Interview with Akshay Gund
Founder and CEO at Sasha Innovations
Blogger, GIS Expert, Freelance Photographer
SEO and Digital Marketing
Pune, Maharashtra, India
Q1. Please share your educational and professional journey with us?
I was a very outgoing kid, who loved to be in nature, had a great interest in animals and technology simultaneously. I was very lucky that my childhood was not spent over gadgets and internet as compared to the kids, nowadays. I learned to fail and deal with it. I took a lot of, “No”, from my parents and friends and was happy with that. My childhood taught me a lot.
I finished my schooling from Dr. Mrs. Erin N Nagarwala Day School, Kalyani Nagar-Pune. I finished my Junior College from Nowrosjee Wadia College, Pune & completed my graduation from the same college itself. I completed my bachelors in Zoology as I had a great interest in learning and knowing about humans and animals since childhood. I loved to capture animals and learn about them. Though I never had a camera of my own, I managed to win a lot of photography competitions. Finished my post-graduation in GIS (Geographical Information System) from Symbiosis Institute of Geo-Informatics, Pune. From the day I left college, I was working with a company in Thane (Mumbai) and served almost 3 years.
I was still working when the lockdown was declared. Initially, work from home was fun, however, later, I was irritated and confused about my future and honestly speaking, I never imagined myself working for someone for my entire life. My elder cousin had said it to me once, “You’re not meant for a desk job.” It was not more than 2-3 months that I’ve started with, “The Weekend Express”, I resigned from my company. I remember it was my birthday and my last working day in the organization. No! I was not earning from my blog. Yet.
It was a very big decision for me to quit working with an organization while most of the people in the world, were been fired from their jobs and the economic situation for the country was not good as well. It still isn’t. I read a lot of question to myself, which helped me clear my mind about working for an organization.
I took a good healthy break after resigning as 3 years of night shift has made me a Panda. (Because of Dark Circles) I slept a lot and met my friends in the day time. Earlier my day used to be spent sleeping.
It again became monotonous for me and I had nothing to do except blogging. I started planning for opening my own company, discussed certain things with my closed ones and there it was. In November 2020, I registered my own GIS & DIGITAL MEDIA MARKETING company. A PRIVATE LIMITED company. The name of the company would be, “Sasha Innovations Private Limited” and I launched it on 1st January 2021.
In December 2020, I got another good news that Google AdSense was approved on, “The Weekend Express!”
Q2. What did attract you to write a blog on Health and Fitness?
It was the very first lockdown of the decade, something almost none of us might have imagined would happen and I had already tried things like modelling, photography, cinematography, acting, corporate events, property events, working in an event company, bar events, been a personal trainer in gym, guided people with proper diets, tried YouTube and was also working for a MNC (night shift).
I always wanted to try new things and unlike people, I had many things to do during the lockdown. Whomsoever I had a conversation with, was without an idea about what to do during the lockdown and how to spend the entire day siting home. I thought about sharing some of my ideas with people, however, didn’t know much about how could I share this with them.
While researching, I came across this article which mentioned that people consumed a lot of their time on internet. Trust me, the very second, I had my own domain and hosting and that’s when, “The Weekend Express!” was born and there was the very first blog post about, “9 Unique Things To Do During The Lockdown”. After spending sometime with the blog, I understood about “NICHE” & “TARGETED AUDIENCE”. That’s when I decided that health and fitness are the main topics in the pandemic and people actually need to understand the importance of staying healthy.
The Weekend Express is all about health, fitness, productivity and lifestyle and somewhat about photography. People would expect a lot of facts about their health, how they can maintain themselves, how they can keep themselves fit, etc. Readers can also expect some psychological and philosophical facts sometimes, about being and staying motivated, about being successful, about being productive, ideas to earn money online.
The main aim for me is to see people with a great perspective about themselves, their lives, and their aims, how they can achieve things they want and how to live life to the fullest.
Q3. You have GIS, Blogging, Photography, Content Writing and many more experience in your career. Which one do you like most and why?
So, every experience of mine or rather every interest of mine has emerged at a specific time. I did my first modelling shoot when I was 19. I did my first ramp walk when I was 20. Acted in my first Bollywood movie when I was 21. I was 22 when my first article on fitness was published in a newspaper. At the age of 23, I tried with event management and actually did some major events with the help of an event management company.
I was 24-25 when I developed android applications and I had a great time doing that. I learnt it from scratch, watching videos on YouTube, etc. I remember the first android application I developed was for the Snakes of India and what snake was found in which geographical region in India, if they are venomous or non-venomous, if you have any nearby hospital if you get bit by any snake.
Another android application I made was in 2018, which was for pets and animals that get abandoned or meet with an accident. If any of the traveler or person witnesses an animal which is abandoned or is hurt by any chance, they can click picture of the animal in the application, put the necessary information in the application including the location and submit the request. This request would go to a NGO and then the NGO would come to the rescue of the animal.
During all these years, one thing which remained constant was photography. Everything that were mentioned above gave me thrill and excited me. However, photography gave me peace of mind and a feeling of satisfaction. I won a lot of prizes and awards for my photography. I participated in various competitions where people with more experience and better camera equipment participated and I was the winner.
This gave me a sense of pride and confidence. These are some of the feelings that are very hard to feel while living our lives and I am lucky that, photography gave these to me. This being the major reason, I would always choose photography as the most amazing experience in my life.
Q4. What is the role of GIS in the digital transformation of world?
GIS is a booming industry in India. Though this technology is been widely used abroad and many industries and individuals are using it for their personal benefits, I believe this would be of help for our country in next 5 years. With emerging applications of GIS, it has been very easy for the government, businesses, and individuals to take all the benefits and put the technology for use.
Traditional surveying methods are now gone. We have drones/UAV’s that make the work very easy and saves a lot of time with great accuracy and precisions.
Urban planning has become an easy way to figure out a place and make huge decisions on mouse clicks. Site suitability, proximity analysis, network analysis and various such applications have given engineers and construction sites more to look out for before construction and selecting a place for their next project.
Many cities in India, have already planned their Metro projects using GIS. So for me, I believe GIS can only be a limit in the imagination of a person.
Q5. What is the importance of Digital and Social Media Marketing for any Blogger?
Getting a business online has become a must nowadays. Everyone is on their mobile phones all the time. Even while reading this interview or this blog post, most of the people are using the mobile phones. Every business is optimizing their websites and making the websites responsive for mobile use. There’s a reason for that. Google has also announced that they’ll rank pages and websites that are highly optimized for mobile use.
With all these parameters, we should understand the importance of staying online and reaching more and more people. Digital media marketing in itself has grown over years and the readers of this interview should be knowing the possible reach and the revenue digital marketing has generated over years.
For bloggers, with SEO, digital & social media marketing is very necessary. In order to reach the specific audience, one needs to know the in’s and out of marketing themselves on social media. Starting from building the brand to promoting each blog-post to the relevant audience who can further share the blogs to the interested people. Understanding the audience’s behavior and checking what they like, can further shape you to create content that is been viewed the most. And that is where the business comes from.
Q6. Which one skill do you like most about yourself?
As mentioned earlier, photography would always be my favorite. There’s a lot to learn, there’s a lot to explore, there’s a lot to try. Every photographer has this is head that there is someone better than them. People have amazing talents with photography and editing skills. There’s always “Something New” that keeps a photographer alive with their talent and skills.
Every time whenever I take a camera in hand or a phone for clicking pictures, there’s always a need to be creative because the audience is bugged seeing the same old clicks. A photographer must be creative in order to keep him up to date with the trends. Some of these challenges keep me up for every next picture I click.
Q7. What do you want to convey to the world?
I definitely have some things that I would like to convey to the readers. If you’re reading this article today, next month, next year or after a couple of years, remember to cherish this moment. Life is too short to complain about things if they don’t go according to how you wanted them to. Always stay positive no matter how hard the situation is. Things, sometimes don’t work out according to you. Always keep trying.
Follow your interests. Don’t let anyone tell you, who you are. Create yourself. Don’t talk about people and waste time. Keep yourself healthy, both mentally and physically. Do what you like and not what you’ve been told to. Follow your gut. Things happen. Learn from failures. Don’t give up soon. Keep trying consistently and you would get whatever you wish for.
Don’t live without aims and dreams. You have your lifetime to smoke and booze. These are just distractions which may pull you off track and would keep you far from your dreams.
Always remember to start your day with a smile and end your day being grateful to people. Life is amazing if you change your perspective. Have fun.
Q8. What does motivates you?
It might not be fair if I mentioned about what content people were consuming over the internet, because every person who abused each other in front of camera, would get famous and that personally was very irritating. Creators spread a lot of negativity around and people are actually consuming it. That creped me and that specific moment I decided to spread at least some positivity and motivation around.
Read more about Akshay Gund @
Business Website: https://sashainnovation.com/
Facebook (Profile): https://www.facebook.com/aakshu.gund/
Facebook (Blog): https://www.facebook.com/gundamantri/
Facebook (Business): https://www.facebook.com/sashainnovations/
LinkedIn (Business): https://www.linkedin.com/company/sasha-innovations