Offbeat: Harjiv Singh – Academia’s loss is communications’ gain

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’. 

‘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. 

Chief storyteller and serial entrepreneur, Harjiv Singh is the Founder and CEO of Gutenberg, a digital integrated marketing communications firm with offices in the US, UK, and India, where he works extensively with clients across a diverse range of industries and organisations like technology, real estate, government, investment management, academic, and the non-profit sectors. He has advised clients like US- United States India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), UK Trade & Investment, GE, HSBC, New York City Economic Development Corporation, and Quest Diagnostics. .

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How were you as a child and which childhood trait do you still possess?
I would have to say “curiosity” was the one trait I have had since I was a kid. 

Which superhero did you look up to as a kid and why? Which superhero power you wish you possessed?
In the Indian pantheon of heroes, I would have to say “Hanuman” with his loyalty, strength and integrity that appealed to me. In the western pantheon, I have to go with “Superman” for his ability to navigate on a different planet than where he came from and then adapt and mature into someone who saves his adopted home. 

What is your biggest fear and how do you face it?
US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had said, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself”, and I live by that. 

A skill you possess that no one knows about?
I make a pretty decent Thai curry. 

What would one find in your playlist?
Hildegard Knef, Edith Piaf, Tina Turner, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Elton John, The Doors, Hemant Kumar, Kishore Kumar, and Jagjit Singh, to name a few. 

Your go-to activity to relax?
I am a bibliophile. For me, there is nothing better than curling up with a book to relax. 

What is the greatest lesson that you have learnt from life so far?
Persistence, Perseverance, and Patience. 

A social cause that you are most passionate about?
I have been a Trustee of The Loomba Foundation, which supports rights of widows globally, for over 10 years. Another cause that I am passionate about is the building of India as a knowledge economy, which I have been doing through the annual One Globe Forum for the last 7 years. 

Link to Loomba:

Link to One Globe:

What’s the one thing you would like to change about yourself?
Take on less than I usually do. 

If not the Founder & CEO of Gutenberg, what would you have been?
A professor. 

What are the three apps on your mobile that you couldn’t live without?
Whatsapp, Financial Times, Facebook. 

What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
I am a news junkie, so I watch plenty of TV, but mostly now on my mobile. I also love Netflix and Apple TV for watching TV shows and films. I am a huge film buff and enjoy international cinema from around the world. 

Which two organisations outside your own do you know the most people at?
It’s hard to choose two as I know people across a wide spectrum of organisations – from non-profits, film, art, academia, business, and government, given my interest in these areas. 

Two things about this industry you don’t like or don’t understand?
I love what I do. 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
Buenos Aires, till I learned to Tango!

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