As part of our interview series with Digital Media thought leaders, we talked to Bhaskar Ballapragada, President of AdOnNetwork, a premier online Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising company that provides innovative contextual and audience based advertising solutions for advertisers and publishers and delivers high-quality traffic from U.S. and international sources. Ballapragada told us what he thinks about Film Annex's initiatives in Afghanistan and shared his ideas about digital media, technology, and education. Film Annex is currently building Internet classrooms in Afghanistan with the mission to improve the Afghan education system and the economy of Afghanistan. Last week, we finished the construction of our first classroom.
Film Annex: What do you think of Film Annex's initiatives in Afghanistan?
Bhaskar Ballapragada: I think Film Annex is addressing the biggest and most important issue that countries such as Afghanistan face which is lack of education, knowledge and access to information.
F.A. Digital and social media have changed the political scenarios of several countries in the last two years. Can they also affect the educational and financial landscape? If yes, how so?
B.B. Digital and social media is a big equalizer of education. While the students in Afghanistan may not have the financial ability to pay for paid online resources, a plethora of free educational resources becomes available to them immediately.
F.A. Is digital media the most efficient source that can educate the Afghan youth?
B.B. Digital media is a tool that in conjunction with classroom education can greatly accelerate learning.
F.A. Can digital media and advertising sustain financially upcoming countries like Afghanistan and their educational system?
B.B. Yes, we have already seen it happen in developing countries such as India.
F.A. How can digital media serve the emancipation of women and provide them with an independent education, connectivity, and financial freedom?
B.B. Digital media not only provides a means for women to educate themselves which is road to financial freedom, but allows them to interact and organize freely without fear of retribution.
F.A. What is your opinion on investing in the education of the Afghan youth and women by building schools in Afghanistan?
B.B. Investing in building schools not only serves a great cause but will provide immeasurable returns to those affected as well as the country and society at large.
F.A. Our goal is to increase the average yearly income in Afghanistan from $900 to $8000. How long do you think this will take?
B.B. At an annual growth rate of 8% which is significant by any standards, it would take 30 years for annual per capita income to reach $8000. I would say it would be a significant accomplishment to meet the goal within that timeframe.
F.A. Veterans have a prominent role in the Film Annex initiatives in Afghanistan. What is your opinion on (G.I.V.E.) - Global Initiative for Veteran Entrepreneurship and building veteran business opportunities?
B.B. In the fast changing marketplace, it is important to constantly update our skills. While our veterans were serving years on duty, some of their skills got eroded. We owe our freedom to Veterans who have given their lives in service of this great nation. It is important that we provide them with as much help in getting assimilated including skills training when they return. G.I.V.E is a great example of such initiative.
More about Bhaskar Ballapragada: Bhaskar is an experienced Engineering and Management executive, with 15+ years of experience within the Internet and Technology sectors. Bhaskar joined AdOn in 1999 as the third employee of the company and has been with the company ever since. He is currently responsible for the business operations and P&L of the division. During the course of his tenure at AdOn, Bhaskar has been introduced several products and technologies, navigated the organization through up and down markets, and increased revenues and profitability year over year. Prior to leading AdOn, he was a Senior Engineer for several years at Damon S. Williams Associates an Engineering Consulting. Bhaskar earned a B.Tech in Engineering from IIT, Bombay, a PhD in Engineering from the University of Washington and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.