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Actor-entrepreneur Roshan Abbas talks about being curious, learning new things, and mastering multiple skills

Renowned storyteller Roshan Abbas has donned several hats throughout his career. He is an actor, TV and radio host, producer, event manager, creative film and theater director, lyricist, CEO, angel investor, serial entrepreneur, author, and public speaking coach.

Speaking about mastering multiple skills, Roshan says, “creators are naturally curious people” and he has always been curious. 

Image Credit: 100X Entrepreneur Podcast

Coming from Lucknow, Roshan moved to Delhi after completing school. While he wanted to be a doctor, he also enjoyed theatre, writing, debating dramatics, among others.

He explains that he follows a simple philosophy of just saying yes and jumping in. He adds that he seldom says no to things. He explains that he doesn’t just have conversations but also keeps them in his mind and takes notes. 

“Sometimes, I look back at notes, which would be from 1995-97. So I think just this thing of assimilating what you come across and not just going across the surface.. is something that I did… When I have sort of assimilated these things, I then maybe compartmentalise them somewhere in my inside me of saying, I will put this to use. My parents are both teachers and my father used to always say that experience is the key that life gives you that you don’t know when you might use. So, I keep a lot of these learnings with me,” he says.

Being a creator

Roshan explains that as a creator, he always searched for a bigger platform and audience. He explains that every time the scale increased, he kept on acquiring new skills.

“When I started in Lucknow, I had a very small audience – 200 people…And then I went to Ravindralaya, which was a 1,000-seater. Then I came to Delhi where I went to Siri Fort, which was 2,000-seater. Then I get on to the radio where I am talking to a city, then I get on to television, where I am talking to a country. So I think every time that scale of content, opportunity in terms of the audience kept increasing, and for that, I had to acquire new skills,” he says.

He reveals that he is deeply invested in the media, content, and creative space. He believes that it is important to “be interesting or be interested” and being interested involves sitting down and listening to someone else’s idea.

“As a curious creator, there are problems that I am constantly in my head trying to solve. For example, right now, we are spending so much time doing virtual communication? How will we solve for the human need of socialising? Now, I know this is a problem that somewhere I keep thinking about. So, if anybody approaches me with a solution to this, I know that I will find that to be interesting. The future of live entertainment is something that is an area of concern. So, I think this is one bucket that I am interested in. The second is, on most virtual communication, I see that people’s attention drops. I am very interested in seeing how people will keep people engaged, and therefore what are the tools they are building? What is the technology they are building? I deeply believe in the creator economy,” he says.

Following processes

Roshan reveals that apart from writing down notes from conversations, he also believes in hiring his own replacements. He is working towards grooming new leaders and then let them go on their path.  

“The other thing as a creator is I go down rabbit holes. Often I give myself actually about two hours every day to just explore. I will listen to the Vegas podcast, and then I will go to someone’s substack newsletter, and then I will go into one investment hypothesis and someone’s tweet. I keep saying, what do you feed your mind? Because, you know, if that plant needs to grow, what is in its roots, what is nurturing the roots is so important,” he adds.

Roshan also highlights the importance of being able to remove things from mind, which can be a distraction. He says that having “me time” is very important. 

In the recent episode of 100X Entrepreneur Podcast, Roshan Abbas talks about acquiring multiple skills and learning new things.

For more information, listen to the entire podcast here

Notes – 

03:23 – Mastering multiple skills; Creators are curious people

05:37 – Scale & opportunities from Radio to Television

06:10 – Identifying the next step

11:21 – “You can’t have every skill, then you hire for the right skill.”

13:17 – Importance of accountability in creativity

17:53 – Being a seller of dreams

22:34 – Be interesting or be interested

26:46 – Building Kommune for young creators

28:56 – Being militant with removing distractions

42:15 – Future & the change in media consumption

48:12 – Importance of having a great hook in storytelling

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