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Ten of the best with Dave Duarte

Published: 23 November 2009

Social media maven, Dave Duarte, is best described as a marketing geek. He holds several senior positions in the academic; commercial; and non-profit sectors, and is rated one of the 100 Most Influential People in Media in South Africa. He is Founder and Programme Director of Nomadic Marketing and Mobile Marketing at the University of Cape Town (UCT) Graduate School of Business.

Ten of the best with Dave Duarte

Social media maven, Dave Duarte, is best described as a marketing geek. He holds several senior positions in the academic; commercial; and non-profit sectors, and is rated one of the 100 Most Influential People in Media in South Africa. He is Founder and Programme Director of two Executive Education courses: Nomadic Marketing and Mobile Marketing at the University of Cape Town (UCT) Graduate School of Business. He also lectures on the Executive MBA programme at UCT GSB, and is MD and Partner at Huddlemind Labs.

1. What was your first job/ where did you start?
I started my career in the hospitality industry - as a waiter; party organiser; restaurant manager; and part-owner of a bistro.

2. What made you want to build a career in your profession?
I simply love dealing with people, and the combination of online social media and teaching constantly brings me into contact with new and interesting people.

3. Describe a day in your life at present.
Every week day starts the same: with an espresso coffee; breakfast; and a leisurely read of The Times newspaper, as I won a subscription at the 2009 SA Blog Awards. After that, things get a bit crazy. I give one or two talks almost every day, and try manage my other projects in-between. If a talk or meeting is in Johannesburg or Durban, I go straight to the airport after breakfast. During each spare minute between these presentations, I'm either on the phone; answering emails; or preparing for upcoming talks. I have an amazing personal assistant at my office in Sea Point who takes care of most of the details, so that I can just keep moving and focusing on what I'm good at. To keep up to-date with my best sources of information, I check into Twitter; Muti; and Diigo at least once a day. I usually get home at about 17:30, and try to catch up on emails until dinner time.

4. How do you unwind behind the scenes? List your favourite song; movie; and book.
I have fleeting tastes, so these are ones I have recently enjoyed:
Favourite movie: Battle of Wits (Chinese with English subtitles). My favourite genres are epics and biographies.
Favourite song: Love You Til The End - Jub Jub (supporting local!)
Favourite book: SuperCrunchers by Ian Ayers. I mostly read business books - this one blew my mind.

5. Who would you most like to meet – dead or alive, and why?
Tough question. I'd say Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Founder of Grameen Bank and recent Nobel Peace Prize-winner. I'd be interested in meeting him just because I think he's a visionary pragmatist who would help me better understand the world in terms of economics and social upliftment through business.

6. What has been one of the most important lessons you have learnt? You can never go wrong by doing the right thing - even if the way seems rougher and slower at times.

7. What is your secret indulgence and your three ‘can’t live without’ items?
I hired a chef from my old restaurant to take care of me and my girlfriend at home - she does all the food shopping; meal-planning; and cooking for us. Heaven!

8. What has been the key to your success?
Connecting with lots of good people in the industries I work in, and developing strong relationships among those people.

9. Who do you truly look up to, and which qualities do you most admire about them?
Taddy Blecher - he's a South African hero who is bringing free, great quality education with soul to thousands. One of the qualities that I admire most about Taddy is the way he just gets things done - he starts projects with the faith that they will work out amazingly, and they do. Despite his global acclaim, he is truly one of the most humble and enthusiastic people I've ever met.

10. What’s your stance on social media?
Social media is extremely powerful. We now have the opportunity to connect and share with each other in ways that simply didn't exist a few years ago. It is going to keep driving innovation in every sector that depends on information - from education to marketing to politics.
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