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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – A C4E Cohort

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – A C4E Cohort

Hi! My name is Saurabh. Mostly found lurking on Twitter at @saurabh or at saurabhgarg.com. And if you are here, you either want to know more about the cohort we run for young people, or you have a bone to pick with me!
In either case, here is who we are in a nutshell.

  1. We’re a group of self-proclaimed “interesting” people trying to make a living as a marketing collective.
  2. We all have an eager ambition to create large-scale impact, and a raging passion to keep going beyond all borders and across all the finish lines.
  3. While we do the above two, we want to learn more about life and things and share whatever we’ve learnt! And the way we learn is via hanging out with other young people. And we’ve somehow stumbled upon a structured way to do so. And we call it SoG. 

And a large part of this document will talk about what this SoG is and what we hope to get out of this.

1/ So, what exactly is the Shoulders of Giants (SoG) cohort?

Lemme start with a story. When I was young, a lot of people took a disproportionate interest in my life and allowed me to do a lot. Which is more than what I would’ve done otherwise. And now that I am older, I want to pay it forward and help others do more. So, if you’re younger than me, consider me a shoulder you can stand on to reach greater heights. I’m a platform you can use to build your own business, pursue a hobby, or even figure out what you want to do.
What happens when you join us at SoG? 
Well, for starters, we throw you right in the pool’s deep end. We encourage you to explore new ideas, opportunities, and thoughts you may have never considered. And we also connect you with other like-minded young people so that you can learn from each other and push each other to be the best versions of yourselves. It’s like being in a college dorm, a scout camp, or even just a classroom in the school of life. There’s no real structure or schedule that we follow, but we do have a set of expectations from each member of SoG. 
Oh, each SoG member gets a fixed “stipend” of 5000 rupees per month for their time with us. And there’s no limit to how long you can stay in the program – we’re here to support you for as long as you need us.

2/ Why did I create this program?

I’ve touched on it briefly above but allow me to indulge a tad more, after all, this is my life’s work! 
So, at some point in my life, I came across this quote – “If I’ve seen further, I’ve been able to do that because I had the shoulders of the giants to stand on the top of.” I can’t seem to find the source, some people attribute it to Newton, some to Archimedes. I am not sure. 
It resonated with me since and upon reflection, I’ve realized that whatever I have today is because I’ve been able to stand on the shoulders of multiple people. Not just one, not just two, but probably 100s of people. From giving me my first agency exposure and funding my crazy ideas when I needed it, to giving me a fancy house to crash in whenever I wanted it, my people (and giants) have been there to help me through it all. 
As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that I can never pay these people back for their kindness – after all, most of these are fairly well-to-do, and they’re at the peak of Maslow’s pyramid. Of course, I can’t live with this debt on my soul; the least I can do is pay it forward. And this is what SoG is all about. 
So, to pay it forward, I want to create shoulders for others to stand on top of. And I can do it by mentoring and supporting those who are at the beginning of their journey. I think this is where the largest impact needs to be made. And while I may not be able to do my Shramdaan or physically contribute (cos, I am, well, old!), I can make a meaningful impact by providing guidance and assistance to those in their early 20s. 
No, this is not an original idea. There are many more similar, more structured programs that I am standing on the shoulders of, especially in arts and sports. If you see, cricket teams are always finding new talent thanks to their super strong Scouts program. For example, Yuvraj Singh’s father, Yograj Singh, started to coach Yuvraj from a very young age, and he grew up training to be a cricketer at the highest level. Most sports teams try to find kids with great potential, and even if they don’t have it, they help them work hard on the skills they need to become great.
Even in Indian mythology, all the princes would get sent to a Gurukul, away from their families and all their luxuries. Then they had to learn everything from gurus in really tough conditions. Plus, there are stories where each time a son was born to a king, they would send all other just-born boys to the Gurukul, strip them of their lineage and titles, and whichever kid did the best there was designated as the prince. 
We can find parallels in the business world as well. Most large companies have a very well-defined succession path where talented people are spotted early on and are trained to become leaders. In fact, companies like Tata Administrative Services, Unilever, P&G, and Amazon are all reputed for their ability to groom people.
So that’s what I’m essentially trying to build – a program that helps young people become better people and, if not that, successful entrepreneurs.

3/ “Can I join the SoG?”

At SoG, we seek sharp young people looking for an extra boost, and an additional support system to give them an edge. So when it comes to how people join SoG, it happens in two ways. First, someone sees what their friend or peer is up to as part of SoG and thinks, “Hey, that’s pretty cool. Can I get in on that too?” and proactively finds a way to join us. 
The second way is when we stumble across someone’s work and request them to come on board. It could mean they join us as part of our crew or become part of our audience. It’s about finding passionate, like-minded people eager to learn and grow.
By the way, we’re always on the lookout for new talent. So you can call me a scout too. And if you’re wondering whether you’d be a good fit for SoG, the fact that you’re asking that question means you’re a great fit!  
If you’re intrigued by what we’re doing and the people involved, whether out of inspiration, envy, admiration, or any other reason, hit us up and connect. 
It’s that simple, my friend!

4/ What exactly do you need to do as an SoG member?

SoG is not a free ride. When you come to SoG, you come to hustle, work hard, learn and teach others. In our experience, people that do not commit to spending 20-25 hours a week with us do not get the right value. We expect a lot from the members of SoG – talking, studying, reading, watching, experimenting – all that good stuff. You have to treat it like a legit part-time or full-time gig. If you’re willing to prioritize SoG and C4E, we promise to do the same for you. 

Oh, we are not the right place for young ones looking to make a quick buck. Every member at SoG is expected to build businesses that impact the lives of billions of people. And that’s not just some lofty goal, it’s the bare minimum. Even if you don’t have a grand plan right now, it’s about having the ambition and drive to create something impactful in the future. This is your launchpad to take your career to the next level and go beyond the comfort zone of your college education and otherwise privileged life.

Please note, it’s not just about pursuing your own goals – you’ll be helping others achieve theirs too. That’s what makes it such a cool collaborative effort. You’ll be surrounded by driven, ambitious folks, and you’ll all learn from each other along the way. It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, designer, coder, or just curious about something new – you’ll have the chance to try new things, fail, and learn from your mistakes. And you’ll be contributing to the growth and development of your fellow members too. 

We’re not just aiming for individual success here but for success as a community and as a village.

5/ What does the future look like for SoG?

Our goal is to create a community of high-agency individuals who want to impact the world positively. Think of it as a gang of world-changers! We want to see some of the most impactful people in the world coming out of this crew. It’s like Peter Thiel’s Thiel Foundation scholarship but with our own twist.

As a member of the SoG, your focus should be on personal growth and development. It’s not a competition with others – it’s about becoming the best version of yourself. When you’re done with SoG, you should be able to look back and see how much you’ve grown and improved while you spent time with others from SoG. 

We are all about experimentation, embracing failure, and valuing each person’s unique talents. 

Right now, my focus is on working with about 50 young people a year, but I can only handle about eight or nine at a time. If you have an idea I can back and help you scale, or even if you want to be surrounded by like-minded ambitious people, hit me up. Let’s chat. My Twitter is @saurabh, and my DMs are always open.

Alternatively, you could directly fill in our form – Join SoG 2023.

And oh, if you want to say hi to some of our current SoGs – they’re at @akforthevibe, @chandniDD (an SoG alum), @creatiwittybae, @rohitrajxd, @nuksaaaan, @adiisbuilding, @vedsave1, @sidddisH2Obaby, and a few more who we’re yet to get on Twitter!
That was us! See you around <3
Credits: Written by Aditi Patel for Saurabh Garg.

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