Every youngster is familiar with the stories of many famous college dropouts. The stories of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg etc are all well known tales now, some even well-adapted movies. But unfortunately, not every dropout is a billionaire in the making. Luckily for some of these dropouts , thank to MTV, now they can find their one shot at fame. MTV’s newest show ‘Dropout’ premiered last Saturday amidst immense publicity. Raghu Ram and Rajiv Laxman, who got their ticket to fame through another MTV broadcast, Roadies, have targeted young dropouts this time. The production house Monozygotic has produced the show. The show will document the journey of the world’s first-ever startup formed on television, and is inviting entries from potential entrepreneurs as well as ideas rejected in the VC stage to be put to a test in front of famed panel of mentors.
“Dropping out is stigmatized, and failure is ostracized. These finalists have nothing in common, apart from the fact that they left the security of something to come here. Normally, they’d never be found in the same room, and yet, here they are- and building a company together”- said Raghu Ram.
Raghu also said that he and his brother, Rajiv Laxman have conceptualized the show and will be producing and hosting the show as well. “This is India’s first of its kind startup reality show aimed at the youth and we hope to boost the confidence of a lot of youngsters out there as we already have a long-standing connection with the youth of India,” he added.
“When we were starting out, Raghu and I have had to go through a lot and hence understand the struggle and we both understand the youth very well due to the work we have done with them throughout our careers. It takes a lot to give up on everything and start something of your own and we are here to make this a lot easier for the youth out there,” said Rajiv, Co-founder of Monozygotic. Ferzad Palia, Head, Youth, Music and English Entertainment, Viacom18, said, “India is brimming with young untapped energy keen on making ideas come to life and we at MTV, believe that as the largest platform for everything related to the youth, it is our responsibility to recognize, channelize and mobilise this energy by providing the youth with the right tools to make ideas happen. MTV aims at empowering these youngsters by providing them the biggest encouragement in the form of Dropout Pvt. Ltd. to kick start their entrepreneurial dreams. We at MTV realise that the youth today with their ‘go-getter’ attitude is willing to dream big to achieve their goals. We just want to give them the wings to fly.”
The show promises to take viewers through the process of identifying and transforming ‘dropouts’ into the ideal startup team and kick-starting their entrepreneurial journey. See the issue here, it’s a ‘show’, it’s for the viewers. So you can expect a good deal of drama. The idea of an ideal startup team is ever changing. One has to adjust to this change and reinvent their brand in order to survive. I hope the show is able to inculcate this idea into its dropouts. Success is an illusion. The more we accept this fact, the more successful we are. Shows like Dropout aim at creating a shortcut for many youngsters, undercutting the actual idea of an entrepreneur. Once the season is over, perhaps will never hear about these so called entrepreneurs ever again.
The Govt. of India has made many progresses towards the ‘untapped energy’ which MTV is interested in tapping. Its due to our ignorant nature, we usually tend to cast the government in a negative light and not reap all the benefits from it. The government knows that healthy employment rate is what runs the country and it also knows that Start-ups can create employment opportunities, hence it is making things easier for a lot of the up and coming startups by providing funding.
Although the show is not all bad, but the goodness of the show is hardly comprehensible after what was shown in the first week. There have been many shows in the west capatilsing on investment. One such shows is ‘Shark Tank’, the show is about entrepreneurs making lightning pitches in front of investors to secure snap funding. Shark Tank is a very successful show in the U.S, but India is not the U.S.A. We are a developing nation, we don’t have the biggest GDP in the world nor do we have a stunning literacy rate.
All of these successful men fail to understand the basic nature of an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur is a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit. These shows don’t guarantee success, perhaps the only thing they can guarantee is to make a story for you, a story so well-written that it’ll definitely make the audience sympathize with you. That has unfortunately been the case with a majority of reality shows. It’s not the most talented person that wins the show, its the person who has the most sympathetic background story. Where does this leave our so called dropouts? No where to be honest. They are likely to get lost in the corporate wilderness, like a deer without headlights, without any direction and lending a big hand to our country’s alarming unemployment rate. Let’s hope the show is actually successful in creating some good entrepreneurs, after all, all of us are here to get inspired.