Words of (Entertainment) Wisdom
By Admin, 3rd August 2018 | Shows Related
Our CEO, Sameer Nair talks about what inspires and keeps him driven professionally and creatively.
- What's the maxim that you adhere to professionally?
There are 2 guiding factors I use in life…ONE, my 5-point checklist – Communicate clearly | Be polite | Be persuasive | Sweat the detail | Seize the moment – and TWO, try to always be childlike about everything and never childish about anything.
- Tell us about three accomplishments from your career that have given you the most satisfaction.
The achievements I have been proudest about so far are…
-The Star Plus revamp in 2000 with the iconic KBC and the K-Soaps which turned Indian Television on its head. It is significant because Star was at the time the least fancied competitor with as much hope as a snowball in hell; that made our stunning victory, and then Star’s continued, absolute dominance for 8 years, all the more sweeter!
- The NDTV Imagine journey, which after a great launch in 2008, sailed into the perfect storm of IPL-1, Colors, the Global Recession and indifferent ratings. While the channel ultimately didn’t succeed, I learnt the greatest management and leadership lessons of my life through that tumultuous phase bringing alive the adage ‘Calm seas doesn’t make skilled sailors’.
- The more recent Alt Balaji launch in 2017 where I helped grow an excellent B2B local production house into a global B2C digital streaming OTT App which is already rivalling global majors, domestic broadcasters and giant telcos. Alt started with a tiny idea. Then we gradually assembled an awesome team, raised international funding and meticulously built it brick by brick to reach where it has today.
- Over the years, who has inspired your quest for excellence?
As a 10-year-old my mother got me a book called ‘100 Great Modern Lives’ from her school library. I was, and remain fascinated by the lives of the greats, be they Conquerors, Inventors, Discoverers, Sportsmen, Artists, Businessmen, Saints or Sinners. My list of inspirational people is very long – and different people and their actions in myriad circumstances teach me life lessons about the vagaries of life and the steely resolve of the human spirit.
- According to you, what makes businesses successful?
Businesses are successful because of the people who work in them; and because of the genuine need-gap they fulfill in the lives of their consumers and society at large. There are 2 types of people – those who work in big companies and those who make companies big; in both cases, executives and entrepreneurs need to go way beyond the call of duty to make their businesses and companies succeed.
- Comment on India's socio-economic dynamics from a marketing perspective.
India’s socio-economic dynamics are amazing. We boast the youngest population in the world (60% below 30), a demographic that promises great achievement, but this demographic is also offset with caste and communal division, huge unemployment, lack of opportunity, crumbling infrastructure and a slowing economy. From a Brand perspective, India is both a great investment opportunity and a grave business risk. But it comes back to my earlier point about people – like in companies, people can live in great countries or people can make countries great. The onus is on us, to go beyond the call of duty. A recent example – the Japanese Football Team, after losing, cleaning their locker room before leaving, was a much-shared WhatsApp message in India with us appreciating the Japs. What we need to do is emulate them, not just fake-applaud them and then anyway continue with our littering ways.
- What's the key to achieving a fulfilling work-life balance?
There are so many conflicting theories to the right work-life balance; I’m not sure there is a right answer. What I have always done is that I am on a continuous 24/7 work & vacation life. I switch-on and switch-off at a moment’s notice, and stay intensely focused in bursts; it allows me to find periods of relaxation in the midst of hectic work schedules and windows of time to work in the middle of a holiday. My mantra for this is being in the moment and living, giving that moment your fullest.
- Apart from work, what else drives your passion?
I love physics, inventions and discoveries, history and politics, business and economics and of course the arts and entertainment. I am a voracious reader with very varied tastes, I love competitive sport, enjoy food, family and animals, have a newly discovered interest in farming and have rekindled my love for science-fiction.
- One life advice for the people starting out in their careers.
My father gave me one solid piece of advice when I was just finishing college. At the time, the smart successful ones were the engineering, medicine, commerce types and the arts were really for those who couldn’t make it. All he told me was that ‘whatever you do, don’t drift. No matter your chosen profession, strive to be the best.’ That’s my advice to everyone starting out – and to use a military metaphor – to eventually become a general or king, you have to work your way up the ranks, always keep your eye on the daily detail and eventual goal, and most importantly, stay alive, stay in the hunt. There is a difference between risk and recklessness.