Business Lounge with Ferzad Palia
The man behind VH1, Comedy Central and Colors Infinity on censorship and the virtues of being thrown in at the deep end
In 1998, as part of a vocational course in his first year of college—studying advertising and marketing at the HR College of Commerce and Economics, Mumbai—Ferzad Palia interned at HTA Direct, the direct marketing wing of advertising firm J Walter Thompson, or JWT. There, on what he estimates was either his first or second day, he was handed a task that would have stressed out a seasoned employee, let alone an 18-year-old. A multi-city release of print ads for a petroleum client had to go out, and Palia was put in charge. “It was 16 languages and 33 markets," Palia says. “I didn’t even know there were 16 languages. I had no clue where to start, what to do." Still, he managed to see it through, and ended up working at JWT for the next six years.