Sept. 20, 2021

TMTL: Trail Blazer Interview with Prantik Mazumdar

TMTL: Trail Blazer Interview with Prantik Mazumdar

On this episode, Surbhi is joined by Prantik Mazumdar who wears multiple -hats as the head of business, keynote speaker, venture and angel investor besides being a thought leader in his own right. 

Prantik's professional journey has followed a successful path enriched with lessons that he learnt along the way.  On the episode he shares how he converted his failures into vital lessons, how it is important to be intentional about growing one's thought leadership and designing a process of immersing oneself in a particular area. He shares unique perspectives about following key people and how they inspire him to develop his thought leadership. 

Listeners are in for a treat with actionable ideas from Prantik to take forward on building their thought leadership.

[00:00:00] Surbhi Dedhia: Hey Prantik, I'm so excited to have you on The Making of a Thought Leader podcast today. It is absolutely my pleasure.

[00:00:06] Prantik Mazumdar: Absolutely. Thank you so much for connecting and reaching out, it's always good to kind of meet people, especially in our case, we know so many common friends and it's a good to kind of be connected and yeah do this together.

[00:00:20] Surbhi Dedhia: Thank you. Please take us to the backstory of how you came to do what you're doing today.

[00:00:26] Prantik Mazumdar: Yeah, sure. hi guys, I'm Prantik Mazumdar. I am part of the Denstu international group. So two years ago we sold a business that me and Rachit my partner at Happy Marketer the business that we had started so we sold that business after a period of about 10 odd years. So happy marketer, the business, when we started was, essentially a boutique digital marketing and transformation consulting firm. Just three of us who started. Rachit's the original founder. We scaled that from, I guess, zero to 60 people with about five offices with clients across mostly Southeast Asia, some in Middle East as well.

[00:01:04] Prantik Mazumdar: And our idea was to essentially, medium to large businesses, mostly back in the day, traditional businesses to transform and, you know, get onto the digital bandwagon. That's how we had started. We have three business models, there's a consulting arm, a training arm and an execution which is the agency part of it.

[00:01:21] Prantik Mazumdar: So yeah, that's been a nice, a decade long journey. So post the sale to Dentsu now. I lead one of the three business units for Dentsu in Singapore. So it's a nice transition from running your own startup to now be part of a larger corporate. And Dentsu is one of the top five digital marketing agencies or Marketing agencies in general, globally, including a pretty good base in Dubai, and EMEA and well, oh the backstory essentially, you know, I guess I'm a third culture kid and immigrant moving around. So I am a Bengali, but I grew up in Pune for the first 13 years of my life. My parents are back there.

[00:01:58] Prantik Mazumdar: That's what I call home outside of Singapore where I've lived 20 years. About six odd years, I was in Jakarta. So my parents and I moved to Indonesia in '96. So I did my high schooling from there, extremely fond memories of life you know, growing up in Jakarta fabulous, fabulous time. And then I came to study at NUS The National University of Singapore.

[00:02:20] Prantik Mazumdar: That's where I pursued computer engineering as a major and a minor in technopreneurship. And then I started my career with the Singapore civil service a body called IE Singapore, which is now rebranded as enterprise Singapore essentially helped right from tech startups to large telcos.

[00:02:36] Prantik Mazumdar: And I, in fact, yeah, that's probably the time when I probably visited Dubai for the first time as part of one of the government missions to the middle east, Dubai being one of the stops. And then I had a couple of private sector opportunities in the brand building and digital marketing side before joining the Rachit at Happy Marketer.

[00:02:52] Surbhi Dedhia: Wow. That sounds really like a phenomenal two decade journey. Is that, so far?

[00:02:58] Prantik Mazumdar: Yeah, certainly it's been two decades.

[00:03:02]Surbhi Dedhia:  How amazing. So I see that you've gone from in your professional career. You've gone from working in the government to private and then entrepreneurship. I'm sure you would have had like these key milestones of achievement, but I also want to understand what were some of the biggest failures and the challenges that you faced switching from government to private and from private to on the entrepreneur founder side of business.

[00:03:30] Prantik Mazumdar: Yeah. The two that come to mind is, you know, government to private, the fundamental difference is on the government side. You know, there is no profit pressure. Although I must admit that the Singapore government, runs like as good as a private sector, extremely efficient. But I guess when I made the switch to the private sector, it was to a B2B brand consulting firm where I was heading sales. And eventually I led India market operations. So in fact, probably both my failure stories come from there where one was the transition, I think, just to kind of appreciate the different kind of skillset and mind set that's required when you're running a for-profit small organization.

[00:04:06] Prantik Mazumdar: That mind set shift is pretty big. So I guess the first failure was when I was back in Pune to kind of help this company set up their base in India. I think our fundamental lesson there was, we were trying to sell a brand consulting solution into Indian markets at Singapore prices. The contracts, you know, as you can imagine, different markets look at contracts differently. So the way in Singapore contract is sacrosanct perhaps you know, in a market like India, that is not the case many at times.

[00:04:33] Prantik Mazumdar: And also I think the biggest lesson for me is the definition of the product or the service in Singapore, because a lot of consulting services are supported by the government. The government typically funds are up to 70% of the consulting service, not the execution. So we, as a company were used to you know, just talking about our consulting services, but I realized in India when I went to businesses in Pune Mumbai Delhi, Bangalore.

[00:04:57] Prantik Mazumdar: Their definition or need was the executional part of branding. So they were looking at the, the aesthetics color of the logo, the change in uniform, the guidelines, whilst in Singapore, it was more research insight, consultative based. So I think that was an eye-opener that, you know, when you go to a different market, You just, you can't, it can't be an additive.

[00:05:16] Prantik Mazumdar: If you need to think, as you're starting fresh, you've got to not just adapt, but you literally got to build your business bottom up in that new market. So I think that was one failure lessons for me, a pretty big one. And the second one, I think in the happy marketer journey, you know, I think that tons of failures, but I think one that kind of stands out for me.

[00:05:37] Prantik Mazumdar: How as a business you need to kind of manage, you know, need to de-risk. And I think one thing that comes to mind is there's a particular client, which I had brought in and, you know, it was doing really well to the point. I think at one point it probably became 40% of the company's revenues and sure it's, you know, it's good money, but one fine day when the client, after I think a five-year period cancelled the contract, that's it?

[00:05:58] Prantik Mazumdar: We were, you know, we were in a bit of not bit, a lot of soup. So I think it's just that, you know, as you're scaling up, obviously you want to sell and take any piece of business, but as you mature, you need to take an outside in view of risk management of, trying to figure out different things, to ensure that your business is well protected because, it's not just a small business.

[00:06:17] Prantik Mazumdar: If it's just me, then it's different, but when different people's salary and their family's livelihood is at stake, you need to take a slightly different perspective..

[00:06:25] Surbhi Dedhia: Absolutely wow these are two very unique and different lessons, I would say . Let's shift a little bit here from the lessons that you learned to your subject matter expertise. The listeners of the shows are entrepreneurs who have set up their businesses. They are probably looking at marketing as a next growth boost to their organization, to their businesses and they are lean.

[00:06:47] Surbhi Dedhia: The message for the making of a thought leader show is for them to be encouraged, to develop their thought leadership. In your story, in your journey so far, how have you built your subject matter expertise?

[00:06:59] Prantik Mazumdar: Yeah. I think, especially when you're a small business lean business where you probably don't have marketing teams or even a CMO or a marketing manager, I think you know, at an early stage, you know, the founding team has to pretty much do everything, you know, sales, marketing, everything.

[00:07:12] Prantik Mazumdar: So I think there are a lot of leaders, a lot of business folks who say, Hey, you know what marketing is not for me, I'm the product guy, I'm the sales guy. Yeah. The truth is you're probably the everything guy or the everything woman. Right? You have to do it all by yourself until you reach a particular stage where you can either outsource or hire an expert.

[00:07:30] Prantik Mazumdar: Right. And I think there's a lot of joy in doing so, because I think, you know, you pretty much, even if you're the product person, you also have to be able to kind of communicate the value of the product both internally and externally. So you kind of have not, you don't really have too much of a choice.

[00:07:44] Prantik Mazumdar: Than to become a spokesperson, if you will. Right. I think in terms of building thought leadership, there are two, three things that really, I think in my journey that's kind of helped me. One is I think There's a constant need for evolving, unlearning relearning, because I think, you know, whether it's the skill of marketing or whether it's the domain that you want to market, you always need to kind of keep, be on your toes to kind of keep your eyes and ears open and see, how much interesting or relevant information can you consume, right. It starts with that strategic systematic consumption. In fact, internally, I've kind of created that system now in hindsight, having kind of thought through this process, what I call is surround yourself with goodness. It's a lot about it's, it's really a lot about being conscious about what kind of books you're reading, what kind of Facebook pages you're following, what kind of people you're networking? Right. So the way I do it is for example, there's a new topic that I want to learn. Let's say blockchain. I would kind of set aside a conscious two week period. And in this two week period you know, can I pick up one or two books?

[00:08:45] Prantik Mazumdar: Can I meet two people who I think know enough about it? Can I listen to a couple of podcast episodes around this? Right. Can I on LinkedIn and Facebook, you know, click on LinkedIn and Facebook on the pages to indicate that I want to see content from these pages, right? Creating a system, you can also subscribe to newsletter so you can't keep it to chance.

[00:09:03] Prantik Mazumdar: That's the first point. So once you do that in the time period that you have at your disposal, what happens is you start consuming and you let your mind kind of consume that in your mind, you know, typically kind of start assimilating, right? So let it kind of seep in. What really helped me in the thought leadership journey, which is where I think a lot of people tend to miss out is I think you got to make a deliberate choice of having a very critical, not critical, but a very sharp and crisp point of view on something. I think a lot of people who let's say share content on LinkedIn, the laziest option is just to press share and not say anything right.

[00:09:38] Prantik Mazumdar: Next lazy. So I used to post step is where you share, but with a very safe generic line, for example, right. I think what I believe is, you know, if you're sharing, whether it's, to a podcast like this or on LinkedIn or why our blog, it's not enough to share data in it. You got to be able to take that, put it into a particular example or context, and most importantly, share your point of view.

[00:10:01] Prantik Mazumdar: It's no different from, you know, back in the day in school, when you would write an essay, the teacher would say, you know, at the end, the concluding paragraph telling me what to do. Do you agree? Do you disagree? Do you have a new idea? And I think if you start doing that, what happens is that's where your opinion, your point of view starts coming through and that's what helps you build your brand. People will remember saying, Hey, you know, what, Surbhi we even if the disagree, I remember what Surbhi said, right? It's about being memorable. And there's a whole continuum. I always believe that when you speak, when you write, when you share it needs to evoke emotion, the worst piece of content for me is something that's bland and doesn't evoke emotion.

[00:10:39] Prantik Mazumdar: I'm okay. If it makes me angry, I'm okay. If it kind of you know, makes me think or makes me laugh, ideally. But it needs to evoke the point of view needs to evoke some sort of a thought or some sort of an emotion, right. And the last step is so, you know, consuming content in a structured way.

[00:10:55] Prantik Mazumdar: Making a habit to kind of share this point of view in a crystallized crisp manner. Be it internally via emails or externally via whatever digital channel you like. And the last thing that really helped me is if you can create an opportunity for yourself to train others. What I realized because it happy market up in a training was a good 20% of our business.

[00:11:16] Prantik Mazumdar: And the trainers were Rachit myself and some other senior employees. We realized that if I had to train someone on something new, let's say Google ad-words right. It forced me to read enough and learn enough because if I had to teach someone to speak on a stage, I better know my stuff. Right. Otherwise I would end up making a fool of myself apart from losing business.

[00:11:35] Prantik Mazumdar: So in that surround yourself for goodness, those are the three components. You know, I try and kind of deliberately practice or set time aside for, but I think fundamentally what I would urge everyone in the audience is to believe that you know, that the starting point is for you to believe that this is not a good to have, right.

[00:11:51] Prantik Mazumdar: As a business owner, what I tell my employees and my clients. Having a good product or being knowledgeable is table stakes. You need to do that. But what is more important is that the client or the customers or your customers or your audience perceives that your product is good or you have what's called perceived knowledge, right?

[00:12:08] Prantik Mazumdar: There's a big distinction between knowledge and perceived knowledge. So, and again, a lot of people tend to think that marketing is taking a shitty product and, you know, putting a good wrapper around it not true. It's all I'm saying is a good product is a given in today's world or in any world for that matter.

[00:12:23] Prantik Mazumdar: The question is, how do you convince the other side to believe that, I am good enough or, you know, I have a good product, or I know enough.

[00:12:32] Surbhi Dedhia: That is, that is fantastic. And you don't ask, you were speaking a question came to my mind of as a business owner. , you have given a very clear three step approach on how one can develop their thought leadership and share in the digital world, what happens is the hesitation comes where people say that, oh, I don't have a time or thought leadership is something that is not my cup of tea.

[00:12:53] Surbhi Dedhia: I'm a very introverted person. I I'm not meant for public. So what happens then? Like what would you, do you have you come across people like that or. Yeah,

[00:13:03] Prantik Mazumdar: no, absolutely. In fact, that's the most common complaint. So let's tackle the first one time. I think truth be told everyone has 24 hours. My grandfather used to always say that it's really boils down to no one has extra time.

[00:13:15] Prantik Mazumdar: Neither did Steve jobs nor Bill Gates nor you and I. Right. Of course, people's predicaments and privileges are obviously massively different, but I think know, ultimately, no matter how much time you have at hand for work, I think it does boil down to priorities. Right? So to me, and that's why I said the first step is for you to believe.

[00:13:34] Prantik Mazumdar: And if you don't believe that this process honestly would not be sustainable, you can't force something down someone's throat. But I think if one believes that, by having good talk leadership by , by building my personal brand and my company's brand will eventually help me sell, sell more, sell at a higher value..

[00:13:51] Prantik Mazumdar: If that belief is there that's critical. And then automatically I think you know, you'll start prioritizing any element of marketing, you know, whether it's thought leadership, whether it's digital marketing, through search social, et cetera. So I think it stems. You know, how strongly do you believe that this is a must have, right?

[00:14:08] Prantik Mazumdar: That's Point 1. Point 2 I think, you know, in terms of introvert, that's a very good question. I think a lot of people tend to believe that marketing is, you know, only for that person, for the man or the woman who is out there, extrovert is building connections, could be. But I think I've seen so many good marketers who are introverts. And I think the closest to my heart is my business partner. And I think, and I'll tell you his you know, his process of doing so he's, so between the two of us, I am the extrovert. He's not the extrovert, but in terms of his achievement at success, it's massive because I think what he does in any walk of life is the moment it feels that it's not natural to. What he's very good at, unlike me is he would break it down into a process. So he would literally say, okay, no, if I want to build thought leadership, what are the 39 steps? He'll break it down literally to the hour. Because I think, even if I think I'm very much an impulsive gut-driven person so sometimes it's hard for me to crystallize.

[00:15:03] Prantik Mazumdar: It's probably internalized already, but when I look at him and I think I quote him as an example, I quote my other business partner Sanchit who's you know coincidentally spent a lot of time in Dubai, Israel in his previous working life as well is how both of them are introverts, but they've broken it into a process.

[00:15:20] Prantik Mazumdar: They figured what they can do, and figured out where do they need help. And you know, they'll go about the process. What is true for both of them is they know, and they believe strongly that this is an imperative for the business, because if that's taken care of the process can follow. And one thing that I'll suggest, or a couple of pointers to the audiences, one is, you know, digital is actually made it much easier for the introverts. Simply because, you can choose to be a keyword warrior. You can write it, right. You can, you don't have to be live on camera. You can record a video, record an audio you, and if you're writing, you know, you have a lot of time to correct it, approve, get someone else to proofread it so on and so forth.

[00:15:55] Prantik Mazumdar: So I think that's one huge benefit. And the other thing is, where digital can help you is apart from, being behind the screen, so to speak is I think just the democratization of knowledge and who's available out there. Right? You know, maybe 20 years ago it was difficult for everyone to access.

[00:16:11] Prantik Mazumdar: But today I think that's, that's probably the worst, excuse one can give that, I don't know where to start. I don't know what to do. So if one believes it's important, And if one kind of scheduled time for it I think know then you bring it into a process and just kind of start making the most of it.

[00:16:28] Surbhi Dedhia: And also I think that consistency, right, like you can start believing, but if you don't do it consistently, you kind of fall off the wagon. And most of us are very similar to this thing that you start something going to the gym, fall off the wagon, start a healthy eating habits, fall off the wagon. But the point is to get back on the track.

[00:16:47] Surbhi Dedhia: And it's okay to fall off the wagon once in a while, because nobody's sitting there measuring that if you're doing it daily or, but it's at least showing up consistently.

[00:16:58] Prantik Mazumdar: No, that's so true. I think like with anything else in life, I think it has to come to a point of routine. Initially anything new is exciting and that's what kind of gets you going, but you need to be okay with it becoming a boring routine. And if you keep doing that and ideally if you start tasting a little bit of success at some point just keep doing. I think I'm a big believer. I think this process thing struck me. One is obviously when I saw Rachit do this, but being a cricket fan, I think I started, you know, started listening to a lot of what M.S. Dhoni talks about.

[00:17:26] Prantik Mazumdar: I was listening to a video. The problem with us is that, you know, we take pressure because we are always, and I think maybe we Indians or Asians as a society are always focused on results and outcome. Right. But there is the truth is in most cases in life. You don't have no control on the result of the outcome, but we definitely have a lot of control on the process on the input factors.

[00:17:48] Prantik Mazumdar: So I think that kind of inspires me if I want to let's say, become a thought leader. For example, firstly, I've got to define what does thought leader mean? And sure , you can have a target saying, you know, some people say, I want my post to go viral, some people say, I want incoming leads, whatever that is, define the outcome for you, and then leave it in your head.

[00:18:05] Prantik Mazumdar: I think then break it saying, you know, what do I need to do? And it could mean, Hey, you know, If today I'm going to post one post or I'm going to have two posts out there off this particular topic. With this particular point of view, I will start engaging with other thought leaders. So you can, you can need, you need to kind of break that down.

[00:18:22] Prantik Mazumdar: And I think for me, that surround yourself with goodness, is that process irrespective of the outcome. Sometimes it will come sometimes it won't, but that process needs to be. Give you satisfaction and joy.

[00:18:34] Surbhi Dedhia: Yes, exactly. And that is a very good point because the moment it's not adding value to you, you are going to not enjoy it. And I think the flip side of the coin is that at some point it may not give you that kind of joy, but if you have your goal set you anyways, build it into your routine and keep going. Prantik, tell me what influences you in life?.

[00:18:57] Prantik Mazumdar: Yeah, I think a lot of influences, I think I'd probably break it into, I guess, people within my personal network versus, you know, I guess icons who influenced me and I'd probably start with, icons who kind of influenced me or have influenced my thought, right. From the tech world.

[00:19:13] Prantik Mazumdar: I remember from a very early age, I remember my dad reading a book written by bill gates business at the speed of thought. I think thereafter I've kind of always, you know, followed and read what he does. I think that is absolutely fascinating. Just to kind of see the trajectory of his growth professionally as to, after Microsoft, the way it started.

[00:19:32] Prantik Mazumdar: And then of course the whole philanthropy, et cetera, I think on the public policy and politics side, something I'm quite passionate about. I think Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore. I've always been a big, big fan, obviously genuinely enjoyed the benefits that Singapore provides to an immigrant.

[00:19:47] Prantik Mazumdar: What, as an individual or as a, as a team that they have done to convert a, a fishing village from a third world country to a first world, as the 50 years of meritocratic, systematic, transparent, you know, you've, you've lived here, you know it, so I think his thought process, his candor, ability to kind of put thoughts into action in a very pragmatic way, I think has always influenced me the other, I think from the Indian side of thing, I think I'm a big a fan of, you know, reading what Shashi Tharoor through writes.

[00:20:14] Prantik Mazumdar: I think obviously apart from being eloquent , it's just the, I guess two things influenced me, but every time I kind of read something or see his tweet is one is, you know, there is of course the politics side of it, but I was a fan, when he was at UN as well. So I think it's just the vastness, both the depth and breadth of his knowledge, be it history, politics, philosophy.

[00:20:31] Prantik Mazumdar: I think that's fascinating. And I think also now to see that as an MP still has enough time to, as a thought leader to kind of, write. I think he writes,probably more than one book every year, which is phenomenal. Right? So again, these are people who kind of tell you. You know life is short and we all only have 24 hours, it's really about what matters to you, what are you passionate about?

[00:20:50] Prantik Mazumdar: And you know, to make the most of it, right? These are people from that walk of life. I think the last one in that domain, obviously being a massive cricket fan. I think Sachin Tendulkar, obviously, like many people he's had a huge influence on my life because again, I. When one grows up seeing that sort of an individual go from where he did from a little society, Mumbai to becoming an icon. Obviously there's tons of special God gift and talent, but I think to be able to sustain that through practice, to be able to manage pressure, to stay humble and rooted, I think just, you know, massive, massive influence.

[00:21:28] Prantik Mazumdar: You know, I would get goosebumps, not just watching cricket, but just watching the person. Right. And I'm sure there's something probably a lot of people would relate. On the personal front. I think the two that are obviously very close to my heart, my parents, some, the only child, but I'm really fortunate that I think, they kind of created an environment of learning at home.

[00:21:45] Prantik Mazumdar: It wasn't about academics. And this is interesting because this is, the nineties and the early two thousands, where I get today, you have holistic schools, you have international schools and all of that, but, having gone to a normal school in Poona and then, to a school in Jakarta, I think what is important is that nurturing environment where I think that idea was kind of let someone have the exposure and pick and choose what I would like. So, they exposed me to, let's say from, a Tabla to singing to cricket, but very soon they realize that wasn't my cup of tea. It was cricket for example.

[00:22:13] Prantik Mazumdar: And they kind of let me choose that and live that right. So I think that environment is again, a big influence

[00:22:19] Prantik Mazumdar: Yeah. And well, my, wife and kid. So my wife's a doctor and it's, it's a very, very good perspective that I get from her.

[00:22:24] Prantik Mazumdar: She's in the accident emergency department. So, you know, every time I have a bad day, I think all I need is a good conversation about how many lives she saved today. So now I realize, you know, it's, it's, it's a very simple, and I think the last two years it's been unbelievable. Cause you know, obviously she like many others are part of the frontline team here. So I think it just puts into perspective how trivial most of my problems are to be honest. And the last one is my five-year-old. I think especially the last two years, I think to be honest as a dad the first two years were difficult and you know, quite different to the last three.

[00:23:00] Prantik Mazumdar: As a parent, I suppose I needed some feedback. So as he started speaking and playing a post year three, I think it's been a lot of fun and it's just amazing, he's just given me an extra pair of eyes at half my height because what he observes or what he sees it's amazing. I wouldn't look at you know, some things that way. So I think on a daily basis my wife . Yeah, really good perspective and, you know, balance my perspective out.

[00:23:25] Surbhi Dedhia: True. And so well put because you need that 360 degree, isn't it. You can always go for the professional side and it actually consumes so much of our daytime or youth in terms of putting into your career, putting into practice, achieving your goals even as a, as a young entrepreneur.

[00:23:44] Surbhi Dedhia: But what balances you, or I think what keeps you sane is either your hobbies, passions, and family. So that is something really important to think about. And I think the last two years also has helped a lot of people to put all these concepts into perspective.

[00:24:01] Prantik Mazumdar: Absolutely. It's a, it's a blessing in disguise, to be honest. I mean, obviously it comes from a point of privilege, but I think that that, that sense of gratitude and that perspective is very critical for any entrepreneur, because I think all of us who may be listening, I think we know that it's the odds are against you.

[00:24:17] Prantik Mazumdar: They typically say one or two succeed out of 10. So you're already fighting an uphill battle. But I think, again, something I've learned from Rachit, it's so important to zoom out a bit of time and again, to just see in the larger scheme of things amongst the 7 billion people, the very fact that we have the opportunity to do this, or to try something that's a privilege.

[00:24:36] Prantik Mazumdar: And I think that perspective needs to come in often. Otherwise it can be a very tough, lonely journey.

[00:24:41] Surbhi Dedhia: In terms of thought leadership, are there any resources that you can point to for building one's thought leadership?

[00:24:50] Prantik Mazumdar: Like I said, because I try and kind of practice some sort of a conscious reading and, you know, some sort of, or conscious viewing or listening, I think in the last six to 12 months, there are two, there are two or three people that have kind of, I made it a habit that that's my, I suppose they're in my inbox, they're my LinkedIn, where ever I open . I suppose by now the algorithms have figured that I liked them. So I keep seeing a lot of them. So one person who's really influenced me is a gentleman called David Perell. You can find them on Twitter. He's a content creator. In fact, he has a very good course on writing. It's called Write of passage, Write with w I think what he does very well. So if you sign up for his newsletters, I think every Monday and Fridays, he'll basically share a nice long form piece of newsletter with his perspective on certain topics. And it's, it's a real mixed bag.

[00:25:38] Prantik Mazumdar: It's not technology, it can be art, humanities. It's, it's a mixed bag, but what I love is the style of writing. What I love is just the, you know what you mentioned about the regularity and the routine. I don't think he's ever missed a Monday or a Friday. It may sound small, but as a business owner, I can imagine that, you know, once people are. There's a paid version and a free version, but again, he's never missed it, but I love his approach to analyzing problems, articulating it to words. He does some fantastic video content as well. He does some doodles as well. And I think something that I've picked up from him is where I'm kind of struggling is I do consume a lot of content, but I think. You know, something's taken a back seat is just setting aside a time to read a book end to end. And that's something I've got to figure out from him because you know what I think what he's said to do, and from what he says is the deadline for publishing is becomes his deadline for reading. .

[00:26:30] Prantik Mazumdar: Because, you know, he writes book reviews, et cetera, as well or comparative pieces. So yeah, I seek a lot of inspiration from him. The other person is Scott Galloway, prof Scott Galloway for the last two years. I've. Both reading his newsletters as well as in fact Rachit and I did a course as well as part of his new university.

[00:26:47] Prantik Mazumdar: I just think two things that I love about prof Scott is just a breath of fresh air to have the courage, to basically provide a counter-view. And that's the point of view of talking about, right. And I think it's not just opinion in this case, it's opinion backed by some very solid research. Right. So I love the insight and the research-based you know literature that he puts out there.

[00:27:07] Prantik Mazumdar: And also the narrative that he builds. I think something, again, I was sharing. I think there is enough and more data information out there, but how do you build that into a narrative that evokes emotion? I think prof Scott Galloway is a fabulous asset or source for that. And the third one that I think I followed both as an entrepreneur, as well as a content creator.

[00:27:27] Prantik Mazumdar: Is Dharmesh Shah from HubSpot, again, an introvert, a product guy.. So if you will listen to his podcast or his writing. He's the last person who will imagine, who's built it, but again, the way he's processified it,  the regularity, the routine. And I think he's mastered the art of both long form and short form.

[00:27:46] Prantik Mazumdar: Recently HubSpot acquired a company which I'm a big fan of. It's called the hustle. It's a daily newsletter, which I think they focus primarily on the economics of a business or a business model, but again, in a beautiful narrative. So yeah, I think the way Dharmesh and HubSpot as a company, I think it gives me a lot of inspiration that how they look at content.

[00:28:06] Prantik Mazumdar: So yeah these are three people in the recent past that I kind of seek inspiration from

[00:28:10] Surbhi Dedhia: Other thing I wanted to ask you was the fact that you, you know, earlier, you said the idea of, you know, setting aside time, you decide that this two weeks, I'm going to learn about a particular topic.

[00:28:21] Surbhi Dedhia: I learned enough to be able to talk about it in a rounded way, give a good perspective about it. So what happens in the digital world, and I'm really thinking about myself because like you, my interests are in thousands of things, right. As, as a parent, as an entrepreneur, as a marketeer.

[00:28:40] Surbhi Dedhia: So the consumption of information is so vast. How does one go about in a disciplined way to do you, like, for example, in your case, you were saying that you follow these three icons and you make sure that the algorithm know that, you know, you like them. So you are getting information wherever, whichever digital platform you open.

[00:29:02] Surbhi Dedhia: So what happens to the previous ones that you were following? Like probably a one-year back. You had some other people that you first, so do you in a disciplined way, unsubscribe them or.

[00:29:12] Prantik Mazumdar: Yeah, that's a good one. So I kind of bake this into one part of this learning is deliberate. And the other part, which you rightly said in all of us rightfully have various other interests in life.

[00:29:21] Prantik Mazumdar: Right? So for me, it's cricket. Politics, et cetera, et cetera. So I think for the deliberate part, yes, I would actually block some time on the calendar because again, something I've learned from my business partners is unless it's on the calendar, it's very hard to kind of be disciplined because I've realized like for running, for example, it's only been a acquired habit in the last year during the lockdown.

[00:29:41] Prantik Mazumdar: And the only way it's because on my calendar, I explicitly have running time so that I don't block that time because it's not, like you said, in today's lockdown world it's very easy for things to kind of seep into, and suddenly it's seven 30 and that's it, the day's over and it couldn't happen.

[00:29:55] Prantik Mazumdar: So I do actually in the calendar we do. In fact, we encourage all our employees to even take half a day if required.. I think the biggest challenge for all of us in the digital economy. You're so busy doing, but there is very little time to read think, right? And I was reading up this wonderful post from David Perell about, creativity has two modes, there's a beer mode and a coffee mode.

[00:30:18] Prantik Mazumdar: You know, it could be whatever it could be chai, it could be lime soda,

[00:30:21] Prantik Mazumdar: David talks about the beer more than the coffee mode. The beer mode is where you literally whiling away time. It's sort of akin to, you know, sitting on a beach idling away, there is no pressure and this whole new age, fantasy of productivity, all of that is not there, right?

[00:30:33] Prantik Mazumdar: So that's your chill time and that is the coffee mode where you are more disciplined, structured, et cetera. And I think that's helped us. So myself and some of our employees, we actually block either two hour blocks or half a day block to say, know what this Wednesday first half, unless something's really catastrophic we wouldn't take meetings. We wouldn't do anything we'll just read. Right. And it could be in the office wherever, even pre pandemic. We said, take your time off go to the library, but it's important. To set that that's important. So in that period is where I will kind of try and consciously read about the topic of interest.

[00:31:05] Prantik Mazumdar: Let's say blockchain, crypto, whatever that is, right. In terms of the system, yes. There is some sort of a discipline of, so there are some that are, I guess, evergreen, I would read them all the time, but if it's something specific, yes, I would subscribe to that newsletter and you know, perhaps unsubscribe, perhaps it remains subscribed and I don't read it.

[00:31:23] Prantik Mazumdar: Right. I'll make a choice. But to your point, I think you know, that's one way of learning, but I think the other way of learning is equally important is like you said, I think abig mistake or a big challenge with our education system generally has been there. Either the system or we ourselves block or, put ourselves in a block saying, oh, I'm a digital marketer.

[00:31:43] Prantik Mazumdar: I don't, I am this I'm an accountant. I mean, I think that's another myopic because I was reading this book called, you know, polymath. It talks about so many, well known folks in the world, Leonardo DaVinci, or whether it's Benjamin Franklin. These guys have been politicians. There have been there, fought wars.

[00:31:59] Prantik Mazumdar: There have been artists. So I don't think anyone when one's born, you're born to be something, right. It's a choice you make. Yes, you have innate talent, right. And as you said, rightly said, you know, we all play different roles. You're a wife at some point, you're a mother, you're a sister. You could be artisan..

[00:32:15] Prantik Mazumdar: So I think it's important not to box yourself. I think outside of that deliberate zone of two hours or three hours or whatever, I think you need to just be yourself and consume whatever you like, because that's that the beer mode, which will kind of, keep you light easy and let things seep in.

[00:32:31] Prantik Mazumdar: I think the beautiful part of the human thinking or learning system is our minds are very well positioned to kind of assimilate and synergise. And you got to trust your brain that, you know, there is some process happening that's connecting the dots, right? What's important is again, there's a deliberate and there's a natural path, whatever happens. So I don't think it's an either or.

[00:32:50] Surbhi Dedhia: Yeah. Okay. That is, that is very interesting perspective. And thank you for sharing that. I have another last question. I know we're running out of time here, but then any food for thought for fellow entrepreneurs to encourage them and build a thought leadership on

[00:33:03] Prantik Mazumdar: Yeah, I think, you know, if some, I guess I'll break it into two. If it's someone that you already, you believe in it and you're doing it I think what's very important is to kind of ask yourself every now and then let's say, you know, typically once a quarter, et cetera, is to kind of review and evaluate whether what you're doing is a true to yourself. But the thing is, you know, you're already on the journey. You have at least convinced yourself that it's important and have taken that path. And the only way I know to kind of, play this game is apart from that, surround yourself with goodness it's to constantly experiment for example.

[00:33:33] Prantik Mazumdar: Right. I you know, when I started this journey, the platforms were pretty much either blogging or Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter gradually Instagram came in, but for example I have done nothing on TikTok. Now the question is just because Tiktok is a new platform, do I need to, maybe not. Right.

[00:33:48] Prantik Mazumdar: So I think you want to make a conscious choice of what works for you, what resonates with you. But I think at the same time being closed-minded is not the answer. I think the answer can be no Tik tok is not for me, but give it a shot. At least understand what it is. Right. And that's something let's say I would try and do.

[00:34:04] Prantik Mazumdar: Cause I haven't honestly done anything beyond consuming some videosthere. For someone who's, who's not done it, I think. And if, if you're on the fence and if you're skeptical about it, I think maybe speak to some people maybe you know, read or think about. Ask yourself. Why should you do it?

[00:34:19] Prantik Mazumdar: If the, why is clear? You know, as Simon Sinek says it, let's start with the, why ask yourself, why do you return? Because if you don't have the way and if you're doing it, just because there's, this will be an, I think it's important, honestly, it's not going to sustain. Right. You need to find your own why.

[00:34:33] Prantik Mazumdar: Like for me, youknow, at a very early stage, I suppose when I started working for the Singapore government and then I obviously ended up in the brand and marketing world. So there's a bit of bias, but I think Singapore is a good example for me, right? As a nation brand, a brand is an individual. It can be a team, it can be a nation, I firsthand saw and I still live the value of having a trusted well-known well-regarded loved brand.

[00:34:57] Prantik Mazumdar: Right. I am in that nation, I mean, in Dubai, Dubai is, again, one of those nation that were created and built events, so to speak and look at what countries like Hong Kong, Singapore do. I have done countries which have no resources, but there's a deliberate process to build systems that structure, but also perception.

[00:35:13] Prantik Mazumdar: Right? So brand is all about perception. I personally believe perception is reality. Like I said, and when I say reality, again, I go back to the point that it's about perceived knowledge. It's about the. Lot of people, we have this debate constantly as to why I built a good product.

[00:35:28] Prantik Mazumdar: People will come. Maybe, maybe if you're a Google, maybe, but again, let's face it. Whether you're a Google HubSpot, Facebook, it's probably a 50th product which will suddenly fly off. Right. But even there, I'm sure you would have had battles of a bit on the Samsung guys or the Android guys will say, you don't have Samsung has way more features and it's cheaper and it's always ahead, Apple's copying, et cetera. You know, Apple's only about the design, but again, as you start thinking about, there must be a reason why. Why so many people around the world spend so much money on a apple or buy a automobile, automobile or BMW or Audi, even if you think of it, what is an automobile?

[00:36:10] Prantik Mazumdar: It's a machine which takes you from a to B, but there is a reason why, if someone, either you can afford it, and you buy it, or even if you can't afford it, there's a huge number of people who aspire to one day potentially buy it. Right. And to be, I'll sum it up by saying, I think the fundamental premise for me about this whole perception and brand building and thought leadership is humans. Whether you like it or not are not rational beings. We are quite irrational. You might've read books like irrational exuberance, and irrational thinking, et cetera.

[00:36:39] Prantik Mazumdar: So all our, you know, if you'll study behavioral economics, it'll tell you that. We purchase irrationally, but we are very good at justifying rationally. If you would have come across people in your family saying, you know, once he buys an apple, it'd be like, wow, apple is the best thing on this planet.

[00:36:55] Prantik Mazumdar: Or Toyota is the best car, even though how many times have you bought a car by doing a test drive or actually looking at the machine. You've seen an ad in one from your neighbor and you've made a choice. Right? So again, long story short, I think, you need to kind of convince yourself or have a buy-in that, you know what, I need to build a good company, a built product or a good service, but I need to be able to convince the other side through perception that stands the test of time. So

[00:37:22] Surbhi Dedhia: that's what thought leadership is about, you know, you build your brand, build your opinion, community, connect with them, and that's why you impact buyer journey as well. In that sense, like even when you say Audi and all these big brands that is that emotional connect.

[00:37:37] Surbhi Dedhia: Communicated and build that community with potential buyers. So

[00:37:41] Prantik Mazumdar: it's really, really, it's all about the emotional connect and the influence on that customer journey across all touch points. You know, whether it's a book, whether it's a car, whether it's a spaceship, I think. Rational or lack thereof is pretty universal.

[00:37:56] Prantik Mazumdar: So so yeah, I think anyone who is kind of embarking on this journey you know, do give that a thought do experiment, do again, build a system for yourself to learn and well I'm available on LinkedIn. If anyone wants to have a chat, always happy to.

[00:38:07] Surbhi Dedhia: Absolutely. And that's what I was just going to ask you where people can find.

[00:38:12] Prantik Mazumdar: Yeah, I think if you just search my name, LinkedIn, I think that's the easiest. You can either connect with me or drop me a message and yes, obviously happy to have a chat.

[00:38:21] Surbhi Dedhia: Wonderful, wonderful. I'll also drop in your LinkedIn, link in my show notes. So that's it that's makes it easier. Thank you, Prantik. This has been such an insightful and a very interesting conversation for me as well, and I'm sure the audience will definitely enjoy what you had to share about building one's thought leadership.

[00:38:40] Prantik Mazumdar: Thank you, Surbhi. It's been an absolute pleasure to have this chat and just learn from you your journey and thank you for the opportunity and this hopefully post pandemic we get to meet in person as well.

[00:38:50] Surbhi Dedhia: Yes, absolutely. Thank you so much again.

[00:38:52] Prantik Mazumdar: Thank you.

You can reach Prantik on his Linkedin