Today our editor Rohan Mathawan is having a conversation with the famous YouTuber Shlok Srivastava, aka Tech Burner. He has one of the funniest and fastest-growing tech channels in India and has a huge fan base. Let’s see what the funny guy has got to say to our questions.
Q1. When did you begin your YouTube Journey?
I started making videos around 6-7 years ago in class 10th. But I began consistently around five years ago. I had a very cheap laptop, and I had to use the microphone on the computer to record my videos, and so it used to sound like I am sitting between two helicopters.
Yes, that was a rough start, but then I went to college and learned a lot about technology, and I often used to research how to get famous? And soon, in the process of helping my friends with the smartwatch Moto G3, I started making videos on it and also other videos that could provide value to the viewers on my channel.
While talking about a device or tech in general, speaking about specification and stuff is very common. So, I try to make videos that are like a casual conversation between two friends cracking jokes, having fun, and also discussing some technology or device. This way, I try to create a connection and strive to provide value to viewers from all parts of society.
Q2. What was on your mind when you uploaded the 1st video on YouTube?
When I first started, I didn’t think like I wanted to become a big YouTuber. It was just like posting a photo on Instagram, just for the heck of it. I did not overthink it. It took a lot of courage for me to be on camera because I was an insecure guy.
Q3. How did you decide not to sit for campus placements and take a completely different professional route?
My parents were not initially supportive, but I convinced them. I left my college at the time when I was getting a placement in a good company. Though I was not making much money off my YouTube channel, I was very confident and had a sense of self-belief because I had 10,000 subscribers. Money was not the 1st priority then, and I knew if I did not take up what I wanted to do right then and there, it wouldn’t happen in the future. It was risky, but I didn’t overthink about it, I knew I would work hard and make things work.
Q4. How did you manage to convince your parents?
It was not straightforward because my parents were not used to business. No one in my family had ever done business, so convincing them that I want to become a YouTuber when I had 80 subscribers was not easy.
But I feel they could sense the self-belief I had. And I just asked for some time maybe like 2-3 years. If I couldn’t make it at that time, then I can get a job after that. I think it’s more about the confidence and self-belief I had that convinced them. And once the money starts coming in, they felt like their son is doing something.
Q5. What are the challenges you faced during the early stages of your YouTube career?
The 1st challenge was money. When you come on YouTube, people say you don’t need much money to get started. But, if you want to reach that height and want to be the best, you need a lot of money. I did not even have a webcam to shoot. I used to borrow things from my friend for making videos. So, getting a tripod and my camera was the hardest part.
And since I am an introvert getting over that part and coming in front of the camera was also a complicated process, but doing it over and over again improves your skill.
And about the subscribers part during the initial days, the view count and subscribers were very less, but the growth increases exponentially after a certain amount of time.
Q6. How did you overcome these challenges?
There are something’s that are very necessary for a business like inspiration, persistence, and consistency. If you have these things and try to provide value to your audience, then slowly with time, effort, and persistence, it’s sure that you will get views and subscribers.
Q7. What is the one advice that you would like to give to new YouTubers or Social Media Influencers?
Whenever you are creating a video or making some content for your viewers, try to analyze what value you provide to your viewers. If you make content that is valuable to the audience, then things will work.
Q8. What inspired you or supported you the most during your YouTube Journey?
I did not have an inspiration as such, but yes, one thing that made a difference was how I changed my channel language from English to Hindi. So, once I saw a rickshaw driver watching YouTube. Still, he could not view my content, so I thought to myself that this section of society could benefit from my videos, and I started making videos in Hindi.
I always find the audience as my inspiration, when you see their life change and benefit from your videos, that’s such a fulfillment. I learned a lot from other YouTubers too, but I think the inspiration is 100% audience.
Q9. Who supported you in your journey?
Everybody, from my friends to family everyone has helped me a lot. I never think twice before asking for help, and everyone was very supportive. Even my teachers in college were constructive. I just had to call if I needed some help, and it would be done. And now, as I turned youtube into a business, I have a team that helps me making videos, and they are also super helpful. Currently taking everything into account, we are a team of around 15-18 people.
Q10. What are the disadvantages of being a YouTuber?
The most significant disadvantage is privacy. Doing something related to the public hinders your privacy. For example, everyone knows about my family, and I can’t travel on public transport, metros, etc. In general, people are super nice and respectful, but I have heard stories of other YouTubers that have been trapped and had many negative experiences.
I like it when someone comes up to me and says hi, I Knew what I was getting into, but my family did not and it was an involuntary thing for them. So ya, that’s a disadvantage.
Q11. How does it feel like to be one of the top YouTubers of India?
It is challenging to say because, first of all, it’s not about being best. Because I did not decide to be the best, it happened because the audience decided if I am good enough to be in the position. I think the audience decided that because I tried to provide a lot of value and put aside a lot of stuff and selfishness just for the audience.
An average viewer might not understand that, but the 3 million people watching me daily know what is going on and every detail. It feels great when people watch the content you make, and later tell you that it benefitted them.
Q12. When you shifted from English to Hindi, did you have any self-doubts?
Yes, 100%, I was really scared. Though most of my audience were Indians, many of them were from South India and other countries. So, yes, I was scared to lose all that viewership. But, I feel though it potentially reduced the current viewership, it opened up the channel to a bigger audience.
I feel it was not merely a language shift but the type of videos too. From in-depth tech content to light-hearted entertaining content that anyone can watch. This change was huge because anyone could watch my videos be it someone’s parents or some techie guy. I feel the audience I have now would be much smaller if this change were not made.
Q13. Where did the humor part of your videos come from?
I tried to understand how people learn things. Most of the time, we remember song lyrics and all, but we forget things from our notebook while studying. It’s all about connecting. Similarly, people find it difficult to connect to the devices’ specifications, but when you crack jokes and create an environment that they can relate to, it helps. So, instead of just reviewing smartphones, we try to provide realistic info about a product and provide demos that they can connect to and understand easily.
Q14. How can brands make the most out of tech influencers?
So, for a brand, the most important thing is choosing the right influencer. So, if a brand wants to target a young audience and select an influencer that doesn’t have a young audience, then the collaboration will not work. Also, the company has to align the influencer with the company’s ideals. If the influencer doesn’t believe in the company’s models, then the collab won’t work.
When we work with companies, we don’t view it as a deal, but as a friendship or a relation that will last a long time. So, we work only with a few companies, but we work dedicatedly with them.
To make the most out of content creators, companies also need to work closely with the creator to produce content based on the marketed product that works for the audience. Both sides have to make some compromises to create the result super-awesome.
Q15. What are your thoughts on India banning Chinese apps?
I don’t think the government has specifically targeted a country and banned apps. The government banned harmful apps, and they were Chinese because the Chinese laws for security are weak. Many other apps that are not from China and are not safe, and I am really against them and have made a lot of content on them.
We are also working on a privacy app that will show all the permissions an app is taking, and even the country of origin. So, that’s a project I am very passionate about. I feel privacy is the core, and we don’t want our audiences to use something that will harm them in the long run. So, yes, I support the move 100%.
Q16. Why are Indian Smartphone brands not making progress?
I will be honest and say when I say an Indian brand, I mean that a brand that provides value to the Indian people and manufactures their product in India, keeps their data in India and working for India in general. If a brand is registered in China but does all its operations in India, I will consider it an Indian Brand.
Still, if a brand is registered in the country and imports all its products from China and sells under the India name and does not provide value to the people, I won’t consider them as an Indian Brand.
Q17. What are your thoughts on CES-2021 going digital?
CES is a lot of fun when we get to meet many creators because the creator to creator conversation is a lot exciting for me personally. So, I am not very excited about it being digital because it will be like broadcasting and stuff, and I like the physical interactions between two people. But let’s hope for the best, maybe they can pull it off.
Q18. How did it feel to be a part of the YouTube fan fest Delhi last year?
It was an overwhelming experience. It was the 1st time I met people who are passionate about your content, and it was not a handful but a mall full of people. It was so energetic and one of the best experiences I ever had.
Q19. Did at any time were you running behind likes/followers/subscribers?
Yes, when it comes to social media, it is our job to run behind likes followers and stuff. But, I felt it’s important not to get caught up in the numbers but what the numbers mean. Like more followers and likes, say they are enjoying your content. I am more into how people feel after watching my content. Because if people enjoy your content, these numbers will automatically grow.
Q20. What’s your message for young people on social media running behind likes & followers?
Running behind likes and numbers can be very mentally taxing, and I don’t think anyone doing it can continue for a long time. Even if I continued to run behind likes and followers, I couldn’t have sustained on YouTube for such a long time. These numbers change a lot, so there is no point in thinking so hard about it.