Our Top Chef interview series aims to pick the brains of top business and media experts to find out how they learn, work and innovate. We first turned to Justin Spratt, CEO of Quirk, Africa’s largest digital marketing agency, and got his insight on digital, technology and his latest passion projects.
Are there areas in digital where you think Africa is innovating? Above and beyond other countries?
Mobile. Motribe are doing great things. We haven’t cracked it yet, but I think South Africa might be the country that does. Kenya would be my second favourite in the race.
Tell us how new technology platforms are playing a role in your business life?
I can literally run my entire business life on my smartphone. Email, Evernote, Twitter (yes, I see Twitter as a business tool), Dropbox, Keypoint for presentations. Add my Economist, Wall Street Journal and FT apps and I have all my business editorials. Instapaper is also incredible for archived and clean reading of web content.
Do you think that a fully networked society will lead to an intellectual Utopia of free flowing information or do you see that as a false assumption?
Way false. We have the “likeification” of society topped with link-bait with the spread of technology. These impinge on culture as everything tends to a linear taste. Diversity dies. It is diversity and thought-challengers that bring about intellectual progression; certainly not Groupthink.
Does that mean technology is bad for society? No of course not. The net effect is far more positive but Utopia certainly won’t be arrived at because of technology, if ever.
In the age of the consumer, what is your favorite case study/example of brands building community?
For me it is Coke’s Facebook page. They have over 20mn followers. Their marketing department now sees itself as a publisher. Brands as publishers is the future… or the now, just that many don’t do it correctly.
Any South African examples of community building done very well?
Sun International’s Spring Break is killer.
(Disclosure: Sun International is our client)
What are the most valuable reading sources for people working in digital? What are the key components of your daily media diet?
A well sorted and curated Twitter presence is by far the most valuable reading source for digital and business. If you choose right, the best minds bring you the best content. Crowdsourcing par excellence.
What is your current passion project?
Providing ideas and talent from our agency to our incubator QuirkLabs. A group of us are also looking at seeing whether we can get a Johannesburg chapter of SilconCape.com up and running for Jozi based tech entrepreneurs.
- Interview with Nic Haralambous on Mobile in Emerging Markets
- Heavy Chef Session: Advertising agency FoxP2 presents a talk on Creativity And Its Power To Transform Business
- Two Heavy Chef Sessions in Johannesburg: “Smoke, Mirrors, Mobile and Social Media”
- Heavy Chef Session for June: Rui Esteves on Building a Brand in South Africa
- Heavy Chef February 2011: Building Communities via Mobile