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


Kiruba Shankar

Seeing Tech Folks Blossom as Writers

The people you see in this photo are special. They are wonderful programmers and coders with a treasure trove of technical knowledge. However, much like most tech folks, they lack the confidence to share their knowledge in writing. That’s when Suresh Sambandam, the CEO of OrangeScape and KISSflow, came with an idea. We discussed a writing workshop and I helped conduct one at Vaksana Farms over a weekend. This was a month ago and today we had our first review meeting. I was super impressed that all of them have consistently written their blog posts and on their way to successfully finishing their 100 day writing challenge. We even shortlisted names of Chief Guests who will headline the celebration event on March 26, the 100th day of the challenge.

Here are my key learning.
1) The Team Spirit is the Magic Potion. It’s no longer an individual goal but a group effort. We are all social animals and we perform better in groups.

2) Consistency is Key: Every afternoon the team gets together for a writing session. This is self-organized. No pressure from me or the CEO. Regular freestyle writing let’s the thought juices flow and makes writing easy.

3) Deadline Matters: March 26th is the 100th day of the challenge. Everybody has clear view of the end goal. This gives clarity and forces to put the writing as a priority task as no one person wants to be seen as a laggard during the launch function.

4) Just Ship it: Much like the agile method that the developers are very familiar, the trick is to quickly publish it and NOT put it in draft. For a person getting started with writing, publishing anything, even a half baked blog post, is better than putting it in the dungeons of drafts which may never see the light of day.

5) Have Fun: No wonder OrangeScape won the top slot in the best places to work category. There is such positive spirit, joviality and supportive camaraderie amongst the team.

Seeing the team succeed is what gives me high and motivates me to conduct the workshops at my farm.

The Thambi Vilas Dining Experience

After finishing a work meeting, we decided to head out for lunch. ‘Thambi Vilas’ hotel was recommended and so we decided to try it out.

The first impression was a good one. It’s a Chettinad restaurent and must compliment them for the wonderful, well thought out design that did justice to the place.

Attention to details such as brass taps, black and white flooring, colonial furniture, old photos and even the vintage switches. I wish they has used vintage fans. This could have greatly added to the authentic ambience.

Here are a few photos of the restaurent.

However, the food was below par and did not live up to expectation. Our team had both veg meals and non-veg meals and both could have been better.

The elaneer payasam though was heavenly and that gave a nice finish to our dining experience.

Visit this place for the ambience.

The Amazing Feat of Getting the Entire Tamil Film Fraternity to Malaysia

Kudos to Shahul Hameed Dawood (standing next to Kamal) for pulling off the near impossible… organizing a *M.A.S.S.I.V.E* show getting almost the entire Tamil film fraternity to Malaysia…including Rajini and Kamal. This includes all the heroes and heroines of not just the current generation but previous two generations as well.

When I was in KL last year, I remember the time when Shahul and his team had started to ideate on this. Now to see his small but a cracker of a team pull this off is amazing and inspiring.

Podcasts with Sterling MD & CMO Coming Up

Today, am heading to the new Sterling office to meet its MD, Ramesh Ramanathan and its CMO, Peshwa Acharya. Sterling is among India’s largest holiday companies and they are credited with a brilliant business turnaround and recently went through a complete overhaul in branding.

I’m interviewing Ramesh, who I have known personally for two decades now for the Movers & Shakers Podcast to discuss the power of thinking big and importantly acting on those ambitions.

The conversation with Peshwa will be for my soon to be launched show exclusively focusing on Global CMOs and the cutting edge marketing techniques.

Non-Agri Lessons I Learned from Conducting the Food Forest Workshop

Lessons #1: During our lunch on Day 2 at the Temple, Amar Ramesh, the founder of StudioA, encouraged me to use Instagram more often. He looked at me and said, ‘Kiruba, the World is moving away from Facebook’.  Taking a cue from him, I have updated the Instagram account for Vaksana Farms. http://www.instagram.com/vaksanafarms. Also, committing myself to keep it updated regularly along with Facebook.

Lesson #2:  I’ve known  Amar Ramesh and Venkatesh Pannirselvan, a serial entrepreneur, for some time now. Both of them attended the Food Forest Workshop that I recently conducted at Vaksana Farms. I have noticed a certain characteristic of them. They consciously invest the time and effort to continuously keep learning. They regularly attend training programs (both of them have been to Vaksana farms programs three times).  This inspired me to take action today. I have signed up for a Permaculture Workshop conducted by Krishna McKenzie of Solitude Farms on Feb 26, 27 & 28.