Red & Yellow – Student of the month: Hitesh Jinabhai
I was honored to have been named the Red & Yellow School’s Student of the Month. Little did I know, they also wanted to hear my entire life’s story. But instead of my memoirs (which will soon be available at Exclusive Books and nearby Kindles), we talked about some pretty cool digital marketing topics.
Not to mention why I love R&Y, digital marketing, what my dreams were growing up and whom I’d invite to dinner. While some of the questions were tough (and a little embarrassing) I luckily, have no trouble talking about myself. Check out the full interview below.
What does a typical day in the life of Hitesh Jinabhai look like?
I’m a lucky guy. I run my own digital marketing agency from home, which means I don’t have to deal with things like Durban drivers, canteen food and office politics. On the flip side though, no office, means no office hours, so I usually work 14-hour days doing what I love. Like I said, I’m a lucky guy! Mornings are spent getting through admin e-mails (from bed), then checking Facebook to see what is happening in my social world. Once I start work, I only stop for 3 things: food, the loo and gym. In that order. I occasionally look outside to make sure there is no impending zombie apocalypse.
What enticed you to come to Red & Yellow and study these courses?
In order to offer more sustainable digital marketing services, like content and social media marketing, I realised that I needed to up skill myself and be instructed in its implementation. The tricky part though was finding a school that offered programmes that could fit into my workaholic lifestyle, had a comprehensive syllabus, was taught by experts and offered an endorsed certification. R&Y were the perfect fit.
What was the most fun aspect of the courses?
As much fun as I am, it can get really lonely when you‘re working for yourself. I miss the collaborative chaos that’s produced by other creatives. It makes for great work and even greater company. The chat rooms provided that for me. I loved the interaction, the exchanges and the networking that went on. Mostly from me! And even found colleagues in my own city, who I have since enjoyed connecting and exchanging ideas with. Whether they felt the same way, is another interview altogether!
What do you feel was the greatest lesson you learnt from the course?
Before I started this course, I was an amateur. An amateur content and social media marketer thinks that writing a blog post makes you a content marketer and that being able to set up a Facebook business page makes you a social media marketer. The Pro’s know that these disciplines are as much about analysis and strategy as they are about content and creativity. And that’s been the biggest lesson for me – I’ve been taught to think like a pro, so that I can stop acting, like an amateur.
What practical lessons from your studies have you applied to your job?
The most practical insights were the content calendars and conversation plans. I struggle with consistently posting great content and would sometimes not post at all (writer’s block) or conversely post too much (binge posting) like a months worth of content in a day. The calendars and plans helped me find a nice middle ground so that I can consistently post a steady stream of content.
How do you see digital influencing your industry?
As a digital marketing manager, digital is my industry, so that’s a bit of a no brainer! I think the biggest challenge in digital, is keeping up. The digital world changes faster than Kim Kardashian’s twitter stream, so staying relevant is demanding but essential.
What course would you like to do next and why?
R&Y courses are like Pringle chips – you can’t take just one! I have a customised learning path that sees me studying User Experience & Design, then S.E.O. then Online Advertising, then Digital Analytics. So I think a better question would probably be, which course am I not taking next?!
If you could invite anyone in the world to join you for dinner, who would it be, and why?
At the time of writing, the iPhone 6 had just been released. And it becomes clear to me that we’re living in the age of the Designer. Whether it’s products or graphics, a design focus is now at the core of marketing and technology. Combine that with my brand evangelism for Apple, and I’d have to invite Jony Ive, Apple’s iconic product designer. I’d like to know what inspired his work and what the next big design trend is, all the while listening to his cool and mellow English accent.
Who was your childhood hero? Why did they inspire you?
I had an English teacher who sparked my love for the written word. We called him the “indian” John Keating (in reference to Robin Williams character in Dead Poets Society). And much like William’s character he inspired us with his wisdom. He recently passed away and my favourite memory of him was when he paid me one of the greatest compliments of my life at a parent teacher meeting, when he told my folks that, “Hitesh has a truly beautiful mind.” I carry that with me for every project that I start. I find that it helps me remember, that I can solve any problem, especially when the problem seems too big to begin with.
What did you dream of becoming when you were little?
Having studied computer programming as a kid (I started learning BASIC at the tender age of 14 and have not touch any code since) I’ve always wanted to become a systems analyst. I had no idea what that was, all I knew was that it had something to do with computers, and that it sounded very cool! I’ve since learnt that I am allergic to code.
Where do you think you will be ten years from now?
Besides being rich and famous, I hope to be creating amazing digital campaigns as a digital creative director at a digital agency. As you can see I love digital! I’m also trying to grow my own agency so that it can one-day rival Quirk! Rob Stokes look out!! Wonder if he’ll read this? Hi Rob!
Tell us something quirky about yourself.
I’m probably the only Durbanite who doesn’t support the Sharks. I’m a Stormers man. And while studying at U.C.T. I fell in love with Cape Town and the then brilliant Stormers. Clearly that was a long time ago. So whenever my team arrives to play in Durban, I don the blue and white hoops, and start shouting PPPRRRROOOVVVINNNNCCCE (even though it’s the Stormers) with a Cape coloured accent. That’s pretty quirky, for an indian.