K Bharat Kumar’s swanky job with a tech firm came with the following job hazards: Crazy work hours, skewed work-life balance and increasing stress. When the going got really tough, Bharat decided he needed to track his stress levels and fight it back. How does he do that? Read on.
“Stress is good in short bursts. It’s good to feel some stress before a presentation. It keeps you alert and helps you perform better. But chronic stress should worry you,” said Bharat. You could get your blood checked for cortisol, a hormone bodies secrete when its under stress, but monitoring it over a period of time involves a lot of cost and time.
He found a way out when he stumbled upon research that suggested that stress levels can be gauged by voice. Along with R Narayanan, a business consultant and his mentor for nearly a decade, Bharat launched StressMobile in July to measure the level of stress based on 20 voice attributes. All you have to do is call up +91 92822 00222 and answer three questions; StressMobile’s algorithms will calculate a ‘ricochet value’ to indicate whether you are a ‘cool cat’ or ‘headed for a heart attack’.
StressMobile is a part of a trend that has caught up with professionals across the world and is driven by a management credo that says “to measure is to manage”. That’s why Bharat believes the service will pay back. He is in talks with telecom companies for a revenue share deal, which will be his main source of revenue. (At present, the service is free.)
The service is now available only in India, but has gathered followers. As Anand K, an investment consultant, says, “Knowing my stress level destresses me.”
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(This story appears in the 15 November, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)