HG Exclusive: In Conversation With One Plus's Arz Bhatia, The Youngest Employee At The Company

HG Exclusive: In Conversation With One Plus's Arz Bhatia, The Youngest Employee At The Company
[ As One Plus Two Launches Today, We Caught Up With Arz Bhatia, as he gave us an exclusive preview into what's in store for the new phone and OS. "At first I wasn't too sure about the design of it. I fired up a mail to the company CEO and gave him a couple of suggestions. Little did I know, next week I see the prototype I sketched in my hand and we went for it!," says Arz about the One Plus Two, indicating the truly collaborative and open environment the company has.]
When it came to Oxygen 2.0, Arz proudly declares," It's the cleanest close-to-stock experience you will ever get on a device.We give details to each and every corner of the OS and make it pretty.I believe in pixel perfection." Arz had just spoken to us moments after the launch event and couldn't contain his excitement on the feedback ," A team of 10 people making an OS for 2 million people in less than 90 days? I'm expecting the Guinness guys to contact us. My God this ride has been crazy. I am freaking out! Everyone likes it!" We present the interview we had with Arz in February when he was named one of the members of the Oxygen OS team. Peak into the mind of India's brightest tech breakthrough in years]
One Plus's
OS team
"Let me tell you, in my college, all my best friends have left college to do something of their own,"
 "This is the time young people are realizing they don’t want to become a factory worker or  follow in their father’s footsteps (business) but do something of their own in stead. I believe as long as you have a backup plan your parents should let you do what you want."
 Visual Communication
Ansal University, Gurgaon,
"I haven’t learnt much over there because the thing with graphic design is, once you get a hold of it yourself, whatever anyone else is going to teach you is irrelevant because you're not going to get a grasp of it at all. They have different methods of teaching. For example the way they teach how to make a square on a software, even that is different from how I do it." 
"It's a very interesting story,"
 "Back when I was in the 7th standard, when children start to get their first mobile phones, I used to be very fascinated by them. I was immediately interested in their interface and design
Designing is a legacy in my family too as they are all architects. I too was thus supposed to be an architect but I knew then it wasn't my kind of thing. I was more into  digital and graphic design." 
"Android got released in 2008 and the first Samsung Galaxy device came out. I was super excited about it.  Since the first Android version that is Cupcake 1.5, I started doing stuff like application design and boot animation for the device. Android wasn’t so big at that time but I knew it was going to be a big thing because the only competition at that point was Apple and people actually thought that Apple was dominating. But I thought that whenever Google does something this big, it’s going to turn out to be huge and I wanted to make sure I was in this line. I knew that someday I will be able to breakthrough." 
Before Paranoid Android, I used to work on other ROMs anyway. Paranoid Android was founded in May 2011. At that time, the founder approached me because he really liked my work and he needed a designer as PA gives a lot of importance to design and interface, unlike other ROMs which focusses more on features. That’s the thing with the Android community- you keep on working on different projects and eventually people will find you and you'll get to work on bigger projects.
The founder wanted me to be the front face of Paranoid Android in addition to the graphics and interface design, so I was even responsible for Public Relations like public release posts." 
It doesn't stop there either. It seems the selflessness in the manner Paranoid Android functions in itself is one of the most attractive things about all of this for Arz. 
"The whole journey of Paranoid Android has been amazing. The most interesting part is that we started with 4 members including me and now there are 33 members but we have never met each other! It's been four years that we have been working but we have never spoken on the phone or even chatted on video. All our work is handled through the Hangout Chat. We have spent nearly $7-10,000 per month on servers for Paranoid Android but haven't earned a single penny from it. It's all for the community."
"After Cyanogen MOD, Paranoid Android is the second biggest name out there. They approached us as they needed to design an OS of their own. They searched through the ROM community and contacted us through our Social Media profiles like Google Plus. The talks started in 2014 and it was really hard to keep it a secret until the announcement."
"One Plus has its own forums which everyone at office is constantly on, looking at what the user is saying and their wants,"
"We discuss each and every legitimate post of the user. This means that One Plus actually cares about the users and wants to give them what they want. On the other hand, when it comes to other big companies, I have seen so many requests being posted and none of them are fulfilled. I am not even sure if they read the requests.
"It matters a lot to us
In 2008 I started this free online service of making websites using Wordpress. People started appreciating my work as I didn't use the typical Wordpress themes and used graphics to make the websites look pretty. Hence, I decided to make it into a business. Since 2008, I took 3 years to come up with my business plan for Arz Bhatia Design Works. I now provide graphic and web design,architecture and interiors,copy writing and business plan generation for corporates and businesses. It's taken me some time to now make it an on-going thing"
"I know a lot of them and let me tell you, they are excellent. I have worked with some of them before and they are excellent,"
 "In fact, Indians are the most enthusiastic  and responsive members of the One Plus community. That is why they even entered India recently." 
In terms of software support, they are nothing. If you buy phones from an Indian manufacturer, which has for example Android 4.4 KitKat I am pretty sure you are not going to get Lollipop anytime soon."
India is doing pretty good in every sense. I have been to China and Singapore and worked in companies, here and there. When you come back to India you realise India and Indian companies have the potential to be ground breaking."
"Degree was a problem. Degree for Indian parents is very important  and it actually is.But in the job I got, they don’t care about degree. "
Desperate to incite the young designer to spill a few exclusive bytes about Oxygen OS, we might have pushed him as hard as we could, but he refused to take the bait, making us like him even more in the process.
"No, I don't want to get fired. I am still on probation!"
" I can tell you this though- it will be a very clean interface close to Stock Android with small unique features."
"If I don't like One Plus, I can go back to college." But from the few months he has worked at One Plus, he has no intentions of leaving the firm and is  really excited about working in China over the next few months as Oxygen makes its debut. When quizzed about future plans, he says that the only thing on his mind right now is giving the user the best they can by giving it their all. We have worked for 24-28 hours straight in the office,"
The kind of work I am doing at One Plus is something I wasn't able to do three months back. I have worked really hard there and I am really proud of my work and that is something really hard to achieve if you are a designer because a designer never really likes his work. A designer has to keep practicing to be the best. Every week you learn something new to make something unique. I am sure that I am going to be learning new things even when I am 50. A designer’s life is like a never-ending creative process. Keep hoping and practicing--as a hobby at first and if you are certain enough, quit your job and pursue it to the fullest."
Don't think about money. Money flows in if you deserve it."
                                                                                        Words: Devang Pathak 

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