Among many other things, Subhasis leads the Indus Youniverse Mozilla Club. He’s also an entrepreneur, web journalist, blogger, and social media influencer. His passion is engaging youth and building up their skills and confidence. For him, Mozilla’s value is that it provides a platform to support youth, along with a trustworthy, credible brand.
- “Web Search: The Indus Way” Indus Youniverse Club event at Don Bosco School, Liluah
- “Digital World and Career Options” Indus Youniverse Club event at Khantura High School, Gobardanga
- Web Literacy event at Baita Mahendranath High School, Midnapore (download photo)
Can you tell me a bit about your work?
I am a web journalist. Content analyst. A blogger. Social media influencer. Digital marketing professional. And I’m a speaker as well — on entrepreneurship and digital marketing. I love to enthuse people about my areas of expertise. Not just the Mozilla community but beyond. I love to get people on board in order to give them a different proposition for fulfilling their professional ambitions. They can gain a lot of ideas and new culture about these domains. And then impart this to others, bringing them in. I build up people in my areas — web journalist, content analysis, digital marketing, social media influence. Communication through digital media is powerful. With advent of social media you can reach millions of people and change their lives. I run a company called ConnectIndia where I lecture on these domains, work on projects, and cater to different industries. We also write success stories for young people to build enthusiasm and encourage them to join the community. I have a core competencies of 20+ years in this domain.
Can you tell me about a time when you felt a sense of success?
When I joined Mozilla actively one year back I got involved in a lot of projects, came into contact with underprivileged people through my Mozilla Club, Indus Youniverse activities. They did not understand what is Internet, computer, and other electronic gadgets. Sometimes they don’t even have access to electricity. They have a tough time. Not even enough food. But they have sparks in their eyes. They want to learn and grow. I have my own social organization, Bhor, which in Bengali means ‘morning’. We work with 17 kids. They want to learn. If you show them a gadget they find it difficult to understand. They have not seen yet what is it. They have no ABC of this domain. We gave them paper and colored pencils and did drawings to show what is computer and Internet. Then, once they have grasped the basic concept, we show them the gadget itself. I’m working as a facilitator, helping to make lives easier for next generation. This gives a feeling of success.
How about an example of a challenge?
It is challenging to work with different cross sections of people. In India, we have very diverse community — many religions, languages, cultures. In Mozilla, we’re a family. We work under one umbrella. There are complex ideas and different notions. Also, sometimes people stay in their shell even though they have a lot of potential. It is your responsibility to enable them and induce a feeling of confidence. So, they can come out of their cocoon. It is a happy challenge which you need to learn as a leader.
How have you approached solving this?
I encourage people, whatever they do. Even if they do a mistake. I give them a pat at the back and say they did a brilliant job and we discuss how to make it better next time. Words of encouragement work like magic.
Next you have to innovate. One idea may not work. You need to cultivate many ideas and keep them open in front of anyone like a box of playing cards. So they can choose according to their know-how, understanding and ability. They can choose the different idea that works for them. They may not like Plan A, but may like Plan B or C.
By ideas, do you mean activities? Can you tell me more specifically?
Yes, they can choose the activity that works for them. You have to concentrate hard on every individual — to understand what they require from you. You need to give individualized support. They all have different psyches and expertise and love to do different things. It is your responsibility to choose the support that will work for them.
How would you describe the open Internet? What does that mean for you?
Open means it is for everybody. Open scope for one and all irrespective of where they come from. People can come and learn and use their learning in their daily lives. The concept of open web and internet is successful if they can use it properly and make their lives smoother.
Can you think of a time when the open Internet has been important to you?
When we work on an open web forum we put together each individual’s data which, in turn, enhances knowledge for all. When we work in Mozilla India community we work in different functional areas. We have different focus teams. For each team we look into a different domain. We gather a lot of data and look for correlations, which enriches our research. That helps a lot. We can also help the global team working in HQ in the US. They can get to know about our research and help us to add value to it.
This is a good high-level view. Can you tell me about a more personal experience that you have had?
In my company, most of the people work from home. It is wonderful proposition to enhance quality of work. We also have flexi timing. We’ve been successful in inculcating this culture in my company. Most of the people prefer working from home. We are successful in doing this. In the morning when I get up I just wash my hands and face and take a cup of tea. Then I switch on my computer and get to know last night’s advancement of work. They have uploaded in to Google Drive or another server so I can do a final check and send it to my client. It is a nice way of using open Internet. People are connecting from different parts of the country. They could be 1000 miles away from me but I can see if they have finished in time and with good quality so I can support clients in the best possible way and meet their requirements. This gives me a lot of advantages to move ahead with my mission.
Can you tell me about how you got involved with Mozilla? What has that been like?
It was three years back. There was a Google Developers’ event in my city, in Kolkata. I was invited. I saw some Mozilla community members there. They were young and mostly doing engineering. I was older, already a professional. I observed them from the farthest corner of room. I noticed them because they were bubbling with enthusiasm and energy. I could hear what they were talking about. So I started looking into the community. I found a guy from my city and, through him, I got to know what the Mozilla community is all about. I read Mozilla’s mission and manifesto. I thought only tech people could get involved. I didn’t know that it is an open platform and anyone from any field of expertise can join and contribute. Gradually, through correspondence with people I met at that Google event, I learned more about the activities. I learned that there is no age barrier and all backgrounds can join. Mozilla is for everyone. I was reluctant and withdrawn at first, even though I was excited to join this bubbly and exciting group. I gradually got involved one year back.
Can you tell me about a time that Mozilla had some sort of impact on your life or work?
I got involved with Hindi Browser campaign and the ‘Take Back the Web’ campaign. Great experiences. We showed the youth how to lead, how to participate, how to excel in life. I was given the responsibility to facilitate and enable them. That was a great feeling. When you work as a facilitator you are involved yourself. You can help change people’s lives. This gives a huge satisfaction. I am indebted to Mozilla because they have given me a huge platform and scope to help young minds to grow.
Can you tell me about a time that Mozilla did not meet your expectations?
Until now I have not found any incidents. It has only been a year. One thing, though, is that I would request that we have a realistic and nice recognition process for contributors. We need a better recognition system.
One example: In every community most of the people are young. They are students studying in college. Once they finish off their studies, they will certainly look for a job. That is why they are studying. They have pressure from their family to get a job. So when they are spending time on Mozilla activities we need to encourage them. If we encourage them with an appreciation certificate — anything — they will feel encouraged and highlighted and will keep contributing. This has to be a priority otherwise they will quickly lose interest. And then the community loses. We cannot force them to contribute. So for every individual who contributes they must be treated with some recognition. That will help a lot.
I am seeing that people are leaving because a proper recognition process is not in place. The newcomers are losing interest quickly. Mozilla has credibility. If youth can show involvement it can help them get a job. We can motivate them to get involved in a group that has a lot of credibility in the global market.
How might the stories we collect might be useful to you?
These stories are really encouraging. Learning about thought processes and ideas and innovations. Through that you can get new ideas. You have your own set of ideas but you can always polish yourself. You can also evaluate yourself where you are. Update your strategy. Change directions.
Anything more you want to tell me? Anything you want to ask me?
I also run a Mozilla Club and work for young kids under this activity. We focus on web literacy.