An interview with Kiruba Shankar

I had mentioned in my ‘commitment post’ that I would attempt to have at least a couple of interviews of professionals from both the online and offline world. Here’s the first one.

Kiruba Shankar – who was once referred by Gul Panag as a Twitter Superstar was kind enough to answer a few questions.

Kiruba Shankar

A few pointers on the questions. I think that Kiruba is a good example for personal branding. And I have tried to bring out that aspect here. If you see his Bio, you will see that this man is multi-talented. Pity Maniratnam hasn’t met him yet :p Or has he?

Why waste your time? Here goes the interview!

  1. You were working in the corporate sector for a long time. What made you take this shift into launching your own company?
    You are right. I’ve been in the corporate world for over 12 years. That’s a long time to get used having the luxury of having one’s bank account get replenished at the beginning of every month. I should really thank the economy downturn for helping make my decision to become an entrepreneur.  The recession made things difficult in the last company that I worked in.
    I chose to opt out and instead of taking another 9 to 5 job, I chose to pick up projects on my own. I had consciously been building up my business contacts and was focused on building my own brand. This greatly helped when I branched out on my own.  I soon realized that it perfectly matched my multi-interest lifestyle.  I was my own boss and I chose my schedule.
  2. With two kids it must have been a tough decision. How did you manage your initial years? (I know it is a personal question, but there are people who are unable to do this! Includes me!)
    Actually, it was not a tough decision at all. That’s the beauty of not having choices 🙂  If I had to feed my family I had to get in the projects. That kind of pressure actually helped me a lot in getting my firm up and running quickly.
    The initial years were quite adventurous. We had to keep running fast to stay in the same place. My biggest support system was my wife. She quit her job too and joined me at my startup. Having an understanding and supportive wife is a huge bonus.
    We had a very strict rule that we will not delay the salary of our employees even by a single day. There were half a dozen times I had to pawn my wife’s jewelry to pay the employees’ salaries. We always pay ourselves the last. But magically, we would bounce back every single time. We were also gifted by a very loyal associates who put their best into the job.
  3. How big is your firm? What all services do you provide and how competitive is the market that you operate on?
    We are a dozen people strong. We run a very lean organization and our overheads are intentionally kept very low. We run our operations out of two double bedroom flats in Chennai.
    We are a Social Media Consultancy. We help large corporate companies leverage the power of Web 2.0. We help evaluate, strategize and execute plans on corporate blogging, podcasting, enterprise wikis, online community building, reputation management and research.  We are extremely passionate about this medium and that greatly helps us walk the talk.
    The competition isn’t very high. We are amongst very few pure-play social media focused organization in Chennai and even across India, there aren’t many.
  4. On a daily basis there is some new technology or the other cropping up. How do you manage to keep in touch with all this? How inquisitive are you?
    I follow a few sites like TechMeme and Mashable that really feeds me on the latest trends in technology and social media space. It also greatly helps that we run the Social Media Research Lab and that gives us sufficient reason to keep our ears close to the ground to learn the latest stuff.
  5. There was a point when you used to have blog entries on a regular basis. Lately, you don’t blog as much?
    There’s a huge difference when you did something as an hobby and when you did something for a career.  The effect is telling.  Besides, Twitter and Facebook have cannibalized my blogging. Its so much easier and quicker to say the thing I want to say.  However, blogging is my career and if I don’t blog enough, I’m not practicing what I’m preaching. Atleast for that sake, I will get back to active blogging.
  6. How do you think creating an online personality has changed over years? And how has its effect on the offline world been? (Being a blogger and being known and being a tweeter and being known. How do you think things have changed)
    I don’t think creating an online personality has changed much. What has changed though has been the tools that helped you express your ideas.  Its without doubt that building one’s own brand is an extremely wise investment for the future. By building one’s brand online, you’ll soon realize that it starts to open many doors in terms of business and helps it easier to make good connections.  An online brand has a huge rub-off in the offline world.
  7. Few words about your book on Personal branding that’s coming up?
    It’s a tweet book published by Happy About, a California based publishing house run by Mitchell Levy. The book contains 140 nuggets of information about personal branding. The book will be published in the later part of 2010.

So that’s that! My first interview! I hope the questions were relevant! Comments would be really appreciated! 🙂
My special thanks to Kiruba Shankar for taking time out for my blogathon.

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3 Responses to “An interview with Kiruba Shankar”

  1. That was quick, Nanda!

    I answered the questions in this interview at like 2AM and it shows! Tons of grammatical errors and typos! My English teacher would murder me if he ever got to see this!

    Nice to hear about Gul’s comment.

    Rock on, Nanda. Good luck with the blogothon! Some say its even harder than running a marathon!! 🙂

  2. Dear Kiruba – Thanks for the responses. The substance was (and is) more important than the language here. And for that, your English teacher better be proud 🙂
    I hope to complete the Blogathon. As you can see, I am behind today’s schedule. I need to put up my post for today yet! Working hard! Thanks for your wishes.

  3. Good work. Right questions and prompt answers…

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