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‘It’s always great to work with friends’ – 24 hours with… Tickled Media’s Adrian Watkins

Tickled Media chief strategy officer Adrian Watkins has a day that begins with a brisk swim and ends some 17 hours later with 'no-bullshit' conversations with company CEO Roshni Mahtani

7.00am: I’m definitely not one for lying around in bed – too much fear of missing out – so, as soon as my alarm dings, I am wide awake and ready to respond to urgent messages or emails before I review my calendar for the day.

No two days are ever the same at Tickled Media. And this is what I enjoy most about my role as chief strategy officer as it influences so many aspects of the business: managing country managers, overseeing revenue, aligning with content, attending big ticket pitches, talking/judging/attending events, having friendly sidebar chats with the industry, coming up with new exciting business units or revenue lines – and generally keeping our CEO updated on all she needs to know as well as attending quarterly board meetings and liaising with investors. So let’s see what is in store today.

7.15am: A brisk swim while I consider the output from yesterday and my upcoming meetings and diary for the day – what do I want to achieve? What do my teams and partners need me to achieve? I always find this a therapeutic defrag before the day begins in earnest, and it gives me energy. A brief recharge on a pool lounger while I note down any thoughts I’ve thought of during my swim, and then a quick read of the overnight wires to catch up any new industry news before I get ready for the day.

8.25am: Sitting in my study – staying true to my English roots with a cup of Tesco English breakfast tea – I make a quick review of the latest traffic and revenue numbers across our different countries. I reply to some early risers, and read a handful of articles on theAsianparent. 

With offices in so many countries and generally a very packed day, I welcome our internal comms platform which allows us to send quick messages. It also allows our teams to list their daily tasks and share successes or interesting news.  Or even express gratitude for people who have gone above and beyond. This vital platform helps me keep abreast of what’s happening during the week across all countries.

9.00am: As I don’t have a breakfast or partner meeting today, I taxi to the office and while en route, use the 30 minute journey to review the latest questions from our mums in our “TAP Community”. I then totally unplug for 10 minutes and catch up on world news.

9.30am: As many of our Singapore employees arrive at the office for 10.00am, I enjoy these 30 minutes to ‘climate check’ with anyone in the office already. And then plan my to-do list in full. 

10.30am: Tickled is a big believer in upskilling. This morning, I’m running an onboarding session for our new joiners to share more about our company ethos, answer any questions they may have, provide insights and anecdotes, and learn out where as a business we can help. 

11.30am: Next, an early working lunch to brainstorm big ideas for a recent tender for which we’ve been shortlisted. When big tenders like this come in, winning is always a full team effort. I am delighted to see how multiple teams shared ideas with such passion. The team then surprises me with a cake to celebrate completing my second year as a tickler.

1.30pm: Taxi to the CBD when I have an impromptu one to one with a country manager to offer some advice on a challenging issue. Sometimes speaking in person is the best way to finding a solution.

2.30pm: Now for part of my job I enjoy the most. Being able to share great insights with our partners on how to connect their campaigns more closely with our mummy audience: What is she thinking? What is she looking for? How will she embrace you as a brand? Today is an opportunity to regroup with a project lead to ensure we are aligned on messaging before I present it to their full team in a couple of weeks.

4.00pm: A call with a contact asking if I would consider being on a panel/judging an upcoming event. It sounds interesting – asked for more information and then catch up time. I catch up on the many emails and messages that have amassed over the day over a quick cup of tea. 

While I catch up on the many emails and messages that have amassed over the day, I review some granular data I’d requested and approve a proposal before dialling into a scheduled call with another country manager. I also get to watch a spectacular Singapore sunset which brings me some inner peace.

6.30pm: I have dinner with a recently signed partner to discuss some possible optimisations to the campaign based on our early data analysis. 

10.00pm: An evening drink with a close media friend to pick her brains on a new revenue unit I’ve been scoping. Does it make sense to her? Would she use it? Would she pay for it? Would her team?

12.00am: Back home now and a quick regroup and chuckle with our CEO Roshni Mahtani. It’s always great to work with friends as there’s no bullshit. No doubt I will pose a few questions of my own. It’s rare we are in the same country, so this time of the night is great for an ad hoc catch up, when we can digest without too many distractions.

1.00am: Finally to bed. As I drift off, tired but energised about another great day, I am looking forward to my swimming defrag tomorrow morning before it all starts again.

Adrian Watkins is chief strategy officer at Tickled Media based in Singapore

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