Bye Bye Byju’s ??

This is the most recent update on the Byju’s saga …. A Quora post by Mr. Deepak Mehta has rattled Byju’s to such an extent that they have violated privacy norms, traced out his cell phone number, and given him a call late at night !! Why are they so desperate? I did not know that they had taken down Mr. Kandaswamy Balasubramaniam’s post from all social media sites.

A company that provides tuitions to your child (ages day of conception to Class XII) is behaving like a goon. They have also bought the company called “White Hat Jr” that teaches coding to new born babies :(:(.

I had written a couple of days back on Byju’s – Is Abram Khan joining Byju’s?. The FB post referenced in that blog was written by Mr. Kandaswamy Balasubramaniam and has been taken down by Quora, FB, etc. The following post by Mr. Deepak Mehta is even more damning. Do read and beware.

Note to Parents – w.r.t tools like Byju’s

Just as you can’t teach a horse to walk on two feet, every child is not a coder, or a Mathematical genius or a 99 percent or even an Engineer. Each child is unique and they come with their own set of capabilities and talent. Please let the child explore and figure out what they are interested in. Please don’t force them into attending Byju’s or any other classes in order to score in the 90% bracket. Its unrealistic and an enormous strain.

The link to Mr. Deepak Mehta’s reply to What disturbed you today on Quora.

Reposting Mr. Mehta’s answer in full here because there is a good possibility that it will be taken down on Quora.

(182) Deepak Mehta (दीपक मेहता)’s answer to What disturbed you today? – Quora

I wrote an answer about how BYJU’s silences all of its criticism across social media platforms — Deepak Mehta (दीपक मेहता)’s answer to Why do you hate BYJU’s?

I also wrote about it on LinkedIn and on Twitter.

Around 8 hours ago.

An hour ago, I received a call from a random number. I was on another call so I declined. I received the following WhatsApp message.

I called them back and had a 30 min discussion.

The person on the other end was a senior Byju’s employee who told me he had read a critical piece on Byju’s on Quora and wanted to discuss it.

I asked him what he wanted to discuss and he said he just wanted to put forward their side of the story.

He went on about Kanthaswamy Balasubramaniam’s post and how it seemed “malicious” to them. Their social media team “analyzed” it and saw that “almost all upvotes” were from Tanzania and other countries. I asked them if they analyzed the tens of thousands of upvotes and the profiles and checked their location and he said yes (which seems quite the impossible feat).

I told him that it was still not acceptable that they got it deleted. He responded that they do not have such power and they just reported it. I told them that a single report is unlikely to have triggered the deletion and if what he was saying was true, there was possible mass-reporting from Byju’s employees. He maintained that it was not the case.

We also discussed the issue of Dr. Malpani (the VC whose LinkedIn profile was deleted after a string of critical posts about Byju’s) and he said he was in touch with him too and swore they had nothing to do with his account being deleted and that they simply “reported” his content.

Finally, we touched on the viral Reddit post where one of their sales managers was abusing a junior associate. He said he was aware of it and they had taken corrective action as soon as they were notified. He accepted that there were issues pertaining to workplace toxicity but they have been addressed.

I reiterated that the crux of the issue here is different — how and why did they try to scrub that video off of Reddit. And he maintained the same stance that they did not.

After half an hour of hearing excuses, I told him that the fact that he somehow got my number from someone in my social circle, and called me unsolicited within less than 8 FUCKING HOURS of my post being up was a blatant breach of privacy.

He said that it was not his intention.

I retorted — IT’S 930 PM. And that he had no business calling me up. He could have commented on my posts on the respective social media platform. But he had ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT to get my number and call me at dinnertime.

He went back to the same excuse of trying to “share their side of the story”. And I told him in clear words that his action was just strengthening the case that BYJU’s has an active social media army that tracks all content that is critical of them. I asked him why they do not leverage social media to counter anything that they think is not factual or is actually slander/libel. His excuse was that they are not a very social media savvy company (LO-FUCKING-L). Imagine the biggest EdTech startup in the world claiming that they are not social media savvy!

I ended the call asking him to introspect his action today. And to communicate the same to the larger firm. The way to deal with criticism is not to silence it, but accept it and take corrective action. The way to deal with “fake news” and “misinformation” is to disseminate the truth through their own channels instead of calling people in the dead of the night without their permission.

I hope it got through.

But all of it has left a bad aftertaste.

The suddenness of everything.

The massive fucking OVER-REACTION about a bunch of posts upvoted/liked by some 3–4k people.

The fact that his voice was quivering during the entirety of the call.

The lack of convincing responses to queries (“we simply reported them, don’t know how their accounts/content got deleted”, “we don’t do mass reporting”).

And I felt a bit scared TBH.

I told him that I have been writing for almost a decade now. And I have been critical of a lot of people, corporations, ideologies, political parties, etc. But never across my 4000+ posts have I ever experienced something like this.

If the folks over at BYJU’s read this (and I know they will), think about what you are doing. I shared the same advice with your representative on the call, and I will reiterate.

“Look inwards. Figure out what you are doing wrong. It is easy to feel on top of the world when you are excelling at everything. Skyhigh valuations, 100%+ YoY growth rate, prestige, etc often go to your head. But none of them will survive if your corporate culture is rotten. One person saying something bad is an isolated incident. 2–3 people saying it might be a coincidence. Thousands of people talking about it points to an actual issue. There are multiple anonymous posts on Twitter and Reddit that all share the same testimony — it’s not about an amazing EdTech firm, but a revenue-hungry company that has sidelined its original mission and the well-being of its employees in the blind pursuit of growth”.

End Notes – Mr. Shah Rukh Khan gets paid millions for saying “accha lagta hai” on the Byju’s advert. You are paying a portion of those millions by enrolling your child into Byju’s. Every child is unique and every child is intelligent in the area of his/her choice. If Byju’s is that great why not implement it in schools and save money spent on teachers ??? Think and think logically. Praying for sense to prevail.

2 thoughts on “Bye Bye Byju’s ??”

  1. I can imagine what this guy had to listen at 930pm. 🙂 But the core issue is not Byju, that’s only one of the many selfish money minting orgs tapping on parents aspirations (not kids aspirations). Core issue is availability of resources. Since govts have been busy in caste and religion, availability of education resources was always last priority, which private sector is encashing, and they’ll always do. But policies will need to keep them in line. Otherwise, whistleblowers will continue to face the heat.

    • Yeah, also the politicians till now have used Education as a money making sector. They open schools and Engineering colleges and work in collusion with banks to offer student loans. They make money but the EWS folks lose everything. The NEP 2020 addresses some parts of this problem by introducing vocational training and credits for every year of study.


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