Fazil Fuad

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In a digital daze

Article from the Sun daily by Yee Jie Min (posted on 8th Oct 2015)

WHAT did it take for Fazil Fuad, 27, to be at the top? The managing director of creative technology enterprise Company27 (C27) came up through the ranks from his breakthrough photography gig with Nike, but most importantly, he learnt how powerful visual language can be.

Fazil started as a junior art director for an advertising agency, but his venture into creative technology began when he was headhunted by Rocket Internet which founded Zalora.

This was where he grasped the utilisation of art in technology – from something as pure as photography, it became a matter of user experience and user interface design.

"Essentially, what I am interested in is how human beings interact with visuals, whether it is a photograph or screen. Human being interfacing has made its way into, and crafted a whole vision in my life and career," he said.

What did you learn?

When I was with Zalora, what was interesting was how fast it grew. I was in charge of the front-facing aspects of the website. One of the bigger parts of my job was studying how people interact with visuals. We uncovered a lot of things. We managed to track that shooting clothes on different models would sell to different market segments.

Caucasian models work very well in Malaysia, and my theory is that Malaysian consumers are very aspirational. It is not so much of wanting to wear that dress – they want to be that person.

Images sell your product; you don't even read the description. But whether this person is happy, or will return (to purchase again) comes from the description. The purchasing behaviour of people in general is 90% very skewed towards visual interfacing.

How is it different being a creative director and a managing director?

The CD role demands one to be constantly thinking out of the box – most of the time, leveraging on ideals as opposed to logical or financial restrictions. Basically, being the craziest person in the room.

As MD, I had to adjust to a more wholesome approach, balancing what is best for the client, and C27's business objectives. We have a pack of very talented people and it gives me the ability to move the company into the directions that we want.

I have many mentors, which I fall back on in a lot of things. But why this company is here, and why I am managing director, is relevance – the passion to keep up with things.

Right now, it is still very daunting. I look at myself as a creator who works with equally minded people who want to do cool things.

How do you define a leader?

To me, a leader is a good communicator. In any relationship, 90% why things fall through is because of the lack of communication. It has the most destructive power when it comes to breaking an organisation.

What is the future?

Everyone says privacy is dead but I disagree; I think the definition of privacy is evolving as we strive to live more efficient lives. There is some information you can't give out, but our tolerance towards the invasion of privacy will evolve.

I believe products of the future, and their user experience will be extremely curated. In that sense, one day we will be totally fine with giving out certain amounts of information in order for us to live more efficiently.

For example, I don't want to click three times to get the leather shoes I want. The platform should already know what I like and should only show me things that I will actually buy.

How do you keep up?

You don't have to keep up – the world makes sure you keep up. Everyone is bombarded by content every single day. Information is pushed towards you and you need to filter it yourself. To keep up with trends takes a lot of reading and experiencing, not so much of going out and getting it anymore.

 

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