Things do not always work the way we want them to be. It was my childhood dream to become an actor, but today I gave up on a childhood dream to do something which meant more to me, something that ignited a purpose the urge to solve the digital chaos and move a step further in connecting people to more.
My family has been into jewellery business for a century. I joined my family business. I got involved in business in such a manner that I was tangled in it. One day to change my destiny, I decide to pack up and just leave for Bombay to become an actor.
As I mentioned, the family business & I developed such a relation that it could only be said as complicated. I did not like it, but it needed me. So I had to jiggle between Bombay and Pune. I worked as an assistant director in the movie Aatma & did a couple of ads. I started my production studio in Pune & made short films. As an actor, I wanted to do dark cinema, the grey side of cinema that has not much demand in the Hindi film industry.
I started Orbiting halfheartedly as a side gig. Half of my heart was in the slumber of acting career & business. Being an avid user of Instagram, I wanted 2 features in it. I emailed it to Instagram in 2014. However, Instagram did not respond to my email. So, in 2015, I built my app to have these features. Firstly, I wanted to know about things happening in my city. Secondly, I didn’t like the concept of private & public accounts. I should have a choice to share my post according to my privacy. I wanted some content of mine visible to all and certain content visible to a few.
There was this void of not knowing what is happening in your city. I made a small ppt & showed it to my friend and he liked the idea very much. The basic idea of orbiting was to let you see what you want to see around you.
The entrepreneurship journey is not simple. It needed a lot of me & at that time, I was not ready to give. After the first MVP of Orbiting, I shut it down & decided to quit my acting career.
To explore myself, I went on a Europe trip. While I was traveling to Europe, I saw young people doing great hustles, I saw the very need of Orbiting in mine and the lives of others who were traveling, as you are on the move you need to constantly know what’s happening around you.
I used to get updates about an event that happened in Antwerp when I had reached Amsterdam, I got the information just a day later and when I was miles away from that place.
All these experiences I had on my way were more significant to me than anything materialistic I had ever bought or spend on parties, bikes, & cars. I do not remember the single day of myself at a party, but I remember each day of my Europe trip.
I had clarity about my personal life & a hint of the product I wanted to make. In 2017 with a new co-founder, I restarted Orbiting. He did a poor job in making the product & stole money from me. Like thin air, all money I invested in Orbiting vanished. I did not want to quit Orbiting and continued with it. However, I was failing miserably. Instead of focusing on why I was doing it, my focus was on how to do it.
The purpose of creating Orbiting became clearer when I saw the younger generation in my family. They were glued to their phone. I was wondering why they are not experiencing their life. Why are we so hell-bent upon creating an ecosystem where everyone is sitting at home & working!
Amazon wants you to be at home & buy online, Bigbasket wants you at home & buy all grocery. Swiggy gives you food delivered. The whole ecosystem is restricting you to four walls.
On the good side of 2020, The lockdown happened and the world suddenly realized that sitting at home isn’t life but still voluntarily an average social media user spends around 3-5 hours mindlessly scrolling on their phone.
On Instagram, you will see things happening around the world. They will never show you about things happening around you. If Instagram shows you that, you will leave the phone and participate in that activity. If it shows you something happening in a distant place you will not go there. You will wish for it and scroll more. More scrolling means more screen time and that means more revenue.
Their revenue generation depends on you sitting more in front of your screen & it is fair from the business perspective. But I have to think of my next generation, today’s 15 years old are born with Facebook, Snapchat in their life. For them, online networking is not a privilege.
So, what is the next evolution of social media? It is good to have global information, but it is important to be connected locally. This is what Orbiting is trying to do that separates it from all other platforms. Every other platform wants you to consume content. I want you to create content by creating a communication channel between what you like, you might like, people around you, and things happening around you, etc.
Orbiting is never going to generate revenue by ads. It is going to create digital solutions for businesses & users & charge them for it.
Since I am the only founder, I have to take care of everything. I have to keep hustling for money, resources, team & do whatever needs to be done. I do not take no for an answer. Something that cannot happen is not possible.
We will be launching College Orbits in an effort to centralize the whole college on one platform. A student of geography as well as of engineering will be on the same platform. There will be multiple chat channels for each class, interest group, general communication. Any event that happens in your city could be put out there & people can chat & even go to the event, meet more people.
There are so many useless groups on WhatsApp you are in. We have orbits to solve the clutter. Your orbit could be your personal social media platform for your friends. You can invite up to two hundred people and create a communication channel.
My niece is now 4 years old. I do not want her to stick to her phone. Orbiting exists today so that I can encourage young people to go out & live their life.
I have a team of 20 people who all have joined recently. Every day in our hustle we try to make Orbiting better. It took me a long time to form a team. I tried partnering with people, I failed, tried paying people, I failed. Now when I am inspiring people to work, things are working marvelously.
Our work culture is that you can do whatever you want. I do not want machines, I want people who know what life is because that’s what we are inspiring people to do via our product, to live your life.
There was a time I had money, was spending it, but still, happiness was nowhere to be found. Today, when I am every day broke, I am happy & contented. I get up every morning with a fresh mind and know today is the day I want to accomplish.
Only when you know yourself you can work on yourself. Be okay with the boredom that comes along when you spend time with yourself. What matters is your experiences and the things you do.
So this has been the journey of Aarav Varma, who is working hard to make young people come out of their online world and experience life. Don’t forget to check out the amazing features of Orbiting that are revolutionizing the social media platform. Also, don’t forget to share this article of BOSS if you enjoyed reading it.