Offbeat: Rohit Raj-Master storyteller who would be Elon Musk, err..Iron Man

In our constant endeavour to give our readers content that is a little ‘hatke’ from the trade media norm, Adgully has been coming out with Special sections like The W-Suite, Ad Land’s Young Guns, Spirit W and ‘Offbeat’. 

Our newest offering, ‘Offbeat’, seeks to give a glimpse of the lesser known facets of our very well-known industry leaders. We present, in the industry leaders’ own words, an interesting read on areas that are not usually highlighted in regular media coverage – be it about their childhood days, secret skills that they possess, how they unwind from their hectic schedules, and much more. 

Rohit Raj co-founded The Glitch in 2009 along with Varun Duggirala. Raj, who considers himself the Right Brain at The Glitch, currently leads creatives and strategy at the agency, where they help brands craft their strategy and presence across the digital hemisphere and help generate revenue and sales. He is also a strategic partner/ investor in, a technology lead influencer discovery platform that connects brands to content creators. 

How were you as a child and which childhood trait do you still possess?
I am told that I had an extremely active imagination as a child. This landed me in serious trouble many a times as it earned me the title of ‘Bluff master’. I felt there was a need to exaggerate mundane situations when telling people stories as normal was too boring. I managed to convince half my class about the existence of dinosaurs behind my house and my parents were summoned to school by the principal. That was the day they sat me down and said, you either stop making up these stories or go get a career in advertising. See what I did there, made up another story! 

Which superhero did you look up to as a kid and why? Which superhero power you wish you possessed?
The Incredible Hulk has always been my favourite superhero. As a kid, I was always intrigued by this rage machine who can grow out of proportion when he wanted to. 

Today, I want to be Elon Musk, err... Iron Man, I mean! Rich geek genius, who can save the planet. 

What is your biggest fear and how do you face it?
At the risk of sounding like a millennial yuppie, I have a serious case of FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. I genuinely feel that I need to be part of everything that is exciting and I can sulk if I miss out on something amazing. I constantly live with a need to be part of everything exciting, be it a new start-up, a new idea or even the Friday night party. 

A skill you possess that no one knows about?
I recently completed my certification in mixed martial arts that now lets me compete professionally, if need be. 

What would one find in your playlist?
Some Frank Sinatra, some John Lee Hooker, some U2, Radiohead, Pink Floyd and some AR Rahman. 

Which is your go-to activity to relax?
A glass of bourbon and a good movie. 

What is the greatest lesson that you have learnt from life so far?
Don’t be afraid to fail. 

What is that one social cause that you are most passionate about?
I strongly feel that a lot of the social evil can be eradicated with education. So, one social cause I would strongly advocate is education for all. 

What’s the one thing you would like to change about yourself?
If I could improve my attention span, I would give that a shot. I tend to zone out of conversations if they don’t excite me constantly. 

If not the Co-Founder of The Glitch, what would you have been?
I have wanted to be an archaeologist, an architect, a game designer and a lot of other things all through my life. But if I wasn’t in advertising, I would want to be running my own Jazz bar with a premium bed & breakfast attached by the sea. 

What are three apps on your mobile you couldn’t live without?
Give me Whatsapp, Netflix and Kindle and send me to a marooned island with internet and I promise not to bother anybody. 

What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
I just finished watching the season finale of a show called ‘Tyrant’, and now I am told the network hasn’t renewed it for another season and I am very upset. I saw it because the premise looked interesting and then it just sucked me into it even though it got boring towards the middle. 

Which two organisations outside your own do you know the most people at?
Chtrbox, an influencer discovery platform that I co-founded, is a second home. Some of the smartest set of people building what I think is the going to be the future of people marketing. 

I have worked earlier at Channel [V], so I know a lot of people there. While some of them have moved on from the place, but the association is still Channel [V]. 

Two things about this industry that you don’t like or don’t understand?
I don’t understand the innate need for everything to be delivered ASAP. Every brief comes with a deadline of yesterday. I don’t understand why marketers and advertisers can’t plan their lives better. 

I also don’t get why people don’t pay for things that can’t be quantified. An idea, for example, is not quantifiable, so you only pay for the execution and not for the idea itself, which is unfair. This makes a lot of creative folk not give out ideas that don’t involve any cost in execution, because nobody pays for the idea alone. 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
As much as I love Mumbai, I am torn between San Francisco and Berlin – two of my most favourite cities.


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