentioned on boarders, and reversing the digital damage done – the exercise is time-consuming, uncalled for and futile. Mallika and her team’s efforts have been centered around digitizing the system, while parallelly, literally running a free-for-all school on what new media is, sustainability and the way forward.
Mallika’s success story is one that needs no introduction and highlight but it’s the Little Yellow Beetle with its innovation with purpose and being able to create kinder content, consistently. They strive for sustainability, but not at the behest of misleading their clients. From making an appropriate and timely judgement on their behalf to choosing the right platforms, communication strategies and finding them their audience, they take pride in having been able to sustain their clients by being relevant.
The Little Yellow Beetle
Little Yellow Beetle and its team, they believe and function by ideating and designing. All their clients need to do is provide them with any of the one – an idea, product, skill training, person, brand, furniture, automobile, sports academy, rockets, rice, healthcare, hats, mugs, real estate, robots, wedding cards, anything – and they will construct it for you. Once the design is done, they digitise it for the world to consume. Their other services include:
- Social Media Marketing
- Online classrooms
They do not use templates and take great pride in curating custom designs and using video and audio to impart e-skill and for e-courses. Little Yellow Beetle is striving day in and out for a day when every Indian will be able to connect, comprehend and consume technology on her/his palm, and not limit it to a luxury/utility. This farsightedness not only helps them stand out but also provide a notch above the competition in the market and help in lifting the Media & Communication industry as a whole.
Little Yellow Beetle believes and works diligently towards learning, growing and maturing, every single day. They are now imparting training on newer trends for consuming content, skill training and how to supply large-scale content to help the masses self-learn, self-skill and sustainably grow in their genres. Right from the basics such as fine-tuning and finding better UI/UX for Content Aggregation Models (CAM), Sharable Content Object (SCO) and how they may relate to say Experience Application Programming Interface (xAPI) or cmi5, a standard for Learning Management System. This is in addition to being able to digitise narratives, and being story-tellers, which is something they have always loved and was entrusted by multiple Fortune 500 companies. More recently (during the pandemic) fortune 500 companies as Moodle partners, via Mallika’s company Ballistic Learning, Little Yellow Beetle and even ApnaDr.
It all boils down to making technology more flexible for it to be consumer-friendly, capacity-building; affordable, accessible, anywhere. Digitizing healthcare is a priority (since pre-pandemic for them at ApnaDr) apart from e-Learning. Creating kinder content to be able to innovate with purpose and leave behind narratives that our future generations can proudly and purposefully consume, curate and push forward into a better and digitalised future with no knowledge or facility being out from their reach at any location.
Mallika’s professional journey, about the factors making her team unique and her valuable insights on factors businesses, should focus on after COVID-19 outbreak.
Mallika has always vouched by the principle that it would take a concoction of hard work and the brightest, truly extraordinary designers, developers, innovators with exceptional intellect, passion and creativity to come up with newer, even better ideas to succeed, round the clock. What she didn’t recognize when she set foot in the industry was perhaps the incredible power of faith – faith in the timing of things, in the universe, and most importantly in herself. She has learned a lot over the years, that the collective talent and ambitions of her team have changed the way netizens communicate — digitise and re-write their stories, one keyword at a time. Mallika and her team at Little Yellow Beetle and Apna Dr. have gone from being able to communicate with and provide healthcare to the last girl child, in that last remote village of India, to be able to engage her, and aim to have her take it for granted. Technology if used fittingly, can be empowering beyond belief – with that belief, she strongly feels that she is now comfortable, knowing it’s her cushion – her purpose and also her wings.
She strongly feels and remarks that one of the key achievements of her entrepreneurial journey is her team. Starting from nudging her sister to drop her dream job, her mother to forgo her successful teaching career, spanning two decades, right down to the people they have hired, whom today they call their family – they’re her key achievements and buttress in running their business ventures. Content with a human touch. That’s their story and key achievement! Undoubtedly, clients coming out contented is delectable as that extra icing on the cake. But what keeps them rolling is seeing the teams motivated, despite tough times like the pandemic and sticking it out, pitching in that extra bit – that’s the definition of success to Mallika. Despite headwinds with power outages, limited bandwidth, no access to tech/design files/systems, the team worked overnight to recreate the magic from scratch only to better it, again, all the time. She remarks, she would be nothing without her team, and of course, clients who have always shown so much faith in them to be able to digitize their narrative. She feels beyond grateful for everything, each one of their team members, for building her journey, brick by brick.
At Little Yellow Beetle, Apna Dr and Ballistic Learning, they have been demonstrating what’s possible when you put extraordinary heads together. Driven by a thirst for innovating with purpose, and consciously creating kinder content, the conviction to move not just fast, but keeping in mind sustainability, and the confidence knowing one’s skill set, they transform powerful stories and ideas into actions every day. Their team doesn’t need taking care of as they consciously look after each other, and to Mallika, that’s the only way to success – when humans work for each other, selflessly. Having said that, investing time in finding the right people – that is the key. It all boils down to who you invest your time in, and that decides the trajectory of your path forward.
First and foremost, the acceptance that ‘we’re all in the same boat’ being wrong – because, we’re not in the same boat. Are we hit by the same storm? Yes. But some have yachts, some boats, some are great swimmers but a majority is drowning. As an innovator and tech entrepreneur, our efforts she reckons have to be more human-centric — where we are working towards a more inward-outward approach, instead of answering arbitrary questions, using data to find the right questions to answer which will invariably lead you to innovate with purpose, and consciously Creating Kinder Content. Additionally, we don’t all need to turn our businesses online – 90% of the people are hapless at this juncture. Therefore, all the more pressing need to address yesterday, sustainability and the way forward — as an academic and service provider, more importantly as a citizen to the internet. She takes saying NO as a huge responsibility (which is new in her career) to businesses that haven’t figured their path out yet, keeping in mind internet mapping; that’s the whole point of distributed networks. She as has the globe lately learned that the more we use the Internet, the more glitches we experience. Mallika warns us, critical parts of the Internet still require a human touch. Some cables that need replacing or servers that need fixing, tasks that only human engineers can deliver. Often, as supply chains break down, cable companies are finding it hard to replace hardware or get hands-on equipment. India isn’t a major producer of optical fibre and other essential hardware, such as semiconductors, etc. An interruption in supply could mean that plans to install new broadband connections in rural parts of the world are put on hold. That could be bad for people in poorer regions who now find themselves cut off more than most. We have got to be more mindful, less egocentric and push forward.