10 Questions with… Ashish Toshniwal, co-founder and CEO of Y Media Labs
In an attempt to showcase the personalities of the people behind the media and marketing sector, The Drum speaks to individuals who are bringing something a little different to the industry and talks to them about what insights and life experience they can offer the rest of us. This week’s 10 Questions are put to the co-founder and chief executive of Y Media Labs, Ashish Toshniwal.
What was your first ever job?
I was a waiter in the dorm dining hall at Purdue. Brutal.
Which industry buzzword or phrase annoys you most?
“Outside the box.”
Who do you find most interesting to follow on social media?
Naval Ravikant, the founder of Angel List and investor at Uber and Twitter.
Highlight of your career (so far?)
Building Y Media Labs — mainly because it was such a fight. My co-founder, Sumit Mehra, and I founded the company at the bottom of the recession in 2009 and were denied funding 21 times in a row. We ended up bootstrapping the company on our own, and it’s been an insanely difficult and simultaneously rewarding journey. We just celebrated 10 years of business and are beyond thankful to our team and partners who helped us get to where we are today.
What piece of tech can you not live without?
My airpods. The experience is magical.
Who or what did you have posters of on your bedroom wall as a teenager?
Sachin Tendulkar – world’s greatest cricket star.
In advertising, what needs to change soon?
Is it fair to say — everything? What continues to elude the advertising / marketing industry is that customer experiences (both digital and physical) make or break brands today. Telling a really engaging story about a mediocre product won’t work anymore. People are smarter than ever before because they more access to information than ever before, at faster speeds than ever before. An outstanding, intuitive customer experience speaks for itself, and the brands that understand that and invest in that experience from the outset will not only survive, but thrive.
What is (in your opinion) the greatest film/album/book of your life?
The Hard Things about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.
Which industry event can you not afford to miss each year and why?
Fortune Brainstorm Tech. The quality of people you meet there is top notch.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
“Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Discharge your duties faithfully and well. Systematically you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. Nevertheless, you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts. Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day. At the end of the day – if you live long enough – most people get what they deserve” – Charlie Munger.