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Gurps Rai of droppTV: “Never give up”

The best 3 words of advice I have ever been given happen to all fit together in a single phrase: “Never give up.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve repeated those words to myself. They also have been words I have passed onto others. I first got the idea for what became droppTV […]

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The best 3 words of advice I have ever been given happen to all fit together in a single phrase: “Never give up.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve repeated those words to myself. They also have been words I have passed onto others. I first got the idea for what became droppTV several years ago. The idea wasn’t fully formed, and the tech didn’t exist for it to work, and everyone told me that others had tried and failed at a similar concept. When something just feels like it has to get done, I can’t not do it. I practice meditation; it helps ground me. I mention that because “Never give up“ has become a sort of mantra for me. I really believe that you have to consciously remind yourself to keep forging ahead — otherwise, you’ll just be another guy who had a great idea.


As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Gurps Rai.

Gurps Rai is the founder and CEO of droppTV (@droppTV), the world’s first shoppable streaming platform that allows users to instantly purchase products from inside the video itself. Launching their platform with a hyper-focus on music videos, droppTV’s patented, See it, Want it, Get it™, technology has already changed the way artists are able to monetize their music videos. Now droppTV is expanding into original content and new verticals.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I don’t have, what you might call, a traditional backstory. I’ve always been a huge reader of news, books, blogs and anything in between. As soon as I read about something that piques my interest I have to know everything about it. It’s because of this passion that I’ve had experiences and successes across all sorts of industries.

I was interested in the music industry, so I dug in and was mentored by the late Heavy D. I absorbed everything I could under him, from music making to fashion and music business.

My story goes on like that… something piqued my interest and I dug in until I knew everything I could about it. I’ve provided strategic solutions for the MENA region, hosted Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room event at the UN’s COP 17 international summit, and set up a drug rehab in Punjab, India. I co-designed the world’s most expensive sneaker, valued at $4 million, which was created for charity. I was lucky enough to get involved early in the cryptocurrency world by facilitating the world’s first commodity trade completed in crypto back in 2011.

Now, I’ve been able to combine all this experience into my vision for droppTV; to create a better way for content creators, fans/viewers and brands to come together digitally in a way where everyone gets the experience and compensation they deserve.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

droppTV is changing the game because we are building a better infrastructure for artists, brands, fashion, the entertainment industry, the hypebeast world, and the culture. droppTV is a toolbox, not only built on cutting-edge tech but also on a philosophy of fairness and simplicity. droppTV has so many applications, but we wanted to focus on one sector first to prove the platform, find out what wasn’t working, and then fix it. Music videos are the perfect intersection of culture and commerce. You have all these artists creating music, making videos and wearing brands that are influencing millions of people. These artists are setting trends but not properly being compensated. You have fans who want to support their artists while copping the latest look. We just produced and premiered the latest A$AP TyY video. Using droppTV’s AI/ML tech his fans were able to buy his merch and other items right within the video. They weren’t hit with ads or pre-roll; instead they watched the video and at that very moment they were hit with the desire to own a particular product on screen. They simply tapped the screen, and instead of being hijacked away to another website, they purchased the product instantly without disrupting their experience. A$AP finally got compensated for selling a product, like he always should have been in the first place.

There is no reason that any artist or creator shouldn’t be getting paid for the product they move. All the algorithms, and penny ad roll models and stream counting is a false economy. It was built to benefit everyone but the creators. Same with the fans; they have always been treated as customers. They get stuff pushed on them all the time. Why don’t we let them decide what they want to buy and when they want to buy it? droppTV was built to serve those “in the moment” desires. Our mantra is See it. Want it. Get it. It’s that simple. The complicated part is everything going on behind the scenes to make all this possible.

The droppTV platform is powered by a proprietary artificial intelligence, machine learning and computer vision algorithm. The tech recognizes products in video content and tags them in real-time, allowing for frictionless, one-click in-content purchasing. We have both a web based platform and native smartphone app, each optimized for the device they are viewed on. There isn’t a company in the world that can deliver this experience and on a myriad of operating systems with tailored consumer experiences dependent on the device like droppTV can.

This tech can be applied to any type of content for any vertical. And COVID has really amplified the need for what we have developed. The fashion industry has taken a huge hit. Tradeshows are cancelled, retail sales are down, and e-commerce is over-saturated. droppTV allows brands to stand out via in-video product placement purchases. droppTV takes influencer marketing to the next level, providing trackable ROI for brands and celebrity influencers who sell products within droppTV video content.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I wish I could say there was only one but if you don’t make a lot of mistakes when starting out, you aren’t trying hard enough. It wasn’t funny at the time but when we first launched the platform, back when we were in beta, we only invited a handful of people to test it out. Once the beta went live, word got out and we had so many folks trying to log on and buy from our videos, we crashed the entire platform in about an hour. Thankfully, we have an experienced tech team, which was able to address this unexpected deluge of users and had us back up and running pretty quickly. Needless to say I was with one of our biggest investors, and he was proudly showing off the platform when it went dark. At the time, I was looking for a giant hole to dive in and hide, but we all laugh about it now. I guess we learned that you should treat any launch, closed, beta, or otherwise, with the same safeguards in place as you would with an official launch.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I think besides Heavy D, one of my biggest mentors is our company’s CTO, Harpreet Geekee. If you read his resume you will know why. He’s an absolute genius and unlike a lot of geniuses, he can see more than his perspective on things, which is massively important when working at a company like droppTV. I remember when I wanted to just integrate with an eCommerce engine, and Harpreet opened my eyes to owning the marketplace and not just being a utility within someone else’s marketplace. The way he broke down the dynamics has helped differentiate droppTV from the competitive landscape. With that guy I feel like every conversation feeds my creative brain with more ideas for our company’s roadmap.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Disruption has definitely been beneficial in so many ways — Apple, Amazon, Airbnb, and Uber are examples of disruptive companies. However, too much disruption for the sake of disruption is just noisy and reckless. Each of those companies is wildly successful, but they also have their dark sides. When you disrupt a system, there is a shift in the paradigm, and usually one that has operated for a long time. In almost every “disrupted” industry, someone has gotten hurt — not maliciously, but it’s part of the nature of turning an industry on its head. Uber empowered millions of people and gave them an income, but at a cost to the taxi drivers who lost their entire livelihoods in NYC, London, Paris, and more. Airbnb helped tons of folks make some extra income and allowed others to afford to visit places that otherwise would have been cost prohibitive. As always, others played the system and took over entire apartment buildings and turned them into mini, unregulated hotels, or others introduced “party houses” disrupting otherwise peaceful neighborhoods.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

The best 3 words of advice I have ever been given happen to all fit together in a single phrase: “Never give up.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve repeated those words to myself. They also have been words I have passed onto others. I first got the idea for what became droppTV several years ago. The idea wasn’t fully formed, and the tech didn’t exist for it to work, and everyone told me that others had tried and failed at a similar concept. When something just feels like it has to get done, I can’t not do it. I practice meditation; it helps ground me. I mention that because “Never give up“ has become a sort of mantra for me. I really believe that you have to consciously remind yourself to keep forging ahead — otherwise, you’ll just be another guy who had a great idea.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

Done? We haven’t even gotten started yet. Stay tuned for some major launches.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

I have one book that has never left my bed stand: The Four by Scott Galloway! I honestly believe Scott Galloway nailed the next 10 years of our world from a tech and business standpoint. This book was a great resource as I strategized droppTV’s roadmap, and it’s a fun read! Scott Galloway is like my mentor; he just doesn’t know it.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“If you can conquer your mind, you can conquer the world” — Guru Nanak.

Everyday in business and life things happen to you that scare you, and you will want to give up or be angry. All those emotions are controlled by your mind. Controlling your mind from reacting in a negative way and looking at the positive will actually impact your life massively.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Everyone should be taught about crypto and how to trade crypto at school. I have personally gained massively thanks to crypto and all my friends (who listened) are sitting pretty good right now too. It’s so early in the market that generational wealth could be made now for those who learn and participate in the market. Everyone today who is an influencer, from rappers to YouTubers, are telling their followers to buy Bitcoin, but what these people and their followers don’t understand is the market or its dynamics, so lot of these casual investors are losing more than winning. The powers that be should be helping educate the population to create these opportunities for wealth creation.

How can our readers follow you online?

They can follow me on Linkedin here and on Instagram at @gurpsrai. Check out droppTV at dropp.TV, on Instagram at @droppTV, on Twitter at@Droppeverything, and on Facebook at droppTV. They can also download the droppTV app on iOS and Android.

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