Jakrapong Kongmalai: Find a Mentor to Avoid Years of Error


Most of us usually switch careers in our quest for the best career that fits our lifestyle.

For Jakrapong Kongmalai, the switch from journalism to online marketing has become his building block to realize his love for both writing and marketing which helped him to ‘connect the dots’ and advises those who are just starting out with their career to find a mentor and not waste time on things that you don’t really enjoy.

By following your passion, you’ll be able to find yourself in a situation where you don’t have to choose between your career and lifestyle but be able to enjoy both.

Jakrapong Kongmalai, Head of Content Business at Sanook

Can you tell us a bit about how you started your career? What are some of your best moments in your professional life?

In 1999, I graduated with a degree in Radio & Television broadcasting and suddenly found myself ‘jobless’, which was very common for anyone in my generation because it was the Asian financial crisis (you guys also can call it Tom Yum Goong crisis since it started in Thailand around 1997).

My dad was so worried so he took me to his friend to apply for a job.

“You have to know my friend, his name is “Sondhi Limthongkul” (One of the media moguls of Thailand).

“Sondhi? Who’s that?” I replied.

That day marked my career in journalism.

I was a part of Manager.co.th, which is no.1 news website in Thailand. I was responsible for Entertainment section where I had the chance to interview many international artists like Phil Collins, Jon Bon Jovi, etc.

At that time, I felt great to have an access to every celebrity and businessmen. I wrote everything about other people’s story.

Then one day, I begun to ask myself “I spend many years writing about other people’s story. Is it possible for me to make my own story and other people would write about me?”.

I left Manager Media Group and changed my career path from journalism to marketing career with Teleinfomedia (a subsidiary of SHIN Corporation).

3 years later, I surfed the net and found that Yahoo! just launch it’s Thai version at Yahoo.co.th. I clicked a footage link “jobs” and 6 months later, I became the first hire of Yahoo! in Thailand.

I joined Yahoo! as a community manager where I managed the online community, advocate program for Yahoo! Communities products E.g. Yahoo! Answers, Yahoo! Group and Flickr.

During my last year, I served as product management person of community products for all Southeast Asian countries (Yahoo! Answers, Flickr, and Yahoo! Groups.)

In 2010, I relocated back to Bangkok and joined Samsung as a Social Media Manager, where I was a part of Samsung’s successful in Thailand.

I launched several smartphone e.g. Galaxy S series, Galaxy Note series. Meanwhile, I started a blog named “thumbsup.in.th” which covering about digital marketing and tech startup scene in Thailand.

Now in 2014, I joined Sanook Online Co.,Ltd as a Vice President – Content Business. I am in charge of Sanook’s content business managing content creation, content partnership, and the overall content strategy.

If you could advise your 20-year-old-self today, what would you tell him?

I will tell him to not just work. I will encourage him to develop connection with people in the same industry more. I will ask him to find some mentor or someone who can help him to develop soft/hard skills.

In reality, I spend too many years doing trial and error by myself in the office (and learn everything by myself) which is totally wrong.

What has been the most valuable advice you’ve ever gotten when you were facing challenges in your career?

The definition of intellect is; someone who have an opportunity to do things they are great at it and eventually make it work.

So, don’t waste your time with something you don’t like. Anyway, if you don’t know what you love right now, it’s fine. Just follow your nose.

When I started my career as a journalist, I didn’t know that one day I will fall in love with an online media company again too. 🙂

It’s a kind of like “connecting the dots”.

What would you advise the millennial just starting with their career or aiming to take their careers to the next level?

Try to learn from other people’s success and failure as much as possible. You guys are in the era that almost everything is on the Internet. So, you can learn a lot from it.