Robert Katai, Product Marketer for Creatopy & Host for Katai Podcast, is the next guest of #RomanianThrivers, a section of The Alternative School blog exploring the success stories behind the cool kids from the creative block and kick-ass local brands. As a passionate marketer with a lot of experience, we can’t wait to dive in and see what he has to say about his journey!
What determined you to pursue a digitally savvy, content creator related path? What was your AHA moment?
It was a special moment. I went to my first marketing job interview, back in the day when digital marketing wasn’t a thing and nobody knew what it is. And after 2 weeks I was told that I’m not something they are looking for, so they paid me for those 2 weeks. I went to the first bookstore I saw and bought myself marketing books. And then I went home and started my first blog. That was for me the first AHA moment that made me really think that I want to work in marketing. I didn’t know anything about marketing, I never learned marketing at school and I didn’t take any course about marketing.
You are involved in multiple projects that are, all, different facets of your professional being. Which one is aligning most of your knowledge with your calling?
I don’t have a favorite or a one-shot project that is the most important. I believe that every single project is a seasonal project that can help me achieve one kind of skill. For example, when I started the podcast project, I earned skills in outreach, podcast marketing, interview, and conversational discussion and also repurpose content from one type to another. Another time when I wrote a lot on my personal blog www.robertkatai.com I earned copy skills, SEO skills, and also link building and outreach. These are the skills that you can’t learn if you are not doing them on a daily basis. So that’s why I believe that every project is important for that season.
Do you follow a specific routine in your creative & business process? What inspires you?
My routine is very simple. Every time I have an idea, I write it down in my Notion app and let it there. When I think that I need an idea to work on a project, on a marketing strategy or a content strategy I go to that Notion page and start looking at those ideas. Some of them are just random ideas, others are thoughts and others are just long-form articles that sometimes are published on my blog, sometimes are published as an Instagram carousel or even an event slide presentation. My inspiration comes from many ideas, from a single tweet to a podcast episode, to a long discussion with my wife about the world these days. Everything around me is an inspiration. I’m not the kind of person who needs inspiration and is going in a museum or to a concert. I’m just curating ideas while I’m working. Curating ideas while I’m cleaning the house and listening to a podcast. I draw ideas and publish them on Twitter. I write ideas and publish them on my blog. I talk about ideas in my podcast. And that’s why I have 2 kinds of portfolio ideas: one public and one private. And I never run out of ideas. Also, that’s why I believe that there is not such a thing as creative block.
What would you say has been the hardest challenge in your entrepreneurial journey?
Haha…I don’t consider myself as an entrepreneur. I’m a proud product marketer at Creatopy and some I say about me that I’m more as a marketing experimentalist that is using everything around him to test, experiment learn and repeat these things. But as a marketer experimentalist, the hardest challenge is to take a break and just do nothing. I tent to do a lot of things and sometimes I’m just too overwhelmed with so many projects. And that’s the moment when I just say STOP and do nothing. That’s why I’m not working in weekends. That’s why I deleted the unproductive apps from my phone. And sometimes that’s why I struggle to get bored.
You are a podcast host, a content generator in everything digital, a potential guide for marketers and communicators alike, a boss, a husband and a father. How do you organize your time to avoid burnout and keep all your projects, business or personal, alive and kicking?
Hahaha…you said so many good things about me that it’s scary even for me. I don’t organize my time to avoid burnout. Yes, sometimes I burn out, and that’s the moment when I think that I need to take a break. I try to work from 8 to 6 and after that stay with my family. I’m a family man and my family is first and the rest is secondary. But I don’t see my job as a job. I don’t work in marketing and marketing for me is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle. And because I love what I’m doing, sometimes I do to much and that’s the moment when I feel like i need to take a break. But thank God that I have an awesome wife who helps me stay with my feet on the ground and just take a break for my daily tasks.
How did you get into the podcast industry? Is there a story behind?
I just published a Facebook status where I asked people if I would do podcast audio or a weekly video, what should I do. And most people answered that I should do a video audio podcast. And that was the moment when I knew that I need to start an audio approach podcast, which later was developed also in the video format. But back in those days, podcasting wasn’t such a common point. So if I can say, everything started from a Facebook status and also a few years of just listening to podcasts while I was cleaning the house and traveling a lot.
What are your near-future goals? Is there something you haven’t tried, that you wish to pursue?
Starting an e-learning brand that brings people together that want to learn different marketing.
If Romanian creativity should be known for one thing, what would that be? How would you describe it?
Experimentalist. We experiment, we fail but we never give up.
What’s the cliche you dislike most when about Romanians and how do you think the creative community should solve it?
I really don’t know what are the most cliches about Romanian – because I don’t look at them and don’t focus on these negative reactions. I think that the creative community should only focus to find the kind of problems they can solve around them. Let’s not focus on the big picture in the first step. I would recommend every creative to start small, first steps are the most important, and then work on the vision you have to solve a problem. When you will solve a difficult situation, find a problem and come up with a solution, people will come, will see, and will talk about it. That’s why I love so much what Seth Godin said in his book, “This is marketing” – People like us do things like this.
Your advice for international headhunters, related to Romanian creatives?
If you want to see what’s the true authenticity of creativity, take a plane, come to Romania, and stay for one month traveling around the country. You will see creativity in every corner, in every city, in every village in every day and nightlife. Just open your eyes.
Nominate a remarkable Romanian creator to be part of the #RomanianThrivers platform.
Vlad Dumitrescu – @illustrescu
ABOUT ROBERT KATAI
You might know Robert Katai (@katairobi), from Katai Podcast, one of the most popular podcasts involving marketing, business education and entrepreneurial inspiration. He’s had several successful people on his show and we assure you that you’ll binge-listen to all of his episodes. For us it’s pretty clear that Passion is his middle name!
Currently, he also works as a Product Marketer for Creatopy, a professional online graphic design tool built in Transylvania in 2008 that today counts over 4 million users.
His work was featured on important platforms like Adweek, Entrepreneur, Marketing Profs, Social Media Today. Check out his podcast on Spotify, Itunes and Soundcloud. Click here for more info.
Entries are open for the Young Lions Design & Roger Hatchuel Academy via The Spring Semester.
Deadline: 17 March
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