Josh Black, CEO of GroupM Content & Fitness Advocate

How can a dead man kill you?  Josh Black has the answers, read on!
What’s your story?
It all started about 39 years ago in a suburb of Sydney, Australia.  As a young lad my passion for business was fuelled by spending weekends and school holidays working the cash register at my father’s take-away food shop.  I took home my first pay-packet at the age of 11 and haven’t looked back since.  I have sold ice-creams at sports grounds, pop-corn at live concerts, cookies to office blocks around Sydney and currently am the CEO for GroupM’s Content business across Asia Pacific. We get to create pop culture, bring new TV Formats & Content to Asia and work with some of the most amazing brands in the world everyday.  It’s awesome.
What excites you most about your industry?
I work in Media and Content and it’s an incredibly dynamic place to be right now.  You’ve probably heard the saying that “Content is King” and that’s true – but I believe “distribution is queen and she wears the pants.”  I find that most of the industry is heavily focused on creating content but unless you have the audience really defined and understand what they want, what they are searching for and where they are getting it from, the creative is pointless.  I’m also excited about the people I get to meet, work with and collaborate with each day – they are all so much more interesting and smarter than me, mostly.  
What’s your connection to Asia?
I have lived and worked in Asia now for 12 years – starting in Bangkok and then moving to Singapore, Sydney, Manila and now Hong Kong.  For all of those 12 years I have been working in regional marketing and business operating roles cover everything from Afghanistan to Japan, China, India, Australia and the Pacific Islands.
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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
There is just so much diversity across the region that I struggle to just pick one.  I love the energy and vibe of Ho Chi Minh City, the pace of Tokyo, the cafes in Melbourne, running in Seoul and the nightlife of Manila.  Oh, the question was ‘favorite city for business’ – sure, yes they are all very good.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Well the worst piece of advice I ever received was “don’t make friends at work”.  I spend about 12 hours a day working and if was as dull and boring as that I’m not sure how I would handle it.  The best piece of advice, “90% of being in business is turning up”.  So many people have a great idea but just lose the drive, the conviction or their purpose at some point in the journey… and that’s what separates those that eventually make it happen and the rest that don’t.    
Who inspires you?
People that don’t accept second best, people that set goals that really stretch themselves and people that have a wide variety of interests and passions beyond work.  People that run marathons, ultra-marathons and Ironman’s whilst holding down senior roles in companies.  People that really embody the values of being “corporate athletes” which is something I work on everyday.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Sigurd the Mighty, a ninth-century Norse earl of Orkney, was killed by an enemy he had beheaded several hours earlier. He’d tied the man’s head to his horse’s saddle, but while riding home one of its protruding teeth grazed his leg. He died from the infection.  The point of this random story is that, you as the reader probably won’t remember anything about this article in a year from now, except the story of Sigurd the Mighty.  Story-telling is powerful and as an industry, we need to be great at telling stories as it helps bring brands to life.  It always needs to be backed though by a great distribution plan though.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would probably have undertaken studies in my second choice of study at University – Geology – and gone on to find iron ore mines in Western Australia and be retired by now.  Actually, in all seriousness, I probably wouldn’t do anything differently – I’ve met some amazing people, worked on some great brands and had a lot of fun.
How do you unwind?
I hit the gym 6 days a week and do MMA Training, box and run half marathons.  I like to shop (hunt) for my food, cook it up and share it with friends.  You’ll occasionally find me at one of Asia’s hippest new bars or nightspots mostly drinking vodka and soda water because it only contains 65 calories.  I love to travel, kite-board, wake-board and mountain bike. I wind up each day with a double espresso.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I love Seminyak in Bali and Boracay in the Philippines – they both offer a great mix of chilling out, good food, interesting people, nice beaches and adventure.  When I unwind, I really try and unwind.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Sun Tzu – the Art of War and Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.
Shameless plug for your business:
I have my own fitness and health brand ‘247X Fitness’ which I am growing as an opinion leading platform around corporate health and being a corporate athlete in the workplace.  Follow me on Twitter and watch out for my YouTube Page.
How can people connect with you?
I am on LinkedIn (Joshua Black)
Twitter handle?
@247XFitness and @JoshuaBlack11

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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