I will own the most valuable event IP in 5 years- Shobhit Banga, Josh Talks
In the run-up to the biggest Josh Talk event till date, Shobhit Banga prepares for what he predicts will be “the biggest event IP in five years”. ‘The Leap Conference 2016’ expects over 5000 attendees across 22- 23 October at Thyagaraj Stadium in New Delhi.
Beaming and bright eyed, the first thing that strikes about Shobhit is the youthful energy of this 22 year old. He introduces himself as the founder of Josh Talks, and it makes us think- how apt! Josh Talks has us intrigued for its novel concept and the passion personified by young Shobhit only intensifies our interest. “This is not your ordinary conference” Shobhit explains at the outset, and goes on to animatedly take us through an enthusing narrative.
Growing up in the suburban outskirts of Kullu in Himachal Pradesh, Shobhit describes himself as curious boy with many questions. He reminisces, “My dreams and ambitions transcended course books. I really thought I’d make a place for myself in the world that awaited me.”
He had a love for cycling and decided to pursue his future as a professional cyclist. At the age of 15 years he had moved to Bangalore and became the youngest member of India’s first professional cycling team. But fate had different plans for him. He was forced to move to Delhi with his family, an event that he now believes was “a blessing in disguise”.
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“Life in Delhi lacked character”, says Shobhit. “My peers spent most of their time doing and speaking of things that seemed trivial to me, there was no spark, no moxie. I didn’t fit in. Around that time I was desperately in search of a purpose. In that pursuit I would often attend events and talks where I would hear stirring stories of quality individuals. In one such talk I remember someone saying that the best ideas come in the form of solutions to inefficiencies. This quote stuck by me, and till date offers itself as the propellant for Josh Talks. As fate would have it I met Supriya (paul) around this time and was struck by the apparent similarity. We founded Josh Talks shortly after”.
Testing the Waters
The first event of Josh Talks took off in April 2014 in New Delhi. “It was exciting but at the same time equally difficult”, recalls Shobhit. “People did not readily understand the concept. And being sermonized by two 20-something-year-olds didn’t go down too well either. We stood in places like Galleria market, Hauz Khas village, north and south campus and India Habitat Centre and distributed pamphlets. We told people we are bringing people who are changing the world, if you want to listen to them, come attend. Finally 150 people came to attend at the Airforce auditorium. It is remarkable that 70% of the people who came that day came for our next event too”, he adds.
Fifteen events down and past speakers including the likes of Ritesh Aggarwal of Oyo Rooms, Actor Boman Irani, Sheetal Jain- daughter of a sex worker who went on study at a prestigious drumming school in USA, Vicky Roy- a rag picker turner photographer and listed in Forbes Top 30 under 30 and Ankur Warikoo- Founder of Nearbuy, Josh Talks has switched gears to launch The Leap Conference on 22- 23 October at Thyagaraj Stadium in New Delhi.
The speaker line-up for Leap Conference 2016 includes Anurag Kashyap, Railways minister Suresh Prabhu, Ritu Karidhal- Mission Director for Mars Orbitor Mission, Team Indus- a startup that aspires to send a rocket to moon in 2017, Robin Charasiya who works to emancipate children of sex workers, Devendra Jhajharia- Gold medalist at Paraolympics 2016 and several others.
“Josh Talks is a community of future leaders, people who will change the world. The objective is to create an environment that is conducive for people to get inspired. The approach, visual creativity, interaction via social media, entertainment, speakers and even the vibe and smell, we are covering all bases to ensure that we positively impact everyone who attends that day”, says Shobhit. “This is a platform that’s concept led and not content led. We want to draw people for the overall experience”, he adds.
Going the distance
“Quality will always trump quantity”, exclaims Shobhit. “If I want to fill up the venue I can bring 20000 people today, but the idea is to engage future leaders of India, people who will change the world. I anticipate a domino effect. TED only has 800 people in attendance, but look how much value it has. We want to create similar value keeping in mind the sensitivities of Indian youth and issues that are relevant to them”, he adds. As conclusion he opines, “I have been to Jaipur Literature fest, its one of the leading event IPs in India. But they are not creating any significant impact, its just entertainment, similar to many other event properties. Josh Talks is poised to be the agent of change India needs, 5000 people at a time.”
*For more information about The Leap Conference, visit leap.joshtalks.com
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