Youth Quotient: WhatsApp is an inspiring rags-to-riches story :Kirtan Mankad

Kirtan Mankad, Digital Manager, Helios Media, talks about the motivating story of WhatsApp founders and digital medium which he describes as a SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely

e4m by Abhinn Shreshtha
Updated: May 22, 2014 3:43 PM
Youth Quotient: WhatsApp is an inspiring rags-to-riches story :Kirtan Mankad

KirtanMankad leads all digital and online duties at Helios Media, which includes creating concept IPs and content marketing ideas for brands, handling monetization of the YouTube channel—SanjeevKapoorKhazana.

Prior to Helios, his earlier stints were withHungama Digital Media Entertainment, UTV Motion Pictures and Zoom Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.

What attracted you to digital media?
The industry is dynamic and is evolving at a fast pace. The Indian digital landscape makes for a fascinating story. With over 200 million internet users expected by June 2014 and growing at 28 per cent year-on-year, interestingly,India is the second-largest mobile phone user with over 900 million users in the world but the smartphone penetration is only at 9 per cent and growing at the second fastest pace in the world.I could see the potential that the industry held and wanted to ride the wave at the right time.

What are the three things that this industry has taught you?
The first is to adapt, and adapt fast. Consumption patterns and usage behavior are ever changing. For instance, a TV viewer might flirt with 8-10 channels out of over 750 available, which becomes a habit. But when it comes to the digital medium, the changes happen at the speed of light and you wake up to a new trend every day.

Secondly, you no longer wait for information from a single source. An average consumer is more concerned about the information rather than who is giving the information. Every individual holds the power to become the medium himself and, lastly, constantly evolve and innovate. With that, a key learning is the need to talk about that innovation. The medium gives you an opportunity to build communities and engage with the consumer one-on-one.

It’s a SMART industry – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely. Who doesn’t want to be part of a “SMART” industry?

Any particular project you are proud to have been associated with in your career?
Every project I have worked on is a matter of pride for me. Butto be a bit specific,India’s first ever interactive game on YouTube, whereby planting videos we created a game environment for the users to come and experience the characters ofBarfi!and My Friend Pinto before they saw them on the big screen.

What’s your most memorable moment in digital media? 
Facebook buying WhatsApp after refusing their founders jobs at Facebook.

If not this, what do you think you would be doing?
I was always a digital enthusiast, so I cannot think of doing anything which would not have been on the digital platform. However, I would have pursued football professionally.

Who is that one leader in the industry whom you look up to?
Jan Koum& Brian Acton – The founders of WhatsApp.

It is a very inspiring and a rags-to-riches story, especially Jan Koum. Two men dreamt of taking social media to a new dimension.There were rejections initiallyand at one point one of them also thought of walking away from their pet project, but at the end of the day, they walked away with $ 19 billion.

Five brands you would want to work with and why.

YouTube: As a medium, YouTube has changed the way people consume content. It is fast becoming a competition to the television industry. In today’s fast paced world, no one has the time for appointment viewing and TV channels are forced to put of their content on YouTube to generate viewership.

Google: Well, because they are Google

Apple:They revolutionized the digital consumer experience. I consider Apple as the innovation hub.

Twitter: They changed the way people communicate. They have bridged the gap between a consumer and a brand.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Five years from now, I would like people talking about me as someone they look up to in the digital media industry!

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