Welcome to another edition of the BloggeRoundup Interview Series where we feature stories and business advice from successful bloggers, marketers, and entrepreneurs.
For this interview, we had the privilege of inviting Arbab Usmani, Co-founder & CEO of UppSkill.
We’d like to thank Arbab for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions.
Q: Please introduce yourself to BloggeRoundup readers?
My name is Arbab Usmani and I am Co-Founder and CEO of UppSkill. My hometown is Muzaffarpur which is a small town in Bihar. I grew up in Jamshedpur did my basic schooling from there then did my 12th from my Hometown Muzaffarpur, got 229 rank in Odisha Jee and joined ITER in Mechanical engineering stream in Bhubaneshwar. My first job was in Chennai then I move to Coimbatore from then I moved to Kolkata stay there for a long time, did some incredible work there and moved to Delhi to face harder challenges on my niche.
I am a true believer of community and humanity, hate people who stereotype people based on their region, religion, caste, the color of skin, gender, sexual orientation.
I am also an avid reader and read lots of book based history, arts, religion, science etc.
Q: What inspired you to start UppSkill?
To understand this we have to understand some data, there are many reasons to start UppSkill, I cannot list all of them otherwise this interview itself will become very long. So here is the data
We thing dropout is a sexy word especially when it comes to startups but in reality it is not as sexy as it looks because data suggest that almost 70% of students drop out in India because they are poor, they do not have access to school or they have family burden only 30% goes to the higher education and in those profession degree data suggest that 84% of people are not employable because they lack skill. This is the area where Uppskill comes and train people real industry level high-quality skills so they can have a job or use it in a business with proper practical knowledge of the subject. We started from “Digital Marketing masterclass” because it is my area and I have to spend a good amount of my life in it and for me, it is now a lifestyle rather than a work 🙂 this is one of the reasons we have started this
Another reason is there are lots of training company in the industry and lots of them are making huge money but how many of them are actually making an impact on the ground, how many of them are actually making honest promises. There are lots of scam going on in the name of training and it’s not a myth, almost every blogger knows it.
Why when someone asks that “ he wants to learn Hadoop.” he will get the name of many training institutes but when it comes to digital marketing, people either abuse or ask to do self-learning or to do an internship? this is because we as an ecosystem of digital marketing training have so many failed and scam case study from the past few years that people lost trust in them. There is valid reason for this and people should be pissed on how the careers have been ruined, my heart cries for those people who spend their valuable time and money behind gimmicks and learn nothing. This is the very reason we talk about only the skills nothing else.
Let’s talk about what we feel is wrong with the industry
Do a practice today if you are in a big city in each street there is a digital marketing institute just go to their website (take a sample size of 10) and see the content structure especially the course, apart from theme color you will even find order is same.
Institute talks about just because you take admission you will get 15 certificates from Google and Facebook ( yes the same certificates which are sold at 70Rs per certificate in Facebook group), first thing first just because you are taking admission and getting a certificate does it holds any value? 2nd thing is the training institutes are authorized by Google and Facebook to give the certificate and that too bulk of them? 3rd the certificate is designed for a working professionals who have worked in the field, I am talking about real work on the field not some 4 hours a week instructor lead work. The integrity of these certificates was murdered by those institutes. And how they do it – either they provide a dump of questions to their students or they themselves give exams. This is now how you build talent and this is wrong. But this is a good gimmick and work.
Same goes for “premium partner of Google” tag, I will not say much about it but you can Google “how to become the premier partner of Google” without quote and understand yourself.
There are many other gimmicks which actually works and one of the reason is our own greed of getting so many things in that much money, instead of getting only quality thing, there is a demand hence there is a supply but here is what is wrong in this mentality according to me, I believe teaching is a noble job and hence a very very responsible job, I believe the responsibility toward the society of a teacher equals to the doctor, doctor save life and teacher make life.
The difference between education and other business is that in education you will have a part of your teacher within you till you are alive. We are very much reflecting what we learned from our teacher and this thing the training institutes do not understand, the relationship between a teacher and a student is eternal, and even in our Shastra it is written if you see God and teacher then touch feet of teacher first, this is the level of respect we Indians gives to our teacher and a teacher have a big responsibility toward his/her students.
Another reason is that we want to see “New India” but only “want to see” is not enough we have to work our ass off to make New India, no leader is going to make New India, it me and you and thousands of youth like us who are going to make New India, so instead of cringing over bad condition of India, move your ass and work for making it better.
Q: What is your life mantra?
The best revenge is: Kill them with success and bury them with the smile.
But the main Mantra is: let’s together Uppskill each other 🙂
Q: What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
No gimmicks pitch, it’s hard to convince people when they compare education as aaloo pyaaz. But what we believe is that honesty is the best and most connecting things we can say to anyone, at least we can sleep at night while thinking about the honest work we did.
Q: How did you overcome those challenges?
With logic, educate people about it and also show them what we can do, we have lots of success stories with us and it is increasing day by day.
Q: What are your 5 favorite blogs?
- Moz blog for SEO
- Backlinko for SEO
- PPC hero for paid marketing
- Analytics Vidya for Analytics
- Jon Loomer for Facebook Marketing
Q: Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
There are many 🙂
I absolutely love Promo republic ( I call it canva on steroid) and content studio for social media
SE Ranking is another Good tool for SEO audits and Rank tracking with so many other features
Lumen5 for video
Of course Ahrefs link explorer
These all are paid
Link parser for finding do follow and no follow
We developed a tool for SEO guys which will be forever free ( right now it is in beta version and we need to remove some queries and add some more) – http://uppskill.com/tools/, I use it a lot nowadays to find links
Zapier for automation
Basically, I use more than 100 tools for the different area of digital marketing, different purpose, different tools.
Q: What’s your SEO tip to stay on top?
- Rankbrain is expanding and it will expand more, earlier it was a saying that spends 80% time in the promotion and 20% time in creation, it is reversing, spend more time in creation as well, around 65-70% of the time in promotion and rest is the creation and in coming years it will become 50-50.
- Think beyond your SEO, suppose someone lands in your ranked page then what? What action should he take if it is not clear then there is no meaning of optimizing and putting your hard work behind SEO.
Q: What are your plans for next 5 years?
In the next 5 years I want to set up a university which will be based on skills means you do not have to study and write papers instead you will have to show what you can do in a closed surveillance wala room, and the marks will be based on what you have created or done using your skill ( by skill it will not be only about Digital marketing, be it painting, automobile, poetry, videography, machine learning or anything else )
Q: Share a quote that inspires you the most.
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