Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Launch HN: The Juggernaut (YC W19) – A Publication for the South Asian Diaspora
81 points by snigdha 12 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 72 comments
Hi HN! I’m Snigdha, founder of The Juggernaut (https://www.thejuggernaut.com), a subscription publication for the South Asian diaspora. We charge <$5/month for original stories on South Asia and its people. I’d love your feedback — new subscribers get a free week trial :)

I’m Indian-American and grew up in New York. Being Indian wasn't cool growing up. Western media mostly focused on South Asia's poverty (Slumdog Millionaire) or stereotypes (Apu, taxi drivers). That started to change as I grew older. I saw more South Asians in the news — from those in spelling bees, which I used to participate in, to presidential candidate Kamala Harris, to tech CEOs like Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella. I realized I didn’t know what was going on in the region or with South Asians nationally, let alone in my own city. My mom would forward me news on WhatsApp and I couldn’t talk to her about it meaningfully. I also found that journalism was becoming targeted: The Athletic for Sports, The Infatuation for food, Blavity for black millennials. And I noticed that as China grew, publications started China sections and readers loved Bill Bishop’s Sinocism, a newsletter with sharp China analysis. But there was no national, inclusive, well-reported publication for South Asians, the fastest growing demographic in the US and the largest diaspora in the world.

So, every weekend, I’d write a email newsletter (https://www.inkmango.com) linking to the best articles on South Asia(ns) with my thoughts on a pressing issue, from the Harvard affirmative action lawsuit to South Asian representation in Crazy Rich Asians. The newsletter grew to the thousands. After doing this for a few months, I realized linking to other publications wasn't enough. I was craving coverage I wasn't seeing. That’s why I decided to figure out what it would take to start a new publication with our own reported stories. We called it The Juggernaut.

We are starting with one new story a weekday. Our stories have included profiles on South Asian founders, an interview with comedian Hari Kondabolu, an essay on the erasure of Freddie Mercury's brownness, and an exploration of the rise of the Subtle Curry Traits Facebook group.

Media is difficult. People like free content. We launched behind a paywall because it allows us to pay journalists well and quickly, and invest in better journalism. And paid doesn’t mean exorbitant. I’d love to know — what publications do you read and why? What makes you want to pay for something? What pitfalls should we watch out for? Happy to answer any questions/comments; you can also email me at snigdha@thejuggernaut.com.






Hi Snigdha,

Congrats on the launch. As a member of the South Asian diaspora, I too enjoy seeing folks from my specific ethnic background succeeding in business, politics, and life. This is because I generally love seeing ambitious and conscious people from all walks succeed.

However, I am increasingly wary of balkanization of populations into disparate groups based on their ethnicity, culture, gender or sexuality. Identity politics is at an all time high, and it seems like these days, people identify themselves first as Black or Indian before they call themselves American or Australian (or going further, as a human or even as a conscious being). My gut feeling is that this is a negative trend and actually fractures our species into sub groups competing for scarce resources and attention.

My question to you is - how do we heal the divisions we have as humans, and solve complex world scale problems if we're too busy further dividing ourselves up via trivial lines in the sand, such as our skin color? Representation is great, but why does it matter if someone in a position of power has the same religion as you or has the same skin color? I personally believe quality of character and internal content matters more to kinship than a shared culture or physical qualities.


That’s a great question, and something we grapple with often at The Juggernaut — we want to heal divisions. But one of the things we’ve observed is that healing those divisions also comes with beginning to understand one’s own heritage and feeling human again. (Some of our readers have mentioned how powerful it is for themselves to finally feel seen, which makes them feel more human.)

I would argue that more and more of us actually don’t see ourselves as just Indian or American. More of us see ourselves as multidimensional and want to go deep on some of parts of our identity so that we can understand our place in the world as a global citizen.

Instead, we as humans need to challenge and celebrate our cultures and it's hard to undo or clear the slate of culture, too. Being South Asian does come with its own traumas — and every culture and group has this. By discussing this group’s nuances, we hope to open it up to the world. We also have found several of our readers are not South Asian, and by reading The Juggernaut, they realize how alike we are, not how different. In that way, it’s the opposite of balkanization.

I'd love to continue the conversation and figure out what stories you think we can cover that will help ensure we don't balkanize.


Thanks for the thoughtful response. I agree wholeheartedly with the thought the healing begins with self-understanding. There's a fantastic book about trauma called "The Body Keeps The Score" which explains how past traumas can be unconsciously embedded within the body in ways that talk therapy or pharmaceuticals cannot resolve alone. I bring this up because to your point, being without culture is similar to being disembodied and being traumatized - one needs to reclaim a sense of belonging our background so that one can feel at peace and resolved. For example, I strongly believe that years of slavery has left an indelible mark in African American culture, and we may not understand the scientific explanation until we further study epigenetics, etc.

My fear though is that this very real need to be seen, and heard is being coopted by factions trying to use that very real human need as fodder for power (hence the right's claims of "cultural Marxism").

The balance here lies in celebrating one's heritage, without using it as a token for victimization. Because we get nowhere by further victimizing others - eg. calling someone a colonizer or oppressor. Everyone has trauma, and healing begins with radical inclusion - of everyone. I think you have a huge potential for using The Juggernaut to take the greatest parts of South Asian heritage and sharing that with non South Asians. I think a great success example is western adoption of yoga and pranayama - these are tools that emerged from South Asian culture ages ago, that have a very real place and utility for anyone living in the modern era.

I'll send you a dm with my contact info so we can continue the conversation. Appreciate your openness!


This line really resonated: being without culture is similar to being disembodied and being traumatized - one needs to reclaim a sense of belonging our background so that one can feel at peace and resolved. So powerful.

I do hear your fear of folks co-opting this human need for power. We definitely don't want that in our community.

We do want The Juggernaut share the best parts (and also call out where we need to improve) about South Asian heritage to a global audience.


I apologize not adding anything new the discussion but just wanted to thank you both for a nice and reasoned discussion.

Wish everybody (including myself) talked like this.


>I bring this up because to your point, being without culture is similar to being disembodied and being traumatized - one needs to reclaim a sense of belonging our background so that one can feel at peace and resolved. For example, I strongly believe that years of slavery has left an indelible mark in African American culture, and we may not understand the scientific explanation until we further study epigenetics, etc.

I would be careful with this.

For context, I'm a third culture kid. I was born and raised in the Middle East, but my ethnicity is not Arab, and I don't have any claim to that area (not a citizen, need a visa to visit, etc). I came to and settled in the US. One of the nice things about the Middle East is that being a third culture kid is not unusual - it's full of them, from all over the world.

Now growing up and going to a school full of students from all over was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Any attempts at indoctrinating a superiority of one culture over others just couldn't stick. It was not a hypothetical discussion for me. I was interacting daily with people from all over, and I could see the flaws in the indoctrination. Even though I was part of an oppressed race with respect to the dominant one (Arab), there was no sense of inferiority. And much, much more importantly, being oppressed did not push me to be close to the culture of my parent's origin, and that was a giant blessing. As such, many people throughout my life have accused me of being "without culture", because I don't identify with any of the "recognized" cultures. Some aspects I borrow from one culture, others from another, and so on - and quite a few do not come from any "recognized" culture.

Getting to your comment, when you say "being without culture", I suspect you have a fairly narrow concept of culture, akin to all those who accuse me (and my "kind") of being without culture. For too many people in the world, culture is almost always tied to either geography, race, or nationality. In reality, culture is a much broader concept. For many/most people, culture is inherently associated with race or geography. But ultimately, culture is about your set of values, rituals, how you view the world, etc. And increasingly in today's world, these are not coming from race. Being in a profession will likely affect your culture. Scientists, programmers, business people all have their own cultures that often set them apart from their fellow countrymen/race. And profession is but one example.

Like it or not, you set your own culture. Some of it just comes naturally from being in a particular society/race, but at the end of the day, it is your choice what aspects you make a part of your identity and what you do not. And the more you do this, the more likely it is that someone is going to label you as "without culture".

It took me many years before I understood the problems associated with being "denied a culture" (e.g. slavery as you mentioned). For a long time I was not very sympathetic to this aspect. Eventually, after much reading on it, I have reversed my position. The evidence is out there, and there is a lot of damage done at a societal level. Nevertheless, an African American who adopts the notion that he is incomplete from a cultural standpoint because of the history of slavery is contributing to his own suffering.

I have nothing against this publication, and if it helps people out, more power to it. I do wish more people would realize that creating an identity based on your race/parents' nationality is not a prerequisite for anything, and you can still be whole if you don't. The corollary is that if you feel something is missing, and you decide to pursue an identity based on race/ethnicity you may still end up less than whole. Don't assume this path is a solution to your needs.

No matter what anyone tells you, you do get to pick your identity. Don't let anyone convince you that you are incomplete if you are not in touch with your ancestral heritage.

Along these lines, I once attended a lecture by a researcher at a local university. I think his research was more on the biological side of the brain, but he frequently collaborated on the "softer" side (psychology, etc). He described one study that I wish I had the reference for. The participants were provided with this prompt: I am _____. They were free to fill in the blank in anyway that felt true for them. The upshot: People who felt part of an oppressed minority focused mostly on their race/gender/sexuality. People who did not feel oppressed wrote ordinary statements like "I am an honest person." Or "I am a loving father". The unfortunate side effect of this is that those in the former camp are much more likely to perceive a negative interaction as tied to race/gender, etc. I personally have experienced this: A friend of mine of the same race as me was "performance managed" and eventually fired. He swore, without any evidence, that the whole thing was racially motivated by his former manager, who came from a race that historically has had issues with his. Now this friend had a history of demonstrating an identity tied to his race, so his reaction did not surprise me at all. Two years later, the exact same thing happened to me: Performance managed for BS reasons, and eventually fired. And my manager was of the same race as his. But the notion that it was racially motivated was just ludicrous to me. If I listed attributes of bad managers, he satisfied most of them. It was trivial for me to explain it away as "crappy manager".


> I have nothing against this publication, and if it helps people out, more power to it. I do wish more people would realize that creating an identity based on your race/parents' nationality is not a prerequisite for anything, and you can still be whole if you don't. The corollary is that if you feel something is missing, and you decide to pursue an identity based on race/ethnicity you may still end up less than whole. Don't assume this path is a solution to your needs.

> No matter what anyone tells you, you do get to pick your identity. Don't let anyone convince you that you are incomplete if you are not in touch with your ancestral heritage.

Hi — there's a lot of wisdom in this post and I find the term 'third culture kid' fascinating. I agree with you that 'culture' and 'identity' is far more multifaceted than just your race, ethnicity, or parents' heritage. I think we all create our own cultures. And that's the beauty of it today: folks are going deep on different parts of who they are. Some of it might be their ancestral heritage. Some of it might be the culture of how they did school. By no means are we trying to dictate 'culture.'

What we've found from the stories we've published is that people relate to them. For example, our story on Netflix in India is about writers struggling to pitch their ideas — something many entrepreneurs can relate to, not just writers.

Not every story will speak to everyone in the same way because we are all different, but by archiving the stories that we think might not be told otherwise, and paying journalists well so that we as a society don't continue to devalue great writing, we are hoping to create a space where these stories resonate, for whatever reason that might be.


I agree with the views. Also, this dovetails into how people's nationality becomes a core part of their identity and how this is used by governments to ride the "patriotism" wave — often leading to cold wars and injustice against outsiders. The present “nation-first” campaigns by govts. across the globe is a prime example.

Agree this is happening - really unfortunate when fear is twisted to harm others. But there's another side of nationalism and pride that is less dangerous and just one of many identities.

A few poorly phrased statements in my comment, and even though HN allows me to edit, none of my edits are showing. Some things I'd restate:

>Nevertheless, an African American who adopts the notion that he is incomplete from a cultural standpoint because of the history of slavery is relieving himself of the obligation of shaping his own identity.

And

>Being in a profession will likely affect your culture. Scientists, programmers, business people all have their own cultures that often set them apart from their fellow countrymen/race. Not hard to find two scientists from across the world who are more at ease with each other's company than with people in their own countries.


Your edits should be showing no problem. Can you try again? If it still doesn't work, email hn@ycombinator.com with your desired text and we'll put it in there, as well as try to track down the bug.

Rephrased statements are in the comment above yours. I think I had others but can't recall them.

May be a quirk of my browser...? I could edit the comment above yours just fine though.


I think you misunderstood me -- I agree with you. Hence, my first comment that kinship (and the culture I choose to belong to) is determined more by values and quality of character.

I too am a "third culture" child in some ways. Born in India, raised in a conservative state in the USA, moved to a liberal state in the USA (which feels like a different country at times). I've even had a liberal acquaintance mention to me after the 2016 election that she "couldn't imagine how much worse [I] felt". Why? Because I am a ethnic minority, I need to be extra upset at the result? I resist this trend of treating any "group" as a monolith that all of its members has to adhere to, otherwise be labeled an apostate.

The one area I kind of disagree with you on is that you come off as very individualistic, which is admirable. But at its extreme, it can become a caricature, much like an Ayn Rand novel. Every human willing or not is part of a community, and the effects of its treatment in that community will reflect on its psyche. I referred to the book on trauma because it shows that psychic experiences can become embedded in physiology (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics_of_anxiety_and_str...). And not every individual has the self-determination you do to craft their own identity and resolve their traumas without some level of communal support.

In the case of African descendants of slaves, I'm not arguing that they don't have control over their destiny. Rather, that ignoring hundreds of years of stress and persecution is a myopic way to address historic imbalances. In order to control your future, you have to know your past, and yourself. I think a good example of this in modern life is Kendrick Lamar, who has a beautiful song "i" which is about self-acceptance and the freedom to determine your worth. He even got in trouble for arguing that Black Americans should look inwards first and resolve their internal struggles before trying to change the world (https://www.npr.org/2015/12/29/461129966/kendrick-lamar-i-ca...)

I too am worried about people polarizing based on superficial qualities like race or sexuality. Where does it stop, and why draw the line there? Why not a "asymmetrical face" group or a "under average height" group? Both those groups also probably experienced institutionalized discrimination, but have no torch bearer yet. But we don't fix this problem by yelling at people to be more self deterministic (they would say you have some form of privilege and ignore you anyway). We fix this problem by acknowledging their grievances and usher them into the greater community so that power mongers don't divide and conquer.


>I think you misunderstood me -- I agree with you.

Nah, I was mostly hijacking your comment to bring the perspective forward for discussion. Reading the rest of your comment we're pretty much in agreement.

>I've even had a liberal acquaintance mention to me after the 2016 election that she "couldn't imagine how much worse [I] felt". Why? Because I am a ethnic minority, I need to be extra upset at the result?

Yes, I too have lived in both conservative and liberal places. And people in liberal areas are annoying this way. Living in such a place right now, I often joke that the worst part of Trump's election is that it has made all the local liberals even more insufferable.[1][2] Joking aside, this is a serious issue I've seen amongst left leaning folks, and although it's mostly not been directed to me, I've found it incredibly condescending, not to mention quite biased. Elif Shafak gave a fantastic TED Talk[3] which touches on this. When I lived in a very white conservative state, I never witnessed the locals treating others differently because of their appearance/ethnicity. In liberal areas, it is almost the norm - they are much more likely to interact with me based on my race.

Of course, that was years ago, and I don't know how the people are in those cities in the age of Trump. And of course, conservatives had their own set of issues (opposition to good health care, etc).

>The one area I kind of disagree with you on is that you come off as very individualistic, which is admirable. But at its extreme, it can become a caricature, much like an Ayn Rand novel. Every human willing or not is part of a community, and the effects of its treatment in that community will reflect on its psyche.

I'm aware of this, which is why I said I had reversed my position after extensively reading up on the topic. I can't deny the damage such actions do, and I am fortunate to have been somewhat immune from it. My comment is that one should not dump all of it on the history.

Case in point: Recently there has been a flareup between India and Pakistan. On Reddit's front page was a thread from the India subreddit with something like 6000+ comments. One of the top ones: "Let's not forget that the real culprit is the British and the manner they divided the country."[4] Really? Over 70 years after the British have left, it's somehow still there fault? I always have a metric for maturity: You become a mature adult when you stop blaming your parents for your problems (even if there is truth to it). It's when you realize that whatever the cause of your problems, you can't expect others to solve them. 70 years later and Indians still have not grown up.

And trust me: Even without trauma, I know it totally sucks to be in a community where you cannot find like minded folks. I've been halfway there, but not all the way. My brother, OTOH, did not come to the US and at some point had to move back to his "home" country - a country he had never lived in. His home country is very monolithic an homogeneous, and it completely sucks for him. His personality would be quite normal here in the US, but over there multiple people have suggested he has a mental illness and often treat him differently simply because his values differ, and the locals don't have the ability to comprehend that it can be different. No amount of individualism can shield you from that.

>Rather, that ignoring hundreds of years of stress and persecution is a myopic way to address historic imbalances. In order to control your future, you have to know your past, and yourself.

I'm not advocating ignoring history. I am disagreeing with the second sentence. I do not believe that one must know their own (distant/ancestral) past to have a fruitful culture. It's certainly one way, but not the only way, and IMO, not even a particularly good way. It's just a way. I honestly think this is more of an artifact - it's fairly natural that people pass on their culture to their kids in this manner, and when the past has been taken from you, you naturally feel disadvantaged.

>Both those groups also probably experienced institutionalized discrimination, but have no torch bearer yet. But we don't fix this problem by yelling at people to be more self deterministic (they would say you have some form of privilege and ignore you anyway). We fix this problem by acknowledging their grievances and usher them into the greater community so that power mongers don't divide and conquer.

I completely agree with you, as I have been on the receiving end of institutional biases, and have often in the past complained that a lot of these biases are ignored simply because they do not neatly fall into the gender/race/sexuality/age mental models. I don't see this being coupled to the other points in the comments.

[1] In 2017, a (very liberal) friend of mine cut off ties with a sporting club he was involved in, and implied it had to do with the politics of the organizers (conservative). I imagined scenarios where they openly made derogatory remarks akin to the extreme Trump voters, or otherwise ridiculed them for being on the losing side, or something. But no: The reason was that they were not "active enough" in the ongoing protests in the city against Trump's misogynistic remarks. My friend was essentially trying to say "Hey, I can be cool with you being conservative, but you have to prove you're the right type of conservative by taking part in these protests." How the tables had turned, when just a decade ago liberals criticized conservatives who demanded Muslim Americans make an explicit show of being loyal to the US.

[2] The January after the election, I attended a workshop series on soft skills. The person running the workshop started the series with comments along the lines of "I know you're feeling depressed at the outcome of the election", etc - without any qualifiers. It was just a given that no one in the workshop voted for Trump. It was otherwise a great workshop, but I've never recommended it to others because of this behavior (several similar occurrences in other sessions of the series).

[3] https://www.ted.com/talks/elif_shafak_the_politics_of_fictio...

[4] You get similar sentiments in African countries about both the English and the French.


Huge props to the founder and crazy story to share about Snigdha. For what its worth, I'm coming across this post randomly and happy to see it in HN.

The internet is very small.

I sat next to Snigdha on a plane once, coming back from a conference in 2013. At the time, she was working at one of the big four consulting firms and was sharing her passion for the Indian cultural market and it's untapped potential around the world. It's crazy to see her company five years later on the front page of HN.

I subscribed to the Inkmango newsletter a while ago and have been pleasantly surprised by the quality and richness as a non-South Asian reader.

The best way to describe this content is "the New Yorker for the South Asian Diaspora". It's been very educational to be aware of worlds soon-to-be 1.5 billion finds valuable.


Lenny - so great to see you here at HN.

Thanks a ton for sharing your words — interesting perspective re: The New Yorker for South Asians. Especially since when I first met you six years ago, you were a senior engineer there. If we can consistently pull off that quality, I'm excited to reach an even bigger audience.

If you want to read the latest free newsletter Lenny mentioned, you can go here: https://mailchi.mp/inkmango/our-weekly-roundup-pulwama-crisi...


I subscribed and am excited about it.

I have a little gripe about the name, the name Juggernaut. Juggernaut is already an Indian company that sells books written by home authors to people to read on their phones.

https://www.juggernaut.in/

They are fairly successful. Naming two things Indian the juggernaut


I've been a subscriber to Snigdha's Inkmango newsletter (https://www.inkmango.com) for many months — I look forward to it every Sunday. Even though I generally try to stay up on South Asian news, her newsletter always contains fascinating links/stories that I really enjoy — and wouldn't have seen otherwise. She's a fantastic curator and I'm excited to see she's launching original content.

I worked briefly in Indian media, at a magazine based in Delhi, and one takeaway was that there's unfortunately a paucity of well-reported, hard-hitting, speaking-truth-to-power journalism in India and South Asia more broadly. The mainstream papers and TV channels just don't do it. It's easy for Americans and Europeans to take the presence of publications like the New York Times for granted, because that level of journalistic quality and resource doesn't exist in much of South Asia. It's especially unfortunate because many of the countries are on a march towards nationalism (India being the most obvious example). Great journalism is so crucial in such a vibrant, important, rapidly-changing region of the world. Hopefully The Juggernaut and projects like it can help raise global awareness about the injustices happening in South Asia — I wish them good luck and I'll be reading!



Thanks so much Ajay — we can't wait for you to write for us sometime :)

TIL. "The English loanword juggernaut in the sense of "a huge wagon bearing an image of a Hindu god" is from the 17th century, inspired by the Jagannatha Temple in Puri, Odisha"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juggernaut


Ha - yes. Also have you seen this 1865 news article from the New York Times about The Tenth Avenue Juggernaut? https://www.nytimes.com/1865/03/26/archives/the-tenthavenue-...

Good luck Snigdha - I sincerely hope you are successful with this.

However, I feel more and more now, as Pakistani, the term 'South Asia' is coming to mean 'South Asia minus Pakistan'.

Till not too long ago, it was Indians trying their best to loop in Pakistan into any mutual association but not, it seems India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are leaving no stone unturned trying to disassociate with Pakistan (only exception is the entertainment industry where for some reason, association with Pakistan is more than welcome).

All in all, why am I telling you this? Because you can help us Pakistanis by bringing to highlight via your platform that Pakistan's 'positive' role in South Asia is beyond just music, sufis and food -- we also have worthy Pakistani-origin Business folks, scientists and academics.

Thank you.


For us, South Asia definitely includes Pakistan. We have a beautiful story on Pakistani car decals coming up — can't wait for you to read it. All of these cultures, identities, stories have lots of complexity. We hope we can do justice to them. Please do feel free to email me at snigdha@thejuggernaut.com with more Pakistani stories and pitches, specifically on the individuals you mention that you've admired.

Congrats Snigdha!

PS - for anyone wondering why "Juggernaut", I'd guess it has something to do with being a sanskrit derived word. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juggernaut


Thanks so much. Yes - great link out. We aren't just the Marvel character :) We want to reclaim the word and use 'juggernaut' to describe "an unstoppable force" (not necessarily one that crushes)

Subscribed super fast! One piece of feedback: I'd love to learn about new stories as they come in via a Twitter account (I'm less likely to open them via email but if they're in my Twitter feed I'll almost always)

That's a great idea — we currently send out a email notification, instagram update, and twitter notification every afternoon after we've published a new piece. Our twitter is @bethejuggernaut and our instagram is @_thejuggernaut. Thanks so much for signing up - can't wait to hear what you think!

Something on similar lines is https://www.thebetterindia.com/. It has positive stories , though based out of India only.

While it is an interesting endeavor, two things come to my mind:

Especially with respect to South Asia, there is a tendency to pusstfoot over matters, which while being very important, are also very nuanced. For example: caste, it is a complex phenomenon that still deeply affects people, yet many treatments try to air brush it away.

Also it is an extremely diverse region, whereas it get often portrayed as a largely homogeneous monoculture, when in fact it isn't.


I agree with both of these insights 100% — we aim to be both nuanced (that's how our newsletter ended up growing) as well as acknowledge the rich diversity of the region.

> We don't want to shy away from issues like caste. We have a piece coming up on the 'myth of the model minority' and want to talk about how caste politics determined the diaspora's fate in its adopted homes > In terms of being a diverse region, very very true. One of the ways we think we can solve this is by publishing stories that highlights this diversity. We have a story coming up on Kabul Dreams, an Afghan rock band. We have one about Sri Lankan dating. Not intending to make it seem like we're promoting homogeneity. Do check out our stories at thejuggernaut.com/articles and let us know more story ideas we should be covering.


Probably one reason for the diaspora in the first place?

Say more?

Oh, I just had the thought that people who are discriminated by the caste system would rather live somewhere else.

Oh yes - definitely related. And I would also say, sometimes those benefiting from it were able to leave, too

Also - if anyone does want to work with us on our design and codebase for the month of March in SF (in person), happy to chat. Email me at snigdha@thejuggernaut.com.

All the best for your launch. The website has too little information to be interesting. In 2019, your content has to be influential or free.

Thanks Rushabh - do check out our articles tab, which has a lot more information (www.thejuggernaut.com/articles). Say more about what you mean by influential? And tell me more about why you think it should be free?

Recently, the likes of BuzzFeed and HuffPo have all been having layoffs because the ad model has become broken in media. What other business models have you seen that you find interesting?


I work in open source, which is also kind of in a similar problem. A way to think of open source is that its a utility, like the highway system. The people who make money from highways are the car companies.

I think a similar challenge exists with journalism. Writing and publishing has become so cheap and I can easily fill my time with reading reasonably good content on free blogs or Medium that paying a tiny publication may not be a good idea. (I already subscribe to newspapers and Economist)

If you have exclusive content, then you can charge for it. https://the-ken.com/ is a good example of a small publication that has done well as it focuses on a niche, early adopter community.


Well, Juggernaut should definitely take a look at Brave's BAT (https://basicattentiontoken.org/) as a revenue model. BAT is an Ethereum-based utility token that users reward publishers with. BAT can be exchanged with Bitcoin/Fiat on exchanges like Uphold (https://uphold.com/)

Congrats for the launch Snigdha. Hoping to be a contributor to your magazine some day. :)

Good Luck.


Definitely! Pitch us at snigdha@thejuggernaut.com - we'd love to help refine pitches!

This site has no focus. What is the point of yet another feel good site, that ultimately wants to make money by selling their view of "south asia" ?

Hi — can you tell me more — what would add more focus to this site for you?

Our mission is to tell untold South Asian stories, not just positive or feel-good ones. Some of what we write actually challenge existing theories, for example: is Netflix actually changing storytelling in India? Did Bohemian Rhapsody tell Freddie Mercury's story well? What does Hari Kondabolu have to say about a post-Apu world?

We're not selling our specific views of South Asia but rather soliciting stories from our writers and audience and sharing multi-faceted views. We welcome stories from all political views and walks of life. We started with a paywall to be able to pay our journalists well.


India has a very vibrant media industry. I might say that Indian media is perhaps the most liberal and open media, in the world. For example, there are more than five, 24x7 TV news channels in Tamil language alone. Most of the news that I see in English langauge outside of India, is mostly feel good or negative. But both do not represent the reality.

Having said that, if you do anything for money, it is quite easy to become corrupt. Take google for example, they used to say things such as "don't be evil" etc. But, since they are a for profit business, it is just pure talk.

The point is, knowledge and health cannot be and should not be offered for the exchange of money. if you truly believe in your mission, keep the good work and request people to donate. If your work is really good, you will never have trouble with your expenses.


I think it’s hard to actually pay journalists well and run a business predictably when we just hope people will donate though I do think the membership puzzle project is doing good work and a few businesses have made this work. This is definitely a model for us to consider!

The people who pay us now do believe we’re doing good work. I have been paying for books and health since I have been little and I do think both allow me to support great writers and health practitioners to be better at what they do. That said I do believe everyone should have a right to access information and health and one day we’ll be able to accommodate that business model. Right now all our revenue goes directly to our journalists.


Ah, so a successor to Sepia Mutiny?

Yes! Apt reference. We also have Lakshmi Gandhi, former member/writer for Sepia Mutiny, writing a few stories — coming soon!

Congrats on the launch! :)

Thanks so much! :)

I’ve checked the site. I was expecting something highly interesting due to the subject, and, the YC support. A magazine startup, ohyeah!!!

I couldn’t spend more than two seconds on it. I’m a designer and my eyes can’t stand this type of design: cheap, unreadable, probably a quickly modified free template.

I detest this trend. There are more and more startups with worse and worse cheap web design. How do you think you compete to our attention?

Especially true in this case, when the product is the content itself. Put together a few thousands, hire a proper designer.


What would you change about the design? I'd love to hear the specifics! You can email me at snigdha@thejuggernaut.com and if you do do design, happy to figure out if we can work together.

To get a better sense of our stories, you can visit thejuggernaut.com/articles, which I think is far better designed. We're working on changing our landing page right now and our site is definitely a work in progress.

As per YC tradition, we wanted to launch early rather than get it perfect. We've also heard that if we're not embarrassed by what we've built, we've launched too late.

Our product at the end of the day isn't just the site (though it is part of it), it's the journalism. And we don't compromise on that. Do read a few of our stories there — I'd love to know what you think.


> What would you change about the design? I'd love to hear the specifics!

Just stopping by to say that I think you're replying in exactly the right way to criticism, and I hope you / the company embeds this in your company culture, which no doubt will face all kinds of criticism from many directions.

Good luck!


Thanks for dropping by! And definitely: our goal is to keep improving and company culture is very important to us. Some of our harshest critics will give us the best feedback and we have to be prepared for that, too.

Thanks ... and sorry for the harsh words :) At least they’ve reached the right audience.

I’ll send you an email these days with a complete set of suggestions.

And keep up! It is very professional how you tackle the various feedbacks on this thread.


I don't think the issue with your feedback is that it is unkind, but that it is not specific.

"Cheap" is not a type of design.

"Probably a quickly modified free template" does not say what you found wrong with it.

"Unreadable" is just, on the face of it, false since I could read it.

If you had been specific with your feedback -- even if it were negative -- I think it would have been better received.


Thanks - yes specific and actionable definitely helps us improve. So do keep the feedback coming

It really wouldn't kill you to be nice when giving this feedback.

Right ... It’s just a long term frustration which was versed here in two seconds ... where else ???? :)

<3

Luckily, highly interesting and good design are not mutually exclusive.

I think Juggernaut tries to be "highly interesting" and "competes for our attention" with high quality content and writing. As they get their product out there they'll improve and mature their design.

I think the trend of startups with bad web design is actually interesting. If they can get away with something ugly maybe that means there's something intrinsically valuable in what they're building and their early customers/adopters are willing to look past that. Perhaps this trend is good and it indicates that these startups are focusing on their core value instead of a pretty facade?

If the product is content, then the text should be all that matters?


Interesting point of view - reminds me of how Solange Knowles for a long time (not anymore) had a website that looked straight from the early 1990s. Maybe to focus on the music?

Well, great web design doesn't pull you to engage in HN comments.

It is concerning that is another cause of a culture vulture trying to make a quick buck off of "South Asian" culture. You are no different than the western imperialist who has done this to the sub continent in the past or those exporting yoga to the west.

Hi - so that we can improve our messaging, what about our mission or our voice makes you feel like we're trying to make a quick buck? One of the reasons we started behind a paywall is to actually not be quick in any way. We want to provide nuanced, thoughtful analysis. We started with a paywall so we could pay our journalists well and not be incentivized by clickbait. Charging a subscription allows us to be a more sustainable business and not just be a 'quick buck' scheme. What other business models have you seen working?

Personally I do feel that there is a huge and urgent need for something like this to support and share the stories of the Indian subcontinent and its diaspora in the US and elsewhere. So, in one respect I wish the founder all the success.

However, a quick glance unfortunately leads me to believe that it is going to tow the same blatantly anti-Indian bias that most, if not all, of the Western media such as NYTimes, WaPo, Economist and others possess.

For example, while the little blurb in the inkmango newsletter on Pulwama and subsequent events (https://mailchi.mp/inkmango/our-weekly-roundup-pulwama-crisi...) seems perfectly neutral and acceptable, I was rather disheartened when I saw that while CNBC and Economist were linked by their brands, "Arundhati Roy", and her vitriolic anti-Indian article was referred to by name in the link to HuffPo.

While the editor is free to take whatever approach they want to take, they will need to decide who the target audience is and whose voice does the Juggernaut wants to be.


Hi - we're not trying to be just anti-India or anti-Pakistan, nor just pro-India or pro-Pakistan. We're trying to encompass a wide range of views. One of the reasons we linked to that article is so that our readers could read multiple viewpoints and form conclusions of their own, especially since it is a sensitive topic. Our target audience is anyone who wishes to be informed and inspired by South Asian stories — and the complexity with which they come.

I understand and I do not want you to be pro-any-country. I will appreciate it if you are indeed neutral. And, linking to HuffPo article is just fine.

I was calling out to the fact that the links are posted as:(Economist, CNBC, Arundhati Roy in HuffPo) instead of just (Economist, CNBC, HuffPo) which implies that you're giving special credence to Ms. Roy who is not a neutral reporter in any meaning of the word. Which, in turn, leads me to be a little cognizant of your biases.


Great feedback - we will definitely be more neutral in linking out in the future

Why do you call it the diaspora? Doesn’t that imply forced removal from homeland? What about those that opted out of their old country and voluntarily wanted to come to America.

Would you consider white Americans to be part of the European diaspora!?? This just screams victim mentality and seems to be an over extension of the YC organization to capture mindshare and influence people like Pichai and Nadella who I have an issue with leading 2 prominent tech companies.

Don’t even get me started on how the Indian caste system is invading traditional American values.


Hi - so I don't think diaspora always means forced removal. The word has a very strong history but it can also mean people living away from their homeland, whether voluntary or involuntary. Check out this definition here https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diaspora. Totally don't intend to mean victim mentality here!

“Diaspora” comes from Greek “Diaspora”. Dispersion.

It so happens that some Indians were brought over as indentured laborers by the British to various parts of their empire which resulted in the development of a large Indian diaspora: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indentured_servitude#Indian_...

But that’s old news!




Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: