katha blog.

14 May 2021, by Ishan.

Why do we need good news?

The simple answer is: we deserve it. And we need it right now! Humans indeed developed an impulsive response to anything which could be dangerous in...

25 May 2021, by Ishan.

The story behind the "leanest coolest product".

It all started with the first wave of the Corona when the world was gloomy and the media made it look like there was hardly any hope in. News of...

5 June 2021, by Ishan.

The art of listening.

From Marc Antony appealing to a crowd of Romans, to be able to broadcast any and every thought process in our brain, we have come a long way making...

KATHA BLOG

Why do we need good news?

14 May 2021, by Ishan.

Why do we need Good News?
The simple answer is: we deserve it. And we need it right now!

Humans indeed developed an impulsive response to anything which could be dangerous in their surroundings. Thus our senses get hyperattentive to any external information or stimulus which could lead to danger. The cavemen/women were much more attentive when he heard a "hiss" than if he would have heard a "smile". The same logic persists today. Don't we all pay attention to the news that brings in information about disasters, accidents, and crimes? But all this adaptive and coping mechanism was far more relevant for the man in caves and forest. 
                                        
Information evokes in us some of the basic instincts - fear, greed/lust, and hope. The first one, fear, has been used, reused, misused, and overused in history. Rulers have ruled with fear and many systems including religions make use of this to bring structure to society. Another natural reaction to information ( generally about access to something) has been greed. The never-ending "needs" and "wants" have been only boosted with the information age. What we see/sense, we end up wanting! One major emotion that is rarely used in the popular marketing world and consumer products, is probably hope. Though this is a standard hallmark of a great leader like Mahatma Gandhi, seldom do these appear in the day-to-day information we consume. There is an ocean of hopelessness, especially in the current scenario. 
                                                            
Now, jump to the present - where COVID is the reality and we have increased our news consumption beyond bounds. “The surge of bad news that flooded during Covid (source: techradar.com)”. It has affected our mental states deeply, bringing us to informational fatigue and general dissatisfaction. No, I am not talking about the misinformation. Even with the right information, there is too much intent on negativity, divisive content, hatred, and hence "engaging/relatable/debatable". And Ironically, this same loop makes us mentally and hence physically vulnerable during this pandemic.  With not many such options available, we ended up starting something with the vision of delivering good, positive, and relevant informational content curated from across the world.
                                                            
Katha App focuses on delivering our users, good stories, news, and happenings to restore hope and positivity. While we have been advised against swimming upstream, we know we want to do this and add a bit of positivity to lives around us. We keep the news as short to only include basic facts so no opinions or bias comes in, which we all know is the gateway to a divisive society. We even put in our efforts to bring in some fun parts from the internet where people do amazing stuff all the time. And that's not it, you get all the news updates right from your district to international affairs on one platform. All of this is not to say that we don't need opinions and differences, we do, and that is what makes us a vibrant democracy. But all we say is, "A bit of positivity and a lot of goodwill has never hurt anyone!"
                                         
P.S: We are serving around 2500+ people via the app and our social media handles reach another 1000 consumers weekly, with a combined 2.5 Lakh weekly news views. We are doubling down on our vision and would love to hear from you!
                

The story behind the "leanest coolest product".

25 May 2021, by Ishan.

Why do we need Good News?
It all started with the first wave of the Corona when the world was gloomy and the media made it look like there was hardly any hope in. News of hatred, fear, negativity was skyrocketing and things were all but green and glittery. I remember the days clearly as I had just taken the exit from my first startup MunshiG and was taking a break. This meant I had more time than I should have in my day, most of which was spent on reading and doing online courses. But reading up more stories and news online made my days trickier.

It was then my good friend Mr. Anoop Sethumadhavan, came up with a website for positive news. I instantly liked the idea and he let me be a voluntary contributor to his website. Me and my good friend, Alankrita started with our own extended version with a lot of emphasis on good news, the environment, and animal rights. Parallelly, I was discussing multiple startup ideas with Mr. Harsh Vardhan Sharma a.k.a HaVaS (I didn't know what it meant for quite some time). We went from NFC to health tech, to gaming to everything that we could set our eyes on. But nothing seemed to be exciting enough, especially with the market shut down and nothing that really seemed to impact us directly.
                    
It was around June we ideated on and came up with ideas for Localised short news, events, and a literary platform. And around August, I started working full-time with another startup while starting out with Katha. Initially, it was nothing but a Malayalam version of news in shorts, an idea that had been tried but hadn't been successful in Kerala. People who had done this had reminded us to take a cautious approach while helping us take a note on what went wrong and what not to do. They weren't wrong, a couple of months into this we identified there was not enough traction.
                    
Fast-forwarding to the end of Feb 2021 when things had started looking not exciting anymore. We were continuously getting feedback (thanks to our devotional acceptance in “keeping it lean”) but did not know what we're going wrong. And then it was a week-long holiday we finally collected all our user behavior and found some interesting patterns in them. 
                    
Combining this with our few other hypotheses, we were off to try some pivot product. There was an instant reaction to this new pilot. By mid-March we had built, test/measured and learned a few more things about our product and market. Towards the end of the month, we were already starting on initial user acquisition. What is even more exciting is the part that we have grown continuously in most phases avoiding large peaks and troughs. 
                    
While we have been building up our product on the side, as the human leading the pack I am even more proud and happy about the tribe/team/group of young energetic sapiens, ready to take every day as a new challenge. And here we present to you Katha and aim to revolutionize the way and kind of information which we should consume to build a better, more hopeful tomorrow.
                

The art of listening.

5 June 2021, by Ishan.

Why do we need Good News?
“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.” 

From Marc Antony appealing to a crowd of Romans, to be able to broadcast any and every thought process in our brain, we have come a long way making communication easier than ever imagined. In this remarkable journey of connecting the world, we have made it a smaller place than ever before. The poster child of this revolution is social media, where we all listen(lately, literally so) to everyone else. But the more pressing question is “Do we listen though? Do we ever listen to understand and empathize? Is the art of listening getting lost in the shade of intolerance to differences?”
    
We do listen to diverse perspectives, but only to counter views reply more vigorously and forcing down on the version of the truth that seems to be the only truth to us. From lawmaking to news channels, deliberations are being replaced by argument & counterarguments with an ocean of divide in between. There are no grey areas left. Everything & everyone is being painted black and white, right and wrong, left and right and us & them. 
    
Each of us has grown up with a different set of variables shaping who we are today. Beyond just hearing, we could be better off if we care and understand what the other person is expressing. The commotion and confusion are so high, that at times we don’t even listen to ourselves! It is only if we try to listen and understand without judgment, we can reduce this ever-widening gulf. 
    
In the information era, where we have the luxury to selectively consume from all the information we have access to and believe what we want to. The algorithms make sure we are fed more of our beliefs and fewer stories from the other side and we become what we consume. This makes it all the more relevant to choose what we consume. Hence make sure we intake relevant positive information and motivating stories while staying away from the divisive hatred and pessimism that we have in our information sources. 
    
It is not that listening is a noble social cause that enables us to help others. More than anyone else, it helps the person him/herself. As the saying goes “the wise human listens” but more equally important is the corollary “those who listen become wiser”. 
    
Winding up with the famous quote from Larry King, which reminds us of the intrinsic connection. “Nothing I say will teach me anything. So if I am going to learn, I must do it by listening”.
    
P.S: Katha is an information platform through which we aim to distribute more relevant, positive information, stories, and happenings across the world. If you have an inspiring story to share, please do reach out to us!