We talked to Shadman Sakib, Founder and CEO at WhadaTime about the expression of talent through videos and this is what he said about it.
What is WhadaTime?
Shadman Sakib: WhadaTime is an interactive short video platform, a destination for users to showcase, consume and engage with talent, ideas and culture from anyone, anywhere. WhadaTime’s unique suite of AI-powered editing tools empowers content creators to unleash their creative confidence. Our mission is to showcase the world’s spontaneous talent, creativity, and passion anytime, anywhere – all through a simple tap and hold. All in one. All in WhadaTime.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded WhadaTime.
Shadman Sakib: Born in Bangladesh, Shadman Sakib was a natural at interacting with people and had a passion for software design – a passion that led him to move to London where he studied at the Birkbeck University of London. He was also invited by Queen Mary University’s unmanned aerial team to develop software for their autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle and took part in the 2019 IMechE UAS Challenge.
But his true interest laid with software, or rather services, that allowed him to interact with people. Motivated by the feeling that something was missing from the current suite of social media platforms, he worked various odd jobs outside of school hours to found WhadaTime, his vision of the social media platform. Eventually, he managed to raise a modest pre-seed round and WhadaTime became a 10-strong team. Even at the pre-launch stage, WhadaTime gathered influencers from all around the world covering different categories with a cumulative reach of over 100 million on various platforms; a number that is growing at a rate of 7% week on week with the help of his team.
Shadman, with support from his team, endured numerous challenges to get to the position he is now – on the brink of releasing an interactive short video platform, one that inspires the spontaneous talent, creativity, and passion in people anytime, anywhere.
How does WhadaTime innovate?
Shadman Sakib: WhadaTime is a platform that is born of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence with the aim to create an interactive platform to connect viewers with performers. The AI element is embedded in the very core of the product in the form of cutting edge behavioral analysis for the purposes of both content consumption and creation.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Shadman Sakib: The story of WhadaTime is one that has been filled with hardship and challenges right from its inception. In the very beginning, one of WhadaTime’s co-founders tried to stage a theft of its intellectual properties and sell it to a rival conglomerate. Narrowly managing to jeopardize the ill-intent, the company suffered a major developmental setback and the team had to be restructured.
Our bitter experiences made us stronger and taught us to put value in trust and integrity; a lesson that, I believe, is better learned early than late – a lesson that guided us to assemble a team that’s not only aligned with the WhadaTime vision but is also trustworthy, a team that is not only talented but also has integrity. We realize now that these qualities inadvertently made the WhadaTime team, in many ways, prepared to face the unforeseen challenges that came with COVID-19.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Shadman Sakib: As prepared as we thought we were to face the pandemic, COVID-19 still had a tremendous impact on the company. Being a start-up in the ideation stage in the fast-paced tech industry means that every day passed is an opportunity missed. We were truly disheartened to see some of our core team members leave due to COVID-related tragedies but we did not lose them in vain. Even though they could not continue with us on our journey, they were true believers in WhadaTime and essentially helped us through their network to assemble the robust team we have today.
If there’s one thing I have learned from my experience with WhadaTime thus far, it is the value of having a cogent plan driven by a phenomenal vision but at the same time having the fortitude and flexibility to adapt to trying times guided by a well-grounded vision.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Shadman Sakib: As much as we believe in the free-flow creativity of talented minds and don’t want to restrict them with developmental bureaucracies, we also believe in structuring and future-proofing our work and ideas. We are big believers in the agile development process in our short-term planning and day-to-day operations but also back that up with an ironclad waterfall development process for long-term planning.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Shadman Sakib: We are competing with behemoths like TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Triller, and others; we are, however, more enthusiastic than fearful. We are excited to innovate and create something that our users would love and get only on WhadaTime. From the most humble viewers such as ourselves to the most talented and extravagant of performers, our users always come first.
We have allowed performers to create content like they never have before and at the same time allowing the viewers to engage with the content and the performer in a unique way.
Your final thoughts?
Shadman Sakib: From Shadman: “When I founded WhadaTime amidst great personal hardship, I thought I’d never see the day when it would come second to anything but the amazing and talented individuals that I have the privilege to call my colleagues have led me to reevaluate what’s valuable in life – the people. We have come a long way, my team and I, and we still have a long way to go. Only time can say what’s in store for us but it is that mystery that drives us to put our best foot forward”