Magazine for Mothafoxers
At FOXITY, we are building a global nightlife brand out of India. A vision that is as outrageous as it is bold.
But the night is long and full of terrors, as Jon Snow has long taught us. And the greatest battles are the ones we fight everyday, for motivation and purpose on our road to (eventually) one day putting a ding in the universe.
For our first article on Medium, we will be chronicling the story of Agnieszka (Aga) Bunia and her first week back in India, and how she found motivation and purpose from a seemingly uninteresting and banal event. Of Polish Origin, Aga is one of our co-founders and has had some of the most challenging experiences heading Sales for FOXITY since its inception. In today’s interview, Aga talks frankly about her experience and how it has impacted her understanding of herself and her role at FOXITY.
Q- Hello Aga, and thank you once again for taking the time out of your busy schedule. Could you elaborate on your perspective-changing experience and how/why it inspired you?
A- Of course. In my time building and leading a sales organization in India, I have come across many different kinds of people. While most people have been friendly and nice, I have always felt a certain lack of professionalism in comparison to European markets. The fundamental difference is that Indians in general hate saying ‘NO’, one of the most useful words in the English language and this leads to a lot of very expensive dead leads that I have had to chase in the past.
On the back of this, my motivation to lead in the Indian market was affected, I hate to admit. And my mind had become a resting place for certain negative stereotypes about dealing with Indian Venue Owners and Event Organizers.
So, when we were invited to be part of the Start-Up talk series at VIT, my mind was questioning the relevance of such an exercise. All I expected to find was more empty talk and no real action or impact on the business. I also prepared mentally for a full day of being stared at. David gave me the option of staying back, which I must admit I considered, but I am glad I actually went.
My perceptions started changing as soon as we entered the university campus. This was a huge campus on par with campuses at most international universities. Indeed, the drive through reminded me of my own time spent at university at Europe. There were no stares, only smiles as the students tried to make us feel comfortable and overall, the attitude was very welcoming. Watching the young students hustle and work hard to put together our talk definitely brought a smile to my face.
Q- What about the event itself?
A- I must commend the Start-Ups Club Young Pioneers and Dream Merchants VIT for curating such a good line-up of speakers. To my mind, young people need to hear stories, not only from the old and greying folks who have already succeeded , but also from the young and foolish who are fighting for survival every day as they build their dream companies.
This is why I thought the line-up was so good. First up was the founder of MesoMorfit, a fitness company that was started by one of the students at VIT while still at college. He was really young and knew the pulse of the students as he took them on a really funny ride through the various challenges he faced while starting up, especially socially and how he kept his motivations up. Hearing a young Indian entrepreneur so skillfully describe many of the challenges that I myself faced during my time here was very re-assuring and motivating.
Next up was Salma Moosa. She is Founder and MD of Startups Club, and also a consulting mentor to us. She was very persuasive in actually getting us to VIT in the first place. Watching her interact with the kids and translate her 25 years of experience into digestible crumbs for them was a lesson in effective communication. Salma also very sweetly awoke the low attention span generation up with some spontaneous games and exercises before David got up on stage.
David was a little nervous at first and I felt like he was not focusing on the things that I thought the kids needed to hear. It was then that I found myself signaling towards him to talk about the internships, but he just wouldn’t look at me. He eventually got around to saying what I had wanted him to say, but by then, I was busy contemplating a realization. I realized that if I had to convey the story I wanted to convey the way I wanted to, I would have to tell it myself. Fearlessly and Determinedly.
How did this realization impact your motivation to perform in your role at FOXITY?
The impact on my motivation was immediate. In the Internship interviews that followed, I found myself speaking more than I had intended to. I was genuinely interested in the lives of these young people who wanted to contribute to my company, out of their own free will. After the interviews, I asked David if I could lead the entire Intern Selection Process. David realized the moment that I had earlier, and was indeed surprised by my willingness to take on such additional responsibilities beyond my role.
I had found new purpose as I excitedly made lists of the questions that I had in mind for the interns to best gauge their abilities. I remember riding back in the back of our cab with a smile on my face.