When was the last time you had a crazy idea that actually turned out to be something amazing? Sometimes, a little craziness is exactly what you need to separate yourself from the normality of your competition and that is precisely what this startup is all about.
CrazyHeads, a creative design agency started by engineering students from Gitam University, offers web and logo designs as well as digital marketing that are totally out-of-the-box and downright awesome! Tech geek Vineet Ganti, co-founder and head of Research and Development, stops over to share how his love for innovation lead him to the creation of this young and dynamic organization that became the fastest emerging startup of the year.
What’s your company about? What do you do? Who are your customers?
We are a creative agency that do Web Designing, Brand Identity, Graphic Designing, SEO, Social Media Marketing, Online marketing and App development. Whenever a work comes up to us, we call the whole team sit down and shout our ideas loud enough that everyone present there can hear it till their minds and hearts. And when that little heart listens to these ideas, it pumps up the adrenaline and moves the work in a symphony of different instruments like the Designing Team (Designers Den), The Content Management Team (Mad about Content Team), the marketing Team (Marketing Mojos) and The R&D (Baap). Our clients are the ones who look after on these fields in which we make our hands dirty. We got a great portfolio which includes some international clients from London, USA and Ireland.
What’s the greatest thing about your company/website? Why is it better than the competition?
As we quote along “Creativity is contagious and outrageous“, we believed that we could do something different and out of the box. Creativity and Improvisation is our key ingredient for our lip smacking recipe.
There is nothing such as the greatest thing. You have to keep up in each and every field of your company. If a sync is established between the members, then there will be no scope for imbalance. We are not at all looking for competition. If we carry on what we are doing, perfection can be established. Yes there are some stand apart qualities that will be the eye candy for many people. The portfolio of our company clearly reflects that. We do things differently, starting from interaction of clients, understanding their needs, suggesting them more improvements, giving them the best designs and showing quick and quality work.
How’d you come up with the name for your company?
Actually, it has quite a story. One night, me and Vaibhav were sitting and doing stuff related to the start-up. We had plans for our first event, conducting and Ethical Hacking workshop by Ankit Fadia. So, there was a sudden thought that we need to come up with a really different name. We were in a fix and the discussion went on the whole night. Many came up in mind but at the stroke of 5:00 am in the morning, the name CrazyHeadS struck in our brains and we booked the domain right away. The work we do is absolutely phenomenal and crazy. The clients drool up at our work. Since we are the guys who get crazy ideas, we named ourselves as CrazyHeadS. The ‘S’ stands for solutions.
What was your first computer? How old were you when you first got on the world wide web?
Well, the first computer in which worked on was in my 4th grade where I used to go to my neighbor’s house and play games in it. Eventually I made my first entry into WWW through Google, thanks to my dad who thought me that, then I had hands on experience in laptops from 6th grade starting from Compaq. Later on, I experienced more about web, learnt about mail and it went on. Well, I casually brag to my friends that I changed 9 laptops since my 6th grade. The present one is my 10th’s. So I am quite an enthusiast in gadgets.
What time do you usually start work each day? How many hours a day do you usually work?
Well, I usually wake up at 5am in the morning, have this habit recently tough. I start my day by reading blogs early in the morning, noting down interesting things and managing my own blog. After the college ends, I stay back and me and Vaibhav work along together with the team till 7pm in the Student Activity Center at college. By the way, since we are a student run start-up and still pursuing our under grad in 3rd year, we do not own an office space. All the work is done in The Student Activity Center of GITAM University. There is never a specific time that we stick on. The amount varies every day. We always stick to a priority to satisfy the client as soon as possible, so we don’t encourage sloppy work. We only pack up after the goal of our day is reached and hi-five the team for every accomplishment. That is what we always look for.
When’s the last time you went on vacation and where did you go?
Well, am glad you asked me this question. Personally I love going to places. I have been to the whole south of India, north parts like UP, Bihar, Agra, Rajasthan, and Jammu & Kashmir. I have also been to countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland. The last vacation was in India, The Chaar Dham Yatra covering Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. It was one of the most wonderful and peaceful experiences I have ever had.
What’s the very first thing you do at work every day?
I look after the Research & Development wing of CrazyHeadS. Being one of the co-founders, it’s my duty to take up some challenging roles and works daily that keeps up the morale and zeal among the team also.
Coming straight to the answer, every day when I sit to work, I think that what more can I do to make things better? What more is needed to give the push to my team? Have I developed myself from yesterday and today? I keep asking myself every time when I start and end my work and I evaluate my performance each day and always look for the scope for improving myself.
When do your best ideas come to you? In bed in the morning? During dinner? On your third beer?
There is actually no specific staple task by which I get ideas. But yeah, the majority comes when am in the classroom, which are sure to disturb my class when I get one. I immediately jot down in my ‘BOOK OF IDEAS’ and tell to my boss, my partner, Vaibhav. He was the guy who always listen to every idea of mine and look for loop holes and clauses. We are quite in sync in sharing ideas, he shares his first thought to me and I share to him mine, then we share it to our besties.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
To be frank here, we kick started this thing with four members. Me, Vaibhav were from the Computer Science background and Bharat and Ravi were from the Mechanical. Later on Bharat and Ravi had their paths set up in different fields and we were shrinked with 2 co-founders. The team of CrazyHeadS now consists of 32 members from different fields, divided into various teams like the Designers Den, MAC (Mad About Content) Content designing team, The Marketing Mojos and the Baap, the R&D section. One key point worth mentioning is that “No one works for us”. We work for our self-respect, we work for the team’s satisfaction. Every member in our team is treated equally with each other. Cause we are students, aspiring to be something big and do something big. So we refer to ourselves as Team CrazyHeadS.
A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually go after yours?
Yes, I have to agree on this point that there huge ideas coming up every day and an idea today is taken by somebody else tomorrow without our knowledge. Even if we consider this scenario as a race, it’s not about how you run initially carrying an idea, it’s about how you sprint along at the end, giving a good finish. With that mindset we started off CrazyHeadS with a simple B-plan of getting in clients for web designing. Later on we expanded it to logo designing, SEO, online marketing, Social Media Marketing, and Video Designing and after a year’s experience, we are staring off with a R&D section which is headed by me. The concept again here is simple, solving the day to day problems of common man by rolling out products. If we have a goal set, then there’s no one stopping us. If not this time, then we will make sure the next time it’s our day.
Remember the early days of starting up? Describe the struggles you went through.
Early days… memories they were. Tough it has been an year, it was worth a memory. And we had one such struggle. Last year, the Andhra-Telangana dispute was in full swing. Bundhs were being declared day by day, the streets were full of riots, fires set up on the roads, blocking the everyday traffic. The situation was completely chaotic. And we had our event set up. There was no chance of moving out. We were supposed to conduct a 1300 member Ethical Hacking workshop, the biggest in Andhra Pradesh by India’s most renowned Ethical Hacker, Ankit Fadia. The dates were all setup, the campaigning was going good and this chaos occurred. The situation was completely numb. There were no colleges, which were our source for campaigning. The money was sanctioned both to the speaker and the venue. We had to postpone the event in order to do this. We had frustrations, and losses and we had to lose around 1 lakh to postpone the event. Situations like these in life give us more confidence and experience. They make us realize the sense of responsibility for both time and money. There were other bad time too where had to roam on the roads in order to get clients. We used to go shop by shop in the market places and tried making deals. Phone bills were, exhausted, pressure was building up parallelly from the college regarding our academics. But we never actually took all these as a burden. We thought “This is our destiny, if we have to go through worst situations, we are ready for it. Bring it on.” It’s ultimately “Balance” which has to keep you right on track. Always maintain balance with all your elements of your life.
How do you handle frustration? What has been your biggest professional frustration?
Yep, frustration is a common factor. A point where everyone has to agree on. No matter how much you maintain your cool, you just can’t handle your frustration. The peak points of frustration resulted in bad consequences which again was a lesson for us. Every step was a new experience for us which we were able to handle it. There was so such thing as the biggest frustration. There was a wet blanket every time the situation heated up. Even if things got messy, they were sorted out.
What’s your office environment like? Do you listen to music? Watch movies? Play video games?
Yeah, here comes a small drawback. We do not own an office space as mentioned that we are engineering students from GITAM University. All operations are handled from the Science and Activity center of GITAM University. The environment is which we work is totally awesome. We work in a place where there is always full crowd movement. Yes, we work in our Student Activity Center. We aren’t lucky enough to get an office but yes, we are lucky enough that we got the friendliest and the most electrifying environment cause we are always among students, who are charged up and willing work for their interests even after the college hours. That is one point which I really respect among the students of my college. I am proud of this fact that we are the most amalgamated team. Yes, I love music, and that’s the sole reason why I have co-founded a music band. “Shaurya”, the name of the band was my hobby. I sing in that band. We have full-fledged instruments and jamming rooms. But I try to maintain focus where I should. When it comes to movies, there is only one movie which I like till date, only one “The Karate Kid”. That movie brought me up a huge change in life. So I recommend everyone to see it at least once. You will understand many things in life. You just asked all those questions which brought change in my life. Well yes, video games were my heartthrob from child hood. My father used to say when I bought video games that “Why are you fantasizing virtual world so much? When you work hard and come up good in your life, you can buy all these virtual cars and houses for real?” I thought and I thought and came up with the step of designing games. Till today I designed 3 games in Unity. Now, I casually say that, Dad, now I can make a living by creating the virtual world.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
Balance, Crazy Creativity, Team work, Dedication and Happiness. These five elements will surely help us out in the upcoming 5 years, and also further on. I and my partner never think of what we will become, we always think what we will do in order to become. It’s simple as that. Work and you shall see what you have never imagined.
Who or what inspires YOU? Role models? Quotes? Running? Video games? Snack food?
As I told you in my previous questions that its music which inspires me the most, experiences inspire me, memories inspire me, CrazyHeadS inspires me. Role models, without a hesitation, Mahatma Gandhi.
How’d you fund this venture? VC? Self-funding? Crowdfunded? Where’d you get the money, man?
Yep, a simple answer for this. CrazyHeadS was proudly self-funded. We initially funded ourselves to boot strap this venture. The main deal here is that we are still dependents and that’s where our parents came into the picture. They trusted us, handed the money to us and believed in us that we will make it big one day. The support they poured us with is completely phenomenal.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
First and the fore most, never start-up without a reason. You have a get a clear picture of what you are actually up to. Do all your ground work first, make the plan more impressive, start talking to similar minded people about your idea, they may add up some really cool points, get the confidence in you and then you push the gas. If you have already started up and you are stuck anywhere in the middle, learn the concept of zoom out and zoom in. Don’t just stick to either zoom in or zoom out. If you are stuck up somewhere, zoom out, and see the problems in a bigger scope. If you can find them, you are good to go again. If you are too zoomed out, you might not know what’s happening deep inside, so in that case zoom in deep, solve the problems over there and resume.
What other advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get started?
Never build a product which the people need, build a product which the people want, create an urgency to the people and make them realize that they badly want this one, that’s how you pitch up in the market.
What would you do if you had a year off and $500,000 to spend (on something other than work)?
Now am not gonna say I’ll go for donation. I’ll do that to an extent. The real deal in spending such money is by travelling. It is one of my favorite hobbies. As I have mentioned above, I have been to many places in India, saw all the diverse cultures over there, went to many countries and knew what’s more to explore in future. I’ll be happy to visit every country in the world. It will solve a major purpose of life that I visited the whole earth as a human being. Have a small fantasy of cars so I guess I’ll buy one of the best ones, have rides but that’s all gonna eventually happen. What doesn’t happen in life is getting time and money at the same time. When you get these two in your hand, you can enjoy life to your fullest.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur? If not, what’ll make you feel successful?
It will be both a yes and a no for this question. I would like to answer this eagerly. It is a yes because, we took a great step in fact a great challenge by plunging into entrepreneurship. Sometimes we feel proud of ourselves that we were fortunate enough that we came this far and still thinking of what to do ahead in time. Sometimes we feel no because we haven’t really done what should be done. We have to improve in a lot of fields. We have to be more organized and disciplined, though our ideas are crazy, our ideologies should not be crazy.
Top 5 websites you couldn’t live without and why?
- Facebook – The heart and soul for the social media marketing of CrazyHeadS.
- Google – proud to say that we have our custom mail systems which are managed by google.
- Ted – Great stories of great people. Have a habit of seeing one every day.
- WordPress – The CMS for CrazyHeadS and I manage my personal blog in wordpress.com
- The fifth one was tricky to decide so I would like to add all the science and tech blogs in this slot.
Top 5 mobile apps you’re in love with and why?
- Google Now –Tough improving but real deal for it in the future.
- TED – I see all the ted talks in my tablet.
- Play Newsstand – A google app again, it give a good mixture of diverse kind of news from all over the world.
- Google Keep – best place where I store up all my ideas before I go to home and write it down on my book of ideas.
- The all new Google camera – loved the lens blur feature, this is another hobby of mine, mobile photography. That explains it all.
What is your music streaming player of choice, and what are you listening to right now?
Don’t stream music much, just download or buy them and listen. And since you asked me this question, I started listening to “Fire with Fire – Scissor sisters”. This song has been our team’s favorite song. It’s got amazing lyrics. Truly inspiring one.
Number 1 country you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t yet? (And why that country?)
The answer might seem a bit strange but right now, the only thing which comes first in mind is Denmark. I have two reasons to explain that. First, it’s the only country that has “no mountains”. Secondly, it’s the only country which was not involved in any type of war. It might sound controversial but I would definitely like to have a visit and live with those people whose country is the world’s most peaceful country.
Three people (other than you) we should follow on Twitter and why?
- Anupam Kher – He’s got good stuff for the young generation. Worth following his tweets.
- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – Founder of The Art of Living, excellent philosopher and truly motivational.
- CrazyHeadS – Haha.. Yeah, CrazyHead Solutions, cause being normal is too mainstream.
Please share some specific numbers (funding, revenue, visitors) that highlight your growth.
In less than a year we could come to the number with 40+clients, 7 International clients, 10000 likes in the facebook page. CrazyHead Solutions was bootstrapped, we self-funded it.