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Hassan Sohail Siddiqui | Interview

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Times of Youth: What is the name of the startup? 

HS Comics – which created Pakistan’s first super hero comic book called “Pakistan Man”

Times of Youth: What is your startup, what does it do?

My startup is basically a creative art company that has created Pakistan’s first super hero comic of “Pakistan Man” a super hero character comic book that is inspiring, educating and helping the youth to be more creative.

Times of Youth: Who are the founders and key team members of your startup??

My name is Hassan Sohail Siddiqui and I’m the creator and founder of this startup, I’m also building a team but it is still in progress.

Times of Youth: How does your startup stand out against it’s competitors, what makes you different?

My Startup is completely different from a lot of other startups and similar companies in this region simply because a super hero comic book has never been made and released before my startup. Our focus is the young generation and helping them bridge this huge gap in Pakistan where no comics or fun things to read are available for the youth.

Times of Youth: Where did the idea for the startup come from?

I have been drawing and making small comics since I was very young. I used to draw characters for my friends and cousins all the time. After I graduated from my university I decided to try and launch this comic book character I had drawn when I was a kid and that’s how this startup was born.

Times of Youth: What is your vision for the company?

The vision for this company is to have creative and fun entertainment for the young generation and also change the image of Pakistan around the world. Children also learn from fiction characters and storybooks so we are trying to educate the young generation, teach them the use of English language and also tell them about their social issues through the use of a fun comic book, which has super heroes to inspire the youth.

Times of Youth: What is the actual addressable market?

Our market is the young generation ages ranging from 8 year old to 15 year old. But also people in university,colleges and even older people enjoy this comic book because of its unique style and humor.

Times of Youth: Can you state, in clear language, the key features of your product or service?

Our key features of this product are to motivate and inspire children towards the joys and rewards of reading for pleasure, imagination and information. Giving them education of what’s right and wrong, Social issues, Helping the youth be more creative with creative writing and drawing; English language learning, art/murals; comics and cartoons; digital literacy, arts and crafts activities

Times of Youth: Where did the idea for the startup come from? What was the inspiration behind the business?

I created this startup in 2014, but I have been drawing and doing creative arts and making comics since I was 10 years old. I loved reading comic books and I was inspired to make my own as soon as I graduated because there was no Pakistani comic book available in Pakistan. The youth in Pakistan didn’t have their own super hero who could inspire the people. I had the idea of Pakistan man when I was very young around 11 years old and I remembered this idea from my childhood and decided to make and publish my own comic book.

Times of Youth: What is your business background, and what got you interested in startups?

I don’t have a business background I was a student and I completed my BBA in marketing from Islamabad. I had no idea about startups or the business world. But as soon as I graduated I wanted to create and publish my own comic book without any prior experience and that’s how I got into the world of business and dealing with every day situations that a startup has to face.

Times of Youth: What are the major product milestones/achievements?

After I launched my Pakistan man comic book it has managed to create attention in the media as well as made some great achievements only being a year old startup.

We have managed to sell more then 2,500 copies just in Islamabad

It is the only Pakistani comic book to be ordered by multiple universities in USA for their libraries.
Including “Harvard University” and the biggest library in the world “the library of Congress”

It was voted in the top 100 startups in Pakistan in 2015 (Startup magazine)

It has been featured in Big newspapers and magazines including: Dawn news, Express tribune, The National (Biggest newspaper in the UAE)

Times of Youth: How did you initially raise funding for your company?

Initially I didn’t receive any funding because this was a brand new startup and nobody knew about it so I had to put my own money in to get started and a good friend of mine also helped with some of his money and we pooled together and got started.

Times of Youth: What early traction has the company gotten (sales, traffic to the company’s website, app downloads, etc., as relevant).

In these early stages of the company we have managed to sell more then 2,500 copies just in Islamabad. The sales are mostly through book store sales, event sales and any event or festival that is happening in Islamabad where we have a stall of Pakistan man. Our App and website is still in development so we have generated no sales from e-commerce so far.

Times of Youth: What has been your biggest challenge so far as a startup owner?

The biggest challenge for any startup is to work hard every day and be consistent. Most startups fail simply because the person and owner does not try hard enough and gives up easily. So that is one of the biggest challenges is not to quit and do something unique, which no one has done before.

Times of Youth: What will the company look like in a year? From any and all perspectives — product, people, team, revenue?

The vision of this company is to build a long lasting company that continues to provide entertainment to the youth and continue launching more issues and other creative products in the future. We are currently making a team so there will be an art department, marketing department and other people working in the company in different sectors. The revenue is hard to predict in this early stages of the startup but we have not been in loss since the beginning of our startup we have always broken even and made some profit every month. So we hope to keep doing that in the future as well.

Times of Youth: How can investors in your idea make a profit?

We have been cash flow positive since our second issue launch in a matter of a few months after starting a brand new startup and we have steadily made a profit. Any investor that invests in this company would be getting his profit hopefully in year two of our startup as we are growing the company and we are planning monthly issues with lots of sponsors and schools, universities on board which will help us make more this company even bigger and better.

Times of Youth: Finally, If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting a business, what would it be?

Anybody who is thinking of starting a new business should know that it is a lot of hard work so you should be prepared for that and also to do something unique which no one has done before. Another thing, which is very important, is to find what you love to do and build a business around that and don’t try to copy others. You will be successful if you do what you love and work hard and be prepared not to make money at least in the first few stages of your startup.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HScomics/

Questionnaire was filled by Founder/Creator of HS Comics  – Mr. Hassan Sohail Siddiqui

Times of Youth is an International Youth Magazine read by the youth of more than 82 countries. Times of Youth brings the latest Youth Opportunities, News, Interviews, Fully Funded Scholarships, Paid Internships, Future Stars, Rising Stars, etc. For further details you can email us at: [email protected]

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Future Stars

Muhammad Ali | Interview

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Times of Youth: How would tell our readers about yourself and your work in brief for those who may not be aware?

Muhammad Ali: Right now in this century the most powerful thing is Internet. The world population is 7.2 billion from which 40% of population is using Internet. To spread my work and make others aware about my work I can use Internet on Social Media. The Social Media top listed apps are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram e.t.c.

On Facebook daily 1.23 billion people log in. I mostly uses Facebook for my work to spread on my Facebook page. My friends, teachers also helps me to spread my work along with that my Parents  inspires me to make more videos.

Times of Youth: What makes you come up with so many ideas with such enormous potential to do these magic tricks? Who designs the final concepts?

Muhammad Ali: All the ideas which are shown on my videos are my own mostly, To get these ideas I give myself some free time to think about more and more creative ideas, Sometimes I get help from internet I watch some simple videos and come up with ideas to make it in magical vine. I have seen many magical vines and after watching them I creates a different type of video from it. The final concept is designed by myself I first rehearse my ideas off camera and thinks of final shot! Sometimes I share my ideas with my parents to get if my idea is good or not! My father also helps me in making videos, He gives me ideas!

Times of Youth: When did you decide that making magic tricks video was your calling?

Muhammad Ali: As I have got a great God gifted knowledge about editing I thought of making some magic vines. I decided that this magic vines videos are my calling when I made my first video. I was stunned by my own video that how good it was. To see how others likes my video I posted it on social media and got good views from which I started making vines.

Times of Youth: So, what are your current endeavors in academics?

Muhammad Ali: Right now I am in class 8th and I am studying in The City School, Chenab Campus, Faisalabad, My goals in academics are to be what my parents wants from me to become.

Times of Youth: At the end of it all, what is your real aim in life? 

Muhammad Ali: My real aim of life is to make my parents proud of my work and to make them happy to see my work. My aim is to be a successful person to make my friends and teachers feel good about myself. My aim of life is also to make people smile by watching my videos.

Times of Youth: Considering your enormous intellectual potential, we believe that you have the power to bring a rational change in the world. If given a chance, what would you like to do to make this world place a better place? 

Muhammad Ali: To make this world better place from my work is that to make other kids learn about these editing skills from my work and to educate others to help them for better future. I will try my best to use my videos to make this world a better place.

Times of Youth: Which was your first video? How was the response to it?

Muhammad Ali: My first video about magical vine was that the copy of myself is playing with me. This was my first video and the response I got from this video was awesome everyone appreciated me.

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Future Stars

David Uzumaki | Interview

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Times of Youth: Do tell our readers about your work in brief for those who may be unaware.

Sure thing. Well, my name is David Uzumaki and I am known as “8gaming” online. I have a Facebook page and also am YouTuber that does a variety of things. On my Facebook, I post video game facts and trivia that many people would have not known about before. On YouTube, I dwell deeper in the whole video game world of things. (‘Let’s play…’, funny moment videos, informative gaming videos, etc). Essentially it’s just me having fun with video games.

Times of Youth: When did you decide that being a gamer was your calling?

Quite recently actually. I’d say around 2013 when I started 8gaming. I’ve played for many years before that of course (the earliest I can recall is ‘Sonic on’ of the original Sega system and Crash Bandicoot and Tomb Raider on the PS1). I feel the creation of 8gaming made me a more focused gamer as I invested quite a lot of time in it subsequently increasing my love for the hobby.

Times of Youth: ‘8gaming’ is an unusual name. What made you choose it for your project?

I get this one a lot actually. It’s really simple actually. The 8 represents an infinity symbol so technically you can call me infinite gaming. It represents the never ending love for video games that we all have. However, originally the name was derived from “8fact”. A partner of 9gag who essentially does the same thing but posts more general content. I noticed nobody made an 8gaming page so took the chance to make it.

Times of Youth: How did you conjure up the idea of revealing gaming facts using web and mobile apps as a portal?

I got to give credit where credit is due. 8fact. As I previously said they posted general facts and trivia of life, I simply did the same thing but refined it to video games (which I recently expanded to YouTube).

Times of Youth: From where do you gather all these facts? How authentic are they?

Among the positivity of the ‘m8s’ (what I name my supporters). There is always the one or two who try to disprove everything I say. The facts are gathered in 3 ways:

I simply look for pre-existing facts that are already confirmed (but this is difficult to do now since I’m using everything up)

I use different apps and sites to try and learn something nobody has mentioned before or I would use the said apps to post current interesting information. An example is the built in Google Now Cards installed on my phone which provides me with information about things I regularly search. This sometimes provides sources for posts. I also use an app called “Flipboard” which allows me to specifically look for video game related news which I use on the page.

This is the more interesting method. However, I should tell you a bit more about me. I have a keen intrigue when it comes to Physics. As a hobbyist and in formal education. So I use this knowledge and the knowledge I already have of video games to “create” a fact. An example is when I posted about Portal 2 and compared portals to real life using the knowledge I know from physics. However, this is longer process when it comes to gathering information as I must 100% make sure what I say is 100% coherent in a short manner.

Regarding their authenticity, I wouldn’t post something if it was false and this is something that those few people who say otherwise don’t realize. They can simply confirm the information by researching it themselves so I would never post something non-genuine.

Times of Youth: What is your idea of a perfect game?

One that applies real-life theoretical physics in a world of its own to a finite degree. A light example would be the idea behind Delsin Rowe’s (Infamous Second Son) powers being introduced into a real-world environment. Basically anything that is not about real-life but can be explained by real-life (which is why I don’t like Grand Theft Auto).

Times of Youth: Which has been your most favorite game of all time?

“The Last of Us”

Times of Youth: Any achievement of yours which you’re most proud of?

Definitely! I won a national animation competition twice in Ireland and got to travel to Microsoft to their Games localization division to spend a week with them including the Windows team. Although, I am also more proud of 8gaming as a whole. As one can deduce I am still trying to find myself, still trying to carve myself in the gaming world and I’m only in the early stages of that. There’s still a long journey for me ahead!

Times of Youth: Has your work ever been criticized? How did you handle it?

Yes. A lot. Specifically YouTube. For the main reason being when I first got into YouTube, I was clueless (like any other YouTuber). My videos were frankly sub-par and I was having a hard time getting peoples’ attention. This is due to the size of my Facebook page and people comparing it to my YouTube. They ignore the fact that my Facebook page was once small and are condescending regarding my YouTube. In the back of my head though, I know that the hard times will be over as I experienced it with my Facebook page. Recently, things have been going well with my YouTube and I’m in the budding stage of becoming something noteworthy. It’s only a matter of time until both my YouTube and Facebook are at the same level.

When it comes to handling the critics I simply shrug them off (or so I try) as I’ve been hardened from many in the past. You become so used to the positive comments that one negative comment will get to you. 99% of what they say is lacking in background knowledge and they ramble on about things they don’t understand. This goes for both my YouTube and Facebook. I usually block people who say things that simply don’t make sense and their sole intent is to loathe me.

Times of Youth: What advice would you give to the young emerging gamers who still have a long way to go?

Well, since I’m a young emerging gamer myself and am tasting small snippets of success, I’d say (and I know this is cliche) have fun. I feel my short time on YouTube has thought me this. People can sense when you’re not real. When you don’t like what you’re doing. Plus, it would be a waste of your time and you’ll ultimately get nowhere. Whether this is YouTube, Facebook or even just you as a person. The thing you have to do is find something you like and stick with it. There’s no real specifics I can discuss unless you’re super rich and can just advertise your image everywhere (and even that wouldn’t work so well).

Times of Youth: Any message that you would like to share for the youth via Times Of Youth?

Sure! I wanna first thank you for reading this far and I’ll like to tell you one thing. Don’t give up. Once again, cliche as ever but these sayings exist for a reason. Whatever it is you’re passionate about, you will fail and fail over and over again in the beginning. I mean, I still fail all the time. It’s the fact that you can learn from your mistakes and become a better person.
Side tip: Be original or originally recreate something that already exists, make it better.

Times of Youth: Do tell us how fans and admirers can contact you to share their appreciation and feedback.

I reply to ‘m8s’ on a variety of platforms. My personal Facebook page (David Uzumaki)
Snapchat: m8gaming
Youtube: 8gaming
Twitter: @8gaming
PSN: narutouzumaki16

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Future Stars

Levi Boulis | Interview

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For those who don’t know about you and your work, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a 20 year old from Ohio exploring the world of art. I did not attend college or study art in a classroom past my high school. Through this journey, I’ve gotten to exhibit in London and Barcelona in the past year. Hopefully many more trips will be taken to exhibit my art through out the world. The opportunities I’ve gotten through art has also helped me grow as a person. It’s forced me to become a more outgoing person, which naturally I keep to myself. At first I was just making art because I loved it, and then some people in the art community took notice. So now It’s become a pursuit of a career.

How would you describe your work to someone who has never known about it?

My work consists of various styles and subject matter, as I experiment a great amount with my art. The majority consists of vibrant colors that highlight the emotion I feel from the subject matter. Some of the subject matter includes portraits, animals, water, and city street views. Older artwork was created mainly with charcoal, which has helped tremendously in creating paintings. My more current artwork is done in oil and acrylics on canvas.

What sparked your initial interest in arts?

There isn’t a specific moment that set off my interest. Most kids have a favorite thing to kill time, and mine just happened to be drawing. I continued to draw more and more, and as I got older I grew in talent due to the practice. In my last year of high school, I really began to take it more seriously, as I was taking many art classes.

At what age did you start doing all this work? Has your family always been supportive of this choice of career?

I’ve always been creating art. At 17, I started making the majority of the artwork that is featured on my website and captured the attention of others. My family has been very supportive during this adventure. They have even let me use a room in the house for a small studio space. I think most parents don’t take the news of their children wanting to become artists very well. To parents, the phrase, “I want to be an artist” can be interpreted as “I’m going to have no money”. But this thinking isn’t always true and my parents recognize that.

If not this, what else would you have taken up as your 2nd career of choice and why?

My second choice would be computer programming. I’ve always been interested in why and how the technology works. Since I have a great interest in this field, I’ve taken it upon myself to study it through free online resources and books. My hope is to integrate my creativity and experiences in art with my programming knowledge, to help other artists.

Do tell us how has your experience has been in your current field so far.

I can tell you right away, that it is not easy. There are plenty of times that I don’t want to do anything creative, or a project that is taking a lot longer than I had planned. Forcing myself to work on projects is very important, because practice is necessary to become better. Another challenge is having ideas. Writers may have writers’ block, but a painter has “painters’ block”. This field is also hard to make an income with, if you’re like me and just create original artwork. Others rely on selling prints or paintings. It’s possible though! All it takes is the right person seeing your artwork to really get things moving forward. All that being said, it has been an incredible experience. Unique opportunities have been made available that are just so exciting to be a part of. Getting to exhibit internationally has got to be my favorite part and also, meeting other crazy artists and people from all over the world united by the love for art.

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate yourself as an artist, honestly?

Currently, I would rate myself a 6. It doesn’t seem very high, but there’s a reason for that. There is ALWAYS more room to improve, so I could never reach 10. Some artists are in the studio almost every day. Right now, that’s just not me. I have many things I am interested in. So I can’t dedicate every hour to my art. I have just set a new goal for myself to help me improve, create one new piece of work every 10 days.

Which of your projects are you most proud of and why?

I am most proud of my recent paintings of Barcelona. It challenged me to step away from just doing unrealistic colors and portraits for a time, and try to expand my talent. These paintings included more natural colors, and new subject matter. The biggest part of why I’m so proud of these paintings is I captured the atmosphere I felt while I was there, which is extremely important to me.

Where do you see yourself in next 5 years?

In 5 years, I see myself with a more professional art studio space. Getting the right atmosphere to create my art is very important to becoming better. I hope to be exhibiting at 2 international exhibits a year by that point. Teaching art classes might be something I see myself doing as well. Referencing what I had talked about earlier, I hope to have developed a website to really help artists get discovered and connect them with job opportunities.

What is one question nobody has ever asked you— that you wish they asked you?

“What were you thinking about/what mood were you in while you created this piece of work?” is a question I at least don’t remember being asked before. Most people ask questions such as, “Why did you use this color?” or “How long did it take?”. These questions don’t really have answers that provide any depth to a work of art. Sometimes I choose a color, just because it looks good. The question about what mood or what I was thinking about while painting a particular piece can provide something more than just the visual aspect, and add a better understanding of my work.

Any message to your fans or followers via TIMES OF YOUTH?

I would encourage everyone to pursue their passion relentlessly. I even know many people who have given up on what they love, simply because they doubt themselves. It’s not fair to yourself to limit yourself by fear of failure, and it’s also not fair to everyone else who is prevented from witnessing your unique talents. I firmly believe that choosing a career that you are passionate about will allow you to maximize your potential, because when you’re passionate about something, you will work harder towards it.

Do tell us how can fans contact you to share their appreciation/feedback/suggestions.

Anyone can contact me through my Facebook art page, “Levi Boulis Artist”, or through my website www.leviboulis.com

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