I'm a Social Media Entrepreneur, Professor of Digital Marketing, Author of 5 books, Podcaster and an Organic Farmer.

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Signed up for the International Speakers Summit

One of my big goals is to transition from a professional speaker to a Global Professional Speaker. This is something that I’ve been serious about and made a conscious commitment to invest in learning and meeting other global speakers. So, you can imagine my happiness when I chanced upon the International Speakers Summit.

57 Professional Speakers share their wisdom and knowledge over a 10 day period on how to improve one’s speaking business. I’ve heard quite a few of the speakers in person and they are excellent people to learn from.

I put trust in the system and signed up for the VIP pass. My strong belief is that it’s more important to implement the learning than just learning them. I felt the need to revisit the sessions many times and hence the need to have access to the sessions via the paid pass.

For me, it is also an opportunity to understand first hand how a full-fledged summit is conducted purely online. Keeping a close eye on how James Taylor, the host of the event, is organizing this.


Heading Back to Malaysia to Speak at The Pangkor Dialogue

Very excited and proud to be invited back to speak at The Pangkor Dialogue Conference for the second year in a row.

The Pangkor Dialogue is an international knowledge exchange that takes place in the city of Ipoh in Malaysia. The event aims to inspire sustainable economic growth in the region in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The theme for this year’s Pangkor Dialogue is ‘Making the Future’. The goal is to explore possible innovations and solutions to achieve the sustainable development goals in Agenda 2030.

Proud to join fellow speakers, Dr.Amartya Sen, Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi and best-selling author, Simon Sinek. My goal is to get all three on my leadership podcast.

Last year’s event is special for me because I got to meet Fredrik Haren who laid the foundation for the creation of Professional Speakers Association of India.


Speaking at Digital Opportunities Summit in Kashmir

I look forward to speaking at OUTREACH -The Digital Marketing Opportunities Summit in Srinagar, Kashmir. This summit is organized with the mission to help students and entrepreneurs to get equipped with essential digital marketing knowledge. Around 2000 students, start-up and business owners, state level bureaucrats, and leading educationists are expected to attend this Summit. The event is organized by Centre for Youth Progress Initiatives.

Good to see that the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Ms. Mehbooba Mufti, along with her ministers are also taking part in the event.

Venue: Sheri-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC), Srinagar, Kashmir.
Date: 20th April, 2017
Time: 4pm to 8pm


Lessons from the Aviation Panel at CNN Asia Business Forum

 

The 2nd edition of CNN Asia Business Forum took place in Bengaluru recently. The event had two clear focus areas. The first was centered on the burgeoning Aviation industry and the second focused on Digital & Technology.

I was particularly looking forward to the panel because I had an opportunity to study in-depth the three panelists that were part of the panel. 1) Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director of SpiceJet, 2) Phee Teik Yeoh, CEO of Vistara Airlines and 3) Kanika Tekriwal, CEO of JetSetGo.

Earlier in the day, I had recorded interesting conversations with Ajay Singh of SpiceJet and Phee Teik Yeoh of Vistara Airlines as part of the ‘Movers & Shakers’ Podcast that I host on The Hindu Businessline. This helped me get an inside view of their businesses and their career growth. To me, listening to the panel discussion looked like a seamless extension of our conversation.

Here are the key takeaways I gained from the panel discussion.

Richard Quest, the ebullient business anchor at CNN, kickstarted the panel by saying the Airlines industry is a good way to become a millionaire. How so? Well, if you are a billionaire and you start an airline, you’ll soon lose enough money to become a millionaire. And am sure everybody in the audience was thinking of Vijay Mallya.

What I loved was how Ajay Singh countered that. SpieceJet is an example of success. True, SpiceJet was losing Rs.3 crores a day (yes, a day) under SunTV’s Kalanidhi Maran. But after Ajay Singh bought back the company he founded, he was able to turn it around in less than 3 years to a stage where the airline is now making Rs.1 crore profit every day. That is a fantastic turnaround.

Phee Teik Yeoh, the CEO of Vistara, the airlines founded by the collaboration of Tata Group and Singapore Airlines mentioned how external factors destabilize the growth of an airline. He took the example of airline fuel. India has one of the most expensive airline fuels and this year alone, the cost has increased by over 50%. This can eat into the profits of the airline and wipe away the thin margins.

Phee Teik agreed that the market for high-end business travel was not as high as they had expected. Vistara launched a few years ago and they positioned themselves as the choice for corporate executives. They had allocated a significant number of seats for business class and premium economy. Due to poor demand, they now had to cut back on the premium seats and increased the number of economy seats. This proves the fact that India is a price sensitive market.

Ajay Singh added a very valid point. The discerning Indian flyers want the following: 1) Fly from their city or town directly. 2) Pay as little as possible. 3) Fly on Time. If these three factors can be met, then they are happy. Anything else, like gourmet food, leg space, good looking staff is not as important as one would think.

Kanika Tekriwal, who built an amazing business on leasing the private airlines, was bullish on the future. It is interesting how she runs her business. She found that many rich individuals who had private airplanes were finding it very expensive to maintain them and they were losing money. That’s when she approached them offered a solution that will not only take care of the planes but also earn them a profit from their planes. She has her own set of pilots, mechanics, and crew who take care of the planes. The people who hire the private planes can do so without the need to invest high capital for the planes but yet enjoy the luxuries of private travel. With the number of millionaires mushrooming in India, and with not much competition, she sounded very positive on future prospects.

Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable session. What I loved was the display of entrepreneurship and street smart approach that the panelists displayed while narrating their story.


Upcoming Podcasts at CNN Asia Business Forum

I’m right now in Bangalore to attend the CNN Asia Business Forum, which is an invite only event that brings together key business leaders and thought influencers to assess India’s position in a tumultuous global economy.
I’ve lined up podcast interviews with very interesting personalities. The list includes:

Ajay Singh, CEO of SpiceJet Airlines

Phee Teik Yeoh, CEO of Vistara Airlines

Nandan Nilekani, Cofounder of Infosys

Yesterday I had a very interesting interaction with Sunita Rajan, Senior Vice President, Advertising  Sales at CNN.

In the conversions, I look forward to digging into their career journey, life lessons and explore new ideas and innovations that capture their imagination.

Very excited for the event.





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