To his heart’s content

Social media is not just media, it is also social says Adam — Sunpix by Zulkifli Ersal
Adam Jeffrey — Sunpix by Zulkifli Ersal

WHEN I started this company a lot of people were somewhat dumbfounded that I would jump into a content creation company because they were saying print is dying, the media industry is difficult to get into and when you do films you are just focused on becoming a wedding videographer," said Adam Jeffery.

"There were a lot of things that people said that were against me doing this but my partner, Kevin Chu and I believe that good quality content is still missing in Malaysia. So why not we try and bring quality content focused around the subject and in this case, the creative industry," he added.

As the executive director of Around The Block, Adam wants to focus on creatives who have not made it yet and with that in mind, the brand name came about. It is the idea that there is always a creative just around the block.

"We first started with video and unfortunately, high quality means time and for a new company that means you can't get the consistency that you like so we branched out into write-ups.

"After that, we are recently doing podcasts because not everyone will read even if they have the time to do so and not everyone can watch a video if they are in the car. So, podcasts are another way to give people what they want.

"Videos are our marketing tools to expose the creative while podcasts are in-depth interviews. If you are interested to know what is going on with that creative or the industry, you go to the podcast. If you want to know what talents are out there, you go to the videos," he said.

As far as expansion goes, it comes first through content and they are now expanding to other kinds of content. Secondly, it is expansion outside of Malaysia. Adam said the platform was never meant to be Malaysian focused; it is about telling people's stories.

"It is not a structured way of expansion but more organic. I think for now I am okay with it because I am dependent on my people and their belief in Around The Block," Adam said, adding that by August, the website will have its podcast series out and they will be releasing new content ranging from music to content creators.

How do you define creativity?

Creativity has something to do with rules and freedom. It is knowing the boundaries that exist within the society and using the freedom to expand beyond that. A lot of people think because rules exist they are not free, but I don't believe in that. It is because they know what they have to do, so they figure out creative ways to work within the rules.

What is your opinion on social media?

Social media is a way to enhance anybody's life, but the problem with it nowadays is it has become so easy for anyone to be an "influencer". For me, social media has always been a way to showcase your work if it is a personal account. If it is a business account then it is about telling a story. A lot of people have forgotten that social media isn't just media, it is social. It is a way to connect with the audience.

You have lived in France, US, Japan and Qatar. What have you learned from your experiences abroad?

If anything, it is how to be a social chameleon. I have learned to be able to fit easily enough. I feel I have this capacity to get people to be comfortable with me in as short a time as possible. I think the most brilliant thing I learned being abroad is to be open minded. Whether creatives smoke, have tattoos or piercings, or any sexual orientation, I am okay with that.

Where did you find your passion for writing and photography?

I left Malaysia at the tender age of 10 so English became top priority because no Frenchmen would speak Malay. At one point of time, one of my classmates asked me what was the black stuff on my rice and I said black ketchup. It was actually soy sauce, but my English wasn't up to par. That experience pushed me to speak more, write more and learn more.

As for photography, I met a photographer in Boston who really pushed me towards becoming a fashion photographer.

His Instagram handle is @donborsch. When I had the chance to meet him, I thought I would really like to work with him and he really taught me how to take photos and how to pose – that was the beginning of it all. He is my inspiration for photography, but writing has always been a passion for me.