[Podcast] E24: Anurag P and Nachammai S - Indus Valley Annual Report


I'm pleased to present a new podcast episode with co-authors of the Indus Valley Annual Report, Anurag Pagaria and Nachammai Savithri.

“I think the biggest takeaway for me has to be about the storytelling bit... and how important it is to tell a story. And I think I will not even take the credit for it. I will give most of the credit to Sajith because of driving the whole process, right? If you look at him, he has done it three times. So the driving of the story, how do you tell a story? What is the story? What are you trying to answer? All of those things are something that I learned along the way.”

That's Anurag Pagaria of Blume Ventures, who has co-authored the excellent Indus Valley Annual Report 2024, along with Nachammai Savithri (or NS) and the inimitable Sajith Pai.

The Indus Valley Annual Report (now in its 3rd year of publication) by VC firm Blume Ventures offers the most definitive story of the vibrant Indian startup ecosystem. Several decades later when historians study the origin of this phenomenon during this crucial period in India’s economic history, I have no doubt that the Indus Valley reports would be among their go-to sources

While Sajith Pai leads the report’s authorship, I thought speaking to the folks who would have done the bulk of the research and creation work for the deck would be useful. (Incidentally, I had already interviewed Sajith on this podcast earlier – a must-listen episode).

So in this conversation, Anurag and NS get into the weeds of how they picked key themes for covering in the report, how they went across the research process, how the draft storylines were crafted, the review and refinement process for the narrative and finally the visual element in creating the deck.

Several fascinating takeaways for students of data storytelling emerge from the episode:
- Simple tools work for research and retrieval: The three of them just used basic G-Suite tools for the project
- Leading with the story narrative: Once a reasonable amount of data for a theme/sector was collected, the first step was to create a skeleton storyline and refine it before making the slides
- Connecting the dots across sectors: The team would not look at sectors in silos. Instead, connections were made between similar patterns across sectors and geographies
- Following Data Storytelling basics: Clear messages on top of slides, connecting messages across slides, using transition slides between sections
- Simple visuals: No fancy graphics and charts – just simple column, bar and line charts to explain the message in the easiest way possible
- Using engagement elements: Evocative images, tweets and quotes from credible people to make the content engaging for the general reader

I am sure you will derive much value from this in-depth conversation.

Let’s dive in.

You can enjoy my conversation with Anurag and NS at your favourite podcast location:

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Podcast apps: ​Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | Podcast Addict | Pocket Casts

Happy listening!


Further reading links:
- My post analysing the storytelling techniques used in the report
- Steve Jobs Interview – on the importance of story at Pixar:
- Sajith Pai on Story Rules Podcast
- Anurag on Twitter and LinkedIn
- Nachammai Savithri on LinkedIn
- Blume website, Twitter and YouTube

If you find the content valuable, please rate and review this podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you listen to it (links above). It’ll help others like you discover these insights!

This podcast was hosted by me, Ravishankar Iyer. Audio editing by Kartik Rajan. Transcript editing by Aniruddha Nerli and all-around support by Sanket Aalegaonkar.

Thanks,

Ravi

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Ravishankar Iyer

A Storytelling Coach More details here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ravishankar-iyer/

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