Speak your mind and don’t be afraid to claim what is yours: your opinion. I learnt that I am not doing my job properly unless I speak about my mind to something that I think matters. Without realizing, I had once told my CEO that she is wrong during a meeting. Weeks later, the 3rd person on the call pointed it out to me personally and said that it was in fact a really great thing that I had done.
As a part of our series about cutting edge technological breakthroughs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Annika Bansal.
Annika Bansal has lived in seven countries (including Sweden, USA, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Singapore and Spain) which has allowed her to understand different cultures and business environments, developing strong interpersonal skills to deal with multicultural challenges. Apart from being committed to being a global citizen, Annika’s passion is to help people through her continued commitment to volunteering opportunities. From a young age, Annika was able to accumulate 890,000 followers on her personal blog, leading to her interest in digital marketing. She recently graduated with her Business Administration Bachelors degree from IE Business School and pursued portrait photography throughout her studying years. Annika had an internship at AgenciaB12, where she operated in various areas of the company alongside a team of experts: IT and Development, Data Science, Performance Marketing, Web Design and Content marketing. Annika Bansal is currently the Sales & Marketing lead at Immersionn, a content discovery company.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I graduated from my bachelors degree in the early times of COVID-19, which shifted my perspective of the type of work I want to invest my time into. Firstly, it was quite clear to me that I wanted to be surrounded in a startup environment which would allow me to explore almost every aspect of a business and work closely with people. Secondly, I took time apart from my normal studies at the time to research the implementation of specific subsets of Artificial Intelligence in businesses and specifically Digital Marketing. Furthermore, I was watching the world move into this new era of digital transformation and sustainability leading me to find Immersionn and resonate with the vision. Immersionn is a start-up that is redesigning the standard 2D website into an experiential and immersive 3D experience. Entering this specific career path has already given me a lot of space to learn, grow and stay curious.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I started my career completely virtually without ever meeting my team, which has made the whole experience of entering the working world quite challenging yet very interesting. Now, my team and I have created a very good bond even without ever meeting each other and I don’t feel like it inhibits our developments together in any way.
Can you tell us about the Cutting edge technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?
Currently, the majority of websites are short transactions that are focused on responding to a customer’s immediate need. However, customers have the potential to stick around for longer and buy more products if the websites aim to establish an emotional connection with customers. With the unprecedented times of COVID-19 and the consequential lockdowns, this gap is even more obvious. Immersionn creates discovery maps that increase customer knowledge and maximise brand advocacy. We unblock blind spots for customers that increases cross-sale opportunities for companies. As a result, customers stay 3 times longer on websites to browse freely and be more explorative. A web-twin is a digital experiential channel. In the blink of an eye, customers get to connect with your brand on a human level. The Web-Twin is created using XR technology and is 5G ready.
How do you think this might change the world?
The Web-Twin aims to redesign the way people explore and navigate through the internet and websites will become more of an immersive experience and serve businesses a higher purpose in connecting with their customers. Furthermore, the concept of a 2D website does not serve humans the way they learn/collect information in the best way yet and takes us a further step into the future of the Cyberpunk Movement. This is not the finality of what Immersionn aims to do in the future, this is just the first step and contribution into the XR industry.
Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?
The dystopian future with artificial intelligence is no longer just science fiction, as it is rapidly becoming our reality. In a world where freedom is constantly trying to be achieved, we may feel that we are very free in the world of artificial intelligence where there is an ease of life and decisions are made for us, perhaps we are chained to it after all. This leads me to believe that the dependency on artificial intelligence and subsequent tools by humans might increase too much and it will create an unhealthy level of technology addiction. It is a serious risk and we need to keep asking ourselves how to help people by enhancing their lives rather than simply making them addicted. It is quite important for everyone inside the XR industry to think more deeply in how we design technology and with what purpose.
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?
It was in my final year of university, during one of the first sessions of my class “Critical Thinking Management”. The class was being asked about the risks of the implementation of technology for this world. People started raising their hands, moving onto the edges of their seats as they expressed how scary the future of technology is as they are scared all their data will be collected and they will be constantly watched. As one person was speaking, others were nodding their heads rapidly in agreement and raising their hands further up in order to express the same thing even further. I stayed quiet, I observed and one of the first things that struck me was: every single person in the classroom has their own phones resting next to their personal laptops. Some people were even wearing iWatches and other technological accessories and devices. Already in this time and space, they are being watched and their data is being collected. That was my tipping point. I realized that people are so obsessed with spending time on their gadgets and social media, but they are worried about the potential future of what already exists. There is a huge lack of consciousness in the general public about what is already happening, and I found it in myself to want to educate my classmates, make them realize what is already happening and make sure that I have a personal contribution in the safety, security and future of technology.
What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?
5G and the potential that 5G brings to the power of the Web-Twin in terms of having lower latency and a higher connection. Creatives within the XR industry will have great possibilities to create things together with the different use cases of 5G. Additionally, there will be a time where there will be a great willingness for people to have deeper digital experiences.
What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?
In order to promote having deeper digital experiences, we aim to be a part of every possible conversation about it. This means having the conversations with clients and customers, but also with close friends and family. I find it very important to show people variations of different digital experiences and have them be more comfortable with the idea of it to ensure there will be a bigger movement in the increased confidence the general public has for technologies.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
This is a conversation that took place between my CEO, Alexandra Huseenot, on Friday the 18th of December 2020:
Me: I am realizing day by day I suck at creativity within video editing, but I’ll get it done!
Alexandra Hussenot: You don’t suck! Never talk to yourself badly. Your inner self listens to it and believes it then. It sends negative feelings via your brain neurotransmitters. This will only increase your insecurities, lower your confidence and direct you towards an imbalance in your brain chemicals. Be good to yourself. Focus on one that is working and do more of it.
Me: Well, I am just comparing myself to the previous Immersionn videos. Even though I understand I am new to video editing, I wish I could be better. I am super glad you’re letting me do this and showcase my learning curve.
Alexandra Hussenot: Tell yourself “I found this great tool and it’s working really well. I am so glad I have a job where I can challenge my creativity.” You can learn anything, and so can I.
Alexandra has not only been my first boss, but one of my first friends from any working place. She has given me the space to learn and make mistakes, and has helped me realize that growth doesn’t come without the effort. The greatest thing I have developed about myself at my time in Immersionn is my drive to learn new things and to exercise my brain in new ways, all thanks to her.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Since I am just at the beginning of my career, I cannot say I have success in my workplace that has brought goodness to the world. However, for now, I would define my success as the things I learn on a daily basis and how I am able to share that around with people near or far to me. I always intend to create a collective dome of knowledge and information which ultimately helps people connect with themselves and others.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- First days of work are not like they are in movies. My first day of proper work in my entire life was September 1st of 2020, I woke up at 8am, wore my favourite clothes, had my new notebook ready with 4 new pens lined up next to it. I waited for 4 hours to receive my first email, notifying me that the weekly Monday meeting had been cancelled that day. I packed everything up and went to sleep later that evening. However, in retrospect, it would be great to have a working day like that now where there truly is nothing to do.
- You don’t need to be scared of those who have more experience than you. The reason why you are hired is because they want you and they see potential in you. They believe in you as much as you believe in them, and that is why you are there in the first place. While entering the working environment alongside my friends, they expressed their lack of confidence on a regular basis to me. It was only in retrospect and time that I realized it was only a natural part of entering an environment that was unfamiliar and had a pre-existing hierarchy. Once I became more confident in my position within that hierarchy could I realize my potential and perceive the room that exists around my role in order to interact with different members of my team and expand and grow in different directions.
- Laugh about your mistakes. Within my first week of work, I was sharing my laptop screen with the entire team as I was taking notes of the meeting. Everybody saw me misspell something so basic: instead of ‘C-Suite’, I wrote ‘Sea-Sweet’. They all laughed and corrected me. I laughed as well. But now I know.
- Take advice and inputs from people, but cancel out the noise. It will always be important to act on what you know is best intuitively. When looking for advice in your personal or professional life, there will be a moment where you need to draw the line and take a moment for yourself. If you are healthy, your gut will tell you the correct thing.
- Speak your mind and don’t be afraid to claim what is yours: your opinion. I learnt that I am not doing my job properly unless I speak about my mind to something that I think matters. Without realizing, I had once told my CEO that she is wrong during a meeting. Weeks later, the 3rd person on the call pointed it out to me personally and said that it was in fact a really great thing that I had done.
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. 🙂
Geoggroy Hussenot is initiating Vous-etes-super, a non profit organization that will deliver high quality connectivity and VR experiences to patients in palliative care of public hospitals. The idea expands and honors the legacy of Gregoire Hussenot who generated half a million followers with this inspiring movement and went on to produce a popular TV program with France 5. Gregoire’s initiative and personality was described as “a bubble of positive energy”.
Anything in relative terms does not bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, but this brings the most amount of good to the people who are close to me.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Do a little better than last time”
Everytime I do something: talking, walking, working, exams, interviews, writing, cooking, sleeping, and the list goes on; I always make sure that I do just a little bit better than last time. I believe in having a small marginal increase everyday no matter the activity I am doing. Creating an exponential growth is powerful, and simply trying to change overnight will never actually persist.
Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
We are Immersionn, a content discovery company. We created the WebTwin, a 3D web experience that helps companies present complex products. It also heightens user engagement on websites and generates a steady stream of leads to CRM Systems.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Anybody can reach out to me on my LinkedIn account: https://www.linkedin.com/in/annikabansal/
Immersionn’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/immersionn/
Immersionn’s Website: https://www.immersionn.com/
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.