A published author and co-founder of an award-winning Indian digital newsroom.

Taking risks pays off! That's why creators who bravely plunge into the unknown flourish. Their journeys often begin with a blank slate but make no mistake — they have ideas and dreams, but it takes top-tier dedication and strong will for one to restlessly strive and make those dreams a reality. Another fascinating thing about creators is their appetite for learning and curiosity despite consistently creating. As they progress, they also build a competent space for burgeoning creators to rely upon. And, if that's not remarkable, what is?


Jayadevan PK (also referred to as JPK) is a former journalist and the founder of FactorDaily. A published author and renowned columnist — his journey is an inspiration to many journalists. His words are found in established publications such as The Economic Times, The Hindu, Moneycontrol, and has appeared on Television channels like Deutsche Welle & The BBC. On a regular day, you'll find him writing, podcasting, or marketing; he states he does various things that come to his mind that may not always make sense to the external world.

His podcast, Use Case, offers excellent insights into the startup world and features investors and entrepreneurs. His profound interest in startups, technology, product, and design is pretty much evident in everything he does — whether it's his podcast or Twitter profile. His first book, Xiaomi: How a Startup Disrupted the Market and Created a Cult Following, is out in the market, and it is an invaluable start for those interested in understanding how this Chinese startup took over the world. Currently, he is the head of content and communications at CoinSwitch, India’s largest crypto trading platform.

Childhood & Formative Years

JPK grew up in a village in Kerala where he had the opportunity to learn various art forms. Some of them include learning tabla and Kathakali for a while; later, he took an interest in the Kalari fight and learned it for some years.

"Teachers would come home and teach, or I'd go to school sometimes to learn, but I realized I cannot make a living out of these skills. Growing up, I wasn't delusional and was self-aware. When I started writing, I didn't say I was the greatest writer ever, but I learned a little later in life that whatever you do, put it out there. There's no point waiting for perfection; it doesn't happen. So, if I were to wait to perfect my grammar, spelling, or typographical errors, I wouldn't have done it."

In school, he was pretty good at English, earning his English teacher’s appreciation. Although keen on writing, he took up engineering like many of us but realized it wasn't for him. However, he pursued journalism only after completing engineering. 

"I was inspired by all the books I've read about journalists, the movies I've watched, and found journalism noble. I think that's when I started reading long-form journalism and perfecting the craft. I'd read Tom Wolfe, who was considered one of the fathers of long-form journalism."

Early Journalism Days

Before starting as a journalist, JPK worked at a call center for about a year. His first job was as a reporter at The New Indian Express, where he had the opportunity to work in the newsroom from early on. Back then, their office had only one computer with internet, and if one had to use it, they had to queue up. Quite in contrast to the modern newsrooms and media houses.

"I did some city reporting and worked in the crime beat for six months before fully moving to business to cover technology and startups."

While exploring his niche, he realized politics or crime weren't his preference, and business journalism felt more global. With tech taking off, he figured he could still be relevant to the world by working from Bangalore. After zeroing down on business journalism, he began to track technology and startups consistently, and everything came together. While he built a solid readership, he measured the performance of his articles in two ways — was it satisfying to write them and have many people read them?

JPK’s thoughts on his early stories on startups and fundraising that went viral

Apart from covering tech, JPK also wrote human-interest stories; once when a 12-year-old disappeared from school, nobody knew what happened. Her parents informed that she ran away and they used WhatsApp to coordinate an emergency response team. 

"Although it seems trivial now, it was a big thing around five years ago as they had SOPs for communications, divided leads amongst themselves, and everything happened virtually. Soon, they found her! Another interesting story was about an entrepreneur with gender dysphoria; he was always angry, but he transitioned into a woman years later. It depicted how a reasonably successful entrepreneur had to deal with the transformation or mental health concerns."

JPK was an early employee at NextBigWhat — a technology-focused blog where he collaborated with multiple writers. Eventually, he moved on to Economic Times, where he covered the startup ecosystem and wrote about Aadhar.

The Advent of FactorDaily

JPK met Pankaj (FactorDaily’s co-founder) at ET Tech, where Pankaj led the technology vertical — in fact, it was the two of them who launched ET Tech. After working there for a few years, they floated FactorDaily together.

"A little bit of FOMO happened to us with everyone around us starting up. But the main motivation was how technology is impacting people's lives, and we wanted to see if people made sense of it."

While FactorDaily covered news initially, the team felt it was relatively commoditized, and decided to go above and beyond.

"In 15 years, if we're still covering the news that young reporters can, what's the point? It's a low-leverage activity, and we were enthusiastic about analysis and features. We experimented with multiple formats to produce multimedia content such as podcasts, videos, long-form writing, Instagram-form stories. It was an eye-opener and offered a lot of exposure that a typical journalist in conventional media can't access. Also, that exposure boosted my career as a marketer and evangelist."

FactorDaily's journalism was straightforward, with their readers gaining value out of it; for instance, JPK distinctly remembers a full-page bitcoin advertisement on a leading newspaper's front page. It seemed pretty shady, so FactorDaily dug up some details and discovered it was a massive scam. The readers could definitely safeguard their assets by not investing in them, and since they weren't limited like traditional media allowed honest reporting.

What Led to FactorDaily's Shut Down

FactorDaily was the home to immersive journalism for the longest time, but JPK admits the lack of a business model overthrew things. While it won several awards, raised funding seed funding from Accel India, Blume Ventures, Girish Mathrubootham of Freshworks, Vijay Shekhar Sharma of PayTm, and caught various media houses’ eyes for further investment, there were diverse reasons for the team to not take it forward.

JPK shares why he decided to move on from FactorDaily

Around that time, JPK had a son and wanted to work somewhere that wouldn't take up much of his mind space. He was certain he didn't want a job that would take up about 18 hours of his day right from the beginning. Although he could have easily scored an extremely high-paying position, he decided not to. At some point, he was keen on moving into a tech company, and luckily, that panned out well for him. 

Around that time content marketing was picking up, and high-performing startups were keen on hiring JPK. That's how he ended up at Freshworks and other startups. 

All said and done, the burnout did take a toll on him. He took up physical activities to reel from it and thankfully, he is in a better shape now.

"Fitness improved my physical and mental health; now, I'm more productive than ever and control my time better instead of getting pulled in different directions. I understand this privilege, but that's what boosts my ability to create. Right now, I'm in a great space in terms of not just productivity — but also getting my shit together."

Journey As a Creator

At FactorDaily, JPK explored multimedia content, but he also worked with Pankaj to build a podcast called Outlier. It turned out well, and as someone who enjoyed making and listening to podcasts, he was keen on creating an exclusive podcast for the Indian startup audience. 

"I also wrote a newsletter. I had a full-time job at Freshworks but wanted to do a newsletter to be present in people's minds. When you're a journalist, you always write, and you're there; when you're in one of these roles, you get buried, and people tend to forget you. I wanted to maintain my equity with the people I care about. Good thing that Substack was coming up at that time as I got a nice bump."

JPK built a great following through his newsletter, and when his friend, Ravish, was keen on starting a podcast, JPK suggested they start it together.

"After FactorDaily, we wanted to work in public policy, but it didn't work out. So, when he wanted to start a podcast, I pitched, saying I have an audience already and we could build the podcast for them. He agreed, and we launched Use Case together."
An episode from Use Case that talks about Aziz Premji: On Spotify

Usecase was also a learning ground that helped JPK launch Orbit Shift for Freshworks. As a matter of fact, he has accumulated 1,00,000 downloads on these podcasts together. When the pandemic hit, he found time to finish an earlier commitment — finishing a book on Xiaomi for a publisher. 

"I don't know if you can call it a typical creator journey as I'm not a YouTuber or Instagram creator; I only write and use Twitter, and I consider my podcasts as writing too."

Eventually, JPK wants to make documentaries, which he realizes is a lot of work, but he is preparing himself for them. For instance, he's been privately posting journal-format videos on YouTube to get comfortable with video.

Cohort-Based Courses

JPK is developing his first cohort-based course on podcasting and invites guest speakers to every class, fostering a great community. Conducted on weekends, this eight-week podcast is all-encompassing, and covers all aspects, including software, hardware, content, and monetization.

"I don't make a lot of money from this particular cohort as I charge INR 10,000 per seat, limited to 15 seats. I pay my content creators and guests, buy goodies or giveaways, and if you count my time, I'm probably losing money on it. But if I do ten cohorts with 100 people and 10-15 of them become great podcasters with huge shows, that's a great return."

While that’s on one end of the spectrum, he also emphasizes the importance of moving on from being a creator to aggregating talent, helping people succeed, and creating a platform for them. 

"I'm just in the beginning phase of that journey."

Measuring Content Performance

He focuses on who's reading it instead of the number of people reading it for his newsletter. Since he doesn't offer random nuggets of information, he believes a complete top-of-the-funnel analysis is unnecessary.

"What's important is to benchmark against yourself and ignore competing with those who have a million followers. Are you doing great stuff? Are you growing in your niche? Have you figured what leads to growth or what content works? That's good enough then."

He also remarks that reporters have no idea who subscribes to their newspapers or which stories perform well in the print world.  

"I always believed that journalism should move to a place where you should have a good understanding of your audience and data. So, I used to follow foreign publications and media and understand how you should perceive your audience. At FactorDaily, I learned Google Analytics and observed top-line metrics."

On Creator Economy

JPK acknowledges that journalism isn't doing well but that TV journalists have a natural advantage — they aren't camera shy, while most print journalists are.

JPK’s thoughts on how journalists can venture into digital media content

He also realizes how tough it is to create consistently and respects those garnering following while creating. 

"It takes a different level of commitment and hard work to get there, and I appreciate a creator's journey."

Revenue Models

JPK will continue to write books — he just finished one and sold its rights to Vietnam and China. Since he has a full-time job, he isn't contemplating monetization as much. While he writes for publications, his cohort-based courses might become sustainable, and in the future, he hopes to build more content for his cohorts.

"I don't ever see myself monetizing on Twitter or Instagram, but I'll do well on Substack and publications. We also monetize a few things with Use Case by including a special series with a sponsor, and I think we'll pursue sponsors with pitch decks."

Apart from these, JPK wants to improve the ROI, build a larger audience, and focus on relationship-based selling. He is keen on creating more value for his readers and listeners. Honestly, that makes a lot of sense — creators will ultimately garner more following when they offer great content. The age-old aphorism quality over quantity is not obsolete.

The Way Forward

The future is full of possibilities! While JPK says he hasn't planned many things, he is ready to do quite a bit. 

"I'll be focussing on podcasts, the cohort-based courses, and also understand success metrics to gauge my newsletters to build content templates."

JPK also intends to write more books, and his next book is coming out shortly. His slate might still be blank, but we're positive his vision to create an impact will inspire and create more opportunities for those around him. For tidbits of information and everything else, might we suggest following him on Twitter is a good call?

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