edo Advisor, Rishad Tobaccowala, is a world-class expert on advertising and branding in the digital and social media space.  Rishad is on the VivaKi executive management board & serves as the Chief Strategy and Innovation officer.

1. Today, you hear a lot about ‘Big Data.’  What is an example of a company that has made the most intelligent use of the increasingly large, fragmented and valuable inputs of Big Data? Why has it been a success?

RT: The single best Big Data Company is Amazon in every single way. Big data not only in the way they have so much information and so much pioneering technology such as Amazon Web Services but how they use all the computing to make things easy, relevant and valuable for people. They combine the analog, digital and mobile world in extra-ordinary ways.

2. You read a lot, which book do you refer back to most & what makes it so special?

RT: The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant, which I read when I was a teenager and still, look at often. It is important not only for its content, which is the life and thoughts of some of the greatest philosophers, but for the concepts of how there has always been a struggle between the rational and the emotional, between the present and the everlasting and how technology and what came before changed how we view the past, each other and the future. Most importantly it teaches one about the things that are important before its too late.

3. You’ve worked for the same employer for 30 years, today that is somewhat unheard of, why do you feel today’s generation jumps jobs so regularly?  And what could today’s generation learn from sticking around longer, like you have?

RT: To be fair while I have worked for the same company for 30 years, I have had at least 10 different logos on my business card and worked across a spectrum of areas from media to creative to direct marketing to digital marketing and much more.

My advice is that by staying at one place you build a lot of knowledge and credibility that allows you to work fast and smart since you do not have to prove yourself all the time. More importantly you can spend more time looking outside and less time learning about the world inside. The key is to keep learning and being challenged and frankly you do not have to switch jobs if you are lucky enough to join the right company.

My advice is if you water your own lawn the grass does not have to be greener somewhere else.

4. Technology is changing how people buy as Convergence of digital, personalization and mobile is shaping the Future of Shopping, if you had to choose 2 areas that will impact retail the most, what would they be & why?

RT: The two biggest changes are going to be mobile and social (though they are interconnected). Mobile because you will have information and much more in a store and people will make your shopping experience more interactive. Mobile will connect the analog/place base world with the digital/virtual world. The other will be social in that word of mouth about service or specials or your friends choices and interest will inform your decision making.

5. Social media – Fad or Forever?

RT: I consider the better description of Social Media is the “People’s Network” where due to the Internet (The Connection Engine) people are connected to each other and can share, express and discover. The People’s Network is the one of the biggest and most significant changes in society and will have ongoing and long-term implications, in ways many of us cannot truly understand. So definitely not a fad.

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Rishad Tobaccowala, Advisor

A world-class expert on advertising and branding in the digital and social media space, Rishad serves as Chief Strategy and Innovation officer on the VivaKi executive management board.

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