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One of the luxury goods that young startups cannot afford at a young age is specialization. Everyone - from founders to interns - simply rolls up their sleeves and does whatever it takes. Everyone is a generalist, not because they want to. But because they have to be.
Ken was such a startup until not that long ago. A lean, talented and hungry team focused on only one product and one region - India.
However, when we expand into new regions and formats, we also have to invest in newer specialists. Our newest employees are specialists. In mentoring, guiding and management. And in design.
Ranju Sarkar comes to us in Delhi as editor. Ranju joined us from Business Standard where he has spent the past 12 years managing pages about startups and investors for the business. He has 26 years of business journalism experience.
I'll have Seema, our editor, explain why we brought Ranju on board.
The Ken is a modern digital publication that disseminates journalism as a product, but essentially does good, old (magazine) journalism. So it wasn't surprising when we headed for Ranju.
He may consider himself “someone who started journalism in the pre-Internet era when the writers kept a log for every company or group of companies they covered,” but his role on The Ken is just slightly different . To make sure the authors are up to date; keep a virtual directory, so to speak.
In his various roles during these years, Ranju has done everything - edited, reported, written, pushed and produced with a distributed team. At one point, his editor wanted him to travel to Bangladesh to cover how the apparel industry was pulling Indian companies into cover. “The editor was pleasantly surprised when I tore down a page-1 story with four leading apparel manufacturers in India. “You made the story here,” he said, “remembers Ranju.
As Ken's newsroom grows, all his ingenuity will come in handy.
Our second specialist is Sharath Ravishankar, a visual designer. Sharath joins us in Bangalore. He graduated from the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad last year, where he specialized in animation and film design.
He is a talented and versatile designer who has written and directed animated short films on topics ranging from politics to urban isolation. His website contains many of the wonderful and vibrant illustrations, animations, videos, and visualizations that he has created.
When Sharath is not working, he prefers to watch PC videos, rage on the Internet and make fanart.
At Ken, together with our lead designer Prajakta, he will use visualizations to tell better business stories.
While India remains the bedrock of our coverage, storytelling, and growth, we've also started expanding into Southeast Asia. I am very excited to add Benjamin Cher to this team in Singapore. Here's Jon what Ben brings to the table.
Singapore is the hub of Southeast Asia. With just five million inhabitants, the single market is very small compared to any other country in the region. However, Singapore remains the go-to place for investors, multinational corporations, and the region's most powerful startups.
Ben comes from The Edge Singapore where he has spent the past 2.5 years playing a range of beats including technology, startups and business. Ben previously worked for Digital News Asia and The Drum. He graduated from the University of Melbourne, Australia with a BA in Communication and Media Studies in 2013.
Outside of work, Ben enjoys playing video games and finding dark facts, such as how Coca Cola used to be green (Ed.: :). With their (cute) dog, Scruffy also keep Ben and his wife busy.
You can follow Ben on Twitter via @benjcher; Congratulations, pitches and photos from other dog lovers and much more can be sent to ben at the-ken.com.
I am excited to add Ben in Singapore to a team that spans much of the region with Nadine (Indonesia), Kay (Malaysia) and Jum (Philippines) while I am in Thailand. This local presence allows us to dive right into the stories that matter to technology and business in Southeast Asia.
We are still on the lookout for potential junior staff. If you are a reporter passionate about telling stories about Southeast Asia please contact me - jon at the-ken.com.
Building a successful journalism business is a delicate and gradual journey. We have to find the right balance between story, product and business model at every step. The magic ingredient to combine all of this is people. Great, ambitious, talented people. That represents Ranju, Sharath and Ben.
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