Hello. Bonjour. Chow. Autumn has finally arrived and so has the end of the week. I don’t know about all of you, but I’ve been quite busy and I’m definitely looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend. The arrival of Friday also means that another edition of Fedora Outlier’s Follow Friday (#FF) interview series is available for all to read.
One of the many reasons I enjoy working for Fedora Outlier, LLC is the fact that I am able to work from the comfort of my home. It’s definitely convenient and I don’t have to fight traffic! The other reason, which I think is a very important one, is that I am able to use my talents, skills and passion to empower and encourage others within the blindness community which can also be said for the rest of the Fedora team.
This type of innovativeness is also shared by a new and upcoming organization called Project Starfish. Subhashish (Subs) Acharya and his wife are committed to finding businesses that are willing to employ talented and resourceful blind individuals and is the reason why Fedora Outlier chooses to follow Project Starfish on Twitter.
Come join me as I was given the opportunity to talk with Subs and learn more about his dreams and goals for Project Starfish.
Brie Rumery: For those of us who have not heard of Project Starfish, would you please tell us a little bit about the organization?
Project Starfish: Project Starfish is a camaraderie between businesses and talented blind individuals seeking employment by using a “virtual” pool of resources. Businesses need skills and talent, whereas the talented and ambitious blind want to experience work, get opportunities, and make an income. Project Starfish bridges demand and supply to create a sustainable virtual model, The key in the platform is the concept of a “shared service” , where multiple businesses (who can’t employ individuals) can work with one individual from the talent pool creating multiple sources of income for the blind individual. The impact is huge. Several businesses that die every year can now get back on the road, and on the other side the blind not only make an income, experience work, augment their resume and business network but also raise awareness about their capability and boost the economy of the country.
Project Starfish is not a concept. We are over 10 people strong, and we have 6 businesses working. About 7 members have earned money and few of them even multiple times. We are 5 months old, and we believe we will grow and create a nationwide impact soon. But again that’s a long way to go, but we are passionately determined!
BR: Why did you, as a sighted individual, feel the need to start this unique organization for the blind and visually impaired?
PS: I think I have seen both the side of blindness and unemployment a lot! There’s so much of blindness in my family and in India, where am from, and I have had businesses that failed just because I couldn’t get resources to help me. The availability of un-utilized talent among the blind and seeing dying businesses led to the program’s inception. Currently I invest in the organization, and don’t accept payments from anyone, because we want the unique business model to be self-sustaining. The businesses pay our consultants directly.
BR: How does Project Starfish go about finding employment for the blindness community?
PS: Project Starfish is a platform just like Facebook or twitter, and currently doesn’t employ anyone. We work on Projects from businesses, which are hunted down by my wife, an intern and I. We research, network, chat with them to find business problems to pair up our consultants.
BR: How can someone become more involved with Project Starfish?
PS: Project Starfish is free to join and free to leave. Our goal is to find talented individuals and build them into leaders. We look for people who have a background in sales, marketing, social media, content writing, customer service and personal admin. Individuals who need to engage with us can email us with their resume: email@example.com and schedule a discussion. The discussion usually leads to the identification of other skills and talents that the candidate may not even be aware of.
BR: What obstacles, if any, have you had to overcome in regards to the businesses Project Starfish works with?
PS: You will be surprised with the answer. All businesses I have spoken to are open to help us and work with us. They are amazed at the concept, the social opportunity and the ability to work with talented individuals. I have only seen openness to work with our folks because it’s a win-win. They also appreciate the cost involved.
BR: Is there a particular mentor that encouraged you to found Project Starfish and if so who and why?
PS: I think the biggest mentor is “necessity” and “responsibility” that made me passionate to see an endeavor like this succeeds as a social entrepreneur. I believe true discovery is seeing the something with a different pair of eyes. Additionally, my mother has been a huge supporter; however I must thank Laura Legendary for helping me when I needed it the most. Without her we wouldn’t have been able to start.
BR: In today’s era of accessibility for the blind, do you think we will see more “virtual” offices becoming more popular and if so why?
PS: With the use of technology, being virtual is flexibility, scalability, repeatability. As long as we have the mind set of being responsible, committed and accountable…I am a strong advocate of virtual work. It keeps costs down and I don’t see why that wouldn’t be the way for the future. Being virtual is the only way for Project Starfish to be sustainable.
BR: Why do you feel it is important to use Twitter as part of Project Starfish’s social media platform?
PS: There are several advantages of Twitter, so here are two things. First you can contact anyone, and second messages are brief and accessible. It aligns with what communication should be, short, sweet and savvy!
I want to thank Project Starfish for taking the time to enlighten me and hopefully others about this innovative and adaptive organization. Make sure to follow them on Twitter @projectstarf1sh and for more information or to submit a resume you can do so by sending a message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The ability to provide the necessary tools and skills to the blind, low vision and deaf-blind communities in regards to knowing how to use an iOS device is very important to the team at Fedora Outlier, LLC. That’s why the Old Hat Guide to iPhone Accessibility was written and it is why the new and improved iOS7 Edition of the book will be available quite soon. You can pre-order a copy of the Old Hat Guide to iPhone Accessibility, iOS7 Edition for just $4.99 by going to our web site http://www.fedoraoutlier.com/order. The book is unique because it tells a story along with step-by-step instructions, so order your copy today!