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How YouTube helped Devesh Mishra, an Indian Taxi Driver

by Satrajit Sen

Well, we all know about YouTube. But to know how small businessmen can benefit from the Google-owned video sharing site, we got to know the story of Devesh Mishra, an Indian taxi driver based in Varanasi.

by Satrajit Sen

Well, we all know about YouTube. But to know how small businessmen can benefit from the Google-owned video sharing site, we got to know the story of Devesh Mishra, an Indian taxi driver based in Varanasi.

In January 2008, when the Indian travel industry was experiencing a slowdown, Devesh Mishra, whose prime customers are foreigners visiting Varanasi, was feeling the pinch as there was no business to be found. “I was worried as the number of foreigners visiting Varanasi was decreasing and because of steep competition, it was difficult to find deep-pocketed customers,” Mishra has told AlooTechie.

“I wanted to advertise about my services but could not do that as I did not have much funds,” Mishra said. “This was the time when I met a friend from Switzerland. He was one of my customers and I discussed my problems with him. He then suggested me to upload a video on YouTube. Though I knew about internet, I had never heard about YouTube before.”

It was Devesh Mishra’s friend from Switzerland who shot the video and uploaded it on YouTube. “I know a little bit of English as I am intermediate (10+2) educated. However, in the video, I was helped by my friend as he told me what exactly to speak in front of the camera,” the taxi driver reveals. Mishra further informs that eight foreign travellers have so far contacted him and five of them have turned out to be good business.

According to Mishra it was amazing to get such response and this made him understand the power of internet. “It was a wise decision as I eventually understood that I could not have reached those consumers if I had advertised on some other media. Internet helped me to reach out to foreign customers,” he said.

Internet has now become an important part of Mishra’s life. “I created my email id on Yahoo and now I religiously surf the internet at least twice a week. I get hundreds of emails every week. Most of the mails are from foreign travellers looking for my services. I also visit Yahoo and Google to be always updated about latest happenings,” he said.

Mishra is also taking steps to educate his family and other fellow businessmen about the power of internet. “I have four children and I am educating them how to use internet. I have also been trying to promote the idea of putting up similar videos on YouTube to other small businessmen in Varanasi. But they seem to be ignorant about the power of internet,” said Mishra.

Mishra is also planning to launch a website wherein he could get in touch with more customers easily. According to him, the website will also host his personal blog where he will write about different locations in India and thus attract travellers. “I am accumulating funds for setting up a website and would like to request internet companies to help me in this endeavour,” he said.

India needs people like Devesh Mishra who can help in increasing internet penetration in the country and make it a mass medium. And hats off to Mishra’s friend from Singapore, who opened the gates of internet to a commoner.

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