Capt. Samarth Singh is a Pilot, Business Owner and successful foreign affairs and aviation blogger based in Mumbai, India and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We caught up with him to explore this colorful career mix and how it works for him.
1. Capt. Samarth, flying and a business owner? How did that come to be?
That’s a question I get asked a lot. Simply put, Hybrid Content is my first startup I did, back in college. By the time I finished studying to be a Pilot, Hybrid Content had done pretty well and I was very engaged in the growth process. Since flying has always been the first love, I had to find a way to balance my entrepreneurial side with the passion for flying. Corporate flying was the way out and that is what I have been doing these past 7 years.
2. You blog as well? Is that a third side to your career? Or is that just out of interest?
Blogging happened much later for me. You have to realize that my job at Hybrid Content is largely ‘content creation.’ Writing has always come to me naturally. In fact, some of my friends joke that in most cases I can better explain myself in writing, than in person. I have also worked with the Times of India group and the DNA group as a freelancer back in the day.
My blog, samarthsingh.com is centered around Opinions (Foreign affairs in specific, current affairs in general) and a little bit of travel and aviation.
I have never said I’m a good writer, but I enjoy writing. The readers have been very kind indeed.
3. Capt. Samarth, what’s your take on the aviation industry today?
Aviation as of 2016 is booming, across the globe. And I’m not saying this from a pure ‘hiring’ or ‘job market’ point of view. In a country like Malaysia or India, if someone with a fair investment pool is willing to start an air taxi service, air ambulance service or small to medium freighter operation the market conditions today are very favorable. In my opinion, the successful startups in aviation today, will most certainly be front contenders in the next decade.
4. It’s easy to talk about startups and entrepreneurship but difficult to walk the walk. What would you say to that?
Indeed. Startups require patience and require heart. The patience to know that you aren’t going to turn your first profitable quarter anytime soon and heart to be able to cope with sustained capital loss for months. But things do get better. If an Entrepreneur can set rules for himself or herself and afford a considerable amount of time, they can rest assured their venture will eventually make them money. There are exceptions to this rule. One has to make sure there is a certain degree of uniqueness or exclusivity in the service or product being offered. Having said that, a little bit of patience and you’re on your way to building a sustainable business model.
5. And what’s your message to aviation geeks (#avgeek) especially the ones who want to be pilots?
Being a pilot is one of the most fulfilling ways to work for a living. I have said this time and again and I don’t think I will ever change my mind. It’s a competitive area and one that is very fulfilling, job content wise and money wise. It’s also very academically demanding. One generally thinks a pilot barely studies 2 years to get qualified to fly. Nothing could be further from the truth. A pilot remains academically engaged all his life. It is one of those professions that requires you to continuously learn. The technology around aviation is changing everyday and a pilot needs to know and understand that technology better than most aviation professionals.
6. Talking about learning in aviation, have you worked or do you wish to work in this area?
Absolutely! In fact, thanks to a close friend and a fellow aviator, Capt. Raj Mazumdar from Mumbai, I have been part of the Institute of Avitaion and Aviation Safety in Mumbai, India which is an aviation college run by the Federation of Indian Pilots. I was initially brought on board for digital marketing but over the last few months, Raj and I have been brainstorming for the institute and we hope we can fine tune the quality and course offerings at the institute. It’s a job I take very seriously and consider it an important contribution to Aviation Studies.