24 Hours With… Opera Mediaworks APAC MD Vikas Gulati

Vikas Gulati24 Hours With… spotlights the working day of some of the most interesting people in Mumbrella Asia’s world. Today, we hear about a day in the life of Opera Mediaworks Asia Pacific managing director Vikas Gulati.

7:40am. The kids are at school and there is vegetable juice to kickstart the day. If my wife is around, there is no way to miss this. Wardrobe is a quick decision as I like to keep it simple – chino pants, a v-neck shirt and a jacket. Same goes for breakfast with a bowl of cereal and milk and I’m ready to get on with the day.

8:37am. I’m already on my mobile, replying to emails usually from the team in the US. As a global company, we are always ‘online’ and work never stops. I manage to clear 22 emails, mostly the ones that need urgent attention from my team, to guide them in the right direction. There are still some pending in my drafts that need some work and following up.

9:00am. I prefer to get on calls in the morning. Given our time difference with the US team, it’s the best opportunity to catch-up. One important call I have to make today is with Keith Winter, our COO, to discuss our growth and hiring plans. In recent months, we have grown from 34 to 60 people and are still hiring. This continues to be a big priority for me.

9:48am. Calls with the US team are always productive and efficient. By this time, I’ve jumped into an Uber and am on the way to the office. It’s a 15-minute ride which gives me sufficient time to send an email update to the team on our priorities for the week.

10:08am. As I step into office and greet the team, I make my way to the pantry for a cuppa and a quick chat with the folks about the day ahead. Before reaching my desk, I like to spend 10-15 minutes catching up with everyone about ongoing work, and to find out if anyone needs any support. This is usually the time when my colleagues discuss their top priorities for the day.

11:00am. I have a call with our Korea Country Manager about the APAC Performance offsite in Seoul and to follow-up on our action plan. The performance business across China and Korea has been the shining star for us and continues to show great momentum.

12:30pm. Tuesday is usually the day we have our APAC weekly dashboard call with all country and/or regional leaders. This means all markets share their weekly updates on strategies, challenges and wins, and how they are progressing towards their set goals. It’s also a power lunch session as the Singapore management team huddles in the conference room with our packed lunches. Today, I’m having a sandwich and grilled chicken salad.

Each country takes 5-7 minutes to give an update about their priorities for the week. Recently, the China team has had some big wins with new clients that will have a positive impact on the business. We’re also very optimistic with the Southeast Asia team and their account wins. Looks like we are well on track for the year!

2pm. A calendar reminder goes off for my meeting with the sales strategy, planning and creative team. We are exploring ways to bring in best-in class creative executions to our clients. The team has put together a powerpoint deck ahead of Q3. We align on our go-to-market plan and agree on giving the wider sales team an update on our weekly call, next week.

2.55pm. Together with Mimmie Ong, our regional sales director for Southeast Asia, we’re at a client’s office (GroupM) sharing some of the on-going work in the region, and discussing our expectations for H2-2016. The goal is to get our regional and local teams aligned on the plan so that the marketing team can execute. The meeting concludes with a plan to catch-up for drinks later, after work.

Opera team4.30pm. I’m back in the office and preparing for another meeting with the programmatic task force team. This is another area of focus for us and a huge push globally. I sit down with the team to understand how things are moving with key agency partners and Trading Desks. There is massive interest and intent from clients, we discuss about operational aspects and what needs to be done to ramp up this segment. The way we see it, more work needs to be done to get the industry to start buying mobile advertising programmatically. It’s a constant educational process.

5pm. Coffee time! And to get some quick figures from Asim Rehman, Director AdOps on the revenue and growth across different product lines – Display, InstantPlayTM and Own & Operated segments. I like to keep a pulse on this daily, either during our dashboard call or updates directly from Asim. We have a quick chat about the revenue trends and which segment and region we need to focus on.

5.30pm. I’m packing up for the gym, a trip I must make at least three times a week. It helps that the gym is right next door to the office. Weights, squats, 10 minutes of circuit training and I’m done in about 45-50 minutes. Once in a while, we try to get the entire team out of the office and to the gym, for a group workout session. It’s a good team building exercise, literally! But today is not that day, I have to be somewhere else!

6.45pm. I’m headed to Club Street for after-work drinks and a catch up with our client as planned earlier.

8pm. Home! Now for some time with the family. The kids are already at the dinner table. I quickly join them…

8.30pm. We are all sharing our day with each other, the kids are talking about what happened at school. My son is still excited about the football match that took place earlier in the day, while my daughter is too engrossed in her colouring book, looking up every now and then to see if anyone is paying attention to her scribbles.

9.15pm. It’s bed time for the kids, but they’re insisting on playing a game in their room before hitting the sack.

10pm. Now for some quality time with my better half. We enjoy our walks to Gardens by the Bay, and go there at least 2-3 times a week. But before we can set out from home, Ritu insists I leave my mobile phone behind. She doesn’t like that I’m constantly on it … I still have it in my pocket nonetheless!

10:43pm. My last round of emails on my mobile before I call it a night. At the same time, I’ve got the TV switched on playing “The Dark Knight Rises”. I’m a big superheroes movie fan. If I’m not watching a movie, I’m usually catching up with the latest happenings around the world – news, tech social on Flipboard and Pulse.

1:18am. I’m now feeling exhausted to keep my eyes open any longer… Another action packed day, and I’m all set for tomorrow. Bring it on!


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