Bajaj’s WhiteHat Jr. V/S Pradeep’s WhiteHat Snr.

Bajaj's WhiteHat Jr. V/S Pradeep's WhiteHat Snr.

The Indian EdTech Platform, WhiteHat Jr, has been in the news ever since CEO Karan Bajaj filed a defamation lawsuit against WhiteHat Snr.’s Pradeep Poonia, who has been a constant critic of the company for its alleged misleading advertisements and malpractices. Let’s see the timeline of the entire case.

Crux of the Matter

Who Is Pradeep Poonia?
Pradeep emerged as one of the main whistleblowers, taking on the marketing gimmicks of Jr.’s with videos of their inexperienced teachers. A total of 15 complaints were filed with ASCI for 7 such ads and 5 ads were pulled down.

Is He Behind WhiteHat Snr.?
Yes, Pradeep is an ex-product manager at ed-tech firm NextEducation. He runs WhiteHat Snr., a YouTube channel that claims to offer a curriculum similar to WhiteHat Jr. for free.

Case of Disappearing Negative Reviews
Apparently, many of Pradeep’s videos and social media accounts (on YouTube, Reddit, Twitter, Quora, and LinkedIn) were taken down, after he started sharing screenshots and videos of the company’s toxic work culture and questionable practices, via their slack channel.

He also claimed to show how employees used personal and fake accounts to get negative reviews – including videos showing the inexperience of teachers – removed as well as harass their critics like Anirudha Malpani, an angel investor.

Did This Happen To Others Too?
A rival kid’s coding platform, Tekie, also accused Jr of posing as a student in their classes to understand and copy their model of teaching. A 12-year-old YouTuber Jihan Haria, who roasted an advert, had his video taken down, too.

Battle Shifted Offline
Last week, Jr filed a ₹20 crore defamation case against Poonia, accusing him of defaming the coding startup, accessing internal communications, and violating its name copyrights. A ‘copy-paste’ lawsuit of ~₹14 crores was filed against Malpani too.

What Did HC Say?
At the Delhi HC hearing on Nov. 23, Justice Mukta Gupta granted an ad-interim injunction in favour of WhiteHat Jr. Poonia has been barred from accessing their internal communications and using the name WhiteHat Sr online, until the next hearing on January 6, 2021.

Likewise, Malpani was also restrained from making defamatory commentary against WhiteHat Jr and next hearing for him would be January 14, 2021.

Curiopedia
  • Byju’s was Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s first investment in Asia. Currently, it was the world’s most valued EdTech company with a valuation of $11.1 billion.
  • Coursera is an American massive open online course (MOOC) provider that has online courses, certifications, and degrees in a variety of subjects. edX.org is another well-known MOOC.
  • Founder of Khan Academy, Salman ‘Sal’ Amin Khan attended MIT and Harvard Business School. Khan was named one of the 11 inaugural members of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship by Barack Obama in 2014.

Is WhiteHat Jr. Watching You?

Is WhiteHat Jr. Watching You?

The Indian EdTech startup WhiteHat Jr. has recently drawn the wrath of parents and tech experts for its unrealistic marketing gimmicks and data breach of personal information of minors from their servers. Let’s understand what exactly is going on.

Crux of the Matter

What Is WhiteHat Jr.?
It is a Mumbai based Ed-Tech platform founded in 2018 that teaches students live coding through one to one video classes with instructors. The startup offers 4 major courses – beginner, intermediate, advanced and professional – for students in grades 1-12.

Why Did Byju’s Acquire It?
Byju’s, valued at ~$11 billion, acquired WhiteHat Jr. for $300 million as the former believed coding is fast emerging as a key skill for the future. So this acquisition helped Byju’s grow overseas and achieve an annual revenue run rate of $150 million in the US.

What Went Wrong?
As per the accounts of an independent security researcher to WhiteHat Jr, personal data of 2.80+ lakh students including names of their parents were exposed to outsiders, due to a vulnerability on the company’s server-side.

The personally identifiable information (PII) included students’ names, age, gender, images, user IDs, parents’ names, and progress reports. Moreover, salary documents of the company amongst other internal company documents were also lying out in the open.

Personally identifiable information is any data that could potentially be used to identify a particular person.

State Of Denial
WhiteHat Jr sent the researcher an acknowledgment mail separately, stating that all vulnerabilities were fixed within 24 hours and the company’s AWS servers were restricted, as of November 20. However, publicly they kept their stance of “no potential data breach”.

Case Of Misleading Adverts
September 2020: Jr received criticism from parents to celebrities, for bombarding them with deceptive ads on social media platforms and TV. Estimates from media planners cited money spent on adverts as between ₹10-15 crores.

The Advert That Started It All
One of the deceptive ads showcased a 7-year-old kid as a TEDx speaker and the youngest app developer. Then videos of Jr’s teachers as inexperienced professionals also started emerging. Subsequently, a total of 15 complaints were filed with the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) over 7 such ads.

WhiteHat Jr. has been embroiled in other such controversies. Read more about it here: Bajaj’s WhiteHat Jr. V/S Pradeep’s WhiteHat Snr.

Curiopedia
  • Byju’s was Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s first investment in Asia. Currently, it was the world’s most valued EdTech company with a valuation of $11.1 billion.
  • Coursera is an American massive open online course (MOOC) provider that has online courses, certifications, and degrees in a variety of subjects. edX.org is another well-known MOOC.
  • Founder of Khan Academy, Salman ‘Sal’ Amin Khan attended MIT and Harvard Business School. Khan was named one of the 11 inaugural members of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship by Barack Obama in 2014.

What Exactly Is Herd Immunity?

What Exactly Is Herd Immunity?

Herd Immunity. Population Immunity. Herd Protection. You must be hearing these terminologies ever since the hunt for a solution to control the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic started. Let’s try to understand the basics of herd immunity, its threshold, and how vaccination has worked in the past.

Crux of the Matter

Population Immunity
It is a concept seen by epidemiologists, in which a population can be protected from a certain virus if a threshold of vaccination is reached.

Alternatively, it can also be achieved when individuals become immune by contracting and then recovering from an infection naturally. This provides indirect protection to those who are not immune to the disease yet.

Can You Give An Example?
Yes. For polio, if 80% of a population is immune to the virus, 4 out of every 5 people who encounter a sick person won’t fall ill. Thus, the community spread of the disease would decline and then disappear.

Does Herd Immunity Threshold Vary?
Yes. Herd immunity for high threshold disease like measles required about 92 – 95% of a population to be vaccinated. For a low threshold disease like influenza, 33 – 44% were vaccinated.

Best Antibody Drug Conjugates GIFs | Gfycat

How Do Vaccines Function?
Vaccines train our immune systems for the time when we are exposed to the actual disease, by creating Y shaped proteins called antibodies, which fight off the virus, without making us sick. Vaccines can either be prophylactic (to prevent the effects of a future infection by a natural pathogen) or therapeutic (to fight a disease that has already occurred like cancer).

How Can We Not Fall Sick?
A vaccine isn’t harmful to our body as it just contains an agent, which is either the weakened or killed forms of the microbe/its toxins/its proteins.

Herd Protection From Once Common Diseases
Before vaccines were developed, kids with weakened immune systems could still get infected. Diseases like Measles and Chickenpox are now rare in communities with high vaccination coverage. 

Herd Immunity Explained by GIF | Vince & Associates Clinical Research

Where It Doesn’t Work?
After viruses mutate and create new variations, the antibodies from a previous infection provide short-time protection. Also, herd immunity applies only to contagious diseases like flu and not infectious diseases like Tetanus.

Curiopedia
  • The modern word “immunity” comes from the Latin immunis, meaning exemption from military service, tax payments, or other public services. The term “immunes”, is also found in the epic poem “Pharsalia” written around 60 B.C. by the poet Marcus Annaeus Lucanus to describe a North African tribe’s resistance to snake venom.
  • Variolation used to immunize individuals against smallpox (Variola) with material taken from a patient or a recently variolated individual, in the hope that a mild, but protective, infection would result. Material from infected patients was inserted in people through skin scratches which resulted in immunity against smallpox. The method was first used in China, India, and the Middle East before it was introduced into England and North America in the 1720s.
  • Pulse Polio is an immunization campaign established in India to eliminate polio by vaccinating all children under the age of five years. Tamil Nadu was the first Indian state to become 100% polio-free through the pulse strategy.

Diego Maradona And ‘Those’ World Cup Goals

Diego Maradona And 'Those' World Cup Goals

With football legend Diego Maradona passing away due to cardiac arrest, let us look at his career and the ‘special’ goals he scored against England in World Cup.

Crux of the Matter

Diego Armando Maradona
On 25 November 2020, Diego Maradona passed away at the age of 60 due to cardiac arrest. Maradona is considered the best football player of the 20th century along with Brazilian legend Pele.

Maradona is called ‘El Dios’ (The God) in Argentina in reference to his jersey number ‘El Diez’ (number 10).

Club Career

  • 1976: Professional debut at the age of 15 for Argentinos Juniors.
  • 1981: Joined Boca Juniors – won Argentina First Division title with them.
  • 1982: Transferred to FC Barcelona for £5mn (then record fee). Won Spanish League Cup, Spanish Cup, and the Spanish Super Cup with them.
  • 1984: Transferred to Napoli in Italy for a then-record fee of £6.9mn – played till 1991 for them. Scored 115 goals in 259 appearances, and won 2 Serie A titles and 1 UEFA Cup with Napoli which are the only league titles and the European Cup in Napoli’s history.
    Napoli had finished 11th the season before Maradona joined.
  • His Napoli titles are notable as they were won against the ‘Golden’ generation of AC Milan with star Marco Van Basten and coach Arrigo Sacchi.
  • Retired in 1997 after stints at Sevilla, Newell’s Old Boys and Boca Juniors.

‘Hand Of God’ And Goal Of The Century

  • Maradona scored 34 goals in 91 matches for the Argentina national team.
  • Won the 1986 FIFA World Cup – Argentina’s last World Cup since.
    No player had 10 goal involvements (5 Goals + 5 Assists) in a single World Cup since Maradona in 1986.

Maradona scored 2 memorable goals against England in 1986 World Cup Quarter Finals:

  • ‘Hand of God’ – scored using his hand (unnoticed by referee).
  • 2nd goal called ‘Goal of the Century’ (as declared in 2002 FIFA voting) – dribbled from behind the half-line past 4 English players and the Goalkeeper and shot the goal from a tight angle.

Maradona, turns like a little eel. He comes away from trouble, little squat man, comes inside Butcher and leaves him for dead, outside Fenwick and leaves him for dead, and puts the ball away. And that is why Maradona is the greatest player in the world.

Bryon Butler commentary on BBC Radio on Goal of the Century

Maradona had scored the 2 goals just 4 years after the 1982 Falklands War (England v/s Argentina). It had spanned across 10 weeks, where 649 Argentinian troops and 255 British troops had died.

We, as Argentinians, didn’t know what the military was up to. They told us that we were winning the war. But in reality, England was winning 20-0… the hype made it seem like we were going to play out another war. I knew it was my hand…it was a nice feeling like some sort of symbolic revenge against the English.

Maradona on Hand of God
Curiopedia
  • Speaking on his infamous goal against England in 1986 World Cup, Maradona said, ‘The goal was scored a little bit by the hand of God, a little bit by the head of Maradona’.
  • Maradona and Messi are the only two players to win the Golden Ball for most goals in FIFA U20 World Cup and FIFA World Cup. Both players are native to Argentina and both have played/are playing for FC Barcelona.
  • George Best, a Manchester United legend and one of the best players ever, died on 25th November 2005 too, the same date as Maradona.

Podcasts On A Rise In India

Podcasts On A Rise In India

During Covid-19 lockdown, the number of internet users in India has seen a spike. Apart from OTT platforms and YouTube, podcasts have attracted a significant number of users. With experts forecasting that regional language podcasts will be popular than English ones, let’s take a look at this sector in India and some interesting regional language podcasts.

Crux of the Matter

Podcasts are digital audio films of books, speeches, conversations, etc. During the lockdown, the popularity of podcasts has increased across the globe as well as in India.

Given the increasing penetration of the internet in India, podcast users in India are expected to grow to ~224 million in 2024 from ~41 million in 2019.

Advertising revenue from podcasts in India is expected to grow to $95 million in 2024 from $19 million in 2019. Moreover, experts are predicting that regional language podcasts

Some Of India’s Famous Regional Language Podcasts

Pratilipi
It is a Bengaluru based startup founded in 2015 by Prashant Gupta, Rahul Ranjan, Ranjeet Singh, Sahradayi Modi, and S Devarajan. It’s an online audiobook portal featuring content in 10 Indian languages. So far it has raised $40.4 mn from investors like Nexus venture, Omidyar Network, Tencent Holding, Shunwei Capital, etc. Its subscriber base increased 4 times from 35,000 in Feb 2020 to 150,000 in Nov 2020.

Kuku FM
It is a Mumbai based regional language podcasting platform developed by Lal Chand Bisu, Vikas Goyal, and Vinod Kumar Meena in 2018. Investment of $5.5 million has been made by Investors like Vertex Ventures, Shunwei Capital, etc

Pocket FM
Bengaluru-based Pocket FM is an audiobook & podcast app developed by Rohan Nayak in 2018. More than 10K+ popular audiobooks are available on it. So far, it has raised $5.61mn from Tencent Cloud, Lightspeed India Partner, and the Times Group.

Headfone
Bengaluru-based Headfone is a social audio platform where one can record, listen, and share audios. Pratham Khandelwal and Yogesh Sharma founded it in 2017. So far it has raised $750,000 from Fosun RZ Capital and Axilor Ventures.

Curiopedia
  • Anchor is an app specifically for creating and publishing podcasts. In February 2019 Anchor was acquired by Spotify and operates as a subdivision of the streaming company.
  • A podcast is a portmanteau, a combination of “iPod” and “broadcast”. The term “podcasting” was first suggested by The Guardian columnist and BBC journalist Ben Hammersley, who invented it in early February 2004 while writing an article for The Guardian newspaper.
  • The Apple podcast stats report shows that there were 550,000 podcasts on the web in 2018. Today there are an estimated 750,000 podcasts in the world with more than 29 million podcast episodes available in more than 100 languages.